IF and the City

I used to feel sad when I watched the episodes with Charlotte failing over and over again while trying to get pregnant. Little did I know that my own attempts would lead me on the same sad journey. We've now passed 4 years in the trenches. 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles = nothing. Time for something new - donor eggs. Success at last. Now for round 2.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day 1.

This cycle is offically over, Christmas is my Day 1. of a new cycle.

As previously mentioned, this is not an unexpected outcome, but is cause for reflection.

Time to start thinking of a new plan.

Thanks everyone for hanging in there with me, hope you're all having a great Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sixes and Sevens

Here's my lists from my tagging.

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Have a family – this could be listed from 1 thru to 7!
2. Get a Cat & a Dog – need a backyard first
3. Travel to China – loved going to Vietnam a couple of years ago, would love to see to China.
4. Set up and run my own business
5. Have a garden and grow herbs
6. Live by the sea
7. Learn to drive

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Drive – embarrassing I know, had driving lessons when I was 16, but lost my confidence after a near crash.
2. Ski
3. Sew
4. Climb a tall ladder – unbelievable fear of heights
5. Make pavlova … yet!
6. Great stretch blow dry
7. French manicure

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. Blue eyes
2. Height – he’s tall
3. Intelligence
4. Creativity – he’s a writer
5. Since we’ve been married he’s learnt how to cook
6. Tells me everyday ‘I love you with all my heart’
7. Infectious laugh

Seven things I say most often:
1. My angel …. Nickname D and I use to each other
2. Can you help me? D calls it my common refrain as a way of prompting him!
3. That’s that job done! Yet another prompt for D
4. I’ve got to knock off early today … [at work when I have yet another appointment]
5. I’m exhausted – fertility drugs, early morning blood tests and ultra sounds
6. Yes we want a family, no we don't know when (familiar lies)
7. Congratulations [Hollywood smile] - to the many people who have gotten pregnant while we have been trying

Seven books or series I love:
1. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
2. Balzac & the Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
3. The Little Friend – Donna Tartt
4. All Jane Austin novels
5. Aubrey/Maturin Series – Patrick O’Brian
6. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
7. Glass Oracle – Judith Merkle-Riley

Seven movies I watch over and over again
1. Queen Margot
2. Aliens
3. Drugstore Cowboy
4. Cactus Flower
5. Black Hawk Down
6. The Secret of Roan Inish
7. Meet the Parents

BTW, looks like I have the beginnings of my period starting ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Nothing really to report

Don’t know if it’s worth posting … but its 13 days post retrieval and I have nothing really to report. I have no real symptoms of anything, and am not expecting a Christmas miracle.

My progesterone levels were very high, and for most of the last week have felt hideously bloated.

I visited CFG yesterday for some ‘holding’ acupuncture and a pulse reading. She said she felt ‘good energy’, but couldn’t definitively say it was a pregnancy pulse.

This is the gentle let-down.

Since she is going on holiday for the next month, she did advise me to take some ‘P’ herbs and chicken balls just in case…

Meanwhile D’s blood test has come back clear. Dr. FU advised that the varicocele surgery would be a longshot, but wants to check in with our Fertility Specialists – since he can’t believe that we haven’t conceived even with ICSI. Don’t think this is going to go anywhere. The only advise we could be given is to do PGD next cycle.

D is going to make an appointment with the other Dr. his MS-CFG told him about. This doctor uses a new technique where recovery is quicker.

I’m not trying to be a defeatist here, I just couldn’t give a flying f**k for the ‘PMA’ mantra.

I am looking forward to a great Christmas though. D and I went shopping and picked out some wow new sunglasses – Prada!

I also have some homework from Lori and am working on that!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Getting good at disappointment

The reason I started my blog, was because this is the kind of post that I need to be able to write down. But this is the kind of post that I never wanted to have to write.

Our Saturday morning started off great. Slept in, got the papers and got up to have breakfast. I was slightly bloated, but feeling pretty good.

Then everything went wrong.

I had just walked downstairs in our apartment and heard all kinds of commotion going on outside, 'it's the new cleaners' D said, 'they're giving the place a thorough going over'.

'Great, I'm going to ask them if they have a really long ladder'.

That might sound weird, but D and I live in what could loosely be called a 'warehouse conversion', except we're on the top, new floor. The open stairwell looks great, but we never considered what we'd do when the light bulbs blew - they're the suck in to the ceiling kind. I always intended to ask the buildings cleaners to lend us a ladder. Anyway, I stood chatting with them with just outside the door and they were really friendly and helpful. Numbers were exchanged and D had a chat with them too. They pointed out some exposed wood that might need lacquering, so D stepped outside to have a look and so did I.

The door clicked behind me, the catch wasn't on.

So there's D and I barefoot out on the landing. First D went into someone's apartment and climbed over the dividing walls, and then discovered that his security conscious self had locked our sliding door the night before so he couldn't get in. Then we called a locksmith. We used the phone in a neighbours apartment, they didn't invite us in to wait till he got there.

So we sat on the carpet outside our door. Two hours after exchanging pleasantries with the cleaners we got back in. I picked up both our mobiles and saw that we both had missed calls by 'anonymous'. D looked like he had a message, but he said it was probably just work.

Anyway the day got moving again, and D decided he'd go out and get some lunch stuff and I thought I'd finally have my shower.

In the back of my mind I knew I had to make the call.

By the time I'd showered and re-checked my instructions it was after 1pm and this was the time specified to call the fertility unit and find out how we went.

Nurse: Oh you got my message?
Sparkle: No ...
Nurse: Well I tried calling you, because it's not good news, only 1 of your eggs fertilised so we want you to come in on Monday for the transfer.
Sparkle: Only one, wow, that's not good.
Nurse: Look Sparkle I'm not saying this to patronise you, but it does only takes one embryo. So see you at 9am for 9.45 transfer.

Apparently only 3 were mature for injecting, 1 just deteriorated and the other didn't fertilise correctly.

Apparently after all those fertility drugs, not to mention the acupuncture, dhea and chinese herbs, all I managed to produce were blobs of jello, or something.

At this point in our other cycles we've usually had 100% fertility of either 7 or 8 eggs.

Funny, I thought to myself, I've read about cycles going this badly from forums and other bloggers and now it's my turn.

So this morning I had my 8-celled embryo transferred.

Scientist: It's divided nicely, just what we would want today.
Sparkle: Well there's some good news. What about fragmentation, is there much of that?
Scientist: A tiny bit, but nothing to worry about, THIS IS A GRADE 1 EMBRYO !!
Sparkle: Grade 1, well that's good.
Sparkle: [Thought to myself, but didn't say anything 'well there it is a blob with bubbles inside' I stared hard at the monitor, so I could memorise what it looks like for when I google.]

Transfer went smoothly, and I exited and went straight to have my acupuncture.

I remembered to give the nurse the name of my nail hardener, because it turned out not to be a dream that someone told me in the pick up that I had lovely nails 'and they're real'!

CFG just tutted and told me that I should have been taking the herbs.

Sparkle: But I took the Royal Jelly and the other egg herbs.
CFG: Good, you keep taking, grow embryo. Now you take the H herbs and make the deer antler mixture. I give you 2 bags, you make super strong brew, you put 3 teaspoons in.

Home now, and apartment smells like dead dog while I boil it all up.

That's a raw deal too, because by the teaspoon it's about as pricey as the Crystalle or whatever that stuff is P.Diddy and J.Lo quaff.

I don't even want to know what our chances of success are. I really don't have any hope, but will do all the right things for the next 2 weeks.

How could we have any chance of success with 1x 8-cell embryo (even grade 1) when in the past we haven't with 2x 5-day blastocysts?

I have to have another blood test on Thursday to see how my progesterone levels are going, and then will know if I need another shot.

As I was walking home from CFG, all I kept thinking was 'how is it that I can now take disappointment in my stride so easily'? Maybe because I've now lived thru so many worst case scenarios that I'm just used to it. I think I've gotten so rusty with success, that disappointment just washes over me.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Just got home from pick up, and I am feeling a little disappointed.

We had 5 follicles retrieved, 1 that is a little immature, 3 at Grade 2 and 1 at Grade 1. The scientist said that most follicles are Grade 2 when they get them, so the Grade 1 is a bonus.

This is the worst retrieval I have had in terms of follicle nos., previously I've had 7, 8 and 11. So I don't think the dhea has really lived up to any promise for me - unless these follicles turn out to be great developers.

Everyone reassured me that this was a good result, despite our previous efforts, and not to be fixated on the number.

D and I had a long talk with the scientist prior to the pick up, and told her all our concerns with D's morphology, so I'm hoping they'll really hunt down the best sperm to inject (we ICSI).

Tomorrow we find out about our fertilisation and at this stage we're still looking at a 5-day transfer, but I'm going to talk to the nurses about that tomorrow.

In terms of the procedure, it went pretty smoothly, but I've always been lucky with that and the recovery - the nurse popped her head in to see how I was going - and did a double take to see me doing the crossword!

Oh, and the drugs were good, I even got a booster mid-way. I informed everyone that I had decided to imagine myself in a scene out of a Jane Austin novel! Oops, I also told them that we refer to the ultra sound as dildo-cam! Of course, I was completely oblivious to any reaction ...

Still got the lovely floaty sensation, so am going to laze around watching dvd's.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Blood and scan went well, didn't get any stats.

Triggered last night at 9pm, pick up tomorrow at 8am.

D did his blood test this morning, we haven't had it done before (grrrr!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dr. Famous Urologist

So while we're getting to the business end of our cycle, D finally had his appointment with Dr. Famous Urologist yesterday.

D said he had to stand completely naked in front of the doctor for a thorough examination, before the doctor even looked at his ultrasound(!)

Obviously he didn't find it that comfortable, but he said he felt better about it because of all the various procedures and ops. that I've been thru.

In a nutshell Dr. FU confirmed that D had a varicocele, but that it was impossible to tell whether it is the cause of D's morphology troubles. He did confirm that D's morphology was a big problem. He said there is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed - day surgery under general anaesthetic. There has been some debate over whether this is effective at all, but Dr FU, conducted his own trial some years ago and found that that it did help a percentage - something like 40% (compared to 20% not having the surgery and then going on to get pregnant).

Before we go any further he has asked D to have another blood test to check the Y chromosomes (he thinks). I went thru my file of test results and found a SCSA test that D had in April which was basically testing the DNA for fertility potential, so I'm not sure that D needs yet another blood test. BTW, this test confirmed that D had fertility potential.

If he has to have another one, it will take another 10 days for the results... Christmas is coming ...

Once this has been established, D will have a phone consultation and the decision will be made whether to go ahead with the surgery.

My view is to go ahead, but I sense that D is juggling the percentages alongside his fear. Not that I blame him, but if we'd taken that view on IVF we wouldn't never have ever gone ahead. Neither would alot of people I suspect.

I feel quite stressed about this, but of course, I want us to take any action we can to improve our chances, yet I feel I have to keep pushing D to get moving with it. The thing is that if and when he does go ahead and have the op, it'll take something like 3 months before any kind of improvement will be detected!

Blood test and scan this morning, will find out if I trigger tonight for Friday pick up.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Today's Results

Just got today's results:

Oestrogen = 2832 (big jump!)
Follicles = 9

Next blood test and scan on Wednesday.

She said that 4 of the follicles were good sized, the other 5 need to grow more. Didn't get down to the actual size of each.

Doesn't look like we'll be doing pick up till Friday.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Friday's ultra sound and blood test showed that we have 8 follicles developing, and endometrium was 5.
My E2 has gone up to 590.

Still not high enough, but we're getting there

I felt total relief when she counted 8 follicles, I had convinced myself that we'd be in the situation where we'd only have 2 or something.

Next blood test and dildo cam is on Monday. Hopefully this will show the follicles have grown.

I don't think my collection will be until either Thursday or most likely Friday.

On Friday afternoon we headed off to the country for the weekend, to share a house with friends, F, M and M.

We had an absolute ball and the wedding was fantastic.

The thing I love about weddings, especially when it's a long-time friends is the reunion of people you haven't seen in ages.

I now seem to be able to get myself into the frame of mind, where I just focus on the event and enjoy it, rather than dwelling on all the people around me who are either pregnant or cooing over their babies. Somehow I've realised that I want to look back and have happy memories of these things and not remember being morose and bitter. Not that I'm not bitter, quite the opposite, but something kicks in, or kicks me into being happy.

I lugged all my medications down in my puregon bag with an ice brick and plonked it in the fridge. No one seemed to think twice, because I got it out several times to take vitamins. Incredible.

Home now and tired, as usual.

Oh and it looks like D's appointment with the famous Urologist is on tomorrow too ...