Saturday, December 26, 2009

The last one for 2009

My dear readers, I hope you had a great Christmas and peaceful time with your loved ones. I've been at home for almost a week and the frenzy of the shopping, cooking and catching up surrounded me from day one.

First of all, thank you to my new followers for joining in, I hope you'll stay and get to know me a bit better. There are nealry 50 of you! you all mean so much to me, your support is precious, I'm sure you know this already, and I'll need all the support I can get in the next couple of months.

And then here's what I've been up to in the last few days.

A great thing I discovered this time in Italy has been meditation. I never practiced it before and my sister (who's a bit of a yoga-health-relaxation expert) convinced me to go to a class on tuesday evening for a guided session centred on the theme of peace. I loved it. The next day I bought a book and a CD and definitely the new decade will see me embracing this new practice. if you are interested I can recommend the book I got which apparently was written by a well-known guru. I'll also write a bit more on meditation in the new year when I have more time, but for now I have to say, it was an eye-opener. Definitely more me than acupuncture and possibly more than reiki. I think I'll go again for reiki with the new cycle and I'll associate meditation with it!

We had a bit of drama on wednesday, I brought my sister to the eye-ER around 3 am to find out that she had a corneal ulcer. Damn. For a bit we weren't sure if she could join us on our skiing trip but we got the all clear today. So that was a definitely a good Christmas present.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were traditionally spent at home, the all lot of us, making it to a head-spinning number of 6 people around the table! It's a great thing Mike comes too, although I'm not sure he'll be coming next year (that'll be 5 years in a row...) but I really don't want to miss out on this days with my family, at least until my granny is with us. Afterwards, we'll see, I suppose we'll start alternating years like it's tradition...and it'll be a major sign of love on my side eating turkey and ham instead of my traditional Christmas dinner...

Anyway, we are off skiing tomorrow, we got a lot of snow here so I'm egar to get to the slopes! I'll have the company of AF for a few days (knocked at the door today to see if she could join in right on time wohoooo) which also means I'm starting the pill probably tomorrow as I'm not really bleeding yet. I'll be on it for just 3 weeks!!! Basically a normal pill cycle! It's a different brand this time, I needed a little change, let's hope it'll agree with me. Oh dear...the rollercoaster is about to start again...we'll see how the new-zen-me will cope this time.

2010 here I come. Be kind to me, that's all I ask for.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Last minute

The week is nearly over, our flight is tomorrow at 7.20 am and we have not bought presents yet!! AHHHGGHHH surely I used to be much more organised!

We have the presents for the niece and nephews, I know what I'll ge for Mike (a drill! very manly!) and I have a good idea about what to get for my sister. Presents for my parents will be dealt with once I get to Italy. And for the in-laws we usually bring them out for lunch at some stage in the new Year.

Now in what's left of the day, we have still to go and do a bit of shopping, pack the suitcase, going to the SIL on the other side of town and give the presents to the children. And ideally I would have wanted to submit a revised article and send off a new one. Ah well, these last two things will have to wait until January. Also my student (remember the one who had a bit of a break down a couple of months ago?) stopped by with her bound PhD thesis this morning, she'll submit it on monday! Ohhhh I definitely got a bit emotional!!

Our holidays will be full of things as usual, a part from the rush up to Christmas, with things to get and friends to visit, we'll be going back skiing on the 27th for a week! There is a lot of snow and hopefully it won't be too cold for maximum pleasure on the slopes.

I'll try to read your blogs while I'm away and comment as much as possible even if I'm not ICLW this month, but I guess my next post will be in the New Year!
I wish you all my friends and very peaceful Christmas and may the New Year bring us all what we long for. Much love, Fran

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

At the chemist and other updates

I came back on monday aftrenoon, very late may I add, due to snow in my town and delayed flight. I had a great time and skiing was jus what I needed! So I'm back now for the last week in college, with several last minute things to do as you can imagine.
I have finally managed to read the latest on most of the blogs I follow and posted on many of them and I'm very happy for the good news all around and very sad for the bad ones also all around. I suppose that's life.

I went to the chemist yesterday to pick up muy pill prescription and I'm not sure if you remembered that this particular chemist is the one that deals with the special meds for IF treatments and the girl there knows me by first name by now. When she saw me she came around the desk and hugged me. She said she was so genuinely sorry to see my prescription caming in and I had gone in for support meds the last time with the good news of the beta...ah well, obviously it wasn't my time yet. I'll pick up the rest of the meds in January before starting the cycle (jeez, I'll be taking the last pill in just over a month and I haven't even started it yet!). It dawned on me then that we are starting a new decade. It sounds good. 2010 is a nice round number, let's hope it'll be the "right" number also!

On the attic front we had yesterday a second architect coming to see the place and hopefully he'll give us a quote by next week! That's all so exciting and I really can see the big picture and how it's going to look! After that it's a matter of price. And we'll definitely play it safe.

The New Toy is not back yet and needless to say I'm fed up with it already. I called the support unit and all I was told was that they have "loads of computers" with the same issue. That's reassuring...NOT! And believe me, this is a well known brand! Grrrr.....

Finally, I'm going back to Italy next monday for two weeks and the Christmas madness, so I'm afraid I won't have much time to blog but I'll be posting a Merry Christmas post before going.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trip

I'm off tomorrow for a work/pleasure trip.
It happens that I supervised a Master student from my home-town University and tomorrow she has her thesis defence....so I thought I'll go along! I'll be back on Monday at lunch time.

My dad suggested to use the weekend to warm up the legs on skiing slopes and I just jumped at the opportunity. Within seconds my sister was on board also and finally my mum could come too, so it'll be like when we were children on a short holidays together. I can't wait.

On other fronts: the New Toy (aka the computer) is sick again with the same BSOD it had before. I had it back a day or two and sent it straight back in repair last week. It's not back yet and I'm getting quite pissed off as you can imagine. Now they think the problem is the wireless card and the mother-board. Considering that the first time around they changed the hard-drive I think they've pretty much reassembled a new machine. We'll see.

The Attic project is at halt at the moment. We got the signed letter from the owner of the apt below but we haven't yet received anything from the architect. We liked the guy but if he's not on our same timeline I think we do have a problem. Mike called him this morning and he said he's going to email us the plan this afternoon. Last chance.
Exams have started so I've scripts to correct, but it's not too bad.
And finally yesterday I met for lunch with H., she's one of the girls coordinating the Ectopic support group! We had a great time and really connected, she hopes that with the new year we'll be awarded the charity status and everything else is ready to go.

Big hugs to Sam, things didn't work out this time unfortunately.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The attic project update and the rest

We have made some more progress in the red tape for the project! The directors have no objection in principles and don't see a problem in us opening windows on the side wall either, they will want to see the plans before singning off on it though. So that's great!
The architect has posted the budget proposal to us this morning so we should soon know what kind of money we are talking about. More news on this coming soon.

Today I'm so very happy for my cyber friend C who has seen a heartbeat today after a lot of spotting and bleeding and she certainly deserve a good happy ending this time.
And then there is Sam who's testing tomorrow and I'm so so hopeful it'll be 3rd time lucky! Come on my friend, it'll have to be your time this time.
On the other hand, another cyber friend from a local board had a BFN and I'm really sorry for her...she also suffered an ectopic, lost both tubes and finally lost an IVF pregnancy at 31 weeks...I cannot even imagine how heartbroken she must be. But she'll go again and I have everyting crossed it'll work out the next time.
I went to the clinic on monday, paid my deposit and booked all the scans for January!! I have to say, the sight of my file would make a stone cry....it must be 5cm thick by now...enough, 2010 better be the year that file closes!

Finally I've been looking a lot into american agencies for the adoption project. Very very few would work with non-US families but I did find one that gave me loads of info. Now, we are still ages away from anything happening, we haven't even heard back on our documents sent out 6 (six!) months ago. And that's just to get a number to get on a waiting list for a preparation course...can you imagine? The waiting list will probably be a couple of years long. You really need to be committed, but the governament here really really should work on this because it's appalling. If any of you in the States knows of any reputable place we could contact so that at least after the course there won't be anoher three years wait to be matched, please let me know.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hairdresser Madness

Living in a different Country from that you have grown up in, brings some issues like...trying not to look exactly like everyone else coming out the hairdresser. And you are not used to it. In Ireland this is something so common it's unbelievable. There are probably 3 or 4 hairstyles...long straight hair (not very difficult to just trim), curly (usually medium-long), medium length bob and I can't think of another one. The fake blondies have the same colour blond, it's unreal, the straight hair also are the same, Jannifer Aniston had hit hard here I think.
I had long hair before, and it is as straight as spaghetti, so for a while I didn't mind too much spending and hour or two and answering "yes" to the standard question "Do you like it?". Then I wanted to change, a nice chop, lighter and more me. For a couple of times I just couldn't convince the hairdresser to cut it short. You should have heard the excuses..."but you have just put highlights in..." or "it suits you so much this way...". And believe me, I HAVE tried a few different places. Finally a hairdressed in a new saloon took me on one time and she went for it. The length was gone but, how could I say more clearly "I don't want hair across my face??". No joy, I always come out with a "curtain" of hair hanging over my right eye. Great. And there is just no point in arguing. I've lifted a white flag with that one. At least she's shortening it. Today I thought I had a chance. My usual hairdresser wasn't there and I had a different one, short hair herself. I was very clear, I even showed her a picture on a top fashion magazine dedicated to short hair...We seemed to be in agreement and then...there she starts puling the hair to one side, I knew the "curtain" was coming. She shorten the hair a good bit at the back at least, but it's the front that matters more! I kept telling her my hair wouldn't stick across the forhead at that fashionable angle unless she glued it to it. But she tried. And tried some more. Then she shortened it a bit. Then a bit more. She even "taught" me how I should dry it to make it stay that way. Yeah right. Once I had a perm, a real one (ah.. the eighties...) and it disappeared two days later when I washed it!! I know my hair, I've had it 35 years and I can tell you, unless you overload it with wax/gel/spray and a few prayers it'll go back to it's original position. Straight down.
I gave up. I left the saloon annoyed, without leaving a tip and with the "curtain" across the forhead. Like the hairdresser who cut my hair. I should have known better.

