Saturday, December 29

IVF#4: Countdown begins.....again

I cannot beleive that another week is over, I barely have had time to breathe. Long word thing over and done with, (results to follow), long-distance Christmas, new car, sick children, 2 Shabbats, and now an impending New Years Party at my house.

Ok, so results first, eventually the Hysterosalpingograph thing was done this past Sunday night. I was so excited about the Valium, naive me thought I was so going to be in la-la land. What a total let down, whats the big deal anyway? I really don't think it did a thing, I think I should have taken two. The pharmacy couldn't sell me only one so I got a whole pack of 10, so obvious excitement about future experimentation.

Maybe I just hyped it all up, either which way a very non-zonked me walked into the x-ray room to do the hystero.............. , which I also totally hyped-up, it was so not a big deal, no pain, minor discomfort, and all very tolerable. I am such a drama-queen.

Results, confirmed that the bulbous aparition in my left hand side fallopian tube is in fact a Hydrosalpinx. Profman said that I should decide whether to either operate and remove the whole tube, or to try one more IVF . Due to my history, the possiblity of having to switch from a Laparoscopy (three tiny holes and easy recovery) to Laparotomy (one major slice and major major recovery) are very real. Also the next IVF would not be 54 days like last time, he would change from the Long Course Protocol to the Short Course Protocol, which would be injections for a few days only from day 2 of my next menstruation and then ofcourse same old anaesthetic to retrieve eggs, cook, then replace however many, and then cross fingers and everything else for 12 days. So my decision was made based on my fear of having another Laparotomy, it overrides doing 'one more' IVF.

So here we go again. Funny thing is I am back on the Pill, it is part of the Long Course Protocol, you have to start off by taking the Pill for 20 days, you get your period and then from day 2 you start injecting as normal. So back on the IVF train. Countdown begins. Fourth time lucky?

Thursday, December 20

Rose-tinted glasses

We went to friends for dinner last night with the children, and right outside their front door our car was broken into. The drivers' window was completely shattered by a rock, 'they' had also tried smashing the front windscreen and cracked it enough to have to be replaced. What a mission, and all for a GPS.

I have friends back in SA who have this really romantic utopian idea about Israel, about living here, Holy Land and all that stuff. Like as if everything will be ok here, surrounded by 6 million of your very own, everything is good, no crime, no issues (bar the Palestinian one) . I never had any of those idealistic and Zionistic ideas, or so I thought. In less than a month there have been two events that have really 'rocked my boat', firstly the Donors' parents were broken into a few weeks back and now this. I don't expect this kind of thing to happen here. There aren't killers and rapists and murderers and robbers HERE, they are all in South Africa, in my old life. I thought these kinds of crimes were really really rare here, I know they happen, but two robberies in a month, what are the odds? There has also just been a big sting operation all over the news this past week of a paedophilia ring that was caught 'in the act', almost. People are murdered here, it is not senseless crime as we would call it in South Africa, but more the underworld kind. Maybe I should remove my rose tinted glasses and wake up to a bit of reality.

Tommorrow I have my IVF support group. When i was initially interviewed to join, I was really not into being in a group with other women who did NOT already have children. I told the group leader that I rather wanted to be in a group with like-minded women with Secondary Infertility. She managed to persuade me to join nonetheless. The first session I left feeling like a total fake. It is not the kind of group where you start off by saying : "Hi my name is Lianne and I .....blah blah blah", the details kind of come out bit by bit and there is no pressure to reveal anything you don't want to. Needless to say I did NOT reveal that I already am blessed with two children. I felt guilty, guilty that I have children! I knew this was going to happen and that was my main reason for not wanting to join. So there I am joining in in all their sorrow and grief at not being able to have children. What a fake! It bothered me all week. So last weeks session, I was a bit reserved, my Mom had left the night before, I was feeling very tender. When it got towards the end of our time, the group leader asked us all to end off with a sentence or two. When it got to me, I just could not keep it in anymore, I blurted it out, and then burst into tears. I felt like, there we all are, all seven of us, revealing intimate and private parts of our lives, really powerful emotional stuff, and I am basically cheating Adam and Noam by not sharing them, the best part of my life. After my little sob-parade was over, all the girls said the right kind of feel-good type stuff, I am not sure whether it was just to make me feel better, or if they really meant it. Anyway it all got me thinking. When I was first approached about joining this group, I thought I would be the one getting something out of it and something out of the other people in the group, but I think it is exactly the opposite.

I might have something to offer all of them. Maybe they could all learn something from me, that you can have children and still yearn and ache for more.

