Summer of fun

I was going to start by saying I’ve been a bad blogger as haven’t blogged for ages and what’s the point of having a blog if you never write anything….but then Barren Betty got there first and said all that earlier this week. Yeah, thanks for stealing my thunder BB.

Sooo anyway…where have I been? I’ve been bloody busy doing a million things that’s where! Organising bits and pieces for the wedding, booking a honeymoon (Sri Lanka- eeek!) and, well, getting drunk a fair bit too.

Last time I left you on a cliff-hanger (well, more like on the side of a low ledge) as I had my WTF appointment the next day. And as predicted it was more of “we don’t know why it didn’t work, you should try again, it should work at some point!” Well ‘should’ is all well and good but so far it just doesn’t and it’s all getting rather expensive, not to mention fucking heartbreakingly awful. Basically, we’ve tried every trick they have, so we should just repeat…but honestly, after 4 failures how can it work? Surely it’s just that they don’t know what the problem is, not that there’s not a problem?

DH and I have decided to give the whole IVF gig a rest for the year. We’re getting married in October and going on honeymoon over Christmas so we’re just going to ‘forget about it’ (yeah, right) for the rest of the year and see where we are and how we feel in the New Year.

Instead we’re going to have a ‘summer of fun’. We’re going to drink, we’re going to eat, we’re going to visit loads of places we say we’re going to but never do. We’re going to get our lives back again. And I have to say I’m rather excited about it.

And yes, I still get miserable, and yes I have days where the pain just stabs me in the heart and the god-awful realisation that this really, really might never happen kicks me in the tits, but I’m determined to enjoy this year.

So far we’ve been doing pretty well – we’ve been for a walk along Regents canal….

Little Venice

Little Venice

Although IF is still never far from our minds – this was DH’s wish on a ‘before I die’ chalk board by the canal:

before I die

We walked up to the top of Primrose Hill before going for a lovely Greek dinner at Lemonia (where John Torode from Masterchef was having lunch too!)

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill

 

There have also been rather a lot of cocktails…..some up high….

View from the Shard

View from the Shard loos!

And some in posh hotels with lovely Twitter girls…

cocktails

And this is pretty much my plan for the summer…drinking cocktails and having fun (and definitely not being heartbroken and empty)! Fuck you IF. Fuck you.

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Every time.

Every. Fucking. Time. Every time I have a failed cycle – because that’s the only kind of cycle I have – someone close to me announces they’re pregnant. And this time is no different.

Just before I was about to start my first fresh IVF cycle last year my brother called with the news that my SIL was pregnant. At 39 she decided she’d had enough of a life of cocktails and holidays, and although hadn’t really thought about having kids before decided she would quite like to so they just had one. It’s been really hard but I think I’m getting to the point where it doesn’t hurt too much to see my niece, and I know this will only get easier and of course I love her dearly, but she will always be  a reminder that I should have a little one that age.

As I was down regging for my first frozen cycle I got the news that a friend of ours wife was pregs. We’re not mega close with them but it still hurt. They’d been trying for about a year and she was getting really worried and the last time we’d met we talked it all through. Of course I was happy for her but it’s still hard to be left in the no-baby club on your own. And again, seeing her gloriously 8 months pregnant is a painful reminder of what I should be.

A few days after my second frozen cycle I went away with the girls and realised another one of our friends was pregnant – in fact the SIL of the pregs one from our first frozen cycle. I wrote about it in this and this post, and very sadly she had a miscarriage. I haven’t seen her for a while and suspect that she is in early pregnancy hiding.

And this time, 2 weeks after my BFN one of my closest friends emailed me last night to say she is pregs with baby number 2. I knew it was coming – she told me earlier in the year that she would be trying for number 2 this year, as will at least 2 other of my close friends. And she did it in a really sensitive way – she had read up online about the best way to tell an infertile friend you are pregnant which was really sweet of her. Knowing it was coming and facing the reality are two different things – knowing that on my wedding day she will be 7 months pregnant and I should be 5 months but won’t be already hurts so much. And at the moment all I can feel is anger and sadness and bitterness and…

WILL EVERYONE STOP STEALING MY BABIES.

Because as stupid and irrational and unfair as that is, it’s all I can think. You’ve all stolen my babies.

Since coming back from Italy I’ve been waiting for the sadness and grief to hit. It was kind of on pause whilst I was away because I just had to hold it together. Since I got back I’ve felt ok. Not exactly over the moon, but actually ok….to be honest I have been pretty much half-cut since I got back (except when at work!) and whilst I knew this is definitely not a long term solution, for a week or so it helped me through. But I knew I wasn’t dealing with it or facing it. I felt like I was in a safe little bubble of denial.

Last night that announcement popped my bubble and all the hurt and fear and pain gushed out. I’ve been crying on and off since and the deep ache in my heart and gut has returned. The huge hole of misery that I’m so scared I’ll fall into and never get out of. I don’t know how to face it. I don’t know how to deal with it. How do I accept that the ‘never going to be a mother’ option is now very very real, and in fact the most likely? I don’t know how to do this.

Sun, sea and stress!

 

 

 

View from Bro's villa

View from Bro’s villa

The day after my BFN I booked my flights to Italy for my brother’s wedding, and flew a week later. I hadn’t booked it earlier as if I had been pregnant there would be no way after 3 years ttc and 4 rounds of IVF I would be risking anything! Especially as I was going on my own as DH couldn’t get the time off work and to get to the town where my brother was getting married I had to get a bus from Naples airport and then a train for 2 hours. However, since my womb was (still) empty I lugged myself and my baggage (physical and emotional) across Italy.

