Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Silly question of the day



This question was doing the rounds on social media recently. If you had a choice of taking a blue pill and restarting your life at age 10 but with all you know now, or of taking a red pill and waking up age 45 with a million dollars, what would you choose?

I did think about it for a moment but to me it's clear, I would go for the blue pill! Why would I want to wish the next ten years of my life away? Sure I would get a million dollars but so what, to me the years in between spent with friends and family are a lot more valuable! I do realise that being in a position to turn down a million dollars probably also shows that I already have a certain amount of privilege. I have a roof over my head and plenty of access to food and health care. I'm sure there are lots of people who would be desperate for the money for various reasons.

Life is short and the thought of getting more time is appealing. That said, I don't particularly like the idea of having to start at age 10 all over again! I would have to go through the teenage years with all those crazy hormones, immature friends, not to mention exams which doesn't sound particularly appealing. However I have gained a lot of knowledge by now that I think I could manage it!

The main advantage for me of course would be the opportunity to spend time with my late Mum again. She passed just before my 23rd birthday. The idea of getting another 13 years with her would be amazing. And this time I would make sure we have more quality time. The idea of having to watch her get sick again is hard though, but maybe with my knowledge I could send her to the doctor earlier so she could get diagnosed sooner. I would try to be a better daughter this hypothetical time too.

I also wouldn't care as much about what other people think of me. As I've gotten older I've realised how little that really matters and that you should rather be true to yourself.

I would invest in shares, haha! Google, Facebook, Apple... maybe that way by age 45 I'd easily have saved a million dollars.

I was considering whether I would study something different at university for a total change but then I realised that the subjects I picked (German among others) ended up leading me down a path where I met my now husband and moved to Germany. I'm very happy with these decisions so I'd probably be better off studying the same topics and not changing any of the big life choices I made in the past.

It is also possible that maybe I would drive myself crazy trying to stop awful events which I would know in advance about. There's this character from ancient Greek mythology called Cassandra. She was given the gift of foresight but no one ever believes her so it becomes a horrible curse.

Which would you pick if you were given the choice? I guess choosing neither is also an option.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Heartbeat


Trigger warning: pregnancy mentioned.


Firstly I wanted to say thanks so much for all the lovely comments and messages from everyone! It really means a lot to us.

Well I finally the day I've been waiting years for arrived. It was my first pregnancy ultrasound ever! The appointment wasn't till 5pm and it felt like such a long day waiting for it. On the way to the clinic, hubby and I both felt pretty nervous. I couldn't help thinking that either it was going to be an amazing moment or an awful one! Once we were called in to Dr. Peppy we spoke for a few minutes and then she suggested we do the ultrasound. I jumped up, pretty eager to finally see what's going on in there!

She started having a look and pretty immediately found something - the gestational sac with a tiny fetus..and a heartbeat too! I literally burst into tears at that stage! Mostly from relief to be honest. Just all the anxiety had been building up and I was so relieved and happy to know that everything is ok! The doctor also confirmed that there is only one baby in there. I did feel a little sad thinking about the other embryo that didn't make it but we are still absolutely delighted with one. A multiple pregnancy would have had more risks. We would be so grateful for one healthy baby! Once I pulled myself together and stopped crying I was able to ask some questions. It was so amazing seeing the little heartbeat! You can't really see much at this early stage (six weeks), just that something is there. The baby is only the size of a pomegranate seed!

Then Dr. Peppy discussed all my meds. I am to continue taking something for my thyroid plus baby aspirin. The Granocyte injections will be kept up every three days until I reach the 2nd trimester. I will need to continue getting the intralipid infusions every two weeks until then too. Progesterone tablets and steroids I can gradually start reducing now. And then she said that that would be my last appointment there, the next one would be at my local gyno! Wow, gradation from the fertility clinic already. We thanked the doctor profusely for all her help. She could see how happy and overwhelmed we were!


Afterwards I got another Intralipid done. That took almost two hours. The clinic had really bad reception so it was ages before I was able to message my family to let them know how the appointment went! Everyone was delighted. To be honest this whole experience still feels completely surreal. Sort of like I've woken up in a parallel world where our dream is actually coming true. This morning I phoned my gyno and arranged an appointment for two weeks time. I'll be eight weeks pregnant by then, please God.

