Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Egg Collection Day (and Bastille Day)

I woke up this morning, slowly. I wasn't overly enthusiastic getting up and getting ready and getting to the clinic. I just couldn't seem to get in the frame of mind to relax and just accept the day ahead. I felt like I was fighting it all mentally. And for those who know me, thats not really normal. I'm normally the girl who just gets in and does whatever needs doing. Am I losing my gumption?

So I made it in to the clinic for 10.30am and needed to sign some more paperwork, you know the usual pre-op type stuff, and then shown into the changing rooms. I was then taken into the surgical ward and directed into a cubicle with a big comfy recliner. It was about half an hour while I sat there and luckily I had picked up a copy of Who magazine with the article about Marion who had just been eliminated from Masterchef. I was trying to use the article as a way of calming myself and relaxing into what was about to happen. Unfortunately I think I had already talked myself into a mild state of anxiety. How very much unlike me!

So the procedure was done in about 20 mins. I was told I probably wouldn't remember much of it and I seem to have wiped out the discomfort I felt but I do know I was not a happy camper throughout. When I had to lay back in the chair they took me to in the surgical room, I started crying and I pretty much didn't stop until about 30 minutes after the procedure finished. When the doctor showed me the follicles on the ultrasound screen it made me cry. When the scientist pulled up on the big screen the first of the healthy eggs and everyone was really happy, I cried! And I did realise that I seemed to have the lower section of my abdomen completely tensed up. So I tried a bit of breathing and whatever I could but not much seemed to help. I also watched the ultrasound screen and the big screen to see the follicles get drained and the subsequent eggs come up on the big screen. But not much distracted me from the discomfort of what I was going through. I was sedated and I was still tense? Honestly I really was feeling like a mess. I also thought I was reaching my limit of what I could handle. I did think that if the doctor didn't hurry up I was going to have to tell him to stop. Anyway, as if he was a mind reader it was all over.

The doctor and nurse helped me back into the wheelie recliner and I was taken back down the hall to recovery. I felt so silly. I was lying in the chair and quietly sobbing while people passed me in the hall. I wanted to say that I was ok, but I just couldn't stop crying. Back in the recovery cubicle I lost the ability to hold in the tears and let out a good balling for what seemed an eternity. Two nurses were with me and we joked about God being a man. Eventually the tears passed and the nurses explained that the sobbing was very normal at this time as it was to do with the hormones and the sedation. It made me feel a little better but really I just felt bad that maybe other people out in the other cubicles might hear me and get freaked out before their procedures. To be honest, I don't think so though!

I was brought tea and big thick raisin toast with lashings of butter. Nothing could have comforted me more than that. Apart from maybe some company, and it wasn't far off. My mate Dale, the one I had been with on Saturday night came in to collect me and she sat with me while they worked out what pain meds to give me. Also, the nurse from the clinic, Carly who I had been dealing with also came to see how I was going. I was so grateful she came by. It made me feel like I was more than a donor, but I had been a person too. The clinic really were great at treating me very well!

The sedation and the locals were wearing off and the two Panadeine tablets I had taken were not taking effect. I was eventually also given a morphine tablet as I was in some pretty major pain. I had been told to expect severe period pain but this was something else. Pain in the same region but on a constant and heightened level. Thankfully the morphine tab did its job and it wasn't long before Dale had helped me dress and we were off. I was floating, naturally and I was delivered back to my favourite Sydney lounge with chocolate, water, chips and flavoured mineral water. Comfort food plus.

I spent the rest of this evening in mild discomfort. I took a couple of Panadeine Forte about 7pm and was in bed by midnight. I was told that if I was active it would further stimulate the empty follicle sacs and the remaining immature ones which were not ready for collection. Fingers crossed I feel a bit better in the morning.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday July 13th

So I managed to get some great sleep. So good I woke up at 11am... woo hoo!

No Synarel and no more injections. It is now a wait and see.

Today I have felt fatigued and a little bloated. All good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, please be the day of good news!?!?!

OK so as this blog title indicates, I am no longer enamoured with this process at all! In fact I am dreading each day. Sunday reminded me what the first three and a half months of pregnancy were lie for me... one constant hangover. It was awful!

So this morning I traipsed off to the clinic. I snorted my Synarel in the morning and took the medipen in to the clinic so I could get the nurse to administer for me.

I had the blood test as usual and then went in for the ultrasound. Luckily it was a familiar nurse doing the ultrasound so I felt comfortable. She counted up quite a few good sized eggs and suggested it might be the trigger injection tonight. Although they might hold off, you never can tell. She also did my Gonal f injection for me.

I was feeling pretty sketchy from the nausea and the fatigue (did I mention I barely slept last night. 5 hours max!). Anyway, I managed to get a birthday present bought and made it home.

