Blog about having premature ovarian failure and trying donor IVF with my sister's eggs

Posts tagged ‘pregnancy’

Hello HRT my old friend

One of the great things about being pregnant was that I didn’t have to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as my placenta magically produced oestrogen which was otherwise lacking in my body as my ovaries stopped making it when I was in my mid thirties – hence my premature ovarian failure.

While I was pregnant I asked my IVF doctor and my obstetrician when I would need to begin HRT after I had my baby. Both said I should wait around six months and then go back on it.

Well given the state of my poor old head, we’ve had to bring that date forward somewhat.

I restarted it about five days ago after my psychiatrist contacted my endocrinologist to confirm it with her. And I’m already feeling better. It’s amazing what a difference HRT makes – without it a girl can feel so anxious, withdrawn and down.

Upping my oestrogen means any remaining breast milk is drying up but breastfeeding my wee babe was already out of the question since I began on the antidepressant Pristiq last week.

So my mood is gradually lifting and I’m slowly feeling a little better. It can only improve I hope.

What a difference a year makes

Four-Seasons-Trees

Waiting for a baby can seem interminable but it only takes a year - sometimes less - for things to change completely

Waiting to conceive a baby can be unbearably long, lonely and painful but things can turn around so quickly.

In just a year, we have undergone donor IVF with my wonderful sister from New Zealand; conceived, miscarried, had a negative transfer, conceived again and are now awaiting the arrival of our first baby in five days’ time.

Conception and pregnancy followed six years of grief, uncertainty and personal growth, all of which began with my diagnosis of premature ovarian failure at 35.

I grieved then for my young womanhood (going into premature menopause made me feel like an unattractive old crone), my periods (truly!), the children we would never have; our first IVF cycle that yielded zilch eggs and for the life we’d had before my diagnosis.

More recently, we grieved for the little baby we lost last year to miscarriage – it felt like our hearts had been ripped out.

But all the grieving and uncertainty helped us to become more thoughtful, empathetic and kind. It made us rethink what being a beautiful, sexy woman or man really means (it doesn’t mean you have to be fertile) and what life would be like childfree (books called Silent Sorority and Sweet Grapes were particularly helpful).

So what a journey it’s been!  It has been truly remarkable for which we are very thankful.

If it can happen for us, it can happen for others too.  I can’t wait to read about other people’s success stories – I know they are out there, or about to begin.

Rubbish at conceiving but great at pregnancy – dispelling my concerns

Having no eggs with which to conceive a child made me doubt my body and ability to carry a baby (I thought that perhaps I’m not meant to have a baby if my eggs are used up?) – but this pregnancy has changed all that.

My pregnancy has been fabulous with no afflictions (yet). My skin has been clear, my back straight and strong, my abdominal muscles elastic and still holding up without the need for support pants, the skin on my belly is stretch-mark-free and I have no varicose veins.

Even being long in the tooth for a first time mother (I’m 42) has not caused me to crumble under the physical strain of pregnancy.

The only complication is that my baby is lying sideways and showing no inclination to move its head down like all good, compliant babies should (!) but as I’m having a c-section, it doesn’t matter.

This makes me feel a little smug when I hear about much younger and more fertile women struggling with pregnancy aches and pains. I know – it sounds like a bad case of schadenfreude but I’m so pleased that FINALLY,  I can do something well in the reproductive area!

But it’s also good news for all those other infertiles out there who may have the same worries about pregnancy, should they conceive. Just because you may not have good eggs, or for whatever other reason may find trouble conceiving – it doesn’t mean you’ll have a troubled pregnancy – isn’t that great news?

Protecting my pregnancy from my boss

My current manager of four years is very tough and I am now finding myself having to protect my pregnancy from her.

In the past she refused to give me time off work as sick leave to do IVF, comparing it to plastic surgery.

And since I’ve been pregnant, she has given me no extra support or help. Even as my pregnancy has progressed and I have got bigger and more tired, she has shown me no leniency.

Up until two weeks ago, I was working 12 and 13-hour days to get all my work done. This is because the team of five that I manage has, over the past year, inherited several projects but we have been given no extra resourcing. I have pushed back to protect my team but she hasn’t listened to me. The projects we have inherited are very public, both within the organisation and outside, so we do not have the option of not doing them.

When I told my obstetrician I was working such long hours two weeks ago, he instructed me to tell her that I would only be working seven hours a day from now until my maternity leave begins in January. Today she said something about it that has left me feeling so upset and heartsick. She said she would be docking my salary accordingly as I am no longer working a full day.

I looked at her incredulously and said that that would be very unfair, given that I have never worked less than a ten-hour day for her and that over the four years, my overtime worked equates to literally hundreds of hours. I said I would be very upset if she went ahead with her plan.