I don't think either of us will be able to fully relax until the second trimester to be honest. I still have a fair bit of anxiety. That said, I am absolutely loving the thought that there is a tiny baby growing in there right now. I'm praying so hard that it will be a viable pregnancy and the little one will stick around. So far my only symptoms have been increased appetite, sore boobs, tiredness and lots of heartburn! Hubby is excited too. He's even been thinking about how many months he'd like to take as parental leave (In Germany, you get 14 months to share among the parents). It's so amazing to dream and imagine.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Nice high number


Six days after our first blood test I went in for the second one. I had to get up at 5.30am in order to get to my clinic as early as possible so that I would make it back to my office in time. I didn't mind too much though. After all the challenges of going through IVF it wasn't such a big deal and I'm excited to have a reason to need a second blood test. I also got some of my prescriptions renewed while I was there. The clinic told me they would call between two and three pm. During my lunch break I went home hoping the results might be ready early but no such luck. Hubby was going to get back earlier from work that day so we agreed that he would phone the clinic to find out the results but not tell me until I came home just in case the news was bad.

That was the idea. In practice when I didn't hear anything from hubby I started worrying that maybe it was bad news and he was waiting to tell me in person! The time passed really slowly in the office before I was able to get home and the half hour before I got back, I started getting really anxious thinking how devastating it would be if the news wasn't good. As soon as I arrived in front of the house, hubby rushed out to meet me, smiling, and said it was good news! Thank you God!! I burst into tears again, this has definitely been an emotional time for me lately haha! Happy tears though.

He told me the HCG has gone up to 2343. Amazing!! I put it into into HCG online calculator and it said that's a normal doubling rate. We have an appointment in a week's time for the first ultrasound. How exciting! At that stage we should finally find out whether there are one or two embryos growing and if we are lucky see a heatbeat/heatbeats. It feels so surreal thinking about that! I am still on cloud nine and can't stop smiling.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pregnancy after loss and cold showers


After the happiness and surprise eventually came the worry. Pregnancy after a loss can be a tricky one to deal with. I remember that hard week after our first IVF when I was technically pregnant but with a low HCG value and was told it could go either way. There was a little spotting some days but it always went away. I had some mild symptoms such as tiredness, increased appetite and sore boobs. I kept doing pregnancy tests hoping the line would get darker but it grew fainter instead which was probably a likely indication that it was non viable. The longer I remained pregnant the more I had hope though that maybe it would still be ok. However the miscarriage begun the night before when our first scan at our previous clinic would have been.

I can't help having some anxiety regarding this pregnancy. I found a link online where you can calculate your miscarriage risk and it said mine was about 26% (at four weeks, it goes down the longer you remain pregnant)! That was stupid of me to look it up. However I then came across a more reassuring link and when you take our strong initial HCG value into account it seems promising that this could be a viable pregnancy. I keep reminding myself that there is no reason to assume that everything isn't fine. This pregnancy already seems stronger than my last (which was a year and a half ago. Crazy). I have barely any symptoms though of course it's super early at this point, just four weeks. It just feels surreal most of the time!

I did a second pregnancy test yesterday for some reassurance and there was a strong second line which was nice to see. The next stage is to go back to my clinic for a second blood test and provided all goes well I could have the first scan a week later. Wouldn't that be exciting!? At our new clinic they make you wait a week for the second blood test which seems so long! I have a dentist appointment that day so I asked if I could come in a day earlier (Monday) for the blood test and that's fine. The HCG is meant to be doubling every few days. A slow rising HCG can be indicative of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. A scan at around 6-7 weeks should be able to show a heartbeat and once a heartbeat is present, then the risk of miscarriage drops to around 5%. So if I could get to that stage I can imagine I'll breathe a huge sigh of relief. One minute I feel ecstatic and love thinking about the future, and another I try to reign myself in, thinking I shouldn't get ahead of myself so early.


In other news, there have been some unexpected house costs lately. There's a problem with our water heating. It came to a head the day of the result actually. Hubby was all stressed but I was barely thinking about it. He said, "don't you care if there's no hot water and you have to have cold showers"? I think my reply was something like, "I would gladly take cold showers for all nine months if I can have a healthy pregnancy!" Anyway it turns out the problem has gotten worse so I have been having to have cold showers lately, haha. And I don't mind as long as the baby or babies on board are doing ok. That said, we are getting someone to come to the house to try to fix the problem as soon as possible. We are hoping it won't be too expensive. There have been quite a few unforeseen repairs that have come up ever since we moved in. I don't think our surveyor did a great job at predicting stuff!

