Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I think you might be right...

Myndi mentioned in her comment on my last post that her oestradiol had been elevated on one cycle because of a cyst. I've been thinking about that and looking back at what happened in my previous cycles, and I think she may be onto something.

The doctor who scanned me didn't mention the word 'cyst'. But on each ovary, the thing that was there was 14mm - and surely that's too big for a normal follicle on day 2. The cyst that I had in September was 17mm, and on IVF#1, after five days of stimming at a very high dose, my biggest follicles were 14mm and Nurse Perfect was saying I was almost ready to trigger.

So I'm pretty sure that I have at least one cyst, and probably two. And since these cysts are caused by a failure in ovulation, perhaps that explains why I had no ovulation pain last cycle, as I usually do.

If that's the explanation for my high oestradiol, then I'm fairly comfortable that it ought to come back down in the next one or two cycles - and if I can just keep my FSH down as well, then we should be going ahead soon. So I'm now thinking cyst-deflating thoughts, just in case...

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Ho hum

Well, I went in for my scan and blood test yesterday. The doctor who did the scan wasn't very hopeful. There was one obvious follicle (or potential follicle?) on my left ovary. He then took ages to find my right ovary, with me saying, "The left one was pretty quiet on my last attempt - the right one produced a few more." When he did eventually find the right one, there was only one follicle there too.

I've already mentioned that XXXX clinic doesn't use computers. When you're queuing for a scan, they give you your file to take upstairs and you sit with it outside the door of the scan room. This gives a perfect opportunity to have a nose through your file while you wait, and I was able to compare the notes for last month - "Not suitable for treatment" - and this month - "May not be suitable for treatment". An improvement - but was it enough?

When I left the scan room, I read the note the doctor had added - again, it said, "May not be suitable", so everything was riding on the results of the blood test.

I had my 'Teach' session with the nurse, just in case the results came in OK. There was another person there for the session - she was on the long protocol and this was her first IVF. Our concerns and questions were a little different, shall we say.

Anyway, having had Gonal-F and Cetrotide last time, with Ovitrelle to trigger, this time I'll be on Merional and Fostimon, with Cetrotide to prevent early ovulation and Pregnyl to trigger. The fact that I'll be on a completely different regime gives me hope. I am a little nervous about having to break the glass vials, though.

Another thing that gives me hope is that I picked up a piece of paper in the waiting room with the latest results from the HFEA, and XXXX clinic's success rate in my age group is 40% - twice the rate of any of the other London clinics, and almost four times the rate of our old clinic. Given that 75% of patients at XXXX clinic have had previous IVF failures elsewhere, this success rate is phenomenal.

Despite this hope, I was prepared to be told that this month would not be suitable. I then had to wait for the rest of the day to get the call to confirm one way or the other. This afternoon I had to take my MIL to visit my FIL in hospital - he has just had a second operation, having been diagnosed with cancer. The call didn't come until almost 6 pm, just as I was turning into her road to drop her back home. As I picked the phone up, I accidentally pressed a button and cut the damn thing off - you can imagine my frustration.

Anyway, the nurse who called was the same one I'd had the teaching session with in the morning. She said that having reviewed my results, Mr Miracle Worker had decided that this was not a suitable month to start cycling. So that's it for another month, as far as the clinic is concerned.

It's funny - I thought back to how devastated I was when my first ever cycle was delayed last year. But this time I felt a mixture of disappointment and relief. Of course, I now know that a delayed cycle is so much less traumatic than a failed cycle. I only want to go ahead if there's a good chance of success. But I so want to get a shot at that 40% success rate.

So if you're the praying type, please pray that both my FSH AND my oestradiol will be within the acceptable range next month - because apparently I've been thinking too much about my FSH and not appreciating the importance of the oestradiol level. And hopefully the downward trend will continue as I relax more and wind down towards finishing work in August.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Delivering the message

You know what I really enjoyed about that phone call yesterday?

The first thing the nurse said to me was that my oestradiol level was a bit high and that Mr Miracle Worker wanted to do another test before deciding whether I should go ahead with treatment this month.

