Jillian’s long two weeks ahead

Wow it’s here already. Today I start my injections for my first IVF cycle.

I’m not really sure how I am feeling – maybe anxious, nervous and even a bit pressured. Not pressured to go through with the cycle –  I would do it ten times if I could!  Pressured because I know I must succeed with this precious cycle. Without Medicare benefits this may well be my only chance.
Many women going through their first cycle are aware of the slim success rate and already start planning a second attempt. For me (and many of you following our blog) a second cycle would be what dreams are made of! Its like winning the lottery!

Unfortunately, we just can’t afford it as is.
In fact, when looking at the statistics, and my chance for success, I almost went straight from thinking about doing my own IVF cycle with my own genetic (but potentially not young enough) eggs, to the “safer financial idea” of a donor IVF cycle, where a younger woman would donate her eggs so we could have a family. I was justifying this idea in my head as “better value for money”.

What was I thinking?

How could I even start thinking that way? My desperation for a child was turning into a financial decision!!! It was only when my mother in law said to me “you don’t want to be left wondering ‘what if…’ ” and she is right. What if? What if my eggs work? I have to find out.
This should be the most exciting two weeks of my life. Many babies are created in a night a passion with those we love the most. But for us the process is far more complicated. For some of us the medication tends to make us somewhat “moody” and for others it’s a breeze. The stress causes arguments in our lives often with our partners who tread on egg shells (pun intended) as they support us over the two weeks it takes to do the stimulation to collect the eggs. Never-the-less, I know our love will withstand these pressures. We made it this far –  there’s no turning back!!!
I have my fingers crossed! Two weeks seems forever, but its going to be positive thinking all the way!!!
To all the amazing people following our blog and supporting our fight –  I thank you. Your support is wonderful.

Tiffany’s Story

Well low and behold I got pregnant the very first month I tried. I remember being totally shocked. All was going well until I reached 7 weeks and started to bleed. I remember going to the hospital, laying in the ultrasound clinic and hearing the words that would haunt me forever “There is no heartbeat.” I can still fell the emotional pain that I felt being wheeled to a ward past the maternity unit and seeing all the mothers with their newborns.

We were told to go home, wait a couple of months and try again. Well we tried and tried for 2 years and nothing happened. Eventually after clomid, injectables and iui we jumped on the IVF roundabout. Again I was shocked when I got pregnant the first time. On my birthday I found out that I was having twins. I thought that God was giving me back the baby I lost plus one.

When I was 21 weeks pregnant I went into spontaneous labour and my precious twins Jacob and David were stillborn. My heart was broken but I was even more determined to try again. After 3 more IVF cycles we got pregnant again. This time we made it to 23weeks and our daughter Aimee was born and lived for 2 hours. After Aimees birth I the doctors could not control the bleeding. I haemorrhaged and needed most of the blood in my body replaced. I ended up having to have an emergency hysterectomy.

I thought that my dreams of being a mum were over. I went home from the hospital with empty arms and an even emptier heart. I struggled for 3 year. Seeing counsellors and taking anti-depressants. I could not let go of the idea of being a mum. It almost cost me my marriage. My husband was devastated by the deaths of our children and could not stand the thought of being hurt again, whereas with me it was all I could think about. I spent day and night scanning the internet trying to find an answer to our heartbreak.

I found a website that hooked potential surrogates up with perspective parents. I started talking to a woman named Janice. She agreed to help us. We flew to the other side of the country to meet with her. When we got there she told us that she wanted $10, 000 to be a surrogate for us. Besides the fact that it is illegal we also felt that it was immoral. We worried that if we payed her now she would come back later asking for more money. We flew home even more deflated than before.

We went into counselling and tried to resign ourselves to being childless. I decided to go back to university and get a teaching degree. Life plodded along, our dogs were our kids and we travelled overseas and did all the things that people say you can’t enjoy when you have kids. The problem was we didn’t really enjoy them; there was still a hole in our hearts.

In 2011 two of my cousins approached me. One wanted to donate eggs and one wanted to carry a baby for us. I was so scared, too scared to get excited. Even when my cousin Yvette called me and said she was pregnant I did not cry or show much emotion. All I could think is she will decide to keep the baby; I’m going to get hurt again.

Since Yvette lived interstate we did not get to go to all the appointments. She sent us lots of pic and again it felt like we were looking at someone else’s child. During all this time our biggest worry sadly was money. It cost us every bit of our savings to have this child and we were wondering if we would be able to provide her with the life that she deserved.

Finally the day came Yvette was scheduled for a c section as our daughter was breech. I went into the theatre with her. My husband waited outside. They pulled this screaming pink little thing out of her and my heart melted, but still I did not feel like she was mine. All I could think was please God don’t let her change her mind, I can’t live through any more grief.” They cleaned our daughter up and handed her to me. It was like an out of body experience. I felt like I was going to faint.

