Friday, 30 April 2010

Not this month

Yesterday was CD 1, so this morning I dropped into XXXX clinic for a blood test on my way to work.

The call came early in the afternoon. The nurse told me that Mr Miracle Worker had reviewed my results, and because my FSH level was slightly higher than he would like, he did not recommend that I go ahead with treatment this cycle.

I had to press further to get actual numbers - FSH 11.4, oestradiol 143 and LH 7.3. This compares with the monitoring cycle I had in March, where the corresponding numbers were 9.1, 220 and 4.7, and the original tests I had last summer, where the numbers were 13.2, 156 and 5.3.

Looked at in the round, then, these figures are probably the best I've had so far, so I think things are still moving in the right direction.

I pointed out that the oestradiol was quite a lot lower than on the monitoring cycle, and that high oestradiol can artificially reduce the FSH level. The nurse sort of accepted that, but said that it's FSH that they concentrate on. The magic figure for me to cycle is FSH below 10. I did also read in their literature that they don't like to treat women with oestradiol above 200, so I'm pleased that's a lot lower this time.

The FSH still isn't as bad as it was last summer, but is obviously higher than on my monitoring cycle. Since I have shown that I can get an FSH below 10, Mr Miracle Worker doesn't want to treat me in a month when it's above 10.

Am I disappointed? Well, a little - it means more waiting, and there's always the worry that my FSH might never come back down again.

But then again, it allows us to complete the four month Foresight programme before we go into the actual treatment cycle, and DH has promised faithfully that he will stick to the programme for another month and won't get plastered when we go to visit his old drinking buddy in a couple of weeks' time.

And this week has not exactly been stress-free, and the next few weeks won't be too much better, so it'll be better to go ahead with the treatment when things at work are a bit less up in the air.

And it allows me to concentrate on my sister and being available to give her whatever help she needs with the arrival of her latest baby now imminent.

And for as long as we haven't completed this cycle, we still have hope, so in many ways I'm a little afraid to get started, and quite happy in a cowardly sort of way to accept any delays that are forced on us.

So I'm a little bit disappointed, a little bit relieved, and now I have another 25 days to kill before I can go back and try again.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Two people made me cry yesterday...

... but in completely different ways.

The first was one of my colleagues. He has a baby who is almost a year old. After the Big Bosses and the HR person had left the meeting room, we sat and discussed the news we had just heard, how it would affect us and what we might do next.

Everyone in the department knows about our IVF, although I've never had a direct conversation with this guy about it. He was sitting next to me as I said that our savings were a bit depleted because of the IVF and then feebly joked that if we ended up never having children, we wouldn't need much in the way of savings anyway.

He comes in almost daily with complaints of his sleep being disturbed by his baby, and he instantly piped up, "You can have mine."

I couldn't help it - out of nowhere, my eyes welled up and it took a couple of seconds for me to compose myself, especially after another colleague instantly defended me by pointing out to him what a crass comment that was.

And then there was the other end of the scale - when I told my dad about the meeting at work, he said, "I know you've got big expenses coming up, and I don't want this to get in the way of your IVF. If you need money, even if it's a lot of money, come to me first."

And that choked me up so much that it took a couple of seconds for me to be able to thank him, and although I don't ever expect to take him up on the offer, I'm just so grateful that he thought of it and that he obviously really appreciates how important this is to us.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It is well with me

Those were the last words of St Peter Chanel, whose feast day is today, as he lay dying following an attack by an angry mob. I feel they're quite apt as I contemplate the dying embers of my career...

The meeting this morning did not go well. We were put on notice that a 'consultation' period will be beginning in two weeks, at the end of which there 'may' be redundancies. This is lawyer-speak for 'none of you will have a job in a couple of months' time'.

There is a faint possibility that one or two people out of the seven of us will be kept on, but if that happened, the job description would have to be changed beyond all recognition to allow the work to be done by two people - all seven of us are working pretty much flat-out at the moment.

DH and I chatted about it last night, and we came to the following conclusions.

First, we reckon that with the pay that's still coming to me between now and when I get kicked out, together with his salary and what's left of our savings and a bit of belt-tightening, we can probably manage until the end of the year, which gives me a chance to work out what's going to happen next.

Second, it's almost certain that I'll never again earn as much money as I am doing at the moment - and we're both OK with that. He said he'll support me in whatever decision I make about the future - at the moment, freelance work is looking like a possible option, but we'll see.

