Only just the beginning…

I am currently 3 weeks and 1 day post op (Laparoscopy, Hysteroscopy, D&C). I have healed well and physically feeling great. 

4 weeks ago, Adam and I underwent blood tests – a lot of them! 

Well, the results are in….. And what we thought was a long hard road already travelled to get to where we are just got a whole lot longer, and a whole lot harder.

After calling every day to my gynaecologists office for answers, he finally called me back. I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was not delivering happy news. Our worst fears were confirmed 😔 Triple Threat of Immune/Genetic issues. 

I have mentioned in a previous post that I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I thought that was bad enough, ohh how wrong I was! 

I have NK Cells , MTHFR Mutation Gene , Adam & I are also a DQ Alpha Gene Match – BOOM! Goodbye 2% chance of natural conception! Hello LIT treatments, Steroids, Blood Thinners, Intrepalids. 

Our IVF Journey until this point has been a fucking breeze compared to what we are about to face. 

At this point, I feel so deflated. Defeated almost. But I need to pick myself up and carry on. 

With Mothers Day only 2 days away, it is only yet another reminder of the difficulties we face. Needless to say, I am thankful we are working. 

We are both very anxious to speak to Dr Lolatgis, to better understand our chances of success. In the meantime there will be a lot of research! 

I have just purchased Dr Alan Beer’s Book – Is your body baby friendly, I am excited to read it and learn more about what lies ahead for us. 

As they say, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger! 

Until Next Time 

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Only just the beginning…

Finally some answers

Yesterday, (Thursday 14th April 2016) I underwent a day procedure whereby they removed Endometriosis, performed a curette to biopsy for Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells). 

Just prior to theatre my Gynaecologist advised that some of my blood results had started to come through. 

 

Just some of the bloods taken for testing
 
My bloods show that I have AutoImmune Thyroiditis – also known as Hashimoto’s Disease. 

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/mobileart.asp?articlekey=47280

My doctor has assured me that my thyroid is currently normal however I will need to continue to monitor it through annual blood tests. 

It is because of this diagnosis that my gynaecologist expects my biopsy will show that I do in fact have NK Cells,  but I am waiting for the official answer before thinking too much into it. 

 

Post Op Recovery with Nurse Adam
 
I have mixed emotions with my diagnosis, I am relieved that I have a potential answer (Hashimoto’s Disease is known to cause infertility) but at the same time I am disappointed that there is “something wrong with me”. 

My gynaecologist has assured me that my new Fertility Specialist will try to treat my condition and hopefully we will be able to overcome this hurdle. 

We have 5 weeks until our initial appointment with Monash IVF.

We are excited to move forward with our journey and have the surgery behind us. 

Thank You to everyone who continues to provide us with love and support. 

XXX 

Finally some answers

A step in the Right Direction

After learning that Cycle 7 had failed us, we decided enough is enough. 

We refuse to continue to put our faith in doctors who aren’t willing to try new ways to help us achieve our baby dream. 

I truly do have the utmost respect for Dr Lyndon Hale, he is a fantastic Doctor, a beautiful man; but he is very by the book! And time is proving that we are not a textbook case. 

7 cycles of ICSI, 3 of which were Full Stimulated cycles, not yet pregnant… Time to dig a little deeper……

I suffer from Endometriosis and Poly Cystic Ovaries. I have had 2 Laparoscopic Surgeries in the last 4 years to remove both. However both are recurrent and return – generally worse than before 😔

I have an amazing Gynaecologist (Dr Stan Tsocanos – Epworth) , I trust him with my life! 

As it has been 15 months since my last laparoscopy, we decided to call my gynaecologist (Dr Tsocanos) and see if there is anything he thinks we should do before revisiting IVF. Called Monday, appointment within 48 hours 🙌. 

As soon as I stepped into my gynaecologist office this morning, I felt at ease. I knew I would leave on a positive note, within minutes we were discussing booking me for the NK Cells biopsy; he requested another laparoscopy whilst I’m under anyway, suggested flushing my Fallopian tubes and making sure my pelvis and uterus are healthy moving forward. 

