Saturday, 29 November 2008

Triple jinx

Tertia wrote a post the other day about the many superstitions held by infertiles and the idea that doing, or not doing, certain things can jinx a cycle.

I well and truly jinxed myself yesterday. Three times in fact. The first two were not entirely my fault. One of my big superstitions is if I work out the due date then it is guaranteed to all go pear shaped. I can still remember my first due date (one year ago on Tuesday of last week as it happens). I received a package on Thursday from the clinic with my 7 week ultrasound referral (Jinx 1) and a letter saying 'Congratulations on your pregnancy' (hmmm is that another jinx?) 'your estimated due date is August 1st 2009' (JINX 2).

The third was when I went shopping to find something 'semi-formal' to wear to Batman's Graduation I ended up buying a top that I could also wear later in the pregnancy. Yes, I actually thought those words! Which means that, in effect, I have actually just bought my first piece of maternity clothing! (MASSIVE JINX!)

Consequently, today I have cramps. Cramps that feel decidedly like menstrual cramps. I think I have done the anxious-undie-check a thousand times already. Please let it just be my body struggling to digest the Reception Centre food from last night. Please.

Trying not to stress. I'm lying on the couch watching the Australian Masters Golf trying to catch a glimpse of my Tiger who is working as a Caddy. His player is doing well, so he's actually getting quite a bit a of air time, even Rose is watching. He looks so tall and manly and serious. I'm such a proud mum... ooops I mean step-mum. ;-)

3 more sleeps....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

ES loves DH

Today is our wedding anniversary. 3 years ago today I married by best friend.

He gave me a beautiful long-stemmed pink rose from our garden and I gave him a pee-stick with 2 distinct lines on it. Aren't we just soooo romantic!? Mind you, my response to the rose was something like 'thank you darling I love you' while he looked at the pee-stick, looked back at me and said 'oh dear'.

By the way, can someone please assure him that DH stands for Darling Husband not Dick Head!

My sciatica is playing up terribly this week so I'm hobbling round like an old woman. I'm also doing lots of eating (otherwise I tend to go all dizzy and sweaty), but that cannot possible explain the fact that my waist measurement has increased 7cms (almost 3 inches) in the past 2 weeks! WTF?! I still have some abdominal pain and cannot take really deep breaths (as in yawn) or sneeze without strong pain. So although the OHSS was very mild it seems to be still kicking around.

It's Batman's school graduation dinner this Friday night, and none of my clothes fit me. I feel massive - there better be a really good reason for this! Still holding my breath til Tuesday...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Rinse and Repeat

New Nurse: Congratulations you're pregnant!
Jaded Patient (me): Really? Well that would explain why I feel so sick. What's the beta?
NN: The beta is 79.
JP: Oh.
NN: Let's make appointments now for another blood test next week and the week after that and then the 7 week ultrasound.
JP: Hahhahahhahaha. Oh, you're serious.... Um, ok sure, why not?

Not quite the number I was after, though eerily close to DH's dream of being told it was 78.

I really don't know what to think or say at this point. I want to be excited but we've been here before. I can't believe we have to wait until next Tuesday for another beta. I'll be gaga before then.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last post. Looks like I'm getting one last chance...

Thursday, 20 November 2008

On Life and Death and Motherhood

I must warn you now this is going to be a big post. It's been brewing for a while. Because this cycle is my last, because I'm a pessimist, and because I seem to have so many free hours in the middle of the night, I have been thinking of motherhood. What will it mean for me if I don't become a mother? Am I not a mother yet simply because of genetics or is there a deeper reason? Does the universe think I wouldn't make a good mother? What makes a good mother anyway?

At 19, still a child myself, I took a job as House Mother, living in a house with 6 children aged between 9 months and 16 years. The parents were allowed a 2 hour visit per week but rarely made it that often. One of the them was a he.roin addict, she had a penis and the words "fuck off" tattooed on her foot. She would follow me around the house threatening me, then fall asleep head first in her dinner. I'd call a cab and she'd leave having spent about 0.5 seconds interacting with her baby.

