Not trying is harder

I did a 180 degrees flip right after my last post. After a long time, I had high hopes for the last cycle. I had pimples all over my face and body, I was tired as hell, and I was even getting bouts of dizziness. I usually had spotting days before my AF begins, but I was expecting AF on Christmas day, but no signs till Christmas eve. So after all the prayers and feeling really blessed in November, I was thinking this is it, I am going to have my very first successful natural cycle. And I was determined to do all my best to make this one last the whole way. Little did I know that all the blessings mean nothing, and all the symptoms were just because of my tiredness due to travel, and due to the change in food. I was looking forward to getting home on boxing day, and my best (late) Christmas present being two lines. So when I landed in the UK for my first transit, I was as excited as a little child on a Christmas eve. But I started bleeding on the plane in the next leg of my flight. Rest of the flight was a blur. I cried on my way home from the airport after landing really early on boxing day. Then slept the day away. Forced myself to get up at 6pm, and help my sister with the Christmas celebrations we had planned.

After that, I decided to take a loooong break from TTC. I have had enough of this mindfuck. I felt like I deserve more. So I am off all my tens of different supplements, off my gluten free diet, I am drinking whenever I feel like, drinking as many cups of tea as I want, and the list goes on.  But unfortunately, I am finding this is not easy either. I am surrounded each and every moment by unexplained grief, and I cannot see the fun side of anything. I am not enjoying the freedom from medications or food and drink restrictions. Perhaps I had ‘something’ to do before this, and now I don’t and that is making this harder. Memories of the little angel I lost just keep coming back. Work is a real escape, but at this time of the year, that is slow too. Retail therapy helps a little bit, but there is only so much you can shop.

At this stage, I am not sure where I am heading next, as all of this is really hard. I want out, at least for a little while, but it seems not trying is harder. I may take a break from blogging too, but maybe not, as this is the only place I can vent. Even though almost no one reads it.


Sorry for the really low note in this post. I really hope that you have a better plans for new year celebrations than me, and you have a great year.

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2014

Looking back at my posts, I see a lot of negativity in all of them. Its true that life felt like shit for a large part of 2014, but there were some highs. The relationship with my husband grew a lot stronger, and that warms my heart very much. I also had a chance to feel how its like to be pregnant, no matter how short it was. I'll always miss my little angel baby, and my tears haven't stopped flowing each time I remember the little heartbeat I heard once, but she has given me hope, and certainty that I want to be a mom. My family and friends who try so hard to support me and not say anything that would hurt me, they have been brilliant. And believe it or not, it feels great to be back at work again.


I'm writing this today, not because my period is just a tinsy wincy bit late and I am hopeful, but because I had been meaning to write this since I reread my last post early last week. I am heading back home, and writing this from the plane somewhere above Brussels (to be published later). The sunset, and the fluffy clouds below calming me right down. It's a bit sad that I'll miss being home for Christmas, but we decided that at our home, we'll celebrate Christmas on boxing day this year, just so that I can be a part of it, so I'm looking forward to it. I was busy with work all week, but took some time to make some elaborate meal plans from the hotel last weekend and my family already has things bought and ready to go for the 26th. I know it'll be very tiring as I land after 26 hour journey, but I think I'll enjoy it anyway. So I'll suck it up and say goodbye to 2014 nicely. Hopefully she'll have (more) great memories for me in these last few days.

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Making Christmas disappear

I am not sure if I was looking forward to this Christmas or not. We, meaning me and husband, and a couple of close knit friends, have had the last few Christmas rotating on celebrating Christmas at our places. Mostly young couples like us. To be honest, I had always liked the part where we made the lovely food and opened the presents. But with the last few months particularly, I am dreading any get togethers with our close friends who are all turning from couple to family one by one recently. So in one way, I was looking forward to the distraction of organising and planning all the food and gifts, while in the other hand, I was dreading another emotional near-breakdown.
Well, I've been put out of my misery - well, almost! I've been asked to travel to work, and I'll be in Romania till the 24th afternoon. 24 hours flight later, I will land in Sydney on the 26th. So, not only will I be flying on Christmas, I will have the shortest Christmas ever due to the time difference. To top it up, someone or the other will be travelling the whole December in our small office, so the Christmas party this year has been shifted to a new year gathering sometime next year. I hope they have some Christmas spirit in the plane itself. Some googling said our carrier Qantas rarely does, so I am not putting my hopes up.

TTC wise, all the travel that me and my hubby have to do for work in the next few months unfortunately means that all the 'good days', we are going to be spending them separately until March (and only because I am not assigned to travel in March YET). We were able to sneak in a week this week by changing dear hubbys plans, and for a long while, this is going to be it. IVF is not even in the cards at the moment. So if this one week doesn't bring in any luck, I am not likely to have a 2015 baby!  That thought is already driving me crazy. No pressure December, but please please please become my favouritest month!!

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Not getting any easier

So, I was back at work this week. On the very first day, I was disappointed that the office was further than I thought from the train station. Minimum 2 hours of travel one way is already making me feel dull.

On top of that, it seems our small Sydney office was showering with babies in the 1.5 years I was gone. 2 of the 3 ladies pregnant (third does not have a serious relationship yet I think), and 3 of the 6 men became new fathers (remaining either already have grown-up children or not into babies yet). So yes, I missed out on the baby express when I left work. Or maybe I just saved myself a LOT of heartache watching all others invite babies in their world.I'm again surrounded by pregnant people - in the office, on the street or train, or in Facebook. I had disabled Facebook because of this, but now that I am surrounded by this in real life, I might as well accept the 'virtual world' and face it head on. 1.5 years ago, I was proud that babies and baby news did not affect me. Now it just saps any positivity I have. Happy moms, either just starting the new journey, or enjoying their children going to school, or inviting their second child - all makes me go green. This may never change, but I better get used to it than try to hide it. I may be permanently recognized as the green lady one day, but so be it. This is my life. I just have to live it.

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A different life

Sorry for disappearing, but I was away from all this for a few weeks. We decided to urgently visit our father-in-law because he was refusing to eat or drink after his second stroke. He is currently living in a small mountain town in India these days (we are originally from neighbouring Nepal). Good news is that his appetite is now lot better, and he is finally taking his medications which he was refusing too before. Bad news is that his memory was affected this time (he hardly recognized me but luckily he recognized his son and daughter and was happy to see them).

The culture out there is totally different to here is Aus of course, so in these three weeks, there were lots of visiting our relatives (while dad rested) and lots of eating. There was no arguing with the elders who fed you there in matters of food (lovingly of course), so gluten-free diet went out of the window. Temping and OPKs were totally out of question. I hardly had the energy to follow my thyroxine routine, let alone my vits and CoQ10 etc. So no IF related crazy routines. What I did have was lots of blessings from everyone for a baby and soon too. If blessings from elders work, there should be some good news in the next couple of months. Guess will just have to wait and see.

I did have a moment where my tears got the better of me. If my last pregnancy wasn't so abruptly ended, I would be in such a different place right now. Instead, my poor baby wasn't even acknowledged, as no one there knows. I was so sorry for both of us. I didn't let anyone see the tears except my husband though.

I am starting my job on Monday so hoping it provides me enough distraction for a little while, as I have no energy to go for another IVF round for now. Perhaps setting up gluten-free diet again is a good excuse for now - that will take a few months. Before we decided to fly, I had booked for a FET but the nurse replied saying they could not book that cycle as I did not have rubella testing done in the past 12 months. No one EVER mentioned it to me that it had to be done every year. If I didn't have to urgently travel at that time, my post would have been a furious one. Instead I am now in a state of mind to test the blessings and try naturally for a couple of months at least. That may change of course, will see.

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Is it the bottom of the pit yet?


Bad news hasn't stopped appearing for us lately. Firstly, my father-in-law had another stroke, exactly one year after his last one. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as last year, and he is about to be discharged today, after about two weeks in the hospital.

The second blow was when DH was made redundant and given 4 weeks notice. There were a lot of redundancies announced at his work place a month or two ago, and we had breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't make the list. But he was suddenly added last week, and given a notice. It was totally unfair as others got lot more notice than him. But then life is never fair I guess. He is trying to find some internal positions to fill, but it is not likely he will get one in such a short period of time.

We had thought of visiting my in-laws when we heard about the stroke, but that was postponed due to this news at work, especially as my father-in-law is stable thankfully. DH and my sister-in-law will be travelling towards mid Nov to meet them. As I expect my job to restart soon, I think I won't be able to make it this time around.

Even if I did have time to go, I am not sure how our plan for an FET in Nov is going to pan out. Of course this natural cycle was a bust. I didn't expect more, as I was totally careless with what I was eating or drinking or doing or thinking...but one can always dream - maybe the gluten free goodness kicked in, so I was free of my IF and we'd have a sticky one - they always said a few cycles after a miscarriage was super fertile. Well, no such luck, as I already have signs of an impending AF. I was hoping it would appear sooner though, so that we'd have the transfer before DH leaves, but like always, I'll have to settle for the second best, and do it alone.

