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.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hopes & dreams

Last night, I woke up crying from a horrible dream. I can't remember the context but the end was so vivid and awful. I was told I had to lose my two embabies and was made to watch a scan-like image of my uterus as they disappeared.

It was one of those dreams it takes a while to wake up from but when I came to properly, I had tears streaming down my face and was calling out to The Husband that they'd gone. I haven't had one of those dreams in ages and it threw me right off this morning.

Sadly, this ivf has become something to get through. Since my niece died, my family has been going through all kinds of hell and I've felt I have to be strong for my brother and sister-in-law, and for my parents. I haven't had the head space or the energy to give the ivf the attention it needs, and I lost all perspective on why I've been doing it.

But this last week, since the egg collection, my focus has had to shift. I've had to be present physically and so I've naturally become more engaged with it. I've been nervous at every stage, before every call, wanting to know things are going well, that we're still in the game. Thoughts about how this is going to turn out have been creeping into my head. The outcome of this cycle seems to have such a huge significance.

If I could get pregnant and bring new life into the family, then maybe it would help take my sister-in-law's mind away, even for a short time, from the overwhelming pain and sadness she is suffering every single second of every single day. Maybe it would help my brother start to release his grief, get rid of some of the unbearable emotion building up inside him like a dead weight. Maybe it would bring a true smile to my parents' faces. Maybe we could all start to have some faith in the world around us again.

I know if we have a baby it wouldn't come close to being a replacement for my niece but it might be a distraction from the grief.

And for me and The Husband? It we would mean we could start to move on, to make plans and allow ourselves to be excited about the future again. We could talk with confidence about WHEN we have our baby, the kind of parents we'd be, the names we like, the way we'd decorate the nursery, how much is too much to spend on a pram.

And I have to believe all this could happen. I just can't bear to think about the other outcome.

So the dream threw me because it brought my deepest, darkest fears up from my sub-conscious, right there where I could see them, smell them, feel them. And at the cruellest time, right after transfer, right at the start of the two-week wait.

Of course I'm scared, I wouldn't be human if I wasn't.

But I definitely haven't give up hope.

I know I haven't given a proper update here on what's happened in the latest stages of the cycle, I promise to do that next time!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Four little fighters

We had six eggs collected yesterday and today we have four embryos.

I'm proud of my body for doing what it needed to do through all the crap that's going on at the moment.

We have four little fighters.

We're still in the game.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Day 9 follie report - could do better but I'm still lucky

My Day 9 scan was done today.

And the numbers are: five follies on my left and three on my right. The biggest is 15mm, a couple are at 13mm, a couple at 11mm, and the rest from 7 to 10mm.

I can't help but compare this to my last cycle when at this stage I had six follies on each side and a good number were in the 17-20mm range - the ideal size for egg collection. Plus, I've been on a higher dose of Gonal this time - 300 (up from 225) so I had higher expectations to go with it.

To sum up, none of my follies are up to scratch yet. One is getting close and four others are thinking about it. The rest are having a nice relaxing time doing not very much.

So I have another scan set for Friday and in the meantime I keep taking the drugs in the hope my follies decide to perk up and get in the game.

Truthfully, I'm finding this tough now. I feel mentally drained. All the family stuff that's been going on since my niece died is taking its toll. I pretty much lost sight of why I'm doing the ivf and have just been doing my best to get through it.

But if I stop and think about it, if I look around me, I know that I'm lucky. Yes, you heard me. Even though I'd never have chosen to go through this shit, the bottom line is I am going through it. But I still have options, I still have the opportunity to do ivf. I know there are lots of women of all ages who would give anything to be able to do it but for whatever reason - biological, financial etc - they are unable to.

So in support of these women, I'm going to take a deep breath, dig into my reserves and see this thing through with as much strength and dignity as I can find. And who knows? I might even end up with my baby...

Before I go, please join me in sending love and strength to @lilytaj and @DeadCowGirl, who both had failed ivf cycles this week. Thinking of you both...

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The pain, the support and the shitload of hormones

First of all I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who's supported me lately through my blog or on Twitter. It really means so much, I'm just sorry I haven't been around much to support all of you.

It's been harder than ever for me to update this blog because everything at the moment is so unreal, so big, so awful.

