Tag: fertility

Our IVF story: Part 5 – Pregnant or not pregnant?

June 2017 (2 years and 11 months after beginning our attempts at trying to conceive)

Waiting after our first round of IVF to find out if I was pregnant or not was pretty tough! I had basically coped by talking myself out of any possibility of it working that time. I tried to be philosophical about it all. I figured that if it had failed, then it wasn’t meant to be. I wanted my eventual baby to be strong and healthy and if it wasn’t going to be viable, then I would have to be OK with it. I still had more chances before my odds of success decreased significantly.

I had a blood test lined up for 12 days past my IVF transfer. THE blood test. The one that would tell me if I was expecting or if I would be trying again. Oh, the pressure!

In the meantime I had to insert progesterone (guess where) twice a day. It was gross and a bit annoying, but nowhere near as bad as having to inject myself.

Mr Unprepared had been really supportive while we waited. If I worried about anything, he would read about it first and then tell me only the reliable information. It made me feel so much calmer not having to sort through the noise of the internet.

Only thing was, he was getting impatient. He kept reading about all these women who took home pregnancy tests really early and got positives. He never pressured me, but I could feel that he was really really hoping I’d try to be one of those women (he’s not always known for his patience). Thing is, I had trained myself for at least the last two years to never take a pregnancy test. Just wait for my period. Because taking a test was stressful and heartbreaking and never positive. I knew that what would be, would be. Whether or not I knew a few days in advance wouldn’t change anything. If I was pregnant, I would find out eventually haha.

I had started spotting a bit. That usually happened in the days leading up to my period. I tried to brace myself for a disappointing outcome. So what if all the things on the internet said that spotting was more common in women who have had IVF and that implantation bleeding can be a thing. SO WHAT. I had done this so many times before. I was not prepared to break my own heart at home with a pee stick. Let the nurses and doctors do that with their blood test!

We made it as far as 10 days past my IVF transfer. Two days before my scheduled blood test. It was a Saturday morning of the June long weekend. I was getting myself all knotted up worrying about my period arriving and ruining everything. I was so tired of my life revolving around my period and I was nervous that a movie date with my friend in a couple of days would be a bust. I was sick of having to cancel plans (my periods were ridiculously heavy). I was sick of the unknown. I was sick of the unpredictable. I wanted to know if I was pregnant or not so I could get on with my life.

I had it in my head that it was far too early to test, but Mr Unprepared (buoyed by the resounding idiocy of the internet haha) was in disagreement. He had seen my frustration and finally he had his chance to quietly suggest I take a test. He must have been so relieved when I said I would. He wasn’t the only person dying of suspense.

He left the bedroom to tend to the Little Mister – getting him breakfast and such. I took that chance to head to the toilet with an old test I’d had in the bathroom drawer for about a year (I couldn’t believe it wasn’t out of date yet). I followed the instructions and I stood in the toilet (not in the bowl just in that tiny room haha) and waited. I knew from that fateful positive test with the Little Mister 6 years prior that if it was going to be a great result, it wouldn’t take long for the second line to show.

I wasn’t too optimistic. I figured that I might get a super faint line that you had to squint at to see. That this test might tell me nothing. But I was so sick of not knowing, I was willing to take a chance.

Soon a faint second line showed up. I sighed and thought – yep. It’s super faint. I don’t know about this.

I kept staring. The three minutes wasn’t up.

The line progressively got stronger and stronger before my disbelieving eyes. My brain really wasn’t catching up, to be honest.

 

Soon the line was only a millionth of a shade lighter than the control line.

I stood there in shock. I was willing this strange new information to go into my brain. I kept saying to myself (not out loud), YOU ARE PREGNANT. I’M PREGNANT. HOLY SHIT. I’M PREGNANT. NO FOR REAL. I’M PREGNANT. AFTER ALL THIS TIME I AM PREGNANT. LISTEN TO ME, YOU DUMBO, YOU’RE PREGNANT.

Finally it registered. I started crying. 3 years worth of tears. Oh gosh I’m tearing up writing this.

Mr Unprepared eventually managed to extricate himself from the Little Mister’s breakfast demands and came to check on me. He saw me crying and he went straight into comfort and sympathy mode. He hugged me tight and kept saying, “I’m sorry. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be OK. I’m sorry.”

I stopped him and said, “You haven’t even looked at the test…”

“It’s negative, I know. I’m sorry.”

“I SAID YOU HAVEN’T EVEN LOOKED AT IT.”

He looked at me like I’d lost my mind, took it from me and saw the two lines.

I was hugged ferociously again and I could hear him laugh-crying in shock. He didn’t have to say it. I could hear it in his tone.

You. Bloody. Beauty. We did it (well so did a lot of other amazing people who helped us but you know what I mean).

We might have experienced our miracle. Finally.

I was over the moon. We were over the moon.

I went on that movie date with my friend and gosh it was tough not telling her. I was so happy not just that I was pregnant but that I wasn’t getting my period – I’m not kidding. You don’t even know. My shark weeks had been ROUGH.

Two days later, I had a phone call after my blood test.

“Congratulations! You’re pregnant and your hormone levels look great.”

Oh, my heart. Of course I had an inkling already, but hearing it from somebody else was amazing. This was finally real.

Our IVF story: Part 4 – Transfer day (when they put the embryo in).

25 May 2017 (about two months after my egg retrieval)

I was so nervous on transfer day. I’d already been driving myself insane with the craziest thoughts leading up to it. We were to drop the Little Mister off at school and then make our way to the clinic (an hour’s drive from our home). We were going to be a bit early for our midday appointment so we tried to take our time. We weaved our way through Fremantle and found weird ways to stall without actually stopping in public (because I felt like the hottest emotional mess there ever was).

