Decisions decisions

After a fairly sleepless night the call came early this morning – 3 of our 4 embies had survived. One had 6 cells, two had 7 cells. The clinic advised us to wait to go to day 5 and try for a blastocyst, saying it was unlikely that we’d have any to freeze as only 3 left, but they also said they understood if we’d rather go for transfer today (day 3), and if so would recommend transferring 2.

What a decision to make. In such a short amount of time. We decided to go into the clinic to talk it through with the doctor (as only spoke to embryologist on the phone) but we’d pretty much decided to transfer the two today. The thought of getting to day 5 (which is on my birthday!) and being told that none had survived was just too too scary. It was also pretty scary going against the clinic’s advice – they are the experts afterall – but we just had to go with our guts.

By the time we got to the clinic (3 hours after the call from the embryologist) our little 6 celled embie had been doing funny things. It had gone from 6 cells back down to 4 cells – apparently this is very unusual. Embryos should not do this, normally they just stop growing not regress so the decision was kind of made for us. The doctor and embryologist agreed that with just 2 embies still going, the best plan was to just get them back into me today. I’m so pleased we followed our guts and went into the clinic, I really do feel like it was the best decision in the end.

So in they went. And I am very grateful to have got here and be sat in bed PUPO but also….really very disappointed to have no embies to freeze. This round cost so much money, especially as I needed a load of extra stims, and we’ve just got this one shot.  If it doesn’t work – which, quite frankly it probably won’t – we’ll have to start all over again. Again. And I ain’t getting any younger (or richer).

But for now I’ve got to try to put this all from my mind and just relax and welcome my little embies. Wish me luck.

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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 😉

Percentages

Monday was transfer day. Our last little NHS-funded embie ready and waiting to be popped back in. This time I wasn’t really worried about the thaw as I had been last time. We had such great numbers last time – 95% of the cells survived the thaw and showed signs of regrowth in the lab. So nothing to worry about this time right?!

Wrong. Oh course I forgot the one rule about IVF: there are no rules. We trotted into the transfer room in our stupid white coats and hats with a rather full bladder and were told by our consultant that this time things hadn’t gone so well. Only 50% of the cells had survived and it they hadn’t shown any regrowth. Our chances of it working had fallen to 20%. My stomach hit the ground. I know I’ve been so spoilt with our IVF cycles so far – fresh transfer of Grade 5AA first time, 95% cell survival of 2 embies last time. I just wasn’t really prepared for bad news, and yes I know how spoilt that sounds.

I tried my hardest to hold back the tears, but once it was done I went to the loos and just sobbed. I just felt like “what’s the point”? Because if I can’t get pregnant with the perfect little embies, then what chance have I got with this wonky one? Because if it didn’t happen then, it sure as shit ain’t gonna happen now. It just felt like it was all over before it had begun.

So instead of the nice calm glow I normally get on transfer day I just felt sad and dejected and cried quite a lot – it felt more like negative result test day than transfer day. And it’s so shit because I look forward to the 2ww in a weird way! It’s like a holiday from depression world to anxiety land. But no holiday this time – or a holiday to a new destination, deprexiety town!

But by yesterday I had picked myself up a bit, in no small part due to the wonderful wonderful ladies of Twitter who showered me in positivity and virtual hugs. A very wise lady I have had the upmost pleasure of meeting from the world of Twitter once told me that there are only 2 percentages you need to worry about: 0 and 100. As ever, this thing is either going to work or it’s not. Not much point moping about it until I know (yeah right!!)

In a weird way, although I’ve not had the nice glowy feeling I normally get after transfer, it does feel like this 2ww will be a bit easier this time. The pressure is kinda off as I really don’t think it’s going to work. I mean, obviously there is a little hope monster lurking around somewhere in there, and of course I’ll be disappointed when it fails but….I feel like I’m being let down more gently than last time. And who knows, the other 2 transfers have not worked against the odds so maybe this time it will go the other way?!! (yeah right!!)

Also, because there are no crazy drugs this time to mess up my cycle the wait will be shorter. My official test date is Friday 21st but my period will be due on Tuesday/Wednesday so I’m thinking my period will come before I have to do one of those fucking horrible tests.

So I’ve been trying not to think about it all too much, but unfortunately my body won’t let me do that. Yesterday afternoon I started to get a dull ache in my tummy/lower back all very similar to period pains – this is a week early so don’t think it’s my period just yet. But it’s really pretty strong right now and I’m thinking – could this be the steroids? Did anyone else have this when taking Prednisolone? Please tell me it is so I can not send myself crazy thinking this ‘means something’, when I know only too well that in the world of symptom spotting nothing means anything!

Tipped over the edge

Two blog posts in 2 days…you lucky things. What has caused me to blog again? Why a hideous evening of course!

So far in the lead up to this cycle I think I’ve been coping pretty well. I’ve had a few wobbly chin moments and a day last week where I had horrible flashbacks of looking at the negative HPTs on my last 2 IVF cycles playing over and over in my head, but apart from that no melt downs, no uncontrollable wailing, no incomprehensible sobbing down the phone to my mum/sister. In fact yesterday morning I was feeling positive as my body was behaving itself. I actually, dare I say it, felt almost excited about my forthcoming FET.