Back home, I cut that "curtain" myself, and swore not to go back there. Not sure I'll find a better one though, I'm nearing the end of the list of places I can think of and I just think it is silly to pack in a haircut too when I go to Italy...but unless I have some seriously recommended place for the next time I might have to do just that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

28

I am not sure how long it was since I had a perfect cycle. 28 days and AF had shown up. Amazing. I was telling you that I feel like my old self and this is an other sign.

On a different note, we had the first hurdle dealt with for the attic conversion! The owner of the apt underneath have no objections whowhhoo! So next is to get the approval of the board of Directors, I'll put a letter together over the weekend.

Finally, I seem to have some problems in leaving messages to blogs in which the comment box is imbedded in the page...am I the only one?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The attic project update

The architect came on Thursday and we thought he was great. He looked at the house, at the various rooms and, of course at the attic! He sees great potential and so do we. So what do we have to do?

First of all we need to ge permission from the owner of the apartment underneath us with whom we share the roof. We know the couple living there and we had the feeling they were renting, but anyway, I sent Mike to talk to them and sure they had no problem at all with us converting the attic and will give us the name of the owner (we feel it maybe the County Council). Hopefully we'll get the contact today and I'll follow this up next week.
Next we need the approval of the Directors of the Managment Company, we knew we had to have this and one advantage, according to the architect, is that they are the developers of the estate, so they know about buildings and stuff (ie if the project is good and adds value to the property they'll be able to see it).

Once we have this in place the architect will apply for planning permission to the Council. Ideally we want to open two windows in the wall and we hope the neighbouring unit won't object (we already have 3 windows on that wall, it shouldn't be too unrealistic).

The architect will get back to us in the next week or so with a budget proposal and a list of things to do. The job itself, once we have planning permission, should only take 4-6 weeks and it would be better if we move out (and move back in the granny flat I was renting when I first move to Ireland!! The landlady became like family to me and came to our wedding in 2007).
I think spring sounds like a plausible time for the job, watch this space!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ICLW week determination

This time I'm determined to post twice as required for this ICLW cycle. You all just deserve it. I just realised I've already made two new friends (welcome!!) and can't wait to read more about you.

Let's see where we are at. Well, you can read most of my IF-drama in my profile. Yes yes you got it right, two damn exctopic preganancies out of two fresh ICSI cycles have wiped away any left hope for a natural pregnancy ever to happen to me and I have to tell you that two natural cycles after the last surgery and methotrexate (yes that too! and I've called myself the Ectopic Queen ever since) I cannot believe I'm back to my normal self of three years ago, before all the TTC business started. You see, if there is no hope there isn't the disappointment! And you may think "poor thing...sure I would say the same if I was tubeless.." but no no I really mean it. Even when we (I) said in the past "ok, let's take a break from this crap (i.e. no OPK, no BBT, no TTC, no LH/FSH/HCG and the classic WTF)" I never really was on a break. Deep deep down I was still hoping for a miracle...they happen sometimes right? And I know you understand the stress of it all.

Anyway, we now know that our only chance is with ICSI (male factor was the only reason of our childless life apparently) and we'll give it another shot in January/February (we have dates actually, so all going well EC will be on the 3rd of February).

Meanwhile I'll be talking about work, the attic project and anything else that goes on in my life in between cycles! Thank you for stopping by, I hope you'll stick around!

ps: I'm celebrating my 100 post here! ...and 3 years of TTC madness

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Busy busy busy

You know the way you go away for just a couple of days and you get back and things have piled up like you haven't done anything for the last month?
Exactly.

I've now done a lot of the tedious work and decided to blog a bit. The lab-madness has shifted from one student (who's now back to her good self) to another. She's also finishing up her PhD and if I have to say I'm confident she'll do well at her viva I'll be lying. A lot. Nothing to do with the quality of her work. All to do with her personality and lack of confidence and background knowledge. I'll have to consult with a colleague to see if we can do something to help her. Thankfully it won't happen before spring, I may be well pregnant by then and worried about other things!

And, would you believe it, my new superduper computer is gone back to the makers! Yeah yeah I know, if I had gone for a Mac it would have been better...ah well too late now, I just hope when they'll ship it back it'll be ok. For all the IT people out there, the problem was the "BSOD" (aka Blue Screen of Death!), not sure if it was a hardware or a software issue :o(

Finally I should meet up with the girls for the Ectopic Pregnancy support group on Saturday! Really looking forward to it now. A big hug to my friend Mad Hatter who's third IUI didn't work. If you can stop by and give her a hug.

ps: the architect will come over this evening to see the attic!! Woohooo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brand new Fran

I have it!! I have my new toy!! Yes ladies the new computer is here and I love it....oh the pleasure of fast response to commands, the new features of the OS...no no it's not a Mac, that's what my sis has but I chickened out and bought another Win based laptop! And being a gadget addict I have spend hours with it already...

And sure being in Italy just forced me to by new clothes and shoes! They sell them in Dublin too of course, but...ah well, you just cannot compare them!

Everyone here is well and altough I'll fly back tomorrow, I have another work committment here early in December, so...ah well, I'll just have to come back again, poor me... :o) but next time Mike will probably not come so travelling will be a bit less fun.
And the food. Oh yes, it's the chestnuts season and I nearly ODeed on them!
What can I do to have Ireland importing them regularly? How is it that they don't have them? You should see the stuff they sell, apples imported from New Zeland... pears from South Africa...oranges from Brazil....come on, keep at least normal fruit local and bring in the chestnuts from mainland Europe! Am I asking too much?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lots going on

I'm really bad at posting at the moment! I'm so deeply engaging with bloggers going through cycles that I forget to update my own.

I have everything crossed for all of you my friends, I can't wait to hear your good news and even more to confirm the good news which cautious IFers are not able to fully enjoy just yet.

So I have no updates on the attic project because the architect hasn't called back yet, and the only other thing going on at the moment is work. I went back into the lab myself to do a bit and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed hands-on-research. I have to try and do it more. I've nearly finished teaching for this semester and the next one will be quite a lot more demanding, but I won't be thinking about it just yet! My PhD students are all doing well, no drama at present, let's hope it'll last.

And on friday we're flying to Italy for a quick weekend, I'm meeting some colleagues at my former University and most importantly...I'm picking up my super laptop!! No...I didn't convert to the cute Mac...I didn't have the courage, but I can't wait to put my hands on the new toy that's waiting for me there! My next blogpost will be from there :o)
Also I asked specifically my mum to buy loads of chestnuts....I love them roasted and you just cannot find them in Ireland....and then I'll go out with my friends for some delicious hot chocolate...mmmmhhh can't wait! Mike on the other hand is very happy that he can watch the Ireland-France World Cup match with my dad. Every one's happy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here I go again

...on my own...
Goin' down the only road I've ever known....
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone...
An' I've made up my mind..
I ain't wasting no more time...


Perfect lyrics actually! I got the dates sorted out with the clinic!!! A little dance please...
So I'll start the pill with the December cycle (around Christmas), until the 17th of January. Scan dates: 21st of Jan, 27th of Jan, 29th of Jan and 1st of Feb for EC on the 3rd or 4th of February!!!

I'm very happy with this, they had offered an ealry date (EC on the 20th of January) but that was too similar to the date of a FET I did this year and I think I prefer a different month this time for transfer! Same protocol as the last time (short with antagonists) and a bucket of fingers crossed!

For hose of you who don't know the song I'm talking about at the beginning of this post, please have a look at this link, it's an ad for Twix and I think it's brilliant, the old lady singing in the rain bringing tea somewhere far! Let's hope there is a warm shelter at the end of the road!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The attic project

While waiting to get definite dates from the clinic, I have the time to explain a bit about our project to convert the attic.

