The Four Week Wait

I realise I left my last post several months ago on somewhat of a cliffhanger: certifiably pregnant (for the first time in my life) but very very aware that that doesn’t mean much. There seems to be a common wisdom that first pregnancies are rarely successful and, given my extreme infertility, I was pessimistic.

My first ultrasound was scheduled for 7.5 weeks. In a way, I felt like this was good. No heartbeat at 7.5 weeks means a hard no. I’d rather that than fluff around in false hope for a week or two.

The first two weeks were uneventful. I tried not to think about what might be going on inside me. I cried a lot, terrified of what was coming. It’s one thing to watch someone go through a miscarriage, it’s quite another, I imagined, to do it yourself. The longer it sticks, the harder it is to get it out.

At almost 6 weeks pregnant, my wife had her 30th birthday party. I drank non alcoholic sparkling wine and no one suspected a thing. I did run off and cry for a while after some colleagues of my wife ambushed me to ask how the baby quest was going and give me tips on getting pregnant (thank you! 3 years of IVF and I hadn’t considered any of that!) Uneventful aside from that however.

At 6 weeks, I started to feel sick at work. I found that I couldn’t eat anything and ended up going home early. The next day, I was even sicker. I could barely eat and when I did, well, it came straight back out the other end. Over the week, I got sicker and sicker, to the point where I couldn’t sit up in bed, didn’t know what time or day it was and, if I managed to consume some water, it came straight back out again. I had to go to the doctor to get a certificate for work. Luckily C was able to drive me  because I was in no state to drive.

“It’s morning sickness,” said the doctor. “It will clear up around 12 weeks”.

“If it is morning sickness, shouldn’t I be vomiting or something?” I asked. Apparently, although my lack of vomiting was unusual, there was no other solution.

So now I was faced with the prospect of being unable to work for 6 more weeks (at least). I did not have that much sick leave, given that I had spent the last 2 years taking at least one sick day a fortnight. I was freaking out a bit over what to do. How would we suddenly survive on a single income if I couldn’t work?

I tried acupuncture, nausea bracelets, medication. Nothing made any difference. I wondered if I should go to hospital because I was so dehydrated.

Then, I had a realisation. Every time I took the progesterone, which I was supposed to take for the entirity of the first trimester, I felt much much worse. I had been prescribed 400mg of progesterone, twice a day. I thought that was pretty excessive and decided to take half that, 200mg, twice a day.

So I skipped a dose and found that I could drink a bit of water. I skipped another dose and I could stomach a bit of soup. Another dose and I was able to get out of bed and walk around the house.

It’ll kill you but your unborn baby will be fine.

The thing about progesterone and IVF is this: after ovarian follicles are artificially interfered with, they don’t produce progesterone as they should and, in order for an embryo to implant, they need that progesterone. In rare cases, a progesterone deficiency after implantation can cause miscarriage but this is rare. If a placenta is not producing progesterone by 6 weeks of pregnancy, that pregnancy is not going to be viable regardless of supplementing with progesterone.

And yet, progesterone is prescribed in huge quantities for IVF pregnancies up until 12 weeks. Because it’s cheap. Because it doesn’t hurt the baby. Because why care about people’s well being when you can mindlessly prescribe unnessesary drugs?

C started freaking out that not taking their poison was going to kill the baby so I called the clinic and explained the situation and that I was not going to take any more progesterone. By this stage, I was back at work and feeling almost normal, despite being tired and wrecked from being starved and bedridden for a week.

I was sent for a blood test to analyse progesterone and hCG levels. After not having taken any progesterone for 4 days, my levels were 6 times what they needed to be and I was told that I did not need to continue taking progesterone. (No shit). I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had actually taken the amount I was told to, instead of halving it.

The upside, though, was I felt a little more confident that things were going OK.

