Tag Archive | fertility treatment

Out of time

Breech baby is still breech, and has now run out of time.

At my 37 week appointment this week Dr Eminem couldn’t even manipulate her head away from my ribs to get an accurate fundal height measurement. (Fundal height is now measuring 40 weeks but he thinks her head lessened the accuracy.)

He said booboo is well and truly stuck and her chances of turning on her own are basically nil.

He also said trying a proper manual turn (ECV) was going to have a less than 5% success rate based on her position and I would be putting her at risk by attempting it.

He did however say that he was trained in vaginal breech delivery and as he knew how badly I wanted to give birth naturally he was willing to consider this option for me. Yaayyy.

Then…he did an ultrasound.

First of all the baby’s head was already measuring 40+4 weeks. The rest of her measured 39 weeks which is spot on with our guess that I’m two weeks ahead of our original estimated due date.

The obstetrician explained that in breech deliveries the head size was super important to take into consideration because it’s the last thing to exit the body during birth.

When a baby comes out head first the plates in their skull are still flexible and able to overlap to ease the head through the birth canal. But in a breech delivery the skull is unable to flex as the baby is coming out chin first and no pressure is placed on the top of the head. This increases the risk of the baby becoming stuck.

Dr Eminem said with a head that size the risk to the baby is very significant during birth and it would be a high risk delivery. He explained if the baby gets her head stuck but her body has been delivered, they have to cut the hell out of me to try to free her and if that doesn’t work they need to push her back in to perform a c-section. Her chance of surviving is around 1%.

Second of all the baby is footling breech. She has one foot up by her face  (which she happily had in her mouth for most of the ultrasound) and the other down in my pelvis. This is why I still feel kicks top and bottom, which sometimes confuses me.

Dr Eminem said vaginal breech deliveries can’t even be attempted with footling breech babies as there’s no way to safely deliver them when their legs are split.

So basically let me sum this up for you: no vaginal breech delivery for me.

C-section is now absolutely the only way this baby is coming out of me. And let me tell you I am not yet coping.

Yes I know I know the safety of the baby is most important. I’m not a looney I totally get that. I would never do anything to jeopardize her.

But this is it. This is my only baby. The baby I was never supposed to have.

I will never get to experience labour. I’ll never get that surprise as I start to experience contractions. All the books I bought about calmbirth and hypnobirth are wasted. All my research is wasted. The playlist I spent months putting together for the delivery room is wasted.

I’d paid the deposit for a birth photographer and she isn’t allowed to come into the theatre room so I had to cancel and she kindly offered me a refund.

What I really badly wanted was to give birth in water – I mean I picked my hospital because they offer water birth as a standard option.

What I really badly wanted was to deliver the baby up onto my chest and after skin-to-skin and the first feed to get up and have a shower and move around.

Now I’ll be confined to bed for 24 hours and unable to lift my baby out of her hospital crib on my own. As James will be with me I will have no choice but to rely on him for support. That may or may not go badly.

I’ll also need to be given drugs intravenously. I am super anti drugs crossing the placental barrier through an epidural (particularly pethidine) and also through my breast milk. But now I have no choice.

As I’ve put on 20kg this pregnancy I was also super super keen to get up and get exercising straight away. I wanted to get back to the gym as soon as possible. Now the gym is right off the table and I won’t even be able to drive a car for 6 weeks!

It’s all just a cluster of fuckery I wouldn’t ever choose for myself or my daughter.

It’s the hand we’ve been dealt and I’m fully aware that c-sections aren’t a big deal. They’re super common and normal and fine and lots of women have them.

I’ve just waited six years for this event and built it up in my mind for so long. I wanted it so badly to be different and now I have to let go of that dream. Just another way my body has failed me.

What’s actually causing me to be the most upset and has brought on several panic attacks is why my baby is breech.

She has been breech since I was 30 weeks pregnant and not attempted to turn.

Google the reasons babies stay breech for extended periods of time and enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole.

Common reasons for breech

1. The placenta is low and the baby can’t engage. My placenta is high so this one isn’t relevant.

2. Too much or not enough amniotic fluid. My fluid levels are perfect so this one isn’t relevant.

3. A growth in the uterus such as fibroids. Of all the things wrong with my reproductive system this is one problem I’ve never had so this isn’t relevant either.

4. Fetal abnormalities.

BOOM.

There it is.

Sadie has gone straight to DEFCON 1 on this one. Welcome to my anxiety filled brain.

So many websites say a baby turning head down is considered their first milestone. My baby has missed that milestone. Why??

The risk of a baby that never turns head down having an abnormality is triple that of head down babies. Triple. TRIPLE.

Do you know what causes a lot of those abnormalities? A lack of folic acid.

Do you know what I have? A double gene mutation which stops my body properly absorbing folic acid.

I mean is my baby sick or disabled and have I caused it myself?

I spent hours on Thursday night hysterically crying to my mother. I was in such a panic and had totally convinced myself there was something very wrong with my baby.

It got to the point where my mother was shouting at me to calm down because I was just being irrational and not listening to logic.

The next day she did a lot of research of her own (she even went to the library!) and she found a super common reason babies don’t turn head down is maternal stress. The uterine muscles behave differently when the mother is under stress and the baby can’t turn or engage.

If there’s one thing I’ve dealt with in excess this entire pregnancy it’s stress. The James situation is a daily struggle and in many ways I’ve never experienced 9 months under greater stress. Not even IVF can match it.

Oh please oh please oh please let that be the reason.

There’s nothing I can do now and no way I can change or control anything. I have just under two weeks until the date of my scheduled c-section and all I can do is wait.

The main thing for me right now is keeping my anxiety under control and trying to remember I’ve done honestly everything within my power to keep this baby safe and healthy.

I love her. She is my everything. Nothing will change that, no matter what happens. I need to trust myself. Trust my baby. Trust my body (if that’s at all possible). Trust my mind to stay calm enough to get me through these last few days.

As always, I’ll keep you updated.

Sadie xx

Advertisements

My kid has a face

I’m just trying to wrap my head around that strange fact.

I mean…she looks like something. Someone. You know?

She’s in there and she already looks like whoever she is and whoever she’s going to be.

Her nose is already her nose. Her mouth is her mouth.

What colour hair does she have? What colour eyes does she have? Does she have long eyelashes? Does she have a birthmark? 

Is she pretty? Is she squishy-faced and unfortunate looking?

Does she look like me? Like her father? Like her brother? Like my brother? Like nobody except herself?

I look down at my belly and I can’t answer any of those questions.

I can see her hands and feet as they protrude from my torso while she squirms around. But I don’t know if her fingernails are long, or if her skin is pale like mine or darker like her daddy’s.

At no point during any of my ultrasounds have I been able to confirm she has ten fingers and ten toes. Are they all there? I need to know this.

In the ultrasounds it looks like she has a turned up little pixie nose like her brother. Is that real or an illusion? I need to know this too.

Does my baby have a problem that can’t be picked up on ultrasound or during prenatal medical tests? Is she deaf? Is she blind? Does she have cerebral palsy? Does she have autism? I really need to know this.

I have this huge belly and I have these awful stretch marks and I feel all this movement coming from within me. But it still doesn’t quite seem real that there’s an actual real live baby in there. My baby. In my belly.

