28 June 2007

Potential Walex

I had the embryo transfer!

It was all very quick and easy. I went into the little room and put on the gown and sat on the chair with my legs spread (as usual for this type of appointment!!). There was a screen that was mounted on the roof and the Dr said "In a moment you will see your name on the screen and then an embryo". Sure enough, the screen came on and the camera honed in on a patient label with my name on it. I had to confirm that it was me and then the camera showed me the embryo. It was quite cool, little dividing cells in a circular casing.

So then you could see the little potential walex being sucked up into a tube and a lab type person came into the room and handed a syringe with a very long straw tube type thingy on the end to the Dr. He then squirted it in and voila! Finished. He said it was a 'cracker' of an embryo, as good as they get! Which means apparently I have about a 30% chance of becoming pregnant with this one. This is the same as normal fertility in my age group.

The Dr believed that my bloating and uncomfortable feeling was pretty normal as a result of having 23 follicles and so wasn't concerned at all about doing the transfer. I have actually felt alot better today. I have been placed on an OHSS observation regime, just in case.

It was funny after the transfer, i kind of felt that i should stay laying down or something. I didn't want to move too much in case it...i don't know...fell out or something!! I didn't even want to pee - yes, i know it doesn't come from the same place, but still! I held on as long as i could, but my full bladder pressing on my sore stomach got the better of me an hour or so later!

So that's it! Now, i am potentially pregnant!!! Holy crap! No going back now!

The next steps are to squirt some Progesterone gel into my vagina every night for fourteen days and then front up for a pregnancy test on July 12th - Kylie's 30th birthday!! We will find out the same day whether it is positive or not. So for now it's a waiting game.....

Embryo Transfer Day

It's now the morning of my embryo transfer. I am feeling a lot better this morning - but then again I was feeling ok yesterday morning too...so not sure what all that means. Yesterday and last night were very uncomfortable, i weighed myself last night and was 75.6 kg!!! This was nearly 4kg heavier than the same time last week. But this morning, i was 73.1kg. Where does the weight go??!!
The way i am feeling right now, i will be happy if we go ahead with the transfer this morning. The way i felt last night though, i didn't want to go ahead if it meant feeling so bloated and sore in the stomach.....
I guess all i can do is discuss it with the Dr and take his recommendation, after all, he's done all this before once or twice!

27 June 2007


I've been searching around on the net to read up on OHSS. Gosh, there are some real horror stories out there of women who have had to have 3 litres of fluid drained from their abdomen each week for up to 19 weeks!! Surely, that's a rarity.

It seems that it's good to drink lots, take some basic oral analgesics and eat lots of protein. No real cure for it, it is self limiting, usually going away when you get your period, or if you are pregnant, hangs around for anywhere up to about 12 weeks or so....bummer. Not really wanting to feel like this for very long....

My embryo transfer is scheduled for 10am tomorrow morning, so i gather we are going ahead, unless of course the Dr changes his mind when we speak tomorrow. I am in two minds about it. I want to move forward, but if i have to feel lousy for 3 months, well, not so sure.....

Guess i'll see what he says tomorrow.


Had the OPU (Ovum Pickup) yesterday, which went ok. I drove myself there and Tappster came to pick me up.

I wasn't really nervous or anything, which is good, because it was all ok and not traumatic at all.

They give you a good deal of sedation so that you are asleep during the procedure, so i just woke up in recovery about 30min later. Felt a bit uncomfortable following and have been feeling uncomfortable today too. I am not sure if this is due to the procedure or due to the OHSS, which they said may get worse following the OPU. I am hoping that it is just normal as i really want to proceed with the embryo transfer tomorrow. On the other hand, if i was to get pregnant with the OHSS going on that is supposedly not a good thing. At the moment i am feeling really bloated. I have put on 2 kilo in the last week and feeling really fat and uncomfortable. I hope it gets better as i certainly don't want to feel like this (or worse) for a long time.

Work is shitting me and the stupid landlord keeps wanting to come around whilst i am off work sick to do stuff to the house and it is all getting to me. I just want to throw my job in right now as i can't be bothered dealing with stuff that is just so unimportant in the overall scheme of things....stupid people hounding me for quotations and project plans and writing me emails that are nasty because we don't deliver. I know we don't deliver and it shits me too.

Feeling pretty crap at the moment.

