Friday, May 26, 2017

The things left unsaid

Recently I was back in Dublin for a friend's wedding. I had been hoping to see a particular aunt (on my Mum's side) again and my Dad had been messaging her to try to arrange something. This particular aunt had been battling breast cancer the past few years. The last time I had met her was during the Christmas holidays when I was back in Dublin. My brother was over from Australia at the time and saw her too and I'm so glad we all managed to spend time with her then. She has always been a very independent person (she was unmarried with no kids) and she was also quite private about her illness. Not just with us but also with other family members. I remember at Christmas she hinted that things had been hard for her lately but her attitude was that there are people going through worse things and she didn't want to be thinking "poor me". She was incredibly brave. She was really excited to see my brother and his fiance at the time and looking forward to their Irish wedding celebration this Summer.

During my recent trip home my Dad invited her over for dinner on the Friday to see my sister and I. My aunt said she didn't want to commit to it as she wasn't sure how she would feel. We said we would keep it free for her. She then told us that she was actually in hospital but hoping to be released soon. We offered to visit but she said she was feeling too tired. I remember wondering whether we should insist and just show up but we decided that if she said she wasn't up for visitors we should respect that. I was busy Saturday with my friend's wedding so we left it that we would try to meet for lunch on Sunday before I'd travel to the airport. That never happened. We got a call from the hospital Sunday morning to go in as soon as possible. I remember thinking in my head about all the things I wanted to say to her and praying for strength to be able to say them without crying too much!

However once we got into the hospital we found out it was already too late. The nurse told us she had passed an hour earlier. She had taken a bad turn during the night. We were all in shock! Like I mentioned earlier, we had no idea how bad her illness had gotten. We were also really sad that she hadn't let us in as we would have loved to have supported her more through it. It's always the way that after someone is gone, you have regrets about things you wish you had said said and done. I wish I had stayed in touch with her more. It's so easy to get caught up in your own life. It's been hard recently as you can imagine. It has also brought back a lot of sad memories of my own Mum's death. Both her and my aunt had been fighting the cancer for as long as they could.

Living away from home is also more difficult when things like this are going on. I'm glad I was there to pay my respects. We said some prayers with the hospital priest. However I wish I'd gotten to see her alive one more time. And then Mother's day was this month and I remember feeling really sad that there is no such thing as 'aunt's day'. There are so many people who mean a lot and I'm sorry they don't get more recognition. I came across this post recently on the importance of childfree people in children's lives and it mentions aunts in particular. It really does take a village.

On my wedding day I remember how happy and supportive my aunt was for us. She didn't go into the church but wanted to wait to see me arrive in the car! And then she even photobombed some of our wedding photos as she was there beside me fixing my veil. So sweet. During our first dance there are pictures of her watching us and looking so happy. I hadn't spoken to her directly about our struggles to have a family but my sister had and so I knew she was aware and hopeful for us. It still hasn't really sunk in that she's gone. She won't get to be there for my brother's Irish wedding this Summer.

F*ck cancer for taking so many great people away from us too soon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

From a bag of nerves to feeling zen

The last few days my emotions have been all over the place. I was all set to start IVF round four, then I got a blood test which showed an elevated thyroid (TSH) value which threw a spanner into the works. The GerMann started saying that maybe, what with the cyst that was noticed at my ultrasound, our flights to Ireland for my brother's Irish wedding celebrations in July and now the thyroid issue, we should postpone a few months. My doctor also wants to do the short protocol again instead of the long protocol so I was also freaking out a bit as I thought we'd still have another month of really healthy eating before the egg retrieval but now it'll only be about two weeks!

It's really overwhelming as well knowing this is our final try at this. The guy at my health insurance office had mistakenly told me that I would have 50% coverage for three more IVF rounds and had gotten my hopes up a little... Not that I particularly want to do three more, just nice to have a safety net... Anyway he had filled out the form wrong as I am only entitled to one more round that will be partially covered. Hubby has also reminded me a few times that this is our final try. We have discussed it at length many times and we are both in agreement; there are lots of reasons why we feel like we can't keep going after this, but I guess I'm finding it scary thinking that we might reach the end of this journey without a baby.

It feels overwhelming now that the final round is upon us and I'm terrified to be honest! Part of me is screaming, "I'm not ready yet!", "maybe we should wait another month or two so I can try to eat better as I haven't been as good as I wanted to be the past few weeks". Another voice is saying, "let's not keep postponing and letting my eggs get older, you're as ready as you'll ever be, let's do this! " Basically, I was freaking out a little!

I wouldn't say I'm a very religious person these days. I was brought up catholic and there used to be a time I'd go to mass every week but these days I rarely go and my faith has definitely been questioned over the years. Sometimes I'm not sure what I believe anymore but other times I still feel spiritual and I still pray often. Anyway so I prayed for guidance to help me decide whether to move forward now or wait. The next day I felt oddly remarkably calm. I just had this feeling like this is the right time. (Of course I know this may have all been in my head, but the main thing is I didn't feel as stressed so I'm happy!). I also made the decision that I would trust our doctor at our new clinic.

Long story short I got another ultrasound at my appointment today and it did show two small cysts. However the doctor said that since they are tiny it's not a problem and I can still go ahead. I asked about the thyroid, explaining that this is our final IVF round and we would postpone a month if need be. We were told that even though my TSH value certainly isn't optimal, it is being treated now. I'll get my blood checked again next appointment and we should still go ahead. So long story short, IVF number 4 is a go!

First injection is tomorrow. I'll go back to clinic in a week for a scan and then be told how many more days of injections will be needed and when the egg collection will take place. I have decided that I am going to just take everything one day at a time and try my best to stay calm. Thinking about the future makes me stressed and anxious, so focusing on getting through this step by step seems to be the approach that works best for me! Hubby and I have started eating as healthy as possible for the next two weeks. No alcohol for either of us, lots of fruit and veg, gluten and dairy free for me. I'm off caffeine and he's reducing his two cups of coffee a day to one.

Thanks so much for all the support the past few days by the way!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Pesky thyroid

Last week I'd gone for a so called "check up 35" at my doctor's practice. It's basically a general health check up covered by your insurance here once you turn 35. Anyway I asked to get my thyroid tested during it. When I phoned to ask the results a few days later they said everything was fine. I then asked what exactly my TSH value was. The nurse answered "3.11". I think my reaction was just shock! That is not a good value when you are trying to get pregnant. You really want between 1 and 2, under 2.5 at any rate.

