Archive for the General Category

still here…

Posted in General, Infertility, Parenthood on 23 August, 2013 by juniper76

I know, it has been over 12 months since my last post.  I’m just not in a writing mood…

I’m not going to write a detailed post about the last 13 months, but will give you a brief summary.

Picking up where I left off last time, my lap ended up falling in the following AF.  For some reason (possibly due to the skin cancer treatment), I O’d CD13 in that July 2012 cycle – early that I’d ever before O’d in my life – so my lap fell on the following CD4.  There was only a small amount of re-growth (mostly on a uterine ligament), so my FS was happy with the state of my pelvis.  The recovery was much quicker, with a couple of days of gas pain being the worst of it.

That was the good news from returning to the FS.  The bad news was my AMH test – just 1.5 pmol/l (0.2 ng/ml).  For those not familiar with AMH (anti-mullerian hormone), low AMH indicates low ovarian reserve and my number was low for a 45yo, let alone a 36yo (as I was at the time).  So we added the diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) to my previous endo diagnosis…

Our FS pushed us to return to IVF and to do another long down-reg protocol.  Everything I have ever read says that the long protocol is not good for DOR, but our FS not only refused to answer my questions and justify his recommendation, but also basically told me I was an emotional and irrational woman who should blindly follow his recommendations…  I was not impressed and, while I will return to him for any future laps (because he’s the best endo surgeon in town), I decided I would get a better treatment for my fertility needs elsewhere…

That was in August last year and I kind of floated in limbo for 6 months…

In February 2013, I finally bit the bullet and called the office of the FS I had chosen to move to… and got a nasty shock!  It was 5 February when I rang and I was told the next available appointment was 8 August!!  Fortunately, I’ve learned to ask about cancellations.  When I asked if there was a waiting list for cancellations, I was put on hold.  When the receptionist returned, I was offered an appointment at 2:30pm that afternoon!  So I could wait 6 months or 4 hours…  I jumped at the earlier appointment!

I’m still amazed that my first appointment was such an overload of information!  I know a lot more than the average fertility patient (although not as much as some) and yet the barrage of information left me somewhat bewildered and the entire appointment was something of a blur…  But, since I happened to be CD2, I was offered the option of starting treatments immediately.  I had my first AFC (4 antral follicles – 2 on each side) and baseline b/w done and started gonal-f injections the next day, in preparation for an IUI.  He also put me on prednisone and clexane as part of my protocol, along with DHEA, melatonin, feldene and a long list of supplements.  In spite of triggering with 4 mature follicles, the cycle was BFN and we have been continuing with IUIs every 2-3 cycles.  Since that first IUI, my AFC has usually been 2 (1 on each side), so it’s a bit of a sad state of affairs…

In addition to my testing, our new FS also ordered advanced testing for DH, including the SCSA (sperm chromatin structure assay, to test DNA fragmentation) and FISH (fluorescent in-situ hybridisation, to test chromosomal information) tests.  Whilst the SCSA returned normal results, the FISH testing showed a high rate of aneuploidy (chromosomally-abnormal) sperm.  Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this problem, aside from donor sperm (which DH is not willing to discuss).

So, at this stage, it looks like we’ve got about a 1-5% chance of giving Amber a sibling, unless we pursue donor embryos (our new FS was also recommending donor eggs in light of my DOR prior to DH’s test results and donor sperm recommendation).  At this point in time, we don’t have the money for donor embryos (or eggs, but could maybe afford donor sperm), so we are continuing with the IUIs for now…  Additionally, there are very long waiting lists for donor eggs and embryos in Australia (there’s a limited supply since our laws don’t allow you to sell eggs, sperm or embryos, only to donate them altruistically), so most couples go to clinics overseas, so we add international travel expenses to an already expensive endeavour…

Anyway, that’s the (infertility part of) the last 13 months.  It all makes Amber seem even more of a miracle than we originally thought…

And speaking of our little miracle, she’s doing well.  We have highs and lows, good days and bad, but overall we treasure having her in our lives (and spoil her rotten).

ps. At my 9 month post-treatment appointment, my dermatologist said there was no sign of the skin cancer, so it appears the treatment worked.  :)

first steps down a familiar road…

Posted in General, Infertility, Parenthood on 6 July, 2012 by juniper76

Seriously, is 2012 not over yet?  I find it astonishing that we’re only half-way through the year.

Picking up where I left off in May… In mid-May we had a small ceremony for DH’s Dad.  It was a Tuesday and afterwards everyone met at the waterfront at Shorncliffe (at one of his favourite spots) for fish and chips.

The following Monday, DH’s mum picked up the ashes from the crematorium, then went to see her Dr and was admitted to hospital.  A day or two after the funeral (she is deliberately vague about when it happened), she had a heart attack.  It was her second in 6 months.  She didn’t tell anyone at the time it happened because she wanted to pick up the ashes first.  The weekend following admission, she had bypass surgery and is recovering well.

The same day DH’s mum was admitted to hospital, Amber started walking.  I was sick and had stayed home from work, so I was lucky to be there for it.  It was also our wedding anniversary.  Busy day!

June was blessedly quiet.  Aside from my incessant coughing.  I could really do without that.  It’s been going on 7 weeks now.  Really, I’d be very happy for it to stop!

But I mentioned a familiar road, and this is where it starts.

In the background of all the drama, stress and tears of 2012, has lurked a familiar foe – endometriosis.  Ever since the d&c in January, I have noticed a return of the symptoms and, with each passing month, there has been a rapid increase in the severity.  Last year my cycles were pain-free; in February I had a small amount of pain and by June the pain had reach “moderate”.  The first time around it had taken 10 years to reach that point; this time it happened in only 6 months.  I decided to act before it returned to “severe” (aka “3 days of searing, incapacitating pain for which codeine is as effective as a breath mint and you’re kidding yourself if you even try to sleep”, but that’s a bit of a mouthful, so we’ll stick with “severe”, shall we?).

This week I went back to our FS for the first time since the IVF that gave us Amber.  The ladies at reception remembered me (or at least pretended to), which made it easier.  It was a bit like coming back to a place you belong, except it’s not a place I want to belong, no matter how nice the people there…

As I predicted (and dreaded), he believes the endo is growing back and that a lap is the way to go.  He used an analogy of lightning striking twice that I thought was a bit awkward and somewhat counter-intuitive, but essentially he said that we know what worked last time, so that’s where we should start this time.

As luck would have it, I was booked into a surgical slot that should be just a day or two before AF is due (currently CD2).  The reason I consider this lucky is that we can’t TTC this cycle because I’m getting my skin cancer treated and the treatment (photodynamic therapy) is known to cause m/c.  The lap would also (probably) have prevented us from TTC, so having both fall into the same cycle seems like fortuitous timing to me…

The funny thing is that, once again, I find myself worrying that he won’t find anything.  No matter what symptoms I feel (even right at this moment, being CD2), I worry he’ll say there was no re-growth and that the symptoms are all in my head, that I need to “suck it up” and get on with my life.  Why am I more worried about being thought of as a hypochondriac than about the endo growing back so quickly?  Do I yearn so much for my pain to be validated by a diagnosis?

Whatever the outcome will be, I have just under 4 weeks to convince myself that “knowledge is power” and that the answers we get from the lap will be valuable, regardless of what those answers may be.

a tale of misery and woe…

Posted in General, Infertility on 11 May, 2012 by juniper76

It seems that is all this blog is at times – bad news, disappointment, grief.

I’ve got all 3 to get off my chest right now.

This has been a very difficult year.  We started with learning of our mm/c in the first week and it hasn’t really gotten any easier.  I still struggle with that loss; I still miss her, even though I know it could never have been.

And then this week started – bad news, disappointment and grief.

I might start with the easy one – disappointment.  Tuesday was my birthday.  Another year older.  In general, I don’t care too much about my age.  It doesn’t define who I am, it doesn’t make me feel better or worse in the morning, it just is what it is.

I found, this year, the approach of my birthday filled me with dread.  I’m scared for my fertility.  I’m scared Amber will be an only child.  I’m scared I’ll never be pregnant again or that we’ll be doomed to lose any pregnancies we do achieve.  I’m worried about my egg quality.  I’m worried about my age, for the first time ever.

To rub salt into the wound, AF showed up on my birthday.  FF tells me it was the start of cycle #50 TTC (cycle #10 TTC#2).

Adding to my worries, I had a lot of cramping.  I’m worried it’s a sign the endo is growing back and am trying to decide whether it means it’s time to go back to the GYN who diagnosed and treated my endo (and did the IVF that gave us Amber).  I’m not ready for another IVF, but if the endo is coming back it could stop me getting pregnant.

Last cycle was also the last opportunity to have a due date in the Year of the Dragon.  I’m not one for believing in horoscopes, but DH & I are both Dragons and we both love dragons. Amber has many dragon toys and her first (unofficial) “word” was “Ra” in response to “What does dragon say?”.  They’re important to us.

We lost a Year of the Dragon baby and I really wanted another.  Losing that chance to have a little Dragon is like losing part of her all over again.  It’s over.

And now I need to write the hard part.  I really don’t know what to say.  There’s so much, such a jumble, a mess…

Bad news and grief…

We received a phone call early Sunday morning.  Actually, we received several, because we leave the phones in the bedroom on silent and we were trying to take advantage of Amber letting us sleep in.  There were missed calls on every phone in the house.

