After holding our breath for almost 9 months, here he is finally, our Egg Donor Angel conceived little boy is here xox

Hey everyone, sorry it’s taken me so long to post our news and updates ūüôĀ Life has been a wee bit hectic lately and several times I’ve tried to do this post and thanks to my computer crashing have lost what I had written…. ¬†but I’m back and ready to make this happen lol.. xox

So, let me introduce Liam James Heron, our little miracle boy xox, born Friday 26th February at 8.57am at Nepean Hospital weighing 2.93 kilos and measuring 47.5cm.. he’s now 5.44kg and 59.5cm.. and growing lol. Thanks to the awesome and divine team at the University of Sydney Nepean clinic, that’s Maree, Sarah and yes you too Tracy, you all made our pregnancy and the birth so much more special and we can’t wait to go again and have you looking after us.. after that we hope to catch up and stay friends xox

So after a crazy plus year, losing Mum, dealing with settling her affairs and a family member causing major issues and conflict, dealing with our clinic not freezing our embryo’s properly and losing all 11 of them, trying another donor cycle with the devastation of it not working, making the decision to go to South Africa for our egg donor angel and then to find that our donor didn’t respond well and we had one little good quality embryo but it’s ok, that embie was Liam and we are soooo happy he’s here.

We can’t believe he is and whilst every parent has those “first” moments and “wow” moments, ours are just huge and overwhelming..

The pregnancy was good considering my history, I remember my first appointment with Maree, it was hours going through my history lol and then chatting heaps to Tracy about my passion with Egg Donor Angels and just infertility etc. ¬†And our first appointment with Sarah this year where we spoke to her about going back to South Africa for a sibling for Liam in November.. she was amazing and said “I understand why” and supported us.. as crazy as it seems..

So you might ask why when we have our little boy.. well we are older parents and we won’t be around for as long as some parents for Liam, our families aren’t big and aren’t getting any younger lol like all of us.. we have amazing friends whose children are going to be like family to Liam and of course my beautiful and amazing cousin’s children will be fabulous cousins to him and guide him along his paths as well.. but we both always wanted more than one but we also want Liam to have a little brother or sister that he has by his side for the rest of his and their lives.. when we aren’t there xox

So we go back to Cape Town in November to go again. ¬†Our donor has done another cycle for us… we were discussing doing another one with the donor agency and with the IVF clinic when they contacted us and said that the recipients had pulled out of a cycle with her and would we like to use Shane’s frozen sample/sperm and do the cycle.. we knew we wanted to go again so we thought oh well lets do it now.. so we have 1 fabulous embie, 2 really good ones and 2 not so good in the freezer waiting for us and we feel confident that we will have another successful pregnancy from this.

So my pregnancy, I loved being pregnant even with the high blood pressure scares, the terrible reflux (I already have awful re-flux from chemo but this made it much much worse if possible lol), the swelling and the pain in all my scars and my side from the breast cancer etc. .. but it was all worth it, even the last month where it was hard to sleep and do anything lol…….

So our wonderful team booked us in for a C section on the 26th and as that day rolled around we felt nervous but also surreal that it was real and happening.. I felt sad that he was not going to be safe and warm in my belly but sooo excited to meet him as well.. everything went well, Tracy looked after Shane wonderfully and me prior to delivery and then Liam and she was the first one other than the gorgeous Sarah that delivered him to hold him… and check him out.. it was a weird feeling not being able to feel or move my lower half, gosh I’ve always had empathy for invalids but I can sort of relate to it for a short time anyway.

We all got to cuddle him and have skin to skin time in recovery and then in our room and then Marleen (Shane’s dads partner) and Shane’s Mum came to the hospital and got to meet him as well. ¬†As I didn’t know if I would be able to breast feed, the midwives suggested we do a “line feed” for him.. basically using a syringe and a line and feeding him through the tube/line on my nipple.. it worked well and Shane and I managed to prepare and to it on our own and I even did it on my own own lol several times.. it was nice to know that I had that considering everything.. that was done on the breast that didn’t have the cancer in it but had a reduction as it was dare I say cheaper to have it reduced and get a smaller implant than get a larger implant in the cancerous breast.. our government doesn’t consider breast reconstruction after breast cancer necessary, apparently it’s elective.. but that’s another story and passion of mine to change xox

The hospital was great, Liam had some jaundice and had treatment, the worst part of it was the little eye mask he had to wear and he hated it.. but it was necessary.. we went home on the Monday night, Shane had to work that day.. and as we packed up and got into the car with Liam loaded up we had to stop and take a breath.. oh my we both said, he’s real and he’s hear and oh they are letting us out of here to look after him.. yikes.. lol.. but it was fine…

We went back a few days later for a check up and I asked them how to check to see if I had any breast milk, we hand expressed and as some milk came out we all cried for joy… so I am able to do a mix of bottle and breastfeeding to him.. which is great as I get that contact with closeness with him but Shane also gets to bottle feed him and have that closeness as well… we get the best of both worlds.. I’m so pleased as he would have gotten the colostrom as he was on my breast quite a bit with the line feeding and he’s getting nutrients from both options.. win win I say ūüôā xox

And yes I am exhausted, tired, sleep deprived and as I wander up the hallway at all hours of the night in my routine, put my pillows up, get the bib, get my feeding pillow, go the kitchen, prepare and heat up the bottle.. all I can say is oh wow he’s here.. ¬†Some nights I manage to unpack the dishwasher, sterilise his bottles and fill them with kettle/boiled water.. some nights, I post and comment on Egg Donor Angels Facebook groups and some nights I fall asleep holding the bottle feeding him.. and just cuddling him..

I’m trying to stay on top of Egg Donor Angels but some days are just filled with Liam and stuff.. though we have been out and about quite a bit, we got to catch up with one of my gorgeous donors from my site in the city, so Liam had his first train ride, we’ve been shopping and to lunch and dinner with friends, we’ve had lots of visitors including my self adopted Dad, friends and another wonderful donor from here as well to name a few.. we’ve been on a car club run in the XY and I’ve started walking with him and Scoutie the dog.. oh and I’ve joined the local new parents group.. and yep already mentioned Egg Donor Angels lol…

So now I’m going to put up lots of photos as I know you all want to see them and I hope to do more posts and especially on our next stage of our journey, the next little one.. yayyyy we can’t wait.. as nervous as we are.. and know we will be holding our breath again for the whole pregnancy.. it’s all worth it..