I can't write about the pain my family is going through because there are no words for that. And I still have no idea how I feel about the ivf so I don't know how to write about that either.

On the whole, I feel like I'm hovering around most areas of my life but not really properly taking part in any of them. I want to be there more for my brother, sister-in-law, nephew and my parents but don't always know how to. I've taken compassionate leave from work for a few days this week because I wasn't able to concentrate on anything while I was there, and I've not really been around much to speak to or see my friends.

And of course the ivf. I'm going through the motions of this cycle but I'm not really engaged with it. I'm scared about either outcome this time to be honest, but mostly I don't want to be responsible for causing more pain and grief for my family if it doesn't work out.

I expect everything is compounded by the shitload of hormones in my system now. I extended my down reg injections by a week so I could have a bit more time to get my head round things. So that meant three and a half weeks of Buserilin before I started the Gonal on Monday this week (which they upped to 300 from 225 in ivf1).

My day 5 blood test is tomorrow and day 9 scan next Tuesday so I'll soon know how my follies are progressing. Maybe then things will start to hit home and feel a bit more real. I hope so.

Before I go I wanted to mention The Husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary this week. We went out for a lovely meal, exchanged gifts and had a relaxing, fun evening. He lifts my spirits and keeps me going, and he's been such an amazing support to my family these last few weeks. To me, that's invaluable.

In the midst of all the crap, I haven't forgotten for a second how lucky I am to have him by my side.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


On Monday last week, my beautiful, intelligent, talented, funny, popular, loved and loving 14 year old niece died very suddenly and unexpectedly.

I do not have the words to describe the horror of this past week and a half. The pain my brother, sister in law and nephew are going through is unimaginable. In time, the rest of us will get on with our lives but for them, this is just the start.

To me, this is pure devastation - nothing will ever be the same again.

In the meantime, I continue injecting myself with ivf drugs but to be honest, it has lost all meaning to me now.

The world no longer makes sense.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

IVF2, Day 1

Well it’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog. In fact, in the four months since IVF1 failed, I’ve written a grand total of five blogs.

I’ve just found it so hard to translate my thoughts and feelings into words. And actually most of the time I don’t even really know what I’m feeling. I think my mind and my heart have become numb to the devastation of not getting pregnant. Sometimes it almost feels like I’ve lost sight of why I’m doing all this, that it’s just become a part of life, something I need to do.

But here I am again, starting another IVF cycle.

It’s pretty much the same protocol as last time (long day 21) so down regging with buserilin for two weeks (when my ovaries will go to sleep) and then stimming with Gonal for up to 12 days (when my ovaries will wake up again). Except this time they’re upping my Gonal dose from 225 to 300 in the hope of getting more eggs and then getting some of those eggs to blastocyst stage ie day 5 transfer (my clinic’s success rates have improved significantly since they’ve started getting more people to blast).

To recap, in IVF1 I got 8 eggs and 6 fertilised but by Day 3 I only had one good quality and a couple of average so they transferred two embryos on day 3.

I’ll also be using Crinone gel instead of progesterone in oil injections after egg collection. Although it’s only just starting to become more widely used in the UK, the evidence they’ve gathered at my clinic so far shows it’s effective for people who tend to bleed early – as I do. This is a huge relief as the PIO injections were so bloody painful.

This time, I’ll also be having weekly acupuncture throughout the process and additional sessions around collection and transfer. My acupuncturist is wonderful and I’m pretty sure the sessions over the last couple of months have helped keep me balanced.

I also plan to eat a sizeable amount of chocolate, watch lots of crappy TV and read the full spectrum of gossip magazines. Apparently this is not only allowed, it’s obligatory.

So right now I’m feeling fairly relaxed and will try to stay that way for as long as possible.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to start blogging regularly again – partly for selfish reasons because the support I get from my tweeps and blog followers is amazing – and partly because I know it helps others going through this process.

So please, stay with me on this journey and hopefully this time I’ll give you a happy ending.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

IVF2, the baby dream and the tears

Lately I’ve been feeling much stronger, the tangled mess in my head seems to have been unravelling and I’ve been able to look forward again.

Yesterday, we went to see our consultant about starting the next cycle of ivf around the end of the month. I came out feeling positive, hopeful and even a bit excited.

