Friday, November 26, 2010

New Fertility Clinic

Went to the new fertility clinic and we were really happy to find a doctor that takes the time to get to know our medical history, give us her point of view and answers all of our questions with detail and precision. Really a thorough doctor. She spent an hour and a half with us! It is the complete opposite from the other clinic, where I felt like a number, everyone is always in a hurry, very minimal communication between doctor and patient and we all get more or less the same treatment for IVF.

Here is a summary of our meeting:
-She said that my operation last year for endometriosis was done by an excellent surgeon. In many cases after the operation the ovaries can stop working due to the size of the cysts I had and scar tissues that can develop after surgery. After reading all of my medical history and results, she is surprised that my ovaries are still working.
-Since I have severe endometriosis, along with a cyst that came back last year, plus my age, it is possible to keep trying, however we need to be realistic and hope that nature will be on our side during our next IVF cycle. As my ovaries are damaged goods, I can not expect to produce a massive amount of eggs, however we only need 1 good egg to make this all happen, so we can still hope for a successful outcome, however no guarantees can be given - message received and accepted.
-She wants to re-test the Cat Man's sperm, because the first test had some strange results.
-If we wish to switch over to her, she will change up the protocol a bit and customize my treatment according to our history, tests, etc. Wow, a doctor who actually thinks outside of the box, rather than following the same treatment sheet for everyone.

I asked her if she thought that the other clinic was competent and she was really fair and diplomatic in her reply. She actually used to work there for many years and said that they have a very good team. If I wanted to continue with the other clinic, she said that she would be happy to call my doctor and give some suggestions for the next cycle. She said it was up to me to choose and that both clinics have about the same success rates. I really respected her reply, because she could have been very negative about the other clinic, so that she would get a new patient, but it wasn't the case at all. The biggest difference is that the other doctor always kept us in the dark and this new doctor really knows how to communicate.

This clinic is private so we will have to pay for some of the costs, but it will be minimal, because the government still covers most of the expenses.

We had a really good feeling with this doctor and we will most likely switch clinics for our next IVF cycle, which will hopefully be in January 2011. If so, we've got a few tests we need to get done in December (sperm and blood tests).

Since all of this has started, this is the first time I feel reassured, realistic of our situation and informed. Not sure if it will work, but I now feel confident that we are in excellent hands, so that our chance of having a baby will be maximized.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Change of Plan

Called the hospital on Monday to tell them that I had my period, however they said that legally I was obliged to take the blood test, so I did. Got the results today and of course it came back as a big fat negative. No surprise there.

I really don't like this hospital. They have a set and very basic formula and apply it to all the patients. Everyone starts the Gonal F injections on a Wednesday, everyone has the retrieval on a Monday and everyone has the transfer 48 hours later, on the Wednesday. It truly feels like an IVF factory and that their goal is to see as many patients as possible, rather than focusing on the success rate. No one in this hospital seems to think outside of the box.

I wrote an email to my gynaecologist and explained how I felt, so he has kindly given me the contact details of another clinic that provides IVF treatment. I have an appointment on the 26 November 2010. I think this clinic is semi-private, so we may have to pay for some of the costs out of our own pocket. Hopefully they are more proactive and can help us with our baby dream. Perhaps third time's a charm.

Friday, November 5, 2010


IVF #2 is a bust. Since the transfer, I was feeling great. I was walking on cloud 9, resting up, even had a goofy and hopeful smile on my face and then it all came to a brutal end. Yesterday I started to feel menstrual cramps and had some spotting and today it's full on. It's over.

I'm feeling a lot of things (pissed, depressed, empty), but most of all, I'm feeling heartbroken. Our embies didn't make it. Had a good cry on my husband's shoulder yesterday. Not sure what the next step will be, this has all been so emotionally draining. 4 years of trying without any results is wearing me down.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mission Possible

Went to the clinic today for the transfer and they managed to create 2 embryos for us. Yippee! Would have liked more, but we'll take it! Not sure of the quality, as they didn't give any info, but we should receive the details by post in the near future.

The transfer took about 5 minutes, had no discomfort, rested for about 15 minutes and then we were sent home. It all happened so fast, kinda felt like wham, bam, thank- you ma'am. The only thing I thought was strange was that they did not use an ultrasound to guide the embryos.

As of now, I've got 2 embryos floating around my uterus. I hope they grow strong and healthy by the minute and stick to my womb. Blood test is scheduled for the 8th November. It's going to be a long 2 week wait to know the results, however we've waited for almost 4 years and we are very close to making this mission very possible!