When I worked in Child_Protection I was given the case of a couple trying to reunite with 10mth old twins who had been taken into care at 3 months because they were failing to thrive. The parents were in their mid 20s chronologically, but tested of equal intelligence to 7-8 year olds, emotionally they were around 13-15. Donna had a 6 yo son who lived with her mother, and, as well as the twins she and Paul had a two and a half year old. My job was to evaluate their ability to parent the three younger children. Each morning we would make up the formula for the day and with ticklists and charts and alarm clocks we spent the first few week or so just making sure the babies were being fed. I came back from a day off to find Donna beside herself "I can't do it. It's too hard". And so the twins were returned to Foster Care, then moved into Permanent Care.

Within a year Donna and Paul were back, they wanted my help with the now 3 year old. His tantrums were getting out of hand. His language was quite delayed, and Donna and Paul were having trouble understanding his verbal cues, so everyone was frustrated. I worked with them for close to 6 months. I stood up in court and stated that they could adequately meet this child's needs so he should remain in their care. A few months later Donna rang me to say "It's too hard". I held her hand while she signed another child over to Permanent Care. She was dry-eyed, I went home and bawled. He was a sweet boy, he went to live with a policeman and his wife in the country.

Within the year Donna and Paul had another son, the hospital staff were concerned, Donna told them I would help. They came to live at our facility. She breastfed this time which helped because she had her own, in-built, alarm system, and support available 24 hours. Trevor regained his birthweight and all appeared to be going well. He turned 1 month old on a public holiday, I had the day off. My colleague called an ambulance when she checked in to find Trevor floppy and unresponsive. At the hospital the next day, Donna and Paul were stunned by accusatory questions like "who threw the baby?" when I objected the questions were rephrased to "who dropped the baby?". A few hours later test results showed he had bacter.ial menin.gitis; there was nothing anyone could have done, or could do.

My boss took Paul home, he was pacing the halls, his head red and huge with bottled up emotion. Donna and I were shown into a tiny, windowless, airless room while Trevor was freed of his tubes and wires. Donna wouldn't touch him, so I held him and stroked his face as he grew heavier and heavier in my arms. Donna clung to me and we both cried. We talked about him and to him, reliving our short time together. A doctor would come every half hour with a stethoscope and shake his head slowly at me. Complete and utter torture. A minister joined us toward the end, she had gentle eyes with soft and powdery skin, but I can't recall a word she said. The doctor finally nodded sadly at me. We inked Trevor's footprints on a card, gave him a bath and changed his clothes. We said goodbye and they took Donna's fifth child away from her.

My office paid for a funeral and my boss and I paid for a plaque. I've been there a few times but not since ttc. Donna and Paul separated not long after and within a year both were expecting new babies with new partners. I heard that Donna was not allowed to take her baby home from the hospital. She'd be in her 40's now, I often wonder how many children she had, if she kept any of them, if she thinks of them as often as I do.

Four more children I knew died that year; 2 car accidents, a drowning, and a murder. I lost weight, I couldn't eat or sleep, I didn't menstruate for 6 months, I started getting migraines. I smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish. I broke down. It was too hard. An ex-boyfriend returned from interstate. I knew he was no good for me, I knew I didn't love him. But I threw myself into the comfort of his familiar embrace saying "of course I'll marry you". I fucked up my life completely. I was far too young and soft for that job.

My flatmate's boyfriend, going through his Soc.ialist phase, once told us that she and I were "pretentious middle class do-gooders under the delusion we were saving the world". And I suppose we were. I still believe we did some good work, but we made the wrong decision sometimes, and the kids that I failed will always haunt me.

I went back to Uni then got an office job. It took a while to adjust into the corporate world. I felt that my previous work was so important, while chatting about clothes with my young colleagues and making sales targets were just so not. I had held a woman's hand while she signed away her child, I had a baby die in my arms, I felt children wrap themselves so tightly around me they almost cut off my breath as I took them from their homes while burly police officers held back angry parents or tried to rouse drugged ones. I met mothers who sacrificed their children for the love of a man. I met children whose mothers did despicable things and/or allowed despicable things to be done to them. Plenty of women can get pregnant and give birth to babies, but that does not necessarily make them a mother. Some, like Donna, have the ability to be a mother but not the skills.