Last night I had a baby dream. I was playing with a gorgeous little baby, making it smile and giggle. I felt so happy but I just had this feeling it wasn’t really my baby. It turned out to be my sister-in-law’s.

This morning we found out friends who'd got married exactly a year after us had just given birth to their first son.

Today I hurt so much – an intense physical aching in my heart that I haven't felt since the chemical pregnancy. I got into bed earlier, started crying and couldn’t stop. The tears seemed to come from somewhere so deep inside me.

My husband came upstairs and found me like this. He comforted me and told me it was ok to be sad. I said that everyone around us seemed to be having babies but I could only dream about them.

He told me we weren’t like everyone else, that we’re special and that we’ll have our baby, at some point, somehow.

I listened to his words, dried my tears and carried on with the day.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

This is my shit

More than two months have passed since the ivf 1 chemical pregnancy debacle. I was pregnant, then I wasn't pregnant anymore - all within the space of 48 hours.

It's been a tough couple of months since the ivf but it's also been over a year and a half since we starting trying to get pregnant. Like a lot of women in my situation I've questioned so much about myself, my standing as a woman and as a wife. I've felt guilt, responsiblity and shame, and I've lost a lot of confidence, to the point where I've even found it hard to spend time with my closest friends.

I haven't been speaking much about how I feel and I haven't been able to get my thoughts in any sort of order to write about them (until now). I've also had night panics which, apart from being frightening, have affected my sleep and my mood. I can be fine one minute and then lose it completely because I left my phone upstairs or we ran out of milk.

I've put myself under a lot of pressure since the failed cycle, thinking my head had to be straight and clear before we started trying again. That I'd have come to terms with that cycle before I could move on and be properly ready to go again, or I wouldn't be giving myself the best possible chance.

But I think it's been slowly dawning on me recently that that's not the case, that maybe I don't need to 'come to terms' with that cycle - because I probably never will. We went through a process that was tough physically, mentally and emotionally. We chose to do it so we could give ourselves a better chance to get pregnant. But it failed, and no one could give us a cast-iron biological or medical reason why. Just like no one has been able to tell us why we haven't been able to conceive naturally over the last 19 months.

I have always wanted to have children and I still do. I know it sounds weird considering they were only inside me for two weeks but I miss our two little embryos. They were a part of us, we created them – irrespective of the help we got from medical science. I even loved them, right from the moment I got the call to say they’d made it. They were a bunch of cells in a petri dish in a lab across London but I loved them. I keep the scan picture given to us at the transfer in my bedside table drawer and I look at my lost little embryos every morning and every night and I wish they were still here, growing inside me.

I want so much to know how it feels to carry your own child, to bring them into the world, to look after and love them unconditionally. And I want,possibly more than anything else,to make my husband a dad. He has so much compassion inside him, he would do anything for anyone and he’s wiser than anyone I know. I just know he will make an amazing father. I hope I never again have to see the pain in his eyes that I saw when we realised the last ivf was over.

I know a lot of women in this situation think 'it's not fair' and 'why me?'. It's not really in my make up to think that way (I'm more likely to think I deserve it than anything else) but I get why they think it. There is a lot of shit in life and it comes in all different shapes and sizes (no pun intended). This is just my shit. And I think I finally realise that I don't need to understand it, accept it or be happy with it.

But I do have to deal with it, and that's what I'm doing. I now know there's no right or wrong way to deal with it, I just have to do what feels right for me. It hasn't always been pretty but somehow I've made it through these past couple of months and finally I can see a spark of light again. So I feel like maybe I've done something right. And that spark of light has helped me to think about the future, to think about doing another ivf. So I've booked an appointment with our consultant in a few weeks' time to discuss it. It's a start.

So no, I haven't come to terms with this shit and maybe I never will but yes, in my own way, I'm dealing with it.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Needles and nourishment

I went for my first acupuncture session today in preparation for ivf2. I did have two acu sessions during ivf1 but they were on the day of transfer and in the two week wait and I did them mostly because I thought I should, so not sure I got a huge amount from them. But I wanted to give my body and mind a chance to benefit from it before the next ivf cycle as I know some people swear by it.

The acupuncturist was lovely - in her 30s and South African - very gentle and thorough with her questions, especially around my cycle. She seemed very knowledgeable about everything in that department which put me at ease as she didn't come recommended by anyone, I just came across her details on a website.

Once we'd got through all the questions, she looked at my tongue, then got me to lay down and felt my pulse. Then she started putting the needles in. She did one in my forehead, one in each ear, two in each foot (one on the front and one on the side), one on each leg near the knee, a couple in my stomach (one near the belly button, one nearer the pubic bone) and one on my chest just below the collar bone.

She said from what I'd told her, her focus would be on nourishing my blood as I have very light, very short periods, a short luteal phase and low progesterone. She said she'd also work on helping to regulate my sleep as I've been sleeping very restlessly lately and I have these night panics where I wake up with a jolt, my heart's racing and I feel very scared and it takes me a while to calm down and go back to sleep.

I only felt a couple of the needles go in but on the whole I barely felt a thing. The only one I was aware of throughout was the one in my left ear which kind of ached a bit. She left me lying down with the needles for about 10-15 mins and regularly checked my pulse.

I asked her what she could tell from my tongue and my pulse and she said overall I just needed 'nourishing' as everything was a bit below what it should be. I liked her use of the word 'nourishing', it felt comforting for some reason. She also said she could feel a build-up of grief and anxiety around my lungs/chest and wanted to ease that - I felt a bit emotional when I left the session so maybe she unblocked a little something there already.

I don't know a huge amount about acupuncture, I guess I'll find out more as I go along but it's definitely a relaxing experience and a lot of what she said made sense. I suppose it also feels good to know I might be doing something constructive to help my body get pregnant. Let's face it, it needs all the help it can get... And maybe even just going means I'm getting more used to the idea of another ivf cycle.

When I read the tweets and blogs of my fellow IFers, it breaks my heart to know what some people go through to have a baby. It should be the most natural process in the world but when it doesn't work, it makes you question everything about yourself, your womanhood and, sometimes, your place on this earth. I have never felt so insecure about myself as I do now, even in a strong and loving marriage with close friends and family around me. But I see how tough all the ladies in this IF community are, many of whom go through such horrendous ordeals, make huge sacrifices and devote everything they have, every ounce of themselves - time, money, energy, health, sanity - to making their dream of having a baby come true.

It not only humbles me, it gives me strength and courage to keep on going until my dream comes true too.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Getting back on that horse

I’ve tried so many times to update my blog but I’ve generally got as far as the opening sentence, stared at the screen for a while, closed the document and then hit ‘Don’t Save’.

I just haven't known what I want to say. It’s now nearly seven weeks since IVF 1 failed and there’s still a fairly jumbled up mess inside my head. I feel so differently day to day, usually a mix of numb, sad, anxious and fearful. And this past week I've started to feel that overwhelming longing again, that ache in my heart.

Seven weeks on and my instinct is still to crawl into a hole and hide. Not great.

But I'm pushing myself to move on. I need to get my head straight and my confidence back so I'm ready to tackle another cycle. After all, in about 10 days I'm turning 39. Eek. Tick tock tick tock...

So I'm starting to speak to and see my friends and family more, I signed up for some volunteer work with local elderly people and we've decided to start trying naturally again. I'm going to back off from the alcohol, eat more healthily again and get reacquainted with those pre-natal vitamins. Yep, I'm getting back on that horse.

But most importantly, I keep reminding myself of what's good in my life. My Twitter/blog family are an amazing source of never-ending support and I'm incredibly lucky to have close family and friends around me. But at the centre of all of this is my husband. He's been an absolute rock these last couple of months and has kept me going. I am hugely grateful to have him by my side.

Well, I seem to have written something resembling a blog.

Onwards and upwards.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

We were pregnant for a weekend

I thought it was about time I tried to get my thoughts in order. It's been nearly four weeks since ivf #1 failed with a chemical pregnancy.

We were pregnant for a weekend. My first ever BFP. And even though I was spotting and the line was so faint and I just knew it didn't feel right, I wanted to believe it so much that I ignored all the alarm bells.

So we cried happy tears, we got excited, we talked and we planned - the next few weeks, the next nine months, our entire lives.

And the next day, the Monday morning, came the bfn. I've never peed on so many sticks in such a short space of time as I did in those few days.

But the blood test confirmed it. I'd been pregnant but I wasn't any more. At least one of our beautiful embabies, maybe both, had tried really hard to make it but they just weren't strong enough.

