Saturday, 4 December 2010

Illegal sex before IVF – don’t try this at home

Been feeling guilty as I haven’t blogged for a while but to be honest I haven’t really known what to say. Possibly because I haven’t really known how I’ve been feeling.

But now I have something to update on. We went to see the nurse yesterday for our IVF coordination appointment which means going through the hundreds of forms, the timing, the meds and learning how to do the injections. She had some sort of speech impediment but I won’t hold it against her, she was patient and nice enough.

We were in there for well over an hour going through everything. It’s quite a lot to take in and it was fairly surreal to sit there inspecting the syringes and looking at the different vials of liquid, thinking that in about a week’s time, I’m going to be piercing my own skin with those needles and shooting that stuff into my own body to fuck with my own hormones.

During the session, we had two scares about not being able to start IVF this cycle – firstly because my last cycle was so short (20 days) it brought everything forward and she thought there may be a problem with the timing of the scans and blood tests and the clinic being closed over Christmas for a few days. But she checked and it means I’ll just have to stay on the Buserelin (hormone suppressant/down reg) for a few days longer until they do the first scan.

But I have to take full responsibility for the second scare. I had a minor episode on Thursday where I came back from therapy with my emotions all churned up and didn’t know what to do with them. So I did the only thing a self-respecting, messed-up infertile about to start IVF would do – I got drunk. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon. And when The Husband came home after work, we had drunken, unprotected sex. Which is illegal during the pre-IVF cycle.

The nurse gave me a very disdainful look when I told her (about the unprotected sex, not the drunkenness), asked if I hadn’t known I shouldn’t have done it and said it was unlikely we’d be able to start this cycle now because the drugs could affect the embryo if I happened to get pregnant.

I felt very, very ashamed as I’d known from reading the paperwork we should have been more careful and couldn’t believe I’d been so reckless and irresponsible. But at the time, I think that was exactly what I wanted to be. I’ve been so bloody careful about what I’ve been eating and drinking, the supplements I’ve been taking and the timing of sex for so long now, I think I just wanted to say fuck you to all of it. So I did.

The nurse carried on staring at me disdainfully and let me squirm in my chair for a while, then she swanned off to check with the doctor. I breathed a big sigh of relief when she came back and said it was ok, the Buserilin wouldn’t harm the embryo after all. And if life happens to throw me one massive amazing mindblowing curve ball by making me pregnant the cycle I start my IVF treatment, then I’d have to immediately stop the Buserilin and start shovelling in the progesterone quicksmart.

So even this cycle, I’ve inadvertently (and definitely naughtily) given myself a teensy tiny bit of hope. Don’t try this at home though people.

And in the meantime, I move house on Friday and do my first injection on Sunday.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

CD1 – The IVF Cycle

Yesterday, I had hope.

In the morning I spied some pinkish/brown spotting and Dr Google told me that yes, this could be implantation bleeding. As I was only at CD19 and there was no more bleeding during the day I held on to the teensy bit of hope that maybe, just possibly, my body had finally done what it’s supposed to do and just in time too. Yeah right.

This morning, I got my period.

Well, that was a short cycle. Makes me think I probably didn’t ovulate after all. Who knows? Who cares? It’s done.

So it’s CD1 of the 18th cycle since I started trying – The IVF Cycle.

I called the nurse at the clinic to ask if they’d still start my drugs on CD21 bearing in mind how short my cycle was. She suggested I start them on CD17 instead to make sure I get in a few days before my next period starts.

After checking the calendar, I realised this means I’ll be starting the drugs pretty much on the date we’re supposed to move into our new house. I was hoping to be in and settled for a week or so beforehand.

But what the hell. Bring it all on.

Until next time.


Sunday, 21 November 2010

No final shot

I thought my blog this week would be about giving it one final shot before starting IVF next cycle.

Sadly, I don’t seem to have been given that shot as I don’t think I ovulated this month. Sod’s law really as I tend to ovulate most months.

Usually, it’s somewhere between Days 12 and 15 so I started testing on Day 9 just to be sure and was convinced my body was giving me signs I was going to ovulate soon. The Husband and I had all of the sex (still enjoying that bit at least ) and I carried on testing through to Day 16. But I never got the smiley face.

What was more weird was that my boobs had started getting sore around a week after my last period. I was really confused by that one and of course one tiny part of me thought ‘maybe I’m pregnant!’. It would have to have been a miracle pregnancy to have survived a period but stranger things have happened. Plus, I have the warped mind of someone who’s been TTC for too long.

So on Day 14, with boobs still sore, I did the only thing a desperate, sad, confused girl who’s been TTC for 17 months and is staring IVF in the face would do – in the space of one pee, I tested for ovulation AND pregnancy. Yep. Oh the shame...

And the results? Both negative. Double whammy.