When my husband held our daughter who we named Jasmine Grace for the first time he broke down. He tells me now that he knew from the second that she was put in his arms that she was ours. The fact that she looks just like him helps too.

The day that we left hospital was a day of mixed emotions. I was so happy yet I knew that my cousin was hurting so badly and there was nothing I could do to take her pain away.

The first few weeks at home are a blur now. I sort of felt like I was babysitting. I took about a month to really bond with Jasmine. It wasn’t until the legals were underway that I totally felt like her mum.

Jasmine is now a year old and she is my whole world. I would go through the last 15 years again in a heartbeat to get her. Thanks to Facebook my cousins can see her whenever they want and we have been to Adelaide to see them twice in the last year.
I’m not going to lie and say that our surrogacy journey has been easy. For one thing it looks like we will probably have to sell our house to pay off the debts we incurred during this process and the actual pregnancy was a rollercoaster of emotions, but if people ask me if I would do it again my answer is always the same “Hell yes “.

Holly’s Story

Holly & Ash

Holly & Ash

At age 14 i was diagnosed with a severe mullerian anomaly with a unicornuate uterus and severe endometriosis. The endometriosis drowned my fallopian tubes and one ovary. What i was left with was half a uterus, one ovary that was not connected, one kidney and no cervix. At 14 years old this was devastating. At 18 I met Ash (23), he was beautifiul, kind and supportive. Like any normal couple our age we had a normal lifestyle, normal paying jobs and a house loan but there was just one thing missing, a child. 6 operations later the news I received was heart breaking ” I’m so sorry Holly, there is nothing more we can do” Surrogacy was our only option. I spent months resaeaching how to go about it and what to do. My gorgeous mum was the first person to offer, it was like a dream come true. Sadly Mum was diagnosed with hormone related cancer and was no longer able to carry our baby. Six months later a wonderful woman offered to carry my baby. The words estatic and overjoyed don’t even come close to what we were feeling! However those feeling didn’t last long when we were told that medicare wouldn’t cover us for IVF. We are looking at around $15,000 – $20,000. As a normal young couple this just seemed out of reach. Medicare cover everyone else for IVF but will not cover us. Not only do we have $15-20,000 for IVF but we also have another $20,000 + for other surrogacy involved costs. It is my understanding that when Medicare made this decision surrogacy was illegal, now that surrogace IS legal here in Australia the outdated laws need to change. So over all i feel discriminated against and think this is greatly unfair. Please change the law so that us and couples like us can be blessed with a family

Negative

For those not familiar with the pain of a negative result after an embryo transfer to a surrogate – you may wish to read this.

Our Surrogacy Story

So today we got the news that our first little embryo did not make it. Chloe is not pregnant; there will be no baby in 9 months.

This is going to be a self-pity post, so if you don’t want to hear it, close the post now. I make no apologies for this post. I said from the outset of my blog that this would be an honest diary of the process and my feelings. I don’t expect anyone’s sympathy from this post. I just want to record my feelings of right now and also make others aware of the shit we go through in this process.

I will also say up front, that it goes without saying, yes it’s not the end of the world, I’m not dying and I already have one beautiful girl. Yes I am blessed and I know it. Yes I am better off than…

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Monica’s Story

In early 2010 my husband and I decided we’d start trying for a family, we had been discussing it for a while. We had lived in the UK for 5 years and thought it was time go home, buy a house and start nesting for a potential baby. Fast forward a bit and It was late October and I was really frustrated that I wasn’t getting pregnant, wondering what I was doing wrong.

Monica & her husband

Monica & her husband

I started realizing that in back in July I had found a lump and totally ignored it, life had its heavy demands, but I proceeded to perform self-examination and there it was, I went to the GP got a full body examination and asked what he thought about the lump? He said don’t worry, if it’s still here in 4 months come back. Not happy with his opinion I went to a breast specialist, “Supposedly” the best in Vic. He read the mammogram and told me that my breasts were normal for a 26 year old and not to stress about the lump as it might just be a cyst. My mother and I weren’t convinced, as in 2006 I had a cyst removed from my breast and this one just didn’t feel the same. 3rd opinion here I come…

I saw another breast specialist; they call him “The Godfather”. I knew when I sat in his office that it wasn’t going to be a great day! He diagnosed me with hormone sensitive Breast Cancer, it’s basically to say that the cancer was stimulated by estrogen. OMG! I’m only 26, we are meant to be getting pregnant, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want to die yet!