Since then I've been mostly numb. I haven't shed many tears. I've been avoiding people close to me. I've been listening to loud music. I've been throwing myself into my job. I've been going through the motions of everyday life.

Sadness, shame, guilt, responsibility, fear, failure, anger, exhaustion are all mixed up together in a big tangled messy heap.

I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I feel like I don't know how to be.

I know if I'm going to find the mental and physical strength to do this all again some time soon, but more importantly to believe it can work, I need to pick my way through that tangled heap and try to make some sense of it.

I'm working on it.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

3-day transfer, 2 embabies, 1 long wait

As I become ever more hormonal and ever more nervous about the results of this IVF cycle, I’m finding it more and more difficult to process my feelings and thoughts so I thought I should get out a quick blog post now.

I kind of skipped a step when I posted the letter to my embabies last week so I’ll do an update on what happened on the day of the transfer.

This time they called when they said they would, at 8.30am. I’d been thinking about our six embies loads over the previous couple of days, wondering how they were doing , and answered the phone hoping to hear some good news.

Unfortunately though, it wasn’t great. I was told only one was still good quality, one was average and the rest were below average and that I had to come in as soon as possible for the transfer as there was no way they’d survive to blastocyst (5-day transfer) stage.

I was upset, feeling a sense of loss about our poor little embies that didn’t make it but knew I had to stay strong to get through whatever the day would hold. So we got ready and went straight to the hospital for 10.30am. I started drinking water before we left in the knowledge I had to have a full but comfortable bladder for the actual procedure.

We got to the hospital on time and got to see the embryologist pretty quickly. He told us we had one good quality embryo at 6 cells and two average (not one, as I was told on the phone) at 4 cells. The rest were below average. He recommended we transfer two – the good one and one of the average ones but said unfortunately none of the remaining embies would be good enough quality to freeze. No frosties = no back-up plan. Rats.

We were happy we could still transfer two though, and went back to the waiting room to sit tight until we were called through. Along with six other couples. For AGES. We waited and waited and my bladder got fuller and fuller and I got more and more uncomfortable.

Two hours later, the last of the other couples went through and I was by this point doubled over with discomfort. I was finally called through, got changed into my gown and went through to be scanned. The ultrasound showed my bladder was full to bursting so I was allowed to go and relieve myself a bit – phew!

The procedure itself didn’t take long at all and really didn’t hurt. I’ve had more uncomfortable smear tests. It was amazing when they brought the embies through from the lab, I couldn’t believe what was about to happen. It was over in minutes, they showed us the white streaks on the monitor where the embabies had been set up in their new home and said all had gone well.

At that point I felt a surge of emotion, so proud to have our two embabies back inside me, determined to do whatever I could to keep them safe.

As I was being wheeled out of the theatre back to the cubicle to rest, one of the embryologists gave us a photo of the embryos to take with us and told us both had grown to 7 cells at the time of transfer. Yay!

I rested for 20 minutes (and went to the loo about three times), got dressed and we made our way home to start the longest wait of our lives.

And here we are, still waiting. This is tough. The longer it goes on, the more energy I have to put in to just staying on an even keel.

Forgive me if I don’t give an exact date on here but it’s not long now. I cannot imagine how I’ll feel whichever way it goes – either outcome will have such a huge impact on our lives.

I will of course update after the event – in the meantime, thank you all so much for your support on here and on Twitter, it has helped more than I could ever have imagined.

I just hope I have some good news to tell you.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Dear embabies

I know you’re just a bunch of cells at the moment but I wanted to let you know a few things.

When we started this journey of trying to get pregnant, I thought it may not happen instantly, mainly because of my age and because sometimes it takes me a bit longer to get to where I want to be. But I knew from the start I’d keep going until I got there because there is no other option for me than having children.

And so we tried and tried and tried some more. We kept going for 18 cycles. And each unsuccessful try tore into my heart a little more.

I started to worry about time running out on my fertility and so we got help from medical science. At that point I left my dignity at the door. I’ve jabbed needles loaded with hormones into my body every day for nearly six weeks. I’ve let endless numbers of medics poke me, prod me, shove things up me, take things out of me and turn me inside out with their forms and their questions until there was nothing left of me to hide.

And it has all left me bruised - physically, emotionally and mentally.