I’m not yet associating this huge squirming alien with the concrete idea that the thing inside me is soon going to vacate her premises and then I’ll be a mum. That someone is going to let me walk out of a hospital with a proper baby and take her home with me.

And then I think about the fact that she doesn’t know what I look like either.

What if she’s born and she’s like “Oh so you’re the woman whose babbling I’ve had to listen to for literally my entire life…I thought you’d be blonde and much taller.”

In many ways I feel like I’ve been waiting longer than 8 months to meet her. I’ve been waiting six years.

I was 24 when I started trying to get pregnant and now I’m a month away from my 30th birthday. That’s a long time to build up expectations about what a child with my genetics could look like.

On the one hand I feel like I can’t wait even one more second. I’m too impatient. I need to know now. I need to see her now. I want to look at her face now.

On the other hand I’m terrified. While she’s inside me she’s 100% mine. I don’t have to share her with anyone. She is with me and only me every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

I don’t have to worry about potential future custody battles. I don’t have to hand her over to her father, or her grandparents, or let other people touch her or kiss her or even look at her.

I’m not ready to give up that control yet. I’m not ready to share my baby. I may never be ready.

But there’s nothing I can do about it because time waits for no man and certainly for no baby.

In less than a month I’ll meet my daughter.

In less than a month I’ll see her face.

I think one of the worst parts about life is waiting. But the best part is finally having someone worth waiting for.

I’m waiting for you, baby.

Come meet me, when you’re ready…

Mummy xx

The Safety Net mystery

In Australia, our universal healthcare system is called Medicare.

To give you a basic rundown (mainly for the Americans who have a totally different system) anytime we use a public hospital it’s totally free. Our public hospitals are extremely high standard and often better equipped than private hospitals, so we tend to use them majority of the time.

No matter whether you go in for a sprained ankle and spend five hours in the emergency department, or attend three times a week for cancer treatment over the course of two years, or have a serious car accident and need five surgeries then spend three months in a ward…all totally free.

Other things outside the hospital setting are charged differently and attract different levels of “benefits”.

If you are a low income earner you get a healthcare card and then things like visits to your local doctor’s clinic, x-rays, psychiatry, pathology and dental treatments are free for you.

If you aren’t a low income earner then these benefits are partial subsidies. So for example, if Medicare decides that the scheduled fee (benefit) to visit a local doctor is $35 then that’s the subsidy amount you receive.

If Doctor A charges $65 for a visit then he is charging $30 above the scheduled fee and you will be required to pay $30 out of pocket rather than the full amount. If Doctor B charges $40 then you will only be required to pay $5 out of pocket, because it’s only slightly above the scheduled fee. And if Doctor C bulk bills then that means they only charge the scheduled fee so it costs you nothing.

(I do have a point to all of this by the way. I’m not just giving you a quick lesson in universal healthcare. I promise.)

To make life easier for people who have higher than average medical costs (for example people who often need to see doctors or get medical tests…in other words, people like me…) the Government has something called the Medicare Safety Net.

Depending on your individual circumstances, each citizen is set a threshold amount. Once you reach this threshold in out of pocket medical expenses, the Medicare Safety Net provides a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year.

So for the example used above, if you haven’t met the Safety Net threshold then you get a $35 benefit if you see a local doctor. But once that threshold is reached your benefit may increase to $50 for each visit so your out of pocket expenses obviously become much less.

Now see there’s an added benefit to being married in Australia. Because the Medicare Safety Net for a single person without a healthcare card is $2030. So once a person reaches $2030 in out of pocket costs, they get the added benefits.

But if you are married or in a de facto relationship, you can combine both partners medical expenses and still only need to meet that same threshold of $2030. Twice as easy!

For all the years my ex-husband and I were going through IVF this was fantastic because I would reach the Safety Net almost immediately at the start of the year (egg collections, specialist visits, ultrasounds etc were only billed under my name) and then Doug would also get cheaper medical treatment for the rest of the year.

Well this pregnancy has unfortunately fallen across two calendar years in a very awkward way. I was 20 weeks pregnant when the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve.

So exactly half of my costs were in 2015, and half in 2016. For example the Harmony test and initial ultrasounds ($750 out of pocket) were in 2015, but my obstetrics management fee for the private hospital where I’m going to give birth ($1250 out of pocket) was in 2016.
So even though I’ve spent a lot of money, unfortunately it took me until the end of February to finally hit my threshold for the year and start accessing the higher medical benefits.

Except here is the thing (and here’s the point to this blog post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for)…

I logged into my online Medicare account last week and realised with a sickening dread that my ex-husband and I were still registered as a “family” for Medicare purposes.

He and I have been registered as a family for years, and obviously when our divorce was finalised last year some lawyer somewhere forgot to tell us to separate our Medicare files. So we were still linked.

I was outraged.

“Oh hell no!” I shouted. “There’s no way in damnation that man is accessing cheap medical care for the entire year because of my medical expenses. No way. No how. Not going to happen.”

So I phoned Medicare, explained the situation, and asked them to legally separate our Medicare files so that we were no longer sharing a Safety Net.

At that point, I was feeling pretty smug about myself.

That buffoon of a man clearly thought he could just slip in undetected and access cheap medical because of my expenses? Because of my child’s expenses? Well how rude!

But today I’ve logged back into my Medicare account online and something terrible has happened.

I’ve gone from sitting well above the threshold to dropping well below the threshold.

I’ve dropped right back down to having accumulated only $1500 in out of pocket expenses for the year. I still have another $530 to go!

I honestly don’t know how this is possible. It must mean that some of my medical expenses that I’ve paid this year aren’t listed on the schedule of benefits.

It also means Doug has spent a huge amount of money on out of pocket medical expenses in the first three months of the year.

This is just…unheard of.

In the whole time we were married I only ever remember him being seriously ill once, when we both had whooping cough. All his other expenses were fertility treatment related.

So of course my first reaction was to freak out – like, oh my god he’s sick. Is he okay? Is he dying? What’s wrong with him? He can’t die he’s the love of my life. I’ll die if he dies.

My second reaction was one of terrifying realisation – majority of his medical expenses over the past ten years have been fertility related. I know he has a new love in his life (thanks to a blabber-mouthed acquaintance filling me in on the news at the end of last year).

Does that…..is he…..could this….I mean….is that evil fucker doing…fertility treatment? With her? With the new girl?

And then I think back to the night he left me.

The night he told me he had to leave because he wanted to have children so badly, but I was incapable of giving them to him without IVF. And he couldn’t do IVF ever again because it was just too hard.

Has he changed his mind? Does he love this new girl more than he ever loved me? And so he is willing to do IVF with her?

The mere thought of it makes me want to vomit. And then kill him with my bare hands. And then vomit again.

Then I think about what my doctors told me when I fell pregnant this time around – the real reason I’d been unable to have children previously was a male fertility factor. He’d been the main cause of our infertility. Not my endometriosis, not my PCOS, not even my blocked Fallopian tubes.

So maybe he knows this now too. Maybe he knows now that IVF is actually his only option.

But not with me.

With the new girl.