By 7 weeks, I was feeling well enough to attend a friend’s hen’s night. I was the only one uncharacteristically not drinking. The bride-to-be kept telling me that, at the wedding, there’d be plenty of free alcohol. I guess she thought I wasn’t drinking because I was poor or something. “Are you pregnant?” really isn’t something you ask your infertile friends… and they probably are poor. I felt very nervous. Would I be drinking at her wedding? Would she ever even find out that I was ever pregnant?

I did actually save A LOT of money that night by sticking to water.

We had to drive up to Sydney for the ultrasound, which meant a day off work. It was torturous. On one hand, I wanted to know and move on and on the other, I wanted the fantasy to keep going. I had been vaguely nauseous with strong aversions to anything sweet, which we took to be a good sign.

I had the ultrasound. There was one little critter in there. There was a little fluttering heart beat. Everything was textbook normal. Everything measured as it should. The little heart beat was perfect. It was a little unbelievable.

Little stubby arms

We took the rest of the day for ourselves, to get over the shock, and to look at baby clothes and stuff at the shops.

Testing out the trigger (and other stories)

I have read a lot about people testing out the hCG trigger injection. I suppose the point of this is to ascertain when you stop observing the presence of the injection and start observing hCG being produced by a living-embryo-and-placenta kind of situation. Obviously I was not expecting the latter but I felt like, as long as I was wasting money on an 8th round of IVF, I might as well do some science.

I had bought pregnancy tests on the cheap from ‘Fertility to Family’ ( and I needed to use them for something.

I took the 10 000 IU hCG injection on a Saturday night for my Monday morning egg collection. 10 000 IU is apparently equivalent to 250 μg and I have no idea why medical types can’t just say 250 μg. Mystery.

I’ve heard that you have to wait 14 days post trigger to do a pregnancy test to avoid a false positive. Given the results of my semi-scientific trial, I would say that, by 156 hours (6.5 days) post trigger, you won’t be getting much of a false negative signal (there is a faint line at 128 that doesn’t show up well in the photo below).

All the pee tests shown below were taken first thing in the morning and I *tried* to be about the same level of hydrated every day. Pee tests aren’t very scientifically robust :(.

Post Trigger.png

Testing out the 10 000 IU trigger. Labels show hours post trigger, ranging from 8 hours post trigger to 180 hours (7.5 days) post trigger.

Seems like waiting a week post trigger is plenty. Most clinics conduct their official pregnancy test 2 weeks post ovulation, or 16 days post trigger.

Anyway, I kept testing every bloody morning and getting a whole lot of nothing (not that there’d be any reason for a positive at that stage – pregnancy or not). Regardless, it made me feel pretty depressed. I was annoyed that they had wasted more than half my precious eggs. I was frustrated that there is absolutely nothing I could do about that (beyond tell them that I was pissed off that they had wasted my eggs and my money – which I did, multiple times…)

13 days post trigger, I did yet another early morning pee test which, again, gave a resounding negative. I put it on the table, got my breakfast, sat down, looked back at this damn test and there was a little barely-there nothing-much-to-see second line. I stared at it some more, turned on all the lights I could find and it was there. I compared it to yesterday’s test and the day before’s and it was there. I tilted it and squinted at it and gazed at it some more and it was still there.

I got to work and I googled, “does asparagus cause positive pregnancy test”, although, logically, I feel like I would have heard something about that earlier, if it was the case. Apparently I’m not the only one to have this question. The answer is “no – not at all” FYI.

So I actually was pregnant for the first time ever.

I decided not to tell anyone. Wifey’s last pregnancy was a chemical and I didn’t want to get her hopes up to have that happen again. I also felt that she should be the first to know, so I just kept it to myself.

I did a test the next morning and the line was darker. The next day, the line was darker again. That was Sunday and my official pregnancy test was on the Monday. I decided that I’d have to tell wifey. She had been hassling me about whether I had taken more tests and if I’d got a positive. The line was obviously getting darker so it seemed appropriate to tell her. The intention was to go to the shops and get a little gift basket for her and put a (proper, expensive and positive) pregnancy test in the bottom. I even bottled (and hid) my early morning pee so I could be sure that I had enough of the good stuff to turn another pregnancy test positive.

