I cannot believe it’s been so long since I last posted a blog. Apologies for not posting. I haven’t wanted to tempt fate by putting too many updates onto here but I still love reading other people’s blogs and felt that I really ought to put something down in writing about the past few months.
I’m now almost twenty-one weeks pregnant which is a milestone I have never come anywhere near to acheiving before. I’m still struggling to believe it quite. I’ve had a myriad of scans, mostly private (already this baby has cost us just over £1000 in scans alone!). Now that my midwife can check the heartbeat for me however I have stopped paying for scans – I’ve absolutely loved seeing he/she grow over the weeks but really I only need to know that it’s alive.
From my gynae’s perspective my big hurdle was the ten week scan with a Harmony test that checks for Down’s, Patau’s & Edwards syndromes. He’s based in a private IVF clinic that doesn’t really deal with recurrent miscarriages (despite this being his NHS specialism) so his team, although used to highly strung women, is not used to the level of anxiety that I carry around with me. Upon refusing to pay for the Harmony test until I had seen for myself that the baby was alive the receptionist asked if it was likely to have died. My response? “Of course! It’s highly likely!” to which she replied that it had never happened there so she didn’t know what to do. Finally she agreed to let me pay after the scan and I sheepishly shuffled out thirty minutes later with my credit card in hand and a very happy smile.
So far everything seems to be okay. The Harmony test revealed we were in the lowest risk category and the anomaly scan showed that the baby has grown within the range of normal with no obvious concerns. He/she seemed pretty reluctant to roll so we have to go back in two weeks for another scan to photograph the spine. The sonographer did a lot of prodding and sent us for a walk. When we returned the baby had put its legs right over its head yoga style and was not to be tempted to turn! She seemed to think she’d seen enough to say the spine looks fine but she still needs a photo. Another chance to see the baby is always fine by me! Interestingly she started the scan by using the pronoun his instead of its when pointing out features. Once she asked us if we wanted to know the gender and we said “no” she changed to it. I’m not convinced that this means she slipped up. She would have had to have determined the gender straightaway & I’m not sure its that easy to see so I’m hoping it’s a generic use of the term as it’s better than it.
One thing that has been worrying me though is the possibility of cervical incompetence. This is mainly because one of the girls on the forum has just lost her baby at 22 weeks from this and as someone who had two D&Cs within nine months I am at a higher risk for this. I’ve also been having bleeding after intercourse which had been worrying me a little although it always stopped immediately, plus some feelings of pressure down there as though the baby is about to fall out at any minute! I managed to push for an urgent examination which was yesterday and was discovered that my cervix is a good length – phew! – but that it is ectropian which basically means I have soft skin cells on the outside of my cervix (like we have inside our cheeks) and they’re meant to be tough like the skin on our outer body. So any kind of messing about down there (i.e. sex!) is likely to cause bleeding. It’s caused by hormones so you can get it while you’re on the pill or whilst pregnant but its totally harmless.
Baby is starting to move around which is lovely and hopefully this will start to soothe my nerves once he/she gets into a regular pattern. At the moment it’s hit and miss but I’m hoping this is because it’s still early days movement-wise. Plus I have an awesome midwife who has a similar history to me so she’s offered to see me weekly because she gets why I’ve been so nervous.
So all is good right now. I haven’t forgotten those who are still struggling though and I’ve been as careful as I can to be sensitive to their needs. At my 12 week scan I was scanned immediately after a couple who had clearly been given bad news. This happened again at my fifteen week scan too. And I couldn’t help but feel their pain because it’s still very real to me, despite my current position of abundance. I don’t know that I’ll ever forget the pain of miscarriage. I still think we need to talk about infertility and miscarriage more and I’ve been pretty open about my history to anyone who asks about the pregnancy. I do intend to do more – Tommy’s has some awesome fundraising events to raise awareness so I think I’ll pursue that in the future.
Anyway, that’s enough for now 🙂
The scan went well. After warning the sonographer about my history – and my week! – she whipped the screen away from me before inserting the dildo-cam and asked me to give her time to look first. But almost straight away she turned it back and showed me a much larger looking embryo than last week with a “perfect” heartbeat. It’s measuring 8 weeks exactly so it’s had a bit of a growth spurt and is 2 days ahead. It even wiggled its bottom during the scan – the sonographer videoed it for us!
