I would do anything

I could not sleep much last night. Lots of conversations in my head. I lay wondering why I was at this state of my life. Why almost every day there were tears at the brink of my eyes? Why was my body refusing to co-operate and give me what I wanted? Why I was getting one after another job rejections? And why did I have to leave my job in the first place? And so many more questions I could not find any answers to.

Even after all these months, I haven't regretted leaving my job though. I knew what I wanted (a baby) stronger than getting a raise after working countless overtime hours. And I would make the same decision if I had to choose again. I just wish I didn't have to make a choice though. Because even with the stress, I was very happy with what I had achieved in a short time at that job. Its crushing to feel the pride I built up while in that role, diminish with each time another company tells me I am not suited for their role.

There are a few things I regret about my TTC journey though. For a long time, I was too much focused on eating the right things and checking for pregnancy symptoms than doing the needful at the right time of the month. There were also times when I would start the month with renewed positiveness, but the stress of getting it right that month built up, leading to clashes with my H on the most important day. Guess you could call it performance anxiety on my part, otherwise why would I feel sorry about my disloyal body at that instant?

But otherwise, I do try very hard to give it the best chance every month. Eat healthier, improve our sleep pattern, exercise more, take the right supplements, use the right stuff, or whatever else I found advised as something we should do to improve my chances. I get disheartened with the terrible results of the experimentation (it is just experiment after all, if you think about it technically), but I move on, and try a bit more. After all, no matter what anyone says or thinks, I am here to stick through the journey. I will do anything that it takes.

A song someone posted in their blog, that I found was beautiful, so had to share:


Calling lady luck

I went to a birthday party of a 2 year old today. The boy barely understood what it is about, although he did enjoy when everyone sang Happy Birthday to him, and loved the Thomas cake. But more than the kids, I think the parents enjoyed it. The parents had called all their old friends and their families. I met a lot of people that I hadn't met for ages. And there was my regular group of friends too. All in all, there were 2 pregnant ladies, one who just recently gave birth, and uncountable other friends who had just gone from single, 4 years ago, to married with one or two kids today. It was lovely to meet them, but at times I felt like I was watching them all from the outside and did not feel a part of the group. I was not jealous, and loved playing with the kids, but I was also sad that I was 'left behind' while others moved on with their lives. Everyone there probably had their own stories and worries, but I felt blah, so decided to come here today to pour out my sob story(ies) to compare if anyone cares.

My job hunt

So among the 50 or so people that were there today, and maybe around 30 or so I talked to, there were 7 people looking for a job (including me of course). What's up with that? I probably had the most to whinge though as I have been out of a job the longest. And my wounds are still fresh after another failed attempt of a pathetic job interview last week after applying to more than a dozen jobs in a week. After working for two years as a Project Manager, I guess I am not cut out for a full PM job yet, and too senior to be in a junior PM role. And with each day and each declined (or disregarded) job application, my confidence is just slipping further down, and after 9 months, is almost non-existent. How can anyone trust a PM who is not confident? I pick myself up and force myself to apply to new jobs, but each application is sent with less and less hope of getting me anywhere. If I was 'knocked up' the day I left my job, I would be a in the happy-mother-to-be group today!

My weight

I have two people at home trying to lose weight. The healthy way. I am desperately trying to gain weight, like for my whole life, and "luckily", I also need to do it the healthy way because I am TTC. Healthy meals that help some of us lose weight, and me gain weight instead? I haven't got it quite right yet. I have added the "daily exercise" and "lots of water" bit, but it feels like I cannot find anything to eat that is good for TTC, and also good for my fussy palate. So one day, I congratulate myself that in these 9 months, at least I am 0.5 kg nearer to my goal weight, and the next day, I'm back to the original weight. It was probably that extra litre of water after all. Trust me, gaining weight is as frustrating as losing weight. Or maybe more.

