Thursday, 10 November 2011
Some of the things that have kept me away are things I can't tell you about, but others are things that I think many bloggers before me have experienced.
I've had a lot of worries and a few major panics since I've been pregnant. I had bleeding at 8 and 12 weeks - proper red blood, about the volume of the first day of a period, followed in each case by a week of spotting. I felt like I was holding my breath until I reached 12 weeks, but I felt guilty about writing about my concerns, because I knew that there were people who might be reading who would give anything to be in my shoes. It just didn't seem fair to complain about being worried, or feeling sick, or not being able to sleep, or anything at all, when actually I was conscious every minute of every day of how incredibly lucky I was to finally be pregnant.
Anyway, I'm now at 16 weeks 5 days. Everything looked good on my 12 week scan - they even bumped my due date forward a few days, because the baby was measuring ahead of dates, though I'm ignoring that, since I know exactly how old the baby really is. Last week I had another appointment with the midwife and heard the heartbeat for the first time (when I've had my scans, I've only seen it).
Right now, I'm waiting to develop a bump which looks more baby than blubber. I think I may have felt the baby move at the weekend (when one of my nieces was lying on my tummy), but haven't really felt anything since which I could say was definitely not just gas, so I'm looking forward to feeling proper kicks more regularly and being able to tell for myself that the baby is still there and doing OK.
I've been overwhelmed with how thrilled people have been for us - not just friends and family, but random people that I've done jobs for over the last year, my nieces' teachers, and even my doctor and the ultrasound technician at our NHS 12 week scan.
Every time someone gets excited on my behalf, I keep thinking, "But what if it all goes wrong and I have to tell all these people that I lost the baby?", and then at the next opportunity I secretly poke my boobs to make sure they're still hurting - and they always are (probably because I spend so much time poking them)!
I also moved straight from feeling sick most of the time to having indigestion and heartburn most of the time, and although I've now been prescribed something to help with the indigestion, I feel fortunate that amidst all this worrying, there really have been very few days when I could say that I didn't feel any different from normal and therefore start panicking that this might mean things had started to go wrong.
I probably won't update very much over the next few months, though I will definitely tell you if anything major happens (like giving birth!). So I just want to thank you for continuing to show an interest, and for all the huge support that so many of you have given me over the last few years.
I may not be updating, but I'm still thinking of you...
Saturday, 3 September 2011
And yes, there's only one. Realistically, I'm relieved that this means there are likely to be fewer complications. Secretly, though, I'm a little disappointed that it also probably means our baby will be an only child - and I feel very ungrateful for feeling any sort of disappointment when I've got what we have longed for for so long.
I was thrilled and relieved to discover that because I'm on all the immune treatment, the clinic wasn't going to discharge me as soon as I'd had my first scan. In fact, I get another scan two weeks after the first one, and then another again at 10 or 12 weeks. I don't think I could have stood waiting for six weeks between scans at this stage, so I'm hugely excited that we'll get to see the baby again in only another 10 days or so.
The clinic only prescribes enough drugs at each appointment to last until the next one, which I suppose is sensible in case anything goes wrong and the drugs are no longer needed, but this caused us huge stress on Tuesday. We were in a strange city, four hours from home, and had no idea where we could go to fill our prescription. After we'd been to two pharmacies that didn't have half the stuff we needed, I rang the clinic in despair and a lovely lovely lady phoned round for me, found a place that had most of what we needed, and then got the doctor to write another prescription for everything they didn't have, because one of the problems we had is that you have to get everything on a single prescription in the same place.
The sticking point was the gestone - nobody had any. I had my jab for Tuesday evening, so sent DH into London with the gestone prescription on Wednesday morning with instructions to pick it up from one of the pharmacies near XXXX clinic during his lunch break. He phoned me in a panic at lunchtime, having tried several different pharmacies and been told the same story at each - there's a national shortage of gestone and he would find it very difficult to get any before the middle of September at the earliest.
After much angst, and the longest lunch break ever for poor DH, he eventually found a pharmacy which had been keeping back two boxes (exactly what we needed) for someone else who hadn't turned up to pick them up, so he sweet-talked the pharmacist into letting him take the two boxes.
That afternoon, I had a lot of twinges in my stomach and some other fairly odd feelings, and I managed to convince myself that although we'd seen a heartbeat the previous day, the baby must surely have died. I felt really sad, and worried every time there was another twinge. I also googled like crazy, and read that if I was miscarrying I could usually expect heavy bleeding and stronger cramps than I was feeling - but I have several friends who've had missed miscarriages, so that only made me feel a little bit better.
Since then, I've been on crazy symptom-watch - am I feeling as sick as I was last week? Why don't I get that dizzy feeling any more? Am I weeing as much as I was? It's 10 pm and I haven't collapsed with exhaustion yet - why not?
And the answer is that I think everything's fine at the moment. Last night I felt as sick as a dog, and this morning I was woken at 5:30 by a wave of nausea that was so strong I really thought I was going to throw up for the first time.
I'm trying my best to go with the flow and just enjoy this whole experience without worrying about every little thing. But don't expect me to be sane or rational for the next few weeks...
Friday, 19 August 2011
Since our BFP, the week has passed in a bit of a blur of pregnancy-related stuff. I had to sort out my prescription for the next two weeks' worth of drugs - I have to stay on all the drugs (gestone, Clexane, prednisolone and oestradiol valerate, as well as prenatal vitamins and calcium tablets) until we reach 12 weeks, but for the moment they've given me enough to last until our early scan at the end of this month.
I've calculated that our due date is 20 April next year, and that as of today, by the weird and wonderful method that the medical profession has of calculating these things, I am officially 5 weeks pregnant. I did another test on Thursday morning, just to make sure, and the line came up instantly and was as dark as the control line.
I'm still absolutely wiped out with exhaustion in the afternoons and evenings, and have had enough nausea and dizziness (sort of a seasick feeling) to reassure me that there's definitely plenty going on in there.
I also find very few foods particularly appealing - though strangely, this baby is obviously a bit of a health freak, as the things that are most unappealing to me are the unhealthy treats that I usually enjoy. Today, all I wanted for lunch was vegetables with chickpeas, and I almost cried when I opened the cupboard to find that we were out of chickpeas. I suppose you could add 'more than usually emotional' to my list of symptoms - tears spring to my eyes at the slightest provocation.
The most irritating symptom I have, which I think is mainly caused by the gestone, is insomnia. Last night went like this:
10:00 - take the last of my daily drugs and settle down with relief to go to sleep. Fall asleep quite quickly, as I normally do at the beginning of the night.
11:30 - DH comes up to bed and wakes me up. Never mind - I have to get up to pee anyway.
12:00 - still awake, and staring at the glowing numbers on my alarm clock.
12:30 - I must have fallen asleep at some stage, because I've just been woken up by a couple of idiots shouting outside the bedroom window. Never mind - I have to get up to pee anyway.
1:30 - I can't get back to sleep, and DH's gentle snoring in my ear is really starting to irritate me. I briefly consider smothering him with a pillow to make the noise stop, but decide this baby really deserves to have a father, so move to the spare room instead. Never mind - I have to get up to pee anyway. I'm also feeling increasingly nauseous, so I munch on a couple of breadsticks before settling down in the spare bed.
2:00- I'm wide awake and surfing the internet on my iPod, desperately trying to get myself sleepy enough to get back off to sleep.
2:30 - My eyelids are finally drooping, and I put down the iPod and manage to get to sleep quite quickly.
4:45 - DH stomps past the spare room on his way to the bathroom, waking me up again. Never mind - I have to get up to pee anyway.
5:30 - I'm finally asleep again.
6:10 - DH's alarm goes off and wakes me up. As the spare room is closer to the bathroom than our bedroom is, I manage to nip into the bathroom before he can get there - I have to pee again.
6:15 - I crawl back into our own bed and take the first lot of drugs of the day.
6:45 - I'm vaguely aware of DH bringing me up a drink before he leaves for work.
7:30 - My alarm goes off. I wake up for long enough to reset it for 8:15, and then I'm sleeping like a baby once more. So why can't that happen in the middle of the night?
8:15 - My alarm goes off again. I'm not ready to wake up, and could quite happily roll over and go back to sleep again for a few more hours - but never mind, I have to get up anyway to go and pee again.
For the moment, I'm quite happy to have whatever inconvenient or uncomfortable symptoms I get - I've waited for this moment long enough, and these are all signs that I may at long last be going to achieve the one thing that I've wanted all my life - to be a mother.
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Well, what a couple of weeks it's been. We had our transfer two weeks ago tomorrow. For the first time, we were given a photo of the embryos. I felt very emotional when the embryologist showed it to me just before the transfer and said I'd be able to take it home afterwards. Somehow, it just made the whole thing more real.
The first two embryos that they defrosted survived and were doing well, so they didn't have to defrost any others. These two were expanding blasts, and the embryologist said that after the thaw they had started to reinflate very well. And here they are, looking plump and beautiful - and I've barely been able to stop looking at this photo since.
