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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


It appears we have been encountering some technical difficulties, that have only just come to light in this cycle. Of course we have.

Star has had to keep her phone turned off at work, because she is in training all week.

Since Monday, Nice Nurse has been trying to ring her, but her calls have been ringing out and not even going to message bank. She also rings on a private line, so when Star switches her phone on, she can’t see who’s called. It turns out she does need to have the CF test again, and we both need to have our suppression checks.

‘We need to be able to communicate with Star and leave messages, things are going to be happening fast from now on.’ Glamour Nurse told me.
‘Are you okay?’ she asked
‘Yes, I’m just worried about Star’s phone’.

So sent Star a text and emailed her. I also gave Nice Nurse Star’s new home number.

‘I didn’t know that was happening, I can’t understand why, I’ll contact my provider in the morning’

Phew, hopefully we can get over this minor hiccup.

Meantime, Nice Nurse told me there was no need to panic, I could have my blood test this morning, and Star can have hers tomorrow.

‘It’s good that she’s not deliberately ignoring calls, alarm bells would be going off if that was the case’.


Meanwhile last night I went for my kinesiology session. Or was it energy healing? Maybe they’re the same thing?

I don’t know what I expected.

By pushing on my left arm as I had it raised, the Alternative Goddess pressed and jabbed other parts of my body …

‘Your right ovary isn’t fully functional, did you know that? ... and your hyothalamus gland doesn’t seem to be functioning ... Can’t figure it out, your hormones are okay ...
‘Ummm, could that be the suppression drugs I’m on?
‘Right that could be it ... have you had many problems with your ears? ... your body is missing something ... is it a supplement ... no it’s a food group ... a carbohydrate? ... no a protein ... what’s your diet like’?
‘Good, we eat lots of vegetables, salads, we eat meat a couple of times a week, I like cheese’.
‘Looks like you’ve got a virus, and you’ve had it for years ...’
‘Now sit up and keep blinking ...’

I had to do that a couple of times, while she swooshed her hands up and down my back.

‘Okay, you’re done, and I’ll need to see you early next week.’
‘Umm, my friend that recommended I came, did so because I was feeling stressed about the donor cycle coming up’.
‘Well your body told me you were okay ... unless you were hiding it ... let’s just check again ... Raise your left arm ... [jab here, there and everywhere] Yeah, you’re fine ... now I’ve started correcting your energy levels, you should be fine.’

I don’t quite understand what it was all about. I did sleep well last night.

My friend going through her [successful] donor cycle used to see her. Hearing I was going through a donor cycle didn’t phase her.

Maybe this is just another one of those weird things for me to experience on this journey?

Meanwhile this morning I trotted off to have my blood test (and where I will have my ultrasounds) ... It’s over the road from the building I work in! Yes literally. The entrance to the clinic faces the driveway that everyone from work uses to get into the building parking. Incredibly handy, but ... what I wonder is – how come I never even noticed this place before? What if someone sees me? What if I see someone from work in there? At this point, I don’t care.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cycle or Circus

Well life in the fairground-that-appears-to-be-our-cycle continues.

A quick ride on the rollercoaster this morning – I arrived at work early, and promptly turned heel, grabbed my bag and spent the next hour and a quarter in a cab doing a circuit home and back to work again. By 10am I'd waved hello 3 times to the Opera House as I'd whizzed by on the harbour bridge.

I left home and forgot to take my Syn0rel. On the run, I quickly texted my workmate ... Ummm ‘if anyone's looking for me, I've had to urgently go home, [t-h-i-n-k Sparkle] ... Mr. S left the his keys hanging out of the car boot’.

I honestly wonder if there will come a day when I run out of excuses - nah, not yet still plenty in cold storage.

‘I’m going to put big notices up around the apartment 'Remember to take the Sniffing Drug’, (as it's fondly known in our house) Mr. S said.

In desperation, I’d texted him from the train to see if he was still at home and could take it to work, so I could do a courier pick up.

Star and I appear to be going round and round on the Syn0rel ferris wheel and can’t get off.