I got the call from the clinic about 2pm to say I was all good for the trigger injection tonight and that I was down for egg collection Wednesday at 11am. That meant I had to take the trigger injection tonight at 11pm. So I packed a ba and headed over to my friend's house (the egg recipients) so that they could give me the final injection. It was just a stomach one but in a serious looking needle and for some reason I was just not interested at all in giving it to myself.

So with that taken, I was off to bed. No more Synarel needed either! Woo hoo one step closer! How many eggs will they get? Now if only I can sleep!?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday July 11th

Well I had a really easy night in with some friends and their two little boys (2 and 5 yr olds). I was supposed to babysit but once my friends saw me and decided to stay in and keep me company. I guess I was a bit of an emotional wreck. I curled up on ther sofa and we got fish and chips and watched movies. Bless them!

Now one of the reasons I hit a heavy low yesterday was also because I got a call from the clinic about lunchtime to tell me that they wanted me to keep going on the meds and come in Monday for another blood test and ultrasound. The doctor wanted the eggs to get a little bit bigger before collection. So Wednesday collection at the earliest. Damn it!

So Sunday started out with a snort of Synarel and a shot in my belly of the Gonal f. Then I was off to the movies with my mate and her 5 yr old (Toy Story 3 is a hoot!).

We followed up with a coffee down at Balmoral and all was going well until about midday. I started to ramp up a bit and after we dropped the little fella home and went to do some shopping, it all went down hill. I progressively felt worse to the point of nausea, headache and head spins. Lets just say we had to take a seat, get some water and look for the nearest bathroom in case I needed to make a puke run! Gross but true. My mate then returned me home (well my temporary Coogee base).

The rest of the evening was very quiet. I came home to my friend Bridie cooking a chicken roast and as I stayed still and calm and had a yummy meal, my body settled and I was off to bed.

Synarel before bed too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday 10th July

This morning I went to the clinic for a blood test and ultrasound. I was happy to find out the eggs were growing well and I would find out later in the day as to whether they were ready for harvest. So I left the clinic and called my friend and generally felt like I was walking on sunshine. What a great day and what a fantastic feeling. Come Monday the harvest might happen and all will be done! Yippee!

So I toodled off through the city feeling pretty pleased with myself. Until the dreaded low set in. I experienced a relatively deep depression by early afternoon. I was crying on and off, truly melancholy and just totally wiped out emotionally. I went from high to low in a matter of an hour or so. It was drastic too. I know myself well enough to know being on my own just feeds a depression so I headed of to some friend's for the night. I also had cramping, bloating, a headache and general feeling of discomfort all night.

I took the Synarel morning and night and had the injection in the morning.

This is getting a lot harder!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday, July 9th, and 23 days since I started this process

So its been 23 days since I started taking meds for this process to happen. I am feeling a little worn out but then I spare a thought for my friend who I am doing this for and I realise that I am experiencing a mere fraction of what she has had to go through over the past 13 years of trying to fall pregnant. And as my mum would say, you don't know how someone feels until you've walked in their shoes. To compare then, I am taking baby steps in the processes my friend has endured at the hands of her challenging reproductive system.

So today I am snorting the Synarel morning and night and injecting the Gonal f into my stomach. Not too taxing really. Except I am feeling it physically today. I feel bloated and heavy and have spent a bit of time on the couch. I have also walked up to the shops and had a wave of total love wash over me for my partner back home. You know those butterflies you get in the pit of your stomach when you first meet someone you really, really like? Well, it was like that. I was beaming from ear to ear. And I was dying to call him and just gush out feelings of total adoration to him... Its a good thing that happened at about 3am UK time. I can only imagine his response..."How much longer are you on these drugs?" He really is a great guy, don't get me wrong. But even he has his limits!

So I went to my mates house tonight, the recipients of the eggs so that I could babysit their two adopted daughters while they had a rare night out. The little one (2yr old) was in bed before they even left. And their 5 yr old fell asleep lying next to me on the couch after Masterchef finished. Bless, the girls are soooo cute!

So as I lay there wallowing in my own bloated pain, I figured how worth while baby making is! I can't wait to have my own little family!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8th - 7th Injection day

Well, what a day...!!!

I woke up feeling a little bit hot and clammy. I just generally felt off. But I really didn't have time too much time to consider it all. I was off to the clinic for an 8.30am start. I had the blood test and ultrasound today.

When I got into the clinic I went straight in for the blood test and unfortunately the woman doing the test decided to go for my inner arm vein and it was bloody painful and it just set me off in tears. And they weren't the odd tear, I found myself sobbing. She got me water and then called one of the nurses so I could be ushered off in to the ultrasound room. I came good until I was told I was about to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound. WHAT??? I hadn't signed up for that? Well I guess I had, 'cause I was there. (For further explanation on the scan... a transvaginal sonography is done with a probe placed in the woman's vagina.) Anyway, as always they were treating me beautifully and I felt in good hands and they certainly weren't going to let me leave until I felt a bit better. The nurse also re-itterated that it was very normal for me to be so emotional and I shouldn't worry about it. Just soldier on!