So either I ovulated and somehow missed it or I just didn’t ovulate. Either way, it means I’m not taking progesterone, which means a much shorter cycle, which means I start IVF sooner.

So here I am, CD18, mood dropping faster than a ton of bricks, waiting for my period to come. I can’t deny I’m scared shitless of what’s around the corner but I have to put my trust in the fact there’s a very good reason for all this and that the result will be worth it.

Until next time.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

IVF – one step closer

On Friday, we went to see our lovely charming fertility doctor for the next stage of talks about IVF (he’s definitely getting more handsome each time we see him).

This session followed some tests The Husband and I had to have over the last couple of weeks to check we’re ok to get going. Thankfully, everything is fine - our HIV, Hep B & C bloods came back negative, my ultrasound showed a tiny cyst but the doc isn’t worried about it and everything else in there looked normal. Plus, The Husband’s sperm are plentiful and mighty (there’s about a zillion of them and they’re strong enough to swim through concrete - or something).

Actually, there is one small worry The Husband and I have about his sperm and my eggs. We both have an appalling sense of direction, so even though I have a good reserve and he has lots of strong sperm, what if they have no idea where they’re going? We sometimes amuse ourselves by imagining his sperm swimming frantically round the kidneys and my eggs trying to burrow their way into my liver.

Anyways...this is what we went through with Fertility Doc. We taped the session (with his permission) so I have a fairly detailed account of the discussion. It’s long but bear with it if you’re interested in finding out more about the IVF process:

1. s 1. As I have a decent reserve of eggs (FSH of 3.3 and AMH of 15.7), he thinks the Long Day 21 protocol is best for us, which is a six-week process.

2. I’ll be injecting Buserilin for two weeks from Day 21 of my cycle. As I understand it this will switch off the part of my pituitary gland that produces the hormones which stimulate my ovaries - effectively mimicking the menopause but without affecting the eggs. At this point, I could experience the joys of hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbance and mood swings (yay).

3. At the end of the two weeks, I have a blood test and scan to see if the Buserilin worked. If it has (let’s hope so, sounds like I don’t want to carry on taking that shit for longer than I have to), I start with Gonal F injections to stimulate the ovaries again to produce (hopefully lots of) eggs.

4. The Gonal F injections will also last for two weeks, during which time I’ll have bloods and scans on Days 5, 9 and 12. These should show how my follicles are developing – hopefully neither under- or over-stimulating. By Day 12, I should be ready i.e. I should have lots of lovely healthy eggs waiting to be collected.

5. Assuming that’s the case, I then go into hospital where they give me a light anaesthetic and shove a thin needle up my lady bits to collect the eggs from the ovaries. The Husband also comes in to give a sperm sample. Then they introduce the eggs to the sperm and hope they really really like each other and want to get it on (as The Husband’s sperm are good, it’s unlikely we’ll need ICSI and will go with conventional IVF).

6. They then leave eggs to grow and develop and hope around 50% will fertilise. The length of time they leave them will depend on the quality and quantity of the embryos. If we’ve only got a few that are good quality, they’ll put those back around 2-3 days later. If I’ve got lots of good quality embryos (more than five) it becomes survival of the fittest and they leave them for up to five days to get to blastocyst stage. By that stage, they know which are the best ones to put back so we have the highest chance of success.

7. At this point The Husband asked if they screen for imperfections, genetic problems etc. Fertility Doc said in a way they’re screening just by seeing which survive and which don’t. They’re screened on the basis of morphology i.e. what they look like under the microscope, how quickly they’re dividing etc. He then spoke about a much more in-depth, experimental screening which involves making a tiny hole in the egg and taking away a small sample of genetic material so they can analyse the genes and chromosomes. They don’t think this affects the egg but it’s such a new process, they don’t really know yet. There are only two clinics in the UK and two in the US that do it and they’ve only done about 40 of these procedures in the UK (for anyone who’s interested in finding out more, it’s called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis/Screening). They only recommend it for people who have tried IVF unsuccessfully 3 or 4 times or for women who are heading towards their mid-40s and have a higher chance of genetic abnormality in the embryos. But be aware, it doubles the cost of the treatment.

8. Back to my embryos...if they get to blastocyst stage, they’ll put back the best one or two (our decision at this point). This isn’t under anaesthetic as it should just have the discomfort level of a smear test. Once the embryos are safely back in, the progesterone support begins. We had a bit of a discussion here about whether I’d take suppositories or progesterone in oil (PIO) injections. As I have a short luteal phase and on occasion have had breakthrough bleeding on progesterone suppositories, he advised going for PIO – old-fashioned injections in the backside which, he said, ‘hurt like hell’ but which are necessary if we don’t want to take a chance of the lining breaking down (yay again). I may need to start these one or two days before they put the embryos back in depending on which day they’re put back.

