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Monday, April 30, 2007

Keep on truckin'

Nope. Really, what was I thinking? Very silly of me to dare to dream.

We will get there, one way or another, and when we do we will be the happiest family in the world. I can't wait. In the meantime, I just have to make the best of what we've got.

I'm not taking the piss! I really am ok!!

I think I have finally crossed over to the other side. I'm no longer a normal person who's been given a raw deal for no apparent reason. I am, or should I say we are, a couple with a serious medical condition that leaves us unable to conceive or to carry a child. It is probably the worst blow we could have been dealt, the hardest obstacle we may ever have to overcome. But we are still here, still getting up in the mornings, and still getting on with life in a fertile world.

And every time I look at my darling, beautiful boy I know I'm the luckiest mum in the world. If I did have another couple of children by now, as planned, then there's no way I'd be able to spend as much time with him, and we have such a laugh together. He's a real little comedian. He shouts "Hello Daddy" to passing men in the street and then we both crack up laughing when they look confused. If he hears someone swearing in the street he repeats the word over and over and shouts "Mummy, that man said ****", and then we giggle as the person looks terribly embarrassed. We spend a couple of days every week, just the two of us, doing fun stuff together and he always says "I love doing things with you, we have fun". So thank you infertility for giving me a special relationship with my gorgeous boy.

When the time comes, he will be a big boy. We will do it together, all three of us.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

12 DPO

Long-term readers may observe the significance of today's title. For others, I will explain. In 19 months of charting, I have never had an unmedicated luteal phase longer than 10 days. In simple terms, my period is already several days late.

I have no HPTs. After last month's terror marathon I vowed not to stock up again. I would wait it out and, if needs be, buy or scrounge one at my latest possible convenience.

My temps are still rising, my boobs are a bit sore, I've been burping since ovulation and I'm tired and sick. Sick and tired. The never ending cycle of hope and despair. Round and round it goes, month after month, never pausing, never giving way to reason.

I will go and buy that HPT so.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Do they owe us?

How many times have you heard someone in their thirties say that they want kids but just not now, that they're planning on trying at some stage in the future, and look at Madonna/Geena Davis/Holly Hunter/Marcia Cross, they didn't have their first child until forty-something?

Does Hollywood perpetrate the myth of fertility into your forties? Is this lulling women into a false sense of security? Do these celebs owe us anything?

Obviously celebrities are human beings (really!) and should be allowed to live their lives as they choose, and if that means keeping the details of their fertility treatments private then we should respect that. But what if they give interviews where they gush about how they've always worked out and looked after their body and that is why they were able to conceive no problem with their own eggs at fifty? Does this level of irresponsibility deserve to be outed? Don't women have a right to know that their eggs have a use-by date?

What do you think? I am writing an article for the Irish Times about the myth of fertility in your forties and would appreciate your views. Do you think celebs have a duty to be honest about their fertility treatments? Do you think they have a duty not to lie about them? Or should we respect their right to lie as much as we respect our friend's right to lie about her IVF? Do you respect a celeb more because she talks about IVF? Who do you think should be responsible for spreading the truth about infertility - the government? the medical profession? the media? us? Do we have as much of a duty as celebs to be open about infertility?

I'd really appreciate your feedback on this. I hold my own views, but am open to new ideas. And you've always been a pretty thought-provoking bunch!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Carry on cycling

Two years of looking after myself, watching my diet and limiting my alcohol consumption have really worn me down. So on Saturday night I went out and drank until I puked. Best fun in ages. What was I thinking all those other nights when I stuck to 3 or 4 drinks??? Even though I was in the pre-ovulatory phase???? Man, I've had some boring nights out in the last four years of being pregnant, breastfeeding and trying to become pregnant. If I'm going to have to do it for another nine months at some stage then I'd better get some good nights in in the meantime. Maybe I'll be really crazy this weekend and have a post-ovulation blow-out!!! Cos let's face it, 25 failed cycles says it's not really that much of a risk, now is it?

Still, hasn't stopped me obsessing as usual. Probably more than usual. EWCM from day 7/8, no +OPK until yesterday, day 19. Guess what we've been doing since day 7??? You're all jealous, right?!?! Well this time I think we've nailed it for sure, how could we lose???

