Category Archives: sperm donor

Phew!

Busy, busy few days. And this IComLeavWe week-y thing-y has begun and I apologise that I am behind the eight-ball ALREADY and it’s only day 2! So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. (For those of you who are non-bloggers… well just ignore that, but feel free to comment all you like on any and all posts. The comment button appears at the end of the post.)

I haven’t actually has too much time to dwell on the lack of success of last cycle, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. At times, I’ve thought, oh great, I feel fine, but then in a quiet moment, start to think about what happens if complete failure in my mission happens. And then I realise I’m not fine. At all.

I do think that it’s best – healthiest – not to ignore or push away your feelings, but god sometimes it feels good to. I mean, who wants to sit at home doubled over sobbing, hmmm? Still, last week was a shite week, mostly because of the not being pregnant, but also because of a few other things, which I haven’t had time to blog about about, but will try to sum up quickly now.

Firstly, I was really stupid around the time of donor selection last cycle. I was so excited to see the same donor I used the first cycle on the list the clinic gave me that I quickly logged onto the sperm bank in the US and purchased a few photos – one baby and one adult photo. Then the clinic called to remind me I hadn’t actually selected a donor and I should do so now. But my donor in fact was not still available (in Australia the law states that one donor can only father five children, so five people must have had positives in the previous month or so. They may not progress to live births but until they know one way or the other, he is off the list). So not only was I hugely disappointed, I had paid $50 for photos of a complete stranger.

Then I had to choose another donor. I wasn’t quite as taken with him as the first, but still, good profile, nice photos of him as a child and a lovely smile in the adult photo. And he has a big nose. I like men with big noses. Go figure.  Good profile too – seemed kind and thoughtful. So I bought more photos.

Anyway, last week, both sets of photos turned up in the post. Photos of complete strangers, one of whom may or may not be the father of my future baby.

Then at work last week a colleague confided that her marriage may be falling apart and she was thinking of divorce. You know – all looks perfect from the outside – successful career (both of them), lots of money, a couple of gorgeous kids, the house, the cars, the clothes – all seemingly hunky dory. I was really sad for her. Then she said, “I look at your life and I’m so envious”. That just about killed me. I thought, god you have no idea. I kept it together till she had left the room because it wasn’t about me, it was about her, and then (luckily everyone else was out at a meeting) I cried. Because my life is so great, doing everything – EVERYTHING – by myself.

However… no time to think. I’ve been looking for a new car. Can’t afford one, really, though the bank has very kindly offered to loan me the money. My current 20-year old, un-airconditioned, 2-door car just will not be suitable if it has to transport a baby around. So on Saturday I requisitioned an ex-boyfriend to help me find a new one. What a mission.

Saturday was 30 degrees (Celcius). Remember – 20-year old, un-airconditioned, 2-door car. Whose window winders (not electric!) has literally just broken. One window was stuck down about 3 cm, the other all the way up. Driving up and down Parramatta Road (aka hell) in a 20-year old, un-airconditioned, 2-door car on a 30 degree day, with the windows up. Awesome fun.

Long story short, we didn’t find anything on Saturday, but I found a fantastic car on Sunday, within my budget and only 3 years old! A bargain and I pick it up tomorrow.

But today I had to drive back to the fertility clinic to pick up prescriptions for this FET cycle. I don’t know why they are not included in the cost of the cycle but they’re not. And today was not 30 degrees, today was, I don’t know, 22 degrees? And pissing down with rain. Cats and dogs. And the window is stuck down 3 cm. Two and a half hours there and back with a stop at the pharmacy and by the time I get home I’m soaked down one side. That car can’t go soon enough.

And yesterday I spent all day in a lecture theatre learning all about social networking for work. They talked about blogging. I love it when work pays for things you want to do yourself.

So a week of good and bad things. But I think it’s all coming together. New car that’s fit for a baby, photos of the donor sitting on my bedside table, and hope in the air.

Better go and leave some comments.

I’m no. 110 on the IComLeavWe list apparently (if that matters).

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Perfect moment Thursday…

I stumbled upon this idea in a blog called http://writemindopenheart.com, and really liked it so thought on a day like today it would be good to focus on the positive. I love that it’s about “engaging in mindfulness” and so, in the spirit of this, my perfect moment today was catching up for lunch today with a guy I used to work with. He’s such a nice guy, though he was pretty much just “a guy I used to work with”. Anyway, he saw from my facebook page that “something” was going on, so I told him about the whole IVF / sperm donor saga.