But then I asked for all the numbers - oestradiol first, because that was the first thing she'd mentioned, and then FSH.

The emotion that she put into that single word, "Seven", was amazing. I could hear the smile on her face, and her voice was full of excitement, as though she were sharing some wonderful secret with me.

I said, "But that's the lowest it's ever been!"

And she instantly responded, with the same smile in her voice, "I know - that's why we want to try to go ahead this month."

It's a big clinic with a lot of nurses and an even greater number of patients, and I doubt if either of us could pick the other out of a line-up, but we shared a real moment of excitement over my day 2 hormone levels. I suppose they must get as fed up with delivering bad news as we do with hearing it. A phone call with a bit of good news in it was a boost for both of us yesterday.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Drum roll, please

Don't ever let anyone try to tell me FSH levels aren't adversely affected by stress.

The clinic just called with my results, and they're the best ever - FSH 7 (yes, seven - that's a little over half what it was when first tested), LH 3.2, oestradiol 222 and prolactin 292.

I'm so excited about my FSH level - but this is a little tempered by the fact that my oestradiol is back over the magic 200 number. Although it's the FSH they concentrate on more, the high oestradiol apparently still makes me borderline.

My instructions are to go in for a scan and another blood test tomorrow, and on the basis of those they'll decide whether or not to recommend going ahead with treatment. I don't know if it's a sign of optimism on the nurse's part that she said I'd need to plan to be there for a while tomorrow so that I can have my injection training etc.

Please keep everything crossed for me...

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Here we go again

Today is CD 1, so I've just arranged to go in tomorrow for another blood test. Hopefully this time my FSH will be a bit lower again and I'll be able to start IVF #3.

What I didn't tell you about the excitement of the other day is that the first time it happened was on day 13 of my normally 26-day cycle. I usually ovulate around day 13, so for the first time ever, this put me in with a chance of a 100% natural conception.

Of course, Mr No Nonsense's words of last year were ringing in the back of my head, when I told him about our problem and he said, "With these sperm results, it wouldn't have happened anyway." But I was also aware that DH's sperm had improved significantly since then.

So when my AF was due on Monday and there was no sign of it, I tried not to get excited, but I was a little distracted. And when I got through the whole day at work yesterday and there was still no sign, I was a little more distracted.

I remained a little bit realistic - I kept telling myself that I was waiting for AF to show up because I needed to arrange my blood test, and reminding myself that although I think of my cycle as being like clockwork, I have been a day late before.

I have to confess, though, that I enjoyed a couple of days of day-dreaming about what it would be like to find out that I was pregnant, imagining telling DH he was going to be a father, calculating how many weeks gone I would be by the time I finished work...

But when I saw last night that AF was on her way, and then when I woke up to a full flow this morning, I wasn't too sad, because the delay was just long enough to ensure that it's OK that I can't go into London today and that I'll be just fine doing the blood test tomorrow.

I'm hoping for a nice low FSH number after being on holiday this month, sorting out my work situation and generally being less stressed than I have been for ages. But if I don't get it, we have another month of trying naturally - which makes me feel as though there's only two weeks to wait rather than four before we have another chance.

So all in all, it's been a nice couple of days with my head in the clouds, and when I came down to earth it wasn't with the crash that it has been on so many previous occasions. And now we'll see what happens next...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Out of context

When one of my US nephews was about 3 or 4, he saw his preschool teacher in Walmart. Normally outgoing, confident, and very fond of his teacher, his first instinct was to hide - she wasn't meant to exist out of school, and he was completely thrown by her presence in the real world.

Yesterday I knew how he felt. I was in Starbuck's in town with a friend, and Nurse Perfect from my old clinic walked in. I suppose it wasn't all that unexpected - I did know that I live between the clinic and her home, because she once offered to drop some drugs off for me on her way home, and my town has a Saturday market and a couple of other attractions that make it worth the occasional visit.

I don't know if she saw me, and even if she did, I don't know if she recognised me - my face wasn't the thing she was usually looking at when I saw her, and the part of me she is most familiar with isn't usually on display in a coffee shop. Even so, and even though I loved her when I was going through treatment, my face started to burn and I sank lower in my chair and had to mumble excuses to my friend about how hot it was getting next to the window.