“Honey, I got you a present!”

I went in to say goodbye to C (she was still in bed). Of course she starts asking me if I had taken a test, if I was going to take a test, what did the test say, etc? I tried to be non-committal and generally negative (I’m a terrible liar) but she kept pushing for an answer! In the end (being, as I said, a terrible liar) I couldn’t help smiling. The look of mingled shock and delight on her face was ADORABLE. I wish I had a picture. It was actually the same look she gave me when found her engagement ring in the bottom of a picnic basket or when I gave her a Fitbit for her birthday (she really liked that Fitbit…)

I kept doing a pee test every morning but, because I thought I’d better start drinking more, they got lighter – which freaked us out. Then they got darker.

On the Monday, I had my first official pregnancy blood test. The result was described as a “lovely pregnancy result” of 99 (mystery units?) hCG. hCG levels are supposed to double in very early pregnancy so, I imagine my blood hCG was around 50 on Sunday, 25 on Saturday and 10-15ish on Friday. Looks like even the cheap dodgy pregnancy tests can detect blood hCG at levels of 10ish in early morning (maybe slightly dehydrated) pee.

I had the next official pregnancy blood test on the Thursday afternoon and got the results call on the Friday. We were actually going to a wedding on that Friday. Darling wife was a bridesmaid so she was off early getting her makeup done while I sat at home stewing (having taken the day off months previously for the wedding). “At least if the numbers are going down I can get drunk for free tonight”, I consoled myself. Wifey kept messaging me during her hair-and-makeup-marathon to see if I’d heard anything. When I got the call, they were quite nonchalant. hCG was 419, which is good (the median for that stage is 421). Basically the message was, “Looks fine. Come for an ultrasound in a month.”


Cheapo pregnancy tests ranging from first positive (top) at 9 days post ovulation and ‘3 weeks 4 days pregnant’ down to ‘4 weeks 6 days pregnant’ (bottom). What happened then? I ran out of pregnancy tests.

So here I was thinking the two week wait is shit and now it’s a four week wait.



Let’s get scammed #8

I have not felt much like writing about this but I suppose I should tell the story of our 8th IVF cycle. I’m going to be sneaky and back date it. In truth, I started writing this a few months ago and just didn’t have the emotional energy to finish it.

It’s a long one, encompassing 5 months of dealing with a new company and trying a new thing (and being slapped about by incompetence and patronising staff). Here is it:

After finally accepting that IVF Australia are nothing but cheating, lying, incompetent scum, we moved on to clinic #3, the very last option in our state.

Clinic #3 was Monash IVF. We hadn’t heard anything, good or bad, about them but it’s not like they could be worse than IVF Australia, right? They don’t seem to advertise and, until recently, we didn’t know they were an option.

I had decided this time also to choose a female doctor. There are two reasons for this:

1. I work in science and I know from experience that -in general- woman are not taken as seriously and, this, have to be better at their jobs to get to the same point in their careers as men. Sad but true. The plus side of this depressing fact is that by choosing a woman, you can almost guarantee that she’ll be more competent than a man at the same level. I’ll pick a more competent doctor, given the choice. I also chose a doctor who had herself gone through IVF, which does seem like very helpful experience.

2. There’s just something… arrogant… about a male gyno. From conversations I’ve had with those morons over the years, I’ve frequently thought, “you really don’t know that?” and “have you ever spoken to a female?”.

For example, when my wife had her miscarriage, the doctor advised her that she “could take 2 ibuprofen, if the pain was very bad”. Now, she takes at least 2 ibuprofen every few hours for the first few days of her period, normally. So I questioned this. Doctor seemed amazed that someone would take more than one ibuprofen for a regular period. I sat there thinking, “has this (allegedly great gynocologist) ever encountered a menstruating woman??” Even I, with the most mild period pain of every woman I have ever discussed this with, will pop 2 ibuprofen at the beginning of my period, just in case.