Will have bed rest today and tomorrow I'll resume as normal. Thinking of very zen and sticky thoughts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Successful Egg Hunt

I'm totally exhausted so I'll keep this short and simple. Went for retrieval today. Had general anaesthesia and great news, they got 7 follicles! The other day, they only saw 3 or 4 on the ultrasound, but there were actually 7. I hope a lot of them are mature and of good quality - fingers and toes crossed. They will do ICSI. If all is well, transfer is scheduled for Wednesday. Start progesterone tonight.

I've got lower abdominal cramps and my poor ovaries feel like they've been punched, so I'm off to get some rest and dream of beautiful embryos.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Very Limited Numbers

Good news is that I will trigger on Saturday and the egg hunt is on for Monday.

The not so good news is that they only see about 3 to 4 eggs on the ultrasound. Only 3 or 4 eggs!?!?! Ugh! And how many of these will be mature and make an embryo? The doctor said that both ovaries do not seem to be working well due to Endometriosis, thus the limited numbers. This seems to be an uphill battle.

Last time, they retrieved 6 eggs and only 4 of them were mature, which resulted in 0 embryos. This time, who knows what's going to happen, but I will keep hanging onto the glimmer of hope and pray for my miracle baby.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Strike Action Coming To An End!

The "people" of France are on strike! Well, they are often on strike, but this seems to be a serious one, as the "people" are not happy with the government, raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. The "people" are taking to the streets, marching, protesting, even have a clever "operation escargot" happening, in which the protesters drive at 10km per hour on the highway, causing major traffic headaches. Furthermore, everyone is panicking over the lack of petrol, as the "people" are blocking the trucks from delivering fuel.

Traffic, trains, air flights, postal service - it's all messed up, like my ovaries. My ovaries have been on strike for so many years and I must say, like the unions in France, they are reeking havoc and disorder to the system! The "people" may or may not have reason to strike, but my ovaries certainly don't have any right to protest. Without any notice, they just decided to stop working. Wasn't even given the opportunity to negotiate some kind of compromise. Well, I'm taking direct action and getting these ovaries back to work and they will do overtime, to make up for lost time. Had a meeting with the head honchos this morning and they have given me the go ahead to continue with Gonal F, which will call off the strike and put my ovaries back to work. Desperate times call for drastic measures!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

IVF #2 - Still At It

Went to the clinic and they have given me the green light to continue treatment, therefore I can start the Gonal F injections (so now it's 2 injections per night). My hubby also came with me to the consultation, as I want him to take a more active and positive role. He still drinks, smokes, etc. which has been a real bone of contention between us, and I hope that the doctor's advice about reducing these bad habits, to improve sperm quality, will be taken to heart. I'm not asking him to stop, I'm just asking him to cut back on the wine, coffee and smoke intake. I know it's easier said than done, so I hope he can find some way to conquer this battle or at least subdue it.

I also had a consultation with the anaesthesiologist and told her that the last time, during retrieval, I should have had general anaesthesia, but ended up having local, because she was not available at the last minute. She said she did not know what happened. In fact, she couldn't even find my consultation sheet in my file. Personally, I think my file got lost and that my general anaesthesia was not scheduled. I hope this time, the paper work gets filed correctly, so that I don't have to endure the pain that I did last time.

At this stage, I find that time goes by a bit faster. My ovaries will now be working overtime and I hope they will produce lots of healthy eggs that will turn into some embryos or at least one. Please oh please.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thank You Robert Edwards!

Congratulations to the founding father of IVF, Robert Edwards for winning the Nobel Prize in medicine. Well deserved and thanks to his vision and development of IVF, nearly 4 million IVF babies have been born! I hope to add to this number in the near future!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Here We Go Again - IVF Attempt Number 2

I was 36 years old for IVF attempt number 1. I am now 37 years old for IVF attempt number 2 (big sigh). Anyhow, no use moaning, started IVF treatment today with a simple injection of Decapeptyl. The nurse came by to give me my shot, as I still don't care to stab myself. Like last time, I'll have the daily injections for 2 weeks. Then I will have my blood test and consultation on the 13 October and start with the Gonal F injections.

I'm still taking my vitamins, eating normally, and getting daily back massages from a shiatsu massage seat with remote control I got for my b-day. Getting older is not so fun, but getting a cool gift sure helps. I love deep tissue massages and this massage seat is no sissy, it really gets into my back with 2 rolling balls that goes up and down along my back. It's heavenly!

