We’re on

I’ve found it really hard to blog the last couple of weeks. It’s been a whirlwind of injections, early mornings, water, milk, protein. I guess it probably helps to break it down into chunks.  I’ll keep it fairly brief.

The go ahead
We got the ok the day after my last post. My FSH was borderline high but they were happy with my other levels which was great. I had already booked my next acupuncture appointment and looked for any which way to keep my stress levels down.  That day we got a bag full of meds, a lesson in how to use them all and I was booked in for a hysteroscopy the following day – an early morning, the first of many, a quick sedation and we were told everything looked ok, step one, done.

The blood tests
This is where the ARCG is so different from any other treatment I have experienced/heard of.  That Monday was the first of my early morning pilgrimages to Harley Street.  On the 5.59am train with lots of commuters.  Fortunately I’m a morning person, although I did miss not having a coffee – even a decaf.  I’ve been up there almost everyday since and have eaten lots of breakfasts on Marylebone High Street.  If you need a recommendation you know where to come!  Following the blood test they review the results and you get a call instructing you on which meds to take, which in my experience changed daily.  On average we’re talking 4 injections a day plus aspirin, some steroid tablets and a careful diet which includes 3 litres of water a day and 1 litre of milk.
Getting Close
We’re told that egg collection usually happens between Day 10 and 16 so as we were approaching day 10 we were getting excited.  On Friday, Day 7, I was told my trigger would likely be 3 to 4 days away.  With only 6 follicles I have to say I was a little disappointed – in my last cycle I got 14 eggs, but that didn’t work out so who’s counting really.  It only takes one.

The trigger
On Monday, Day 16, I was called back for any afternoon scan but the call I received later was just to amend my meds, no trigger.  That call came after my scan on Tuesday, finally!  It’s only a couple of weeks but feels like an eternity.

Egg Collection
I was first in and having been told I had 10 follicles they actually collected 11 eggs.  We received the call this morning that of the 11 eggs 8 were mature enough and of those 8, 6 fertilised.  A good number I feel but it doesn’t stop me worrying.  There’s nothing I can do other than wait now though, until tomorrow, or the next day or Tuesday if we get to Day 5 transfer.

There’s so much more I could write but I just don’t feel like going over it all at the moment.  Perhaps once it’s all done and dusted I’ll feel more comfortable going into more detail but right now I’m just bored with the whole thing, it’s literally taken over our lives.  That’s not meant to sound ungrateful, I’m happy to have devoted my time to it, I just don’t want to revisit it all again so soon.

So that’s me for now.  I will try to update more regularly over the next few days even if it is only quick snippets.

 

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

For the first time since I can remember I was really looking forward to getting my period. It was all we needed to go onto the next stage and get this done. I had a blood test on my ovulation day a little over a week ago and all was ok but my Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level was a little high, nothing to worry about although it did mean they didn’t want me to do the long protocol as anticipated, I’ve done that previously. The wait began.

This morning I woke at 1.41am (my clock is digital) and knew my period had started, yay! I waited for the clinic to open at 9am who told me to come in for my bloods. I came, I went, I waited – well I slept, Day 1 is always a bit like that. I got the call at 4.24pm. Again all was ok except the FSH level was still a little high, 10.5 and it should be 10 or lower. On my monitoring cycle it was 6. I asked if there was any reason and she said no although in some cases it can be increased by stress. What can I say, it’s a stressful time. I am no longer working but that took a while and wasn’t a particularly pleasant journey. My husband has changed jobs, again not quite as smooth a process as we might have hoped. Oh, and I’m at the ARGC having potentially my last round of IVF, my last chance possibly of having a baby ‘naturally’, and it’s costing us upward of £10,000. Not at all stressful.

I thought we were safe, I didn’t expect something like this to be a problem, I thought we were all systems go.

But again. We wait.

Fortunately only until tomorrow. I have to be there for 8.30am for bloods followed by a scan and then I guess they’ll tell us whether we can go ahead this cycle. I’m not sure what we’ll do if it’s not this cycle. Take their advice.

