Clinging on

After my initial disappointment of not being able to start IVF this week I pacified myself with the thought that it was just a two month delay & that we’d be able to get started in March.  “No problem” I persuaded myself, “it’s a short wait & it’ll be worth it”.  Happily I got on with Christmas and cheered up.

This week however, I am in meltdown.

I contacted the hospital on Friday to ask whether a date has been set for the laparoscopy – they have no referral from my doctor.  Furthermore they can’t set a date until I’ve had an appointment to sign the consent forms etc. but that relies on him writing the referral.  I rang his office today and he’s written to me today (3 weeks after my appointment) to say it’ll take 6-8 weeks for a laparoscopy which is not what he said in the appointment.  So it’s not looking like I’ll have the surgery in January.  I get that so far I’ve only been extended by three months, not two, and that’s still not so long.  But  the doctor first said I could have IVF in June, then he said I didn’t qualify, then he said I would qualify but I’d have to write a letter and wait until September, then I got rejected twice for funding, then I got accepted but told to wait until December, then I was told January, then March and now April.  How many more times will I get pushed back?

In the meantime the colleague I’ve been suspecting of being pregnant is behaving more like she’s pregnant everyday.  And the awful Colleague will be back in May – probably just as my first cycle of IVF (if I ever get it) fails.

I am thinking super negatively at the moment.  I’m aware that it’s not good but I can’t keep positive.  I was positive a few times: 1) when I first got pregnant, 2) when I got pregnant the second time and 3) when I went to my last appointment where they scanned me because I’d been scanned so many times before I didn’t think there would be any shocks.  I was wrong to think positive – it doesn’t work for me.  I feel stupid when I’m positive and I turn out to be wrong.

I’ve decided to see a hypnotherapist.  I carefully selected the one I felt would be the best for me.  I’ve booked an appointment & committed to an extortionate fee.  Guess what?  She’s fucking pregnant.

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.

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!

Computer Said YES!

It’s been a quiet few months fertility-wise.  I haven’t really been reading many blogs, I’ve not wanted to go onto the forums that much.  I’ve tried to distance myself from the emotional rollercoaster that I’ve been on over the last two and a half years.  I’m still aware that it’s a relatively short period of time, but in that time the majority of “infertile” contacts I’ve had are either pregnant or or they have had their babies by now.  I’m happy for them & it frustrates me that I can’t help perceiving it as a reminder of what I can’t have and I allow it to hurt.  I had thought it would give me hope but none of the other women have the same reason for infertility as us, so I find myself wishing I had an immune condition or a blood clotting condition which is easier to treat.  The success rate for ICSI, which we need, is not as good as I’d hoped.  So I’ve decided that distance is really what I need and I’ve also been trying to start the process of accepting that for me this might not work out.

Emotionally I have started to feel much better and this is for two reasons.  Firstly, I’ve come off the steroids and Progesterone hormones that turned me into a raving, depressed lunatic.  I know that they’re there to help a pregnancy but they failed to stop two of my miscarriages so I don’t think not taking them is a bad thing just yet.  I’ll take them when I do IVF.  Secondly, I am starting to feel that we’re getting towards the end of our journey.  In a year or so we’ll have tried IVF a few times and either it will have worked or it won’t.  But I should hopefully know either way.  This might be a simplistic view – it may take longer than 2 years – but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Today The Boy & I heard that our request for ICSI funding has been approved.  It took three attempts and six months to get them to say yes.  I used everything I could think of to persuade them: I wrote a literature review about the efficacy of ICSI, I made a Freedom of Information request to find out the cost of my miscarriages to date and totalled how much I’d cost them without ICSI based on the last two years, I was open about how stressed I’d become, I wrote to my MP and she complained to the Chief Executive of the CCG on our behalf.  Our CCG has never said yes to this kind of funding request before but today they did!  I feel quite proud of myself that somehow we may have opened up a precedent for other couples.

I am not complacent.  I do not know if this will work.  But I do know that I have literally done everything I possibly can to have a baby.  And that will help a great deal when the time comes to face our reality – whatever that is.

One door closes . . .

So last week I felt pretty sorry for myself … until I visited my herbalist.  For all her wacky ways she has a way of making me feel much better.  She pointed out that I’m on high doses of hormones and I’ve been on and off steroids for the last few months.  She was impressed that I’ve been managing at all!  Her additional take on this is that I’ve also changed a lot and when I go back to these friends I become the person I once was and I don’t like it.  Interestingly my husband has said that over the last three years I’ve not wanted to go on the weekends away with these girls and I’d stopped reporting that I’d been enjoying them – my best friend echoed the same.  I have changed.  My personality when I’m with my new friends is much different.  I’m more fun, more chilled and generally more like who I want to be.  And I really don’t like becoming the whiney, stroppy girl I was last week.  My herbalist thinks it needed to end in a big bang because I was clinging onto a friendship that wasn’t really going anywhere and that was actually dragging me down.  I think I agree.  Having reflected on the support I’ve had from them since MC number 1 it’s been pretty poor.  So for what purpose do I need to keep trying?

Whilst this was happening I put up a forum post about it on a recurrent miscarriage forum and someone contacted me and asked if I’d like to meet up.  It turns out we live in the same area and so we had coffee & cake on Saturday (don’t tell my herbalist!)  – and she’s so lovely!  So, while the door has definitely closed on the three girls from last weekend, this weekend saw a brand new door open.

I’ve also contacted some girls I’ve made tentative friendships with over the last six months and invited them out for dinner.  I have friend-dates lined up every day for the next two weeks :).  I am getting a new life for myself, and I should probably be grateful for the disastrous events of last weekend for giving me the kick I needed.

