"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Curiouser and curiouser

As promised...

This morning's number was 630! And although it was the same Nurse Realistic, she was much more upbeat this time. She's spoken with my doctor, and he didn't see any need for a further blood test, just a scan in a week's time.

When I started with my confused/excited, "So this might mean that it may actually be viable?", she did get all realistic on me, saying, "With all early pregnancies, but especially when your betas started low, we can't really confirm anything until the scan, but yes, congratulations. But if you do have any sharp pains or bleeding, don't ignore it, go straight to emergency."

So, somehow, my BFN of 15 Feb is starting to look a bit like a BF-might-possibly-conceivably-optimistically-be-P. It's now starting to feel like uncertainty of a much friendlier kind. Come on, uncertainty, welcome in.

My zen ran out last night

and now I'm just so impatient to know what is happening. I had fretful dreams of dodgy hotel rooms where one room connected to another and another and another. I kept waking up, thinking it was time to get up and go in for my blood test, even though it was 3, 4, 5am.

I think a little bit of hope has got under my skin, and with it, the fear that it will be dashed. In some way, I'm terrified that there might actually be a little speck of potential to mourn if the news is bad, and that that mourning may go beyond the sorrow I've already felt with the negative test and the bleeding, not to mention all our sorrow for Z. I've been ambivalent reading these lovely stories of tiny betas turning into beautiful babies, because I'm so scared my story won't work out like that. But there is a tiny potential that it will, and I want to treasure it while it exists.

In a few hours, I'll know a little bit more. If the numbers go up again, I think they'd like me to have a scan towards the end of the week when whatever-this-is might be visible, so that can see if it is in the right spot. And if they go down, probably just more blood tests until the level drops below 2. Thanks for being here on the rollercoaster with me xxxxh

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This almost deserves a spreadsheet...

Okay, so today's blood test (20DPO) showed a hcg level of 201. This time, I got the call from the specialist early pregnancy nurse. She asked me again about the bleeding, I explained that it had been heavy, like a normal period. That it had stopped now.

Nurse: "It's clear that there has been implantation, and that you've got pregnancy hormones being produced, it's just that those levels are much lower than we'd like to see."
Me: "So, have you ever seen a viable pregnancy with those kinds of numbers?"
Nurse: "I have, but it's important to be realistic about your chances here - realistically it is looking very unlikely at this stage."

Ha ha. Realistic! The realistic view is that they have no idea what is happening, and neither do I. The odd thing is, I'm kind of getting used to this limbo land. It's beginning to feel like a soapie where I can observe the drama knowing that while there will always be "something happening", it is never all resolved. Which is probably not bad practice for life generally.

Clearly, this little embie is making a go of it - I'm sending it good wishes and hoping it is in the right spot.

The next bloodtest is on Monday morning. Either way, on Monday night I'm heading up to Sydney. I booked the flights a few days ago when I was sure that this cycle had been unsuccessful. I've got lots of good excuses for spending the week in Sydney - I'll see my Phd supervisor and attend a coursework unit, and it's also Mardi Gras season, so after sitting last year out while El Prima went and had fun, I'm going in the march and out with friends. I also had an ulterior motive, in that if I did happen to be ovulating while I was up there, I'd be in the same city as our donor, and a fresh insem could be possible. But now, who knows? I feel like at least I've got a 'plan b', whatever happens.

Meanwhile, forgive me if I start making spreadsheets...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does my reproductive system think this is some competitive reality tv show where you can string out a result across four ad-breaks?

This is just getting a bit embarrassing. I have to have another blood test on friday - they still don't really know what is going on. This morning's result was 78 - higher than saturday's, but too low to be viable (especially given the bleeding). So the range of possibilities has narrowed to two. The nurse explained that either the embryo implanted for a while, but then (maybe saturday or sunday) decided not to stay, or it is still implanted, but somewhere it shouldn't. "What we want to see", she says, "is your levels go down to below 2 before you can really think about a next cycle". I've been given the warnings about ectopic pregnancies and when to head off to emergency, but have been told it would really be a bit early for anything like that just yet.

Maybe I was bracing for bad news, but I'm strangely encouraged by the thought that this little embie made such a valiant attempt.

