And another BFN…

So my FET has failed…When the hpt came up negative I was not able to believe how unlucky I could be that even donor egg embryos didnt implant inside me at just the age of 26…. Something really worrying and depressing that nothing has worked despite having tried so hard…

We had contacted Serum in Athens last month and they had suggested the antibiotic ritual before transfer and testing the sperm for fragmentation since they didn’t approve of the quality of embryos we had at the London Women’s Clinic. We had 5 blastocysts overall and the grading was 4BC 4BC 4CC 4CC 4CD. We never knew we were to discover more…

Our sperm fragmentation results came out a few days ago and it showed high fragmentation. This explained the average to below average quality of our embryos. The Dr. at Serum has told us that with such high sperm fragmentation I will never be able to get pregnant and even if I ever do, I will miscarry before the 9th week itself. This somewhat explains the chemical pregnancies I have had.

Penny at Serum had asked me to test my period blood for infections and Chlamydia. It is the Locus Medicus test that happens in Athens only. The results showed that I had some trace of chlamydia which could be the reason for my elevated immunes and hence I would need antibiotics to suppress this infection which would enable implantation. Which further means that I have nothing much to worry about related to my diet – my problem is related to the infection inside me. This trace of chlamydia is not an STD. Anyone can get it and from anywhere.. public swimming pools, public toilets , jacuzzis etc. Since I have this infection , it means he has it too and this infection is one of the culprits for the sperm fragmentation..

My husband and I were extremely shocked to find out that our sperm was what caused us so much of pain and sadness all these years…we always believed it was my eggs but as it has come out to be.. its the other way around. Penny has suggested using my eggs with donor sperm but I am very tired of doing IVF after IVF or maybe I am just too paranoid of using my own eggs. I just feel my eggs are too bad to make good embryos. It is so badly engrossed in me that I wont be able to perform well. 

It was hard but I convinced him to use donor sperm with donor eggs. He was just not able to believe that he will have no DNA connection with his baby but after some convincing he realised that I have been through way too much and that I really need a child now to be happy. He feels for me that I have been on hydroxychloroquinine sulfate for nearly a year and been doing painful LITs and IVIG/intralipid infusions without any results but with so much of added risk to my own health. He has come to realize that living with pain and sadness is not worth it when at the end DNA doesnt matter. It is the happiness and love we are missing out on by not helping ourselves.

All the misery his parents put me through… all for not having conceived a child when the sperm was never really tested. Just yesterday his mom was whining about us not having a child yet when he told his mom about it. She was not able to believe it. My husband and I had decided not to involve his parents in this matter since they offer no help whatsoever but he only told her because she was whining against me and he could not bear it anymore that they give me a hard time when I am really not the one responsible (even if I was the one responsible, no one has any right to disturb anyones happiness or give them more trouble when they are facing infertility).

Of course we haven’t told his mom about the donor sperm plan but I cannot explain how relieved I feel and the burden I feel lifted off my shoulders after finding this all out… It just feels like we are headed in the right direction..

We have decided to go with 50% own sperm and 50% donor sperm all with donor eggs. IVF stimulation drugs cause too much of hair loss to me due to the stress I take so I have no intention of injecting myself with any more stimulants. We are planning a cycle in end January 2017 so for now we are just going to relax and give ourselves a break.

Waiting for a miracle and not ready to give up yet.

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Back after 2 months

I haven’t written since my last post in June. I was visiting my in laws for all this while and am finally back home. I don’t feel like talking much about my trip because it was full of stress and saddening days. My husband tries hard to keep us happy but of course being an Asian naturally gets me into a tough spot with the in laws because ‘I haven’t conceived’ since 6 years of marriage. Anyhow, that sad trip is over so I shouldn’t remember it now.

So I traveled to London while I was at my in laws place just to get my LIT done. I was in London for a mere 6 hours but the journey to go and be back took me a day and half. My parents supported me a lot during this time, I pretended that I was going to stay with them. It was a big step we took, but it worked out well. My LIT was done just as Dr.Gorgy wants it to be done – 2 weeks ahead of transfer! So cheers for that!

So my cycle started while I was in London – I got my Day 2 scan done and started the estrogen pills. Cant believe the 2 month waiting period has ended since my chemical pregnancy in May 2016.