Anyhoo, back to the ultrasound. After the initial shock and the general discomfort, it was not that bad and they were able to count 8 decent sized follicles on one side and about 5 on the other. Which is about on track for the 8-10 good sized ones for collection they are hoping for.

So after I was done getting dressed etc, I was Gonal f speared by the nurse who did my ultrasound. She was a gem. I was asking her about why my spearing efforts had produced both a shocking bruise on the first attempt, and then a pin prick the second time... Her response was that it is luck of the draw if you hit a capillery. So I felt a little less stressed by my bruising.

I then went and met a mate for hug or two (I really was feeling low. Just miserable.) and we went to do a Zumba class. The nurses had said it was ok and even though I was feeling a little bloated and a bit sore after the ultrasound I wanted to do the class so off we went. It turned out to be quite fun and I was feeling infinitely better afterwards. I also had a call from the clinic to tell me that I was right on track and the measurements on the follicles were 12mm - 14.5/15mm and they need to be at 17mm for collection. I am to go back in on Saturday for another ultrasound and blood tests and we will probably be looking at a collection either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week. phew, lets get this over!

We then ventured off for a spot of lunch and then my mate shouted me to a manicure and pedicure... ahhh... then I was off home, but would you beleive it was only about another hour before the tears started to flow again. At least I managed to keep them at bay fractionally, and it was bucketing with rain so no one would have noticed my wet cheeks as I walked through town to get to my bus home. And Sean called to check up on me as soon as he got my text saying it hadn't been a great day, and he always makes me smile with his really bad jokes!

I spent the afternoon on the couch staying very mellow. When I Skyped Sean I was in tears again and to be honest, if it weren't for the fact that I know I am being fed hormones, then I would be seriously concerned for my mental health.

So Synarel before bed and I am done!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Injection 6

Another morning starting with another snort of Synarel and a vague fumble around to get the needle ready and another injection in my belly! Today I went the other side of my belly and I let go of the fat roll before I took out the needle and would you believe there was nothing but a pin prick mark left at the end of the day. So I only have two bruises at present, one from the Nurse on Monday and my brutal mark from yesterday.

The rest of the day has gone by fairly uneventful. Did manage to catch up with a mate from days gone by and while I ordered what looked like a yum meal, I just didn't have too much of an appetite. And later in the day I just wasn't really interested in food.

I also haven't felt too enamoured with life this evening. Not sure why. Hormones?

Synarel taken at the end of the night too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Injection number 5... Did I or didn't I?

OK, I woke up this morning after doing a few practise injections on a poor unsuspecting lime last night and voila... I think I can do the injection myself!

So while I was still a little sleepy and therefore not as panicky as I can get, I did it. And I made myself bleed! And I bruised myself... Rookie error on the bleeding part. I was still holding my stomach fat taut when I took the needle out so there was a little trickle of blood. Freaky! I also twisted the pen inside me as I changed hands so I could easily depress the end of the pen. So I ended up with a bruise. But... I DID IT! woo hoo!!!

So how happy am I? Pretty happy. I didn't waste anyone else's time and all is well with the world!

Pretty mellow day apart from that. I went to the library and did some work while listening to an almighty heavy rain storm outside. Then I came home to my wonderful mate's home cooked yummy soup!

All round a good day!

Synarel morning and night.

Oh, and the bloating has actually calmed since last week!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th - Sean's birthday

July 5th, monday morning and another early morning trip into the clinic for a blood hormone test and time to get another nurse to give me the injection (my mate wasn't awake when I left for the clinic and timings of injection meant it was better to get the nurse to do it when I had the blood test).

I also have a counselling session at the clinic with my friend who will be receiving my eggs. Its another part of the process and a legal requirement (I think). Its certainly another expense to the whole process. Boy am I happy my body seems to work ok. This is an expensive process for my friends to go through!

So when I went in to the clinic today I talked to the nurse about how I wasn't able to do my own injections. She suggested I practice and gave me a demo pen and some spare needles and told me to practice on an orange at home.

I went to the counselling session and it was good. Nothing very new was raised. Just re-itterated alot of the earlier info. Having said that, I quite like the sessions and think for me, verbalising the issues makes them easier to cope with. So when I need to talk about feeling used or abandoned after the egg donation process , then its out there. And talking about how I would feel if the process is successful and a little person is born and looks a lot like me... how I might feel about that. Its all good to get it out there! And talking about what if they don't get any eggs from me... yikes, how guilty would I feel?!?! Really guilty! Anyway, its sometimes hard discussions which are the ones which you really need to have to make sure you stay on an even keel as much as possible! Now thats a little life lesson isn't it!?