Thanks dear ones for all the support in this waiting time. xxxxh

Friday, February 18, 2011


Now I'm just confused. I had my blood test this morning and it was a faint positive...?!? HCG of 37. Which I think is low-ish for day 14dpo, but still positive. Given the bleeding, I really can't see how a little embryo could still be in there, but who knows. I go for another blood test tuesday morning. Until then, I don't know.

My gut feeling is that it will be negative by then, but I guess the fact that there was some hcg is a good sign, even if we're not successful this cycle. (When I was pregnant with Z, my hcg at about day 22dpo was 2063)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The plan was, that if my period hadn't showed up by friday, then we'd test again first thing friday morning. But looks like we won't have to waste another test - I've had some bleeding today, more than just spotting, so I reckon we're out of the race. Gah. I'm kind of numb about it - I got in early and did my crying and gnashing of teeth on Tuesday. Now I just feel silly for believing that such a tiny thing could actually turn into a baby. (of course they often do, just not in this case)

Thanks so much for all the lovely words of encouragement - it certainly got me through Tuesday and Wednesday! xxxh

Monday, February 14, 2011

10 dpo

I had a very vivid dream that El Prima and I were in a truck with two blokes. I was driving but it was very difficult to see because for some reason, the driver's seat was behind the back seats of the cab, and the truck was up so high. The two guys were sitting in front of El Prima & I - their heads were in my way, so I couldn't see the road. I was trying to drive along a narrow driveway in a fancy apartment complex, but I missed and the truck went crashing off a cliff. We all got out, but the truck hit other cars, and one of them rolled over El Prima. I was so distressed, but she crawled out from under it and was okay. I didn't see what happened with the two blokes - they ran away.

(Still talking about the dream) El Prima and I were running away - we thought we'd get in trouble for damaging other people's cars. The apartment complex was a very fancy, retro style one. Apparently my great aunt lived there, so we ran into her apartment and grabbed two yellow towels. As we were trying to sneak out, there were lots of people walking in - saying hello to us and being friendly - and I felt terrible and duplicitous because I was smiling at these people but also trying to run away because I had just caused a catastrophe, which they were about to discover. Better yet, someone complimented us on the towels, which I'd just stolen from my own great aunt.

Then, in that half awake time, after the alarm had gone off but before our brains had started working, I thought (in this order)... it is Snacky's birthday (my stepdaughter) ... it is the 15th... our egg pick up was on the 5th... so that would mean we are now 10dpo, and I can test... because I'm sure I'm pregnant...

So good old lizard-brain convinces me to test. BFN. Not a shadow of a line. El Prima thinks we tested too early. I know friends have seen a faint line at 10dpo. But this result is probably correct.

I pushed and got myself to work, but now I'm here, I just want to run away. I know there is no running away from this. After we lost Z, I was so confident in my status as 'pregnant woman' that I was sure it wouldn't take long to be that again. And I think part of the bargain with myself about doing IVF was that it would be "easier". Less of these heart-breaking bfns. A 40% chance each try rather than a 10 or 20% chance. But 40% still isn't all that much. In legal terms, it wouldn't even get you a win on the balance of probabilities. But (here's what I tell myself) this is the nature of the beast. Trying to make babies is a big game of uncertainty. I know all that but I still find this so hard.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

One year on

And our baby rose bushes are in full bloom again. I know I sat there, our our porch, hiding behind the rose bushes and planning Z's memorial, but it feels very distant. In amongst the buzz of our first IVF cycle, I'm glad we had time to go and visit Z's little spot, and take her some of the new roses.

Everything feels very quiet now - waiting to see what will happen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

where did it go?

It has been a big week, but in amongst the cyclone drama, being 'harvested' and taking a little embryo on board, something went missing.

All that bravado, energy, confidence (and along with it, my ability to concentrate and engage at work) is just gone. I was feeling so sparkly and amazing a week and a half ago, now not so much.

