Side Effects of IVF

Before I begin I want to clarify that these side effects shown below are from my my full blown IVF treatment for natural killer cells. Most people would not get these symptoms or the arduous treatment that I have gone though.  The images below are the result of what I believe are withdrawal symptoms from steroid treatment. The thing is that shortly after (well immediately) after stopping steroid treatment, my feet started to swell up.This is a treatment you undergo if you have natural killer cells.

A few week later I went Christmas shopping. I was out for the whole day and noticed as the day wore on that feet were increasingly sore. Latter when I came home I stripped off and discovered that my legs had swollen again and had develop this massive rash. It took ages for the rash to disappear – probably about a month. However I am still left with a slight discoloration on my right leg.


Having a Break From IVF

Its been a while since I wrote in my blog. Since that time a few other long term infertility sufferers have gotten pregnant and I am still infertile. Its funny that no matter how strong you think you are going there are always those moments when you talk about your experiences and get upset. After a couple of months break from IVF, albeit with the constant reminder of my failure to get pregnant (my ankles and fingers are still swollen from steroid withdrawals) I thought I was doing fine. I was also contemplating life without a child and wondering what that could mean.

However on Monday evening I went out to dinner with my biological mother (I am adopted) and found myself crying about it all. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough. Today (Thursday), we visited a friend who had baby number 2 and I found myself getting clucky and playing with the baby. I marveled at this newborns beautiful soft skin and tiny long and slender fingers. Then I started crying – perhaps it was the realization that I might never have a baby. I don’t know. All I know is that grief can come along at any moment and strike you when you least expect it. I had to fake it and go to toilet so that no-one could see me cry. Its not good when you want a baby. I know I should be happy for the people who have a child (and I am)  except that it reminds me that I can’t have a child and don’t have one.

In any case I have resolved to have a break from IVF and let my body recover. I have rashes all over my body as well as the swollen ankles and this is all related to my reaction to going off steroid treatment for my natural killer cells. I am sick of my body reacting the way it does and want to give it time to recover.  Previously I was rushing against my body clock but now I have a different attitude and just want my body to be ok and I want the horrible symptoms I have left over from IVF to go away. I have also put on weight and I know this isn’t going to help me get pregnant either. So it is rest time for me for a little while at least.  I am going to have a post a picture of the rashes on my legs that started to appear right before Christmas.  I also need to write about another incident that occurred before I left my job. It literally shocked me that someone could be so thoughtless.

IVF Pregnancy Test Results

Decision day was last Wednesday. I sat by the phone anxiously awaiting my blood test results after now 15 rounds of IVF. The call didn’t come until late in the afternoon. You can always tell by the tone of the nurse whether you have been successful or not. In this instance I again was unsuccessful.  I was expecting this more because that is the standard response however I was still hopeful I would get a different result this time.  Anyway my nurse told me that I needed to continue to take the steriod dexamethasome for the next 7 days but just one tablet a day instead of two so I could wean myself off the steriods. Not sure what would happen if I stopped them suddenly though.

Aunt Flo did not surface until the weekend so it was a very long cycle for me. Around 33 – 34 days in total.  I got hit with cramps late Saturday afternoon while I was vacuuming the rug. I didn’t feel too flash the next day either.  So now as the year draws to close I am left with no eggs, no baby, no job and am faced with the prospect of yet another round of IVF.

The job bit I can deal with as this was my choice but I had hoped there would be something nice to celebrate in the new year. On a positive note, my two cats will be happy that they will be in peace and won’t need to deal with the noise of a baby.

This blog also got nominated as blog of the year by another website for Ultrasound technicians. I guess it is nice to be infamous for something. Hopefully my story although not positive yet will help others as they go through their journey of IVF. I suppose if one has had a few failures with IVF, it can be comforting to be reminded that other people are worse off. Maybe I serve as a reminder to others that things aren’t quite as bad for them as they are for me. Although I am sure that there are many people who have tried longer and more often that I.

I really did not want to go down the path of doing IVF again. I have had quite a lot of attempts. In addition, the amount of drugs I am taking has steadily increased and the number of injections I will need to have next time will be horrendous. Call me a whinge but the prospect of having 4 needles a day plus all the other drugs is not very appealing to me.

My plan at the moment is to take some time off, enjoy Christmas and start getting outside, going for walks and enjoying the sunshine.  I have an appointment with my Fertility Specialist set up for the 15th December but I can guarantee I can’t see myself doing anything more in regards to IVF this year.