I'll be crossing my fingers and toes, hoping and praying and focusing on positive and zen thoughts. With all of this, perhaps I will have a bun in the oven by November. Gotta stay positive!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IVF Round 2 - Starting 27 September 2010

Had my consultation with the doctor yesterday and I will start IVF treatment on 27 September 2010. For this 2nd attempt, they will use a technique called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), in which they will inject the sperm into the egg. Since we didn't form any embryos from our 1st attempt, this is the new game plan.

In France, the government covers the cost of 4 IVF cycles. Since we couldn't do the transfer from the 1st attempt, it is not considered a full cycle, therefore we still have our 4 tries intact, which is good news for us. I've been singing the praises of the healthcare system in France and it is very good and generous, however we do pay very very high taxes in this country. Although we don't directly pay for our IVF treatment, we do indirectly pay for this through our taxes. Unfortunately, nothing is free in life.

I asked the doctor if my hubby should be taking anything, like vitamins, to help the quality of his sperm. She said that a new product has come out this week called "Conceptio Homme". Apparently it's a mix of different types of vitamins and minerals. Hopefully, this will help his boys get active and interested in my eggs.

Well, I'm ready for round 2. I'm no longer a newbie, so I'm ready for the daily injections, bloating, sore breasts, etc. Bring it on!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cost of IVF Medication in France

Got a report for the cost of my IVF medication that I was taking in June and it's actually not bad. For the whole lot, it cost 1,655 Euros. In the US and Canada, people have paid around 8,000 Dollars for their IVF meds. My goodness, what a difference! BTW, I'm extremely lucky as IVF is covered by the French government, so my bank account is not broke, just my ovaries. I'm not sure how much it cost for the IVF cycle (consultations, retrieval,etc.) as I did not receive this detail.

I must say, the cost of healthcare in France is reasonable. I'm unable to explain the complete healthcare structure, but here are some general facts:
-France has a mixture of public and private hospitals. Public hospitals are covered by the government and private hospitals are partially covered by the government, private insurance and yourself.
-To see a family doctor, it is 100% covered by the government and they pay the doctor 23 Euros for each consultation. Very reasonably priced in my opinion. Heck, the veterinarian costs more when I take my cat in.
-For a specialist, like a gynecologist, it is around 50 Euros for each consultation, which is partially covered by the government, partially covered by private insurance and I pay a bit towards this cost (around 20 Euros). If I see a specialist in a public hospital, it's totally covered by the government.
-For private healthcare insurance, I pay 60 Euros a month, which doesn't cover everything, but is very decent coverage.

When I was hospitalized in a private hospital for Endometriosis last year, the cost of the operation + 6 days in the hospital, was partially covered by the government and private insurance. From my own pocket, I paid around 500 Euros and that's including a TV and a private telephone line in my room.

For the most part the system works in France. Waiting time for tests and treatment is not very long. I got an MRI scan, colonoscopy, and blood tests, all done within a month of my diagnosis. The only complaint I have with my IVF process is that it is very impersonal and I feel like a number, but if they can get the job done, then I will be one happy camper.

I've got my next IVF appointment with the doctor on the 8th of September. Very eager to start treatment and hopefully this second round will be kind to us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is the Fertility God Playing with Me?

It's Day 38 and I still don't have my period, so I have been pondering over these 3 possibilities:

1. My body has been through a lot and it's taking its good old time. Prior to my operation last year, I had my period every 28 days, I was regular as regular could get, but post op and after lots of hormone treatment, it would be every 30-31 days. For the record, the longest has been 35 days and I have never missed a period in my menstrual life (except for the 6 month hormone treatment).

2. At 36 years old, am I starting menopause? I have heard of women who start menopause early in life and I remember a long time ago, my mom said that someone in the family started menopause at 38. This thought really freaks me out, so I hope this possibility is a definite negative.

3. Could I possibly be pregnant? How could this be, I've been trying for almost 4 years! Is the Fertility God finally smiling on me?

When I mentioned this to my husband he encouraged me to buy a home pregnancy test. For the record, I have never bought a home preggers test, because it only brings up too much hope and most likely to be followed by disappointment. But this is Day 38 and I don't feel any period symptoms. Is my body playing scattergories and it's very confused or is it playing bingo and it achieved the winning combination so that I can jump up and yell BINGO!