And maybe I’ll write a book about this whole journey and for awareness.. I’m thinking the title along the lines of “holding our breath waiting for our miracle egg donor baby” or something similar but definitely with “holding our breath”.. as the whole pregnancy, we just couldn’t get too excited as we knew we had to get to the end and see him before we could..

Oh and the name.. well we hadn’t really decided on any, it only took us 3 weeks to finally decide lol.. I think we just couldn’t make that decicsion till we met him and till we knew he was here safe and sound.. and then we were looking at an African name that meant “long awaited” but it wasn’t correct.. and then any African names we looked at were too hard to pronounce for us Aussies.. so we both liked Liam and James so that was it.. though if it’s a boy for the next one, and I keep saying it is, I actually already have a name, not one that we had for Liam, one I have chosen after he was named.. it’s a name from a TV series from my childhood and I always loved it.. just only thought of it recently.. if it’s a girl the next one well.. I had some names picked out years ago but sadly I’ve forgotten them.. but I’m sure 3 weeks after he/she is born we’ll decide lol again..

Thanks for all your support, love and just everything, to those still on the journey let me know what we can do to help you achieve this, to those that have helped us, thank you so much, we love you all xoxox

Dianne, Shane, Liam, Scout the dog, Sooty the Cat and the chickens xoxox

P1080097 DiJohnston 12 Week scan P1090640  1000026_10153988205200439_6876232834275836390_n 10390011_10153988205250439_5943993377731606619_n 10450733_10153988717185439_7671569568361952996_n 12742817_10153988717115439_3156649835865778701_nShane cutting Liams umbilical cord 260316 Liam getting ready to leave hospital birth 290216 Liam and Daddy asleep 010316 (5) smallerLiam with Nan 080316 (1)Liam with Shane and Nan 080316 (5) 12791129_10153988205075439_790118422995894123_n
Mummy & Daddy leaving hospital with Liam 290216 (3)

 

Family photo Liam b&w 240316 to use smallerFamily Photo Liam stone room 240316 (9) to use smallerP1090195Scan 121015 baby boo cropped
12419139_948069125291035_557585815668142147_o 12916787_948069881957626_6179199695371595050_o Liams first trip into city to meet Kasey 050416 (4)12961229_948069721957642_799306810022201735_o 12967482_948069168624364_5400541969713071139_o

Liam tonka trucks 240316 (5) to use smaller

Liam tonka trucks 240316 (2) to use smaller

Gosh it’s been toooo long since I’ve updated :( but here goes, it’s going to be a longish one :) xox

So let’s start with the good news, we are pregnant ūüôā xox yayyyyy 19 weeks heading into our 20th week… UPDATE … ok so I started this almost 10 weeks ago and now we are 30 weeks..

Gosh it was another crazy year again… after last year our IVF clinic killing our 11 embryo’s, transferring our one remaining one in Melbourne to get to 6 weeks and no heartbeat or fetal pole ūüôĀ and then our wonderful friend offering to be our donor but sadly she was unable to give us any mature or viable eggs, which was just heartbreaking for all of us… we knew we still wanted this dream xox

And during all of this my Mum’s health continued to decline rapidly with her dementia, lung cancer and other health issues and sadly we lost her on the 5th March 2015. ¬†We were going down to¬†Melbourne as much as we could to see her knowing that each trip might be the last time we see her.. it was so hard to say goodbye each time. ¬†I didn’t have the heart¬†we weren’t still pregnant from the one we lost at 6-7 weeks late 2014. ¬†The wonderful thing was we were down in Melbourne visiting her again and I feel she waited for us to say goodbye.. whilst it’s devastating and heartbreaking to lose her, she was a skeleton of her former self, it was no life for this feisty, strong dominant woman who had fought many battles and won valiantly and so her passing was peaceful and a time to know that she was at rest xox

It hasn’t been an easy time with other “family issues”, every family has that one person that causes trouble and oh yeah I mean trouble since childhood and it’s only escalated so that’s been rather stressful to deal with especially when you need to sort out your Mum’s stuff and you can’t just make that decision to not have to communicate with someone as sadly you have to, to close the door ūüôĀ

So after more failed egg donor cycles, we started to seriously look at overseas egg donation and agencies…. if you had asked me a year or more ago would I have considered this, it would have probably been a no.. of course at that time we thought we had 11 little wonderful snow babies thanks to my gorgeous cousin whom means the world to me now and always and I only wish that we had been successful with her help ūüôĀ xox

I had met a few recipients through my website and Facebook page/groups that were going overseas or were considering it and it opened up my eyes to another option

So after my last post where sadly we had no success with our friends eggs I started to read more about going overseas for an Egg Donor Angel. ¬†Quite a few on my Facebook groups had been successful and when I looked into it, I realised that it wasn’t that scary or that expensive compared to doing it in Australia. ¬†Also the main difference was that you could find and choose an Egg Donor Angel quickly. ¬†This was really important to us as with all of our setbacks, time was ticking and we just wanted to make it happen.

I looked at South Africa as it was getting the most positive reviews and successes… and I looked at Greece as well…. ¬†I started looking at dates that Shane had available to travel and from that chose egg donors that were also available for those dates.. ¬†within days we had found a potential Egg Donor Angel and were corresponding with the agency and the IVF clinic as well as organising a skype link up with a clinic in Greece as well.. I believe in doing your due diligence and looking at all options, without doing your head in, lol..

Whilst we really liked the Dr and clinic in Greece, our instinct was to go to South Africa. ¬†We didn’t choose it on a holiday destination but did say it’s somewhere that we would not necessarily normally consider but more importantly we were able to approach egg donor agencies and choose our own donor and again their success rates were really good. ¬†With Greece we were told that the clinic and the Dr would choose our egg donor for us, not a control freak lol but I wanted to choose and I’m so glad we did.

