The start of our IVF journey

Apologies if the sequence is slightly out here but my last post didn’t publish for some reason despite it being written about 6 weeks ago now.

Quite a lot has happened in the intervening period and I am now 3 days into IVF treatment and just starting to feel the effects. We had our treatment planning appointment at the hospital which consisted of a nurse handing me a bag of needles, a planner and a prescription and then showing me how to administer the injections. That was it, no explanation of why or what the drugs would do, what (if any) options there were or what to expect next. Thankfully from our friends having been through it we knew the basics already but I have discovered from Mumsnet that there is still a lot that I don’t know.

I’m on a long protocol (I didn’t even know there was a short protocol and am still not sure why that wasn’t suitable, or considered for us). I have buserelin injections (to block my hormones or “dereg”) for 14 days, then a scan to check the womb lining has thinned, then start on the pen injections (to replace my hormones) before having another scan to check follicles then plan egg collection “EC” which is followed by implantation a few days later.

I am a wimp when it comes to needles so was anxious about injecting every day and I freaked out when I first saw the needle on Friday so my husband is playing nurse for the moment. I will attempt to do it myself at some point so it is not so restrictive for him but need to pluck up the courage first.

Most surprising things about the treatment are that you have to use contraception (what’s that?!) if you have sex and that I can’t do any exercise (bang goes the idea of losing weight). Exercise increases the risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome apparently which can be serious.

I’m 3 injections in, so far I haven’t really felt them but yesterday I was moody and exhausted. This morning I am still exhausted and also ridiculously hot. I know we’ve been having hot weather but I’ve not felt this hot before. Cue menopause symptoms, the joy! The next 2 weeks are not going to be fun!

I am also anxious about EC as it is an operation under anaesthetic and I have never had one before. I’ll keep you posted, keep everything crossed!

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Back on the horse!

Whilst it is only just over one and a half weeks since we received confirmation that I had miscarried, the whole (albeit brief) pregnancy experience seems like it happened in another lifetime.

I have not grieved so to speak, have not cried even one tear and have not felt any real loss but I don’t think I ever really came to terms with the fact I was actually pregnant. I never really let myself enjoy it and was so anxious during the long 7 weeks that i didn’t actually think about the embryo becoming a baby. Yes I began browsing maternity clothes and contemplating having to buy a new bra but that was more down to the physical changes than embracing pregnancy.

I have been disappointed more than anything and perhaps a little angry. I resent pregnant people even more and can’t help but question what I did wrong, whether I pushed myself too hard in the gym, drank too much before I had a positive test, stopped taking vitamin A (in a multi vitamin) too late, worried too much?! I am “reassured” that 1 in 4 pregnancies in women of my age end in miscarriage and that it is mainly due to a defect in the embryo rather than anything I did or didn’t do.

I’m using the mumsnet talk groups for anonymous support and information. I’m back on all the supplements and have added in Soy Isoflavones as they are apparently good for egg development, we’ve restocked the German cock pills too but there seems to be a national shortage of Agnus castus at present. I’m back in the gym and sleeping terribly again (annoyingly pregnancy improved my sleep a lot).

Our long term/long suffering IVF friends have had a beautiful baby girl and we’re thrilled for them. They were the only ones we told about our pregnancy and they were devastated that it was so short lived, as are we of course.

Anyway, back in the saddle so to speak and trying again with a vengeance, apparently you are most fertile straight after a miscarriage so fingers crossed!

Not pregnant

Today was the date of our second scan, to check progress. It has been the longest 2 weeks of my life!

The scan confirmed what I had feared, I had miscarried our miracle embryo and my uterus is all but empty once again. I was “pregnant” for about 8.5 weeks, my poor body has been through 8.5 weeks of completely alien effects, muscles relaxing and stretching in my back and stomach, extra blood pumping around making it difficult to get it up to my brain, uterus growth and breast expansion. All for nothing. My poor body!

All in all it was an odd experience. I feel somewhat detached, like the whole thing happened to somebody else, the pregnancy and the miscarriage. I have been pregnant, experienced early stage pregnancy, and now I am not. I wonder if I subconsciously knew it would not work out, I didn’t feel as excited as I expected to when we had a positive result (or a BFP as I now know it’s referred to as), I was reluctant to embrace it, to get excited as I was in disbelief, shock perhaps, and anxious about the spotting.

What now? There are thankfully no complications, I don’t need any medical management. I wait until the bleeding stops and then we can start counting again. How disappointing! Back to the drawing board, back to the cycle. Hopefully we can now organise our IVF treatment appointment and start that ball rolling again.

I am going to keep off the coffee and the booze (although treated myself to a flat white this morning) and have reordered the cock pills for my husband (something worked this time). Back on the horse so to speak. Just have to stay in the saddle!

Pregnant?!

So I saw the GP, she calculated that I was around 7-8 weeks pregnant, gave me a midwife pack and referred me to the EPU (early pregnancy unit) for an early scan due to the spotting. She warned me that it could take a while to get an appointment but they asked me to go in that morning so I drove straight up to the hospital and waited for a scan. They did both an external and internal ultrasound. I was measuring 5.5 weeks rather than the 7+ but as my periods are difficult to diarise I wasn’t concerned. Due to the early stage they could not pick up a heart beat but everything looked normal and there was no obvious cause of the spotting. I was told it was quite normal and booked in for another scan in 2 weeks.

Now here I am, 12 (very long) days on, not sure that I am still pregnant. The spotting continued off and on but so did the other pregnancy symptoms. I had the nose of a bloodhound (to the extent that the smoke from a neighbours chimney made me panic that the house was on fire), my boobs went up 2 cup sizes, my stomach bloated up so much I couldn’t do my trousers up, I had constant heartburn, lower back ache coupled with occasional nausea and lightheadedness! I also had one day feeling absolutely dreadful, it was like a hangover without having touched alcohol, my head hurt so badly I thought my skull was splitting. I joined the mumsnet forums, downloaded an app and signed up to nhs updates.