When nothing goes your way, even the onset of hay fever (that you never had before) saps the energy out you. The resolve to start fresh for the next cycle, with proper diet and exercise and happy thoughts, fades too quickly. For now, I will wait until the hay fever settles, and I can enjoy the perfectly cut lawn once again. I don't know how long I'll have to say it, but I still have to take it one day at a time. Otherwise I will just breakdown in front of everyone like I did two weeks ago :(


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Colors of life

Last two weeks were full of celebrations, and lots of food for me. In fact so much that I'd be happy to not see any party food for a while (not happening though, as still more stuff planned next two weeks). Highlight of these weeks was my nephew, who has grown to be the sweetest but the most stubborn 3 year old, and did not stop amusing us with his innocent talk and mischief. I had make cupcakes for his third birthday and used deep cupcake cups made of stiffish paper (not the usual frilly cupcake wrappers). I was overjoyed to see him finish his so quickly, only to find minutes later that he had licked only the icing and thrown the rest into the dustbin saying he's finished! I would have been disappointed had it not been for his sense of accomplishment. Low point of these weeks was watching everyone with their kids and feeling my own emptyness. Trust 'green within' to show it's appearance admist all the fun!  If I was still pregnant, these celebrations would be a totally different experience for me and I couldn't stop wondering how it would have felt.

TTC wise, I did get AF soon after my last post, and had the sonohysterogram last week. All clear. The fibroids I had are not obstructive enough to worry. This is going to be a natural cycle so no high hopes. So I am taking it bit easy on watching my diet and exercising. When I last fell pregnant, I had followed everything I planned to do quite strictly - from diet free of gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, soy etc to regular excercise and lots of prayers and most importantly, belief. I doubt I will have the same ingredients ever again. Instead, I have an ever fluctuating levels in the hope-o-meter and low levels = low resolve for everything else. Only hope for me is if the frozen embiees are lot more resilient. We'll see.

TTC aside, I have talked to my previous boss and literally begged back my job that I walked out of. I need something else to focus on than babies, and what's better than a career? I still have a few weeks before I start, and head back to the crazies behind computer screens and phones at all odd hours, but I am looking forward to it already. I hope I can handle the stress a bit better now after reflecting on my way of working, for so long. I'll need to focus on uping my skills on a few weak areas too. But talking about other things beside IF here, and counting days to something ele is refreshing already for me. Daunting but exciting. Fingers crossed it's the right decision. I have a feeling it is...

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Testing patience

At this moment, what I want from life is pretty simple. I just want to move ahead and stop looking back. All I am needing is for my body to cooperate so that I get AF and start thinking about the month ahead, look forward instead of back, rembering my loss. I will never forget my little angel I never got to meet, but I can't keep feeling sorry for the way it turned out. Why is that so hard, is beyond me. Guess because what I really really wanted in life, I never got easily. So it's just my rotten luck, promising never to leave my side.

I am sad thinking that everyone and everything is as usual, no change, except the hole in my heart. A hole I am trying my bestest to fill by giving it time. But the way my bloody body is behaving, it feels like reopening the wound everyday. Because I always had regular cycles, this wait screams abnormality to me, and that  reminds me of the cause every single day. It's not fair at all when I've been trying so hard to brave it. C'mon life, move forward, or in any direction at all, except back...I really could use it..

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A year in infertility blogsphere

It's been a year full of uncountable blood tests and ultrasounds, few Clomid cycles, 2 fresh IVF cycles, 3 transfers resulting from these cycles, which led to 2 failed FETs, and 1 miscarriage. I'm also 3.5 years into my TTC journey, which has resulted in bucket loads of tears and heartache. Since my recent miscarriage, my heart has remained full, and spills through my eyes with the slightest encouragement from external factors. This 'journey' makes us stronger everyday, but also strips us of our faith and hope, and knocks us down again and again and again after we finally are back back in our feet. It's a very difficult journey, but through the blogs and other online support network, I am so thankful for not feeling alone here. I am always humbled by the strength of the amazing people I've come to know through this year. I'll keep praying that each of our infertility journeys ends soon for us...

As for my TTC update, I am getting used to the idea of waiting one more month. Not only can I do more scans, I'll also get more time for my body to heal. Hopefully we can have one FET this year before we head for our trip. We'll try naturally while we can't do IVF, but of course we won't hold our breath for a miracle those cycles, cause we know better.

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More waiting

I had an appointment with my FS (+Endocrinologist) yesterday, mostly to check my thyroid results she had sent me to do when I got pregnant. The thyroid results were fine, and I was quite happy that my TPO antibodies have been going down since I started the gluten free diet. It is now only 345 compared to 500 in July, and >1000 in March. So I am quite hopeful of this diet bringing good news.

, but the ultrasounds for the dating scan indicated that my fibroids had grown, and my FS wants me to get a sonohysterogram to check that my endometrium is fine. It has to be done after CD6 of my next cycle. I do have the option of doing it in parallel to the FET that I was planning for my next cycle, but there are two catches. Firstly, medicare will not cover the costs of any extra scans etc during an IVF(fresh/FET) cycle it seems..but that's not a huge amount of money, so that OK. Secondly, and most importantly, my FS suggested that I wait that cycle out, and do the FET after that cycle. She said it is necessary to recover completely, physically and emotionally after my miscarriage, so one more cycle where we just do a scan should do it. So she suggested scan in Oct, then FET in Nov, providing my cycles are not completely crazy after the miscarriage. The problem I have with that is that I was looking forward to 'using up' the two frozen embryos I have left this year this year, before going on a 6-week holiday visiting my folks in early December and taking a long break next year from all thing IVF. This of course was with the assumption that the two FETs at the end of this year will not work, same as the two FETs a the end of this year (and with my negative frame of mind right now, I can't expect more of life for now). With this new suggestion, I have my IVF thoughts following me well into my holiday and perhaps into the first quarter of the new year. I cannot understand what my fate is trying to tell me..I am tired of waiting and this uncertainty. With IVF, it feels like I am doing something concrete, but there is so much waiting around IVF, and I am tired of putting my life on hold. I know I will not be OK to overlook what my FS told me and just go ahead with the FET next month. I will also feel bad if I almost six months from now, I am exactly where I am right now. But I think I am still inclined to wait next year, than feel guilty that I wasted an embryo that might hold my future happiness. So I am sure it is just a long wait ahead for me. There is no moving forward.

I am sorry if I have stretched too long today. 2 glasses of wines are taking their effect - it had been a really long time since I last drank. I hope you all have a better weekend and future lined up for you...

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Circle of life

Last week was a pretty dark week for us. I have to warn you that this post will reflect the darkness. Please read it at your own risk.

Turns out, our uncle who I mentioned died unexpectedly in my last post, was actually murdered. Pretty brutally. Maybe a kidnapping gone bad, maybe an ulterior motive, no one knows. This is something that happened only at movies I thought. Can't even begin to imagine what he went through in his last moments. And I can't think of what my aunt and rest of the family is going through right now. 30+ years of beautiful marriage cut short out of the blue by some soulless person. A loving dad and son gone because of who knows what insignificant motive! It happened back home, and with the system there, finding the person who did it may take eons, IF it does ever happen.

I was pretty down last week, but I won't complain of the feelings I went through, as it just is insignificant to what those who were directly affected went through, and are still going through. Although I wasn't that close to my uncle, I am very fond of my aunt (my mom's sister). After I got the news, all I could do from here was to pray to god to give her strength. After my own loss (which just pales in comparison to her grief), I kinda know her pain, which I am sure is at least 10 times mine, and my heart just goes out for her. My mom tells me she is being strong for her children right now, and I am so proud of her for that. It is early days, and the whole town seems to be there supporting them and urging the police to move fast. Unfortunately, reality is that this will all fade, and life will go back to normal for everyone soon. Except for my aunt. And her family. No one, and I mean NO ONE should ever have to go through what's in store for her now. Life is so precious, but some selfish people just forget its value.

I think of her every single day, and keep on praying for her and her family - for strength and that they gets justice soon. Its not enough and I wish I could do more. Life can be so unfair sometimes...

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Trivializing surrogacy and infertility

Last night, I watched Q&A in ABC TV hosting the panel discussion "100% Women 100% Dangerous". There were few interesting topics discussed, but I was appalled by the thoughts of Swedish writer, journalist and activist Kajsa Ekis Ekman as she believed surrogacy is the same as child trafficking and prostitution (see a review of her book here). Having read so many personal stories of people affected by the kind heartedness of people who agree to be surrogates, I was infuriated by the generalization of this matter. I always thought surrogacy was an ultimate sacrifice, and a ultimate gift of love. Having gone through infertility, I could only imagine how much it would mean to the receiving parents. I understand that, like with everything else, commercialization has hit surrogacy as well, and people in poor economic conditions are exploited for this noble (in my viewpoint) cause, but I thought people saw the greater good in all of this.

