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Dorothy Mantooth and my husband are both saints

Just fair warning…this blog post is kinda sweary. Okay, very sweary.

Why? Because this last fortnight has been absolutely fucking awful. One of the worst periods of my life. Just really, really bad.

In fact, you might want to skip this post if you don’t want to read an extremely long, angry and rambling diatribe from a disturbed young woman.

My problems are mainly down to this new drug I’m taking – ethinyloestradiol. It’s the medication we’re using to plump up my uterus lining in preparation for my FET. Before my last FET we used progynova and that medication did the job without causing me massive dramas. But ethinyloestradiol appears to be my kryptonite. It is the devil’s drug. The devil’s drug I tell you!

First of all the nausea is ridiculously bad. I couldn’t really keep any food down for the first couple of days, but after that my body acclimated somewhat and the vomiting stopped. But the nausea has certainly persisted.

It is particularly bad when I’m driving, sort of like bad motion sickness. It means I’ve been late for work a whole bunch of times the past fortnight because the nausea overwhelmed me and I had to pull over onto the side of the road until I could swallow and breathe normally.

When I mentioned to my doctor that the nausea was really bad on this drug she looked at me like I was some sort of moron and told me that if I couldn’t handle the nausea caused by estrogren maybe I shouldn’t be trying to get pregnant, because when you’re pregnant, you get nauseous a lot.

That comment made me angry. Really fucking angry. Because I’m not an idiot. I am aware that pregnant women experience nausea. Also because I am not forking out my entire life savings in an effort to get pregnant, I am forking out my life savings in an effort to have a child. Notice the subtle difference there? Pregnancy is a means to children.

I know pregnancy can be shitty. I know you can be sick a lot. But I don’t care. I honestly don’t! If I have to vomit everything I eat for the next nine months I do not care.

And the nausea you experience during pregnancy is a little different to the nausea you experience because of a medication. It says on the damn pill bottle to tell your doctor if you have persistent symptoms. So why is it a problem that I mentioned my persistent symptom to her?

I mean honestly I took her comment as a subversive threat. I feel like she does this a lot now. I tell her about a problem I’m experiencing, she tells me how life is much harder when you’re pregnant/a mother and then looks at me weird and kind of suggests maybe I shouldn’t be doing IVF.

And I take it as a threat because I feel like she is going to cancel my cycle due to my honesty in describing my physical and emotional responses to IVF. Like OH I’M SORRY I AM VOMITING IN THE FRONT SEAT OF MY CAR LET’S MAKE THAT MY FAULT AND DENY ME CHILDREN BECAUSE I SIMPLY MENTIONED IT TO YOU.

And plus, we all know how she feels about people who give up on IVF (in case you missed the memo, she thinks they’re not cut out to be parents in the first place) so I feel like when she questions me she is not only saying I can’t handle IVF or pregnancy, she is also calling me a bad parent. And that is not ok. How dare she question my hypothetical future parenting skills or ability to be a mother because I confessed I’m struggling on a new medication. What kind of doctor would do such a thing?

The second major problem with ethinyloestradiol are the mood swings I am experiencing. You may have already guessed that from reading this post…

These mood swings are on a whole other level to what I’m used to. It is unlike anything I’ve ever gone through before. It started about 24 hours after I went onto the medication. I started crying all the time. I was absolutely distraught and nothing could cheer me up.

Then the next day, I was angry. Super angry. I suddenly hated my husband, didn’t want him near me and didn’t want him to look at me or touch me or breathe in the vicinity of where I was standing. I don’t even know what he did to trigger such a reaction. He would reach out to me and I would scream at him to go away. It caused me to become angrier and angrier, and my husband to oddly become clingier and clingier.

The more I screamed at him to leave me alone, the more he insisted on following me around the house like a sad little puppy, constantly asking me why I was upset with him and how he could make it better. It was a fucking nightmare. I almost packed my bags and went to stay at my parents house just to get away from him.

My moods started rapidly swinging back and forth. One minute I was happy and normal, the next minute I was weeping, and then I was looking at my husband like maybe I wanted to scalp him with a kitchen knife.

Not only was it hard for my husband to cope with this, it’s also been devastating for me. I don’t want to behave how I’m behaving. I don’t want to make him upset or push him away. And I don’t want to feel like this all the time because it’s exhausting and maddening.