9. And two weeks later you find out if you’re pregnant – simples!

After our discussion, we had a chat with the nurse about timing. We won’t be able to start this cycle as our egg collection could clash with the four days the clinic is shut over Christmas for deep cleaning. So it looks like we’ll be starting the following cycle which would mean injections starting around Christmas day. At least the clinic will be really really clean though.

Between now and then we go for a session with the nursing team to learn everything we need to know about the drugs and injections. We’ll also get a 14-page consent form where we sign our lives away.

And that’s where we are. How do I feel about it? As though I’m heading towards a dimly lit path signposted ‘The Unknown’. I hope as I travel along the path, it will progressively get brighter and that something – or someone – very special will be waiting for me at the end of it.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Releasing the crap

As each month goes by and I’m still not pregnant, I withdraw into myself a bit more. I find it hard to express emotions at the best of times but dealing with infertility is on a whole other level. Even in my blog and on Twitter, where I should feel comfortable in the knowledge I’m among people who completely understand and who will get me, I just can’t bring myself to let loose and reveal everything that’s going on in my head.

I know I’m not alone with this but I have so many thoughts, fears and emotions that are with me ALL THE TIME. There’s barely a waking moment when I’m not aware of desperately wanting to be pregnant, to know how it feels to have our baby growing inside me - but not being able to get there.

A lot of the time when I appear to be fine, I don’t feel fine. And my attempts to seem fine – either to the few people who know or to the many who don’t – are so bloody tiring.

I feel like I need to start trying to release all the crap that’s been building up inside me, especially before I start IVF. So I’ve started regular therapy sessions to try and get rid of some of the demons. I don’t find the sessions easy but my therapist has helped me through a previous low point, so I trust her and feel safe there.

This Friday I have my appointment with the fertility doctor to talk through timing and protocol for IVF treatment. I’m nervous but I know it’s a positive step.

I’ll update again over the weekend.

Until then


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

So be it

This morning I did my third pregnancy test in five days. It showed my third BFN.

I’ve been taking Cyclogest (progesterone) again this month and I don’t get my period until I stop taking it so I had to test. I decided to do it a little earlier this month at 12dpo. My thinking was that if I got a BFN, I’d take that hit with the knowledge I was testing early and things could still turn around - softening the blow a little perhaps.

When I tested yesterday at 15dpo and got my second BFN, I was pretty sure it was a conclusive result. But someone put a little doubt in my mind, saying they’d got all three of their BFPs at 16dpo or later. It left me with a teeny tiny smidgen of hope that made me test again this morning.

At least I know for sure now.

My response to not getting pregnant each month has started to shift a little lately. I think in the first year of trying I still had a lot of hope and expectation. After all, apart from low progesterone and a short luteal phase, the doctors couldn’t give me any real reason that I wouldn’t get pregnant. So each month that went by, where the hope and expectation were shattered, I had quite a strong reaction – lots of tears and moody silences, needing attention and reassurance.

But I think there comes a time with such regular and extreme emotional reactions that you just get tired, that you can’t deal with all that emotion anymore, and that you have to start protecting yourself from it.

Plus, the secrecy and taboo surrounding infertility means you have to get on with everyday life as though nothing’s wrong, as though your heart hasn’t just been ripped apart a little bit more.

So in the last few months, my reactions have been a lot less obvious and a lot shorter lived. And I’ve just been trying to get on with life without being pregnant. But I know the scars are running deeper.

I’ll keep going though, I’ll keep doing everything I can and carry on believing that I will have children one day because anything else is just unacceptable to me.

And if IVF is what I need to bring me my baby, then so be it.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

I had three dreams

Right before I woke up this morning (or was rudely awoken by my alarm) I had three dreams that were so vivid, they stayed with me through the whole day, so I thought I’d write them down.

In a nutshell...

Dream 1
I was at a family gathering at my aunt and uncle's house. All the adults were in one room and the children were in another. Strangely (or not perhaps), I was in the room with all the children.

My mum came in to the kids' room and came over to whisper something in my ear but then she jumped back with a really angry look on her face. I asked what was wrong and she said she could smell alcohol on my breath and what on earth did I think I was doing drinking while I was trying to get pregnant.

I tried to tell her I'd just had a tiny sip of my sister's beer but she didn't believe me and left the room, leaving me feeling really upset.

Dream 2
I somehow knew a building in London was going to be blown up by terrorists, and I realised my husband was going to be in the building.

I rushed there as quickly as I could to tell my husband what was going to happen so I could save him.

I found him (he was wearing a 1920s Bugsy Malone gangster outfit for some reason) but I couldn't get my words out or make myself understood and my husband didn't want to leave.

I was petrified he'd be hurt or killed and it would be my fault but I felt completely helpless to do anything.

