2019 Wrap Up

Well I survived the holidays and I’m relatively back in the swing of things. I had a bout of homesickness and a wave of irritation and I think I’ve reset my body to where it was before we left, where I have that constant feeling that I’ve forgotten something important. Not to worry, it’s a state of being that I’ve come to terms with and one that I keep promising myself, I’ll sort out when the weekend comes.

The trip was magnificent as usual. Having Lucky meet his cousins and uncles and aunts and all his baby friends and my friends was… I don’t think I can articulate that feeling. We had his 2nd birthday party there. Again, I am speechless. I’d say it was like a warm shower/bath after coming in from being out in icy rain. Like everything is right with the world. I had thought that this feeling would make it impossible to leave but Lucky kept us so occupied on the flight that I barely had time to get depressed. The only down side was that Lucky got pneumonia a few days before we left. It was the worst but he was thankfully well enough to fly. He also got another upper respiratory infection while we were there. My nephew and nieces also all had some sort of infection. It was awful. But we all survived.

Let’s see if I can quickly break the holiday down, for posterity :). Feel free to skip over. Important thoughts are at the end.

Saturday 14th: Land in Cape Town at 7am. Try to stay awake and catch up with everyone but fail miserably. Some friends come to visit but mostly just resting and family time.

Sunday 15th: Everyone comes to visit for lunch. My bestie from Switzerland comes over as well and she and I stay up drinking and catching up until 4am.

Monday 16th: My brother, N and I go to a shooting range of N’s Christmas present. I’ll take this opportunity to say that I hate guns. They make me very uncomfortable and hence, I am the best wife there ever was. He shot a few rounds of different killing machines and then the 3 of us each did one round with a 50cal cannon. It was frightening and I’ll happily never do that again. But N was happy and that makes me happy.

Tuesday 17th: Spent the afternoon with my parents at various wine farms and then had a lovely dinner and visit at my friend V’s house. She’s one of my staunchest IVF supporters so I was really excited to have her meet Lucky and her second son was born just before I got pregnant and it was a dream come true to see them fight with each other play together.

Wednesday 18th: Lucky’s 2nd birthday. A much needed rest day. We just did a cake and some lunch at home.

Thursday 19th: Last day in Cape Town. My bestie L and I got matching musical note tattoo’s. Yay! We umm’d and ahh’d about it for a few days because of the price but ended up just peeing into the wind. I’m glad we did. I love her. Big pre-christmas dinner at home with friends. My other bestie flew in from Jo’burg. We stayed up late having drinks. I wish we’d gone out that night but we had to be up at 4am for the road trip. We also did a secret santa swap with a few friends and kids.

Friday 20th: My brother and SIL and niece and nephews and my parents and the three of us drove (7+hrs) to Port Elizabeth (my home town) for the 2nd half of the trip. Arrive safely to my eldest brother’s house and rest.

Saturday 21st: My nephew T’s blessing. All our friends are there. It was lovely seeing everyone. Lots of drinking and catching up. That night we did a ladies night. All of us went to a club for a 90’s party.  The best! I think we got home around 1ish?

Sunday 22nd: Lucky’s birthday party! We had a jumping castle (bouncy house) a little bike track where kids could ride their bikes and a jungle gym. It was outdoors and it was a beautiful, cloudless, breezy day. We had a little dinosaur egg hunt for the kiddos, ate some food, sang happy birthday, fought off ants and caught up with each other. The food was good (ish). Everyone had a blast (I hope). I certainly did. I saw everyone I’d hoped to see. It was just perfect.

Monday 23rd: I took Lucky and N to the beach front so we could walk on the pier and grab some lunch and spend a little bit of time just the 3 of us. I think this was the time when I felt the most in love home and when I realised how difficult it would be to say goodbye this time around.

Tuesday 24th: Christmas Eve. My family (parents, brothers, wives, kids) went to a restaurant for quick lunch. It turned out to be the best bit of family time. We usually all go to midnight mass but I had an interesting discussion with my mother about where she, a ‘staunch’ Christian, stands with the church now. Long story short, I didn’t have to go to midnight mass and she almost opted out too because she was tired lol. We went to our friends’ annual stoep party (stoop party). Met up with some other friends I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Lucky stayed with my dad. We stayed pretty late, I think we got home around 2am. Another one of the best nights.

Wednesday 25th: Christmas. We had lunch at home. Again, just our family and a little bit of extended family. Guys, I love Christmas. I love it!! I got a picture of Lucky and all his cousins and I almost exploded right then and there. After lunch all the married ones went to visit their in-laws. My cousins came to visit and one brought her fiance who is lovely. Then afterwards we all went to my SIL’s sister’s house to do another secret santa in our friends group and the kids again. And then just hung out for a while. This was the best and worst night because Christmas! but also because it was ending soon.

