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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No news is unfotunately not good news! 

It’s been a while since my last post and for no good reason I’m afraid.  I don’t have any updates, good or bad really and nothing to report but an ominous bout of depression which is forever lurking in the background.

My husband had the results of his tests and they didn’t show anything abnormal as such, the only feedback was that the ‘look’ of the sperm was not great but that in itself does not necessarily cause complications.  I now just have to wait for my next tests.

We have had a bit of a dry patch over the previous months for a number of reasons, I was very busy with work during the first few months of the year and working long hours which meant I was very tired by the time I got home then he had a bout of illness (terrible timing) and I think the frustration of struggling to conceive is getting to us both.  I am determined to get things back on track this month though and we kicked things off with a mini break which helped.

I am putting off researching too much into conception woes as I have heard a few things recently that have scared me.  Of course I know you should try to live a healthy lifestyle and by and large that is not an issue, I exercise regularly (and largely enjoy it), eat healthily, don’t smoke (and never have) and drink lots of water.  I do however have two main vices (i) caffeine and (ii) alcohol.  I know that neither are good for you but I don’t drink either to excess.  I was brought up in a drinking household and have always enjoyed a little tipple.  It helps me relax.  I don’t drink daily  (well not normally) but I don’t deny myself if I fancy a G&T or a glass of wine.  I also like a coffee in the morning or after a meal.  I love my nespresso machine.  I don’t usually exceed more than two (strong) cups a day but that increased to four when I was working long hours (I have cut down again now).

I follow Izzy Judd on social media, I’m not sure how I first came across her.  I wasn’t a Mcfly fan (I’m too old) but love Dougie Poynter and came across Tom  Fletcher in the media (his wedding speech I think) and that led to easy-on-the-eye Harry Judd which led to his wife Izzy.  She has just released a book about her experience of ivf (which I will bring myself to read at some point but it is still early days and I don’t want to run before I can walk) and she recently mentioned that she had given up caffeine completely when trying to conceive (apparently abbreviated to “TTC”).  This was my first scare, I hadn’t thought about it previously, should I be giving up caffeine? This will certainly make everybody at work suspicious and how do I explain away that?! 

I looked at the reader comments on Izzy’s posts and people were sharing what they had given up when TTC.  This scared me even more, people had given up gluten, dairy, carbs, meat and, worse of all (although probably most obvious) alcohol! “Do you think I should stop drinking completely?” I asked my husband.  “How would I explain that to friends?”.  They would automatically assume I was pregnant and answering questions when I wasn’t would be depressing.  

So I am putting off reading anything else.  Can I face giving up alcohol and caffeine when they are two small pleasures in life? I am finding the whole TTC thing quite depressing and I think no alcohol or caffeine will make that even worse.  Of course I want to give myself the best possible chance but will it really help that much? Do I consume enough of either for it to make a difference? Obviously if we were at the IVF stage it would be different, I would give both up straight away then.  Do I need to start phasing them out now? 

To make matters worse I spoke to a colleague last week and in passing she mentioned that she was tee total for 10 years (but isn’t anymore).  When I asked why she said it was because she couldn’t get pregnant so had given up drinking and then when she had her daughter she couldn’t face the thought of a hangover, then she had her son and just didn’t start again for 10 years! I am going to have to change my mindset I think, it is going to take some will power though.

I’ve just seen the GP again, I had asked to be referred privately as the wait for an NHS appointment is apparently ridiculous.  Our IVF friends went privately.  She has said I should research the local clinics to ensure I am getting the best service for my money.  If Bupa won’t cover it that is, need to check my policy.

I have been having some issues with irregular bleeding too though so I mentioned that and she has asked that the hospital expedite my appointment.  She has also suggested an examination and more swabs and booked me in for the morning.  That’ll be fun!