Category Archives: Dates and appointments

The good, the bad and the ugly!

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It’s done. The laparoscopic surgery is over.  I have rested well and am recovering well.  Thank you to you all for your prayers, thoughts and loads of sms-es of support.  I hope I managed to reply to all of you through the fog of the anaesthetic.

God was so gracious and He gifted me so beautifully on the day of the op.  We got up at the crack of dawn – 4am – as we had to be at the Doc’s rooms by 06h30 (reminder that we live an hour out of town from the Doc – hence getting up so early).  En route, I was thinking how wonderful it would be if I could get my favourite anaesthetist and if I got the bed by the window in the clinic – that was my daydream for the day.  Neither seemed likely, I had been told on Wednesday that I would not be getting my favourite anaesthetist but another Doctor and of the 4 times I’ve been booked into the Clinic I’ve been in the same 2-bed room and only once been in the bed by the window which I loved to look out of.  Well God romanced me.  The receptionist walked me straight to the bed I wanted by the window (I love you, Lord) and then just a few minutes later my favourite anaesthetist , Dr G, walked to greet me.  God be praised!  The poor Doc, I was gushing so happily and thanking the Lord so profusely for sending me this gift of a man that he must have thought I was crazy with a capital C.  I kinda hope he felt more flattered than freaked out – I hope… One new thing we learnt from Dr G is that because they put me under such a deep anaesthetic, they need to have a pipe down my throat for assisted breathing – i.e. they hook me up and do the breathing for me, I DO NOT BREATH!  This had me waaay freaked out, and I learnt of this BEFORE I went under.  Eeek!  I never knew this, I knew they’d put tubes and stuff down my throat but had no idea it was for this reason.  I looked at Gary when I was told this and further pointed out to him to take note of how much I was going through when he just sat there looking pretty!!  He later bought me flowers (orange lilies, one of my favourites) so I think he got the message.  Gary was fantastic though, he was there the WHOLE time and even bit ice cubes into little pieces for me when I asked for crushed ice after coming round from the op.  How sweet is that?!

I went under late morning and the op took about an hour.  I have a history of reacting badly to anaesthetics, more specifically of coming around from them badly, and so never rule this occurrence out.  Last time I was under full anaesthetic, with my favourite Dr G, I came out beautifully, fully aware of who I was and what had happened – hence why he’s my favourite.  This time round, I came around a little rougher.  I remember waking up briefly and crying uncontrollably and then blacked out.  Apparently I carried on crying and was calling out in pain, one of the nurses gave me an injection in the butt to relieve the pain however I do not recall ANY of this!  I mean, how can I not recall a needle being jabbed into my butt?!  Crazy stuff.  It’s like a part of me is awake but the rest of me is still out for the count, a bit like sleep walking I guess.  When I did come round properly I was fine though and still happy with Dr G – he has a serene and calm presense that made me comfortable, no matter how I came out from his anaesthetic.  They told me that they had removed both the cysts and have sent them for analysis – no results given to me as yet. 

The op revealed the good, the bad and the ugly.  The good news is I had very little endometriosis (hallelujah!).  We suspect this is a result from our homeopathic route with a Homeopathic Fertility Specialist we were treated by for a couple of years after the last laparoscopy (when my body was riddled with endo).  The bad news is one of my ovaries looked like a shrivelled-up prune and the one fallopian tube was blocked.  The other ovary appears okay and the other tube has an infection.  So, am taking antibiotics and I was sent for more blood (and urine) tests today to assess what the infection is about.  The results take 24 hours so we’ll call the nurses tomorrow to ask for the results on this and the cysts analysis.  I have 3 cuts on my belly where they went in with three BIG post-op plasters covering them.  The ugly came when I had a peek at my 3 wounds a couple of nights ago and nearly hit a panick-attack with the belly button one – I do not seem to have a belly button anymore!  Seriously, it’s a hot mess of stitches and dried blood there and no sign of the button I have had my whole life.  I think they’ve stitched it closed 😦  This scares me.  Tonight I plan to take the plasters off and wash the areas well in the shower to remove the dried blood and hopefully get a clearer look at the wounds.  The stitches are dissolving ones so no need to get them removed, whew – once less appointment with the Doc. 

