The report is in!

My recovery cuppa...not quite the NHS dishwater in Styrofoam cup!

My recovery cuppa…not quite the NHS dishwater in Styrofoam cup!

Yesterday I went in for egg collection at Lister….let me tell you people, private hospitals are the way to go! This was my first experience of having an actual procedure in one (apart from all the appointments/blood tests etc in the clinic) and it was brill!

Anyway, onto the important bit! The consultant managed to get 7 eggs, which is one more than my first fresh cycle last year although she did say that a couple were from smaller follicles so might not be mature, but had already kind of expected that as only had 4 leading follicles at the scan on Monday.

Then we had the agonising wait to this morning to find out the fertility report. Unfortunately DH had to go into work so I got my mum round to wait for the call with me. It came at 10.30….4 of the eggs fertilised, the other 3 weren’t mature. I think I was hoping for 5 to fertilise so am slightly disappointed but mostly just relieved that we’ve got some! In our last round we had 6 eggs, all fertilised and 4 went to blastocyst. So I’m kind of expecting to lose 2, which will leave us with 2….2 is obviously better than none but, man. I’m having a bit of a hard time today with the ‘but its so unfair’ feelings. A colleague of mine has just had non-identical twins. She managed to pop out 2 embryos for free and I’ve spent the best part of £10k on a maybe. I’m getting really sick of this shit.

Just been talking to DH about getting our lives back for a bit. If this cycle doesn’t work, and we do manage to get a frostie I just don’t think I’ve got it in me to do a FET before our wedding in October. It takes so long to get back from the brink of despair – its harder each time and don’t think I can do it twice before the wedding. So if it doesn’t work then I think we’ll just have our lives back again for the rest of the year. We’ll eat what we want, drink what we want (well, obvs not anything, I will be on a wedding diet!!) and just be us again. Three years of relentless ttc-ing has been so exhausting and as awful as it is to not have our baby, it would be way worse to not have each other. I think it will be time to just be normal again for a while.

And that sounds pretty amazing right about now.

Booked in

Apparently the universe decided I haven’t already had enough medication-buying induced stress as on Saturday morning when Healthcare at Home were supposed to deliver more Gonal F, they didn’t. I called them. Their fertility department is closed on a Saturday. Their ‘customer service’ department couldn’t tell me if it was or wasn’t going to be delivered at some point that day (it wasn’t).

So we called Lister in a panic. Luckily we called 10 minutes before they closed their pharmacy. The nurse who answered my call was amazing. She was so nice and calm and lovely. She collected the meds from the pharmacy and stayed at the clinic until DH got there at 2.30pm, even though she was supposed to leave at midday. Amazing. I’m SO angry at Healthcare at Home. If we hadn’t been able to get the meds from Lister the whole cycle would have been ruined – we would have lost thousands of pounds, but worse the last few weeks of drugs and stress and general awfulness would have been for nothing. As it was, it took poor DH 4 hours to get to the clinic and back as the trains and tubes had various engineering works going on. My hero.

Anyway, today we went along to the clinic again for a third stimms scan and have finally been booked in for egg collection on Thursday. I’ve got 4 follicles between 16-19mm and 2 at about 14mm. I’m hoping so much the smaller ones will catch up – I have to say I’m a bit disappointed to be on this massive dose of drugs for longer than I was on the lower dose last time, and at the moment have 1 follicle less. I’m trying not to stress about it as you just never know with IVF, nothing is a given – I’ve got to try to keep focused on just having one to transfer.

If we do manage to go to blastocyst like last time, transfer day will be next Tuesday – my birthday. Not sure how I feel about this. Wasn’t exactly planning a party but not sure spending the morning with a strange man putting his hands in my vagina is really the best way to celebrate! Said this to my sister, who is recently divorced and she said that’s exactly what she wants for her birthday!! I guess it’s a matter of perspective 😉

Give me all the drugs

Following my emotionally scarring fun trip to Whitechapel sexual health clinic last Friday, on Monday DH and I went on a little visit to our local ‘6969’ sexual health clinic in an attempt to get a chlamydia test that doesn’t cost us £70 (or £95 if I got it done at Lister). We did get it done…but we were at the clinic for three and a half hours. THREE AND A HALF HOURS!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the NHS, it is brilliant and the people who work there do so under very difficult, underfunded circumstances. But seriously guys…. THREE AND A HALF HOURS!!! The actual test took 10 minutes.

Also, I know the clinic is in Woolwich – the land that class forgot – but bringing your child with you to a sexual health clinic? Nice. At least you weren’t the only one that did it though… 2 toddlers and a baby there. (and yes, I’ve got my judgey knickers on again – I don’t care.)

Anywhoooo on Tuesday I went along to Lister to have my first scan since I started stimms 6 days before. The good news was that 14 follicles have started growing, the bad news they were all under 10mm and so not growing as much as they should. I was told to come back today for a scan. Later in the day the clinic called to say that the doctor had reviewed my scan and estrogen levels and thought my progress had been slow enough that they needed to up my meds from 300 units of Gonal F to 450….crikey! I’m pretty sure that’s the highest dose you’re allowed. It’s made me a bit nervy.