After short listing a few donors, one just stood out to us, we only had one image of her as a child – donors in South Africa are anonymous and can only supply baby/childhood photos. ¬†Her photo reminded me of myself and in her full profile there were just so many things that she wrote/answered that we connected with and showed her true nature, maturity, strength, selflessness and love. ¬†She wasn’t what they call a “proven” donor but we decided to take the risk, she was in her early 20’s so her eggs should be good and that was the advice I received from several embryologists, choose someone young as hard as that is to be picky.

So we went full steam ahead, gave the clinic all the tests/information they needed, looked into flights/accommodation, paid our deposit and waited to hear that she was all ready to go. ¬†We got the go ahead about 3 weeks out and booked our flights/accommodation and started to get eggcited and scared/nervous at the same time.. of course you think of all the “what if’s” it’s a long way to go if it doesn’t work but considering her age we felt quite confident about it all.

So off we went in June 2015 to South Africa, you know I’m pretty ok with doing things outside my comfort zone but I have to say I was so proud of Shane, this was his first trip overseas ever and to somewhere that many think is a dangerous place. ¬†He took it all in his stride and trusted me and everyone else, he’s such an amazing person and I’m so glad to have him by my side. ¬†Of course we also decided just before we left to set our wedding date, August 29th and that we would have it in our garden but would organise and plan it when we got home, again were we crazy lol..

We got to Cape Town and explored our first day and the next day went to the IVF clinic; Cape Fertility to meet our Dr and discuss the progress. ¬†Dr Matabese was just gorgeous and of course we chatted heaps about egg donation :). ¬†We found out our egg donor had not responded well to the hormones initially and the gorgeous girl cried when the Dr told her it wasn’t looking great. They adjusted her meds and a few days later the ultrasound showed more promise to which our “little helper” beamed, just this made us know her heart was actually in it xox

We got my medications and had more chats with the lovely nurse Jenny and other staff about egg donation, lol, I can’t help myself ūüėČ and then spent the next week sightseeing and enjoying Cape Town. ¬†It’s a beautiful place and we felt safe the whole time we were there. ¬†We did stay in a safer part of the city but truly we drove around and didn’t feel scared at all.. well except for some of the drivers lol. ¬†The people are lovely and friendly and the sad part was the “inequality” and the poor. ¬†Of course I got really sick with the flu and went on antibiotics and did acupuncture to try and get me well for the transfer. ¬†But we managed to do some amazing things like a safari and overnight stay at Inverdorn which was amazing and I can’t wait to go back one day. ¬†The landscape is amazing, the food awesome and the people just delightful, I highly recommend going there to anyone. ¬†We also did a Meerkat experience, this I will never forget, we got to cuddle Sebastian and I could and would have taken him home if possible.

Egg collection was delayed by a few days in the middle of our sightseeing but¬†we got 14 eggs and waited to see how many fertlised and then survived to the 5 day blastocyst stage for transfer. ¬†Our transfer was delayed as well due to the donor not responding as well and if you are considering doing an overseas cycle, allow a few extra days after your proposed embyro transfer for these kind of delays.. luckily we had so our transfer was the day before we were due to fly out where originally we had about 2-3 days to relax after the transfer. ¬†On the day of transfer we sadly ended up with only one good embryo and 3 other ho hum ones. ¬†We had the goodie transferred and the best one of the 3 ho hum ones transferred and prayed it would work. ¬†The gorgeous Kimenthra from Egg Donation South Africa EDSA did our transfer and I was so glad we got to meet her and chat. ¬†We also got to meet the lovely Kinny from EDSA as well… ¬†As a back up plan we decided that Shane would leave a sperm sample in the freezer as well in case we needed to go back, this would enable us to do another egg donor cycle without him/us there and I could always go over on my own to do a transfer.

I can highly recommend the whole process and the IVF clinic and the donor agency there, it was easy, seamless and the communication was fantastic in fact I would say that we knew more about our donor and her history than we find out here (for the most part), the clinics instructions and communications were clear and easy to follow and in fact again I found they guided me more than I had found here in Australia.

And we loved Cape Town and would definitely go back and recommend it… some highlights were Baked Bistro near Camps Bay, awesome food, coffee and staff.. if you are there, please don’t miss out on this place, it’s a local haunt and not on the main strip but oh my its so worth it. ¬†Also Hussar Grill again awesome food, service and at a great price.. we ended up eating here and at Baked most days as it was just too good.

We did a stopover in Singapore for 5 days and had a great time looking around and swimming and relaxing.. silly me did a pregnancy test too early on our last day there and it was negative, it broke my heart but then I realised that it was a wee bit too early..  so I waited till about 3-4 days after we got home around day 12 or so and oh yeah it was a faint positive.  Of course I was ecstatic especially since we only ended up with one good embie, I was really sick with the flu and of course we had major problems with our Singapore flight going home (was delayed for almost 24 hours, we had to wait around in the airport lounge then on the plane) and of course they ran out of food as it was spoiled due to the delay and so on and so on.. we were exhausted when we finally got home..

Now we know that whilst a positive pregnancy test is great, there’s still a few hurdles.. but my HCG levels were great, they rose and continued to do so and by the time we got to 12 weeks everything was looking good so we got to officially announce it at our wedding on the 29th August..yayyy that was amazing. ¬†We had an amazing wedding and got to share it with so many we love and cherish and to share this news made it even better. ¬†We did our 12 week scan a few days after our wedding and he was looking great.. and we did our DS blood test as well and then went off to Hawaii for our honeymoon.. where we relaxed and swam and saw the sights.. we got to swim with the dolphins, drive a Ford Mustang around the island and do the Pearl Harbour tour.

All during this that one family member was still giving us grief but I have to say most of Mum’s stuff has now been sorted and sadly that door will now be closed.

So upon getting home we found out that we were having a little boy, yayyy and so we started to really get excited…. once we got to about 25 weeks we then got super excited as this was what we felt was our “safe” time.. of course things can still happen..

We have an amazing team at the University of Sydney High Risk pregnancy unit at Nepean, we love them! ¬†I’ve had no real complications, yay, just some high blood pressure but most likely due to the family member and its now good..