The problem wasn’t actually the IVF. It was just me. I wasn’t good enough. He just didn’t love me.

And I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

And I’m super hormonal.

And I sometimes still miss my husband.

And I sometimes still dream about my husband.

And in my dreams he is the father of my unborn child.

And the idea that he’s undergoing fertility with someone else makes me want to cry and cry and cry and cry.

What if our lives were supposed to be a Nicholas Sparks novel?

Like we divorce but then re-discover each other years later, only for Doug to gasp in shock when he meets my precocious young daugher. Instead of being upset he thinks she is wonderful because she has my eyes. The eyes of his true love…

Then we each realise we’d never stopped loving each other, and even though I’m trapped in a loveless marriage, we share one amazing night of passion. I go home to tell my husband I’m leaving him, but then find out Doug has been killed trying to rescue stranded puppies in a freak tornado.

Devastated by my loss, I only find a reason to go on living when I discover a month later that our one soulful night of love-making had created miraculous new life. A son that I name Doug junior…

WELL NOW I CAN’T HAVE THAT.

Now there can be no Nicholas Sparks ending. He has RUINED it.

This is ridiculous I know! Because I am having a baby with a man who isn’t my husband! I can clearly see how hypocritical I’m being.

But you guys my baby was a total accident. There’s a difference between a whoopsie accidental pregnancy and seeking fertility treatment.

If he’s doing fertility treatment it means he’s fully in love and super happy and wanting to start a family with this stupid trog.

I’m also aware that this freak-out is totally illogical. I mean I have no idea why he’s managed to incur so many out of pocket medical expenses.

Maybe he was in a car accident and needed a lot of x-rays.

Maybe he has something wrong with his back and needed lots of physiotherapy.

Maybe he has decided to have a sex change and he is paying for hormone treatment.

Maybe someone finally decided he was a smug little jerk and beat the shit out of him, so now he needs cosmetic surgery to fix his face…

In the end it doesn’t matter.

I know it doesn’t matter.

His medical expenses are none of my business. He is no longer my business.

But damn it I want to know!

What are you up to, Doug? What exactly is going on here?

It kills me that I can’t know.

It still hurts me so badly that I’m finally having a child, but that amazing event in my life has nothing to do with my ex-husband.

The man who was my forever. Who promised to love me until the day I died. And all the other blah blah blah lies that he told and I foolishly believed.

Nothing to be done about it, and I’m very aware that it’s silly I’m upset over this.

Just needed to vent, I guess.

If you’ve taken nothing else from this ridiculous blog post, at least now you will pass a pop quiz on the Medicare system and the Safety Net threshold.

This is a very important life skill.

You’re welcome you guys. You’re welcome…

Sadie xx

p.s if you steal my romance novel idea I’m going to be super pissed at you

Oops my doctor thinks I’m a wackadoodle…

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but in “real life” (because…my words on the internet aren’t real life?) I’m a researcher.

I work at a university, I have a masters degree and I began my doctorate but deferred my studies when my ex-husband left me in 2014. Eventually I hope to go back, finish my PhD, and become Doctor Sadie. Yes Doctor Sadie – because in the world of pseudo-anonymous online blogging, there are no surnames…

The fact I was born with the ability to conduct rigorous academic research in my sleep has been both a curse and a blessing over the past few years.

It’s meant I was always fully capable of arming myself with cold hard facts during fertility treatment, IVF, surgeries, miscarriages, and all the other fun stuff us infertiles get to deal with on the daily. I always bypassed the anecdotal evidence available in copious amounts on Google, and went straight for the good stuff in peer reviewed academic journals.

And every time my hairdresser would say something like “Oh well my sister’s best friend’s cousin’s accountant was doing IVF and she started drinking Pepsi Max and fell pregnant straight away.” instead of rushing out and buying Pepsi Max by the carton I would think hmmm I wonder if there have been any clinical trials conducted on the effects of aspartame in infertile women under the age of 30.

But on the flip side, it’s also meant a lot of sleepless nights for me. Too much knowledge can be dangerous. Too much knowledge leads to anxiety, depression and sometimes mild hysteria. Knowing risk factors, knowing the research, the statistics, the likely outcomes…is not always a benefit.

But now I’m pretty sure my current obstetrician, Doctor Eminem, thinks I’m a wackadoodle. Why? Well I’m glad you asked because I’m going to tell you.

I attended my 28 week appointment yesterday. I’m actually 29 weeks but due to scheduling issues, we had the appointment a little later than usual.

First up I was given the news that I don’t have gestational diabetes. This absolutely shocked me, to be honest. I’m carrying a huge-ass bump out the front of my person. Like I mean people are already stopping me in the street and asking if I’m overdue. And don’t get me started on the old “is it twins?” jaunt. Why do people think it’s okay to ask that question? I don’t go up to random strangers and ask them why they’re so damn fat.

Plus don’t forget that PCOS puts me into a high risk category for GD (hello years of metformin!), I have a family history, I’ve stacked on way too much weight (already up 12kg – or 26 pounds – by 27 weeks, though this can likely be chalked up to emotional eating due to stress) and I fainted at work the other week.

So I was fully expecting the news that I would be replacing my Snickers bars with celery sticks. But all rejoice! The Snickers gets to stay!

Next up we did some measurements. My fundal height is now 31 weeks. This is no surprise to me as like I said, I’m carrying big. My tilted uterus makes me look even bigger than 31 weeks so I was just glad he didn’t say I was measuring 36 weeks or something!

Next up, I got my ultrasound. In Australia, in the private health system, you get an ultrasound every 4 weeks. At my last ultrasound (which you’ll know was at 24 weeks if you can count backwards in denominations of four ;)) my fatso baby was measuring at 25+4.

This time, her tummy is measuring 30+6, her legs 30+5 and her head 31 weeks. So that’s pretty much perfectly consistent with my fundal height of 31 weeks. Is it because we don’t know when I conceived and I’m actually 31 weeks along? Or is she just a monster baby?

She weighs approximately 1500 grams (3.3 pounds) which is 400 grams more than she should weigh at 29 weeks but spot-on for 31 weeks. Hmmm….

After the scan was done, Doctor Eminem tried to convince me to schedule an elective c-section to protect my pelvic floor from my monster baby. I am absolutely against this for a number of reasons.

I told him that firstly I want to be able to experience vaginal birth as this is likely the only time I’ll get to do this. Secondly, I want to be able to get up and move around straight after I give birth. Thirdly, the short-term recovery is better for vaginal births.

Lastly (and most importantly) I want the dump of hormones and chemicals after a natural birth that lowers a mother’s risk of postnatal depression. Given I’ve had multiple miscarriages and I’m still going through prenatal depression, I’m already in a very high risk category for PND. I don’t want to increase my risk any further by having an elective c-section.

Doctor Eminem worked out pretty quickly I wasn’t going to budge on that one, so then he started talking to me about elective induction instead. He actually gave me some copies of some studies conducted recently that show women who have elective inductions between 38 and 40 weeks gestation have a 19% lower risk of emergency c-section and their infant mortality rate was less than half that of women whose babies are born after their estimated due date.