Because I was left thinking on this topic (and being angry at the journalist) for a long time after the program, I decided to read a little bit on it this morning, and came across an article by Amrita Pande where, as a part of her thesis, she interviews some surrogates in a 'surrogacy clinic' in India (note, Kajsa's a lot of views were based on Amrita's research). Again, I was disappointed by the simplification of the whole giving process of surrogacy at the clinic. The sacrifice plus empowerment felt by the surrogate women were only because of their ability to improve the financial conditions of their families. Nothing about the happiness of fulfilling the dreams of the receiving couple. Still, I get that. Although I haven't faced poverty myself, I have seen it first hand in my own home country. I understand the simplicity of the minds of these people who struggle to make their ends meet. And I respect that.

What I don't understand is the way media treats the parents who are looking for surrogates. It is turned into an inhuman process where people pay for someone else to provide a womb for a baby because they just can't give up having a child with their genetics or worse still, because they don't want to ruin their figure (tsk! tsk! tantrums of rich white people!). They say that if someone can't have their own children, they should either just give up (which is simply too rude!) or go for adoption. I can't be amazed at how people simply suggest that infertile people should just adopt. As if adoption is a simple process that completes in a few months after you choose which baby you want. As if adoption hasn't created issues like kidnapping and child trafficking. As if a lot of those who has chosen adoption or surrogacy hasn't had to take second or third mortgage.

Worst of all, when surrogacy is mentioned, no one EVER first sings praises of a lot of surrogates who do it for free, just because of their greatness of heart, and I really think it SHOULD be.

Again, I don't have personal experience in surrogacy, but I am always raged by people expressing views on matters that they have no experience. Only thing that helps me calm my anger a bit is the fact that I myself was highly opinionated about a few matters until I was humbled by the stories of what infertile women go through.

My update

I didn't expect my first post after the news of miscarriage to be in such an emotional topic. Guess it reflects that I have been extremely moody since I got the news two weeks ago. Physically, I am healing well after the D&C last week. Emotionally too, the healing was lot better than I expected to, as the beginning was quite bad. But I get moments of weakness and extreme sadness from time to time, without warning. Bad news about my uncle's unexpected death and my grandma's heart attack is testing my faith even more. Another unsuccessful job interview added to the frustration with life.  Life is back to how it had been few months before, and I am struggling to stay positive. So for now, I'm living one day at a time.  

3 comments :

With us no more

Thanks everyone again for your thoughts and kind prayers over the last few weeks. Unfortunately its not good news. We had a scan today, and there was no heartbeat. There was almost no growth from last week. So officially, our baby gave up the fight at a growth equivalent to 5w5d. I know the poor soul was struggling from the very beginning...all the low HCGs, fading pee sticks, weak and disappearing symptoms...I'm glad that God was with us and gave our little sprout the energy to fight for so long. I am so happy that I was able to see its heartbeat last week, although it was bittersweet, if you know what I mean. Rest in peace, my little angel baby, you will be much loved by us, and will never be forgotten.

I'm not sure where to from here for us for now. We'll just take it slow. The fact that we have been pregnant this first time has given us some flicker of hope. We'll see...

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Calling in the power of prayers

The dating scan did not go well today. Its not all lost, but its not looking that good either.

I am 7 weeks 5 days according to my calendar. The scan showed a development of 6 weeks or so (I didn't get the exact number of days). The heartbeat is very low at less than 80 bpm. Didn't meet my FS, but the nurses at the clinic have sent me for another ultrasound next week, to check the growth so that they can compare. At this stage, they aren't saying all hope is lost, but they didn't want to give me any hope either, and even talked to me about my options should this turn into a miscarriage....the word I NEVER thought I'd be associated with...

I was kind of hoping for the best, but was prepared for the worst for today, as I had absolutely no signs of pregnancy left since late last week (as in, slight boob pain, slight tiredness, few weird dreams, slightly more frequent trips to the loo, that were worrying me as as being too little, completely vanished!). But I thought it would be either no heartbeat, or it would be all good. I was never prepared to be in this limbo. This baby is keeping me on tenterhooks since the very start... I'm OK with that, as long as the little bub is OK. Oh, please be OK!

I'm asking you all to please, please, please pray for a miracle for this miracle baby this week, beautiful ladies!!

4 comments :

Patience

I have been following the infertility journeys of quite a few amazing ladies in the past year or so, through their blogs, or through a forum that I participate in or through knowing them personally. What is amazing is that, among the 9 of us who had IVF in the last 2.5 months, 7 of us are pregnant! Some had a successful first cycle, while some have gone through quite a lot before they finally got the amazing news, and I have followed their heartache for what felt like ages. But I am so happy with this outcome for each and every one of us. There must be something in the air. Or there must really be strength in prayers. But finally the patience and hope that we refused to give up have finally brought us to the place we all had been dreaming for so long! I know the journey ahead for us is long. But I am excited about sharing the journey with so many inspiring ladies...

Personally, the wait for our first ultrasound is still killing me. Lack of pregnancy symptoms do not help either. I still have sore boobs, but they are slowly disappearing since I stopped crinone last week. I have been taking a nap during the day or early evenings, but its not something that I couldn't do without.

But in the positive side, I am loving the chats I have started having with the baby before going to sleep, or during  the day. We went for an impromptu visit to a friend 3.5 hours drive away on Friday evening, because we heard it was snowing there. We saw the snow fall on our way, and since it was the first snow fall experience for my husband, my 9-year old nephew, and my brother-in-law, it was quite exciting. It didn't snow much during the night and so on Saturday, we made the best of little snow that remained on the mountain nearby, which my nephew loved anyway. Throughout the trip, and the walk in the thin snow, I was imagining a similar experience with my own child not too far in the future, and it was such a peaceful thought. I can't wait to meet him or her already. First, at the ultrasound next Monday. Till then, I just need to bring back the patience I thought I learnt during this IF journey.

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All good

Sorry that I had been out of action for a few days. I caught a nasty flu being passed around in my house, and was completely bedridden and miserable. Good news is that I'm much better now, though still resting.

Even better news is that the beta tripled in the 48 hour test that I did last Saturday. No extraordinary numbers, just enough to keep my spirits high. And I am happy with that. I do use some pee sticks from time to time as a little assurance boost (they are appearing quickly and are dark now). But I've decided not to do any more blood tests. The first US has been booked for 11th August (which is too far!) and we'll just wait for that.

Of course I haven't been all calm and cool. I've been worried about how sick I was with flu. Was I making myself too hot? Was my lack of sleep causing unnecessary risks? Was the weight I lost a bad thing? So many other questions. Only time will tell. I can only do my best to try to recover quickly (all with just home remedies) and pray for the best. I reckon there's going to be a lot of worry and prayers from now on for the little one. For years. But I am also looking forward to the wonderful feelings to savor. I'm already loving the being pregnant feeling, although I have no obvious symptoms yet!

4 comments :

Is positive a positive?

Update: The HCG result this evening was 64. I have no idea if this is too low for me to be worried. For now, I'm keeping everything crossed that the lines get darker soon so that I can breathe a little easier. 

So I gave in just 1 day before the OTD (at 8pm!), and convinced my husband that if its a positive, it'll show in the HPT by then.  So at 10dp5dt, I got my very first two lines in the HPT! I used FRER, as I knew that the ones given by my clinic is not that sensitive. It was not FMU though of course. We were very cautiously excited though, because the second line was lot lighter than the control line.
This morning, the two HPTs from the clinic showed very very faint lines but it was there. But the FRER looked lighter than the night before, so I completely flipped out. I have gone to the doc for a BT, and will know the results in about 6 hours. Till then, I am reading similar stories in the web, and seesawing between 'its all doomed' mood to 'there's still tons of hope, why am I giving up so easily' thoughts. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers people, cause I think I am losing it...

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Isn't it time?

Not much update for me, just waiting until this Thursday to POAS. Keeping my fingers crossed and prayers flowing. Progesterone 'shots' are helping to keep AF at bay, but occasional AF scares are still keeping me awake and worried. Thursday can't come soon enough for me...