We have purchased or have most things we need for him now and just need to set up the nursery properly so we can be ready just in case he comes a bit early. ¬†He’s kicking and punching and rolling a lot and it’s an amazing feeling even though it’s a wee bit uncomfortable when he’s bouncing on my bladder lol.. .my belly is growing of course and I feel great, of course still get really really tired side effect of my BC treatment/chemo and now pregnancy but can’t complain…

And the great news is if all goes well, we have decided to try for a sibling.. our gorgeous donor was doing a cycle for another recipient in October last year but for whatever reason they pulled out and the clinic and agency offered the cycle to us, we were a bit concerned about the low success from the last one but they assured us they had adjusted her meds and it was looking great. ¬†So we did it and we now have one excellent embie, two really good embies and two not sure’s on ice waiting for us to hopefully go back end of this year, yayyy.

We are truly happy with one but when we thought about him and our families and us being a bit older we want him to have a sibling so they can be there for each other when sadly we aren’t. ¬†Will keep you updated on that one.

So here he is at 12 weeks…¬†
12 week scan

 

 

 

 

 

and here he is at 18 weeks, so cute xox

Scan 121015 baby boo cropped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s me around 20 weeks and Shane

P1090195

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we are Christmas Day at 28 weeks with Shane and his 96 year old Nan who is just gorgeous and of course Scout one of our fur babies xox

P1090637

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last scan he got shy and wouldn’t let us take his picture, ¬†his feet, legs and arms were all in front of ¬†his face..

But I have a scan this Thursday and hopefully will get some good photos that I will post on here.  And of course there will be more once he is born lol.

Thanks again for reading, I will try and post more often, it was just such a crazy year with so much going on and I’ve only told some of it.

If you are looking for your Egg Donor Angel but want to chat about it or chat about overseas egg donors, I’m more than happy to chat, just email me diannej@eggdonorangels.com.au

and I have quite a few Facebook groups for support including one for overseas egg donation cycles, one for donors only, one for recipients, one for USA, one for UK and one for parents of donor conceived children… ¬†they are all listed on my website.

Here’s to a fabulous 2016 and I hope that your dreams will come true for you too and please let me know if I can help you make them come true xox

Lots of love from me (Dianne), Shane, Bubs and all our furry kids xoxox

 

 

Our hearts are broken… this journey is soooo hard :'(

Soooo you are asking, what happened…

Well we got the call, 2 of our snow babies survived, yayyyyyyyyy but as you can tell by the title of this post, it’s not all good news :'(

I was booked in for the transfer on Easter Monday and as I drove in there, I expected a call to say they hadn’t survived the night.. but I got there and it was all good.. they transferred a 6 cell and a 5 cell embryo..

I came home and rested up and took my hormones and hoped and prayed for the best outcome…

I waited and waited till I thought it was long enough to take our first POAS test but of course the ones the IVF clinic gave me were dodgy.. one didn’t show anything and the other one did weird things… but showed negative to begin with but hours later a positive but as we all know you don’t read them hours later… sigh… so then I purchased another pack and tried again a few days later, sadly negative..¬† that’s when our hearts broke again.. these tests are very accurate and to be honest whilst originally I felt some slight pregnancy signs other than the hormone ones, they were only slight and for a day or so.. I did another test a few more days later just to make sure but again negative..

We are just devastated at this, even though our Fertility specialist assured us to do another cycle with our donor, we were nervous and reluctant to go another time knowing that it was more time again.. sigh..

We just can’t wait anymore, we need to put something into place so we have decided to go overseas for our next donor cycle.¬† We know there are many wonderful donors here in Australia that would help but its the time and the potential heartache involved and the risk that they may not give us any viable embyro’s.¬† We just can’t take the time now to go through the donor process here and with the risk of the donor pulling out, which is ok, but it’s always a risk for various reasons.. or to do a cycle to find like this last one that there are no viable or good embryo’s.¬† If we go overseas the donors are ready to go and we can choose donors based on age and having already donated before…

With my Mum’s passing, dealing with the issues surrounding that and family and of course the grief :'(, our loss and just the ongoing post cancer issues, this is just breaking our hearts..

But we are strong and as we still feel we haven’t had a real chance at this, we are going to give it one last hurrah..

Wish us luck, say prayers for us, cross everything and just send us lots of love, we truly need it..

I will keep you updated on what we are doing and what happens, no matter what..

love from us xoxox

Sigh…..where has the last few years gone… now it’s April 2015

Gosh where has the past 3 years gone!!¬† Well I got diagnosed in February 2012 with stage 3 invasive and high grade DCIS¬†breast cancer as well as pagets disease (it had travelled to my nipple) and it was in my lymph nodes as well, my tumour was over 10cm, yep that’s right, it was HUGE!! .. my mastectomy was expedited and on the 1st March 2012 they removed my right breast entirely and surrounding tissue and my lymph nodes.. they started me on¬†my first chemo only a few weeks later as they didn’t want to wait any longer.. my first chemo destroyed my veins ūüôĀ

Then I had to get fluid removed from the wound site and whilst there they realised I had a temperature and wasn’t well, so they admitted me to emergency straight away… With FEC90 you can’t get any infections and your temperature must not go above 38 or you have to go to hospital immediately.. it’s because the chemo kills your cells and your immunity and if you get sick, you could die.. So there I sat in Westmead Public Emergency for hours and hours¬†thinking I would be¬†given some antibiotics and sent home but¬†I was then told I was going to be there for a few days.. so¬†I¬†waited to be admitted to a ward.. whilst poor Shane raced home, grabbed me jim jams, books, toiletries and¬†the bear he got me whilst in hospital for my mastectomy.. poor thing was on a 6am start the next morning and here he was driving¬†back to the Blue Mountains and then back to Westmead and then back home to sleep and go to work..¬†¬†I spent the night and next day in emergency waiting for a bed in a ward..¬†with my door being closed as I was highly susceptible but then being left open and of course me going into the toilet all were using from emergency.. no chance of catching anything there lol.. and all with my iv drip attached.. I finally got wheeled to a ward where they spent the next week pumping me full of antibiotics and fluids, where I lost most of my hair, where they had so much trouble finding a vein that they used my feet and anywhere they could to get blood every day to test my counts.. and they recommended I get a port as well..¬† and so for the week before Easter 2012 I sat in hospital in a shared ward with low white blood cell count and infections thinking I would be better off at home… I met some lovely people but sadly¬†the reality of breast cancer really hit home when the lady across from me had been diagnosed with mets in the liver, her treatment¬†had been similar to¬†what mine was going to be and now she was there as she wasn’t feeling well..¬†she was¬†surrounded by family and I heard her say to¬†them I don’t want to do chemo again.. sigh…at that time I didn’t get why she felt that way..¬†then the nurse told the family that the palliative Dr would be in to chat to them soon, now even then I knew that word and I knew it’s¬†wasn’t good.. so the rest of us sat there while the Dr told her and her family that she had weeks to live.. I lay in my bed sobbing for¬†her, her family, friends and¬†for their impending loss.. when she was leaving I gave her a hug and told her to¬†make the most of the¬†time she had left…. I was shattered for them.. and¬†of course¬†I felt fear, that could be me.. what if…¬†¬†During my stay my hair fell out in clumps, it became a joke with the nurses where they would point out clumps of my hair .. I finally got Shane to borrow some scissors off them so he could cut my hair short till we could get home and shave it.. thank goodness I had gotten him to bring one of my new chemo/cancer hats in so I could wear it… With much excitement they finally released me when my white blood cell count started to rise enough for me to go home.. yayyyyyy I remember walking out of there, the sun was shining and I didn’t care who saw me in my jim jams and bunny slippers.. I was going home and that was the best thing in the world.. that night we shaved my head, I cried not as much as I thought I would and not for my hair but for the symbolism of it..