I was certainly in no doubt all afternoon that I was ovulating. My stomach was so bloated and I was really uncomfortable. Every time I sat down or got up it felt like someone was jabbing me in the ovaries. By the evening the pain was constant almost like period pain. I’ve been uncomfortable during ovulation before but never this level of pain. Awesome.

Then DH phoned me on his way home from work to say his department had been called into a meeting at the end of the day to say 2 from their 7 man team (I’m not being sexist, they’re all men!) will be made redundant by the end of the week. Still I kept it together. DH is a conscientious and hard worker and there are certainly people in his team that are not. Of course it’s a huge worry when we potentially have a round of IVF and a wedding to pay for this year, but I tried to keep calm, not worry too much and have faith that his hard work will be recognised and appreciated.

Then my phone buzzed. Text message from a friend (well more DH’s friend’s wife)…hmm unusual, we’re not that close and don’t think we’ve ever text each other……and BAM scan picture! And that’s what tipped me over the edge. I lost it: I wailed, I howled, I sobbed, I called my sister and wept uncontrollably down the phone. I spewed out all my crazy irrational thoughts about how this meant my cycle is now doomed as she’d ‘stolen my chance’. I just completely lost it.

It feels as though any shred of positivity I was clinging onto has been sucked from me and I’m just left with the frightening worries that I try to bury. What is wrong with me? Why have I never been pregnant? Why can EVERYONE ELSE AROUND ME do it but not me? Everyone tells me there is nothing wrong with me: DH, my mum, my sister….even my consultant. I have a perfect womb, I have perfect embryos, my AMH is a little low but not too bad, I have endo but not too serious. BUT…. in three years and 2 IVF rounds I’ve never had even the faintest second line. It seems like I’m the only one who will say it: just because they don’t know what’s wrong doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong. All my test results come back fine….but what if what is wrong with me doesn’t have a test? My sister’s tests always came back fine but she had multiple miscarriages at 5 months so clearly something was very wrong with her, they just didn’t know what.

So now I’m left in a cold little self-pity cave, shivering, lonely and raging against the unfairness of it all.

Oh and, because we wanted to ‘throw everything at it’ this cycle DH and I had to DTD again last night (such romance) when my ovaries felt like they were going to explode. There’s nothing quite like ending the day with crying during sex. Fuck you very much life, fuck you very much.

FET again

I’m happy to report AF finally arrived on Tuesday! I called the clinic and will go in for a scan next Wednesday to check when I’m likely to ovulate…but I still have to do OPKs to pinpoint when I actually do ovulate so not really sure the point of the scan but anyhooo it makes me feel like something is happening!

Doing a natural cycle does feel like I’m cheating at IVF. I just have a scan next week, call them when I ovulate then go in 5 days later for transfer. The only drugs I am going to be taking are steroids to suppress my immune system, although I’m not sure what ones or when they start. The nurse seemed rather vauge (I know it was called prog…something!) about this on the phone but I had to come out of a meeting to answer the call so couldn’t really go into it. I’ll have to bother them again with my questions. They hate me.

Has anyone else taken steroids? When did you start taking them? Any side effects? Did you get ill?

Luckily I’ve been pretty busy at work and so haven’t really had much time to think about my forthcoming FET. I’ve just been focusing on AF arriving and been trying to block out what will happen after. Every now and then I get a flash of fear. Of the turmoil that is to come. Its so scary to think of it all. I can’t see how its going to work, but I also know I do have hope that it will and that’s what scares me. Of it all failing again. Of going back to the misery.

And this time I’m pretty sure it will be incredibly tough to deal with if it doesn’t work. Its hard every time, but as this is my last frostie, and the last go on the NHS. If it doesn’t work I will not only have to start a fresh cycle again, but have to pay for the thing! Which also involves a lot of big decisions about money, clinic choice etc etc. All big stuff. All very difficult to deal with when you’re feeling depressed and miserable and unable to cope with life. Work will also be mega busy as I have a massive deadline in early March. Awesome!

On a more positive note, today I spoke to a psychology student who is doing her dissertation on the effects of blogging during IVF (@ivfstudent  if you want to find out more!) She was really lovely and it just reminded me of what a lovely lot you all are, how much support I get from this community and how god-awful lonely I was before I found you so….THANK YOU!!! xx

 

The Perfect Womb

 

Yesterday I had my hysteroscopy. The idea of doing this is to a) have a look inside to see if there is any glaringly obvious reason why my ‘perfect’ little embies keep failing and b) to act as an endo scratch. Because I’m on the NHS and the hysteroscopys are done in a different hospital, let alone different department to my IVF clinic they are not brilliantly timed. Other clinics seem to do endo scratches on CD 21 and everything I’ve read up on Dr Google says the best time is in the luteal phase, post ovulation. However, my NHS hospital does their hysteroscopys on a Tuesday afternoon – take it or leave it! So mine was on CD18, which I didn’t think would be a problem as the latest I ever ovulate is CD 17, but usually is CD14-15.