I wonder what the correct etiquette is here in buttoned-up Britain when you bump into your ex-IVF nurse when she's off duty...?

Friday, 18 June 2010


I wasn't sure whether to blog about this, but it's a story that I would have loved to hear a couple of years ago.

When we married, DH and I were both virgins. It took us a few days to figure out how to get that thing to go in there, and once we did, we found that we had another little problem. I did a bit of googling when I got back home, and discovered that there was a name for it - delayed ejaculation. Subsequent reading indicated that it was actually more like situational anejaculation.

This meant that our TTC was always a bit more mechanical and a bit less romantic than one might have hoped - we tried various methods of DIY artificial insemination over the first several months of our marriage before eventually going to the clinic last July. When Mr No Nonsense asked us if we had any problems, we told him about it, and his immediate and blunt reply was, "Well, it wouldn't have worked anyway, because you don't have enough sperm."

Since then, of course, DH's sperm have improved hugely thanks to the regime we've been on - but we still had the basic problem with getting them anywhere near my (elderly) eggs.

And so we come to the big news - last Monday, for the first time ever, and after more than two years of trying, DH successfully finished the job. And a week later, he did it again, proving that it wasn't just a one-off fluke.

This is a hugely big deal for us - it means that, however slim the chances of success, we finally get a chance to TTC like normal people. We still have all our other issues, but we finally have an element of hope that we never had before.

So if anyone stumbles across this who is in the same situation I was a couple of years ago, I have this to say - it can be hugely upsetting and frustrating, but if you stay calm, try not to let it become an issue between you, and persevere, it can eventually come right even after you've resigned yourself to it never happening.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I'm back!

After our weekend away, we went off on holiday with US bro and his family and my parents. The place we stayed at claimed to have internet access, but at £7 per hour it was access I wasn't prepared to use!

We went to the seaside, and it was the coldest seaside holiday we've ever had, with fog to boot on the first day. Other than the weather, though, it was a good break, and lovely to get to know my nephews and nieces again after spending very little time with them on their last two visits (for my wedding and UK bro's wedding).

The legal process for the redundancies has been grinding on, and the holiday gave me time to think about what I want to do. My department is being reduced in size and we have to reapply for the jobs that are remaining. I discussed it with DH and with my parents and SIL, and it all boiled down to 'what would I regret more?'.

The answer then became fairly clear - if I carried on working and then failed to get pregnant, I'd always wonder whether leaving that job and taking a bit of time off to relax and destress might have helped. If I left this job and didn't get pregnant, I could always find another job, and if it's not as well paid as this one - well, we don't actually need as much as I earn at the moment.

So when they phoned me on Monday to give me the formal notification that the consultation has finished and I'm 'at risk of redundancy', I told them I wouldn't be applying for one of the new jobs. Yesterday was my first day back in the office, and I had a meeting at which I confirmed that and was told what my package will be. It's an amount that if I'm careful, I should be able to live on for about a year - though to put it in perspective, it's also about the amount that we will have spent on IVF by the time we've finished IVF #3.

Although I'm redundant, I'm still needed for the moment, so my agreed finishing date is in early August. I'm in the happy position of having to beat off unwanted job offers at the moment, but I'm trying not to burn any bridges, and to say 'not right now' rather than a straight 'no'.

So the stress is reduced, and I'm hoping the way is clear for IVF #3 to start next week. I also have some other news which I consider rather exciting, but I'll keep you in suspense for that until tomorrow - I'm off to catch up on everyone else's blogs now...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Gone fishin'

Thank you so much for all your comments and your support - it means a lot to me.

And you're right about how supportive my family are. When I mentioned my brother's news to my mother - it was rather tentative, since I didn't know whether he had told her yet, so I just said, "Have you spoken to ___ and ___ yet? - her instant response was, "Yes - it just gets harder, doesn't it?" I so appreciated the fact that, although I know she'll be excited to have another grandchild, I didn't have to pretend with her. I hope they all know that I am genuinely happy for them - I'm sad for me, and the timing sucks, but I don't begrudge them their happiness in any way.