Seriously, what the hell is going on with my thyroid? Last year when I got the extensive blood panel done it had been 2.3 so then I was put on meds for six weeks. It went up a little during IVF last year, which I read is quite common due to the IVF hormones so then my does of Levothyroxine was then increased (from 50mg to 75mg). By the end of February the packet of meds ran out and Dr. Peppy at the fertility clinic gave me another blood test after our appointment early march. She didn't tell me the exact numbers just that my thyroid was perfect so at that stage I went off the meds. Or rather, I wasn't prescribed anymore. I thought my thyroid was fixed but it seems like it has been gradually increasing since then!

I emailed Dr. Peppy about the latest blood test results. I think she may be regretting giving me her email now, haha! Actually she's been very good at emailing me back and really helpful which is nice. I've been trying to not abuse that fact and keeping questions and emails to a minimum.

She said that I should take the thyroid meds again and she would test my blood at my next appointment. So during my lunch break ch break I went to the pharmacy to buy Levothyroxine only to be told that I need a prescription. As soon as I could I emailed the doctor again asking if she could possibly scan the prescription and send it by email. She hadn't replied by the end of that day so then the following morning before work I spoke to the receptionist at the clinic to explain the dilemma. We came up with a solution. I would be sent the prescription by post. In the meantime, she would fax it to my local pharmacy so I could start taking the meds sooner. Perfect! However when I got to the pharmacy no fax had arrived. They tried phoning the clinic several times but couldn't get through. I waited around for awhile then eventually went to work.

Luckily when I went back on my lunch break I was able to collect the thyroid meds so I'm back on 75mg of thyroxine again the past few days. Let's hope my thyroid will be back within the normal range before I get to the IVF transfer stage.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gearing up for round 4

It was touch and go whether my uterine biopsy results would arrive in time for me to start our next round of IVF. I provisionally made an appointment for early this week and we had left it that I would call that morning to see if the results had arrived in time and presumably if they hadn't I'd need to postpone treatment for another month or two. Although if they showed that I had an infection (Endometritis) then I'd need antibiotics for several weeks and have to postpone anyway.

Both the GerMann and my sister were thinking it would be good if I had Endometritis since it would mean something to treat and a reason IVF hasn't worked until now. Personally I was hoping I wouldn't have it, as I don't particularly want to find another issue potentially wrong. It's already a hassle having all the immune problems.

Dr. Peppy (my nickname for her) had emailed me a few days before my appointment saying that my results arrived and they were "unauffällig" (unremarkable) so nothing stands in my our way now. She sounded excited in her email which was sweet! I was also happy as initially the clinic had phoned hubby to say the results were there but they wouldn't discuss them on the phone which led me to start worrying that maybe they were bad and the doctor wanted to tell me in person!

Several things happened at my appointment this week.

  • The ultrasound showed a cyst (urgh), so I'll need another ultrasound once my period starts to make sure that's gone before I can begin

  • There was a problem with my health insurance (the eejit at my health insurance office had filled out the form wrong. He also had mistakenly told me I'd be covered for three more IVF cycles when actually I should only be covered for one more). so that's a bit disappointing. It all rests on IVF number 4..

  • My womb lining apparently looked nice and thick

  • Dr. Peppy has decided that instead of me doing the long protocol like we had agreed before, she wants me to do the short protocol again but try a new drug called Elonva. You inject it once and it gradually releases the hormone over several days. She has seen promising results from women in her clinic who have taken it

  • The plan is that first we need to get things sorted with my health insurance. Then once my period arrives I need to get checked either at my local doctor or at the clinic to make sure it's gone then I can start with the injections on the third day of my cycle

  • She would like me to start taking a low dose of Prednisolone before transfer this time. They also only administer one round of Intralipids in the weeks before you start IVF. The next one would be after the egg collection. I was able to get my first Intralipid done while I was there. Of course this all assumes that I'll be able to start next week...

So that's where I'm at. I feel a little overwhelmed about going through it all again. Scared too. The only part I'm actually looking forward to is the transfer. I like my doctor though and trust her. I'll know more in a week whether I'm starting or not.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The art of doing nothing #MicroblogMonday

I remember a joke someone shared a few years ago along the lines of, "Adulthood - if you're not tired, you're not doing it right!". These days everyone is so busy. People on trains rarely just look out the window to watch the world go by, but rather stare at their screens. There are always so many obligations and chores it can feel never ending at times. This week I came across; "The psychological importance of wasting time" which is worth a read and has a good message.

It states; The problem comes when we spend so long frantically chasing productivity, we refuse to take real breaks. We put off sleeping in, or going for a long walk, or reading by the window—and, even if we do manage time away from the grind, it comes with a looming awareness of the things we should be doing, and so the experience is weighed down by guilt.

I'm sure most of us to relate to that! I know that I have weekends where I want nothing more than to just relax with a good book but then end up feeling guilty that I'm not tackling one of the things on my to do list or catching up on housework. However having downtime is crucial to all of us. So if you don't manage to do anything productive today, don't worry, you are still doing something right!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How I've been preparing for my 4th IVF

It's a strange feeling knowing I could be beginning our fourth IVF in just a few weeks, Or I might not be starting for a several months. Would you believe we're still waiting for the results of my uterine biopsy? We emailed our doctor while we were in Australia and she said that it takes about six weeks. So initially we had been told one week by the doctor who performed it, then three to four by the receptionist and now six. The not knowing is frustrating but since there is nothing we can do I'm trying not to think about it too much! Anyway, these are the way I have been preparing for our 4th IVF;

  • Step one - uterine biopsy to rule out any infection such as endometriosis

  • The uterine biopsy and scratch was suggested by Dr. Peppy at our new clinic as it's the one test I haven't had done yet. It was uncomfortable but luckily not painful and only took a few minutes. The long part was getting to and from the clinic, as it's in a different city to where we live. If it turns out that I have an infection such as endometriosis then I'll need to take antibiotics for a month and probably test again so it would definitely affect how soon we can start our next IVF cycle.

  • Step two - go on holidays

  • We went to Australia in April for my brother's wedding and had an amazing time. It was so nice to spend time with family, have a holiday with hubby and just relax and not think about infertility treatments! It was really good for us to take some time off from everything. Traveling is one of my favourite things to do. I'll try to do a separate post on that and share even more photos. I'm really glad we decided to go on the trip in the end. Initially we had been considering staying here to save money and not have to postpone IVF too long, but a family wedding is such a special event and I'm glad to have been a part of it.

