Hope & Hopscotch

Sae's IVF Timeline

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It's such a crazy thing, infertility. I felt like there was this epic sense of urgency and boy, was the learning curve steep. A lot of the posts here are information based - it's all the research I've done for myself and my journey. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share the raw emotional stuff as well as the informational. 


IVF Round #1 - Jan 2015. Ovulated early.
IVF Round #2 - Feb 2015. 2 Frozen embryos.
IVF Round #3 - Aug 2015. 3 Frozen embryos.
IVF Round #4 - Oct 2015. 1 Frozen embryos.


2016 - Turns it out it *was* our year

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It's weird to write this on the other side...

In 2016 I did get pregnant. I found out in January. Ironically not long after I posted that last post. And just so it's clear - it was a spontaneous pregnancy. Not an IVF one. We still have those six, beautiful frozen little blastocysts, and after all four hard, expensive rounds, we conceived *naturally*.  What. The. Hell.

I found it really really difficult to settle in the pregnancy. I was convinced that my infertility had caused some chromosomal issues. So, we did an amnio, and we had to wait till I was 16 weeks, and another three weeks for the results. We found at 19 weeks that our little baby was chromosomally perfect - and that he was going to be a little boy! 

We were over the moon and felt finally okay to tell people at 20w.

Here's the kicker though - despite being chromosomally perfect our little guy inherited an incredibly rare metabolic disorder called Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia. Unbeknown to us, Zee and I are both carriers.

We spent the first two weeks of our baby's life in NICU praying he would live. We spent the next two weeks praying he'd breathe by himself and we'd be able to take him home.

 And sure, we were able to take him home. For about three weeks before the seizures kicked in. After that, it was three weeks at the hospital, three weeks in intensive care and two months in hospice on end of life care.  End Of LIFE care.

Oh, my beautiful baby. 

It's been a heartbreaking, horrid time. We were, eventually, able to come home. And while things aren't rosy (oh hey seizures, and profound developmental delay and constant trips to the hospital) every day that our gorgeous little guy is with us is a good one. 

I blog more openly about our journey over at www.teammikaere.com.  We're fundraising for a cure at justgiving.com/team-mikaere, so if you could spare $10, that would be amazing. 

I probably won't be blogging here as frequently, but I wish you luck, hey. And hope. Got my fingers crossed for your BFP. Maybe this year will be your year too! 

Love,

Sae x

PS - Awkwardly, my name isn't really Sae. It's Elly. And Zee's name isn't Zee, it's Sam. Sae is an acronym we use sometimes - Sam and Elly. I guess this is it - we're out! x

On taking a break from IVF

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So. We've paid for four rounds of IVF out of pocket. I've worked less than 6 months this year (thank goodness I'm a contractor and earn stupid amounts so I can) and... to put it simply we right now can't afford another round of IVF.

My body right now is the best it's ever going to be, with all the diets and supplements and extreme toxin avoidance... I'm also the youngest I'm ever going to be. So to be held back by something like money is just... heart breaking. I would have liked to do at least one more round.

So, we wait. We save. We hope my sad little ovaries won't be too sad on the other side. We'll see. 

Will keep you posted. I'm still hopeful that this year could be our year...

Happy New Year

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The break has been nice, the downtime of eating whatever and finally, what feels like the first time in forever relaxing. Proper relaxing.

That doesn't mean not worrying about TTC, though. Zee and I have being fast and free with contraception. We're in that weird spot of trying not to worry, but worrying at the same time. That epic rollercoaster that happens month to month. We're not trying very hard. It's like we're giving ttc the side eye - I know ish when I'm ovulation. I don't say anything when we BD around that mark, and I know when AF is meant to show. 

We're not trying, but still have that weird moment of both relief and disappointment when AF shows up. 

Relief because our doctor wants to do another round of IVF. At some point. Some point this year. Maybe. Maybe we'll change some things. Maybe we won't. Maybe we'll transfer instead of freezing. Maybe maybe maybe.

Relief because there are so many things to do, and I'm still on the am I ready? Am I not? IVF originally was a back up plan, a just in case. I prepare for the future, but at this point, we've been on this journey for so long that the end goal seems less scary than it did a year ago. 

Disappointment because at the end of it, I want children. It's hard to see the single line on the test. 

We'll see. I'm trying to plan for other things this year, IVF occupied a large portion of my 2015. This year, I'd like to do more, see more. Create more.

Fingers crossed that this year is our year, right? 

Sharing is Caring

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I was asked to talk at my clinics open day. I wasn't sure, exactly what would be helpful. It seems so long ago that I was at that point - not really sure what the next steps were. Still, I had lots to say, so I went. Talked.  It went well, a few couples came up after to pick my brain and ask questions. It was good.


Hi, I'm Sae. I'm a patient here, and have been for the last year or so. Last October I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. My AMH, which is my Anti-Mullerian hormone was low. It means that I have less eggs in my reserve than I should at my age. My FSH, my follicle stimulating hormone was high - meaning of what eggs I did have weren't of great quality. Essentially, I'd just turned 30 and I was already at the end of my fertility season. 

I won't lie, it was pretty hard hearing that. I felt all sorts of things. I felt like my body had betrayed me, like my right to be a mother was threatened. I felt guilty - I may not ever be able to give my partner the family he wants. I felt broken. Infertility is hard.

I'm not sure where you are in your journey. I found out about mine with a blood test with my GP. When I found out my results, I essentially called her a liar and started looking for a second opinion. 

I'm a UX designer by trade - which means that it's my job to design applications that meet the user need as well as the business needs, and I do that with data and research. Essentially, I used those skills to find myself the best clinic in London. I did three things.