The same doctor couldn’t fathom that the effects of progesterone could be felt by my wife when I was taking it. Yep, women pick up on each others hormones. Easily. Frequently. I learnt that in lesbianism 101.

Suffice to say, I went to a female doctor. When I had the first appointment, she pretty much told me that, based on my medical history and age, I wouldn’t have any issue getting pregnant. So I told her how that had gone for me. Again, my extreme infertility is unheard of. I’ve had every test available and, it seems, every treatment available, except one.

The only one left to try was an ultra long down regulated cycle. Basically that means you go through menopause for 3 months and then do a cycle. Apparently it’s supposed to be the “cure” for endometriosis because your body can’t make uterine lining outside the uterus if it’s not making it inside the uterus. Now, allegedly, my endometriosis is gone, thanks to the probably redundant $8000 surgery I had. However, in the IVF cycle I had after the probably redundant surgery, it was only weeks after the surgery, meaning that the benefit of having eggs develop free of poisonous endometriosis for 3 months was not realised (thanks Dr #3!!).

This is the reason I got fed up with the last clinic. Not only did the timing negate the effectiveness of the surgery itself but its proximity to the surgery also meant that my ovaries produced a third of the eggs they usually do. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time so I got screwed over by yet another doctor.

Anyway, ultra long down reg it was. This involved going to the doctor to have an injection once a month for 3 months. All up the doctors visits plus drugs amounted to a little over $200. Not an unaffordable extra, which really makes me question why it was not presented as an option before now. There is no particular disadvantage to several months of menopause (fertility speaking).

I chose to do the down reg portion over summer as I was told menopause makes you depressed and I figured it was better to avoid the compounding effects of menopause depression and seasonal depression.

In the end, it didn’t make me depressed (any more than knowing I was wasting my time, money and life paying evil corporations to make me sick would make a person depressed). I wish someone had told me how great constant hot flushes are at the height of summer. Fun times.

woman with eye makeup
“At least I’m not *super* depressed.”

After 3 months of menopause, I did another round of poison injections. After 10 days of injections, they told me to stop because my follicles were developed enough. I told them that every time some idiot doctor had cut a cycle short before 12 days the majority of the eggs were too immature.

Did they listen to me?

LOL. How would I know a detail like that?!? When I tried to argue the point (because, let’s face it, I am the expert in how my body responds to IVF) the nurse offered that I could drive 3 hours (a 6 hour round trip) to have a blood test (can’t have them just anywhere) so that she could prove to me that she was right and I was wrong. Obviously, I declined this generous offer and just had to accept that they were going to waste most of my eggs.

I’d like to thank the fine people at Monash IVF for this mess.

Sure enough, after egg collection (12 eggs), only 5 were deemed mature. This ratio is fairly typical after I’ve done 10 day cycles. In contrast, almost all my eggs are mature after 12 day cycles. They had my medical records. They chose to ignore this. Obviously they make more money the less successful they are.

5 mature eggs. 4 fertilised eggs. The doctor called me 2 days after the transfer to say, because they all looked so lousy and because I’m superinfertile, she’d like to transfer 1 embryo on day 3. Of course, I kicked up a fuss and insisted on 2 being transferred (can’t freeze them anyhow). I was a bit nervous about the prospect of a 3-day-transfer. I’ve never had one before and I am very aware that, in general, my embryos look great until day 4 when they all die. They’d probably all look the same at day 3. How would they choose the good ones?

Because of the short notice 3 day transfer, I had to drive the 3 hours up to Sydney on my own. I was a bit late, not accounting for Sydney peak hour hell, but I made it there in time.

In the end, of the 4, there were only 2 good ones. The other 2 had variable sized cells and fragmentation (neither of which are good). They didn’t make it to 5 days. Of the 2 that were good on day 3, one was a ‘pre-morula’ (i.e. between 3 and 4 days of development – good for only 3 days along) and one that was 10 cells (pre pre-morula but still a little advanced for 3 days – the average cell number for a 3-day embryo is 8 cells).