First thing to be said is that we live in a duplex. Here's a picture to give you an idea:

This is not really our place but it's definitely very similar. So you see, we live in an upper apartment (two-storey apartment) and underneath us there is a ground floor apartment with its own door. We are also in a block of 8 units in total (4 up and 4 down) and at the end of the block.
Theoretically we are not allwed to convert the attic as our roof, to which we have exclusive access, is in fact the roof of the ground floor apartment also. Due to a series of strange Irish regulations we wouldn't even be allowed to change the interior layout of our apartment without approval of the Board of Directors of our Management Company. Having said that, if all the 4 upper duplexes in our block are on board for the attic conversion we'll have a very strong point with the Directors.
Unfortunately, with this recession going on here stronger than anywhere else (or that's the feeling anyway) the neighbours are not ready to spend on the attic, but they have all expressed support for us to go ahead. We currently have two and half bedroom. The third one is so small that we se it as office, so we coudl really add one in the attic. Our next-door-neighbour Pat is an engineer and said he was going to do soe drawing for us. This was weeks ago and I haven't seen anything yet! So I've sent the dear husband to enquire and to make sure that either he was giing us some drawing or we woudl call our architect in and do things properly.
You see, ideally we'd love to have windows on the external wall but there may be objections to it (we already have 3 windows on that wall) so we would have to consider putting in velux on the roof. The space is very big for an attic, we could have easily a 5x4m area with plenty of headroom in the lowest point. So I want to fit in a nice double bedroom and a bathroom.
We will have some technical issues to sort out also such as how do we get the hot water up there without using a pump and if we have to use a pump will it serve the sink and bidet also as well as the shower?
So as you can see it's all a bit up in the ... attic at the moment, but hopefully I'll have clearer plan soon!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Moving on

Thank you so much for the comments on my last post. We were away last weekend and I had the opportunity of talking to a good friend of mine who's a clinical psycologist (and I think she's pregnant!! see later) about my student and she agreed with you all that she needs to see a doctor very soon. So I talked to my student this morning again, she feels much better, appears to be the usual lovely girl I got to appreciated so much during the years and although she has not gone to the doctor yet I made her promise that as soon as she feels things are changing again she'll go. And I'll have her under very strict surveillance!

So as I was saying we went to visit friends in the countryside last weekend. We have two couples of very close friends who are even closer among themselves. T is Mike's best friend and A, his wife, is a fantastic girl and a very good friend of ours. They know all about our IF and have been amazingly supportive (during my FET last April we went at their wedding carrying the penguins!). C and D are the other couple, they have a baby who's 18 months or so and absolutely adorable. A and C are both clinical psycologists and they have been great help during the dark days. C is pregnant again and I so much appreciated that she called and told me very early on (she is 10 weeks), she said it was difficult but also she knew it would have been disrespectful of me actually not telling me. And I was truly happy for them. This was last week news.
And then we went to T and A for the weekend. I had the immediate impression she was pregnant too. They didn't say though, so it may be just very early, but I knew. You know the classic things like she's not even tasting the wine (and he's not even offering it to her, very unusual!!) and being a bit more tired than usual. Yet we went for a nice walk up the hills and did a lot of gardening. So Mike doesn't think she is. I bet we'll get the official news in a month or so.

We'll be the only childless couple left. I admit, this had an impact on me that I probably understimated a bit. I felt sad at the idea, out of the circle so to speak. I'm afraid they won't call us anymore, maybe just out of consideration that it may hurt us being around their children, their happiness. Which we don't have.
And I got my period on friday night, right on time which was great, but somehow brought back the feelings of fear that I had when I was bleeding due to the ectopic. God....I'll be absolutely terrified if I'll get pregnant again. Not sure what to do about it.
I called the clinic today and I'm waiting for a call back. Ideally I don't want anyone IRL to know about this, I know everyone is just trying to be supportive, but the stress of keeping real people up-to-date for me is a lot right now. We'll see. Hopefully they can schedule us for January/February, I want to be on the pill for as short as possible.

And I know I haven't updated on the attic conversion yet, but i promise it's on my list of things to do!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's to rambling!

Well, so if you are really really sure I can ramble on I'll do it!! Thank you so much for the comments girls, we'll see how it goes with some normal posts then.

Work is really busy at the moment, you see, although exams only happen in December, staff have to submit exam questions in early October (4 weeks into term!) for the external examiners to review them and come back with comments. This system is ridiculous of course (how can someone in a different Country appreciate the type of questions you prepare and judge if they are appropriate without knowing the content of the module??) but it has to be done. And so we rush. Rush to prepare exam questions even before you'll know what you will teach during the semester, rush to comment on the external examiner comments, correct your questions (here is not like in the States, students must be given options within a question so that they can pass knowing 40% of the contents...ridiculous), rush them to the secretaries for printing and then rush some more when your colleagues do not stick to the deadlines and you look bad too. Ah well that's done now.
But the most demanding thing now is my research group. I have a 7 PhD students at various stages and 2 Post Docs. 3 of the students are finishing up and have started writing their thesis and one of them is having a nervous break down. Seriously. She is such a bright student, so mature for her age and in a day she turned into Satan. Still seriously. She wasn't herself, she was very aggressive with me (the boss!!!) and absolutely out of control. Believe you me girls, I actually didn't know what to do. After a few days she improved a bit and I waited a few more days and then talked to her. The poor thing was in tears every few words, she's worried she's in fact breaking down, she can't sleep, can't work or not work, she realises there's something wrong with her and doesn't know what to do. Needless to say I'm very worried for her. She's been my first student and it's like a daughter (now....I'm not that old!! and she's not young enough to be my daughter, but you know what I mean), she'll be going to the UK for a post doc, and she'll be alone over there. I tried to be very supportive, she was so apologetic and so on. I mean...I cannot go and phone her mum up can I? I'll keep a close eye on her though, hopefully she'll ake the advice of going to see a doctor soon.

Tomorrow I'll upate on the house!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A plan is shaping up in my head

I've been a very good ICLW member this time around and I'm very proud of myself (pat pat on my shoulders!) and it happened that I came across a blog in which one of the posts was about finding a proper balance between updating your own blog and commenting on others'. I think I comment more or less on all the blog I follow very regularly but I do feel I'm not postin much on my own at the moment. Of course I'm not cycling, nor I have the hope of a BFP at the end of a 2ww, so I'm not sure what to blog about. This is an IF blog so shall I post about the life that is going on regardless in the background? Let me know my dear followers, what you think.

But on the IF front I started feeling ready to go again. That's brilliant. I mean, it's a brilliant feeling. And so if AF shows up on time around next weekend, I think I'll phone the clinic and speak to the Favourite Doctor and see if we can schedule a cycle for the New Year. Due to the methotrexate shot on the 16th of September, I couldn't cycle before the end of the year in anycase, but maybe I can get nice dates in January leading to February? Ideally I would want to be on the pill for the shortest time possible and assuming that the cycles are normal enough I'll propose to start the pill with the December cycle and then we'll see the clinic calendar for dates at the end of January. How's this for a plan? I haven't said anything to Mike yet, I want to make sure I'll feel the same when AF shows up!
No news on the Ectopic Support Group yet, and no news from the Adoption Board yet (I guess it shouldn't be too long now, all the documents have been evaluated by the individual units and gathered together for the approval of the Board).
Also no progress on buying a new house, so we converted our plans into trying to .... convert the attic of our exiting home! It won't be a straight forward job as we live in a duplex and have to respect apartment type "house rules" but...one step at the time and hopefully we'll get a plan approved!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ICLW round.... four?

Oh dear...where is the time going? It's ICLW week again! Can't remember if it's my 4th or 5th time and I love it more and more.



So shall I give a quick recap or where we're at? Or your already sick andtired of it :o)? Ah well, it's not like you have a choice ehehehe so here it goes, I promise it'll be short!

Mike and I have been together for 6 and half years (WOWOW that's the longest relationship I haver had!) and we got married in 2007. I started feeling the ticking clock since I was 28 I think but you know how it goes, the time didn't seem right (and it wasn't), I was getting separated from my first husband so really I didn't even quite have the basic crucial elements to have a baby! Then I met Mike, things became serious more or less in 2004 but he couldn't even think of a family at that stage, so we waited, and we waited some more. Until I got tired of waiting and told him so in 2006. It became clear at that point that the traditional Irish education had done some "damage"...there's no such a thing as having children without being married! And so that was somewhat a proposal and we got married in March 2007. We started "trying" a bit ahead of schedule but nothing happened. Then we were married but unfortunately that didn't make much of a difference and after several months we got tested. MFI was the diagnosis. In December 2007 I had a lap&dye plus D&C (diagnostic) and a part from very mild endo nothing seemed wrong.
And here we are, an IUI, one fresh ICSI cycle (ectopic), two FETs and another fresh cycle (ectopic again!!) later...wondering when can we go again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

They keep coming!

I got two more awards! And I want to thank Courtney and Circus Princess for the kind thoughts and I'm happy to be the recipient of the Kreativ Blogger Award!



Here are the rules that accompany this esteemed honor:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award - check
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. - check
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. - check
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

I think I have done everything up to n°4! So, let's start with the list of things I haven't yet said about me:

I have never been into videogames until we bought the Wii

I'm a bit of cleaning-obsessed person, but I have improved a lot lately....ehmehm

The sheet that covers the materass must be perfectly straightened out or I cannot sleep!

I speak two languages only, Italian (mother-tongue) and English

My nephews are absolutely adorable, but I wish they stop asking when will we have children...

I kissed properly less than ten guys....I know I must have been too focussed on studying!

I tend to juggle too many things at a time and that's not good for my karma!