My TTC woes

So after my freeze-all cycle, I need to wait a full month before the FET. Make it two full months because my clinic is closed during Christmas and New Year, and my AF is very likely to show exactly while they are closed, so I cannot start that month. So two months of trying naturally. Maybe even after reading so much about it, we were just doing it wrong the last two and half years. Maybe its just that I didn't have enough CM then. Maybe its just, oh I don't know what. But I have two months of trying to find hope that we "gave up" when we turned to IVF. It is not helping that the IC OPKs are playing tricks on me this month, and showing two lines developing one day, and just one line the next, and then again two lines the next. Does that mean I missed ovulation? Or will it mean I will just ovulate late (and oh oh, it might mean I have a late period that falls after the clinic opens, so that I won't need to wait one more month!!)?

All these things, my mind tells me I have some control over, and will eventually get there - all I need is more dedication, hard work, and a truck load of patience. But I think most important of all is that, I need luck on my side. I cannot wait for 2014. 13 is perhaps not my lucky number. But does lady luck just look at the new year fireworks and decide on which person to move on to? Oh I hope so! Desperately! And that she chooses me, me, me! 


Baby shower

On Saturday, I went to my second ever baby shower. It was for a very close friend of mine, and my cousin (her sister-in-law) was arranging it, so we went early to help. It was nice to see the place transform from a mess of chairs and tables to an exciting blue corner.

A few games, laughs and the nice food contributed by the participants summed up the excitement and felicitations that we felt for the mother-to-be and the little one who will be here soon.

Just a milestone for me, where I was surrounded by baby talk, and baby stuff, but I did not feel sorry for myself, and instead just let myself go and have fun. Well done to my cousin for a the great organisation, and well done to me for not being selfish for a bit and half :)


I am not responsible

During the EPU, just to make a conversation I think, the nurse said that she could not see anything wrong with me, so could not understand why I was there, and that maybe I just needed to pray more. I definitely do not pray much these days, so I sighed inwardly, and thought maybe she was right. Things WERE easier when I had some connection upstairs.

Although I did cry when my closest friend here in Sydney got pregnant, fortunately, I do not envy other women who have babies like some others going through infertility do. I understand when people don't understand what I am going through. I also did not make it a big deal when my best friend announced that her plan next year is to go home and have a baby girl (she already has a 5 year old boy) IF she cannot climb up the corporate ladder like she wants. And this was after we had just discussed how I was getting more an more depressed at my infertility.

However, last weekend, I found myself arguing for an hour or two with my husband's good friend's wife about infertility. The topic was raised because of some other matter, but after I mentioned my frustrations, she mentioned a few tactics that had worked for people whom she knew, including someone who had been declared by the doctor as having no chance whatsoever, and mentioned they had 100% faith and positiveness. She mentioned that she could feel negativity around me, and because I had said I thought no one will be 100% fearless about labour pain and how having children will change our lives, she was convinced these fears, and my lack of positiveness was the cause of infertility, especially since the doctors haven't found any fault so far. And I was trying to convince her otherwise. I told her, I am not going to accept that this is because of me. I am not positive because I have been slowly dying inside. But I am not the one who is killing my chances of getting what I want.

Before we slept, I brought the discussion up with my husband again. He said it seemed what the lady said was probably her mantra, what she blindly believed in, and what she said should make no difference to us. I think I probably have heard a lot of people saying don't worry, it will happen one day, and things like that, and I haven't brooded on it saying "oh yeah, so why not now?" But today, I was unusually upset, because the finger was pointed at me. I should have just brushed off her comments and changed the topic, and saved myself the heartache, but this finger pointing left me arguing unnecessarily to hurt myself more and more.

Hopefully its more a learning exercise for me to not open up to people who I know won't understand...


The dreaded phone call for Freeze-All

I could not make myself come here to do any post for the last couple of weeks. I was afraid of sharing my thoughts and jinxing it first, then I was too disappointed later.

IVF #1

After the first FS appointment at the clinic, I was lucky to start almost immediately. There were hurdles. It looked like I might not get the nurse appointment before my jabs are to start. Or due to my FIL's health scare, it looked like my husband may not be able to make it back to Australia on time. But thinks sorted themselves out. 

The first few weeks of pills were crazy. Felt like I was going backwards, but I knew it was for the best. The Lucrin injections started towards week 3, and I was more excited with each passing day. When I had the next appointment to collect/start Gonal-F, I am sure I almost had spring in my steps! My husband was away, but it was fine. It was looking more and more sure that he would be back on time for the all important egg collection. 

I had my first blood test on 12th (CD10). My husband came back on the 13th. We had a small birthday celebration for him on the 14th. I had ultrasound on 14th. The US was a bit weird - my FS was trying to learn how to do the US, and I was the subject! But the main thing that had me worried was when the FS said they will have to monitor my progesterone, as it might get too high before the EPU, which would mean cycle cancellation!! I was asked to do another round of BT on 16th which was a Saturday. 

The call

A very good friend was staying over the weekend, so we decided to go to movies that Saturday. The nurse had said she would probably call before 3pm, so at 3pm, I relaxed. At 3:30, I got the call inside the theatre :( It was going to be a freeze-all because the progesterone was above their cut off level of 5. They said high level of P4 means reduction in chance of a pregnancy by 50%, and the body will be out of sync for the implantation to be successful. First time in my life, I cried out loudly inside a movie theatre. Ironically, the movie was not sentimental. They had some sad scenes though, so hopefully they just thought I was a crazy emotional person. I triggered that night for EPU on Monday. 

My snowbabies

The EPU on Monday went as scheduled. Small chat with "fellow EPU'ers" in strange surgery gown, followed by a theatre full of too many people to confuse me. Luckily the sedative took over, and I found "14" written on my hand when I woke up. 14 eggs. 9 fertilized the next day. The clinic protocol meant they were all frozen that day, so we don't really know what their qualities are. We have to wait at least one more cycle before we can do FET. Due to clinic closure during the Christmas period, it is likely I will have to wait till end of Jan to start. 

I have yet to feel excited about my snowbabies. My excitement was cut short too prematurely for me. But I know the disappointment will go away, and the hope will come back, and so will my love for my little ones, who are just waiting for me...


Starting IVF: one step forward (or is it?)

The first appointment

Around two months back, we finally decided on the fertility centre to move our IF journey forward. Fortunately, we did not have to wait a long time to get an appointment with the fertility specialist.  On the 4th Oct, we finally met the young FS, who went through our health records, asked us a lot of questions, and when it was clear to us that we were ready for IVF, she said she was OK for us to start straight away. She said IUI is not really something we need to try, as both of had no specific problems. She gave us tons of blood tests to perform, including AMI. Told us to book an appointment with the nurse ASAP, as it took up to a month to get an appointment, and I needed an appointment before I could start the next long down cycle. With the clinic closed for about a month for Christmas, it was important that I start in the next cycle. We both left the building with a happy face, perhaps we both felt that we had finally something positive to look forward to.

The call

That evening, we visit a couple who were very close friends (we didn't tell them about the appointment). Few hours in, we got a call that FIL is being rushed to the nearest hospital  because of a blood clot in his brain. FIL being a heart patient, both of us knew what the risks were. We finished dinner and went home with a heavy heart. The day had started well, but now we had lots of thoughts on our way back. I must admit some of mine were selfish, as  I was wondering if we would be able to go ahead with the next IVF cycle if anything happens. But mostly it was about fearing the worst, and hoping for the best.

The flight

The long weekend was quite dull while we prayed and tried our best to keep positive. We got news that FIL got slightly better, but the full recovery will be painstakingly slow, and not without risks. However, a few days later, his conditioned worsened, and DH decided to fly to India. Luckily, till today it is still good news, and FIL is not that critical anymore, but there is still danger, he is still in the ICU, and he still needs a lot of care. 

We had booked the nurses appointment in the meantime, done all the blood works, and I had even started to take the pills before DH left. I will go the the nurse's appointment alone, and perhaps start jabbing alone too, but I have all my fingers and toes crossed that things are still stable, and DH comes back in time for the EPU. I want that for both of us, but also because if we go ahead, it means FIL is OK, and in his path to recovery. I may not have spent too much time with him, but he is a nice man, and I respect and love him a lot, and really hope and pray that he comes out of this soon. 