The studies he provided me with are quite compelling but I’m not entirely convinced because I know that on the flipside the epidural rate is 20% higher in inductions (and of course an epidural will also prevent that dump of happy hormones after birth) plus I also don’t like the idea of being stuck to an IV drip and not being able to walk around during contractions.

I’m also looking at studies that show when a mother’s brain signals that it’s time to start labour (yes we spell labour with a “u” in Australia – deal with it) the baby’s lungs are coated with an extra large dose of a protein called surfactant that helps the baby to transition to breathing air after they are born.

Surfactant coats the baby’s lungs from around 32 weeks gestation onwards, however right before birth they receive a large and crucial dose. That dose is never provided to the baby during an induction because the process is artificial so the mother’s brain misses the signal, and this is why induced babies are more likely to suffer respiratory problems as newborns.

So with regards to the induced labour I have some more research to do and some decisions to make.

But then I was all like “Hey Doc, while we’re talking about medical studies I’d like to raise a few questions with you.”

He was all like “Oh okay Sadie sure.”

And then…I hit him with the wackadoodle!

“As you know,” I began. “I’m Rh negative and due now for my first shot of anti-d” (that’s a Rogam shot for you Americans)

“Yes.” said the doctor. “You’ll receive your first anti-d injection today.”

“Well, keeping in mind that I clearly understand why this shot is administered and I’ve happily had the shot after all of my previous miscarriages, I’d like to discuss the persistent assertion that women who have the anti-d injection are at an increased risk of having a child with autism.”

*silence*

“As a researcher I’m very aware that correlation and causation are two different things.” I continued. “I’m also very aware that a lot of the evidence that supports this claim is purely anecdotal. But a study was conducted which demonstrated a 62% increase of autism in the children of women who had the anti-d injection. Of course this could be a genetic factor linked to the Rh negative blood itself and the fact these women received the shots was just coincidence. Can you please debunk this theory for me so I can have a clear conscience when you administer my anti-d injection?”

*more silence*

And then I’m just looking at the doctor like oh crap please don’t think I’m crazy because honestly I’m happy to have the shot! I just really wanted some good medical studies to put my mind at ease.

I’m not a person who believes in woo-woo pseudo science. I’m not a person who believes that autism is caused by basically anything and everything including vaccinations, patting your head whilst rubbing your tummy or listening to Justin Bieber music (which, I’d like to add, is a well known use of torture in prison camps around the world).

But there’s a very strong genetic history of autism in James’ family. It’s across several generations but seems to be getting worse. In fact, James has a brother and a sister. Between the three siblings, they have had four children.

His sister’s son is far enough along the spectrum that he has to attend special school and both of his brother’s sons are also autistic. One nephew is severely autistic and non-verbal.

The only child in the new generation of his family not to have autism so far is James’ own son Isaac. So of course autism is something I’m very aware of, even with the understanding that the condition is genetic and cannot for the most part be avoided.

And if I do have an autistic child that’s totally fine and I will love her no differently and raise her to be a beautiful young woman. Just so we’re clear. I just don’t ever want to feel guilt for causing her autism through a decision I made. Get what I’m saying?

“You know what Sadie?” Doctor Eminem finally said. “Don’t have the shot.”

“But…but…I want to have the shot!” I spluttered. “I don’t want to risk my baby being Rh positive, my body creating antibodies and hurting the baby!”

“If you started bleeding would you agree to have the shot immediately?” he asked.

“Yes of course!” I answered.

“Well then the risk to your current baby is quite frankly nil.” he said. “Once upon a time, the anti-d injection wasn’t manufactured in large quantities so Rh negative mothers only received the shot once their baby was born. They didn’t get the shots at 28 and 36 weeks. And in all my years as an obstetrician, I’ve never once seen a woman develop antibodies. So we’ll wait until the baby is born like they did a few years ago, and give you the shot then. That way not only are your hypothetical future babies protected but if your current baby ends up having autism you’ll know it’s not because you got that injection.”

I had to admit, Doctor Eminem’s logic was sound. I wasn’t aware that up until recently women only received the shot once their babies were born. That made me feel a lot better.

Plus…let’s be honest…the chance of Miss Infertile Australia spontaneously falling pregnant twice in her lifetime is slim to nil. So future babies are unlikely to be a factor to stress about…

“Right.” I said. “Let’s move on to the whooping cough vaccination.”

*silence*

*crickets chirping*

*tumbleweed rolls past the doctor’s desk*

“Vaccinations don’t cause autism.” Doctor Eminem blurted out, a wild look in his eyes.

“I absolutely agree.” I said ardently. “I’m a very strong proponent of vaccinations and my child will be fully vaccinated. I am fully vaccinated. I had a whooping cough booster only two years ago! Every single person who will be coming into contact with the baby in her first few weeks of life including James, my parents, his parents and my grandparents have been given a booster since I fell pregnant.”

“Okay so what’s the problem?” he asked.

“Well I just want some evidence of the safety of administering the booster whilst pregnant.” I explained. “The Boostrix vaccine insert recommends the shot not be given to pregnant women. I understand this is because vaccine manufacturers routinely exclude pregnant women from their clinical trials and I’m not questioning this. But from what I can see, the only clinical trials that have been conducted for pregnancy have been trials of rabbits and mice. There was one very small study conducted on humans in Europe, but the study population was tiny and I wouldn’t think it overly reliable. I am wary of allowing myself to be injected with a vaccine whilst pregnant, before rigorous clinical trials are conducted on humans. Your thoughts?”

“My thoughts?” asked Doctor Eminem. “Well…um…my thoughts are that you shouldn’t get the booster during pregnancy.”

“But Doc!” I gasped. “Australia is in the middle of its worst ever whooping cough epidemic! And by administering the booster shot to pregnant women between weeks 28 and 32 of their pregnancy, they pass partial immunity to their baby! I need the shot!”

(As you can see…it was like I was playing devils advocate with myself and my doctor was merely along for the wackadoodle ride.)

“Yes it’s true that the booster does provide partial immunity for the baby.” the doctor agreed. “But you personally are already protected by your recent vaccination and everyone in your family is protected. If you plan to isolate the baby prior to her first round of shots when she’s six weeks old then don’t even worry about it. That’s a good level of protection. Then you won’t have to worry about the validity of the research into administration of the vaccine during pregnancy.”

So basically…I went into the appointment hoping my doctor would debunk my concerns regarding the anti-d injection and the whooping cough vaccination, and instead I technically won both the arguments and the end result was no shots for me. And the truth is that was not the outcome I wanted! I really want the shots! I just wanted him to prove me wrong! Argh!!

I’m still pretty certain I’m going to go ahead and get the whooping cough booster shot. I don’t like the idea of her being exposed, even if I keep her at home. I guess I have a few weeks to decide.

And now I’m going to ask for some of that anecdotal evidence I try so hard to avoid!!

Did you get the anti-d (rogam) injection whilst pregnant? Did you ever worry about it affecting your baby?

Did you get a whooping cough booster whilst pregnant? Did you feel safer knowing your baby had partial immunity?

Oh oh! And can anyone share a story with me about elective labour induction? Or just induction in general? What was recovery like? Were you able to move around? Did you need an epidural? Did your baby have breathing problems?

Hit me with your lovely anecdotes!!