I got my cytokines retested last week and they are at their highest – higher than what I was when I initially began treatment in 2015. My TH1/TH2 is at 60 now! I am very annoyed and pissed off at how nothing seems to be working. I am on a dairy free, gluten free diet. I barely eat out or even watch people eat sugary things let alone eating sugary stuff. I have completely ended my life due to the treatment – we don’t shop or spend or relax. we don’t go out for holidays. All I do is go to London for treatment leaving my husband alone at home and in the end don’t even get a result.

The truth is I am giving up now. Enough of ‘When you cant give up’. Literally all doors seem to be closing upon me. After going for donor eggs I thought my nightmare had ended and especially in May my amazing cytokine report convinced me that this was going to be it. But no – life isn’t as easy and simple. Despite controlling my diet – I am worse than ever. I do IVIG or intralipids every 3 weeks. It is financially scraping us now. I did Humira in March and even that medicine is Super expensive. S0 guess what?

Since I have already started the drugs (estrogen pills, prednisolone, clexane) and done IVIG just this week and paid for my hotel and air tickets to London – I will go ahead with my transfer. IF it doesn’t work now – I will leave my last frozen embryo in the freezer for sometime in the future and go ahead with surrogacy. Enough of hurting myself, my body, our emotions, our marriage , our young ages and our bank balance.

Final go to London for now. Pray for me guys, I am broken now.

so what now..

Ever since my chemical pregnancy, I have been away from blogging.

I just had to get back to it. So here I am. I am not good at expressing my feelings in writing – not because I can’t write – but because I feel ungrateful when I complain.

So once my period was over, I decided to go for cupping again. What a relaxing therapy it is! I went to a spa this time for my cupping session and oh it was wonderful. During the session, I felt some pressure at 2 cups. I had 11 cups on myself. When I complained to the doctor, she said “the cups where you are feeling the pressure show that you have problems in those areas and the cups you are pointing at are cleansing blood from your uterus”. I felt a huge thud when she said that. Maybe my womb really should be under question and all these years of infertility have been faced due to hidden issues in the uterus.

I had even told the doctor that every time we have intercourse, I feel a burning sensation when I pee. So she said that it could be due to pelvic inflammatory disease and it could be a strong reason for my high TNFs. She concentrated on that bit too. She put cups on me to strengthen my immune system , create new happy hormones, improve egg quality.

When my session ended, she told me that my cups had bad blood and it showed my general wellness was not too great. However she went on saying how people conceived naturally or with IVF within 3-4 cupping sessions with her on monthly basis so she told me to remain very hopeful in this wonderful treatment.

I felt fantastic after all the toxic blood was drawn out 😊

I have spoke to Dr Gorgy for a transfer in August – my body needs a break to recover. But in the meantime, I have to remain on Hydroxychloroquine and intralipids to keep my immunes under check. I am really hoping I dont need more LIT as I have already done 4 LIT sessions. I have made a test ,  hoping the results come out great. If they dont, I will have to travel to London within 2-3 weeks for 1 more session just 4 weeks before my next transfer in August.

Today I went for my intralipid infusion and on the way back I dont know what made me so mad that I just lost my mind and felt a bit lost.  We argued a bit but it was not like our previous fights 😂 it was just a random spur of anger that settled within 5-10 minutes. So I guess we are becoming better at handling our emotions and fights. Just going on and on,  when you cant give up.

TWO LINES FOR US!! BFP on 6DP 5DT

My husband had told me to buy a lot of First Response tests from London so we could test from Day 6 post transfer. We tested on the morning of day 6 and within a minute a very nice line popped up next to the control line! YES! BFP and so soon! This had to be it! After years of disappointment, heartbreak, drugs, painful treatments and almost run out of our bank balance – our savior had made it and had fought well with my cytokines. We were over the moon and after such a long time we were genuinely happy. My husband started to rub my tummy and I felt super lucky and loved. I just couldn’t wait for the next 8 months and 3 days to pass for my baby’s arrival! image

 

We decided to retest the next morning and  the line appeared a bit lighter – we were really concerned. It became dark and dull for me again – but I tried to keep my hope and faith strong in my Lord telling myself this is a strong embryo – everything will be fine. Then we made another test on Day 8 and it was even lighter. I was disturbed and had a bad feeling about it. The mother always knows first. I just had to try and be patient.image

 

 