The next task was to get my port in.. yep I hear you ask what’s a port.. well it’s a device they insert under your skin in your chest that is attached to your main artery and it enables them to IV the chemo and drugs into you without having to find a vein.. which was extremely difficult with me… they can also get blood out of them most of the time…. this was one of the best decisions I made whilst I have an obvious scar there now from it, it made my life and the nurses life so much easier… and oh well what’s another scar to add to the others ūüôā

Then it was back to chemo, more chemo, more chemo and more chemo… this first chemo I was doing was called¬†FEC90, OMG that was just awful, it’s the combination of 3 different chemicals and all of them are nasty, they kill your cells but the cancer cells as well…. each one made me very sick.. I vomited, was nauseous, could hardly move for almost the 3 weeks between each one, lost my hair and had trouble with anything and everything… but I did the 4 of them and then started straight away on the next lot of chemo as they couldn’t get me into the radiation therapy..

Sigh, Taxol, well that was fun as well, 12 of these and weekly… every Tuesday Shane and I would drive into Norwest and sit with the gorgeous team at Specialist Services…. the first couple went ok but I was still reeling from FEC90 and then the Taxol started to have it’s own effects… my toe nails and finger nails started to go funny.. I lost most of my big toe nails, I got numbness and tingling in my fingers and toes, my legs and ankles doubled in size at least and I was sooo exhausted I could hardly walk anywhere…¬† I also started Herceptin as my breast cancer was HER2 positive, up until a few years prior this drug was not available on the free list but I was lucky.. I would have paid the $40k plus if we had to, it increases your chances of survival significantly and even though we already had almost $15k in out of pocket medical expenses and me not working or earning an income,¬†we would have found the money…

I then went on to have over 30 hits of radiation and got fried like a lobster but much much worse.. the pain was pretty bad and the burns continued for weeks after I finished my treatment… I could hardly move, think about really really bad sunburn and times it by 100…

Then early 2013 I had my reconstruction… during my mastectomy, my surgeon inserted an expander and then over the next few months, my reconstruction surgeon filled this with saline to stretch the skin back out and create an area to insert the implant into.. I couldn’t afford the larger size implant so I opted for a C cup and my reconstruction surgeon would do a reduction on the other side… this was cheaper, I know “what the”.. and yes any woman going through breast cancer has to pay significant out of pockets for breast reconstruction surgery as medicare don’t cover it.. you can go public but the waiting list is around 2 years ūüôĀ

The surgery went well and I was starting to feel like what we call “the new normal”.. and was looking forward to getting the all clear and start using our little snow babies that were waiting patiently for us after my cousin had done another egg donor cycle for us and we had 11 embryo’s in the freezer.. but in May 2013 it all went wrong, I felt some dampness in my top.. of course I don’t feel too much on that side but did feel something to see that I had fluid leaking from my right foob.. yep that’s what we call them… I texted my breast cancer nurse and she said to monitor it and if I got a temperature to let her know.. it continued to leak and I was truly concerned, no one else was but I was terrified beyond words… I didn’t feel great by the Sunday night and during the night declined rapidly and by Monday morning was so sick with temperatures and infections I was rushed to my surgeon at the hospital and admitted immediately…. for days I was soooooo sick I couldn’t keep food down, the pain was excruciating, I was on the strongest of antibiotics and I think I cried a lot…¬† by the 3rd day after being up since 4am in extreme pain and vomiting up so much bile my Dr decided to do an emergency surgery and remove the foob, the infecitons¬†and see what was going on… I started to get better as such but now was foobless…..

Then about 3 weeks later, I got Shane to check my wounds as they didn’t feel right and we found that they had opened up in several places… argghhhh… we rang our nurse and she rang the surgeon and he said just keep an eye on it.. finally days later we were back to see them all again… they called them radiation ulcers where the tissue and skin were sooo damaged they opened up and were having trouble healing.. so after weeks of daily wound dressings and packing them with no change, my surgeon sent me to Prince of Wales Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy x 5 days a week.. so I travelled into town on the 8am train, caught a bus, did my hyperbaric, had my wounds dressed and came home, that took the whole day and by the end of it I was exhausted.. so 12 weeks of this with a few days off one week to go down to Melbourne and see my Mum…¬† No change, what the… so they did a CT scan to find I had a rare condition called Osteoradionecrosis… again what the.. my tissue, skin, part of my rib bones and surrounding areas had died from the infections, temperatures and radiation…¬† My surgeon and radiation oncologist were stumped as to why I had it, it’s so rare these days for breast cancer.. sadly throat cancer patients can get it as the radiation is required around their jaw and often they get it in their jaw etc.¬† Anywho so I needed more surgery… a “lat dorsi” now many women do this surgery for reconstruction, mine was for the osteoradionecrosis as well as I figure we may as well re-do the reconstruction as well.. so the surgery was done, they took a large flap of skin, lat dorsi muscle and tissue from my back and put it on my front.. so yep I’m back to front…

Then next surgery was to insert the expander and then they weekly inserted saline to stretch the skin out again… and let me tell you that’s not comfortable as well.. it makes all that areas soooooo tight and uncomfortable and painful… but no pain no gain right…¬† And then the surgery to insert the implant early 2014…¬† Gosh we must be getting closer to the end of this and getting to use our snow babies..surely..¬† And this is only a small part of what went on.. I haven’t even gone into the pain and all the other issues… surely this is enough…

So I heal, I get the all clear from my surgeon, I see my oncologist, I get full body PET scans done – these are not much fun either.. and then I get yayyyy the all clear, I can use my snow babies..

