Thursday, June 28, 2007

Had to share this with you all...

No news on the cycle just yet. 2 injections down. Will know how my ovaries are doing on Sunday after my first scan. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I was talking to one of my Mind Body mates just now. She's one of our two success stories (so far) and is passing her unused Menopur to me (bless her) and we were arranging to meet up to do the drug drop. We're not doing it until next week now but I finally found out the full story of her pregnancy today.

This is a real "hope for us all" tale and the sort we all should read.

She did 8 IUI's (all neg) and then one full IVF cycle also BFN. She was starting to feel she had an implantation issue and wanted a laparoscopy. Her doc said to try a FET first. Of the embryos they got out of the freezer, one good second class level embryo defrosted fine. The other - a second and not first class embryo - didn't defrost properly, I think 2 cells only of 4 came through. They put them both in anyway. During her 2WW she started bleeding and cramping. She did a test because she was told too and it was positive! She went on holiday - already booked - and was paranoid whilst there as she was still bleeding and cramping. That went on 3 weeks. Back from hols her 2 betas were good news and she remains 12 weeks pg. I love a story like that.

I'm trying to stay positive - that's helped loads - but a monster row with MR G last night (whilst injecting!) hasn't helped. Gotta hope those follicles are nosey enough to come out to see what all the fuss is about...! My eyes are SO red and sore! Maybe you need a blow out every so often just to clear the air. Not sure the timing was too great though.

I've some beautiful peonies that look and smell gorgeous and make me happy each time I see them. Here's a pic of one of them .
I've also just changed my desktop wallpaper to a pic of the waterlily pond in the Botanical Gdns in Mauritius - where we spent our honeymoon. It makes me calm just looking at it. Something about the stillness of it. Hope you like it too

Must go and listen to my hypntherapy CD now before I go off to teach lawyers how to cook!


Monday, June 25, 2007

Finally...we're off!

Today's Day 28 of this month's cycle and now Day 1 of IVF cycle 3.

The long awaited period has graced me with its presence. I'm not sure of the etiquette of referring to periods as opposed to AF, but I didn't grow up using that terminology and i'm not about to start now! My cycles have lengthened since we started this IVF malarky and I'd just negotiations with my inner voice. We'd had a few chats that went something like this...

HOPEFUL HATTIE: "Well, I NEVER normally go as long as 28 days. I don't have any major PMT symptoms. Maybe i'll just dig out the second POAS kit from the last failed cycle"

PESSIMIST PATSY: "Don't be ridiculous, you've been so stressed and angsty the last month and be realistic about those sperm. They're not likely to make it. You'll just upset yourself"

HH "But you've heard all the miracle stories from other people. Those girls about to start a cycle and they find out they've struck lucky without an artificial hormone in the house; AND you've bought all those drugs - that's just tempting a natural result. Why shouldn't it be your turn. How mad would that be?!"

PP "Get over yourself. Things like that don't happen to you. You know the score. You've had no symptoms of pregnancy. Step away from the sticks!"

I had the last little chat whilst leaving the supermarket car park just now. When I got home the latest TP Tango evidenced my continuing infertile status. Never mind.

I'd bought all the drugs and i'm ready to rock and roll. I'm back into my meditating and am feeling pretty healthy and ready to give it my best shot....again.

I've scan number one tomorrow 9.45am and then i'm sure it'll be back to the injections tomorrow night. Hooray!


Saturday's party was pretty dire. I spent much time hiding in the kitchen from the rest of the guests. Most had one or more children - more than a few new(ish)borns and several were pregnant with even more. It was really, really hard. Still, I stuck it out, wowed them with my food and smiled and chatted like I didn't care. I even made it home intact and without the urge to bury my head under my duvet and sob for a week.

Mr G and I were so relieved to be away from the chaos of children screaming that we had a gorgeous evening watching Series 2 of 24 - yeah I know - where've we been?! - and generally enjoying the peace and calm of our flat. I know we desperately want a noisy creature to share our lives with, but I really think we have to try to enjoy this time of just the two of us. Our freedom to loll around, please ourselves and just "be".

We're feeling pretty loved up at the moment and instead of moping after an afternoon being reminded of our barren-ness, both jsut felt lucky with our lot. To have each other really.

We continued our smug married (gotta be smug about something) theme weekend with a long and lazy lie-in on Sunday followed by breakfast with the papers at a local cafe. Perfect. We finished off the weekend with a trip to see a Medium show (a guy called Colin Fry and another medium) at the Hackney Empire. These guys claim to talk to the spirit world and then pass messages to the audience. Mr G's v sceptical, but I really thought there was something in it. Too long to tell the tales here, but he spoke to quite a lot of people about loved ones they'd lost. Their reactions and what he said seemed so plausible that it made me think there could be something in it. If he'd put my Daddy (who died almost 4 years ago) in touch i'd have been totally convinced.

