Dolce & Gabbana & “synthetic children”

Just a quick note in response to the interview we all know, that we’re all talking about, regarding the founders’ opinions on family and conception. 

uh oh, your ignorance is showing…

To quote them:

You are born and you have a father and a mother. Or at least it should be like this, that’s why I am not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent.” – Dolce & Gabbana, via Panorama Magazine

This angers me for oh so many reasons. The arrogance to dismiss anybody who cannot conceive naturally, whether through sexual orientation, infertility or otherwise, is abhorrent. To call much loved children of IVF, assisted fertility or surrogacy “chemical children” and “synthetic babies” is truly disgusting. How dare you? What right do you have to get on your soap box and dictate how other’s lives should play out?

We decided to go with IVF after trying for a few months, and discovering Mr Nester had Stage 3 bowel cancer. Our immediate options were to freeze sperm prior to treatment, and either wait the 2+ years in the hope Mr Nester’s production would return to normal, or use IVF either while dealing with cancer treatment, or later if we discovered Mr Nester was no longer producing any swimmers. We chose life, we chose our future, we chose hope. And so we chose IVF now, while dealing with cancer. Because if nothing else, cancer teaches you that waiting is never good, and you should live life while you can. 

My question to Messrs Dolce and Gabbana is this: how, exactly, is it our fault that my husband developed bowel cancer? Do you think we have not suffered enough with this diagnosis, while in our thirties? Does this medical issue now take away our right to want children? Should we now have to pay for such a horrific time in our marriage with a lack of family? And lastly, how fucking dare you?

As you can see, I don’t quite agree with the fashion designers’ views. In fact, I find them horribly insulting to those who have found joy and success through the power of modern science. 

If I ever had the misfortune to meet these clothes merchants, I don’t think I could hold myself back. My first instinct would be a rather large punch to the stomach, for ever daring to call the wonder that is currently forming within me “chemical” or “synthetic”.

On you Elton, I’m right with you. 

Jane xx


Pregnancy Week 3: the second time around

Week: 3 (and a bit)

Baby: a teeny little blob (about the size of a poppy seed)

What I’m cooking: the blastocyst has embedded in my uterus, and is now developing the neural tube and a bit of brain

Main symptom: BLOAT. Oh my god I might just be 6 months pregnant and I didn’t know it

What’s on this week: lots of self pregnancy tests

Well hello there. It’s just me, Jane. Oh yeah, and my growing little blob currently residing in my uterus! After another positive pregnancy test this morning, which was substantially darker than the last one, I’m willing to say that I might just be pregnant! Of course, this still needs to be confirmed with a blood test, happening early next week. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, as last time I had all but picked out the school our baby was attending, before a very early miscarriage.

come on, you beautiful second line you!

Last time, my blood test results were in the 30s – pretty low. I’m really hoping that we get a great result, which will put my mind at ease for a minute or two.

The one thing that’s making me think that maybe things are progressing well with this pregnancy is the symptoms. Bloody hell, the symptoms! I am so bloated I keep thinking I’ve been eating nothing but junk food for about 6 months. I refuse to weigh myself, because I don’t know if I’d recover from the shock! I’m also cramping quite a lot – funny little cramps, right down near the money maker (oh, you know what I mean!). With those two, along with massive boobs, vague-brain and dizziness, my body is sure trying to tell me I’m knocked up.

Maybe it's just the pizza I'm currently stuffing into my face?

Maybe it’s just the pizza I’m currently stuffing into my face?

Today puts me at 7dp5dt, or exactly a week after the embryo transfer, or with the pregnancy calculator 3 weeks and 5 days (they throw in the first two weeks for free – bonus!). So it’s still very early days, and there’s still a high chance of miscarriage. However, I’m trying not to think about that, and instead focus on the incredible fact that I’m growing another human! I’m pregnant! No matter how long it may be for (9 months please, please!), it’s a lovely feeling.

Next week should hopefully bring the confirmation, and I’m guessing an appointment to check on things at some point. Until then, it’s just Mr Nester, me and my lovely little bean. How wonderful!

Jane xx

Testing, 1… 2…

what a difference IVF makes! You might remember, from way back in October 2014, my story of getting a positive pregnancy test (read all about it here). The dismissal, disbelief, squinting to interpret that faint second line, waking up Mr Nester? The excitement? How fertility treatments change all of that!

Let me explain. This morning marked 6 days after my embryo transfer (6dp5dt), equivalent to 11DPO in normal fertility language. Usually, I would have tested every day for the last four or so days, but as this cycle was using IVF, I was scared silly that I might get a misleading result. The trigger shot that you take for IVF is basically a high dose of hCG – the hormone that lights up that lovely second line on a pregnancy test. This means that it takes a while to get the trigger out of your system, in order for the preggo test to give you a real response. 

So. This morning I decided to test. Well, I’d decided last night, as I couldn’t stand not knowing anymore. I’m getting all the symptoms under the sun (except nausea, thank goodness!), and I just wanted to know. That way I could start dealing with it if it was a negative. Because I knew last night I was going to let myself test, my sleeping was, well, not great. Wide awake at 4am, I thought “bugger it! I have to pee anyway.” Off I trot to the bathroom to pee on a stick. Quite novel actually, it’s been months since I last had a go! Thankfully, I still remembered how to do it. Phew!

