I think I’ve just started my period. It’ll be the first one since we started IVF cycle 2 – the one that resulted in baby B. I think we started in April 2016! Strange to think I haven’t had one since then!
I was sort of hoping I could hold off the periods indefinitely as I’m still breastfeeding B. He’s just under a year old now. I feel strangely emotional as I was hoping I could at least make it to his first birthday without having one, but I guess it wasn’t to be. It’s especially strange as today’s his first day back at nursery after the Christmas break, and I have been breastfeeding him more than usual (as he’s often away from me during the day), so I didn’t really expect to get a period now.
Agh. I hope it isn’t a period. But I think it might be.
For many years all through infertility and then loss, blood was a sign that my body wasn’t doing stuff right, wasn’t getting pregnant and wasn’t remaining pregnant.
I had really bad periods with endometriosis and fibroids. Could knock me out for days.
I don’t feel like that now but I do feel really run down because of flu – which I managed to get on Christmas Day and am still in recovery.
Have breastfed through it all. The one thing that’s gone right is our breastfeeding journey. I’m even hoping to make it to two years unless B wants to wean in between time!
Anyway, there you have it… The end of an era!
So I posted a while back that I was flummoxed by all the IVF and pregnancy acronyms, but I do know this one: PUPO. Which is what I am, in theory… :O
Although T and I discussed it and decided we are more statistically minded and it was more likely to be Not Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise, so I wittily coined a new acronym: NPUPO – pronounced nahpoopo.
I think you’ll find that this is a valuable addition to the fertility-jargon canon.
(Nod if you agree.)
Well… After yesterday’s rant (sorry people, I think it just shows my true colours… I’m not the nice calm controlled person I would like people to think I am… haha) my day didn’t really get any better. We have a massive project deadline end of this week – it’s meant to finish, and most of my team will be rolling off, which means everyone is working like absolute dogs* to get it all finished. This means very long hours and because of my role on the project it means I have to do the longest. I think I was almost crying yesterday – I finally managed to finish up at 01:30 and then grabbed 3.5hrs sleep before getting up and going into work again. All before transfer!
(* Why are they trying to kid – dogs don’t usually have jobs. My dog sits around relaxing all day, goes for walks, gets tummy tickles and is fed at regular intervals. He has a better life than I do!)
Transfer was this morning and I had to leave a conference meeting to get to the hospital. I cunningly managed to dial out of the videoconference and dial in on my mobile so I could carry on the call whilst heading to hospital.
Once there, it was really one of the easiest bits of the whole process. The strange bit was that T was there and actually saw it happen (though happily for me he wasn’t down the business end – he is terribly squeamish anyway so it would be a risk he might faint!). I did say he didn’t have to be there as it would be quite boring, but he said he wanted to be there for the conception! 🙂
The doc, embryologist, scanner and nurse were all lovely and I’ve met some of them before so it wasn’t too bad. It really was pretty much like a smear test, which has never really bothered me. The worst thing about it was the fact that you have to go with a full bladder! I am a curious sort so I asked why (as for all other scans I’ve been asked to empty my bladder). You want to know, don’t you?
Turns out that if you have a uterus that tips up, then the passageway to implantation can be curved. The straighter it is, the easier it is for the doc to insert the catheter and deposit our little guy where he’s supposed to be. (I’ve decided our embryo is male, and T thinks it’s female.) So your full bladder pushes down the uterus and makes the passageway a bit straighter.
Anyway we didn’t even have to think about the whole twin thing, because we only had one embryo at the right stage of development for transfer. 😦 I thought this was a bad thing but the embryologist said that our embryo was great quality. I really try not to google things as I think Dr Google can just make you paranoid, but I do ask a bunch of questions when I’m there. Apparently ours was 3BB or something and the letter scale goes from A to J or something. We being the usual academic high achieving sorts said that we wanted an A 😉 but apparently that’s really rare, and BB is good! That said, the embryologist is always super positive about things so you wonder whether they’re just being positive or it’s actually good.