Thursday 26th: In retaliation for ladies night, the boys did a boys day. Us ladies decided to spend the day at L’s house with the kids to swim and have our tequila prawn day. This is something I started years ago with my friend S. We just bought a bottle of tequila and a kilogram of prawns and ate and got drunk. It evolved into something that I do every time I visit. There’s not much else to it than that, except now with the kids we couldn’t get blackout drunk. And this time instead of shots of tequila we made grown up margaritas that were sipped them responsibly. We ended up leaving around 9pm to fetch the boys.

Friday 27th: Last day :(. 6 of us in the girls group went to get another group tattoo. We all got the Friends logo on our forearms. This is what my friend L wrote about it, in case you’re wondering why we would get a tattoo about a tv show, which I believe is problematic now, depending on how woke you are.

tatt

Afterwards, we all went to lunch and then N and I had to rush home so we said a very teary goodbye to everyone at the restaurant. At home my brothers and their families were there to say goodbye as well. I’m getting teary just thinking about it. My parents drove us back to Cape Town and we slept over half way in Mosselbay at my parents’ holiday house. Amidst my sadness I was reveling in getting spend another day or so with just my parents.

Saturday 28th: We made it to Cape Town around lunchtime. Enough time to pack and buy a few more last minute gifts and food items for home. We had lunch with my parents at the airport and at 3pm and said our final goodbyes. It was teary but I think I held it together okay. The flight back home was uneventful and we made it back into our warm house at 5pm on Sunday the 29th.

It was perfect.

I do have one regret though. Just one.

One of my close friends back home is going through some fertility struggles. They’ll be embarking on a second IUI soon. And I deeply regret not engaging with her properly about it. We’ve spoken briefly about it on group chats and I reached out once or twice privately to let her know that I was around if she wanted to talk. But further than that I didn’t know what else to say. How is that possible? And I wish I could say I never had alone time with her but there were opportunities. I could’ve asked how she was holding up and if she wanted to vent. If I’m being honest with myself it’s because it was too hard for me to be face to face with infertility, I think. This is the first person who’s close to me who I know and saw in real life who can relate and I felt extra fragile around her like everything I’d had neatly locked away was coming to the surface. One of the nights she touched my pineapple necklace. As soon as she mentioned it my eyes started prickling with tears and I quickly changed the subject. I changed the subject! This was probably her moment where she wanted to talk and I couldn’t do it. I froze and I choked and I couldn’t be there for her. What. The. Fuck. The truth is every time I saw her I wanted to cry with her and hold her and but I felt like I needed to be strong for her and since I have Lucky, it wasn’t my turn to cry and be sad. It’s my turn to be supportive and strong.

I don’t know. I feel like I owe her an apology. This isn’t about me, it’s about her journey now and I know how isolating it can be and I don’t want that for her. I need to fix it. About the necklace. I had wanted to buy her one and take it with me but I ran out of time and, I think subconsciously I couldn’t do it because I knew I would break down if I gave it to her. On our last day when we were getting our tattoos, while she was getting hers I quickly ran away with another friend to look for a pineapple charm somewhere but couldn’t find one anywhere. I have bought her one now in addition to a few other things in a care package that I’m going to send her with a note (or a letter) with my feelings expressed a little better. Maybe I should just link her to this blog too. I just want her to know that I love her and I get it and I’m here.

Infertility sucks y’all. But you already know that.

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New year. I hope 2020 is going to make all our dreams come true. and I want you all to know that I love you and I get it an I’m here.

I’m too tired to re-read and check this for errors. So good luck reading :).

 

Dandelion

Yikes! I thought I’d posted something since egg retrieval. Oops. Anyway, it’s good news :).

Of the 8 they retrieved, 7 were mature and 4 fertilised normally.

This time I was prepared for no news for at least 5 days. Day 5 was two Sundays ago on the 10th Nov. Of course I heard nothing. I was a mess because I was set to write the GRE test on the 11th and I couldn’t really concentrate on studying. Truth be told I only started looking at the test on the 9th. I was certain I was going to do terribly.

Well the 11th came. I was sure I would have the email in my inbox after the test. I finished the test and there was no email. I didn’t do too badly in the test at least, so I’m glad that that stress is over.

By 5pm on the 11th I was deflated. I realised that we either had at least one day 7 embryo, or nothing. I was sad.

By the time I got to work on the 12th I think I was okay with everything. I figured that the wait would be over soon and we could relax and enjoy the holidays and regroup. I just wanted it to be over. The email came at 9am.

“…we want to let you know that we have been able to freeze 2 embryos…”

I was relieved. But I was also sad that we now had two day 7 embryos. I felt like it would just be the same like last cycle. I swore that if, by some miracle, both were okay, I would ask dr P to transfer both.