There I sat, trying to count 3 minutes in my head, all while staring intently at that stick. One line, very strong. Then…a hint…a glimpse…yep, that’s a second line! Somewhat faint, but certainly not one that needs squinting. I wander back in to see Mr Nester. He looks at me: “So?”

My romantic response: “ummm, yeah it’s positive, but it’s pretty light.”

His reply: “hmmm. Ok then. I guess we check again in a couple of days”.

What a story to tell the kids!!

Since talking to some other wonderful women who are going through the same IVF cycle (through a forum group on the Glow app – I can’t recommend it highly enough!), they’ve convinced me that it is actually pretty dark for 11DPO, and if there was any trigger left it would be ridiculously light. 

my lovely second line, at 6dp5dt..

So, very hesitantly (but also very excitedly), I think I can tell you, I’m pregnant! I’m hoping against hope that this little one sticks, and I can’t wait to test again in a few days to make this seem more real!

Jane (and blob!) xx

Crinone: otherwise known as the witch

The last drug I’ve had to take throughout this process is called Crinone (8%). It’s a progesterone gel that mimics what your body would be producing (if it wasn’t so jacked up on other hormones). It’s taken…um…internally. Thankfully not a suppository, this one is instead a pessary. In plain language, that means an applicator where the action is. You squeeze a gel up the wazoo once or twice a day (once for me), and the progesterone is absorbed. 

the ever lovely Crinone

Sounds simple, right? Oh it is! So simple! No problems whatsoever, except for the side effects. The main one being, I’ve become a cottage cheese factory, right where you don’t want to be eating cheese. 

never, never going to be able to eat this again..

Progesterone is also the hormone responsible for all pregnancy symptoms, including:

  • Cramps
  • Fatigue 
  • Sore breasts
  • Irritability 
  • Constipation (lovely)
  • Gas (even better)
  • Dizziness

ALL of which I’m currently experiencing. So the question now is, are these symptoms the Crinone? Or is my body trying to tell me something? I’m already terrible with symptom watching, and this gel is not making things any easier. 

On another note, tonight I noticed a very, very small amount of light pink spotting. Like, a drop in the ocean, a teensy tinge, the lightest of light pinks. But still pink. Could it be implantation bleeding? Please, please, please let it be!

And lucky last, we found out they managed to freeze one of our embryos today, unfortunately the other three didn’t make it. This means we have another shot though, just in case things don’t work out this time. If they do, then we have a chance for another baby somewhere down the line. But let’s just focus on number 1 for now!!

Jane xx

IVF: Embryo Transfer

Here we are, me and my little blob. As of yesterday morning, I am potentially pregnant, or as the web calls it: PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise). 

On Wednesday morning, I arrived at the clinic, and sat down with the nurse to go through the current situation of my embryos. Amazingly, all 5 were still going (I was sure we were going to lose a few along the way!), although some were much stronger than others. In order of development, we had:

  • 1 grade 5AB blastocyst, which is a very good quality 5 day old embryo, that was starting to hatch out of its shell. 
  • 1 early blastocyst – not as developed, but still good quality. 
  • 2 morulas: embryos with 12-16 cells (blasts have 32-64)
  • 1 8 cell embryo – lagging quite a way behind the others. 

They had decided to transfer the best one, and leave the others for another day or two to see if they progress enough to be frozen. That means that this little champion below (described by the IVF scientist as a “beautiful blastocyst”), is currently residing in my uterus, and hopefully finding itself a lovely, comfortable place to hang out for the duration. 

my beautiful little blob

The little blots on the bottom right are the embryo hatching, the thickening around the edges is what will become the placenta, and that little inner blob? The one on the left there? That’s what will hopefully, hopefully become our little baby. Kind of amazing to have a photo this early on! Is it strange that I’m really feeling very attached to it? When the scientist said how beautiful it looked, I was quite proud. I suppose it IS our genetic material, but it’s very surreal!

So anyway, the actual transfer. This was like an exciting Pap smear. Speculum and all. A little bit of pain as they stuck a tube through my cervix and into my uterus, but otherwise just uncomfortable. They then inserted a ridiculously thin catheter containing my little blob, and in it went! All of about 10 minutes, and 30 seconds later I was pulling my pants back on and waltzing on out of there. 

I’m now in Day 2 of the endless length of time that is otherwise known as the two week wait – made longer by the fact that my blood test is booked for two weeks after transfer, not ovulation. I’m already planning on rebelling and testing on the two week point of “ovulation”, which will be 9 days past the transfer of the 5-day embryo, or 9dp5dt. This is 1dp5dt, so a little while yet!

Until then, it’s just me, Mr Nester and our little blob, hopefully currently burrowing nice and deep into my uterine lining. 