I was also trying to stay fresh ‘down there’ so I didn’t want to get sweaty walking heaps (hahaha). At one point during our drive up, I received a phone call from a nurse. She was letting us know that the embryo they’d thawed had ‘survived beautifully’ and they were ready for us when we arrived. I don’t know what it was but the words, ‘survived beautifully’ suddenly made it really real. That was a potential baby. HOLY SHIT. I hung up the phone and bawled. Mr Unprepared was quite startled!

I had already said that I was worried about this because I’d had too much time to get attached to my ‘babies’. No joke. I know it’s a bad idea. Kind of like naming your animals when you live on a farm. Well, except I wasn’t planning on eating them. OK now I’ve taken this to wrong town. Where was I? Oh yeah, I know it’s probably not smart and definitely not rational but I was already attached. After all this time, my potential completion of my family was right there in a lab and it was exciting and I already felt a maternal…something towards them.

I said to Mr Unprepared and my mum that this could end very very badly if this round of IVF didn’t take. I said I had no knowledge of what it’s like to miscarry but I wondered if maybe some of the feelings might be similar for me. That I’d feel the loss far more than if we had just conceived the ‘good old fashioned way’. I’d known too much about every step of the way.

When we got to the clinic, there were other couples waiting. I could very faintly hear whispers of them being there for the same reason as us. We were not the first people to go in. I watched people leave and come back. It was a very quick procedure. I saw one sharply dressed woman who appeared to be on her lunch break from work just take it in her stride! I tried to imagine being able to do that. Nope. Probably couldn’t do it.

When it was our turn, it was all very efficient too. I took off my pants, got on the reclining chair thingy and had my dignity taken away for the millionth time. My legs were up on stirrups, the chair was raised to eye level with the person responsible for putting in the embryo, a very very bright light was pointed at my hoo ha. A speculum was used to make access easy, so I was really feeling good about myself at that point. I think the key word for the feeling was ‘exposed’.

A phone call was made to the lab. There was a screen in the corner of the room where they showed the embryologist sucking up our embryo from a petri dish before running in for the transfer. I almost cried seeing our embryo. It was not just super cool that we could do that but emotional. Who can say they saw their baby before it was even a foetus?!

A really long catheter thingy was used to insert the embryo – it didn’t hurt or feel like much more than a pap smear. Then I was out of there thinking WTF just happened? Like did that really just happen? It was so weird to think the embryo was inside me!

It was such an emotional process and yet so clinical too. It was weirdly, by far, the easiest part of the whole IVF process.

It was really surreal to know it was inside of me. I felt like I was pregnant before I was pregnant (but knew very very well that I wasn’t yet – a very strange and confusing and anxiety ridden feeling). I really really hoped I would not have to experience the loss of it not implanting.

Now the waiting really had to begin.

To be continued…

Our IVF Story Part 3: Egg retrieval.

March 2017

I had survived the hardest part of IVF – all of the injections and scans and tests leading up to my egg retrieval. Here is how it went…

As you can imagine, I was bloody nervous. Not so much about being put under general anaesthetic (I figured I’d survived my first experience with that the year before) but about how many good eggs they’d be able to retrieve. I was also a bit worried about something going wrong and I had to really really try to put the actual mechanics of the procedure out of my mind. Nobody wants to think about a big needle going up your vagina, pushing through your cervix and sucking out the eggs. A NEEDLE IN YOUR VAGINA.

I found it really comforting that the anaesthetist and the person doing the procedure were women for some reason (also – girl power!) and under I went! The doctor (oh gosh I’ve forgotten her actual title) told me she’d write the number of eggs on my hand so I’d know as soon as I woke up.

I woke up to the number 20 scrawled on my right hand. TWENTY. They took out 20 eggs. I was gobsmacked and so relieved. What the hell, body? Body that couldn’t even get one good one on the drugs I’d already tried (although I now suspect the drugs were what was stopping my ovulation from being as good as normal)!

Mr Unprepared came to see me as soon as he heard I was back in recovery. He looked at my hand and his reaction was priceless. He thought it was the best thing he’d ever seen.

He’d been to the clinic while I was under to provide a sample (a very embarrassing process but as I constantly reminded him not as bad as what I’ve been through)! Our eggs and sperm would be put together to fertilise over the coming days before hopefully being frozen as 5 day old embryos. I would not be able to have one implanted this cycle, due to my risk of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) which can make a person very very ill. I would have to wait until my body returned to normal.

Fast forward a few days of me on the couch recovering and it was time to travel east for a wedding. Each day for a week afterwards, I would receive a phone call checking in on my health. They had to make sure I wasn’t gaining fluid weight really fast or showing scary signs of ovarian hyper stimulation. I had to ensure to them that my circulation was good (from flying) and that everything else in my body was doing the right thing. I also had to sleep upright for the longest time, which gets old quick!

I was bloated and tired and hormonal but I think the best thing we ever did was go away. It was a positive distraction. Quality time with my family and being able to show the Little Mister a place he’s never been was really special.

During that time we were also receiving almost daily phone calls to update us on our (hopefully) embryos. Day 1 I was told that 14 eggs had been initially fertilised (this is actually a fantastic number). Then day 3 we were told that 11 had survived. Day 5 still 11! We had 11 potential babies waiting for us in a lab. Holy shit! ELEVEN. We felt very fortunate. I had honestly been hoping for maybe 3 and had never dreamed that 11 embryos could get through this process.

I sighed with relief as it sunk in that I would potentially never have to go through the full IVF process (with all the injections etc) again. Egg retrieval was full on and got a bit scary with my discovered susceptibility to ovarian hyper stimulation. Knowing I would not have to risk my health again was an amazing blessing. After 11 tries or so I knew I would probably be absolutely be done. Maybe even before then, truth be told. We were all not getting any younger (Little Mister included) and I figured that if it didn’t work in 11 goes then it would never work). We are so fortunate to have a great health care system where you can get a lot of your money back after a treatment but you do have to pony up the money up front to start each time too. FULL ON.

As much as it was a setback having to wait before my transfer (when they put the embryo in you), a part of me was secretly relieved. Those little embryos weren’t going anywhere. I could rest a bit. It had been an intense month.