The alternative is waiting for the next cycle, not so bad, although that would mean egg collection etc over Christmas and I’m not sure they do that. I just have to wait until tomorrow but it’s so hard not to think about it.

I was so excited to be getting on with it, it’s just constant ups and downs it’s exhausting, but I know if you’re reading this you likely know that too, I just get it out by writing.

Sweet dreams all, it’s an early one for me tomorrow to get there in time. Fingers crossed for good news.

x

On your marks…

After a three week hiatus waiting for my immune test results I heard from the clinic on Tuesday that I’ve got the all clear. We’re going to the ARCG because they do lots of tests the NHS don’t and we’re hoping to get answers. But this answer seems almost unsatisfactory which is ridiculous. It’s not that I want to have an immune system that fights conception and pregnancy but finding out that it’s not the reason we haven’t conceived, or gone to term one time, leaves us back where we started – unexplained infertility.

On the bright side, because there definitely is one, it means I don’t have to have any additional medication and it also means we can get on with our IVF cycle sooner, well immediately. Having ovulated today I’m back at the clinic for blood tests on Tuesday. I’m having the long protocol as that yielded a good egg collection last time so I’ll start my down regs in the next week or so I think.

I’m excited to finally get started again. It feels right after everything that has happened recently (going off sick from work, then finally resigning) I feel like I can completely focus on the treatment, give it everything I’ve got.

I am nervous though. By Christmas we’ll have an answer. That scares me, but at least we’ll know one way or the other.

So, here goes everything. Wish me luck!

Happy(?) Birthday

I recently ‘celebrated’ my birthday. 37. Wow. Not quite sure how I got there. The interesting thing though is that the age seemed to wash over me. This is unusual given that I was so against growing up when I was younger I resisted wearing my first bra until I absolutely had to. Growing older is not something I’m generally happy to give in to. But this time I didn’t even question the age, it was having a birthday at all that was the problem. Put simply I just don’t have any joy in my life at the moment and having to feel happy about something, having lots of people wish me ‘Happy’ birthday just seemed ridiculous. As far as I was concerned the only point of my birthday this year was to have a benchmark to what is happening in my life on my birthday next year. It can’t be any worse can it!? Surely.

My poor family and friends, I told them all this and explained that I didn’t want cards that said ‘Happy’ Birthday, I’m such a misery!

My poor husband too, I think he was really worried, he wanted me to have a nice day, as did everyone else. And you know what, even though I fought it, I had a lovely day. It was good because of the small stuff. I had lots of cards to open. My husband made me breakfast. Then we pottered around the shops and received such wonderful customer service in one particular shop that it completely made my day.

I even had Happy Birthday sung to me by my family and managed to take it graciously. It reminded me I need to be thankful of what I do have. A wonderful family who all care about me. Great friends who are always thinking of me. An amazing husband who would do anything for me. I can only hope that on my next birthday (and on lots of unbirthdays in the meantime too) that I remember this and am grateful. (Gosh, this is me gushing!)

So, even if it’s just an excuse to get together and eat chocolate cake guilt free, it’s worth having a birthday. Belated or advanced ‘Happy’ Birthdays to everyone going through fertility treatment. It may not be the happiest but may it remind you that there are good times, even small, all around, every day.

Trapped by treatment

No smoking, no drinking, no exercise or stretching when implantation might be taking place. No swimming. No nail varnish, hair dye or spray tans. Eat well. Keep your feet warm. You need to come in this Friday, or maybe Saturday. Then again on Tuesday, no, maybe Wednesday.

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons I’m struggling with fertility treatment isn’t because I’m so desperate to hold my own baby. It’s that I’m desperate to get my life back. I’m tired of being told what I can and can’t do – admittedly I’m seeing a normal doctor and an acupuncturist so I’m trying to follow both East and Western medical advice so it is doubly complicated. And then there are my friends who have gone through it that offer me their advice too, and blogs and forums full of other people’s well intentioned tips. Why not just swaddle me like a baby and feed me what I need, I’m getting to the stage that that might be easier.