24 June 2007

Ready for Pickup

The IVF clinic has been calling me every second day to check on my hyper-stimulated ovaries. I'm feeling ok, just a bit uncomfortable in the ovary region, but not too bad. Apparently, if they think that the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrom (OHSS) is significant enough then they will collect and freeze all of the eggs and i will have to get a period - which eliminates all the symptoms of the OHSS and then we do a thaw cycle next month. Although i understand why they need to do this, i'm just hoping that my ovaries behave and that we can do the embryo transfer this time around.

I have been feeling pretty good emotionally since my last little 'emotional hickup', so that's a good thing. We went to see my friend Jo today. We told her about our IVF treatment. It was really good to talk to someone about it, as we haven't really told anyone (other than Tappster). Jo has a baby so it was great to talk to someone who has been pregnant before, although she didn't paint the nicest of pictures!! Turns out she is currently six weeks pregnant at the moment! That was a nice surprise. She's just taking it cautiously at the moment, waiting to see how things progress in this early stage.

The clinic called today with my trigger injection time. It's 8.30pm tonight. So i've taken my last Gonad injection last night and my last snort of Synarel this morning. We'll do the trigger tonight and then that's it till Tuesday morning, 8.20am when i am to go to the Royal Women's Hospital for the Ovum Pickup (OPU). Better ring Tappster and make sure she's still a go-er.

21 June 2007

A little bit alone

Feeling alone at the moment. I think it's coming down to the serious stuff and i realise just how much of this is me driving everything and i start to question things. Things like does Kylie really want to do this? Will we be ok? I feel like we are far apart at the moment, even when we're sitting across the same table. Is it just me i wonder? Is this still the drugs making me feel like this? I think my moods and emotional state has become more stable, but i do still feel alone.

I think one thing that really disappointed me is that Kylie is not coming to the egg pick up.

I understand that she has really important stuff at work at the moment and that it is really hard to get anytime off from the recruit course, but it's still hard, i wish she could be more a part of this process with me. She has BA (breathing apparatus) training both Tuesday and Wednesday, so there is no chance for her to come, but even so, it would have been nice......

20 June 2007

Follicle Fest

So i've been having the Gonal-F injections now for a week. Thankfully Kylie has been getting better at giving them so i bearly feel them at all now! I have started to feel different physically over the past week which has been interesting. At least my psychological symptoms appear to be subsiding - i'd much prefer the physical than the emotional!

I have been having headaches alot and have been feeling really bloated. I believe the headaches are linked to the Synarel that i have to snort twice a day. I was whinging to Kylie (as i usually do) about how fat i have been getting and how i just feel bloated all the time now and it's because i am turning into a 'porker' - but it clicked the other day, that the fullness and bloatedness is kind of in my ovary region! My little follicles have been multiplying like rabbits!

Sure enough, i had my Stimulation Scan this morning and there they were - he counted between 20 and 23 follicles!! A follicular fest indeed! No wonder i was feeling bloated. Apparently the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulate Syndrome is increased where there are greater than 20 follicales and where there are mild symptoms already present prior to the Ovum Pickup - so that means i must be in the 'at risk' category. I hope it doesn't develop into anything more serious as it will interrupt the whole treatment schedule (not to mention it can also be dangerous for my health!).

I suppose at least there's lots of egg to choose from!

So, the next step in the process is for me to have a slightly reduced dose of Gonal-F for four more days and then the trigger injection either Sunday or Monday and then the Ovum Pickup (known in the biz as the 'OPU') on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

I picked up all the drugs i require from the pharmacy - which included three more boxes of Gonal-F and a massive box of progesterone cream that i am supposed to use after the embryo transfer and the trigger injection. The trigger injection is called Pregnyl and has to be refrigerated. I told the pharmacist that i wouldn't be able to put it in a fridge until the afternoon as i was driving to Gisborne for a meeting straight after my appointment, so they sent me off with a little esky with my injection inside! Man, there's just so much stuff!

I called Tappster - who is a friend who is going to come to the OPU with me so that she can drive me home. She's tee-ed up to have a day off whichever day i need, which is a real relief as i didn't quite know what to do with Kylie not being able to come. Obviously i wish she could....but i know it would be hard for her to ask for the time off from the MFB recruit course. I am sure there'll be plenty of opportunities for her to come to scans and appointments and things once we're actually pregnant.

Gosh, it is potentially not that far away now that we could be pregnant! I can see why people get so dissappointed when this doesn't work, it's such a process with so many steps and so many drugs and so many appointments....i am trying to not think too much that it's all going to work first time (though of course i want it too) - but i guess i don't want to be too disappointed so am in two minds - either i stay grounded and remember it may not occur first time - but then i don't want that to be a self fulfilling prophecy and so perhaps i should be thinking with all positivity that i can muster......ah, i don't know, would be nice to be more like Kylie sometimes and just not worry about anything, just take it as it comes.....life is hard as a stresshead!