However I remained in disbelief that it was actually happened and concerned at every twinge. It had taken so long to get to this stage and the posters on the wall of the EPU alerted me to the scary fact that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I was very paranoid and, after two light ‘bleeds’ (pink spotting more than anything), called the EPU for advice. I was told that as I’d already had a scan they were not overly concerned and I should wait for the next appointment. It has been a long long wait!

Then on Friday my symptoms died down, I thought perhaps it was just the hormone levels settling but, on Sunday lunchtime I began to bleed heavily. I then started cramping but nothing more than severe period pains (however not being able to take painkillers is a killer)! I managed to still enjoy the bank holiday and relaxed in the garden in the sunshine, all the time resigning myself to the fact that I was probably miscarrying. Monday afternoon the cramping became unbearable, I was doubled over in pain and my husband called NHS direct whilst I tried to relieve the pain in a warm bath. NHS direct referred us to the out of hours GP and a doctor called me immediately to discuss my symptoms. He however said the same thing, as I’d already had a scan he was not overly concerned. He didn’t actually mention a miscarriage but surely that’s what he was thinking.

The pain gradually subsided (as did the bleeding) and now I’m only in slight discomfort. I am thoroughly confused as I didn’t seem to pass anything more than a heavy period clot, no noticeable tissue and certainly nothing big enough to feel. I wouldn’t call the pain contraction like either which most people seem to. Mumsnet discussions led me to subchorionic hematomas which gave me some hope that all is not lost but in my heart I cannot see how the little embryo can have survived.

That being said my boobs seem to hurt a little again and I have slight heartburn. I also have a slight headache, back ache and cramps but they could all be as a result of the experience of the last two days. One more day until the scan and we can find out whether this is the end of the road for this brief miracle pregnancy or if I have something else to worry about. Either way it is a concern and a worry.

A development!

I can’t believe it has been 10 months since my last post. I had just started typing “No news is not always good news” when I realised that I had already used that last year.

There have been no posts as there hasn’t been anything to report. We went to the private clinic, we had some more tests, they were largely the same, we had a letter from the NHS confirming our appointment there, we went, had more tests, were referred for IVF, had more tests and have been waiting for our treatment consultation since then. It is such a waiting game.

Over that time I have become increasingly depressed and have not been sleeping properly since November! We’ve still been trying, I’ve thrown in a few more supplements (Co-enzyme Q10 which is ridiculously expensive, bee pollen and a specialist fertilisan supplement for him to improve motility).

However, I now finally have some news, having decided we’d give the NHS until May before taking the plunge with the private clinic last month I missed my period! I did a test and, as before, it was negative. I went to the GP, she told me to take another one in the week. In the interim I have been spotting (only lightly but every day) so wasn’t very hopeful but I did a test on Monday and the magical little second line appeared! We were both stunned, we’d all but given up on it ever happening for us.

However we are not getting our hopes up just yet, I know the spotting may be a bad sign (but may be completely normal) and it’s early days but I took another test this morning and there it was again. I have sore breasts, I have lower back ache and I have stomach acid, it all points in a ‘positive’ direction! I will try and get an app to see the GP tomorrow.

Keep everything crossed for us and I’ll update you asap!

Taking the plunge!

So, it’s been nine months since the ‘glitch’, nine months since the GP referral and five months since the hospital acknowledged the referral and I have still not heard anything.  I’m not getting any younger and we’re not having any luck on our own so today we decided to finally contact a private fertility clinic.  

I called Bupa and my policy unfortunately will not cover the fertility investigations so it looks like we’ll be shelling out for them ourselves but the cost is just a drop in the ocean if we actually need fertility treatment.  Besides, I have had enough of waiting and feeling completely helpless! 

My GP said to do some research into the local clinics and look at reviews so that’s what we have done this evening and we have chosen one with a good reputation and some excellent practitioners.  Coincidentially it is also the clinic that our friends who have previously had IVF have used (and are using again at the moment) so we are amongst friends.

If nothing else apparently they have a good coffee machine in the waiting room which is good news.  NHS say that caffeine has no adverse effect on fertility too so I’m glad that’s one thing I don’t have to give up! 

I bought some more fertility lube, started yoga and have been back on the agnus castus too, at least that makes me feel like I’m doing something positive.  Next stop acupuncture!

Now the family’s at it! 

That’s it, I’ve had it, my cousin is pregnant, my delightful, successful, single-until-fairly-recently, younger cousin! Her and her pilot fiancée got engaged last week and we were all thrilled.  She has not had a serious relationship for nearly 20 years and met her fiancé through a friend (who met him on tinder) a year or so ago.  He is lovely and they are so well suited, it was if it was meant to be and now they’re engaged and having a baby! I am insanely jealous!

We’ve been trying for nearly two years now and, apart from the one ‘glitch’ (as the doctor described it), we haven’t even come close to getting pregnant.  I am thoroughly depressed about the whole thing.  

True, I may not have been as pro-active as I could have been (I have still not called Bupa to check my cover and I haven’t altered my diet at all) but the depression has robbed me of any inclination to do so.  Until recently it had really put us off sex too (although we seem to have got over that issue now)!  

I need to pull my finger out, call Bupa, book some acupuncture sessions and start really researching what I should be doing to help. Izzy Judd’s book “Dare to dream” is out tomorrow and I’m thinking that may be a good place to start.  I need to stop resting on my laurels and expecting it just to happen as it is obviously not going to.  

Any pointers as to where to start would be appreciated! 

Yours, frustratedly!