Monthly Archives: October 2009

Scan #2, better news

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

Second scan yesterday. In my previous two IVF cycles I have had to go in for scans every couple of days for about a week and a half. These are basically to establish how many eggs are developing, how many are of a good size, and therefore when would be a good time to commence the procedure proper.

This time round, however looks like a better deal, it’s looking like I will only need one more scan tomorrow, and then we can start getting on with the next step pretty much straight away.

I have at least 8 good sized eggs (some other smaller ones may develop quickly enough to be usable too), which is really good at this stage, the new drugs must be working well, which is a relief as I’d half convinced myself I was doing something wrong with them, that then was the usual paranoia.

Problem is now I’m freaking out, and I’m not really sure why. It could be because things are happening differently this time, I’m in a pretty high emotional state and any change to what I expect is not generally met with any grace at the moment. But this is a good development, I can see that, I think it’s actually hitting a nerve because it’s going well…

…I’m expecting this not to work. It’s mostly a self protection thing, I’m putting myself on the side of the statistics, on the side of experience, and on the side where it will hurt least either way when we do the pregnancy test at the end of this. This works well for most of the time, until something like this comes along to challenge that, until something gives me hope. And hope is not something I’m comfortable with at the moment.

Last year at Greenbelt Festival I was in the Christian bookshop and saw a mug with one word on it ‘Trust’. That one word seemed to sum up a lot of what I was getting out of the festival, and quite out of character, I bought the mug. This year at Greenbelt I found myself in the same part of the same store, and there was another mug with one word on it. ‘Hope’. I felt quite a big reaction against it, decided it was not for me and put it back. Later that day I went back and bought it, for I am nothing if not contrary. I use both mugs, but given a choice I will go for the one that says ‘Trust’.  Hope at the moment is too much of a hornet’s nest.

Right here, right now.

Hello,

no I’ve not forgotten the disclaimer, this blog was actually finished and posted today, 30th October 2009. In a weird way I feel like I’m writing to you from the future, or my past or something, but it’s good to get direct communication back for a bit before I go and hide back under the cover of scheduled blogging.

There were a few bits that were not connected to IVF that I wanted to comment on, a couple of bits about the IVF blogs that I wanted to clarify, but most of all I wanted to say…

…THANK YOU!

For all of your wonderful comments, prayers, thoughts, suggestions, and so much more. Thank you if you have read the blog and commented elsewhere, or sought me out in person and given me a much needed hug or kind word. One of my main reasons for doing this was if I could be of any help to others then it would make even a failed attempt worth something, I have had one or two comments on the blog and in person that have let me know it is doing just that. Hugs and prayers to those reading my blog for this reason, whether you’ve told me or not. The thing I was not expecting was the huge amount of support we would both get from all of your comments. Know this, we are both very touched and feel wonderfully blessed, your thoughts and prayers are making a huge difference. I know the time lapse means that we will inevitably be at a different stage to the one you are reading about, but God being God can easily understand that, and he is answering your prayers. Thank you.

The time-lapse itself will continue for the foreseeable future, I have scheduled each blog so it appears the correct amount of time after the last, so you will always be reading within the same time frame. So if I have two scans one week apart, you will read about them one week apart. This makes it easier for me to work out where the blog is in relation to me, and hopefully makes it more readable for you.

Unfortunately any time that I have felt the urge to blog in real time since starting the scheduled blogging I have either run out of time from typing up an entry that won’t be read for several weeks, or an entry has posted itself on that day, the way this site works I don’t feel it would be helpful to post two entries in one day from different time periods, so I have kept quiet.

Today though, a little time and a clear day (although the IVF blog is set to get a little busier for a short while from tomorrow). So I can tell you what else is going on in my life…

…Brownies are going as well as ever, I love being Brown Owl, and we have a full unit at the moment. In a cunning ruse we got the older girls to run their own meeting last week, this actually turned out to stress me out far more than if I was running it, but that’s just my control issues! I’ve missed them over half term, and look forward to getting back to them next week.

I had a horrible fever over the weekend, I’m pretty much recovered now, but was shivering under three duvets at one point, with hubby phoning the consultant at the clinic to ask if I could take anything other than paracetamol for it, without threatening the IVF cycle. It knocked me out for about five days, which has all been pretty worrying, but we did get a text from our consultant to say he was thinking of and praying for us. This we never tire of hearing from anyone, but for our consultant to break down that barrier and actually tell us he was praying for us was wonderful to hear.

As if that wasn’t enough going wrong we have had part of our floor dug up this week due to a blocked sewer (nice). It’s mended and clear now, but we still have an impressive hole where the membrane needs to be repaired and the hole in the concrete layer re-filled. Clearing the living room was an extra pain as I was still quite ill, and also banned from lifting anything lest it compromise my IVF cycle. A couple of wonderful friends stepped in to help Rhys while I made vague attempts at directing operations, and moving light things until I realised I should let the physically fit get on with it and went to make them some drinks :)

Anyway, that’s all for now. In summary, I’m fine,and totally appreciating your support.