    Usually I try to quit alcohol in the months leading up to IVF but I haven't been doing that this time. I haven't been drinking much though, just the odd glass or two of wine at the weekends, but then in Australia I ended up consuming a fair bit, as you do on holidays! For instance, we went on a Swan Valley wine tour one of the days and my sister and I got very tipsy. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time! I've decided to not let myself feel bad about it as I needed the break after everything. Once I start with the IVF injections I'll cut out alcohol completely.

  • Step three - supplements to prepare ourselves

  • We are both planning to take his and her preconception supplements once we start our IVF cycle. I've also got hubby on Coq10 which has been shown to improve DNA fragmentation. He hasn't been shown to have any issues with his swimmers, but no harm doing whatever we can to improve things. Hubby and I have both been taking vitamin D as our blood tests showed we were low.
    My doctor agreed that I can try DHEA before this cycle which can help women who respond poorly to the IVF hormones. Of course, I'm also on folic acid. For egg quality I'm taking 600mg of coq10 each day and I'm planning to start 3mg of melatonin once I begin the IVF injections stage until the egg retrieval as I've read good things about it. I had taken thyroid meds for several months after my blood tests showed my levels were slightly off but my most recent blood test showed my thyroid is ok now. Let's hope it stays that way!

  • Step four - general health and diet

  • Since January, I decided to go gluten free and eat low dairy and less sugar. Apparently that could help reduce elevated natural killer cells. Hubby and I have also been trying to avoid processed foods as much as possible and generally eat lots of vegetables and legumes. We've both cut down on the amount of animal products in our diet. It has been fun trying out new recipes together and we've both been feeling great. I decided to try going gluten free after reading this study which concluded;

    Patients of childbearing age having fertility problems may have subclinical NCGS and they should be informed that the treatment of NCGS by a gluten free diet might improve their fertility. Based on the case we are presenting, the possible prevention or treatment of reproductive effects may be achieved through a strict gluten free diet.

    NCGS stands for 'non-coeliac gluten sensitivity' by the way. In some people your body apparently mistakenly thinks it is something bad and there can be an autoimmune response. I figure I could try it for a few months, what have I got to lose? Since going gluten free my general digestion has also improved which is a plus. It can be quite challenging following a gluten free low dairy diet living in Germany though, particularly when eating out! Here's a picture of a delicious breakfast I ate in Perth. Vegan buckwheat pancakes with fruit and cashew cream.

  • Step five - general self care

  • I haven't started this yet but I'm planning to try to make more time to do nice relaxing things for myself. I'd like to book a massage for instance, read more as I love reading, take long baths, listen to music and so on. And make sure we also do nice things like go on dates. It's very easy to get into the habit of staying in and binge watching tv shows and as much fun as that is, it's good to get some variety and go out for walks, dinner, cinema etc.

Won't it be nice once all this is over and I can eat, drink and do what I feel like without worrying about affecting my egg quality! Also it will be great once I'm done taking so many tablets each day. But it's ok, I'm happy now as I know that I am doing it all for an important reason. I've also noticed that the Australia trip has done me a world of good! I feel like I got to be myself again. My brother's wedding was so much fun! I was hanging out with a lot of his friends who are about three years younger than me. The handy thing was that none of them were at the kid stage yet (it's quite typical to not get married in Ireland until your 30s) so hubby and I weren't constantly being reminded of our lack of children like we might be when we meet up with friends our age. It was interesting to get to know my brother's friends and his life on the other side of the world. I had fun dancing like crazy on the dancefloor! Myself and some of the other girls from Dublin even attempted to do some Irish dancing, haha!

I would even go so far to say that I feel stronger emotionally after the Australia trip too. For instance on the flight there I refrained from watching "Bad Moms" or "Storks" on the plane as I was still feeling too fragile and worried that they would upset me too much with too many triggers. However on the flight back I watched them both! Bad Moms had some moments about how great it is being a mom and so on but otherwise it was mainly silly and funny and perfect for wasting a few hours on a long flight! During Storks I did cry a bit at the end but everyone did!

Hopefully I'll hear from Dr.Peppy soon so we can finally start planning when our 4th round will start. In the meantime we have another wedding to go to this month, so there will probably be more drinking and hitting the dancefloor!

Monday, April 17, 2017

One lovely blog award

I recently got nominated twice for a lovely blog award which made me happy. So thanks so much to delayedbutnotdeniedblog and ivfbabychick! I feel like I've made some good friends in the blogging world and connected with some great people which has been really nice. Deylaedbutnotdenied and her husband have been trying everything and praying to be able to start a family soon. Pop over and show her some support. Ivfbabychick is currently pregnant with her IVF baby after a hard journey to get there and I'm delighted for her!

The rules of the One Lovely blog award are;

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  2. Post about the award
  3. Share seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate other people (15 at most)
  5. Tell your nominees the good news!

So let's see, seven things about me...

1) I'm not particularly adventurous. I enjoy things like reading and going to the cinema as opposed to extreme sports. However, I surprised everyone during my year of travel by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and even doing a skydive in New Zealand! It was a cool experience for sure. That said, I'm not in a big rush to do another one now I've ticked it off my bucket list!

2) I remember most of my dreams. Occasionally I even have somewhat lucid ones where I have some control over what happens. When that occurs I'll usually try to do something cool like flying. I have a recurring bad dream about a tsunami coming towards me which I often have when I'm feeling overwhelmed by things.

3) I saw Mel Gibson when he was over in Ireland filming Braveheart! He got out of a sports car with a female companion and walked towards the national art gallery. His hair was long. I also saw Kevin Spacey when he was in Ireland filming Ordinary Decent Criminal. It was during my Summer holidays from college and I also got to be an extra walking in the background during one scene. Though I've watched the film and didn't actually see myself so maybe it was cut. Ah well!

4) I can't get enough Karaoke. I can't sing but I love it all the same! When I was about 12 I even had a karaoke party! I had a kid microphone and several video tapes with 80s songs you could sing along to such as Material girl. I also love to dance.

5) In fact I had quite a few "themed" parties over the years. For my 18th birthday I had a murder mystery dinner party. Everyone had to come as a character and had a rough script to follow and then at the end we attempted to guess who the 'murderer' was.

6) Classical studies was my favourite subject in school. We learnt about Greek and Roman mythology and read The Odyssey. What wasn't to like? I had a great teacher which also helped.

7) English is my first language. Irish would probably be my second given I started learning it from a young age in school (like most Irish children do). Ever since moving to Germany, along with the fact I hardly have opportunities to us it any more, I've lost a lot of the language which is a pity. German seems to have replaced it in my brain! I also learned French in school and know a little bit.

So there you have it. I'm not sure how interesting that was, but those were the only things I could think of on the spot!
I would like to nominate the following blogs;

Thursday, April 6, 2017

March recap

Thought I'd share what I've been up to the past few weeks.