So I began OPKing on CD13 and by CD17 still nothing. I was thinking I had either missed it, or I was just not going to ovulate this month but I did an OPK yesterday morning and there it was – that bastard happy face looking back at me. I got myself into a right old mess worrying about the timing of it all. Because if the studies say it’s to be done post ovulation and I’m ovulating pretty much as they’re doing the scratch doesn’t that mean I’ve got to haul my arse into London on a minging, wet, windy day; wait around for hours in a grotty waiting room; have a general anaesthetic (and therefore more time off work to recover); get poked around again; get my mum and step-dad to drive into London to come and pick me up…..All. For. Nothing?!

I had a big sob-fest in the morning about the unfairness of it all. I’m so sick of getting pulled about, tested, injected, examined just to have the chance of a baby. Or to see why I’m not having a baby. Some of my friends the other day were lamenting how awful it is when you’re pregnant that you get poked and prodded and lose all dignity. I could have slapped them. Because, yes I’m sure labour is a pretty dignity-losing experience, but pregnancy? Please. I bet I have more scans, examinations and blood tests just getting ready for an IVF cycle than they do for their whole pregnancy! And most of those preggo scans aren’t even with dildocam right? And this is all so you get to TAKE HOME A BABY! I’ve pretty much shown my hoo-ha to the world for nothing!

Also my jealousy monster was raging that my SIL is sat at home with my beautiful week-old niece after trying for 1 year and getting pregs at 39 with absolutely no intervention/treatment. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others but it is a bit of a kick in the tits. I remember how hard trying for 1 year and nothing happening seemed (and actually it was a tough time as at 7mnths DH had a SA which showed he had low motility and he freaked out about it – it was not fun times). But now having been trying for nearly 3 years with 2 failed IVFs under my belt a year seems like a freakin walk in the park! And I’m sure there a some of you reading this thinking “3 years? Whatevs, try 5/7/10 years and then come back to me sweatheart!” I freakin hate IF!

Ahem…yes….anyway, yesterday I was feeling bitter about all of this. Totally over it today. Obvs.

But after all this freaking out I asked my consultant before the procedure about the whole ovulation thing and she looked at me like I was a crazy meth-head strung out on Dr Google and told me not to worry it wouldn’t make any difference. So it kind of put my fears to rest. Kind of cos, why would it say that in the studies then…but she’s an IVF consultant, surely she knows her shit…but why would the studies say that….and so my thoughts go round and round! But I do trust her, so I guess I’ll just have to take her word for it as there’s shit all I can do about it now anyway.

Anyhooo, the outcome of the hysteroscopy is that it’s all looking good in the womb department. In fact she said I have a ‘perfect womb’. No scars, adhesions or fibroids. She even showed me pictures, and no wonder Drs always want to look up there, it’s pretty sexy 😉  So I have perfect embryos and a perfect womb. And I don’t want to sound ungrateful as I know lots of you guys struggle with both these things. It’s great news. But it’s also pretty frustrating as then, why have my perfect embryos failed to implant into my perfect womb? Three of them gone in, zero baby/BFP come out.

I’ve got one embryo left in the freezer so next step is to go for transfer in early-mid February with no drugs. Just pop it back in. And if it doesn’t work this time…then god knows what’s wrong with me, but it’s going to take a fuck load of money to find out as this is last-chance saloon on the NHS.

 

PS I realise that lately my posts have been ridiculously long! Sorry guys, for those of you that made it this far – well done! You should get a prize! You’re not going to, but you should! I’ll try to cut the waffle in future.

 

Lady in Waiting

Well, here I am about half way through my 2ww. So far I’ve been pretty ok. The odd wobbly moment, one round of Christmas-advert-induced-sobbing but mostly ok. Definitely better than the first time I did this. Somehow having less hope has made it easier I think. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not without hope – I have been stupid enough to let my mind wander into how I’d tell family and friends if it was positive (why does my brain always do this?) but I’ve also had many daydreams about all the alcohol I’m going to drink at Christmas!

I think a big part of the reason I’ve not been too bad is I’ve been obsessively watching TheTudors whilst I sew a tapestry cushion cover thing! I’m literally a Lady in Waiting. It’s weird, it’s like I go into a zone when I’m sewing and watching where I don’t think about anything else. I had all sorts of other things planned for this 2ww and I’ve done none of them. I just sew and watch, watch and sew like I’m in a trance.

I’m hoping this almost-lack-of-crazy (although reading the paragraph above, maybe not such a lack of crazy) will continue for the remaining 6 days I have to wait. I could test before my OTD but I’m not going to. Although it is really tough living with the unknown, anxiety ridden world of the 2ww it’s preferable to the crushing sadness I felt after my last BFN. So for now I’ll just keep the dream alive until Saturday.

PS someone found my blog by goggling ‘got drunk during IVF’…oh dear, think I talk about alcohol too much!