Friday, 30 November 2007


Yesterday I started spotting.
Today it's almost full flow.
A week early, same as last time.
So I pissed on a stick.
One line laughed back at me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

6 more sleeps...

7 days since transfer.
Blood test next Monday.
How early can I POAS?
Should I POAS?

Had a monster, almost-migraine-like headache and nausea [probably pain related] yesterday, and woke with a sore throat and snotty head this morning.

Have had really low and almost constant period-like cramps since transfer. Yeah, I know, possible side effect of the progesterone gel.

Nipples have been quite sore, on and off, but seem to be becoming less so over the last few days. Another possible side effect of the gel, or even Pre.gnyl still loitering in my system?

I'm so confused.
I hate this waiting.

Monday, 26 November 2007


Letter to the pregnant women standing next to me at the music festival on the weekend.

This was going to be a tirade, but I didn't want to sound like a sanctimonious git, so I have reflected on my thoughts a day or two and found that under my initial anger and disbelief my true feelings lay here...

I don't hold it against you that you stood next to me with your large, perfectly round pregnant belly. You could not have known that I was in the hell that is the dreaded 2-week-wait.

I don't hold it against you for making eye contact and smiling at me as you apologised for bumping me with your bump. You could not have known that the day was the due date of the baby I miscarried earlier this year.

Nor, do I hold against you the cans of beer you chose to feed to your unborn child. Our mothers may say their doctors advised that a couple of drinks a week would not harm the baby and could help them sleep.

I don't even hold against you that fact that you continued to stand next to your friends while they smoked joint after joint. Perhaps you are unaware of the effects [even passively ingested] of this drug on the developing fetus.

I do not envy you your pregnancy. What i do envy though is your innocence. Your pure, unadulterated confidence that no matter what you do, you will carry your pregnancy to full term and you will give birth to a perfect, healthy baby. Infertility has stolen that from me and my friends, and I wish we could get it back.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Cycle 9 - Update #2

We have a Blasty on Board!

At transfer, all embies were still going and they were watching 2 for freezing on Day 6.

The empathy-free Nurse told me that all 4 embryo's were A grade. I have no idea what this means exactly, but she has never mentioned any grades before so I am hoping that the extra Pre.gnyl helped and this lot of eggs were much better quality.

But, as we all know this means Sweet FA when it comes down to implantation.

This one is called Billie the Blasty. Please stay Billie, we will give you the best life you could ever imagine!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Egg Pick Up

Had my EPU on Friday with 4 eggs collected. WE did ICSI this time and all 4 fertilised, they will try to grow them to blasty so transfer should be Wednesday. I will find out tomorrow for sure. We are only putting one back so hopefully there may be at least one to freeze.

My clinic does the full general anesthetic during EPU, but I became aware during the op which was really weird. I couldn't see but I could hear people talking and hear myself groaning and wondered why they couldn't hear me. I wasn't aware of any other part of my body, but I could feel the needle [or whatever they use] piercing the wall of the vagina, I felt this about three times and it hurt so bad that when I properly came to in the recovery room I was crying. I told the doc and she told the anesthetist who said it is quite common because the level of sedation is so light.

Anyway, after I had a cuppa and a cold, tasteless sandwich they said I could get up to get dressed. Well when I stood up, a bucket load of bright red blood absolutely gushed down my legs and all over the floor. It was freaky. I felt fine, but had to stay there for another hour to make sure it was just 'pooled blood' and not an actual bleed. All in all, a very strange day!

Yesterday, I met up with a group of IVFers from my clinic and met some really interesting people. There was about 10-12 couples of varying shapes and sizes and ages. One woman was 49 [but looked nothing like it] and was having all sorts of trouble with her egg donor now wanting to be 'reimbursed' [which is illegal in this state]. Sadly, I was one of the veterans. And of course there is always the one who fell pg first time with her one and only embryo. Lucky bee-atch. But she was gorgeous too. Naturally the women chatted away like chimps immediately, but it took the guys a bit longer to warm up. I normally shy away from networking type events [way outside my comfort zone] but I'm glad I went.

Grow little embies, grow, grow, grow!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Cycle 9 - Update #1

Today is CD10

I went in for a blood test and fanny-cam yesterday. The Sonographer did not say a word the entire time which was a bit unnerving - I kept trying to look for things on the screen that shouldn't be there in case she was seeing something she didn't want to tell me. As far as I could tell, the u/s showed lots of follies [but that means nothing as I have PCOS] but there were a couple of good sized ones too.

When the nurse rang, she said I was doing well and EPU will be this Friday, which will be CD12, which sounds awfully early to me. Each cycle I am disappointed by the number of eggs I produce, I know that my Doc prefers a small number of eggs, and so the drug doses and treatment plan he puts me on is all geared towards this. I know this, but I am still disappointed - why is it so hard for me to adjust my expectations about this? Anyway, I just have to hope that my few precious eggs are especially good ones.

Due to the disastrous sperm-binding incident of cycle #8, we are doing ICSI [sperm injection] this time. DH has been taking handfuls of vitamins every day for the last few months to build up his swimmers, and now we are just going to pick out half-a-dozen or so Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps look-alikes, and the rest will be discarded. Quite a waste really.

I always find it amazing, even though I am now a certified cynic after so many failed attempts, that a little bit of excitement and hope starts to creep in about now....

