Thursday, 11 July 2013

If Emily was still here

If Emily was still here there wouldn't be so much pain 

If Emily was still here the world would turn more freely

If Emily was still here we would be a whole family

If Emily was still here we would be celebrating today 

She'd still be living her life

Happy 17th birthday Emily 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Round 2 - here we go again

It's been a long while since I blogged, and a lot has happened since. For a start, I have a 14 month old son called Samuel. He is just beautiful in every way and I feel like the luckiest person on earth.

There's obviously so much more to say and I'll try to gradually fill in the gaps over time but the reason I've come back to my blog now is because the possibility of another IVF cycle is looming. I guess I feel like I need an outlet and my blog helped me so much last time.

The thing is, we'd love a sibling for Samuel and because of my age (41, eek), we thought we'd better get cracking - so to speak. So when Samuel was only 7 months we started trying. I can't honestly say I was ready and it felt like a massive betrayal to Samuel (still does), but time is not our side.

And 8 cycles of trying down the line, with no luck once again, I thought it was time to think about next steps. I suppose first and foremost I want to check everything inside is still in working order and that childbirth and/or my age hasn't made my uterus shrivel up or my ovaries fall off.

So yesterday I went to see our IVF consultant. I basically love him because he helped us to get Samuel. I also love him because he's charming and bordering on handsome (although just on the wrong side of the border), and because he has dancing eyebrows. They dance independently of each other but at the same time. It's fascinating.

Sadly but predictably the consultant agreed that time isn't on my side and that I should get the inside of my uterus and my ovarian reserve checked. Plus The Husband needs to get his little guys tested. He said if we're thinking of going through IVF again we should wait until nearer the time so the results are as up to date as possible just before we go through a cycle.

So now we need to think about timing. It's weird thinking about going through an IVF cycle again. We're in such a different situation now we have Samuel. The intense longing and desperation aren't there although the feelings of inadequacy that my body can't seem to do what it's supposed to do are creeping back in.

Still, I'm reassured by the fact that it's worked once before (albeit our second cycle) so I could and would deal with it again. Now we just need to decide when...

(I don't know if anyone will read this, especially anyone I used to 'know' in cyberspace but if you are and I do, hello :) )

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tears of joy and sadness

I haven't been on Twitter much lately, nothing is normal in my life right now and I'm finding it hard to communicate in general. I hope this entry goes some way to explaining why.

On Friday, at 8 weeks and 4 days, we saw our little jelly baby for the second time. The first time was at 6 weeks 2 days. Despite getting daily positives for the two weeks from the first pregnancy test to the scan, the relief of knowing there was actually something growing inside me was immense. Especially as it took the sonographer a good minute or so to find the little tinker in the gestation sac.

That was the longest minute of my life, I don't think I actually breathed. But finally she located it and we saw the little flicker of the heartbeat on the screen. This was what I had waited two years to see. When she turned up the volume and we heard the heartbeat, I thought I would burst.

Later, outside the clinic, The Husband held me as I cried two years' worth of tears, big heaving sobs. People passing us on the street must have wondered what terrible thing had happened and between sobs I urged The Husband to tell everyone they were happy tears.

The emotions I felt on the day of that first scan were indescribable. The emotions I felt on Friday at the second scan, seeing the miracle of this tiny and brand new life in front of our eyes - the head, the body, the spine, the little leg and arm buds - and hearing that strong heartbeat again, were a step beyond that.

I cannot imagine feeling any more for this tiny 2cm being, our creation, our child, than I do now, but I know I will. I am still scared of what could happen but I also have this feeling that everything will be ok. The Husband believes babies choose their parents and I'm also convinced this little fighter chose us, knowing the time was right to come into our lives. So I'm going to trust it to do what it needs to do, to grow and get stronger each day, and each day I know I will love it a little more.

I wish I could leave this entry here, with a happy ending. But I can't, because this isn't the only thing going in our lives.