So we meet with our Fertility Specialist and we start the cycle… and then we get the call from the scientist.. that our embyro’s have not survived the thaw.. I kept saying to her, but we have 11 and she had to tell me several times that they were all dead.. as I write this tears are flowing as this was just heartbreaking and devastating.. these little snow babies were a huge part of what kept me going through all the treatment…. how can you lose that many embryo’s?? it’s just not possible and it’s not normal.. in between tears I rang the IVF clinic in Melbourne where we had one little snow baby left on ice from the first cycle my cousin did.. we managed to make it happen and I flew down that weekend to do the transfer on the Tuesday… I got to see my Mum as well which was lovely and caught up with my dear and wonderful friends… ok deep breaths, embryo survived the thaw, transfer done and now the 2ww… we get a positive pregnancy result yayyyyyy and my HCG levels are good and continue to rise.. ok tick, tick, tick.. those hurdles crossed.. then the 7 week scan and our world falls apart, there’s no heartbeat and no fetal pole.. the embryo has not grown into a baby, it most likely had chromosomal problems :'( words just can’t describe our loss… we then had to wait 13 days and do another scan to confirm that the baby didn’t have a heartbeat still and was not viable.. this was just cruel.. finally we had that confirmation and organized a d&c…¬† We had planned to go to Melbourne to see my dying Mum so we did the d&c a few days before driving down there.. I cried the whole way down.. and when we stopped at Jugiong for lunch, this mum with her hubby and family were coming in the door, the little girl was taking her time and the mother said “Mabel” move and she didn’t, I smiled at her and said it’s ok.. the mother then said to me “do you want her” oh my…. she didn’t mean it but it broke my heart and I cried even more if that’s possible.. I wanted to go in and ask her to be our new egg donor.. I almost did…

So we spent time with my Mum and I spent the next¬†3 to 4 weeks after the d&c in pain and discomfort and grieving for our losses… we weren’t ready to give up yet on our dream.. we hadn’t had a chance at all.. so we started looking again for a new egg donor…. you think running this website, I would find one easily but everyone assumes that and therefore they don’t offer.. and I guess I don’t put it out there enough as well as I don’t want to take a donor away from someone else, sigh….¬† I started our search, I posted on Facebook, I put an ad up on pay it forwards on Facebook, I placed my own ad on here, and another egg donor website even had the audacity to text me and ask me if I really needed a donor or was just doing it for publicity, how could they ask me that… I have always shown such integrity and honesty and to even think that about me was just disgusting….

Then our friend offered and we decided to take her up on it.. she’s amazing for an extremely busy person, she just made all the appointments happen and in January 2015 we were starting a cycle with her.. but sadly we got 6 eggs but none of them were mature ūüôĀ we all cried… our friend offered to go as many times as we needed… we spoke to the FS and he assured us it was highly unusual and that he was sure if we went again we could do better… we were considering going overseas at the time but after consulting with the FS he convinced us to try one more time..¬† so we had to wait for a period in between and we went again.. we got 12 eggs but again most of them were immature and/or didn’t fertilise… and we ended up with 2 very poor day 1 embyro’s in the freezer that the scientist said won’t probably survive the thaw…

So I am ready, prepped for the phone call that lets me know if they survived, surely Easter Sunday will be our good luck charm… and you know I created this website one Easter many years ago… so fingers and toes crossed that I don’t get a call tomorrow morning, the scientist said she won’t call me if they are ok… but I’m not holding out much hope for them.. .and then of course as anyone knows having gone through IVF, there’s the will they survive till transfer, will they implant, will I get a positive pregnancy test, will my hcg levels be good, will my hcg levels increase enough, will there be a heartbeat at the 7 week scan, will I miscarry… sigh…¬† and will I get to the 12 week scan… and then the next scan and the next one … it’s not just yippee I’m pregnant, it’s all the hurdles to get through before that little baby is in our arms…

Well it’s past my bedtime and I’ve already written too much, sorry ūüôā so good night, happy Easter and I will keep you updated..

love from us Dianne and Shane xoxox

D&C all done, yayyyyy

Great news, my d&c has been done, my uterus is clear of all those nasty chemo drugs…. now need to see my reconstruction surgeon on Monday as I am still in lots of pain from the last surgery and I shouldn’t be, hopefully it’s just my body overwhelmed by all the breast cancer surgeries and treatments… ūüôĀ

We are still working towards a late September embie/snow baby transfer…. now I’m getting excited, but a bit nervous as most of us know that it’s not an absolute…
Off to see my wonderful TCM & acupuncturist Kathryn Taylor tomorrow, have been seeing her for years and she’s fabulous, gosh she knows just about everything about infertility. She’s been away for a while so I’ve been seeing her locum but it will be fabulous to catch up with her tomorrow…

Would love to hear how you are going with your journey xoxox

So it’s been a while……sorry :(

Gosh I’m sorry it’s been a while since I have written anything, I hoped to do it regularly but a wee thing called breast cancer just got in my way.. plus all the usual day to day stuff ūüôā I hope to get back into it more soon…

Thank you to everyone for all your support and patience, I have tried where possible to approve ads really quickly and reply really quickly but there have been days where I have just been too sick to do it ūüôĀ and it’s also been very difficult to do it from a hospital bed.

It’s been a crazy 2¬†1/2 years, since my diagnosis, I have had a mastectomy, FEC90 chemo x 4 sessions every 3 weeks and that was crap (nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, mouth ulcers, lack of appetite, hair loss and much much more), I was admitted for a week plus¬†to hospital for low white blood cell count and infections after this first chemo, then I had to have a port put in as my veins collapsed in my arm and they couldn’t get a vein for the chemo, I then had another chemo taxol weekly for 12 weeks and that too was crap ūüôā (absolute exhaustion to the point I couldn’t walk or move, I lost my toe nails and my finger nails went extremely brittle, I lost feeling in my toes and fingers and it’s still as bad today¬†which¬†potentially no fix in site..¬†and again much much more), then I did radiation every weekday for over 4 weeks and that gave me a lovely tan, well actually really really bad sunburn with blisters… I also started a therapy called Herceptin through the port for a year as I was HER positive, I then had my reconstruction and 5 weeks later was rushed to hospital with massive infections and pain and subsequently had to have the implant removed.. then about 4 weeks later the wounds opened up and I had two lovely holes in my side where I could see inside myself :)… so my specialist got me to have them dressed daily for weeks, then sent me to Prince of Wales hospital daily for hyperbaric oxygen treatment to see if that would heal them, that was fun from Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains on the morning train to Central railway station then by bus to Randwick and back home again in the afternoon… when that wasn’t working after 12 weeks, they did a CT scan to find that I had Osteoradionecrosis, a rare condition where the radiation and infections had caused the tissue and skin and some of my ribs to die… so they I had to have a lat dorsi where they took skin, muscle and tissue from my lower back and pulled it through to my front to give that area circulation and skin to heal…. but wait there’s more ūüôā so then once that was healed I had the expander put in, another surgery, and then they inflated it slowly to stretch the skin out and then finally about 7 weeks ago I had the implant put in… so we are on the home stretch, yay!!

Sorry a boring lot of detail and I am sure I have forgotten lots of extra treatment and stuff…. but that’s the quick snapshot ūüôā of course there were weekly/daily specialist appointments, lots of pain and exhaustion and so much more…

So the great news for me is that my egg donor angel did another cycle whilst I was still going through treatment and we have 11 snow babies on ice waiting for us.  I have just had full scans and yes am cancer free, yayyyyy, we are full steam ahead on doing a cycle and a transfer.

This Tuesday I have a d+c to clear my uterus of all those nasty chemo drugs and other chemicals… then my body will heal whilst we go away to Melbourne to visit family and once we return we will do our first transfer, sometime around the end of September.

It’s been a long, exhausting and emotional journey for us and I hope that our dreams will now become reality and this Christmas I can celebrate knowing that the next one, we will have our own family.

So what about you?? I have had lots of wonderful news whilst going through all of this of babies being born through couples meeting their egg donor angels through here and lots of couples and egg donor angels currently going through the process.¬† Some sad news where the cycles haven’t worked or the couples have decided to not continue looking ūüôĀ

I am soooooo very excited, every week this site is growing and more and more wonderful egg donor angels are placing ads or contacting couples offering to help, when I started there were so many of us looking and not many angels…. but now we are getting the word out there about egg donation, infertility we are getting many more successes., thank you to everyone for this and please keep spreading the word xox

I was in Springwood at my local shops the other day and typical me, found any opportunity to talk about egg donation and Egg Donor Angels and infertility, that I was chatting to a shop assistant and she said if she had know years ago after having her children, she would have donated her eggs…

But the most important message I had for her was to be aware of her daughters fertility and as they get into their thirties to get themselves checked out and if they aren’t ready yet or haven’t found the right one yet, freeze their eggs…

When we are young, we are told “don’t get pregnant”, “go on the pill”.

At school, we learn the basics of reproduction but no one teaches¬†you about infertility and its¬†conditions and how¬†age affects it and how our fertility starts to decline after 35…. I am not saying all young women should get pregnant or have babies earlier, everyone is different and each person needs to do this when they are ready… but I want every girl/woman to totally understand how it all works, the issues and even the simple thing of how ovulation works…

Well that’s it from me…I would love to hear how you are going..

xoxox

The Big C!

There’s no easy way to start this post, so here goes… 4 weeks ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now I have always said cancer scares me but just never thought it would be me. We had just¬†said goodbye to a friend on the 27th January to cancer, she lived with us for over 3 months while renovating her house next door and then within two days of moving into her dream home, she was diagnosed with cancer. It was in her bones, her lungs and her breast and they didn’t know which was the primary and which was the secondary and which one to treat.. sadly she fought it for a while but her body was riddled, goodbye Nellie, you are missed…

We spent the last four months of 2011 doing our donor egg cycle and two transfers where sadly we miscarried. At the same time I had a really bad flu and had a some symptoms that I put down to the IVF¬†drugs. I mentioned the scab on my nipple to my GP at the appointment I had with her re my flu and first miscarriage and she said to come back…. I went back in December about it and another issue and she looked at it, said “hhmmm, it’s probably the IVF¬†drugs” and dismissed it. In the meantime I had googled “scab on nipple” and nothing came up, discharge, leaking etc came up but not this one.. so I thought it must be the hormones and trusted my GP. About 6 weeks ago I felt a huge lump in my breast and immediately booked into my GP to get it checked out. She said let’s do¬†an ultrasound, I said what about a mammogram, she ummed¬†and erred and then did the request. On the day of the scans, I knew they had found something being a Friday I had to wait all weekend, and of course when my GP was calling me Monday morning for an appointment to discuss the scans/results I knew that it was bad news. She said it appears to be DCIS, which was a better one to have…. sadly when we got to meet with our cancer surgeon 10 days later it was worse than that. It was high grade¬†DCIS and invasive breast cancer and probably in my lymph nodes.

So here I am at 1am in the morning with only 9 hours before they operate and do a mastectomy on my right breast and remove all my lymph nodes. Sadly I say a fond farewell to a part of me that makes me I guess a woman but the learning I have is that it’s not me, what’s inside is me. I will start chemo in about 4 weeks for a few months or more where I will lose all my hair and probably grieve again, silly but it’s part of the process….. and then radiation most likely. So this speed hump is putting a pause on our dream of a family but it will not stop us from achieving that dream…

So I now have some work to do, hopefully get some sleep and then up at 6am to get ready for another journey in my life… will post again soon with an update…

Cherish your dreams and make them a reality… xox

Ok… Deeep Breaths

Woke up this morning with a brighter outlook after yesterday’s appointment.