Calls to Glamour Nurse yesterday, left us with another ‘just hold on’ message.

Nice Nurse had her day off, so our schedule is still the 'great unknown'. Her being the donor coordinator means there is NO ONE else to help.

‘But Star says she hasn’t heard from her’ I told Glamour Nurse, ‘should she be having more blood drawn for the CF test, I don’t mean to be a pest, but have we just lost 2 working days with this’?
‘Well she told me that the lab would call if they require further blood, and we haven’t heard from them’
‘Does that mean the blood that went missing on the way to Sydney was found’?
‘Sounds like it’

Okay, so I’ll walk away from that one, the cycle is going ahead regardless.

‘Well then, do Star and I need to have blood tests to see if we’re suppressed’?
‘Yes you will, but don’t worry, they’ve got all the pre-Christmas cycles lined up, you will get the call when it needs to be done, you will have your transfer before Christmas’.

But actually it feels like we're lost in a maze.

Star and I keep turning corners, but aren’t close to finding our way out.

‘Can you wait till tomorrow when Nice Nurse is back, and we’ll get the schedule from her?’

In the meantime, which way to the dodgems?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Morning Glory

‘Imagine everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. That’s the reality of a donor cycle’.

Those words were certainly ringing in my ears this morning.

Star’s CF blood never arrived at the lab in Sydney - the test has not been performed, we still do not have a result ... we found this out this morning.

Nice Nurse was apparently seeing red, Glamour Nurse told me.

‘Angry at the labs I hope?’
‘Well yes’
‘But, wasn’t she meant to be chasing these tests more than a week ago?’
‘Yes, I left 3 messages with her'.
‘Hmmm so some of the negligence lies with her’.
‘That would appear to be the case’.

Actually I’m used to everything going wrong, so in fact, it doesn't phase me, I don't even break into a sweat. Nothing I can do. One of those situations, you can ask a million questions, scream at everyone and never get an answer – deal with it.

Half an hour later, SDD called and gave me the low-down:

‘Mr. S. is negative, so if Star is a carrier the risk is 1:4 of a potential child being a carrier, this is a risk that can be determined pre-natal (think he said). If a child is a carrier, then the main concern will be if he/she meets another carrier when they are an adult.’
‘Right, with you so far’.
‘We can go ahead with the cycle now (this side of Christmas), and if we haven’t got the results in by transfer, freeze everything until we get a result, OR if you are prepared to take the risk do a fresh transfer, OR finally we wait on the blood results and cycle in January.
‘Hmm, do you want an answer today?’
‘Yes, we’d be grateful if you can call back this afternoon’.

A quick call to Mr. S. and we decide we’re happy to either go ahead or wait till January, we want to talk to Star and see what she wants to do.

Star, meanwhile, started a brand new job today. Thankfully after some texting, I was able to talk to her in her lunchbreak.

‘I’m happy to go ahead now’.
‘Okay, because we are too, but if you wanted to wait till January so are we’.
‘Nah, I reckon we should go ahead’.

One of the reasons we may appear to be less panicked is that the chances are extremely low that Star is a carrier (we know her child isn’t) and she does not have any greek heritage (for some reason this increases the chances).

Also, we will be cycling with Star regardless. In the remote chance that her results do come back positive, because Mr. S. is negative, the cycle will go ahead.

Decision made.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Nearly Somewhere

Yesterday both Star and I received forms for blood tests in the mail.

Mine were all tests I'd had done a million times.

To add more confusion to the mix, Nice Nurse from the clinic was off sick.

'Ring tomorrow, after she's done the morning blood tests, if you're still not sure what's going on, I'll take the files into the doctor, and we'll go over everything'. Glamour Nurse advised.

This morning Nice Nurse explained everything. Star has been sent all the blood forms she'll need once the cycle gets going. I definitely need one more (HTV), and that can be done on Monday.

What about the other urgent blood tests?

'Karotype is in and that's fine, chasing CF this morning' (LATER: CF is on the Path Lab list, but without a result next to it, this will have to be chased again on Monday).