Anyway, if my father could pull some strings and get a baby sent our way this time, i'd be really, really grateful.

Good luck to all of you in your cycles right now - and I DO mean that!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Am I a horrible person....

...or was I?

I found out today that one of my London IVF buddies has again failed - 5th time around. I'm truly, truly gutted. I so wanted it to work for her and her hubbie this time. It's just so unfair! She's had a previous BFP but it ended in a miscarriage with one in her uterus and a second ectopic embryo that they didn't find until she was in major pain. If she's managed one BFP surely she can do it again?! I've told her to go home, have a big drink and be good to herself this weekend. She's going to go for a FET in August, so there's some hope but sucks.

It all seems so random. Just luck really.

I hate to admit this - and I almost deleted this post because i'm ashamed of myself - but when I first started out - and don't hate me for this - I think I was scared of other people getting a BFP. I didn't wish failure on them, but was sort of relieved when they got a BFN. I didn't have to pretend to be happy whilst thinking "what about me". I can't justify it nor would I want to, but the only way I think i can understand my nastiness was perhaps a (subconscious) feeling that (statistically) there was limited luck to be had and if they failed maybe I wouldn't. I hated that about myself, but it was just sort of there.

I'm so relieved that now (thank goodness) those nasty feelings have vanished. I now genuinely, genuinely want all of us to succeed. I was almost as upset as my friend today. It's like it happened to me. Perhaps I'm a bit pre-menstrual and pre-cycle but I still really felt it. I need some cheerleaders for success in my life to prove this works. Of course there's the online girlies but somehow, knowing someone and seeing it with my own eyes would help.

Anyway, that was just a short confessional. Mea culpa. I've got to go and do my Preparation for IVF Hypnotherapy CD. It's really relaxing. It's from a company called Natal Hynotherapy. I really recommend them for a listen. We'll have to see how well the CD works...

I'm off to the party from hell tomorrow. 40 adults....and their children. I'd rather chop off my hand - with my own chef's knife. If I wasn't taking food to help out the party thrower - an old friend but recent(ish) new mum with zero sensitivity to my IF - i'd cry off. I'll drop off the food and stick around a v short time and then go home and lick my wounds! All those smug babied-up folk. I MUCH prefer mixing with the childless or at the very least those with kids old enough to have left home!

Oddly, i've had real trouble with the food i'm making. My brownies are like rocks and the choc chip cheesecake has broken in half. I'm doing new brownies tonight and i've managed to stick the cake together and ice it so you'd never know. Here's the cake on my kitchen table:

I'm sure that if I cook without love for my intended recipients then that's when my recipes fail. Maybe you put so much love into food, if it's not there then the food isn't so great. I've also made 4 Goat's Cheese, black olive and caramelised onion tarts. Here's one - sorry it's just wrapped in foil ready to transport:

and a huge persian couscous salad.

Easiest salad in the world - and gorgeous. Have a great weekend all you girls (and boys) who are almost certainly nicer than me!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another drug delivery

The doorbuzzer went at 7.30am and I took delivery of our third consignment of IVF drugs. It was actually a bit cheaper this time - only £735(!) - because of the few bits left over from the last cycle. I have so much Cyclogest (Progesterone bullets) I almost didn't need any more at all. I'm also picking up bits of leftover drugs from the gorgeous and very kind girls who've crossed the border to Pregville.

The last two times i felt excited when the drugs arrived and I could unpack them into my fridge/bathroom. This time I just felt low. How many more times will I do this?

At breakfast I started the last sheet of my folic acid tablets. I bought a bumper (3 for 2 deal) supply and its nearly all gone. I remember buying my first pot. I think I also bought 3 for 2 and wondered if i'd need them all....that was nearly two years ago.

I bought Mr G another huge pot of his "VitaMens" yesterday at my acupuncture appointment. I wonder how much we've spent on pills, potions, alternative therapies, blood tests and other fertitlity related stuff, not to mention the £15,000 ish we've already spent on treatment.

We're both a little weary of all of this. Part of me wonders if it's all worth it but (at the moment) a larger part of me doesn't want to give it up. What if this is the time it actually works for us? I can't imagine jumping off the wagon unless i'm pushed.