Our IVF story Part 2: Before egg retrieval.

March 2017

I decided to keep a diary of my first experience with IVF. Partly so I can remember everything in this chapter of our fertility journey, partly for therapy (writing is what keeps me sane) and partly to educate. I know that even I went into this without knowing all of the ins and outs and timelines. If you’ve been through it, I wonder if you can relate. If you haven’t, I urge you to read this anyway. Chances are, someone in your life will struggle with infertility and you may be a much better support if you have an insight into what a person might be going through.

I kept this diary to myself as the real time events all rolled out. This was to protect my little family during the process and to hopefully avoid people knowing too much information at any given time. While I gave some people a heads up that we would be doing IVF, I wanted to avoid people being able to guess exact dates etc in case we should be successful or in case we fail (so either way!) because we wanted to avoid big mouths from doing that whole “ARE YOU PREGNANT YET” thing constantly. Because it happens and it’s kind of rude and insensitive and not what we wanted to deal with.

Day 1: It’s the first day of my cycle. So relieved my period is here and we can get this show on the road. I haven’t felt happy to have my period in the longest time. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that your IVF start date can sometimes depend on when you get your period. So when someone would ask me ‘when do you start’, they had to accept that for a while I genuinely did not know and vagueness is all they’d get (not that it was truly anyone’s business haha). Knowing that everything can move forward from today has been good for calming my anxiety – I hate not knowing how to plan my life and now that I can finally do the maths and plan my month around my treatments, procedures and appointments makes me feel a bit more at ease. There’s a lot to coordinate! Time sensitive blood tests and scans, injections of various drugs at specific times etc etc (as you’ll see further along in this diary). Not to mention making sure the Little Mister’s routine is disrupted as little as possible and coordinating support networks because I can’t be in 3 places at once! It’s a lot to deal with in a hypothetical sense before your start date actually arrives! Nothing is set in stone until shark week begins! Even then, you don’t know how long exactly it will be before they collect eggs etc.

Today I had to spontaneously drive to the clinic (over an hour’s drive from home) for a scan (vaginal – fun times) and a blood test at the last minute due to my period arriving right before a long weekend. I was relieved to be told that there are no cysts or other obstacles in our way as yet. It had been in the back of my mind that I could face bitter disappointment from the start, as I have experienced similar situations in the past two and a half years already.

My period got really really heavy by the evening and I told Mr Unprepared that I really really hope this is the last time. I feel like my period has stolen my life for over two years (it was well controlled on the pill).

Day 2: I received a text telling me to start injections (Gonal-F) tomorrow and the dosage required. Gonal-F is a drug that stimulates your ovaries so you hopefully grow lots of good eggs. Also should be noted that I had a big meltdown with my mum and husband this morning. We were feeling the stress of juggling IVF with a trip interstate planned for later in the month. We decided to play everything by ear. What’s meant to happen will happen and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I admit I kind of panicked when reality set in.

Day 3: Awake early. Wonder if it’s nerves about my first injection. I’m feeling calm about the actual sticking-the-needle-into-my-stomach part because I was able to do a practice run at the clinic and it wasn’t anywhere as bad as I had thought it might be. I think I’m just excited to get started (famous last words).

More emotional moments. Had to tie up a few issues. Man this is hitting me hard. Resolve to move forward much more positively.

1st injection is done with me looking nervously at the needle and Mr Unprepared reading me the instructions for proper administration. Even though I felt confident the clinic nurse had taught me well, I was worried about screwing it up. Everything went well.

Day 4: Second injection day. I can still feel the injection site from yesterday. I shouldn’t be surprised by that, but I am. I’m starting to wonder how I’ll feel by the end of all this! Pin cushion-y, I’m betting! I don’t know if I’m imagining it (because the power of the mind is ridiculously strong with this stuff) but I swear I’m already feeling twinges in my left ovary area.

Day 5: Injection number 3 of Gonal-F today. I’m getting a bit more confident with the needle. I’ve always had a fear of seeing the needle go into my skin (I always look away as hard as I can during blood tests) but I am well and truly confronting that now! I feel like I have a cold. Again. I could be wrong but I swear all the fertility stuff I’ve been through has affected my immune system. Will rest between school drop off and pick up today.

I got a call from the nurse today about my Day 7 scan. I was told that I should bring my syringe of Orgalutran with me just in case I need it that day. The Orgalutran is the drug which stops you from ovulating too quickly before they can collect your eggs. I really hope I’ll need it that day (for the right reasons).

Day 6: Injection number 4 today. I am feeling some slight bloat/ovulation type pain. I think something is happening. Not sure what but I’ll find out tomorrow.

Day 7: Injection number 5 of Gonal-F today. I had to get up early and drive myself to the city for a blood test and internal ultrasound. Mr Unprepared had to start work late, because he covered the school run for the morning. I was really nervous because this scan would be the first indication of whether things are on track or not. I’ve been disappointed by my ovaries before so I tried to calm myself all the way up in the car.

The scan revealed that my right ovary is quite active with lots of follicles growing. The right was a little less active, but the nurse seemed to be happy with that because we also don’t want to risk hyper-stimulation (which can be dangerous for me). I asked if everything was on the right path and she said yes. I am so relieved and glad something is going right so far (touch wood).

Day 8: Injection number 6 of Gonal-F. I spent the day feeling exhausted. Slept half the afternoon (which is usually not something I can do easily). I can’t believe I am sharing this but I felt like a crazy hormonal woman – think Nina from Offspring when she was getting ready to have her eggs collected to freeze and she ends up with Harry…if you don’t get that reference, then I am definitely not spelling it out haha.

I had no appetite (maybe because of bloating?) and craved fresh juice all day. Felt a bit woozy at bed time but slept all night even after my big nap!

Day 9: Today I have to inject the Gonal-F and also a drug called Orgalutran (it is supposed to stop you from ovulating too early and losing the eggs before they can be collected). Two needles in one day – lucky me!