Anyway out of our remaining 6 embryos we had 2 that were just under that grade, so they’re leaving them sitting around trying to grow until tomorrow – then they’ll let us know if they’ve reached the required level for freezing. I was a little sad that we might not have any frozen embryos as I thought that means this is our only chance with this cycle… T said we should be positive and assume this is going to work! See – he’s a poopo (PUPO) person and I’m a nahpoopo person! 🙂
So anyway… the transfer was totally painless. I mean there’s a slightly weird situation when 4 people are staring into your v*gina but if you think about it, the act of natural conception is a fairly strange thing too! T watched on the ultrasound but we both agreed there was definitely a dark art involved in making any sort of sense of what was on the screen. I mean, we saw our little embryo being dropped off but to me it was like watching the tv when there’s no reception!
After it was all done I could go to the loo (phew) – you have to repress your natural idea that the embryo’s going to drop out! Apparently you can do all your normal activities and you can even have s*x if you want to – which is funny really, given I then got on a train to a city 3 hours away!
We went for a nice hot chocolate with whipped cream afterwards, and dissected what we thought the stats were (I told you we were stats geeks)… and then parted ways.
I have to work another looooong day today, but am avoiding any alcohol or cigarettes or bungee jumping (as if I was going to do any of those things, haha!). So we shall settle in for the wait…
Helloooooo it’s me again!
A quick update from me on this crazy IVF journey.
I had a rather snoozy weekend and quite a lot of pain in my stomach. Also I am either super bloated or I have been eating way too much. It’s probably a combination of the two.
I rested up on Saturday and then unpleasantly on Sunday had to work. (Argh: work!) Which meant I didn’t have the relaxing time I could have done. Thankfully this put me in good stead for this morning’s meeting so can’t complain.
We’d been told by the embryologists that they would call by 09:00 today if I needed to go in and do a Day 3 transfer… 09:00 came and went. (I was in a meeting so just as well.)
I was on my way to the station for work when I received another call. I was immediately worried (esp as I had a colleague with me in the cab) but the embryologist was really nice and said that we were still going ahead with the transfer on Wednesday morning. That will be Day 41. Apparently our little embryos are still growing, which is great! If I heard correctly (I had turned the sound way down in case my colleague heard what was going on – a nice colleague I might add but I don’t really need it broadcast to everyone), we have 3 embryos at 6 cell, 1 at 8 cell and the others are a bit lazy!
This is apparently fine and she said it was all going well!
Our little guys look a bit like this!
For those of you new to the whole IVF thing, there is a good explanation of how they determine transfer here. Basically they look at your eggs 3 days post insemination and they figure out how many have fertilised and how good they are (based on the universal embryo grading system which I assume is super similar to how they grade chicken eggs, haha). If you have a few that are looking pretty good quality then they’ll continue to Day 5 because that way they have time to pick out the one (or two) that will have the most chance of success. If not they will get you in on Day 3 as they generally don’t learn anything more on Day 4.
So we’re all set for Wednesday’s Day 5 transfer. We just have to rock up on Wednesday morning and we will have a quick in and out and then I will have to head back out of town for work. They tell me it’s similar to a smear test although T will be there to see his potential baby be implanted!
Oh and I’m still pushing for twins! 🙂
Probably not these ones
T is more circumspect. He thinks twins would be difficult and more expensive etc etc whereas I think there is a greater chance of success (ie both might not implant properly so at least you have two chances) plus I think twins are awesome, plus I’m not overly bothered about going through childbirth twice! I mean there are pros and cons with both. Someone else in my extended family has twins through IVF and they are absolutely adorable. But as I’ve said many times before, I would be happy with one child! I guess we will take the doctor’s advice on it. Hopefully we will have enough embryos to freeze a couple in case this cycle doesn’t work, and we can try for a frozen transfer later in the year. (Although our hospital is quite strict and says you need 6 months between cycles… I am wondering how strict they are on this, if it doesn’t work – 6 months seems like a really long time especially when approaching 40 when we all know your uterus shrivels up overnight.)
Anyway I keep telling myself that there’s a really low chance of this working and not to get my hopes up. I guess I’ll just need to keep my hopes in check and make sure we still have stuff to look forward to if it doesn’t work. We are planning a nice big holiday later in the year which will either be a babymoon or a consolation holiday (time for some babymaking practice!) so at least that’s something to look forward to. I’m super thankful for my lovely partner T and my lovely dog and nice family so it’s not like I have a lot to complain about.
Off to catch up on all your blogs!