Third, if my FSH level is OK this month, I'm cancelling the out of town work commitment that would have prevented us going ahead with treatment. Why should I put our possible future on hold for the sake of a job I'm about to lose?

Fourth, if I do keep my job and end up getting pregnant, I'll stay long enough to get maternity leave, then tell them I'm not coming back.

And finally and most importantly - this is not a disaster for us, but an opportunity. I'm angry at the way we've been treated, but excited to see what the future holds.

Wish me luck...

We were told on Monday that the Big Boss wants to see as many members of my department as can make it today, to tell us the result of a review of the department's role. The review has not involved any member of the department - we have not been consulted, and the person who has conducted the review has very little understanding of or respect for what we do. He's the sort of person who can only see value if it can be measured in figures on a spreadsheet - preferably with £ signs in front of them.

Most of us think that there are probably going to be redundancies, and there may also be a fundamental change in the job description of those who are left. As a small, close-knit team, either of these things will cause a lot of upheaval.

On the plus side, if I'm made redundant I'll be able to cancel the event that would otherwise prevent me from doing IVF #3 this cycle.

Unfortunately, I think a doubling or more of my workload is more likely than redundancy, possibly with a shift in emphasis to mean that I get to do more of the stuff I hate and less of the stuff I enjoy.

To say I'm less than excited about today is an understatement.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


We had to get up at 4:15 this morning and get the first train into London to get the XXXX clinic in time for my appointment.

The whole experience was very different from the old clinic, where we had our own room with private bathroom in a private hospital when I went for egg collection. Here, we stayed in the waiting room for over an hour after I'd signed the consent forms, then I was led down into the basement and left in a little changing room with 23 pairs of shoes (I counted) and several other people's clothes already in the shelves in neat little piles.

The gown I had to put on was a disposable paper one, and I got a mob cap and a pair of plastic bootees to go with it. Shame DH never got to see me looking so sexy - he stayed in the waiting room, snoozing in one of the overstuffed armchairs, all the time I was downstairs.

I was told Mr Miracle Worker himself was doing the procedure, but if he was, I don't think I saw him - I'm sure I've seen a picture of him in a magazine, and there was nobody looking like that in the theatre when I went to sleep.

After the procedure was over, I was wheeled into the recovery room, along with four other people in beds, some of whom had just had hysteroscopies while others had had egg collection. I was the third on the list, so two of those four beds were added after I came in. There were also two people on recliners who were getting IVIg at the same time.

The nurses were lovely and very attentive, and although I only got a drink and a couple of digestive biscuits rather than the omelette and ice cream I had at the old clinic, this place isn't about the frills, but about what I hope they'll achieve for me.

I did ask yesterday whether it was right that I was having it done before, rather than after, my period, and was told that as I was on the short protocol and the main purpose of this was exploratory, this was correct. So they did all the measurements, had a good look round and removed a couple of polyps that happened to be in there - which makes me feel that I made the right decision to have this done.

As I was leaving, they confirmed once again that it wouldn't be possible for me to have treatment this next cycle if I have to go away for this work thing in a couple of weeks. There's a faint possibility I won't have to, but more about that tomorrow...

Monday, 26 April 2010

Sod's law

On Saturday, we bought some new garden furniture. We were due to be out for most of yesterday, taking the MIL out for lunch for her birthday, but DH had a driving lesson first thing in the morning, so I had a plan to sit out on our new bench reading the Sunday papers while he was gone.

That is, I had that plan until we woke up and looked out of the window. After the beautiful sunshine of the last few days, yesterday morning it poured with rain, and I stood by the back door for several minutes watching the raindrops pooling on our nice new bench.

I couldn't help feeling that the universe was cocking a snook at me. Not only did we have nice new garden furniture that we wanted to try out, but I had watered the lawn on Saturday. And on Sunday, it got another really good soaking.

And that's why I'm not going to buy any baby equipment until I'm pregnant. Preferably several months pregnant. Or maybe I should wait until the baby's actually born. Or until... well, I should be safe if I wait until it's about 18.

I already have a certain amount of baby equipment in my house. It was bought for my nephews and nieces and other visiting babies, and has already been very well used. It will continue to be well used by my sister's children for at least another couple of years. So I should be safe, but I hope this mischievous universe hasn't noticed that it's here.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Party chat

We went to a friend's 50th birthday party last night. It was an absolutely fantastic affair, one of the best parties I've ever been to.

But there are some things that somehow always manage to intrude.

You know how when you've been friends with someone for a while, you get to know several of their friends? And you don't keep in touch with them off your own bat, because you're not really that close, but it's nice to see them when you do happen to meet up?