Lots of love,

Sadie xx

p.s I think this post definitively proves I’m basically incapable of writing anything less than 2000 words even when I’m not moaning about my stressful life. #sorrynotsorry

The last of the update posts

Can you believe I’m back already? Hopefully this post will bring us up to the present time. As per usual – this will be a long one. Hopefully our last long post!
 
At the start of February, the sale of the house my parents had owned in the city for 30 years was finalised and they had to vacate. Unfortunately, their new house was not ready for settlement for another two weeks.

So of course they hauled all their boxes and furniture to Paradise, stored them in my garage and moved in with me temporarily. It was the least I could do, considering I was soon to be moving in with them for more than a year!
 
James had been promising to move out for weeks, but unsurprisingly by the time my parents arrived he was still living in my front bedroom.  You see, he’d started yet another new job and then quit after less than a fortnight. So he had no money to move out and rent his own place.
 
This was something that was giving me high anxiety, because my father, who struggles to hold back his sour feelings at the best of times, was about at the point where he was ready to hit James with a baseball bat.

Like, I get it. It must be hard to watch some deadbeat guy walk all over your only daughter and treat her very badly. I’d wanna hurt the guy too!
 
But along with my mother, we sat him down and explained to him that even though James had been treating me terribly for a sustained period of time, we had to tread very lightly. If he were to lash out at James at any point, no matter what he’d done to cause my father to react that way, then it would actually be bad for me in the long run.

Because I wanted to request full custody of my daughter for at least the first two years after her birth, and if at any point my dad screamed at James or physically manhandled him out of my house then James could argue that he didn’t want his child living with someone who was violent and it could end up affecting me in the Family Court. I didn’t need to give James any ammunition against me.
 
On the day they arrived, my mother announced that she was moving into my bedroom. My parents have a large dog that sleeps outside each night, and she said that as the dog had never lived in a house other than the one they’d just sold, she was concerned their dog would cry all night alone in the backyard.

She explained that as my bedroom is at the very back of the house, if she was sleeping in my bedroom the dog could still see her and may remain calm and not disturb the neighbours. But if you ask me this was just an excuse to be with me all night and stop James coming into my room in the evenings, saying abusive things and upsetting me.

My mother also took over a lot of the cleaning and cooking duties. It was a huge relief as James refused to do any kind of housework at all so having to continually clean up after both of us was getting exhausting.

Unfortunately, James readily started taking advantage of my mother. He was eating all the food she cooked, without ever offering to recompense her for the money she was spending on groceries. She was also doing his washing and cleaning for him. My mother was silently seething about it, but put it up with it to keep the peace.
 
One night, I was lying in bed, when James started texting me from the front bedroom. You know I can’t even remember what he was texting me now but I know it was bad. Probably stuff along the usual lines – I’d ruined his life, he wished I’d had a miscarriage, he hated me for keeping the baby, I should buy him a boat as compensation for the hell I was putting him through etc etc.
 
I started crying and showed my mother my phone. She got so angry and told me instead of sitting in my room blubbering I should go down to his room and confront him in person.
 
At this point I will admit I stepped a bit outside my own personality. I snapped and stormed down there, barged into the front bedroom and told James he was a “fucking loser” with no education, no job and no hope in life and that I didn’t want my daughter exposed to his nonsense.

He screamed back that I was a “full retard” (naturally I asked him how many full retards have masters degrees and have started their doctorates but he didn’t have an answer for that) and he didn’t want our daughter exposed to me.

Then he burst out into the hallway. My parents were both sitting in the living area listening to him as he screamed at me and told me how much he hated me and that he was leaving the house immediately to get away from me because I was a bully and a retard.

I was bawling my eyes out and so stressed I had pain shooting down the sides of my uterus. He stormed out of the house and slammed the front door.
 
My father then started screaming that James was never allowed near me ever again and they would no longer allow him to subject me to such verbal abuse. I was so hysterical I actually vomiting.
 
Literally 25 minutes later, James texted me:

image

He begged to be allowed to come home because he was sitting by the side of the road crying. I told him that he could come back inside as long as he went straight to his bedroom without saying a word to anyone and stayed away from me. He also had to agree to see a doctor and seek help for his mental health issues. He readily agreed.
 
Then my mother had to go out to the living room and calm my father down enough for him not to physically intervene when James arrived back at the house. Thankfully he agreed to be civil about everything.
 
The next morning, in typical James style, I received a retraction of his apology and an assertion that everything the night before had been my fault because I’d called him a loser:

image

(The black squiggle is where I’ve had to block out James’ actual name)
 
Of course it triggered another fight between us and I ended up sobbing in the bathroom at work.
 
The following day, a heat wave hit the east coast of Australia. It was 38 degrees (100 F) outside, a dry oppressive heat, and much hotter inside.

James, who was usually out of bed before 5am each morning, still hadn’t made an appearance by 8am. When I went into his room the windows were shut and it was like a sauna in there. He was lying on his bed under a blanket. I asked him what was wrong and he could barely open his mouth to speak to me. He just whispered that his life wasn’t worth living and rolled over away from me.
 
By midday I was bringing him bottles of water and food, because I was so concerned he was going to require hospitalisation from severe dehydration. It was well over 40 degrees in his room and he wouldn’t allow me to open a window.

He refused to eat or drink. If anyone has ever seen the television show Shameless, it was like watching Monica or Ian Gallagher when they have their bipolar depressive episodes. I was seriously concerned for his mental health.
 
By 3pm I told him if he didn’t get up out of bed in 15 minutes I was going to call his father and make him drive all the way from the city to physically drag him out of bed. That seemed to do the trick and he finally made an appearance in the living room.
 
I think by this point James could see the stress I was under and the fear in my eyes. He knew he’d gone too far and that I didn’t know how to help the situation anymore.

So he called his old boss in the city, from way back when he’d been a truck driver (when I first met him) and asked if there was any work going. His old boss said not only could James have his old job back – he could start on Monday.
 
So just like that James was gone.
 
I mean, he wasn’t totally gone. He would still message me every day. Sometimes to ask how I was doing, but mostly just to bitch about how much he hated it in the city and his old job and how he wouldn’t be back there if I hadn’t ruined his life.
 
But the physical separation was such a huge relief. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free from the burden of him, even temporarily.
 
At the same time my parents’ new house settled and we moved both their stuff plus a lot of mine across to the new place. There was still a lot of packing left to do at my house, but I had a few weeks before I needed to have it empty for renters to move in.
 
The adjustment to living with my parents was actually harder than I thought it would be. On the one hand, it was lovely that my mother was doing my washing for me. But on the other hand, I hated that she was going into my room uninvited to empty my dirty clothes hamper. I felt like I’d gained my sanity back and was protected inside a little cocoon in my parents’ “in-laws suite” (thanks Bruised Banana!) but at the same time I’d lost my privacy and independence.
 
When I was 25 weeks pregnant, I got a new car. I know what you’re thinking – how could I possibly get a new car when I’m totally broke and can’t even afford my bills. Well let me tell you the answer surprises me as much as it surprises anyone.
 
My parents had approached me weeks prior and told me that they felt it was very unsafe that I was driving around in a beat-up old car. It was actually my first ever car – a small white two door car that I’d bought when I was still a university student.

