The ebb and flow of emotions at IVF land - taking a break?

Official test date today. Our clinic only provides home pregnancy tests, no blood tests. And of course, the test was negative...

I woke up very early this morning as I had an initial phone interview for a job at 7:30, and I wanted to do some last minute preparations too. As FMU is preferred for the test, I held 'it' in while I did the pre-test preperations - call on the heavenly powers, take long breaths, etc. After I did the test, it was the longest 5 minutes ever. And I could not believe that at the end of it, it was one bloody line :(  My poor A-Grade embryo! What happened to you?

The job interview was short and sweet, and DH and I took a few moments to express our frustration, and decide on what to do next. We decided that this was taking up too much of our lives, and we will take a (short?) break. Since both the FET's were natural FET's, they could be taken back to back, and I could start the next full cycle as soon as AF decides to visit. But we said, at least lets not do it this month right away. We will take a break from all this.

Surprisingly, my FS called me this afternoon. She had told me in the last appointment that I could do the Antagonist cycle. Today, she mentioned that since my first cycle was cancelled due to elevated P4 levels, Antag may not be the way to go. When I mentioned that I don't want to do another Long Down cycle if there is no other changes, as the P4 may rise again. So she mentioned about giving additional Hg(?) which lowers the risk, and mentioned closer monitoring. Whatever we do, we'll need to plan that cycle so that the potential egg collection is not on a weekend, as the clinic does not do egg collections on a weekend, as so last time, it was pushed back to Monday. I mentioned to her that we were thinking of taking a break, and she told me to inform her whenever we decide to 'resume', so that she can give the clinic a go ahead to arrange stuff for me. Although Antag would have been nice because the actual process only lasts a month, I think I am more comfortable about doing the long down with closed monitoring. The FS mentioned that I do not need to take pills this time for the long down cycle, as I was getting regular periods. So effectively it would be only a bit more than 5 weeks anyway of me doing something for the long down cycle anyway, so it is probably alright.

I'll probably still find reasons to come back and blog. As you never completely give up, even when you are taking a break, do you?

Till then, leaving you a song from Katy Perry - Unconditionally

I am not a hugely religious person. 
But since mid Jan or so,I felt a calling. 
I gave my hope and faith to the Almighty, and as a return, had peace in myself.
The voice of doubt was there, but I felt strong that he will look after me. 

Come as you are to me.
Don't need apologies.
Know that you are of worthy.
I take your bad days with your good.
Walk with the storm I would.
I do because I love you.

My faith has been shaken again today, but I hope that I can be as unconditional as I know God's love for me is.

And I never thought I would ever convert a Katy Perry song to a religious ballad (a sentimental or romantic popular song, according to the dictionary)! 


A fun day for a change

For once, I will write about a totally different matter that is not in sync with the blog theme, and is instead about just me having a great time :)
Color Me RAD -

I volunteered yesterday (Sunday) in the Color Me RAD 5K fun run here in Eastern Creek in Sydney, in support of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, and felt wonderful. The day started at around 7am, when we volunteers were stationed behind the package pick up booths to distribute the free t-shirts to the runners. Pretty busy, but the fun was yet to start.

Around 9am, we were taken to the first color booth and stationed to 'color bomb' the participants - we were called the "Color Bomb Squad" :). We had boxes of purple colored-corn starch, ready to bomb the participant as they ran through the station. It was heaps of fun, and I couldn't stop laughing as some people tried to sprint past to try to avoid being colored (hah, you wish!), while some were shouting when they were bombed at, while a few others still were walking gallantly through, challenging us to bomb them as much as we can. Few children wanted the color, but were wary of it at the same time. I have never laughed continuously for so long ever in my life. The weather was quite nice and sunny, but not hot, just perfect.

Unfortunately, we soon realized that we were running out of color too soon. I did as much as I could to make it last longer, and soon found a big queue of people asking to be bombed. Of course, I ran out too quickly :( It was sad to see people disappointed that they could not get colored. I admire the spirit of the people, as they were trying to get the color from the color soaked ground, and even rolling on the ground to get the color! I wish I had taken my phone with me so that I could take the photos. They don't seem to have uploaded any recent photos in facebook or their website, so I had to be contented to use a photo from one of their past events above.

After the run, people were dancing to the DJ on ground, while the staff was handing out more color bombs. Everyone was laughing, dancing and having fun. While I waited for my husband to pick me up, I stood and watched them, and felt at peace even with the loud music blasting nearby, and people laughing, shouting and running. I was standing alone and smiling. Have I mentioned it was great fun? I really regret not taking my phone to take the memories with me electronically. I would love to help out next time too. Hopefully there will be more color then! :)

I think I need to mention here that the main volunteers of the event were the Rapid Relief Team (there were only 5 of us who were individual volunteers) . The team has been actively helping out the community in times of need. This was a different type of event for them, where they were just trying to get themselves more recognized. I think they did a great job, managing such a great event. Kudos to RRT!


Two week wait and the restlessness and self doubt that goes with it

Nothing much is happening these days. Nothing to divert my mind off the single thing I am rooting for. The test is on Wednesday. 4 more sleeps. And nothing aligned to occupy the time in between.

FET definitely feels different than a full IVF cycle. I feel normal without having any shots or medications to take. Sometimes it feels too normal. Almost feels like I am not doing enough, that I am not contributing. Even when I am using up the Crinone that I had left from my freeze-all cycle, twice a day. Even with the constant yucky reminder that Crinone is bringing. Even with the uncountable number of prayers, and forcing myself to think positive. And it doesn't help that I feel no symptoms. No sore nothing. Maybe slightly more tired than usual, but it may just be because I am taking it slow, and not doing much exercise.