All in all, it was the same outcome as if I had have had a 5-day transfer. The same embryos would have been transferred (unless they died on day 4, of course).

After the transfer, I went to a dodgy looking acupuncture place and got (probably useless) acupuncture. It made me feel slightly less guilty about being so infertile, so that’s a plus. I bought a few groceries (fresh pineapple included, as it is apparently the customary food of the infertile) and drove home feeling sad and lonely.

pink and green pineapple
Pineapple: Food of my people.

That night, my beautiful wife arrived home from work and told me that she’d ordered our favourite take away and that it would arrive in 15 minutes. It’s a silly small detail but it just seemed to make the whole day better and I felt like everything was OK.

Episode 526, in which our heroines are found unworthy

Last week I received a call from the IVF Australia counselor, wanting to ‘check in’. Having no reason to object to being checked in on, I spoke to her. She told me the nurses had informed her that we were doing another cycle with ‘egg sharing’ and, apparently, ‘egg sharing’ requires us both to speak to a counselor.

OK. Sure. We were forced to go through ridiculous counselling sessions to access donor sperm (featuring thought provoking questions, like, “Would you tell your child it was conceived with donor sperm?” and “Do you mind that you don’t know the sperm donor?” As if my theoretical progeny isn’t going to get the memo that egg + sperm = baby, or that I haven’t understood what ‘anonymous donor’ means.) So, I figured it was another ridiculous box ticking exercise and played along.

Counselface said she’d be calling C in a couple of days to see how SHE felt. By then, we should have discussed to whom the theoretical embryos were going. (As if we hadn’t… see previous post). We had, of course, discussed it. We had reached an agreement on what would happen.

Between then and C’s ‘chat’ we didn’t have a lot of time to talk, so I told C to expect a call and not much else. Oops. Apparently THIS WAS A TEST! And, if we didn’t answer the stealthily disguised ‘assessment questions’ identically, we weren’t fit to participate in egg sharing, an arrangement we requested merely so that the idiot doctor could not justify throwing perfectly good embryos away. (They will only transfer 2 embryos maximum and sometimes, randomly, the doctor will only agree to transfer 1 – when you’re on your umpteeth IVF cycle, or are simply a rational person, you really do not want good embryos going in the bin). Solution = multiple embryos in multiple uteri. No brainer, right?

C had her chat. By the end of it, she was in tears, having been told, half way through an IVF cycle, that this self-important moron of a counselor, “Could not approve egg sharing at this time. You’ll have to freeze the embryos until we approve you.” C and I, and this shitty counselor know that our embryos cannot be frozen. Basically, she was saying that C would have to complete the cycle and NONE of the embryos could be used.

We are unworthy because we had different feelings and preferences which we were honest about. Because married couples need to have the same thoughts. Because the only couples who are worthy of having children never disagree and, thus, never have to make compromises on anything.

Ahem… what??

So, I have to be assessed by a psychologist to see if I am worthy of having my wife’s biological material placed in my uterus for the purpose of making OUR CHILD. Our mutual child.

I wonder, if I was a straight lady if I should have to be professionally assessed before making this choice. Would having my husband’s biological material placed in my uterus for the purpose of making OUR CHILD warrant assessment and intervention? LOL.

Thanks to the makers of Orgalutran for this image of the happy couple. Presumably that weirdo lady is taking Orgal and having a great time. Weirdo.

Similarly, if C was a man/brimming with sperm, would she need to be cleared to put her biological material in her wife for the purpose of making OUR CHILD.

Nope, people can stick their biological material wherever they want, *unless* they are a couple of infertile, feeble minded dykes who can’t possibly make informed adult decisions without assistance.

Did we get approved? In the end, yes. We had a third Skype meeting in which we sat side by side repeating pre-rehearsed ‘happy committed couple’ phrases ad nauseum.

“We recognise the challenges of our choices and we will work together to solve any problem we come up against.” (Like the fertility bureaucracy, in which we are treated like moronic children.)

“We love each other and just want to bring a child into our family, however that happens.” (Noting that throwing away perfectly good embryos will not result in children.)

We realise we might have a range of feelings if the other gets pregnant, but we will work through them together.” (As if anyone’s getting pregnant from this IVF scam.)

Few things make me sicker that having to spout disingenuous bullshittery.



P.S. We could have saved ourselves the trouble. C got 6 eggs, 4 mature, 1 fertilised. So, the 1 embryo, if it survives another 2 days, will go to C.

Will we get a baby out of IVF cycle #7? Oh hell no!


My bucket list and my incompetent progeny

Day 10:

I did manage to book that ‘scan’ but I opted for the only place nearby where you can book online, in order to avoid having to talk about it.

Ten follicles. Some not very big. There’ll be a few eggs. A few of them will fertilise and with any luck I won’t have to cart any stupid embryos around and have them die in my uterus.

It was 3pm before the very excited clinic nurse got back to me with the amazing and exciting news that, yes I’d be triggering tonight for a Friday collection and I’d need a blood test before the trigger. Now, Wednesday is an interesting day for me in that I work from 7am until 8.30pm with only a small 3.30-5.30 gap in which to inject myself with poison, get changed and drive across town to job number 2.

And now I had to fit ‘get a blood test’ into the mix. OK. I can do that. What time do I have to trigger? Either at 7, 7.30 or 8pm so I’d better take the trigger injection with me to work.

At my office job, that wouldn’t be an issue. But, just to make the whole situation more interesting, my second job involves supervising a bunch of university students through a lab class. Like, I’m supposed to be making sure they’re not spilling acid on themselves or impaling themselves with glassware. I’m also supervising the other supervisors and making sure everything doesn’t go to shit. But don’t worry, I’ll just run off and inject myself at a specific time during all that.

The excitable nurse found my plight exciting. Typical.

I left job 1 early, slapped on an appropriate outfit, speed-injected the day’s poison, placed the trigger in an esky with some ice packs and sped off to have a blood test.

Blood test done, I went to work feeling nauseous and being punched every so often by my useless ovaries. Despite this, it was one of the most organised lab classes I’ve ever run because I was absolutely determined to get them finished the lab component by 8pm so I could leave to inject myself. I did inject myself at the correct time in the toilet cubicle outside. So hygienic. But I’m a pro.

Hygienic injecting practices

Day 11:

Funny how your lofty aspirations can dwindle into shitty little goals. For me, the ‘have a baby’ goal became ‘get pregnant’ which has now become ‘make a pregnancy test appear positive’. I’m proud to say I have now ticked the latter off my bucket list. Yep. I managed to inject myself with a chemical and detect it in my urine the next morning (just).

Those faint lines are the closest I’ll ever get to actual pregnancy

Day 12:

Egg collection. Long story short, those 10 follicles yielded 4 eggs – the lowest I’ve ever had (my average is 10 eggs per cycle). 44 eggs have now been sacrificed to the IVF beast.

4 eggs, 3 mature, 3 fertilised with ICSI.

Day 15:

3 x 3 day embryos. Unsurprising. My embryos die on day 4 generally.

Day 17:

Transfer day. 2 of the 3 embryos are morulas. The other one is just a lump of shit. They should have progressed to being blastocysts by day 5. Hence, it seems to me that they are all useless lumps of shit.

Lump of shit embryo (bottom left) and ‘good’ embryo #1 (right)

They want to transfer one ‘good morula’ and the lump of shit. I insist that they transfer the 2 ‘good’ ones. They actually listen to me and I don’t have to make a scene.

Both ‘good’ 5 day morulas. That’s an oxymoron.

We go home. I’m feeling so sick from the new drugs I’m on that I spend the rest of the day in bed. New drugs, BTW, are prednisolone, clexane and aspirin, a combination designed to prevent my body from killing the little embryos. I doubt my filicidal body is the problem, however.

