Friday, 6 January 2012

8 - 14 weeks

We will receive a follow up scan in a week. I am feeling so confident and not nervous like I expected I would be. I am just having so much fun lunching, having coffee and talking babies. I love that everyone else is so excited for us.

8 week ultrasound , Baby 1 – FHR 181 and Baby 2 – FHR 190.

Mrs N is feeling fine and resting.”
 I am so grateful to Mrs N and I wonder if she realises the enormity of what she is doing for us.

 11 weeks and time is going so fast. Louie, Jas and I took a girls trip to Hobart for the weekend and we managed to talk about babies and only babies for the full 3 hour trip!!  I was confident enough to venture into the baby shop, although it still feels a little unreal. I can’t believe this is really happening!

14 week NT ultrasound, Baby 1 –FHR 171 and baby 2 – FHR 168

“Mrs Naseem is feeling fine and your babies are progressing well”
Time is going really fast! It has been about 5 months since my final IVF cycle and I have been losing weight and getting fitter, it feels good to feel normal!
I think of Mrs N and our babies every day, you can’t wipe the smile off my face.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Exciting times!

Foo was in disbelief when I told him, I turned up at work after the doors had closed and waited for the staff to leave before telling him,.(it was a long couple of hours keeping it to myself ) He was sure I was going to give him bad news as that is the way it normally had happened. We couldn’t wait to tell everyone! Jem and Beau were waiting at home for any news, I wanted to see Jem’s face when I told her so I hid the email from her, lucky I did because she was home before we were, and went searching!!

That night was a blur of phone calls, visits and champagne!!! It was so exciting, everything I had hoped it would be.  We phoned Mum, she was that excited she ran a red light! We decided that if we tell one person, then we share it with all the special people in our life. It was such fun and excitement telling everyone, I loved just how excited everyone was for us.

Three days later Mrs N had another blood test to check if the levels were doubling as they should…340 IU/ml , spot on !

Three days later again another blood test…1293 IU/ml… excellent!

Two days later another blood test…..3652 IU/ml….awesome!

Mrs N will have an ultrasound in 5 days, this is the big one, we find out if there really is a sac and maybe even a heartbeat. I can’t sleep.

Mrs N is feeling a little nausea and her ultrasound has been postponed til Saturday.

“ Congratulations …once again! The scan shows a presence of live TWIN intra uterine gestational sacs! Another third empty sac is seen, this should be absorbed later.”

Time to celebrate once again! Foo was in shock, I was jumping up and down!!
We’re having twins, we’re having twins, we’re having twins! Could we be so lucky?
Jem and Beau , were sharing in the excitement, champagne- check, telephone – check.
I can’t remember being so happy, our babies are due 9th March 2012

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Getting started

Our decision was :
Indian Donor Egg cycle with Indian Surrogate

It was exciting and very surreal.

We phoned our previous IVF clinic to organise sperm samples to be frozen and shipped to Mumbai. We couldn’t let them know what we were doing as under the current laws they are unable to assist us in any way.

We had two frozen samples (17 straws) shipped via DHL under recommendation from Corion. The process was very simple and took about 2 weeks from the time we froze til the time the straws arrived at the Corion.

In the meantime Dr K had been sending us Donor profiles. Egg donation in India is anonymous and Intended parents are given a very limited amount of information regarding prospective Donors. One A4 page with a small, often blurry picture and the following details:

Blood Group
Marital Status
Education level
Medical Problems
Limited Hormonal Profile.

It sounds like a lot of information, but when faced with choosing the biological mother of your potential children it gives you only a small taste of what you want to know and what you would like to have available to your children when they start needing to know more.

At first it seemed like too big a decision to make. So we based our decision on a couple of things:

Age – the younger the donor the better the egg quality
Height – Indian women are generally very short, so the taller the better!
FSH level – The lower the number the better the egg quality

I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t take looks in to consideration……after all everybody wants the best for their children.

