Hands up who honestly thought I was going to make it to the 10th September heartbeat scan. Anyone? Yes - you? You too? Good grief, you should know me better by now.

I started to get anxious last night, and then I remembered my motto, which is this: don't spend time worrying when you can spend money getting doctors to worry for you. Actually, as mottos go, that isn't very catchy. How about: don't worry, see your doctor in a hurry! Hmm... Ok I've got it: don't fret it - check it! Yeah. That'll do.

In any case, this morning, when the clinic opened, it was to the sound of me ringing to ask for an urgent followup beta NOW if not earlier, and after some toing and froing and mucking around (When was my last blood test? It doesn't freaking matter! No, don't bother going to ask the doctor...), I got my blood drawn and I got my results.

My doubling time is about 55 hours. I know 2-3 days is considered normal by many sources, but I've never actually seen anyone take home a baby from a doubling time like that. I think it'll be over within a few weeks.

Thanks to the magic of the message boards, I now know one person who took home a baby with an initial doubling time of 55 hours. Even though I can name several gazillion people for whom things did not go nearly so well, I find myself cheered. Apparently SOB isn't just shitting me when he says there's hope, although I still think he's exaggerating wildly. In any case, as many of you have pointed out, there's little to be done about it either way. I think I'll be on 2-3 day checks for the next little while, though. The knowing has helped.

I ended up with a substantial amount of change for unicef on the plane. And over $120 in notes, most of which I kept for myself. Any Oz-bound Singaporeans willing to give a good exchange rate, let me know. Guess I wasn't feeling that confident about it being a one-way trip.

I'm still not. I could whine about my lack of symptoms or the ongoing, if very subtle, spotting, but I've got an essay due and you know how the speech goes anyway. Sometimes I think I should just get a follow-up beta, but I actually only want one if it's going to be good, and I really don't want to see anything equivocal, and, well, two pieces of good news in one week seems like pushing my luck. I've been terrified into submission and I'm too scared to ask for a bigger bowl of reassurance in case I am beaten or cast out into the street by a whole chorus-line of singing, dancing, orphanage masters, metaphorically speaking, of course. No, I'll wait - at least a little longer. Nothing is as horrifying as song.

Which I want to distinguish from the excellent cheers you guys did me last weekend. They rocked. Totally different thing. Also, I did get some wonderful magnets from Rachel to lift my spirits during this next wait. And if anyone wants to discuss Potter - I've finished now. Did I miss my chance? Where have you guys been going to talk about it? Oh good grief yes - and apparently I'm also a Rockin' Girl Blogger, although I may have to come back later to do the graphic. Thanks Samantha, Serenity and Sunny J for the nominations. And... I'll have to come back and do my own nominations later. Damnit. Essay. University.

I may have confused you with my last post. The beta results were still 24 hours away when I wrote it but, well, let me explain. I peed on a stick, on Friday night, at 14dpo or 11dp3dt. And it was positive, but faint. And I started spotting. I didn't tell you any of this - I guess I was trying to ignore it. My pregnancy signs subsided somewhat on Sunday, I felt bleak, hence the sad knock-knock joke post. My beta was this morning.

It is positive. It is normal.

I have no plans to recheck it any time soon. The testing causes me more anxiety than the waiting. Unless that changes - in which case I am to zoom down to the clinic and order another hCG level STAT - I will be waiting a fortnight for the scan. If you can stand it, please stay with me. I had spotting. I am feeling uncertain. But I am also feeling very, very thankful to have been given this chance again.

I'm a little worried about the lack of entertainment value in yet another low positive beta. I mean, sure, it can be exciting the first few times, but the fifth? I know I'd stop reading. So I've been wondering how I can spice things up a bit, maybe with humour.

Knock knock?

Who's there?

Dying embryo.

Dying embryo who?

I always get stuck on the punchline.