Now, the other big thing for me today is that I it is my partner;s birthday. He's in the UK and going to work, but I am not there. Now whether it is time spent away or hormone levels or what, I am really feeling guilty and generally quite sad that I am not there today. He is a great, really great guy and does a lot for me. He helps me be a batter person and I can never thank him enough, but I'm not there! I feel like a pretty lame girlfriend today. I also went into a tail spin as I couldn't get hold of him when I thought I should be able to and all sorts of REALLY irrational thoughts went through my head. It was unfounded but I could feel myself walking on very shaky ground all afternoon until he woke up and gave me a call. He slept in and turned the phone off, so my over active imagination decided to make up some convoluted thoughts, and BANG... I was going a-wol on normal rational thought! Damn hormones!

Two Synarel puffs today too!

I also spent some time injecting a lime with the demo water medipen last night. Its actually quite easy to do when you know the lime doesn't have any nerves and therefore you can't cause pain! So tomorrow, I am going to gie it a go! I can do this!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July and the third injection

I woke up to my mate calling my name. She wants to know what time I should be having the injection and she is bang on for her timing. The injections need to be given about the same time each day so I am taking them around 9am each day.

She was really worried about hurting me and I seriously thought she would lose her cool. But we were both wrong. She didn't hurt me and she just took it all in her stride. In fact, she hurt me less than the nurse yesterday.

I should explain the hurt factor. It really isnt that bad. But then would you put a bull ant up to your skin and encourage it to bite you? I don't think so. Not unless you wanna join the Jackarse crew?! So its a little on the sadistic side of things.

I am also keeping up with the Synarel morning and night! Very important.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 3rd - the 2nd of injection days...

So I went into the clinic at some ungodly hour this morning to have my 2nd injection. It was a very different waiting room today. Lots of couples. I guess the partner can easier make it in on the weekend so there were plenty of them! I saw a different nurse today. There seemed to be a lot of new faces in the staff. No matter, I just wanted to go in, have the nurse watch me and guide me through giving myself the injection.

Despite my reservations over the self injection process I was certain I should master this part of the process. So I prepped the medipen and I cleaned off my skin. Then I took a disposable needle point and screwed it on to the pen. At this point I would like to re-itterate that I am not comfortable at all. For some reason, my normally steely reserve has turned to mush regarding the injections. Nevertheless I carry on by removing the first protective cap on the needle. Then the second. And with one look at that needle I simply handed the needle to the nurse and said she must inject me...

Where are you steely reserve??????

What a woose!

Needless to say I felt low. I also felt emotional about it. Not only am I caving at the pressure of giving myself and injection, but I'm also getting emotional about it?! I mean, come on?!?!?

My friend who I am staying with has suggested she should give me the injection tomorrow. It will be Sunday and she offers so I am not getting up at a stupid early time to get in to the clinic. She seems very firm and totally ok with giving the needle. So I say yes.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Ok so I went in to the clinic this morning and sat down with Nurse Anna, and we went through the injection schedule and process. She gave me a pack of 4 boxes of Gonal f which each contain a medipen with the meds already loaded up, and the relevant paraphenalia ie, screw on needle tips. They also send you home with the trigger injection which is to be taken 36 hours before the harvest (or collection as it is written on my Cycle diary). That is a full on proper looking injection. I'm going to my friend's house for her to do that one as I am most certainly NOT doing it myself! They also put little swabs etc in the bag for you so that you can clean the skin where you inject and all that. So you are very well set up to go ahead. Now... can I do it myself?

I've been contemplating giving myself the injections (the general practice), however I seem to be baulking at the thought. Its not like these are particularly scary injections. They are the little medipens used by diabetics the world over. They have been used for years and they really aren't that big of a deal... I just don't like the idea of hurting myself! Oh well, not to bother as I can go in each day for the next 10-12 days and have the injections done by one of the nurses. Or... I could just 'man-up' and do it myself?

So this morning I asked Anna to do it for me and it really wasn't particularly difficult nor painful. But as we spoke afterwards, Anna asked how I was going with everything... and my instant response was that I missed Sean and to my total surprise, I promptly burst into tears (mildly stifled by my hands thrust over my face in total embarrassment that I was sobbing!?) Naturally Anna has seen this kind of behaviour plenty of times before, and she explained where they were keeping me, hormone wise, and that it was a natural response to feel a heightened sense of emotion at this time...

But it doesn't help that I miss Sean!!!

Naturally I did what any woman may do on this occasion... I went shopping and ate three donuts! (And the donuts were GOOOD!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 15 of this process, day 2 of my cycle, July 1st... and its a thursday!

Another pretty uneventful day in the process. Synarel and not much else. Spoke to the nurse at the clinic and I am due to go in tomorrow and start the injections.

The bloating has gotten a little out of control. At about 3pm I decided to take a walk to Bondi. It's a beautiful walk along the coastline and there are beautiful coves, beaches and cliff tops to walk along. I headed off with a stomach which seemed to refuse to accept the sandwich I had eaten for lunch. I was feeling in limbo between the digestion of food and the potential evacuation defying gravity! My guts were the size fo a five month pregnant woman and I was not happy!