Monday, December 17


Had my follow-up appointment today with my Professor. We were with him for almost an hour, such a complicated case I am! After much backwards and forwards the final decision is that I am going to do a hysterosalpingograph (yes there is such a word).

"Hysterosalpingograph - x-ray with dye injected into the uterus to see if the tubes are obstructed."

This procedure is really simple and only sightly uncomfortable, it can be done to ascertain 100% if what I have in my left hand side fallopian tube is in fact a hydrosalpinx, if the results are conclusive then he will do a laparoscapy to remove the entire tube, and thereafter wait one month before I can start another IVF cycle. He does not want to do any unneccesary operation, and I SO agree. It is possible that the tubular blulbous thing that he is seeing on ultrasound is spacing between the chronic pelvic adhesions that I have. If that is all it is, which can only be concluded after this 'big word thing', then next step will be to do another IVF using a slightly different protocol. It is called 'short course protocol', this is only used on patients who do not respond accordingly to the usual 'long course protocol' medication - as was the case with me last IVF (54 DAYS!).

Best news is that I get VALIUM! I am such a drug-addict at heart, I know Mommy its' really disgusting, blah blah. I told the Professor that I really was not keen for any type of pain or discomfort in this procedure (horror-filled Pipelle memories) so he prescribed valium and some voltaren, I am going to be in such a daze. YAY!!! He can only do the 'long word' after my serious "Rivers of Babylon" calm down, so he said to call him on Wednesday evening and it is possible that he can still do it this week.

PS. Again today in the Professors waiting rooms I had to hear his secretary tell some patient that had called in, "Mazal Tov, so you are pregnant!" Whatever!

Meantime, I am enjoying my beautiful family; two wonderful special and gorgeous children who make me happy and proud every day of their lives. And my 'donor' who is a continuous loving support and strength to me.

Thursday, December 13

Not my souls

It was negative.

Beta HCG <2, hard to misinterpret.

So Plan B, already made an appointment with Professor Shulman, Monday 12.30, and on to sorting out surgically everything that is hindering any chance that I may have of every falling pregnant again.

I was surprisingly fine, I had a tear, Noam was with me (albeit snoring next to me), and then I phoned to make the appointment with the Professor. Then I spoke to the 'donor' and realised that maybe I wasn't really that fine because I was so irritated and short with him, he was at the airport boarding a plane to come back here. I smsed him afterwards to apologise, it is not his fault, there is no-one to blame. It just was not my time, not my soul/s.

Oh and to top it all off, I got a letter from Assuta to say that the 2 left-over embryos that we were hoping to freeze had 'expired'. Another 5 little 'possibilities ' gone.

Until the result

Day 54


Ok, so I have managed to pull myself together. Life goes on. Mothers leave, and daughters have to just get on with it! Be strong Israeli-girl!

Cleaning is my therapy, weird I know. My house is sparkling and spotless, this, the result of two teary eyed days of intense cleaning therapy. Yesterday I took my theraputed-self off for a bit of spoiling. I found a new hairdresser and went the full monty. Colour, wash, cut and blow, oh and products. I feel a bit like my old self today, except for the nervous, sick feeling in my stomach.

Today was d-day, I did the Beta HCG Bloods (Pregnancy blood test) this morning, I will only get an answer late this afternoon. I can get them on-line so I will be sitting like a crazed beast at my computer awaiting the good or bad news all afternoon. I just feel thoroughly ill with nerves. This waiting game is the worst, this whole process has taken 54 days, then it was 12 days, and now it is down to a few hours.

What will I do if it is positive? Don't know. What will I do if it is negative? I do know, I will be sad ofcourse, like I was reaching for something that I really really wanted, standing on my tip-tip toes, reaching with everything in me, almost getting 'it', and then 'it' slipping out of my reach. So sure, sad. And then I know myself, it is on to plan 'b', which in my case is straight to an operation. The surgical removal of my entire fallopian tube (lhs), and cleaning out - which is only a temporary solution - of all the adhesions. Hopefully thereafter adhesion and sydrosalpinx-free, I will be oozing fertility from every pore of my being.

Irony is that I was told to do this pregnancy test today, 13 December, anniversary of Natalies death. Me and signs? What does that mean?

So now I am off to art to release some of my creative energy and hopefully some nervous energy too.

Until the result. x

Monday, December 10


Day 50-whatever

Feeling very sorry for myself, been crying on and off since I said goodbye to my Mom last night.

I just feel all alone again.

Me against 'them'.