I made another test on Day 8 later in the day and it was even lighter. 😦 My husband did all sorts of research and lots of people on the internet had stories of super faint lines that went on to become healthy pregnancies. Some people didn’t even have two lines until they missed a period and some didn’t have two lines until 8 weeks of pregnancy! Some people even went on to say that the further their pregnancy progressed – their lines became lighter because the HCG was too high for the test to detect properly! So the internet has lots of stories depending on what you type in the google bar – we weren’t going to have a story like those people – my child was gonna go away and I would have to wait to miscarry. I just knew it, I was the mother.

image

The unlabeled and lighter tests are from Day 9 and Day 10 post transfer. Day 9 being in the middle and Day 10 being on the top most. Notice the lines getting lighter. Yes, we were going to have a chemical pregnancy. 😦

The entire night I kept talking to my baby amidst all the beautiful symptoms I was feeling. “Oh baby, if only I could save you – I would do it. But you’re not meant to be. It’s our Lord’s decision and plan and I can’t question it. Know that I love you and you made my life amazing be it for a few days only”. I had intense nausea, leg cramps, breast heaviness, cravings for soup etc etc. I had really enjoyed those strong symptoms. It was my first ever strong chemical pregnancy – my other chemical pregnancies didn’t give me as many symptoms as this one maybe because I have weak eggs and this pregnancy was from donor egg and hence a stronger pregnancy.

From now on my blog won’t be backdated. I shall post more regarding my feelings and struggle while I make attempts to have my baby. When you cant give up…

The ARGC protocol starts – April 2015

I took 2 shots of Humira 2 weeks apart and 3 weeks after the last shot I retested my cytokine levels. It was the end of May already by the time I tested, my TNF alpha fell from 40 to 38 and my IFN was at 28 now. Although the cytokines hadn’t dropped, we were just glad I hadn’t flared up at least like some other women on the forums had. On the side, I also started a gluten free , sugar free and caffeine free diet to help me lower my inflammations.

When the results were out, we were told that we would have to wait at least 10 days to hear from the doctor regarding further protocol. We were just too naive to worry about our time being wasted and remained patient to hear from the doctor.

In the meantime, I had the baby dream again! It had only been a week since my ovulation but I tested and there it was! A positive pregnancy test all over again! Humira was working on me! I had read about some ladies conceiving naturally on just starting Humira and luckily I was one of those. At the back of my mind I was scared of another chemical pregnancy but 2 positive pregnancy tests within a span of 5 months compared to 3 and half years of nothing but BFNs made me very happy and hopeful about my body being able to reproduce. I tried to remain positive but not too positive because I had been through too much of bad luck over the years.

10 days after the positive HPT, AF arrived. What were the best 10 days of my life were pretty much the worst also because I used to be worried about it not being a viable pregnancy and I used to keep on waiting for the doctor’s response regarding my May cytokine results! I had even called the clinic to tell them about my positive HPT following round 1 of Humira shots – I didn’t get to speak to the doctor yet because the doctor was always just too busy. At times like these a patient really needs the help of a professional but it was something I couldn’t get from my doctor when I really needed it. It was a terrible time for me or lets say my bad luck maybe the ARGC was really responsible with other patients.

Finally I received the call and as expected I was put on a second round of 2 Humira shots 2 weeks apart just like before. Today when I sit to think about it, I realize how much of my time was being wasted by the ARGC on a simple decision of repeating Humira – which I had expected to be the protocol anyway. Luck was just not on my side but the hope inside me never made me feel even one bit of annoyance at the negligence from the clinic’s side.

In June 2015 I completed 2 shots of my second round on Humira and in July I retested my cytokine levels. I really was out of luck – I had flared up this time. My TNF Alpha was at 44 from 38 when I had last tested in May and my IFN was at 32. Bummer.

Waited for 10 days to hear from the doctor for further protocol. Finally the day arrived and I pretty much knew what was going to advised. Intralipid infusion was advised and I did my infusion the very same day. Although sometimes I used to get frustrated on the 10 day waiting period to hear from the doctor, I used to keep my mind occupied and calm. There was not much I could do anyway. I used to tell myself ‘the doctor must be busy treating the pregnant patients and they should be his priority at the moment because sooner or later I too will be pregnant’. These positive thoughts kept me going on and on.