It has been slightly easier to be more positive this cycle, as we had an A-grade embryo put in instead of a pretty tired looking one last time. Of course the grading used by our clinic may be quite vague unlike some others that I have heard use grading like 5AA etc, but for me, it enough. For me, it means the Wednesday morning test is going to be that bit more exciting. It means I am going to hold out, and not do any earlier tests. It also means that the days are not going fast enough....


FET #2

I am not sure why it is so hard to get the inspiration to write here regularly. I guess with each round of disappointment, it gets harder to stay positive and pour my feelings for others to see (maybe, when I start getting more visitors, haha). Afraid that sounding too positive will jinx it. Afraid that sounding too negative will bring an equally negative outcome. I don't know, maybe its just damn excuses that I give for not wanting to do anything productive! Heavens have opened today, and I feel like just enjoying the downpour and kick back and relax, and just let the words flow, so here goes:

We had our ET last Saturday (Feb 15, CD15). This was again an unusual cycle for OPKs for me. The IC's showed positive from CD12-CD14. The OPKs that the clinic provided (the ones where you need to put in five drops in a small round area using a pipette!) were positive CD10-CD13 (I started them on CD10 only unfortunately). I had my first blood test on CD10, and they said I was already ovulating. So absolutely unsure that it means. At least it is now a hattrick that the first day I had blood tests to check for O, I was ovulating. On CD10 this time!! If there is ever going to be any other tests in the future, I am suggesting that I be tested on at least CD8 to begin with for sure.

Anyway, all the 5 remaining embryos were thawed. I got an sms that they all survived the thaw. But no more updates on the day of the ET. I was hoping and praying to god all along that this time its a good quality embryo. For some reason, I was thinking that my ET will be done by Dr Alan - the ET can be performed by any of the doctors in the clinic you see. I was hoping it would be our FS though. So when I saw Dr Alan in the clinic that Saturday morning, I was sure he was doing the ET, and that the embryo would not be of great quality. Of course Dr Alan was in the ET room, and I could not look at the embryo when I went into the room, as I was too nervous and continuously praying. So I was relieved when I finally looked, and the embryo looked a lot better than last time - not the perfect blastocyst, but very very close! The scientist came in and told us it was A Grade! Dr Alan did not use the ultrasound to guide, so the process was over pretty quick. DH did not manage to get the pic of the embryo at the first go. They showed the pic again after it was in the catherer, but it appeared pink - the scientist explained it was because of the microscope where the pic was taken from, but he first joked that its a baby girl. I so hope he was right though. That it is indeed my baby girl or boy that I will hold in my arms soon. Oh I hope so badly.

Post ET, I am yet to feel anything. I am using the Crinone that I had got left from the cancelled IVF cycle, and there were some cramping probably from it, in the beginning. But even that has passed. Crinone is messy, but not intolerable. I am glad we chose not to use it up last cycle, because with the better quality of the embryo, I feel that we have better chances this time. HPT Test day is next Wednesday, CD26. Till then, all I can do is keep my fingers and toes crossed, and not do anything stupid.


I was right when my heart sank

Bad eggs

I wrote before about how I was disappointed with the embryo quality at the ET, and was feeling guilty about it. I had an appointment with the FS yesterday, and she confirmed what I 'knew' then was true. The embryo's quality was crap. It wasn't even a morula at when it was transferred. More than 10 cells they said in the report. I am not sure why I heard 'near blastocyst' during ET that day (I thought I knew what the embryos were supposed to look like on various days after all the google support that I take!).  

Looking forward

I asked her what I could do to make the quality better if we have to do another IVF round in the future, and she suggested more folic acid (only). I am not 100% sold on that though. I know folic acid means less chances of abnormality in terms of number of chromosomes that are present in the embryo etc, but I am not sure if that affects how the embryos grow day to day. I will add it to my daily routine anyway of course. 

Since I am doing natural FET's, if this round of FET is the same as the last, I can start an IVF cycle right away, so as early as March. She also mentioned that since I have regular periods, I will go through the shorter Antagonist cycle this time. No specific reason, except that its short. I was told, the egg quality/quantity may or may not be better. So, before my 35th birthday, I guess I may have a better indication of if my eggs had been crap all along or not. 

With P4, they will try to have the EPU earlier next cycle, provided it doesn't fall in the weekend, as the clinic does not do EPU's over the weekend! No change in dosage or anything, as I had responded fine in the last cycle. 

Bad batch?

We also discussed about what differences we can expect in this FET that I have booked this month. We discussed the possibility of this cycle being better, but also the equal or maybe higher chances that the embryos are the same or worse quality. One out of 4 lasted to >10 cell stage in the last cycle. There may be a miracle in the 5 that are left in freezer, but there may not be. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. When I specifically asked the question, I was told that I could ask to NOT put the embryos back at ET after seeing the embryo and deciding they are not developed enough. I am yet to find the financial implications of that, and if we would be strong enough to make the decision on that day...


Everyone but me

Two more couples are pregnant 'around' me. Well, they currently only exist in the cyber world for me, as I haven't contacted them for ages, anyway. I was hoping last week that by this day, I would be secretly anticipating the 12th week when I could really announce to everyone that I finally am going to be a mom.

Instead, the next FET cycle has been booked. Since it was all natural cycle, I won't have to wait out for a month. I have an appointment with the FE on the 6th. I doubt there will be any significant change that she will suggest. After all, it is a first failed cycle theoretically. The nurse has informed me that the first bloods will be on CD10, guess because I had O'ed on CD11, the first bloods day, in my last cycle. So, another waiting game has started. How much more my sanity level is going to drop, its an interesting thought. Guess only time will tell.