When I requested NK Cells with Dr Hale I was handing what appeared to be a pathology form with my name written as Shak…. No explanation as to what it involves, nor was it advised that it was conducted under anaesthetic on day 25 of my menstrual cycle. It’s like Melbourne IVF treat it as taboo! 

When I mentioned switching to Dr Nick Lolatgis, he was immediately on board! We were soon discussing techniques pioneered by Dr Lolatgis, explaining potential genetic issues we may be facing and what technologies are in place to treat it. 

Dr Tsocanos explained that if our Genetic match up is too similar, my body may not distinguish embryos. 

In a nut shell, if this is an issue (not confirmed until blood work back) – Dr Lolatgis would transfuse Adam’s white blood cells into me, making my body react to them. To teach my body the difference and create a reaction. Then through medication – ensure my body didn’t attack embryos but rather – protect them. 

It’s all very technical and so advanced it’s almost crazy, but it works! 

We want a doctor that is going to go above and beyond to make our dream come true. I feel that in Dr Lolatgis I will reach my goal. My requests won’t be questioned but rather encouraged or at least explained if denied.

Dr Lolatgis has a waiting list, so in the interim – Dr Tsocanos is going to ask him (over dinner Tomorrow night! What a legend!) what he suggests beyond my gynaecologists recommendations… 

Within 3 weeks I will undergo Laporascopic surgery, Curette for NK Cells Biopsy, Tubes Flushed & numerous blood test done, a massive step in the right direction! 

We enquired what happens given we already have 3 embryos in storage with Melbourne IVF, Dr Tsocanos advised they can be moved to Monash IVF for use by Dr Nick Lolatgis! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

So after 1 year & 1 day – we bid farewell to Melbourne IVF, we first met with Dr Hale, Nursing, Counsellors and Patient Liason Administrators on 1st March 2015. 

On March 2, 2016 we put ourselves first! We made a stand and decided to do what we feel will work best for us! 

Today will certainly be a day I never forget, this afternoon I have cried – tears of relief! Tears of excitement for our future. 

I hope that anyone currently going through IVF or considering IVF takes this on board. Do not wait! Don’t waste 12 months of your life, get a second opinion! 

We appreciate all of the love and support that we have received since deciding to share our journey. Had it not for being so open about what we are going through, we wouldn’t know what we do today. 

Love to you all 

A step in the Right Direction

Double the Chance or Double the Hurt…

Despite having a perfectly healthy embryo still in storage, I wanted to complete a double transfer. 

My husband wants me to take a break from IVF and help to heal our broken hearts. I agree we need to , however I couldn’t take a break knowing that I only had 1 embyro in storage. We compromised and agreed that I would complete another Stim Cycle, giving it my all, complete a double transfer and if that fails us , We will have the break out hearts needs. 

We registered the cycle on day 2, picked up my meds day 3 and began injections straight away. 300IU of Gonal F this time 75 more than my previous cycle. 

I was in fucking agony! I gained 6kg in 13 days with the fluid. I had to inject between hair appointment and photos at my brother in laws wedding and put on a smile despite wanting to cry because of the pain.

____________________________ 

Previous Cycle Results 

May 2015 – 6 Eggs Collected, 4 Fertilised, 3 survived to 5day blastocyst. 1 embryo damaged during thaw. 1 X fresh transfer – Negative, 1 X thawed transfer (FET) – Negative 
September 2015 – 9 eggs collected, 4 fertilised, 3 survived until 5day Blastocyst. 1 X Fresh Transfer – BioChemical Pregnancy (Early Miscarriage).  1 X FET- Negative

It was because of such low numbers that I pushed my Fertility Specialist to pump me with meds, make me grow as many eggs as my body can handle. I was willing to suffer through it if it meant I didn’t have to go through this again in another 3 months. 

______________________________

October 2015 -16 eggs collected, 9 fertilised!!!!! 

And the best news – All 9 survived to 5day Blastocysts 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Finally, throughout our journey, we have some good news! 

We transferred 2 embyros Saturday October 31st (Halloween!) , we have doubled our chances of pregnancy this month, the specialists have warned we could end up with twins, or even quads although that’s a 1 in 1 million chance of both embryos splitting, a risk we were willing to take! 