And for the nomination I'm going to use the list below so you guys have got two for the price of one LOL

Courtney again is the lovely blogger who nominated me for the next award:




Courtney is one of my most recent followers and I'm getting to know her through her blog only recently, but she is justso positive about life and although she's going through IVF like most of us, she manages to keep a fantastic attitude which is definitely contageous!

Here are the rules:
1-Thank the person who nominated you for this award and write a little bit about why you love them.
2-Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3-Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4-Nominate no more than 17 people (why 17?) who you love or you think could use some love.
5. Write one word (you can only use a word once) about what you love about their blog.
6. You cannot nominate someone who has already been nominated-the love has to spread to all.
7-Post links to the 17 blogs you nominate.
8-Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.
So in no particular order and way less than 17 so that some one is still available to receive the award:

Best When Used By connecting

Stacey inspiring

Mad Hatter am(az)(us)ing!

Fertility Chick progressing

Fertility Guy courageous

Sweet Georgia researching

Jane G reflecting

And now I've finished this post! Getting awards is really nice but this time it has taken me ages to finish this one! All the words I've used are meant so my friends, take your time and pass it along when you feel like it. I love you all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finally!

I didn't think this day would come and yet here I am with a HCG down to 3! Oh finally, finally finally I will not have to go back for another blood test next week! The midwives this morning came all to say hello (imagine! they know me by name now! ALL of them!) they all knew my values were low the last time so this woudl have been probably the last visit for a good while.

They all said next time I'll meet them it'll be for a good reason and they all can't wait to see me for a proper baby-scan! Weren't they nice? Lovely all of them. When the chief-midwife called me with the results (yes! it happened again! unbelievable) she said to make sure that the next time I'm pregnant I have to book a very early scan. I told her that I had phoned this time too but that they didn't seem to want to book me in before seven weeks. She was horrified and told me to ask for her directly and she'l sort things out. Nice.

I have a few bloggers to thank for awards (THANK YOU!) and I'll work on them in the next day or so.

Meanwhile the only other news I have is that I am now part of this newly born "Ectopic pregnancy Ireland" support group! It's such an early stage and there is a lot to do, but hopefully we'll have soon a website and a support-phoneline! The girls (only 6 of us in total so far!) have already applied for a Governament recognition of the charity organization, they have prepared leaflet already to be distributed to hospital and they have been already medically approved. I feel great about this, I cannot say how much. I haven't met them yet, it is all dealt with by emails and over the phone, but because we shared the same experience it's as if we know eachother already!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another award!

Big thank you to Fertility Chick for this award! I don't have much to talk about at the moment so this is was a great gift for a blogger addict!


Rules

1. You Can Only Use One Word
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award
4. Have Fun!

The Fun Part

1. Where is your cell phone? Bag
2. Your hair? Short
3. Your mother? Unreplaceable
4. Your father? Present
5. Your favorite food? Desert
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Water
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Illness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Family
13. Where were you last night? Bed
14. Something that you aren’t? Complete
15. Muffins? Bluberry
16. Wish list item? Pregnancy
17. Where did you grow up? Italy
18. Last thing you did? Blogging
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? On
21. Your pets? None
22. Friends? Reliable
23. Your life? Full
24. Your mood? Positive
25. Missing someone? Sister
26. Vehicle? Micra
27. Something you’re not wearing? Make-up
28. Your favorite store? Appliances
29. Your favorite color? Orange
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Month
32. Your best friend? Paola
33. One place that I go to over and over? None
34. One person who emails me regularly? Secretary
35. Favorite place to eat? l'Officina
Recipients:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

HCG nearing zero!

Well well well I'm so happy to report that my HCG reading yesterday was in fact 14!! And I couldn't be happier! I also got AF visiting! Another good sign that things are in fact becoming normal. Jeez, it wasn't quick, was it? But what can I do...I am just pleased that eventually everything was sorted out. And would you believe, yesterday I actually got THE phone call from the hospital informing me of the results. So I still have to go in next week on tuesday because they want to see a <2 reading and I'm also happy with that. Hopefully it'll be the last prick for a while.
Having a great time with my sister so, again, apologies for being a bit idle at the moment! I also want to thank all my new followers, I just love having you reading my blog.

No other major news to share a part from the fact that we are considering buying a new house! Of course, I have to keep myself busy while waiting for other things to happen...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sister and other news

Finally my sister has come over to visit!


I'm in fact blogging from her Mac which I hardly know how to use (I'm an hard-core pc user and she's now trying to convert me!).
Everything is going well thankfully, I'll have to back to the hospital for another blod test on monday and I decided to take the day off to spend some quality time with my sister in town.

Work is quite busy and that's the way I like it really! So next week I have a day trip to Manchester, then I've been nominated to be a partecipant on a specific European grant programme which may mean I'll be making a few trips to Brussels and I can't wait! I think my sister may come along too and meet me in central Europe if I really get to go there.

And I have contacted the Miscarriage association and it was a good move. The lady I spoke to (June) sent me their information material and also gave me the contact details of another girl who really wants to set up an Ectopic Pregnancy support unit! I'm calling her this weekend and we'll see how we get on. One thing I find really nice about this association is their logo: it's a tree from which a leaf is falling off. It's really sweet and meaningful. June sent me two pins. Not sure where I'll put them yet but I'll wear them for sure. She also invited me to the special service they hold every year in remebrance of the lost children in November. 
I think I'll go. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back from...Paris! And HCG behaving well

My dears,

I can now reveal that the chosen destination for the mystery weekend was..... PARIS!
Yes, the romantic city by definition! Actually I had taken the idea of Paris from my cyber firend Clare who went there a little while ago and then posted a fantastic post called "We'll always have Paris!". And I thought it was just the perfect place. I had been there a couple of times but Mike only went when he was a child so I figured he probably didn't have a fresh memory of it.

I had booked a very nice hotel near the Louvre (hell...it wasn't cheap, but a treat is what we really needed) and because I mentioned it was Mike's birthday they arranged a little present for him!

So all Mike knew was that I was driving, guessed it was somewhere in Ireland and probably a Spa hotel! WRONG! I drove alright, but to the airport! When we got there he was a bit unsettled, not knowing where we were going and all. I had checked in on-line you see, so it was a real surprise until we got to the gate! He loved it though and we had a great time. Weather was great which always helps and we managed to see quite a lot. Yesterday we went up on the Tour Eiffel (how many steps?? didn't count, but my legs are in bits!) and Mike said it was the best birthday present ever! Hopefully I'll have a better one some day...

And we are back to reality now, back to blood tests, back to lack of calls from the hospital...the usual! But the news is good! Today blood test gave an HCG at 101! A fall of 85% in a week!! Brilliant. Now I actually don't know if I have to go back, when I phoned the nurse attempted the card that the ward was closed and to call tomorrow. Ahhah she didn't know I know the game by now, so at least I got the number off of her and I suppose i'll go back again weekly until it goes to zero.

Last thursday I also went to see the berievement midwife. The chat went very well, we both acknowledged that I have now dealt with the loss and moved on. I really want to try and make something out of this experience, I have been doing quite a lot of volounteering when I was back home, so I asked if there was anything I coudl do to help others who went through the same tough time. She gave me a number of an Irish association for miscarriage support, I'll phone the chair-lady this evening! Fran is back on track!

Sorry for not having being able to post on your blogs, I'll catch up in no time! I promise!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good news and ICLW week

HCG is finally dropping!!! 4 days after the methotrexate shot the values plummeted from 1023 to 681!!! How's that for a birthday present? I don't have to go in on wednesday at this point (it would have been day 7 after the shot) but monday next week to see how it goes! I am sooooooo happy....imagine, being happy about dropping HCG! The World is spinning backwards!

Now for the ICLW newcomers here's a brief recap of my (mis)adventure. Our second fresh ICSI cycle in July gave us a lovely BFP...only to find out at 6w that it was ectopic again. A month ago today I underwent surgery which removed my second tube. The first one was lost to another ecopic pregnancy a year ago after our first fresh ICSI. I'm sure you can all imagine the shock of this...event (can't think of a better word) happening again in both cases after successful IVF procedures. Call me lucky.
Anyway, this time around things didn't quite settled after surgery. A routine HCG test 2 weeks post op showed that the hormones were sky high. This ment either that some cells were left behind after laparoscopic procedure (possible) or that the second embryo implanted also outside the uterus, didn't really developed but was not miscarried either and generated a cellular mass producing HCG (a bit less likely, but we are talking about me here!). Anyway, after a number of bloodtests which never really showed a drop in the levels (stabilised at just over 1000) finally I got a methotrexate shot to put an end to this misery. And this is the reason of the message at the beginning of this post, it's working!!
So I'm now 35, hopefully the levels will continue to drop and I can detox myself in preparation for a new ICSI cycle in the new year.
Meanwhile we are also waiting to hear back about our adoption application which we submitted in June 09. I'll wait until the end of the month and then I give them a call to see what is the current situation, the wait will be incredibly long but hey what do we have to loose?
Thanks for stopping by, I always love to have new readers!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Ectopic Queen and other updates

What a week! Sorry for not updating, this week work has been crazy, and yesterday I was at a conference I helped organising, I just didn't have a minute.

