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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Hi! It’s been a while since I last blogged. The last time was when I’d had two miscarriages in as many months. Last month we didn’t take any chances & we used protection all month. However I still managed to convince myself that I was pregnant! I had all my usual symptoms so I tested, knowing that it should be (& would be) negative. I was disappointed. A phantom pregnancy! I think one of my rabbits had one when I was a child. She made a nest and everything . . .
Although I’ve been quiet on the blogging front my head has been very loud and chatty. Everyday I think constantly about when it’s going to work, if it’s going to work, how will I cope when one day I realise it’s never going to work? If this latter question really is the case (& it’s a very real prospect) then I need to have a back-up. Mentally, I mean. I need to know that there’s life after infertility. I realise now that I can’t stay in this life – this life has a bedroom in the house that has never been decorated because we saved it for our baby; this life has an Awful Colleague who may actually destroy my mental health when she returns from maternity leave; this life has family & friends who are always expecting me to be pregnant and who don’t ever want to talk about it but do go on about their kids and how difficult life is with children. In this life all my infertile friends are no longer infertile. In this life I am bitter and sad. I need to move away – literally – and focus on a new life.
So I have a plan and I think it’s a nice one. My husband and I are applying to live and work abroad. We think we’ll be flat broke by the time IVF is over. We start it in September – my consultant says he’s “seen enough now” to advise ICSI. The Boy’s sperm DNA is 34% fragmented – not enough to cause seven miscarriages but enough to be a problem coupled with my eggs which he now says are not that great. We don’t meet the criteria on the NHS because I’ve been pregnant in the last twelve months so we’re probably going to have to pay. So moving to a tax-free location is sounding like a good idea because once IVF is over we’ll have some serious debts. I’m thinking of approaching our manager to sound her out about a sabbatical. It’s a good way of upskilling me for a year and I can hold onto my dream job. It’s a win-win for me but I doubt she’ll go for it. I like the idea of Singapore or the Emirates. We should be able to get a decent salary in either country and experience a completely new culture. Plus side – it’s warmer too!! Moving away aims to give us time to grieve and move on with our lives. I for one have become boring. I spent a long time telling The Boy today about an armpit detox I did so that I can redress the hormone imbalance that’s causing me to sweat and it might fix any hormones that are causing my fertility – everything I do is fertility-related! I need to get a life & some new interests . . . !
In the short-term we’re still trying. I’ve taken matters into my own hands and have started taking Aspirin now (not at BFP) and I’ll be taking Prednisolone from 2 days after ovulation (not from BFP) in addition to the Progesterone. My theory is that I miscarry so early now that the drugs don’t have time to do any good so I think I should take them sooner. I’ve done a lot of research – I know the theory that Aspirin affects implantation but I don’t have any concrete evidence for that & I’ve found plenty to support taking it from CD1. It’s a mini trial of my own. I don’t expect it to work but it kills time while I wait for ICSI.
So I think we’re up to date. I feel now like I’m at the beginning of my adventure, not at the end. It’s liberating. Let’s see if I can make it.