Friday, 30 June 2017


First cycle done. In the can. Or the incubator, as it were.

I went for an ultrasound on Monday. My ovaries were the size of oranges. The specialist said they were growing fast, and that I needed the blocker injection stat. So I had it stat.

A couple of days of two injections (one blocker, one grower) later, at the second ultrasound, I had grapefruits. My ovaries would be ripe for the plucking on Friday. Seven eggs, she said.

Wednesday night was the trigger injection. Chorionic Gonadotropin, ie the pregnancy hormone. That was rough. Sore sore boobs, sick, sore pelvis. All the symptoms of pregnancy, but no pregnancy.

I went out for a coffee, the other day. 8 women sat beside me, probably a mother's group, with babies around the 3 month mark. All looking good and breastfeeding with apparent ease. Just the thing you want in your face when your ovaries are swollen with hormones.

Today I went for the collection. Seven eggs, she collected. How bout dat?

I watched all the other women go in for their egg collections. They all looked hale and hearty. Young, healthy. Wealthy. Like they should be strolling around in their active luxe and beachy waves with a chubby baby in a bugaboo, or gracefully lifting the baby out of their Audi 4WD.

Some of them were in for their fourth or fifth go.

The operation itself went fairly well, insofar as I was knocked out for it, and I am not in a lot of pain. More of a pressure when I sit down.

My little oocytes got whisked off to the lab where they will get fertilised. Tomorrow I will get told how many get fertilised.

It's a bit of a game of attrition from there. A certain percentage will fertilise, of those a proportion will get to blastocyst stage, of those a proportion will pass the genetic screening, of those a proportion will survive the freezing and thawing. Of those embryos which are for transfer, on average, 30% will proceed to a live birth. Attrition. Let's hope my oocytes do crossfit too, and they are super good quality.

People say, when I am doing IVF, "oooh how exciting". They haven't considered the attrition above. I find it hard to be excited as it all seems rather improbable. Sometimes it's not good to know the facts. For now, I am just focussed on getting through this one, on recovering, on getting back to crossfit, on getting back into work. I have not thought about whether I will do any more cycles.

I had an exciting work related email the other day, which turned out to be a furphy, but it gave me a bit of food for thought for how I want my career to proceed. It's important not to put all my eggs in one basket (pun absolutely intended), life goal wise.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Day 5.

I am 5 days deep in Gonal-F. For the unfamiliar this is where I shoot myself up in my belly fat with follicle stimulating hormone for 8 or so days. This is in the hope of getting up to 20 mature ovarian follicles that can be sucked out with a big needle transvaginally (I was going to say up my coochie but goddamn it I am a doctor and we are adults) either this coming Friday or next Monday. Thankfully this big needle will be wielded while I am under sedation, in an operating theatre.

There are a few more stages to get through before the ova are collected, different injections, one of which stops ovulation from occurring prior to harvest, and another which gets the ova in the right spot within the follicle.

I was really worried about the side effects of the IVF, mainly that the drugs would cause hormonal fluctuations that'd make my hormones and mood go cray cray. However, so far, it has been tolerable.

I have had a bit of a headache.

I have felt a bit queasy (alternately feeling hungry sick and wanting to eat all the things, then feeling full-sick and sorry that I have eaten all the things).

I have become aware of the presence of my ovaries. This is not surprising. They go from about the size of a date or just larger, to the size of an orange, thereabouts. There are twinges when this occurs.

I can't go quite as hard as I previously would have at Crossfit. I am still doing Crossfit, though.

I have been taking to bed early and with enthusiasm. I am good in bed!

Not too much in the way of mood lability, thankfully.

So I will know more when I have my stimulation ultrasound tomorrow.

More to the point, for a moment the other evening, I had a moment where, rather than imagining all the things that could go wrong, I was able to imagine that things go well. Maybe the treatment works, I have a healthy baby which I can look after without too much trouble.

I have been under a bit of a cloud - it's hard to allow yourself too much hope after a miscarriage and months of not getting pregnant. It was good to have some hope that things will be ok. It's novel at the moment. Nothing is guaranteed.

I am doing OK, in other words.

Meanwhile, there have been some other good distractions.

I have had a couple of pieces of jewellery commissioned - some earrings and a necklace, by a local jeweller. They are lovely and I feel very special wearing them. They are made from some bits and pieces of diamond jewellery I had but didn't wear. Incorporating the old into the new - very poetic.

I participated in a crossfit competition last weekend. I had a terrific time and hit a personal best lift (47.5kg power clean). I improved my standing from last year's comp - I was somewhere near the bottom last year; this year I am smack bang in the middle. One year older, a lot stronger and fitter.

I have rediscovered my thermomix, in particular making soups and vegetable purees. Cauliflower and potato is a good mix. I am also giving the slow cooker a good workout.

I am loving Masterchef, which is on at present. Am gonna go back to watching that.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Big, strong and useful - some late-night thoughts

For me, it is not so much the childlessness that is the issue with being subfertile. My heart leaps when I see little ones smiling, but I know that there can be significant challenges involved in raising children.

It is the feeling of somehow being less than whole, of being physically inferior. Not capable. Bad. Maybe being punished for something. Maybe if I had just stayed with my ex, maybe if I were a bit slimmer.....and I stop going down that rabbit hole there. The general theme is "not good enough" that besets so many people, myself included.

There are things that I do that bolster my self esteem.

My work, for instance. I take pride in (mostly) calmly and efficiently solving difficult problems, (mostly) with good humour.

At crossfit, I can be big, strong, loud and powerful. Lift heavy things and roar like a tigress.

I have rediscovered cooking, selling things on ebay, Kmart. I like to be thrifty. I hate to waste.

I have found my tribe of friends, friends who make me feel good when I am with them. I am sticking by them.

The feeling of being bad is close to the surface, though.

My mum and I have had an increasingly fraught relationship. She has had her own issues, and is being rendered helpless by them.

Our interactions have consisted pretty much solely of her complaining about her situation, talking at me. Loudly, as she is a bit deaf. Also asking for money quite regularly. as she is not working at the moment.

She has had a hard life and I have always felt a bit responsible for her. This, and the "not good enough" theme, have cost me some tens of thousands of dollars in therapy. That's why I pay somebody - it might all get a bit repetitive debriefing to a friend.

Lately, though, I have felt resentful. I don't ask for her support. Not really. I have not had any significant emotional or material support from her in about 15 years. I don't expect it. She has had a hard life. But there are some not insignificant expenses of my own. I am the family money pit.

At this time in my life, all I want from her is "pleasant adult interactions" - nice cuppa tea, game of scrabble, a movie. I get angry with her, and then I feel guilty. It's not helping me. It makes me feel small and I can't really deal with it at the moment.

So a wall has been thrown up. I think, all things being equal, it's better that contact is limited at present. Do I feel guilty? Sure, but it's low level. Not the corrosive back and forth of the anger, frustration and remorse.