We looked up the common symptoms of ethinyloestradiol and surprise surprise! Common side effects include depression, anxiety and rapid mood cycling. Doug promised to be understanding, and just keep on loving me the best way he knew how. But after about a week his resolve started wearing thin. He started biting back when I snapped at him, and we started arguing constantly.

When I mentioned to Doctor Holiday that I’m having these awful mood swings she told me that ethinyloestradiol doesn’t cause any such problem. She suggested if I am having mood swings I have a mental health issue, not a drug side-effect. She said I need to go and see a counsellor to get my mental health issues rectified because whilst IVF is hard, being a parent is much harder and if I can’t cope with this I won’t cope with being a mother.

Do you see what I mean about the threats?? I mean come on! Stop subversively insulting me every time I admit to experiencing an emotion or symptom.

To make matters worse, the doctor said that to me in front of my husband. So suddenly he’s thinking that I’ve just been acting like a bitch for no good reason, and that makes me a bad wife for treating him in such a way. Like hey Doctor Holiday, thanks for making my hard life HEAPS harder.

I showed him all of the evidence that proves the doctor was wrong, and I think he mostly believed me when I said that I’m honestly not choosing to behave like this. But I know there’s doubt in his mind. So that’s great.

Then Doug started getting really depressed as well. He told me he knew it wasn’t my fault, but this whole thing is killing him. He said infertility isn’t like another illness that you can fight and overcome. With infertility you either win or you lose, and you don’t know it’s beaten you until you’re completely driven into the ground. He said he can’t do any more IVF. He can’t mentally or emotionally handle the failures, he can’t stand idly by and watch me get sick and depressed, and we can’t afford it because we have no money left. But then he said he can’t imagine living a life without children. It’s his number one wish in life to be a dad, and he just can’t live a childless life.

Then, the following evening, he casually mentioned that he had been speaking to his mother on the phone, and they had joked about how there should be a compulsory physical examination before couples enter into a long-term relationship. I know that his mother hates me, and she has expressed in the past that he would be better off without me, but never did I ever expect him to even make a joke about such a thing. My own husband was “light-heartedly” implying that had he known I was infertile right at the start, he would never have married me.

After that pretty much all hell broke loose. I told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted to divorce him. I didn’t want to be with someone who would say such horrible things about me, and also because I didn’t want him to live a childless life. I didn’t want him to hate me or blame me for causing him to be stuck in a situation he didn’t want to be in. I said positively awful things to him. I suggested he wouldn’t even be upset if I left him, because he doesn’t really love me anyway. I told him that he would have a new girlfriend straight away and he wouldn’t miss me or think about me at all.

Once again, he bit back and started accusing me of clearly not wanting to be with him either if it was so easy for me to suggest we split up.

I pointed out that leaving him would be a huge personal blow for me because there’s no way I’ll have time to meet another man, get him to see past my massive medical problems, move in together, get married, and then attempt IVF before my 30th birthday (around the time I’m due to have a hysterectomy). Therefore, I was making a huge sacrifice and he was not because he could go out and get any old bitch knocked up and have ten thousand children.

He then accused me of not seeing him as a husband or lover, and only seeing him as a sperm donor to achieve my goal of having children. He shouted that I was clearly only staying with him to use him for his sperm, and not because I actually wanted to be with him.

Do you see what I mean when I say this past fortnight has been hard? We completely hit rock bottom as a couple. It’s a place we’ve never been before.

We continued sleeping in the same bed, but were hardly talking to each other and not touching each other at all. It got to the point where his leg would accidentally brush up against mine as he rolled over in his sleep and I would grunt and roughly push him away like he had supremely offended me.

A couple of days ago we started talking through our issues, and we are doing okay now. There’s still tension there, and I know a big part of that is the fact I’m still on this awful fucking ethinyloestradiol.

In my good moments we can laugh again now, and we snuggle up on the couch in the evenings to watch television. I know that we love each other very deeply, and we’re both going through something awful at the moment. We just have to try our hardest to stick together.

We’ve never been a couple who fought much before, so this is something new and hard for us. I have to hope we can make it through to the other side together, and stronger. He is honestly the best thing that’s ever happened to me and now I’m scared I’m going to lose him too. I couldn’t cope with losing him and my chance to have children at the same time.