When I was married to Doug, he’d driven a fancy corporate car (because he had a fancy corporate job) so I drove around in his brand new car. My little white car was relegated to the garage where it was neglected for many years. But after the separation, it was serviced and repaired and became my number one (and only) car again.
 
I explained to my parents that I would like very much to upgrade my car, particularly as it only had two doors so I was going to have a lot of trouble getting the baby in and out of the back seat. But I had no money so it would have to wait.

And then they bought me a brand new car.
 
Like honestly they called me up one day and said “come on down to the car dealership to test drive this car and pick which colour you want” and that was pretty much it.

image

I want to stress that my parents aren’t rich. Far from it – I can remember growing up they often struggled to put food on the table or pay bills. But they had some surplus money left over from the sale of their house in the city and they saw this as a way to genuinely help me.

It wasn’t a gift it was a loan. I was given the car on the condition that over time I slowly pay them back for it, and if that wasn’t ever possible then my brother would get a little more in their estate after they died. It was as simple as that.
 
I can’t tell you what it feels like to drive around in that car. I can’t tell you what it feels like to know that my parents care so much about my wellbeing, and the wellbeing of my child, that they would permanently loan me that much money so that I could be safe in a car with seven airbags, ABS brakes and every other safety feature under the sun.

And the fact that I never once asked them for it makes it even more special. I have people who look after me and care for me without me even having to tell them I need help.
 
I sold my little old car for $1700 (haha!) and immediately gave that money to my parents as a way to begin paying them back for the car. They said that was quite enough and not to worry about paying them back anything else for the next few years while the baby is little.

Even my brother was super supportive and glad that I had a new safe car. My whole family was amazingly supportive. It made me cry to know I was going to be okay and my family was genuinely going to take care of me.
 
James vocally told anyone who would listen that I didn’t actually own my new car – that my parents did. That it wasn’t really my car at all. But my parents told me to ignore him and not let it bring me down.
 
When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I was sitting in a meeting at work one morning when I suddenly felt overcome with morning sickness. I’d suffered really badly until about 17 weeks, vomiting multiple times all day and night. At 22 weeks it had recurred for about a week. So feeling nauseated at 26 weeks wasn’t entirely a surprise.
 
I stood up to quietly excuse myself from the meeting, when I unexpectedly became dizzy, saw yellow spots in my eyes and heard a high pitched ringing in my ears.

Next thing I know, I was lying on a sofa across the other side of the meeting room with my shoes off and my feet elevated. Luckily my boss, who was sitting next to me in the meeting, had seen me go very pale in the face and acted with lightning speed to catch me as I fainted so I never hit the floor.
 
Though I said I was feeling much better, the workplace health and safety protocol in my office dictated I still go up to the hospital to be checked over. So my boss phoned my mother (once again…so lucky that my parents moved to Paradise) and she came to pick me up.

To be honest I wasn’t stressed about the situation. I felt really calm that my baby was okay and I was okay, and everything was going to be okay.
 
By the time I got to the hospital my blood pressure was completely normal but my usually extremely over-active baby (every time I’ve had a scan they’ve had trouble taking measurements because she doesn’t stay still long enough!) was very quiet. So they hooked me up to the EKG machine for a few hours to monitor her heart rate and my contractions.

The midwives were originally concerned because they could see on the machine I was having contractions, but the doctor was satisfied that they were Braxton Hicks and nothing to be too concerned about so I was sent home.
 
On the way home, I texted James to let him know what had happened. His exact response was “Wow I’m glad you’re okay. But aren’t you going to ask me how my day is going?” It was so…typical.
 
When I was 27 weeks pregnant I headed back to the city to do a breastfeeding workshop with the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
 
For me, breastfeeding is something that I take very seriously and it’s my number one goal to exclusively breastfeed my baby until she’s six months old. I really wanted to learn everything I could about breastfeeding so that I knew how to get the baby to latch correctly and where to go to for help, so that I could achieve my goal.
 
I was shocked and embarrassed when I realised that there were ten other mummies in the workshop, and literally every single one of them had brought their husbands with them to the class. I felt like such an idiot sitting there without a supportive, loving partner.

They even had a whole section of the workshop dedicated to how partners could support the breastfeeding mother. When we went around the room to introduce ourselves, I actually lied and said my partner was at work. I didn’t want them all to pity me or look at me differently if they knew I was doing this all on my own.
 
In the half time break, I texted James and told him I was the only woman there on her own. His response was “Well as far as they know I’m out working my butt off to bring in money for the baby before she is born.” My reply was a simple: “But James…you’re not.”
 
That evening, seen as I was staying in the city, James invited me to see Deadpool with him at the cinema. He’d promised to take me to see the movie before he left Paradise to make up for the fact he’d been very mean to me on Valentine’s Day (…a story not even worth mentioning). I agreed to go with him, thinking it would be best to stay as amicable with him as possible.
 
But when we got to the cinema he made me pay for both our tickets as he claimed he had “no money” despite the fact he was now working full-time, earning more on a weekly basis than I was and also living rent-free with a friend in the city! The tickets were $45 and it was simply money I didn’t have as my house was still vacant. I couldn’t even find the money to pay for my next credit card bill let alone indulge in trips to the cinema.
 
Being super pregnant and emotional I just started bawling my eyes out in the foyer of the cinema. It was so embarrassing! I told him it wasn’t fair that he expected me to pay $45 for our tickets when he was the one to invite me and he was yet to pay a cent to help me with any of the baby’s costs.
 
He sat next to me silently for about 15 minutes while I cried, playing a game on his phone. Then he leaned over and told me I should calm down and he had no sympathy for me because even though he admitted I’d been having a very hard time and he knew I was struggling with money, as soon as the baby was born the government would force him to pay child support for “a kid he probably won’t get to see very often.”

And then I’d be “laughing all the way to the bank” for the next 18 years while his life was “ruined”.

So he said I should actually be the one feeling sorry for him, and not the other way around. Then he tossed two $20 notes into my lap and told me to stop crying.

The next day, in usual James fashion, he back-flipped on his original stance and told me he was very sorry. He said he wished he’d been able to come to terms with the pregnancy earlier so he could have properly supported me.

Somehow it meant less to me and also hurt less. He lives two hours away now. I don’t feel his words like I used to – they don’t seem to burn into my soul. I let them slide off me like water off a ducks back.

Is he really sorry? No. He’s not. Because he tells me he’s sorry all the time and then goes and says hurtful things again.

Do I trust him? No. Do I want him around my daughter more than necessary? No. But…am I as stressed and anxious about the future? No.

Right now I am 28 weeks pregnant, fast heading towards 29 weeks. I am feeling like I’m in a safe space in terms of the viability of this baby. She is extremely active and I feel her moving constantly day and night. I know if she’s born now she will be born alive and have an 85+ percent chance at survival.

Being with my parents, as I said, is both a blessing and a curse. But everything is more relaxed now when it comes to James. He has already mentioned that he feels like they’re acting as a barrier and he can no longer see me whenever he wants to see me. He doesn’t understand that this is deliberate and they are intentionally blocking his access to me.

