Monthly Archives: July 2015

Give us a break!

So I’m bawling again. Damn whoremones. I’ve just finished watching a BBC piece on IVF, on Louise Brown (the first ever IVF baby), and on future children born through this process. It’s really hit a nerve. I’m just so grateful that this treatment was developed, that it’s become common place, that technology has continued to develop, and that we’re fortunate enough to now be expecting our little miracles, all because of science.

I’ll forever be thankful to everyone involved in our treatment and to everyone who has gone before, paving the way for the multitude of infertiles desperate for a family.

At one point in the piece they work through comments from viewers and of course there’s a good old negative nelly amongst them. “IVF is selfish when so many kids need adopting.” It’s hard not to get angry or upset with views like this but I find the further through our process we’ve come the better I’ve got at dealing with it. I now feel a little sorry for people holding an anti-IVF view, especially when it comes to the adoption piece. They’re just uneducated on the topic, it’s really not their fault, and I need to remember that.

The majority of the time it’s not a personal attack and if many of them knew the facts around IVF and around adoption, they wouldn’t hold this view. Of course there’s always some for whom it’s “unnatural” or whatever but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.

Personally IVF saved me and saved my sanity. I honestly cannot imagine a life without children – I know for some the childfree life is their dream, but not for me. At multiple times throughout our journey the thought of staring down the hole of a lifetime of childlessness has almost been too much, and the fact that I now have the chance to have a family, through utilising the IVF process, is a total mindsaver.

Of course we considered other options, a genetic relation to our child or children wasn’t a deal-breaker for us. We looked seriously into adoption and were working our way through the adoption process when we had our successful IVF treatment but with only roughly a 5%-10% chance of being able to take home a child through adoption here, the chances of this happening for us were pretty slim.

It also always baffles me that people call us IVFers selfish for trying IVF instead of adoption. Why aren’t they saying that to every pregnant or parenting person out there? Surely if IVF is selfish then so is a “normal” conception! Why are you creating another child when there are supposedly (although not in reality) so many children out there needing homes?!? Surely what holds true for one should hold true for all in this sense.

The other major argument that gets bandied about a lot is that it’s not natural but really, what’s not natural about it? All it is is sperm and egg meeting, just as it would in a human body when all parties involved have ‘normally’ functioning body parts. All that changes is the setting that this meeting of sperm & egg occurs in. Of course there are variations on this, just as there are variations on the types of infertility, but if you boil it down to pure basics it’s sperm and egg meeting, bonding and implanting in a woman’s uterus. There’s nothing unnatural about that.

“But it’s not what [insert name of religious/spiritual being here] intended.” Now personally I’m not a religious person so I can’t identify with this statement, not that I would be able to even if I was religious, but if that’s what you truly believe then:

If it’s not [insert name of religious/spiritual being here]’s desire for us infertiles to be able to have children via IVF then why did he/she/it allow IVF to develop?

If this scientific development that allows couples to have children is against [insert name of religious/spiritual being here]’s will then surely this theory must hold true for all illnesses/diseases/accidents. Cancer patients shouldn’t get chemotherapy or other life-saving treatments, people in accidents shouldn’t be given medical care to enable them to survive, in fact any person requiring medical treatment shouldn’t be able to receive it – if it’s [insert name of religious/spiritual being here]’s desire that these people have these issues and can’t recover or live normally without medical assistance then why should they be given that medical assistance.

But infertility is not life-threatening? Neither are a high percentage of things that people go to the doctor for. Should people be refused antibiotics or other medications because their illness isn’t life-threatening and their body might recover on it’s own? If your answer to this is “No” then how can you possibly answer “Yes” to the same question applied to infertility? Infertility is almost always caused by a medical condition or issue which stops a couple from able to conceive (and I say “almost always” here because in a very VERY small percentage of cases it’s just bad luck and a couple will go on to conceive if they just keep trying. But that is by far the minority.)

Now of course there will be some people who answer “Yes” to the above questions and it’s ok that you hold a totally different opinion to my own but please, PLEASE, do not force your opinions onto me or call me names. Just as I’m happy for people to believe in whatever religion they choose, the second that these beliefs start negatively impacting on others who don’t share the same ideals those opinions become harmful, and intentionally harming others just isn’t cool. No one’s making you do IVF if you don’t believe in it but please don’t condemn others who feel it’s the path they need to follow. By all means express your opinion but don’t degrade, name-call, or try to force other people to conform to your beliefs. I’m expressing my opinion here on this blog but I’m not forcing you to read it and I’m not forcing you to change your beliefs, merely asking you to give a break to others who hold differing views.