And he wasn’t phased. In fact he said, Good for you. You know, I thought about donating myself because I’d heard there was a shortage and women shouldn’t miss out on having kids just because they haven’t found a man.

I thought that was just a great thing to hear, that someone would think about other people – total strangers – and think about helping them out. Because it’s not an easy thing, to donate and know that you could have little mini-mes running around all over town some day.

In the end he didn’t donate, but still, it was nice to hear a story of someone who had put some thought into doing it and their reasons. And he bought me lunch. Thanks Stevo!

Apart from that, I just found out the frozen cycle will cost me nearly $3,000. Kind of had in my head that it would cost barely anything. So that wasn’t a perfect moment.

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The bitch is back

I really thought I was pregnant.

When my period* didn’t come as scheduled on Thursday, I couldn’t quite believe it. I’ve never been late in my life. Through the day I checked. No sign!

Friday – still no sign! Oh my God, I’m pregnant!

I had a blood test first thing Friday morning.

All through the day my excitement mounted. No sign of bleeding. I won’t believe it till I get the call from the clinic, I thought. But I did believe it. I believed it so much that I bought a dress and a loose flowing cardigan that I thought could take me from now to at least the end of the year and hide any bump. But I was sensible – they are normal clothes that look great now anyway, just in case I was being overly optimistic.

I had a hair appointment, followed by an osteo appointment to try and sort out my still-stuffed digestive system.

I was feeling so happy that I nearly blurted out my news to the hairdresser, who I barely know. I only go there because it’s cheap and I can’t afford my good hairdresser right now.

So when the clinic called, I was confused by the nurse’s tone of voice. I knew it wasn’t good news, but I there was no sign of my period, so – I must be pregnant right?

No. I’m not.

There was a level of hcG in my blood that indicated that the embryos had tried to implant. But they hadn’t. And I guess that level was still there, which was why there was no sign of my period.

What could I do, I was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair with hair colour slapped over my scalp. I couldn’t run to the loo and howl. I just had to sit there, tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t even speak when the hairdresser asked if everything was ok. I wanted to say, “I’ve just had some bad news, that’s all” but I couldn’t even get that out. I had to sit there for another 45 minutes getting my hair washed and blow dried before I could get the fuck out of there.

Thank god I had the osteo appointment afterwards –  Jamie is the loveliest man and a great osteo, and really smart and he’s into yoga and alternative healing, as well as being clever enough to be applying to med school. He gave me a big, big hug and then treated me. Face down on the table and with my eyes closed I really felt like the table was moving back and forth. I had to keep opening my eyes and looking down to the floor to make sure I was stationary. Jamie said I was in shock and after the treatment gave me some Bach remedy for shock and put me in a separate room so I could do what I needed to do.

I really thought it would work. I was so confident and positive. I meditated, visualised. Did yoga and ate well. I felt – or thought I felt – calm about the whole thing. Not stressed or clinging or desperate. I really thought it would work.

And I’m sure this is nothing like what a miscarriage feels like, but I feel a bit that way nonetheless, because really thought it would work, and I really thought I was pregnant.

What next?

Right now I’m really sad and disappointed. I think I’ll try again, I feel I owe it to myself. When I first put this plan in motion I thought I’d give it three goes, but that was when I thought I would get enough embryos to freeze for three goes. I certainly didn’t plan on paying for three attempts. But once is not enough, as they say in the classics (James Bond anyway. I was in a Bond film once – true story). I’ll go and see the doctor sometime this week, and work out what Plan B, Take 2 is.

I went for a swim this morning (at Bronte, that’s the pic), then to yoga. I was reminded  again how powerful yoga is to work emotions out of your body, because if you don’t work them out, they get stuck, and so does your body and so does your mind. Sometimes they get so stuck they make you sick. And I was reminded again that the discipline – of whatever it is – getting up early to go for a swim when I would have rather stayed in bed – makes you do things that ultimately make you feel better than short term pleasures.

PS. I’m also really sad I may not have the chance to choose the same donor again. I was a bit in love with the idea of that donor’s baby. A lot in love.

PPS. My period came yesterday morning. At least it seems to have sorted out my digestive issues. The bitch.