What's New With You

At the beginning of the month I took a trip to Dublin. The GerMann wasn't able to make it. It must have been the first time I'd gone back 'home' without him in about three or four years! I mainly caught up with friends and spent time with family. I got to meet up with some old work colleagues I hadn't seen in almost two years as we hadn't been able to get together on my previous visits back, so I'm glad that worked out. We met for lunch near my old company and it was a real trip down memory lane. Crazy thinking I've lived in Germany almost seven years already!

Hubby and I celebrated St. Patrick's day (March 17th) which is always fun. We invited lots of friends, whoever was around basically, to join us at the local Irish pub for drinks and live music. There were about ten of us in the end. It was the perfect evening! We partied a little too hard though and we both felt pretty hungover the following day! Worth it though.

In terms of our journey to try to become parents, we had our appointment at the new clinic at the start of the month. I got a uterine biopsy two weeks later, as suggested by my new doctor and am still waiting for the results before we proceed with a fourth and probably final IVF this Summer at some stage. I'm not sure of the timing yet. Lately I've been feeling like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. I'm sure everyone has weeks like that though! It's been a busy month between big projects and deadlines at work, trying to get the paperwork sorted for our new clinic, getting organized for the upcoming holiday and keeping up with household stuff. On top of that we had some unforeseen expenses regarding rusty pipes that needed to be replaced and had plumbers come fix things.

Spring has finally sprung and we've been able to sit out and enjoy the sunny weather. The GerMann and I did some gardening! Some flowers he planted several months ago have started to bloom and I planted some herbs and vegetables; basil, spinach, rosemary and pumpkin. I'm excited to see if any of them grow. Gardening reminded me of my previous IVF transfers where the doctor 'plants' the embryo and then it may or may not stick and grow. But then I guess everything reminds me of fertility lately haha!

Last week I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast film with a friend here and we both loved it. It's just feel good and fun! I can imagine that some people might find it too silly and Disneyish but as someone who loved the original film as a kid, I thought it was well done. There were new songs plus Beauty's character was played with more heroically by Emma Watson. The relationship between her and the Beast was more developed and hence believable. We also saw Passengers this month, which couldn't have been more different but also very good, a sort of romance sci-fi set in space.

What did you get up to in March?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Other people's children

On one of my recent posts I mentioned how hard it can be when most of your friends are parents while you so desperately want to be. I longed for more adult type childfree events where I could catch up with my pals without distractions like their toddler running around and to be able to have conversations that didn't revolve around kids when I'm trying my best to take my mind of the topic and focus on what else life has to offer. However that's not to say that I don't enjoy spending time with my friends' kids. I actually really like holding babies! I do get a pang in my heart and hope I will get to experience cuddling my own baby one day, but I still enjoy seeing them as grow and become more responsive. A baby's smile is adorable! Just like with adults, there are also certain children that I have a stronger connection with. It's fun when they get to the age where they can talk and you can play games with them. And my heart fills with warmth, as cheesy as that sounds when a kid tells me they love me or gives me a hug.

Good friends of ours are moving to Canada soon and their daughter told them she's going to miss my husband and I. She made a picture for me and asked my husband and I to write in her friend book. In it she drew herself and I drew myself ( a basic stick figure ) beside her and then she drew a line between our hands to show they were holding. So sweet! She also kept pulling my husband over to help her with a jigsaw puzzle. Actually he was super popular with kids that day, my other friend's son was trying to get his attention too! It was so lovely to see. I've noticed that my husband isn't so good with young babies, but he's great with toddlers and young children, once they can interact more. Whenever I see him playing with them or reading them a story, it also makes me wish so much that he'll get to experience being a Dad. To be honest, the past while I've noticed he seems to have come to terms with the idea that it might not happen for us and he's ok with that. I'm the one who's having more of a hard time with the idea! Lately I've been feeling hopeful and optimistic about our fourth IVF round though.

Another friend's son is a big fan of mine for some reason and he tells me he loves me. He's three. Super sweet! I taught him how to play Hide and Seek and Simon Says. The thing is kids do seem to like me in general. I used to do a lot of babysitting when I was younger, plus being the oldest child in my family so I'm also used to spending time with children. Sometimes I'm able to stop a baby from crying and I feel really proud of myself, haha, but other times I don't know what to do and hand them back to their parents! I've noticed that how I feel about babies and kids is also somewhat dependent on how I'm thinking about our journey to hopefully become parents at the time. When I feel like it's just hopeless then seeing kids can just remind me of what we are missing. However, when I am feeling hopeful and optimistic about our own chances then spending time with children is enjoyable. There's something fun about watching the world through the eye's of a child. They have such an appreciation for the little things.

I've come to terms with the idea now that we'll be very lucky to just have one child and I'm mostly fine with that. One girl or boy would fit into our lives beautifully!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

New doctor, new hope?

If you've been following our 'maybe baby' journey you might recall that I'd nicknamed our old doctor "Dr. Direct" due to his straight talking attitude. "Dr. Gentle" is the second doctor at the clinic who we only occasionally saw but seemed to have more empathy and was softly spoken. The first nickname that came to me about our doctor at the new fertility center was "Dr. Peppy"! She just seemed full of energy. Hubby commented afterwards she's probably a type A personality. She was nice and made a good impression. I think it will be easier if I use bullet points to sum up some of the main things from our appointment;

  • She said we have done and tried everything already by now apart from me getting a uterine biopsy done. This is where they take a sample of your tissue and then you can have it tested for natural killer cells and/or plasma cells. If I have NK cells in my womb then the only way to treat it is to get the Intralipids infusions which I'm getting anyway for high NK cells in my blood so the doctor said there is no need to check for that. However if I were to have plasma cells, which seems to be some kind of infection then I'd need to take antibiotics for four weeks to get rid of it! She said it is unlikely that I have it but it would make sense to rule it out. The decision is up to us though. According to an information sheet she gave us, among couples with several failed IVFs/miscarriages behind them, between 10-20% of women in that group are found to have this issue. The whole thing would cost around 300€ out of pocket.

  • She wouldn't suggest natural or mini IVF in our case. The follicles can be empty or contain immature eggs and it is often a wasted cycle. Since my health insurance will partially (50%) cover one more IVF it makes sense to do another full round. She discussed two possible stimulation protocols I could try. Her preferred one for me would be the long protocol. Around day 20 of my cycle I'd go there for a scan to make sure there are no cysts, then I'd use a special nose spray morning and night for about two weeks to down-regulate. Then your period comes and she said at this stage your hormones are at null and you then start to build them up from scratch with the injections. I'd have to go for two ultrasounds during the injection phase and then the egg retrieval would be around two weeks later. She recommends that protocol since I haven't tried it before and it *might* lead to them getting more eggs from me at the collection (no guarantees of course). She's seen it help some poor responders in the past.