But out of it has come a great thing. Two embabies to call our own.

And so I sit here typing this with you both inside of me, and I want more than anything to look after you, to protect you, to get to know you, to be proud of you, to love you - for as long as I’m here.

Please please please stick around. It will break my heart if you leave.

Your almost mummy


Sunday, 16 January 2011

6 out of 8 ain’t bad

I feel like I’m now into the heart and soul of this IVF process. This is definitely the part that requires the most reserves of energy and strength.

On Wednesday afternoon, the clinic nurse called to let me know my egg collection was definitely set for Friday and that we needed to be at the hospital for 11am. As there’s roughly 36 hours between trigger and collection, I was instructed to do the trigger shot at 12.30am that night – or technically the following morning...

The injection itself was fine, it didn’t hurt any more than any of the others, but somehow it just felt different. To me, that needle was loaded with emotion and significance. After all, this was the final push to get my 10 follies to release their eggs, which could soon become embryos, which could one day become our baby or babies.

I didn’t get much sleep that night.

Thursday was injection-free but I was very nervous about what the next day would bring. On Friday we got to the hospital half an hour early but annoyingly they were running really late so we weren’t seen until 2pm. Those were a looong few hours during which DH was asked to produce his ‘sample’ and I was asked to verify my name and date of birth by about 50 different people. I started to doubt it myself after a while.

The collection team were lovely – the doctor, the embryologist, the handsome young anaesthetist and his assistant all instantly put me at ease. Having been nervous that I might be too ‘aware’ during the procedure, I actually had a lovely little sleep and woke up as they were finishing.

I felt fine after the sedation. As the local anaesthetic and painkillers wore off during the day, I felt a bit tender but didn’t have any pain and 48 hours later it’s almost back to normal. And the best bit – they collected eight eggs from my 10 follies! The wait for the embryologist’s call the next day to tell us how many had fertilised was nerve-wracking. We were incredibly relieved and happy to find out six of the eight fertilised. Yay!

And now we wait again for the embryologist to call tomorrow morning to tell us how the six are doing. If at least two are still going strong, we’ll have a 5-day transfer at blastocyst stage. If the quality isn’t so great they’ll ask us to go in for the transfer tomorrow. Once we know how many embies have survived and their quality, we’ll make the decision about whether we transfer one or two (but we’re leaning towards two if we can).

It’s weird to think a part of us is in a lab in west London, while we’re getting on with life as normally as possible in Hertfordshire. I can’t imagine how it’s going to feel to have those little embies put back inside of me, and I’m afraid to imagine either outcome when we test a couple of weeks down the road.

So, I’m taking this one step at a time and for now I’m praying hard those six little embies are getting stronger by the hour and that we’ll get some good news with tomorrow’s call.

Until next time


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Will that be one egg or two?

Had the Day 9 scan today to check how my follicles are responding to the IVF meds.

A retroverted uterus (tilted backwards) and a bowel trying to hog the limelight didn’t help proceedings and the nurse had to manoeuvre that implement in ways I didn’t think would be possible.

Still, we got there in the end and it turns out I have 10 follies maturing – six on the left and four on the right. I know some people get lots more but it seems like this is an acceptable number. Suppose it means we have a chance of getting up to 10 eggs collected...unlikely but possible!

The surprising news was that the follies have developed quicker than anticipated and some of them were already up to 16 or 17mm – which means they’re pretty much at the size they need to be for egg collection. So EC has been brought forward from Monday to Friday this week.... Fuck. And shit. This is the bit of the process I’m most nervous about as it’s the most invasive but now I’ve had time to process it, I have to say I’m relieved it’s happening sooner - at least it will all be over by the weekend.

So I inject the Buserelin and Gonal one more time tomorrow morning, and the clinic will call me tomorrow afternoon to tell me what time to do the trigger tomorrow night. Then Thursday is injection-free – might just stab myself with a fork a couple of times so I don’t get withdrawal symptoms...

And now The Husband and I need to think about how many embies we’d transfer if we have the choice. I’m 38 so I’ll have the option of transferring one or two. Bearing in mind my age and my ever decreasing fertility, we’re both leaning towards two. Plus, we’d both be happy with twins. Actually, I think I’d be over-the-effing-moon with twins! But we’re not quite decided yet as we know there are risks with multiple pregnancies/births.

