Friday, 29 July 2011

It's final

So we had the email today that GMS blood showed a bhcg level of 119 which is going down so they are stopping her medication. Feel so sorry for her as her dreams won't be realised either.
I feel sick and sad but also determined that we will keep going as long as it takes. We know from other couples that the journey can be long and painful but giving up now is not an option.
Dr K will be in touch later about the next steps. I am keen to move on with our frosties ASAP.
will keep praying for better luck next time and strength to cope with all these traumas.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bad day

I didnt post on Friday when we had our first results as I thought it was too good to be true and it was. After all the anxiety we received the wonderful news that GMS was pregnant on friday morning with a bhcg of 99.93. I was so happy with that as a level around 100 for a singleton is a really good result. It did cross my mind that you cant tell if it is a singleton pregnancy and it possibly could be 2 not so good twins with hcgs around 50.. anyway..Dr K was planning to repeat it in 3 days, which fell on Sunday. I rang her this morning to find that she was having her bloods today (4 days later). I tried to put it to the back of my mind but halfway through my afternoon surgery I found an email from Dr K.. to say that she had an oral report from the lab, stating a level of 159.6, which has risen but not doubled (should possibly have doubled and then some by now!). Felt totally sick. Just like history repeating itself. Our only other pregnancies start well then the bhcg nightmare starts and then it drops and game over. Just to make it worse, I had half a surgery to finish including a 6 day old baby aargh. Spent the afternoon, with reddish eyes (patients didnt seem to notice), crying inbetween patients. Just 4 days ago we had a positive result and now all the dreams are fading fast.. again. How many times can we go through this? Its what I was probably so anxious about, the hideous feeling when it doesnt work out. So many of our embie-angels up in heaven..its so sad. Heartbreak all over again.  

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

One week and counting down

Its been 5 days since we got back from Mumbai and heard about the awful bombs that went off yesterday, its so tragic. I did a lot of shopping in Dadar so was shocked to see a bomb go off there. We felt relieved that our surrogate and Corion are in the Northern Suburbs, well away but felt so sorry for everyone involved in this tragedy. I have felt very attached to Mumbai this time, despite all the illnesses and stresses, it's an amazing place and I'm really missing the vibrancy of the place.
We had dinner in London that night at a charity event for St Dunstans, a charity for blind ex service personnel with the Duke of Kent in attendance and crown prince pavlos of Greece! It was strange having drinks without panicking about effect on sperm and eggs but lovely to spend a night in London midweek together.
This post is in the wrong place as I started it on 14th July!

The 2ww

So this has been as bad if not worse than previous 2ww for me. The first week is filled with optimism with fear of failure...again! We have gone so long without good news that we almost cant believe we may get a positive result, ever! But we have tried very hard to keep positive and send all positive vibes and love to our embies which are so far away. Have been praying like mad to keep GMS well and happy and pray it works for her sake as well so she can provide for her 3 children.
It has been strange for me as I havent told any of our friends that we are doing this process or even that we have been away to India! Work colleagues think I have been to Malta, fortunately I have been there quite a few times so I can talk confidently about it. The big benefit is that I don't have to talk about how I am feeling to everyone. Most people think we are taking a break for a few months so are giving me some space and not asking too many questions which makes it easier for me. We just can't take any more sympathy from our friends, who all mean well but we feel we don't want to spread further disappointment around. I just so want to have my happy ending with this now! I know I am supposed to be patient, but I am simply rubbish at it at the moment. We have made a provisional game plan if this attempt doesn't work out I.e using our frozen embryos first. Then maybe do another fresh attempt next year or do a cycle here and take embryos over.. But I can't bear to think of those. I want to use the frozen embies for siblings if needed. I just want this to work so much. I cant take another heartbreak.
This second week has been the most difficult. On top of the general anxiety,I think I have been premenstrual so irrationality is rife! The clinic mailed me to tell me that although the blood test for hcg is done on Thursday ( tmrw!) the result is not recieved until the following afternoon. I originally was fine with this but on Mental Monday, I felt I couldn't wait that extra 24 hours and mailed the clinic to see if they could possibly get the result on Thursday evening! Bless them, clearly used to impatient I.Ps, said they would try but I'm getting ready for 2 more sleeps before we find out!
So on the brink of GMS having her blood test I am still hoping and praying that the life changing result is achieved.
I had a patient today wanting a termination at 22+ weeks pregnancy, she has 3 children already. This made me feel so sick and unwell as one clinic had turned her down already but she really wanted it done. 24 weeks is viability, so the fetus will have to effectively be murdered. It's so sick,especially for oversensitive me!
Life is so unfair and topsy turvy.. Please let our dreams start this time! will be back...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Day 3- Embryo transfer day!