* Note that I just can’t use the abbreviations and euphemisms so common on blogs and forums such as these. It’s not Auntie Flow, or AF, I’ve never called it such a school girl thing in my life (mind you, I’m quite happy to call it “the bitch” on this occasion). And this is not a BFN – big fat negative – I’m just not pregnant. I’m an editor and writer, and as an editor I’m a bit anal about plain English, saying what you mean, not obscuring, spelling things out. Euphemisms give me the shits anyway. Rant over.

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Little bubbles

That’s what the embryos (I think they’re technically called blastocytes) looked like on the screen before the doctor put them back in. A cluster of cells, but more like little bubbles. Amazing to think the potential they have to grown into – who knows – a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, a prime minister, a parent.

It was all over in a few minutes, just like having a pap smear.

I walked out of the clinic giggling hysterically to myself  – “I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant!” I kept saying to myself. And since then I have continued saying it, and sending  “attach and stick” vibes to my uterus.

The doc said “Just be yourself” when I asked if I should or shouldn’t do anything. But I’ve kept it low key this weekend, a bit of shopping, a yoga class, meditation and lying on the floor at home in supta baddha konasana and viparita karani, which help improve blood flow to the pelvic region. They are also lovely and relaxing. And lots of mantras and affirmations – “I’m pregnant!”, “Stick little babies!”.

As to why the clinic prefers to transfer more than one – I’ve just read this:

“There are some suggestions that embryos help each other to implant.  In other words, the more embryos that you transfer, the greater the chance that each one will stick.”

I’m hoping for just one but if they both stick? Che sera, sera. I’ll just have to go public, sell my story to New Idea or something, get a sponsorship deal from Huggies, and put the kids to work as baby models, because they’ll be gorgeous right!

Side effect update

After the egg collection I was feeling very tender and delicate, and still am a bit. It’s easing off somewhat but my whole abdominal region feels revolting – like I’m all blown up with gas. Which I think is actually what it is. The doctor said it was constipation but it feels more uncomfortable than that. A girl I met while waiting for the transfer – she was having her embies transferred too – said the same thing. Hope it goes away soon – not to mention the discomfort, it makes it hard to work out whether I’m feeling implantation cramps or not. Though I’m sure I am!!

Anyone out there with a similar experience? Anyone know how long it takes for the embryos to attach?

Just a little bit annoyed too

I spoke to my dad today for Father’s Day. It took him a while to get around to the “what’s happening with the IVF?” question, and even then it was in a roundabout way.  I got the feeling  when I got the courage to tell him a few weeks ago what was going on that he thought “you’re too old”. He didn’t say it – in fact he didn’t say much – but that’s the feeling I got.

Anyway, today, when he did get around to broaching the subject, he told me my aunt (his brother’s wife) was “beside herself” about it. What do you mean, I said. Well, she just thinks it’s dangerous, and you’re too old blah blah blah. She’s already said this to me before but I was so pissed off. Dangerous? To who?

Who’s freaking business is it of anyone else’s anyway? I have really tried to avoid anyone negative during this process but you can’t avoid your family can you? Lucky they are on the other side of the country.

She ain’t getting a hold of my beautiful baby, that’s for sure. Huh.

Anyway

The mythical two-week-wait begins. And we are waiting.

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The first day of spring

And two little egglets have been fertilised and are multiplying in a test tube. Or whatever they multiply in. A petri dish? Anyway.

Early trip to St George Private Hospital yesterday, arrived about 7.45. Checked in, had my identity checked about 57 times, read my book, and finally got wheeled in to the theatre about 10.30am. The doctor said they would write the number of eggs they retrieved on my hand. Blackout. Aren’t general anaesthetics weird? Where do you go while they are spreading your legs, inserting a needle through your lady bits, and generally poking around with probes, ultrasounds and other such un-fun stuff? It’s not like being asleep, you are just … gone.

I came to I guess about 45 minutes later in the recovery ward. Groggy, tender and feeling delicate and a bit unsure as to who I was, the first thing I did was to check my hands. Nothing!

Aah! wha..? A nurse came by and checked my records. They got 11. Eleven! Seemed like a good number to me.

On my way home, the clinic called. Four of the 11 were suitable for fertilisation – the others were not quite mature enough. I was hoping for six.