I did the injections and for some reason they hurt today. I freaked out a bit. The Orgalutran (pronounced by Mr Unprepared as Orangutan to make me laugh) has a bigger needle than the Gonal-F and no joke afterwards, I almost fainted! I never thought I could still freak out and faint around needles after all I’ve been through! Life is not predictable, I can tell you that.

Weirdly, I feel much like I did when I was pregnant with the Little Mister. The drugs have given me tender boobs (let’s not talk about my nips OK?), my abdomen is tender too, and embarrassingly I have taken to sleeping with a pillow – it just helps, OK?

Day 10: Two injections again today. Man, the Orgalutran is not as easy as the Gonal-F I can tell you that much! You feel that needle! I drove up to the clinic (over an hour in traffic) at 6am and had blood tests and a scan – Mr Unprepared has taken time off work and has been covering the school run. I’m so glad to have that help.

The scan showed progress. My follicles are growing! They make you lie on your back with a little notepad/chart thingy and a pen. They call out measurements of each follicle and it’s my job to mark it down. You almost forget there’s a stupid wand up your clacker.

I asked how long until collection and they think Friday by the latest (it’s Monday now). This may screw up my travel plans to Sydney but because everything’s so positive, this is just a little potential hiccup. Everything will work out somehow in the end.

Received my afternoon phone call from the clinic. I am to continue on the two injections until my next scan in two days. The nurse advised me to just be mentally prepared that I may need to have a ‘freeze all’ upon collection of my eggs, due to my ovaries being quite productive. They would decide this on the scan prior to collection. I now have so many questions running through my mind!

This kind of thing makes me glad that I’ve only told a handful of people about us commencing IVF this month. If everything gets frozen – literally and metaphorically – then I am glad I won’t have to tell many people.

Day 11: I had to give myself the two injections without anyone there for moral support. I found this quite difficult. That Orgalutran needle is a bitch! It hurts! I hesitated a couple of times before I got it into my skin. I’m starting to get a little tired of it all. Strange how you can start injections with so much confidence, but then get shakier and more needle shy as you go on.

I can’t remember what happened exactly in the few days following day 11 because I think I kind of went into shock (mentally)! I was basically told that we would have to freeze everything – I was at too much risk of ovarian hyper stimulation. I was given a script for a drug to trigger my ovulation 36 hours before retrieval – it wasn’t the original drug they’d planned on using. It was something else better suited to someone in my situation. Next would be the egg retrieval under general anaesthetic…

To be continued…

 

Our IVF story – Part 1: Deciding what to share about our IVF experience.

I wrote this in February 2017. Mr Unprepared and I had just started seeing a doctor at a specialised fertility clinic. We had been given an information overload at our first appointment, after being told by the doctor (a real straight shooter with a quirky sense of humour) that he could send us for more medicated cycles but if pregnancy hadn’t happened by now, it probably wasn’t going to. He suggested IVF and said we could decide to wait another couple of cycles before seeing him or just sign ourselves up and get it moving after waiting so long for some kind of definitive progress. We were so ready to move forwards and so grateful that we were in a position where we could consider it. At this point it had been about 2 and a half intense years of trying to conceive. 

As I write this, I am waiting to find out when exactly we can commence our first ever round of IVF. It has finally come down to this and I have mixed feelings. I am excited and hopeful and glad to be doing something proactive. I am worried that it might not work and that we’ll have put all our hopes in that one basket. I am stressed when I think too much about what it actually physically involves (and how much of our lives will revolve around appointments and tests etc – I thought it was bad before haha). I am eager for it to be successful on our first try but I know that’s not the reality for many couples. I want to be realistic and just hope it happens in the first few rounds. Not to mention that everything is hypothetical at this stage. I need to take things one step at a time. What if they have to stop the process for various reasons? What if I don’t have enough good eggs to harvest? What if fertilisation doesn’t work at first? What if something is found inside me and they say I can’t go ahead yet at all?

Then you tell yourself to stop thinking about it all, but then that’s like trying not to notice the whopping big elephant that’s perched on your couch every day and night.

That’s a lot to take in, right?

I am sure that if you’ve been through this, you might relate to that overload of thoughts. And if you haven’t, perhaps it gives an insight into the sheer magnitude and weight of it. IVF is not just some magical cure for infertility. It’s not the easy way. I mean, it might be, if you existed in a vacuum where you didn’t have work, commitments coming in for dates you’re not sure of your availability for, a marriage that has to work even when you’re under a lot of stress (and the influence of crazy hormones), a child who you are so lucky to have already that you need to look after and love and send to school every day. A household to run. Yikes.

Not to mention that some couples can try and try and try but it still won’t work for them.

But we’re all in. We are so ready. We’ll be warriors and push through it. It’s not forever. It’s temporary and could be one of the most rewarding things we ever struggle through (fingers crossed).

It’s hard. You don’t know how much you should tell people about this *cough* journey.

If I tell person A that I’m starting treatments on date B, will they come to conclusion C about whether I’m pregnant or not on date D. Y’know?

We don’t plan on telling anyone we’re pregnant (if we get that far – please let us get that far) until it’s past the first trimester and even then, we want the Little Mister to be first to know. That’s really important to us.

Which is difficult when there may be people hanging on our every word and behaviour, waiting with bated breath for an outcome because they know when we underwent the procedures. I know everyone means well and are just excited and wanting the best for us.

BUT…if I don’t tell anyone what we’re doing, then I risk social isolation. I risk the worst feeling of being alone and having nobody other than my husband to speak to. And while that can be OK for a while, we need that friendship or family support too. This shit is, by all accounts, very fucking hard.

I also feel like it’s also for everybody’s own good (sorry not sorry) to learn more about the process so they can be more sensitive and understanding. Education can be key, sometimes. I don’t want it to be some crazy taboo in my life or in society either. A lot more people go through this than we’re led to believe!