Just had the call from the embryologist and it turns out that 6 out of our 12 harvested eggs have fertilised!
This is apparently a good thing as anything less than 50% is not so good. So we are on the cusp…
This means we have a scheduled transfer on Wednesday (day 5) unless they call us before 09:00 on Monday (day 3) and call us in on that day.
Avoiding googling too much as I don’t want to get paranoid about chances and whatnot. Just resting up and hoping it will all go according to plan on Wednesday.
Work next week is going to be a pain as I’m supposed to be out of town, but I’m going to hold out till 09:00 Monday before leaving town (if that’s what happens). Apparently you can’t do anything about the transfer and it’s pretty much in and out, like a smear test.
This sounds quite appealing given I still feel super groggy after yesterday’s harvest. I’m lucky it’s the weekend and I don’t have to do anything. I’m just sitting on the sofa and relaxing. Thank goodness it isn’t the usual early start!
Anyway, that’s it for now. We know there are still plenty of things to go wrong… Here’s hoping just one goes right!
So I have a bit of an update and it’s rather exciting.
My stubborn lazy follicles finally decided to get to the magic 18! And who was there to announce it but Dr Fit! It must be fate…
Hilariously he also decided to make a film recommendation whilst performing my TV scan, leading me to utter the immortal words, “Just what was it that made you think of a gay rights film whilst staring up my v-gina?”
You can only laugh…
Anyway, it turns out that the super mega dose of Gonal F finally spurred my lazy ol’ ovaries into action. I had something like 5 follicles at the magic 18 (what? I have no idea of the unit of measurement) and so this means I’m booked in for egg harvesting tomorrow!
How exciting is that?
I was really beginning to despair, I tell you. I mentioned yesterday how I have morphed into Jabba the Hutt so you’ll excuse me if I breathe a sigh of relief.
This means: I’ll either get pregnant (first choice) or I’ll at least be able to come off these drugs (second choice but very welcome). I don’t know how long I can take the humungaboobs and the giant slug like body.
In other news I’ve been working like the proverbial dog, apart from I have one of them and I have to confess he’s not in gainful employment and appears to live the life of Riley. I mean his sole purpose seems to be to look cute, cuddle things, lick things and run around looking for food. In fact his sole purpose is food. Anything else is merely a way of trying to get food.
So anyway my current project is absolutely manic. Usually I would relish this but I have to say that I’ve never had something quite so challenging. It’s too depressing to go into but it involves working 18 hour days with very little sleep and very little (ie no) thanks. I had to get special dispensation to not go into the office tomorrow. And I know they’re going to get arsey about it. 😦
The thing I’m most looking forward to is sedation! This means I get to relax and sleep! Granted with someone poking about in my v-gina, but beggars can’t be choosers, eh!
And this means I’ll probably have to work over the weekend but… a day without the most awkward man in the world! That’s something to be thankful for!
I can’t really separate my symptoms from my work related tiredness right now so I won’t try. Suffice to say I’m extremely tired.
On the plus side I was very indulgent and went out and bought some makeup. More out of necessity than for the fun of it – I’ve realised I’m now looking pretty awful so need to mitigate it in some way. I got some Smashbox stuff on the spur of the moment. Never used it before but they promise great things! It’s nice to see my skin looking slightly more soft focus because let me tell you, the office lights aren’t kind to people of my advanced age.
Anyway last night I took the trigger injection. I didn’t take a picture as quite frankly you don’t want to lose your lunch over mah belleh rolls and also it’s pretty much the same as Gonal F. The super convenient pen. Also it’s pretty much foolproof as there’s only one dose. You have to take it exactly 36 hours before you get The Harvest (sounds like a pumpkin or something, harvest festival). I don’t know how they’re so sure it will react the same for everyone seeing as my ovaries weren’t very cooperative with the Gonal F.
So now I just need to relax. A lovely day off work! This almost more exciting than the prospect of some doctor yahooing up my doodah. (They don’t really yodel or anything but I always picture them doing some sort of echo test.)
For some reason going to the doctor’s surgery brings me out in fits of giggles. I mean, it is fairly comical, the whole process. I’m wondering what kind of environment T will have to do to donate his “submission”. Do they have a special w–k room? Is it full of La Z Boy recliners and posters of ladies with their baps out? Or do they just have to sit in a clinic till they can spunk the junk?
