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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bite Sized Pieces ...

You know how it is when stuff happens, stuff that’s totally outside of your control, and it’s totally overwhelming … sometimes you don’t know how to deal with it?

Stuff like that has been happening to me for a few years now, and that includes, but is not exclusively with our struggles to have a baby.

My struggles with IF have made me a different person - that much is true.

One of my ways of dealing with things is to choose not to. If things get too hard, for the first time in my life I just put them on the back burner.

This may be a by-product of IF, I’m not sure?

As previously mentioned in ‘The City’ I have had many struggles with one of my sisters. Nothing is ever simple in life and if for the first time in our relationship I had problems with her after I had a miscarriage, well things would have most likely gotten back on track. But that’s not the case, and I have a huge history of problems with her, and following my miscarriage and subsequent ‘issues’ with her (bombarding me with talk of her baby), I took a time out. As anyone who has read my previous posts will know, since then I have twice had a mix up at my IVF clinic where they accidentally brought her records up.

So the background to that being that she has put it about the family how uber-fertile she – ‘Competitive Sibling Fertility’ if you will.

Now here’s the overwhelming part. Five months ago she sent a breathless email to everyone in the family with the news that she was pregnant with her second. Two months later she sent a follow up with the news that a heart defect had been detected – the baby’s heart rate was at 70 bpm – where it should be at 160 bpm. Medication was taken, this didn’t have the desired effect. At the time she and her husband were living overseas. We got occasional updates – that everything was holding, they were being closely monitored. They were hoping to get to 38 weeks, then she would have a caesarean delivery.

So we have reached a point where we email each other about ‘nothing’. [I mean I have sent many supportive emails with regards to the baby]. It’s progress.

They have since moved back to Australia.

Yesterday we got an email that the heart rate had dropped again – so at 36 ½ weeks she would be delivering. That is today. We haven’t heard anything yet.

[More background: part of our punishment was not to tell us when her baby daughter was born - we found out a day later. I have still not ever met my niece]

We have still never resolved anything.

I struggled with how to bring her back into my life, but couldn’t sleep at night. The thought of even sitting down face to face was too unbearable to imagine. I have struggled with this moral dilemma, and my course of action has been to do nothing.

It wasn’t an appropriate time to be mending fences – while she was dealing with this problematic pregnancy – and the issues were too important to ignore.

Like many of the difficulties (more to come), I’ve dealt with them in bite sized pieces as I’ve needed to.

Now I have reached a time where I’m not sure what to do.

I have been waiting all day on word from the hospital on how things have gone.

Wouldn’t you just love to be me at this point in time?

UPDATE: Baby boy has been born. At the moment mother and baby are doing well. I have spoken to them, and everything is good. Baby will need an operation, decision on when that is, is yet to be made.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Quiet Times

There’s not much to report in ‘The City’ these days.

All over the Blogland people are cycling and I’m doing nothing. Feel like I’m here sitting on my jatz watching the hive of activity all around me. I’m really excited to be following everyone’s progress – and am hoping for a bumper crop of positive news.

Closer to home, I was told some great news last night – my new friend from our Adoption Seminar rang to let me that she was successful with her donor egg cycle. First transfer, 1 fresh embryo, 3 day transfer, 3 embryo’s frozen. I’m ecstatic. It’s funny but there are times when you do not dread hearing an Announcement this is one of those times. I know when my time comes for our donor cycle she will be here for me too.

Meanwhile, my life is revolving around getting myself in optimum health. My CFG is a big part of that – her visits being the only posts I can make about my fertility at the moment.

She said to me yesterday that she was very happy with my progress, and very happy with my attitude towards my health.

She explained a little more to me with regards to the Grey Hair diagnosis. She said her belief with me is that she needs to work on improving my Kidney Chi, that’s where she sees my weakness (by Chiropractor also believes this). There are a couple of physical indications of weak Kidney Chi, and one of those is having some prematurely grey hair. When she first met me she was a little confused, because she thought that my skin tone indicated that might be the case (yuck!), but since [as she said] I was in good physical shape (not overweight), and she couldn’t see grey hair, she was confused.