Well, I caved in and bought the test this afternoon. After dinner, I was looking at it quite intensely, not sure if I should take it or not. I read the notice carefully, so that I wouldn't make any mistakes and it said that it can take up to 3 minutes for the results.
-1 line on the C means I'm not pregnant
-1 line on the T + 1 line on the C means I'm pregnant.
Well, I went for it and 10 seconds didn't even pass and there was a very thick visible line on the C. Man, I felt like this test just slapped me in the face. How rude, it could have at least waited 1 or 2 minutes before giving me the bad news. I did wait for the full 3 minutes to see if I would get that second line, but it never came. I'm not too down about it, as I knew that this possibility was very unlikely. One thing is for sure, this is the first and last time that I buy a home pregnancy test. So much drama for nothing.

By the way, when I bought the home pregnancy test, I also bought a lottery ticket. Let's hope my lottery ticket brings me more luck.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Very Fertile Family Tree

My grandmothers on my father and mother's side were extremely fertile. My grandmother on my father's side had 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl) and my grandmother on my mother's side also had 6 children(4 girls and 2 boys).
Between 2 women they had 12 kids and that's pretty impressive! Well, it's impressive to me, because I'm trying to have just 1 and to have 6 just seems so incredible. Another impressive fact is that my grandmother had my mother when she was 43 years old. Back then, a woman giving birth at 43 was relatively rare, plus they had to deal with poverty, war, etc. Certainly not an easy time, but making babies seemed to be quite easy. My parent's generation also had a bunch of kids, expanding the family tree. From my generation, those who are married, all have kids, except for me. I've got a big family of uncles, aunts, cousins, a brother and even a grandmother who is over 90 years old and although we all live quite far from one another, they are very much in my thoughts and heart. Reflecting on all of this, I realized that I've got a very fertile family tree and I hope that I can expand my little branch one day.

At the end of the month, I'll be turning 37. Usually I love birthdays, but this year I've got some mixed feelings about it. 37 is not old by any means, but I've read so many articles about the significant decline in getting pregnant after 35. I'm over 35 plus I have endometriosis, so where does that leave me? One thing is for sure, I will not get pregnant at 36, so is 37 my lucky number? Will I beat the odds? I really don't know, but I'll keep trying, I'll keep hoping and I am happy to be a part of the family tree as a wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin and aunt. Wow, I've got a lot of titles on my family tree, but I just want one more to make it complete.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello Kitty

I'm the Cat Lady so it's time to introduce my family of furry felines. To give you some background, before I met my hubby, I was actually a dog person and did not like cats. I was actually afraid of cats, thinking they liked to scratch people with their sharp claws and I also had some allergies. My husband has a total passion for cats and with time I converted and also became a cat lover (even got over my allergies). Getting to know what cats are truly like, they are amazing creatures! I've also become one of those people who buy cat things, like cat posters, cat figurines, and I even have a cat t-shirt (the t-shirt is for me, not for my cat. I do not dress my cats up in ridiculous outfits). A bit over the top, but trust me, these are unique cat items, not the tacky stuff.

This is Tigrette (aka Titi) and she is the first cat we adopted. She has the character of a little tiger, she's very intelligent, knows how to open doors and loves to eat.

This is Lucille (aka Lulu) and she is the second cat we adopted. She loves to snuggle, would win any meowing contest, as she has strong vocal cords and in the summer I put sunblock on her ears, as they are white and burn quite easily.

This is Black Jack (aka Blacky) and he is the third cat we adopted. I thought it was so cute when he was in front of this Chat Noir poster. He's always doing cute things without even knowing it.

This is Foxy and he is the fourth cat we adopted. He likes his freedom, wonders off to who knows where during the day and comes by for dinner when he gets hungry. Then he's off again!

We are one big happy cat family!

"If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat." - Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Favorite Things To Do

To get over the disappointment, I did some of my favorite things to cheer myself up.

1. Ate at my favorite restaurant with my husband. Traditional French food, lovely presentation and each bite was a delight. I am a real gourmande.

2. Had a 75 minute full body massage. This put me in a total zen state of mind.

3. Bought some new sandals. Wearing pretty footwear always puts a smile on my face.

4. Made lots of pain perdu, which we call French toast. Best comfort food and with a little bit of maple syrup, it's heavenly! The trick to pain perdu, which I just learned, is to use old baguette/bread,otherwise it gets too soggy.

5. Had a girls night out which consisted of a movie, dinner and of course lots of girl talk.

My hubby, cats, friends and family have been very supportive and this has helped immensely. I'm trying not to let infertility get to me, although to be honest it does wear me down. We'll still fight the fight and we may have lost the battle this time, but not the war. Next appointment with the doctor is on 8 September 2010.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nothing, Nadda, Zero

I was supposed to have my transfer today, however this was cancelled since we didn't have any embryos. That's right, no embryos, nothing, nadda, zilch, zero. I now have a profound and deeper understanding of the words disappointed, deflated and dumbfounded.