Putting things in perspective

Who is worse?

My brother thinks he is unlucky because he has had to struggle a bit more than a few people around him. It pisses me off. He only compares his life with others for the things he struggles in, instead of their life overall. I always say he has to see things in the bigger picture. I'd rather have these small struggles instead of big losses that the people he is comparing to has had, like losing their mom, or getting divorced, or working very hard years for their post graduate degree but not getting any jobs in the end and having to study a field that has no excitement for them. So what if they are able to build their own houses, earn more, or even get some head start in some of the things they did do, and didn't have to wait as long as he did? What they have now are well deserved, me thinks!

What about me?

Having said all that, I wonder if I am doing the same when I am thinking about my own infertility journey? I am reading about so many women who have tried for more than 5-6 years, have done more than 5-6 rounds of IVF, after countless IUI's. I have only tried for 2.5 years. For the first year or so, I am not even sure if we were BD'ing in the right window, as I was busier symptom spotting, and improving my diet than studying up on what I was doing wrong. Then in the second year, I was so busy at work that sometimes I slipped to bed at 3am, planning to get up at 7 or 8 the next day. Of course my DH did not feel like it lots of times when I tried to wake him up at 3am for some action nonetheless. Even if we did do the deed, I am pretty sure 'it' wasn't sustainable at the stress level I was on. So if I am to be brutally honest, I have only wholeheartedly, and with 100% informed mind tried for maybe last 8 months or so. That's what my DH thinks as well. 

But I refuse to believe that I can just wait for few more months until it is around 12. I have done several tests, and the doctors have found nothing to wrong so far. I have had regular cycles all my life, albeit they were on the lighter side (but still OK). I have thyroid problems, but it is under control. I have fibroids, but too small to have any effect. Never took pills, except for a month before my wedding (4.5 years ago) to make sure I did not have periods during my wedding. People on pills have oops pregnancy all the time. People in lots of stress have unplanned pregnancy all the time, and also without knowing the right time to action. So I think I have the right to say 'why me'?

Other side of the coin

Although I complain about IF all the time, I also realise I am lucky that I am in a country where the health system supports me through the various tests I need to perform, and also supports me for the IVF that we have decided to go forward with. I am lucky that I have $$s (just enough) saved off to afford the out-of-pocket costs at a high costing clinic for a few rounds of IVF if need be. I am lucky that I have access to a much cheaper clinic which gives excellent service. I am lucky that I have the most supporting husband ever. I may be jobless and have no bun in my oven, but I still count my blessing everyday for other things. And THAT I think is the difference between me and my brother - counting blessings and staying positive. 

Well, I am not always positive of course. I howl every night that I am greeted by my AF (although I do hopeful POAS anyway, and its the POAS that makes a long sigh escape from me, and tears later that night in front of DH). My heart sinks every time I hear someone is pregnant. Hell, I even cried out loud at a park (deserted, but still) the day one of my close friend announced her pregnancy.  But at other times, I do count my blessings more than feel sorry for myself.


Oh so lovely eggs, how art thee?

When you've been through months of trying to be pregnant unsuccessfully, there are so many what if questions you ask everyday to yourself. I ask if I am ovulating, although my regular periods, and the few 21 day progesterone tests I have done in the past have all indicated that I have. I blame my low CM, and turn to pre-seed. I blame my thin endometrium, although the ultrasounds I had done in the past showed they were fine, and I force myself to gag in pineapple that I hate.

So what did I do this month? I found a fertility centre nearby which offered bulk billing for ovulation tracking. I sais "Yay, this way I can confirm I ovulated!". I got the referral from my GP (who kept on repeating he hadn't heard of this local fertility clinic in his 25 years of his medical profession and won't recommend it, but failed to understand that it did not matter as I am not starting IVF with them, its just blood tests that he could have ordered himself if he was more efficient). I booked an appointment for 23rd September, which would be my CD11, and then waited as patiently as I could for that Monday. Last cycle, I had used a cheapish OPK that I had bought at my local chemist, and hated that it seemed to show positive from as early as CD9, and continued doing so until around CD18, so totally confusing me. This cycle, in addition to the blood works, I decided I would start OPK, but a bit later in the cycle, as I was pretty sure my OD would be around midcycle. 