IVF is allowing me to have a family, one I would more than likely not be able to have through other means, and for that I am truly grateful regardless of anyone else’s opinion.


Not so hospitable

After a fitful, anxiety-ridden sleep (can I even call it sleep?!?) I’m officially awake and it’s time for obs again before starting on my breakfast….it’s not that bad, toast and cereal, but with a bit of a dairy intolerance at the moment chowing down on cornflakes and milk is far from ideal. I’m super hungry though so I do….boy will I regret that later! Halfway through breakfast I’m told I’m supposed to be in a scan, they’re sorry but they’ve only just found out. I throw on my slippers and head down the hospital to the ultrasound area.

It’s very weird sitting there in my scabby tights and jumper that I’ve slept in, with slippers on my feet, while ‘normal’ people come and go in their day-clothes for their 12 and 20 week scans. I feel revolting. At least there’s one other lady in wheelchair and hospital gown in the waiting room, so I’m not the only one there looking out of place. Weird that that should be the case in a hospital but it is, at least in the time I’m waiting.

Eventually I’m called through, not sure why I needed to rush, and I get an earlier than planned growth scan on the boys. The sonographer is lovely (thank goodness because I’m a little emotional) and so is the trainee she has working with her. They start on twin one and the first thing I see is his heartbeat, I let out a massive breath that I don’t even realise I’ve been holding. Every time I go in to a scan I fear that one day we won’t see that little beating heart, a constant terror that this could all be taken away from us, especially when it feels like we’re getting so close.

They work through his measurements and it makes me feel a little sick to the stomach when I see 24w3d pop up down the bottom. That’s too small, he should be 26 weeks now. After being bang on track at the last scan he’s dropped behind. I swallow my fears and wait as they work through the rest of his scan. Other than his measurements being smaller than they should be everything looks ok, blood flow looks good, and there’s no obvious source of bleeding from this side. Onto twin two.

Again the anxious wait for heartbeat (it seems so silly when I’ve been feeling both of them move, just another one of those irrational fears I guess) and there it is, twin two is alive and kicking (so to speak) too. I breathe another sigh of relief. They start on his measurements and again he’s measuring a bit behind. Not quite as much as twin one, twin two is at 25w2d but still behind. That good old feeling of failing as a mother begins to creep in again, better get used to it, it won’t be the last time. On the plus side, everything else looks fine here too – blood flow, fluid quantity, and no obvious sign of a cause for bleeding – phew! At least both our boys are ok.

The sonographer tries to get some 3D pics of the boys faces but, same as last time, there’s not enough fluid around that area, so we settle for a couple of 2D ones instead. She then leaves the room to process everything and lets her trainee have a play. It’s the first time this woman has ever scanned a pregnancy and she’s scared. “I’m so nervous” she says. It’s cute. I tell her that she can’t do anything wrong and to just “go wild”, I’ll tell her if she’s pressing to hard or anything. She’s super gentle and I can see her getting excited when she manages to capture each section. “I could do this all day” she says, “I could watch this all day” I reply. Anything to see my wee boys wiggling around! Eventually the scan is over and I head back to my room clutching my two precious images tightly.

After reviewing my scan the docs decide that I’m definitely to stay for the weekend. If all goes well I should be allowed to go home on Monday but they want to keep a close eye on me and the boys to make sure the bleeding stops and that everything is ok. I’m gutted to be missing my weekend but I’m glad to be here where I know the boys are getting well looked after.

The next few days pass in a blur of obs, dopplers, interrupted sleep, and bad food – which seems to get progressively worse over the three days. Sunday night’s dinner which I thought would be the best of the bunch, being vegetable frittata, gourmet potatoes (basically meaning they’re whole baby potatoes rather than reconstituted mash), roasted kumara (sweet potato), and Asian vegetables, turns out to be so inedible (potatoes and kumara raw in the middle, Asian veges so overcooked they’re grey on the plate – and I don’t know where the ‘Asian’ comes in as it’s just boiled carrot, celery, and beans with no sauce or anything – and a square of jelly-looking powdered egg with a couple of chunks of carrot in) that after a few mouthfuls I make hubs go and buy us burgers. I have no idea how people actually managed to get well in hospital eating this rubbish non-nutritious food. Note to self: bring own food in if ever admitted again.