After the transfer, we were sent away with an HPT and told to test in two weeks (ie, tomorrow). We didn't go home for a couple of days, and then we were pretty busy, but last Tuesday I had every intention of updating you and posting that photo.
Before I could do that, last Tuesday evening I started spotting. It was only a tiny amount, it never turned red and it never increased, but it was there on and off from Tuesday to Saturday, and I was completely freaked out by it and convinced that we had failed yet again - and just too depressed to tell you about it.
Then the spotting stopped altogether, and other things started to happen. I noticed that a few things smelt a lot stronger than usual, and that some odours were making me feel a bit... peculiar. The AF feelings in my stomach didn't subside, but nor did they lead to any bleeding. I started to be hit with crushing waves of exhaustion which would actually leave me feeling dizzy for a couple of minutes. And my nipples were a little bit tender and so prominent that you could practically see them through my duvet.
I started to have a faint little shoot of hope, but I didn't want to jinx it by saying anything to anybody, so I stayed away from my computer and just prayed like mad.
I also had an incident where I pulled back on my gestone syringe, as you're instructed to do to make sure you haven't hit a vein, and it filled with blood - so I had to discard that injection and start again. That meant I was one injection short, and when I called the clinic to tell them, they said it would be OK if I tested a day early. I didn't tell anyone, not even DH, figuring that if I got another BFN this morning, I'd be able to lick my wounds for 24 hours before I had to tell anyone else.
Yesterday evening I was peeing every half hour, and just before I went to bed I felt very peculiar - exhausted, dizzy, slightly nauseous. And I just had a feeling that maybe we might have been lucky this time.
So this morning, while DH was pottering around getting ready for work, I took my official HPT into the bathroom, carefully pipetted (is that a word?) three drops of urine into the sample area, and waited. The control line came up straight away, and I stared at the test area in disbelief as it stayed stubbornly white... for about half a minute. Then something else started to happen, and after another minute, it looked like this (apologies for the crappy photo from my phone):
I've subsequently gone on the bulletin board for this clinic and seen loads of people say that the tests the clinic gives out are unusually insensitive, and that most people get very faint lines on them.
So it would appear that after 3 years and 3 months of trying, 2 years of fertility investigations and treatments, 3 failed IVFs and endless months of not even being able to get started with treatment because my hormones weren't right, I finally have my first ever BFP!
We still have a huge long way to go, and I know a line on a pee stick in no way guarantees that I'll have a live baby in my arms in nine months' time. But that moment when I went downstairs, showed the test to DH and said, "This line means I'm pregnant" and saw the look on his face as he gradually realised what I meant is one that will stay with me for ever as one of the best moments of my life.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Yesterday we finally made it to the clinic for the scan - it took so long because they wouldn't let me use the satellite clinic and we had to have a couple of clear days so we could go up to our main clinic.
The polyp is still there - it's at the top of the lower third of the uterus, and is about 3-4 mm, so pretty small.
One issue we have is that this clinic doesn't do hysteroscopies, so if I wanted to have it removed I'd have to arrange to have it done somewhere else. I rang XXXX clinic, and they said they couldn't do it for me, but also said that if it was small and not 'impacting on the uterus' (whatever that means), they wouldn't bother anyway.
The consultant we saw yesterday - who was absolutely lovely - was fairly equivocal about whether he thought we should abandon this cycle and get the polyp removed. He said some studies indicated that it might be a good idea, but we should make the decision ourselves and I should stay on the buserilin until we decide.
I've consulted Dr Google. There are lots of people on the forums talking about having to abandon cycles in order to have polyps removed. I also found this useful book which has information on various studies that have been done. Unfortunately, none of them is really conclusive, but it seems that the greatest evidence for polyps affecting the outcome of IVF treatment is with polyps over 1.5-2 cm (way bigger than mine). It seems that polyps don't affect implantation rates, but may have an effect on the likelihood of miscarriage - but again, this is not certain and may only involve polyps over 1 cm.
The other imponderable is that there is some evidence that oestrogen causes polyps to grow - I haven't started taking oestrogen yet in this cycle, but if when I do it makes the polyp grow larger as well as making my endometrium thicken, then this would be a bad thing.
If the clinic did hysteroscopies and polypectomies, I think it would be a no brainer - I'd just go ahead and let them do it. My problem is in deciding whether this is a big enough deal to make me not only abandon this cycle after over 5 weeks of downregulation and have a further delay of what could be a few months, but also have to find another clinic that will do the polypectomy and have yet another set of doctors poking at my bits.
