Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a happy Christmas season and a great 2016! Or as the Germans say, einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr (a great slide into the new year).

We'll be spending Christmas here in Germany this year with the GerMann's family and then flying to Dublin afterwards for about ten days. Looking forward to meeting up with everyone and of course enjoying Irish food which you can't get over here (such as yummy mince pies)! And here's hoping 2016 will be a great year.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

IVF Diary - it's all over

Well as the title suggests, sadly this pregnancy was very short lived.  I was almost five weeks along and one day before I would have had my first ultrasound and seen our baby. We went to the doctor at my clinic who confirmed that I was having an early miscarriage. She was very kind and said how sorry she was. We asked what went wrong. The embryos looked great apparently. They use a rating system here of 1 to 4 where 1 is the best and one of ours rated 1.5 and the other 2. The doctor said that miscarriages are very common sadly and there was probably just something wrong chromosomally with the embryos. She also said next time I could try a different combination of drugs to hopefully get more eggs and increase our chances.

All the hormones from the past few weeks have left me with some ovarian cysts which would need to clear up before we would be able to do another round. The doctor was qutie positive about our chances of IVF eventually working since the fact that I was able to get pregnant at all was a good sign so I've been clinging on to that hope. It's very common for a couple to need to go through several rounds of IVF before it works unfortunately. I think the average number of cycles for a live baby is 3. Normally if it's going to work at all it would happen by four attempts, after that the odds are very slim.

Right now I just feel so emotionally drained from the rollercoaster of the past few weeks and months that I'm planning to take some time off from it all and focus on enjoying my life again. When you are going through the process everything else can get put partially on hold. I had cut down on social events so it's going to be nice to start meeting up with friends more often. My plan is to just try to relax the next few months and then face the second round of IVF once I feel emotionally and physically prepared to go through it all again.

Obviously I'm feeling sad and very disappointed that it didn't work out... It would have been so nice to have been able to go home at Christmas and announce a pregnancy. And a summer baby next year would have been lovely. But I'm trying to stay hopeful for 2016. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

IVF Diary - Barely Pregnant

It's three days since I was told the "mixed news" that I'm pregnant but with a very low HCG value of 28. I had the idea of taking a home pregnancy test to see if the second line would get darker. On Friday I tested and had a faint but visible line. This morning I tested again and this time the second line was barely visible at all - instead of getting darker, it was even fainter! You probably can't even make out the second line in the pic below. 

Surely the line should be getting darker since the HCG value should be increasing each day so I have already started trying to prepare myself emotionally for the worst. Maybe this might not be our time. However, later I was googling and I read that home pregnancy tests are not very accurate for measuring HCG levels. They can tell if you are pregnant or not but not how pregnant. Some forums I read said that the line can even appear darker or lighter depending on time of day or how dehydrated you are. The only really accurate test is a blood test. I'll have to keep waiting until late next week for that. 

So much waiting. I just want to know if this pregnancy is viable or not! I don't have any symptoms yet either, just possibly sleepiness and an increased appetite. So right now I feel barely pregnant, like this pregnancy is hanging on by a thread. Bring on Thursday so I can have more an idea of what's going on! In the meantime I've been trying to send positive energy to the baby and praying that he or she is a little fighter.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

IVF Diary - Mixed news

Before work on Thursday I went to the clinic and did a blood test and was told I would receive a phone call between 1 and 2pm later that same day. I had taken a half day off from the office so that I could be at home for the news and have some space and time to process it, good or bad.

Waiting by the phone was tortuous and 2pm came and went and still no call. I tried phoning the clinic only to get their answering machine. I gave it a little more time and then was about to go and do a home pregnancy test when the call finally came. The doctor's asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and then said the news was mixed..

I'm pregnant but my HCG hormone level is very low, only 28, which could indicate an imminent miscarriage. They scheduled me an appointment for a week's time for an ultrasound though I might not still be pregnant by then, will have to just wait and see.

I was totally confused and in shock after the phone call. I'd been expecting and preparing myself for either a clear yes or no, good news or bad new, not mixed! After googling more information on what HCG values are normal, it seems that having a low one might not be so bad if the levels start increasing dramatically over the coming few days (though anything under 100 is considered low for an initial value). It's just too soon to tell basically.