2 weeks after my 1st intralipid infusion, I retested my cytokines and from TNF alpha 44 I had come down to 39. Phew! I was happy for the huge drop. Intralipids were saving me for once.

I am sure you all know the drill by now : 10 days wait to hear from my doctor. When we finally did hear from the doctor as expected intralipid round 2 was advised. I had it administered the same day when I heard from the doctor, not even a day later. I was always committed to treating my condition and the lag was always there from the clinic’s end. Yet I didn’t let that bother me and I continued to remain busy with my daily house chores and kept looking on with hope for my rainbow baby’s arrival.

We were told by the clinic that after 2 rounds of intralipid our treatment would start and hence the day I was getting my second intralipid infusion – I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a wonderful feeling , every step I took towards lowering my cytokines was a step closer to having my bundle of joy finally.

I still remember that whenever I would be waiting to hear from the clinic regarding further protocol, I used to have my phone on full ringer alert and even have my phone besides me while in the shower because missing their phone call was like a nightmare. If I used to miss their call even once and would call them back – no one at the reception would know who called me or for what. It was a complete chaos. I had never been treated that way by any of my previous clinics but my desperate wish to make this treatment work was making me take a lot of crap from the ARGC. Sigh.

Round 2 of intralipids brought my cytokines down to 35 and that was a good figure to begin treatment with. It was end September already and day 21 of my cycle was also near. I knew I shouldn’t wait for the clinic’s response which wasn’t until the usual 10 day waiting period, I wanted my down regulation to start already. I booked a flight and we flew to London before they even called us there. I had to step up for myself, enough was enough.

 

Bright Start to 2015

It was my younger sister’s wedding after new years 2015 so I traveled to meet my family and stayed with them for the wedding. I had a truly wonderful time after the longest while of sadness in all the years before. Asian weddings last for more than 10 days so I enjoyed dressing up and getting my hair made at the salon. I didn’t bother about my hair loss because I wanted my hair to look good in the pictures ha ha and also because worrying about hair loss never helped me so for once I wanted to forget about it. Once again I looked truly happy in my pictures and the smile I had was not fake unlike the times I pulled fake smiles for pictures during the years when I was miserable from my infertility shock.

Even today when I scroll through my pictures of the time we were newly married, I can’t imagine how happy and relaxed I was. I really want to be as happy as I used to be and smile with inner happiness and contentment but I guess it is too much to ask for when battling with feelings of incompletion due to infertility.

It was a blissful occasion for my entire family and those 2 weeks that I spent with my family laughing, chit chatting, dancing and making arrangements for my sister’s big day were like a pure detox treatment for me. I had never stayed at my parents place after getting married but that trip made me realize what a wonderful blessing I had missed on by not staying at their place for the last 5 years.

Getting decked up for the events made me feel beautiful once again and my husband also praised me over how I looked and I was simply overjoyed.

I was very busy and occupied with the wedding that I barely got any chance to sit free and think about my ovulation dates and blah blah for once. I was still on the herb Vitex and I used to insert Cyclogest suppositories for the first 10 days after ovulation.

After I returned home, I was a bit queasy for a day or two but I didn’t pay attention to it because I was tired from the wedding. Then I had a beautiful dream. I dreamt I had a baby in my arms and in the dream itself I couldn’t believe that the baby in my arms was mine so I would try and wake my baby up again and again to hear his/her sounds! I woke up instantly and very randomly made a pregnancy test. I didn’t expect much anyway because it had only been a week since my ovulation, sure enough it was negative. Later that day I looked at the pregnancy test again and to my surprise – IT HAD TWO LINES!! FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!

I was thrilled and shocked. I had never seen a positve pregnancy test ever, not even from my treatments and this was a BFP from just taking a cheap herb! Where was this beautiful herb all these years when I was doing those expensive painful treatments??

I was a bit scared about a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage because I had heard about lots of people conceiving after years of trying and then miscarrying in their later months. Anyhow I trusted my Lord and His blessing and kept my faith strong. I was extremely happy and couldn’t wait until my 6 week scan.

It had been 10 days to my positive result and I was nearly 5 weeks and a few days when AF arrived. I was devastated and I knew it was the end. This was my second chemical pregnancy but just having become pregnant naturally gave me lots of hope for conceiving naturally in the future.