I spent the next 7 days as we all do. Filled with hope one day and drowning in despair the next.

He called this past Wednesday (Nov 20) but I MISSED THE DAMNED CALL!! Gah! I’m still mad about this. I’m not going to lie, before I listened to the voice note, I knew that we had one good one. And I was right! One happy normal little embryo.

He said to call him back so we could start the process of the transfer. It took a bit of doing to get a hold of him but we eventually spoke yesterday. And I got a bit of surprise news. The embryo is a beautiful, DAY SIX embryo!! The other little guy was a day 7 and had extra chromosomes 16 and 22. I’m so happy and relieved and excited and hopeful!

So we’ll start again with my next period. We’ll be going home for Christmas (YAY!) so I’ll have to start birth control while we’re there. And then if all goes well, we’ll transfer the first week of February, I’d say.

I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so incredibly grateful that we could do this again. I’m grateful for my doctor and the clinic and all my friends and family for going through this with us and I’m grateful to all of you for you unending support. But man I’m glad this part is over.

Now I can focus all my stress on cooking my first turkey next week!! Gah!

Oh and we named this one Dandelion after a character in a book series we’re both listening to. It’s a good unisex name because Dandelion is a male character.

Cheers to Dandelion!

xxx

Egg retrieval #7

I’m on the couch catching up on trash tv. Feeling a little crampy and dizzy. I’m glad I took tomorrow off.

So everything went well. They got 8 eggs. Pretty much what I expected but didn’t want to say out loud. Dr P was actually there doing retrievals in another OR and after I’d gotten dressed he popped in to ask how it went. He’s usually devoid of emotion anyway so I couldn’t get a read on whether he thought that was good or not. I mean, it is what it is. All we can do is hope there’s at least one super hero in the batch.

The procedure wasn’t much different. We had the same intake nurse from last time and a younger pretty surgeon. She was very serious. I wish these surgeons would crack a joke or laugh at a joke. They make me nervous with the seriousness. The anesthesiologist was a lot more jovial. They usually are in my experience. Probably because they make so much money.

My retrieval was set for 8:30 and they only took my back at 8:40 and around 8:20 I started cramping really badly and I kept thinking I was ovulating and they were going to miss it because of all this incessant form signing! But I guess we made it in time.

I got 2 bags of snacks this time and a hot chocolate that burned my tongue twice. I recovered from the grogginess a lot quicker which was great. This time I tried so hard to remember falling asleep. But all I remember is the dr telling me he was doing a painkiller first that would taste chalky. That’s interesting right? An intravenous drug causing a taste in the back of your throat. After he put the drug in the room literally started spinning. I had to close my eyes. Someone asked me if I was allergic to progesterone in oil. I remember saying no then she said but she has it noted in my chart that I lam. I was thinking so why ask then? Then I remember trying to explain but the spinning room was making it hard to say anything. And then I woke up.

The nurses after were so amazing. I didn’t feel rushed to get dressed and kept checking in and offering more snacks. The last one walked me right to the car and closed the door for me. I felt really taken care of it. I had a really good experience this time. Not to say the other times were awful, I just felt good when I left.

Sorry this post seems a bit all over the place. I’m just glad everything went well. I’m feeling okay about the 8 but I’m having the same worries. What if none fertilise, etc. etc. I am afraid of the call tomorrow. I want to wake up in two weeks with the final results. I don’t want to go through this torturous part again.

Thank you all very much for the continued support. I will keep you all posted.

xx

We did it!!

IVF ROUND 7

DAY 13 & 14 – Monitoring Day
(Saturday November 2nd & Sunday November 3rd)

Meds: 375 Gonal-f, 150iu Menopur, 5000 units Pregnyl trigger, 100 units Lupron trigger
Notes: estrogen=2175; LH=2.78; Progesterone=0.972; lining=8.1mm; Left Ovary=16.7mm, 19.6mm, 17.0mm, 20.0mm, 15.1mm, 10.4mm, 10.7mm, 11.9mm; Right Ovary=17.7mm, 8.3mm

Triggering tonight! Retrieval set for Tuesday morning at 7:30. I’m so relieved. I’m going to put in 2 sick days Tuesday and Wednesday. My husband raised his eyebrows at this. What are your guys’ thoughts on taking 2 consecutive sick days? I don’t know why but I generally feel guilty taking any time off work and it takes a lot to take and extra day to recover but my therapist has been pushing me to take days off work.  She wanted me to take off since last Friday. That’s crazy talk! 

Anyway, I’m glad that this cycle is over. It was a little more emotionally taxing than before, I think. Now just to get through tomorrow. I feel like it’s going to be a long day at work.

Thanks for following along this millionth IVF cycle. I’ll update on Tuesday when I get home unless something else cool comes up!