The only good news is that the ethinyloestradiol is doing it’s job. I had a scan yesterday and my uterus lining is now measuring 9.6mm triple which is great news. I have started progesterone twice a day, and my FET is set for Wednesday.

I am starting to become really nervous already, and it’s only Friday afternoon. Jelly is our only embryo. If he doesn’t survive the thaw, or doesn’t expand properly, we have nothing else. The whole FET has been for nothing and we don’t get any of our money back. I have five more whole days to wait! I don’t know how I’m going to make it through.

If you have read this entire post I thank you sincerely. And please don’t judge me!

We can’t have a good day every day and I think sometimes it’s helpful to admit that you aren’t strong or good all the time.We all have moments of weakness when times are tough, and I just shared my weakness with the entire internet! I think that takes guts. Am I right or am I right? I’m so right.

Sadie xx

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Miss Not-So-Average

On Monday we attended our post-IVF follow up appointment with Doctor Holiday, who had just returned from her 12000th vacation the previous Friday. It’s what we in the biz (if being infertile is a biz) refer to as the WTF appointment.

Because….WTF? Why did my cycle fail? Why is this clinic so crappy? What are you going to do about it? When do I get my baby? You get the gist.

Normally I attend these clinic appointments alone because Doug has a busy job, but this time he insisted on coming along. Mainly because he was no longer prepared to let this doctor waste our time and our money, and he knows I’m too passive to actually stand up for myself most of the time when it comes to medical professionals.

We went into this appointment with an understanding that we will not be undertaking any further cycles of IVF with this doctor. We have absolutely had enough of her and her bullshit. It’s sad really, because she is one of the top rated IVF doctors in our state and came highly recommended. We were told she was the best of the best.

We have actually spoken to a clinic interstate in the past week. It is one of the top 3 IVF clinics in the world. Yes, the whole world. Their success rate in my age group is 43% higher than the average of all other Australian and New Zealand clinics combined. Those are some pretty decent odds, hey?

We’ve already been matched with a doctor who would suit our needs – a doctor whose areas of speciality are genetic problems, PCOS, and repeated IVF failures. And he has no qualms dealing with interstate patients, and will even do some of the initial consults via skype. It sounds perfect for us. Only problem is, we’ll need to be flying back and forth for procedures because it’s too far to drive. That means there will be added expenses of flights and hotels wrapped up with this clinic.

We have done some serious number crunching this past week and realised that our life savings are almost completely spent. Multiple fertility surgeries and IVF cycles will do horrible things to your bank account.

But we’ve also realised that paying for one or two cycles at this fancy clinic is probably going to cost around the same as multiple failed cycles here in Melbourne with our current doctor. And if we go to the clinic interstate and succeed in one or two cycles, we’ll have our baby a whole lot quicker than if it takes another six cycles up here. Let’s not even factor in how fat and pimply I will be in six cycles time. I’ll be so sick and tired and grumpy. I’d much prefer to get our cycles over and done with now. Get what I’m saying?

Despite all this, we went to see Doctor Holiday for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we wanted closure on our 5th failed cycle (4 failed IVF cycles plus a failed FET equals 5 failed cycles in my book). We wanted her opinion on where we had gone wrong. Secondly, we wanted genetic testing done and figured it would be just as easy for this doctor to order it for us. That way when we see the new doctor (let’s call him Doctor Fancy-Pants) we’ll be able to already provide that information.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we still have one embryo on ice at this clinic. Our little day 6 low quality blastocyst, Jelly. We have a ‘no family member gets left behind’ policy in our household and we aren’t going to move to an interstate clinic and leave Jelly all on his own. So we decided we would try to thaw Jelly and go for an FET cycle before we make our first appointment with Doctor Fancy-Pants.

And now that my rambling introduction is over, let me get back to the actual appointment because I know that’s why you’re all reading this blog post…

“So Sadie,” Doctor Holiday started. “How did the last cycle go?”

“Bad.” I said bluntly.

“No? Not actually bad?” she asked, raising her brow.

“Yes.” I replied. “Actually bad. We didn’t get pregnant and we didn’t get any frozen embryos. No positive outcomes whatsoever.”

Doctor Holiday kept sort of smirking at me after that. Like she was surprised the cycle hadn’t worked, and also surprised that I was being less friendly than normal, and her reaction was to smirk so that the situation was less uncomfortable for her.