Well, there were several people in that category at the party last night, and it was great to catch up with them. And because it was the first time I'd seen most of them since I met DH, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Several of them asked if I still had the classic sports car that used to be my pride and joy, and I had to tell them that I had very sadly had to change it for a sensible car (mostly so I could ferry my parents-in-law around - you can't get two octogenarians in the back of what's effectively a two-seater car).

A couple of people nodded wisely and made comments about needing a family car with room to put a baby seat in. I carried on talking about DH's unreasonable dislike for my old car and ignored them, and fortunately they didn't push it.

Then I was in another group. There was a young guy in his twenties there, one of my friend's nephews. Two of the women started teasing him about his parents' desire for grandchildren. There was a bit of light banter, then one of them said, "Of course, if you're not going to have children, you'd better be nice to your nieces and nephews, because they're the ones who'll choose your nursing home."

Cue lots of laughter and merriment and other comments about the possible consequences of never having your own children.

And I smiled and laughed along with everyone else as I quietly died a little bit inside.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Events conspire...

Well, it's been a manic week. I already had more work than I could cope with, then last weekend one of my colleagues called to say he was stuck in Spain because of the Icelandic dust cloud. That meant I had to do his teaching this week, which also meant that I had to update the teaching materials beforehand and make sure I knew what I was talking about.

So this week was ridiculously busy, but I also completed a huge and very high profile job for which I hope I'll get lots of brownie points. Outside work, I managed to see Niece #1 on her birthday and speak to US Nephew #1 on his birthday, and to go to our regular fortnightly pub quiz.

Meanwhile, the course I was due to teach next week has been cancelled for various other reasons, which means I get the brownie points for teaching my colleague's class this week, I get next week to catch up with some of the work I didn't manage to get done because of doing his teaching this week, and because I'm not teaching next week I'm able to take a day off for the hysteroscopy on Tuesday.

I also had a long chat with my mother this morning about the logistics of my brother's visit from the US at the beginning of June. I had to tell her that there was a possibility that we'll be cycling around then, but we've worked out that it should all work out quite nicely around their visit.

So I'm now pretty comfortable with the idea of not going ahead this next cycle (although I'm sad that Egghunt and I won't be cycle buddies again), and I'm left with the idea that without any action or volition on my part, events seem to be conspiring to make all my timings work out quite nicely.

Now, we just need to hope that my body will also co-operate...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hysteroscopy timing

Like Sonja, I was a little surprised that XXXX clinic wanted to do my hysteroscopy just before my AF.

I'm ridiculously busy at work at the moment, but I managed to take five minutes today to do a little bit of research. XXXX clinic has quite a presence on the net, with its own very active board on at least one of the forums.

XXXX clinic basically recommends that all its patients have hysteroscopies. As I understand it, and as Mr Greek God explained it to me, the main reason for this, apart from the fact that they can identify and deal with any polyps or other uterine abnormalities, is so they can take exact measurements and map out your uterus to enable them to decide on the best position for placing the embryos. Apparently embryo transfer with Mr Miracle Worker can take as much as half an hour, because he's so precise about how the embryos are handled and exactly where they're placed, and he likes to plan it in advance. This is another reason I'm so grateful that Mr Greek God suggested that I could be sedated for transfer.

I have no abnormal bleeding or anything to suggest that I have any problems, my AF is completely regular and no irregularities were detected during all the ultrasounds that I had at the old clinic. So the mapping and measuring is the main function of what's happening next week, and I don't think the lining needs to be super-thin for that.

All of the decisions at XXXX clinic are made by Mr Miracle Worker, having reviewed the information received from all the tests and appointments with the other doctors and nurses. Because he has such fine attention to detail and is so meticulous in preparing for cycles, I have absolute faith that he knows what he's doing and so feel much less inclined to second-guess him than I did Mr No Nonsense.

Having said that, I probably will casually drop the question in when they phone on Monday to arrange the exact time I have to go in on Tuesday - a hysteroscopy is an expensive thing, after all.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

One step forward, two steps back

I had a call from Aussie Nurse today. Because I'm doing the short protocol, she now says they want to do the hysteroscopy before AF shows up. That doesn't worry me - it's what I expected, and Aussie Nurse had my file in front of her and knew hysteroscopy was what she was speaking to me about, so had all the information she needed (whereas the nurse I spoke to before was calling me about my immune testing and may have been less on the ball about other plans for my treatment).

I took the opportunity to ask about this next cycle - I'm due to teach a course two or three hours' drive from London on what will probably be CD 13 and 14, and am expected to stay down there for two nights. It's already been rearranged once because of the snow, and postponing it again isn't really an option.

So I asked if that would be a problem, and she instantly said it would. She reiterated that XXXX clinic is different from other clinics, and that they really do monitor you very closely during a cycle. She said unless egg collection happened before CD 13 (which can in no way be guaranteed), they would absolutely require me to go in for blood tests on both of those days, and if I couldn't get out of the trip, she would recommend delaying the cycle.

This is really what I expected as well, and if the decision is taken out of my hands, that's no bad thing. Work is really hectic at the moment, and another month would actually mean that we complete the four month Foresight programme before the treatment cycle. That's a good thing, as the woman I spoke to from Foresight was adamant that we shouldn't actually be trying for a baby until we had completed the treatment. She said that if we did, the quality of our eggs and sperm might have improved enough to get us pregnant, but not to keep us pregnant.

The downside is that it's another month's wait. Aussie Nurse said I could go in for a blood test when AF shows up and decide on the basis of what that says. Part of me thinks that after getting FSH under 10 in my monitoring cycle, if it's also under 10 this cycle, especially if it continues the downward trend from last time, then perhaps my situation isn't as dire as Mr No Nonsense thought it was, in which case another month's wait would be less of a problem.

In any case, she said if I have the hysteroscopy before this AF shows up, the results will still be valid for the following cycle if we decide not to go ahead - but I'll have it out of the way if we are able to go ahead.

So I'm booked in for a hysteroscopy next Tuesday, then when AF shows up - probably on Thursday or Friday - I'll have a blood test and see what it tells us.

But it looks as though this cycle is not going to be The One. And that's OK, because I don't feel as though the timing is right yet. Hopefully May will work out better...

Monday, 19 April 2010

A measure of peace

Actually, I could equally well have called this 'the calm before the storm'.

We could be starting IVF #3 in ten days from now. XXXX clinic's treatment is like no other that I've heard of - daily blood tests all the way through treatment, increasing to twice daily during the second week of stimming, with regular scans also needing to be fitted in and drug dosage being tailored to your blood test results daily. Every account I've read says that it's beyond exhausting, and in the second week you really can't concentrate on anything but following Mr Miracle Worker's instructions.

So we could have just ten more days of normality before the storm hits us. This weekend the weather was gorgeous - despite having to work all day Saturday, I enjoyed looking out of the study window to see the sunshine, and then yesterday we spent the afternoon in my sister's garden celebrating Niece #1's birthday.

The sunshine was great, I ate what I wanted, and #1 wanted party games, so we thought up endless games to play, laughed at the silly Mad Libs we made up, and generally enjoyed #1's exuberance and excitement at being (nearly - her birthday is tomorrow) 6.

When we got home, I had a long soak in a hot bath with a mug of hot milk close to hand and some good reading matter to keep me entertained.

And I realised that for the moment, life doesn't get better than this. It was a perfect day, and I need to appreciate and savour these perfect days as they come along, without ruining them by thinking of what might or might not be in the future.

So I have ten more days of living in the moment, and even though work will be busy, I can still enjoy the emergence of spring, the moments of fun and laughter, and spending time with my lovely DH in the evenings.

I can't change what will be, so I'm determined to try not to worry about it, but just to enjoy this time, and treat it as a time of living, and not a time of waiting.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A busy week for phone calls

I've had another phone call that has made me feel better. My brother in the US, who has seven children and has not always made the most sensitive comments about this whole affair, phoned me up. Normally, the infertility/IVF thing is not mentioned at all, and since we haven't been making big announcements about all our appointments, there's no real reason for him to have brought it up now.

But after a bit of chit-chat, he suddenly asked how it was all going and what our next plans were, and rather than being all doctor-y and giving me slightly-more-knowledgeable-than-that-of-the-average-person-but-let's-not-forget-he's-not-a-fertility-specialist advice, he just listened, asked questions and made sympathetic noises.

And then he said, "It's sometimes hard for [SIL] and me to know what to say, because we're worried that anything we do say will sound a bit hollow, but we want you to know that we both think of you such a lot, and that all the family are constantly praying for you."

I'm not sure if he was also conscious of the timing and that's why he suddenly spoke up out of the blue, but I'm so pleased he said it. Between this and the conversation with my mother yesterday, I feel so much more supported.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

I told my mother

I was talking to my mother this morning about plans for the next couple of months, which are pretty hectic with my sister's baby due and my brother and SIL and their seven children coming over from the US on holiday.

I mentioned that I wasn't always finding the excitement about my sister's baby easy, because of the fact that I found out she was pregnant the day I realised I had lost Rucksack and Ray-Ray. And she said that she'd been thinking about that too, and wishing that she could do something to help.

I'm so glad I brought it up, because I don't think she would have done, and we actually had a really good talk - about next steps at XXXX clinic, our adoption plans if this doesn't work, and about my sister's situation.

I want to make it clear that I know my sister's situation is also not ideal - her husband works long hours and usually doesn't get home during the week until after the children are in bed, this fourth baby was unplanned, they don't have a lot of space in their house, and she has her own health issues. This baby will be loved and welcomed by everyone, but it does make her life more complicated. And the reality is that being pregnant when you didn't want to be can be as difficult and life-changing as not being pregnant when you did want to be.

Anyway, we had a really good talk, and I now realise that although they never made it beyond the bunch-of-cells stage, Rucksack and Ray-Ray (and little Viennetta) have not been forgotten. And knowing that somehow makes it easier to look forward to the birth of my next nephew or niece with a whole lot more positivity.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Thank you for all your lovely comments to my last post - I do feel better about things now (probably because there have been no more of those e-mails since I wrote it).

I realised this morning how relaxed I've become about waiting for this IVF cycle. I felt a bit crampy and wondered why, and it took me a minute or two to twig that it's that time again and I'm having ovulation pains.

I'm also feeling relaxed about the idea that it would take a miracle of Lazarus rising from the dead proportions for us to conceive without help. My back is now sufficiently recovered to consider a bit of light exercise, and DH had just the perfect sort of exercise in mind. And we've just been enjoying it, without any thought about timing, or whether or not he manages to produce the goods, or any of the other things I've stressed about over the last couple of years. So I know I won't get pregnant this month, but somehow that thought isn't wiping the satisfied smile off my face...

I'm also looking towards the end of the month and thinking about this cycle that may be starting in a couple of weeks. Workwise, the timing is not ideal, and some aspects of it might be very difficult. I'm thinking that I'll have the blood test on CD 1 anyway, and just see what happens. My FSH level might be too high, or there might be some other reason not to go ahead, and at the moment I don't think that'll disappoint me too much, because it'll give me another month(ish) to keep taking the supplements and preparing myself mentally, and my work commitments are not quite so difficult to get round in late May/early June (although there are other things going on in early June that will make it difficult to be in London as much as I'd need to be for a treatment cycle, so maybe late June/early July would be best).

I suppose one of the things that makes me hesitant is superstition. You see, about a year ago, a lot of people on the TTC forum I was posting on were getting 'angel readings' from some woman over the internet. You'd go onto her website, pay something like £15 and leave your e-mail address, with no other details, and she would do a reading and e-mail it to you.

Now, as far as I know, there is nothing on that TTC forum to link my username to my real name and e-mail address. And I deliberately went onto her site through Google, rather than clicking any links that people had put on the forum. So other than the fact that she'd been discussed on this forum, and that a lot of women had consulted her in a short space of time who all wanted to know the same thing, there was no way for her to know what I wanted from her.

The response that I got immediately identified that I was worried about whether I would ever have children. She also picked up that my age was a concern and made a couple of other accurate statements about my situation.

I thought at the time, after a year of TTC, that her comments about the pain I had suffered as a result of being unable to conceive were a bit over the top. Of course, since then the pain has been piled on in bucketloads, and a year later I don't think her comments are over the top at all.

Anyway, she said that she was getting a very strong message that I would have a baby, and that it would be loved and welcomed by all my friends and family. And she said that July felt like a very important date to her, but she couldn't work out whether I would conceive in July or get my BFP in July.

This time a year ago, July seemed ages away, and I hoped she was wrong and that I would conceive earlier - but of course, I didn't.

And so now, with another July really not so far away and seeming like the clearest month for me to have treatment in, I'm slightly paralysed with this fear that she might have been right, and that if we go ahead with a cycle before then, it won't work because the timing isn't right.

The sensible part of me says that I'm not getting any younger. Mr Greek God was very clear that he thought as soon as my FSH was right, we should go ahead, because it might be our only chance. And there are other good reasons not to delay deliberately, like the difficulty of keeping us both on this strict dietary regime for that length of time, and the fact that Mr Miracle Worker likes the actual treatment cycle to be as close as possible to the monitoring cycle so that he can use the information that he got from the monitoring cycle to indicate the best course of treatment for the real thing.

But this stupid reading is really messing with my head. I know I should never have had it done in the first place, but the fact that it said several things which were accurate and which the woman couldn't have known in any way I can explain pulls me up short and makes me wonder if I should wait. And then I keep trying to convince myself that maybe the cycle month isn't important, because last July was a significant date for us in that it was the month we finally got tested and joined the IVF rollercoaster.

OK, so maybe the fact that barely an hour goes by without me thinking about these things means that I'm not quite as relaxed as I think I am. And maybe that's another good reason not to delay any further. I'm just kind of hoping that the decision will be taken out of my hands, one way or the other...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I'm a horrible person

I'm sure everyone's fed up with my whinging recently - I'm fed up with it myself. But here's another whinge...

When my family send e-mails to each other, we generally copy in the whole family so that we all keep in touch and know what everybody's up to. My sister's due date is coming up early next month, and every e-mail that my SIL in the US sends has a special message for her at the end. Sometimes it's just to send love to her in particular, other times it's talking about what a wonderful time this is in her life, or to let her know that they're thinking of her.

And of course, there was lots of attention and special care and talking about when the baby comes when we were with the family at Easter.

I truly don't begrudge her any of it. I'm happy that she's having this baby, and when the baby comes, I'll love it as much as I love all my nephews and nieces.


Apparently I'm the only person who remembers that the day I found out she was pregnant was also the day I realised that IVF #1 had failed. The only person who ever thinks that if it had worked, if my little embies had been able to cling on in there, I'd only be a few weeks behind her now.

Obviously, I don't want anyone bringing the mood down by putting reminders of that in family e-mails. Nor do I want anyone to stop thinking of her and praying for her at this special time in her life.

I don't really know what I want. But what I do know is that every time I see another group e-mail sending special love to her, it feels like I've been stabbed in the chest. And then I feel guilty for being such a horrible person. I suppose it would just be nice to have some sort of private acknowledgement from someone that this could be a difficult time for me.

But in this hyperfertile family, how can I expect them to understand how I feel? I know if I told anyone I was feeling this way, I'd be told to pull myself together and stop being so self-centred. I'm trying, and I'll never breathe a word of how I feel to any of my family (except Jeannie, who reads this blog), but however much I repress it, I can't help feeling this way at times.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Monday, 12 April 2010

Money talk

You may have noticed blogging was a bit light at the end of last week. This is partly because work has been very busy, but mainly because DH's father has been in hospital since Thursday, so the Family Taxi Service has come into operation in a big way (and DH has realised all on his own how much easier life will be when he can drive).

So we've been driving over to his parents' house, which is about 20 miles away, to pick his mother up, and then most of the time I've been dropping DH and his mother off at the hospital and finding a convenient place to wait for them until they're ready to be picked up, because the parking at the hospital is ruinously expensive and there's no other parking available within walking distance.

The great thing about all this time in the car with DH is that it's a great time to talk. And you know what our discussions always come round to in the end...

On Saturday, it started off as a conversation about how SIL would really like MIL and FIL to move closer to her, but they're reluctant to leave the house that they've lived in for over 40 years. We talked about how they had scrimped and saved, and how much it had stretched them to pay £4,500 for that house. This got onto talk about savings generally, and about what their purpose is, how they should be spent, and ... the cost of IVF.

Yes, there we are, it only took four moves to get from "MIL and FIL are getting old and we're worried about them" to "how many more IVFs are we going to have?"

I've been really nervous about this next IVF. I'm excited, because I think we're in the right place now and that if anybody can get us pregnant, Mr Miracle Worker and his team can. DH and I are agreed that IVF #1 and #2 weren't a total waste, because they were the right course at the time with the knowledge that we had, and they taught us that we are the sort of problem case that needs a bit more help than that clinic gives. But in many ways it feels as though we're starting again with the vastly different approach that they have at XXXX clinic. I have huge hope for this round, and I'm excited to get started.

At the same time, I'm terrified. For as long as we don't get started, I have hope - huge, crazy amounts of hope. I even had my first ever BFP dream recently. I've been calculating how far along I'll be at particular times, thinking about how and when I'm going to tell people, thinking again about names... And then I catch myself up short and think, "We agreed that we'd have three attempts, and this is our final one. And we're running out of money, and this treatment is likely to be twice as expensive as an IVF at the old clinic. What if it doesn't work?"

On Saturday, I tentatively suggested that if this next IVF doesn't work, but we get a better vibe from it than the previous ones, I'd be tempted to try a fourth time. I said that the two IVFs at the other clinic were totally different and that IVF #3 felt like a whole new thing, and I wasn't sure if it was fair only to give it one chance.

And DH agreed! He said he'd been thinking the same thing, and that at this stage, he didn't think we should rule anything in or out - we'll wait and see what happens, and if IVF #4 feels like the right thing to do, then we should do it. Or if moving on to apply for adoption feels like the right thing, then we should do that.

This communication thing is amazing! I feel so much better about everything now. We also talked about the whole not-sticking-to-the-programme thing, and we've agreed some ground rules on that too - although I think I just have to accept that he's going to continue to make me out to be the baddie in front of other people when he wants something he's agreed not to have.

And a bigger mortgage and no savings won't be such a bad thing - we'll just have to keep working for a bit longer...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Planning again

I had a call from the clinic during the week. It was the nurse I spoke to about my immune test results - she had a note on my file that she'd left me a message, but had forgotten to record that I had called her back, so was calling to check that I knew the results.

We discussed what happens next. Mr Miracle Worker likes to do hysteroscopies as close as possible to the start of stimming. Since I'm on the short protocol again and I won't be able to start stimming unless my FSH is at the right level, this gives a pretty small window of opportunity.

So the nurse said I should call them in a week or two just so they know they're expecting me. Then I go in for a blood test and a scan on CD 1. Assuming those are OK, they do a hysteroscopy on CD 2, then I start injecting on CD 3.

I was a little bit taken aback by this and said, "Ummm, isn't doing a hysteroscopy on CD 2 a bit, ummm ... messy?"

I don't think she really got what I meant and just said, "No, it'll be fine. Don't worry about it."

She obviously hasn't seen the Niagara Falls that is my AF on CD 2, and I'm really not very excited at the thought of all those tourists visiting the Falls that day.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The perfect family

I have a friend to whom everything in life has come easily. She sailed through school, went to one of the top universities in the country, won prizes in her professional exams, met her husband at university, fell pregnant with her first child the minute she stopped taking the pill, and was pregnant again as soon as she decided she wanted a second.

Her Facebook status updates are all about how brilliant and amazing her first child is - and recently we've had loads of updates about how eager she is to meet her new baby, how she really hopes to go into labour soon, and then asking for prayers as she goes through labour (pausing in her journey to the hospital only to update her Facebook status).

And now she's had her perfect second child - she has a boy and a girl, with the perfect age gap between them, and her perfect life continues.

She, of course, advised me that I should just relax and it would happen. She also told me about her friend who got pregnant as soon as she started the application process for adoption, and her other friend who got pregnant naturally after a failed IVF. Apparently the only reason I haven't had a baby yet is because I have the wrong attitude.

Can I just say how much it stuck in my throat to write 'Congratulations' on her Facebook page yesterday?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


The story goes that there are two queues at the pearly gates for men to get into Heaven. One of the queues is for henpecked husbands, and it stretches for miles and miles and miles. The other queue, for husbands who reckon they have never been henpecked, has never had anybody standing in it - until the day St Peter notices one grey-haired little man nervously standing there on his own.

St Peter rushes up to the man and shakes him by the hand, saying, "This is amazing! We've never had anybody in this queue before! Every man in Paradise is going to want to shake you by the hand! Tell me, how is it that you come to be standing here?"

And the little man clears his throat nervously and in a low voice, he says, "My wife told me to stand here."

Unfortunately, my DH thinks it's highly amusing to give everyone the impression that he's henpecked - and my family have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, and all keep telling me to give him a break and not to be so bossy with him. I told him on Sunday night how much it bothers me, and he agreed that he was being unfair, that he was playing it up and giving them an unfair impression - and then he did exactly the same thing again on Monday.

We've agreed together that we want to have a baby. We both have issues - and although I've tried to shield him from it in an attempt to boost his confidence, his sperm count is one of the worst I've heard about in all the reading I've done. We both agreed to do something about it, and we both agreed to get this hair analysis done and to take the recommended supplements. And we've seen that it is having an effect - which is why I'm anxious for us both to continue doing it for the full recommended length of time and not start backsliding and undo the good that we've already done.

So why is it that when he's with my family, he'll either completely ignore the things we've agreed to do (so that I either have to bite my tongue and see the good work of the last couple of months be undone in a couple of days or say something and be seen as the bad guy) or he'll be on the verge of accepting something he knows full well he shouldn't have and will then turn to me with a rather pathetic look and say "Am I allowed to have this?" (again, making me out to be the bad guy)?