Back at home, with the 'back to work blues'.
Left Mumbai yesterday lunchtime. Left slightly earlier in fear of the floods that had occurred on the Friday and stopped me from visiting Powai where I wanted to check out another flat, and also finalising my shopping (!). However, roads were fine. We had a complimentary transfer back to the airport so waved at our drivers as we left, bye bye to Rajan, Abdul, Poshaiya and Henry.. we will miss you!
Didnt get to say goodbye to my favourite concierges Praful and Diego either! Hopefully we will be back next year!!

We got to Mumbai international and check in went smoothly. I nervously checked my emails in case Sakshi had mailed the day 2 results- she had! Oh my, we had now got 10 embryos! 6 grade A and 4 grade B. She explained that 2 embryos didnt have 2 pronuclei which is the appearance of a fertilised egg, as they had already moved onto the first cell division stage! So we had 10 out of 10 fertilised! Despite diarrhea and febrile illnesses and a terrible diet, our gametes did good!!

But we can't get too excited as previous cycles produce excellent embryos but then we dont get off the starting blocks. : (

So this morning, I woke up (early, jet lagged) to a mail from Sakshi with our IVF summary and pics of the 4 embies they transferred to GMS, who was doing fine. They put 2 grade A and 2 grade B's in. We got to freeze 4 grade As and 2 grade C's (2 grade B's went bit downhill.. ). Am glad there is enough for a frozen cycle (hopefully sibling!!! purlease....)

Now we are in the 2 week wait and PUPO (pregnant till proven otherwise).. this is the worst! Am keeping everything crossed and sending lots of prayers that its our turn this time.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Fertilisation day!

Have been all anxious this morning waiting to get the news of how many of the 10 eggs were fertilised by Pauls super sperm! I went to the clinic to pick up my credit card (which I was silly enough to leave behind yesterday) but embryologist Sakshi was not in, so few more hours to panic! I checked out the signed surrogacy contract too, GMS, bless her, had signed with her thumbprint. We are going to get a notarised copy of this agreement later.I asked the nurses if she was happy to be doing this and they said she was very happy. phew! I was planning to go to Powai to check out another serviced apartments but the roads were horrendous and flooded, saw an autorickshaw get stuck and the passengers had to wade through knee deep water and decided not to bother!
Came back to hotel to see Paul munching the last of my bananas (I love the mini bananas here, they have a lovely texture and flavour) despite telling me he wasnt keen on them!
Had 2 bits of good news today
1. We were panicking last night after reading the surrogacy information on the British High Commission website which states that both parents passports have to be sent off in order to obtain baby's passport. This sent Paul in a tail spin as he was planning to return to the UK after 3 weeks, as my parents were planning to stay with me for the duration (up to 12 weeks). He wrote to the passport services in Delhi who reassured him that he can show the original to the consulate in Mumbai and take a full copy (of every page) with him. So thats good.
2. Just had mail from Sakshi at the lab that 8 out of 10 eggs fertilised, so hoping and praying they continue to grow and develop. Its like waiting for exam results on a daily basis, gives you knots in your stomach and a faint queasy feeling until you know!

Ok am off out to get some more bananas whilst the rain has stopped!

Its our last day here so planning to have a wee drink later!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Egg retrieval Part 2!

I survived! Got there at 10 am, put my gown on the wrong way round, signed a consent form without any info (just relied on my previous knowledge!) and got whisked off to the OR at 10.30. Looked well equipped and clean with the lab just adjacent. Mr anaesthist whipped in a pink cannula, and gave me some wierd sedative which made me feel quite starnge, like death was near! Chest went bit tight, funny feeling in my throat, could hear the cardiac monitor speed up as I got anxious! Then I counted up whilst the propofol filled my veins- got up to 4... out.... and then I remember being 'tapped' on the shoulder by someone annoying who was trying to wake me up! Dr K had got 10 eggs out but not able to make any judgements on them until tmrw, praying they are good mature ones!
Had to wait an hour (slept through most of that) until I could have a drink and rest of afternoon was spent in that recovery room waiting for Dr K to check out which surrogate had the best lining! Signed various surrogacy agreements whilst we waited. The booth/room opposite us was full of about 8 surrogates who all kept smiling at me everytime I opened our door to walk past. It was quite surreal. In the end we had a choice of 2 who fulfilled the criteria- we plumped for the 27 yr old divorcee (call her GMS) with 3 children age 3,5,7. The 2 smaller children will stay with her in the surrogate house and the older one with her sister.  We got to meet her briefly and she was really petite but pretty. We felt huge next to her but hopefully she wont have problems with our embies! I gave her the saree pressie and when she went back to her room of surro-pals they were all twittering excitedly! We were pretty spaced out and tired by that point so I only used a few of my hindi phrases on her!
Paid up about £4300 for my IVF, surrogate preparation, drugs and pathology. Also paid in advance for a possible Frozen embryo transfer just in case. Hopefully GMS will be the magic we need and that money can go towards her fees later! Tense few days ahead now, praying for excellent fertilisation and embryos!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Egg Retrieval Day

