Sooooo I'm here, glass of wine in hand with some awful TV on in the background deciding what should be my first proper, proper post should be. Lets start at the almost beginning, I say that as I'm starting at the beginning of Jay and me, as that's the beginning of The Nuggets and they are what has led to this, my blog, Anna Reeve.co.nz (yip I'm that un creative I just named it after myself, so clever...right?!)
Get comfortable, I imagine this will be a long one!
Jay and I have a really romantic story of how we got together...yeah right. We had known each other socially for a number of years but never had too much to do with each other. But hold on, we just need to pop back about 10 years when Jay saw an article about me in a women's magazine about my alopecia, he was at a doctor's office and was about 18 and I was 14, he said he remembers thinking I was a "cool chick" then. Fast forward I was working at Red Bull in the communications team and Jay was often in the office as he did a lot of work with them. He was always really really nice to me and went out of his way to chat, but that is Jay, he is like that with everyone, he is a very kind man and generous with his time. He will stop and have a big chat with everyone he knows, I love it about him but this also can be frustrating when you are in a bit of a rush! Anyway back to it, I thought nothing of it when he would stop by my desk and have little chats with me. Then it all culminated to one fateful night, my best friend (she will hate me for this) had a little bit too much to drink and was falling asleep at the bar when we were on a girls night out. I took her outside along with her sister to pop her in a cab home, but when it came to me getting in I changed my mind. I didn't go out that often, and NEVER alone, but figured this is Auckland, a popular bar, surely I will bump into someone I will know and have a great night. I really didn't feel like going home to bed with miss drunk pants (sorry Juls!) plus she had her sister to look after her, so there was no need for me.
As soon as I walked back up the lane and into the entrance of the bar Jay appeared, with a whole bunch of other guys I knew too. That's pretty much the end of the how we got together the story as that was it. We went inside, we danced to the early hours and then we pretty much spent every night together since then. He is actually the man of my dreams, he had been standing there in front of me for so long but I just hadn't "clicked" yet, I seriously thought he wouldn't be interested in me so I wrote it off before it even started, until that night. Thank god for drunk Julia, thanks BB!
Jay proposed in a thoroughly romantic typical Jay way just over a year and a half after we got together, you can read about it here. Then we were married in December of the same year, you can read about that here. It was a perfect day, I'm so so lucky this man is my husband and partner in this crazy life.
Sooooo that brings us to trying for a baby and the sexy nitty gritty of infertility. I have alopecia, it has never been connected to infertility but I just had this "feeling" it wasn't going to be easy for us. So once we had been trying for a while and it hadn't worked I wanted to go see a gynecologist/fertility specialist at Fertility Associates, just to check that everything was ok. Good thing we did, I had un diagnosed suspected endometriosis (it wasn't on the worse scale and she couldn't officially say yes unless I had an operation, but I fit the symptoms perfectly). But that wasn't the worse news, Jay (the bastard) got the news that his sperm/swimmers/baby makers were ABSOLUTE rubbish. Basically, they didn't swim forward, they barely moved forward, and if anything went around and around in circles. Brilliant! Just what you need to get pregnant. Endo and useless swimmers. Match made in heaven we are!
Before we found this news out our doctor had us on a cycle of clomiphene, which makes you hyper ovulate to see if that would work. We found out that Jays swimmers were caput towards of the end of the cycle. We completed it even though we knew it probably wouldn't work, God was Jay and I glad we didn't have to do that again. It literally made me a crazy person, Jay and I aren't fighters, but we had the biggest fight we had ever had when I was on those tiny crazy pills. Yuck!
Once we had finished that unsuccessful and completely miserable round we were put on the ICSI path. ICSI is the step up from IVF, it's where they inject the sperm directly into your egg as they can't even make it there by themselves when they are in a bloody petri dish together. Useless! (Jay will never live this down in my books!)
You probably know the basics of the whole process so I won't bore you too much. I injected myself for most of a month with hormones (unlike clomiphene I didn't find these made me crazy). I was super scared of injecting myself but it wasn't too bad once I did the first one, but I definitely came out with bruises from all the injection sites. You then had blood tests every two days to check your hormone levels and then scans to count how many follicles you had (follicles release your eggs), they keep a close eye on them as they want you to take a trigger injection when they are the perfect size for harvesting. It's a very very precise procedure. During this time I was really bloated and uncomfortable as you usually grow one follicle each month but with the injections, I had about 25. Each follicle is about 1-2cm big so I had so much "stuff" in my pelvis than I usually did. Not fun. After my trigger injection, I had to wait 12 hours and then I was straight into the procedure room to have the eggs taken out so they could inject Jay's rubbish little swimmers into them.
This is a little bit graphic so please skip this paragraph if you are queasy.
To get those little buggers out they have to put a knitting needle sized "sucker" thing into you. As far as I know, they pierce your uterus and go and collect/suck each egg into the needle and down into a collection type thing. Now I don't remember much of this, Jay tells me these horror stories of the knitting needle things, I wasn't knocked out but I was given some sort of pain killing happy drugs and I'm a light weight so I only remember snippets, plus I didn't want to look at the torture machine.
Ok safe now
After they had collected a whopping 25 eggs they went about injecting Jays little swimmers into them (I'm nice about them here, as one of them magically became my two nuggets, they are the good guys now).
I'm foggy on the details but 6 of those embryos "didn't take" and died off. They put one inside of me about 5 days later and froze the rest. Then we had the dreaded 14 day wait till we could know if it had taken. I honestly felt pregnant from the get go. We had a fully fertilised 5 day old Zygote in my belly. It was OUR baby and I just felt it! My boobs hurt, I felt that baby in me. I was SOOO invested in that baby, after all the bullshit we went through (did I mention I was a 26 year old doing IVF, not fair right?!) we needed/deserved this little baby.