Yesterday we were all ready to go ahead. Right now this minute, I think I've talked myself into thinking that if this cycle ultimately isn't successful, I would have fewer regrets if I had had the polypectomy than if I hadn't - whereas if it is successful, I won't mind the extra time and expense anyway.
This is hard - I wish the consultant had been a little less wishy-washy in his advice and had just definitely told me what he thought I should do...
Monday, 27 June 2011
My lining was nice and thin, both ovaries were inactive, and it only took two nurses three attempts to take a bit of blood from me (which is fine - I know I have difficult veins, and the bruise really isn't that big).
But ... there's always a 'but'.
It seems I have another polyp, and the consultant rang this afternoon to say they want to do another scan to see whether it's likely to get in the way of implantation. Someone will ring me to arrange the appointment, so for the moment I'm in limbo again.
I asked if they could just do the hysteroscopy and get on with it if necessary, without abandoning this cycle. The answer was no - they don't do hysteroscopies at this clinic, so they would have to refer me to the NHS (which would take for ever) or I'd have to find another private clinic that was willing and able to do it at short notice.
Suddenly my stress levels are increasing again. I really don't want to abandon this cycle, but if there's any chance this polyp will adversely affect the outcome, I don't want to carry on until I'm rid of it.
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I'm doing OK so far - I've felt like AF was on her way for the last four days or so, and I'm getting a bit bloated in the evenings. I got a bit overemotional about a misunderstanding yesterday, but to be honest, I think I'd have got overemotional about it even without all the drugs - someone I'd never met before was basically questioning my integrity and was quite rude to me, and cancelled an arrangement that I'd made with his wife without consulting her. The story's a lot longer and more involved than that, but I found it very upsetting.
On Thursday I dropped in at our first clinic to pick up copies of some paperwork that the new clinic wanted. I was surprised to feel absolutely nothing as I walked in - I think the scars from that first treatment have healed over now.
It still doesn't really feel real that I'm going to have an FET within (hopefully) the next month or so. I veer between feeling confident that it'll work (which is actually quite a rare feeling) and being absolutely certain that it won't. In reality, I just can't imagine any treatment ever working for us. The universe isn't fair, and it's not a question of waiting for 'my turn'. The total unfairness of what has happened to Egghunt confirms that, and I feel desperately sad for her. It's been her 'turn' for as long as I've been reading her blog, and I can't believe how much crap she has had to put up with, and continues to have to deal with.
So I'll keep sticking needles in my stomach and keep plodding on to the next stage, but at the moment it feels more as though I'm doing this because I'll regret not having done it if I don't, rather than because I think there's a baby at the end of it. The hardest thing is coping with the expectations of others, who are convinced whatever I say that it's going to work this time. I can finally see the value of not telling people what's going on, but keeping my mouth shut and not answering questions honestly when people ask is just not in my nature.
And so we wait...
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Once they were dressed and all the sticky syrup had been cleaned up, I left them playing while I phoned the clinic to get any last instructions and pay the final bill for the medication.
We then went out for the day to a model village near where I live. My sister and Niece #4 joined us at lunchtime, and I took loads of photos. The weather was beautiful, and we ended up going round the village three times and having two reasonably long stints in the play area.
I came home, relaxed for a few minutes with a cup of tea, gave myself an injection, then settled down to watch some of my favourite programmes on the telly. DH was out boozing with his colleagues - a rare occurrence, but one of them was leaving on Friday, so they were giving him a good send-off.
Yesterday, I did my Saturday morning chores, went through my photos and uploaded some of them to Facebook for my family to see, wandered down into town with DH, where I had an eye test and we went for a coffee in Starbucks, read the newspapers in the sunshine, gave myself an injection, then in the evening we ordered a takeaway curry and ate it in front of the telly.
Do you see what I'm getting at here? At the moment, these injections are no big deal at all - I even have to set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to take them. I'm also totally relaxed about DH having a nice evening out with his friends, even if he did text me from the train to say that he'd had a bit too much to drink and would sleep in the spare room.
Part of what makes me so relaxed is that I'm not worrying about the quality of my eggs and DH's sperm this time round. Part of it is that I haven't yet had to go to the clinic. They sent all the drugs by post, and they've already been knocking around the house for a couple of weeks. When I phoned them yesterday they just told me to call again when AF shows up, to book my downregulation scan. So it's all very low key, and I don't have enough hormones swimming around my body yet to have turned me into IVFzilla (much to DH's relief).
The next fortnight is going to be very busy with work, then I have a brief hiatus of a week or so before I head into another very busy period. So my mind will have plenty to occupy it, and I hope this means that the relaxed attitude will continue.
