A Taste of IVF Over 40

Donor Eggs – Donor Sperm – Many Attempts – Much Joy

Well, yes they are here.  And I am so proud.  No amount of sleepnessness can take away my happiness.

The labour went well.  I was admitted at 6:30am, inducted at around 7:30am and delivered them just before 4pm.

I had an epidural.  That was always going to be the case seeing as how it was twins.  There’s a lot more that can go wrong, so just in case … and just as well I did.  Twin One was delivered via suction because my OB wanted to make sure I had plenty of energy left to push out Twin Two.

Twin Two was playing hide and seek so the OB had to go in and ‘fish him out’!  He managed to grab a hand first (not exactly what he was after), but then successfully pulled him out by his foot.  Twin Two was assisted with forceps.

They’re both healthy and we’ve had a relatively smooth time considering my age.  I’m breastfeeding about two or three feeds a day and the rest are formula feeds as it’s been difficult to produce enough milk as yet but I don’t mind because it means my husband gets to play a very involved role.  I think I’ll keep breastfeeding for at least six months; hopefully a year.  Apparently my age affects my breastmilk production as well as my egg quality.

I can’t describe the exhaustion though.  I pinched a nerve in my neck during labour and I’ve still not recovered fully.  I only have about 70% mobility in my left arm which is difficult (and painful!).  Often I have cried from exhaustion and stress.  The first four weeks has been extremely difficult and no amount of reading can prepare you for the inevitable shock of twins.  They are a lot of work.  Let me restate that – they are a LOT of work!  But I love it, love it, love it – truly.  They are so precious to us.

They look completely different from each other.  I should rest assured that it was the same sperm donor for each baby but goodness they look totally different – to the point where we cannot find any similarities in their appearance at all!  Of course they are from the same egg and sperm donors – and their appearance is also nothing like my husband or I.  Would you believe, not one person has commented on who they look like!  Noone has said “ooh, he’s got your nose,” or anything like that.

We love them SO much it HURTS.

This is the wonderful end to a very painful story.  I hope it gives you inspiration and strength.

I honestly didn’t think anyone was still reading this blog.  If you are still reading it, I thank you so much for your interest.  

I guess I am attempting to wind it down now that I am pregnant.  To be honest, I feel a little bit uncomforable because I’m frightened to ‘rub’ my pregnancy in the face of people who are still trying to get pregnant (and who have read this story based on the fact that they are indeed having trouble conceiving).  The blog is called A Taste of IVF Over 40 because it is intended to be about IVF, not pregnancy.  It mostly gets read by people who have searched for terms such as “TTC” and “home pregnancy tests after IVF”.

Having said that, I am really flattered that people are still checking in.  Thank you :-) 

A brief update: I am feeling fine.  I’ve just returned from a lovely and relaxing holiday driving around New Zealand in a motor home with my husband (the calm before the storm he called it!).  The twins often play contact sports inside me (well, where else are they going to play them?!) and I have had the luxury of a fuss free pregnancy.  My symptoms have been: Trimester 1 – Debilitating nausea, headaches and extreme exhaustion; Trimester 2 – very sore belly due to rapid expansion of uterus, ligaments, etc.; Trimester 3 – very sore belly (still) and a complete and utter distraction from reality as I realise that my babies will be here in a couple of months or so.  I have simply purchased everything already.  Everything!  Socks, cots, baby carriers, car seats (they’re already in the back seat of my car!), bouncer/swing thingies, breastfeeding pillow for twin-feeding, blankies, bunny rugs, beanies, nappies, wipes, bottles, breast pumps, bottle warmer, steriliser – you name it – I’ve got it.  I am SOOOO excited. I have washed their little clothes, sorted through everything at least three times, made up the cots already (sheets and all), hung a mobile, packed their little items for bringing them home from hospital into my nappy bag … 

I am wondering how Swine Flu affects unborn babies as there has now been a case reported in our suburb.  Consequently, I am thinking that I should avoid mixing with people when it’s not necessary (shopping centres, etc.).  Anyone got any information on this one?