'So, the only thing I'm still not sure about is our actual schedule?'
'Don't worry, once we get the CF results, we're on our way, the good thing is you're on Syn0rel, it gives us lots of flexibility'.
'What about the Christmas Closures, do you think we'll make it?'
'Don't think that'll be a problem'.

So, while it looks like I'm just sitting around posting the odd 'my thoughts' post, and sniffing, we are still on track.

(BTW, at some Christmas drinks the other night, had to go and have my sniff - loved walking out of the lou afterwards)

I think once we get going, we'll be hitting the ground running.

The clinic will be closed, (that is ... no more procedures after) the 17th and 18th December. By my calculations we will have to start stims by about the 2nd December.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

No Angel Wings

I wonder sometimes if even having a baby will cure my bitterness.

I think I’ve got a handle on self-pity, and I’ve really learnt how to be happy in everyday life, what I haven’t conquered is feeling bitter when I hear how wonderfully well other peoples lives are going. Even as I write this the top left side of my lip raises itself in an agreed bitter sneer – 'yeah damn right, stuff everyone I know and their great lives'!

So far I’ve put this down to the ahhh ... baby stuff.

My family dreams shattered while everyone else’s have come to fruition.

I think I’m rapidly reaching a point where I don’t want to hear ANYONE ELSE’S GOOD NEWS. BTW I’m referring to real life people here. I think it’s a peer group thing. But then do I still have a peer group? Does IF strip you of that, when practically everyone you know has a family? (In our case, if they don’t most likely it’s because they’re single).

Would getting pregnant be the cure-all or would it be the start of a whole new level of bitterness?

Getting pregnant would have taken me ... [a million years] and cost me ... [a million dollars], not to mention all my ... [lost career opportunities] the isolation ... blah boringly blah.

Mr. S seems to think that I should be able to disregard my hurt and pain and just feel good for everyone else when good things happen to them. This would be the way a mature optimistic person would deal with my life and situation.

What happened to my angel wings? Did they never grow or have they slowly rotted off my back with every passing year of IF?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Total Kook

I can’t remember ever crying before.

I’ve definitely never cried at the beginning of a cycle, over something trivial.

Is it the combination of a full month on BCP’s and the sniffing that does that? I’ve only ever had to take a week of BCP’s before.

‘It’s the drugs’ I sobbed to Mr. S. He looked concerned that there was more bothering me – our conversation was about when we want to buy a house.

I think it’s also the worry.

I can’t believe how tense I feel. My whole outlook is doom and failure. Oh yeah, did I also mention I don’t feel that rational either?

‘You need to start doing positive affirmations’, my friend said. She is about to give birth to her son – conceived via donor eggs.

‘Everyone has a guide, you need to start trusting and following yours'.
‘But I don’t know what my guide looks like, I've never seen my guide (Think my guide needs a compass and a map - after the journey I've been lead on these past four years?!)'
‘Well you need to spend five minutes everyday – meditating with a positive affirmation – I’m going to have a baby and I deserve it. Do you think you can do that’?
‘What – not even protect myself a little bit?’
‘No, forget feeling negative’.

How do you do that?

Expecting the worst – protecting myself from disappointment is how I’ve coped with all the negative results and set-backs. It’s also how I’ve been able to look ahead and have a Plan B. in place.

Start being positive and affirming that not only do I expect a positive result – but that I deserve it? What kind of selfish git would that make me? Also, what kind of fool would start living with that kind of hope? Only a fool that’s never hit the ground before.

Add into that the fact that I’m a total cynic when it comes to alterna-hippy stuff and when I’m rational I prefer to make sound common sense decisions.

I gave up reading horoscopes years ago. Actually I just read mine this weekend. Why is that?

Meanwhile in the last few days I’ve started practising breathing and affirming. The words kind of get jumbled, and I end up with fragmented sentences ‘ahem ... calm down ... don't be negative ... I'm trying to have a baby', not sure how affirming, but regulating my breathing is helping me sleep.