So on wednesday I went back to the hospital for yet another blood test. I decided to stay in town until the results were ready. I got a scan done too and the uterus looked great, so did the ovaries and...wait, what is that? There was a 1.2 cm mass between my left ovary and the uterus. Could it have been the second embryo in the stump of the tube? She didn't know. It would have been unlikely that the two embryos of the same age had such a different development, but you never know. The blood test was going to tell us more.
I had a nice lunch, bought a book and went back to the hopsital around 3 pm. The beta was ready and it was still above 1000. By the way, I thought the results on friday was 1007...yet again I got it wrong, it was 1078! But on wednesday it was 1023 (I saw it in writing this time!) so a bit lower but not significant according to the doctor. I had a chat with the doctor on duty and decided to go for the methorexate shot. He agreed. More blood tests, more waiting, and finally I got the injections. No big deal if it wasn't for the doctor who put on safety goggles, a plastic apron and gloves up to his elbows!!! I suppose it was for his own safety. The injections were IM, and I was absolutely fine afterwards. I had to go to the conference dinner in the evening and that was ok too.

And yesterday it was my birthday! So now I'm 35. Wow. My 34th started with me being pregnant (but when I found that out I was still 33) and discovered a few days later it was ectopic. Then I had a second ectopic which I hope will resolve with the shot I got when I was still 34! I have to say I look forward to this new year, I hope it'll bring good things. And sure the clock is ticking away but there's nothing I can do about it. Mike, who's not the type that surprises you with presents (normally he asks what I want for my birthday) totally blew me away...when we got home after the conference, there was a big package on my chair in the kitchen, he bought me a clock we had seen two years ago in Spain and never saw anything I liked as much since! He started looking for it over the internet before the summer! Unelievable. And then today when I got to my office, there was a huge bunch of flowers on my chair! I thought it was from the lab but nope...it was again from my lovely husband!! So I sarted saying to him that I hope my surprise would keep up with the high standard he has set...it's only a week away!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Are we there yet?

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the one and only stable HCG person on the planet!

Yes, that would be me. This morning we went to the hospital, got the blood done and the midwife was once again brilliant! She contacted Dr. A before I left so that we can have a plan given that is, once again, friday. Dr. A would have called me with the results and talk to me directly after lunch.
And so she did, she asked how I was (I'm well, but I think I ate something wrong yesterday...) and if I had any bleeding (no, I don't think so, but maybe a slightly slightly coloured mucus?). Anyway the HCG on sunday was 964 and today was 1007. She definitely calls this a plateau. Really no difference. Actually I think we may have reached a turning point! From 885 to 964 in two days and now after five more we are to 1007. I'd say we've gone around the corner. Could it be that it's actually slowley going down?
So what do we do now? She said she's really trying to hold off on the methotrexate because she said "You really cannot start IVF again for two month if you get the shot" I said "No worries! I don't think we'll try again for at least 4 months" but still the values are not going to increase now I think and we can wait a little longer to make a decision. I'm going in on wednesday for yet another blood test and a scan (given that I had two embryos transferred back and that she's very confident they removed the pregnancy with the laparoscopy, could I have picked the lucky ticket for two ectopics for the price of one within the same IVF?) and we decide that day how we progress. If the values haven't dropped I'll definitely insist on the injection. She said the side effect are actually minimal and yes of course I can feel a bit sick with it but it's more likely I won't.

Today a year ago I found out our first ICSI had worked. Can you celebrate a BFP anniversary even if it turned out to be an ectopic? Still I feel in the last year a lot had happened, I got pregnant twice and maybe a third time wasn't far off! This is out of four transfers! Ok I have no babies yet, but I know ladies who never got a second line on those damn sticks, and even though the happiness for us was short lived, it still was one of the happiest moment in my life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We do have a plan!

Work is crazy at the moment, the academic year has started and I hardly have time to eat! So I didn't manage to update on our meeting with the Super Doctor.

It went very well, of course he said we just have to try again and hopefully our embryos will stick to the right place. We dicussed a lot the stats of another ectopic pregnancy, but he said that if it happens again we'll make a publication out of it! And to basically stay positive and hopefully things will be fine. When we'll be ready to go again I'll be on the same short protocol which worked really well for me. Of course I told him about the HCG being still high and the "wait and see" attitude of Dr. A. He also thinks it's probably good too see if it'll decrease on its own and that there is no real reason to panic as the increase was so minimal. In fact he said that if some cells have in fact been left behind, it may be to my advantage as some scarring of the stump may take place blocking the access even more. I asked him about more surgery before going again (remember? to remove the stumps and the fybroid) but in his opinion could be a bit excessive. So we'll see. Overall it was a great meeting and we came out quite reassured. Then we bumped into the Favourite Doctor and she wanted to know all about how I was, so she brought us into one of the scan rooms and we had a great chat. She thinks this HCG value is high but you never know, she said with me she woudn't be surprised if there was in fact a second ectopic! But obviously I'm feeling well so she's not worried and on friday we'll know in any case. Her husband happens to be an oncologyst and we found out we live very near! I asked her about the methotrexate shot and she said it's very effective but that I can be sick for a few days if I have to get it done. I may loose some hair (hopefully from the legs!) but the dose is so mild I may not even notice. She wants me to stay in touch and le her know how things work out.
Tomorrow it'll be a very early start as I'm teaching at 10 and I have to drive into town beforehand for the blood test! Better going to bed early tonight...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do we have a plan?

Last night I mange to talk to the doctor again. She was very apologetic for the delay in getting back to me, apparently there were only two doctors on call and it was just crazy. She was very nice over the phone of course, and very reassuring. She said she checked with the other doctor as well and they both felt that the best thing woudl be to talk this morning with the consultant who oversees my case. She said she was going to be on duty all night and that she would call me tomorrow with a plan. She was very sympathetic and knew I just couldn't be left in limbo, and she aslo said that they had received the offial pathology report and that the pregnancy was normal, no sign of trophoblasts (that was my fear, particular cells from the pregnancy that starts replicating out of control) and that although my HCG is a little high, it's no where near the values of a trophoblastic tumor. The fact that I feel well is of course an other indication that this is no emergency to them. She said probably with my knowledge and background I have "been reading a bit too much into the numbers" and I think it's "probably true".

So this morning then I was called twice, once by one of the midwives who deals with all the consultant's cases (we'll call the consultant Dr. A) and she said Dr. A was aware of my results, and that she'll call me tomorrow in person but that she doesn't think there is the need to be worried and that it could be a physiological plateau (basically between 885 and 967 there isn't much of a difference in medical term) and that the best thing is to recheck the HCG ths coming friday and have a better idea which way they are going.
Then the lovely doctor from last night called me (it must have been around 10 am this morning, she must have had some shift!), again she confirmed what the midwife said, she had spoken with Dr. A who thinks this could be completely normal and that given my high HCG before surgery, two weeks was just too early to check. Of course we'll repeat the HCG and that if the value is truly creeping up on friday we'll have a plan in place.

I do feel less worried, I still think these numbers are going in the wrong direction, but hey, can I be wrong for once in this pregnancy please??? Friday is only three days away so it's not a long wait and if they are creeping up this slow it's not going to make a major difference acting today or in a few days time.

And I also got a text from the Favourite Doctor, she had received the report from the clinic and wondered how my HCG was at the last count. So I told her and she said to let her know what the plan was. Today I also have the appointment with the Super Doctor, so many things have happened meanwhile that I'm not ready with all my questions! Maybe I can just listen this time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Going up

Well who would have guessed...the HCG is not falling at all but climbing nicely.
I actually had the numbers wrong on friday, it wasn't 864 but 885 and two days later is 967. So what this means is that something has been left behind during the surgery and keps growing. We are talking cells here, not an embryo of course.
So I'm waiting now for the doctor to call back. I called the hospital at around 3pm and was told "of course you'll be called back, probably your tests aren't back yet". I call again at 5.30 pm I had heard nothing. After an a nurse or two who kept telling me it was late and that there was nothing they coudl do until tomorrow morning, finally I was put through to the Gyn ward and the nurse there must have remembered my name or something. Anyway, she looked up my chart and told me that in fact my numbers were going in the wrong direction and that she would try to put me through to a doctor. This doctor happened to be the same who spoke with me on friday, she couldn't believe I didn't get called today (ah well) and that she would look at my chart and get back to me with a plan.
So here I am waiting again. I guess the plan would be the get a methotraxate injection and keep the HCG under close monitoring and if that's the case I want to get it done yesterday.
I'll update you as soon as I have news, sorry for not having posted much on your blogs lately.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Another blow

I went in for my "routine" blood test today. Two weeks after surgery. I had POAS last weekend and the line was there but very faint, so I was confident today my HCG should have been very low if not zero. Zero would have been great, moving on, looking forward to the appointment on tuesday an planning what we will do next.

I got a call from the hospital and the HCG is 864...this is still very high. The doctor over the phone asked me if I was feeling well (I am), if I was still bleeding (I'm not), and that they were confident they removed all the material two weeks ago. I still have to go in on sunday for another blood test just to make sure the values are in fact falling and not increasing.

