Monday, December 17, 2012

Weeks 21 and 22

Monday, December 17, 2012
The weeks are plodding along. I now look back on photos from a few weeks ago, when I thought I looked big, and laugh!!!

Here I am now...apologies for the hair!!!
Week 21

week 22

I'm feeling better, still wanting/needing a nanna nap around 2:00pm.
Cooking babies is hard work.

My niece, who turned 7 this past week, has been busting to come to a scan with me, so I took her on Friday. It's a bit hard to see exactly what the babies look like, seeing as they still resemble aliens but she loved it and that's what counted...also the fact they're healthy and growing well.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Half Way

Monday, November 26, 2012
I'm now 20 weeks!
More than half way for my pregnancy, seeing as I'll be having a c-section between 37 and 38 weeks.

My belly is growing an inch a week which is fabulous because I know the twins are also growing, but bloody scary knowing I still have 18ish weeks to go and at this rate, another eighteen inches to GROW!!!

19 weeks

and bigger again at 20 weeks!

I also did a Q and A on Mamamia last week which you can read here. I had some negative comments, whaich are always to be expected but the majority were very positive and a few women have contacted me wanting to know

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Update and Me on the Telly

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
First of all, here are my week 17 and 18 update photos. I can see a big difference from one week to the next...

week 17 plus messy, wet hair

week 18

Now on to something I did interview on The Project

There was a story written in The Sun Herald about women in their late 30s, early 40s who don't have a partner and are turning to IVF and donor sperm.

Here's the story...

There were some sore points for me in this article, but the top one was the term "social infertility". Had I not known what the article was about, I would have thought it meant someone who can't make friends.
It refers to a woman who wants to have a baby but has no male partner, so she turns to donor sperm and IVF.
The person who coined this phrase obviously has never had a a problem with fertility, either personally or someone close to them because infertility to a woman who IS truly infertile, doesn't matter whether she has a male partner or not...she CANNOT GET PREGNANT.

Now, I have NO problem with women using donor sperm to get pregnant. Hell, I was one of the 40 year olds who realized my fertility window was closing and made the decision my dream of having a loving partner who wanted me to be his Baby Mumma was not happening.
After five years and seven rounds of IVF, I then came to the realization my eggs weren't viable and the ONLY way I had any chance of getting pregnant was to use an egg donor. If you've been playing along, you'd know all of this. If you're new here, you really should start from the very's a very good place to start (now I have an earworm).

I digress - I was asked if I'd like to be on The Project to discuss the above article.
There are SO many women I chat to on Twitter who are dealing with genuine infertility. Some are single, others in a relationship, but have tried for years to have a baby and failed, whilst others have a baby but only after going through the emotional roller coaster and spending big bucks on many rounds of IVF. All were seething about the words "social infertility". I needed to be their voice...

I was SO nervous but the panel made me feel very much at ease...both Meshel Laurie and Dr Andrew have twins and Carrie is (now) a single Mum, so they could all relate to some aspect of what I am about to go through!!!.

Of course, on my way home, thought of all the things I should have said, or things I meant to say, so here they are...

QUESTION: Was it a hard decision for you to become a single parent?

ANSWER: Yes, very and while I can't speak for every woman, I think a lot will agree when I say we all have that "dream life" embedded in our subconscious...Mr Right wanting to spend the rest of his life with you, kids and a family pet. When my marriage ended in my mid 30s, I figured I still had time for another relationship and babies. I did - I spent three years with a guy who was a couple of years younger than me and kept telling me he wasn't ready for kids. Shoulda listened.
That ended and after a couple more short-lived flings and a rocky on, off love affair, I found myself single and 40. A girl friend told me I should look into using a sperm donor if having a baby was so important to me (which it was/is). At first I was against it, but the seed was planted (pun intended) so I started researching it and decided it *was* a good option.

QUESTION: The IVF industry has called women who make this decision ‘socially infertile’,    what do you make of that label?