Instead of the one hour walk it should normally take I took it at a leisurely stroll and ended up taking 2 hours to get to Bondi and arrived just as the sun had set and the super chill set in. Happily I met up with my friend who drove me back home and even more happily, I was slightly cured of the pain from the bloating as it appears the slow old walk helped get that sandwich down...!!!

I would be much happier taking the Yarrow tincture and settling my stomach, however I have been assured that by taking it I could put the process in jeopardy, and I am NOT prepared to do that!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday June 30th - OFFICIALLY Day one!

So I trooped off to the clinic this morning for a blood test for hormones (just a little bit of blood, and they really are the most gentle blood test folk I've ever encountered! Just a little shout out to them!!!) And was told I am officially on DAY ONE of my cycle (Seriously never really understood exactly where I was ever - must have slept through Grade 8 biology!). I was told I would get a call later in the day regarding the results and when I might start the injections. They seemed to think it will be friday. I missed a call on my phone so I will try again in the morning.

I did get a little overwhelmed on my way home. I have been away from home now for 2 weeks and before that I was away for the previous week (not to mention doing almost five day weeks in London away from home prior to that...) And..., wel..., I am getting homesick. I miss the dogs and the cat. I get really excited when I see them on Skype. I love that Murphy will jump up at the tv where my partner has the Skype set up to. I love when he turns his head to look at me when I call his name or make the silly noises he seems to get. And I miss the cuddles I get from Megan and Banjo... But most of all I really super miss Sean... hmph!

Synarel puffs morning and night!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday June 29th

Excitement of the day... NOT! I got my period and reports of a lighter deal for others in the past... not for me! Not to bore you with the details, and trust me I won't, but it was as bad as ever, if not a little worse. You see I think after 20 years or so of this 'curse', you mentally prepare yourself each month. Well this month I thought I was in for a treat so didn't really mentally prepare (no matter how subtle that preparation is, I think it is VERY real!).

Oh, and I still feel quite queasy and the stomach bloating is causing a lot of discomfort. In particular I am having trouble with reflux its so bad!

Anyhoo... two snorts on the Synarel and that's about it. Sydney is like an icicle and I am staying in!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 12 Monday June 28th

Okily dokily... again not a very exciting day. Synarel puffs morning and night. Now the nurses did tell me last week that after I finished taking the Provera that I would get a period within about 5 days. Well ordinarily my period would be due today (although my cycle is not so precise, it is generally a day or two either way of today), but it hasn't shown up so we will see...

And no idea if this has anything to do with anything, but I am going to bed feeling pretty sketchy in my gut today... I did have a Thai lunch and a rather spicy soup for dinner.

BTW, Sydney is SOOOO cold! Oh to be baking in the UK summer of 30 degrees celcius at the moment.

Sunday June 27th

Not much more to say on the process front... Still snorting one puff of Synarel in one nostril in the morning and the evening...

I did spend the evening with my friends who will be utilising the eggs harvested from me. It was great to hang out with them and their two adopted daughters. And I did have a few chats with their mum who has been through this process many times. We were discussing my use of the Yarrow herbal tincture to combat my acute bloating. She told me that herbs have the propensity to affect the process. Out of complete panic, I am going to double check that with my Nurses. I certainly don't want to upset the healthy process but my issues with bloating can cause me quite a lot of pain.

Oh well...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 10 June 26th

Its Saturday. My mate I am kindly being hosted by is home. She and I spend the morning inside gossiping and reminiscing, then we head off down to a burger place in Coogee for lunch, then over to Sydenham for the Bonds factory outlet. We get back and then I'm off to my Aunt and Uncle's for the night on the other side of Sydney.

Its a bloated day and my stomach looks humungous, but I have my trusty Yarrow tincture which aids with getting the belly down, and I am armed with my Asthma meds and my Synarel, so off I go!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday June 25th - the mouth swab

So after an early morning train back into Sydney (leaving Harden at 2.12am???), I made my way into the clinic today to have the Cystic Fibrosis check. Its just a mouth swab using a white plastic stick with a small bluntly serrated edge which they asked me to scrape 6 times each inside either side of my mouth. Easy done. All sealed up in a medically hygenic clear tube and off it goes.

I head home to knuckle down to some work as its the first day I actually feel human. I think the jetlag is finally behind me.

I headed out later in the evening to meet up with an old girlfriend for some dinner and glass of wine (I have checked with the nurses at the clinic and wine is not off the menu, just not encouraged to drink too much!)

I forgot to take my Provera with me though, so I was home very early in time to take the last of those. It appears I shall get a period sometime in the next 5 days. That will be another indicator that all is on track! (So glad I'm sharing this with you all... NOT!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24th - Rural NSW and a little navel gazing.

Well I woke up this morning in the small town of Harden in rural NSW. My parents live here and as they are both now in their 70's and have unfortunate failing health, the time in Aus offers me the opportunity to spend a little time with them in between days that I might be needed to attend the IVF clinic.