Went to the clinic, with lots of hope, ready to take on the world and when the doctor steered us to the office rather than the treatment room, I got confused. Hey, I should be going the other way to prepare for transfer. This confusion soon got clarified, very quickly. Bad news, our eggs and sperm did not unite to form an embryo, so the transfer was off. They said that the eggs and sperm were of very good quality and that there is no explaination as to why they didn't connect. What the heck, were they too shy, did they not like each other, were they too lazy, did they have a headache, not in the mood? Why oh why didn't my eggs and his sperm connect to make at least 1 embryo, that's all we needed. 1 little teeny tiny embryo. C'est la vie and la vie sucks sometimes!

They said that next time they will inject/force the sperm into the egg. I never like to force anyone to do anything, but in this case, I think I can make an exception. When is next time? They said to contact them in September.

Now for some perspective, although the outcome of this 1st IVF cycle didn't work, I am thankful that my body can produce healthy eggs, as I had some huge doubts about it and that my hubby has healthy sperm. That's what they tell us, so I'll believe them. I am also thankful that this is not over, just put on hold for now. We will try again in September with a new action plan. I'm going to take this week to drown my sorrows, with what, I'm not sure, but I think I'll go and change into my PJs and snuggle with my cats. My kitty cats don't care about egg and sperm quality, but they sure care about getting lots of love and snuggles from us and this I can do very well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

Went this morning for egg retrieval and normally I was supposed to be under general anaesthesia, however the anaesthetist was busy so I went under local and ouch, it hurt like hell! They tried to distract me by showing me the monitor as my eggs were getting aspirated, however the pain was really overwhelming so I just shut my eyes real tight, cried a bit (or a lot), hoping for this to be over asap. Thank goodness it didn't take too long (about 15 minutes). They got 6 eggs, a bit disappointing as I thought I'd have around 10, but they said it is a good number. Somewhat tired and feeling like someone beat up my ovaries.

I am scheduled for the transfer on Wednesday morning. Almost there!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gotta Love The Cat Man

Woke up this morning feeling irritated as I had so many mosquito bites around my ankle area. I complained to the Cat Man and he gave me some kind of medical cream, but I told him I don't want to take any kind of medicine during IVF, even a cream. He put on his thinking cap and with a cotton ball he rubbed vinegar on my ankle. Don't know how he knew, but it worked like magic, the itchiness went away!

Thus far, this IVF thing has been kind to me, as I have not felt too many side effects, other than some sore breasts the last couple of days. Then it hit me at lunch time, huge pain, which consisted of major cramps followed by a very achy neck and back. I was in so much pain that I bawled my eyes out. The Cat Man rubbed my tummy, tried to massage my back and even called the emergency (they were not much help). I was a big hot mess! I put a hot pad on my stomach and was able to take a cat nap, but it was short lived, as I was feeling major cramps again, which put my whole body in pain. The Cat Man told me to take a very very deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out slowly. He had me continue this over and over again. I was not really keen at the beginning, because even taking deep breathes pained me. Well, thank goodness the Cat Man encouraged me to continue, as it worked like a charm! After about 5 minutes of deep breathing, the pain went away. I still feel bloated, but the pain, which was unbearable, was gone.

We are not really into homeopathic remedies, but I am now a believer. The Cat Man said that we should look more into natural solutions, rather than always running to the medicine cabinet. I am all for it! The Cat Man's clients call him Macgyver, because he can fix anything and he is also my Doctor Shepherd, because he takes such good care of me when I feel sick. I am one lucky lady to have a Macgyver and a Doctor Shepherd all in one man.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bad For The Sperm

The last 3 months, the Cat Man has been working like crazy. He has been working 7 days a week and many late nights. His job is very manual, so he comes home physically and mentally exhausted. I did everything possible to support him during this difficult time (ex: making yummy meals, massaging his broken back and even bathing him when he had no strength left). He finished this crazy job yesterday, thank goodness! As he was under so much stress, I haven't really bothered him too much about IVF.

