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!