Dream 3
I was at work in my boss's office, going through a very important presentation I'd prepared on his behalf. There were 3 or 4 other people in the room – including another guy from my team, my brother and Kylie Minogue. Yep, Kylie Minogue.

Everything was going well until my boss asked me if I'd checked the details with someone in the finance dept. I said no because I didn't realise I had to and he went nuts at me, shouting at me in front of the other people (including Kylie Minogue!) and made me feel completed humiliated.

I think the dreams represent pretty well what's going on in my subconscious and occasionally what I can't help feeling - guilt for not giving my parents more grandchildren and for not giving my husband his first child, and less importantly but still there, a massive lack of confidence at work. Weird that they all came together in one series of dreams.

I’m so excited about moving into our new home and that's helped keep my mind occupied over the last week. But I'm still very much aware of being firmly in yet another two week wait. I started the wait feeling optimistic, visualising what should be going on in there, saying positive affirmations as often as possible, thinking this was all about a new start and the right timing.

But today I started to feel a hormone shift. Maybe I’m wrong I don’t know, maybe it’s just work stress or tiredness. But the visualisations have become harder to formulate, the positive affirmations have started to sound like desperate pleas.

I thought I was ready for IVF but I’m not sure I am. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be, and I hope more than anything I don’t have to be.

Until next time.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

The moon must be in Uranus

I was a bit blue at the start of the week, thinking The Husband and I were never going to get out of the rut we’re in. It started to feel like we’d been house hunting and trying to get pregnant forever. Or longer actually.

Even when I got the smiley face on Monday, which usually makes me feel upbeat and excited to have another crack at it, I just couldn’t get there. This time, I couldn’t get the ‘Why bother, it’s probably not going to work anyway’ thoughts out my head.

But then it all turned around on Tuesday.

A few weeks ago we decided to put an end to the excruciating torture of trying to buy a house. Sticking pins up our own arses started to seem like a more attractive proposition. Instead we decided to rent for another year or so. Definitely the best decision we could have made.

We saw a house last weekend that was just perfect for us – warm, cosy, clean, characterful, on a quiet street – everything we wanted, except it was quite a bit over our budget. But we loved it so much, we thought we’d have nothing to lose by putting in a low offer. We didn’t think in a million years it would be accepted but something happened that day...maybe the stars were aligned in the east or the moon was in Uranus or the sun had got its hat on – whatever it was, our luck was in and our offer got accepted! Yay!

It felt like a big old lead weight was released from my body the minute I heard that news. It was just such a big fat massive relief. And I immediately started to think that maybe this is our time, a new start for us. Maybe this is what needed to happen to make my mind and body relax and work together to make a new life grow inside me. Sigh.

I need to go back and see the fertility doc when he’s back from holiday at the beginning of November and talk about timing for IVF – possibly to start this side of Christmas, depending on my cycle.

But if I’m going to let you into a little secret, I’ve decided it would be a hell of a lot simpler (and cheaper) to get pregnant naturally before we get to that point. So that’s what I’m going to do.

What the hell.

Until next time.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

A step nearer

Yesterday’s IVF appointment with the fertility doctor went well. It was my second appointment with him and by the end of this session I have to confess I’d fallen in love with him a little bit. He’s charming and lovely and patient and knows stuff.

The trouble is I have form – I also fell in love with the guy who did my hysteroscopy a few months ago. I might consider it a problem but my husband confessed to having a slight man crush on Hysteroscopy Doc at the time and I feel pretty sure he’ll develop one for IVF Doc too so I think I’ll just go with it.

More importantly perhaps, IVF Doc answered all my questions and gave me more of an idea of the protocol. I was hoping I’d come out of there knowing when we’d start the process and exactly what it would involve for me but he needs The Husband and I to do a few more tests to give him all the facts (bloods, sperm, scan etc). Once he has the results, we’ll go in for a final consult and he’ll go through each stage of the process in detail, how long it will take and the level of drugs I’ll need. And we’ll decide when to start.

I’m still in the ‘this feels so surreal stage’. I’m actually finding it hard to write at the moment because I don’t really know how I feel.

I think there’s part of me that’s filled with horror at voluntarily and in fact personally pumping my body full of drugs, another part that’s apprehensive about the process as a whole, another part that’s excited at the prospect of a happy ending and another part that’s scared shitless it’s going to fail. That I’m going to fail.

I’m trying desperately to keep all these feelings in check and have decided to go all out and book appointments with as many different types of therapists as I can lay my hands on over the next couple of months (complementary and otherwise). I’ll worry about the money later...

I suppose the bottom line is, I feel like I’m a step nearer to having my baby. I hope that’s true.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Well, I’ve made my decision – next step will be IVF.

Weighing everything up, it didn’t seem like IUI would be a viable option for me. The specialist told me IVF is three times more likely to work than IUI (35% vs. 12%) and as much as it seems like a huge step to go from trying naturally to IVF, at my age I don’t want to waste any more valuable time.