I’m trying to find that balance about what to share and what to keep to ourselves.

I think that if an IVF round doesn’t work for us, we’ll tell people straight away. So they stop staring at my belly and thinking I might be pregnant when I’m not (there’s nothing worse when you’re already heartbroken). If it does work, maybe we’ll go to ground and keep our happy news to ourselves. Never confirm nor deny. Politely tell people that if there was news our son would be the first to know and stealing that from us as a little family would be rude.

So I literally am going into this awesomely unprepared. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve shared with some close friends and we’ve shared with family. I just have to hope that everybody understands that our rights to privacy in the first trimester (should we be blessed) are the same as everyone else’s who conceives ‘naturally’. I hope we can tell them just enough but not too much.

I also hope that the pain of anything not working out isn’t worsened by people wanting to play a guessing game: is she or isn’t she?

I guess time will tell if I’ve played this right and if I haven’t, or if I just come across some insensitive folk, I will also have to let it roll off my back. I’ll have to be strong and keep my chin up.

Here goes…

 

To be continued.

Our secondary infertility story: Part 10 – Feelings before a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy.

May 2016

You can catch up on the rest of the story so far, here: 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

I am only a few days out from having a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Where the doctor looks to remove the endometrioma cyst on my ovary, search around for any obvious causes for my inability to get pregnant, and scrape out any other endometriosis from anywhere it should not be. I am also sick with a cold and my period is supposed to be due any minute. I am in a foul mood and I am struggling to come to terms with just about everything. I am nervous I’ll be deemed too sick to have the surgery. I am nervous about the surgery. I have never been put under general anaesthetic before in my life and for some reason my lack of control of the situation is really getting to me. I mean, I like to have some control in my life, but I wouldn’t call myself a total control freak. Yet this freaks me out. I’m going to be completely out to it and anything could happen without my knowledge. I know that these procedures should hopefully help my quality of life (my periods have been HORRIBLE and I just want the madness to end*) and the unavoidable end game is that there is the hope that it might help my chances of being able to conceive with my husband. You know, that baby we’ve so badly wanted for years now, who hasn’t turned up yet. Tardy little bugger.

I am struggling because I am usually a realist. Or even verging on optimistic. Yet, I am in a headspace where I feel quite disillusioned and unable to imagine an outcome that actually makes me feel like things are getting better. See, this whole fertility thing has been a mixed bag for me. When I got pregnant with the Little Mister it was amazing. He was determined to hurtle his way into this world and I am so glad he did. But…I was the person who got gestational diabetes. I was the one who against the odds was lucky enough to have PUPPP (from halfway through the pregnancy and not at the end like most people). Whenever I was told the odds of something happening to me during pregnancy were low, I just stopped listening because it turns out I’m pretty ‘special’ when it comes to the weird shit. I even got a ridiculous infection in my amniotic fluid that brought on labour really fast (luckily the Little Mister was full term when it happened). It was considered an unusual case for some reason at the time.

So you can imagine how I’m feeling days out from this surgery. I am not optimistic about this cold pissing off in time. If I do miraculously shake off the illness in time, I can’t imagine coming out of it with the doctor saying, “Everything was routine and normal. We found the exact issue and you’re right as rain. Good luck trying for a baby in a few weeks when you’ve recovered.” and then my period gets easier and we suddenly conceive like all those ‘friends of friends’ we keep hearing about. I just can’t go there. I imagine us still not conceiving and feeling defeated and confused and frustrated. I imagine the hurt of being on the two week wait roller coaster over and over again. I imagine waking up and being told they took my tubes or my uterus isn’t viable for baby carrying. Despite having previous tests that have not indicated this to be the case. I imagine my anger that maybe if I hadn’t tried Clomid in the first place I wouldn’t have ended up even more infertile. Like that’s a thing. I worry – what if it all goes wrong and my keyhole surgery turns into open surgery? What if I don’t ever come back and my quest for a second baby leaves my first baby without me ever functioning normally again? What if all those things the doc said were such a minute chance of going wrong with me, go wrong with me? Because I’m me?

Yes. I’m probably coming off as a Negative Nancy right now. A paranoid…Patricia. But it’s not that I’m trying to be down in the dumps about it all. A small part of me is excited at the possibilities. But a larger part of me is used to this not being so simple. I can’t seem to believe that this will ever come easily. That our time might come where we get to feel the miracle of a good, successful pregnancy. It feels like it’s been so long with no results or clear answers. I know people try a lot longer than us and I know that those people would be laughing at me for feeling like this only 2 years in. But it’s tough. I don’t know how they do it.

But I guess I know why. Because our family isn’t complete yet. Because that old nursery in the back of my house feels like a sad place. There’s a space in my heart waiting for a special little person to decide it’s the right time to come to us. And we just can’t give up on that nagging feeling that we can’t be done yet.

I think I also think of my own (adoptive) parents. They never got their answers. They did all the right things and deserved the world and it didn’t work. Hence the adoptions of my brother and I. Of course none of us would change any of that for the world now, but I often (half) joke that my mum is a terrible example for hope for those with fertility issues. Because every procedure she’s tried that I am now going through, didn’t make things better!!!! She’s been a tremendous support, but gosh it’s a bit disheartening too.

I keep trying to remind myself that I am lucky because one advantage I have is knowing that my body has done the whole baby thing one time before. That gives me a slightly better chance than someone who has never been able to do that.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Other than I’ll just literally have no choice but to get through it. I guess when I’m lying on the table counting backwards from ten, I might stop overthinking it. I guess whatever greets me at the other end will be whatever it is. I just hope and pray (in the non religious sense) with everything that I have that I will be strong enough to cope with even the toughest or most unpredictable news I might receive. I hope I will be able to handle whatever comes my way with as much sanity as I can possibly muster.

Life isn’t fair and I might not ever get the ‘fair’ outcome my friends and family are believing I deserve. And it’s knowing this that drives me crazy these days.