And my parents have already said if at any stage I feel ready to pull the trigger, they will contribute some money and help me with legal fees to fight for custody of my baby.

I’m honestly hoping it doesn’t come to that and James will be able to allow me to raise her in the best possible environment without too much fighting or disruption. I still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful for the future now.

I’m glad she is with me. I’m glad she is my baby.

I still have a long way to go before she is in my arms, but I will continue to do what I think is best in order to provide for her, support her and give her the best possible life.

And now we are basically up to date! Congratulations to you all on reaching the end of my epic story. Well, not the end, but you know what I mean. No more “to be continued” at the end of posts.

I look forward to keeping you updated on everything going on in my life and waiting for this little girl to arrive.

Love to you all.

Sadie xx

Two or one or none…

I sat quietly in the obstetrician’s waiting room.

My mother, who had travelled from the city to attend the appointment with me, was sitting on my left.

Every other woman in the room had rounded and protruding bellies, which any infertile knows is pretty much the worst case scenario when it comes to doctor’s waiting rooms.

The instruction to “go home and wait to miscarry” had been followed, but the prediction had not come to fruition. Instead, I had endured eight days of solid excruciating menstrual cramping but nothing close to a period. Just bucket loads of clear, odourless discharge.

Clear discharge is common in early pregnancy because the mucus plug is forming, my brain cruelly whispered to me as I lay awake stressing each night.

Did I say stress? Well let’s not even mention the constant crying. Cooking dinner was cry time. Showering was cry time. Bed time was cry time. Lunch break at work was cry time. My anxiety levels were well and truly through the roof.

Every little thing had been harder. Sleeping, eating, working, especially taking prenatal vitamins even though the simple act of swallowing the tablet made me feel like a dickhead.

It was all so much harder because James, who was still occupying my front bedroom, had no idea what I was going through. My mother, who was my main support, was two hours away and none of my new friends in Paradise had any idea I was even infertile.

In reality, I had to remember I was lucky that this whiz-bang obstetrician was even able to fit me in for an emergency appointment at such short notice. I mean, it wasn’t a real emergency. Nobody’s cat was stuck up a tree, I just hadn’t started my period.

Sitting in that room, surrounded by smug pregnant woman (note: they probably weren’t smug) I realised suddenly that this was the first time I’d ever visited an obstetrician. I’d seen basically every other type of doctor, but the coveted prize of the obstetrician had always been outside my grasp. Or…my uterus’s grasp.

By the time my name was called, my protective shell was well and truly in place. To out-of-context quote Pink Floyd, I was comfortably numb. 

The obstetrician I met that day is someone who I’m going to call Doctor Eminem.

Not because he was a prolific white rapper from the wrong side of the 8 Mile Road, but because he was supremely meek and mild. Almost like a kitten wearing a lab coat.

Actually, after we left that day my mother said that he spent the entire appointment looking like he may burst into tears at any moment because there was just so much beauty in the world. You know, one of those types…

After Doctor Eminem called me into his office and shook my hand, he started flipping through the notes in my file while I sat on the other side of his desk nervously wringing my hands.

“Sadie I must say I’m extremely confused.” The doctor said. “Based on your previous history you shouldn’t be sitting here today.”

“I’m aware…” I replied. “Look, the truth is I was told to go home and wait to miscarry, but I’ve not yet had my period. This isn’t my first time at the miscarriage rodeo and I know the drill here. So if you could just confirm there’s no viable embryo and book me in for a d&C I’ll be on my way.”

“Of course.” Doctor Eminem said meekly. “Please follow me next door to the ultrasound room.”

I opted for an internal scan, as the external scan hadn’t even shown the sac the previous week. As predicted, he was the kind of doctor who apologised profusely right before he inserted the dildo cam. I was so nervous I couldn’t even look at the monitor.

“Okay I’ve seen it.” he said, after all of about three seconds.

Wait, that was it? A couple of seconds was all he needed to diagnose me?

“I see it too.” said my mother, who was standing at my side with her fingers digging into my bicep in some kind of supportive gesture.

“See what?” I finally asked, flicking my eyes up to the screen.

“The baby’s heartbeat.” Doctor Eminem replied.

The what now? The what? I’m sorry, the what?

Looking at the screen I could see that the gestational sac had grown larger, and that there were several blobs in there. The ultrasound machine wasn’t as new or fancy as the ones I was used to in the city and everything was slightly unclear.

“What am I looking at?” I asked, confused.

“Well it looks to me like twins.” Doctor Eminem said. “Here’s twin A and yolk sac, and here’s twin B and yolk sac. But only one has a heartbeat.”

He measured twin A (the one with the hearbeat) and announced that the baby was measuring 6 weeks and 2 days with a heartbeat of 122bpm.

“No that’s not right.” I said. “My hcg levels were 5500 ten days ago. I should be like…seven and a half weeks.”

“Well I’m going to hazard a guess that the reason the gestational sac was empty last week was because you’re only six weeks along now.” He said. “Twins would make your hcg levels higher than average.”

Next, the doctor examined twin B. It was measuring the same age, but as he’d previously stated it was without a heartbeat.

“I’m going to be honest with you Sadie and outline some different scenarios.” Doctor Eminem said.

First of all, there was the possibility that the second baby was just a few days behind developmentally. Normally the heart started beating at around six weeks gestation. That second heart may begin to beat very soon, although this was highly unusual as identical twins tended to develop at the same pace in early pregnancy.

Secondly, the unviable embryo would be reabsorbed back into the uterus. This was called vanishing twin syndrome. The healthy embryo would develop as a normal singleton pregnancy.

Thirdly, as the two embryos looked to be sharing a gestational sac, my body would recognise the need to flush the unviable embryo and I would miscarry both.

Doctor Eminem told me I needed to go home and wait again. If I hadn’t started bleeding, I should come back in ten days and he would scan me again to check on progress.

I couldn’t believe I’d been put into yet another high stress waiting situation.

Doctor Eminem could see I was visibly upset. “What can I do to make this easier on you?” he asked.

“Well the truth is,” I said. “Last time I miscarried only a couple of hours after seeing my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I’m just sad I didn’t have any proof that baby existed, even though I saw and heard it’s heart.”

“I understand.” Doctor Eminem said empathetically. “Go and get your phone and we’ll do a recording of the heartbeat for you to keep.”

It was a perfect idea and I was so very grateful for his sweet suggestion. So my mother raced next door to his office and came rushing back with my phone.

Then he let the heartbeat play for about 30 seconds, while I kept the phone’s camera focused on the screen.

“Good luck Sadie,” he said as we ended the appointment. “I hope to see you again in ten days.”

And so began another torturous wait…

I’m back! And I’m on the hunt for advice…

You know those bitches who disappear from their blog for a few months and then suddenly come back and they’re pregnant?

Yeah, sorry about that. Because I’m pregnant.

Seriously though I need some huge advice. I am freaking out and I don’t really know what to think or do. I suppose I should give you guys a quick recap before I get into the questions. That’s only polite.