I guess we’ll find out tomorrow…
I’ve always had a soft spot for Jabba the Hutt – which is just as well, as I’m turning into him.
(He’s a Star Wars villain for those of you who’ve been living under a rock… or worse, too young to remember!)
Rather than the attractive Princess Leia character, and glossing over the many inadequacies of the plot including some rather dodgy genetic sexual attraction, I’m rather speedily morphing into a giant slug like blob.
Don’t read on if this is TMI…
As part of these chronicles, I wanted to be honest about the side effects as it’s something I was looking for as I’ve been going through the process. It might help you, or alternatively it might provide you with a laugh!
Humungaboobs – I seem to have developed pregnancy boobs without the actual pregnancy. I really hate these giant swollen boobs which are straining against my totally unfit for purpose bra. I would estimate it’s at least a cup size. They make me feel yucky and protruding. My nipples hurt. But T thinks they are sexy! Men and boobs! He’s had a little feel but unfortunately I really haven’t been in the mood for anything more due to work stress and generally not liking how it feels to be turning into a giant slug.
Man repellent – All this medication is really not putting me in the mood at all. I feel incredibly yucky due to the fat and the other side effects. Unfortunately I’m also super busy at work so it’s all I can do just to get 4hrs sleep. Not going to let jiggy time encroach on that! Poor T. A fat blob to share his bed with, plus a snoring furry. Probably not the exciting trying-for-a-baby time he envisaged.
Dishonourable discharge – I don’t want to go into too much detail here but seriously… I’m just leaking all over the place. It’s as if I’ve got some goo inside me that’s spending the past few weeks seeping out. It’s unpleasant and it definitely does not put one in the mood for sexy time! (For those into CM, it’s more water than egg white. Euuww.)
Muu muu time – I think it’s time I went and got a muu muu, as this is the only thing that will contain my rapidly expanding bulk. I’ve always been quite small as I’m short. At my largest I was a UK size 10, and that’s large when you’re a midget. Now I seem to be expanding into size 12 territory (cf humungaboobs above) which is not a pretty sight. My face now looks like an emoticon, ie round and featureless (apart from the below). My belly is like I’m pregnant AND chubby. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been. Which is really not a nice feeling.
Pizza face – My spots are now heading to school level. It’s not that bad (for which I’m grateful) but it certainly doesn’t help the confidence when I’m also heading for chronic obesity.
Tiny mice punches – See my other posts. I’m bruised on my stomach, although weirdly it’s going away. Maybe I only bruise at certain times in my cycle?
All in all, not that nice and I’m hoping it’s over soon. I’m waiting for my next scan to find out whether we can schedule egg collection or not. My slow growers have hopefully grown! Now on 375 of the Gonal F which seems like loads. Quite frankly I’m relishing the idea of sedation as it’s the only chance I’ll get to have a rest!
Will let you know how it goes… Stay happy everyone! 🙂
I have an announcement to make…
It had to bloody happen, didn’t it? It’s summertime, which means hayfever season and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS PREGNANT.
I’m not pregnant. I’m just… blobby. I’m actually turning into Jabba the Hutt. I’m not even going to dignify that with a picture, because it’s actually Jabba the Hutt with swollen breasts, greasy hair, skin breakouts and a load of stomach bruising which in combination is I’m not pregnant.
Anyway, so it turns out that all the weddings we attended in the last year resulted in an easy quick-as-you-like-it pregnancy. The first one – my extremely self-satisfied everything-comes-easy friend: pregnant on honeymoon. The second one: another honeymoon baby. And now, the ones who’ve been trying to “catch up” with us for a while (cue announcement – I mean, when does anyone make efforts to catch up otherwise?): ANOTHER BLOODY PREGNANCY.
I’m happy for them. I really am. Well… that and fuming. Because for every super-pleased-with-themselves friend who gets knocked up on honeymoon, there’s me:
Yes: during my long spell of infertility (= my life) I’ve actually managed to get into a long term relationship, cohabit, get engaged, get married, get separated, do a lot of silly things, get into another relationship, cohabit… and decide to try for a baby. That whole thing spans over a decade and doesn’t even count the decade before that where I was mainly growing up and trying to find out my way in life. And now we’re on the lovely not-at-all-guaranteed IVF journey and I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself. In a ranty way. (Btw this is just a vent. I’m always nice to pregnant friends. I even buy thoughtful gifts and feign an interest in their pregnancies when really I just want to scream it’s not fair!!!)