The day before my pregnancy test I bled, just little bit (which they say can happen during the implantation stage) but enough to have me freak out. I went to do the blood test early and they called that afternoon. Not good news. We had lost our baby, I know a lot of people who go through IVF don't consider these implanted embryos babies, but I did. I felt so cheated and a great sense of loss. I was so so distraught, I couldn't deal with it. I went into a ball and melted down. I'm not sure how long it took me to pull myself back together, but it was awhile. I felt cheated, we had all those getting pregnant problems but once Jays sperm found its way into an "A grade egg" as they said, it should have been a done deal right?! Not so.
After this awful news we waited awhile to we "transferred" the next one. We both needed time to move forward from the last one.
Once we were ready we got to it, this time I didn't need to do anything other than the blood tests to tell when I would naturally ovulate so they could put the "frostie"embryo (I called them the frosties as that is what they were, little frozen soon to be bubbas) in me. This time I was so so hopeful but I really made myself sit back and not "bond" too much with this baby to try to save myself from the pain that came from loosing them. Just before our 14 day wait was over we were going away to Queenstown for a few days. I once again had a feeling this had worked, I wanted to save myself from the hurtful shock of not being pregnant through the blood test and thought it would be nice to tell Jay on holiday. I knew it wasn't 100% reliable but I figured if a blood test could tell me in 2 days time maybe a pee stick test could give me an indication. Flawed I know, but I thought if there was no faint double line that would help me prepare for the definite no of a blood test, or if there was 2 lines, then yay!
I took the test before we flew to Queenstown the next morning, one line and one very very faint second line! Pregnant! Only JUST pregnant but pregnant. I had read they don't get false positives, more likely a false negative. I was so so happy! I had been carrying around this little onesie with 'Little Reevesy' written on it around with me since before we had got married hoping I could present it to Jay when I was pregnant. I packed it in my bag along with another pee stick. When we landed I needed to go toilet so did the second test. It came back so strong and bright, there was a little Reevesy in my tummy! Booya! We had done it. We checked in and I presented Jay with his little wrapped present, he couldn't believe it when he saw the onesie. It was such an amazing memorable moment.
So we were pregnant, when I got back to Auckland the bloods proved it. The one good thing with fertility treatment is they keep checking your blood to make sure the HCG levels are rising, those show the pregnancy is viable and continuing on in the way it should. It will also show early indication of a possible miscarriage, so it's a good thing to keep an eye on. My levels rose and rose but weren't crazy high (high levels indicate multiple pregnancy).
At six weeks we had our first scan, a little earlier than your normal pregnancy but normal for IVF and the last thing/checkup we would do with the fertility doctors before being handed over to a OB or midwife. Let me be clear here, we often are told "oh you have twins as you had IVF". Yes multiple pregnancies happen with IVF as people put multiple embryos back. We only put ONE back. Just one. I have a photo of it, in fact here it is.
That little bad boy ended up being Oscar and Hunter, so strange to think that the above is a photo of both of them when they were still just one!? At our scan all looked good, Mary (our doctor) was showing us the heart beat flicker not he screen, then she swiveled the wand and said "oh.....we need to talk about their being two of them". I was already lying down and had to hold the wall next to me as I freaked out. Jay on the other hand, jumped up and down, clapped his hands and squealed like a little girl, he was so so happy. Jay had aways dreamed of having twins, in fact when we found out we would be doing IVF he thought sweet, we can ask for twins! Then was totally let down when they said they would no way put 2 embryos back into me. So basically "this is Jays fault" is what I ran with the rest of my pregnancy. Jay is the luckiest man in the world, he gets everything he wants and doesn't want but is actually awesome for him, I mean the man had MTV....MTV BEG him to be a presenter after he turned the role down!!! Who does that happen to other than bloody Jay Reeve. So Jay Reeve got what he wanted, twins, and not only twins, identical twins! As obviously our one tiny embryo had split. We had strangely watched a doco on the different types of twins the night before so Jay kept freaking about them being "separate" and "can you see daylight in between them" as we had seen it was a matter of hours that differentiate ID and conjoined twins. Safe to say there was "daylight".
So I was pregnant with twins. I had actually told Mary before the scan I felt quite ill and had put on 3 kgs. How could someone 6 weeks pregnant put on 3 kgs?! It was fucking crazy and scared the shit out of me. That's not meant to happen! The baby was a bloody size of a seed, not 3 kgs worth of child! She shrugged off and said nothing is normal and not normal. But once we had the scan and the whole twin thing was revealed she said that made MUCH more sense. Basically your blood volumes gets bigger by half your current blood volume when pregnant, that goes up with each baby you are carrying. So my blood volume had doubled due to the nuggets so that was the 3 kgs, it was all blood!
Little did I know that would be the last of my typical weight issues during pregnancy saga.One word, hyperemesis, sever hyperemesis! That shit was gnarly, I was really really sick and got really really skinny. But that's another story, so we will save that one, soon, but not today.
Skip 34 weeks and welcome Oscar & Hunter born via emergency c section 6 weeks early! We didn't know it then (they were still called the frosties, you know, from being frozen embryos) but they would be the nuggets. The nuggets are awesome, epic and so much fun. But my god it wasn't an easy ride to begin with. From pregnancy to infancy. I have all that to share...soon.
So that's my story, The Nuggets are what brought us here. We share them with you online, on Instagram and Snapchat and they have inspired this blog. The boringly named annareeve.co.nz. I hope you enjoy.