First of all I want to explain the reason I left my blog. I never stopped thinking about you all, but I made a personal decision that was best for my relationship with my husband. We went through a rocky patch after my sixth cycle of IVF failed and he admitted during a disagreement one evening that he hated that I felt I was able to vent my true feelings on the internet but not to him. I was upset with him for thinking such a thing, but also desperate to mend our shaky marriage. So he made a request that I temporarily suspend my blog until such a time when our relationship was more stable, and I reluctantly obliged.

After that our relationship quickly improved (though I’m sure it had nothing to do with my lack of blogging, and more to do with the fact we both started seeing our therapists more regularly) and I would often think about returning here, but things have been very busy and I just never found the time.  

I am currently in my eighth cycle of IVF. You guys missed me moving to a new doctor, my entire seventh IVF cycle, another major laparoscopy where heaps of endo was removed, a D&C, more tubal studies, and another round of needle diathermy for my PCOS. Told you it’s been busy around here!

My new doctor is awesome, and so different to my last doctor. He swears a lot, which took a little getting used to. He said it was “fucked up” (his words, not mine) that a 27 year old had failed six cycles of IVF and no one seemed to really care or think I was important. He said decent fertility doctors would pay more attention to me because of my circumstances, rather than ignoring me to focus on older patients.

He took me on as a challenge, and even did my laparoscopy with no out of pocket expenses (even waived his surgical assistant’s fees) because he wanted to get me as healthy as possible as cheaply as possible. And because no young women should have to suffer what I’ve suffered through, and he wanted to make my life better. Just like that! Last time I had a laparoscopy it cost us around $5000 out of pocket so the saving was ridiculously massive. It was like falling in love all over again, except you know, not in a romantic kind of way…because he’s old…and I love my husband…

This doctor uses much more radical treatment methods, and pays close attention to studies coming out of Europe. He believes in throwing the book at IVF, rather than taking the ‘softly, softly’ approach that most IVF doctors in Melbourne seem to take. For example I was up to my sixth cycle and still wasn’t allowed to use embryo glue at my old clinic in case it resulted in twins! I mean honestly!

My previous doctor also kept refusing to test me for MTHFR gene mutations. She kept insisting I didn’t have it and the test was pointless and would cost us thousands out of pocket. I asked my new doctor and he said “sure go right ahead if you want to get tested I’ll write you a pathology request.” And guess what? The test only cost $65 out of pocket. And guess what else? I am a homozygous carrier of the MTHFR mutation. SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! I cried so much when I found out, because I’m so sure that fact at least contributed to my previous two pregnancy losses. Now I take blood thinners, and I feel better not only about the fact my treatment is more successfully managed but also hopeful this will lessen my chances of thrombosis in the future.

During my seventh cycle of IVF I experienced a fun new thing which I can add to my long list of fun new things. It’s called Empty Follicle Syndrome and it’s extremely rare in young women. Doc estimated I would have approximately 30 eggs picked up (he was deliberately overstimulating me to pick up as many eggs as possible, and then triggered me with Synarel instead of Ovidrel in order to prevent OHSS – I told you his protocols are more radical). But on egg retrieval day I only had seven eggs in the 30+ follicles.

When the doctor found out he didn’t dismiss it as “just something that happens sometimes” like my old doctor would have. Instead, he said “Well this is shit. Really shit. I’m really sorry. If we don’t get any fertilized eggs we will figure something out I promise. And I hope to God you have embryos on day five because I don’t want to deal with your wrath if you don’t.” It made me feel like he actually cared. I appreciated that.

In my eighth cycle we had some success and ended up transferring one perfect hatching AA graded blastocyst, with one lower quality blast tucked away in the freezer. Obviously we didn’t need assisted hatching, but we did use embryo glue.

And now we get to the part of the blog post where I ask y’all questions so please pay attention.

Last Monday (3dp5dt) I had a temperature spike and a tiny bit of pink spotting, which I thought might have been implantation bleeding. Then throughout the week I had bad headaches and ran a low grade fever but my boobs weren’t sore even though I constantly poked them. Last Friday I started cramping so I took a home pregnancy test and got a super super strong positive. Honestly I’ve never seen a pregnancy test turn so dark so quickly. Then on Saturday I had pink spotting in the morning and a small amount of red spotting in the evening followed by awful cramping. I was sure I was getting my period.

But on Monday (10dp5dt) I had my first beta test and my level came back at 330. I was ridiculously shocked to pull such a high number so early, particularly because in both my other pregnancies my levels were always so low. Not to mention the cramping and bleeding.

Two days later (yesterday) they did a follow-up blood test and I was so depressed and anxious. I was completely 100% convinced my numbers weren’t going to double so I went down to the supermarket on my lunch break at work to buy chocolate to console myself. As I was coming out of the supermarket, the nurse rang to tell me that my hcg at 12dp5dt was 805. I asked her to repeat that number like 6 times. “Sorry did you say 805? Can you just confirm 805? My number? For me? 805?”

The nurse said usually patients get numbers between 100 and 200 at 12dp5dt. So my numbers are pretty high and my doubling time was 36.14 hours which is also super fast am I correct? Like it’s the fast end of the normal range? She said my pregnancy seems strong and healthy. But come on. This is me. Things don’t go right for me. This can’t actually be happening for me.

My first thought was “Oh my god they’ve both implanted” and then I remembered we only transferred the one embryo, and put the other one into storage. So then I looked up identical twins and saw that the second embryo usually implants between days 10-14. Immediately I recalled the second lot of spotting I had on the weekend, which was 8dp5dt or technically 13dpo. So are identical twins a possibility? I guess so. My hcg levels don’t seem high enough for twins, but seem very high for a singleton.

All day today I have had a strong pain on my right side. It’s about 2.5 inches to the right of my belly button, but much further down near my pubic bone. It’s sort of a consistent twinging pain. Sometimes it’s on my left side, and sometimes in the middle, but mostly it’s on my right side. And now I am freaking out. I called the nurse and she said maybe it’s ligaments stretching but why is it mostly on one side?? Like I mean constantly twinging on my right side and occassionally mirrored on my left. The pain never leaves my right side.

So here are the questions:

1. For the IVF ladies who have had success…what were your hcg levels like in early pregnancy?

2. When my last pregnancy wasn’t located in the uterus, my hcg numbers were much lower than average and kept fluctuating up and down. Can I still have an ectopic pregnancy if my levels are higher than average and doubling nicely?

3. What does ectopic pain feel like?

4. Is this cramping normal? In women who have PCOS did the cysts on your ovaries react to the hcg increases and cause you pain? Could it be my ovary I am feeling?

5. If I have higher hcg levels with fast doubling times, does that mean I am more likely to have a normal healthy pregnancy, or is the actual number irrelevant?

6. I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday (I will be 5 weeks, 1 day pregnant) should I push for a scan or would it be pointless this early on because it’ll be too early to see anything?

I really can’t believe I’ve been away for months and now I’m coming back and asking for advice. Like, how selfish am I!

I really truly need assistance to calm down here. I know you all probably think I am overreacting, and I most likely am. But I feel like I deserve this one. Eight cycles of IVF is enough for anyone and it’s my 28th birthday on Monday. Please oh please can’t I just have a baby this time? 

Thanks in advance for your advice ladies.

 Sadie xx

p.s sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes in this post – I didn’t have time to edit it I just wanted to get my post out there!