Home, and treated myself with a tub of Sara Lee butterscotch and honeycomb icecream (yep, a whole tub), chocolate and the sofa.

This morning the clinic called – two of the four have made it past the judges, the other two have been voted off. 😦 Why? I was so hoping all four would pass muster but two just didn’t get on with the sperm, or the sperm didn’t get on with them. When I asked why, the girl in the lab said, “Humans just aren’t the best reproducers in the natural world.”

Still, it’s the first day of spring, when new life bursts forth. The sun is shining and my little egglets – I should call them embryos now – are growing strong and sturdy and tenacious.

In the book I am reading, the heroine has just discovered she is accidentally pregnant. It’s a sign!

And in my guided meditation through the Chopra Centre today, the mantra given was “Om vardhanam namah” which means  “I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me”, which to me seems to fit with today and the next few days and months ahead.  Another sign!

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The Final Countdown

Last Gonal-f injection – tick

Triggering (Pregnyl) injection – tick

Fasting from midnight tonight – under control, I’ll be asleep

FYI – Pregnyl apparently completes the maturation of the eggs, and if the weird feelings I have been experiencing in my belly today are anything to go by, it’s doing its job. “Weird feelings” kinda just feel like trapped wind, but it’s in the general vicinity, so I presume it’s my ovaries warming up.

I’ve had an ear-to-ear grin all day. Work colleagues very concerned – “I hope everything’s ok”, “Hope it goes well” + worried looks and so they are probably wondering why I am so chirpy about the prospect of going into hospital.

I am glad this process is over though (remember the mantra – pregnant first time). It’s taxing in ways that are hard to explain, difficult to pinpoint.

Some are easy to to work out – the physically taxing:

  • The drive to the clinic is 45 minutes to an hour on a good day, nearly an hour and a half on a bad day. Yesterday I went twice – four hours in the car.
  • The injections – have I done it right? Have I missed one (despite having the alarm set on my phone)? There were a few days when I almost forgot whether I had done it at all.
  • The side effects, though minor, have left me feeling not great. Not completely awful, just not in fabulous, tip-top condition.
The emotionally taxing – not so easy to figure out.
Because I am not in a relationship, I have not been trying to fall pregnant forever. This is the first time I have ever tried. I can’t imagine the amount of emotional stress some couples have found themselves dealing with in this process, because I guess for them this process is the end of a long road, and the start of a new road. A road which may or may not be as long and arduous as the last.
But for me – well I suppose it has been a long road to get here, I just travelled it differently.
Then I guess there’s:
  • The worry about the expense of it all – not so much the expense, but the expense if it didn’t work. What then? $10,000-odd for nothing?
  • The secrecy at work – I’ve only been there 9 months, lost my job when the last financial kerfuffle hit, and really cannot, CANNOT, lose this one. Especially now.
  • The breathless anticipation, mixed with a tinge of what-if-it-doesn’t-work.
  • The injections again – on the plus side, you feel like you are doing something positive, taking action to achieve your dreams, but all that excitement is physically and emotionally exhausting!
And so here we are, T-minus 18 hours. My friend is coming over tonight to take me to hospital in the morning – we have an early start so we’re having a slumber party! Usually similar such get togethers would involve alcohol (plenty), but tonight it will be herbal tea.
Ha – and I’ve just realised I’m getting all excited about the harvest, when the real deal will be on Saturday, when they put them back in – this time fertilised! So it’s T-minus 4 days, but what’s a few days pregnant with anticipation (pardon the pun) between friends huh?!
(Yes, I changed the look. This is more me.)

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Ripe and ready for picking

Turns out I only needed the really expensive extra drugs for 2 days – Saturday and Sunday.

I took a day off work today to attend the clinic for an early blood test and scan. Apparently my eggs are looking pretty ripe and are ready to be harvested. This week. In fact Wednesday, so a week early!

I don’t know why they are ready so soon, all my life I’ve been a slow starter (which is how I got here!) and now the egglets are ready early.

For some reason it took me a few hours to get my head around this – just a week earlier than expected but whoa! this is really happening now. Kind of bad timing work wise, but most of the horror busy-ness has passed and it will tail off from Thursday. Still, I’ve taken today off and now Wednesday and Thursday, eek. Only feeling slightly guilty, as I have a doctor’s certificate mentioning some vague gynaecological issue.