This morning, while I was getting ready for the day, I saw an open bottle of stomach medicine. I questioned him about it and he said he had a stomach ache, so he took some last night. I got a bit upset, telling him he should not take any medicine before Monday. I told him that this may be bad for the sperm. He said he didn't realise and that it was duly noted. Then he proceeded to have a cigarette. He's been smoking for most of his life and I know that 2 days before retrieval is not going to make a difference, but I told him to try and smoke as little as possible, as this is bad for the sperm. Again, duly noted by the Cat Man. At lunch time, as usual, he had some red wine, as most Frenchmen do. I told him to drink less alcohol until Monday, as this is bad for the sperm. Again, duly noted. He then took his afternoon sieste (cat nap) and when he woke up he had his second coffee of the day. I told him not to drink so much coffee, as this is bad for the sperm. He then told me that nagging is bad for the sperm. At this point, the Cat Lady and the Cat Man were going to get into a big cat fight!

I know that 2 days before the retrieval is not going to make a big difference. We have agreed to the following: he will try to curb his bad habits for the next 2 days (he's a typical Frenchman who likes to smoke, have a few cups of expresso and drink his red wine and Pastis) and I will do my best not to nag him (but I've got about 3 months of nagging built up inside of me). By the way, while I'm writing this post, the Cat Man requested a glass of red wine. He said that red wine is very good for his heart. Oh brother! I told him ok but no Pastis. May the force be with us.


Had my trigger shot this evening and did not feel any pain.

Offered the Cat Man a tall glass of water with his meal this evening. Claimed that he is allergic to water and needs wine, but made the effort and drank his water like a good little boy, sans vin.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

Well, it's not Easter, but there will be an egg hunt! Retrieval day has been confirmed for Monday! Went for the usual echography and blood test today. Apparently, there is some kind of strike going on at the hospital. I'm not surprised, in France it is unusual if there is not a strike going on somewhere. The nurses were still working, but wore stickers on their uniform ("en greve" meaning on strike) and the doctor was not in (not sure if it's because of the strike), however someone else took care of me. They may be on strike, but I'm grateful that it did not affect my care. They said I've got about 10 eggs that are ready to be retrieved for Monday. Wow, I'm so pleased with this news. I know it's still early at this stage, but I'm just grateful that I can continue on this journey.

I go in at 7:00 on Monday, will have the procedure done under general anesthesia, as retrieval can be painful for women who have endometriosis. I'm glad, as I have a really low pain threshold. I should be out of the hospital the same day at around 3:00 in the afternoon. The Cat Man will go in on Monday also, to give his donation to this cause. I hope he manages, as he is not really comfortable with this type of thing.

Tomorrow evening, I will have a new injection (Ovitrelle), which is apparently to trigger ovulation. We're almost there! I am truly blessed to have reached this point and I hope and pray that I will continue to have good news.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Bit Clueless

I've been going to the clinic every second day for an echography and blood test. Nothing exciting, they told me to continue treatment and to lower the dose for Gonal F. Normally I should have retrieval on Monday, but the doctor told me today that it is too soon (feeling a bit disappointed). Not really sure if my body is reacting well to treatment, as they don't really give much information. It's a bit my fault too, as I don't ask questions, but they rush us in and out so quickly that I don't really have the chance to ask. Seriously, I'm with the doctor for no more than 3 minutes. I don't even know what to ask specifically. Other IVF blogs seem to know all the medical jargon like beta, fet, etc. and I don't even know what that means. Unfortunately, nothing has really been explained to me. I rely heavily on internet for IVF information. Since IVF is free in France, perhaps they just do their job as quickly as possible, rather than spending some time with the patient to explain the process, their progress, etc. I usually don't chat much when I get my haircut, but I have more of a conversation with my hairdresser than with my doctor. I go back on Friday, so I think I'll write down some questions in advance to ask. At this stage, if I continue treatment, I'll take it as a good sign.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

This infertility thing can always be on the mind and sometimes we need a good distraction or simply an awesome party. My dear friend is getting married this weekend and last Saturday we had a bachelorette party for her. It was an 80s theme party, so we all got dressed up in our 80s outfit (high heels, cut off jeans, leggings, leg warmers, bubble skirts, neon pink necklaces, jackets with big shoulder pads, spandex, big hair with lots of hairsray, hair scrunchies, etc.), put up 80s posters (Wham, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, etc.), put out 80s movies (Dirty Dancing, Stand by Me, Golden Child, Ferris Bueller's Day off, etc.), and had 80s music on (Belinda Carlisle, Madonna, Wham, etc.). Had a blast and I must admit, I would love to dress 80s everyday - best decade ever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Starting Phase 2

Had my blood test this morning and they have given me the green light to start phase 2 (yippee!!). Therefore, starting today I will have 2 daily injections, Decapetyle + Gonal F. I also had a consultation with an anesthesiologist, as I will go under general anesthesia for the retrieval (which will normally be 21 June IF everything is ok). I know it's a big IF, but I want to be optimistic. I just hope and pray that my ovaries can produce healthy eggs.