ART replaces sex in many different facets of the life of an infertile person. Yesterday, in the toilet of a boeing 747-400, I joined the Mile High Club. Me, and a tube of crinone. Anyone with a passing rememberance of high school science and/or previous air travel will be able to work out where this is going in advance.

You see, at altitude, air pressure decreases and things expand. If the crinone user, like the aircraft, is on autopilot as they carefully tap the contents of the tube down to the business end of the applicator, breaking the seal will result in twelve dollars' worth of progesterone exploding all over the cubicle.

Pregnancy brain? Time will tell.

I've always been in the anti-peestick camp. "They don't tell you anything!" I've cried. "If it's negative, you wonder if it's a real negative, and if it's positive, you wonder if it's a real positive! What's the point?" Now my thoughts are this: peesticks tell you very little. But blood tests tell you only a very little more. And then scans, and so on, through the full gamut of prenatal tests, and post-natal tests, and the best you can hope for in the end is to die before the story really ends. So fuck it, right? Pee, don't pee, just take it in perspective.

I'm not yet ready to pee. For now, I'd rather live in ignorance than see a negative. But the time is coming, and soon, when I'd just rather know. Not how it ends - that's too much to ask for - but that I got one/two lines on a peestick, or anything. I'll tell you how it unfolds. (Beta is Monday.)


I've got two good deeds for you this week - mine and Vee's. They're kind of the same deed. You see, I mailed off the IIFF prizes last Friday (and don't forget! next festival October 27th, Halloween!) but Vee asked me not to send theirs. Due to strict new diets, Max and Vee are unable to appreciate the Love, and have asked me to do so on their behalves, which I am - with a heavy heart and a tantalised set of taste buds. Naturally I offered a substitute prize, and Vee said she'd feel rewarded if I donated something to either cancer or diabetes.

Point of note. If you run a charity website PLEASE SET UP ONLINE DONATIONS! That aside.

With daffodil day approaching, I was saved. I bought a wrist band whilst waiting for them to process my IVF claim today, and I dropped a little into the online tin when I got home. A bit for Vee and Max, and a little for me.

I caught the tummy bug that's been going around! It was like a little taste of pregnancy. So grateful for the practice run. You'll be pleased to know I am eating again now, and also posting on message boards about disappearing breast tenderness, which I am assured is mainly a sign of not groping myself hard enough. I have taken their point, and called off boob-watch. Sort of. One last... no, I'm going to stop.

On the other hand, I am now more than halfway through my 2ww meds, which must mean I'm more than halfway through my 2ww. If only I could speed the wait by stuffing the other twelve crinone up my neveryoumind all at once. Come to think of it - I'm not sure I've conclusively proven that wouldn't work. Has anyone tried it?

And coughing! Now I have a cough.

I am. I kind of wish she hadn't said, "Three, maybe four... oh, wait... two," instead of just, "Dunno, ring back... two," but never mind. You're right, of course - better one good embryo than any number of going-nowhere ones, and it's reasonable to expect a better chance of thawing this time around. Really there's a limit to how worked-up one should get about these interim (ie meaningless) results. Mainly I was just feeling grumpy. (Do you think that's a pregnancy sign?)

Thankyou for all your comments, and to those who refrained from slapping me even though I left an open invitation. I just hope I haven't worn you out - there's that whole second week of the wait to come.

Also thanks to those who said "etsy" in reply to my other post. It was absolutely etsy I was trying to think of. Cheers for that.

I wasn't going to check back on the embryos, but the scientist rung me this afternoon to let me know only two went into the freezer. I think I was happier with three, maybe four.

Keep in mind we've had a very poor thaw rate in the past. Apart from the fact I'm having to adjust my expectations from "one, maybe two FETs" down to "hopefully one FET", I just... hell I'm going to say it, even if it does sound like something I should be over by now - I resent the fact I had to get stabbed in the ovaries sixteen times for just four embryos. Sorry, hopefully four embryos, actual number pending thaw. Hell, I guess I resent being stabbed at all.