My herbalist also pointed out that when I was just following her advice my cycles were perfect: 28 days long, ovulation on Day 14, no mid-cycle bleeds.  Now I bleed just about every day, my cycles are getting shorter and my period lasts for less than a day.  She blames the chemicals (she would!).  But she makes a good point.  So for now because we’re just waiting for IVF anyway I’ve gone back to her regime.  I’ve stopped the Cyclogest and the steroids and have picked the diet back up again (almost).

Time to get back to being the new me!

I’ve crashed

Image result for funny pictures with captions depressed

I thought I’d been managing to hold it together but it seems that I haven’t.  The friends thing that I’ve harked on about for a while now came to an abrupt conclusion this weekend.

The three girls that were supposed to come to stay in January last year came to stay in my town.  Two days beforehand I asked if I could be picked up on the way to the hotel as I lived nearby.  Unbeknownst to me the driver has a phobia of driving in my town so she asked if we could just meet in town instead.  I (being overly sensitive) got upset that she wouldn’t take a 5 minute detour when it takes me an hour and twenty to get to town.  I messaged back saying surely the hotel was easier for them too but got no reply.  I tried ringing her but she didn’t pick up.  I could see that she’d read my messages on Facebook because it tells you, so in my mind she was avoiding me and I didn’t know why.  I rang one of the other girls.  She had a migraine and said she’d ring the next day.  But she didn’t get chance.  She said she’d ring the next day too.  But she didn’t.  By then this was the day of and I’d sent a couple of really stressed out messages to the Mutual Friend.  I’d had a text from the Driver who’d said she’d pick me up, but I thought it might actually be out of her way if she was coming in on a different road so I said I’d get the bus.

Once in town I received a text saying they were at the hotel.  Really?  I replied.  So I could have had a lift…  Cue massive row.  Underlying all this is that I’d texted the Driver in May to say I’d had a miscarriage and she never replied.  I’d assumed she’d forgotten but I was still hurt.  Normally I don’t confront this sort of issue but I’d planned to and had told our Mutual Friend about this.  I didn’t get the chance.  The Driver rang me saying that they’d discussed it on the way over and that they were all “in bits” about seeing me and didn’t really want to.  She said she was ringing to say sorry but she didn’t know what it was she’d done & that it was unintentional.  When I say she said sorry, she said “SORRY!!!!!”.  It turns out she’s been having problems herself and has nearly had two nervous breakdowns this year.  Again I didn’t realise & my heart broke as she told me that.  I realised that as much as I have things going on, so does everyone else.  She puts up a facade on Facebook – it looks like she’s living the dream – but apparently it’s not real.

I felt awful but I was still hurting and tried to explain why.  Although she did listen I didn’t really feel that she processed what I had said.  Eventually we met up but we didn’t discuss it at all.  For the whole weekend.  The mutual friend and I did and she gave me a reality check.  A harsh one but probably a fair one.  She said that it was my problem and that although she understood I’m going through a difficult time she couldn’t get to the bottom of why I felt that the Driver didn’t have a very high opinion of me.  It’s cliche I know but  I don’t think anyone should have a high opinion of me.  I can’t have children.  It’s not that I don’t want them.  I desperately want them but I can’t.  It’s such a basic flaw in my schema and when I meet these three, obviously they all talk about their children and I feel very out of place. (I only think this about myself by the way, not anyone else struggling to have children & I’m aware that that’s not rational).   The mutual friend said I needed to sort it out (she acknowledged that this is not easy) and said I needed to consider whether my move abroad will actually fix my issues.

The next day they left together and I spent the entire day in tears.  I also sent the Driver some flowers to apologise for being over-sensitive and hurting her.  She texted me today to thank me but said she’s still struggling to let go of the hurt caused at the weekend.  She was tactful not to say the hurt that I had caused.  She then said she can’t get over the fact that I thought that she’d been intentionally hurtful.  This is something I was careful not to say because genuinely I don’t think for a second she was.  Somehow I’ve given out a misconception which I feel I need to put right but feel it could cause more stress.  She ended the text by saying we’re both too sensitive to be around each other and advised that I find a safe place and look after myself.  So I’ve ruined an eleven year friendship in one weekend.  Well done me!

It’s probably deserved but I’m hurting again.  I’m hurting because I think very highly of this friend and I suppose this is why I felt so rejected when I thought she didn’t acknowledge my miscarriage or when she wouldn’t pick me up or answer the phone.  Plus I’m ridiculously over-sensitive and hormonal at the moment.  Confrontation is really not me and I am truly scarred by this experience.  I’m hurting because I went to meet the three of them, knowing they’d discussed it, knowing they were upset with me, but I still went because the friendship had meant something to me and I’d wanted to sort it out.  I’m hurting because I don’t think I got my message across at all and the fact that they thought I’d believed her behaviour was intentional demonstrates that they didn’t fully hear what I was trying to say.  I’m hurting because essentially I’ve lost those three friends now.

I’m really, really hurting.

I read somewhere that people with recurrent miscarriage have the same anxiety levels as soldiers with PTSD.  I was a bit dismissive of that statement at first although it came from a credible source.  Lately I’ve been thinking how true it sounds.  I’m currently agonising over every last thing I do. Particularly on my 2WW but even more so when I’m pregnant.  I cannot move for worrying about whether or not a) I’m possibly pregant and b) whether what I’m doing might kill any potential baby.  I live with this night and day.  I eat fruit because I need the vitamin C but then I stress about eating too much sugar.  Then I eat chocolate because I feel I’m not enjoying myself enough and then I stress about that too.  Then I stress about being stressed!  I’m on alert every minute of every day and my fight or flight response is on a knife edge.  Every time I feel threatened I react.  I’m not excusing this.  Of course not, this is an awful problem to have.  I’m trying really hard to understand it.  Otherwise the three friends I have just lost will be joined by everyone else I care about.  And then I really will be depressed.