During just one year the number of babies that have popped out (on Facebook mainly) are enough to build my own little army of babies. (They wouldn’t do anything. So probably not that effective as an army.)
This is how I feel. It’s like everyone who even sneezes gets pregnant. Today’s announcement = the last straw. I even was invited to the meet up “catch up” but I knew there was likely going to be a pregnancy announcement so I avoided it. Typical. If only pregnancy were catching, I’d have about a hundred babies by now.
So here’s what I think…
So it turns out I’m one of those “slow responders”, which in work parlance means that I’m not meeting the SLAs (service level agreements) which are expected of me.
Unfortunately for me, on top of generally not being very fertile (understatement of the year… no sniff of being pregnant for the almost 20 years I’ve been an adult), my ovaries are slow responders.
It makes it sound like they should be in remedial school or something. If only it were that simple. Following on from last week’s increased dosage (Gonal F 225 increased to 300, since you ask), they’ve gone and done a bit of a begrudging expansion, but not much.
I still don’t have any follicles at the magic 18. I have one at 17, and one at 16, and a few that are smaller. The doctors say I am a “special case” which is a bit embarrassing, but not a huge change to normal. (I got good grades at school but was apparently subversively naughty, as in I didn’t try very hard. Oh how I wish this translated to adulthood! Now I try hard but don’t get anywhere!)
T is supportive and he’s been very good about me being an elephant and not wanting to get jiggy and generally being an old bloated misery guts. The hayfever over the weekend didn’t help either as Dr Fit said I shouldn’t take the drugs so be been suffering in not-silence (sneezing and snotting mainly – attractive as I’m sure you can imagine).
So what next? I have an extra prescription of Gonal F to tide me over. Another scan in a couple of days where they’ll tell me if they’ve grown any more. The nurse may call this pm to increase my dose.
The worst thing is that work is horrific. I haven’t told them, because they are super sexist and they wouldn’t approve at all. I work super long hours (on current project it’s usually around 06:30-22:00 at least, plus being expected to be around at weekends) so it’s not like they’re being hard done by when I take the odd hour out to go to the doc. I don’t even take a lunch break half the time.
But the project I’m running is meant to be outside of London (I’ve been getting up before 4 to get there, to ensure they don’t miss out). And they’ve kicked up a stink about me not being there this week – I made up an excuse. Now it looks like I’m going to have to be in town again next week and they’ll probably cause merry hell about it. It just depresses me as I work so hard and get constant grief over it.
Anyway – rant over. I’ll just have to suck it up. And pray to an omnipotent being that this works! If it doesn’t (and I so hope that isn’t our story) then the next time I think I’ll take a leave of absence from work. I think I deserve a bit of a rest!
It’s the only explanation.
So it’s day 28 by my rough count and this means I’ve been on the Gonal F pen injection for a week or so. I lose track. (I just do what they tell me to do and try not to think about the rest.)
What I noticed is that I only seem to get the bruising from the big pen thing and not from the down regulation injections (Buserelin for me). I’m still on a half dose of the Buserelin in the mornings, and aside from the faff of having to take 2 different needles and a syringe out of the packets, it’s pretty painless.
Whereas the big pen Gonal F is super easy (just whack on the needle, turn the dial to the dose and jab it in), it’s left me looking like I’ve done ten rounds in the ring with a tiny mouse. Or mice. I mean, I’ve taken a beating.
It doesn’t actually hurt that much but I’m not keen on the look of my stomach right now. That may be more to do with being a right fatty (I have put on a lot of weight due to not being miserable, haha). Vanity is a small price to pay though. I also feel quite bloated but I can’t tell whether that’s the drugs or eating too many burritos.
On the plus side, the side effects I was getting last week don’t seem to be as bad. I still have hayfever but Dr Fit (see Day 27’s post) said it’s probably best not to take anything, and who am I to challenge Dr Fit? Exactly.