So I’ve booked an appointment with the fertility specialist on Friday to talk through the process and the timing.

I can’t quite believe it’s got to this stage, it just feels so surreal. I also feel very ignorant about it – I need to do more research but I’d really appreciate any help any of you can give me with the sort of things I should be thinking about and the questions I should ask the specialist on Friday...

If you have any advice/suggestions, please leave them via the comments below.

Thanks so much!

Until next time.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

It could have been amazing

I wrote this blog while I was on holiday last week but didn't have access to the internet so I'm just publishing it now. We had such a lovely time, really switched off and relaxed - just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, a combination of taking Cyclogest this month and bad timing meant I had to do a pregnancy test while we were away. Here's what happened...

This morning, the 4th day of my week-long holiday, I peed on a stick.

It could have been amazing timing. Just the two of us in a beautiful peaceful setting - blue skies, sunshine, palm trees, fuschia pink flowers, the endless blue-green sea ... It would have been so romantic and so perfect.

We'd had a fairly stressful few weeks before we came away so I didn't have very high expectations but there's always the faintest whiff of hope.

But there was no purple line in the test window. I scrutinized it, held it up to the light, willed something to appear, checked the instructions four times to make sure I'd done it right. But there was definitely no purple line in the test window.

I spent the next 20 minutes going through the obligatory what-ifs - what if it's a faulty test, what if I didn't pee on it right (but seriously, how can you not pee for 3 seconds on the end of a stick right? If you can get that wrong, you shouldn't be having sex), what if I should have waited another day to test?

This last one is always the most pertinent when I'm taking Cyclogest. I tend not to get my period while I'm on it, which means it's doing its job, but I always wonder if I'd tested a few days later, stayed on the Cyclogest a few days longer...

That's the beauty of this process. We get to beat ourselves up on a monthly basis, convince ourselves if only we'd done something differently, done it more, done it less, done it standing on our heads with a pink wig on, then maybe this month we'd have been pregnant.

But the bottom line is, I'm not pregnant. And I sort of feel numb this time. Usually a BFN hits me like a sledge hammer in the gut. But this time I don't feel very much at all. I'm not sure if it's the desensitizing effect of being on holiday, the result of fifteen consecutive unsuccessful tries or possibly the fact that I'm hurtling faster and more uncontrollably down the slippery slope straight to IVF-ville and I just don't want to acknowledge it right now.

Whatever it is, right or wrong, I hope it stays this way for a while. It's nice not to feel for a change.

Until next time.


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Moving in the right direction

I realised recently that at times it's taken me a bit longer to get to where I’m supposed to be in life, compared to the average person. So I suppose it didn’t surprise me when I didn’t get pregnant straight away.

I put it down to the fact that The Husband and I needed more time on our own together as we didn’t meet until we were in our mid-30s. Plus, we wanted to move out of our small, cold, noisy, rented flat and buy our first home.

I thought maybe that was meant to come first so we were settled for when I got pregnant. But a bunch of things have worked against us - the recession, a crap housing market, a tight budget, the house we were about to buy falling through at the last minute...

And while we’ve tried to be philosophical about things and leave it up to fate, it’s starting to really get us down now. We’re both feeling tired, in every way.

I’m not sure what happened to getting married, buying a home, having kids and living happily ever after but I feel naive for ever thinking that’s how it would be. We just want to move on with our lives now and if we’re going move on, it looks like we have to take control and make things happen.

This week’s appointment with the fertility specialist really helped us to see this and has put us on the road to making some big decisions.

First up, as far as fertility – or the apparent lack of it – is concerned, it’s between IUI or IVF. As I’m ovulating naturally, the doc didn’t think Clomid would have any significant impact on our chances and would just waste valuable time.

I have another choice, which is to carry on trying naturally but as the specialist put it, “If you were ten or even five years younger, I’d tell you to go away and try naturally for another year. But at 38 and having tried to get pregnant for over a year, I’d recommend doing something now.”

Well, it was blunt but I appreciated the fact he was honest with me. And I think I needed to hear it.

It’s a bit upsetting - to think age is against us, to think that if we did have the luxury of time we may just get pregnant naturally, to know what I’m about to put my body through. But the bottom line is it takes us one step closer to having our baby. And that’s what this is all about.

So we’re going to look into it, find out as much as we can and work out what’s best for us. And I'm so grateful we're doing it together. I know not everyone has someone to go through this kind of stuff with.

And as for where we live – all the signs have pointed to the fact that it’s not the right time for us to buy a house. But neither of us believes we’re supposed to stay where we are. So we’re going to meet the universe halfway and rent a house for a while. It will hopefully make the process a lot simpler and quicker and take a huge amount of pressure off us.

So that’s where we are.

Apprehensive but hopefully moving in the right direction.