My obs constantly come back perfect, the boys (despite being rascals at times and hiding from the machine) Doppler results are spot on, and the bleeding eases back to old-blood spotting. I’m still scared the boys are going to come early but our prognosis moves from “they may come tonight/this weekend” to “they shouldn’t come in the next 10 days” to “A realistic aim is 32 weeks” to “I’m confident we can get you to 34 weeks” so I begin to feel better. Honestly, I’d be happy with anything over 30 but obviously, if I can, I’d love to get them all the way to 37. Baby steps. My next goal is 28 weeks.

Monday morning rolls around and I’m given the all clear to go. Thank goodness. While I had plenty to do I hospital (all that reading and blogging I’d planned on doing never really eventuated what with all the visitors etc.) and I never got bored, I’m ready to go home. My obstetrician is back on duty at the hospital Monday so I have a chat to him. He reassures me that things aren’t as bad as initially thought and we just need to monitor the difference in the boys growth as well as their small size. He books me in for another growth scan at my regular radiology centre and tells me I can leave as soon as the hospital docs give the all clear (officially I’m under their care so they’re the ones who have to check me out and let me go).

Next I get a visit from the midwife who says the ward docs will be around soon but that I should be good to go and to call my husband to collect me. The ward docs never show – this new team on duty is REALLY disorganised and nowhere near the well-oiled machine that looked after me over the weekend (go Team Orange! Boo Team Green!) Eventually the midwife returns and tells me they don’t want to see me as my obstetrician already has, and to just leave. I remind her again that I need a prescription for iron tablets, which she brings me, and I make a run for it. I’m totally exhausted, having barely slept a wink the night before and gladly spend the next day and a half in bed resting and napping. Please stay put my little monkeys!


25 weeks, 6 days

It’s been a good week. As previously mentioned, work is busy but at least that’s keeping me occupied, our house is slowly getting back into a somewhat tidy state which is nice, I also had a great pregnancy yoga class on Tuesday, followed by a great dinner out with my in-laws on Wednesday. A busy week but a good week.

Thursday rolls round and I’ve got another dinner planned with the girls from work for Thursday night. I can’t wait! For once we can all make it (something that is highly unusual for the group of six) and we’re going to a fab restaurant after drinks (non-alc for me of course) in the work bar. And then disaster strikes. I head down to the bar to meet the girls just before 6pm. Nip to the loo before settling down, and there’s a bit of blood in my underwear. Not a huge amount but enough to give me a bit of a fright and dash into one of the meeting rooms to call my hubby.

OK, I admit it, I’m starting to freak out a little. We’ve come so far, surely it can’t all turn to shit now can it? Of course it can, but I’m trying hard not to dwell on that. My hubs tries to call his Mum (a GP), no luck, then finds me the number for our obstetrician so I can call them. Of course it’s only just outside office hours and I end up with the after hours service, on the phone to some poor clueless call centre person who asks me how to spell “spotting”, I mean really?!?! And can’t give me any indication of when I can expect a call back from my OB…..I don’t want an exact time, just a will it be tonight or am I waiting anxiously until morning, that kind of thing.

I’ve let slip a few tears, I’m so so nervous. I need our boys to be ok, I already love them so so soooooo much! Luckily my OB phones back almost straight away. He’s thankfully back from holiday and is on duty at the public hospital tonight. He asks me what’s been going on, what the bleeding is like, and other symptoms. He says just to keep an eye on it, bleeding is reasonably common with twins, and to call back straight away if anything else happens. Phew. He doesn’t sound too concerned so I try to relax a bit and look forward to dinner out.

I stop quickly by my bag (which is sitting with the girls in the bar), trying to hide my tear-stained face, and head back to the bathroom to try and clean myself up. I don’t make it there unnoticed and one of my buddies knocks on the door of the bathroom soon after I enter to make sure I’m ok. I let her know what’s going on, trying unsuccessfully not to shed a tear. We chat for a bit and I promise I’m ok, but halfway through our conversation I feel that horrible sensation of something leaking out of me (sorry TMI). “I’ll just go pee,” I say “and then I’ll be out to join you.” She leaves and I hurriedly close the door, quickly pulling down my pants to have a look. There’s a heap of blood.