I’ve had some amazing advice on Twitter but please please please let me know if you have any info or advice on this – need all the help I can get!

Thanks lovelies.

Until next time


Sunday, 9 January 2011

IVF: Day 29

Today is exactly four weeks into my first IVF cycle.

On Monday this week I introduced Gonal F (225) to the injection regime. In case anyone’s interested in knowing a bit more about the regime, I’m doing the buserilin (down reg) shots in my tummy and Gonal (stims) in the top of my thigh. Mostly, the injections have been fine and don’t hurt at all.

Think I’ve been a bit heavy handed with the buserilin needles a few times have and ended up with a couple of pretty looking green and purple bruises on my tummy...oops. The Gonal needle tends to slide into my thigh fairly easily and just stings for a few minutes, otherwise it’s no trouble.

On Friday I had the Day 5 blood test first thing in the morning to check my hormone levels and make sure I’m not over or under reacting to the meds. I had to wait all day for the nurse to call with the results – think the longest I managed to concentrate at work while waiting for the results was about three minutes. Seriously, if I’m like that with a minor blood test, I have no idea how I’ll manage to get through the two week wait! Anyways, all was fine so I need to continue what I’m doing until the Day 9 scan on Tuesday morning.

I’m quite excited to see how my follies are responding at the scan. Can’t quite believe I’m this far into it. I can’t deny it’s started to feel a bit scary now I’m being monitored and egg collection is so close. I also think the injections, the hormones, the process in general and the thought of the outcome, whichever way it goes, is starting to take its toll emotionally, mentally and physically.

But I’m doing everything in my power to take this one day at a time and stay with the thought that literally in a few weeks’ time I could be pregnant...

Just want to take the opportunity to send all the luck in the world to my cycle buddies on Twitter (@IVFBlessing @IVFchronicles @ivfbabyuk & @TTC_ICSI_IVF), who have all got a very important week this week. Here’s #hoping girlies...

Until next time


Monday, 3 January 2011

Personal highlight of 2010? Umm...

Lazing in bed on the first day of the brand new year , The Husband turned to me and asked what my highlights of 2010 were.

I pondered this for a while and said: I know it was at the end of the year but moving house, definitely. He said that was a highlight for him too, but what would be my personal highlight, something I was pleased I’d done or achieved for me? For instance, he said, his would be starting his hypnotherapy course. I agreed with his choice, I’m proud of him for that too.

So what about me? A personal highlight. That would be...umm...err...personal, you say? Well, obviously, there’d be the erm...umm...oh I don’t know, I give up!

That made me feel sad. Not to be able to think of one single thing that I’d consider a personal achievement in a whole entire year. It made me realise how I’d spent 2010 – basically trying to get through stuff.

It wasn’t that 2010 was a *bad* year exactly. It was our first full calendar year of being married and I’m still feeling exceptionally happy and lucky to have found my lobster (Friends reference, in case anyone’s confused). But it was a year full of challenges – a change in my responsibilities at work and good friends being made redundant that left me frustrated and unhappy in my job, the house we’d set our heart on buying falling through at the last minute and not being able to find an alternative, and of course, trying with optimism, month after month, to conceive and failing, broken-hearted, time after time.

At the end of the summer we realised things had to change. So we thought about renting instead of buying and we thought about starting IVF. And I realised I had to reorder my priorities and not worry so much about work. Instead I started to see it as a means to an end, a place that would one day pay me maternity benefit for up to a year, and I managed to relax about it a little. And suddenly it was December, and we were moving into our gorgeous little rented house and starting our first IVF cycle.

And that was 2010.

But I want 2011 to be different. Of course, if I get pregnant with this IVF cycle then I know for sure what my highlight of 2011 will be. But if, for whatever reason, this cycle isn’t meant to be for us, then I want to make sure I do or achieve something this year I’ll be proud of, so I could answer that same question on 1 January 2012 without hesitation.

Watch this space, I guess.

And for anyone following my IVF cycle, I did my first Gonal F injection today, which went fine. I’m getting to be quite a pro at these jabs now... So I’m up to two injections a day (including down reg) until retrieval which, if all goes to plan, looks set for the 17th. First blood test this Friday to check how I’m responding to the hormones.

This is really happening.


Until next time.