We saw our IVF Dr and after this round of blood tests and ultrasound, he say’s there’s nothing that should stop us from having a successful pregnancy, yay!! Some minor immunity issues but when we do our next cycle, he will give me something to help that.

I still have to do a uterus biopsy, was meant to do it yesterday but stopped my progesterone pessaries last week as they came from a different compounding chemist and I had a reaction to them ūüôĀ

He said my donor has good ovarian reserve for her age, looks like she got my share for the family ūüôā

So it’s looking like sometime in March, my donor has a few commitments¬†over the next month or so and we need to get everything sorted at¬†the clinic¬†as well as my biopsy to cover all our bases.

Since the last miscarriage, I stopped talking about having children, it was just too hard and even if I did, it wasn’t “when we have children” or “our children/child” it was “if”. Last night I felt I could have the dream again, might take a few more times to get there but…..

Re this website, I am getting some great feedback thank you xo And thank you to those of you that have advertised and that have enquired about being an egg donor angel xo

As some of you know or have read, I used to charge a small fee to advertise on the site but I have stopped that as I only had a few people willing to pay and in turn I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on advertising for a donor for them. As much as I am passionate about this, I can’t afford this kind of money, sorry ūüôĀ
… so I dropped the charge on my site and now I just promote the site and the potential recipients where I can, the only cost to me is my time and that I am not earning money from my business when doing it, if that makes sense?!
In doing this, the potential organic egg donor angels to the site has reduced and the site is mainly attracting the ones actively searching for this.

I would love your feedback on the site and in particular costs, would you prefer it to be free or would you consider paying a fee to advertise on this site, where we can then pay for advertising for your search for your egg donor angel?

I personally in my own search for our egg donor angel paid for ads in many places. The one thing I wanted was a quick and immediate response and something that was quick and relatively easy. I know we all have busy lives and for some of us it’s harder to get online, scouring the internet and sites posting and responding to forums and conversations. While this approach is free and offers some fantastic support networks however it is also very time-consuming. Yes we are focused on realising our dream of having a family but sadly life must go on with or without this dream and importantly we need incomes to pay for the dream as well.

I would love your feedback on this, either comment on this here, or drop me a line at diannej@eggdonorangels.com.au

Here’s to 2012 being the year of realising the family dream for any of us on that journey xox

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Another Christmas without our own family to share it with… when does this heartache stop…

Sorry to start the post on a downer but I know many of you will know these emotions and feelings……

Sadly we had another miscarriage, this time we knew by the second blood test, my HCG levels dropped signficantly so I stopped the meds straight away. The great news is my donor is going again for us but it’s going to be a few months due to personal commitments and we have moved to another clinic. I will do a separate post on this later as finding and researching a clinic is really important and knowledge is powerful in this emotional process.

Since then I have done blood tests and further ultrasounds to help us with the miscarriages before we go again. I knew I had a condition called Adenomyosis but yesterdays ultrasound confirmed it which is not good as mine seems quite bad. Now I am dreading next weeks appointment with the Dr as I suspect he is going to say it’s not good news and our chances are slim or none of holding a baby…. fingers crossed that he has some ideas on how to manage or help it… unfortunately the condition is not fixable ūüôĀ Normally they recommend a hysterectomy!!

So another Christmas and we still don’t have our dream. How do I feel?? Unbelievably sad but then grateful for what I do have but then overwhelmed by the sadness… How do you turn the corner on this, is it acceptance of your fate and move on with your life, do I keep trying until there is no hope at all?? My TCM lady said to me recently it will happen for me as I am the most determined person she knows in regard to this, however now I am not so sure. Even when the Dr told me 6 years ago things were not good and even when we tried and tried and I came to terms with an egg donor, I was still determined to realise the dream… now I am not so sure it can be realised.

My fear is that while I am putting this in writing, many of you going through the same thing are going to worry that this will be your fate, please don’t xox. As many of you know this is part of the process and I am documenting this as its normal and we need to know that. Surprisingly I am quite a shy and private person and this post is especially hard as it’s not like me to admit some defeat, give in or let it get to me but I feel it’s important as if I am going through this, then many of you have, will go or are going through this and we need to support each other.

The hardest part is to pull myself out of it, normally I am really good at this, like any of us, you have a sad or emotional day and then you wake up the next day, smile and get on with it. This time it’s a bit harder, I bounce back for a day or week and then I have another “ho hum” day….. It may not help that I am on the hormones as the Dr is doing a uterus biopsy next week as part of his investigation into the miscarriages.

So what next for me.. well I need to pull myself out of this, I need to get to next weeks appointment and hear what he says and take it from there. Will keep you updated and please talk to me about this if you want to either through email or here on our Facebook page….

xox

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Here’s to a new cycle………

This week we start a new cycle, exciting but nerve-wracking as well! Thank goodness I am feeling much better, the nasty flu has gone yay…
I have been seeing my wonderful TCM and Accupuncturist¬†Kathryn Taylor since the miscarriage. Both of us are quietly confident that this one will be the one.. fingers, toes and just about everything crossed it is…
What truly amazes me again is just how many people have been through IVF. Every time I talk to someone about it, they have done IVF, know someone etc… How outstanding that the current Govt changed the rebates for IVF¬†almost 2 years ago. How is it possible that they can think its¬†not necessary and the Doctors and clinics are not reducing their fees, so the only ones that are hurting are the couples going through IVF. They have made it out of reach financially for lots of couples. They were also quite sneaky in changing the rebates for donors. If you use a donor, you only get a tiny rebate, prior to the changes your donor made the claim and got the full rebate same as the person doing an egg retrieval cycle. We paid almost $10,000 for our donor cycle and only got back $1,480, yep that’s right! If you do a cycle on your own, it’s approximately $7,500 and you get around¬†$3,000 to $4,000 back….. I even rang Medicare and questioned the description on the web site for that claim and she checked with the assessors and they confirmed that it was right. No reason as to why. Not sure why we are discriminated against for doing a donor cycle. However I do plan to write to the Health Care complaints Commission about it and put in a formal complaint about it.

There are so many unjust causes I wish I had money to fight for them including Child Support Agency and IVF recipients.

Anway off my soapbox now.. time to take the doggie for a walk, now it’s cooled down here…

Take care and baby dust to those of you that are dreaming the dream and thank you to those whom support us going through the journey.

xox

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