I must say that at the same time, I also met women who risked their lives, were stabbed or had their jaws smashed with a baseball bat, trying to protect their children. I'm more familiar with this kind of mother now.

It seems I have always played mother to other people's children. Next week (eeek!) I will find out if I will ever be a 'real' mother myself. I am oscillating between being grateful that at least I have had these experiences, to utter despair that these periods of 'playing mother' is the closest I will ever get.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Counting down

Test day is slowly getting closer.... There is no point doing the pee stick thing because of the hcg booster shots. And the last thing I need is a false positive reading.

Still feeling a bit weird. I can feel my ovaries are still enlarged but the pain has mostly gone. Quite dizzy today, but I'm sure there's a dozen possible explanations for that, none of which have anything to do with anything.

6 sleeps to go. The mind games have begun.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Wine on a Sunday

Nothing like a relaxing lunch and a nice bottle of wine on a lazy Sunday. Unfortunately today's wine comes with a H.

I think I may be over-stimulating. I had two booster hcg shots during the week as well as the progesterone supplement since Tuesday. I read the list of side effects for on Friday because I was experiencing breast pain (in the breast now affectionately known as 'Lumpy') and yes that is a common side effect. I had almost all the others listed as well.

Last night the bloating and full feeling was insane, accompanied by abdominal pain that wrapped around my back, nausea and I just couldn't seem to breath deeply enough. Its different to the last time I had ohss because that was mostly just abdominal pain, but much worse than last night.

I'm not too bad today, the swelling seems to have subsided a little and the pain has lessened. I can feel my ovaries are still huge because when I roll over in bed it feels like they squash or twist or something and if I happen to sneeze I think they're going to explode.

I hate to whinge, but I'm hoping someone else has felt like this and can tell me if ohss can sort of come and go like this or is it more likely to be just the side effects from the progesterone.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

I had 2 embyros transferred this morning! One was a genetically-tested-possibly-normal almost blasty and the other was just a step behind. The procedure went well. The Doctor was the head of the clinic (and the author of the book I'm currently reading) which should mean he knew what he was doing. Just before the transfer DH pointed out that today is the 13th and its our 13th cycle. I always like a little superstition with my cycles.

The Bad

Yesterday was a crap day. I feel like I have been lurching from one drama to the other lately. The Nurse rang yesterday with the biopsy results; out of the 10 the tested 7 were chromosomally abnormal and 3 were normal. The 3 normal ones were not growing as well as the embryologists would like, so I should ring in the morning to confirm transfer was still going ahead. She said "Don't worry too much, it might be okay". Needless to say there were long faces and not much sleep in my house last night. I knew that having no embryos to transfer was a posibility but it wasn't one I had allowed myself to really consider. It definitely wasn't the way I wanted to finish.

The Ugly

They sent a meek and blushing little 20yo genetic scientist down to talk to us this morning. She went through the biopsy results; two with trisomy 13, one with only one chromosome 13, one with trisomy 22, another with trisomy 26, and two with no nucleus. She stressed many times that this was just a screening process, only one cell from each embryo was tested and that if this cycle did result in a pregnancy then pre-natal genetic testing would be very important. Ugly all over the place. We asked if the most likely cuplrit was age, she said yes. She proceeded to remind us that women are born with all their eggs so at my age they have been sitting there a very long time, which is why they encourage women to get pregnant younger. Wait - it gets worse.... She told us about a study they are doing which shows that if "women my age" are successful with IVF its usually in their first couple of cycles. She was very excited about this because they look like being able to publish their findings in the new year! She then produced a graph which showed that the embryos of "women my age" (39) were 53% likely to be abnormal continuing up to 60% at age 42. Being the non-confrontational type that I am, I took a few deep breaths and sent her on her happy way.

If I were the confontational type (which at times like this I desparately wish I was), I would like to point out that
1) I have been trying to get pregnant longer than you have been breathing so don't you dare insinuate that I've just left it too late.
2) If you had bothered to consult my file you would have noted that this is our 8th IVF cycle, so telling me that "women my age are most likely to have success in their first few cycles" is like telling me this cycle has next to no chance and I shouldn't even bother being here.
3) Showing me a graph that quotes 53% as the average abnormal embryo rate for my age group, when my abnormal rate was 70% does not make me feel better.