  • She recommended I should do the whole immune therapy stuff again. When I'd go in on day 20 for the ultrasound I would get the first Intralipid infusion done there, then the second one at egg retrieval stage and then third would be if I get a positive pregnancy test then every two weeks in first trimester. I'd also take the low dose steroids again after transfer plus the extra Granocyte injections. She acknowledged that those are a pain as they are expensive and not covered by health insurance (none of the immune therapy is). Last time we had to order the Granocyte meds from France since they are about 200€ cheaper there. Think it cost about 400€ for just five of those injections nonetheless! However if the Granocyte reduces my miscarriage risk of course I've no problem with it.

  • She discussed some "extras" we could consider. For instance there is something called Assisted Hatching. This is where they use a laser to cut a tiny opening in the shell of the embryo to help it to get out better. We never went for it before as we just thought it sounded too artificial and that the embryo should be able to get out by itself! Hubby still thinks it's a waste of money but I'm conflicted about it now. I have read that when several IVFs have failed that it *could* help. It's so hard to know with these things. At some point when going through IVF you do end up thinking what's another 200-300€ in the long run since we've already spent so much on this and I want to give it our best shot. On the other hand I don't want us to waste our money on these unproven things. For our first round we paid extra for a thing called Embryo Glue. That isn't even offered at this clinic making me think it can't be so good after all!

  • She talked about whether we'd want to let the embryos grow to day 5 this time. It would be a good idea if we were to have at least four but otherwise it could be a bit risky if we only have a few embryos. There is a theory that some embryos that don't survive in the lab might have lasted longer had they been transferred into the womb sooner.

  • I'll mention here that PGS testing (genetic pre testing of embryos) isn't allowed in Germany unfortunately. ERA receptive testing which ecofeminist talks a lot about the importance of isn't available here either! You'd have to go to Spain for it we were told.

  • The doctor wanted to take a blood sample in order to test my AMH and thyroid levels. When she phones me in two weeks with the results, then I can tell her if I have decided to do the uterine biopsy and if so make an appointment for it. She also wanted me to get a booster vaccine for polio & typhoid etc which I was also able to get there and then which was handy though it did give me a sore upper arm for days after!

  • She said that yes some women do need to get their fallopian tube removed when it is blocked as sometimes the liquid inside it can drip down and cause a hostile environment. That was something I was worrying about recently. She gave me an ultrasound there and then to have a look but luckily my right tube, the blocked one, though slightly bumpy/bigger than it should be is not bad enough to require surgery to remove it

  • We asked about our chances of trying naturally. Her answer was a little vague, along the lines of never say never but chances are very low. When there has been surgery or infection around the fallopian tubes then the tiny little hairs inside them can become stiffer making it very difficult for sperm/eggs to travel through them.

  • I commented about how our embryos were great quality last time, plus I had done all the immune stuff and it still didn't work! She replied that even if everything is perfect, IVF still only has a 30-40% chance of working each time.

  • In terms of supplements which I asked about, she said I could try taking 25mg of DHEA until IVF starts or I could take melatonin since both do more or less the same thing in terms of improving egg quality.

  • We have a fair bit of paperwork to get sorted first if we want to change clinics. My health insurance approval is tied to the other place so we would have to reapply for approval. There is a requirement for couples doing IVF to get tested for HIV and hepatitis which we've already done so we'll need to ask our clinic for a printout of results. Also a different doctor not associated with a fertility clinic has to talk to any couple in Germany considering IVF about their options and tell them about the risks associated with IVF. We already had that talk ages ago but need to find the signed form otherwise we'll need to do it again.

  • My gynecologist in the town where I live had offered that he could do some ultrasounds for me so that I wouldn't need to travel back and forth to the new clinic. However Dr. Peppy said that's not possible as they'd want to scan me themselves. Since I'm still not comfortable driving in Germany (haven't had enough experience here yet), I'll have to get public transport to reach the new clinic. It takes about 75 mins each way. It's not ideal obviously but I could catch up on my reading and try to get appointments that are either very early or late to work around my job or even take some half days off. It should be manageable.

Overall the appointment went well. That said, I left feeling very overwhelmed about it all and needed a day to get my thoughts straight. Hubby was a bit cynical saying of course they say we should do another round with them as they want the money and didn't feel convinced that anyone in the industry gives you unbiased advice. We had some differences of opinion on how to proceed but we are on the same page now. We've both agreed that we'll go for a fourth (and final IVF) at this new clinic.

I spent a few hours reading up about DHEA supplements and ended up totally confused about whether they would help me or not! On the one hand some studies have shown very positive effects for poor responders who take them. However I've also read studies disputing that. Some women on message boards talk about how they had much better IVF results after taking DHEA but then I read others saying it messed up their IVF and it was a wasted cycle! On top of that it can affect your thyroid and immune system apparently which concerns me since I already have immune and thyroid issues. I'm still on the fence. Melatonin has shown some promising results.

Something I did decide to order is Serrapetase. It's an enzyme found in silkworms and it's meant to dissolve old tissue in your body so it has even helped some women unblock their fallopian tubes and get rid of adhesions apparently! The doctor hadn't heard of it and it hasn't been clinically proven but I read through hundreds of reviews from people who bought the tablets and the majority were very positive. A few did mention it caused stomach upset so hopefully I won't be one of the unlucky ones with bad side effects. I've figured it's worth a try.

I an feeling quite overwhelmed at the thought of going through IVF again. I'm painfully well aware that just because we are trying a new protocol there is no guarantee that my body will respond better to it and grow more eggs so that's a concern! During the second round of IVF the doctor tried me on new meds and I only ended up getting one egg at the retrieval, my worst round. It was incredibly disappointing really. I've read online that poor responders generally have worse success rates than average. Even if I do get pregnant I'm anxious about having a another miscarriage. Hubby also commented that we could go through so much only to find out that something is wrong with the baby. It probably sounds like these are all very negative thoughts but I think we are just being realistic at this stage. We could be one of those couples that IVF just doesn't work for.