Part of my mind is already preparing me for what feels like inevitable failure - I've had so many disappointments, I almost can't bear to hope that this time we'll be lucky. But another part of my mind is remembering how July was meant to be an important month for me, and calculating that either my transfer or my test (or maybe even both) should definitely be taking place in July...
Saturday, 28 May 2011
I'm doing a medicated FET, so have to start by downregging - this will be the first time I've done this, as all my IVFs were on the short protocol. All being well, I'll be starting with daily injections of buserilin this coming Friday.
My new business is one which is always likely to be busiest in May, June, July, and then in October, November and early December. I'm really pleased to have several bookings for late June and early July, but it does mean that appointments are going to have to be juggled to fit round work - with such a new business, I can't turn stuff down, and most of the bookings are for specific events and so can't be varied. I think it'll be good to have work that I enjoy to take my mind off obsessing about the treatment, and I've worked out my dates quite carefully so that they shouldn't clash with any appointments - as long as my body is playing ball.
It's been a busy week - in fact, a busy six weeks, with trips to three different countries for three different major events in the lives of our friends and family - but this weekend we're home and can relax and recharge our batteries. My sister's coming for lunch tomorrow, and we're going to see DH's parents on Monday, but for today I can just potter around and do very little - bliss.
It's funny - I haven't really thought further than the logistics of starting to take the drugs and what monitoring appointments I might need (to avoid clashes with work bookings). It's as if I was just planning to do injections for a few weeks and then get back to normal.
In reality, of course, I hope that 'normal' is going to be looking very different from now on...
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
#2 (a propos of nothing): When I grow up, I want to be a mummy.
Me: That's good. I'd like to be a mummy too.
#2 (turning to look seriously into my eyes): But you're not a mummy. Before you can be a mummy you have to get a baby in your tummy.
Me: I know.
#2: My mummy has had babies in her tummy. But you've never had a baby in your tummy.
#2: You can't be a mummy until you get a baby in your tummy, you know.
And so it went on. A 4-year-0ld has a great way of grabbing hold of a topic and not letting it go...
Monday, 23 May 2011
Last time DH met up with his best friend, they discussed IF matters. Their entire conversation went something like this:
DH: "We're having trouble having children."
BF: "Us too. We've been for tests."
DH: "Us too. Do you want another drink?"
This was over 18 months ago, and I've been nagging him to contact BF ever since. When he came home and relayed the conversation to me, I asked him for more details, but he didn't have any. After a couple of months had gone by, I said that even if he and BF didn't want to talk about it, BF's wife and I could be a support for each other, if we were going through the same sort of things.
Last week DH finally got round to calling BF. I was out working all day, and came home in the evening exhausted. The first thing he said as I walked through the door was, "I spoke to BF. Guess what? His wife's 8 months pregnant. IVF - first attempt. On the NHS."
I'm not sure how long they'd been actively trying, but when I first met them, before we were even engaged, DH told me that the car they drove had been specifically bought with a view to it being a family car. They had said that they weren't trying yet because the time wasn't right with their jobs, but who knows whether that was just an excuse to avoid having to talk about it?
I don't think I was as excited by the news as he might have hoped. In fact, I felt like he'd punched me in the stomach. Maybe if we'd been in touch with them while they were going through all the testing and then the treatment, I'd have felt more in tune with her and been as excited as she was when she got her BFP. To get as far as going through IVF, there must have been some pretty major bumps in the road, and some times when they thought it was never going to happen for them, and they must really have wanted it to happen - and as someone who knows exactly what it's like to go through all that, I should be delighted that they've finally got what they wanted.
As it is, I'm left with the feeling that they've had it easy. One minute they're 'having tests', and the next thing I know, they're popping out a baby, courtesy of the good old NHS. And once again, we've been left behind.
Am I allowed to admit that I'm a teensy bit jealous? And that I won't be quite as insistent on nagging DH to keep in touch with them over the next few months?
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
There was a couple sitting directly in front of us, on their own - probably about our age. I noticed that when the mothers were invited to stand up, she remained sitting. And I also noticed that her husband patted her thigh a couple of times and then held her hand tightly during the blessing.
Funny, the way you come across infertility so often once you know it's there...
Thursday, 28 April 2011
One of our UK trips last week was to visit the new clinic. We had meetings with the donation co-ordinator, the counsellor (it's compulsory to have counselling before any sort of donor treatment here, although I do wonder how useful a single one hour session would be if you hadn't already worked through the issues beforehand) and the consultant, as well as the usual scans and blood tests.