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

And the Angels said... Just Relax

I went to see my Chiropractor the other day, and noticed that he had a pack of those Angel cards in the waiting room. You know the ones sort of like Tarot Cards; you think of a question then pick a card which is supposed to be some Divine Being answering your question. You also know what my question was. The first card said something about having faith in your own abilities, blah, blah, blah, you just need to relax! WTF! I hate being told that!

So incensed was I that I put the card back and picked another. I asked the same question. The second card said that one shouldn't wish for unattainable things, that one should just relax and let the universe bring you what you need, or some such nonsense. Then [oh no it's not over yet my friend] my usual chiropractor was not in and the woman I saw asked lots of questions about what I was doing to reduce my stress levels! Not only did this piss me off further but now I had the horrid word 'unattainable' filling my head. Well, yes ok I am stressed now..! Can I go back to my first card?

I know stress; stress and I go way back. I have experienced stress; the kind of stress that keeps you awake all night in a cold sweat with your pulse racing, causes you to lose a lot of weight really fast even though you're comfort eating like a fool and makes your body stop menstruating for six months. These days I might notice that my jaw is tensed or that I am holding my body in a tense way at times, and have a knot-in-my-stomach anxious feeling, but this is not unusual. Show me a woman doing IVF who is not stressed... even a pregnant one! Impossible, right? So stop telling me to just relax and I'll be fine...

Cycle Number Nine

And they're off and racing on cycle number 9.

Today is CD3. I started sniffing Syn.arel yesterday and begin with the Pure.gon injections tonight. Not sure what this protocol is called but it's a short boost cycle with a small dose of hCG every second day. The extra hCG is hopefully meant to improve egg quality.

Fingers, toes, eyes, legs and fallopian tubes crossed!!

Went to a Melbourne Cup party yesterday, met some lovely people, drank some expensive champagne, had lots of laughs. DH's friend's have an absolutely gorgeous house and are known for throwing a great party [usually fancy dress of some description - luckily yesterday was just racewear + hat]. They had the usual sweepstakes and bets were made on every race, but all proceeds went to a local family [boys aged 3 and 1] whose mother had recently died of cancer. No denying it was a great cause and a lovely thing to do, but it just struck me as being very Oprah....

I am reading OvaGirl's book, and she mentions the loss of innocence that happens for infertile people and the cynicism that kicks in. Yep absolutely agree. Sad but so true...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The verdict is in...

I relented... I rang the empathy-free nurse. Thank God she had no bad news for me and she even gave me DH's results - not only of his karyotype tests but his HIV and Hep tests too. He's planning to sue of course, not for the blatant breach of privacy but for the fact that they have labelled him an "apparently normal male". I too have been tarred with this slanderous "apparently normal" brush.

Hmmm. Normal. What does this mean? I guess it means that we are set to go another round and if it fails we can't blame our chromosomes. But it will not fail. Failure has been removed from my vocabulary. This next one is the one. Its my turn *stamping of foot* I have been very good and waited somewhat patiently but now its my turn.

I should start sniffing in about 2 weeks. Woohoo. Now, where did I leave that spare $5,000.....

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Nothing much is going on here - which I am not complaining about!

Work is frantically busy so DH is the stress ball from hell. Our house is still half burnt down and no work is due to start in the foreseeable future. We can't cycle again until we have received the all-clear from the chromosomal tests. I should ring the nurse to ask if she has the results yet but Doc said he would ring personally as soon as he got them [read; as soon as he returns from his latest holiday]. I would rather know now but on the other hand I would rather hear bad news from Doc than his unfortunate nurse who was born without an empathy bone.

So we do what we always do.... we wait... after all that is what IVF is about, for us anyway...

Saturday, 13 October 2007

8 things you don't know about me...

Oh no I have been tagged.... Topcat wants me to tell you 8 random things about myself, so lets just dive right in shall we.

8. I am going to an Elton John concert in December. There, I said it out loud [kind of..]

7. I used to work in Child Protection, amazing really since I absolutely hate confrontations. Not so amazing that I burnt out within 5 years.

6. I am a huge wimp - I am scared of spiders, heights, swimming where I can't see the bottom, and sometimes I am even scared of the dark!

5. I was sexually assaulted when I was [very] young. This has obviously affected many aspects of my life, one of which is my strong belief in karma - because the mofo died of testicular cancer ;-P.

4. On my wedding day, DH's aunt told me I looked like Kim from Kath&Kim. Hmmm. Noice. Diffrent. Unusual.

3. I am a sucker for a sad movie [Babel is my latest sobber] but I also love British comedy [Black Adder, AbFab, Little Britain].

2. I knew that my DH was my soulmate almost as soon as we met, despite the unfortunate problem of us both being married to other people at the time.

1. I come from a long line of spinster/childless women and am secretly terrified of what the results of my chromosomal testing will show in 2 weeks.

Wow, I wasn't expecting to go so deep, sorry about that! There are so many women on this ride that I would like to know more about, so I am tagging two of them: LL and Bean from BayBeasts.