I’ll also find out tomorrow if any remaining embryos made it to freeze, and I’m really hoping we have at least one, as if this doesn’t take that will have to be it for a while. Until I find another $6,000, anyway. Staying positive though, and focusing on having this lovely little blob growing here with me for the next 9 months. 

Symptoms wise, I’m feeling exhausted most days, and I’m getting some very light cramping on both sides, with the occasional jab on the right. Come on, baby, implant!!

Jane (& blob) xx

IVF: Fertilisation & Egg Retrieval Aftermath

I am so freaking sore! Kicked in the soft parts kind of sore. That said, I’m much better than yesterday, and ten times better than I was on Friday, but still. Sore! I guess having a needle puncture 15 follicles through the wall of your vagina will do that to a lady. 

As you may have guessed, I’m post egg retrieval, and not quite as high on sedatives as I was in my last post. Apologies for all the spew talk. It was at the forefront of my muddled mind. 

After the retrieval on Friday and the ill fated trip home (read all about it here), I’ve been resting, resting, eating and resting. I found that lying on the couch was my most comfortable position, and who am I to argue with my body? Couch it is. Somewhere in the middle of all that resting was a block of stressing, where I was waiting to hear from the clinic how many eggs fertilised. They had told me after the retrieval on Friday that they would call me in the morning with the fertilisation results, so I had naïvely assumed I would receive a phone call before midday. I didn’t. So I panicked. The ridiculous things that went through my mind:

  • Maybe they’ve lost my number (they’ve called me plenty of times already)
  • Maybe they screwed up and lost my eggs
  • Maybe they leave all the bad phone calls until the end 
  • Maybe the scientist forgot to come in and my eggs were never fertilised…

So, completely rational hypotheses. I actually ended up googling the scientist, finding her email address and asking her to call me, before the clinic rang at 12:17pm. NOT morning, may I emphasise. A lovely lady let me know that of the 7 eggs retrieved on Friday, 6 were mature, and using ICSI, 5 had fertilised. 5! I was dreading that phone call, expecting them to tell me one or none had been successful. But 5! Such great news. Of course, there’s a good chance they won’t all make it to the transfer date, but it’s possible they will as well. I’ll find out tomorrow morning how many have made it to Day 3, and that will dictate whether I have a transfer that day (if they’re not looking great), or if they wait for Day 5 (if things are progressing well). So, more waiting, but the good kind!

Mr Nester and I have had a chat about what a good outcome would be, so I don’t get too disheartened if we lose some of the embryos. Obviously having any at all to transfer would be great, but ideally I’d like to have at least one to freeze as well. That would mean we’d have another shot if things didn’t go as planned this cycle. 

It’s funny, but I’m feeling quite attached to my little embryos, currently hanging out in their Petri dishes across the city, and looking something like this:

one little egg at 2 days

So, I’m hoping against hope that all my zygotes grow to blastocysts (from a ball of cells to a bigger, tougher ball of cells), even though chances are I’m likely to end up with a third of the embryos making it, leaving me with maybe 2 at the 5 day mark. Then it’s transfer time!

I’ll keep you posted tomorrow, come on future people, grow grow grow!

Jane xx

IVF: the egg retrieval

Look how dedicated I am: a mere 6 hours after the procedure, here I am, blogging all the deets for you! It’s not at all related to the fact that I’m bed bound and bored. At ALL. 

The egg retrieval was today. That’s the one where they knock me out and attack me with needles. I wish I was kidding. The actual procedure? Not memorable. Mainly due to my being unconscious the entire time. I had a drip put in my arm, a drug injected, I started feeling woozy, then I was being woken up. Too easy!

The nurses also told me how many eggs they retrieved. When I had my scan on Wednesday, there were 13 developed follicles. Usually, around 70-75% of the follicles contain eggs. For me, it was a little lower. They retrieved 7 eggs – still a good haul, but a little less than I’d hoped. The plus side is, as I’m doing ICSI, the fertilisation rates should technically be higher, as there’s no risk of the sperm not being able to break through. 

seven eggs, count em!

So tomorrow morning I find out how many of these little dots have fertilised, and then it’s another update on Monday to see how they’re progressing. I’m really, really hoping we get 5 or 6 fertilised eggs: I would so love to be able to transfer one embryo, and then freeze another 3 or 4. Staying as optimistic as possible, and looking forward to tomorrow’s update!

The only other thing to mention is me being all laid up in bed. The post-retrieval effects. Ohhhh how it hurts. I feel like someone has bull-dog clipped the inside of my uterus: every time I stand up and try to straighten, it pulls at me like crazy. I also had the joyous opportunity to throw up into my hands on the way home. Oh yeah. Didn’t quite get the plastic bag opened fast enough, so instead it created a lovely barrier between spew and hands, that only hugely spilled all over me. I’m putting it down to coming out of the anaesthetic and then very quickly jumping in the back seat of the car for quite a long drive home. Thankfully I feel much better now, and after a nap I’m feeling much more myself, even if it’s only when I’m lying down. 

So that’s today’s wrap up, apologies if it’s a bit wonky, as at this moment so am I. Next time we talk, I’ll know how many little balls of cells we have!

Can’t wait,

Jane xx