They couldn’t locate the cause of the bleeding. They suggested that it could have been a result of me pushing the pessaries in way too far. Apparently that can cause the cervix to bleed, in addition to being on Clexane & Aspirin which hadn’t occurred to me as a possible cause.
Anyone that reads my blog regularly will know that I err on the side of pessimism and on the rare occasions I have embraced the positive it’s blown up spectacularly in my face, so for now I can’t yet allow myself to become anything other than neutral about this. I am so relieved that my scan was positive but unless I can be attached to the dildo-cam for the next seven months I cannot be sure that it’s still fine now. This is because with my first pregnancy I had a great scan at 8 weeks 2 days and the embryo died the next day. So I still go to the toilet with fear and trepidation, I am still worried about every twinge and I still fear a disaster around the corner. But I am hopeful that these feelings might begin to subside one day, hopefully if this pregnancy progresses successfully.
Thanks for the positive comments and thoughts. I’ll take all the positivity I can get right now!
I had hoped that I would have some good news to share. June was the month that I was going to do my first proper ICSI cycle, regardless of how many follicles I had. I decided I had become a real negative drain and so throughout May I switched my attention to becoming the life and soul of the party – not something I am known for! I relaxed, I laughed, I drank gin and ate gluten and … I fell pregnant. Cycle on hold.
This time I passed through weeks four and five with no bleeding. I managed my stress through hypnosis and I was pretty chilled – for me! I had a HCG test which was “sky high”. Last week I had a scan and measured exactly where I should be: 6 weeks and 5 days with a healthy looking heartbeat. My consultant described it as “textbook”. Phew! They even gave us a photo. We’ve never had a photo before – even the sonographer became tearful at that point.
And then three days later I began to bleed. Brown mucus at first, but today it’s progressed to red fluid. My boobs were a bit sore until Monday – they’re not any more. I felt a bit sick last week – I don’t any more.
I have another scan tomorrow and I’m desperate to hear that the embryo is doing well but my past experiences really don’t give me much hope. I feel so responsible for this. My body is failing us again. I have worked so hard over the last three years to have a healthy baby but I fall down every time I try. And I’m not sure how many more times I can get myself back up.
A few weeks ago, when I attended my endometrial scratch, I asked what would happen if I didn’t produce enough follicles. The nurse said that it would be cancelled but “that almost never happens; it won’t happen to you”. On Easter Sunday my cycle was cancelled as I still only had one good-sized follicle. The doctor’s advice was to take the HCG trigger on Sunday evening and try naturally this month. My consultant rang me last night and advised that I’m likely to get the same response on the next cycle and that as I’m on the top dose of treatment there is very little that we can do except go ahead with egg retrieval and see what is collected. He did say that as I had a few smaller follicles growing he could give me a drug that coordinates them to all grow at the same time. That could be good. So last week I was crying because I thought I’d only have five follicles. This week I’m devastated that I only have one.
After investing in therapy to make me positive I had actually begun to believe that IVF would work for us. Now I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that I may very well remain infertile for the rest of my life. I can’t accept it – it actually frightens me to think I’ll never carry my own child. My pregnant colleague makes it look so effortless – I know she’s not finding her pregnancy easy but I am so envious of her today. I wasn’t envious a few weeks ago because I really thought it would be my turn soon. Now I realise that it probably won’t be.
Currently I’m dosed up on HCG and Progesterone, on the off-chance that I’ve magically conceived a healthy pregnancy naturally this month. It’s laughable really. I feel embarrassed, as though I’m pretending that I might be pregnant. How can I have conceived when all the medicine in the world of IVF didn’t yield a thing?
I’m also stressing because I’m stressed and if I have magically conceived then stress won’t help with implantation because it might cause my uterus to contract. Aargh!
IVF is now on hold until June – a full twelve months after starting the IVF process (how many follicles might I have had if the CCG had simply said “yes” straightaway?). I’m an emotional wreck which is probably a combination of normal disappointment and the cocktail of hormones I’m currently taking. I have no other choice but to wait, but it breaks me every time there is a delay such as this. I am heartbroken and there is no positivity left in me at present.