Later that day I started feeling happy and more positive and decided I'm going to enjoy being pregnant for as long as I can. At this stage it's so early and it could really go either way but I'm cautiously optimistic!

Monday, November 23, 2015

IVF Diary - Schröndinger's Baby

Right now I'm reminded of Schröndiger's cat.

I could be pregnant and have a baby already growing inside me or it could be over already but I won't find out for several more days. Time is passing by really slowly. I just want to know already! Although if it's bad news, a negative result, then maybe I'm actually not in a hurry to know...

I'm starting to get anxious, a positive result would just be the first hurdle, I'm sure I would be nervous getting through each stage as the risk of miscarriage after IVF is higher than normal.

I don't feel particularly pregnant which is a little disappointing though it's still very early days. I just feel normal. Well apart from the sore throat I have and feeling run down which could also just be a side effect from the hormones. I keep wondering how my little snowflakes are getting on. Have they implanted or not? Potentially I could end up having twins if both embryos stick around. According to my doctor there is a one in five chance! 

It would be devastating to get a negative result. I'm worried that I might have done something wrong. I could have eaten healthier the past week. And maybe I should have rested more and not let myself get this cold. I was telling the GerMann some of this stuff and he said that I haven't done anything wrong and if it doesn't work, it's not my fault and not to blame myself. Thought that was sweet of him to say. 

How do other people survive this waiting?!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

IVF Diary - two week waiting

I've heard it said before that worst part of the IVF process is the waiting to find out if it has worked or not. Certainly time seems to be moving much slower than normal for me as I countdown the days until my appointment at the clinic for the results.

Two days ago I had some cramps, which could have been from the embryos implanting, though it also could have just been something I ate! Apart from that I haven't noticed any potential pregnancy symptoms at all. This morning I woke up feeling very run down, like a cold is coming on. I'm not surprised as there have been a LOT of bugs ground around lately and yesterday a guy near me on the train kept coughing!

I started worrying then immediately and feeling cross that I let myself catch a cold as maybe my body will now decide that it needs to focus on fighting the cold and this isn't the month for me to get pregnant. On the other hand, I was googling post transfer symptoms and some girls experienced cold-like symptoms or even caught a cold as apparently when the embryo implants it makes the immune system a bit weaker and it's normal to come down with something then. So I'm hopeful that I'm still in the game...

Nearly one week down in the two week wait. Another week to go!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

IVF Diary - embryos on board

The transfer could not have gone better. Both embryos are doing great and according to the doctor are "schön" (lovely/beautiful) and 8-cell which means they are growing well. The transfer was completely painless and afterwards I just relaxed for awhile at the clinic. I was also feeling really happy and hopeful. It's so exciting knowing that I'm currently carrying the embryos which could potentially grow into one or even two babies! I was so excited I texted several friends letting them know even though I realise it's probably not a good idea to tell that many people since I don't want everyone to be asking me the result in a few weeks time but I couldn't help it!

The rest of the day today I went for a walk, had a nice lunch with the GerMann and just had a relaxing day. I have to keep taking the progesterone tablets and give myself two more HCG hormone shots, one two days and the other six days post transfer. The HCG hormone is the same one your body produces when you are pregnant which is why if you take an early home pregnancy test you might get a false positive when it's still in your system and therefore they say it's better to wait the full two weeks until the blood test to get an accurate result. The waiting game begins...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

IVF Diary - the phonecall

Well they don't compare IVF to an emotional rollercoaster for nothing! This morning I was more or less waiting by the phone for the call from the clinic to let me know how my eggs were getting on. I started fearing the worst, for instance, what if neither fertilize which would mean I wouldn't have any to transfer? That can actually happen.

Finally they called and I was told that BOTH eggs fertilized! I was so happy I burst into tears. It could also be that I'm extra hormonal at the moment, but I'm delighted to think that we have two embryos growing right now after the disappointment yesterday.

So now I just have to hope that our little snowflakes survive a few more days until I have the transfer. This whole process is really taking it out of me and I'm not quite half way yet! From now onwards I have to take progesterone tablets, three times a day, roughly every eight hours, and tomorrow I have to give myself another shot of the HCG hormone. Apart from all the emotions today, physically I feel fine after the egg retrieval procedure and have been just been trying to take it easy.