Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Now I know why they call it a rollercoaster

So, we've been trying for months and months and months, and have been a bit in denial about whether we have a problem. Eventually, we get round to booking an appointment at a fertility clinic - ten days after we get back from holiday, so we're all fresh and ready for whatever hits us.

Or so we thought.

When the consultant told us that we had pretty much zero chance of conceiving without help, the bottom fell out of my world. I couldn't talk about it for several days without bursting into tears. My husband struggled in his own way, and from little things he said I knew he felt as bad as I did. He also felt guilty, because at that stage the only known problem was on his side.

Just as we were getting used to that idea, we were plunged further into depression by the news that my FSH and oestradiol levels were too high, indicating that I had poor ovarian function. It seemed even the ICSI treatment that we had thought of as pretty much a last resort might be denied to us, and I spent a week googling frantically to try to interpret the innocuous-sounding set of numbers that the nurse had given me over the phone.

This evening we had our follow-up appointment with the consultant, and the dread in the pit of my stomach increased with each hour that dragged past. Would he tell us we hadn't a snowflake's chance in Hell and should just go home and buy a cat?

And then finally, we got our first piece of good news. The chromosome tests that had been ordered for my husband came back normal. And the consultant wasn't too concerned about my FSH, although he did acknowledge that I may need a higher dose of drugs than someone with younger, fitter ovaries. But hey, looking on the bright side, he said he considered it highly unlikely that I would get OHSS - my ovaries just won't get that excited.

And because the NHS won't pay for our treatment and the clinic is small enough not to have huge waiting lists, we can start pretty much straight away. They took some more blood from me to test my AMH, and we've got our planning appointment next Tuesday - by which time the AMH result should be back. It'll be just too late for this cycle, as today is day 23 of a normally 26-day cycle. But it should be all systems go for a September cycle.

And suddenly it sounds like really good news that I'm going to get to inject myself every day for a fortnight or so with drugs that can have horrible side effects, have to juggle work with regular visits to the hospital to have an ultrasound wand stuck up my bits, and then go through a minor surgical procedure followed by two weeks of holding my breath to see whether it's worked (and if all goes well, another nine months or so worrying about what else could go wrong).

We know all the risks, we know how likely we are to fail at each and every stage of the process - but for tonight, we're elated, because 20% chance of success is 20% more than we have at the moment.

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