We all sat down and she reviewed all of the notes in my file that related to my last cycle. She analysed the embryologists notes regarding our embryo development and after a while stated that the cycle had quite clearly failed because of an egg problem. I mean geez talk about a slap in the face. I understood the news was coming my way, but didn’t expect her to put it quite so harshly.

“So if it’s an egg problem you should fix the eggs.” Doug said, seemingly pleased to have contributed something so useful to the conversation.

My heart went out to my poor husband in that moment. I knew he had about three more seconds of ignorant bliss, before the doctor broke the bad news to him.

“Well actually we can’t fix eggs.” Doctor Holiday explained. “We can work with endo, blocked tubes, PCOS, poor sperm quality, pretty much everything. But we really don’t know anything about poor egg quality and we don’t know how to fix it.”

I expected a whole range of emotions to cross Doug’s face as the doctor’s words sunk in. Instead, I saw recognition in his eyes and then his entire face went blank. He had retreated right in front of me.

“Before we go any further I think I need to be tested for genetic problems.” I said, turning back to the doctor. “How do we do that?”

“I completely agree. We need to do genetic tests.” Doctor Holiday nodded. “Do you know if your previous IVF clinic carried out the tests? Best to check before we order the tests again because they’re very expensive.”

The doctor then made a phone call to the pathology lab, and it was confirmed that I had karotype testing done in 2012, which was news to me. I mean honestly I had so many tests done in 2012 I couldn’t even describe half of them. Plus, the cycles of IVF I’ve subsequently undergone have pretty much killed my memory. Everything upstairs in the old noggin is a little hazy now.

“What did the tests say?” I asked in surprise. “Can I get a copy of the results? What exactly did they test for?”

“Oh they would have done carrier testing.” the doctor said dismissively. “And if no one mentioned it to you two years ago then I’m sure the tests are fine so we won’t even bother looking at the results. If there was a problem with your genes they would have mentioned it.”

And that was it. I wasn’t even given a copy of the results. I have no idea what the tests were for. Was I tested for the MTHFR gene mutation? Was I tested for other genetic mutations? I have no fricken clue, and apparently I never will.

The doctor did order the same tests for Doug though, just to make sure he isn’t a carrier of anything untoward either. I looked at his pathology request form and all it says is “karotype testing – abnormal embryo development” so that doesn’t shed any light for me. Can anyone who has had these tests done, or is a carrier of something that affects fertility tell me how and what the process was? I really shouldn’t have to ask this question on the internet. It’s a shame my doctor isn’t more forthcoming with information.

After we had discussed the tests, Doctor Holiday started saying some very odd things.

She told us that she had just recently been to a conference where IVF doctors from all around the world discussed whether or not IVF is actually working as it was intended to.

She said the fact is that only 5% of the most fertile woman’s eggs are genetically normal. So when doctors are stimulating multiple follicles to grow through the use of FSH drugs, perhaps all they are really doing is stimulating the other 95% of eggs. These are eggs that were never supposed to be ovulated. They are the bad eggs, and there is a reason that the body wasn’t developing them naturally. So when they are removed from a woman’s ovary of course most of them don’t fertilize, or develop as they should, or implant after transfer, or make it to freeze.

She went on to say that even when you get to the blastocyst stage they’ve found only 40% of blasts are genetically normal. So even if you make it that far, there’s still a 60% chance that the blast is genetically abnormal and therefore will not result in a pregnancy. And the problem is there’s really no way to tell. Genetic testing on embryos can search for particular abnormalities, but not all possible abnormalities and for that reason the testing does not significantly increase the rate of pregnancy when it’s carried out.

Then she started going on about how studies have shown that IVF parents make better parents than “spontaneous parents” because they have already been through the horrible physical and mental stresses of infertility. They’ve hit rock bottom already, they’ve seen the worst that life has to offer, so staying up all night with a crying baby is a cake walk.

But then the doctor said that people who are going through IVF and then give up before they get a baby were never going to make good parents anyway. If a person can’t handle the stress of IVF then they weren’t ever going to handle the stress of parenthood. I mean seriously how offensive is that! People stop treatment for a number of reasons. Sometimes people run out of money and can’t afford more treatment, sometimes they’re too old, sometimes their medical problems prevent them from continuing.