I’ve also got the number for a kinesiologist – apparently she works late week-nights.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wake Up and Smell ?

I toast you all with my first sniff this morning.

Now both Star and I are sniffing, and we are working to get both our cycles in sync.

At this point, we have no actual dates, in 10 days or so we will have blood tests to see if we are both suppressed.

Maybe then ... a timeline ...

The CF screen for Star is another factor.

Glamour Nurse from my SDD’s office was not happy that Nice Nurse from the clinic was ordering up blood tests without consulting her or SDD.

Millie was right, it takes two positive carriers to create any chance of passing the CF gene on. Mr. S. is negative – so regardless of Star’s results – positive or negative – there is no issue.

BUT it is apparently clinic policy to test all donor’s – regardless.

Nice Nurse from the clinic believes she can get the results back within two weeks – and that this will not affect our cycle.

Glamour Nurse said to me that if there is any messing around, my SDD will get on the phone and blow them up and make sure the cycle starts. (He’s away this week, she says if she rings him about this, it’ll make his blood boil and since the test has already been taken and so far it doesn’t look like there will be a problem – she’s going to wait till he gets back).

Mr. S. asked me last night if there is anything he can do (since I’m in constant touch with two different nurses, taking drugs, staying in touch with Star and making sure everything is good with her, trying to figure out the logistics, when to book her flights/accommodation ... and he is doing Jacksh**!!) -

‘Yes, try and help me so I don’t have too much to worry about’
‘Ahhh, what are all the things you’re worrying about?’
‘Umm, everything’

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Only Fools Make Plans

Of course we all know with IF nothing is ever going to go to plan, not an easy straight-forward plan anyway.

Nice Nurse from the clinic called to have an introductory chat, let me know I needed some extra blood tests (can’t even imagine what, she’s sending the paperwork out), paying the bill ... and the fact that Star also needs to have a couple of extra tests as well - including the Cy*tic Fibro*i* screen – the results of which take weeks.

Star will not be allowed to start stimming until that test has come thru, of course Nice Nurse has marked it super-urgent, so 'hopes' it won’t be a problem.

Mr. S. had this test earlier in the year and it took more than a month to come back.

‘Well we’re not due to start stimming for a few weeks anyway are we’?
‘No, but they won’t start at all until this test result is in, I’ve checked with the Top Brass and he will not budge’.

So, as she reminded me, it’s not a problem because Star and I can stay on Syn*rel indefinitely. YAY we could remain suppressed for months. Christmas closures looming.

Oh the other thing, she reminded me what I already knew, this test is expensive and our stupid Med*care won’t cover 1 cent of it. Pooh, yeah we know, we’ve already paid for one this year for Mr. S.

Other than that, it was great to chatting with her, this will be a whole new cycling experience - an actual specific donor nurse assigned to look after us. She told me that whenever either Star or I have a blood test, she will ring each of us to let us know how it went. Far out.

She said she’d spoken to Star (‘she’s so lovely!’) and gone over several things with her. Right now they were working out the closest Ultrasound clinic to Star for her to go ‘once things get going’. Good news: all the 'external from the clinic' ultrasounds will be covered by the cycle.

BTW I spoke to Star the other day to find out how she was enjoying the Syn*rel –

‘I was shocked the first time I sniffed how revolting it tasted, but now I’m okay’.

Memories aye ladies?

Oh, a couple of things, we are planning on transferring a Day 3 embryo. Confused? Yeah well Mr. S. and I discussed this long and hard, so here’s how we feel, it may seem a little schizophrenic.

While we were happy to go with blasts when we were cycling with my eggs, we are not happy to do that with someone so much younger. We know the risk of genetic abnormalities is someone young is low, as low as it can be. With me, we knew the chances were high (getting to the 50% mark if we were in the worst statistic), so while it was hard to lose the embryos we did, we figured we were potentially losing embryos that may have been damaged, and leaving ourselves with our best. With Star, we only want her to cycle once, so with the egg energy in a young donor and the low risk of genetic abnormality, we do not want to be losing embryos to the unknown factor - ‘could have made it in the uterus, but did not make it in the lab'.