 

The ups and downs from September – December 2012

I went to see a new fertility specialist for my IVF, we had heard lots of good reviews about him through family and friends. His name was Dr Pankaj Shrivastav and he worked at his private clinic in Sharjah, UAE. We used to reside in Dubai so it was an hour’s commute to get to his clinic, Conceive Gynaecology and Fertility Hospital. Dr Pankaj had helped my husband’s aunt conceive her twins 18 years ago after 13 years of marriage and he had also helped a family friend conceive his son 14 years ago after 10 years of marriage. I was really happy about these results and I had a feeling that Dr Pankaj will help me through too.

He saw our reports and wasn’t too sure about IVF yet because it hadn’t been a year yet since my husband and I started trying for a baby. I insisted on doing an IVF and I told him that my AF was due within a week and I wanted to attempt right away. I was impatient because I had always wanted to be a young mother. He got some tests done and sure enough my Insulin was very high because I wasn’t regular with my metformin. He put me on 3 metformins a day and callled me in on Day 2 of my cycle.

I was very excited because I just kept telling myself, “It will happen now. There is no way it shouldn’t happen now”. My faith in God had started to dwindle and I just knew my doctor will help me out of this 😦 I am not very proud about that feeling and I still regret my disbelief in my Lord.

AF surely did arrive on time and we started our IVF protocol. I was on the short protocol and so it was much quicker. Since it was our very first attempt, we were scared to administer the injections ourselves at home and we used to go all the way to a laboratory to do the injections. We were really naive at almost everything. I was ready for the ovulation shot within 12-14 days and the egg collection day arrived. We were really excited and just felt it was our turn to be parents. Since it was a short protocol, 7 eggs were collected and 5 got fertilized. The doctor met us before we left the clinic and he told us that the egg quality wasn’t great and he had decided to do ICSI for us instead of IVF. My heart sank a bit but since we really didn’t have much knowledge – we ignored the egg quality talk and went back home looking forward to our news.

We had a Day 2 transfer of 2 embryos and both were 2 cell, they should have been 4 cell that day. None of the other embryos had survived. Of course, these were terrible results but I still didn’t quite believe that it won’t happen – I always believed in miracles. Sure enough when we tested the Beta hCG, I wasn’t pregnant. It was a sad day for us but we were not ready to give up yet and I was determined more than ever to just be pregnant. We decided on doing round 2 of  ICSI that cycle and began looking forward to it so the sadness didn’t really last.

It was a short protocol again and we used to go to the laboratory everyday for the injections. We both regret those daily trips to the laboratory even today. It began to be stressful now since we had done the same just a few weeks before and it seemed like our daily routine now.

The egg collection day arrived finally and we had 10 eggs collected, 8 fertilized and again the doctor complained about the egg quality. I kept my faith in my Lord strong and went on to hope for the best. We had our transfer on Day 2 and this time we transferred 3 embryos. 2 of them were 2 cell and 1 was 4 cell. The 4 cell raised my spirit and gave me lots of hope. I believed in my miracle and started to wait to test the Beta hCG in 2 weeks.

2 weeks passed and we tested. My hCG levels were at 7. I was so naive that I was thrilled and so was my husband. We thought that our embryo had made it and we were pregnant now! We were absolutely delighted and I spoke to my doctor on the phone. He of course knew what my case was like so he clearly told me that it was going to be a chemical pregnancy. My heart sank when I heard that but I didn’t let myself get upset over it. I began to hope for the best and retested for my hcg levels after 2 days, it was at 9 now. I was happy that my baby was growing. At that point we didn’t know that the hcg is supposed to double every second day. We retested and the hcg was 11 now. I didn’t think it was going to end, a day later AF arrived and I was down in the dumps.

Stress is bad for fertility and I was too upset to handle my situation with peace. My determination to have a baby while we both were young was killing me and I was just not ready to give up. Sometimes I regret those feelings, I should have been confident about my future and kept myself and my husband stress free. Instead of a second ICSI, we should have gone on a holiday and relaxed ourselves and maybe the relaxed mind would have helped us more.

I should have had a proper protocol of vitamins and metformin for 3-5 months before attempting my first IVF. I just rushed into everything and it got me nothing. Now I was stressed and depressed more than ever

We decided to take a break from all the treatments for a while and take it slow – we reverted to trying normally. We were planning to move overseas in January 2013 so I began to pack up and kept myself distracted with that.