I just hope that maybe there’s a bigger plan out there that will end in some kind of joy for my family. It’s hard not knowing what that ‘plan’ is, but I really have to believe that there is one.

Luckily, I was allowed to go through with the surgery – my cold was not going to be a problem. I was glad to just get on with it. I was so relieved to wake up and be told that my tubes were intact and that everything that was growing in the wrong place had been removed. Sadly, this did absolutely nothing to help my fertility, but it was good to know my health wasn’t an issue anymore. It was a relief to finally be able to take good drugs to get rid of my cold and in all honesty, I think that the general anaesthetic was actually great – I had a good sleep haha. 

*despite my hopes, my periods didn’t get better – they got inexplicably steadily worse

Our secondary infertility story: Part 7 – Clomid

This was written in February 2016. It hadn’t been published yet as I just wasn’t ready. In hindsight I can see that I was clearly more hopeful than I let myself believe. I actually feel quite sad for the February 2016 me because I know she had a lot more to go through before any good news was to be received. This was the beginning of a really rough year. 

You can catch up on anything you may have missed here…

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

In our continued efforts to get me knocked up (we’re hitting the 18 month mark of trying to conceive), I have just started a round of Clomid. It’s basically a medication that is supposed to help stimulate ovulation. I have to take 5 tablets (one each day for 5 days) early on in my cycle and then have scans and I guess the doc tells us what to do next. And by ‘what’, I mean we know ‘what’ to do haha – but he’ll probably advise us more on the ‘when’ etc. Saaaaaah romantic.

I’m nervous. Nervous it won’t work. Nervous about letting myself think that it might. I’m relieved we’re finally trying something definitive, instead of just doing seemingly endless exploratory tests (i.e. blood tests and intrusive look sees galore while not actually trying anything new). I also feel weirdly not fussed by it. Yes, it’s a weird mix of emotions that sound like they contradict each other, but trust me – it’s possible. The not fussed feeling is more that I have become somewhat accustomed to not getting pregnant month after month. It’s not that I don’t have moments where I take it hard, but I’ve pretty much stepped off the rollercoaster of hope vs disappointment. Now I just try to maintain a baseline if you know what I mean. Check in with me in a few weeks…I bet that baseline will be kaput. But I’m trying!

I’ve gone a bit quiet on the whole ‘sharing with people’ aspect of fertility for now. While it’s been so liberating and heartwarming to share our story with friends and family and to feel their support, it’s time to be a bit more shoosh about it a bit. It’s just what feels right for me at the moment. On the off chance that this medication works for us*, I don’t want people to immediately know when it’s happened (I’m still on the side of keeping things quiet for the first trimester – especially after our troubles conceiving) and I also don’t want people feeling like they’re waiting for the conclusion to a cliffhanger episode of their favourite tv show (I mean I am sure I am not as exciting as that but you know what I mean), counting down the exact dates I’m working with, before they find out which way things have gone. I don’t want that pressure! Eep!

People always have success stories to tell me about clomid. Which makes me feel good to hear, but I also know that life isn’t always ‘fair’ so I am reserving any excitement about it**. I hope I can be another success story, but everyone is different and I just want to be really realistic (read: play it totally cool haha).

To be continued…

*spoiler: it didn’t
**probably was a good idea in hindsight

Our secondary infertility story: Part 2 – HSG.

This post was written in October 2015 (about 15 months into our efforts to conceive) while everything was still fresh in my mind. I’m trying to publish the stories that I would have liked to read at the time. These stories haven’t been told by me until now, because it was a sensitive subject that was hard to talk about and I thought it best to wait until it wasn’t so raw. 

You can catch up on part 1 here

I’m quickly learning that sometimes it’s the anticipation of a fertility related procedure that is the worst part. So far I have had an ultrasound (yes – that includes the type where they stick a wand up your hoo ha to get a closer look at things) and today I had an HSG (a procedure where they push dye through your fallopian tubes to check for blockages and stuff – yes – that involves a complete lack of dignity in the hoo ha area too).

I have found both experiences to be very nerve wracking. Waiting to undergo these things was one big mindfuck, to be really blunt with you.

There are two elements to help you lose sleep at night:

  1. Not knowing how you’re going to cope with the physical procedure – it’s quite *ahem* personal and you hope that things won’t hurt or cause you pain or put you at risk of infection (I am a bit sensitive about that because it was an infection that caused me to go into labour some issues when I was heavily pregnant with the Little Mister). You’ve never had some of these things done before, so the unknown can always be daunting.
  2. Not knowing how you’re going to feel emotionally – before, during, after – depending on what the experience is like and what the experts find while they’re exploring/testing. Will the staff you deal with be friendly and have a good bedside manner? Will they explain things to you in a way you understand? Will they make you feel comfortable at such a vulnerable time? What if you get bad news? Is that at least an answer (after spending over a year not knowing what the hell is going on and why you’re not pregnant)? Is no bad news good news? Even if you still have no idea why you can’t conceive?

Today as I was lying there on a big table with my feet up in stirrups, feeling the air on my private parts, I felt all kinds of nervous. The lovely radiology nurse was so good at talking to me – making conversation, showing empathy. I was able to ask questions about the kind of pain I would be dealing with (if any). Nurse people, you are all AMAZING. While I did have a midwife (after a C-section, PUPPP rash, an infection, blood tests out the wazoo and several drips etc) make a stupid comment at me after I had the Little Mister, “Gee, you don’t like pain do you?” I have decided that she was just being a thoughtless cow and it’s OK to cope with the anticipation of something you’ve never had done which might be invasive or hurty in whichever way you need to. For me, asking about the pain level or when I’ll feel the discomfort – having the nurse, phlebotomist or doctor tell me in detail what’s going to happen and what I might feel at each stage is how I cope. It stops me from having an anxiety attack about it all. It helps me to relax. If it helps you too, then do it. If someone doesn’t honour the process you’re going through and how vulnerable you are in that moment, they are in the wrong job. It’s not a reflection on you.