 

our precious little embryos just before transfer
 
The symptoms of Progesterone Support (Crinone 90mg) started immediately! Cramps, sore boobs and tender nipples. 

Crinone is seriously the worst! Sorry for the overshare here but it is a cream that is vaginally inserted (by my darling husband I might add!) and it stays in there (well most of it does) 😷. It makes sex out of the question which makes the two week wait to find out if we’re pregnant even worse! And when you’re not pregnant – it comes out with good old Aunt Flow 😩 and its fucking gross! 

Anyway, so I decided to start testing from 4days post transfer 4dp5dt (9 days post egg retrieval) , it’s very early but the test we use are sensitive and the best at early detection and we are so eager to know…. 

4dp5dt test shows a shadow of a second line 😳, I get so fucking excited I almost cry. Calm Down! I share a pic with girls on my support group and they see the line too! 

Turns out it was an “Evap line” which is effectively a defective test 

 5dp5dt – Negative, no second line this time  😔 , I had hoped to see a pale pink line. But there was nothing 

6dp5dt – Negative 

7dp5dt – Negative 

 

Big Fat Negatives!
 
I am writing this post on Saturday 7th November  (7dp5dt) , I am already crying as I know this cycle has failed us. We didn’t get 2 babies, we got none! And I expect that my period (Aunt Flow) will be arriving tomorrow or Monday. 

10am Monday Morning, my fears were confirmed. 

I hate that this keeps happening to us, it really isn’t fair. We have done everything right and yet still have to go through this struggle. 

It’s been 2 years now since I started taking Folic Acid – it causes me to break out (on my back).

 I quit smoking 2.5 years ago to ensure that there was no nicotine or nasty chemicals in my body for a long time before even considering conceiving. 

We had genetic testing done to ensure our babies weren’t at risk, countless blood tests to ensure my hormones and levels were good/normal. 

I had surgery to remove my endometriosis and cysts from my ovaries….

I prepared for pregnancy, it’s not supposed to be this hard! 

I now face further testing. 😔

NK Cells – Natural Killer Cells 

Further information about what this means can be found here: (too complicated to try and explain myself) http://ivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/advanced-science/natural-killer-cell-testing 

This year, we have spent $39,000+ on IVF, plus blood test fees and genetic testing , not to mention medications 

Thankfully we are smart with our money and have saved for our future so we are in a financial position to undergo this treatment and continue without bankrupting ourselves along the way. We are not forced to stop, I know of couples who simply have not been able to continue as the financial burden of their infertility was just too much. 

We are so fortunate that this process has bought us closer together, we are stronger both individually and as a couple because of what we have endured. Our love is stronger than it ever has been before. 

We have a bond that cannot be broken, an understanding of what the other is feeling. 

We have decided to take a well needed break and head to Bali next month. Spend a week in paradise and allow ourselves time to heal. Looks like I’ll be able to enjoy a nice cold beer with my husband at least. It will be nice to spend time focusing on just us. No work to worry about, no hospital appointments, no medications. Just us & the sun! 

Something else to look forward to is my bestie has asked me to be her Matron Of Honour in August 2016. I burst into tears when she asked me! I am looking forward to helping my beautiful friend plan her big day and it certainly will be a welcome distraction. 

I also want to add that I am alerted when people are checking my Happy Wife Facebook Page & blog. 3 people in particular seem to stalk it. I’m not sure if they’re enjoying our misery or just concerned that I might post about them – either way, nothing to see here! 

When we finally receive good news in future – if you mean something to us, rest assured you won’t find out about it through Facebook or a blog post.

So, this will be it for a while as we are taking that break that our hearts need. And I am comfortable doing that knowing that we have 8 healthy embryos in storage waiting for us. 

We might continue with doubles in future. We might extend our chances with 8 singles. Either way, when the time is right I will be a mum and Adam will be a dad and we will just have a longer story to tell our kids one day. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking devastated and although I may seem OK, I’m not. I’m just so used to the disappointment that I wrote this piece two nights before Aunt Flow Arrived, so that tomorrow I can allow myself the tears to flow without being a complete blubbering mess when writing my blog. All whilst feeling like I’m bleeding to death. 

Double the Chance or Double the Hurt…