I hardly feel fit for walking down the street, let alone having a 'collegial' conversation with my workmates (not that I see them all that often). I spent much of yesterday in bed, and my inclination would have been to stay there, if I didn't have to work for a living. I'm not in that much pain anymore, but I still feel zapped. And while it is nice to hide under a doona for a while, I know that no one else can do the hard bits, no one else can live through this - but the thought of doing it myself feels impossible at the moment.

Thanks so much for all your beautiful good wishes. I feel like a big grumpy ingrate to be morose after all that. But just imagine how much lumpier and grumpier I would be otherwise!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Of the 12 eggs, 10 were mature, 6 of those fertilised, 4 kept growing. One (apparently the 'best looking' one)* was transferred, the other three, the clinic will try to freeze. We saw the one we transferred on the screen - it looked like this:

Two even little cells. Which may now be wandering around somewhere in my uterus - really, we have no idea, and we just have to get used to that state of uncertainty for the next two weeks. I think they are pretty magical little cells, even if they do something other than make a baby. Welcome aboard, tiny speck!

* We didn't really even toy with the idea of transfering more than one embryo. The higher risks of a twin pregnancy were something we really wanted to avoid, even if we quite liked the two-babies outcome.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Dozen

Twelve follicles & a dozen lovely little eggs. Not organic, not with all those ivf drugs, and not really free range, since they'll soon be getting a rather forcible ICSI-style introduction to some spermy boyfriends, but still, twelve little spheres of potential.

The procedure itself was no big drama - whatever sedative they used is nice & cruisey (but doesn't make for very proficient typing :) it feels like I'm wearing big fuzzy gloves). It was just like a little sleep. Clinic staff were lovely - with me and with El Prima. It was odd to be back in a hospital environment again - so easy to slip back into patient mode.

Now home, munching down leftover broccoli & gorgonzola pie made by the gorgeous matt (one half of our favorite gay boyfriends - we cooked & ate at their place last night).

I'll be back there Monday for transfer. In the meantime I'm practicing just being here - not wrapped up in any particular hoped for future. Just here, on the bean bag, enjoying the saturday midday movie and the last bit of this pleasant fuzzy feeling.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Showtime! (and a big sigh of relief)

You know that feeling, when you think, perhaps my life is a little *too* exciting? Thankfully my mum and brother & sister-in-law all weathered Cyclone Yasi well in Cairns - it hit hardest further south, where buildings in Tully and Innisfail were demolished. I think it'll be some time before the full damage is known. Between them, my mum and bro have now escaped the 2008 Black Saturday bushfires, a Bolivian uprising, at least four car crashes and a cyclone. Lucky buggers. Phew.

And it is nearly showtime for the little ovaries that could - I just spoke with our clinic, and I'm scheduled for egg pick up on Saturday morning. The other possible option was Monday, so I'm grateful to be getting it over and done with soon. It is hard to tell if it is from the ivf drugs or a blocked ear (from swimming in Cairns) or general cyclone-related craziness but today and yesterday I've felt very off-balance and tender, with a wierd low-level nausea. If my ovaries made noises, I reckon they'd be making those submarine depth-sounding 'pings'. Quite twingey. IVF veterans, does that sound familiar?

If all goes to plan, it will mean we'll do the embryo transfer on Monday - exactly one year after Z's 40-day memorial & due date. An auspicious day, I think.

I like the idea of a link between her and this new little chain of possibilities. And besides, isn't it always a big sister's job to steal the show?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A big dose of cyclone uncertainty

I was doing so well getting comfortable with uncertainty (ha ha), and then I got a text from my sister-in-law. The cyclone we thought would miss them is now heading almost directly for Cairns, where she lives, with my brother, and with my mum nearby. It has been upgraded to category 5 - which puts it in the ranks of hurricane Katrina. My brother was at sea (he works on dive boats on the great barrier reef), but thankfully, he got back to shore last night, and is now holed up in their Cairns apartment with mum and my sister in law.

There are lots of comforting thoughts I can have - that theirs is a cyclone-proof building, recently built, that they are on the second floor, with lots of mattresses up against the windows, water, food, and phone and internet access (for now). But I'm so scared, and the anxiety I thought I had just got a grip on is back with a vengeance. Those little budding follicles don't need the extra stress hormones though, and really, there is nothing to do but wait and see what happens with this storm.