I am currently researching a Doula to assist with the birth.  I will be up against the odds in choosing a natural birth.  Apparently my hospital is known as “Caesar’s Palace” with the highest C-Section rate in Victoria, Australia at almost 50% (for singletons!).  The report is here.  My OB said he’d support me to have a natural delivery but he said that most OBs wouldn’t.  He said that I’d have an epidural regardless and so my labour won’t be a particularly active one.  Hmmm.  Therefore, I think a Doula will be good for me.  They are supposed to reduce the incidence of C-Sections by 50% due to them helping to create a calm atmosphere, enabling the mother to feel more confident and involved, etc.

I hope everyone sleeps well tonight.

Happy as Larry – that’s me … and my husband!

I just had the 19 week scan – we’ve got two boys in there and I am just starting to feel them moving around.  And, I think it’s starting to sink in, finally! 

I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in my entire life.  Every minute of pain has been totally worth what I am experiencing today.  This is what happiness is.

I am still pregnant  and still unable to truly believe it – maybe once I can feel them moving.  We are truly blessed.  I have another scan in three weeks just to check on them.  I believe I will find out their sexes at that point.

Tammy thank you so very much for your concern; I’m still sick and very low on energy but all signs point to a healthy status. 

Now that it seems to have well and truly worked (still hasn’t sunk in), we are wondering what to give our niece as a thank you gift.  We were thinking a travel voucher from a travel agent so she and her boyfriend can go on a holiday of their choice – I’m sure she wouldn’t want to go on her own.  Any other ideas?

I wish everyone a smooth and doubt-free week.

Well, I am cruising along – here is a list of events that are not necessarily related to IVF that show that it worked (finally!):

  1. Still Spotting: At 8 weeks and 3 days my obstetrician organised a scan to investigate why I was still spotting just about every day (despite having already had my progesterone increased to 1200mg per day).  I got to see the two little ones again and they were both good sizes with good heartbeats.
  2. Spotting Stopped: My spotting finally stopped, at 8 weeks and 3 days.  How’s that for timing!!!
  3. Pregnancy Symptoms: It’s summer here in Australia and I’ve had a few nose bleeds.  I’ve also had some massive headaches.  However, the real news is that I am couch-bound.  I am seriously and sincerely suffering from debilitating morning sickness, the type that stays all day.  I am losing muscle tone everywhere from not doing any physical activity; being vertical makes me sicker.  I have no energy and get exhausted walking up the stairs in the house.  I am not overweight – just absolutely exhausted after any physical exertion.  I’m not drinking enough fluids and I’m not eating enough; I have no appetite.  My eyesite has weakened a bit and I look five years older than I am.  But you know what?  I AM PREGNANT and I DON’T CARE!!  I’m not complaining … just describing.  I have taken all day to write this (well, I actually started it three days ago) because I have to keep lying down.  I am sooo glad I am not working because I would be useless. My husband, bless him, has cooked dinner every night since Christmas Eve – no special Christmas banquets at our house, we had cold meat and nibbles!  He is treating me like a portable incubator and I cannot complain at all; I am very lucky.  I have also had a few ‘crabby’ episodes.  I had to ring my Mum one day to apologise for a phone call that would have been particularly uncomfortable for her.  She still doesn’t know we’re pregnant.  Although she may still be putting it down to IVF hormones.
  4. My First OB/GYN Appointment: My appointment with my OB/GYN did not go as I hoped or planned.  It was terrible.  I had simply asked a friend who she had used and I regretted it.  I didn’t get the feeling that this doctor really cared about me or my emotional situation at all.  She was terrible at building rapport with me and did not smile.  She asked me very matter of fact questions and gave me very brief responses.  She had very poor eye contact.  I started crying about five minutes into the meeting.  I just ended up clamming up and hardly said anything at all.  The icing on the cake was when she told me that it would probably be a caesarean because I was carrying twins (her only reason).  My sister had her twins through a vaginal birthand I’d like to know that I’m in with a chance of doing so as well (don’t ask me why, I just want to try to do it).  When I told her I’d prefer to try to have them naturally I got the unmistakable feeling that she was not open to discussing it and I seriously could have sworn she semi-rolled her eyes at me.  Now, I don’t hold this against this particular doctor; it’s just her style/preferance.  My friend was quite happy with her (but did end up having a caesar, by the way).  Really, so many pregnancy books and websites do tell you that selection of your OB is very important, so I’m listening to them.
    I just feel like I didn’t ‘click’ with this doctor.  To be completely honest, yes really, after all I have been through with the IVF process, I have now realised that I am in need of some fully fledged molly-coddling by my OB.  Now, I certainly do understand that these guys are specialists and that they are generally concerned with the technical side of a pregnancy (that’s why I am not saying that the aforementioned doctor did anything that was really wrong).  I understand that the true/original purpose of an OB was to have ‘difficult’ cases referred to them by GPs.  I understand this and so I’m not complaining.  Having said that, I also know that there are OB/GYNs out there who are genuinely more caring.  So, I did some research and have now settled on a Dr Peter England, who also works with the Freemasons Private Hospital in Melbourne.
  5. Down’s Syndrome Screening Test: This was organised by the original OB and so I am still going to go ahead with the tests.  I have checked and I can just change the doctor’s name on the request forms for the scan and the blood test.  I am hoping I shall be quite safe given the youthfulness of the lovely eggs I used.  The blood test is scheduled for tomorrow (10th week) and the scan to measure the nuchal translucency is for the 12th week.  They said we can buy a DVD of this scan so it must be an interesting one.
  6. Stopping the IVF Hormones:  Now I’m nervous!  I stopped the Oestrogen and the progesterone two days ago (yay – glad to be rid of those pessaries).  I am freaking out though – feeling my breasts, checking my undies, gauging my nausea, hoping not to see a decline in the success of my pregnancy.  The blood test for Downs Syndrome scheduled for tomorrow also asks for some other tests including checking my progesterone levels and so I am hoping that this test shows all is well.
  7. Acceptance of the Pregnancy:  I know I am pregnant and I love it.  Love it.  However, I am still in ‘protection mode’.  I am still refering to the foetus as ‘it’, as opposed to ‘them’, and I cannot visualise two babies, if I try hard I can visualise myself with one.  This is not doomsaying on my part, well I don’t believe it is, I actually think it is my unconscious psychological approach.  I still can’t believe I will have a baby and I’m content with taking one day at a time.  I can just tell you that I am ten weeks and three days pregnant.  Mind you, when I pass 14 weeks (two weeks after we lost the last little one) I shall be be on top of the world and then I will tell my Mum and Dad!