This is neverending...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New findings on alternative therapies and IVF

Being a scientist has some advantages when you deal with IF. First of all I can access most scientific journals with the latest reports, stats and outcomes of new protocols. Then of course the is the "need to know" everything in details. I don't know if I had mentioned in the past that I met another IFer attending my same clinic when I was doing my intralipid and we got talking about our protocols. Well, she new nothing about hers, didn't know what type of protocol she was doing either (mind you she had a failed cycle on her cv, so you'd think she'll be motivated enough to understand WTF happened and could she do anything different) and she was describing to me her meds by the colour of the packaging so tat I could guess...ah well...I'm sure it's not just me that NEEDS to know as much as possible about this journey, but I know that my background gives me some sort of compulsion to learn the scientific inside outs of the process. At our last ET we even had a session with our embryologist!

So, I get by emails regular updates on newly published articles which can be related or not to what I'm actually researching to earn my salary, and mostly they are not. Last friday I got one of those updates and I quickly scan through the headlines and one definitely caught my attention. It titled "In Vitro Fertilization Less Successful With Alternative Fertility Treatments". Now, you can check the link, this is just a "lay" summary of what the real article talks about. So I went to the source and got the origianal paper to get the full picture with my own eyes. This is a 2009 paper, so it's quite fresh on the shelf. I don't think you'd have access to it so if you are interested in the full paper email me and I'll send it to you as pdf. So it seems true, 30% LOWER ongoing pregnancy/live birth rate for people that use alternative therapies (specifically the top three are reflexology, herbal supplements and acupuncture). I actually was shocked. I have gone to acupuncture myself spending a good few bobs on it for the past year and I may actually have lowered my chances?? Alright, I'm a special case, two fresh cycles ended up in a pregnancy which was just in the wrong place. Two FET cycles didn't really work (ok, I had a chemical pregnancy the second time) but I believe the reason is that my body didn't respond well to the medication. So overall I got SOMEWHAT pregnant evey fresh cycle, and overall 75% of the time I had a transfer. I did acupuncture for my first 3 attempts and switched to a milder reiki/acu this last time. Also the number of sessions I had in the first 3 attempts was much higher as I went also during the 2ww. What will I do at my next cycle? Mmh probably not much! A part from the onoing pregnancy rate the paper reports several other data from the two groups of women such as the number of eggs retrieved embryos produced and embryos transferred (correlated to the amount ofdrugs taken); they are statistically the same. There doesn't appear to be a single area where alternative therapies helped. The number of IVF/ICSI cycles is even higher in the group that went for alternative therapies!
I know we are doing everything we can to get a cycle to work, but what if we are doing the wrong thing? The scientist in me, alhough always very open to alternative therapies, may be reverting to pure science...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Frankenstein's belly!

Meaning mine! I somehow don't remember my belly being so bruised the last time...probably the clex.ane and the aspirine made things a bit worse, but honestly it's horrible to look at! Around each entry point (four in total) I have a big bruise going now all colours of the rainbow. At least they kind of went very close to the entry points I had the previous time so when all is settled I shouldn't be too different from before. A part from the belly button...it seems they have shrunk it! Ah well, it's not like I'm a teenager going around showing my belly, so probably it's not that big of a deal anyway.

I didn't have much to write these days so I didn't but I did read your updates and commented just in case you were worried about me ehehe. So while reading your blogs, I've asked my cyber friend Sam who had a lap only last wednesday, how her belly was coming along. Well...first of all she had her stitches removed 3 days after her op while the nurse in my case was not sure if I had disolvable stitches or not (...right...) but opted for the first option. My stitches are still there!! So after Sam replied to me I decided it was time for them to go and I removed them myself. At least now I don't have that pulling going on any time I stretch! The belly thanked me and started looking better already! I will not post a pic as I don't want to loose you my beloved followers, but trust me they had heavy hands this time!

So what's new. Well, the midwife specialised in ealry losses called me yesterday. I had called her on Monday when I was probably at my lowest and left a message. She did in fairness try to call me on wednesday, but I couldn't take the call so she left a message saying she would call on friday. And she did. I told her I was already feeling much much better but that probably it was no harm to go and see her once and get her expert opinion (like...I "think" I'm better but I'm going to crash soon!). She said that was a very good thing to do in any case and given that it's a free service (free!! I don't remember the last time I had something for free in Ireland) why not. I was already prepared for months of waiting list...and surprise! That's not the case either! She's going on holidays for two weeks and she'll see me on the 24th of September! Amazing. As for the rest I'm doing well I think, really looking forward to my HCG next friday and above all the appointment with the Super Doctor on the 8th.

I have started my two week detox plan and it's going well. I'm taking a food supplement which, believe it or not, it's specific for women on a detox plan (jeez...they really are one step ahead of the the consumer!), then I'm drinking a lot of water, I'm having a cup of green tea during the day (ideally at 11am but I don't get my head around it until 2pm it seems!), a detox juice with my lunch in work (carrot, apple and ginger, delicious!) and then I drink 500ml of herbal tea after dinner. Not sure if any of this actually does help you clening your liver from toxins, but I enjoy it anyway.

My period seems to be finishing off after a good 6 days (usually I'm more of a 3 days plus a couple with spotting) and still some traces, but I think I have some CM already! Not that it will be any good of course, but it's nice to know my ovaries are getting back to business.

Finally I have to tell you that Mike was extremely touched by all your comments on his posts and on himself afterwards, and given that he never really blogged or activily partecipated to a forum community, it all came as a bit of surprise to him. He kept saying in amazement how nice you all were! I know I have a lurker now! And I'm planning a very nice weekend for the two of us for his birthday in September, as a big big thank you for all he has done for me, I won't say any more for the moment just in case, but I'll tell you all about it afterwards!
I want to thank you also for having shared your stories with me, talking to people who have gone through the same bad luck helped immensely and above all, gave me much more hope for the future.

Ps: I was nearly forgetting! The pub was great!! Really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A new chapter

Today I feel I finally turned the page. I hope it's not just a good day but the beginning of the rest of our lives. The sadness that was so overwhelming over the weekend and yesterday too has lifted. Lifted! It has been only a few days and I'm ready to move on. This doesn't mean forgetting what happened, we'll always have Nathan Jr. in our hearts. But my hormones must be getting back to normal, I got a full on AF which helped me seeing the end of this episode in our life. I'll be clean soon and today I feel we will get pregnant again. When? Well, that's a matter for another day, but while more often than not until yesterday I was feeling doubtful..."what ifs" storming my brain and all that, today I know we are not doomed at all, I can get pregant, it has just been terrible terrible luck. I WILL get pregnant again.

I don't want to forget that I have also been very very lucky in my life. Sometimes when bad things happen you feel like everthing around you sucks, but that's definitely not true and it's important to take a step back and see all the good things that surround you. So here it goes.

I am so grateful for having Mike by my side. Yesterday he came home earlier and said he may take time off on Wednesday so that he can bring me to a pub I always wanted to go to and never been! He said "so at least you will not say anymore 'you never brought me there!'"

I am also so grateful for my lovely family and friends (real and cyber) who have been so very supportive all along. My sister is flying to Austin tomorrow from NY for a few days, I actually quite sorry that the timing didn't work out with all this mess for me to go and visit her in the States. But she'll come here in September so that's real soon!

I have a great job to which I'm going back tomorrow, I feel physically fine and even though I'll be in only for a few hours (we're going to The Pub!) I have to get back into the working routine, teaching will resume in a couple of weeks! Imagine, I didn't have to say anything to anybody for taking time off, I have a medical certificate which I'll bring in of course but I could have done without. My research group is basically running itself and a few people are on hols at the moment so it's not like I've been missing at a very important time. Only one girl in the group knows about what we have gone through, I think there is no point of upsettign everyone else. They all know Mike as well and when it happen last year, after a few days of mistery absence on my side, Mike went in to the lab and told them what had happened to me. They were in tears for us. They sent me a huge bounch of flowers which lasted for weeks, but then when I went back it was a bit akward, they didn't know what to say (and what do you say anyway?) so I think this time the "injured back official line" will stay.

And now some more good news. The Favourite Doctor called me today, apologysing for not having called yesterday!! Amazing. She was so so optimistic, she gave me a date for a face-to-face special appointment with the Super Head Doctor in the clinic to have a plan in place for when we are ready. And that's going to be on the 8th of September!! So soon!! They created a slot for us! Either the Fav Doc or the Super Doc will contact the consultant at the hospital to have a full report on her findings. The Fav Doc agrees definitely on resolving the issues with the tubes, no point in chancing another EP, so I believe that's the first thing that will have to happen as soon as I'm ready (maybe a month? two?). She said "We don't have a problem in getting you pregnant, the problem was where the embryos decided to stick! We'll get you pregnant again and with a baby or two at the end of it". Ahhh isn't she lovely? That's what I needed to hear.

I also want to detox myself properly and get to our next cycle in perfect shape. So we'll go back swimming (ok, I'll wait until the stitches come off!!), Wii-fitting and to the health shop for some miracle juice to clean the liver!

And we are obviously going skiing again this year so I contacted our hotel to check for available dates around New Year!

Yes, I'm back living and it feels good.