Needless to say that DH and I both left on a bit of a low. I now have absolutely no faith in the cycle working. But I suppose what I need to keep in mind is that I now have (some) of what I wanted from this cycle - Answers.

Monday, 10 November 2008


I am feeling great today, still in a little pain but the bloating has subsided a lot. 14 of my eggs were ICSI'd and 10 fertilised which is great news. I am spending the day at home with the intention of working. I have SO much work to do, but I need to talk. There are lots of BIG issues rolling around in my head that will not fit in one post, so I'll try to break them into more digestible bites. Today its step-monsterhood.

I am a very calm person (except perhaps when taking HRT drugs LOL), I tend more to tears than temper, and hate confrontations of any kind. My DH has a quick temper, it flashes, he swears a bit, then its gone. But he can control it. My stepkids, on the other hand, have no control over their tempers. They are such angry kids its unbelievable. Their mother is know on this blog as the Screaming Banchee because of her incessant screaming and yelling. This is why DH left and tried to take the kids with him.

Last week when she picked up the kids from our house she started screaming at them in our driveway. The kids then started yelling back at her, swearing and slamming car doors. Hello? Do you mind? We live here!

Every other night at our house is interupted by kids ringing with "Mum's yelling at me so I've locked myself in my room" or "I hate Mum, I can't live here anymore" or "Can you come get me". DH talks them through, calms them down. You know its really bad when all 3 are calling at once. The Banshee has taken to ringing as well. She wants DH to admonish the kids for the way they speak to her, he says "they speak to you the way you speak to them", she denies it, he laughs, she yells and swears at him, she says "I'm never ringing you again", he says "good". Next week she rings and they have the exact same conversation over again.

The kids know they can live here anytime, but never last more than a week. They say its too hard to get to school, they miss their friends... but I think its because our house is so quiet, they miss their mother's drama. Tiger says he's moving in here when he finishes school in 2 years.

I love them and I love them being here, but sometimes I find it hard to relax and fully be myself with them. I'm always on edge waiting for the boys to start fighting or the swearing and yelling to start. Our superfast internet connection is not fast enough. Our dvd's are boring. My dinner is not what they wanted. Seriously, their language would make a sailor blush! I lie in bed and listen to the boys throwing stuff and swearing at their video games until 3 in the morning. Tense and unable to sleep.

DH is in court today with his eldest son who at 17 got drunk, stole his mum's Loser Boyfriend's car and crashed it into a house. (I wonder if he will ever realise how incredibly lucky he was?) If the case is heard early enough he may then have time to go to the school to meet with one of Rose's teachers to discuss concerns about her behaviour.

Rose tells me she feels terrified when the Loser Boyfriend is angry and jumps out her bedroom window to go to her friend's house next door. How long before she's doing that to meet up with a boy, if she's not already. Last Saturday she'd been in her pj's all day, then suddenly got dressed at 11pm. Her "friend" was staying the night at her boyfriends house in the next street and wanted her to go over. DH sent her to bed and dead locked the doors. Another friend recently had a pregnancy scare. They are 14 years old!

It's easy to sit in judgement and blame any undesireable traits on the custodial parent, but what if DH and my child was just as angry as its brothers and sister? How would I deal with that? Would I cower from my own child? Would I turn into a screaming banshee?

Last week I met up with my RL stepmother friend. Hers are 11 and 13 (going on 21) and she's having a really hard time, she's at a point where she's finding it hard to like the kids. She told me she's so glad she decided not to have children of her own, she said she'd be devestated if her kids turned out like these and she found she didn't like her own children. She had always prided herself on being a good stepmum and is disappointed to think she's turning into her own stepmother, who she felt never really cared about her. She used to have activities lined up for the kids, camping trips, visitors, but now she refuses to take them anywhere because they are so sullen and ungrateful. She secretly hopes each fortnight that they will ring and cancel their visit.