13 June 2007


So tonight was the first Gonal-F injection. Kylie and i did it together tonight so that she can do it next time. I guess it will be kind of nice for her to be involved, so that we are doing it together.

It was the most minute needle on the entire earth and i scoff at all those IVF patient stories i've read on the internet where people were talking about the scary needles or how much they hurt. I did not even feel it! I think there are some big girls out there who just need to suck it up!!

Down Regulation Scan

I went back to the Specialist for my Down Regulation scan on 12/06/2007. The down regulation scan is to assess your body's response to the pre-treatment phase. What they are looking for is no follicles and a nice and thin endometrium. The scan is a vaginal ultrasound - which are actually surprising ok. I had conjured up an image of something painful and uncomfortable - as i tend to find pap smears hurt (not sure if that's just me because of the endometriosis or whether it hurts everyone - though have just asked Kylie this minute who says they don't hurt her - but then again she's hard core!).

Anway, back to the topic at hand. Ah yes, the ultrasound, it lasted all of about 15 seconds! The doctor just stuck the probe in and says "You're ready" and takes it out again. I've heard that's how men do it! - Just kidding!

So then i trotted off the to another nurse who explained the next step.

I was to start the stimulation phase of the treatment, where i inject myself with Gonal-F each day (which Kylie likes to call Gonad) as well as taking the nasal spray. The goal of this is to produce lots of healthy and wonderful follicles ripe for harvest in about a week and a half!!!

Wow, it's really happening now!


Ky and I have a name for our baby.

Ok, we have heaps of names...but we have a nickname. It's an amalgamation of two of our favourite names - Will and Alex.

We've been calling him (seems to be a him!) Walex for sometime now.

We even set up a little bank account a few months back called Walex and have been putting little bits of money aside in there.

Ky bought me a baby names book as a little treat a few weeks back, so we've been marking the pages with names that we like. We seem to have heaps of boys names for some reason and not that many girls names! And the girls names we do have, happen to be also boys names! Well i suppose we are lesbians after all!!

Basket case girl

I have never really liked taking the pill. I think it messes with my head and gives me a tendency to feel depressed. I had stopped taking the pill some years before because of that reason and it was amazing the difference i felt when off the pill. It really does change the way i think and feel.

Not sure then, why i'd thought this time would be different. Guess because i hadn't been on the pill for such a long time, so had forgotten the effect it has on me, and probably because i had been so ridiculously happy for so long now i was sure that some little tablet wouldn't get the better of me.

I was wrong.

I started to get a bit emotional and a bit moody. This wasn't great fun. I don't know, what it was, but i just felt sad, for no good reason. I searched myself for reasons but i honestly couldn't find any, i had a great life, a wonderful partner, a good job (ok, i am not that into my job, but it hadn't bothered me that much). We were so happy and here we were trying to have a baby, and now i was sad. I withdrew. I cried. I was distant from Kylie and sometimes nasty even. I wondered around looking unhappy and tears would just well up in my eyes for no reason. It was horrible.

Poor Kylie, had just been accepted into the Fire Brigade and had just started training. She was working so hard at it and studying everynight. She didn't know what to make of me. She was confused and didn't know if there was something she had done wrong. She tried, but i wasn't really talking.

The nurse had particularly noted that when you are on both the pill and the nasal spray, things might get a little tough, but by the time i started the nasal spray as well, things were already pretty rough. I was sad alot of the time, i hated work like never before. I was moody, i cried all the time. I hated myself for what i was doing to Kylie - who was under a lot of pressure herself with the MFB training and was trying hard to deal with me too.

I felt so alone. Kylie was just so busy and i was supposed to be supporting her through her tough time, but instead i was creating drama and unhappiness in our lives. Well, that's how i saw it through my dark haze. Luckily for me Kylie wears rose coloured glasses - all the time. She just powered on with her work and her study, tried to love me when i'd let her get close and hugged me when i was upset.

I took my last pill on 05/06/2007. 'And good riddance to that', I thought.

Starting out

There are different type of IVF treatment, mine was called a Down Regulation Cycle. So when i talk about the treatments i'm having, just bear in mind, not everyone's is the same. Even within the same type of cycle, things can change.

The first step in the process is to start taking the pill. Sounds odd i know. So we waited patiently for my period to start. We had instructions to call the IVF nurses on the day my period started and then they would give us our next instructions.