In the end, of course, I don't give a fuck how many eggs, or embryos, or frosties we get - I just want results. Ten fingers, ten toes. And now I come to write that down, I'm getting pretty negotiable on those numbers, too. It's just my first thought this morning was, "What the fuck kind of rashness made me transfer two top-grade embryos at once?" - because, obviously, the only thing keeping every single last one of our embryos from implanting so far has been OHSS and clexane deficiency - whereas this evening, with our FET buffer unexpectedly low, I'm thinking, "Great. Next stim has been moved up to October. Just great."

And to make matters worse, Mel, I love your work, but I've had What The Gardener Knows stuck in my head for over a week now, and it's starting to drive me absolutely freaking batshit insane. Ok! I want to share the not-yet flower! I've expressed that!

When all's said and done, this is just the usual two week wait nonsense, plus a sullenness born of having to adjust my expectations downwards once again.

When do I get to adjust them up?

Oh, right. Deed. Bought chocolates for Beloved Dog's vets/nurses. That's ex-vets/nurses. Or possibly ex-dog?

Fifty Good Deeds Fund at $102.60. Sorry - $102.60!!! I'll have to do up a poll on how you want the funds disbursed for next week. Suggestions welcome meanwhile.

I spoke to the scientists this morning, and our remaining embryos are still incubating. Because they got all enthusiastic and started compacting by day three, they will be grown to blastocyst stage before being put on ice, which will, you know, hopefully happen to at least some of them. I am to check back tomorrow, and possibly also the day after. I feel like this should be making me tense, but really I'm glad for more things to break down the wait. Twenty-four to forty-eight hours sounds much more doable than two weeks, and how can I possibly worry about beta til our other embryos are safely frozed?

And yes, in defiance of all I was ever taught about English, I am going to be using the word "frozed" for at least several more days.

They were not quite frozed when I spoke to the scientist this morning, but she was able to say they were looking at freezing three, maybe four. I suppose I could ring back for further updates, but I don't really feel it would produce any more certainty. Three, maybe four gives a good chance of one, maybe two FETs. What more am I going to find out? How many babies they'll turn into? What their names will be?

Aside: when I spoke to FS's nurse to get the scientists' phone number, she said, "Gosh, you got lots of embryos, didn't you?" which kind of caught me because, you may recall, last time we got eighteen, so actually I'd been thinking, "Hm - only a few blasts to freeze? Why, we might have to go back for another stim as early as the end of the year!" But actually, in the real world, we have plenty of embryos, and all of them are more likely to reach full term than the whole eighteen we had last time. I am telling you this because I know there are people out there who would gladly slap me across the face should I forget this, and I wanted to invite you to do so.

On this day, in IVF/ICSI#1, I was in hospital with OHSS, having been admitted through emergency on the previous evening. By contrast, this time around I am planning to do some study and maybe pop into town later on for an embryo transfer. It's enough, apparently, to cause one to have a giant emotional breakdown lasting most of Sunday.

And I thought I was doing so well. Most of it seems to have been empty bravado.

I think I'm ok again now.

**Update - It's Twins!!!**
Yeeeessss.... earlier on, for a brief moment, we all started getting a little ahead of ourselves. Six of our embryos made it through the weekend, two of which were top-notch, with the rest only slightly behind. All were compacting. FS took a chance to review our single vs double transfer decision, but we went ahead with two for the astoundingly good reason that "we're getting a bit bored with all this now" (I believe were my exact words).

Caution to the wind? I prefer "calculated risk". The most likely outcome, after all, is still a negative, and as for the other options... well, we'll just have to wait and see how the dice roll. Fuckdamnit.

Meanwhile, I have started clexane - which doesn't hurt nearly as much as I remember it doing - and crinone. I have already been asked when my next flyday is. Mr Bea will be leaving for "home" at the end of this week, and I will be joining him at the end of next. Beta will be in Singapore. Kind of breaks up the wait, dontcha think?

Which reminds me - seven sleeps til I start the last Potter book! Now that's something I am fairly sure in is my future.