We spent hours mulling over this decision only to have our first pick unavailable for a few months.  We couldn’t wait that long. Our second pick was already chosen for another couple. Our third pick had a family member pass away just before our cycle was about to start so she was no longer available. It looked like we had hit the jackpot with our fourth pick and all we had to do was wait for her to come in to the clinic for a checkup before getting started.
We waited for several weeks and upon contacting Dr K we decided that she probably was not going to go ahead and donate. Dr K had a donor available to start that very day if we were happy to go ahead and use her. Yes yes yes. It was pure luck that she just happened to fit the criteria we had set . I think probably we would have gone ahead regardless.

We were so relieved to be starting.

Our cycle was pretty straight forward, it felt strange that I was starting to feel so much better whilst another lady out there was going through countless prodding and injections to help me. I felt relieved and guilty at the same time. We retrieved a total of 10 eggs. By the following day 7 eggs had fertilized, by the next day we had 5 cleaved embryos. We were looking good for transfer. We were a little disappointed with our quantities after hearing of others achieving better numbers but we also knew that we only needed one good one to achieve a pregnancy. Fingers crossed.
We were advised that Dr K would choose a surrogate for us based on the surrogate with the best looking endometrium on the day of transfer.

The next email we got was to say that 4 Grade A embryos had been transferred to Mrs N and that she would have a blood test in 12 days times.

Surprisingly, time passed quite quickly.

We were expecting an email anytime. It was 2pm and I had just sat down to have some lunch. I had decided that I wouldn’t check the email until Foo got home from work so that we could get the news together. Out of habit I picked up my phone and touched the email icon. Next thing, out of the corner of my eye, the subject heading:
There was no waiting for Foo now!!! I swear I didn’t even read the rest of the email before jumping around the room, bursting into tears then jumping around the room again, several OMG OMG OMG’s!!!

Mrs N’s HCG value was 131 IU/ml, definitely pregnant!!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


So I have something to tell you!
Foo and I are going to be parents!
OMG….. We are so excited! Let me tell you the story.

We had heard stories of a local couple going through the process of surrogacy in India. When you are trying to have a baby, many people try to tell you that they know of a faster, easier way to get a baby…because they know someone who did. I always felt like saying…”don’t you think I’ve researched everything I possibly could and if that was the case then I would have done that instead of countless IVF cycles?” So when I heard of Candice and Mick’s story , I wasn’t convinced.
We had googled “surrogacy in India” a little over the last few months so we had a good idea of how it worked. Now it was time to get serious. The day after we found out our final IVF cycle didn’t work, I emailed Dr Kadam at Corion Fertility Clinic in Mumbai and waited for a reply.
I also emailed Candice (what the heck, maybe it was true!) and she replied almost immediately, she has been a fabulous help and I can’t thank her enough! The biggest tip she has given me is that Indian people work on Indian time! Expect to wait……I can do that …the last 9 years of my life has been about waiting.

A reply came through within a couple of days. It was a fairly generic reply and indicated that we needed a letter from our Doctor stating our fertility history and that Surrogacy was our only option.  Panic set in….. I was never going to get a Doctor here to do that for us. I sent Dr K our full fertility history and then waited again for a reply. I was nervous that this wasn’t going to be an option for us and then where did that leave us….
A reply came through a few days later indicating that they could certainly help us. Hooray!!!!!!
We weren’t going to waste any time thinking about it, we had to do it before any thing changed and it wasn’t an option.
Rach was still willing to do whatever it took to help us and offered to donate her eggs in India for an attempt at surrogacy. I was feeling so grateful but uneasy about this as she had done so much for us already. I emailed Dr K to see if this was an option and she advised us that it would not be a good option for us to take given our history, ages and failed attempts with Rach’s eggs.

Our next step was to decide if we would send our one little frozen Embryo to India with the hope of transferring it to a surrogate.   We knew that we didn’t have many more attempts left in us and we had to give ourselves the best possible chance of having a baby. The risk of attempting to use one embryo is that it may not survive the thaw and we have nothing to transfer.

This decision was heart wrenching for me and it makes me teary just thinking about it. I know what Rach had to go through to create this precious gift and how much she really wanted to be the one to help us. We had 2 choices, we could attempt to use the embryo with little chance of success or we could use an Indian egg donor with a very high chance of success.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

The alcoholic speaks!