One last thing needs to be done.
Goodbye Nathan, for some reason we couldn't have you and I love to think of you like a shooting star. We loved you but with broken hearts we had to say goodbye, yet again. We have two shooting stars now. Our next one will come to stay.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ICLW

I am a bit behind with my posting on the ICLW week but I'll start working on it today.
You may have read already how unlucky we have been this time around. Two pregancies after ICSI and two ectopics. I have to say I needed to find out I wasn't the only one who had gone through this and indeed there are a few that shared my experience. At least I'm not an alien.
I need to know if we do have hope of a normal pregnancy, can't wait to talk to the clinic next week. This doesn't mean we'll go again tomorrow of course, I want to give myself time to recover and to be in the best shape possible for future treatments.
I'd love to hear from you, if you know of people who had successful pregnancy after two ectopics and loss of both tubes, please share it with me.

Overall today I feel better. It's only two days since surgery and I'm not that sore or swallen anymore, my recovery seems to be quick and I'm grateful for that. There's nothing worse than feeling ill when your emotions aren't great, at least I can look ahead with a bit more positive attitude.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The day after

My dear dear readers, thank you so much for your support, thoughts and prayers. What can I say. I told Mike on thursday to post a message on my blog to let you know what happened, and then I think he enjoyed it and wrote two more!

Again this time I knew there was something wrong. Ok bleeding can happen but not the way it was happening to me. The HCG were raising so nicely because the pregancy was a live one (seeing the heart-beat was the toughest thing ever, and at 6w0d was some fighter) and probably because a second embryo implanted too. Ectopic pregnancies are fuckers (excuse my French), really can present themselves in different ways. At the hospital they were surprised I wasn't in pain because the sac was measuring 12mm (the tube is only a few mm in diameter) and I had some internal bleeding already. About the second sac. Like the last time there is some debate on this second sac, it could be what it's called a pseudo-sac which is some sort of oval shape in the uterus that mimic a normal sac (but it looked too small for the gestational age, with no yolk sac and no fetal pole while the other one was perfect). So I don't want to think about it and I'll just wait for my period to start and clear everything out.
The Favourite Doctor was devastated for us, she texted me and will call on monday to see how I'm doing.
At the hospital they were fantastic. I was very very emotional all the time and they sent a specialised midwife who deals with early losses and berievement to talk to me, that helped a lot. We have to wait now for the lab report...if they do see an embryo (sometimes they cannot recover much after the surgery as it is too invasive) then we'll be given the option of having some sort of a service.
The consulant that perfomed the surgery was lovely, she actually works in the fertility clinic linked to that hospital and we had a very long chat. Of course she said I will never have the chance to get pregant on my own ever (as if...). I'm ok with that. Once we have twins and the adopted baby I won't have to worry about safe sex. I wanted to be sure that she checked my left tube to make sure there was no stump left, also that she removed the right tube completely, as close to the uterus as possible. She was very very understanding and said they are very aware of how important it is to give me the best chance for the next time. Would you believe it though...even with no tubes an ectopic is still possible...I didn't know that. It can happen in the cornual section of the uterus, the bit that joins the tube normally or in the cervix...both these cases are much rarer, but you have seen my luck...
After the surgery she came talking to me and together we looked at the pictures she took. It may sound strange to most of you, but being a scientist it helps me immensely having the possibility of looking at what happened in a more scientific manner...it removes a bit the emotions and eases my heart too. So amazingly, the left tube was not completely removed, but still has a stump left, probably a cm long. I have a fibroid too which prevented them from using a cauterizing knife on my right tube (it would have done a neater job, closer to the uterus). All this means that I may have to go in for another laparoscopy before going for IVF again. I asked of course why didn't they remove the stump at least, that freaks me out no end. She said that in an emergency procedure they do what they are supposed to do rather than getting distracted by other monor issue. She also pointed out that this ectopic didn't happen in the stump at all, but in the ampoul of the right tube, like the first one happened in the same place of the left tube which is the most common place for ectopics.
She gave me her name to give to the Favourite Doctor, so that they can discuss the best course of action for me.
I'll go back to the hospital in 2 weeks to check my HCG and make sure they are going to zero. I have arms like those of a drug addict, hopefully they'll recover for the next blood work.

And now the toughest part. I do I feel? Well, I don't know. Definitely this time I feel I did have a baby inside me, Nathan Jr. if you remember. And that didn't quite happen the same the last time. It was more surreal. I have a week off work but I think I'll go back as soon as I'm ready, it'll help me emotionally and the fact that nobody knows means nobody will talk about it and I won't break down crying. When I came home last night, I noticed that Mike had removed the HPT from the window seal of the bathroom, all the meds from the kitchen table and the bedside locker. We didn't talk about it, there was no need and I love him so much for being so careful and caring.
Once again thank you so much for all your comments, I'm behind my ICLW commenting, but I'll do my best to catch-up.

Friday, August 21, 2009

We're home!

Yes - "We".

Fran is upstairs sleeping. The operation went well and the surgeon/consultant said that if she was feeling up to it, Fran could decide to discharge herself. So she did - about an hour ago.

I'll leave the details to herself tomorrow; I'm sure she won't leave you guys in the dark for too long.

Next time, I hope to be bringing good news when I step into her blogging shoes. But for now, best wishes to you all and thank you so much for your concern, prayers and positive thoughts.

M

Gone to theatre

Hi all. Me (Mike) again.
They took Fran to theatre at noon (a little over half-an-hour ago), so I expect that after the pre-op procedure, she will shortly be going under the knife. I came home to eat lunch since there's not a lot I can do in the hospital, and I thought I'd post an update (such was the response to my last post!).

Thank you all for your good wishes, and please keep her in your thoughts until she's recovered from the surgery. I'll probably post an update tonight, since they're likely to want to keep her in hospital overnight tonight at least.

Ghostwriter

Hi everyone. This is Mike here (Fran's DH, for those who don't know). She asked me to write this in order to keep you up-to-date on events. She's fine, but as you will have deduced, things have taken a turn for the worst.

I got a message from her at lunch time to say that she had more and heavier bleeding, and that she had scheduled a scan in the clinic. I left work to meet her there and by the time I arrived she was being scanned by our Favourite Doctor (who did the scan during her lunch break). The scan revealed an extra-uterine gestational sac near the right ovary. A blood sample was taken for HCG determination and we set off home to get organised for hospital admission. Another (more detailed) scan was performed at this hospital (hospital #1), which showed the embryo to have a heartbeat (or at least the precursor of a heartbeat). For some reason the surgeon recommended by our Favourite Doctor was uncontactable, and so we had to go to another hospital for admission, but before we left, our Fav Doc had already phoned us with the rushed HCG results: 7495 (up from 4004 three days earlier).

Off to Hospital #2. This is the one where Fran had the previous ectopic dealt with. Another scan and about a million photos later, we met the doctor who will perform the surgery, who informed us that the operation will take place tomorrow morning. It’s not an emergency since Fran isn’t in pain (although she was feeling twinges later on in the night before I left to go home).

She almost has a sense of relief. “Almost”, I say since it is of course a desperately disappointing thing to happen, and we are devastated. But at least when they remove the ectopic along with the right tube this time, it can’t possibly happen again. And then there was that feeling that she had of sensing that it was ectopic, when everyone around her (me included) thought that the feeling must be brought on by fear of a recurrence of the previous ectopic, rather than an actual recurrence: The HCG levels were rising nicely, and, how could we possibly be so unlucky? Well that’s life, and it sucks. But with your support and mine, she’ll get through this, and hopefully we’ll be rewarded with an incident and stress-free pregnancy next time.

Sorry if my writing style is a bit matter-of-fact (I’m new to this). Hopefully normal service will be restored tomorrow night (here, they like to empty the hospitals for the weekend, and tomorrow (today now) is Friday). I wish you all everything that you wish for yourselves. Over and out.

Mike.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

6 weeks

I think it's like a jinx. As soon as I say the spotting is over, there it comes again. Last night I had an "episode". In fairness it was only one spot on the knickers and it looked old and not threatening. Nothing since. But I was so so down. I started telling Mike and my mam that this looks exactly like the last time, spotting on and off, and then the pain will come in a few days and it'll be another ectopic. Mam kept saying not to be silly, that the HCG are so much higher, that they did see a gestational sac and that all these may be completely normal. Mike shows the same confidence.

Don't get me wrong, I would go to the Moon and back as a punishment for being so negative should I be wrong. I so hope I'm wrong and tell everyone around me two million times "you told me so".

My dreams that usually somewhat meaningful are peaceful these days, even last night. So maybe there is a part of me who is a little more optimistic. Waiting is strange. I don't want to do more HCG tests, I don't want to go in for an early scan, I don't want to not be pregnant anymore and so I wait.

Mam went back today but she would have stayed longer. I have to text her mornings and evenings with an update. Meanwhile I rest as much as possible. Yesterday we went for a long walk and mam felt so guilty thinking that maybe that brought the spotting along. But we went in the morning and I had nothing at all until 9 in the evening, this is why I think it had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, it's only a matter of days and we'll get through this, I know.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hanging in there

Well, I don't have much of an update but I really wanted to tell you that all your comments are keeping me sane. The bleeding/spotting has completely stopped since monday afternoon (I bleed a bit after the scans) and in fact now I have completely clear mucus which I believe is normal. No pain on the right side which is good. Some twinges but no cramps. Of course I know this means nothing until we have a proper ultrasound but still...