All that said, I am still hopeful. Sometimes I allow myself to fantasize about what it would be like to go to the doctor for a pregnancy ultrasound with my husband and see our baby moving around on screen, or how wonderful it would be to have our baby or babies growing inside me for nine months. I also imagine how amazing it would be having our child actually here with us! I'd love to bring him/her to trips to Ireland with me and there are so many people among our family and friends who would also have so much love for our potential offspring. I still hope and pray that this is something we will get to experience. However if it doesn't work out this Summer with our fourth IVF attempt, at least we'll know we gave it our best shot and be able to move forward without regrets.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February highs and lows

If I had to choose my least favourite month of the year I'd pick February without a doubt. It's normally around this time that I just get fed up with winter! Not much happens in February either and it tends to be cold, grey and dark. The good thing is that it's a short month. When March comes around there's St. Patrick's day to look forward to and the start of Spring. However, this February two of my good friends from Dublin came over and we all had the best time! Now that we have the house there is plenty of room for visitors especially since our green room is still empty. We enjoyed showing the girls around where we live, cooking for them and we also took a trip to Baden Baden for the day and went to the thermal pools there. On Saturday night we went to a mexican restaurant for good food, cocktails and then we went out dancing afterwards. More fun than I've had in awhile!

In fact I had a really good few weeks despite everything. The GerMann even commented recently that "there are advantages to not having children". Usually I would hate him saying something like that but this time I agreed. If having children isn't in the cards for us, I could see how we could still have a very nice life. I can't say I don't enjoy being able to be spontaneous, go out in the evenings when we want and plan a big holidays like our trip to Australia in April. Hubby and I have also been getting on very well lately. We're both grateful to have found each other as corny as that sounds! He makes me laugh and we just click really well. He wrote me a nice message in my Valentine's card this year along the lines of whatever happens he loves me so much and will always be there for me.... I'd also written something similar in my card to him, that I know I'll have a lovely future with him by my side no matter what. It's a different message to our previous year's cards where we wrote along the lines of, "I can't wait to start a family with you" back when we still had more faith that IVF would work.

The past while, I'd also been so focused on my goal of having a baby that I think I had forgotten that it wouldn't be all rainbows and unicorns! I've been reminded from conversations I had with my friends who have kids lately how hard and stressful it can be. I think in my head I'd built the idea of having our child to this amazing magical thing. Hearing stories from my friends about babies screaming all night long, sick kids, toddler tantrums and so on, reminded me that my life at the moment is nice, in it's own way. I'm not saying I still wouldn't want to have children, just that I took the rose tinted spectacles off and could see how IF it isn't in the cards for us, we'd still be happy (down the line, as obviously if it doesn't work out, I'll still be very disappointed at first.) Maybe you could say I've been starting to come to terms with things.

Mali from nokiddinginnz wrote about how hope can change over time for those struggling with infertility, and I guess you could say that's been happening to me. I'm still hoping that it might one day happen for us but I'm also becoming more realistic and facing the alternative. My path to mommyhood and differentshoresblog wrote about enjoying life without children, "because I don't have children" and how that can bring up complicated feelings. We don't want people to think we didn't/don't really want children hard enough because we are able to enjoy the time without them or that or that our lives are somehow "perfect" either because it hasn't been easy ending up on this path but at the same time it's nice to enjoy ourselves when we can. Life is really so short after all- It's good to try to make the most of things and be as happy as you can with the life you have. So yeah I'm going to enjoy that glass or two of wine and sleep in on the weekends then have a lazy breakfast making pancakes with hubby, and try to plan trips and holidays and be spontaneous when I can.

However, despite the really good few weeks where I felt happy and more like myself again (I feel like going through infertility has definitely made me more world weary in general. Less carefree and positive than I'd like to be...), I started feeling really down last weekend. I guess there had been a few "triggers". There's a girl from my old neighbourhood back home, a year younger than me who recently had her second baby, and she keeps sharing the adorable pics on facebook, practically giving a week by week account. We visited friends of ours who did their first IVF round the same time as our second round and now have lovely twin girls. And there's a work colleague who's walking around with her lovely pregnant bump at the moment. Happy for them all, sad for us.

There can also be a disconnect between me and my friends here. All my close friends have kids now and there are times when I just feel left out. And since I don't have children I'd like to make the most of the "advantages" and go out for dinner, drinks and dancing for instance. However the girls can only meet day time during certain windows around baby nap times, and then only at kid friendly cafes. Plus children often get sick so they need to cancel or postpone a lot. I do enjoy spending time with my friends' kids, I'd just like to have more adult only events too. Look the thing is, I totally get it, of course if you have kids your schedule is different and you may have to cancel or postpone, I'm just saying it can be hard for the childfree friend now and then.

Recently we arranged to meet up for lunch and I ended up having to wait half an hour on my own as the others were late. Once everyone eventually arrived we had a really nice afternoon. One of the girls commented to me later though that she was glad it was me who had to wait the half hour and not her or one of the others as they wouldn't have been able to wait that long with the kids. I know she didn't mean anything bad by it but my immediate thought was "Right, because as a person without children my time is therefore less valuable". If any of my friends with kids read this, I want to stress that I love you all, I'm just trying to give an example how it can be hard when you're at different life stages to your friends.

When I was feeling down those few days I did have a nice Skype with my sister which helped (she said I could be experiencing "friend withdrawal" after the fun visit!) and hubby noticed something was off and suggested I tell him everything that was bothering me (it wasn't only related to our problems building a family though that was probably the main thing upsetting me at that moment..). I ended up having a good cry. Getting it all out and having his support helped and I felt a whole lot better afterwards, and lighter even!

I actually have a lot more friends back in Dublin without kids so in some ways if I were still living there, not having kids wouldn't bother me as much. I've booked a trip back to Dublin by myself for a few days the end of this month. I had some extra leave I'd carried over from last year which I have to use up by end of March so I figured why not go back for a long weekend. I can try to meet up with some of the friends I didn't get a chance to meet up with over Christmas and just spend time with family. We're going to go out for afternoon tea as well at some point which is one of my favourite things to do. I've even considering having a section on my blog where i review all the best places to go for afternoon tea in Dublin, haha! Full of photos of cakes and scones of course.

I was chatting to one of my best friends here who had a baby after her third round of IVF and she totally gets some of the things I've been feeling lately. It's the not knowing the outcome which is really hard! If I already knew that we won't be able to have our own biological children, then I would be able to start coming to terms with that and accepting it. However since I don't know yet, I'm still living in this limbo land with the hope that it might work, therefore I keep imaging a different future for us. I was also telling her about x,y,z I read about recently wondering whether this or that might be the problem why it hasn't work for us. (For instance, should I get my blocked tube clipped/removed/dye put through it again, or should I get a sample from my uterus in case there's an inflammation and I need antibiotics...etc etc) and she said she remembers being the same way.