All in all, it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated.  I think this is probably because there was less endo to cauterise – this I think hurts the most.  So, where to next?  I stopped my painkillers yesterday and so am really on the mend – boy did they make me dizzy which was quite fun at times 🙂  I am back at work today and feeling a little more human again.   Apart from waiting for my test results which we hope to get back tomorrow,  the Doc would like me to rest my body this month and we are looking at giving IVF one more go in November through December.  At this stage we don’t really have the funds for it but we are confident that God will make a way if it is his will.  So as we always say, we wait and watch.

The Lord will ….. have compassion on His servants when He sees their strength is gone. (NIV) Deuteronomy 32:36

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Minding our P’s and Q’s

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Yesterday we did our P’s (P4 / Progesterone) blood test and had loads of Q’s (questions) thereafter! 

The test is a simple blood test to detect whether or not I have ovulated.  We had decided to do the test here in the Midlands at our local hospital’s testing labs instead of travelling the 100km’s to the Doc’s rooms for it.  The Doc’s nurses had okayed us going this route as we did not need to see them or the Doc nor would we need any further meds at this stage, it is simply a test for a progesterone level they want for my file.   The first drama erupted when I casually asked the vampires how long the test results would take.  This should only take a couple of hours.  The vampire responded that it would take 48 hours!  I thought I must have misheard her and assumed she meant 4 to 8 hours which I stated was a rather long time to wait.  She corrected me very quickly, insisting that it takes 48 hours.  Whaaat?!  Yes my friends, we live in the country, where the pace of things is only as fast as your slowest cow.  The vampires said they would push for 24 hours but could not guarantee this.  The Doc’s nurses were shocked but said they could wait.  So we waited.

The test results are in and they came in in just over 24 hours which means we had a kick-ass cow racing the results to the Doc – yeehah!  One of the nurses at the Doc’s rooms told me that my Progesterone level was at 10 – which is apparently not great, it’s borderline something, but considering my condition it is not too bad.  Clear as mud right?  So I Googled the heck out of it; it took a while to find the figures I was looking for but here is what we are to expect (my test was taken 8 days after ovulation) – Possible interpretation of results assuming the test is properly timed are:

1. Progesterone  > 30nmol/l – ovulation has occurred and the corpus luteum is producing sufficient progesterone to induce adequate secretory changes in the endometrium to assist implantation.

2. Progesterone 3-30 nmol/l – ovulation has occurred > 10 days ago or < 5 days ago, or if ovulation did occur 5-10 days ago, the level is probably not adequate to sustain endometrial growth for satisfactory implantation. 

3. Progesterone >120 nmol/l – two or more follicles have been recruited

4. Progesterone < 3nmol/l – no ovulation in previous 14 days.

Sourced here: http://www.fertilityassociates.co.nz/Information-for-GPs/FSH,-Estradiol—Progesterone.aspx

So I fall into point 2 which is not great but hey ho (“and a bottle of rum” as the saying goes – and no I am not drinking while drugging).  So where to now? 

Now I carry on with my drugs till they run out, only 3 little white pills left, and then wait and see where my body takes me.  If all goes well and my periods don’t start (ha ha ha – cynical laugh) then that is a great sign and we see the Doc next Thursday to see if I am pregnant.  However, in all likelihood, my periods will kick in any day now at which point I will need to phone the Doc’s rooms and advise the Programme Coordinator of my period start date and she will chat to the Doc to put my new IVF Programme together for a harvest and implant later this month.

It always boils down to the waiting game.  I had a panic day-before-yesterday (Tuesday) when all my usual premenstrual symptoms kicked in (they were spot on – mild tummy cramps, going to the loo more, etc.).  I phoned the nurses to ask if the P4 test was still necessary if my cycle started – they advised me to do the test regardless.  Thankfully by yesterday morning (the morning of the test) the symptoms had eased up and I felt fine.  Not sure what that means but I am just grateful for any extra days on my notoriously short cycles.  I still get the odd little tummy cramps but I’m hoping that they are nothing to worry about.  Time will tell and so will I.

A honeymoon weekend

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Friday we saw the Doc and it went all too surprisingly well; so well in fact that I nearly landed up under anaesthetic for a harvesting of my eggs! 