ANSWER: I think it's demeaning to those women who are genuinely infertile whether they have a male partner or not.
*I pretty much answered this when I talked about the article above.

QUESTION: What are some of the criticisms you’ve encountered as a result of your decision?

ANSWER: *sigh* There seem to be a lot of naysayers who love to critique everyone else's lives. 
- I've been told I'm too old to be a first time mother, 
- I've been told if a woman can't have a baby naturally, the Universe obviously doesn't want her to be a mother, 
- I've been told I'll damage my child/children because they won't know their birth father and ALL kids need to know this. Why? I am not sure. 

In a perfect world, all kids would grow up in a wonderful happy family, but for many, unfortunately this isn't the case. Women have what they think is a wonderful relationship, get pregnant and it all goes to shit during the pregnancy so she's left single.
Or the family breaks up when the kids already know their Dad and he disappears from their lives (this happened to a friend of mine). All her kids are well adjusted and not broken.

The parents are same sex. Again, I know a couple of families who have unbroken children who think nothing of it.

I'm going to tell my kids how much they were wanted and what lengths I went to to have them. I have a Father, two brothers and many male friends in my life, so there will be no shortage of testosterone or people to answer "boy" questions.

QUESTION: What do you say to those who believe people in your position should have made more of an effort to become a parent earlier in life, rather than relying on IVF later down the track?

ANSWER: I'd like to tell them to f&*k off and mind their own business, but instead I smile and say I would have loved to have had kids ten years ago, but circumstances didn't allow for it. I have no idea whether I could have EVER had them naturally, so even when I was married, I might have had to have IVF but I'll never know and have put that out of my mind because there's no use dwelling on the past.

Young girls spend their teenage to at least mid to late 20s trying to NOT get pregnant, so when we're finally at the stage for wanting kids, it's sometimes later than our bodies are prepared for. Egg quality diminishes at 35, which, in this day and age, is not considered old. Thankfully we live in a time where IVF isn't taboo and, whilst it's not inexpensive, a lot is Medicare funded.

For this...I am grateful 

N x

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Weeks 15 and 16 - Or, I Can't See My Feet

Thursday, November 1, 2012
Week 15 was pretty easy. I had an appointment with my OB, had a scan and the babies are growing as they should.

15 weeks

 During the scan, my Dr asked whether I wanted to know the genders...HELLS YES.
The doctors here, in Australia are not allowed to tell the patient verbally before the 19 week scan as there is still the ability to have a termination. I am shocked anyone would terminate a fetus at 16 weeks because of gender, but that's me and apparently there have been cases.
During the ultrasound, he pointed out what I could look for. I definitely saw a penis on one of the twins, but the other was all hands and feet and wouldn't get into a position where we could easily see. 

S0, I was given two envelopes containing pink or blue sugar almonds which I carried, unopened, back to my office. I already knew one was going to be blue. Whenever friends have asked what I'd rather have, I've always said I don't care as long as they're healthy.

Clearly I did care because...

I wanted to cry. I have NO idea why because I am SO SO SO very happy to be pregnant and having,  not one baby, but TWO. I think I'd just always thought I would have a girl even though there is always a 50/50 chance I wouldn't!!! All my names are girl names.
I now have a new project...get together a list of potential boy's names.

Week 16 - starting to look less like I've eaten too much and more like I'm pregnant
 My next scan is the biggie...19 weeks. It's the 3D one where I will find out for sure what they both are. I seem to always be waiting for the next ultrasound.

N x

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weeks 13 and 14

Monday, October 15, 2012
I've started taking a weekly photo to show my growing belly, which now seems to be getting bigger by the day.

I'll post the pics here so you can play along...

Week 13

Week 14

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why Australians Go Overseas for Donor Eggs

Sunday, October 7, 2012
This story was written by Jordan Baker and was in the Sunday Telegraph on September 30th 2012.