I found the whole scan experience mildly amusing, as there was a new nurse there who was learning the ropes and asked if she could sit in on my scan. Over the next half hour or more, I sat there half naked in the most undignified position as the experienced nurse gave the new nurse a very thorough tour of my reproductive organs ("This setting allows you to see the blood flow to the uterus... And if we press this button here, we can get a 3D picture of her left ovary", etc). Fortunately, after 3 full IVF treatments, I have no more pride and simply followed the show with great interest.
I loved our new consultant. I was a little anxious at the possibility of an unmedicated FET, because after my body has let me down so many times in the last three years, I don't really trust it any more to do what it's supposed to do. So I was delighted when he listed out all the drugs that he was planning to give me. We gave him a copy of our file from XXXX clinic, and he saw that I had had immune treatment there and said he would do the same - as much to reassure me as anything. He said they usually give progesterone in pessary form, and I found myself saying that I felt more secure with gestone by injection. He didn't question it, just noted a reminder to himself on the file to prescribe gestone for me - so I've let myself in for another fortnight (or hopefully longer if it's successful) of having a dead leg.
All in all, we felt really positive about the whole experience, and are now looking forward to getting started with the FET - probably some time in June or July. And in the meantime, I have some more relaxing to do...
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
So, what's been going on for the last month?
Well, having got the news about the embryos, I went in for my blood test hoping that I would get a clear answer one way or the other - and I did. My FSH was 14.1, which was the highest it's ever been.
This was the signal we needed that we were making the right decision, and although I did have some sadness when I heard the result, I immediately contacted the new clinic to accept the offer of the embryos.
We've been in a bit of a holding pattern since then - having filled in a pile of paperwork, we were given a date for our initial appointment at the clinic, which will be in a couple of weeks' time.
This all happened about five days before Lent began, and for those five days DH and I indulged ourselves in all the things we enjoy that we have been denying ourselves for the last couple of years - treats like wine, beer, chocolate, a cream tea... And now it's Lent, and the reason I'm depriving myself of any of the things I enjoy is completely different and not surrounded by stress and angst.
It's been unbelievable how as soon as we had properly made the decision and come to terms with it, it was as though a huge weight lifted off both our shoulders. I've been so stressed for so long about our IF that I'd stopped even realising how profoundly it was affecting me - barely an hour went by over a period of about two years without me worrying in one form or another about whether I was doing the right thing, whether there was anything extra that I could do to improve our chances of being parents, whether we would ever have children, etc, etc.
I don't know whether our donor treatment will work, and I know I'll be devastated if it doesn't. But it's unbelievable the extent to which we are now comfortable with the idea that we're never going to have a child that's genetically related to us, and the extent to which I've managed to relax over the last month.
So although I'm sorry I've been so neglectful of my bloggy friends over the last month, and I have still been thinking of you and praying for you even if I haven't been following your blogs, in my case I can definitely say that no news has been good news for me, and I'm enjoying this period of calm before the upcoming turbulence of our next round of treatment.
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
This last month has been a fairly difficult one in many ways - coming to terms with yet another disappointment, the new baby obsession in the family with another new niece coming along, the sudden realisation that even if we hadn't decided to give up on our own eggs and sperm after this month, we have other commitments in the next two months which mean we probably wouldn't have been able to try again anyway before June... I've also been very busy with work, but now have a quieter period coming up which will hopefully allow me to concentrate on other things.
Anyway, today is CD1 - two days early again, just to keep me on my toes, so tomorrow I'll be heading into XXXX Clinic for what will almost certainly be my final CD1-3 blood test for treatment with our own eggs and sperm.
And a couple of weeks after my first call to her, the person I spoke to at the new clinic has just called me back and said they have a couple of embryos available for us! The physical characteristics of the donors are broadly similar to ours, and if we say yes it should all happen pretty quickly.
The embryos have also been offered to another couple, and basically the first couple to accept them will get them. I need to find out what DH's work schedule is over the next couple of months, and how easy it's going to be for him to get time off - he's just been put onto a new project at work which could change things a bit, and the new clinic is 200 miles away, so he would definitely need time off for appointments. We would need to see the consultant there and also have compulsory counselling at the clinic before going ahead with the procedure.
The co-ordinator is out of the office until Monday, by which time we'll have the results of my blood tests at XXXX Clinic and will know whether we're going to go ahead there.
I'm almost tempted to say we should just forget about the appointment at XXXX Clinic and go straight ahead with the donor treatment - these will be embryos from a batch that has already successfully produced at least one living child, and we all know my track history of IVF failure.
But one way or another, by this time next week we could be one step closer to becoming parents!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
So I admit it - first, I stupidly allowed myself to get a bit hopeful that a miracle might have happened when AF showed up two days late. But of course, show up she did.