Just in case our marathon cycle doesn't go to plan, I spoke to my doc yesterday. He is not concerned with my FSH level - "you produce eggs, they fertilise, you get pregnant". So IVF number two is go. I'll be doing a short antagonist protocol, which means no downregulation, no messing about, just start bleeding and get stuck in straight away. I could start as soon as AF arrives but we both agreed to wait for another cycle, so I will start at the end of May. It's unlike me to want to wait but in my post +OPK optimism I was fantasising that two natural cycles might be all we need. Well, a girl can dream. I will forget about those 25 failed cycles until Saturday night.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The end of the line

Natalie Evans has lost her five year battle to become a mother. Natalie and her then partner underwent IVF in 2001 when Natalie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and six embryos were frozen. Following her treatment, the couple split up and Natalie's partner requested that the embryos be destroyed. When Natalie failed to convince the UK legal system of the right to life of her embryos, she took her case to the European Court of Human Rights. The unanimous decision by the European court has brought her long struggle to an end and the embryos will now be destroyed.

While I agree that you cannot force a man to become a father (some might say he already is), I find it hard to believe that a man would go to such lengths to deny a woman he once loved the right to have a child of her own. Yes, the legal battle was driven by her desire to have a child, but he can't have failed to notice how strong her desire was and how much she was suffering. At some point he was a willing partner to this process, he signed consent forms and agreed to become a father. Just how awful would his life be if one of those embryos was given a chance? As opposed to the terror she is facing for the rest of her life? Sometimes you just have to look at the bigger picture.

We all know the drive, the force that compells us to sacrifice everything and everyone around us for a shot at pregnancy. We can understand why Natalie kept going in the face of such opposition, when her legal team must have advised her that her chances were slim, and with such a low chance of FET success had she got that far. It's the same reason that we continue to put ourselves through IVF, we change protocols, move clinics, even move countries. Because as long as there's a 1% chance of success it means that someone somewhere is getting pregnant and it might just be me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm Number 1 at something!

FSH is still 1. E2 is seventy-something. Nurse reckons the FSH level has been suppressed by the increase in oestrogen during pregnancy, although concedes that it is odd my oestrogen levels have shown up as normal. I asked if I could draw any hope from the fact that the FSH is so low. She said she had asked my doc and he said that we can tell nothing from these results and I will have to retest next cycle. I will also have to wait until then to book my next IVF cycle. I will talk to doc about this on 17 April, although a lot will still rest on the outcome of the blood tests.

I am relieved to be off the treadmill for a few weeks. As always, I am anxious to know about the timing of my next treatment, but for once I am willing to endure the wait for the sake of best practice. We probably only have one more shot at this, so the planning needs to be perfect.

In the meantime we are going back to basics. You know, like in the olden days when they had sex to make babies. I've read on the Internet that it really can work! I know, I know, I know, it's probably just an old wives' tale, but what the hell? "At least we'll have fun trying" - ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Another long night ahead

I spent most of the day sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring. It didn't. I called several times and eventually got to speak to a nurse. They have asked for my blood to be retested as the results were abnormal. Not abnormally high, just wrong. She was reluctant to give me any information but I kept asking questions. My E2 was normal but my FSH came back as 1. So I will have to wait until tomorrow for some answers.

I have spent one day of each of the last three weeks waiting for the clinic to call with news that could change our lives. I think today was the hardest. I have shed more tears over the possibility that we will never have another child than I did over the ones we have lost. I have felt more lonely and cut off from other people than I have ever done in the past.

Maybe I am being melodramatic. Maybe I should locate that ever-hopeful part of my brain and focus it on that magic number 1. I mean, what's the worst that could happen - that it was supposed to say 10? That testing straight after a miscarriage is not a good idea? For now I am going to focus on the fact that it wasn't 20 like I was expecting.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bob Hope and no hope

With all the excitement of IVF and miscarriage, I didn't have time to dwell on the small matter of being a poor responder. So when the reality finally hit home yesterday, I located my bloodwork results from 18 months ago and googled them for the first time.

LH: 2.5
FSH: 4.6
E2: 487

That is not a typo. That is FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN. I have, in writing, confirmation that my results are all "completely normal". Dr Google tells me that, not only is my E2 off the chart, but my LH is also indicative of premature ovarian failure. Why has nobody ever pointed this out to me??? I could get angry but I just don't have the energy.

My short, erratic cycles, my 8 day luteal phases, my multiple miscarriages, and most damning of all, my two measly eggs collected - it looks like I am coming to the end of the line. Is there any hope? Please tell me if you think there is. I can't live without hope.

I mentioned donor eggs before. That was when I still had hope. I am too stifled with disappointment now to contemplate a next step. I just can't believe this is happening.

I had blood drawn yesterday, day 2. I should get the results on Tuesday. As with my last blood test, I have no hope of a positive outcome.