It certainly rings true with me as this is the reason I ended up getting my donor eggs from a clinic in Athens. There is neither an egg nor sperm donor program in Australia like there are in a lot of other countries throughout the world.

Please read the article so you get a better understanding of just how difficult it is for Australian women and couples needing an egg donor.

All Stitched Up

This week I went into hospital for a day surgery procedure to have a cervical stitch put stop the twins deciding they want to come out early. This is also done for pregnant women who have gone into premature labor in the past. It's usually taken out at week 37... that way labor can happen naturally and at a healthy time for the baby. For me, it will stay in until after my caesarian because the OB does NOT want me to go into labor!

It was a lot easier than I'd imagined.

I had to be at the hospital at 6:30am for an 8:00am procedure. Perfect...first patient for my Doctor that day, which meant he'd be on time. Which he was. WIN

Calling it a "stitch" is a bit of an huge understatement! It's actually more like a piece of tape that's about 15cm in length and has a metal hook at either end. I was a bit lot surprised when my OB showed it me what it looked like, when I was in his office the week before.

I was more surprised when I woke up from surgery an hour later and felt in no pain, not nothing like I was numb! After forcing down a white bread sandwich and a cup of tea, I was allowed to go home. A girl friend picked me up and I was back in my apartment by 11:00am.

The rest of the day was spent lying on the couch and generally taking it easy, but apart from some bleeding, which I was told may happen for at least a week, I'm fine. No pain. After next week when I go for my check up, I can start back at yoga. Something I've been really missing.

I'm now in my 2nd Trimester and still in shock when I tell people I'm pregnant!!! I feel SO blessed that I am finally living something I've dreamed about

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

12 Week Scan

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Every time I have a scan I get a shock when I first look at the screen and there are TWO babies!

I made it to 12 weeks and had my Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan on Friday. This is done instead of and before an amniocentesis as it's non invasive. The babies are measured and checked that everything is growing as it should and everything's good in ma belleh!

Until I know the sex of the babies, I'm calling them B1 and B2. Now B1 was very cooperative during the scan. He/she lay very still so it was easy to take all the measurements and pics. B2 was another story...he/she was curled up and would NOT move! I had to wiggle around. That's meant to help. It did, a bit, but B2 kept moving.
It took twice as long to measure B2 than B1, but both are gorgeous and perfect.


I don't need an all depends on the age of the eggs and my donor is 20 years old. I'm on the lower side of the lowest scale.
Thank goodness
Having two needles stuck in me was not anything I was looking forward to. Also the chance of a miscarriage with an amnio is quite high and higher with twins.

Next...cervical stitch. I'll find out when I'm having that when I see my OB later today.

N x

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week Eleven

Thursday, September 27, 2012
I cannot believe how nauseous I still feel...but I'm learning to live with choice really.

This is going to be a bit of a ranty post, but it's my blog, so I'm not going to apologize. I just wanted to warn you.

All my friends...actually EVERY woman to whom I've told that I'm pregnant, has a story about her or a friend's experience with morning sickness/exhaustion/birth. I welcome other's anecdotes as long as they're shortish and pleasant. However, every now and then someone doesn't think that what is in their brain should not be formed into spoken words.

Here's just one example...

Me: How was your trip to Los Angeles

Girl Friend (GF): It was great, caught up with lots of my friends but there was something that I can't stop thinking about that happened which was awful.

Me: Oh no...what?

GF: I wasn't going to tell you, because, you know, you're pregnant and this is about a friend who was also pregnant.

Me: Ummm, well now you've started and if you want to tell me the story, go ahead. (I was kind of hoping she was going to say NO, I'll save it until you've had the babies..but the words kept comin' out of her mouth).

She went on to tell me how this friend of hers was 25 weeks pregnant and had a miscarriage whilst she was visiting. Every second sentence was "I really didn't want to tell you this"


It's a very sad story and I realize things like this happen to many women, but, you know what, I have been trying to have a baby for SO MANY YEARS and now that I finally am, I just want to hear about butterflies and fairies.