I can’t forget to take my aspirin with my clexane, since the box carries this helpful reminder

In summary:

The take home message here is: lack of endo doesn’t improve embryos. Some people, like me, just have bad eggs.

There’s not much modern medicine can do about bad eggs. IVF cannot help with bad eggs, although the common perception is the opposite. IVF helps fertile people. It helps fertile people with plumbing problems or people with hopeless sperm. It does nothing for anyone else, and yet it is touted as the infertility cure-all.

$45k I have spent ascertaining that I will never be pregnant. I don’t know the reason why and I never will.

The Endo

The surgery started at 12.15pm so, when I woke up at 3.15pm, I FELT LIKE I’D WON THE FUCKING LOTTERY! Whatever had happened, it was not nothing!

All that the recovery nurses could tell me was that it went well and that I would definitely be spending the night in hospital. Doctor #3 had left by then but he had called my mother and my wife to let them know what had happened. Hence, my mother was able to fill me in a few hours later. Apparently, there is nothing wrong with any of my organs. Ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes are all textbook perfect. It took 2 hours to ‘peel’ (direct quote) off all the endometriosis.

endometrosis before after
Looking heaps better (don’t even ask me what that after shot is supposed to be… a steak?)

I didn’t cry then but, later, when I was alone, I did.

I had to go through all this to be diagnosed with something as common and well known as endometriosis. 2 years of being told that there’s nothing wrong with me, and then to just do another IVF cycle, and then that my eggs were just too bad to ever have a baby. Two years and two IVF clinics and 3 fertility specialists before anyone suggested to me that I might have endometriosis.

I don’t care if I never have kids. There’s no guarantee that this is the solution and, I feel that I have finally resigned myself to infertility. But, at least I know it wasn’t all my fault. I did all I could. I went to doctors, I listened to them, I did what they said. I did useless IVF again and again and again. I destroyed my life doing it.

If only someone could have said to me, ‘maybe you have endometriosis.’

If only I knew that endo is not just a disease of people with heavy problematic periods and intense pain every month. What if one of those doctors had told me that people with short, painless periods like myself might also have bad endometriosis?

I don’t really care what happens now. I might care later, maybe. For now, I am simply glad to know that it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t all my fault that I could never make any babies.

I feel relieved to finally know and comforted to be free of some of the crushing guilt.

I guess it was worth it?

Infertility: The more you know

Call me naïve if you will, but I never realised that the process of trying to make a baby would be so emotionally devastating.

Seriously, I really didn’t. I didn’t! Honestly, I think that goes for a lot of people who have never tried or never struggled. I like to think of myself as a very rational person. I’m a scientist. I do research for a living. I make spreadsheets for everything. If you think I didn’t make a spreadsheet and do the statistics on this whole baby making caper, you are absolutely kidding yourself.

But, although it’s expensive and although it’s physically exhausting, the worst thing by far is the emotions. I don’t even know how to describe it to people who haven’t been there. It’s fucked.

My mother got pregnant once before she had me. My parents were on their honeymoon and it just happened. She miscarried a few weeks in but didn’t feel upset or emotional about it. “It was just a bunch of cells”, she always told me. True. Rational. You don’t miss what you weren’t looking for. This story has always coloured my view of conception and loss.

A bunch of cells is nothing to cry over.

A couple of weeks ago, I came as close as I ever have to getting pregnant. Although I don’t have a positive home pregnancy test to base this on *TMI alert* when I got my period, I was losing what looked like big chunks of bloody flesh. Not blood clots, but actual tissue. This has never happened to me before. Ever. It was a legit bunch of bloody cells. And I felt a bloody emotional, teary attachment to them/it. Is it disrespectful to humanity to flush these down the toilet? (If so, I was eventually disrespectful).


How it turned out for my mum: After me, she tried for 6 years to have another baby, naturally and through IUI, and never had another pregnancy. The story she only really told me recently is about how devastating and all-consuming it was to want a baby, knowing that your body can do it, theoretically, and just never ever get one. That particular story is the one about sobbing over baby clothes and about buying heaps of soft teddy bears to cuddle when she was craving a little soft thing to care for. It’s the story of resenting my father for not caring as much as she did and resenting those for whom pregnancy came easy.