Okay, let me back up a bit and break it down for you.  

The Doc was very surprised on Friday to see that I had 4 follicles growing (a follicle is basically a sack that houses and releases an egg).  Apparently the drugs I’ve been on should have been slowing my ovaries down?!   Anyhoo, he was so excited he even contemplated booking me for a harvest – which we were very excited to do.  We have 3 follicles on one side and 1 on the other.  Two of these follicles were a great size, which he said was very unusual (God be praised!), so he decided instead for a more natural procedure and advised us to try the natural route.  “The whaaat?” I said.  Oh dear, clearly I’ve been doing infertility measures for too long as I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about and figured this must be some other sort of procedure 🙂

We were given strict instructions to have a “honeymoon weekend” and were even given the timings for our romantic interludes.  The Doc feels confident that this is worth a shot and should it not work it won’t delay our initial plans of harvesting and implanting next month.  So it’s a win-win situation which had us smiling like naughty school kids.  We’ve got so used to being told NOT to have romantic dates that we felt rather mischievous this weekend resuming our marital rights.  Now this wasn’t simply an instruction to go home and be romantic, being romantic in the past has not got us any closer to being pregnant, nope, there is still some intervention as the Doc gave me extra drugs to take to ensure we give this a fighting chance.  He sent us home with an injection drug which I took last night and he prescribed some of his “cocktail” drugs which I started with on Saturday.  Also, instead of moving onto the orange and red pills of the drugs I am currently on, he’s prescribed me to stay on the white pills.  Every day at 1pm, I pop 4 pills, which may seem a lot but compared to the number of injections I was taking daily on our previous IVF attempt this is a breeze.

We will need to pop back to the Doc next Wednesday, 19 September, for a Progesterone blood test.  My guess is he will see where my levels are at and add to or adjust his “cocktail” to help me keep going.  All going well, we will then see the Doc again on 28 September for a pregnancy test. 

To be honest, I think I am in a bit of shock with this approach.  I cannot quite believe that the Doc has prescribed this route.  It’s wonderful and such a refreshing change.  We almost come to expect that fertility docs will push for an expensive and invasive route; I am so happy my Doc is not like this. 

We have nothing to lose with this.  We had a lovely weekend and are so enjoying being close again, as God intended us to be.  Time will tell if it works but if it doesn’t – at least we’ve had fun!

Our first appointment…again

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Tomorrow is our appointment with the doc.  It is our 1st appointment of this 2nd round of IVF treatment.  

I had planned to work half-day and get away in time for our 2pm appointment.  However the doc now has an emergency-theatre-thing (isn’t that always the case with an ob-gyn?) so our appointment has been moved to midday.  As we live over an hour away from the doc’s rooms, I will only be able to spend two hours at work tomorrow before I would have to rush off – crazy stuff, I therefore can’t apply for half-day leave as I won’t even be in the office for half a day.  So I am having to take the whole day off – bummer right?!  Ha ha ha.

I’m planning on spending a nice, relaxing morning tomorrow, flopping around the house in PJ’s before we head off to the doc.  We’re both really excited to find out what all this programme entails (we’re still not at all sure what the doc has planned for me this time around) and we’re also keen to know what he can see in my body tomorrow after only being on the drugs for 10 days.

I’ll fill you in on all the doc says on Monday when I’m back at my computer.  So for now, have a great weekend 🙂

The long and the short of it

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It appears that there is more than one type of IVF programme.  I had figured that IVF was IVF and that perhaps only the drugs varied slightly from person to person.  Apparently not. 

We saw the Doc on Saturday and there was a lot of discussion around where it could have all come undone last time and our various options, which could include egg donors or surrogacy. However, the Doc feels I am still the most viable option and has suggested a very different programme for me.  Basically it is SHORTER, involves LESS DRUGS and best of all is LESS EXPENSIVE.  Sounds like the ideal treatment?  Yeah, sounds that way to us too.  It is not the right plan for everyone on the IVF journey (so if you’re reading this and doing IVF and think you can challenge your doc to go this route for you – DON’T – it might not work for you) but it really appears to be more tailored to my infertility issues though which is probably the best thing about it.  The only downside to it is that it is a very rigid programme which may dictate a harvest or implant on a Sunday – so it really is not convenient for the clinic and anaesthetist.  But this is hardly a downside for us, so yay!