On Saturday we went to tell my brother and sister-in-law our news. I had been so anxious about this moment, not because I thought they wouldn't be happy for us, but because I knew the immense emotions it would bring for them.

I will never forget how that conversation went, for now it keeps going through my head on a loop and I have cried a lot of tears over it, but I'm afraid I can't bring myself to describe it. All I will say is that, in their own ways, they handled it with as much dignity as they could muster.

My sister-in-law is wearing her emotions on her sleeve which makes it easier to understand and comfort her. My brother has shut down and no one can reach him. I cannot begin to imagine his pain but I see evidence of it reflected in his eyes and etched into his face. It is truly heartbreaking. I feel like I've not only lost a niece but also the brother I knew, and I miss him terribly.

The difference in our lives at this point couldn't be more apparent. It's like a Shakespearean tragedy - or maybe a Hollywood movie. The rest of my family - my parents and my sister - are now torn between immense joy and overwhelming sadness. As am I. It is an unreal situation, I just hope in time the joy will become more significant for all of us.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The two week wait - part two

For anyone who only reads my blog and doesn't follow me on Twitter, apologies for the delay in updating this, especially when I have good news to share.

Yes, ivf2 resulted in that magical, long-awaited BFP!

I was ridiculously nervous and had prepared myself for the worst so it was just amazing to see a strong line on the test - I held out until the official test date (OTD) as I wanted to be sure about the result, especially after the chemical pregnancy debacle of the first ivf (I could be, I'm probably not, I think I am, I might be, I'm probably not, oh, I'm definitely not).

I tested every day after the OTD and about 5 days in, feeling a bit more secure, we invited our parents over and told them the good news. There were A LOT of tears. I was worried about getting my parents excited too early but at the same time wanted to give them something positive to think about. I know it's not a cure for what happened with my niece and for the hell we're seeing my brother and his family go through, but it's definitely helped.

Over the following few days, I also told my sister and my best friend, who both knew about the ivf and had a good idea of timing. It was exciting to tell everyone and fantastic to see their reactions but I think once that excitement had calmed down, reality set in and I started to feel really scared about things not working out.

I'm sure it's completely natural when you've waited so long and been through so much to get to this point but I've been petrified of getting to the scan and once again being confronted with an empty uterus. There's further to fall at this point and other people's disappointment to take into account.

The signs so far have all been good but I'm afraid some of them are down to other things. I definitely haven't been constantly searching Google for early pregnancy symptoms (yeah right) but I thought I'd list mine in case it helps anyone else:

- sore boobs (could be down to the Crinone)
- no bleeding/spotting (could be down to the Crinone)
- bloated stomach (probably down to the bucketloads of ivf drugs)
- more tired (could be down to all the events of the last couple of months)
- feeling a bit 'off' or run down (could be coming down with something)
- more hungry (probably down to greed).

I've been trying to reassure myself that my daily home pregnancy tests have been positive and the lines have been strong. The Clear Blue tests moved from 2-3 weeks to 3+ a few days after I started testing and have stayed that way.

Plus The Husband has been very good at reassuring me (Me: the little embabies are still in there aren't they? Him: yes, of course they are. Repeat hourly until baby is born).

And speaking of Crinone - oh my, that stuff is bizarre. All can be quiet for a few days and then suddenly and without warning I'll have an avalanche of lumpy clumpy weird looking gunk falling out. Nice. Still, it's a miniscule price to pay...

So, the scan is tomorrow and I just hope and pray they find one or two little fighters in there.

To be continued...

Friday, 22 July 2011

The 2ww - his & hers

I was at work today and DH emailed me a surprise guest blog about the two week wait from his perspective. We don't often get the guy's point of view at this stage (plus he said some nice stuff about me) so I've published it here.

My bit, warts n all, is at the end...


If you’re a regular reader of my wife's blogs and tweets, then you’ll know that we’re into the 2ww of our second cycle of IVF, otherwise known as ‘no-man’s land’. There is nothing more we can do now, except wait, and hope, and pray (and eat pineapple).