I had a call on the way out here yesterday from the clinic nurses. They have asked me to start taking the Synarel from last night. I have done so and will now continue with one puff in one nostril morning and night until the harvest. The nasal spray is just as any others I have had before. It does run down the back of your throat a bit and has an unpleasant taste, but that taste goes away after half hour or so, so no worries!

Last night my Mum was asking me about the egg donation process and when the harvest will happen, and what I need to do etc, and well the truth is, I can't give her many of the facts. The process is dependant on my body and how it decides to react, carry on, etc. So I told Mum to sign up to the blog so she can follow along. Poor Mum. I think she thought that was me being lame.

She's an angel my Mum. She worries that I'm yet to have my own children. She also worries why I would go through such an invasive procedure when I haven't had my own kids yet. She worries too much. But then that's what Mum's do right?

So a little background on me. I haven't had my own children and I am 35, so statistically I am not normally considered a good candidate for egg donation. Its just that I have had a successful pregnancy before and while the beautiful little girl who was born is not my daughter (she was adopted), it means my body is fertile and I have been through all the necessary counselling associated with the separation of the biological parent to the child, and in this case, my eggs which may or may not become a child. And yes, I am good about it all. One of the happiest days of my life was the day I met the little Baby girl's parents. I was on a high like I've never felt meeting them and discussing how elated they were to have a baby girl to call their own. And some five years on, I am still very secure about my decision to have that baby adopted out. At the time I couldn't give her a father nor financial stability, so what kind of parent was I going to make? I didn't want to chance it, so she went to an a home where all of that was provided, and so much more.

So today... apart from some family time today (two of my sisters and a niece and a nephew were also visiting my parents), I have continued taking the Provera once a day and the Synarel twice daily. I was also asked by the nurses to come back in tomorrow before midday to get a DNA mouth swab test to see if I am a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. If I am a carrier and my friend's husband (sperm element of this process) is a carrier then we have a 1 in 4 chance of creating an embryo which would develop into a child with Cystic Fibrosis. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm now off to bed early as I need to catch the 2am train out of this wee town to get back to Sydney in order to get to the clinic to get a mouth swab done... breathe...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First hormone test day...

***VOICEOVER***Its Day 7 in the Combine Harvester house...

So it was an early start again and a quick run through the rain in central Sydney to get to the clinic before 9am... I arrived at 9.01 but they still welcomed me in with open arms! Bless them!!!

This blood test was again barely noticeble on the pain scale, in fact more like a discomfort scale honestly. And the blood sucked out is minimal, so again, no real biggy!

I asked to speak with Anna again but she was out so I was able to speak with Carly who was SUPER! I just wanted to know if I was able to head out to my Parents (a good 4-5 hours drive out of Sydney), and I got the all clear there. I also wanted to ask about my friends egg donation predicament and what I could do to ensure my eggs were perfect. Carly told me that in fact it sounded like there was an issue with the sperm and not the eggs, especially as my mate already had 4 kids. She also told me that Dr Mark didn't like to get more than 8-10 as less and better quality was best. If the FSH works too well you may end up with more eggs of lesser quality. Good to know!

I've got to say, I am really happy to be doing this with an IVF team who sound very precise with their proedures. they don't seem to leave too much up to chance. Good times!

Did I mention that the Provera is causing bloating... can you imagine what its like with Airline travel bloating as well? Oh well, I take a Yarrow tincture made by A.Vogel. Its a dream to get rid of the bloating and subsequent pain!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 6 June 22nd

No blood tests, just take the Provera and recover from 10 days or strange travel.

Jetlag is killing me. I'm awake one minute then asleep the next.

Really want to get on to work bits and bobs but its a struggle and a half!

I spoke to a mate today who actually went through the egg donation process up in Brisbane, Qld last month and she had a pretty bad time. Not because the process was that fierce, after all she's had 4 full pregnancies so no problem dealing with gross and overwhelming reproductive activity. But they harvested 16 eggs and only 13 were any good for fertilisation, but then only three took to fertilisation, but apparently the fertilised eggs were not considered very good embryos... And they are blaming the fact that she smokes. I'm going to check that with the nurses at my clinic. Mind you I don't smoke, but I want to make sure I am doing absolutely all that I can to make my eggs healthy asssssss!!!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

First day at the clinic

Today I had to go into the clinic and have a blood test. This is a full blood screening for Hep A, B, C, HIV, VD... oh, and my blood type.

The clinic is located in Central Sydney and the bloods and testing is done in the mornings between 7am and 9am, so I set off at about 7.45am from Coogee in search of the bus and the right stop to get me into town before 8.30am. I made it. I signed in. A nurse took my blood and I seriously barely felt the needle going in. God bless amll mercies!