1 week later I was booked into have a partial mastectomy… followed by 4 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy sessions, 1 year of Herceptin that was given intravenously and 5 years of Tamoxifen. My life had been turned upside down, my dreams were crushed and my heart is broken… My Oncologist told me that there is no way I can carry a pregnancy as that there was a extremely high chance that Tamoxifen would deform my baby and potentially harm myself if I got pregnant as it would raise my estrogen levels and therefore raise the risk of recurrence.

Our now surrogate offered to carry our baby, who I believe is an angel sent from above. Not everyone does this!
I feel hurt and angered at the fact that it’s not my fault I got sick and I can’t have a child the normal way, I don’t see why I should continue being punished financially and emotionally. To have one round of IVF it cost us $20,000 and by the time we finish we would have spent $50,000-$60,000. My husband and I are just humble average Australian tax payers. He works fulltime and then some and I work and study when possible. We would like a fair go and not have to feel like we are constantly being discriminated by the law because I was sick. We have never received any assistance despite always paying our taxes, I am appalled!

Like any couple going through the journey of IVF, all they want is a child, but the reality is that they receive a Medicare rebate helping them with the cost of IVF. We are requesting that you put yourself in our shoes and please give us the same rebate as any other couple, we are not asking for anything extra – just to be treated the same.

Kate’s Story

Paul and I were married in 2005 and waited a few years for children whilst I finished my studies. Once we were both working, we fell pregnant with our beautiful son who was born in 2008. The pregnancy was uneventful until I was 6 days overdue, when I showed signs of pre-eclampsia. I was induced, but during labour my condition developed into eclampsia and I started to have seizures. At that point my world went blank and I recall no more of the birth. both my son and i were lucky to survive; we both suffered seizures and I ended up with multiple organ failure and serious haemorrhaging. After several hours of surgery the decision was made to perform an emergency hysterectomy to save my life. There was no other choice. After a long period spent in ICU and hospital we were finally released to go on with our lives: battered, but alive and surprisingly healthy.

Kate and her gorgeous little boy and dogs

Kate and her gorgeous little boy and dogs

But this traumatic experience left its marks, emotionally and physically. We had always hoped for more than one child, and believe that we are not yet complete. We love our son more than life itself, and our wish to have another child does not detract from that; rather we believe it will enrich our family and be the most wonderful thing for all of us. We can barely dream that this might come true, that we could have a complete family, a comrade for our son, another gorgeous child to love and cherish. Families are everything and it seems so unfair that some people are unable to have children when they want them so badly.

Kate's husband Paul with their little man

Kate’s husband Paul with their little man

So we now require a surrogate to achieve our dream, and the costs involved are high. Without a Medicare rebate to assist us with the IVF part we will only get one shot at this. Therefore we are fully prepared that it may not work, and we may only get one chance. This type of trauma was unexpected and could happen to anyone. We did not plan for things to end up this way – all we want is to have a complete family as everybody does, and we may not be able to achieve that. Surrogacy is such a positive thing with hopefully a beautiful and positive end, but the discrimination that surrounds surrogacy sours this a little. Why should I not receive treatment identical to the treatment that somebody else receives, for an identical cost? The only reason is that my infertility means that I am no longer able to carry a child, and as a result I am treated different to somebody else who requires IVF for different reasons. Sadly, this is arbitrary discrimination.

I just hope that we are successful with one round of IVF otherwise we will not be able to continue on our surrogacy journey. Our son will also be devastated. If we had access to Medicare rebates we might just get that additional second chance…

If this all does not work out, at least we will still have the sweetest, most loving little boy for which we are very grateful. We love him so much and will never lose sight of how lucky we are to have him.

Inspirational Stories

Wow. I am truly lost for words reading your personal stories. Thank you for sharing and please keep them coming. When I started my surrogacy journey I felt so alone. I was scared of what people might think. Afraid they would think it was morally bad for me to have another woman carry my child. I fought with myself for months before I decided to stand tall and speak proudly and freely of the choice Alex and I had made. Recently Alex and I were confronted with yet another life altering decision. Given my age (40) and that I only have one functioning ovary our chances of a child using my eggs are very minimal. After many tears and much discussion we agreed that perhaps our first attempt should be with donor eggs.
Quite straight forward right??? But as time went by my frustrations grew. Along with two other amazing women we started this blog and our Facebook page. I wrote letters to many politicians and I met face to face with my local federal member Bernie Ripoll.
Why should I be forced to choose between an attempt with my eggs and those of a donor simply because Medicare legislation is outdated. Who gives them the right to make that decision for me. Alex (a qld fire-fighter) and myself (an administration manager) both pay taxes. We are everyday people going about our business yet we are discriminated against because I have no uterus.
So many like me have borrowed from family and friends, mortgaged their homes and taken out personal loans. It should not be this way. I will not give up this fight. Together we can make a difference.
Thank you for your continued support