Until next time.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Big fat f*cking waste of time

It’s been a frustrating week.

I was determined to be positive and constructive after I got my period last Friday. It was once again gutting but I spent the weekend focusing on making an appointment with the fertility doctor, so I could talk through my options and decide what to do next.

I would really love to get pregnant naturally (who wouldn’t?) but after a year of trying, I’ve finally arrived at the point where I’ve realised it’s more important to have a baby than to worry about how it got made. And I don’t want to waste any more time.

So on Monday I called Scan Man and told him I’d got my period. “Oh, errum, I am sorry. Well, you’d better make an, errum, appointment to come in and see me in the next couple of, errum, days. We’ll chat through your monitored cycle and go through all the, errum, facts. Then you can make an, errum, appointment with Mr Fertility Doctor and get things moving in the, errum, right direction.”

Ok, so far so good. So I made the, errum, appointment for the next day and psyched myself up in the meantime as I wanted to feel strong and level-headed when we talked through everything.

But as I walked into his office, before I’d even sat down, he started telling me he hadn’t expected to see me so soon and that the file with ALL my information was at his other clinic. What??! But you told me to come in and see you in the next couple of, errum, days! What was so unexpected??

He said he could remember all the relevant details but as the session progressed, it transpired he couldn’t and I had to keep reminding and correcting him. The only thing he could confirm was that I have low progesterone and a short luteal phase - something I’ve known all along.

Basically, it was a big, fat f*cking waste of time.

Plus, when I said I wanted to see Mr Fertility Doctor asap so I could do something with my next cycle, Scan Man said casually, “Oh, Mr FD is, errum, away this week, he’s not back until next week so you won’t be able to do anything with the, errum, next cycle.”

Great. Thanks for waiting until now to tell me. I’ve had issues with this clinic before (see earlier blogs) and this was the last straw. So after all the psyching up about making decisions and moving on, I felt like I was back to square one – confused, disappointed and not sure what to do next.

So I did the only thing I could think of. Called Gorgeous Handsome Dreamy Gynaecologist – the one who did my recent hysteroscopy – and asked him to recommend someone (my logic being that if he is gorgeous, handsome, dreamy, charming and lovely, anyone he recommends will be as well).

His secretary (let’s call her Lucky Bitch) told me he was in the office that day and she’d get back to me later with an answer. The day went on and I heard nothing. I called LB again the next morning and she said he’d had to rush off after I called and wasn’t back in the office until Monday (tomorrow). Aaarrggh!!

I think the most frustrating thing about all this is not feeling in control - of my own body and its ability to make a baby, and being so bloody reliant on other people to even have a chance of making that baby.

Anyway, I’ll chase LB again tomorrow and if I don’t get any joy, will check out another couple of recommendations I’ve had. But as time is ticking on I’ve had to accept I can’t do anything more with this cycle except try naturally again.

What I have done, though, is book my very first appointment with an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist. He’s meant to have good results with hormone imbalance and infertility so I thought it was worth a shot while I’m figuring out what to do next.

Until next time.


Sunday, 12 September 2010

I’m not pregnant thanks, how are you?

Very occasionally, when someone enquires casually after my wellbeing, I want to reply “Not pregnant thanks, and how are you?”

It would mean I’ve pretty much summed things up in a few short words, they’d know the score and we can move on. It would explain why, at the age of 38 and having been married for well over a year, I’m still drinking alcohol and eating soft cheese, I often avoid social arrangements, I frequently look sad, I get grumpy on a regular basis (every 22-25 days if we’re going to be pedantic) and I look like I’m about to self-implode when asked if I’m going to have children soon.

But I’m one of life’s private people – it’s why I could never reveal my identity on here and why, conversely, I relish the freedom the anonymity brings me in being able to release some of the deeper, harder-to-reach thoughts, feelings and emotions that come with this journey.

So there are very few people who know with certainty I’m having trouble getting pregnant (I’m sure there are quite a few who have started to suspect by now). And there are times I wish even they didn’t know, that I could go somewhere far, far away with The Husband (preferably Bali), and stay there until we’re pregnant.

But I can’t. This is my life. I have to face it, go with it and believe not only there’s a reason for it but that I’ll be a stronger, happier, better person for it in the long run.

So tomorrow I’ll call Scan Man and tell him I got my period on Friday. And he’ll add that piece of information to my notes. And then I’ll make an appointment to see Fertility Doctor. And I’ll go through all my options with him and decide on a plan of action that’s going to get me a baby.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Hey Jude, don’t make me sad...

“Errum, I’d say everything looks as it, errum, should. No major cause for, errum, concern at this stage. So fingers crossed for, errum, a good outcome this cycle.”

Ah, thank you kindly funny speaking Scan Man.