Half the FSH, half the embryos. Ten eggs were ICSI-able, of which nine fertilised. Nine-tenths of the way towards feeling recovered. (Fingers crossed.) We have decided on a three-day, double embryo transfer - Monday - and at some point we hope we'll make it half full. Thanks for the comments - real posts coming when I get my own computer hooked up to the internet.

P.S. Awards Ceremony happening over at IIFF.

I remember chatting with the anaesthetist and scientist about the politics of keeping one's maiden name after marriage, and the next thing I was waking in my dream, in a primitive hut with a dusty blanket over the door, and the sound of my Beloved Dog barking next to my bed. She trotted to the middle of the dirt floor and looked at the entrance expectantly, then back at me. Someone was coming. "Thanks, Gooddog," I told her. "It's ok." And she trotted back under the bed and out of sight, a satisfied look on her face.

And then a nurse said, "Let me take this tube out," and all of a sudden FS was there telling me they got sixteen nice-looking eggs, and Mr Bea came in, but I fell asleep again, this time to dream about a lettuce, carrot and mayonnaise salad sitting on a white table in a white room, doing nothing. Sort of a still-life dream.

I feel ok. I have taken some extra pain relief. Last time I decided to try and tough it out, popping a half-dose only after strong encouragement and mere hours before being admitted through emergency for OHSS and stuck onto IV morphine. Looking back, I can't for the life of me remember what I was trying to prove. In any case, I have decided to prove something different now.

Fertilisation results in the morning.

Money to Guide Dogs and RSPCA, and buying dinner for a relative who had day surgery as my good deeds. And kudos to Schatzi for pitching in for a fundraising BBQ! Also check out this at Red Beans and Rice Noodles. It's an adoption fundraiser! It has fabric recycling! How much harder can it rock?

Fifty Good Deeds Fund is up to $93.66!

Don't have much internet access... hope all going ok for everyone... things going fine here... tentative EPU date: Friday... confirm Wednesday... keep well...

**Confirmed for Friday.**
Trigger tonight. Nice-looking stim - hopefully 10-12 eggs (fingers crossed). I can't believe how much better I feel compared to last time! I marvel over it at least three times a day. Apparently Mr Bea isn't bored with hearing me say it.

I am not keeping up with life very well just at the moment. I was just about at my limit of business and then I got sidetracked with the whole pet-related tragedy and it all fell apart. I'm also officially in physical discomfort as of today, and just kind of tired and drained, which is making it a little harder to put it all back together. Thanks for all your comments. I'm fine, I'm just spread a bit thin.

Here is the post I wrote between this and the update to it. Mr Bea gets in tonight (or should I say very, very early tomorrow?). And not before time.


Sometimes we say more when we stop speaking. When FS first said ICSI, I said donor insemination. "I have a family history of breast cancer," I told Mr Bea, using my trademark rationality. "I don't think it's a good idea for me to be shooting up hormones."

"No..." he replied. "I guess not. But I'd rather adopt than use donor sperm."

"Pregnancy and breastfeeding will decrease my cancer risk."

He nodded mutely.


I'm not sure how the following conversation happened. It was just after our first appointment with MD. One moment I was announcing my intention to do another IVF/ICSI, and the next Mr Bea was saying, "I should have made you eat more chicken."


"Protein. You wouldn't have been so sick if you'd eaten a high-protein diet."

"But I did! All those protein shakes! I ate nothing but protein!"

"You ate hardly anything at all."

"I ate as much as I could. The OHSS killed my appetite."

"I should have made you eat more. And I should have taken you to the hospital earlier."

"They wouldn't have admitted me earlier. We went to the hospital the very moment I was sick enough to need to go to hospital. It was all under control."

"It wasn't under control. I hardly knew anything about OHSS."

"But I-"

"I shouldn't have let you get so sick!"

For a moment I stopped and stared at him. Then as I drew breath to reply, he turned and left the room.