On Monday, I will go to the clinic again for another blood test and next Friday, I will go for an echography.

I've got my fingers and toes crossed that this will work out and also for my fellow IVF sisters!

PS: I had the Gonal F injection this evening and thank goodness it does not hurt. It's a very small needle, so I'm quite relieved. Stimulate follicles stimulate!! Gimme me some healthy ones!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Called the clinic and they said that it was normal that I have my period. Phew! I was so worried that my body was not reacting properly and that it was over. Part of the problem is that the doctor does not really explain the process, so I rely a lot on internet for info. Anyways, I feel really relieved and I'm still continuing my treatment.

On Wednesday, I will have a blood test and start phase 2 with the 2nd injection.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I've been getting my daily Decapeptyle injections and tonight I started having my period! Does this mean that my IVF cycle is ruined? If this is the case, I'm extremely disappointed, as I didn't even finish phase 1 of IVF. I just started the process 10 days ago and now it's possibly over already?

I would appreciate any feedback or information. I'll call the doctor on Monday, but I'm afraid that I already know the answer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Start of IVF

It's finally starting, day 1 of my journey with IVF! No more discussions, no more speculation, no more waiting, we are taking some hardcore IVF action.

Phase 1 - Decapeptyle Injections - Artifical Menopause

The nurse came by this evening and I had my first injection (Decapeptyle). This injection is to basically put me in artifical menopause, to stop my period and suppress ovulation. She'll come by every evening to give me my shot. The needle is quite small and I felt a little sting after, but really no big deal (and this is coming from a big chicken).

I'm not a fan of Decapeptyle, as I had this treatment last year for 6 months and I had horrible hot flashes the last 3 months, everyday and practically all day. Out of the blue, my neck and face would be sweating up a storm (I didn't even know that my face was capable of sweating). I hope I don't get this undesirable effect again with this new treatment, but I'll try not to complain, because if it's a part of this process and it can help us have a baby, then I welcome it with open arms.

Phase 2 - Gonal F injections - Follicle Stimulating Hormone

Along with the Decapeptyle injections, I will start Gonal F injections on the 9 June. This injection will try to stimulate my ovaries to produce follicles/eggs, hopefully healthy ones that can be used for IVF. I will also have a blood test that day.

This is the start and I hope it goes well so that I can proceed onto the next steps of the IVF journey. I thought university was hard, I thought moving to a different country was complicated, I thought learning a new language at the age of 28 was difficult, but I think this is going to be one of the biggest challenges in my life, especially since I can't control how my body reacts, but I'm ready to do what I can and kick infertility in the butt, once and for all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

French IVF Trivia

I'm a Canadian, married to a French, living in France. We qualify for 100% financial coverage from the government for IVF. I admit that sometimes I complain about living in France, but thank you thank you thank you for being such a great country for women who struggle with infertility. Vive la France! I don't want to get overly enthusiastic, as we do pay a lot of taxes in this country, therefore in turn there are a broad array of social benefits that are provided.

Here are some French IVF facts:

-To qualify for IVF coverage:
1. The couple has an infertility problem
2. Must be married or living together for a minimum of 2 years
3. The woman must be under 42 years old
4. The obvious, but I should mention, you need to have the French "Carte Vitale" (French social security)

-The government will sponsor up to 4 IVF cycles (what a good and generous government)

-3 is the maximum number of embryo transfers allowed for 1 cycle (reasonable)

-33% is the average success rate that results in live births (wish it was higher and I hope I can contribute to raising this average)

There are many other details to IVF in France, however this is the basic information, just to give you an idea of how it works in this country.

From my understanding, Canada does not cover IVF, however Quebec recently passed a law covering IVF for its province. I hope the rest of Canada follows its lead.

I know a lot of you out there have to dig deep into your pockets to pay for IVF, without any kind of guarantee, so I do feel for you. There are others out there that need IVF and simply can not afford it. That sucks and my heart goes out to those in this situation. If the French government did not pay for our IVF it would certainly make a huge dent in our wallet.

I probably will not have any new postings until I start treatment at the end of the month, so over and out for now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Organized and Zen

Thanks for everyones comments and support. I started this blog for myself, so that I could express my inner feelings, as this journey can sometimes be lonely and frustrating, however the support of the blogging community is absolutely fantastic! Merci!