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Foo. I’m the hubby with a drinking problem that Ange has often mentioned here in her blog . The blog has been a fantastic thing for Ange as it has helped her to clearly outline the last ten years; ten years that have defined us as a couple.
Those ten years have flown by really. I still recall leaving our first visit at Pivot IVF clinic in Perth. We had been given the stats- something like a 25% success rate per IVF attempt. So we were pretty confident. Even if it doesn’t work this time, it shouldn’t be too many goes and we will have what we really want; a kid. After 20 goes and ten years of IVF, adoption and donors , we can’t believe how naive we were back then.
Helping Ange with her blog has given me a lot of recollections and reminders. I won’t lie and be brave here. It was bloody hard. And it’s funny how your brain works when it comes to these things. I remember finishing a game of footy a week or so after the first ectopic pregnancy and bursting into tears as I walked off the ground. I don’t know why it hit me then. It all came out though. I’m sure the boys at Brentwood thought I was crazy to take another loss so bad! Actually they were sensational, although being blokes, they didn’t ask a lot of questions. They knew what was happening and I suppose they could guess that the news wasn’t great.
Then I remember the hospital visit when the second ectopic happened. It was election day and Jonny Howard won again. We thought we’d be at the hospital for a couple of hours as it was a simple operation. I thought it was going to be a look around sort of set up. So I took the form guide with me and had a few bets on the phone account. Ange was later going in than we thought, but that was ok because I was backing a few winners and didn’t have anything else to do on a lazy Saturday arvo. In she went and when she came out she was still under the anaesthetic. She was still sleeping when the doctor came in and told me he had taken out the other tube . I’m no rocket scientist but I knew enough to know that it was going to be bloody hard to make babies naturally without any of those tubey things left.  I still remember the doctor telling me that we could still conceive- but that we’d have to do IVF. They decided to keep Ange in overnight and sent me home. I drove for an hour to Mandurah before I realised the radio was on the election result the whole way. I was stunned. I’d never drunk wine before that night- but I couldn’t find any beer. I drank three bottles of red and rolled into bed feeling shocked, and so sad for Ange.
Whatever I have had to go through in all of this has been nothing compared to Ange. If anything, the worst thing that has happened to me was a bit of stage fright once when it was my time to step up to the plate. But Ange has been through so much. The operations and the hormones are enough on their own. But it’s the things that others wouldn’t notice that I think have hurt her more so. The repeated conversations with people that obviously haven’t listened to anything she has said before. The cliché responses like “relax and it will happen”, “take a holiday” “my cousin had problems but when they stopped IVF they fell pregnant” and “you’re just not screwing him the right way”. It never ceased to amaze me how ‘friends’ that should have cared and who should have known better could remain so ignorant to what she was actually going through and what the problem actually was.
But her real friends have been brilliant. Ange had fantastic friends in Perth that always asked the right questions, felt the pain she was feeling and understood enough to know that sometimes there was nothing to say that would help. I know that for Ange, just being with them was enough to make her feel better. She couldn’t have coped without those two. And her family have been awesome as well. Ange’s mum is the most wonderful lady that anybody could meet. Sometimes I am sure that some of the pain we were feeling at another negative result was made worse by the fact that we knew it would hurt our family so much, when we had to tell them it hadn’t worked. I know that for Ange, it hurt telling Leanne the most. We know she would have done anything for us to have children if she could. But she couldn’t.
But Rach could. And she did. The gift that Rach gave us both is difficult to comprehend unless you have been where we have been. After as many IVF efforts as we have had, we knew something wasn’t working. That’s when Rach stepped in. Not only did she put her body through the physical and mental demands of IVF cycles for us- but she also gave up drinking and smoking whilst she did it. Being a fellow drink-a-holic I know how hard that would be! You really are a legend Rach and we will never be able to thank you properly.
So here we are. I can’t wait for the next few blogs from Ange. And thankfully, there are more blogs to come. But I want to finish by telling you all how proud I am of my wife. Ange has been through more than anyone should have to go through. She is the type of person who doesn’t expect things to be handed to her, but she expects that if she works hard enough for something, she can have it. She has showed that with her working life as she constantly moved up from job to job and worked harder to earn more. But IVF doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, or how hard she worked, it just didn’t matter. I’m sure that frustrated the hell out of her. But she coped. And she grew stronger. At times she has been hurt as much by a careless comment as any surgeons knife. But she has always maintained a positivity that I’ve found difficult to understand. She has had many bad days but she has always been able to laugh at our situation. We’ve had each other and many times we have reversed the roles of the strong one and the struggling one. But she is my true rock. She has never lost faith, she has been willing to do whatever it will take and she has remained true to her friends and family. Through all of this she has always been there for them when they have needed her. She is the most resilient, caring, strong, thoughtful, generous, kind natured, funny and genuine person I have ever met. I am constantly surprised that she chose me, when I know she could have made any man happy. I love her with no doubt and no compromise. But most of all; I am so proud of her.