Here we are, at the first main event. 2 days ago I had 10 follicles, 4 range 18-20 and 6 range 15-17 which should hopefully have grown. The ovitrelle injection (used to recreate the LH surge to mature the eggs and trigger ovulation) was much nicer than the nasty pregnyl injection in the UK. Had twinges yesterday around my ovaries so the natural fear is that the eggs have burst forth already...but am sincerely hoping not!
Yesterday we also went out to Navi Mumbai, about 1.5-2 hour journey in traffic, to look at some serviced apartments in Belapur. A few days ago we checked out a few in the Powai/Hirandani area and were shocked by the cost. Approx £2200-2500 per month for a 2 bed apartment! I thought it would be cheaper in Navi Mumbai but it was not the case, however there are more facilities and the apartments are slightly bigger too. Oh dear! Will continue the search. Plus points are that they look liveable in! By the way, Hiranandani looks like how India could have been in a parallel universe, all clean wide road, western names for the streets (orchard way, high street), all clean and well maintained Roman style high rise apartment blocks and offices. It looks like Indias version of Canary Wharf. Lots of cool bars and restaurants. The hospital where the baby will be born (oh please let that happen!) is part of this uber cool development and is of a high standard we were told, so thats good news! However, around Hiranandani, is back to square one, Mumbai in its glory resumes!

Ok well off to Corion now, armed with a saree bought for our dear Surrogate, whoever she is (we only find out today so no idea how many kids she has or anything). Have practised some (dull) Hindi phrases so we can have a chit chat..will be back soon...hopefully! Wish me luck and lots of healthy eggs!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

New discoveries

Here are some things that I have discovered on this trip

1. Cool cabs (blue and white) and ac taxis cost Rs 1500 for 8 hrs/80km. Cheaper in non ac cabs (black and yellow ones). I have been totally unsuccessful in ordering a cab on the phone, they never seem to have availability!
If you want less time, try to negotiate a better deal, i.e Rs 1100 for 6 hours

2. Juhu beach is a rubbish tip- I was hoping for romantic walks on the beach, but better to wear your worst flip flops and gingerly walk along, trying to avoid washed up tar, corn on the cobs, general litter and foulings. Its impressive to watch the clean up operation- 5 blokes and a JCB, grabbing handfuls of muck and depositing it further up the beach!

3. Stay as near to your clinic as possible. I had dreams of staying at the Taj Lands End in Bandra, it looked close enough on the map. Dr K advised to stay in theJuhu area, and I'm so glad we did! The Novotel is at the far end of the beach , nearer the clinic. It still can take 25-30 mins on a bad day ( but only 10 mins on a sunday morning ). We decided to go to to the Taj Land End to see what we were missing and although the hotel is beautiful, the journey there was not! Took us about an hour in traffic. Would be very annoying to do that on a daily basis!

4. Avoid eating much fish/crabs/prawns/lobster in the rainy season. The fisherman are not allowed out in the monsoon months so most of the large fish are frozen and best avoided. Shame, I was so looking forward to my garlic butter pepper crab at Trishna!

5. Don't get food poisoning on day one. It can spoil the trip.

6. Acclimatise yourself with less spicy foods, avoid all salads, chutneys, cold sauces and anything that might be washed in water. Undercooked chicken is a disaster. (beware of some kebabs and 'grilled chicken'). When you see the miserable looking chickens all cooped up, worse than battery style, you can understand how they may poison you! All fine if cooked in curries though!

7. Snapdeal Mumbai is a coupon system, like our Groupon. Need to join (need an Indian mobile, I used some old one my mother used last year which I am sure is defunct) and then they send you daily offers. I have bought cinnabon rolls, had a aloe vera head massage/deep condition/wash and blow dry (Rs 400 instead of 1200), and got a great deal at 21 Farenheit which is an ice lounge and restaurant. All at bargain prices! Yay!

8. Have a head massage- these are to die for! The  Dilshad salon at Sun n' Sand hotel which is practically adjacent to Novotel (not as glamorous as the Serena Spa in the Novotel ) offers head massage/ hair wash and blow dry form Rs 800-1000 depending on your bargaining skills! Its well worth it! Got rid of the tension headache I had when I arrived in Mumbai..

5. The Four Fountains Spa in Bandra offers great value treatments. We went for 3 hour packages with an extra 30 minute foot reflexology (thanks to travelling Jet Airways- just had to show our boarding pass for that complimentary treatment). Paul felt 3 hours was too long, but it could have been that he was getting sick with the bird flu (!) that day!