I have now come home feeling so broken hearted. I have tried to protect my team over the years, as well as myself. I have built up the function that I manage in our organisation from nothing to a fully fledged, professional and operating department. I have supported her and been loyal to her and this is what I get in the end. Our team has barely been holding it together and now that I am going on maternity leave, two have resigned saying that they no longer want to work there given the intense work levels.

The most upsetting thing for me is that she doesn’t respect or support this very precious pregnancy. How dare she?  I can feel an anger brewing that is going to replace this sorrow very shortly.

Can I ask what others have done in this situation? I know that many other women reduce their hours in the latter stages of their pregnancy and would like to know how their workplaces have handled it and if anyone knows of any legal, if not moral obligations of employers towards their pregnant employees.

An extra special dinner and a tribute to all egg donors

I bet that the dinner I went to on Saturday night in Melbourne was the only one of its kind happening at that time – in the world.

It’s not that the food we were eating was unusual or that the venue was strange – it was the people who made it unique.

We were all (nine of us) either egg donors, people looking to match up with a donor, or people pregnant with a donor egg.  Unfortunately, I was the only one in the latter group. It made me realise how lucky my husband and I are to be pregnant with my sister’s donor egg; it doesn’t happen for everyone.

Our group met for the first time having traded recent stories on a forum called ‘Egg Donation Australia’. This is an extra special forum.  It was established by women who are donors. Women needing donor eggs can go onto the forum and get to know potential donors and vice versa. Close relationships are formed, especially between those who decide to team up, and sometimes a baby is conceived.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I think the women who set up the forum are angels.  They established it voluntarily to help other women – strangers – in need of a donor.  I still can’t get over how altruistic these women – and egg donors everywhere – are.

So to be eating dinner with some donors in Melbourne on Saturday night was fantastic. It was equally fantastic to be able to talk to others in the same boat as me: women who have tried and tried to have babies in every which way possible. These women and their partners are all so brave as they just keep getting back on that horse even though it keeps bucking them off – often with horrible, painful bumps.

And then there are the women who are doing it on their own. There were two at the dinner.  To do it with a partner’s support and love is tough but I imagine doing it solo takes true grit.

So this is why I think Saturday’s dinner was so unique. I challenge anyone to tell me of a similar dinner that was happening at the same time. In fact, I would love to be proved wrong.

Daisy dog; pregnant woman protector

Our dog Daisy, in the sea with my husband on her first swim, during which she kept me rejoining me on the bank to protect me from any other dogs or people.

My mother in law told me recently that when she was pregnant with my husband, her dog used to act differently: “He used to come and lay his head on my lap, just looking at me.”

I hadn’t thought that our dog Daisy was treating me any differently until yesterday, when we took Daisy for her first swim at the beach.

Ross waded into the water and kept enticing her to go out to him. But she would only stay out a little while before she’d come back to me.

She did this eight or nine times and we thought she was just being fussy and not wanting to get wet.

But after a while, we realised that it was because she was coming out to protect me whenever another dog or person came near me.

After I waded in the water, she was very happy to go out deeper and happily paddled around us.

How cool is that? Has anyone else felt protected by their pets while they’ve been pregnant?

Swallowing our anxiety and treasuring this pregnancy

Our ceramic welcome swallows are our first purchase for our baby's nursery - but we still can't quite admit it for fear of jinxing our pregnancy!

Yesterday we bought our first things for our baby’s room – they might look a little kitch but they are little ceramic swallows from an antique shop which we’re going to put on the wall – but we couldn’t bring ourselves to openly admit they are for the baby as we’re still so scared to jinx this pregnancy.

We admitted to the shop assistant, when she asked us (while eyeing my big belly), that they were for our baby, but on the way home we said that they would also look very nice on the wall of my husband’s record room (he is an ex DJ and has lots of vinyl records).

There is currently this subtext to everything we say and do – ie: that we are planning for our baby, which will hopefully arrive safely at the end of February – but that we can’t allow ourselves the luxury yet of just assuming that it’s going to happen and that all will be OK.

We were the same last weekend, when we went to a Baby Expo in Melbourne but couldn’t bring ourselves to buy anything.

Every week that we get through, we count if off as one week closer to the safe delivery of our baby.

But at the same time, I really want to treasure this pregnancy and not wish it away. I was reminded of this when reading a post on another blog, by a woman who is just about to have her baby tomorrow by c-section.

It’s not that I don’t treasure my pregnancy. I am in fact revelling in it and absolutely loving it – but I think my husband and I need to make sure we don’t wish it away on our journey to parenthood – as it’s as much a part of our baby’s development (as ours) as the birth and parenthood afterwards will be.

Has anyone else felt like this?