PS: HUGE Congratulations to Leni who has finally got herself a positive that looks like it will stick. Go Leni!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

To Do List

It is a beautiful spring day here. A few Simpsons clouds in an otherwise faultless blue sky with a light, fresh breeze. My two cats, Scaredy Cat and Super Cat are stretched out on the paving in the courtyard. The most gorgeous little birds flitting cheekily around them. There are just a few blossoms left on the fruit trees and the weeping cherry [above photo taken a few weeks ago], all of the tulips have flowered this year and look just stunning. We have had quite a bit of rain lately so the grass is freshly mowed and green. The crepe myrtle I thought was dead has leaf buds everywhere and the azaleas below it are flowering. Days like this remind me why I love living in the country and having land around me.

However, beautiful days like this also show the areas of the garden I have neglected lately. We are not doing any IVF this month so I really must make time to get out there. When we are doing an IVF cycle there are so many things I can't do - some of them are like 'rules' but others I think are just my superstitions, like not handling cat poo [which can be dangerous for pregnant women] or horse poo [which probably doesn't matter], but it tends to keep me out of the garden a bit anyway.

There are loads of other things I plan to do this month while we are not cycling, such as:
Indulge in a feast of sushi and sashimi and a bottle of wine
Have lots of baths [had one last night - mmmm so relaxing]
Go to the local swimming pool at least once
Fertilise the fruit trees
Clean out the horse's paddock
Set up a compost heap
Have a day at a Spa with the girls [no kids allowed]
Get an exterminator in to kill the flying ants that are attempting to colonise our lounge room
Plant poppy seeds for summer
Walk every day

I will let you know far through the list I get....

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Drama Queen Awards...

And the Drama Queen of the Year Award goes to... *drumroll*.... Evil Stepmonster! *slight smattering of applause*...

Oh my god, I am so overwhelmed. I don't know what to say! I never win anything! Oh there are so many people to thank! First of all I must thank my ovaries for all their polycystic-infertile fun this year, and my uterus for that lovely miscarriage adventure. Thanks also to the electrical fault that almost burnt down our entire house and everyone in it. Oh, and the Screaming Banshee and Loser Boyfriend deserve a huge mention for the total lack of common-sense and responsibility they've demonstrated this year. And last, but not least, my stepson Batman for getting mindlessly drunk on the weekend, borrowing Loser's car and crashing it into a house! Thank you all so much for helping me to win this fabulous award!

My life used to be so quiet. Seriously. Before I met DH I lived on my own in a tiny wee house in a dodgy area of inner-Melbourne. Not so much as a whiff of danger or fear or drama for the whole 3 years I lived there.

Now look at me. All I did was marry a man with 3 kids and a psycho ex-wife, and try to have a baby. My life has turned into a bloody soap opera from hell! I am so sorry you have to read all this crap, but if it wasn't written down I wouldn't believe it...

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Horse Saga

Anyone in the market for a horse?
My step daughter Rose has been horse-mad since she was 8 or 9, we started sending her to riding school when she was 10. DH had horses when he was a kid and has always wanted to buy her a horse, but I thought she would grow out of it, so I said suggested we wait until she was 13. So the week after the fire [July this year] he went out and bought a 15.3h ex-racehorse! Related to Octagonal no less!

We have learnt several things from this exercise:
1. People trying to sell a horse will blatantly lie about its training
2. Thousands of dollars spent on riding lessons do not an experienced rider make
3. A 50kg teenager is no match for a 15.3h ex-racehorse who thinks that said teenager wants him to run
4. Riding Schools use 20 year old half-lame ponies for a reason
5. No-one wants to buy a horse in the midst of an equine flu epidemic

Poor little Rosie, she thought she knew everything about horses, and specifically asked for a challenging young horse who could jump. Unfortunately Daddy took his little princess at her word and forgot she is just 13 years old and only comes here every 2nd weekend. We took him to the riding school for a couple of lessons, the instructors loved him and under their guidance he was awesome. But Rose has lost all confidence in him and won't even brush him. She says he tries to bite and kick her, but I have never seen this and she is rarely with him alone. So I think she is just making sure we do sell him.

I have had nothing to do with horses before, but I have fallen in love with this gorgeous creature. He has such a sweet nature, he whinnies and bolts across the paddock when he sees me coming, follows me around and rubs his head against me. He loves our 2 goats and if they are lying down in the grass in their paddock, he will lie down too as close to the fence as he can get. I have thought about keeping him and learning to ride myself but I don't think horse-riding and trying to get pregnant go together very well?! I will miss him when he goes....

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Mutterings of a mad woman

The Debutante Ball was worse than expected [amazing but true!]. DH and I were put on a table away from the kids, but that may have been a good thing considering the Screaming Banshee's loser boyfriend-from-hell was plying 14 year old Tiger with Bourbon! DH was fuming but handled himself well. It really bothers me that we have such little say in their lives, and I worry so much about what they are exposed to in that house.

Feeling a little unhinged lately. I worry about everything and feel life is out of my control. I cry at the drop of a hat and haven't been in to the office for weeks [DH just brings it all home for me] which is really bad as he is so busy. I just can't handle any stress at the moment. We are still virtually camping in our house and the insurance company appointed builder says he can't start until after the new year. Couldn't they at least demolish the burnt parts of the house so we don't have to keep looking at it and smelling it? All I want to do is bury myself in bed all day and read, read, read. I reckon I could do it too, if only I could train my cats to bring me pots of tea.... Maybe its finally time for some happy pills?