I didn't go back to the hospital yesterday, couldn't be bothered even phoning in my beta as of monday. One girl that posts on the board I post too told me that the same hospital screwed up her daughter bloodtest too and that nearly brought tears to my eyes!! Maybe maybe they did screw them up.
Reading around (as you can imagine I've done this nearly 24/7!) there is also the possibility that I did miscarry one of the embryos. This, assuming no lab error was made, would fit well with the HCG odd behaviour and the fact that they did indeed pick up again on monday. We'll just have to wait and see. Yesterday to be honest I wasn't feeling positive at all, started wrecking my head with all the possible scenarios of discrepancies between values and the fact that I don't have one from the clinic for friday is my main worry (like...what if the lab result from the clinic on friday would have been indeed in the 3000 range...) but then I know there is no point. I have taken a few days off work, basically I think I'll go back next monday if everything is well, this is too important to be underestimated. Mam will go back tomorrow and she was a fantastic help.
I have gone out of the house yesterday and today for nice walks, and it didn't seem to bring bleeding along. The Favourite Doctor actually said there is not much point in staying in bed really. So that's the news for today, thanks to all of you and big hugs.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hoping and praying

Your posts and emails have been so so important to me in this last couple of days.
I'll say it immediately that we seem to have still some hope and I tell how it went over the weekend.

On friday I was so distressed I was sick. I didn't sleep much as you can imagine.

On saturday, I spent the day in bed dreading going to the loo but the bleeding seemed to have ease a bit. My mam booked a flight there and then from Italy (the 15th it's a holiday there!) and arrived by dinner time. In no time she had done the cooking and the ironing and didn't want me to leave the bed unless I had too. But night time I was only barely spotting old blood.

On sunday, I had hardly any bleeding, but the thing is that when that's happening it's heavy-ish, no clots or anything, but red or dark red. In the evening we went back to the hospital for the second blood test. The first bloodtest wasn't ready and was not going to be done until monday anyway. I met the same doctor that scanned me on friday. I told her I had no more bleeding but she said not to hold hope that she was not expecting the HCG to be increasing anyway. She was adamant I had miscarried. Thankfully a midwife was much more human and gave me a bit of hope as she said I woudln't be the first not have a visible sac at 5w1d with that old machine. That it was a good thing the bleeding had eased and that I had no cramps.

This morning we set off for the clinic, my Favourite Doctor wanted me to tell her again what happened and she was so sorry I had a worrying weekend. Again she said that bleeding is very normal and for what she was hearing from me I didn't bleed much at all (well...ok then, but it looked a lot to me!) that some women may have a full-on period. She scanned me and she said it was still very early to see much but that my lining was perfect and look look here...see? there is a small gestational sac! That's all we can hope to see at the moment. She took my blood as well for more HCG testing in the same lab and she said to let her know the results from the hospital and she would call me with their results.

So next we went back to hospital given that we were told to go back at 11 for a more accurate U/S at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit. Well, we waited two hours, blood results weren't back and the doctor seemed to be of the opinion that the HCG would have told us much more than the scan (yeah...well, you are not exactly around the corner from where we live...why have we be told to come in then??). Eventually Mike argued that we were specifically told to come in for an U/S. She said "oh in that case, I'll gove you a quick one" And by God it was quick. She basically measured the lining, didn't say anything about a sac, told me it looked good but that the HCG would have told us more. And we were sent home. Honestly, like many of you, I can actually make out an U/S by myself right now and I couldn't figure out which way this one was oriented! So I could't look for the tiny black spot I had seen at the clinic.

Anyway, the waiting for the HCG was longer than normal, it should have been in by 1 pm which is when we left the hospital and they werent. I phoned at 2.30 and the nurse said she wasn't authorised to give the results over the phone (WTF??) but that she'll talk to a doctor to call back. Eventually at 3.40 pm they called. The phone call was in a quite alarmed tone, she said they wanted to see me again tomorrow morning at 9 am, I said I was there today, how about they took me seriously then? She kind of pretended not to hear and it took ages for me to convince her to give me the damn values. It turnes out that the value on friday was 2143 which grew quite stedily from 637 only 3 days before. But then the bad news was that on sunday the value was only 2628... so didn't drop like the doctor expected and now the panic for an ectopic was REAL... My heart sunk of course, I said I didn't want to go back there that I didn't think I had been looked after properly and dismissed on friday with "You have miscarried, sorry about that, come back to CONFIRM this on sunday". She insisted that it was very important, that it was now SERIOUS and to go back tomorrow. I hung up and called the clinic straight away. Spoke with my Favourite Doctor and she was all cheerful, the results were back and high at 4004! WTF is going on?? Alright different labs can have different readings, but this much?? Never hear it before and I WORK IN A LAB!! From 637 to 4004 in 6 days is perfect growth for a singleton (of course I plotted it immediately) I asked her if I had maybe lost a twin over the weekend and this explains the discrepancies? She is actually more keen to believe that blood samples left hanging around for days and checked for unstable hormones such as HCG whenever suits rather than when it's needed is a crime and makes those values (BOTH!) unrelaiable. In fact, if the one on friday was even a bit lower like 1500 still would fit perfectly, than the one last night is just a mistery. It cannot possibly have gone from 2628 to 4004 in just 12 hours! Anyway, she said I'll see you next week for a scan.

So here I am now, baffled with the news. Mam is so angry at the doctor at the hospital who plainly said we were doomed with such a light heart when obviously, at least for now, we aren't. I don't think I'll go in tomorrow, I was there today, it won't change much I'd say, and all that poking around simply brings more bleeding which I'd like to avoid, thanks. Last time with the ectopic I didn't even get to 4000 and I was in theatre with serious pain. I just want to believe that for now I'm pregnant. I may call the hospital with my latest bloodwork to let them know, but I haven't decided that yet.
Once again, I'm sure all your prayers and thoughts helped a lot, and for this I'll never thank you enough.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Numb

Yesterday when I got home around 6pm I started bleeding. A lot. I called the clinic and left a message. Then I called the hospital where I went for the ectopic and where I had my ealry scan booked. I spoke to a nasty midwife I suppose who was very dismissive, she said I could go in, but noone will give me a scan, it's too early, they'll either admit me to the gyn ward or send me back home. I insisted a bit and she snapped back "are you telling me how to do my job?" what's the point...I was in tears anyway. I called another hospital, a private one, but again they would have been able to see me only this morning. Tried another maternity hospital, they were much nicer told me to go in immediately and that definitely they would scan me.
So we went in. I even POAS to see if it was still positive and the control line was barely visible in comparison with the test line, meaning HCG hadn't dropped from Tuesday.

And then they scanned me. Nothing in the uterus. I was numb. Couldn't move, talk or cry. Again. It's happenin again. But I have no pain, no cramps, nothing. Just bleeding. They took my blood but because it's the weekend they'll process it on monday. This is Ireland. I have to go in again tomorrow for another blood test and see what's going on. We went back home in total silence. We both had tears streaming down the face.

At home there were 5 messages from the clinic, two doctors had called and my favourite one said to call back on her mobile at any time. Mike called her. She said not to stop the meds at all and that it wouldn't be the first time that a hospital doesn't see a sac at 5 weeks. To go into the clinic on monday morning and she'll do the scan. She said my hcg were good, this can't be happening. I'm glad at least she is still hopeful. I don't want to be, I simply cannot take it. I'll be resting for the full weekend, bleeding has stopped now, just old brown stuff.

Mam is flying over today, I know she has to see me, the distance is a killer when one of us is not well. I want to thank you all for your support and prayers. I don't know what else to say...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 weeks

Today I'm entering the fifth week.

And last night I had some pink spotting. Needless to say I was petrified. But again I had absolutely no pain, no cramps. I convinced myself that the funny movement I did on the couch an hour earlier after the PIO shot might have broken a capillary on the cervix. The colour was very light, I am desperately trying to rememeber how it happen with the ectopic, but I am quite sure that I had sharp pain and quite dark spotting. This time gave me the impression of being really superficial rathen than deep. Having said that, and despite all the reassuring thoughts I tried to have, I slept quite badly, I had two nightmares but when I woke up after each of them and went to the loo there was no blood at all. Nore there is this morning. Still have no pain, so that's reassuring. Thinking of the hospital appointment though, a scan at 7 weeks is never going to be useful for me as I never got that far the first time. I called again this morning to see if I could do it earlier, but nope, they won't see you before unless you have problems. They let me talk to a midwife though so I explained all my history and told her about the bleeding of last night and she was totally confident that there is no problem, but to go straight in if I have pains of some kind.
Probably a bit more reassuring was the nausea this morning, really strong after breakfast I had to lie down for a bit, I woudn't know what to do if I get sick, do I have to take again my morning pills?
Today I'll be on the look out for more blood, but thank God I've had nothing at all, just microscopic light brown residues (possibly confirming a superficial lesion).
I was half thinking of going back to the clinic to see if they would scan me today, but by this morning I was definitely calmer and didn't go. Anyway, the weekend is near and I'll take it very easy, hoping that this Flashes (or a single one) will stick around.