It’s dark and old looking but I’m totally freaking. I put myself back together and rush back to the meeting room to call after-hours again. I don’t mess around this time “I just called before for Dr W, can you please get him to call me urgently.” I can’t believe this is happening. Hang in there my darling boys, you have no idea how much I want you, how much I need you, just not in the outside world right now….in fact, ideally not for another 11-12 weeks!

Dr W returns my call and I’m told to come in to hospital to be checked out. A quick chat to my hubby and he’s on his way to collect me, there’s no way in hell I’m driving myself there. I return to the girls to wait for hubs, let them know what’s going on, and try to remain upbeat. Looks like we’re not all going to make it to dinner tonight after all.

Hubs arrives just before 7pm and I wish the girls a great dinner, making them promise to order my favs, before heading off. It’s an anxious, but luckily not too long a drive to the hospital. We’re not quite sure what to say to each other, too scared to discuss what this could (but hopefully doesn’t) mean. We make our way to the Women’s Assessment Unit and I spot our OB sitting out back behind the reception desk. Someone’s just given our room away (first in first served) so we’re whisked into a shared room with visiting family and children before being redirected to a different, rarely used room around the corner. It looks like it’s almost set up for deliveries which, although I know isn’t intended for us, is a little freaky.

I’m glad they’ve found us this other room, despite being overflowing tonight, as the check-up isn’t pleasant. First we get a scan of the boys, which is great. They seem fine regardless of my bleeding. I’m then switched to the next bed over where Dr W performs an internal exam on my cervix. Ouch. “It’s a little like a smear test,” he says “only there’s more discomfort when you’re pregnant.” He’s not wrong. Initially it’s just a little uncomfortable but then, as he examines further inside it gets down-right painful and starts to remind me a little of my hysteroscopy. Admittedly it’s not as excruciating as that was but it does hurt and in a similar way. At least that hopefully means I’ve still got a tight cervix. Yep, it’s still closed. Phew! That means the twins aren’t on their way immediately.

So what DOES it mean? Well, there’s no obvious cause of the bleed, but they think it’s either a little blood coming from the cervix or the placental edge. It’s mostly old blood so that’s a good sign too. What’s not a good sign is that it’s happened at all. Although bleeding IS common amongst twin pregnancies, having bleeding at 26 weeks could be a sign that our twins will come earlier than we’d like. There’s initially talk that they could potentially arrive this weekend but post-exam this is scaled back to “they shouldn’t show up in the next 10 days or so” and “we just need to keep an eye on it over the weekend and see how we go”. And just like that I’m admitted into hospital.

While waiting for a bed on a ward I’m given a steroid injection in my butt (ouch that stuff is thick!) to try and boost the boys lungs, and therefore their chances, just in case they do make an early appearance. I’m knackered and after shedding a few tears (still absolutely terrified for our gorgeous boys) I close my eyes for a while. And then an orderly turns up and I’m wheeled over to Ward 96. It feels very odd being in a wheelchair but with the tightening in my stomach at that point in time even the walk to the chair is difficult.

It’s somewhere approaching 9pm by this stage and I’m ravenous. I’m also shivering and exhausted. Too much stress and anxiety in too short a time period. It’s almost like I’m in shock, and I guess I am. A lovely midwife, H, gets me checked into the ward, shows me around, takes my weight and gets me settled into a bed. Next she does my obs and we finally get to hear our babies heartbeats for the first time ever (our obstetrician’s machine never has any batteries in it). It’s beautiful, our little boys are in there and going strong. It’s amazing how every extra little piece of information, each little experience along this pregnancy road, makes them so much more real, so much more human, and so much more ours. I can’t even begin to express how much I love them already, it makes me well up just thinking about it.

Once all the necessary procedures are done and dusted my hubby heads of home to grab me some things and to nab something for me to eat. I rest my head and try not to worry about things that won’t necessarily come to be. It’s hard though, I’ve been so determined to get these boys to 37 weeks (or anything mid-thirties onward) I’m not mentally prepared for them to arrive now at 26 weeks. I know if they were to show up now they’ve got a good chance of survival and a normal life – my niece was born around this time and she is now a lively, boisterous, and beautiful seven year old – but I’m really not ready for them to enter the world just yet. I’ve only just had the chance to start enjoying this pregnancy, I LOVE feeling them move inside me, bonding with them, and I don’t want to give that up yet, not when it’s potentially at a detriment to their quality of life.

Hubs is back with my things and some burgers, which we scoff before he heads home again, and I’m left alone with my thoughts and a very broken and anxious sleep until morning. What a never-ending rollercoaster this is turning out to be.