So, basically I have been a basket case :-)

Not sleeping properly and not thinking properly.  My husband is kinda used to this seeing as how I haven’t been thinking properly, due to the IVF hormones, for quite a while.  He still gets frustrated though.

I am happy and everything seems to be going well.

Here are some lovely photos: www.sheonabeach.com

I am overjoyed.  Completely and utterly overjoyed.  Doc says they look great.  I’m still spotting so he’s increased my progesterone to 1200mg per day.  He knows the obstetrician I’ve booked and so that’s comforting that there will be a smooth transition.  I took a photo of the ultrasound and texted it to my niece!

Melbagirl's Twin Baby Sacks

Melbagirl's Twin Baby Sacks

I do recognise that there are many ladies who are not pregnant (yet) and to them I wish a short and trouble free wait.  I shall continue to pray for every person I know who is going through a rough time with their cycle.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I sincerely hope that each one of you experiences a Christmas filled with peace and happy memories.

The hugest thank you to my niece (she’s our hero).  To our sperm donor, whoever you are, thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you everyone!  I am so grateful.

Bit petrified.  Bled bright red yesterday with mild cramping.   The bleeding gradually turned brown and it’s stopped now.  I wouldn’t have been so panicky; well I didn’t panic until I read the following in one of my pregnancy magazines (yes, I’ve bought three of them already!).

“Red blood loss with period-like pains is more likely to end in a miscarriage.  An ultrasound scan can see if the baby’s heart is still beating, from about six weeks”.

After I read this I took an extra progesterone pessary, lay down for 25 mins, stood up, felt really dizzy, felt like I was going to vomit, started running to the toilet, got dizzier, half fell to the floor, made it back to bed and lay there for another 20 minutes.  OK, I was panicking.

It was the cramps that made me panic.  They were just like period pains.  And they were happening whilst I was bleeding.  It didn’t last long but I felt my dream slipping through my arms.   Scan on Tuesday; holding my breath until then.  I’m feeling better now.  Just part of the process.  If I hadn’t been through all these IVFs I know I wouldn’t feel so frightened every step of the way.  Maybe I even imagined the cramps were worse then they were.  Still, what caused this little episode?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.