Menogon misery

So I am now on cycle day 11, day 9 of stimulation (currrently having 300iu gonal f - which is recombinant fsh and encourages the follicles to grow, 150iu menogon, which is made from urinary FSH and LH and further encourages the follicles to grow and is a nasty one in butt, and 0.25ml ganilrelix which stops early ovulation). The clinic nurses have been administering them since I started the menogon as it would be nigh on impossible to get that in correctly and Paul would probably faint when he saw the size of the needle!) I have been pretty emotional about the state of my ovaries. The first scan on day 3 had shown maybe 6-8 on rt side and very small ones on the left. Second scan 4 days later showed 3 on left and 7 on right side. My last cycle produced 16 eggs so I was feeling pretty down about stuff but Dr K felt we were on track and aiming for 10-12 good quality eggs. I know it only takes one and Paul is trying to keep me upbeat but I'm just comparing to last time. In any case last time didnt work out either so I guess its irrelevant really. I am another year older as well. Yikes! Still am on pretty huge whacks of the stuff so was hoping for more eggs really.

The first week has been a bit turbulent with both of us coming down with the proverbial Delhi belly. Pauls was worse than mine with a fever earlier in the week. That sent me crazy with anxiety as well. For the last 3 months I have been doing my best (control freak wife) to prevent him catching a bug which may cause a fever and sperm destruction. Now at the final hurdle, here it is, to torture me aargh!! Got a sample done quickly the following day. Paul was not impressed by the lack of 'materials' but produced a pretty good one, all things being considered. That is going to be the frozen back up plan in case things are not great on egg retrieval (ER) day!

I have been trying to improve my eggs, by eating eggs, keeping tummy warm, drinking lots of water. Lets see if we get good growth by tomorrow. Dr K likes to get as many eggs >20mm before the trigger injection of bhcg which finally matures the eggs ready for retrieval. Yesterday I had 4 around 15-16mm and 6 at 12mm which need to pull their socks up. If the smaller ones are around 16-17 by tmrw we should be able to trigger on Tuesday night for ER on Thursday. We are leaving on Saturday am, so that would be the safest I think!

Now we are a bit better the weather has turned more 'monsoony' which is annoying! I was dreading  wading through huge puddles and catching further water bourne diseases, but that has not happened thankfully. Needless to say I am on high alert now and suspicious of all things chicken (was an undercooked one that got us this time!)

Monsoon Mumbai

Here we are, entering our second week in Mumbai. I had all good intentions to start this blog as soon as we arrived but with one thing (food poisoning!) and another (shopping!) it has got delayed. In some ways I can't believe we are actually here. If someone had told us a year ago that we would be having IVF in Mumbai for the purpose of surrogacy I would have thought they were insane! But 4 years of trying to conceive with 1 spontaneous miscarriage after 2 years and then 1 year of IVF with 3 failed embryo transfers, chemical pregancies, mysterious rashes that no doctor can explain associated with early pregnancy and being diagnosed with high natural killer cells which don't respond to a host of immune medication has led us down this path. Our GP has been very supportive but our conservative IVF doctors seem to think that surrogacy should come much later... i.e when I am too old to provide any decent embryos! But we want a family, thats the bottom line, and with much soul searching regarding the ethics of what we are doing, this now feels right. Many thanks to all those people whose blogs have helped me so much and given me an idea of what to expect when we arrived here.

So we have been to Mumbai before and knew what to expect from the city. Less so from an indian clinic. In fact I had all sorts of ideas as to what I wanted to do,see and eat whilst I was here. The research I had done had led me to Dr Kadam's clinic, the Corion Fertility Clinic. On arrival at Mumbai airport we had a pre arranged transfer to the Novotel where we were staying for the 2 weeks, recommended by the clinic due to its proximity. We then hot footed it across in what seemed a very expensive taxi- the ac cabs outside the hotel did not want to move their butts for less than Rs 300! Whatever the distance was!  Anyway we agreed to a fee of Rs500 (approx £7.50- a lot for a 15-20 min journey in India!)  for a return journey including wait time. The clinic was easy to find, and looked just as it does in the photos. A small but clean waiting area, with ac and friendly staff. We didnt have too long to wait before we were greeted by Dr K, whose positive, smiling demeanour put our worries to rest. I had spoken to her many times on the phone and exchanged numerous emails prior to our arrival and the personal service was duly appreciated. We went through our remaining queries, had my first scan and got started on (high dose) medication. The staff wrapped my injections with some coolpacks and off we went, to return in 5 days for next scan. They don't seem to check bloods for estrogen levels here and are guided by the scan findings, well we are putting all our faith into Dr K from now on!