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.


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Four weeks in a nutshell

I can't believe it's been exactly four weeks since I last wrote my blog (to be fair not entirely down to lack of commitment, mainly down to lack of internet in new house), but what a four weeks it's been. I'll spare you the detail but in a nutshell...

During that time we've packed up all our belongings into dozens of cardboard boxes, moved into our lovely new house, started our first cycle of IVF, mourned the sad and unexpected loss of The Husband's wonderful grandma, celebrated Christmas and started a whole new year. Phew!

It's been a lot to contend with but I’ve been doing ok (apart from having the mother of all colds this week, sniff). It's great to be in the house finally. It’s amazing how quickly it felt like home. It's been a great distraction and I'm looking forward to making it even more homely as time goes on.

Losing Grandma R was so sad. She was 87 but it was still a big shock when she collapsed from a massive stroke three weeks ago and died only hours later. She'd been my grandma for just three and a half years but she treated me like I was her grand-daughter from the day I met her and I loved her immediately. I have great memories of her and will miss her loads.

The Christmas weekend was lovely, spent with our close family and friends. We hosted 15 people here on Boxing Day which was bloody hard work but worth it to see everyone relaxed and enjoying themselves in our new home.

And IVF? I was definitely feeling anxious about it in the weeks before we started but for me, the thought of something is always worse than actually doing it. I was pretty nervous about the first injection, my hands shook and my heart was beating out of my chest but I just went for it and was fine. The needle is thin enough for it to barely hurt and after nearly three weeks of down regging, I've had barely any side effects (if anything I’ve been a bit more thirsty than usual, hair and skin have felt a bit more dry and I’ve felt hot at times but no major hot flushes).

I’ve tried not to think ahead of doing this first set of Buserilin injections. With no monitoring, minor side effects and very few people who know I’m going through IVF, it’s been easy to carry on as 'normal'. I’m not sure if I’m slightly in denial but with everything else that’s been going on I suppose I haven’t really had a huge amount of time to think about the bigger picture.

I had my suppression scan on Wednesday this week and all was at it should be ie lining was thin and ovaries were inactive but the hospital told me to delay starting the Gonal F injections until 3 Jan (Monday). They said this is to avoid weekends where possible for scans, bloods, retrieval, transfer etc. I suspect as soon as I start this next phase, it will all become a bit more real, but one day at a time for now.

I intend to post again in the next couple of days with some new year's musings but in the meantime, I’d just like to wish all visitors to my blog a very happy new year - may all your dreams come true.

Until next time.