Anyway, on a cheerier note, we had a great meeting with the Doctor this week. He discussed possibilities of why our last cycle was such a disaster - probably the drug cocktail - and went through all our previous cycles. We ran into him at the conference so maybe now he thinks we are serious and deserving of his attention. He is keen for us to try again but wants to do karotype [chromosomal] testing first. DH has been put on my Ele.vit multi-vitamins with a view to starting another cycle November or December, depending on the test results. We will do ICSI next time and add HCG injections to try and improve egg quality. In the mean time I guess I should pull myself together. I'll let you know how I go.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Life goes on

I have just attended a Fertility Society of Australia conference in Hobart this past week wearing my user group hat. Unfortunately I feel slightly jaded for the experience, confused and a bit despondent. Confused because the conference content was so scientific I rarely knew what the f*#k they were talking about, and despondent because when I did it wasn't what I wanted to hear. When you hold a conference for IVF specialist doctors, scientists, embryologists, counsellors etc you don't expect patients to turn up, and when they talk openly about women with my diagnosis and my age they don't talk as positively as they do when you're standing in front of them with hope in your eyes and a big fat cheque in your hand.

I guess one good thing to come out of it is that it's started a conversation between DH and I about what lengths we will go to to have a baby and how much longer we will continue with IVF. DH came to Hobart with me, the gorgeous supportive fella he is, but did not attend the seminars. I must admit that his presence back in the room was distracting when some science nerd was droning on about the results of some study involving monkey sperm or mouse oocytes. There was a bit of wagging and much missed afternoon sex-just-for-the-fun-of-it going on - felt like Uni days again! Not really a holiday for us but a nice break all the same.

Tonight is Batman's (oldest SS) Debutante Ball! Bound to be a blast! Naturally the Evil Stepmother has been relegated to a table in the corner with people she has never met, and will be totally ignored by all three kids lest their mother see them. Not to be outdone - she will be wearing a bright red dress with a plunging neckline and will laugh and smile like she is having a fabulous time, even though she would rather be having a wisdom tooth extraction....

Monday, 3 September 2007

My body hates me...

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

One week down

Only 6 more sleeps til judgement day!

Now that my ovaries have returned to a more comfortable still-swollen-but-not-constantly-aching state, I have nothing to report. I have a headache - but I always have a headache. No other symptoms what so ever. None. Breasts are neither sore nor enlarged. No pelvic cramping. No dizziness. No nausea. No 'gut feeling'. No feelings at all. Is this good or bad? I have no idea.

All of IVF is hard, but this waiting time is one of the hardest.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Embie on board!

Well, blow me down with a feather - it survived!

After a ridiculous wait at the hospital on Monday we met with the embryologist [Felix - definitely a name for the list] who told us that our one embryo was at 6 cells - 'progressing at an acceptable rate'. When we went into theatre for the transfer he announced that the embie had grown and was now an 8 cell. Loving that number 8!

We asked a heap of questions about the 'sperm binding' thing. We got a few answers on the 'what' side - it is the stuff that binds the egg and sperm together to allow fertilisation to take place; it was missing from most of the eggs; and ICSI may have overcome it. But they couldn't really give us much on the 'why' except that it was more likely to have been an egg problem rather than a sperm problem. 2 of the eggs were immature, 5 looked ok, and one was good - yea that was the one that fertilised.

So now on with the 2 week wait. This ride sure is a roller- coaster. Preg test September 3rd.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Lucky 8 update #2

Yesterday was egg collection day. 8 eggs were collected, 3 from the right and 5 from the left ovary. The Dr must have scooped them out with a spoon, because I had more blood and pain than any of my other IVF procedures.

Today I received a phone call from the clinic to say that there was "no sperm binding" so only one egg had fertilised. I'm sorry, once more in English please.... According to the indisputable higher wisdom of i think sperm binding refers to a protein that coats the egg and allows the egg and sperm to bind together.

This leads me to believe that my eggs are duds, which leads me to believe that I have reached the point of "too old" and that there is no hope and that I should just kill myself now and be done with it.

I am booked in for embryo transfer on Monday, assuming that the one that managed to fertilise will manage to still be alive on Monday. Last cycle, out of 9 embyros, only about 4 lived to day 3. So don't hold your breath.

Overall an incredibly sad, crap, and glass-half-empty kind of a day....

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Lucky 8 update #1

So far, so good...

FannyCam yesterday showed about 10-12 follies each side and maybe 6-8 over 10mm. Tonight I start the antagonist injections which I am worried about - everyone says the needles are blunt as and hurt like hell. Oh, this part is just so much fun. Grumpy and headachy today too which sucks, but all the kids are out til late afternoon so might just have to have a little nanna nap soon...

Back for more FannyCam action Monday, but at this stage it looks like egg retrieval will be Wed or Thurs. I am having coffee with a woman I met on an IVF support internet forum on Monday which will be interesting - so much dumb shit going on there lately you wouldn't believe it. Also drama aplenty with DH's ex [the psycho Screaming Banshee] - I would tell you about it but I am trying to ignore it and focus on being a relaxed and healthy broody hen. Its all about ME ME ME!!!! [definitely been spending far too much time on that damn forum lately]

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Lucky Number 8 ?

We have started a new IVF cycle this week, which is attempt number 8. Desperately hoping that cycle number 8 in the 8th month will be a good omen for us. Trying a new protocol this time called Antagonist. Instead of having to down-regulate the hormones with Synarel nasel spray, we start straight away on Puregon injections to stimulate the ovaries then about day 7 or 8 start other injections to prevent ovulation. Goodie, more dart practice for DH!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Long time between drinks

I have been missing in action for a few weeks, but I think a complete mental breakdown is a mighty good excuse!

It all began at 4 in the morning on Sunday July 1st, DH and I were asleep, the two younger kids (Tiger and Rosie) were in their rooms asleep as well, while the oldest (Batman) and 2 friends were in the self-contained flat attached to the house. Batman came running into our room saying the flat was full of smoke. DH pulled on a pair of pants and ran outside, by which time there were flames shooting out of the door and the trees in the courtyard were on fire. Luckily all the boys were out.

The power went out with a bang, I rang for the fire brigade, woke Rosie and took her out on to the street. The skylights melted and the flames shot 30 metres high. More trees on fire. Neighbours came running and yelling. I ran back in to the main house and sent the older boys outside with Rosie, but Tiger refused to leave until his father did. The damn expensive 'non-kinking' garden hose had a kink in it and no water would come out, so DH was running in circles trying to the culprit, while Tiger bravely aimed the hose at the inferno.

We live in a country town, so our fire brigade is made up of volunteers. The fire captain lives just down the street and arrived on foot but it seemed to take such a long time for the trucks to arrive. When they did they arrived in force - 5 trucks, an incident van, breathing apparatus van, 4 police cars, red cross.

The fire captain soon got Tiger and DH out of the house, and so we all stood across the road in various states of undress and watched these huge flames leap into the sky. Those flames are coming from OUR HOUSE! It was so cold, so unreal. Neighbours brought over blankets and coats and offered hot drinks. DH rang the Screaming Banshee and asked her to come get the kids. Tiger refused, but the others all left. Gradually the flames died down, the mood became less agitated, neighbours wished as well and went back to bed.

Around 6am the fire captain told us we could come and look around. Only two rooms of the main house were damaged but the flat was completely gone, nothing was recognisable.

3 things saved our house:
1 - we have a flat tin roof so there was no roof cavity for the fire to travel into,
2 - the flat was a late addition to the house, so there is a double brick wall between them,
3 - the CFA had crews standing by the gas bottles (we don't have LPG here) and the gas tank in Batman's car in the flat's driveway.

Only 1 small thing saved our lives:
1 - the smoke alarm that woke one of the boys in the flat.

I am good in a crisis, level-headed and proactive, but crash really badly. Shock set in late Sunday afternoon after all the insurance workmen, fire investigation people, neighbours and family had gone. I think I cried for 4 days straight after that thinking of all the what if's (I hadn't unlocked the deadbolt on the front door of the flat - what if the fire had been at the back door! What if the smoke alarm hadn't worked. What if the hose had worked and DH had gone into the flat). Then the anxiety hit, a dead weight in my stomach, a feeling of dread that wouldn't go, hyper- alertness especially at night. The house stunk of toxic burnt plastic but I couldn't leave it, I would start to panic if the cats were late in at night. For the first few days we barely ate, barely slept. I am much better now, trying to act excited to the kids about getting a new flat screen tv and new couches and beds. The insurance company hasn't kicked in yet so the house still stinks and we have a fenced off pile of ashes and dead trees in our yard, but I care so much less now for materials comforts.

PS: Needless to say we are back to the IVF drawing board, the Clingons jumped ship the day of the fire (and I really thought that I was pregnant too).....

Monday, 25 June 2007

Waiting Game

The embryo transfer went as well as could be expected Saturday morning, 2 almost blastocysts were implanted. A full bladder is needed to help push the uterus forward so it can be better seen on the ultrasound, so you are told to drink 2 glasses of water 1 hour before the procedure. I can NEVER get this right, I always end up jiggling on the spot and terrified that I am going to embarrass myself [literally] in front of the doctor. One time I had to empty out and start again about 20 minutes before, this time I was next up but was so bursting that I had to empty a little just so that I could walk into theatre. I had heard of others having to do this but never thought it possible but there you go - it is. I must keep up those pelvic floor exercises!

After hospital we headed for the hills on our romantic weekend away. Which actually turned out to be an anti-romance weekend. It started with the notes the hospital gave us - no sex for 24 hours - no spa baths for at least a week. Naturally, sex was meant to be high on the agenda for a romantic night away, and of course our accommodation had a fantastic big spa bath and gorgeous log fire. The fact that DH kept calling our cute little self-contained cottage a 'flat' and asked me in the hospital waiting room if I was itchy because the [hormone-induced] acne on my pale and sickly face made me look like I had chicken pox just added to the anti-romantic feeling. The reason my face was/is pale and sickly is due to the cold I caught last week - the sneezing, runny nose, coughing my lungs up kind of cold. Nice.

Hence, these 2 embryos have been labeled 'clingons', in that hope that despite the violence of my cold they will grip their tiny cells into the sides of my warm and inviting womb and CLING ON for dear life. Well at least until February next year.

After being so good by not giving into stress-relieving, cold-curing sex or spa baths, we went wine-tasting on the way home on Sunday. St Huberts, Chandon, Yering Station and de Bertoli, wow isn't there some money in the Yarra Valley wine industry! The clingons enjoyed Chandon 2003 Vintage Brut and Yering Station 2006 Shiraz Viognier the best.

Pregnancy test on the 4th of July. I am hoping and praying that America's day of independence marks the end of mine. Sing with me now... O, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light...

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Mother of 8

Well haven't I been a busy thing this past week. While on the nest brewing up a nice little pile of eggs, I have spring-cleaned my house (in mid-winter) hosted a first birthday party for my niece, looked after numerous overnight guests, had aforementioned eggs harvested and caught a cold!

The egg collection happened on Monday and netted a tidy 16 eggs. No wonder I couldn't fit into any of my clothes for the party. I felt like an absolute heffalump after the operation too and thought for sure that I would overstimulate but luckily haven't. DH is a bit disappointed that only 8 eggs fertilised [his usual success rate is close to 100%] but considering that I only got 5 last time and achieved a pregnancy with a 4-6 cell embryo transfer we should be over the moon. At least this time we should be guaranteed of at least one growing to a 5 day blastocyst, and hopefully a couple to freeze. My Dr tells me they are getting 60%+ success rates with blastocysts - I must admit this survival of the fittest theory makes me a little uncomfortable, but lets save the ethics of IVF for another day [like after it has worked for me]. I will find out tomorrow how many are still growing and what time the transfer will be on Saturday.

We are staying at a B&B this Saturday night so that should be nice. I don't think you are meant to have sex for 24 hours after an embryo transfer though so that may be a let down [literally] for DH. Most men get more sex when their wife wants to get pregnant but my poor baby gets less.

PS: DH has bought No.1 son a car - looks like No.1 daughter will soon get her pony! C'est la vie

Thursday, 14 June 2007

7th Cycle

Well here we go again... We have started our 7th ART cycle this week. We are madly praying it will be successful and therefore our last cycle. Not being a religious person I have no idea of the origins of the term 7th Heaven, but that is what I am calling this cycle so I hope its a good thing. Maybe I should google it. Isn't it great that we don't have to have any general knowledge anymore - if you don't know what something is or where it is you just jump on the net and google it. DH's kids can't recall their school projects the day after they complete it because they have just copied all the info from internet sites without even bothering to read it. In my day we had to at least re-write it from a book...

Anyhoo, I am getting way off track again. This is a 'boost' cycle so its very short. We started Synarel nasal spray on last Thursday and injections last Friday, and today [Thursday 14th] "FannyCam" revealed 11 follicles on the right ovary and 15 on the left. [That sounds a lot I know but most are probably cysts, still I am hopeful that we should get 8-10 eggs.] Most were quite small <13mm, so I should be able to hold out until Monday or Tuesday next week for collection. I am worried about DH though - he has been sick over the last month or so, catching cold after cold, which is very unlike him - so I don't know what sort of state his swimmers will be in. The Dr says that his swimmers are 3 months old by the time they are needed so I hope he was looking after himself in March!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


DH has learnt his Mother's Day lesson. I got this card from the kids for my birthday this week. How gorgeous is it? Best birthday present ever! I feel so special....

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Mother's Day

Mother's day - Schmother's Day

I hate mother's day, never used to but since the miscarriage I do. Tears made me feel a little better but confused the heck out of DH. I was meant to be able to enjoy the day as a mother-to-be, we could have shared a few special 'I know something you don't know' smirks over the family lunch, or we could even have announced our news as we would have been into the second trimester this week.

DH says I shouldn't look backwards. Yeah thanks honey, that makes everything okay! Oh and by the way, thanks for the acknowledgment of all I do for your children! I really must be evil....

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

What to do...?

I knew this time would come, but now it is here I don't know how to handle it.

13 year old Rose has hit puberty and has started battling with her mother (as we all did). Both of them are strong personalities with very low tolerance levels and extremely short-tempers so the battles are often and nastily fought. Rose speaks to her mother (the Banshee) as she is spoken to and her mother doesn't cope well will this. The Banshee seems to think that the winner of the argument is the one who comes up with the most hurtful comment, and the Banshee hates to lose.

So... she came to stay with us for a week. She did well to last that long with the Banshee calling every night to ask when she would be home, and her older brother conscripted to continue the guilt trip at school. She has gone back now but I think she has achieved some of what she wanted. Both she and the Banshee now know that she is stronger than her brothers and that if it gets too bad at home she will come to us. The power balance has shifted a little, which I suspect will only escalate the battle.

I know I sound cynical but I was a teenage girl once and lots of split families I know deal with these same issues. DH thinks that he is offering a 'safe haven' for the kids to come to because their home life is so difficult, but it is also a great tool for a teenage girl to get her way. The whole time she was here she was on the internet finding horses for her father to buy her, because "I would definitely live here all the time if I had a horse".

Naturally DH wants to buy the horse. Naturally I am not so sure.

The relationship between mother and daughter is a curious one - the ties are deceptively strong. Not to mention the force that is mother guilt. What happens to DH when she chooses her mother over the horse (and him)? What happens to DH and I if she does come here to live and starts battling with me?

Thursday, 12 April 2007

All Over Red Rover

Well that was.. um.. what's the word I'm looking for.. disturbing, devastating, horrific... yes all of the above. The cramps etc started April 1st [quite fitting really] and the next few days were a horrible mess. I was feeling extremely fragile and just wanted to be left alone, but my parents came to visit and DH couldn't manage to keep the kids away even for just a few days!!

Anyhoo, we are speaking again now. We went away for Easter, just the two of us, and I am starting to feel somewhat sane and in control of my emotions again. I am always amazed at the restorative powers of the sea on the human soul.

I had appt with my Dr yesterday. He was all positive "well you have proven you can do it now" and I was all negative "the only thing this has proven to me is that my body does not like babies". My hormone levels are back down to normal, so Dr and DH are keen to start another cycle when AF next appears. Once bitten, twice shy - I'm still a bit hesitant and wonder if we should wait another month. I'll think about it over the next few weeks...

Friday, 30 March 2007

IVF Rollercoaster Ride

OMG this IVF rollercoaster ride beats the pants off the Lethal Weapon ride at Movie World on the Gold Coast. All that hanging upside down bizo... ho hum... this IVF ride is far more extreme.

Well, last post was Friday 16th, feeling groovy. Got home about midnight after dinner with friends to find that Aunt Flo had arrived. Cried, went to bed, got up and went to Mums for the weekend. Aunt Flo was with us the whole time. Our 6th failed attempt.

Monday morning went to pregnancy blood test like a good girl even though I knew the answer, rang nurse at appointed time like a good girl even though I knew the answer..... but I had no bloody idea of the answer - BLOOD TEST SAYS I'M PREGNANT! 4 weeks and 2 days. Beta HCG levels 138, Progesterone 40.5. Estimated Due Date 24 November 2007.

Spent ages on the net finding several sites that agree that some women do indeed bleed during early pregnancy and go on to deliver bouncing babes. That night we do a home pregnancy test, DH has to get the torch to see the faint second line, but its there! In the morning the line is darker! DH and I decide that I will be one of those aforementioned fertile goddesses and shock wears off to excitement. I ring and tell my mother the good news.

I have another blood test on Thursday 22nd [they charge me $96 for being cynical - fine, I deserved it]. Still pregnant! Beta HCG levels 434, progesterone 37.2. Doubling at a rate of 1.8 days. Beautiful. Perfect. Organise 6.5 week ultrasound appointment for April 3rd. I cry happy tears - I have waited so long for this. We go out and celebrate.

Woke up Friday morning early with abdominal cramps, small amount of fresh blood but old blood and cramping all day. Ring IVF nurse who says to ring Doctor. Doctor is on holiday [for something completely different] so his nurse says increase progesterone gel and 'wait and see'. Cramps and blood gone by Saturday, breasts sore, hair weirdly oily, hungry... all good signs. Believe we are all back on track. Start discussing life with baby.

Blood test again yesterday, Thursday 29th. Usual IVF nurse is away [!?] another nurse tell me THE NEWS IS NOT GOOD. Beta HCG levels back down to 220, progesterone 72. "Your levels are probably only that high because the progesterone is so [artificially] high. You will probably miscarry naturally when you stop using the gel."

I ring Doctor [still away] his nurse says to keep ultrasound appt for next Tues and Dr appt for Tuesday after Easter. Call if I start to bleed beforehand.

Spend ages on the net finding [two] instances when a pregnancy has come back from this precipice. Find myself thinking there is hope - I will be one of those aforementioned fertile goddesses - but then remember that I am an infertile Evil Stepmonster.....

Up and down, round and round.

Waiting to miscarry.... Wanting to die

Friday, 16 March 2007

The Waiting Game

Well we all survived the weekend, not too hard at all really, don't know what evil was worried about. She gets so pent up about these things. Kids were gorgeous - demanding and spoilt, but gorgeous just the same. Tiger won a trophy in golf and now gets to go in a state junior tournament, which is pretty cool. Maybe we could send him professional and use the winnings to pay for my IVF?!

Speaking of; I have no news. Because the EPU was so darn early, the pregnancy test is on Monday and Aunt Flo (period) isn't due until Wednesday. I normally know the answer before I go to the blood test because AF has arrived, but this time I won't. So waiting patiently... or not.

Earlier in the week I was getting a bit excited because this time felt different. I had more ovary pain than ususal, sore nipples, really tired and extra hungry. But now all those symptoms have gone and this morning replaced with bad temper, abdominal crampy feelings and general teariness. So I thought AF was on her way for sure, and early to boot. Crankiness was fairly quickly gone after eating though, so maybe not all is lost just yet.

Went out and bought 4 pregnancy tests the other day - that's how confident I was feeling! Am very tempted to use one tomorrow morning - but it's still a bit too early and after today I'm not sure if I want to know. May be better than finding out while at work though. We'll see...

Friday, 9 March 2007

Q. Is it bad form for a stepmother trying-desperately-to-be-a-real-mother to hide in her bedroom all weekend?

I am currently mid-IVF cycle - we had an Egg Pick-Up last Saturday morning and Embyro Transfer on Tuesday. I have been trying to keep calm so that everything is soft and loving and quiet and our little embryos will want to stick around for another 39 weeks.

Darling Husband has named them Hope and Happiness, I know, what a gorgeous and sensitive man I have. Na-a. I was just a little upset because we had been hoping to grow our bubs to 5-day-old Blastocycts but I didn't produce enough eggs, because they made me go to pick-up too damn early - on day 11 instead of day 14. I know, what the...? Anyway, they only collected 6 eggs of which 3 fertilised and 2 survived 48 hours. So we were booked in for transfer with a 2-cell and a 4-cell, which sounded very sad indeed. So DH decided that I needed an attitude adjustment and he didn't want twins named Frustration and Bitterness, especially if they were girls - OMG could you image the teenage years?!

But DH obviously took exception to my tranquil sloth-like state and saw fit to cancel his plans to take the kids away this weekend. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to that - me and SuperCat and ScaredyCat, the couch, movies, chocolate, pizza, copious cups of de-caffeinated tea (well I'd have to do something good!). No kids, no husband, no cooking, no mess - ahhh bliss....

Instead, I now have to look forward to the kids for about the 6th weekend in a row and for 3 nights!! One has been away on a school camp, so will be hoarse, tired and cranky - join the queue kid. And the other two will be at each others throats as usual. So my vision of lying on the couch watching movies and growing embryos is now punctuated by f-off no you f-off (such lovely manners they will pass on to my babies).

One false move kids - one iota of stress you cause me and my dividing embryos, one fight, one tantrum, one overly-demanding request, one jack-ass stunt in my lounge room that goes wrong and breaks something - then thats it! All hell will break loose and evil stepmonster will open a can of whoopass on your butt.

Either that or I might just slink over to my mother's house without anyone noticing....

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

My IVF History

I guess it's a reflection of my perception of motherhood, that when people ask 'do you have children?' I answer 'no', even though I have 3 step-children. If I ever do fall pregnant, everyone will be shocked because I have always acted so nonchalant about having my own. Behind the cool exterior is a world of pain [last 3 words said in a loud echoey voice a la Richard Stubbs on Melbourne 774 radio].

I first knew that there was a problem around 1994, when I first actively tried to get pregnant. Gave up for a few years then tried again around 1997-99, still no luck and husband-number-one was not interested in finding out why. Got divorced, and everyone said things like 'well at least you didn't have children' or 'you didn't fall because he wasn't the right man for you', both very comforting.....

Met my soulmate, husband-number-two, around 2002 and started trying immediately. In 2003 we went and had all the lovely fertility tests. Now I'm sure the main purpose of these tests is to desensitise you for the IVF process, I mean there is no room for modesty once you're on that road. Lets start with the hysterosalpingogram [where they push a catheter through the cervix into the uterus and spray dye up into the fallopian tubes, if the cervix thing didn't hurt the dye trying to make its way out of the body sure did]. Or the lovely 'dildo cam' - I have lost count how many times I have enjoyed that piece of equipment. And yeah ok, there's nothing glam about spitting into a jar in a room full of old K-Mart bra catalogues either - but at least no one was watching him. Anyhoo, nothing wrong, try another 12 months.

In 2005, we endured three GIFT procedures, all negative outcomes. On the first one my got-something-to-prove ovaries reacted strongly to the drugs that stimulate multiple egg growth and produced 24 of the slimy suckers. Great, except that left me with Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. With GIFT they stimulate the ovaries the same as IVF, but instead of fertilising them into embryos in a lab, they just slosh a couple of the eggs and the sperm together and put them back into a fallopian tube to work it out on their own. Sounds simple but apparently this takes several hours, requires three incisions and a abdominal cavity full of gas which hurts like hell on the way out [preferred route seems to be the shoulder?!]

If anyone tries to tell you that GIFT is less invasive than IVF - do not believe them! IVF egg collection was a relief, no incisions, no gas, no pain.... yea. Still no baby, but a diagnosis of sorts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome [PCOS]. It means that cycsts on my rebellious ovaries muck up my body's natural hormonal messages and prevent me from ovulating normally, I think, but don't quote me. My Dr keeps going on about how the new medication must be helping my irregular periods, facial hair and obesity - none of which I suffer from?!

We did our first full IVF stimulated cycle last year, a Frozen Embryo Transfer in January and are on to our 2nd stim cycle [at Aus$3,700 a pop, we hope we won't need another].

Introduction to the evil stepmonster

I think that my step-children are joking when they call me evil. But then people have called me deluded before.

Most of the time I am really very nice to them. I just shrug when they won't eat my food because "it's not the same as Mum's", and I very politely suggest they wait until the time comes when they tell me "Mum says I can finish school at the end of Year 9" (aged 15 for non-aussies). I bite my tongue when the evil stepmonster wants to yell obscenities about what an un-medicated psychopathic banshee of questionable intelligence their mother is, and if they don't eat their dinner it will be forced into them during the night!

At night I dream of all the things the evil stepmonster would do and say if she could only get away with it. My husband [a kind-hearted soul whom I adore and could not live without] loves those little buggers to death and doesn't like to rock the boat with the ex-wife [because she is a PSYCHO and takes it out on the kids!]. So if I was evil all the time, despite what he says, I would lose the battle. But evil will not be completely silenced.

Someone once told me that if you are thinking of opening a Bed & Breakfast, you should first invite your most annoying and demanding relative to stay for a month and try waiting on them hand and foot whilst smiling sweetly and pointing out the areas many tourist attractions. One might also wish to try a test like this before embarking on the role of step-parent. It would go something like this; find an angry child who shows an obvious dislike to you [teenagers would be especially good for this purpose] and lock yourself in a confined space with them for a week.

But seriously, I adore them, I do, but I could wring their scrawny necks and most of the time I like that they don't live with us full time. On the other hand the less time they are with us the more time they have to spend with the screaming banshee that is biologically their mother [and as thus far more superior in species to that of their father in the eyes of the Australian Family Court - but lets not go there just yet].