How rude to basically infer that those who discontinue IVF are quitters who were never going to be good parents! It was almost like she sensed we weren’t planning to come and see her anymore, and she was trying to indirectly convince us to keep attending her clinic. Like she wanted us to know if we stopped doing IVF with her she would assume it was because we were lousy quitters who were never going to be good parents.

Then she kept on saying that even though my eggs clearly had issues this cycle, they seemed to be okay in the previous cycle. We had 7 eggs picked up, 4 fertilized, 2 were transferred back to me, 1 was frozen.

“That’s an average IVF cycle.” she insisted. “So I don’t think there’s any need for you to stress about this failed cycle, because in your last cycle you were Miss Average. If you hadn’t been average last cycle then it would be major issue. But you were average. Miss Average is good!”

“Let’s discuss ‘Miss Average’ in terms of IVF.” Doug piped up. “What does Miss Average look like? Is she Sadie’s age?”

“Well, no.” Doctor Holiday admitted. “The average female in Australia going through IVF is 37 years old.”

“So because Sadie was over a decade younger than these women when she had her eggs picked-up, can we assume then that she should in fact not be Miss Average?” Doug asked. “And the averages shouldn’t apply to Sadie because 26 year old and 27 year old eggs should be of much higher quality than a 37 year olds? Being average would actually be a poor outcome for her, in this case?”

“Yes when you put it like that.” the doctor agreed. “But let’s not forget, average is good sometimes! And Sadie was average!”

It was sort of like groundhog day or something. Perhaps the doctor had become selectively deaf. It was like she completely glossed over the point that Doug was trying to make.

The ‘Miss Average’ IVF female in the under 30 age-group conceives after one cycle of IVF. Over 90% of under 30s in Australia have a clinical pregnancy after two cycles of IVF. Those are the averages I should be compared to. Not the average of IVF women overall, whose eggs are 10 years older than mine. And even judging me by those averages, I’m still well behind.

“Ok Sadie let me just ask you this,” the doctor said. “Are you ready to go again or do you want to have a break?”

“No.” I blurted out. “No break. I want to go again. I want to try with our frozen embryo.”

The doctor stared at me for a long time, almost as if she was weighing up whether or not she should allow me to actually cycle back-to-back, or if I did in fact need a break.

“Ok.” she finally relented. “What day of your cycle are you on?”

“Five.” I said. “I still have my period.”

We then discussed my options, in terms of FET protocol. Because I don’t ovulate we can’t do a natural FET cycle, so I really only had two choices. One was to take low doses of FSH to stimulate a follicle to grow, and my body to ovulate. The other option was to take estrogren tablets to build the lining of my uterus and progesterone to stimulate my hormones, then do an FET without ovulation. The latter was the protocol we used for my first FET and it is the one I chose this time as well.

Why? Simple. Ovulation is a big deal for me because I’ve never ovulated on my own before. So when I see and feel those follicles growing (albeit thanks to the scientific wonder that is FSH drugs) I feel a great sense of achievement and attachment. The idea of growing an egg and then wasting it just doesn’t sit well with me. I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to try and fertilize that egg the old-fashioned way when I eventually did ovulate. Blocked tubes or not, I would still try.

So the doctor wrote me out a script for Ethinyloestradiol 50mcg and instructed me to take one per day. It’s a drug I’ve actually never used before. After eleven days, I will see her again and she will scan me to check the lining of my uterus. Once my uterus lining is looking thick and ready, I will start on progesterone. Then they will attempt to thaw Jelly. We are also going to go for assisted hatching this time around, because Jelly has a super thick shell.

And if the FET doesn’t work, we’re off to see Doctor Fancy-Pants.

All in all I’m really happy with our decision to not return to Doctor Holiday after our FET. She is just too expensive, and we aren’t getting bang for our buck. She’s better than our first fertility doctor, but nowhere near the standard some of you ladies seem to be getting from your doctors. We just want someone we can trust, and someone who we believe really does care about us and our plight.

On the way home from the doctor, we took a call from Doug’s father. The bluetooth in the car picked up the call so we could both hear and speak to him. He’s just the greatest guy, I love him so much. He’s supportive and caring and always willing to help us. But he said something that kind of upset me.

“Sadie,” he said. “I just want you to know that if you can’t ever have children, nobody in our family will blame you and nobody will think you’re defective.”