How many entendres does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "It's rumoured," I said to Mr Bea, as we snuggled into bed on the night of the FS appointment which confirmed IVF/ICSI#2, "that frequent ejaculation helps improve the DNA integrity of the sperm for IVF."

"Frequent meaning...?"


"Sounds like hard work." We eyed each other warily for a moment, circling the innuendo.

"Don't worry, I'll give you a hand."

"Uhuh." He shook his head dismissively. "I guess that's fine."

"So you're up for it?"

"I don't have a response to that."

"I could give you one."

"Be quiet! You talk a lot..."



Can I use the word sudden? She's been sick for the last year - not with one thing, mind you, but with an impressive series of back-to-back and overlapping illnesses, some more serious than others. Her medical history complicated matters, but the thing that killed her came out of the blue at 4am on Wednesday morning. And it struck her so hard, so fast.

If I can be a geek for a moment*, I want to recall for you an episode of Buffy, Vampire Slayer - the one where Buffy's Mum dies. Tara confides that her Mum also died. "Was it sudden?" comes the question, and she hesitates before replying, waffling back and forth. Eventually, she looks up. "It's always sudden."

Beloved Dog rallied twice over the course of the day. I spoke to her medical specialist repeatedly and at some length, picking over and reviewing the options. When she crashed the third time, late in the evening, my sister was still on duty and she leapt into action, barking orders and sending the whole ICU into a whirl. "M," I said as she uncapped another needle with her teeth. "Do we need to let her go?"

And suddenly there were tears streaming down her face, but she kept rushing back and forth, getting this, doing that. "M..." I repeated.

"Are you sure? Are you really really sure?" she said, but she wouldn't stop what she was doing, so I looked at the head ICU nurse, who just nodded knowingly and started drawing up injections.

"I've got an anaesthetic here," the nurse said a moment later, calmly and soft. "Should I give it?" I said yes, and I felt my Beloved Dog's little head sink into my hands and her breathing became deeper and relaxed. Only then did my sister stop, and with her all the nurses who had rushed to the scene, and in an instant the whole clinic fell silent. Then the ICU nurse said, "Just tell me what to do next." And we all stood there.

So I looked at my sister - the only person I know who found Sixth Sense predictable, who has a clinical instinct to match - and I said, "What do you think's going to happen?" She never spoke, but the expression on her face gave the answer clear enough.

Then I turned to the ICU nurse and asked her to go ahead. One of the younger nurses left the room with wet eyes. And I shut mine as the injection went in.

Later, they said I was brave. That word again. I think perhaps I'm just getting used to it.

In 2005, before we got to know her, wearing the coat she came in. She was supposed to have been euthanased several days before this photo was taken. We were her last-minute extra chance.

*I kid myself that I'm not always a geek.

I'm dying to use this line on a smug fertile: "I know exactly what you mean - my FS only has to look at me and I superovulate!"

Of course, it would only be funny with you there to appreciate my sarcasm.

I arrived at the clinic this morning at more or less the crack of dawn. "You're bright and early," said the nurse. "Anxious to see what's going on?"

"Well, that, plus the dog had diarrhoea all over my bed at 4am, so I was kind of up."

Things are going well*. My cysts have gone, which might have been where the twinges were coming from, because otherwise it's all progressing slowly and steadily. I have "a number**" of follicles on each ovary, just hovering around 10mm, so a way to go yet. FS still can't recall stimming anyone on 75 units of FSH for IVF before, but he hasn't finished racking his memory.

Next appointment is Monday.

*Dogshit notwithstanding.

**FS uses the following counting system: one, two, a number, lots.

And now the dog is back in the ICU. From fine last night to diarrhoea at 4am to blood transfusions and central venous catheters by mid-morning. Crash, bang. I feel like I should be panicking about it, but I seem to be emotionally flatlined and can't get myself above "worried". Longer-term readers may remember her penchant for the ICU from such dramas as the last cycle. If anyone can give me a thorough, detailed and rational talk on how not to see this as an omen, by all means go ahead.

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