And then I asked to see nurse Anna, the one who talked me through a week or so ago, so I could drop off my small forest of paperwork. She's lovely and I find out I haven't signed all and its a matter of getting Sean to resign, scan and email more stuff... complicated! Oh well, nothing too great to do on this job!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 4 June 20th

Woo hoo I arrive in Sydney and get myself to my home for the next month. Some friends in Coogee will give me their spare room for the month. Bless their cotton socks! With luck, I'll see some sunshine along the beach here too.

Its off to brunch at a trendy cafe called Flat White in Wollahra.

Oh and take the Provera... at my new modified time of 7pm. I think that is closer to the times I have been taking it for the past few days!

I'm jetlagged! Really jetlagged! Must sleep!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Provera day 3 on the 19th...

So where am I? I have no idea! I need to be taking the pill mid flight en route from the UK to Aus. OK so I have it calculated on flying via Bangkok... Only I'm not flying through Bangkok... I'm flying through Singapore. Does it matter? I don't know? Consult iPhone international time zones application thing-a-me-bob... argh, not sure.

The pill gets taken. I think when I was in Singapore? I can't remember. It was roughly between 7 and 8pm Aussie time. En route, I was doing battle with my cool as I was sat next to the biggest whinger on the flight but it meant I got an upgrade from Singapore to Sydney so the staff could get me away from her as she was a pest! Bless you British Airways!!! woo hoo!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Provera on the 18th...

So I am now playing catch up and decide to reduce the time to equivalent to Aussie 8pm on Provera day two so I can get it back to 6pm over the next few days. So Aussie 8pm is 11am UK time and I am at my desk working at home and the pill is taken on time!


Considering I am recovering from altitude and jetlag, I'm shocked I didn't mess that one up! (Altitude from being at 10,000ft in the Rocky Mountains for previous four days)

Dedicated I tell you!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Start Provera

Its Thursday the 17th of June. I need to start the Provera today. One problem. I need to take it at the same time each day. I will be in Aus on the 20th and there for the majority of the time I take Provera. So I need to make sure I take the pill on Aussie time... but I'm on my way back from Colorado. argh, there's going to be numbers involved and my brain hates numbers!

Its ok. I want to take the Provera at about 6pm each day in Aus, so what time does that make it en route back from the US to the UK? Well 6pm in Aus works out to 9am UK time and my flight gets back in at midday, so I need to take the Provera 3 hours before landing back in the UK.

Guess what. I slept through the last part of the flight and wake up just before landing and our business class beds (bad reclining chairs) have beenstuck in position and I can't access my bag to get the pill out...

Result: I end up grabbing water as soon as I land and take the pill just minutes after coming through into Heathrow Terminal 3 and meeting up with my partner. So I actually took the first Provera at approximately 9pm Aussie time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A rough guide to what's involved.

So this is how I think its supposed to play out...

Firstly I am to go on a progesterone pill to regulate my period (a bit).

Ordinarily the doctor would put me on the regular pill for a month or so in advance of the cycle for the donation just so the medical staff can be a little sure of dates etc. But as always my body is not playing ball and my history of classic migraines means I am at risk of stroke if I take it... hmmm... All news to me, but then I've never been a fan of the pill and only took it for 3 months when I was in my early 20's. It seriously made me feel like poo! Stuffed up my digestive system and I've been suffering ever since. (I'm now 35 btw!)... but then thats another story...

So I am on the drug Provera for about 10 days (starting the 17th, while I'm due to be en route back to the UK from Colorado). Then I have to start taking a hormone suppressant, Synarel, for about 14 days, and I think it starts somewhere along the road from when the Provera starts. Then I will be put onto a course of injections, FSH, Follicle Stimulating Hormone and that will take me right up to the harvest.

At this point I should point out that Synarel is not the only drug used in each case. Very often, Lucrin injections are used instead. Just thought I'd let you know that!

So those drugs and the process might not really explain it too well, so I will now attempt a very rough version of the biology behind it...

Firstly, a women's ovaries ordinarily release a bunch of eggs from both ovaries each month. (I didn't know that. It explains how we manage to go through a million odd eggs in a lifetime.)
This is triggered by a hormone which is released from the pituitary gland which says "Ovaries... release the eggs...!!!" So then the ovaries do so. But naturally as with all things natural, it is survival of the fittest. So another hormone is then released which tells the eggs "ok eggs, you may have been released, but its actually a one egg winner race" and so it becomes a case of natural selection, hence you end up with the strongest egg (in theory I guess?). But with the egg donation process, instead of the second drug being released, the Synarel suppresses that second hormone and all of the eggs which were originally released remain in the game, so to speak.
So then I have a bunch of blood tests and stuff and the nurses keep an eye on my hormone levels etc and they can tell when I have ovulated and when is the right time to start giving me the injections which will stimulate all of the eggs and not just the one. And to keep a proper check on things, the nurses do blood tests and CT scans every couple of days and eventually they give the go ahead, I have one last big injection and then they go in and do the HARVEST.
The harvest part is a short 20min procedure but I am sedated for it and given two local anaesthetic injections into the uteran wall (?I think thats where it goes? Either way that won't be massively pleasant). The HARVESTER is a vibrator looking device (I am told), which has a camera and a needle with a sucker on it?!?! Anyhoo, the harvester goes into the vagina, then the camera locates the egg sacs and the needle goes and sucks them out. The eggs are assessed almost immediately and we know how many good looking eggs we have. (I know, those friends of mine reading this will immediately say, they'll all be good looking if they are from me! Bless you friends!!!)
After that it is up to my friends receiving the eggs to tell me anything more, as once they are removed from my body they become their property. Its a legality thing and the medical staff aren't allowed to tell me anything else.
But the biology behind the next part... the eggs need to be fertilised within the following 18 hours (I think), and that will happen by the sperm of my friends, well the male of the couple anyway. then those eggs are frozen. It is better to get the recipient (my female friend) into a rhythm with her cycle so that it is completely ready for the body to receive the fertilised egg, the embryo.