It’s the wanting that makes it hard. It’s the knowing it’s just luck and chance and persistence and that the only thing you can do is try and try and try and wait.


P.S. My mother recently bought me a really soft fluffy toy when I was in the ‘progesterone-crying’ phase of the cycle and started weeping profusely over it in a shop. She told me the above story and said it would make me feel better. It did.

At the present time

As I write this, I am sitting on a rooftop enjoying a glass of red. I’m on doctor prescribed mental health leave after my third failed IVF cycle. As nice as it is to be able to tuck into my first red wine in a month, it’s a poor substitute for a little red cluster of foetal cells living in my uterus.

My wife and I have being trying to make a baby for a year now. In that year, we’ve fitted in: lots of bureaucratic  hoop jumping, waiting unnecessarily for sperm, and, finally, 3 cycles of IVF which resulted in 2 embryos and 0 pregnancies (chemical or otherwise). We have spent 10 times what our wedding cost on a whole heap of pain and heart ache.

My wife and I met in 2013 and got engaged in 2014 (couldn’t resist – classic lesbians). We hung out until 2016 for our wedding, hoping that Australian law would change and we’d be able to get married on the day (nope – classic conservative Australians). One day we’ll get married and it will be great. Until then, I’ll continue to complain loudly and frequently about the issue. There’ll be a post on that topic, I guarantee.

I finished my PhD a month before our wedding and if I had have got any of the post-doc jobs I applied for, we would not be trying for kids. Luckily I suppose, I didn’t and we started ttc 4 months later. Luckily, because I’ve been told I probably won’t be able to have children after 30. Lucky I got to start now. Lucky, I guess. My wife and I are now 28. Tick tock.

At the present time, we are preparing to try again with the pregnancy thing but after 3 failed IVFs, I am loosing confidence that I will ever be able to make a baby. I really want to be pregnant and I really want a biological child. My wife doesn’t want either of those things. This is inconvenient because it is becoming increasingly likely that she’ll have to do this for us. I am worried that if this happens, I will be jealous of her. Jealous of her getting fat and being tired and uncomfortable and all that pregnancy stuff. Disappointed with myself for not being able to do this for us and I am terrified that I won’t feel a connection with a child that hasn’t come from me.

At the present time, I’m wondering if I’m not socially and medically infertile because I’m just really not supposed to have a kid. My wife is wondering whether it’s happening because she’s a bad person. (My wife is so bloody nice she’d put Mother Theresa to shame, so I doubt this is the issue). I told her it was probably because a bunch of militant homophobes prayed for it. She told me not to make fun of her. I wasn’t making fun of her though. It was something I was thinking myself.

Making babies sure makes you crazy.


An introduction

I’m Nik, one half of an Australian lesbian couple trying very, very bloody hard to make a baby. We’ve been trying since July 2016, so I have quite a bit of news to catch up on in this blog. I probably should have started sooner but it didn’t really occur to me that it would be of interest to me or anyone else. We pay money, sperm goes in, baby comes out, yeah? Needless to say, this past year has robbed me of most of that hopeful naivete.

But really! Of course it’s of interest. Of course it’s relevant. There is not enough information and resources out there for people like us (dykey, lezzo, spermless types) who are ttc. Devouring all the stories my wife and I could find on the internet was helpful, but it’s not enough. We have felt bamboozled and blindsided so many times during this process. No one teaches you this stuff. No one expects you to need it.

I want to record this for my wife and I, so we can look back and remember this time in our lives. I want to put this out there for others struggling down the same path as we are. I want to capture all of this for the child I hope we will make.

I will try to be honest about this process. I will probably verge on the side of TMI quite regularly. But, I’ll also try not to be too sombre and serious, because if you can’t laugh at an emotionally and financially crippling happy fun adventure like IVF, what the hell can you do?