Friends...this is one of many stories I've heard since being pregnant, whether in person or on social media (Twitter or FaceBook). Please think about what you are about to say to someone BEFORE could really upset the recipient.

N x

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meeting A New Doctor

Sunday, September 16, 2012
This week I had my first obstetrician (OB from now on) appointment.
Sitting in the waiting room, I realized how different to mood was there to the one at the fertility clinic. The women at the clinic don't make eye contact and everyone is "hopeful". They're there for a blood test to check hormone levels. The results of which will tell them when they can start their IVF cycle/change, up medication/when their egg pick up will be/if they're pregnant.

In the OB's waiting room, however, all the women ARE pregnant. Most have probably never seen a fertility clinic and are lucky enough to conceive naturally. I like this waiting room. PLUS, I didn't even have to wait very long.

He answered all my questions, explained what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks and did an ultra sound. They're still there...tiny hearts beating away.

I left with a giant folder full of information and a book titled TWINS

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nine Point Three Weeks

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Yesterday I had another scan. I was fine until about an hour before, when the anxiety started. It wasn't because I thought anything bad had happened, more that I was a bit worried the Doctor might find that the third embryo was actually still there!!!

Thankfully that didn't happen!!!

The twins are there. It's still a bit very surreal

They look a bit like astronauts
They now have heads, stumps for arms, legs and even knees. Bloody amazing.
Cannot believe they're inside ME!!!

After three years of visiting my fertility Doctor, today's visit was my last. I thought I was with him until week 12, but nope. He recommended an Obstetrician, who is the one I have been asking around about and hearing only good things.
I bade everyone farewell and promised to visit when my belly is HUGE!

When I got home, I called the OB and have an appointment on Friday...
Thus begins a new chapter

N x

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Eight Weeks Down

Sunday, September 9, 2012
I'm now eight weeks pregnant. It's been such a long road to get to this point, I still find it weird to say, and even type the words
"I'm pregnant"

Three weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I started bleeding and, naturally, I totally freaked out.

I called my Doctor's emergency pager number and whilst waiting for him to return my call I Tweeted about what was happening. I couldn't believe the responses. I was NOT alone. This happens to LOTS of pregnant women, sometimes it's a one-off, other times they bleed for days/weeks/the whole pregnancy.
By the time my Doctor called back, which was only about 20 minutes after I paged him, I was feeling a tad better. He talked me off the ledge saying pretty much exactly what I'd just been told. Also, there was really nothing to be done except keep taking my hormones and wait 10 days (TEN DAYS) for my first scan. He said I was welcome to come in on the Monday but was a week too early to see any heartbeat, so it would be kind of useless.

I resigned myself to the fact that truthfully, I was doing everything right and hopefully it was one of the three embryos that didn't attach, making a dramatic exit. I bled most of the weekend, but not as badly as Friday night. I still had all the same symptoms...sore boobs, all day nausea and beyond tired by 10:30pm, so I was pretty sure I was still pregnant. Just to be *sure* I bought more pee sticks and, sure enough, they kept coming up positive.

Just some of the pee stick tests I invested in

I spent a lot of the week with a friend who was visiting from New York. He and I had severed ties 18 months before. He made contact with me a few weeks ago, emailing me to let me know he's been thinking about me and he's having a mid life crisis and he'd love me to respond but wasn't sure whether I would.
I did and we started emailing back and forth, just like we'd never stopped. He told me he was contemplating coming to Australia to see a friend of his who lives in Queensland and would definitely visit Sydney but felt strange coming without me knowing.

So, as perfect timing would have it, the week before my scan, when I really needed to have my mind focused elsewhere, he arrived. It was awkward for about one second when we met at a movie theater...between when I first saw him to when he gave me a hug.
All good

It only took me about ten minutes to tell him about me being pregnant!!! We were early for the film, so we sat in the bar area. He asked a couple of times if I wanted a glass of wine and I had to say no thanks. To curb the same question at dinner after and any meals following, I decided this was as good a time as any.
He was shocked at first, but only because my news came out of left field...he was and still is, very happy for me.