And that’s the hardest part: doing nothing. She still has her progesterone to take, mercifully not through a needle the size of a lamppost this time. But otherwise, all is outwardly quiet, eerily so. Inwardly though, we’re going out of our minds (she more than me, I'm sure she won't mind me saying). I dare not think about us getting a BFP, but the alternative is simply unimaginable.

When we had our transfer done, the nice lady gave us a photo of the embryos (I was tempted to post it on Facebook as a retort to the daily bombardment of friends’ baby pics), which we've both pored over: is it fragmented, why is one bigger than the other, has it got my nose?

And like my wife, I have consulted Dr Google about various things, from ‘embryo quality’, to ‘improve implantation’ and ‘live birth rates’. One such search revealed our chances of not only pregnancy, but actually having a baby this time round.

The funny thing about statistics is that they can be easily dismissed when not in your favour, and encouraging when on your side. But what I discovered in my online search for reassurance is that our chance of a live birth, taking into account age and day-5 transfer, is 51.9% (pregnancy is 61%).

Now, 51.9% is enough of an advantage to beat the house at blackjack, it may even give you a majority in parliament, but when it comes to IVF it’s still 50/50. Do our hopes and dreams really hang on the cosmic toss of a coin?

With 50/50 odds, why am I genuinely optimistic about our chance of success? After all, statistically it could just as easily go the other way.

Well, 51.9% is massive in terms of IVF and represents our best hope yet of having a baby. Usually, the figure is nearer 25%, and of course diminishes with age.

If there was a 50% chance of rain, I’d pack an umbrella. If I had a 50% chance of winning the lottery, I’d buy a ticket, and a 1 in 2 chance of having a baby is all I need right now to feel hopeful that this is going to work.

IVF is a stressful, traumatic and invasive process, and I’m incredibly proud of my wife for the way she has coped with all the crap, the physical and emotional strain, and the terrible grief of losing a young niece during the course of the cycle.

But no matter what happens now, we’ll be ok. We’ll always be ok, because we have each other. Of that, I’m 100% certain.


As DH says, we are well and truly within the 2ww period now.

Here's where I'm at, straight up:
  • massively bloated stomach, sore boobs, tired and run down (I have painful mouth ulcers and the skin on my face hurts - seriously)
  • eating A LOT (latest craving is Chilli Heatwave Doritos - completely addicted - but also also eating pineapple, brazil nuts and protein to help the embabies implant and grow)
  • worrying I've done too much of some things (carrying, rushing around, bending - there's no evidence I know of that any of these things are harmful, they're just things I'm irrationally plutzing about) and not enough of others (resting, sleeping, being positive - again, nothing scientific about this)
  • panicking every time I sneeze or cough I've dislodged the embabies
  • thoughts flitting at alarming speed between 'of course this is going to work' and 'I'm so scared this isn't going to work' - ALL DAY LONG
  • keeping a low profile with friends and generally wanting to hibernate
  • checking for signs of spotting every time I go to the toilet and remaining paranoid in between those times
  • going to the toilet every half an hour so I can relieve my paranoia (and occasionally my bladder)
  • talking to my embabies when no one is listening (at least I hope not), pleading with them to stick around so they can find out what good parents we'd be, how much we'd love and care for them
  • welling up every time I think of how we'd tell my parents I'm pregnant
  • wondering whether seeing two heavily pregnant women followed by a woman pushing newborn twins is a sign my ivf cycle is going to work
  • wondering whether an itchy nose is a sign my ivf cycle is going to work
  • going slowly insane...
I'm also doing my best to be positive (the stats DH found do make me feel better), but I can't help it, I'm so effing scared this isn't going to work. As much as I daydream about telling my parents I'm pregnant, I cannot contemplate having to tell them I'm not. My family has been through so much these last few months, this isn't just about me and DH any more - we all need this.

Either way, until the fat lady sings I'm staying hopeful.

Embabies, please stick around.