Then I went in for my blood test yesterday and my FSH and E2 levels were good - 9 and 184 respectively. The nurse commented how good they were, and seemed pretty certain that we'd be starting on the short protocol today - provided today's blood test and scan were OK. And again, I allowed myself to get hopeful and started working out how I would fit my work in around trips to London for blood tests, etc.
I went in this morning and the scan showed up a clear right ovary, but two cysts on the left - one at 10mm, the other at 13mm. There were three possible outcomes - aspiration probably tomorrow followed by an immediate start on the short protocol, starting straight away with the follicular protocol, or being told that yet again this wasn't a suitable month. It all depended on the blood test, and stupidly, I allowed myself to hope that it would still come out OK. After all, it looked as though I had two chances out of three.
So I was pretty upset when they phoned and gave me the same old rubbish about this not being an ideal month, but if the same thing happened next month we'd go ahead with the follicular protocol.
I pointed out that this is what I'd been told in December, and it HAD happened again, so surely we should be starting this month. No, the nurse said Mr Miracle Worker wanted to see if the cysts would go away on their own. I pointed out that I have had at least one cyst 10mm or above EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY'VE SCANNED ME, from last March onwards. I even had one when we did our cycle last July. So they're obviously not going to go away on their own, and leaving it one more month is just wasting another month while I continue to get older.
So I don't get to go ahead, but nor do I get closure, because they're still dangling the possibility before me of something happening next month. We'll go ahead and contact the new clinic about donor treatment anyway, because we'll probably have to go on a waiting list with them and we might as well get the ball rolling. And if next month I finally get a chance to have a last shot at XXXX clinic, we can always remove ourselves from the waiting list if it's successful - not that I'm holding my breath.
I don't know if I'm so upset because I had allowed my hopes to get up over the last three or four days.
Or because I'm moving on to the next plan without getting any sort of closure on the current situation.
Or because I'm angry that the clinic seems to have gone back on the promise they made me in December and won't properly explain why or respond to my arguments.
Or because I'm just so fed up with the answer to my prayers always being the same - "No, not for you".
Or maybe it's because everyone else in my family is so excited today, because my latest niece was born in the early hours of this morning. And I can't read all the messages of congratulation, and my brother's excited post on Facebook, without crying so hard that the computer screen in front of me disappears into a blur - and I'm sorry to say that they're not tears of joy, but of self-pity.
Tomorrow I'll be ready to face the world again. I'll be excited about my new niece, and making plans to go and meet her.
But for today, I have a nice big piece of work to do which is not difficult but requires total concentration, and I'm going to wash my face and bury myself in that piece of work. And if the phone rings, I'm going to ignore it, because just for today, I can't bring myself to be excited about yet another person getting what I want, at the same time as trying to come to terms with the fact that it looks more and more likely that I'm never going to have it.
Sometimes it's easier not to have any hope, because the higher the hopes, the greater the disappointment.
Sunday, 30 January 2011
I'll say it cautiously, but it looks as though my dream of still being self-employed by the end of the year is one dream that will come true in 2011 - I won't make a fortune, but this month I made enough to cover the bills with a little bit left to tide me over the less profitable months. I've got enough work to keep me going flat out till the end of February, and several good leads for the coming months. That's quite an achievement after four months of self-employment, and I still love my new boss!
The other dream for 2011 is never far from my mind, and I'm on another huge health kick with the supplements, wheatgrass, healthy diet, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, etc. Still going to reflexology and coaching sessions, trying to get more sleep at night, having some really good discussions with DH and feeling happy that we're so much more on the same page at the moment. Waiting for my latest niece to show up - her due date was on Friday.
I can't do more than I'm doing, and I'm hoping against hope that it's enough.
Monday, 17 January 2011
I saw the reflexologist this morning, for the first time since before Christmas. She said she can feel that I'm very stressed, and this is something that really needs to be dealt with. As she put it, if there's a blockage in a river, the water can't flow - and in my body, there's a blockage caused by stress which is stopping the hormones from flowing the way they should.
So she said I should stop worrying about trying to pick up the pieces after everyone else and solve all their problems, and concentrate on what I need. (Funny, it's exactly the sort of thing my coach says as well.)
The thing is, it's easy to say. In fact, DH and I both have trouble relaxing, and we have this thing where one of us will notice the other is getting a bit too stressy about something and scrunch all our muscles up really tightly, making our hands into tight little fists, as we say, "RE-E-E-E-L-A-A-A-A-A-X". It makes us laugh, but doesn't resolve any of the issues.