In the non-IVF front, we went to a dinner at my husband's friend's place over the weekend. The friend's brother was also there, and during other random conversation about kids, he asked us (quite loudly mind you) if it wasn't time for us to have children? We tried to laugh and shrug it off. But he continued to ask my husband individually so that everyone could hear. My husband just replied with a "Yes", but this person was not satisfied. He turned to me and asked me, "Am I not right, what do you think? Isn't it time?" I gave him the worst brush off laugh that I never imagined I possessed, which was followed with some awkward silence. All of them probably assumed from my laugh, that my husband wanted a child, desperately even, while I didn't. It ruined the mood for me for the evening.  It's none of his business. If it was two three years earlier, I would be patient enough to forgive him for asking once, but even then, I would have still been irritated with him keeping on asking again an again until he got a satisfactory answer! At this point in time, I just couldn't bear it. I can never understand why people can be so tactless! It's probably the culture of our country that makes such question a gesture of 'caring', but after living in Australia for so long, it was just out of place for him. I really hope that when I make a trip back home at the end of the year, I'll have positive news so that I don't have to produce any more awkward laughs. If a 'not so close' friend's brother could make me so uncomfortable, I'm sure there will be so many other 'caring' relatives there who would make me want to burst otherwise.

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Embryo on board!

Yesterday morning, I thought I was going to be slightly late for the Embryo Transfer appointment, so I at first thought of not wearing any makeup at all (not that I wear much makeup, mind you). Then I thought, today might be the first day I met my first son/daughter! So I slapped on a simplistic rather hurried makeup on :)

I had been suggested to bring a comfortably full bladder. Its hard to decide how much makes you comfortably full, as you can only gauge the comfort label closer to the ET rather than when you drink the water. It is always a race against my willpower at the ET itself. We had the lovely Dr who did our first transfer, who is rather through and likes to talk to make us feel comfortable. However, I was in no mood to talk. I wanted it to be over so that I could rush to the toilet. Can't believe that after all the wait, all I could think at the ET was hope it is over soon!

The good news is that the embryo that we had transferred was of good quality. The embryologist said hatching Grade B. I am not sure how a hatching embryo could be anything but grade A, but I don't understand my clinic's grading, so I am not going to worry about it. I was happy with the word 'hatching'. We also had two to freeze. Absolutely awesome!

So now the TWW begins, and all the mental exercise it automatically brings with it. I'll have to try to steer it to the direction that is best for all of us around and inside me :)

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EPU, post EPU

I'll be short.

So we had the EPU (Egg Pick Up) yesterday as planned. No dramas, just smooth flowing. After  EPU, I hardly slept at the recovery theater, and felt like I could walk miles even though I had just got up from being sedated.

The outcome of EPU was somewhat expected. 11 eggs collected (out of 12 follicles seen), 3 of them were of good size, 3 were tiny so probably won't make it, and the rest would be touch and go.

The tiredness hit on the drive back home, and I slept right through, then slept again till dinner time at home. Didn't even bother with the 2l of water I was suggested to drink...

This morning, got an sms saying 6 of them were fertilized. Slightly worse rate than last time, but it was more than just 3, so happy at this stage. Transfer booked for Sunday. I'll keep you all posted of course.

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We're booked!

So we are booked for Egg Pick Up (EPU) next Tuesday. I'm excited, but very nervous and scared at the same time. Mainly because of the conversation with the nurse at our fertility clinic. The story goes like this:
I rocked up to my blood works + ultrasound today at CD11. Things moved pretty fast during the ultrasound, and the first thought I had was 'is that it? think there was only time to find one or two follicles in that duration?' Turns out there were total 12 measured. But only 3 of them are above 10mm - 14, 16 and 16 to be exact. The nurse who explained the results to me compared my result for the last cycle, and the number and growth are lot worse that what they were last cycle. Just for reference, for my last cycle on Nov 2013, Progesterone (P4) on CD9 was 2.6, Estrogen around 4000. US on CD11 showed 4 follies larger than 20, 7 between 15 and 19 and few more smaller ones. But P4 was 3.9 on CD11, and 5.2 on CD12, at which point it was converted into a freeze all cycle.
This cycle, P4 on CD9 was 1 (which is a little reassuring) and today at CD11 was 2.6, but the number of follicles of good size is really disappointing. The nurse was suggesting that we wait a bit longer, do another ultrasound on Monday, by which time the other follicles would probably catch up. But I remembered that my FS had said we should try to do the egg collection earlier this cycle so that P4 does not rise again. So I mentioned that to the nurse, and she discussed further with my FS, and instead of waiting after an US on Monday, we are booked in for EPU on Tuesday. Plus side is that P4 is probably going to be OK on Tuesday. Negative side is that I may not have enough eggs collected or fertilized on Tuesday. I am well aware that quality is more important than quantity. We just need that one miracle embryo. If the number and size of the follicles are a compromise for their quality, then I'll happily take it and not worry a bit. But of course, we'll won't know if that is the case. Its just one of those uncertainties that is an integral part of this journey.
I was much more bloated by this time in the last cycle. All I have this cycle is pretty sore boobs and (sorry, TMI) too much EWCM. And I have no idea what it means.
Hopefully the one watching from above knows exactly what the plan is, and hopefully the plan is good. Till I find out myself exactly what is the fate is for this cycle, I am just trying to keep myself busy by surrounding myself with people I love and books that make me forget. I have got a trial month of Scribd, and it couldn't have come at a better timing!

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The jabs continue

I've been taking Gonal-F since last week, and from tomorrow, I'll start Luveris. That's of course on top of the Syranel that I had been taking. Bloodworks also start soon, and then the Ultrasound. If everything goes well, I'd expect the Egg collection to be next Monday/Tuesday.

(I know I'll jinx it by saying this, so let me touch some wood before writing this, haha)

I have been unexpectedly relaxed this cycle. There were a few small dramas with the jabs hurting just that tiny bit, or me panicking for a few seconds when all the Gonal-F did not go in a single shot, but that's nothing compared to the chaos in my head in my previous cycles - natural or FET or the fresh IVF.

Being a bit busy with your friends and families helped. From cancelled and re-scheduled parties that I had to organize at my home, to my parents selling our family home to buy a new one, to taking hours to get ready for a friend's party and arriving ridiculously late, all helped. Although I did not watch as many games in the World Cup as I planned, following it, and watching it a few early morning helped. I am hoping that looking forward to our anniversary next weekend will help me this week. We haven't planned anything yet, but thinking about a quiet lunch or dinner according to the weather...

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get a successful outcome this cycle. And trying my best to keep the negative thoughts at bay. Hopefully my next post is as cheerful!


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In the IVF bandwagon again

So, I started sniffing since this Tuesday. Syranel of course. I had taken Lucrin (injection) instead of Syranel last time, which was an extra expense, but much less restricted about meeting the 'every 12 hours' requirement, which was so much less stressful for me. I had a bit of a drama yesterday when I headed off for an impromptu visit to the next suburb 20 mins away yesterday evening, and totally forgot about Syranel. So when my alarm started ringing in the middle of the Asian grocery that I was at, I started panicking, and we bought whatever we had chosen till then and turned back home right away. But still 30 mins late. I know there are worse things that could have happened, but the nurse was particular about not getting it more than 10 mins late, so my mind started cursing my lack of organisation of course, which wasn't pretty.

Anyway, besides the Syranel sniffing saga, I am  doing well, no symptoms so far, not sure if that is good or bad. If things go well, I expect to start Gonal-F by the end of next week, have egg collection around end of June, and would know how the cycle went by the third week of July. I can't wait!

 

I feel like I am doing as much as I can this cycle. Drinking enough water, getting enough sleep (not sure if the world cup is going to disrupt that!), walking at least few times a week, carrying on the supplements (Prenatals, Vit D, CoQ10, iron, Vit B12, Folic acid!), and the diet control - no gluten, no dairly, limited caffine, etc. What I haven't managed to do is to gain my weight back yet, but I am still trying. In the end, I guess it will depend on if all the stars are aligned for me on the transfer day, but I am trying to keep up my positiveness this cycle.

Thanks for all of you who have wished me well for this cycle. Your support means a lot to me!

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Marching ahead

We are marching ahead with all guns blazing. Alright, agreed, its not that dramatic. We've just said yes to another IVF cycle. Its another long down cycle, so I collect and start my first round of 'medication' next Tuesday, which happens to be CD20 for me. I have opted for Syranel nasal spray instead of the Lucrin injections, just to save us some money. Lucrin is once a day injection that costs $200 extra, while Syranel is to be used twice a day (around the same time), and is included in the cycle cost.

With my normal 26-28 days cycle, I would be starting Gonal-F after 10 days or so after starting Syranel. My FS also mentioned an additional injection on Day 6 of Gonal-F, but I was crazy enough to not ask her what the injection was, what it does, what the cost was, and how many times I am supposed to take it! From the note that she gave me, the injection looks like Luveris (I can barely read her handwriting), which I have researched as being used to increase the quality of the eggs when the LH is low. I am not aware of what my LH levels were in my last cycle, so I am not sure why this was suggested for me. I have asked the nurses to call me back with some info about the injection I am getting, hopefully I'll get the answers early next week. I will of course be going gluten free and dairy free this cycle, lets see how it goes. I will probably be getting the antibodies checked after the cycle, and then decide weather to continue or not with the diet accordingly.