I know he was trying to make me feel better, but it just felt like a slap in the face. Why would he use the word defective? Had people in Doug’s family been using that word to describe me? I wouldn’t put it past them.

And to be honest, even though majority of our infertility problems are my problems, I’ve always thought of it as a joint struggle. Doug has grade 3 sperm with some morphology problems, which is why we need to do ICSI. I didn’t realise that if we can’t have children people will be solely laying the blame on me. That was a bit of a wake-up call. I know his dad was saying he wouldn’t blame me, but all I heard was the word blame.

“Dad don’t say things like that please.” Doug snapped. “We don’t need to be saying those types of things to Sadie just yet ok?”

To Doug’s credit he got his dad off the phone really quickly and then changed the subject to try and keep me from dwelling on the conversation, but it’s a bit too late. I can’t stop thinking about it. In my mind I’ve turned all of my father-in-law’s words around. I’m defective and I’m to blame.

I just need to stay focused now. My expectations for Jelly are very low, but I am mid-cycle now so I just need to keep going forward. Take every day as it comes. Keep breathing. All that other motivational junk.

After all, I don’t really have much choice…

As always, I’ll keep you updated.

Sadie xx

When patients come last

The past 48 hours have certainly been fun.

I went back yesterday morning to get my blood test done. The pathologist grabbed me as soon as she saw me come in and told me the request form had arrived. I was relieved to hear that, and thankful she was going to rush me through so I didn’t have to wait in line again like I had to on Monday.

I sat down on the bed and rolled up my sleeve so she could insert the needle.

“Yes that form was sent through at 5pm yesterday afternoon.” she said. “So it was waiting for me when I got in this morning.”

“Wait,” I said. “5pm yesterday?”

“Yes.” the pathologist confirmed. “Funny time of day to fax a form through!”

Then she pulled the fax receipt out of the drawer and handed it to me. 5.01pm was date stamped clearly across the top. Once again I was so incredibly angry!

“They promised they’d faxed it at lunch time yesterday in case I wanted to pop by in the afternoon to get the test done.” I grumbled.

“Well it’s lucky you didn’t,” the pathologist replied. “Because I would have turned you away again.”

I cannot believe those people lied to me. Again.

At 12.30pm yesterday I got a call through from the only nurse at the clinic I still like. She’s always been caring and understanding. She told me that the hCG (pregnancy hormone) level in my blood was 6 mIU/mL. Anything below 5 mIU/mL is considered not pregnant.

“I’m sorry I’ve never seen a 6 come back before,” she said. “It looks like your hormone levels are dropping but haven’t made it back to their normal level yet.”

“So this is a chemical pregnancy?” I asked, surprisingly calm.

“You’re just past 5 weeks now. Some doctors would call this an early miscarriage, others use the term chemical pregnancy up until they can see the baby on an ultrasound scan.” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“Can I at least go off the crinone gel now?” I asked, trying to look on the positive side of things.

The crinone gel makes me feel disgusting, itchy and squeamish. I can’t stand it.

“Sorry sweetheart you can’t come off the crinone until your doctor gives you the okay.” the nurse said. “I’ll leave a message for him to call you now.”

So I waited. And waited. And waited.

No call.

At 2pm I called the doctor’s office. They said he was busy and would call me shortly.

So I waited. And waited.

No call.

At 4.30pm I called his office again. His receptionist said he had gone home for the day and would phone me first thing tomorrow morning.

Now I was seriously pissed off. His patient, who had paid him thousands of dollars for specialised treatment needed care and attention, and he had not bothered to even call me back?

Doug was so angry when I told him. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him so angry. He can’t wait until we’re rid of that awful doctor and find someone who actually wants to help us.

Last night while Doug was downstairs making dinner I sat in the shower and let the hot water wash over my body while I scooped all the disgusting crinone gel out of my cervix. I’d been told not to remove it in case it irritated me and affected my pregnancy, but that clearly wasn’t a concern anymore. I was shocked how much was actually sitting up there. No wonder I was struggling to fit gel in. I let the crinone disappear down the plug hole and sobbed until the water turned cold. It felt like an emotional release.

This morning when I woke up I called the doctor’s office at 9am. The receptionist told me he had a free morning and would call me soon. I didn’t hear from him until 11am. That pretty much sums up the level of care he offers his patients!