This was the week my nausea and tiredness started getting worse! After the movie we went to dinner. I absolutely love(d) the menu at the restaurant but took one look at it and realized there was not one thing I wanted to eat. We settled on sharing 2 pasta dishes. I ate exactly three mouthfuls. By 10:00 I was ready for bed so he put me in a cab which I nearly fell asleep in!!!

The same thing happened the following night and the one after that. I'd told him about a great new restaurant that had opened only a couple of weeks before and was getting great reviews. it just happened to be attached to the hotel he was staying in!!! We ordered their signature dishes, one of which is Peking duck and I basically forced myself to eat them. The food is really good and I'm now looking forward to returning when I have an appetite so I can enjoy what I'm eating.

Finally came Scan Day. Mum insisted on coming with me, which was fine. She'd been with me (in the building, not in the room) for my transfer, so I felt it was right to let her do the same for my first scan. I made her wait in the Doctor's office. Not because I'm a bitch, because I wanted to find out on my own first.


Well, this is head shaking, tear making stuff.

I still can't get my head around it and don't think I will until I start showing, which will be ???

I'm really nauseous all day...the only thing I can equate it to, for those who have never experienced morning sickness (also everyone's morning sickness is different) is that I feel car sick every moment of the day...AND NIGHT. I also have overwhelming tiredness. So much so, that I've been having a nap most afternoons if I can and have now been going to bed at about 8:30pm!!!
I cannot make arrangements unless it's before 11:00am because I don't know how I'm going to feel. Mornings are my best time. My friends, thankfully, are understanding because they've all been there done that.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home Again

Thursday, September 6, 2012
The horrible two week wait after IVF embryo transfers is exactly that...HORRIBLE.
During this time, I decided I should do some pee stick tests or POAS - pee on a stick. For the very first time EVER, including every IVF cycle, I started getting positive results.


I couldn't believe it, so kept buying you do. I was also feeling a bit off and very tired but put it down to jet lag.
The morning finally came that I could go for my blood test. I was there at 7am but knew I'd have to wait until the afternoon for the results as they had to go back to the Doctor first. As you can imagine, I was unable to function!!!
A girlfriend called check up on me and insisted we go for lunch. I agreed, because I knew there was no way she'd let me stay home alone.

She picked me up and we went to a local cafe, where I spent the next hour forcing down food and glancing at my iPhone...waiting, waiting, waiting for THE call.

Finally, we decided to leave. I was going to call the clinic from the car, but as we left the cafe, my phone was my Doctor.

"My Dear, you are definitely PREGNANT"

I burst into tears in the middle of the street. Literally, I was standing on the median strip with cars and buses driving by on both sides of me and there was I, shaking, with tears streaming down my face.

My friend, after we hugged, ushered me into the car to breathe and regroup. She drove me home so i could begin making the phone calls to family and friends...and announce it on Twitter. I *had* to because all my Tweeps (followers) had come to Athens with me and, whatever the outcome, needed to know.

N x

Monday, September 3, 2012

Greece is the Word Part 2

Monday, September 3, 2012
The first three nights we were in Athens, we stayed in a hotel in the city. I couldn't get the apartment for the whole time we were there. After weeks of deliberation, I booked two rooms - one each for Mum and me. It wasn't perfect, especially as it was too hot to go out between 2:00-7:00pm and the hotel had no pool (no idea how *that* got past me), so we were stuck in our rooms most of the afternoon.

The city of Athens is hot, dirty and full of back packers. Not my scene at all. However, the best part of being there was finding a vegetarian, mainly raw cafe that I'd been reading about called Avocado, which just so happened to be literally around the corner from the hotel.