Wednesday, December 5

"Everything happens for the right reason"

When I went through the long and tedious, but really wonderful task of converting to Orthodox Judaism my teacher (one of the most special people I have ever met) throughout my conversion process always used to tell me: "Everything happens for the right reason". I have totally come to know this, but today was proof of that.

So, I have been having the best time ever with my Mom, doing a load of things, and everything fun and full of laughs as it always is with the two of us. My Mom is great fun, she is always a good laugh and always keen to just 'get on down'. After these last two weeks (almost) with her I have realised that she would just be the best travelling companion, everything is fun to her, everything a new adventure, a bit like a toddler - and all with the same toddler-like exhilaration and energy. Go Mom go! Tomorrow we are all (Mom, me, Adam and Noam) off on a road-trip, Thursday night in Nazareth, and then Friday and Saturday night in the Galilee.

So a brief run-down, Monday I rested all day in bed safeguarding the 'little ones'. Monday evening was the first session of the newly formed IVF Support Group at the Professor's rooms. There were 7 of us, and it went well, we all had to start off with creating a picture of 'who' we were and then present it to the group. I was worried about the Hebrew, and I won't lie, it is hard keeping up. It takes so much concentration and intense attention from me, it is exhausting, hence the ever-nightly Hebrew Headache. Nonetheless I did it, missing the odd word (or twenty) now and again, I got the jist of most of it. We each had to reveal a bit of who we are. I walked out an hour and a half later feeling like a real 'fake', I never let on about Adam and Noam. I think I may have a bit of self-analysis in store regarding this issue, I am not sure if it is 'me' or 'them', but I do feel guilty. Anyway I will continue this issue another day, meanwhile I have a week to ponder my feelings, and right now i am too busy enjoying my Mom. So my 'issues' will just have to wait.

Tuesday we went through to Tel Aviv early, we planned to go to this brilliant Shuk called 'Shuk HaCarmel', and also to this stunning craft market called 'Nahalat Binyamin', obviously with a quick 'snack' to start, we set off, the two of us, arm-in-arm, giggling and laughing, what a brilliant vibe, and what a great day! The craft market was really beautiful with the most original ideas and unbelievable talent, and ofcourse full of weird and interesting people. It was great, then on to shoppers-paradise, the Shuk. The best value for money that exists, no need to even haggle. The prices are already so low, they really can't go much lower. Also, you are surrounded by absolute modernity in the shadows of absolute antiquity. Massive sky-scraper shiny monstrosities, and then beautiful ancient shuttered falling-down buildings. It is all mixed up together, a big hotch-potch of contradicting everythings.

Last night was the Channuka party at Adam's school which was great fun, everyone had put so much effort into it all and it was really special. Our first Channuka as full-on Israelis! Because I wasn't raised in a Jewish home, I often find myself 're-living' that lost childhood through my children. It is a privilege really, every song/action is a new thing for me to learn.

So today we had decided we were all going to go on a major adventure, we were going to take the train to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. This did not 'come to pass', there was a whole balls-up with the tickets/times whatever, and so we decided to just go anywhere for fun, have lunch and then come back. We chose Nahariya (past Haifa), it was a long train ride and we had to change trains as well. The last time I took a train in Israel I was 15 years younger, had an earing in my nose, and certainly did not have children, or a Mother in tow. Public transport is really unbelievable here, punctual, clean and really organised. So we changed trains, and set off on the nearly two hour trip. The train was packed so we had to split up, Adam and I in one seat, and a few rows up Mom and Noam. Opposite me was a frum South African lady talking on the phone for about the first 20 minutes, she eventually got off the phone and heard me speaking my Soufefrikenese to Adam, she then asked me where I was from in SA, and she said she was from Muizenberg. I leant over into the aisle and called my Mom and said that there was another Muizenberger (my Mom had gone to school there). The "Muizenberger" opposite me lit up and turned around to look at my Mother (all on a speeding packed train), my Mom asked her her name and she said 'Brenda', my Mom looks at her in disbelief, and almost shouts hysterically 'Brenda Resnick! It's me Vyvyan, Vyvyan Bateman". 'Brenda' throws her knitting to the floor, vaults out of her chair and leaps over to my Mother, hugs, kisses, "I don't believe its". It was one of those moments where you needed a camera and a tissue on hand, I had neither. Turns out they were friends in school, in the same class, 50 years ago in Muizenberg. It was just the most amazing thing. Who would have thought that your plans could go so wrong for your day, you could end up on a train-to-no-where, in a foreign country, and meet a friend who you haven't seen in FIFTY years. Isn't life just the best! 'Brenda' had to get off at the next station, so they hastily exchanged contact details and more hugs and kisses and then she was gone.