Speaking of IVF, I mentioned before about my neighbor starting her first round. Well she did, and though she had a dramatic journey because of the cycle almost being cancelled because there weren't enough follicles (they collected 14 eggs at the end!) and having a car accident on the egg collection day, "everything" went well, and she is now pregnant. I had honestly prayed for her, and so was very happy for her. Of course I was bit disappointed about my own cycles in the past now that I could see how "easily" it worked for her, but there were no tears, so pretty proud of myself.

Well, just to get into the routine of walking that is suggested of us Trying To C, DH and I went for a bush walk on Saturday. We started off to do a 3-hour walk near Bundeena, but were lost, so decided to take another route that we found online instead. It was labelled a hard 1-hour walk down to the beach and back. The interesting point was that the route led to one of the legal nude beaches in Sydney (Werrong beach). The path was quite steep, but enjoyable. Best of all, there was only one more couple there, so we decided to ditch our clothes, and feel the salty water the way we never felt before ;) So a life's first, and probably last. But I had good fun. Carefree for a few minutes does your soul some good :)

So, just some more waiting and then the jabs and sniffs (and inserts!) start. Looking forward to the end of it all, here's to hoping that its a really good end!


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What dreams are made of

What a dream...

I had a very strange dream on Saturday night. I saw someone I never expected to meet, as she is with God now. But I used to like visiting her when I was a kid. In the dream, I knew she had gone away, but that instance, in the dream, she had come back. Her family was together and happy again. She was the same kind and loving face I still remember. She didn't talk to me in the dream though. 

I don't know what the dream meant, but I was soon awake, and in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I was suddenly very worried about my future child. You see, for some reason I cannot explain, I had a very good feeling about this natural cycle. So much that although we had made a decision to start on the Long down cycle (revisit the IVF land to be blunt) this month, I asked my husband to let me postpone it a month. All things did not exactly go on plan - the thyroid levels were not within normal ranges still (but not so low that the FS was concerned),  I think I O'ed early, so the weekend getaway we booked was a waste, and I caught cold, although it wasn't too bad. But these things did not faze me. I had a few signs (bodily) that helped me keep my hopes up - I had been asymptomatic for the 5 months past my last egg collection, so this was a welcome change. But on Sunday morning, after the dream, my positiveness took a sudden plunge. My signs disappeared over the day. And today, I got the pre-AF spotting that I have come to hate with a gusto. I am not a very spiritual person, but I am not able to forget the dream and the impact it had on me. Maybe it meant nothing, and it was just me and my head doing its usual overtime. But I'd like to find out someday what it meant...

IVF update

Guess now I am just waiting for AF to arrive so that I can book for next round of IVF. With Long down cycle, the egg collection and transfer is likely to be in July. So few wasted week of just waiting ahead of me.

Talking of IVF, my neighbour that I mentioned earlier was thinking of IVF, told me that she went ahead this month, and it was nice chatting to her after her egg collection last week. She had the transfer yesterday, so I am honestly hoping and praying that she gets her happy ending right away. I would never wish a repeated IVF cycles even on my enemies. Its such an emotional torture. But for myself, I have no choice but to board the train again. And keep my fingers crossed (tightly).

Daydreams

Do you all dream about what your future children are going to be? I, for some reason, always dream about a little girl. I don't have any preference for the gender, all I wish for is a healthy happy child. But my imaginations are of me holding the tiny hands of a toddler with curly hair and wearing a red(ish) frock. Maybe if its a boy, I can still dress him in a frock once in a while just to live out my day dream :) Cause I am sure I will get there one day. Biologically mine, or adopted, whichever it turns out to be. I lose hope and patience from time to time, but never the willingness to keep trying. I will never give up. 

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Listening to the silence at Relano Village, Rylstone

I am sorry all for diverting from the main subject of  this blog, but I had to add an account for my weekend experience somewhere, and I couldn't think of any better location!

This long weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by our weekend trip to Rylstone, a small country town couple of hours drive west from Sydney through the blue mountains. We did face a bit of a traffic on our way there, probably due to the Anzac Day parades, and took a few stops on the way, but that did not dampen our excitement as we waited in the hospital in Rylstone for our host, Jan, to pick us up.

RELANO village

Our accommodation, the Relano Village, turned out to be a series of small pretty cottages, built by the current owner, Jan, in his vast 200 acres or so of land. The main cottage had three good sized bedrooms with very comfortable double beds, a nice kitchen and lounge, and two decking areas. Other cottages included the bar complete with a pool table, the 'Wimbledon Hall' which had a Table Tennis table and some fold-able beds, a cute library with an tiny attic, a BBQ hut with wood-fire barbecue and a table setting enough for 10 or so people, and finally another hut with a bunk bed. There was free welcome drinks, and breakfast was provided, but we cooked our own lunch and dinner which we had brought ourselves. There was also plenty of wood for us to light up a campfire and enjoy it as early or as late as we wanted. 

Initially the plan was for 4 couples to make the trip, but finally, two of the couples decided to bring their kids, so there were 13 of us. But even while all the kids enjoying in their own way, and the parents (or those without kids!) were enjoying themselves, peace prevailed, and I immensely enjoying staying in front of the fire, doing nothing but looking at the millions of stars that appeared in the sky. Seriously, I had never seen so much stars in my life, and felt I was looking at one of the pictures taken by a powerful telescope. I was really impressed.  





Jan Burrie

Jan, our host, is by far the sweetest person I have ever met, and at nearly 80, he managed to surprise us all with his agility, good-humoredness, and his pride in the 'village' and the business that he had built. But more importantly, he was friendly and at ease with everyone, drinking and joking and telling about his life stories to the grownups, and telling interesting stories to the kids and even joining them for a comedy movie in the lounge, laughing along with them. But like a good host, he did not ask too much about our stories, unless of course we wanted to share. He even walked with us in our almost 2 hour walk (see below), and rowed for us!

I have never seen someone so lively and active at such an age, and I hope that I have half his spirit and energy when I am his age! I was truly inspired by him, and he is the main reason I wanted to write about this trip here. 



Activities

On Saturday, we went for a walk in the nearby reserve (Ferntree Gully Environmental Reserve). It was a nice walk with medium difficulty. We first went down a couple of steps and were surprisingly soon in the midst of tropical vegetation, with tall ferns and huge trees and roots between huge rocky mountains. Again, I was amazed by the silence and peace I could 'hear' here. I HAD to stop, stay back for a few minutes and listen to it. It was just too wonderful to put into words.

On our way back, we also went rowing in the lake in the Wollemi National Park, about 1 hour from our accommodation. Here are some snaps of the route and lake itself. Excuse the dark photos as the sun was playing hide and seek all day yesterday, and I unfortunately did not manage to take any sunny ones.


If you are planning to visit Rylstone, the town itself is a small neat row of few small shops including a Chinese restaurant, which I am told sells nice dumplings. Further shops, including a fair sized IGA with a bottleshop, are located in Kandos, less than 10 minutes drive from Rylstone town centre. But I do encourage you to visit Jan in his Relano Village (4263 Bylong Valley Way, Rylstone) if you do think of staying for a day or two. Jan will take reservations at 0428482650.

My TTC Update

Back to my main topic, I am at the start of a new cycle, and I have emailed my clinic to book me in. I am hoping that when I meet my FS on Thursday, she gives me a go ahead. Its going to be a long down cycle, so I still have few days before I start any jabs, but I am already eager to start, just so that I can move on.

During the trip, I did not mention to anyone that I had gone gluten free. So I am sure when I refused to eat this and that, they thought I was too fussy. Hopefully they were in a holiday mood, and so not in the mood to judge me. Even if they did, I am going to not care.


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The Easter Saga

At the start of each weekend or long weekend, or any other holiday, I am surprised at how much the holidays mean to me, although I am staying at home practically doing nothing rest of the week these days. The search for work, trying to improve my skills, or simply obsessing about TTC must be more draining than the 5 days of work I used to do! Anyway, here is what my extra long Easter weekend held for me:

Kids, kids and more kids

It started off with visiting a very good friend of ours, who now has a 3-month old son. It was really nice to hold the small guy and just watch him watch you. Then we went to pick up my sister-in-law, and her 2 and half years old son to spend the Easter weekend with us. The little guy was hilarious, cute, exhausting and impossible at the same time. Through the tantrums and the nursery rhymes and his never ending stories which didn't make sense, we found ourselves laughing and cuddling him a lot. They went back on Monday morning, and I then went on Monday and Tuesday to volunteer at Sydney Royal Easter Show and saw children of all ages, sizes, and temperaments! I was helping children board on/off the Aero Medical Simulator provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Eastern Section), and was amazed by the excitement with which the kids wanted to get on the plane and inside the flight deck, pushing buttons, and trying the controls. Two or three kids persuaded their parents to come back 3 or 4 times, and among them was a small kid less than 2 years old! Its a pity I didn't take my own pictures at the event, but I took a few related pics off their website,  facebook page and twitter below.