I'm as organized as one can be. I've ordered my meds from the pharmacy and it will be ready for pick up on the 25 May. I've made the appointment with the nurse to come and give me my shots, starting on 26 May. I'm so glad that we have this option in France, as I could not imagine giving myself the shot. I suppose we do what is necessary when forced, so I'm just grateful I'm not forced to do that. I am a big chicken at heart after all! I've also started taking multi-vitamins and folic acid, as prescribed by the doctor.

Now, I just have to stay zen and in a few weeks this will all really start to happen. I'm pretty positive, upbeat, calm and hopeful. No use fretting over things I cannot control. Let's see if the power of positive thinking really works :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

Went to the fertility clinic today and we officially have all of our paperwork in order and approved for our IVF dossier (photos, ID, marriage certificate, consent forms, social security approval, etc.) - yippee! Sometimes there is so much red tape in France, however this was all fairly straightforward, thank goodness.

Here's the plan in a nutshell. On the 26 May 2010 I will start treatment with shots everyday for 28 days. If everything goes according to plan, around the 25 June, they will go in and retrieve my eggs (hopefully I'll have a lot of healthy ones). Then they will put the egg and sperm in a petri dish, hoping they will unite and make a strong and healthy embryo. This process takes around 3 days. They will then insert the embryo into me. If, and that's a big if, it all works out, I could be pregnant by July! I'm so excited. They say that the success rate is only about 20%, but they say that's about the same for fertile couples who are trying to conceive naturally. I know I've explained this in a very simple manner and complications can arise at any stage of this process, however I just want to stay positive for now and if complications arise, we'll deal with it at that time.

Now for the big decision - how many embryos to put into me for the first cycle? I certainly don't want to be like the Octomom! Actually, in France, the maximum number of embryos they can legally insert is 3. The biologist strongly suggested that we try 2 for the first time. The cat man (my hubby) is nervous about the possibility of having twins, so he prefers only 1 embryo, but I'm leaning towards 2, so that we have a better chance. Something for us to discuss and decide. Of course all of this is also depending on how many embryos we have. I hope my eggs and my hubby's sperm take a liking to each other and make a whole bunch of beautiful embryos, the more the merrier.

I'm so happy that this is all finally moving forward and with the help of science and the grace of God, I hope that this story can end with happily ever after.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Introduction of the Cat Lady and Wanna Be Mom

I call myself the Cat Lady because I've got 4 lovely kitties. Started with one, then another one came by our place, then another and we ended up with four (for now). Everytime we got a cat, my mom would say "oh dear" as she felt that the more cats we adopted, the more she thought we would not have children. At the time I laughed it off, thinking it was a silly connotation, but when we started trying to conceive, we were faced with many barriers.

My husband and I married in 2001. We started trying to have a baby in 2007. We were both busy with work and didn't realize the time that went by and after two years we started to ask why we weren't pregnant. I think we were also in a bit (or a lot) of denial, as we knew there was a problem, but hoped that it would resolve itself. I am ashamed to admit it, but at that point I had never been to the gynecologist (I was 35 years old). I'm really afraid of doctors and dentists, so I would do anything to avoid seeing them. Well, the gynecologist discovered a cyst, so I went through a series of tests (echography, scan, MRI, etc.). Doctor said that it was most likely that I had Endometriosis. To make a long story short, I had an operation in June 2009, which confirmed that I had Endometriosis and they took out what they could of the large cysts I had on each ovary and some that were stuck on my intestines. After that I went on a 6 month treatment, which put me in menopause, so that my ovaries could take a break. The hot flashes I got during this treatment was horrible, however if this is what it took to try and have a baby, then it would all be worth it. My body got back to normal in March 2010, so I saw a fertility specialist and she recommended IVF. We are meeting with the doctor and biologist this week!

I want to be hopeful, but not too hopeful. I know the odds are against us, as I'm 36years old, still have Endometriosis (as a cyst came back on one of my ovaries) and we recently discovered that my husband's sperm are slow movers.

I try to stay positive and focus on that. We are living in France and this country covers all the costs for IVF, therefore I'm grateful that we do not have to carry the financial burden that comes with this process.

At this stage, I'm hoping that my ovaries are not too damaged and that I can produce healthy eggs. IVF appointment is this Thursday, so fingers crossed.

By the way, I am proud to be the Cat Lady. This title often conjures up a stereotypical image of a spinster old lady, with no kids, and too many cats. In my case, I'm a married, middle aged lady, who loves her furry felines, with no kids, however trying deperately to have at least one.