She told me in one of our first conversations that even though she'd been in the kids lives since they were babies, if she left they would not miss her at all. I've always thought this as well. A few weeks ago DH was talking about his death with Rose and Tiger (I think they were telling him he works too hard). DH said that one of my fears about him dying was that I would never see the kids again. They both said no way, they would still keep coming every weekend and Tiger would still move in after school. Its funny that they say sweet things like that to their father but never to me.

It is such a tightrope we step-parents walk, wanting to be engaged in these children's lives but not step on toes of the "real" parents. I have spent years caring for other people's children. I've always thought that parenting my own child(ren) would be easier. I hope it would be easier. But would it? Is it?

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Retrieval went well yesterday with 20 eggs collected.
Bloody sore.
Can't wait to hear fert report on Monday.
Thanks for your good wishes.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Cluck Cluck

A woman I work with has two chooks in her inner-city backyard and she sometimes brings in cartons of eggs for us with stickers attached "with compliments of Laverne&Shirley". And they are great eggs - always so fresh with the brightest yellow yolks.

I'm going to need a few of those cartons to give Laverne&Shirley a run for their money. My scan this morning counted 43 follies, with the possibility of 20 eggs of around 17mm. Can I tell you how uncomfortable I am! But the good news is that I only have to hold out until Saturday for retrieval. We were expecting ER to be Monday, which I'm glad its not because DH's 18yo has a court appearance to get his learner drive permit back. But, thinking we had plenty of time we kind of, well, ahem, cleared the pipes last night. But the nurse said 3 days is better than 7. Imagine having a job where you had to ask people when they last had sex. Weird.

Anyway there's no going back now. What will be will be. Please send me sticky vibes, baby dust, good thoughts, prayers, whatever takes your fancy, I'll take all currencies.

Ovid.rel injection tonight then a drug-free day tomorrow (yay!).

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


I'm starting to get worried....

Worried that I will run out of Syn.arel and ovulate before egg retrieval
Worried that retrieval will fall on Monday when DH has made other plans
Worried that all the embryos will have chromosomal abnormalities and we'll have nothing to transfer
Worried that it won't work
Worried that it may work
Worried that we'll have another chemical pregnancy or miscarriage
Worried that I haven't done enough to ensure the success of this cycle
Worried that my future will be determined by something I have no control over

Stimming seems to be going well, I can certainly feel things growing. I have a date tomorrow with the dildo-cam, so will have a follie report and ER day by tomorrow afternoon.

PS: Congrats to the USA for making the brave choice! Now Mr Obama if you could just get on and fix the credit crisis we'd much appreciate it.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Topcat suggested this meme might help take my mind off Tuesday, but I've only got around to it today. Melbagirl - consider yourself tagged!

1. Where is your cell phone? Beside me
2. Where is your significant other? Racing around on his ride-on mower (his favourite toy)
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Means well
5. Your father? Grumpy bastard
6. Your favorite thing? My i-pod
7. Your dream last night? Telling. My friend had a baby who I held so much it grew more attached to me than her
8. Your dream/goal? To find comfort and acceptance in whatever the future brings
9. The room you are in? Dining room
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Happy and drug free
13. Where were you last night? Laughing at Ron in a Harry.Potter movie with Rose
14. What you're not? Bitter. Well its a work in progress....
15. One of your wish list items? New house
16. Where you grew up? Lots of tiny country towns
17. The last thing you did? Sniffed some more Synar.el
18. What are you wearing? Jeans, long sleeve t-shirt
19. Your T.V.? Corporate gift. Non-HD LCD. Ripped off!
20. Your pet? 2 cats ScaredyCat and SuperCat, 2 goats Mavis and Maude
21. Your computer? Finally free from 16yo boys looking at p.orn
22. Your mood? Slowly coming down after a stressful couple of weeks
23. Missing someone? Always my grandmother
24. Your car? Volvo SUV
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? Stationary shops
27. Your Summer? On its way!
28. Love someone? I adore my Darling Husband
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When is the last time you laughed? Last night with Rose
31. Last time you cried? Major meltdown in the shower Wednesday morning