Ummmm what?

Today I had a trans vaginal ultrasound to check my ovaries and uterus are okay. I’ve had loads of these and so I thought nothing if it. On an amusing note (to me anyway) the chair was lifted in such a way that my vagina was quite literally in front of my sonographer’s face. What a job that must be! It was a surreal experience to have a completely casual conversation with my vagina right on display like this!
Anyhow, as is now becoming the norm with me the conversation soon stopped being casual. I’ve always known I have a cyst in my left ovary – apparently it was nothing to worry about. Until now. Unfortunately the cyst in my left ovary is too big for IVF as it’s covering my follicles. If they try to retrieve any eggs they will likely burst the cyst and this runs a high risk of infection. My doctor isn’t willing to risk this with me.
Additionally I also have “a touch of endometriosis”. He says there’s a link between egg health and endo plus it explains my high FSH and low AMH (which has now dropped from 10 to 7 since March). Finally I only have 5 follicles in the right ovary which is otherwise perfect. On the plus side my uterus lining  (which I have been obsessed about being too thin) is currently an average thickness – so that’s pleased me at least.
The upshot of all this is that IVF is on hold pending laparoscopic surgery to remove the cyst. Hopefully this will happen in January so that we can be ready to start in my March cycle.

Obviously “disappointed” is an understatement but I’m hopeful that it’s going to align us with a more favourable outcome in the long term. I always felt there was more to my subfertility than just The Boy’s sperm. It just didn’t add up. But endometriosis has always been the one thing I’ve never thought I’d have, given how light, regular and (usually) painfree my periods are. I’m very confused.

At least I have a few more months to recover from the weekend’s drinking session! Another plus side is that I was reading Hello magazine or something similar and there was an article about some actress who had finally got pregnant after 11 years. She finally moved to our clinic, saw my doctor and got pregnant with twins on the first go. It reassured me that I have him. I know he isn’t a miracle worker but he does seem to know his stuff.

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So stupid

It was our work Christmas night out last night and in view of the IVF next month I had decided not to drink. At the very last minute I decided that I’d be fine to have a couple of glasses of wine and asked The Boy to drive me. Big mistake!

I appear to be literally incapable of just having two glasses of wine, even though having a baby is absolutely the most important thing to me. I went with the flow of the group and consequently had about two thirds of a bottle of wine and a cocktail. Now it’s 7am on a Sunday morning and I can’t sleep for the guilt (and also the room is spinning slightly).

I simply don’t understand why I do this. I’ve probably ruined any healthy eggs  I have left and if the IVF fails next month I’ll blame myself. And rightly so! I haven’t had drunk since October and I just wanted to enjoy a decent glass of wine. I really hope that I haven’t ruined our chances of success.

 

Moving towards ICSI

In about four weeks time I’ll be starting my first cycle of ICSI.  My feelings about this are bitter sweet.  I’m excited of course.  I’m hopeful that it’ll work and that I can put my sadness behind me.  Sometimes I allow myself to believe, just briefly, that it really might work.  And that’s so lovely!  Then logic kicks in and reminds me that statistics are not on our side; my clinic reports a 35%-40% success rate for ICSI in my age-group.  Positively, I thought the stats would be lower and I like to think I’m in the young end of the age bracket (I’ve recently turned 36) and hopefully that helps our odds somewhat.  On the negative side the incidence of things like cerebral palsy and downs increases with IVF.  My only suggestion for why is that women who do IVF are typically older than those who don’t and developmental disorders are often associated with older women.  Probably I’m now classed as an older woman – maybe those things are a risk for me now too.  I know that my egg quality isn’t great, and I suspect my lining might be too thin.  These things will cause problems for us in ICSI.

Anyway, we’ve signed our consent forms.  We had to watch a couple of hours of videos and complete a quiz after each section.   It’s quite a sobering process, learning about how it all works, what can go wrong, the ethics involved, the storage of embryos etc. they cover a lot to make sure we’re fully informed.

We saw our consultant on the day that Panorama did an expose on the Zita West clinic amongst others, stating that a lot of fertility clinics are extortionists.  Our consultant told us about the programme, suggesting that we watch it.  We have agreed to pay for an extra – £680 for an embryoscope to watch the cells develop without disturbing them.  We’re getting everything else for free so I think it’s okay to pay out for this.  The theory is that some cells might develop quickly but not as well as others, so when you get to day 3 or day 5 you really need to see how they developed as well as how far they developed to make sure you’ve got the best one.

My biggest worry is that I don’t know if I’ll manage to produce many eggs.  Apparently my AMH is borderline okay/not okay.  So I’m having the top dose of FSH to maximise my chances of producing lots of eggs.  Some theorists argue this is a bad idea as it could compromise quality in favour of quantity.  At the moment I’m not sure what to think at all; ultimately my consultant needs to get a good look at my eggs and The Boy’s sperm and see what he thinks after the first cycle.  He’s already said he’s got nothing left to throw at it if this cycle doesn’t work.  But at least we’ll know what we’re dealing with I guess.  I think that’s what’s frightening me the most.  What if I don’t produce enough eggs?  What if none fertilise?  What if I miscarry again?  ICSI is potentially our only hope and I’m utterly terrified of finding out there is no hope left for us after this.

I had a phonecall from my best friend a few weeks ago.  She was sobbing; she’d had a miscarriage.  As I heard her speak I felt her pain so deeply that I was transported back to my first miscarriage.  It was interesting that despite all my experiences of miscarriage I didn’t know what to say to her.  I knew what not to say, but I saw her recently too and I didn’t even know how to bring it up to ask where she was up to with it all.  She says that I’m the only person she can speak to about it & I’m grateful that I can put my experiences to some use.  But it’s made me recognise just how hard it is for others to say and do the right thing.  I’ve been so tetchy with people who haven’t responded well to my miscarriages but it was interesting for the shoe to be on the other foot.

In other pregnancy news I think my colleague is pregnant.  She’s one of the loveliest people you could ever meet and I have told her more than once not to make the same mistake as me and wait to have children.  So why did the realisation kick me so hard in the stomach?  I guess the answer is because she’s able to do it so naturally, unlike me.  It’s also highly likely that she’ll make her announcement just as my first ICSI cycle fails.  The last colleague who was pregnant made her announcement while I was waiting for my second miscarriage to be confirmed.  So it’s almost definitely going to happen again.

I’ll try to post how ICSI goes.  Next week we visit the clinic for a scan and to learn how to administer the injections.  I hope The Boy pays attention – I think he’ll need to do them!  I’ll be going back onto the progesterone so I’ve pre-warned my close friends that I’ll be going a little bit loopy and hormonal for a few weeks.  Oh, the joys of subfertility!