Anyway, I may not be around much over the next few days - my US brother and SIL and their seven children are staying with us until Monday. I've managed to find bed space for everyone, and have bought a mountain of food - when the woman on the cash desk in Costco saw my trolley, she instantly offered me executive membership! It'll be exciting having eleven people for three nights in a house that only has one bathroom, but I'm sure the neighbours will help us out if there's an emergency!

Have a great weekend, and if you're in the UK - enjoy this beautiful sunny weather. (Also, please think of me tomorrow - as well as having my hyperfertile brother and his family staying with us, we're going to Niece #4's christening tomorrow, and it'll be the first time I see my little brother and his wife since they announced their news. Could the weekend get any more child-centric?)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Out of turn

Thank you so much for your supportive comments last night. I wasn't able to be more specific in that post, because I'd been asked not to tell anyone else in the family, and one of my SILs reads this blog.

So here's what happened. I was home alone while DH had another driving lesson, and the phone rang. It was my little brother - the one who got married last year, just over a year after we did.

In rather hesitant tones, he said, "We've got some rather unexpected news."

Now, when I say that I specifically prayed that this wouldn't happen just yet, I don't think I was being horrible. They do want children, and I obviously want it for them as well, because I wouldn't wish what we're going through on anybody, especially not someone I love. But they weren't planning on having them just yet - in fact, the timing isn't brilliant for them, since my brother is also facing possible redundancy and they're currently living in temporary accommodation while doing up an old ruin of a house they bought last year.

My lovely brother didn't specifically say anything about our situation, but he did tell me that I was the first to know, and it was clear to me that it was because of our situation that he made sure we heard it first and had time to get used to the idea before everyone else started to burst with excitement.

And that's one of the things I hate about this whole IF business - it affects everybody. When my sister got pregnant with #4, she and my BIL agonised over how to tell me, and worried about upsetting me. My little brother has obviously thought of our situation and made sure he tried to tell me in a sensitive way. And I know when he told my parents and my sister, one of their first concerns would have been about how I would react.

It shouldn't be this way. The whole family should just be greeting the news of another new little life with nothing but joy and happiness, not worrying about whether the news will upset me. I don't want to be this person.

The trouble is, though, I AM this person. I cried buckets last night, and I'm crying again as I type this. I managed to sound excited for my brother, and I truly am pleased for him. I know he hasn't taken the whole baby thing for granted, and has thought about the possibility that they might not be able to have children when they wanted them. But they've still managed to do it - unplanned, and at a time when my SIL has been travelling for work so much that it's astonishing that they managed to fit it in.

I'm grateful for two things - first, that my brother was thoughtful enough to tell me first, so I can get used to the idea before everyone else starts talking about it. Hopefully, he'll have no idea that I'm anything other than excited for him.

Secondly, I'm grateful that I heard over the phone and that I won't be seeing any of my family for a few days. I hope that by the time I do see them - at #4's christening this coming Saturday - I'll be able to talk about it without crying.

Truly, it's not that I'm not happy for them. But they got married over a year after us. I just feel as though we've now truly missed our turn. I'm also now terrified to go ahead with IVF #3. If it fails, then when their baby is born I'll be in exactly the same position as I was a couple of weeks ago when waiting for #4 to be born - reading excited family e-mails and thinking of what could have been if my IVF had been successful.

DH is wonderful - he held me while I cried last night, and he made all the right noises. My brother is wonderful, and so thoughtful to tell me the way he did. But life? Well, it pretty much sucks.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


This weekend, I very specifically prayed for something not to happen right now, because I didn't think I'd be able to cope with it.

It was a bit of an odd thing suddenly to pop into my head, because it wasn't something that was on the cards at all, and I also prayed for the strength to cope with it if it unexpectedly did happen.

And today it happened.

I don't even know why I suddenly thought of it this weekend, but it was the one thing I was hoping not to hear about this week. I'm gutted, but I also feel horrible for feeling this way.

Sometimes life is very, very unfair.