So I’m just keeping on keeping on. If all goes according to plan, this means I have the potential final scan tomorrow to check that my womb lining and follicles are all hunky dory. If I manage to have 3 follicles up to 18 (mm, I assume it can’t be anything bigger than that!) it means egg harvesting would be Monday.
Quite honestly I’m looking forward to egg harvesting as I rather like sedation and it’s preferably to working an 18hr day! It comes to something when you’d rather be knocked out than go to work, huh.
But the way I look at it, that’s when the magic starts…
Please put your legs in the stirrups…
Well, it’s Day 27 by my slightly unreliable way of counting and that means it’s scan #2 after baseline. The midweek scan. I’ve been on the Gonal F follicle stimulator (I assume, as I try not to Know Too Much about what is going on) for a while now and my stomach is bruised to heck and now looks like I’ve been beaten up many times by a tiny mouse.
So I rushed straight from work, because I was in work early(ish) as per usual so I’d have some time to get settled before the scan, and I ended up getting slightly lost and running late as per my usual method of being, when I don’t have T to direct me. I am terrible at directions and would get lost inside my own house. (T had decided for today that he’d do without the vicarious joy of the TV scan as all he can hear outside the curtain is me laughing in an embarrassed way and the doctors trying to act all serious whilst shoving a probe up my undercarriage. Let’s face it, it’s a kind of embarrassing situation.)
As I was running late, I ended up running up a few flights of stairs and practically careening into the waiting room so as not to be late. I actually managed to be absolutely on time, which was nice.
Until… I was directed by the nice nurse into the scan room and who should it be but let’s-call-him Doctor Fit.
Dr Fit was the one who performed one of my previous surgeries. He is young, attractive, obviously clever enough to be a doctor, and very very nice. He even asked about my dog as he’d remembered that from our previous conversations. I don’t know why I should feel weird about having this swoonsome chap staring up my undercarriage but I did. First of all I thought “Well I really should have tidied up down there!” and then I thought all sorts of other thoughts which mainly ended up in Why oh why does it have to be him? Not because I fancy him as such but just because it seems so awkward.
A very good friend of mine has an chronic medical condition which involves a fair amount of colonoscopies and she tells me it’s always the good looking ones…
What can I say?
My scan went fine. I managed to look the other way whilst Dr Fit looked up and inside me and wriggled that probe around like he was at a 90s rave with a glowstick. (Of course he is swoony enough to probably have been born in the 90s – Mrs Robinson!)
The good news is that my follicles are growing! Not in a very quick way, because they’re lazy like that (like the rest of me). Apparently they’re aiming for 3 x 18 diameter ones so we shall see. The largest so far is 15-16 and I think my left ovary is more into it than the right – the right one’s just thinking “I can’t be bothered with this” and doing a bit of a halfhearted job. If all goes as it should be, which it seems to be doing right now (touch wood) then that means another scan in a couple of days and a potential egg collection on Monday, with implantation on Friday. That’s next week! How exciting is that? If my eggs are actually there and my ovaries aren’t playing a massive trick on me and the eggs can be matured okay and T’s spunk is of its previous good quality then there’s no reason why I couldn’t be impregnated by next Friday!
As for my nether regions, after all the general unrest and injections and whatnot I decided not to keep it all trimmed for a while and give my body a bit of a rest, what with all the abdominal interventions. (I used to be into Brazilians until I thought, why am I doing this?) I’m not very hairy anyway and it annoys my feminist ideals that women should feel that they have to rip out the hairs on their undercarriage from the root after smothering them with hot wax, or shave them to within a millimetre of their life just to fulfil some weirdly manufactured ideal that women do not have hair (apart from in abundance on their heads and eyelashes). I mean, it’s just weird. Men don’t have to trim, so why should women be constantly removing it? So anyway, my foof was a bit furry and au naturel. I like to think of it as a mini ‘fro. I still shave my underarms once in a while but they’re so rarely on display that it takes me a few days to do it.
Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is: I probably shouldn’t worry about feminist ideals when I have my legs in stirrups and someone’s sticking a probe into places that aren’t usually seen.
And as for Dr Fit? Well, I figured he probably sees about 15 unkempt fannies a day so mine was probably as unmemorable as the next.
In the words of the good doctor: Everything’s as it should be.