Today I went along again to the clinic with my mum to see how my follies are coming on after a few days on the massive dose of drugs. Turns out I still have lazy ovaries. I’ve got 8 follicles all growing fairly evenly but they’re still only about 14mm. How?!! How can they be growing this slowly on such a massive dose? Anyway, I’ve got to go back on Monday for another scan (when the trains are all up the spout due to bank holiday engineering works – brills).

So I’ve got an uncomfortable bloated weekend ahead with my SIL’s hen party on Saturday night and my brother’s 40th party on Sunday. Yay. Being sober, bloated and exhausted surrounded by drunk people. Yay.

The worst thing about the extra stimming is the expense of the extra drugs. I’ve now got to buy at least 2 if not 3 extra Gonal F pens. I went to the Lister’s pharmacy as I need the drugs tomorrow, rather than using the external drug company I usually use (Healthcare at Home) and it costs £100 more at the Lister for exactly the same drug? WTF??? Even worse, I need to get some extra prednisolone and asked them how much it is to get it at Lister – £55. I then asked Healthcare at Home how much they charge….£9. That is just DISGUSTING. This is what is wrong with private medicine – its just fucking money making.

In the end I managed to work out a way to get the drugs from Healthcare at Home in time for tomorrow but this all took lots of faffing and being on hold for aggggges before I could leave the clinic (as needed to be sure I didn’t have to get it from their pharmacy) so in the last week I’ve spent 7 hours in various clinics – all during working hours. It’s a bloody good thing I’ve got an extremely understanding boss, especially as I’m going to need more time off over the next few weeks.

So tired. Just so tired of it all.

Pissed off and judgey

I know IF likes to take the piss but this is just getting ridiculous now.

All my sexual health tests are still in date from my first fresh cycle, apart from the chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests which were done earlier. In an effort to keep the costs down for this cycle since we’re paying for it now I thought I’d get the tests done at my GP. But they don’t do it at the GP, I have to go to a specialist sexual health clinic. There is one near-ish to us (half hour drive) but I thought I’d be clever and go to one that is near work, meaning I’d have to have less time off work – a good thing considering how many appointments I’m going to at the moment.

The only problem is I work in Tower Hamlets, the most run down borough in London. So this morning I went along to Whitechapel sexual health clinic. There are no words. They pretty much used posters about domestic violence and prostitution as wall paper, and by the looks of the people around me, with good reason. (and yes, I know how judgey that sentence is but if you were there, you would be judgey too. And if you think I’m a bad person for this then you’re judging me for being judgey so where does that leave you?? Judgey, that’s where!)

I did the swab test in the grimmest toilets I’ve ever been in (including festival toilets and holes in the ground in Asia) and then waited for 45 mins. Went in and spoke to the woman who said ‘call this number on Friday and it will give you the result’*. I asked if I could get a print out of the result as my fertility clinic aren’t exactly going to take my word for it…and I can, but it costs £30 (and another £30 for DH) and I have to go back to the clinic next Friday, when I was planning to work at home as I’ll be exhausted as I’ll have been on stims for over a week and have 2 full days of meetings on Wednesday and Thursday (and will also have to fit in a visit to Lister on Thursday somehow). UGH!

So then I thought I’d go back to plan A and check if my local-ish sexual health clinic will charge me, and if not go and do the test again there. I got back to the office at 11.10am and went to call them. They close at 11am on a Friday.**

I AM SO FUCKING SICK OF THIS. Seriously, I feel like I’m going to break. I just want a baby, why does everything have to be so hard? I just want a baby.

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*She also offered me condoms….seriously lady, I’ve just told you I need these tests for my fertility treatment. I do not, and apparently have never, needed condoms!!

**Even in the throes of my anger/despair I couldn’t help but chuckle that the local sexual health clinic’s phone number ends in 6969….you can’t make this shit up!

I miss them

Babies. Toddlers. Kids. Little Monkeys. Horrors. Whatever you want to call them, I miss them. I used to love spending time with kids, playing games, running around the park, getting lost in a game of pirates. My life seems so much duller without them. But as this hideous IF journey has gone on its just got harder and harder to spend time with them, especially since we started IVF a year ago and even harder after each of our 3 failures.

I have a group of friends of 10 couples that I’ve known since we were teenagers (or at least one half of the couple if that makes sense). We’ve grown up together, taken each step together from hanging round parks to trying to get into pubs to clubbing every weekend to University, festivals, holidays, travelling the world, settling down, buying houses and now….DH and I are being left behind more and more each month as we repeat the step of ‘try to get pregnant’ over and over again. Most of my friends already have at least 1 child and I know at least 3 of the girls are planning second pregnancies this year.