OK, that was a lot of technical writing from the least biologically savvy chick I know... me!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Step two...

So the next step after the counselling was an appointment with the nurses at the clinic. Again, as I was in the UK it was a phone consult. I spoke to this awesome chick Anna, who just made me feel completely ok about asking a million questions over and over and over and over... again (you get the picture!)

I have these indecipherable note from that call which have a timeline of events:
17th - start taking one type of pill daily - take it the same time each day and don't deviate from that (hmmm... what time will it be on the 17th when I am supposed to take it as I will be on my way back from Colorado?!?!?)
18th - fly out to Aus - bugger... what tiem will it be during the flights that I need to keep taking this pill??? Doh!!!
20th - arrive in Aus
21st - Blood test to see if I am carrying any scary diseases which are communicable by eggs... OMG, what have I got. My head goes into tail spin at the thought that I may have some sketchy disease which will derail the whole operation.... Breathe!
23rd - more bloods to see the hormone levels
24th - start taking the nasal spray hormone suppressant..........................


ok, breathe. Hang up phone, stop panicking and start working out time zones!

Monday, June 7, 2010

First things first

So it turns out I have to do a counselling session with my partner with the registered counsellor at the IVF clinic in Sydney. We can't start the process without it and its going to have to happen over the phone. After all, we live in a village in Berkshire, UK. So at midnight one Sunday a few weeks ago, my partner and I made a few calls and eventually got a good clear line to the counsellor in Sydney.

The major outcome, we were ready to go, however one issue she raised which we hadn't though about... how would we feel if our friends didn't use all the eggs and some of these fertilised and frozen eggs were destroyed? Also, how would we feel if our friends found out there was a problem with any subsequent pregnancies and decided to abort?

Interesting thoughts... glad I didn't have to make any input in to that. Heavy stuff indeed... for our friends!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The prologue

In May 2009 I found out some friends were in need of eggs to assist in their quest to fall pregnant. Now ordinarily a family member, sibling or cousin would be called upon, however in this case my friends didn't have anyone of a blood relation who they could turn to. So I put my hand up. They didn't ask. I just offered.

I started asking my friends what I might need to do in order to be a successful candidate and they put me in contact with their IVF doctor and it all went from there.

Naturally it hasn't been completely without complication. Firstly, I was single when I offered to help, and now I am not. In July last year I met a great guy. So great, he totally supports my decision. He even encouraged me not to back out of it earlier this year. But along with his emotional support, it also means he has had to go through the process with me. OK he doesn't get the drugs, nasal sprays or injections but he does get to endure emotional ME with whatever might be en route?!?! Ha ha ha... fun times for him - tee hee!!! He's also been introduced to the wonderful navel gazing world of counselling, and been subjected to a small forest of paperwork to be signed. So his entry into my world has meant another element to respond to.

Secondly, I live in the UK and my friends live in Australia... How many bosses do you think would allow their staff to travel across the planet for five weeks and still let them work remotely for a minimal amount each week? I don't know of any others aside from mine! Seriously grateful!!!

Thirdly, I had to be assessed by the IVF specialist in Sydney. Luckily my partner and I had planned a trip to Aus in November 2009 so we went along and met the very lovely Dr Mark and he talked us through the process and we felt informed. It was actually great to get the professional opinion on the process as we had both heard quite a few horror stories. As with human nature, most people only pass on the negative stories they hear. Makes for better TV I guess?

So with the geographical challenges, a new partner, a host of medical hurdles including the effect of certain hormone drugs on flying, its been interesting just getting to the here and now!

And just to top it all off, apparently a lot of people wouldn't even consider offering this kind of donation! I might be called crazy, and I might get called a bunch of other things, so I thought I'd write this blog so that I can let you all know what's actually involved. And to give support to anyone else who might be considering the process. Now I can't say that my experience would even come close to anyone else's but at least it might shift some of the myths.