If the nurse hadn’t told me the pain/cramping/discomfort might only last 30 seconds to a minute, I would have freaked out thinking the procedure took longer (it’s not like I’d had it done before). If she hadn’t explained in detail (with warmth and empathy) the process I might have just kept thinking the worst about the words on the consent/information form I’d signed – ‘injecting’, catheter, cramps, ‘side effects’…etc.

I am honestly so overwhelmingly grateful for the people who have been so good to me in this process. The kindness and caring of the staff has been second to none and I admire them so much for bringing that to their work.

In the end, everything happened exactly how the nurse described it might. When it was over in a flash, I was just relieved it wasn’t worse. I was given my dignity back and looked after well.

In both my ultrasound and my HSG, things have come up as seeming to be normal*. Which is great from a structural point of view, but mystifying from a ‘why can’t we conceive?’ point of view!

I am just relieved that I will not have to do any more blood tests or have any more strangers exploring in my private parts for a little while.

I know that it will take a couple of days at least to process everything that’s happened so far. I find that on the day I’m a bit mentally numb, glad I survived a procedure, a little bit weepy, but it doesn’t all sink in for a while as the busyness of getting back to real life kicks in. I just hug the Little Mister and keep on going until I get a moment to myself. Then I let myself bawl, journal it out, use my wonderful support networks. Plan for whatever comes next.

I don’t have my follow up appointment with my doctor until mid-late November. About three weeks from now. I am hoping that he can take all my information gathered from my tests and give us a real direction to head in. I am nervous but excited to actually get started.

*while they didn’t technically see anything wrong, in hindsight I have looked at the X-ray and wondered if the fact that the dye seeped out slower through one of my fallopian tubes could be a factor in my secondary infertility.

Taking Stock: May 2017

It’s May! I feel like this year is zooming by, but I’m not mad about it.

It’s time for me to take stock, like I do every couple of months! It’s a great way to capture what’s happening in an exact moment of my life. I find I actually get quite REAL in these posts for some reason. You would probably find out some little things about me that I don’t mention anywhere else. Or not. Who knows. Let’s find out!

Making: time to catch up with myself on this lovely Friday. It’s lovely because it’s Friday and I have a day off from work or boring obligations!

Cooking: is fun on the weekends but not fun during the week when you’re rushed AF.

Drinking: wine tonight. FOR SURE.

via GIPHY

Reading: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty. I have only just started it. The themes behind the story really resonated with me when I was looking for something new to read, so here we are! I am stoked to actually have something to list here. I am reading more this year like I hoped I would! Not much, but more! Go me!

Wanting: to get to a place in my life where I can commit to anything social/fitness wise/financial without fertility stuff hanging over my head anymore.

Looking: at my Fitbit – I’m charging it right now, so of course I can’t walk anywhere.

Playing: my own music on the way home from the school drop off is the best. I never want to get out of the car because there’s always a good song playing! I think I need a long solo road trip – that would be the best!

Deciding: on what I will do exercise wise today. I think some treadmill time and some Fitness Marshall dance work outs sounds great. I just want it to be fun today.

Wishing: with all of my heart and soul for some fertility success this year.

Enjoying: the quiet. I love the quiet of my house right now.

Waiting: is difficult. I am getting more impatient as I get older, I swear it.

Liking: Instagram stories more now that it’s been around a while longer. I am using it more and looking at other stories more too. I think it’s just an extra procrastination tool to add to my snapchat addiction! I still think they stole it from Snapchat and WTF but it’s growing on me.

Wondering: if the weather will make up its mind about what it wants to do right now. I like that it’s trying to hold onto the warm sun, but I hate that it changes from one extreme to the other in one day! I never know what to wear!

Loving: the fact that I’m finding my own unique style again. Each year I hit a bit of a style slump but there’s no better feeling than picking myself up again and updating my wardrobe.

Pondering: over when I should return to my hair salon and enact the second part of my plan to get really rad hidden rainbow hair happening. I’ve already lightened it once, but I need to go back to get it really bright blonde for maximum fashion colour impact!

Considering: whether or not to start doing afternoon school pick ups through the kiss ‘n’ drop lane. The Little Mister has been nagging me (he thinks it’s such a big kid thing to do) and while the idea of never leaving my car sounds super appealing, a part of me knows I’ve been a bit absent this year at the school with all the fertility shit, so if standing awkwardly at the school gate for a few minutes a day so I get that great after school run-up-and-hug is what it takes to feel like I’m THERE, then I think I’ll do it. Maybe I can pick and choose a few days to do kiss ‘n’ drop when it suits. Compromise!

Buying: jeggings for the first time recently was a little out of character for me, but a great decision (and I can’t believe I’m saying that)! I made sure to buy the ones that basically look like jeans and weren’t too obvious. But the stretchiness of the waistband has been welcomed! My body fluctuates all the time (partly due to constant weird fertility treatment shit and partly because I love food) and I got sick of playing the ‘will I have muffin top today’ game.

Watching: a bunch of stuff on the go on Netflix lately. Chelsea, Riverdale, Designated Survivor. 

Hoping: I’ll get to catch up with some good friends soon. I’ve got a couple of peeps on my ‘must see soon’ list and as soon as my schedule becomes a little more predictable, I can’t wait to arrange something.

Marvelling: at the kindness of strangers. A couple of ladies with really full trollies let me go in front of them at Aldi today because I only had 3 items. They were so nice. That’s the kind of thing that I like to pay forward. I hope I get to do that for someone else soon.

Cringing: at the fact that I had to avoid a good (male) friend at the shops today. I had a bunch of bras in my hand and it just seemed like stopping to chat awkwardly was not something I felt our friendship needed in that moment ? I hid like a big baby in the womens’ accessories section until he was gone!

Needing: a few more nights of good sleep. As always.