The day my period started we were just on our way out to a big BBQ with my sailing frields on a Sunday afternoon. We had some friends down from Sydney too. We hadn't really told anyone about us starting IVF, so i had to discretely tell Kylie whilst no one was around. "Oh my god!"

Being a Sunday there wasn't anyone at the IVF place to call so i just waited until Monday morning and then rang. They called me back sometime during that day, informing me to start taking the pilll the following Friday and then start taking the nasal spray (Synarel) on the 30/5/2007.

So, i started the taking the pill.

That was when things started to get a little interesting.

Whose ya daddy?

We had an exciting task to do.

We'd been given four donor profiles with matching codes and we had to choose which one we wanted to use and notify the IVF clinic of our chosen code as soon as possible.

The profiles contained just basic information about each of the donors, things like eye colour, hair colour, build, height, occupation, education level and some medical history. They also contained some interesting questions like:

Hobbies and Interests
Reason for donating
Message for any person conceived using your sperm

I found those ones really interesting. It's kind of like looking at online dating sites, trying to come up with what you think someone is like from just a few words here and there. It's amazing how judgemental you can be based on just a few words (i know, i've done internet dating!!).

Our decision wasn't very difficult at all. There were two absolute no's and then there were two possibilities. In the end we went for one with blue eyes as i have blue eyes, so we thought maybe the baby would (ah, baby, i said it again!) and the other thing i really liked about him was the little message he written to his potential offspring. He seemed really sensitive and kind and environmentally friendly! I liked it.

We rang the IVF clinic and let them know - on the same day we'd been given the profiles - didn't want to miss out in case some other couple chose him first!

Ky and I gave our donor a name so that we didn't just have to call him 'the donor' all the time. We called him Seth. So Seth was our man.

11 June 2007

The BIG Day Out

April 24th came around. I was pretty excited. Kylie and i were spending two whole days together (the next day being the Anzac Day holiday) and we had nice things planned for our anniversary and we were spending a whole day on our IVF appointments.

The Counsellor
Seeing a counsellor together is part of standard IVF program. Kylie and i had talked over some of the issues at home, things like:

- what would the baby call us
- known donor vs anonymous donor
- telling our parents
- discrimination or potential bullying at school
- what surname the baby would have (we still don't have the answer for this one!)
- how we would cope financially

The counsellor was nice and we talked through all the issues, she mostly was focused on telling the child that about their conception and that a sperm donor was used. We had no real issue with that and didn't really see it as a big problem, so all was good!
One of the strange things was talking about 'our baby' - we hadn't really had to talk about 'our baby' with anyone yet. All the talk had been about sperm, eggs, fertilisation, ultrasound, injections and so on. Suddenly we were talking about a baby!

The best bit about seeing the cousellor was talking about the sperm donors. She was going to arrange to give us a set of potential donors to take away with us so that we could make a decision on which one to use. Now that was exciting! Getting to choose our baby's father!

The Nurse
The Nurse spoke at a mile a minute! She went through each of the steps of the process and each of the medications that i had to take and when and why and how and how to inject and how to spray something up my nose and when to ring someone and when to start taking the pill and......
At the end she says "So, have you got that?"
I just nod stupidly, somewhat dumbfounded, but thankfully Kylie asks a whole host of really intelligent questions that enable us to go through the process from start to finish and actually understand clearly what is to occur. Why can't i think of good questions like that under stress?? I would have just gone home and then worried about how it was supposed to work!

The Accounts Department
So, next stop is the accounts department. The girl we meet there who is supposed to explain to use how much it is all going to cost is a ditzy airhead type. We sit down and get started and one of the first things she asks is "Are you using your own sperm or a donor?"
"Yeah, we thought Kylie might just shoot it out of her finger".
Ok, so we didn't say that. But it was clear at this point that we were dealing with an idiot.
Accounts girl goes on the try and explain all of the costs, but successfully manages to confuse both of us. Though i'm pretty sure the issue was not with the listeners....
Finally, we get a grasp on how much we think things are going to cost and to be honest, it wasn't as bad as i thought, roughly $5k - $6k for the whole stim cycle and embryo transfer (don't worry, i'll get to explaining it all a bit later).

Kylie and I both went to see Dr ManofFewWords again as well on that day. He just confirmed that we were all ready to start and then that was it.
I remember his words, he said he expected that we would be pregnant within one to two tries. He actually said "This will be a walk in the park for you".

Pregnancy Pills

Ky and I talked about it and she was 100% with me. Thank goodness, because it was a little frightening. Definately exciting, but a little bit frightening nonetheless!