I also wanted to mention that I know I have a lot of followers who are still in the midst of the infertility trenches. I will try my best to be as sensitive as possible regarding our news and I certainly don't intend to turn this into a "pregnancy" blog now. Occasionally I will mention it but I plan to write about plenty of other things too. Of course, it's still at an extremely early stage so I don't feel like I am out of the woods yet by any means but I am incredibly grateful to have reached this point!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Is this for real? Overjoyed!


This morning I went to my clinic for the blood test. I told the nurse that I had already tested yesterday and gotten a positive and asked about getting more prescriptions for my meds. I also inquired about when I should get the next Intralipid infusion done. I had brought it with me just in case. The nurse gave me the prescriptions I would need, about one week's worth by the looks of things and then told me they would administer the intralipid for me today!

I was glad to get it done rather than have to come back a different day though I was annoyed at myself for forgetting to pack a snack. I'd had breakfast at 8.30am but I wouldn't end up getting home until around 2pm. I was told the clinic would phone me between 2 and 3pm. Dr. Peppy who had been on holiday was back and it was really nice to see her again. I asked her what HCG value would they like to see today and she said at least 50.

I only got in the door around 2pm, had some lunch and then around half an hour later the phone rang. I was too scared to answer it! Hubby answered and put it on speaker phone. The woman from the clinic sounded happy so I already had a good feeling. She said that it was positive and all the values were great! Hubby asked what the HCG value was exactly and she said...wait for it... 239!!! Can you believe it? What a great value!!

Back during my first IVF, I only had a value of 28. This pregnancy already feels different and stronger, thank God!! I phoned my Dad on skype and he cried, it was so sweet. I was crying too! This is honestly like a dream come true, though it still feels surreal!

Next week I go back to my clinic for a second blood test. No scan yet unfortunately. They seem to just want you to do several blood tests before the first scan. It's extremely early days, like I'm only 4 weeks now. But, I am so grateful and amazed that our fourth and final IVF may be actually working!! Today is the best day!! Thank you so much everyone for all the support and lovely comments.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy tears


I had been debating the merit of testing a day or two before the official blood test. A single pregnancy test was in my drawer so it wasn't like I'd have to actually go out and buy any. For several days I went over the pros and cons of testing early. The main advantage being an extra day to "prepare" myself if it were negative. The last few days I have also had quite a few ups and downs.

One moment convinced this hasn't worked as I don't feel anything and with my bad luck in terms of trying to have a baby why would it? I'd even started thinking what we would do if it failed. Places we could visit for instance Barcelona or Malta sprung to mind. I also was wondering whether it would then make sense to make an appointment at our clinic to find out their thoughts and how low are chances are. However then I'd remind myself to stay hopeful a bit longer. The evening before last I started noticing some twinges around my ovaries which I couldn't help thinking could be a good sign. I've also had heartburn quite frequently. Although anything can be a side effect from all the drugs and hormones!

Ok, I'll get to the point... Before breakfast I decided to sneak away and do a test before hubby could tell me not to. Once I saw the dye initially just create the control test line and nothing else I looked away thinking "oh no, I can't bear this if it will be negative" and I started praying desperately while I waited.


About minute later I peeked at the test and to my absolute shock there was a second line. I looked again closer. It was definitely there! I double checked the instructions on the test, I was doing it right. Then I burst into tears! Extremely happy tears. I was shaking from just feeling so overwhelmed. I'm delighted! I am honestly really happy to have come one step closer. When I went back to the bedroom to tell hubby who was only just waking up, I burst into tears again. At first he got worried and couldn't tell whether I was happy or sad! I managed to get out that they were "happy tears" as he hugged me.