In a nutshell the three scans I’ve had during this monitored cycle (CDs 7, 12 & 20) have all shown things in my lady bits are as they should be. Frustrating in an ‘unexplained fertility’ way but good news in an ‘I have to be grateful nothing major is wrong’ way.

So now, at 8 DPO , I just need to carry on waiting. Again. For the 14th time.

I’m doing ok to be honest, I’ve really tried to stick to thinking positively over the last few days. Actually it’s probably more accurate to say I’ve been trying not to think at all. Well, not about getting pregnant anyway.

The only blip I had was two nights ago. I’d spoken to my sister in the morning and she told me she’d gone to visit an old friend of hers who got married a week after I did, 14 months ago. We spoke about her for a bit and then I asked: “Is she thinking of trying for a baby?” There was a brief pause and my sister replied: “She had a baby three months ago.”

I gave a nervous sort of laugh and asked what she had (a boy) and what they’d called him (Jude - I love that name), and then she changed the subject and we moved on to other things.

But I had an uncomfortable feeling. It wasn’t jealousy or bitterness. I know a few people far closer to me who’ve had babies within a year of getting married recently and I’ve been able to accept it and be happy for them. I can’t even explain it, I think I just felt a bit stupid for asking the question like that, when I could have asked ‘Is she pregnant yet?’ or ‘Has she had a baby yet?’ Or maybe it was just the stark reality of it, the fact that the answer felt a bit like a slap in the face, I don’t know.

Anyway, after I put the phone down, I put the conversation to the back of my mind and I carried on with my day.

But for some reason, when I went to bed that night, I started to think about this conversation again and I just felt sad. Probably sad for the three-month old I could have had by now. Sad for feeling stupid for asking that question. Sad for this whole crappy situation. I shed a few tears, letting the sadness trickle down my cheeks for a while. Then I wiped the tears away, took a few deep breaths and went back to not thinking.

Until next time.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

The pond, the tortoise and the invaluable lesson

I‘ve said this before about my reflexologist (who I'll call Mrs R) but she’s a complete hoot and I thoroughly enjoy the hour I spend in her company each month.

She often says the most randomly eccentric things with a straight face, making me giggle to distract me during the painful bits. For instance, this week she told me she’d asked her husband to get her a pond for their 22nd wedding anniversary – but then she changed her mind when she realised her tortoise might drown in it.

But she also inadvertently comes out with really valuable nuggets of wisdom. I was talking to her this week about our struggle to find a house and how it’s-really-getting-us-down-because-where-we-live-at-the-moment-was-only-meant-to-be-temporary-but-it’s-been-two-years-now-and-it’s-small-and-cramped-and-drafty-and-we-have-noisy-neighbours-and-a-second-bedroom-full-of-boxes-and-even-if-I-did-get-pregnant-how-would-we-fit-in-a-baby-and... At that point Mrs R stopped me with a loud ‘Hold on a second missy!’ which was probably just as well as I’d forgotten to breathe for a while.

She then sternly told me that I must NEVER have anything in my head that could possibly be a reason for not getting pregnant. Instead, she told me to mentally remove those boxes from the second bedroom, give it a jolly good theoretical clean-out, and then start visualising how I’d decorate it as a nursery for my baby.

I know about visualising and thinking positively and I do try to do both but I have to admit, when it’s about me, I don’t find it particularly easy. I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in myself at the best of times, let alone when my body isn’t even able to do what should come most naturally.

But, somehow, what Mrs R said about the second bedroom really hit a nerve. There’s definitely a part of me that thinks that while we’re in this flat, we can’t possibly be ready to have a baby - that we’re still playing at being married and that until we move to our three-bed semi in suburbia with a through lounge and an apple tree in the garden, we’re not truly grown up enough to have a baby.

I thought about this a lot after the reflexology session and something dawned on me – home is where me and The Husband are. And if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant in the near future and we haven’t found our dream home, then clear out those boxes is what we’ll do. And we’ll make a bloody gorgeous nursery in that second bedroom and it will be home for our baby and we’ll be a grown-up family in a small, drafty, noisy two-bed flat - and we’ll be happy.

So now, every night before I go to sleep, I visualise transforming that second bedroom into the perfect nursery for our baby – it’s got a thick, warm carpet , a cosy little crib, shelves filled with Beatrix Potter books and teddy bears, and a comfy rocking chair where I’d cuddle my baby all day if I could.

And I now know that it’s all I’d need.

So thank you, Mrs R, for making me realise this – it was an unintentional but very valuable lesson.

Until next time.


Monday, 30 August 2010

You do the math

I think there must be some sort of mathematical equation for trying to get pregnant. I was never very good at maths but I’d say it goes something like this:

The longer you try to conceive + the more you try to find out about why you’re not conceiving = the less you know + the more confused you are X the number of people around you getting pregnant and having babies at the drop of a hat = the less confident you feel about everything in the entire world.