Waiting Zone

This round of IVF seems to be taking ages. The Intralipid treatment went well. I was in hospital with another lady who was also having the treatment. Although she finished her treatment before I did, I was happier this time as my veins actually seemed to take the infusion better than last time.

The embryo transfer also went well. I had a female doctor do the transfer this time. Of the 3 remaining embryos I had, one didn’t survive and other two did although both were at various stages of development. I had the two Day 3 embryos put in though. One of them had started compacting which is a good sign but as I know from experience there is a high attrition rate after Day 3. The other embryo was very slow to develop and was only a 5 cell embryo. Ideally it would have been better for this to be at 6 cells or better. Still you never know, sometimes the cells develop better than expect. Unfortunately, there is still a lot unknown about embryo development and their chances of getting to the next level.

So at the moment I am in the waiting zone. Seems to be taking ages but it has been an eventful month in other regards. For one I have resigned from my job so I finish up in a few weeks time. I have not been happy where I am for a long time. I don’t like being micro-managed and it seems the more layers added to the hierarchy since I have been there, the more micro managed I have been.

Since I resigned, work has been pretty relaxed as my projects have been handed over to other people. The only downside has been the travel to Tasmania for the commercial run of a new product I am launching. I just got back from Tasmania yesterday afternoon.

Travelling when doing IVF can be a pain since I had to take a little esky bag and ice block to keep the pessaries at the right temperature and I also had to pack the injections into my luggage. My needle disposal unit was so full, I decided against taking it with me so I had a few used needles in the box along with my injections but they were well secured.

My stomach is really bruised from all the injections but I seem to be getting better at injecting and I seem to be getting smaller bruises. I think the art is all in how you pinch the skin and also the speed at which you inject. I now also put bandaids on my stomach after I inject as I have noticed that I sometimes wake up with blood on my bedsheets from the injections. Anyway the process seems to be getting a little easier although I am not sure I can continue the treatment I am doing and do a full on stimulated cycle – if I did it would mean 4 injections a day and judging by the size of the bruises I would run out of room on my belly. Anyway – time to fly. Still in the waiting zone and I am getting impatient. Secretly I feel that I will have the same outcome as before. Til my blood test outcome.

IVF Round 15: New Treatment

As I prepare for round 15 (which my clinic thinks is round 14), I am amazed at how much the drugs I am on have increased over time. This time, although I am doing a natural cycle, I am still doing something different.  I will be taking hormone replacement tablets three times a day called Prognova as well as a steroid Dexmethasone and aspirin. The aspirin thins my blood.

Apparently I continue to take this for a while.  However, within a week of my cycle I am due back in hospital for another dose of Intralipid. This is where you are drip feed this creamy liquid into your veins to reduce your immune system to combat my problem natural killer cells. I have written about this previously and it is worth checking out my tips on how to handle it if you have trouble with this treatment.

As some point unknown to me, I am required to have an Ultrasound to measure my lining on my uterus. It needs to be 16mm or thicker. I don’t think I need to do ovulation tests for this round although maybe this is something I should check. Since I am not a virgin at this treatment anymore maybe they think I will do this automatically.

Anyway once instructed, I will then need to have Clexane injections and augmentin duo. The Clexane thins my blood and from memory the last time I had these injections I have massive bruises on my belly. Lucky I have a big belly otherwise there would be no belly to inject.  I am also required to use pessaries to help build the lining of my uterus. Pity I am using these as I still have about two boxes of  Crinone gel at home which I would like to use at some point because they are expensive and I would hate for them to go to waste. Although I might just change my opinion if I get pregnant.

So that about sums it up. My next cocktail of drugs involve:

  • Aspirin Tablets
  • Dexamethasone Tables
  • Progynova tablets
  • Intralipid Infusion via the vein
  • Clexane Injections
  • Augmentin Duo Tablets
  • Prosgesterone pessaries

Probably not to bad this time around. Of course I still continue taking Elevit, Omega 3 tablets, CoQ10 and Vitamin C tablets.  Imagine if this doesn’t work, then it would mean that I would probably have to take all of the above medications (probably with the exception of the progynova) plus the standard injections (Puregon or Gonal F and Ovidrel) and the antagonist injections (Orgalutron). Phew – imagine that. It means I could be injecting 2-3 times a day at various points in my cycle – now that I am not looking forward to. Better get pregnant this time around I think.