This is just stage one. The next hurdle is getting a good strong beta value at the blood test tomorrow. After our first IVF the HCG value was only 28 which implied it could end up being an early miscarriage which it sadly was. A number over 50 would have been better but ideally over 100. Hubby is still very apprehensive and worried. He told me he's anxious I'm getting my hopes up too much. I told him I am just taking it one day at a time and today I can be happy! I know I still have a long way to go. But the amazing thing is that one or both of our embryos implanted and as of right now, I am pregnant!! Please God the blood test will go well tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Blissful ignorance


Right now I'm in a strange place. Our embryos may have implanted and I could be on my way to our dream of having a baby being fulfilled. Or nothing may be happening and it could end up being another heartbreaking negative call next week. Even though I would usually like the "two week wait" to be over quicker so I can just find out already, a big part of me just wants to remain in blissful ignorance a while longer. If our fourth and final IVF ends up being a negative then I'm in no rush to come crashing down. I'd just like to stay hopeful believing this could still happen for us awhile longer. So that's where I'm at now. One week down and scared for the outcome.

Hubby and I also had a discussion last night about what we would do it this fails. I said I know I would come out the other end eventually but initially I could imagine sinking into depression if it turns out all our efforts to have a family haven't come to pass. There are times when I question all my decisions in life leading up to this point. If I'd known all the challenges we would have had trying to have a baby then of course I would have started trying earlier. A few months probably wouldn't have made a big difference though. Hubby commented that even if I didn't have the issues with my fallopian tubes from previous surgeries I could still have had problems getting and staying pregnant due to the elevated natural killer cells or the missing KIR genes which were discovered during the immune blood panel.

This all sounds pretty depressing. Despite everything I was also thinking recently that we have quite an idyllic life in a lot of ways. We both love our house. That was a great decision and we are getting great joy out of spending time in our garden so far this Summer. We have a happy marriage, that's certainly not a given. Life in Germany is nice. We have a good standard of living. Coming from Ireland I really appreciate having a proper Summer here! We both have decent jobs, our health and a circle of friends, not to mention loving supportive families. So I'll remind myself that whatever happens we will find a way to be complete even if our "family" remains a family of two. In the meantime I'll stay hopeful and believe.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Time for the good wife


The day after our transfer I was injection free which was great! The two week wait of IVF always feels a little strange. You go from having numerous appointments at your clinic every few days and being extra busy to all of a sudden having free time and getting radio silence from your clinic. I'm doing well at the moment though. There were a few times where I got a bit emotional/stressed/overwhelmed thinking about it all but I've mainly been happy and positive. I've been reminded by my lovely blog commentators that each cycle and embryo tells a new story. Just because it hasn't worked for us before doesn't mean it couldn't happen now (sometimes I just think I can't even imagine this actually working..)

I'd taken several days off work after the transfer and I've really been taking it easy which has been nice! Hubby and I have done some things around the house; unpacking and organizing where we put things, cooking and eating lots of healthy meals but also just spending time together watching TV or relaxing in the garden. My favourite two shows at the moment are "The Good Wife" and "Call the Midwife". Hubby jokes I love any shows containing the word "wife" in the title, haha!

I'd actually stopped watching "Call the midwife" after our third round failed as I couldn't face seeing all the pregnancies and babies. However I feel fine about watching it now. I love shows set in the old days. "The Good Wife" is something I begun watching after IVF round three failed. It's perfect as it's a court room drama without a plot involving babies or pregnancies. I love watching shows with strong women characters. There are also about seven seasons on Netflix so lots to catch up on!


Oh yeah, I've also been trying to practice "social isolation" and staying away from other men lately, haha! There was a study which showed that women who avoided males other than their partner for three days after and IVF transfer had a higher rate of becoming pregnant. I figure anything is worth a shot at this point!

Last night I had a really sweet dream. In it, I had twin baby girls. There were about six months old and in a double buggy and I was bringing them around the park and shops with me. I was also tickling their chins and talking to them. They were laughing and smiling at me and I felt a strong sense of love. I woke up thinking how nice a thought it is that the embryos inside me could be communicating in some way. Yes, I know that probably sounds pretty far fetched! It could easily be that I have babies on the brain lately and it meant nothing, but it was sweet all the same! During our first IVF I remember having a dream of boy-girl twins.

A few days after our result we'll be hosting my mother in law's birthday party at our place. I'd offered to do it ages ago, not realising the timing. My MIL said if we get a positive result, it would be the best birthday present ever for her. It was a sweet and well meaning thing to say but for some reason I just felt added pressure, like if this doesn't work I'll be letting everyone down. I know I shouldn't feel like that though. Both sides are the family would just love to be grandparents.