We’ve always been so close but I hardly know their kids, and their kids have no idea who I am. We braved the tail end of a first birthday party recently and it stung to hear my friends’ todders call my other friends ‘auntie so and so’ but look at me with blank faces. I want to get back out there, I want to get to know them all…hell I want to be able to spend more time with my baby niece. She’s 4 months old and I’ve only seen her 3 times – my brother only lives 10 mins away. But the pain when they’re gone is so huge. The come-down in the evening after spending a day with kids hurts so much and I just don’t know how to deal with that.

The ache seems to be spreading to other parts of my life as well. I know I’m over emotional at the moment with starting a fresh round of IVF (not to mention down regging) but I can’t even handle watching nature programmes anymore. They’re always in most part about mothers protecting their young and it makes my heart ache that I will probably never have any young to protect.

And the other day my sister and I were reminiscing about summer holidays we used to have at the seaside with our cousins and THAT gave me a lump in my throat. Because I might not get to make memories like that with my kids. Now every time I remember something from my childhood I’m left with a sense of loss.

Even talking to my mum is becoming hard, especially at the moment as its the Easter holidays so she’s looking after my nieces and nephews. Every day is another brilliant activity my mum and stepdad have thought up for the kids to do and it breaks my heart that if I ever do finally manage to have kids my parents will be too old to do the things they do now with my brother’s and sister’s kids. My (maybe) kids will never know how amazing their grandparents are.

At the weekend I was talking to a friend who is a bit of a hippy…I’m pretty sure she’s the founding member of the ‘everything happens for a reason’ brigade but I love her anyway! She said “I think the universe only gives people as much as they can handle”

I know. Puke.

My reply was: “what a load of old shit, people kill themselves everyday – the universe obviously gave them more than they could handle didn’t it?!” We had to agree to disagree!

So in summary:

–          I miss kids but can’t be around them

–          I can’t watch nature programmes

–          I need amnesia to get through the day without crying

–          It hurts to talk to my mum

–          I’m 1 failed cycle away from bat shit crazy

The DR train

So, I’m back on the down regulation train. Good thing DR isn’t hideous and I hate it right? Right.

It all started in wonderfully traumatising style on Tuesday. I got up and did my injection – no problems with that – then in the afternoon I went into the clinic (I decided on Lister BTW) for a blood test for genetic karyotyping (I don’t know either), counselling and then an endo scratch. Waited 45 mins for the blood test (much longer than I ever waited with the NHS?!), then went into the counselling session.

DH and I had a session at Guy’s after our first failed cycle which we didn’t really find very helpful. The woman was annoying and just kept saying “and how does that make you feel?”…I know how it makes me feel lady – shit! Tell me how to not feel shit!

This time I went on my own and it was better. She obviously can’t make it all ok, and all the practical suggestions she had I already do, but I think it helped. We talked a bit about other options…about ‘looking over the edge’ of this never working which was weirdly helpful in a way….upsetting, but helpful. I have wonderful support in my mum and sister but whenever I mention my fears about it not working I’m hit with denial from them. As my mum always says “we’re not there yet”, and we’re not but I’m a project manager by trade. It’s my job to plan and I can’t stop my brain thinking of every eventuality. I’ve had 3 failed implantations. I’ve never been pregnant. My sister had 6 miscarriages. There is a very real possibility this is never going to happen for me. It breaks my heart to think of it but I have to.

We make ‘perfect embryos’ and because my womb looks ‘perfect’ but clearly isn’t – the only real options will be surrogacy or adoption (that’s a whole other post). I’ve had NK tests done at this new clinic and they’re putting me on steroids among other things but…well, I’m not full of hope. (As a side note: all those doing IVF check that your clinic does all the tests you’d need if using a surrogate. A friend had IVF a few years ago, had a baby and got some frosties. Now due to health issues she needs a surrogate to have another child and the HFEA are saying because she wasn’t tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea she can’t use her frosties…better to have an iron clad plan B even if you don’t think you’ll need it.)

Anyway, I digress. After the counselling I was feeling rather emotional obviously and then had to wait for 45 mins for my endo scratch. Whilst waiting an ex-patient came in with her baby…she didn’t have an appointment, just came in to see the nurses. I understand you are grateful but…..THIS IS NOT OK….EVER…..EVER!! About 5 nurses gathered around the baby and cooed over it for 20mins, including the nurse who finally called me for my endo scratch. Couldn’t help but think that at least half the delay was due to cooing…did not help my mental state. Trying desperately not to cry whilst a fairly elderly, but kindly gentleman has his hands in your hooha is not what I’d choose as a fun activity on a Tuesday afternoon but the actual ‘scratch’ was quick and not too painful…less painful than the cooing.

The rest of my week was also fairly hideous as I was crazy busy at work, rushing home, cooking dinner for the three 15 year old dance students I had staying with me and then carrying on working until 11pm. And then repeat. Ugh.

At least I spent Saturday at an amazing Hindu wedding, in a saree which was brilliant if rather difficult to keep the saree in place! It was so much fun and so colourful but a long day and by Sunday I felt like I’d been run over by a bus. Ahh DR exhaustion, it’s been a while.