The Royal Flying Doctors Service provides excellent service to the Australian community, providing 24-hour emergency support wherever required, but additionally, also provides primary health service and programs to the rural communities, providing medical assistance to over 290,000 people every year. It was an honour to help them out, and if you are interested too, you could support them here, or just visit them in one of their shows or their bases if you are nearby.

Continuing our TTC story

We also discussed this week that we are ready to be back in the IVF train. I am expecting my periods in a day or two, and I will book myself into the clinic when that happens. Its again going to be a long down cycle, so the transfer will probably happen in June. It however depends on my thyroid levels. I have an appointment with my FS, who is also an endocrinologist, on May 1, and I am hoping that by that time, my thyroid levels will have come back to normal as they were quite low last time.

Having so many kids around me this Easter scared me a bit at the beginning, as I felt myself so inexperienced dealing with them, but I got the hang of it soon, and I was even more sure that I wanted this for us sooner if possible.  

Infertility around me

On Saturday, we had the couple from next door and a mutual friend (through DH's work) over for dinner. The friend is pregnant and has gestational diabetes, and while talking about pregnancy in general, I found out that our neighbors were also struggling with infertility, and thinking of starting IVF. The lady had Endometriosis, and that was probably her main cause. We talked about the emotions we go through every month, and how it is so draining, and also talked about how people don't understand and keep asking about when we are planning to have a baby. I have made a mental note to help and support my neighbor out in the process whenever I can, as I really understand how lonely and frustrating the journey can become at times.

Gluten and dairy free living

It has just been about a month since I started this diet, and I am already wondering how people who follow this diet are doing it so gracefully? I am already struggling with what to eat, even though my main diet has always been rice. How do you people manage when travelling? For example, during the Easter show, although I had lunch before I left for my 1pm shift, I was hungry by the time I had my first break, but I couldn't find anything to eat. The gluten free sandwiches were gone, or had butter or cheese. The Gluten free muffin had no ingredients written, so I wasn't sure if it was dairy free (probably not). I was given a breakfast bar one day saying it was gluten free, but next day, they said it wasn't! I had quickly looked at the ingredients before eating it the day before, and it had looked fine to me, but when they said it wasn't gluten free, just flour free, I wasn't sure anymore. The worst part of it was that I asked if they had anything else gluten free, and the woman laughed and said water (I had a water bottle already in my hand!), as if I was following this diet to lose weight, and I was being paranoid, because I obviously didn't die eating the bar the day before! I was lucky to have a few small "samples" of gluten free sausages in the food section at the end of my shift, and bought some dairy free chocolates and a nice caffeine free herbal tree, so at least I wasn't still pissed off when I boarded the train for my 1-hour ride back home. 

My husband has planned a get away with three more couples for this long weekend the coming weekend, and I am already dreading it. I only know one of those couples, and I am not too comfortable restricting where or what they all can eat because of me. I don't even want to have to explain why I am doing this, cause obviously, the first thing a lot of people think about when they hear gluten free is that I am trying to lose weight, and I am the exact opposite. I can say I am not looking forward to it at this stage...


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Officially old and going gluten free

10 years ago, on 04/04/04, I celebrated my birthday, and cut a cake for the first time in my life. At 25, I was at the top of the world. 10 years later, I wasn't looking forward to this day which would mean I am over the 35yo mark - the mark I was determined to not cross before having a family, because I had read of increased risks and difficulties faced by both the mom and the bub, and just didn't want to do it. How life changes your view on things! Now, I just admire the courage with which women (of any age) climb mountains just to be blessed by a child. 

Well, my update is that the results of my Coeliac screening came out negative. Although a biopsy is said to be the sure way to confirm the presence or absence of the disease, I decided against doing a biopsy since I do not have any definite symptoms that makes me think that I may have the disease. At least nothing that Hypothyroidism doesn't explain. So, since this Monday, I am now completely on Gluten free diet on top of the Dairy free diet that I was trying out before, in order to try to rule out any food insensitivity I may have. I didn't think it was going to be this hard though - my main meals almost always consists of rice due to my Asian background, so all I had to do was to healthily snack in between with fruits and nuts and stuff. But that was easier said than done. I have never been a fan of nuts, and fruits, there is a limit to how much I can eat a week. I can't change my fussy eating habits in a week. So what did my gluten free week look like? Besides protein, I ate lots of different varieties of rice based dishes - rice with curries, fried rice, pancakes made of rice flour, rice puffs, rice noodles, beaten rice (specialty of my country back home), risotto and the list goes on. Although that does not sound like fun, I didn't mind that part. However, I found that I am getting hungrier between meals each day. I really need to learn new gluten free dishes, and incorporate them to my daily meals soon.

I did try baking a gluten free cake today using gluten free flour I found in the supermarket. It wasn't the best looking cake, and I mistakenly put a bit more cinnamon than I intended, but otherwise I was pleasantly surprised with the taste. I had read a lot of people say it took them a lot of experimenting to get their gluten free cakes right, so I guess my expectation was pretty low, so maybe that helped! I hope I can improve the post the recipe online after trying to fix a few ingredients soon. I also tried some home made dumplings (my favourite food in the past) using the same gluten free flour, and although it looked great and tested fine, I could not eat a lot of them. And so my journey continues on....

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Moving forward slowly

Officially, since I am on a 'break' from IVF for a while, I should not be here, I should not even be thinking about TTC related things. But of course that is easier said than done. So these are the items that are keeping me sane, thinking that I am still doing something:

Thyroid checkup


I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism back in 2004. Stupid of me, but I did not take any action until 2008, only when I was barely able to keep awake due to my extremely fatigued thyroid. But since then, after taking Thyroxine regularly, it has been in control. Or so I thought. My thyroid levels seem to fluctuate between various tests. Also, I hadn't noticed earlier that my blood test ordered by my FS back in August contained results for Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb), and that it was quite high (>1000 IU/mL, where normal range should be 0-35). So in the last few weeks, I read about TPOAb, and how it could cause infertility (basically, the antibodies could attack the embryos thinking it was a foreign substance). There is no scientific solution yet to reduce these antibodies or reverse the immunity war inside my body unfortunately. However, I came across a few bloggers mentioning that the antibodies may be triggered due to certain food allergies. So, my first plan of attack is to keep my thyroid regularly checked up, and next is to try to eliminate common allergens from my diet. 

Good food bad food

As the first attempt to see if I have allergies to food items, I have gone dairy free for more than two weeks now. Its not been easy for me as I depend on dairy items, I just love them. One of the few Hypothyroidism symptoms that I don't have is weight gain. Instead, I have always struggled with gaining weight. In fact, my FS warned me not to lose any weight. So this restriction of food I love is killing me. So while I am waiting for the fuller control of food to kick in (see next section below), I am feeding myself dairy free food from the fast food nearby to attempt to gain some weight before it falls all over again. It is probably 1 step forward and 1 step back, but I think the real test will be the next stage of my food watching anyway, so I am going to keep my faith in junk food alive till then. 

Coeliac disease screening

Coeliac disease is an another autoimmune disease, this one is caused by intolerance to Gluten (protein found in Wheat, rye, barley, and oats), which in turn causes small intestine cells to be attacked/inflamed resulting of course in low absorption. But besides other symptoms, infertility is one of the known outcomes of the disease. So while waiting for the next round of IVF, I decided to get myself checked for this disease, hopefully to rule it out. I have given my blood sample today, and will probably go for intestinal biopsy after the results are out. One of the requirements for Coeliac disease screening is that I should not be currently following Gluten free diet. But, with or without the test being positive, as soon as the tests for this disease is complete, I plan to go Gluten free. I may not have the actual disease, but I might still have the allergy (to be confirmed). Meanwhile, I am continuing my research on the disease, and Gluten free life. 

If you have any tips on how to maintain a dairy free and gluten free diet, and not break your budget or go crazy, please, I'd love to hear from you!



3 comments :

Because I'm happy.....Not

I had to try and see if writing this out helps. I wrote about my BFN before. I wrote about my faith being shaken, but I was actually still quite calm for quite a while after that, probably because my periods were not here yet. Well, its here now, and with it, the emotions, and positivity went downhill as expected.

Yesterday, two days after my official BFN, my sleep was broken by something at the very early hours of the morning, and the first thing that appeared on my mind was the line from Pharrell William's song 'Happy' - I was 'singing' "Because I'm happie ee ee" in my mind before my mind was sane enough to think anything. A few long seconds later, the next thing that came into my mind was "I wish". Of course, the second thought was the one that suited my circumstances better. Because I started spotting soon after midday.