Whaddyareckon about this logic?

Also, the privacy issue. I’ve discussed before that we intend to be open with everyone. Right now, what are we doing? We figure we’ve got bigger fish to fry - first priority - getting a positive result. We will deal with the rest when we have to - not until when we are well into a healthy pregnancy.

Right now, we’re a little scared and a little excited.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another Day, Another Lie

It’s one thing to be good at lying; it’s quite another thing to have to be.

This morning I invented a chiropractic appointment, because I was having a late start, meanwhile I’m seeing my SDD and getting the low-down on our cycle with Star.

‘Let’s get there early, maybe we can push in’ I say to Mr. S.

Half an hour later.

‘Just let me know when you’re ready to go’ I shout upstairs at the brick wall on the computer.

‘Hi, SDD’s ready for you’ the Glamour Nurse says to me as I walk in the door.

‘Okay, Mr. S is just putting money in the meter’.

As Glamour and I walk into the office, she’s asking me what day I’m on, while I’m trying to save a message on my mobile from my boss.

‘Put everything down, and let’s start going over the forms’ SDD advises. ‘Don’t worry about what day’.


Mr. S. arrives and we speed through all the forms – privacy, permissions for research, hand over permission to each other to decide what to do with spare embryos in case of death (yikes!), and all the rest.

‘Any questions’?

‘Umm, so when you say you’ll only transfer one embryo, is that because of the risks with a multiple pregnancy?’

‘At Star’s age [have I mentioned her age = under 27?] the chances of twins is extremely high, and the knock-on to your health, the risks of premmie etc. we won’t do it, in fact, unless your donor was late thirties, regulations are going to be introduced for single embryo transfer’.

Me: ‘So in the event a fresh transfer doesn’t work and we were doing an FET – would that still be a single embryo transfer, I mean, we’ve spent the last 4 years on the wrong side of the odds?’

SDD ‘Yes, the chances of pregnancy are equal with a single embryo as with two, at your donors age, your chances of success are 56%’.

Me: ‘Okay, are we aiming for a certain number of eggs? I mean when I cycled, I was getting, 7, 10, 12 and 8 before everything went pear-shaped?’

SDD ‘For you this is a numbers game, for me, I am a doctor to three separate patients and my first responsibility is going to be for Star’s health, her ovarian performance is secondary’.

Okay, questions answered.

I am to start sniffing next Wednesday, and have been given a prescription to get filled for Prog*ynova.

‘Also, when you are successful, you will need a further prescription’. SDD informs us. He added that he would look after us until 8 weeks then refer us (if we wished) to an Ob.

At the front desk there was another flurry of forms being signed, duplicated and faxed.

Also, Glamour informed us the coordinator nurse at the clinic requires us to go over for an orientation and to pay our bill,

‘Keh? Don’t we pay once Star starts stimming’?
‘No, since she has started sniffing, they want payment very soon.’
‘No worries, do they take Am*Ex?’.

As Mr. S. and I check and double check we have all our cards, receipts and forms we head off to get to work.

As we were driving I say

‘It’s always seemed too weird to talk about what we would do when we needed an Ob; it seems strange to even think about that’.
‘Well what does everyone else do?’ he asks
‘Most of our friends, who got pregnant for free, just book in at the Birthing Centre and then have their babies there for free as well (with midwives). I could ask if they had Ob’s, but I couldn’t bear to have that conversation with anyone’.
‘No, I hate talking about all that shit’

Yeah, I’ve hated having to listen to all that shit for the last four years, let’s just wait till we need to know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cup Day Take 2

Unlike Melbourne Cup Day 2005, MCD 2006 was fun!

Amazing isn't it, to be blogging the same event two years running - still IF, still no baby?

This year, guess what? No pregnant women around – out of the 50 or so people I went out to lunch with – not one, no belly rubbing or being roped into boring ante-natal class conversations!