It's frustrating not knowing IF it will happen and the exact reason of why it hasn't happened so far (no doctor can really tell you why, there are just so many unknowns in the land of fertility! It's a wonder people manage to have children at all considering the amount of things that need to go right in order for it to happen!). The IVF cycle that worked for that friend was the one she did with the new clinic we are getting a consultation at in March. We just sent off all our paperwork including a very detailed eight page questionnaire last week. Our plan is still to wait and see what they advise us and then we'll be able to come up with an action plan.

In the meantime though, I can say I've mainly been making the most of our childfree life, and that can only be a good thing!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sing Street #MicroblogMonday

One of the movies that stood out for us last year was "Sing Street", a low-budget Irish movie. Often I find that there are so many huge blockbusters full of special effects and fight scenes these days that I miss the simpler films with more of a story to them! Sing Street is set in Dublin in the 1980s and as someone who grew up around then, I enjoyed feeling nostalgic watching it. A bit like how "Stranger Days" the Netflix series was also set in the 80s. Both reminded me of the time before smartphones and constant access to internet, when you would go out all day with your friends on adventures.

Sing Street revolves around a 16 year old boy who moves to a new school. Life is hard. There's a bully, a principal who has it in for him, and to top it off his parents might be getting a divorce. He soon falls for a 17 year old girl who wants to move to London and become a model. In order to impress her he decides to form a music band and make videos together. That's all I'll say without spoiling anything. The music was really good. I've even been listening to the soundtrack since ("drive it like you stole it" is the name of the catchy theme song). Dublin also looked lovely in it. Overall it was just a fun film that left you in a good mood after watching.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Our five snowflakes that weren't

Over the course of the last year and a half we've had three IVF cycles and I've had a total of five embryos transferred into me. Five little snowflakes which had the potential to grow into babies but sadly didn't. I can't help wondering what kind of people they might have one day become. How many of them were boys, how many girls? Would they have had my eyes? My husband's smile? Or even our bad eye sight (haha)? Even though they were only growing and alive for such a small amount of time, I loved them wholeheartedly.

Last week we had the follow up appointment at our clinic ( also nicknamed the "WTF meeting!"). It turns out the two embryos that were transferred during our last failed IVF were rated 1 (which is the best possible mark here!) and 2 (which is also very good). Since hearing that, I have felt mixed feelings. Sad to think of our perfect embryos that weren't to be and wondering what went wrong, why even one of the two didn't take. The doctor put it down to bad luck. Everything looked great he said. It should have worked...

I've felt happy though that my partner and I are still able to create such good quality embryos despite the fact that I'm classed a poor responder to IVF hormones and don't have that many eggs grow each time. The doctor said that our egg and sperm quality are great which means we *should* be able to have a biological child. However, there are no guarantees with IVF, I've learnt that lesson time and time again. Sometimes you can have everything go right, transfer a perfect embryo and for whatever reason it just doesn't implant.

The good news is that the doctor says he's not worried about me running out of time and my fertility decreasing if I want to take several months break. That's a relief and I feel justified now in our decision to book our flights to Oz. I asked if it would be ok to wait until this summer and he said absolutely. I actually hate the thought of going through it all again; the Intralipid infusions, the injections, the feeling crappy, the egg retrieval procedure, the emotional upheaval. So I will need several months just to be able to gather my strength before I can try again anyway.

On Wednesday I went to my gyno. I told him about our plan to try the other clinic. He doesn't think they are any better than our local one, in fact he says their results are generally slightly worse. That was disappointing to hear! But he understands our wish for a second opinion after three failed IVFs at one place. He kindly offered that if we decide to go ahead with treatment at the other clinic, he could do some of the ultrasounds for me here and send them the results so that I wouldn't need to travel 60 kilometers there and back each time. That was a nice offer! I'll ask at the new clinic whether that would be feasible. He said he'll try to support me whatever way he can. For instance if I want to get the intralipids done again. He's a good doctor, I like him a lot.

He's not too impressed with natural IVF though when I asked him his thoughts on that because it still includes the egg retrieval procedure but has only low chances of success with one egg. He said it only makes sense for older women or poor responders. I explained that I AM a poor responder since he might not have realised. I only had 2 eggs during IVF#1, 1 during IVF#2 and four during IVF#3. He agreed it might make sense in my case then. Our fertility doctor isn't a big fan of natural IVF either. They don't even offer it here. But he encouraged us to go for a consultation at the other clinic to decide if it could be right for us. He said many women do a low dose / mini IVF with the drug Clomid which is much cheaper than the other meds once they run out of IVF rounds covered by their insurance. I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for them (and us). It's no fun reaching this stage!

That said, overall the appointments went well. It's great to have the support from my gyno in terms of getting intralipids or ultrasounds done so I wouldn't need to travel to the other clinic every time if we decide to get treatment with them (I'll just need to find out how much extra that might cost). And I'm happy to hear that we are still able to create great embryos together and that having a few months off shouldn't affect things negatively (that was one of my worries particularly after turning 35 last month). I've decided I do want to go for a fourth IVF, whether it will be normal / natural or mini, probably sometime this Summer because I feel (hopefully not naively) like there is still a little hope that it might work for us.. And my husband has also agreed to us trying one more time. At that stage we will both feel like we have given it our best shot and can then move on with our lives one way or the other!

After our appointment at the clinic I went shopping and bought myself some new Summery clothes for our trip to Perth in a few months time. A bit of retail therapy can be good sometimes! I am so over this freezing cold never ending winter here. It even reached minus 10 degrees this week. I hope the weather is a bit nicer wherever you are!

Monday, January 9, 2017

What next?

Well I still can't really believe that we have three failed IVFs behind us now. How did I end up here? I just really thought that it would be third time lucky for us and I had already planned it all out in my head - how far along in the pregnancy I would be by which month and even when I would be due. It all seems a bit stupid now of course. If it had worked I would have had my first scan last Thursday. Wouldn't that have been something? The odd thing is that our first IVF was actually the most successful in that I was properly pregnant and for the longest, even though it only lasted five weeks. These past several months between the immune testing and treatments not to mention the IVF itself was just so all consuming. Now that it's over I've been feeling at a loss. Sort of aimless and unsure of myself. The support from all of you has helped me a lot. It really means a lot to me, so thank you so much!