I think this article sums up quite well what happens after a BFN - Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief" - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, although I did not have those steps distinctly and in that order. Wednesday to early Friday morning, I was mostly in the Denial phase. I was thinking - the two different brands of pregnancy test strips that I used might just had been ruined by the summer heat in the past few weeks (although they were not in direct sunlight of course). Or like the very small percentage of women out there, maybe it won't show in the tests until I am 5 or 6 weeks. Just imagine the surprise my FS gets when I tell her that actually, the test result has changed. Or so many other crazy things like that. The sane side of my brain was saying that my periods is delayed just because I just came off crinone, and although I am a bit late according to my O date, I am still within the 28 day cycles that I sometimes have. But who listens to the Mr Sane Corner?

By the end of Friday morning, Anger had started to creep in, as I could feel what was in store that day. My usual morning prayers were distracted and forced at best. I was mostly asking him what I had done wrong (although someone who saw me praying probably thought I was an epitome of someone with total faith and at perfect zen). The Bargaining phase had started quite early for me, before the official test date for me, as I was not getting ANY symptoms. It continued till Friday afternoon. Reduced or no caffine, more healthy food, water, fruits, nuts, you name it. But by Friday evening, I was thinking what's the point. Depression kicked in quite quickly. I could not see any sense in controlling anything anymore. Wine, here I come. Forget about getting ready for the difficult interview that I don't have a lot of time to prepare. In fact, since we decided to get some time off IVF, maybe I should go back on pills so that I don't obsess about conceiving naturally. I even blamed myself for not taking care of my hypothyroid early as soon as it was detected in 2004. I was young and foolish thought that I am not going to depend on a tablet daily for rest of my life. Without reading into the consequences. I was sure that is coming back to bite me now.  Maybe I deserve it for being so arrogant. I cried myself to sleep. And got angry at my husband that he was not weepy like me (who does that?).

I am yet to get to the Acceptance phase. I am waiting to get the "its going to be OK" perspective. I know it will be difficult as there is no concrete pliean for now, except to wait a bit longer before doing anything. But I know I will at least be counting my blessings soon enough.

Maybe the song was stuck in my mind for a good reason. Even if it is totally opposite to what I am feeling, the music does lift my spirit. A bit.  And I find myself tapping my feet and even dancing to it sometimes. Even though I am feeling sad inside. See, I am already counting my blessing. This time for the Pharrell William's song. Baby steps is what I am deciding to call it.

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happie ee ee





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The ebb and flow of emotions at IVF land - taking a break?

Official test date today. Our clinic only provides home pregnancy tests, no blood tests. And of course, the test was negative...

I woke up very early this morning as I had an initial phone interview for a job at 7:30, and I wanted to do some last minute preparations too. As FMU is preferred for the test, I held 'it' in while I did the pre-test preperations - call on the heavenly powers, take long breaths, etc. After I did the test, it was the longest 5 minutes ever. And I could not believe that at the end of it, it was one bloody line :(  My poor A-Grade embryo! What happened to you?

The job interview was short and sweet, and DH and I took a few moments to express our frustration, and decide on what to do next. We decided that this was taking up too much of our lives, and we will take a (short?) break. Since both the FET's were natural FET's, they could be taken back to back, and I could start the next full cycle as soon as AF decides to visit. But we said, at least lets not do it this month right away. We will take a break from all this.

Surprisingly, my FS called me this afternoon. She had told me in the last appointment that I could do the Antagonist cycle. Today, she mentioned that since my first cycle was cancelled due to elevated P4 levels, Antag may not be the way to go. When I mentioned that I don't want to do another Long Down cycle if there is no other changes, as the P4 may rise again. So she mentioned about giving additional Hg(?) which lowers the risk, and mentioned closer monitoring. Whatever we do, we'll need to plan that cycle so that the potential egg collection is not on a weekend, as the clinic does not do egg collections on a weekend, as so last time, it was pushed back to Monday. I mentioned to her that we were thinking of taking a break, and she told me to inform her whenever we decide to 'resume', so that she can give the clinic a go ahead to arrange stuff for me. Although Antag would have been nice because the actual process only lasts a month, I think I am more comfortable about doing the long down with closed monitoring. The FS mentioned that I do not need to take pills this time for the long down cycle, as I was getting regular periods. So effectively it would be only a bit more than 5 weeks anyway of me doing something for the long down cycle anyway, so it is probably alright.

I'll probably still find reasons to come back and blog. As you never completely give up, even when you are taking a break, do you?

Till then, leaving you a song from Katy Perry - Unconditionally


I am not a hugely religious person. 
But since mid Jan or so,I felt a calling. 
I gave my hope and faith to the Almighty, and as a return, had peace in myself.
The voice of doubt was there, but I felt strong that he will look after me. 

Come as you are to me.
Don't need apologies.
Know that you are of worthy.
I take your bad days with your good.
Walk with the storm I would.
I do because I love you.
Unconditionally

My faith has been shaken again today, but I hope that I can be as unconditional as I know God's love for me is.

And I never thought I would ever convert a Katy Perry song to a religious ballad (a sentimental or romantic popular song, according to the dictionary)! 

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A fun day for a change

For once, I will write about a totally different matter that is not in sync with the blog theme, and is instead about just me having a great time :)
Color Me RAD - https://www.facebook.com/colormerad5kau

I volunteered yesterday (Sunday) in the Color Me RAD 5K fun run here in Eastern Creek in Sydney, in support of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, and felt wonderful. The day started at around 7am, when we volunteers were stationed behind the package pick up booths to distribute the free t-shirts to the runners. Pretty busy, but the fun was yet to start.

Around 9am, we were taken to the first color booth and stationed to 'color bomb' the participants - we were called the "Color Bomb Squad" :). We had boxes of purple colored-corn starch, ready to bomb the participant as they ran through the station. It was heaps of fun, and I couldn't stop laughing as some people tried to sprint past to try to avoid being colored (hah, you wish!), while some were shouting when they were bombed at, while a few others still were walking gallantly through, challenging us to bomb them as much as we can. Few children wanted the color, but were wary of it at the same time. I have never laughed continuously for so long ever in my life. The weather was quite nice and sunny, but not hot, just perfect.

Unfortunately, we soon realized that we were running out of color too soon. I did as much as I could to make it last longer, and soon found a big queue of people asking to be bombed. Of course, I ran out too quickly :( It was sad to see people disappointed that they could not get colored. I admire the spirit of the people, as they were trying to get the color from the color soaked ground, and even rolling on the ground to get the color! I wish I had taken my phone with me so that I could take the photos. They don't seem to have uploaded any recent photos in facebook or their website, so I had to be contented to use a photo from one of their past events above.

After the run, people were dancing to the DJ on ground, while the staff was handing out more color bombs. Everyone was laughing, dancing and having fun. While I waited for my husband to pick me up, I stood and watched them, and felt at peace even with the loud music blasting nearby, and people laughing, shouting and running. I was standing alone and smiling. Have I mentioned it was great fun? I really regret not taking my phone to take the memories with me electronically. I would love to help out next time too. Hopefully there will be more color then! :)

I think I need to mention here that the main volunteers of the event were the Rapid Relief Team (there were only 5 of us who were individual volunteers) . The team has been actively helping out the community in times of need. This was a different type of event for them, where they were just trying to get themselves more recognized. I think they did a great job, managing such a great event. Kudos to RRT!

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Two week wait and the restlessness and self doubt that goes with it

Nothing much is happening these days. Nothing to divert my mind off the single thing I am rooting for. The test is on Wednesday. 4 more sleeps. And nothing aligned to occupy the time in between.

FET definitely feels different than a full IVF cycle. I feel normal without having any shots or medications to take. Sometimes it feels too normal. Almost feels like I am not doing enough, that I am not contributing. Even when I am using up the Crinone that I had left from my freeze-all cycle, twice a day. Even with the constant yucky reminder that Crinone is bringing. Even with the uncountable number of prayers, and forcing myself to think positive. And it doesn't help that I feel no symptoms. No sore nothing. Maybe slightly more tired than usual, but it may just be because I am taking it slow, and not doing much exercise.

It has been slightly easier to be more positive this cycle, as we had an A-grade embryo put in instead of a pretty tired looking one last time. Of course the grading used by our clinic may be quite vague unlike some others that I have heard use grading like 5AA etc, but for me, it enough. For me, it means the Wednesday morning test is going to be that bit more exciting. It means I am going to hold out, and not do any earlier tests. It also means that the days are not going fast enough....