Last week, it was money I was worrying about. On Thursday, I talked about this with my coach. By the end of the day, two things had happened. The first is that a nice big chunk of work landed on my lap, which will comfortably pay this month's bills (and now I just have to worry about finding the time to get it all done without dropping any of my other balls).
The second is that I broached the subject with DH, and he said he had always found it hard to understand why I was so insistent on paying my own way, and that as soon as I said the word, he would be happy to sit down and talk about rearranging the family finances so that I didn't have to contribute as much until I was earning more. He also reiterated that as far as he's concerned, my number one priority at the moment shouldn't be to earn money and pay bills, but to relax and do whatever I feel I need to do in order to give us the best possible shot at succeeding in our next IVF.
Does it help that I've had it forcefully pointed out to me yet again that all the pressure I feel comes from myself, and that nobody else is making any demands on me?
Well, if it didn't sink in the first million times, why should it sink in any easier the million and first time?
How does a control freak relinquish control without worrying that the world will fall apart? If I stop madly juggling to try to keep all my balls in the air, it won't stop me worrying - I'll just worry about different things. Am I putting too much pressure on DH? How will X cope if I just suddenly withdraw the support I've been giving them for years? What if we start relying solely on DH's income and then he gets made redundant as well? Shouldn't I be working as hard as I always have, rather than sitting about trying to feel relaxed? What about saving for our retirement? What if we end up with a baby, but can't actually afford to feed and clothe it? What if I drop everything else in order to make this work, and then it doesn't work anyway? How would I pick everything up again?
So my immune system's shot to pieces, I've already had a cold and a stomach bug this year and we're only halfway through January, I'm trying to juggle self-employment in two completely different lines of work (one of which I'm already making a bit of money in and know I can continue to do so, the other of which I enjoy and want to do full-time if I can ever start making enough money, but have no bookings at all for January), my diary is getting fuller and fuller, I'm not sleeping again, and telling myself that I need to relax only makes me more stressed.
There's too much riding on this next month, and knowing that the only way to make it work is to relax more really doesn't help. If only I could hibernate...
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
My silence hasn't been for lack of things to talk about.
There was the lovely text I got from my sister on the feast of the Holy Family, which ended with the simple words, "Praying for your family on this feast."
There was the New Year's Eve party with a group of friends who had all, for various reasons, had a hard time in 2010, where at midnight we raised our glasses and said goodbye and good riddance to the old year.
There've been a couple more helpful sessions with my coach, who has helped me to change my perspective on some things and to be more positive.
There was the flat feeling I had in the first week of the new year, when I felt that I was in exactly the same position as I was at the beginning of 2010, and hadn't moved on at all. My coach helped me to see that this wasn't the case, and I may write a separate post on that.
And then this weekend AF showed up two days early, and I went back to the clinic for my blood test yesterday, full of hope that we would get started on this new protocol that Mr Greek God proposed shortly before Christmas.
I knew it wasn't going to be good news when the phone call didn't come until 6 pm, because they tend to call people who need to come in the next day first, and then the ones who don't.
Sure enough, although my oestradiol was nice and low at 73, my FSH was up again to 12.6, and Mr Miracle Worker is not willing to go ahead with FSH at that level, knowing that there have been a few cycles recently when it's been lower.
Having had my hopes raised last month, I was actually more gutted than I have been for a while to get this result. Whenever I've had a call from XXXX clinic telling me that it's not a suitable month (and that's happened several times over the last few months), I've been disappointed but philosophical, knowing that the aim is to choose the month with the best possible chance of success. Yesterday was the first time I can remember crying when putting the phone down on that call.
The reason I'm so upset by it is that it gives me yet another difficult choice. We had decided that if my levels weren't right this month, we would go ahead with donor embryo treatment. I don't think I'd realised how much I was hoping that this wouldn't happen. Also, because of the renewed glimmer of hope we were given last month with the promise of a new protocol, I feel once again unready to let go of that little bit of hope.
I discussed it with DH last night, and he listened and contributed to the discussion with a level of understanding, both practically and emotionally, that he didn't have this time last year.
The upshot of our discussion is that we are going to wait one more month to see whether my FSH comes back down in February and they allow us to try this new protocol. If not, then we get in touch with the donor clinic. I don't want to set off down that route until I've given up hope on the route we're currently travelling. In November, I'd almost lost hope and was ready to make that decision. In December, I was given a tiny bit of hope to cling onto, and it seems to have moved my thinking backwards.
It's funny how being given a little bit of hope can actually muddy the waters and make a decision harder, rather than easier.