He told me to go off the crinone (too late pal, I already did that yesterday) and to wait for my bleed to begin. He warned it would be heavy and painful and promised to call in a few days time to see how I am.

I don’t expect to hear from him ever again.

Sydney

Sydney was very tough to get through, but I’m proud I managed it by myself.

I’d promised myself that I would try to think about my university work and not about the pregnancy, but it was extremely hard to concentrate.

Qantas lost my bag on the flight up to Sydney. I didn’t even realise until wheels touched tarmac. They assured me that my bag would be delivered to my hotel room by 7pm, but by 10pm it still hadn’t arrived. By that stage I’d run out of battery on my ipad and iphone so I had no way of contacting anyone. I was starting to panic because my crinone gel was in the bag and I needed it to keep my progesterone levels up.

I kept thinking what if Nemo is ok after all, but missing the crinone dose has a negative affect? What if the incompetence of the airline company is going to hurt my baby? Thankfully, the bag arrived at 11pm and I was able to take the crinone dose only half an hour late.

In class on Saturday morning I could hardly concentrate at all on anything the teacher was saying. I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering. So on my lunch break I ducked across to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test. I needed to put my mind at rest. The test was ridiculously expensive – $28 for just one test. The price tag stopped me from buying more than one, which in the end I was glad about.

The following morning upon first waking in the hotel room, I ripped open the plastic packaging and said a silent prayer for Nemo. I think it went something along the lines of “Dear God, I’m an atheist so we don’t really talk. But if you could please just let me have my baby I would owe you big time and I really mean that.”

I was using another Clear Blue digital test. The one that flashed up an image of an egg timer while the test was thinking. It was the same monotonous flashing as before.

Flash……thinking…..flash…..thinking……flash…..thinking.

And when it stopped flashing, there were two words on the screen that I’d never actually seen on a digital test before. There in plain English for the whole world to see.

Not Pregnant.

It hit me really hard. It wasn’t a squinter on a first response, or an internet cheapie. It wasn’t a test with a pink control line that I could study under a microscope to try and convince myself I could see a second line. It was undeniable, unarguable. Not pregnant. Just like that.

In class on Sunday morning we were handed back some essays. I’d written mine while I was going through the worst of my OHSS a month earlier, so I knew it wasn’t up to my usual standard. I was still shocked to see that I had only received a pass mark. Normally I get distinctions and high distinctions for my studies. I’m a high achieving student.

The lecturer, who has taught me in previous semesters, wrote on the bottom of the paper “Sadie I am most disappointed with this effort. Please come and see me after class.”

On the mid-morning coffee break, I found the lecturer outside finishing a phone call. I asked if it was an ok time to talk about the essay and she said that it was. Before I knew it I was a blubbering mess, sobbing in her arms that I was losing my baby and my entire world was ending. The poor lady hardly knew what to do with me.

She offered to let me resubmit my essay, but I said I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to have to re-write an assignment I had already passed because I now lacked the mental energy. She also suggested I should drop out of university for the semester, and come back in a few months time when I’m feeling better. But through my tears I explained that I’m in the final semester of my masters degree and I didn’t want to lose my baby and my dream of graduation.

Afterwards, I went for a walk through the campus for about half an hour to clear my head. I phoned Doug and sobbed to him on the phone for a while. He said when I come home he wants me to start seeing a counselor to cope with my feelings. It’s probably a good idea.

I’m waiting at the airport now for my flight home.

Tomorrow I  get my next blood test. I’m confident the results will show my pregnancy levels have dropped and soon I’ll start to bleed. I can’t keep pretending there’s still hope. I need to pull myself back together and try to figure out what we’ll do next.

The news I expected

I had blood drawn at 7am this morning, and got the phone call with results at 1pm.

The pregnancy hormone in my blood indicates I am pregnant, but the levels are quite low.

The doctor was initially hopeful that the pregnancy would progress as normal,  as every woman is different and some start out with naturally low levels. He tried to tell me this isn’t a sign anything is wrong. Until I explained the disappearing pink line on the pregnancy test. Now he is concerned I am either having an early miscarriage (technically a chemical pregnancy up until the 5 week mark) or an ectopic pregnancy.

He wants me to wait until Monday then have more blood drawn. The numbers need to triple to show the pregnancy is still viable.