I also got a new donor list so I chose a total hottie who I’d be happy to have in my bed any time quite frankly, if he wasn’t so young. Is that wrong?!!!? And he says his hero is the Dalai Lama, which is really rather serendipitous, as he’s my hero too. I’ve been in his presence three times, twice where I’ve had the amazing good fortune to actually meet him and shake his hand, so I know. It’s meant to be!

So just one more day of work and two more injections (tonight) till D-Day!

I think this is where I say Oh. My. God.

And the transformation from single gal to hot momma begins…

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Plan B is under way…

So, I had my appointment at Fertility First on Tuesday. As I walked down to my car, I thought, If I have left the bloody lights on and the battery’s flat… but all was fine.

The clinic is a really beautiful Federation house with lovely gardens, art and objets, and a fish tank filled with amazing tropical fish in the room where they take blood – you feel tranquil and relaxed and that everything will be just fine. Just as well, because I just parted with $3,850 of my hard-earned. That’s just the deposit.

The nurse took blood to see if I had ovulated, as you need to have ovulated before the next step. She showed me how to inject myself with the Lucrin – yes, you do have to stick the whole length of that needle in – gave me a little showbag full of needles, a sharps container, alcohol wipes and the Lucrin itself, along with a freezer pack to keep it cold till I got it home and put it in the fridge.

The next afternoon, the nurse called – it’s all systems go – start the injections tonight!

I had a momentary wave of OH MY GOD, do I really want to do this?? But that passed quickly and was replaced by excitement. You’re supposed to give yourself the injection at exactly the same time every evening, so I have chosen 5pm, which I hope is not too early but since I get up at 4.30am every day for work, I figure it’s “evening” in Michelle hours.

5pm arrives and I prepare for the first injection of 10 units of Lucrin. God I hope I’m doing this right. I place the needle tip on my belly and in it goes. I barely felt a prick! In fact since then I keep thinking – am I doing this right? Because it’s so easy and I can’t feel a thing. So far so good

So, now the Lucrin is pulling all the strings. I am its puppet. As far as I understand, it is partially blocking naturally occurring hormones (Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH)) so that they don’t interfere with my egg development – they don’t want the eggs releasing any earlier than they are ready to collect them.

I have to say, I get quite excited every day at 5pm! I’ve set the alarm on my phone so I don’t forget, and I’ve just got to make sure I’m home. The nurse said (under sufferance) that they give you an hour’s leeway in doing the injection, but really, it has to be done at the same time every day.

The next (clinical) step is to go back next Friday for some “down regulation”, when I think I start FSH injections. I know I’m a bit fuzzy on the medical specifics, but the doctor has worked all that out so I don’t have to!

There were a few surprises/minor shocks at the appointment. Apparently if some part of the process isn’t working the way it should, other drugs need to be taken – at about $160 a pop! Literally, $160 PER INJECTION. Crap. And the half day in hospital on the day of egg collection costs about $2,000. My private health insurance won’t cover this as there’s a 12 month waiting period for any kind of ART or pregnancy related services, and Medicare will only rebate a small amount. BUT, as I said, i for a penny… in for (the amount keeps increasing) $10,000.

My mantra is … everything is working perfectly and I am pregnant on the first try. I just heard that the sister of a friend of mine is pregnant after her first attempt, which is heartening, especially as she was having lots of actual sex  before that with no luck. Having fun probably but no cigar. For me – no fun = no proof that I have trouble getting pregnant = up the duff first time!

And god knows, I can only afford one round!

My next step? CHOOSE THE BABY DADDY!! The clinic gives you a basic list, which gives you details of height, weight, build, race, eye colour, hair colour and a general idea of his occupation. There is only one Aussie donor on the list (where are they??), the rest are from a sperm bank in the US.  I can go onto the American website and get more details about each donor – family medical history, blood type, other information about his relatives, hobbies, skin tone. For a fee, I can access a baby photo and an adult photo of the donor.

And I’m going to pay that fee, because I want a pretty baby! I want to breed out this Celtic skin of mine, which is so not suited to the Australian climate, or any climate for that matter. And I want smart. And tall. And kind. All the attributes I would be looking in an actual man. Of course I will love whatever I am given, but really, who would go for a  huge nose, weak chin, crooked teeth and bad skin if they had a choice?

And off I go, to choose the donor! Whoa.

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