Time for an update

Wow! Time is flying so fast! I can’t believe it’s a month since my last blog post. Things have been super busy both at work and at home and, with me feeling like bed around 8pm every night, there hasn’t been much time for writing. It’s definitely time for an update!

I’m back to eating most foods…well, not quite most – I still struggle a lot with any form of dairy, and raw food isn’t so good either, but as long as I’m avoiding the lactose and eating warm foods I’m doing really well on the eating front and am putting on weight (finally). I have to say I actually look forward to dinner-time now!

We’ve made it to (and past) the 24 week viability milestone – YAY! So at least I can relax a little knowing if the boys decide to arrive now, they have a pretty good chance at surviving and living a ‘normal’ life. Another bit of the massive weight on my shoulders falls away. People laugh when I say “I just need to get to/past x and I’ll relax” – “you’ll never relax” they say – but I find as we pass each little milestone I chill out just that little bit more, knowing that we’re one step closer to our long-held dream being realised.

We’ve also started setting up our nursery which, being an infertile in denial that this is actually happening to us, is a massive deal! We finally, after much drama, have two cots that we like; we purchased one second hand then tried to buy another from the same site to match, only it was sold under the wrong model name so didn’t match at all….something we would normally complain about, only the second cot was the style I’d really wanted right from the beginning of our TTC journey so we decided to sell the first cot and buy another to match the second cot. We tried to find one on the same buy-and-sell website but couldn’t, so made the decision to just buy it new as I’d found a good deal at one of our local shops.

Very excitedly we purchased our new cot and took it home, only to find that the company had decided to change the design of the model, so despite the fact that it still had the same model name, it now looked different and our cots STILL didn’t match! Tired and emotional (hey! I’m pregnant I’m allowed!) I threw in the towel and told my husband to just go and buy another new one and we’d sell BOTH the second hand cots. We’ve managed to get rid of one and are still in the process of selling the other. What a stressful, expensive, and time-consuming exercise that turned out to be. I wish I’d just bought them new to start with!

Our nursery also now contains a change-table (bought with a voucher my husband was given upon leaving his job of 11 years to start another and which luckily matches our cots, woohoo!), a bouncer (gifted from a friend who no longer needs it), a cool little canvas toy bag (bought from a local baby market), books, our stroller, one of our car capsules (one is still on order from the supplier), and various other bits and pieces lovingly donated by friends. We also plan to pop an armchair in there for the night-time feeds and/or story-time as they grow. Everything is slowly coming together….now to get onto the truckload of washing I have to do for them and load up the wardrobe!

As I mentioned at the start of this post, work has been really busy, so much so that I haven’t really had any time to work on/complete my handover notes. At least I’ve started them though so that’s something, and they’ve appointed someone to take over from me for 13 months which is great! I need to get cracking on the notes as my handover officially starts in two and a half weeks, with me finishing up work in four and a half, EEK!

The hectic nature of work at the moment, while great from a mental perspective, is becoming quite challenging physically. I find I’m getting really tired by early- to mid-afternoon, and am absolutely exhausted by the time I get home at night. This isn’t helping much on getting stuff done around the house as I basically arrive home, collapse on the couch for an hour while my hubby makes dinner (yep, I’m one of those lucky girls who doesn’t have to cook), eat, then hop into bed somewhere around 8pm. It’s crazy. The guys at work have been really understanding though and are letting me work more flexible hours. This means I can come in a bit later in the morning or leave a little earlier in the day without too much bother. I still need to get my work done though so I can’t do that all the time!

The last thing worth mentioning from the last 4 weeks or so is that I’ve really started loving my body. Not that I didn’t before, it’s just that being someone who’s conscious of their weight, I was always a little worried as to how I’d react as my tummy grew bigger. After our long journey to get pregnant I knew I be happy regardless, but what’s surprised me in a positive way is just how insanely happy I am to watch my tummy grow and how excited I am that this weight gain and expanding middle is our lovely wee boys growing away inside me. Not to mention feeling their little kicks and movements getting stronger all the time! It’s way more exhilarating than I could ever have imagined and I LOVE IT!!!

So that’s pretty much it, weeks 22 to 26 (well, 26 in two days time). Things are slowly beginning to feel more real, we’re slowly starting to get more organised, and I’m loving life! After 4 years of heartbreak and failure, this is one of the best feelings ever.


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