I wasn't really enormously keen on getting started this month. There were several reasons for this - the cycles that I've had since IVF #3 have been so short that I just didn't feel ready, having mentally prepared myself to wait three months. The DHEA and vitamins that we were given after the last follow-up are meant to be taken for at least three months, and it hasn't been three months yet. I'm concerned that my cycle doesn't seem to have fully returned to normal since our last IVF. And I feel rotten this week because I've got a bad cold - yesterday I completely lost my voice, and had the greatest difficulty making myself understood when I rang the clinic.
Because of that last point, I was even more hesitant about phoning the clinic and getting my blood test done. I thought it wouldn't be fair on everyone there to take my coughing and spluttering into the clinic and spread my germs around. I even asked about this over the phone, and the person I spoke to told me not to worry about it, and that having a cold wouldn't affect the treatment if my levels were right.
Anyway, despite all my reservations, I went in and had the blood test. My levels were:
FSH - 13.4
LH - 5.4
Oestradiol - 146
Prolactin - 188
These numbers are almost exactly the same as when I was first tested at the other clinic last summer, following which I got half a dozen eggs and two embryos transferred in IVF #1, so they're certainly not disastrous. The FSH is, however, the highest I've had - despite one month of wheatgrass (I didn't order any more after the first month, because I read that it could affect the immune readings) and almost three months of DHEA.
The nurse who called with the numbers asked if I'd been very stressed lately, since she said this can have a negative effect on FSH. I instantly said no, because I feel as though I shouldn't be stressed now that my job, the main cause of stress in the past, is gone.
But of course, life isn't just about work, and I have had other stresses in my life recently - not least the worry about how I'm going to earn money in the future. And one sign that I probably have been more stressed than I was admitting to is that I've been sleeping badly again for the last couple of months - having some trouble getting to sleep in the first place, then waking up at about 3 and being awake for at least an hour, and sometimes for the rest of the night.
I'm pleased that my numbers aren't any worse, and it's kind of reassuring to know what's going on at the moment, but I'm also quite pleased not to have been starting with the IVF this month, when I just didn't feel ready.
So the next 25 days or so will be spent trying to get myself ready. There are three particular things I'm doing to address the stress - the coaching, following Circle + Bloom's Mind + Body programme, and today I'm going to call a reflexologist who's been recommended to me. She specialises in fertility issues, and I've read that this can help some people - since acupuncture did nothing for me, I'm going to see if this will work better.
I'm also going to get another month's supply of wheatgrass, increase my B vitamin intake, and really concentrate on cooking good, nutrient-rich meals over the next few weeks.
DH and I discussed going back on the Foresight programme. But by the time you've had the hair analysis done, got the report back, ordered the recommended supplements and received them, a good couple of weeks have passed, so DH suggested that we wait until next month, and then if my FSH is high again on the next test, we'll do the hair analysis. Last time round, we had to wait five months for my FSH and oestradiol levels to be good enough to start treatment, so we're half prepared for it to be a while this time as well - but hoping that November will be our month.
DH, by the way, has been very supportive this week, and is really trying to take more responsibility. I have also been stepping back and letting him make more of our joint decisions - things like "this letter came from the water company today - I've left it out so you can have a look at it and see whether you think we need the insurance they're offering", rather than making my own decision and binning the letter like I usually do, and also really asking his opinion on whether I should have the blood test and what we should do next, rather than (as I now see that I usually do) telling him what I think we should do and then asking if he agrees.
I'm not bothered that my FSH is a bit too high for this month, but I really really really want to get it down so that I can get started next month - so now the destressing begins...