It’s Day 8 of my cycle so I went for a scan to check my lining and follicle growth. My lining thickness is good so that’s a relief. The not so good news is that I only have 3 follicles on the left ovary and 2 small ones on the right. Only 1 is a good size. The others will need more drugs to stimulate them to grow to a usable size. In December I had 7 follicles on day 3 of my cycle. In March I had 14 follicles on day 27. I hate to sound whingy and negative but I have to wonder why, when it really matters, have I now only got 5? I’m on the highest dose of fsh yet it seems to have had the opposite effect? And why has my previously good right ovary suddenly shut down?
The nurse didn’t have any answers and just confirmed my fears that this number is “not great” – her words, not mine.
I have another scan on Easter Sunday so we’ll hopefully see a decent improvement but I’m trying to prepare myself for bad news. The nurse stressed that it’s early days so fingers crossed the next few days brings me more follicles.
After a nine-month wait (how ironic!) I am finally starting my ICSI treatment. I had my endometrial scratch two weeks ago – for those of you who haven’t had one, I have a low pain threshold (so The Boy tells me) and I coped. It did hurt but it really didn’t last long. It mainly hurt to speak when answering the questions that my nurse was firing, asking what type of gin I like, to distract me. Luckily The Boy noticed and answered on my behalf. It’s Opihr by the way – in case anyone’s wondering! I can’t for the life of me say it, particularly after I’ve had a few …
I went to Lundy for a long weekend straight after the Scratch and quickly began to bleed, just a bit at first but it got heavier. I wasn’t expecting this and so I hadn’t brought my IVF drugs. Lundy has no mobile phone signal apart from in very random pockets within fields whereby a message will arrive but it’s not enough to make a call. The only public phone is in the pub – right in the bar. So in amongst all the other holiday-makers I had quite a frank conversation about my cervical mucus with a nurse on the phone and whether or not this was my period. Eventually we decided it wasn’t and a few days later I had a light period (apparently the lightness is due to the Microgynon I was taking prior to the injections) and I started injecting on Day 2 of that.
I’m currently taking Gonadotropin and Buserelin – the highest doses apparently, because my consultant has decided to throw everything at it. I’ll be having Quad therapy once they transfer the embryo/s which consists of Prednisolone, Aspirin, Heparin and Progesterone. I saw a psychic a few years ago, after my first miscarriage, and she told me I’d have IVF. She’s been alarmingly accurate about a few things (she said my brother would marry and move abroad – he did without telling anyone!) . She warned me to “look out for health conditions around IVF”, so naturally I’m convinced that I’m going to get OHSS! Hopefully she means the sickness I’ve just had, which admittedly was about the IVF. Anyway, I’m currently on Day 6 and so far, so good! I’ve had a few twingey pains in my abdomen but nothing major. Today I had to stop myself having a meltdown because I couldn’t make a decision about what day I’d like to go to the theatre – problems of the modern world! My cat took control of the situation and led me to the sofa. Other than that I’m doing fine. I have a scan in two days to see how the follicles are growing and then I’ll have another next week. The cycle will be cancelled if I don’t have many follicles (or eggs) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It seems like at every step there’s a hurdle. I’m trying not to think about the nightmare of emotions I’m bound to encounter over the next few weeks. I’m just taking it one day at a time.
I didn’t attach my story for Tommy’s properly last time so I’ve done it again here. Let me know if it doesn’t work!
So I had some happy news today. The Awful Colleague is leaving!!! This is a huge weight off my mind. She isn’t even back from maternity leave yet and people have been dreading her return. She’ll be back in May for a couple of months max and she’ll be off – hurrah!
Secondly my bathroom (which is my current pride and joy) will be finished today. We have two, young enough-to-drive but borderline old enough-to-drink, lads working on it. They’ve had some difficulties because my husband is really cheeky and keeps asking them to do extra jobs which weren’t on the list. I’m really hoping they won’t bill us for them but it’s totally fair enough if they do. Anyway, to thank them my husband bought them a case of 18 cans of lager (Stella: wife-beater’s lager!). I bought them a box of Thorntons chocolates. Then, when pressed one of them admitted he doesn’t drink lager so then I went to buy Jack Daniels and the medium-sized bottle was cheaper than the small one. Now my husband thinks we should give them the lot! It’s a family business and their dad is overseeing them (basically on the phone at every step) so I don’t feel it’s responsible to give two young lads all that alcohol. It was meant to be a token gesture but now it’s escalated thanks to The Boy. You can totally see how we’re going to parent one day! Polar opposites . . .
In other news my story was published on Tommys’ website last week. Here it is: