Archive for the Parenthood Category

a long overdue update…

Posted in Infertility, Parenthood on 4 May, 2017 by juniper76

So, it has been a long time.  I guess an update wouldn’t go astray?

On the TTC front, there’s no good news.  I stopped ovulating about 3 years ago, which makes TTC all but impossible without medical assistance (for which we no longer have the money or drive).  I spent a bit of time on the pill to skip periods to manage my endo pain, but had to stop after having a couple of migraines (or risk having a stroke).  Add in that I am now 40, and TTC is pretty much over unless we get an opportunity to try donor embryos.  I have been working hard on accepting our family of 3 will not be growing any further.  I’m very grateful that we were fortunate enough to receive one miracle out of the 10 years we spent TTC…  I know others are not so fortunate.

Speaking of our miracle, she is now 6yo and in her second year of school!  The first day felt like it arrived waaaay too fast, but she has adjusted better than I expected (feared?) and it’s amazing to watch her learn and grow as a person.

We try to not spoil her, but, after all we have been through, it’s hard to not dote on her. She is growing up so fast; this time is so fleeting…

 

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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.

an anniversary…

Posted in Infertility, Parenthood, Pregnancy on 12 May, 2012 by juniper76

It must be time for a happy post, right?

Two years ago today, I had my fifth egg pick-up.  Two years ago today, an anonymous embryologist in a lab created the best gift we have ever received.

If I knew who that person was, I couldn’t possibly thank them enough.

Happy Birthday!

Posted in Parenthood on 25 January, 2012 by juniper76

Happy Birthday my sweet princess.  We love you so much.

brace yourself: bumpy ride ahead…

Posted in Infertility, Parenthood, Pregnancy on 22 November, 2011 by juniper76

Where to begin….?

After what felt like an eternity TTC#1, and with my 35th birthday this year, we wasted no time starting TTC#2.  My first PPAF turned up the week Amber reached 5 months of age and, even though we had agreed to wait until 9 months to start TTC, I was hoping from the beginning.

By the time the 3rd PPAF arrived, I decided to invest in a new BBT thermometer and some OPKs.  I had never used OPKs before, so that was a new experience for me.  In 3 cycles, I never got a +OPK.  I did get some dark lines, just not as dark as the control.  But the temps confirmed O, so I didn’t worry too much about it at first.  After a while though, I started to wonder if I was getting a “weak” O.

The BBTs were more telling though.  I had assumed, since my cycles were much the same length as pre-pg (30 days instead of 32), that everything was back to normal even though I was still breastfeeding.  The BBTs said otherwise.  It seems that short LPs are common when breastfeeding, and, once again, I found myself in new territory.  From the first cycle I charted, I’ve had a nice 14 day LP (except when altered by medicated cycles).  Suddenly, I found myself with a 10 day LP.

This also meant that, even though my cycles were similar in length to pre-pg, I was O’ing later than normal too.  Hmm, seems our timing may not have been too good those first couple of cycles…  >.<

Which brings me to this cycle.  After waiting what-felt-like an eternity, I finally O’d on CD22.  That’s the latest I’ve ever O’d in a cycle (except after a failed IVF).  I was starting to think it would be my first annovulatory cycle (since I started charting BBTs in 2007), but the temps eventually rose….

…then at 7dpo they started to drop.  By 10dpo, I was expecting AF any moment.  My temps were back down to pre-O temps.  I figured we were done….

…then at 11dpo my BBT was back up.  I figured my body was playing silly buggers.  I tested anyway on an IC – BFN…

…then at 12dpo it was up again.  I tested again…

O.O

BFP!

There was a faint line on the IC.  The line on the FRER came up within 45 seconds and was unmistakable!

Today is 14dpo, 4w0d, and the conception indicator on today’s digi said 2-3 weeks.

We saw the GP today and talked him into sending me for a dating scan (because of the late O vs LMP variations in due date).  Hopefully we can get an appointment around 7wks and hopefully we will see a heartbeat.  What a long wait this is going to be!

I forgot how nerve-wracking the first 20 weeks can be…

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.  ;)