I've had a quick read of some of your blogs. Forever Hopeful and Reality seem to be in a similar place to me. Feeling the pressure. I think i'll keep Forever Hopeful's 14 June account of life with IF to show my friends how this feels. She got it spot on.

We've just got to keep going and hope that we get lucky. I seem to be a lucky charm for others. Every time I cycle wtih someone they get pregnant! Heather at Desperately Seeking Baby - who I did my first cycle with - safely delivered her twins a week or so ago - lovely news. My cycle buddy in my Mind body group is also now 15 weeks pregnant. I just hope my time comes.


On a less negative note, I had a great work week last week. I catered a canape party for 24, 21 yr old girls. My sushi, mini frittata, thai chicken salad in cucumber cups, mini cheese and herb samosas, pizza palmiers, mini moroccan meat balls, mini salmon and dill tarts, babaganoush and crudites went down a storm.

I also did a dinner party for 16. Canapes, veg tagine, with couscous, harissa dressing and paprika, lemon and cumin chicken skewers followed by home made cinnamon ice cream and spiced fruit salad with shortbread biscuits. I was on my feet for 4 solid days and by half past midnight on Saturday night had feet that were SO sore! I had an image of throbbing - you know like they do on old Tom and Jerry cartoons when they've been hit by a big hammer of something. I felt so good though - everyone loved the food and I felt it had all been worth it.

My lovely Mummy came and cooked with me all day Thursday. Just as well, as I took a call from the NHS tall thin Dr to tell me my FSH has gone up EVEN FURTHER! Darn, darn, darn! I'd hoped the 11. 8 was a blip but the 12.6 new score just underlined the march of time. I stayed cool and then lost it and had a big cry and a Mummy hug. Bless her. She can't make it better, but nothing beats a Mummy hug and a kiss.

I've sent for DHEA - ordered by a friend from the US - just in case this treatment isn't the one. I'll take it for 3 months before the next treatment IF I NEED TO! Thanks all of you for sharing DHEA info. V Useful.

I'll be starting my cycle any day soon. I'm on day 23 of my cycle and generally go 24 - 28 days. So, within the week i'll be back on the wagon of hope. WIll be interesting to see how I do on the short (flare) protocol....

Good luck to all cycling now xx

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hope for us ageing wannabee mums?

Two potential miracle fixes to extend or increase women's eggs have come to my attention recently.

First - DHEA. A hormone - I believe - that two of my MindBody group have been recommended to take by their Dr's. It's only available in the US but from what i've been told, helps increase the number of eggs a woman is able to produce during an IVF cycle. Both my friends have rushed off to buy it. It takes 3 or 4 months to kick in apparently, but should do wonders for a girl's egg tally.

Here's the address of a story on that one - Wish I could do a link but not a hope!

Second report to catch my eye was all over the papers here today. I'd rushed in to the supermarket to buy ingredients for tonight's lesson (more on that later) and had caught an IVF headline. I was forced to bring my trolley to a screeching halt at the newspaper bins and leaf through the paper in question.

There is, apparently, a new miracle protein which it is hoped will extend the life of a girl's eggs. The bad news - and this is the fact that made my heart sink today. We lose 2 eggs AN HOUR!! After reading this horrific news it was as much as I coudl do not to go rushing off to my IVF Doc and beg him to get me treated within the next hour so I don't lose two more blasted eggs.

here's another address to cut and paste

Why are we so unmatched with our men. Apparently in the same hour my eggs are perishing, my husband's sperm (with their lazy tails) are multiplying at a rate of 150,000!! What's that all about???!!!!

Anyway, must get on with some work now. Taught two Aussie girls how to make Cumin Flatbread, Fattoush ( a Middle Eastern salad) and Prosciutto wrapped lemon Chicken, Focaccia and Sage brochettes tonight. They loved it and all recipes worked beautifully. I love it when a lesson works! No pics of that food, but here's a pic of the Naan bread I made with them a couple of weeks ago. Pics of the risen dough, rolled out bread and baked bread:

Tomorrow i'm shopping and cooking for a canape party for 21 which is happening on Thursday. Things are getting quite busy for me. Good to take my mind off IVF - some of the time - but hopefully not so busy I get stressed and my treatment suffers.

I might be forced to order some DHEA - does anyone else know anything about it?


ps: Just read about Krista on My Reality's site. What's it all about that those of us fortunate enough to get through this nightmare of infertilty aren't just allowed just to enjoy their babies? My thoughts and prayers are with her - I can't imagine how she and her family must feel.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Return from Tuscany

Seems ages since I posted. I meant to last week, but I had a mad busy few days. It was a Bank holiday on the Monday then I had 2 frantic days of getting things done (that could have been done over the long weekend) and then we left for our long weekend in Italy first thing on the Thursday (30th May).

