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...