My first appointment at the clinic was the day after we arrived. The cab ride wasn't long, the wait at the clinic was two and a half hours!!! Luckily my Doctor in Sydney had warned me about this and we went armed with ipads, books and snacks. However, it was more fun people watching than reading!
The clinic, Athens Genesis Hospital, was so much more than I'd expected. I'm not actually sure what I thought it was going to be like, but this was pristine. The staff are all very friendly, most speak English, it's was SO busy with patients coming in and, above all...CLEAN.

My name was finally called and I was ushered into Dr Kostas Pantos' office. The clinic is his...HE IS THE man everyone comes to see. I realized why the wait to see him is so friggin long - he doesn't watch the time.
There's no "Ok, your time is up." He answered all my questions and Mum's...of which there were many and when we were satisfied with all answers, he sent me off with a script as long as my arm for a lot of (fertility) drugs and told me to return the following week for my transfer.

All I know about my egg donor is that she's 20 years old. No.other.information...BUT they had SIX viable embryos for me...SIX. All would be unfrozen and left for five days. Commonly known in the IVF world as blastocyst.

We had a whole week to explore our new surroundings in Glyfada. The area is only 15 minutes by cab from the center of Athens but the total antithesis!!! It's by the ocean, open spaces, clean, the stores and restaurants are beautiful and as I said in my last post, the apartment was spectacular.

Six days later, I returned to the clinic for the reason I was in embryo TRANSFER.

The whole procedure took about 10 minutes. Three embryos were transferred. This is common procedure for the Doctor there for patients over 40 years old. He says there's more chance of one taking. I, however, am healthier than most women over 40!

My Embies...I named them Huey, Luey and Duey

Back to the apartment for the remainder of the day to rest and we left the following day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Greece is the Word - part 1

Thursday, August 9, 2012
You've probably all thought I ran off and joined the circus...or went into the witness protection program, but you were mistaken.
I'm here. I was getting bored with telling the same roller coaster with the sad ending over and over.

The egg donor here found out her egg reserve was low, so it wasn't right for her to donate again. I wish this test had been done before she'd been offered to me the first time. It would have saved me more heartbreak and money.

So...the only way I was going to get donor eggs was to go outside Australia. My fertility Doctor has affiliates in Cape Town, South Africa and in Athens, Greece.
The person in charge of the donor program is his wife, Denise, so I made an appointment with her to talk options. I'll skip over the boring stuff and say I chose the Athens clinic.

Being summer in Europe, the clinic closes for the month of August, so we had to move fast as I was the last patient they were sending until September. Denise, organized everything with the Athens clinic and started me on the hormone medications I needed to be taking.
I booked flights and accommodation, organized someone to look after Ollie, my dog and did all the preliminary freaking out
"Am I going to the right place?"
"Is Athens safe?"
"Will the clinic be clean?"

The week before I was scheduled to leave, my Mum decided she'd come with me. This meant I had to re-look at accommodation as I'd booked a one bedroom apartment. I figured if I was going for 10 days, it'd be much more comfortable to have more room to move around in than just a hotel room. Also, I'm not a fan of eating out for every meal if I have the option.

There are a couple of sites I like and trust and trawled through them looking for a two bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in an area of Athens that looked safe! Having not been to Greece in a couple of decades, I wasn't au fait with the city at all. I'd been told about good neighborhoods, so was focusing there. 

I finally found a superb apartment, in an area called Glyfada, which is touted as being the Beverly Hills of Athens. Said apartment had all the amenities we needed PLUS a PRIVATE POOL.

Our private pool

Me and my breakfast smoothie

N x

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Move Along

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Hello, don't fall over, it's just me.
I haven't been posting here because I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for the egg donor to come back from her summer holidays. She's going to do another round, which is absolutely wonderful as I'm all out of embryos.

I'll keep you posted, and in the meantime, I have another blog to keep you occupied

So, you might as well move along because there's really nothing to see here.

N x