Questioning: what amount of cleavage is a classy amount of cleavage. I have had the girls out a little more than usual lately. Slightly lower necklines and the like. Nothing too crazy or inappropes, but it’s kind of a big deal for me. I always worry people will judge me even though they shouldn’t and probably wouldn’t. I think I hid my chest area completely when I got pregnant with the Little Mister and had a bad rash (in 2011) and never got my confidence back again.

Smelling: nothing. No news is good news.

Following: the Facebook page of a local personal trainer who does group boot camps on the beach nearby. Her class times sound really good, I love being at the beach, I need to do something like this, but I haven’t figured out if I can commit yet. So I am watching quietly and biding my time like a really good stalker.

Noticing: that I feel nice and calm today. I’ve needed this after a week full of nervous energy.

Knowing: what I’m doing would be great. Generally. In life. Ha!

via GIPHY

Thinking: about my plans for the weekend. Hopefully I’ve struck the right balance between rest and getting out of the house enough to avoid insanity.

Admiring: people who are there for others, even when they have their own struggles.

Sorting: my wardrobe out still. I’m so excited to actually have clothes to wear this autumn/winter.

Getting: messages from my besties and just talking shit back and forth is always a great part of my day.

Bookmarking: silly videos I find on Facebook that I want to show Mr Unprepared later so he can laugh or cringe. I don’t know if my efforts are always appreciated ?

Coveting: those Dyson stick vacuum cleaner things. Or a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. One day I shall have one. One day. Just not for Mother’s Day. Because that might not go down so well haha.

Disliking: not much right this minute.

Opening: my fitbit app is the first thing I do each morning. I like to see how I slept. Sometimes this is a valuable exercise and sometimes it’s a self inflicted torture thing haha.

Giggling: about my people watching adventures in the school car park (yes my life feels like it revolves around the school car park – can you tell). I see some really great things that make me laugh (in a not obvious way of course).

Feeling: happy right now. In this moment!

Snacking: has been a problem. Mostly because there’s SO MUCH CHOCOLATE in my house right now. I am not normally a snacker or a chocoholic but the temptation is just too great (and the PMS has been real too).

via GIPHY

Helping: myself to relax by having a quiet day seems to be working.

Hearing: birds making noises in the distance. Which is so much nicer than listening to the recent ridiculous night time cat fights (they are not our cats but they think our place is an ideal battleground – gah)!


What have you been up to lately?

Kez Gets Physical: Let’s try that again!

Look, I had great intentions when term 1 of the school year began. I was going to work really hard on being one healthy little mofo and have amazing success like I did at the end of last year.

Then life got in the way.

In hindsight, I really did have some odds stacked against me. While it could be argued that there is still no excuse for not living as healthily as possible, realistically, I was going to struggle. I was sick for half of the term and the other half, I was undergoing intensive fertility treatments (no – I’m not pregnant – feel free to spread the word ?).

The best I could do was maintain my post Christmas weight (an extra kilo or so) and then accept that my diet and exercise routines would be disrupted, with me eventually putting on a second extra kilo for good measure (medically that would have been hard to avoid – long story – won’t bore you).

As we close out term 1 now, I see another opportunity to kick arse. I have a decent gap between treatments and I am so excited to have the freedom and the energy to do whatever the f*ck I want with my body. That’s been the biggest thing for me. Feeling like my body is my own again for a bit. No tests. No invasive procedures or ‘look sees’. Bliss! Maybe my fellow fertility challenged peeps might understand this?

I need to optimise my time and put in the hard yards to get ahead again.

I want to feel fit, strong, leaner and more agile. I also kind of feel the pressure to fit into all my new (slightly smaller) clothes I literally just bought right before I puffed out in the last couple of weeks (most of which was medically unavoidable – again long story).

I am proud of myself because we just got home from a great trip to NSW. Despite indulging a little, I came home the same weight I was when I flew there. I even lost some body fat! Yes!

Moving forwards, here are a few things I want to commit to:

Doing ALL of the work outs

Often I’ve chosen to (or have been advised to) pass on some particularly challenging/awesome looking work outs I’ve seen online etc. It was disappointing but important that I listened to my body. Right now I have no reason to fear anything. That feels so good. I am going to do whatever takes my fancy. I’m going to work my whole body and have fun giving anything a go. I actually crave all the initial soreness that comes with trying new things and I look forward to moving past that soreness and realising that I’m getting stronger/fitter. When something takes my fancy, I will bookmark it and try it at my earliest convenience. I can’t wait to see the difference that occurs in my body when I can vary my routine more. No more holding back. YES!

Avoiding food that isn’t the best for me

I’ve rattled on about this before. I just need to cut down on processed food and carbs and excessive sugar. Same old story. I just need to be more disciplined. I really feel like my head is finally back in the right place to get started again.

Weight loss

While I have a specific goal I’m working towards medium term, I will be happy if I simply lose more weight than I have gained recently. While I have mentioned that I’d like to fit in my clothes better, this really won’t be so much about the numbers on the scale. It will be more about feeling really healthy (mentally and physically) and living really well.

Drinking more water

I admit that I can be terrible at keeping up my water intake. Recently I was medically advised after a procedure that if I didn’t, then I could become quite sick (it’s standard advice for all who undergo this). I forced that 2-3 litres in a day and I honestly do feel better for it and I am glad the habit was created. I am finally out of the danger zone with my health, but I want to continue this regardless. My skin looks less scaly and dry too. I love not having chapped lips – they look waaaay cuter when I put on my lippie!

Documenting my progress to stay accountable

You can follow the hashtag #kezgetsphysical on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, to see how I’m going! If you want to share something you’re up to that I might want to see/try/celebrate with you, then use the hashtag to get my attention! I’d love to share in your journey (yuck – “journey” haha).


OK, so there it is. I’ve so got this (again), right? I swear, if I get sick again, I’m going to get a bit stabby. But we’re going to think positive, aren’t we? Yes we are.

image: GIPHY