Or is that just me?

Last week I went to have my first scan of a monitored cycle (Day 7, Cycle 14). The last time I was scanned was at Month 7 when they checked to see if my tubes are open (they are + ovulating naturally = v positive). At that point they sent me away with a recommendation to carry on trying naturally using Cyclogest for a few months (thin lining + short luteal phase = bit of a problem) and to have a hysteroscopy to check an irregularity they thought they saw in my uterus during the scan.

Four months of Cyclogest and a hysteroscopy later (progesterone + no pregnancy + clear uterus = sad but hopeful), I had no idea what do next. I took my friend’s good advice to go back for another monitored cycle to double check what’s going on down there (phone call + appointment made = feel much better for having done something).

Everything looked fine at the first scan (old lining gone + good number of follicles visible = ovulation expected) and even better at the second scan today (lining thickening up + ovary showing strong signs of action = ovulating now).

So I took the opportunity to ask some questions about what my next step might be. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to in a professional capacity about this, right from Month 6, has been very quick to mention IVF (I thought there were other things I could try + seems drastic = v confused).

I was told by the Scan Man (with funny speech impediment): “Errum, the reason the specialists would have, errum, suggested IVF to you so quickly was, errum, out of kindness, not for, errum, business reasons.”

Errum, right. I smell shit of the bull variety.

Anyway, apparently there are some steps between Cyclogest and IVF after all (duh) and once this cycle is well and truly monitored and I have all the facts I can get my hands on, I’ll go back to the fertility specialist and talk through what that next step will be.

That is, assuming I don’t get pregnant in the meantime (ovulating now + sex = baby making).



Until next time.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

No (wo)man’s land

This may sound a bit weird but I’ve kind of got to a point with trying to get pregnant where I don’t really know what to feel, almost as if I’m in no man’s land.

I’ve had a year of trying naturally and know a bit more about my body now – I have low progesterone and a short luteal phase but on the positive side, I ovulate naturally most months and my uterus is clear.

Right, so what do I do now? At 38 I feel I have a responsibility to give my body the best chance to get pregnant, and that probably means taking this process a stage further. I know I’m not the first to feel reluctant to do this but for some reason it’s taking me a while to get my head round it.

Surely I should instinctively want to do everything in my power to get pregnant as quickly as possible? I suspect the reluctance may have something to do with feeling like I’m a failure for not having conceived naturally – I find it easy to blame myself for most things – and also a fear that whatever I try next might not work.

But at the same time, I know I have to do something – I don’t ever want to regret not doing anything.

Unfortunately, I haven’t felt particularly ‘looked after’ by the professionals up until this point so I haven’t even been sure of my options and what would be best for me.

But tomorrow I go for the first scan of a monitored cycle to double check the facts, to ask lots of questions, to assess the answers and to decide on the next step.

With any luck, it’ll be the first tentative step out of no man’s land and a big stride towards getting pregnant.

Until next time.


Thursday, 19 August 2010

I knew it wasn’t my baby

The other day one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted that she’d dreamed about a baby. She sounded really excited about it and I felt a pang because I hadn’t had one of those dreams for a long time and I know how lovely it can be.

Well, this morning I had a dream just before I woke up that took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go.

I was in my grandma’s old flat. My grandma died a few years ago but I was really close to her and spent a lot of time in that flat when I was growing up so it has very good memories for me. I dream about it a lot.

Anyway, I was in the kitchen and the daughter of a family friend was with me – this is quite random as I haven’t seen this girl in ages and we’re not close. Plus she looked how she did when she was a teenager, which was about 25 years ago.

Still, she was there, gatecrashing my dream for some reason, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to her as I could see there was a baby sitting in the corner of the kitchen. It was probably a few months old and had light blonde hair and bright blue eyes and it was just sitting there on its own, good as gold, playing with a little toy.

I couldn’t take my eyes of this baby, it was so cute and gorgeous-looking, and after watching it for a bit I went over and picked it up and took it back to the counter and sat it down there. I played with it for a while and then I went to hug it and it hugged me back and we just stayed like that, hugging and rocking gently from side to side. I knew it wasn’t my baby but I didn’t want to stop hugging it.

Then something woke me up. It was one of those dreams I knew I didn’t want to leave so I tried to stay with it for as long as possible but I slowly came back to reality and I knew it was just another morning before work.

I felt such a deep sadness I didn’t know what to do and I cried proper heartache tears. My lovely husband hugged me and brought me tissues and asked me what was wrong. I told him briefly about the dream but it’s so hard to explain a feeling like that.

After I’d pulled myself together and he'd left for work, I went to the toilet and saw the heavy blood stain on my panty liner and I came right back down to earth.

I know I’m particularly hormonal at the moment but this feels hard.

Day 1, Cycle 14, decisions to make...

Until next time.