The next step in the process was for us to visit the counsellor, the nurse, IVF accounts and the specialist again. I planned it all on the one day so that we could both take a day off work and do it all together. We were going on holiday to New Zealand so we booked out big day out to occur in April when we came back - the day before our 1 year anniversary!

In the meantime, i had my implanon implant (contraceptive implant which stops you from having periods, used for endometriosis symptom control) removed and i bought some folic acid tablets from the chemist.

They came in a brown bottle with a pink label and an image of a pregant women on it!! Ky and i looked at each other as we walked out of the chemist with our little bottle of pregnancy pills. '"oh, my god!" we said.

Meeting the Specialist

Late March 2007 was the first appointment with the specialist. I had to go by myself as it was during working hours and so hard for Ky to get the time off. It was strange sitting in the waiting room, all those couples around and i still felt like a bit of a tourist, like i didn't belong here. I'm not sure what it was.

The doctor was a quiet man but pleasant. He asked me some questions about my 'fertility' history and told me that I would be started on the IVF program as i was deemed to be medically infertile and therefore qualified for infertility treatment.

Two things were in my head:

1. Ye-hah, for once, having endometriosis is a good thing!
2. Holy crap, he's starting me on IVF, but i was still just doing some 'fact finding'!

I went home with my head spinning. Perhaps i need to just ring them up and say i'm not ready to do it yet. But then, when would i be ready? It's funny, when you're heterosexual, things can just happen, but when it's two girls, well, it ain't just gonna happen by accident!

The more i thought about it, the more i thought 'Yes, let's do this!'.

Perhaps i should have a bit more of a talk to Kylie about this!!

Life gets in the way

Life got busy, as life tends to do.

Kylie and i were blissfully happy and i can honestly say - being with Ky - it has been the happiest time of my life. She is just amazing.

Yeah, yeah, ok...puke material!

Anyways, we moved house to a nice place in Bentleigh, work was busy, Christmas came along, I sailed the Melbourne to Hobart race, it was summer, we went away on the weekends alot and surfed, life was grand!

My specialist referral sat on my desk for sometime before i decided to take another step.

Being the overcautious planner that i am, i still had some questions i wanted to follow up with, so made another appointment with the GP. This time i scheduled a meeting with another doctor at the Clinic. She's a well known GP whose specialty areas include lesbian health and lesbian parenting. Kylie and I both went. We asked some more questions (the actual questions i don't even remember now!). I still had the referral letter to the IVF specialist and so the GP ordered all of the blood tests that she thought the specialist would require and told me to start taking Folic acid!

I booked an appointment at the specialist's office.

How it began...

I've always known that i wanted to have a baby. I guess lots of women think that. I had always had this arbitrary figure of 35 years of age as my deadline. I had read that female fertillity decreased significantly following this time and so had this is the back of my mind as the point at which i needed to do something. When i was single i had thought that if i was still single at age 35 then i would somehow seek out a way to have a child by myself, but as 35 crept closer i wasn't quite so keen on doing it all on my own. This isn't a story of my life in love and relationships up to this point so i won't bore you with those details, suffice to say, i was incredibly lucky to meet Kylie at age 33 (not far off 34) and so with 35 not too far on the horizon i talked to her about my thoughts and feelings on having children.

Ky and I had only been together for about 6 months when i decided i wanted to find out some more about what the options were. It sounds funny now, given the relatively early stage in our relationship , but for me it was really just some fact finding to see what we could do when the time came that we wanted to and for Ky, well, in her typical easy going manner, she just took it all in her stride. So in October 2006, I trotted off to the Carlton Clinic to ask about pregnancy options for girl couples.

The doctor i saw was lovely and i asked my questions about how we would go about it and whether i would qualify for infertility treatment in Victoria, which at the time of writing, still prohibits single women and lesbians from accessing infertility treatment unless they are deemed medically infertile. The doctor, by her own admission, was not an expert in the area, but did seem confident that there were options for us and gave me a referral to an infertility specialist who had experience with lesbian couples. At this point, the issues which i perceived as providing the greatest barriers were our lack of sperm or potential known donor, a waiting list for treatment and the issue of access to services in Victoria. Before leaving I asked the doctor roughly how long the whole process would be expected to take, she said "Oh, from when you first visit the specialist, i'd think you could expect to be pregnant within 6-12 months".

Wow. I hadn't expected it to happen so fast. I had gone to the doctor early to compensate for the expected wait that would occur!

This Story

This is the story of two girls and a baby. Two girls in love and the incredible process of creating a life.