Emotional: Joy
Physical: Still achey and I’m so full of bruises
Food: Yesterday tacos again at a friend’s house. And rotisserie chicken tonight for dinner.

So Many Bruises

IVF ROUND 7

DAY 11 & 12 – Monitoring Day
(Thursday October 31st & Friday November 1st)

Meds: 375 Gonal-f, 150iu Menopur, Cetrotide
Notes: estrogen=1251; LH=3.17; Progesterone=0.504; lining=9.4mm; Left Ovary=14.1mm, 12.4mm, 13.3mm, 13.0mm, 12.0mm, 9.1mm, 16.4mm; Right Ovary=15.1mm, 6.7mm

Well, the never ending cycle is still ongoing. I’m having another mild panic attack because I’lll run out of meds tomorrow and I’ll need the pharmacy to deliver more on Sunday. I hope it works out. I have another monitoring appointment on Sunday. That’ll be 14 days of stims. That’s a record for me. Fingers crossed we can trigger on Sunday.

Nothing else exciting to report on this side. I can see the end. I just wish It was closer.

Emotional: Getting excited for the end of this
Physic: Stabby and achey on both sides. Just taking it easy peasy.
Food: Steak tacos!

Almost There!

IVF ROUND 7

DAY 10 – Monitoring Day
(Wednesday October 30)

Meds: 375 Gonal-f, 150iu Menopur, Cetrotide
Notes: estrogen=731.6; LH=8.87; Progesterone=0.544; lining=7.9mm; Left Ovary=12.0mm, 10.2mm, 11.4mm; Right Ovary=13.2mm

I really hope I don’t have to take Lucky with me. He was an angel and no one seemed to mind him (the nurses I mean), but it was just awful for me. I just wanted a sign that said “it took us 5 tries to have him, please don’t hate me”. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. But we were first in and were out of there pretty quickly so it wasn’t too bad.

But as you can see we’ve somehow went from 7 follicles down to 4. I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m kind of just meh right now. My left side is really achey and throbbing. I think at the next scan I’m not going to look at the screen. I’m just going to try to enjoy the heating pad and if I get A again she’ll have ocean sounds on her little speaker.

Lucky had his Halloween parade at school today. They were all super cute! He was dressed as Spiderman sans the mask lol. It’s going to rain tomorrow but we’re going to head out anyway with some ponchos.

Anyway, I gotta get my shots ready. I hope you all have a great Halloween tomorrow, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Emotional: Meh. At least it’s almost over. 4 days max, I’d say.
Physic: My left side is really stabby and achey
Food: Roasted Pork tenderloin and potatoes and leftover wonton soup which was amazing and I usually despise brothy soups.

Hormotional

IVF ROUND 7

DAY 8 and 9 – Monitoring Day
(Monday October 28 and Tuesday October 29)

Meds: 300iu Gonal-f (375 Gonal-f on Day 9), 150iu Menopur
Notes: estrogen=466; LH=4.28; Progesterone=0.507; lining=7.7mm; Left Ovary=9.9mm, 10.1mm, 11.1mm, 10.1mm, 8.5mm; Right Ovary=11.2mm, 9.5mm

Yesterday was a shit day at work. I’ve been feeling stressed and ugh about it. I’m not so secretly very excited for egg retrieval so that I can take time off work and breathe.

And today’s scan was troubling. The voicemail threw me into a tailspin. Remember how happy I was that I didn’t have to take Lucky with me to the clinic. Well tomorrow I’m going to have to take him. I am feeling very anxious about it. Everything from waking him up early and dressing him to how I’m going to be perceived tomorrow, etc. etc. But it’s happening. Godspeed to me and everyone else there.

And my results are pretty confusing. On Sunday they saw 5 on the right and 2 on the left and this morning they saw 5 on the left and 2 on the right. I don’t think they know how that happened but someone mixed up my ovaries. I mean, I don’t care as long as they can get to them when the time comes but that really threw me for a loop. Let’s see.

Anyway, I should probably get to bed but just a quick shout out to the fertility pharmacy. We started the cycle a day early and I called them on the Sunday to deliver the Monday and they did it no problem. And I got the call today that they’re upping my gonal-f to 375 and I only had 300. I called them in a panic and they were able to courier the meds to me today. I am very impressed. I was prepared to drive the 1hr+ to go pick the meds up so that was a great relief. I wonder how many panicked phone calls they get.

Okay, goodnight. Fingers crossed we have some good growth. I am feeling really sharp pains on my left. I just hope it’s good.

Emotional: Today was hard. I had a good cry in therapy. Today was hard.
Physic: Lots of sharp pains and I’m really tired.
Food: Really yummy calamari wrap. Oh and I was chatting to a friend at work on the phone and told her that I’d missed lunch and 5min after we got off the phone she walked down with a plate of snacks for me. I almost cried. I am definitely hormotional.