Thank you

xx

Before breakfast

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

I’m never normally one for bouncing out of bed in the morning ready to face the day, but I’m even less inclined to poke my head out from the covers at the moment. Before breakfast each morning I need to have given myself two injections and take three pills. The second injection and third pill started last week, and will probably continue until around this time next week. The pill is a tiny steroid dose, they did explain its purpose, but I was a bit overloaded with information at that point to remember anything other than “take one of these along with the rest of your daily medication, it’ll help.” The fact that it is tiny in size belies the fact that no matter how quickly it’s swallowed it tastes foul, I make sure I take it first so that the taste is mostly gone by the time I eat my breakfast, but it still spoils my cup of tea.

The second injection is a fussy one. It needs to be kept in the fridge (not that they told me that until I’d been storing it under the bed for three weeks, oh well), and is made up of many constituent parts. Firstly there is the ampoule of sterilised water, handed over to my dear husband to break open (I’m clumsy at the best of times, never mind just after getting up), while he’s doing that I fix a large needle to a plastic syringe. I also take out and break open three identical rubber-sealed glass vials. I use the large needle to draw up the water, and then inject it into the first vial, the tablet inside dissolves immediately, and I draw up the solution, inject it into the second vial, draw it out and then in and out of the third vial. This started out as an enormously tricky procedure, but it’s becoming a practised art by now. At this point I need to remove the larger needle, and swap it with a small subcutaneous injection needle, removing any excess air in the syringe along the way, then comes the easy bit of actually injecting myself.

Then I get to eat my cereal and not think about needles for another day. :)

Scan Day, the first of many…

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

As the drugs begin to take hold, I start to have regular scans, to check firstly that everything is as it should be, and then later on to check in addition to that how many eggs the hormones have made me produce, and how progressed they are.

TMI?

So, when I said scan, you probably pictured the kind of scan given to pregnant ladies with the gel on their tummies and a device magically picking up pictures from inside of them by merely touching the outside of their skin?

Maybe you’ve had one of these scans? I have, in the days I was still using the NHS instead of having to cough up thousands of pounds per cycle, they made me sit with all of the pregnant women and wait my turn, to see my empty womb on the grainy black and white screen (no, I didn’t get a photo).

The preparation for those scans involves drinking as much water as your bladder can possibly hold and then trying not to go pee before your turn comes in the queue. These scans are different. These scans are internal scans.  The preparation this time means trying not to drink very much beforehand, and making sure you go to the loo before going in to the scan room (no queues this time, not NHS, see). Then going behind the curtain, undressing from the waist down, grabbing a sheet to maintain some decency, sitting right on the edge of the bed, and then placing your feet in the stirrups and finally lying back.

The instrument used to scan doesn’t look entirely unlike the chest-burster from Alien. It is covered in a Durex and plenty of lube, and then inserted, well, you can guess where… it’s then manoeuvred around to find everything they need to see, which for some reason always involves pushing it up against the left wall of my womb, whist simultaneously pressing down on it from the outside. Yes, that bit hurts.

TMI?

Today’s scan was fine, at least I assume it was, I’m carrying on with the treatment anyway. I take it they’d tell me if it was all wrong..?

In addition to the scan I learned how to use my next lot of medicine, which involves a certain level of alchemy (breaking the top off glass ampoules, dissolving magic powdered hormones, and attaching a tiny needle to an already full syringe), I start this tomorrow morning.

Oh, and in case what will be two injections and two pills every morning was a bit too amateur, I’ve been given a third (steroid) pill as a last minute thought by the fertility nurse in case it might help. No consultation to the consultant (shouldn’t his title mean that he should be approached for some opinion?), in this part of the universe, the nurses rule.

TMI?

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

Thank you for coming to read this blog. Not meaning to discriminate, but thank you doubly if you are reading this because of the specific content of my recent posts. Some of you may have got here through search engines, others may know me, or know the wibsite, and be reading this because of that link. You may be reading for other reasons, the fact is I, especially at the time of writing this, don’t know who you might be.

This is a fairly frank blog about IVF, and as such is going to go into some details that you may not feel comfortable with. I’ve made a judgement that if you are reading this you are able to cope with mentions of needles, and if you are intending to follow this through you are ready to read about a story that statistically will not have a happy ending (but let’s hope to beat the statistics).

However, there is going to be some stuff that you should have the option not to read. I’m still going to type it, but if for whatever reason you do not want to go into that level of detail, that’s fine you won’t have to. Here’s the deal – I will write some stuff in white. To read it you highlight it. In order that you know where it is I will write “TMI?” (Too Much Information?) above and below that portion of text.

For example

TMI?