And Italy did not disappoint. It was absolutely beautiful. My brother was getting married in a little town called Maratea on the

View of Maratea

View of Maratea

side of a mountain and the views were absolutely stunning. The people were lovely, the food was amazing and the wine was plentiful, delicious and cheap.

I was staying with my mum, step dad, sister and her 2 boys about half hour away from Maratea by the beach at Praia a Mare. That was also lovely, especially as we tended to get better weather down there when it was a bit more cloudy up the mountain. It did however cause lots of to-ing and fro-ing and we always seemed to be in a rush for something or late for something else.

There were 6 of us staying in a 2 bedroom chalet and tensions were running high most of the time. This was not helped by the fact that my mum, my sister and I are all control freaks! We’re all used to doing the organising and being in charge of what happens so put us in a very small space together and its going to get fraught.

Praia a Mare

Praia a Mare

Also, my mum takes an INSANE amount of time to do ANYTHING which I found very frustrating. On top of this, my father was there (in Maratea), which made my mum crazy, my sister is just coming out of a divorce and weddings are obviously packed full of couples/love which made her crazy, and I was a week into my recent BFN and there were loads of kids and babies at the wedding which made me crazy.

My step dad is an absolute saint for not just running away…or killing us all! Luckily we’re not a family of arguers so there was lots of snapping and muttering but no full on shouting – we’re far too English for all that!

But on the day of the wedding we had a great time. The venue was stunning, the rain held off and we all had a wonderful day. I’m so pleased that I went. We couldn’t really afford it with our wedding coming up in October but I would have been even more broken hearted to have missed it – to have infertility take away another experience.

View from wedding venue

View from wedding venue

Whilst away I had a long talk with my father about the whole IVF stuff. I’ve written about my dad before in this and this post. He’s kind of an odd guy and we have a rather strange relationship with him. I hadn’t seen him for 5 years so I was rather nervous about that and knew he’d upset me in some way as he always does!!! He doesn’t mean to, he’s just not very aware of other people’s emotions or of how to be sensitive to other people – I guess he’s just a pretty self involved guy and having lived in the states for 40 odd years he’s not exactly close to his kids or grandkids.

So we had ‘the chat’ about my infertility. And although he did try and say it in a sensitive way (for him!) the bottom line of what he thought was:

  • IVF is not going to work for me, I should stop trying (he actually used the phrase ‘lost cause’)
  • Surrogacy is not an option – they’ll steal your baby!
  • Adoption is not an option – all kids up for adoption have had mothers on drugs whilst pregnant and you’re just setting yourself up for a life of misery with a problem child.
  • Get over it, you’re never going to have kids. Move on with your life.

Sooo that was fun! I know he was trying to be supportive and just give me his advice, and he did admit that he doesn’t know what it’s like to really want children as he was never that bothered (gee, thanks daddy) but man it hurt! And we were at a party at my brother’s villa the night before his wedding which was supposed to be a fun night but was just me and him in a corner with me crying. (which of course made my mum angry, which added to the whole stress levels) Ugh.

On the plus side, he did say that he’d just got this big contract through at work and that he would give us some money towards the wedding. This is very typical behaviour of my father – say the wrong thing, offer money. And I am extremely grateful for that money, but I’d exchange it for a ‘proper’ father in a flash.

So overall, I’m glad I went to the wedding, I’m glad I was there for my brother, I’m very glad I got to eat and drink amazing food and wine but it was most definitely not relaxing or healing! But in a weird way with being so stressed I didn’t have time to be so sad! So, erm, I guess that’s a good thing…?!!

Sunset over Maratea

Sunset over Maratea

BFN ritual

I wake up at about 5am with an awful sicky knot in the pit of my stomach. I try to keep calm, do some deep breathing and let DH sleep as long as possible – I know it’s going to be a long day and want him to be in oblivion for as long as possible. By about 6am I can’t wait anymore and wake him up and then we cling to each other for a while and tell each other we’re scared – he tells me he’ll always love me no matter what. By about 6.30am I work up the courage to pee into my specially appointed test day plastic cup, which was all washed out and left to dry the night before.

I dip two different brands of pregnancy test into the pot – making sure I face them away from me having learnt after test day number 2 that if you dip them and see just the test line come up straight away you know its negative and have to go back to the bedroom knowing already and DH will see it on your face. So I dip the tests, close my eyes and put them down on top of the loo then go back to the bedroom to wait 3 excruciating minutes with DH.

When the time is up we go into the bathroom together, holding hands and gingerly walk towards the tests. They say what they always say. Not pregnant. One line. Pure, pure whiteness. I throw at least one test across the bathroom before animal noises escape from me. DH holds me up before I can crumple to the floor. We go back to the bedroom and cry. And cry. And cry.

An hour or so later I call my sister. She coos soothing words to me, she crys with me. Then I call my mum – the worst call to make. I know where I get my animal cry noises from. My mum is not a crier normally – I’ve heard her cry way too much over the last year. She crys because her little girl is in pain and she can’t do anything about it. I will never have a little girl to love so much. I hate that I make her feel this way, I know it’s not my fault but she’s sad because I’m sad and I hate it.

We send our texts to friends and family. I let my twitter family know. I prefer to get it all done and out the way in one go. We try to sleep – DH usually does but I never can.

We get up about 11am and have something to eat, potter round the house. Random bouts of crying ensue. By about midday I run a bath and open the wine. I realise that DH has thrown away the tests and all packaging, tipped away my pee and washed the cup out. He goes out and buys lots of naughty food whilst I lay in the bath – he’s so brave to go out into the fertile world and I’m so grateful I never have to go with him. What did I do to deserve such a wonderful man.

We bumble through the afternoon. In the evening we cook a special dinner together, radio on, rather tipsy. We watch Game of Thrones. We cry.

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.

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 😉