So yesterday morning, I got out an OPK that I bought from the internet, and peed on it. Hmm, positive. This OPK from the web is as bad as the one over the counter I used last month, I thought. I got ready and went to the fertility clinic. Got another bruise on my already bruised left arm, and came back with a promise from the lady there to call me after lunch. The call was supposed to tell me when I had to go back to them to do another test to confirm ovulation, so that they could tell us when to do the deed. 

Around 2pm, the lady called and told me that my LH level and Estrogen (?) level was lovely, and that we should BD that night and the next night, and before I could understand what was going on, and ask any further questions, I found myself saying OK, thanks, and hung up. What the flipping hell? At CD11 I was already ovulating? If that had always been the case, then the timing we had used in the past cycles were too late! Except the last two cycles of course because I was on clomid, and was told to try every day from CD11 by my Gynecologist.  So I took my phone app out to check my last few cycles, and luckily, we seemed to have BD's around CD11 since last April. So it is not wrong timing that caused us to end up not pregnant in the last half year. Its something else.  Anyway, to triple confirm, I took out the excess First Response OPKs and the cheapie OPKs from previous cycles and peed on them. Two dark lines in both! Hmm, maybe its just the clomid effect that lingered on. 

So I told my husband what needed to be done for the next two nights (and he's always happy to oblige :)).

Unfortunately, unless I can do series of checks throughout the cycle for lots of different factors (which I won't), I don't think I will be any closer to figuring out what is happening. But this morning, the OPKs are still showing two dark lines. Here's to hoping they get lighter from tomorrow. But god forbid, it doesn't, I can already guess what my question to Dr. Google is going to be.


Everyday’s a journey

(I've decided to move my blog from wordpress to blogspot, so moved my very first blog from a few days ago here below:)

True That. Although, everyday now feels like the same friggin journey! Just the phase I am in I guess.
Well, let me write a bit about myself first. I ‘am’ an IT professional in my mid thirties. 6 month before today, I had been working in a nice small company for the past three years. But hell got loose when I started as a Project Manager for a crazy international project. I was working into wee hours in the morning, working into the weekend, and travelling overseas half of the time. To be honest, the country was not that bad, was actually a very popular tourist destination, but I didn’t have time to look around.
Result, my conversation with my husband started become non-existent. We didn’t talk, we just argued about my work hours. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best husband one could get. He has supported me every step of my life, and was my pillar of strength when I struggled coming in terms with my infertility in the past year or two. But I guess he drew the line when I started stressing everyone out with whatever came out of my sleep deprived mind. When two of us finally exchanged less than a few words in a whole week, I knew I had to do something. 
I talked to my boss. Stopped caring so much. Refused to work after certain hours. But then, the project suffered, and I found myself slipping back to old habits again. I was and am a control freak, but getting clients from hell, and a team who depended on me from A to Z didn’t help. So one day, I said enough is enough, my husband and my sanity is more important than this, and I QUIT. Yes, without any other job lined up!
Fast forward 6 months, everyday now is the same struggle coming in terms of another failed job application. Each month is a constant struggle coming in terms with the fact that I won’t be a mom this month either. I find so many people like me in the various forums, but when the news hits, I can’t help but put the ‘why me’ question out into the void. Each time, I slip back my “I’m positive today” face, but each day, it fits less and less on the real me.
No, I’m not depressed. I knew the path I chose to take wasn't an easy one. I had done the math: X months I can support without a paycheck. I knew those same months would be fixated on baby making forums at least 20 times more than before, playing havoc there. But knowing is one thing, actually doing it is different.
I haven’t given hope though. I have my husband right beside me, allowing me to pout, cry, act crazy whenever I want.  And today, I finally booked an appointment with a fertility specialist at a clinic we’ve decided on. IVF/ICSI/IUI, bring it on!