So we’re going for it!  We came out of his office feeling full of hope and excited all over again.  He initially suggested we take a little time-off and that I could perhaps chat to a counsellor that they have on hand (I think he suggests this with all failed attempts) but I was not having this.  I told him that I have a great support structure and that I have a strong faith that makes me strong and ready to go again NOW.  I told him not to assume my mental state and to only delay if he felt that my body needed a break.  So we are taking this month off for my body to have a recovery cycle and then we kick off next month.  All going well, the next harvest and implant will take place in October.

Financially, we’re taking it a day at a time.  We’ve had a generous contribution towards our costs from a very dear couple and we’re reminding ourselves everyday to let go and let God.  The scripture reading I got this morning is from Hebrews 4: 16 –

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence (fearlessly and boldly), so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

God is good, all the time so we will continue to trust and obey.  It may be round two but we are as eager as the first time round.

“An apple a day…”

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I have a confession – ever since finding out that we are not pregnant, my whole eating-healthy-for-the-babies diet has gone waaaaay out the window.  Why not?  What’s the point in denying myself some good stuff when the best stuff (babas) has been denied me!  When on the programme I was eating like a fruit tree a day, I drank no coffee instead I drank copious cups of rooibos and started to suspect I was becoming a waterholic.  The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” rings true today – no apples = going back to the doctor.

Thankfully I am not ill so not going to the GP but we are going back to our fertility doc, tomorrow.  When I phoned earlier this week I was determined to book an appointment for a Saturday – to my horror I was told that the doc does not do post IVF appointments on Saturdays.  Whaaat?!  “But we can ONLY make it on a Saturday”  – I wailed to the receptionist “… my poor hubby has taken waaay too much leave from work as it is with the whole programme!”  She humoured me by telling me that they would pop my name down in the margins of the diary and let me know IF they get a cancellation, in which case they could then squeeze me in.  Hallelujah – they called yesterday to advise we have an appointment at 11am this Saturday.  Picture me doing the happy dance!

We really are hoping to give this whole IFV thing one more try, so we go tomorrow to find out the doc’s thoughts on our last programme and where we may have gone wrong, if we even went wrong.  Gary’s very keen to find out if the earlier diagnosis from previous fertility specialists of me not being able to maintain a pregnancy might still be true today, in which case surrogacy should still be on our cards.  Hopefully the doc can shed some light on the way forward.

To tell you the truth, I’m not in a hurry to get back on the healthy bandwagon just yet as I am loving my reckless diet of coffee (not that decaf stuff), chocolates by the slab (seriously), biscuits and all that other great stuff I’ve been off for far too long.  But if all goes well with the doc and we’re headed back down the IVF road, then it’ll be … apples and water and rooibos – oh my!

It’s the final countdown…

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I have sooo got that Queen track playing in my head this afternoon.  It is now the final countdown of 3 days till we go back to the Doc for THE TEST.

Our pregnancy test date is set for Monday 6 August 2012.  It is quite simply that – a blood pregnancy test, there are no scans done and we don’t even get an appointment with the Doc.  This test won’t even indicate whether or not multiples are conceived – that will only come a couple of weeks after a positive test result when we would go in for a scan.  So for now – the blood test.

We’ve been told that we can go in anytime after 7am and we do not need to book an appointment for this.  We had initially thought to work half day and then nip off for the test in the afternoon.  Our thinkin was that going back to work afterwards would not be easy, no matter what the outcome.  However, the nurses would prefer to take my blood for the test no later than 2pm, so it really would be cutting it fine to get there on time (considering we live an hour away from the Dr’s rooms).  And then the what-ifs started playing-out … what if we hit traffic?  What if the lab experiences a backlog and says that it can only give us the results on Tuesday???  No ways!  We’ve waited long enough!  So, after those couple thoughts had finished playing-out in my mind and one quick chat to hubby thereafter, we swiftly decided to get there early (he wasn’t too worried either way, I’m more the worrier).

The Doc’s rooms open at 7am!  We will be there with our hearts in hand praying for our long awaited miracle … a positve pregnancy test.