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FET #2

I am not sure why it is so hard to get the inspiration to write here regularly. I guess with each round of disappointment, it gets harder to stay positive and pour my feelings for others to see (maybe, when I start getting more visitors, haha). Afraid that sounding too positive will jinx it. Afraid that sounding too negative will bring an equally negative outcome. I don't know, maybe its just damn excuses that I give for not wanting to do anything productive! Heavens have opened today, and I feel like just enjoying the downpour and kick back and relax, and just let the words flow, so here goes:

We had our ET last Saturday (Feb 15, CD15). This was again an unusual cycle for OPKs for me. The IC's showed positive from CD12-CD14. The OPKs that the clinic provided (the ones where you need to put in five drops in a small round area using a pipette!) were positive CD10-CD13 (I started them on CD10 only unfortunately). I had my first blood test on CD10, and they said I was already ovulating. So absolutely unsure that it means. At least it is now a hattrick that the first day I had blood tests to check for O, I was ovulating. On CD10 this time!! If there is ever going to be any other tests in the future, I am suggesting that I be tested on at least CD8 to begin with for sure.

Anyway, all the 5 remaining embryos were thawed. I got an sms that they all survived the thaw. But no more updates on the day of the ET. I was hoping and praying to god all along that this time its a good quality embryo. For some reason, I was thinking that my ET will be done by Dr Alan - the ET can be performed by any of the doctors in the clinic you see. I was hoping it would be our FS though. So when I saw Dr Alan in the clinic that Saturday morning, I was sure he was doing the ET, and that the embryo would not be of great quality. Of course Dr Alan was in the ET room, and I could not look at the embryo when I went into the room, as I was too nervous and continuously praying. So I was relieved when I finally looked, and the embryo looked a lot better than last time - not the perfect blastocyst, but very very close! The scientist came in and told us it was A Grade! Dr Alan did not use the ultrasound to guide, so the process was over pretty quick. DH did not manage to get the pic of the embryo at the first go. They showed the pic again after it was in the catherer, but it appeared pink - the scientist explained it was because of the microscope where the pic was taken from, but he first joked that its a baby girl. I so hope he was right though. That it is indeed my baby girl or boy that I will hold in my arms soon. Oh I hope so badly.

Post ET, I am yet to feel anything. I am using the Crinone that I had got left from the cancelled IVF cycle, and there were some cramping probably from it, in the beginning. But even that has passed. Crinone is messy, but not intolerable. I am glad we chose not to use it up last cycle, because with the better quality of the embryo, I feel that we have better chances this time. HPT Test day is next Wednesday, CD26. Till then, all I can do is keep my fingers and toes crossed, and not do anything stupid.




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I was right when my heart sank

Bad eggs




I wrote before about how I was disappointed with the embryo quality at the ET, and was feeling guilty about it. I had an appointment with the FS yesterday, and she confirmed what I 'knew' then was true. The embryo's quality was crap. It wasn't even a morula at when it was transferred. More than 10 cells they said in the report. I am not sure why I heard 'near blastocyst' during ET that day (I thought I knew what the embryos were supposed to look like on various days after all the google support that I take!).  


Looking forward

I asked her what I could do to make the quality better if we have to do another IVF round in the future, and she suggested more folic acid (only). I am not 100% sold on that though. I know folic acid means less chances of abnormality in terms of number of chromosomes that are present in the embryo etc, but I am not sure if that affects how the embryos grow day to day. I will add it to my daily routine anyway of course. 

Since I am doing natural FET's, if this round of FET is the same as the last, I can start an IVF cycle right away, so as early as March. She also mentioned that since I have regular periods, I will go through the shorter Antagonist cycle this time. No specific reason, except that its short. I was told, the egg quality/quantity may or may not be better. So, before my 35th birthday, I guess I may have a better indication of if my eggs had been crap all along or not. 

With P4, they will try to have the EPU earlier next cycle, provided it doesn't fall in the weekend, as the clinic does not do EPU's over the weekend! No change in dosage or anything, as I had responded fine in the last cycle. 

Bad batch?

We also discussed about what differences we can expect in this FET that I have booked this month. We discussed the possibility of this cycle being better, but also the equal or maybe higher chances that the embryos are the same or worse quality. One out of 4 lasted to >10 cell stage in the last cycle. There may be a miracle in the 5 that are left in freezer, but there may not be. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. When I specifically asked the question, I was told that I could ask to NOT put the embryos back at ET after seeing the embryo and deciding they are not developed enough. I am yet to find the financial implications of that, and if we would be strong enough to make the decision on that day...

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Everyone but me

Two more couples are pregnant 'around' me. Well, they currently only exist in the cyber world for me, as I haven't contacted them for ages, anyway. I was hoping last week that by this day, I would be secretly anticipating the 12th week when I could really announce to everyone that I finally am going to be a mom.

Instead, the next FET cycle has been booked. Since it was all natural cycle, I won't have to wait out for a month. I have an appointment with the FE on the 6th. I doubt there will be any significant change that she will suggest. After all, it is a first failed cycle theoretically. The nurse has informed me that the first bloods will be on CD10, guess because I had O'ed on CD11, the first bloods day, in my last cycle. So, another waiting game has started. How much more my sanity level is going to drop, its an interesting thought. Guess only time will tell.

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Dreams are just dreams

Every 28 day or so, I debate wether or not to POAS. A day or so after that, I give in every month. While I wait for the lines, I imagine myself telling my DH that it is positive. I imagine his reaction. I imagine my pride and relief. Yes, pride. In proving that, no, I am not infertile. Every month, the imagination is cut short when there is just one line. That's it. Just how my life is. With or without medical intervention. With or without mental strength throughout the month earlier.
I wonder why, and I get no answer. I wish it was black and white instead of unexplained. But no, I get all the signs hinting the cycle might break this month, but they finally disappear into the oblivion, while I am left once more to try smile through it all, and march on to next month of the same thing.
Ok, you get it. I am frustrated. I want out. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as quitting my current job and looking for another. And even that, it seems, isn't that easy in this economy. Being unemployed for 10 months now after walking out of my job, I should know. I feel drained. I feel uninspired. I feel dull. I feel like not feeling anymore. It just sucks.

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Babies, babies, babies

What's with new babies popping up everywhere this January? We went to visit 2 different hospitals to see the new bub and mom in the same day last weekend. Facebook is full of few others, and just today, saw in facebook that my cousin has had a baby. I am not too close with them, so I did not know they were expecting. Just two years or so back, my cousin's parents were really worried that he was getting old without getting married. Within these two years, he's now a dad. I am happy for him, but I think he married someone who is much older than me, and so I am just disappointed that if it could happen so easily for them, why is it proving harder and harder for me?

The official test day was today. As expected, the second line did not appear. I was almost ready for that outcome. But of course I had been praying from the depth of my heart for an overnight miracle, and it did not happen. No AF yet, but I can almost hear the knock at the door. Until then, I have teeny tiny hope at the back of my heart, but otherwise, just waiting for the announcement that it is here to confirm that I have failed again. Second, very very costly failure since I became jobless.

Since it was a natural cycle, I am hoping that they will allow me to go for another FET cycle straight away, but I guess I will know soon.  Also trying to talk to my FS before the cycle is well underway.

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Positiveness through it all

I am noticing that positiveness is becoming the theme of my posts. Either I get pissed off because someone blames me for the lack of it, or I get pissed off because someone is too positive of their own ability to procreate, or I am pissed off because all I am trying to do is stay positive, and IVF pushes me to the other edge. True enough to the theme, this is a disclaimer that today is going to be about the last 'type' of mention of positiveness, or the lack of.

Today is 10dp5dt. My officially test date is in 2 more days. But as everyone in the IVF journey will say, today is not 'too early' although everyone is unique, and for some, BFP (YES, another POSITIVE word that seems to elude from me) can take longer to appear. Anyway, all through this cycle, I tried to push away all negativity, and focus on the divine power as much as my religious inclination allowed. But the little voice kept gnawing at me. It was always there, although I would put the 'religious volume' up as soon as I found it trying to get control of me. At each turn of events, it crept up to my mind saying "what if this means ..?" before I realized, and yelled back that I was not listening to it. But of course the damage was done.

Anyway, back to POAS. Of course it was BFN this morning. I am not sure why I tested today. Of course as soon as I was sure it was BFN, the voice said I jinxed this cycle. I replied 'whatever', but my day was ruined. Another day wasted, as my mind isn't in anything anymore. I guess it will be easier on me on Thursday when I finally tell my husband the news that we didn't make it. Maybe Aunt F will help by coming in earlier. Either way, I am telling myself that this was an experimentation on staying positive, on hanging on hope. Next cycle, I will get myself to focus on something more tangible than controlling my mind. Like proper eating 100% of the time, keeping myself warm (even during summer!) or something like that. Stay tuned to see how that experimentation goes.

Oh alright, I will try my best to not let the little voice win either. After all, my future baby needs someone who doesn't give up so easily!

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