And then my parents and my sister will say to me, "Leave the poor chap alone - he can make his own decisions" - completely ignoring (or unaware of) the fact that we made these decisions together.

So DH gets all the support and sympathy because he finds it hard to follow the programme that we have - let me say this again - BOTH agreed to, and my family are all criticising me for getting upset when he goes back on our agreement.

And does he think I find it easy to follow the programme? We're both giving up things we enjoy, and if this works, I'll be giving them up for a lot longer than he has to.

So that's why I'm so grateful for the support that you all give me, because sometimes it feels as though in real life, I have no support at all.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Right decision - probably

Well, AF was due on Good Friday, and the original plan involved staying at home until Saturday so that I could get a blood test at the clinic on Saturday morning before heading off to visit my parents.

Having decided not to go ahead with this cycle, we left home on Friday morning, picked up DH's parents and dropped them at his sister's house, then got to my parents' house in time to go to church with the family.

And as for AF - the old witch didn't show up until Saturday morning! I'm taking this as a good sign - my cycles have got shorter over the last year or so, and had settled at about 25 or 26 days, with heavy spotting for two or three days before AF showed up. Since we started the new regime, I've had no spotting. The last two cycles were 26 days, and this one was 27. I know when I ovulated, and it seems that what is getting longer is the luteal phase, which was on the short side - getting more normal in length is good, I think.

But if I'd been hanging around at home waiting for a blood test, I would have been very frustrated and concerned at AF not showing up bang on time, and it really would have ruined all my plans for the weekend, so I'm glad I made the decision I did last week.

Apart from the erratic behaviour of AF, the weekend was good - but I'm very anxious that we should be able to go ahead with the next cycle, because I'm not sure my nerves can take much more of DH's cavalier attitude. On Easter Sunday, I said we could both have a bit of a break from being strict about our regime. For me, this meant a couple of pieces of chocolate and half a glass of champagne. For DH, it meant eat what you like with no pretence at moderation, and drink three pints of bitter and a couple of large glasses of wine.

By the time he rolled back from the pub, I was already in bed, fighting back tears and wondering whether there was any point in continuing to do this if he won't take it seriously. I did cry when he walked in, and I think that was a good thing, as it made him realise how much this is bothering me, and that it's not something I can do on my own. He promised to try harder to avoid alcohol and not to go over the daily recommended limit again until we finish with this regime - as I said to him, it's only four months out of our lives, but if he won't commit to doing it for those four months, we might as well give up now.

But we've arranged to go and see an old friend of his in the middle of May - and this friend ALWAYS gets him drunk. He won't want to say why he's not drinking, so I can guarantee that he'll be getting plastered that day. And then there's the World Cup, and my brother in the US is visiting in early June, and the occasions when DH is going to find it hard to say no to a drink are going to multiply.

So I think it was the right decision to postpone our treatment cycle this month - but I really hope we can go ahead next month, before DH drives me totally batty.

Thursday, 1 April 2010


This being Holy Week, I went to a penitential service last night, followed by Confession for the first time since Holy Week last year.

Of course, a lot has happened since last Easter, and in particular we found out that we weren't going to get pregnant without help and I agonised over making the decision to go ahead with IVF in spite of my Church's teaching.

So I was a little trepidatious about going to Confession, to say the least. I wasn't even sure if I could ask for absolution or say the Act of Contrition, because to do either of those things, you have to promise that you'll try not to sin again - and if doing IVF is a sin, then I had every intention to sin again.

I explained the situation to the priest, and said I knew the Church taught that it was wrong, but I saw it as a medical solution to a medical problem, that we had made sure no embryos were discarded in the process, and that because it had failed the first two times, we were planning to do it again.

I then waited for him to tell me he wasn't able to absolve me. He was hearing Confessions at the front of the church, in full view of the congregation, and I wondered if I would be able to get out of the church before the tears began and I made a complete fool of myself.

This priest is a man for whom I have great respect. He is holy, thoughtful, and you can tell that he puts a lot of thought and a lot of love for God and for his congregation into his sermons. He paused a while before he spoke, and I knelt there trembling.

And then he said that he thought I had misunderstood the Church's teaching. That if we had a medical problem, it was not sinful to seek medical treatment for it, as long as we made sure that human life was respected in the process.

And then he said, "I want you to have more faith in God's love and His forgiveness." And I did cry, but they were tears of happiness and relief.