While I was googling IVF failure, I came across this article which I found very helpful. There are few resources available for when infertility treatments don't work so it can be a hard and lonely time. It's been difficult as you can imagine but I think I am handling it well all things considering. I was grateful that I had a few days off before I had to go back to the office. I'm still feeling quite fragile. It seems like every time I log onto facebook there's a new pregnancy or baby announcement! How I wish that were us. Yesterday hubby told me that friends of ours had their twins on Christmas day. I am embarrassed to admit this but I burst into tears when I heard. They also went through infertility and had a long journey. Actually when I did my second round of IVF, they did their first and for them it was successful. I am delighted for them, just disappointed for us.

I would have been due this month if the second round had worked. I probably wouldn't have been able to travel to Ireland in that case if I was so far along, and I would have missed out on a lovely Christmas with my family though. I liked the suggestion in that article to take up a new hobby or write a list of things you'd like to do. So I've decided to jot down lots of simple things like restaurants we've been meaning to try out, places I'd like to visit and so on. I've also thought about possible hobbies like doing a dance class, writing a book or taking up painting so maybe I will try something new. It would be good to focus on something else for awhile.

We've gotten an appointment at the other clinic I mentioned for early March. It's actually nearly an hour and a half away but I have heard great stories from people who have gone there. I'm really happy we have this appointment and keen to hear what they tell us. We'll have a long list of questions for them! I've read about some women having success with certain supplements such as DHEA and royal jelly but I'd prefer to get a doctor's advice before taking them. They offer natural IVF at the other clinic and I'm planning to discuss whether that might be something we should try. I'm also wondering whether it would be a good idea to get the scratch done (again) to increase our chances and whether it would make sense to check my tubes to see if one is still unblocked. In the meantime we have to fill out a three page questionnaire and send them all our medical records etc. I'll have to go back to my gyno to get a referral.

Hubby and I watched a few Netflix documentaries recently that revolved around food and health that made an impact on us. The documentaries were basically about how there is way too much processed and fast food these days. And also that people should cut back on animal products and dairy. So we decided to make an effort to eat healthier this month. We have been trying out some new recipes and cooking together more which has been fun! Just trying to incorporate lots more vegetables in our diet, more home made stuff, less sugar. I've also decided to try cutting out gluten. I've been having some digestion issues on and off for awhile now and I've noticed on days I avoid gluten it tends to be better so I'm going to give it a go. I also came across some research indicating that a gluten intolerance could lead to overactive natural killer cells in some women so I've been wondering if that might be what's happening to me. If I can improve my digestion, be healthier and improve the NK cells over the next few months that would be great!

I'm also hoping to get my thyroid values back under control. The day after our transfer I got my blood tested and found out my TSH value had gone up not down (it went from 2.30 to 2.46)! This is despite taking meds to reduce it the previous six weeks. I freaked out, worrying that it would affect the embryos implanting (and maybe it did...) I went to my doctor and she prescribed me stronger thyroid meds as the ideal value for pregnancy is around 1 and definitely under 2. Not sure why mine went up not down though I've read that IVF hormones can affect it. A higher TSH value means underactive thyroid. So my plan is to keep taking the meds and hopefully get my thyroid under control over the next few months.

Several people have asked us recently about adoption. It saddens me a bit as it sounds like they don't think we'll be able to have kids ourselves whereas we haven't moved on from that hope yet. Years ago when we started having problems hubby and I had a chat about what things we would consider and he said he doesn't want to go down the adoption route. I remember feeling sad at the time thinking that if IVF doesn't work then we would end up totally childless but when I thought about it more a few days later I realised that I also don't feel particularly drawn to adoption myself. It's a great thing for loads of people, don't get me wrong, I just don't feel like it's right for us. I can't imagine having the energy to start down that long road either if our other treatment attempts fail. Also for me the biological connection is very important. My Mum died when I was younger and I love the idea of a part of her living on.

People have told me about friends who adopted and then got pregnant naturally implying it might work in our case but that's not a good reason to pursue adoption! We also don't feel comfortable with the idea of donor eggs or sperm. Both are illegal in Germany actually (However it is actually legal to "adopt" already created embryos from another couple here). Update: only donor eggs are illegal here. Basically if it doesn't work with our own DNA we would stop. Hubby didn't even want to try IVF initially but luckily came around to the idea. And at the beginning we had agreed on 3 (or max 4) rounds. I have been starting to wonder about what I would consider depending on what we are told at our next doctor's appointment. Going through infertility means you end up having to think about all sorts of things. One friend even suggested we go to India to find a surrogate! I can't imagine ever doing that and thankfully I haven't been told that I can't carry my own child so we don't need to consider options like that. Our doctor has never said there are any issues with our own eggs or sperm either. Both are good quality. I think the main problem is that I don't respond well to the IVF hormones and we don't end up with many embryos. Maybe our thoughts on donor eggs or adoption might change in the future but for now we are still hopeful that we might be able to have a biological child. I hope that doesn't come across the wrong way. Each couple has to decide what is right for them.

Our plan is to see what they say at the other clinic and then decide our next steps. I am open to doing a fourth round at some point. Hubby isn't so keen on the idea, like I mentioned before, he's already ready to stop and try to move on. However he's open to finding out what the new doctors have to say. He just hates seeing how hard IVF is on me. I have heard of women who take five or six rounds to be successful but I don't know how much more I can take. I tell myself it will be worth it in the end when we have our baby but I do worry about the long term effects. The emotional rollercoaster isn't good for my mental health either. Each failure just feels worse than the last! The hardest thing at the moment is deciding where to draw the line. If IVF is never going to work for me then I would obviously rather stop now than keep putting myself through it (and spending more money)! Our health insurance will pay towards a fourth round and it's great to have that option.

So that's where we are at now. I hope my post didn't sound too sad. It has been an incredibly disappointing time. I'm doing ok though. Feeling a little better each day and I am hopeful that maybe something will still work this year. I would love to be pregnant by the summer. Oh man, we would love that baby (or babies) so much! I would be the happiest woman in the world if it worked out. But I also want the doctors to tell it to us straight. If our chances are slim, I will try to accept that. In which case I will also start moving on. Hubby and I have also discussed what that might mean for us. We could consider getting a pet. Or we could plan some amazing holidays. Hubby has never been to Thailand. We would both love to go to the States together. It would also be such a relief to be done with all the doctor's appointments and injections. I hope by this summer we will have our answer either way. Please God we'll be able to have a healthy baby one day.

We are hoping to fly to Australia for my brother's wedding in April. It would be something to look forward to! Initially I had been thinking about staying here so that any potential treatments wouldn't have to be postponed but then I realised that I would regret missing out on seeing my brother get married and a month or two delay shouldn't make a big difference. My life has revolved around infertility treatments so much the past while and I'd like to focus on other things and try to enjoy life again!