There were a few men (including my boss!), whose wives are pregnant – but thankfully the wives were at home so they just got drunk.

We started lunch around 12.30pm and I walked out-the-door-backwards at around 7.30pm to head home.

Picked the winner, but unfortunately got greedy and went for a trifecta – so won nothing.

Of course, you never escape unscathed, I was asked the question towards the seedy end of the day, ‘do I want kids and when am I going to have them?’

These days I lie so easily it’s becoming, quite frankly, disturbing.

‘Yes of course I do, I want to have my own kids and I’d also like to adopt’.

Seamless, never skip a beat, it’s become effortless over the years ... they don’t have a clue (idiots, how many married women ‘of a certain age’ would still not be pregnant within 5 years of their marriage if they wanted kids?!).

On days like these, my experience in the entertainment biz pays dividends, I learnt very early on how to pace myself at boozy work functions. Being nice and social, but never getting so blind drunk I ‘spill my guts’ – it’s kept all my secrets intact.

Sometimes when I’m lying, I just look at the person I’m talking to and think to myself – ‘I hope this time next year I’m on maternity leave’. For some reason, this seems to bolster me up to keep the conversation and lies going.

Being at a loud boozy work function also meant that I didn’t hear my mobile ringing ... ringing ... ringing

On my way home in the cab (that some pig before me had puked out the door in) I picked up all my messages – the nurse from the doctors office trying to get hold of both me and Star.

A few texts and phone calls this morning, everything sorted.

Star started sniffing this morning ... Mr. S and I see the SDD in the morning and sign our final paperwork.

We are moving onto the next stage of our DE cycle.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Tell Me ...

Some drive-bys are definitely worse than others.

Sometimes my [written] foul mouth gets the better of me.

A couple of months ago we had dinner with a 'friends sister' and her husband who were about to embark on their first IVF cycle.

Same doctor, same clinic as us.

Nearly the same age as me.

Except, unfortunately, I’m a veteran of 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles, going back to August 2004.

We walked away from the dinner wishing them the best, giving all the tips we could think of ... call me anytime if you need support. I'd been concerned at how slow they had been to move to IVF - we'd moved fast as soon as we knew we had to.

But we said to ourselves on the way home ‘not sure I have much hope for them, we may need to talk to them about donor eggs down the track’. I mean, I was more than a couple of years younger when we first started.

Last week our same friend rang to see if we were free for dinner in a few weeks time, and we asked after his sister.

Very early days pregnant, don’t tell anyone.


Am I hearing right – success with first IVF cycle, AT THE AGE OF 40????

I’m very happy for them.


Same doctor, same clinic (but I cycled more than two years younger).

Meanwhile ... and very importantly, who’s going to the dinner? I quiz Mr. S.

‘Don’t know, you know Prickly, he never tells you who else he’s invited and it’s rude to ask’.

‘But ALL my friends tell us who they’re inviting – before confirming the go ahead!’

‘Well Prickly doesn’t, it’s always pot luck with him’

Well shit, now it sounds like I’ve got every chance of being stuck in a room full of pregnant woman – between his sister and everyone else with their third on the way!

How could it be possible that I could be going to a dinner party full of pregnant women all congratulating the IVF success story ... and it's sure as hell not ours?!

Coffee after dinner? Yes please hold the sugar, I want it strong, black and bitter!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Puppies and Kittens

The thing with blogging is that it’s like writing in your diary.


You put it up on the internet for all to read.

So then sometimes when you write something a little bit opinionated, you worry about that.

It’s not that you don’t believe in what you write, it’s more to do with not wanting to offend people. Especially because since blogging you have found the most amazing support you could imagine, and it's helped you work through all your crazy emotions in the past couple of years, and even more unbelievably you actually get around in public and seem relatively normal (to the untrained IF eye). AND that's because all your venting and angst has been worked through on your blog.


So then you figure the only way to fix that is to write the soft and cuddly post.


You can’t for the life of you think of what to write.

So here goes.

Star and I have both now started our BCP’s.