It seemed that the whole of London was off to Europe out of Stansted Airport last Thursday. It was crazy. We had a 6.30am flight and arrived at the airport at 5.15ish - having got up at 3.50am. We were amazed at the long queues everywhere. Why were so many people up at that time of day?! After a 15 minute line to check in. We waited in another line for 45 minutes to get through security and then had to run to be the last people on the plane! No time for books or magazines, just a dash past Pret a Manger for water and croissants. I was so stressed and fed up from being deprived of my airport shopping time. The pile of magazines and dawdle through the lotions, potions and smellies of the Duty Free shop are part of my holiday experience!

We flew to Pisa (home of leaning tower), hired a car and drove north to a small village called Santa Maria del Guidice - close to Lucca. Our hotel, the Villa Rinascimento was cheap and cheerful. Clean and picturesque but nothing smart. The views from our room were gorgeous. Here's a pic of part of the hotel from their website. We didn't see it with the blue sky background unfortunately!

We were there for my cousin's wedding. Her mother and father have moved out there to a house on a really remote hillside north of Lucca. We spent Friday with my mother and father and auntie and uncle - not the parents of the bride, another auntie and uncle - eating in an Italian restaurant and then chilling out in their garden. The weather was atrocious. Lots of grey clouds and even thunder storms! I was v grumpy about the clouds, but at least we had my folks to entertain us.

The wedding took place on the Saturday and was the MOST romantic wedding i've been too - since ours that is! As my cousin walked into the room (looking beautiful - as all brides do - her husband to be had tears pouring down his face. Mr G and I both lost it and were dabbing our eyes with tissues. They had a civil ceremony - she's Jewish and he's christian - with lots of lovely poems (one that we'd read at our wedding funnily enough) and two of their friends even sang a song.

After the ceremony there was a huge buffet laden wtih gorgeous Italian goodies - cheeses with orange chutney and honey to drizzle over it, salamis, lovely breads and smoked fish and seafood salad. We drank Prosecco and juices. After about an hour or so of chatting we were asked to stop for a group photo and then to walk over to the barn in which we ate dinner.

The garden in front of it was decorated with loads of terracotta tubs filled with blazing candles. The tables had gorgeous white flowers and loads of candles and the air smelt of the lemons that normally live in that building - which is called Limanaia (sp?). We sat there and ate more - an Italian feast of pasta, seabass cooked in a parcel and beef cooked on the bar-b-q outside. Here's a pic of it. Again - taken from a website as Mr G has the pics on his computer, but a good image:

After dinner and after an amazing cake, the groom played his saxaphone with a blues brothers type band and we danced and drank until midnight. Apart from the cold it was a really lovely and very special and happy evening. Amazingly, the rain held off for them - at least whenever we were outside.

The next day all guests were asked to the bride's parents for food and drink in their garden. The sun shone for the first time that weekend and it was gorgeous. They have a pizza oven in their garden and we ate freshly cooked pizza made in it!

After all the festivities we spent a few hours - just the two of us - at our hotel and then eating dinner. First thing the next morning we flew home.

It really was lovely wedding but I spent much of it feeling a bit distant. It seems that i'm not able to relax and enjoy myself at the moment. I seem to be feeling worse and worse about our IF status and our failure so far to get anywhere close to a pregnancy. People are v sweet to us but perhaps we shouldn't have told so many of them as we've become the IVF couple. Still, can't take it back now and it's nice to have the support of others.

I think I picked the wrong book to read whilst I was there - a book by Tony Parsons called "In the Family Way". It's a good read but focusses totally on three sisters and their trials and tribulations with reproducing. Easy enough for two of the sisters (one has a first time IVF success) but impossible for her sister - the one who so desperately wanted to be a mum. Even she gets pregnant in the end - after having adopted a little Chinese girl. I don't think I gave myself time off from it all.

On the plane home I had a quick cry. A packed Ryanair flight was not a great place for tears but those moments seem to steal up on me without warning.

I'm so tired of smiling and being brave about this. I just want it all to be all right. I held off from posting because I don't want always to seem so miserable, but I can't hold off forever. I'm sure these blues will pass...

Two more of my MindBody group have had BFN's. So far only 2 of the 10 of us have cleared the first hurdle of a BFP. I so hope we all get there and beyond to a healthy, fat baby each.

Off to do some work now. Picnic hampers to write about and catering to do! At least the sun's out here and i'm going to give myself an hour off later to enjoy it.