This almost surreal experience just had a way of reminding me that there is a 'plan' for all of us, not just long term, but every day and every second. Every train that you miss, every plan that gets botched, everything that goes wrong; it is all happening for the right reason!

Sunday, December 2

3 buns-in-the-oven

They are in, safe and sound!!

Profman said that out of the five, three were of a better quality (2 being 8 cells, and one being too many to count). Regarding the two remainders, we will only know tommorrow if they are of 'freezing quality'. I have decided that I am not going to focus on the frozen ones, only on the ones that are acctually in, and hopefully implanting themselves as I write. I am just sending loads of positive vibes and thoughts, my friend the accupuncturist gave me a whole lot of tips, like cutting down on cellphone use, wireless internet, sleeping in a dark room, drinking some strangely-named tea, avoiding chemicals like cleaners etc.

My Mom came with me and as usual we just giggled and laughed non-stop like silly school girls, what is it with us and Hospitals? Husband is on his way back to SA, and it would have been a bit of a tight squeeze if he had come with me, so we decided Mother Dearest would. She came in with me and watched the whole transfer (from my 'head' side, and not the other less attractive side) and we got to see the embryos on a screen before they were inserted. And she got to meet my wonderful Professor Shulman, twitch and all.

My "'love', 'courage', 'hope'" ring is permanently turned to the 'hope', and I really do feel hopeful. Too many signs over the course of the last 43 days to ignore, too many things that make me think that 'this' could be the one. After the transfer I had to sit in a 'lazyboy' type chair for about 10 minutes, my stomach felt like it had this warm glow to it, a special warm feeling.

Tommorrow I am staying in bed all day, no picking up children or anything heavy as well. At the moment I am having difficulty breathing for fear of them 'falling' out. So it is chill-out mode for me, which is really hard for someone like me.

So, all power to my three little ones!

Saturday, December 1

5 Little Possibilites

Day 43
Crinone (Progesterone) x 1

So they lasted the weekend! Well done little five embryo's! Keep growing, keep getting stronger, and then implant, implant, implant!

I have spent the last two days obsessing over their status. They may not be even visible to the naked eye, but to me they are my 5 little babies - so the thought of knowing that even one 'did not make it' is really hard.

My friend who is doing my acupuncture (I went to her again on Friday morning) also did acupressure and was actually visualising a healthy endometrium and thinking all these positive fertile thoughts while she was doing her massaging and 'pressing'. I tried to do the same every time 'they' came into my head. Maybe it worked, who knows, but I am slowly getting some confidence back about this cycle back.

I am running around with my Mother, and we are having the greatest time. We have lots of plans for this week, they may just not be that practical as I am going to have to chill just a bit after the Embryo Transfer. It is happening at 6.30 tommorrow evening.

Oh oh oh, and major news, WE CAUGHT THE MOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My father in law had given me a rusted old mouse trap from 1922, he insisted that this would do the trick. And it did! We set it on Thursday evening before we went to bed, all of a sudden I hear this massive THWACK! and I knew. My mother and I walked out into the feilds next to our house today and let it free. It didn't go that smoothly, I thought I would just open the trap door and it would run straight out. It didn't, so I lent down and poked my head into the trap and saw it crouched at the back of the trap, I stood up and within a milisecond it sprinted out and did this whole running around in circles thing, over my shoes and over Noams shoes and then it vanished. It all happened so quickly I just couldn't keep track, I started freaking out because I just couldn't understood where it had gone, so I was frantically checking my pants and shoes. My mother was no help she was just laughing her head off.

So to end off, I send every ounce of love to my dear friend who had yet another let down. Please G-d it will happen next month.


"Q: In which cases does removal of the fallopian tubes improve the outcome?
A: In recent years, impressive evidence has shown that hydrosalpinx (swollen fallopian tubes, filled with fluid) can reduce chances of implantation. It seems that the reason for this is that the fluid in the fallopian tubes contains inflammatory products that leak into the abdominal cavity and damage the embryo trying to implant itself in the endometrium. In cases of recurrent failure of IVF therapy, the condition of the fallopian tubes should always be assessed using a hysterosalpingogram and ultrasound scan. If the state of the fallopian tubes is very poorly, and might affect the implantation of the embryos, the benefit of their removal should be considered. The removal of oneor both fallopian tubes is performed by laparoscopy, where a laparoscope (a fine telescope) is inserted through an umbilical incision."