Monday, 25 July 2011


It is a relief to know that I will never need to put my body through the rigors of IVF ever again.  9 years of trying to have a baby, 20 IVF cycles and 9 surgeries, I am exhausted.
I am very sad that I will never know what it feels like to be pregnant, to carry and nurture my baby through to birth. I am sad that I will never see my sister, my mother or my Nan in my children.
But I do know that if I am lucky enough to have children to call my own, then these things won’t matter at all.

This is not only my story; it is Foo’s story too. I am hoping that he will have something to say on here as I have been doing all the storytelling. Until then, there are some things I need to tell you about him. Foo is the most amazing, supportive, husband I could have wished for. We could not have continued on this journey for so long if it wasn’t for his patient easy going attitude.  He is my strength, my humour, my love, my friend. Thank you Fooey xx

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Finale

Dr Bowman phoned to tell us we had reached the end of the line in our Fertility treatment. We cannot make quality embryos most likely because of my eggs. Therefore we did not qualify for surrogacy. In most cases like this he would recommend trying with donor eggs but because we had already done this and were unsuccessful he would only be prepared to try once more using donor eggs.

It had been almost 2 years since Rach first donated her eggs to us. She couldn’t wait to jump in and do whatever we needed her to do. Looking back now at what she went through she possibly would have hesitated just a little bit before saying yes.
The logistics of organising a donor egg IVF cycle can be quite involved let alone when your egg donor lives in WA, your clinic is in Sydney and you live in Tassie.

Rach probably remembers this cycle more vividly than I do. The regime was a little different to last time and what could go wrong, did.
 Firstly, the medications get lost in transit. Then Rach’s bloods end up in Darwin, and then apparently they are lost, so she has to go for more tests. At this point we were liaising with several different nurses at the clinic and getting mixed messages.

The day Rach had to fly out was a disaster for her. She lives over an hour from the airport and was to have a scan and a blood test in the city before she left.
 Lesson learned: never organise anything the morning of your flight.
The next sequence of events goes something like this:

  • Caught in heavy traffic on the way to the city
  • Arrive late for scan
  • No sonographer working today ( nurses forgot )
  • Flight time looming
  • Go to another clinic
  • Can’t find reception
  • Nearly twists ankle running around the hospital!
  • Panic about missing flight
  • Scan and bloods done
  • Car crashes into Rach as she is leaving car park
  • Cutting it fine, but makes it in time for her flight
Sounds stressful huh? Then try adding in IVF medication. I felt so bad for Rach. It was such a relief when we all arrived in Sydney. We had such a great time and Rach was such a trooper. I could feel her nerves before the egg collection (without sedation) like they were my own.

We all had such a great time, Mum and Madi joined us for that last part of the trip. Things were looking really good. We ended up with 3 Grade A Blastocysts (5 Day old Embryos) and we transferred two. This was the first time we had transferred such strong embryos and we were all feeling very positive.  Thanks to Rach, we had the best possible chance of pregnancy we were ever going to have.

“Dear Rach
Foo and I will be forever grateful to you for the hope and support you have given us.
You are an amazing person and deserve so much good in your life.
I am sorry for both of us that we haven’t been able to make it happen.
We can never tell you how much what you did for us means. You gave us hope when we didn’t have any. You will always be so special to us and we will never forget how much you tried for us.
Thank you with all our heart.
We love you very much.
Love Ange xxxxxx”