I am going to Sydney this weekend for university. It’s too late for Doug to book flights and I’ll be in an intensive workshop from 8am until 6pm every day so he won’t be there to hold my hand anyway. I have to go alone.

I am absolutely terrified that I will miscarry and start to bleed by myself, either in the hotel room or in class. And there is nothing I can do about it.

The good news is, my sister-in-law Jess had a scan today and her baby is fine and healthy.

Maybe I’ll get that same news on Monday.

Maybe my baby is still healthy.

There’s still a chance, right?

Nemo is my one egg. My one shot at this.

I’m just not ready to give up yet. I just can’t.

A sickening development

Tomorrow is my official test day. I’ll get blood drawn first thing in the morning and by the afternoon they’ll tell me whether I’m pregnant.

Here’s the thing….

For the last 24 hours I’ve started getting awful cramps.

Initially I dismissed it as growing pains. My uterus starting to stretch and expand to fit my growing Nemo.

But this morning I took a home pregnancy test, and the little pink line was so faint I could hardly see it.

72 hours ago that line was dark and thick and beautiful.

I started to cry and tremble.

The rational side of my brain reminded me that there was a chance this particular pregnancy test was faulty. They don’t all have the same amount of pink dye in them. This one was just a dud. It was lying to me.

Everything was fine. Nemo was fine. It would all be ok.

My sister-in-law Jess is also having problems with her pregnancy. She has started bleeding. It isn’t a good sign for her. I confessed that I am pregnant and we are now worrying for each other, to try and relieve each others’ burdens.

Test day tomorrow.

Please hold on Nemo. Please hold on.

I need you. Daddy needs you. We both want you so very much.

Please just hold on.

Falling in love

It’s been an awesome week.

I started my new job. My new team seems lovely and the work is very interesting. It’s actually sad that I won’t be able to spend too long working with them. Nemo’s due date will be 11 December, so I’ll only be here for 7 or 8 months.

It’s taken everything I have not to tell anyone I’m pregnant. We’ve decided not to tell anyone, except my mother and brother. Doug thinks it’s a good idea I’ve told them because he needs some help supporting me haha. Apparently I’m a bit of a crazy girl at the moment and my mother and brother are taking the pressure off my husband!

When I told my brother Alex I did so via text message, because he lives over 1000km away and works in a busy hospital. He immediately texted back “it’s a girl.” Just those three words.

About twelve hours later, I was talking on the phone to my mother and she said “you know I reckon it’ll be a little girl with strawberry blonde hair.” How weird is that!

Then again, how weird is it that my family are imagining at all whether the life growing inside me is a boy or a girl. I don’t really care of course! This child is so longed for, so badly wanted, it means nothing whether it’s a boy or a girl. But I could imagine myself as a mum to a little girl….

I’ve also taken a few more pregnancy tests, you know, just to make sure!

tests

positives

For some reason they don’t show up very well on the blog, but yep those are positives! The little pink line is getting thicker, darker and showing up faster as the level of pregnancy hormone in my urine increases. As my baby grows inside me.

One of the clinic nurses phoned the other day to see how I’m doing. I confessed I’d taken a home pregnancy test before the beta date and she started yelling at me on the phone. “We told you not to do that! Now what are we supposed to do?”

It made me feel embarrassed and like I was being scolded by a teacher. But I’m not a school girl anymore. I’m a woman and I’m in charge of my own body. If I want to do a pregnancy test I’ll do a damn pregnancy test. Nobody controls my body except me. It was ludicrous and I was so angry about it after I hung up. Angry at her for screaming at me, and also angry at myself for being too shocked to call her on her unacceptable behaviour.

We definitely won’t be going back to this clinic again or our current doctor. When we go back for a second child we’ll certainly choose a new clinic to have treatment.

I have to travel to Sydney for university at the end of next week. I’m a bit worried about going on the plane at just past 5 weeks pregnant, but I’m sure it will be fine. Women fly all the time at 5 weeks, without even knowing they are pregnant.

Besides, my little Nemo is a fighter. Of the millions of eggs in my ovaries, 34 were collected. 19 were mature, 11 were fertilised. Four made it to the sixth day in the incubator, but only one made it to freeze. And that one little miracle is inside me right now. Soon a little heart will start beating. My Nemo will be ok. We will look out for each other today, tomorrow, next week and every week for the rest of our lives.