DH’s dad had passed away early in the morning.  It was sudden and unexpected.

We arrived at their house to see police everywhere.  I can’t imagine what that must have been like for DH, to see the front yard of his childhood home full of police.  I found it disconcerting enough.  His dad hadn’t seen a doctor in years, so there was no-one to sign off on cause of death and so the police had to be called; a post-mortem had to be done.

We learned on Tuesday that it was heart failure.  It would have been quick; he wouldn’t have suffered and he was at home, where he wanted to be.

Not quite 5 days later and I find myself sometimes almost forgetting what happened.  I think of us visiting and expect him to be sitting in his chair by the door when we arrive and waving us off from the doorway when we leave.  I wonder if he’ll always be there in my mind?

Maybe it’s because it’s not over?  We have the funeral next week and a family gathering to scatter the ashes at some time later.  I wonder if it will feel real then or if I will still expect to see him?

He was a quiet man – softly-spoken and a man of few words – but, when he spoke, he had such interesting things to say.  I always enjoyed his stories and I regret not hearing more of them.  I thought there was more time.

a bit of fun…

Posted in General on 2 January, 2012 by juniper76

I have 199 approved comments on my blog.  Who wants to be #200?  Tell me about your favourite Christmas present this year.  It can be one you received or one you gave.

We gave my parents a photo book of Amber’s first year and my dad loved it so much he wouldn’t put it down until he had finished looking through it, even though it meant he was missing Amber unwrapping some of her presents.

We also made a photo book for DH’s parents but they haven’t received it yet because our Christmas plans with his family were delayed due to a family member ending up in hospital at 1am on the day we were supposed to celebrate.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday.  I know some of you were in hospital or had plans go awry, but I hope you were still able to make it a special time with your loved ones.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012.

you’d be forgiven…

Posted in General, Infertility, Parenthood on 20 September, 2011 by juniper76

…for thinking I had fallen off the face of the earth.

Oops.

I really don’t know where the time goes?

So, super quick update…

Amber’s doing great!  We have gotten past some initial problems (about which I plan to write one day) and she is now thriving!  She even sleeps through for 10+ hours at night!  She has been doing it since she was 10 weeks old and I’m so grateful!

No crawling yet, but I think that makes me lucky, right?  She has started sitting unassisted in the last few weeks though, so I suspect it’s not far off.

No teeth either, but that doesn’t stop her eating!  We’re having a great time with Baby-led Weaning and she’s getting close to mastering her pincer grip!  Mostly she loves roast pumpkin or sweet potato and even greek yoghurt, but she’ll generally have a go at anything.  Last week she had fun sucking on some roast beef DH cooked.  Here’s a recent picture of her first encounter with corn:

We’re already TTC#2.  It took us 3.5 years to get the BFP that gave us Amber and time is ticking away now that I’m 35…  We’re just hoping we’ll get lucky on our own and won’t have to go back to the clinic.  On the plus side, I’m looking forward to getting back to acupuncture!  It helped give us our first BFP (chem pg), so maybe it can give us a sticky one this time?

Anyway, it’s 10.30pm, so I should head to bed.  My alarm clock will be waking me up in 8 hours!  Maybe 9 hours if she decides to have a sleep in.  ;)

where did the time go?

Posted in General, Parenthood on 6 March, 2011 by juniper76

Wow, how slack have I been?  1 post in January (and not even a real one) and none in February!  How is it suddenly March???

The last 6 weeks have flown by in a blur.  And yet, somehow, each night seems interminably long…

There is so much to write about and so little time.  This is one of the rare occasions that I have a keyboard within reach.  Most of my time on the computer I can only reach the mouse and using the on-screen keyboard to type a blog post would take all day and destroy my last shred of sanity…  ;)

But enough excuses.  Time to make a start on a real post…

2010 in review

Posted in General on 2 January, 2011 by juniper76

Here’s a little review that WordPress emailed out today.  I want to thank those who take the time to pop in and check on what I’ve written.  I know the posts have been a little sparse the last few months, so I appreciate you not getting bored with me.

The email from WordPress:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 44 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 120 posts.

The busiest day of the year was June 21st with 151 views. The most popular post that day was early days….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were fertilityfriend.com, preg.fertilityfriend.com, bellybelly.com.au, stillwaitingformysunshine.wordpress.com, and theloststork.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for amber rains wordpress, amber rains, dagwood dog, amberrains, and laparoscopy with cold.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

early days… June 2010
6 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Laparoscopy Checklist February 2010


3

it’s Ekka time!!! August 2009
1 comment

4

what’s in a name? December 2009
4 comments

5

and today’s magic number is… May 2010
8 comments