So, my monthly period, which normally lasts five days, maximum has lasted eleven days so far (and counting) due to these blasted hormones.

TMI?

There we are, so if you feel that you don’t need to know the girly bits, or the squeamish bits, or you don’t want to know them about me specifically, that’s absolutely fine. If you can work out a way around the comments system in this respect then please let me know.

Sigh, NeighboursFans got this sorted with “spoiler tags” years ago!

More side effects

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

The short temper has calmed down a lot, possibly I’ve been consciously taking myself out of situations where it might cause harm. I’ve also been trying to direct my emotional overcharge towards doing useful tasks. Unfortunately this is where the next big side effect kicks in. My ability to concentrate on anything has been diminished a thousandfold. I’m leaving the gas on, forgetting to stop pouring tea from the pot when the cup is full, and increasingly unable to finish a sentence without the point disappearing from my mind. Typing this is quite difficult. I’m hoping this symptom vanishes quickly, I have a long drive coming up, and while I could take the passenger seat I’d feel really bad for doing so. The injections themselves are going fine, only hurting occasionally. Better go, time to make lots of lists – and get the washing in that I put out yesterday and totally forgot about thereafter…

Side effects

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

So the injections shouldn’t be affecting me yet. I’ve had this stuff for three cycles before now, they are supposed to suppress my own hormones, ready for the chemically manufactured hormones that I will start injecting sometime later. Yet this time is different. Maybe I’m just wound up anyway, and am blaming the chemicals, but within 24 hours of starting this I’ve had to leave a social situation before I screamed at someone, who was just being them, and I knew rationally was doing nothing wrong or out of the ordinary.

I also lost it quite a lot more than I should have done this morning to a lovely woman who, whilst in the wrong did not deserve to be told so quite as vehemently as I did. It was a situation that I’d got myself into and couldn’t get out of very easily. I need to minimise the number of these I can manage over the coming weeks. My friends have lives, problems and issues of their own and they don’t need me turning into the hormone powered b**** queen from hell at the merest provocation. :(

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

The first stab

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

This morning I woke up, drank half a cup of tea in bed, then with the other half I took some half-strength asprin and a folic acid tablet. These are the easy meds. cheap and taken with tea (decaffeinated of course, caffeine’s not good for fertility). This meant I was able to psych myself up to open up the first bottle of the hard stuff, the hormone inhibitor. Cap off, wipe with an antiseptic wipe, invert and then take a needle attached to a syringe and draw out the required amount. Easier said than done, bubbles get in so easily, easier to draw more than needed and squirt the excess back up into the bottle. Then stab it in, somewhere near the tummy button, but not the same place every day. Count to five, push the plunger down slowly, but not too slowly. Count to ten, needle out, into sharps box, all done ’till tomorrow.

As self injecting goes, these ones aren’t bad. Not too many side effects (they play down my own hormones in preparation for the next round of meds that add new ones in), the needles are not very big, and the medication is already mixed for me. This is definitely the easy stretch.

In it together

*Disclaimer – this post was not written this morning, I am deliberately posting these entries on different dates so that I can be fully open about this IVF stuff without people knowing exactly what is happening when. It’s a self preservation thing, with all of the injected hormones I become a bit of an emotional wreck, and am saving myself the pressure of people curious to know outcomes before I’m ready to tell.

This whole fertility thing, no matter how you do it is going to get a bit one sided. For most people the experience of making babies requires very little male input at all, OK, yes, that bit is unquestionably crucial, but beyond the point of conception the involvement of the father is a matter of choice.

In the case of fertility treatment, however there’s a lot that needs to happen in order for that point of conception to have the best chance of existing. It’s still obviously mostly in the female domain, but there are one or two things that we get to do in equal measure.

One of these is pre-treatment blood tests. Not a huge deal really, considering all of the needles yet to come for me, but to start on this journey together feels like an important step. I must confess to teasing my other half as he looked away from what the nurse was doing, I caught his eye and mimed a needle going in, the very thing he was trying to stop visualising.

It’s always odd going back to the clinic for the next round. There has to be a gap between treatments in order for my body to settle down again, this time because of various other goings on it’s been nearly a year between starting the last treatment and starting this one. The first visit back is always a little disheartening, going back a step to revisit something we’d hoped to put behind us.

The clinic itself is different in so many ways from an NHS one. Whilst the standard of treatment is in my experience comparable, the added on frills of a private clinic are so nice. The small team of nurses that know your name, the receptionist that not only is competent but seems to enjoy her job, the nice handwash in the loo, the decent quality magazines and flat screen telly on the wall for while you wait, not to mention the complimentary tea, coffee (both available in decaff) and bottled water. I could go on, but I suppose given the amount we pay for treatment we might be a bit upset if some of this stuff wasn’t there.

Anyway, we’ve done the first stage, collected the missing antiseptic wipes, and now have to prepare for the cycle proper to begin again.

Please Lord, let this be the one.