But you see, I was very tricksy, my hair had been newly dyed. Now six weeks later when she had to give me a needle in the hairline for my sinuses, she could see a few greys growing through.

Well, I said to her, they’ll be gone again by next week, I’m off to the hairdressers tomorrow!

BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m not anywhere near 100% grey – but I have naturally dark hair, and unfortunately this makes what I do have far more obvious.

Tomorrow we’re going to a wedding of great friends – it’s a park ceremony, and a reception on the waterfront. So my friend and I are meeting at the hairdressers early in the day for a spruce up before the event.

We have made some plans for getting our donor cycle underway, but since I have so little to write about, I’ll save that for when we're closer to the time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More Work To Do

In Oriental Medicine it is not a good sign to have symptoms of ovulation or impending period.

That’s what my CFG told me today.

Today is my Day 17.

I told her that I knew I had ovulated around Day 15 because I got my trusty ‘sore boobs’ sign. I thought this was a good thing, it’s normal for me and always has been. Following my last failed cycle, this is the first time my cycle looks to be coming back to normal.

[I decided after my last IVF cycle to give myself a break from BBT’s and OPK’s for a few months, because I wanted some stress free time as we looked into other options.]

CFG says that if you have good Chi, good blood flow, and you are healthy you shouldn’t have any signs. That we all take it for granted in this day and age when we get these signs because we’re used to them, but the fact that we have the signs means that we are not in tip top health.

Sigh ... more for her to work on.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ageing Grey-cefully

All’s pretty quiet on the blog front at the moment.

That’s mostly because all’s pretty quiet in our IF world.

I’ve spent the last week working on my Life Story, for our Adoption submission, and it’s taken up all the writing concentration I can muster.

I’m having my acupuncture and chiropractic sessions every week, and slowly … slowly, starting to feel like things are coming back to normal following our last IVF cycle. The hiking of the Pure*gon mid-cycle didn’t do me any favours.

My cycles are normally 28-29 days, the two I’ve had following IVF were 34 days followed by 31. My acupuncturist said that it’s possible they now won’t go back to normal, but she’ll be happy with 30.

Yesterday when I saw her, I mentioned that I had blocked and itchy sinuses, and could she help.

She sure could, I had needles put on either side of my nose and right at the tip, she also put one in the centre of my forehead, just by my hairline. [Today I feel pretty good].

CFG: What colour is your hair?
S: Dark Brown
CFG: Do you dye it?
S: Yes, [snicker] I’ve got a few grey hairs.
CFG: Okay, so natural colour dark brown?
S: Yes
CFG: Do you lose much hair?
S: NOOO, my hair is usually quite thick.

CFG then went on to tell me that in Chinese Medicine, a woman’s fertility is often judged by her hair condition, so having some grey hair is a sign of declining egg quality…. Thinning hair is another.

Buggery, bollocks I thought, my mum told me that I was just like my father, that I’d get a few extra grey hairs each year, but that I wouldn’t go noticeably grey until I was 80 or something. My father still hasn’t gone fully grey yet.

CFG told me not to worry, that it was just something for her to take into account and work with.

That being the case, what it means is that my egg quality has been on a downward spiral since I turned 19 – when, horrifically, I found my first grey hair – and promptly pulled it out!

It made me think that I’ve had the cards stacked against me for years. If my fertility was dwindling back then, and it took me another 11 years to meet Mr. S – we were really battling up hill all the way.

In a warped way it doesn’t surprise me. I mean, I know this is pretty superficial, but there’s no way I want to be a grey-haired preggy, or a grey-haired mother for that matter. I just dye my hair and the unsightly problem is gone.

And since, in this universe there can be some pretty strange coincidences, during the week I was talking to my Chiropractor about the vitamins she has put me on [Juice*Plus]. These can take up to a month to have any effect and I asked her if any of her patients had reported back whether they had any noticeable changes with their skin or hair.

CHI: Well it’s funny but a couple have told me that they have noticed they have less grey hair.
S: How extraordinary

I think I might just keep taking it, maybe if I get the same reaction, I can fool my eggs that I’ve still got spring in my Fertility step!

Friday, March 03, 2006

It happened again

For the second time our records were mixed up at our clinic.

Even though we had our last IVF cycle in December, I still needed to chase up the clinic for the paperwork so I could make our medical claim. Yet another example of the totally mundane stuff that make IVF a drag.

Somehow the clinic had managed to totally stuff up our claim, they managed to get their money, but not supply me with the necessary receipt, so I could claim mine.

After being reassured that it would be in the mail, I ended up having to ring them again a week later, and I’m on the phone to the Customer Service Guy:

CCG: Can I have your surname please?
S: Sure, it’s Sparkle
Pause [this is when I realise they’ve found two of these unusual surnames]
CCG: Can I have your first name please?
S: Sure, it’s Daisy
CCG: Okay, Maisy … tap, tap, tap
S: [Thinking to myself … did he say Maisy? That means he’s gonna search by Ma …]
CCG: Okay, do you live at 1a Rich Persons Street, Poshville?
S: No, that’s not my address, did you type in Maisy?
CCG: Aaah, what? [panic] … tap, tap, tap … let me just search …
S: My name is Daisy, did you type in Maisy?
CCG: Tap, tap, tap …
S: Listen, have you got the records up for Marnie Sparkle?
CCG: [Gulp] Yes …
S: Well my name is Daisy, you have the wrong records.
CCG: Ooh, sorry, tap, tap, tap … is this your address …?
S: Yes

This confusing exchange meant that yet again, they mixed up my records with my sisters.

My sister whom I no longer speak to.

We became estranged after I had my miscarriage. I am still not really sure what happened, but at the time she was also pregnant and I had to tell her I needed to take a step back from her to deal with my miscarriage.

Long story, but let’s just say she’s not what you’d call the most welcome port in a storm. At the time, she couldn’t seem to grasp that it wasn’t fun for me to sit and hear her talk about her pregnancy for 2-3 hours at a time. While I was getting my sh*t together, I would try and ring her as a way of staying in touch and found her more and more hostile, and more and more determined to talk about her pregnancy at any cost.

Her view was that I should have been there to support her right throughout her pregnancy, and be available at any time. I supposedly completely let her down.

This came to a head when the baby was born, and Mr S and I were not told of the birth … or the hospital … and when we did find out and send flowers … they were sent away and never acknowledged … our phone messages of congrats were never returned …

Guess what? I stopped caring. I started realising this relationship had become toxic – and that had started happening a long time before my miscarriage and IF.

But imagine my surprise when records were mixed up the first time.

Imagine now to have that happen again, and have her address read out to me?

This is significant because my sister was in a long-term relationship that ended badly and there were never any children.

She then moved and started a new relationship, got married and then got pregnant.

The address the CCG read out to me was her newest address.

The significance is because the first time it happened, I just wondered if maybe she’d been thru IF treatment with her former partner. Having the new address makes it even more confusing.

She bought the house and moved in, six months later met her now husband.

When my sister got back from her honeymoon and announced her pregnancy, she breathlessly told me how they got pregnant before they’d decided to start trying …
They were going wait to try in six months and voila SURPRISE!

S: Really? Well how come you started taking the Ele*vit prenatal tablets 3 months before you got married?
M: Ooh, well … you know, I just decided that I wanted to take a good multi vitamin … didn’t you find your hair and nails were amazing when you took Ele*vit?
S: No, my hair and nails are fine … I wouldn’t take preggy vitamins for my nails …

[Just an example of the ridiculous exchanges we were having ..]

So I find myself in an unusual position.

We have reached a stage of sending brief emails to each other. I am not at a point where I am prepared to bring her back into my life, and believe it or not cannot yet contemplate meeting up face to face. I have only ever seen 1 photo of my niece.

I have kept this secret from the rest of my family.

I’m really not sure when and how I’ll raise it with her, it’s just something I’m keeping to myself until the time is right.

It's such a bizarre experience, I often wonder if anyone else has accidentally found out about other peoples fertility treatment - people that pretend they have no fertility issues?