Feeling trapped is something I’ve never liked and all of this is perpetuating an already existing pet hate. I feel caged.

‘I want to break free’ – me too Freddie. I want a blowout night out. I want to get shitfaced. I want to go crazy – all of which I know full well I’m not going to do as a) it’s not me and b) it could jeopardise everything I’m working for. But I do want to do something. I used to be a bit of a daredevil when I was younger, always the first to jump – once out of a plane – but as the years have gone on I’ve become a bit milder and more aware of my mortality. Right now though I’m thinking about Wing Walking. I just want to feel exhilarated, I want to feel alive.

I don’t know if I will do it, my husband isn’t too keen on the idea unfortunately. But I am going to try something….

Positive attitude?

Just a quick one for now. I have been really worried about my inability to think positively about getting pregnant. I’m putting it down to me trying to protect myself in case it doesn’t work but I still feel guilty. I’ve even thought about seeing a hypnotherapist about it. But yesterday someone said something
very simple to me and I’m going to try to hold onto the moment of revelation I had then, rather than pick holes in the theory. She said, “People who don’t want to get pregnant get pregnant”. Which is true. I’m all for positive thinking and I will try, but if I struggle I’m not going to beat myself up. Biology will decide.

Miscarriage

It’s been 9 months since I found out I was having a missed miscarriage, when we found out one of the embryos that had implanted itself miraculously inside my womb lining hadn’t grown passed 6 weeks. It was devastating, more so in some ways for my husband. He said he knew as soon as he saw the scan image. He must have felt so lonely. I was blissfully unaware for a few more split seconds. Come back in a week, take this leaflet and then we can decide how to proceed to get rid of the empty pregnancy sac. No need to worry it turns out, 5 days later I was in hospital miscarrying. It took a while to realise but I was glad I had had the warning at the scan. I can’t imagine how frightened I would have been if I had thought I was still pregnant. Three months off treatment, reading about grief, going on holiday – literally and from appointments, from being sober and all the things I couldn’t do for the few months prior due to treatment and pregnancy.

I think I thought I was fine. I had a few wobbles, especially when people close to me had babies (really close, two of my sisters). But overall I thought I was fine. I fully engrossed myself with my work, but that was nothing new. And then coming up to what would have been the due date everything started to unravel. I didn’t see it at the time, or for a while after but 4 weeks later, in a meeting, I let rip (as someone who is usually very in control this wasn’t a crazy wild loud letting rip – fortunately). But it was enough for me to realise something was wrong. Enough for my boss to realise something was wrong. I took a couple of days off and then went to the doctors to take a few more days off. It was bliss. Me, exercise, cleaning, cooking for my husband (the latter two I rarely do through choice). I really enjoyed having the time to look after him and myself rather than looking after my team at work. They had had too much of me for too long, I wanted to give something back at home, and I loved it.

I can’t say for definite that my minor breakdown was because of the miscarriage but I do think that there was a lot more going on subconsciously than I realised. Either way, it has brought everything to a bit of a head, I’m off work with stress and trying to work out what to do next.

Introduction

We’ve been seeing people about our fertility issues since 2012. I could use the usual metaphors – it’s been a long road, a difficult journey – but you’ve likely heard them all before. Overall right now my description would be that it’s shit. All of it. I’m tired of it taking over our lives. We just want to get back to living.

Why am I here writing this? Well a few people suggested it, and everyone else seems to write a blog nowadays so why not give it a shot, it can’t hurt, can it?

So I find myself in a Costa writing on a not very exciting Word document. Not quite ready to go live just yet, I need to write a few posts before I commit the time to working out how to create an actual blog. Maybe just writing will help, maybe no one actually has to read it?

Ironically I’m surrounded by yummy mummies and their babies, joy. Here goes…