1. Scoured the Internet for data. Most clinics post their success rates, and I was able to verify rates with what HFEA - the fertility authority in the UK posted. I looked at everything in detail, how many transfers they'd done, for what age bracket, for what kind of infertility. I found my top three - here, lister and ARGC.

2. I then looked for reviews independent of the clinics. This felt a little less scientific. I visited a million forums, reached out on Instagram and looked in half a dozen Facebook groups. You can be sure that all the horror stories you've ever heard are on the internet somewhere, right along with the clinic and the name of the doctor.

3. Lastly, I went and I sat in the waiting rooms of my top three, usually in my lunch hour on a Friday, which ironically was when almost all of the clinics were under pressure. This was the most revealing for me, I knew I'd be spending hours in whichever waiting room I chose. And in person, you can see how the clinic supports it staff. If the front of house and the nurses are frazzled, surely that trickles down to behind the scenes. Did they greet patients by name? Were they polite, friends with their patients? Could you hear private information that perhaps you shouldn't be able to hear? Some waiting rooms were better than others.

Needless to say I ended up here. As you can see this particular waiting room is quite nice. And the front of house staff is pretty amazing. 

I don't know what your story is, or why you're checking out clinics, so it's a bit hard to know what to tell you. In the last year I've been through four rounds of IVF, and I'm hopeful. My hope takes the form of 6 frozen embryos waiting in a freezer downstairs. I'm so hopeful.

In the meantime, I thought it would helpful to share five things I wish I'd known this time last year. 

1. Do your research.
Get your numbers and test results, and then read everything you can. Books, research papers. Do more than Google, or hang out in forums, there is so much more than that out there. You'll get more out of your rounds if you do. First, I'd suggest you read It Starts With the Egg, by Rebecca Fett. Also, check out NCBI PubMed - It's a place where all the research and studies are consolidated with an excerpt. It's an easy way to discover research studies. 

As each round is super expensive - you want to do everything you possibly can to make it successful. From your diet, to what chemicals you're exposing yourself to in paper receipts or perfume. There's a lot out there that affects fertility, it's important to educate yourself on more than just the medical processes, but your lifestyle choices too. 

2. Ask questions.
This follows on from the research. I'm not a doctor, or a scientist. For everything I learnt I'd come back to my doctor with a list of questions to ask. Sometimes Nurse Izzy would roll her eyes at me and ask why I didn't email them ahead of time, but I found It was helpful to talk things out and I was lucky that my doctor always made time for me. You also learn from each round you do, about how your body reacts to the drugs and what you can expect, so asking questions helps dig up other things to try. My first round looked nothing like my fourth round.

3. Find support.
This was the hardest for me, because I didn't know anyone going through it. My friends told me to relax, or just adopt, or did I ever consider not being a Mum and that was hard. I felt well and truly alone until I looked up #ivf on Instagram. There are blogs, forums and a ridiculous number of people going through what you are. I found it infinitely more helpful to message someone who truly understood. It got me through. 

4. Make friends with nursing stuff and receptionists. 
It won't get you special treatment, but it will make your time here easier. Truth is, they're all caught up in our journeys just as much as we are, and you'll find it much easier if you feel like you're among friends.

It's not hard to start conversation either, Nurse R is from NZ and almost always brings up the rugby. Nurse I is a massive frozen fan, and Nurse M is the nicest conversationalist. The front of house staff are equally lovely - J has a great fashion sense, and S and K are the nicest. Even behind the scenes - the anaesthetist T will let you change the location of the drip, and the embryologist will show you the embryoscope where your embyos will be incubated. It makes a different.

5. Be gracious.
Infertility is hard, and it hurts. Sometimes the clinic is busy, and you'll wait longer than you expected. Sidenote: don't try fit appointments into your lunch break - you'll always be late. Often the reason is because something has happened to another patient and the staff are dealing with it. At the time it's frustrating, but then it happened to me. In my very first round, after about a week and a half of stims I ovulated when I shouldn't have. No one could have known and instead of shunting me out at the end of my appointment I was looked after. I was so grateful for their compassion. So when I've had to wait longer than expected I've tried to be gracious. 

So, just a quick recap. Do your research, Ask Questions, Find Support, Make friends with the staff and be gracious. 

That's me done, if you have any questions feel free to come chat.  My name is Sae, you can find me at hopeandhopscotch.com - thanks for listening. 

OHSS + Watching our Embryos Grow/Die

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A few days after my retrieval I expected to be up and about. The previous two retrievals I recovered quick smart and figured it would be the same again. Oh, infertility. I should have realised that any expectations are there to be dashed.

I got mild OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) and let me tell you - that shit is not fun. Urgh. At the clinic I rushed through the boxes I know I needed to tick to get home: drink something, eat something and pee. No problem.

After I'd got home and slept off the meds it was a different story - I was in so much pain. Even more when I tried to go to the bathroom. I read somewhere once the muscles you use to stop peeing are the same muscles you use to push a baby out of your body. Turns out those particular muscles hurt like a mo-fo if you have OHSS. So much so that I fainted. On the toilet. I woke up with a massive bump on my shoulder where I'd hit the tub and a bigger lump on my head where I'd hit the wall. I felt indignant when I came to - as if I hadn't had a bad enough time with infertility, now I had to pass out from pain on the toilet too? Siiigh.

It took me a while to figure out it was OHSS and not just my body being slow to recover. There were a few key ah-ha symptoms:

- Weird bloating and tenderness. I looked like I was pregnant. Really pregnant.
- I couldn't breathe deep. It felt weird to take a big breath.
- I couldn't lie on my side comfortably - I'd almost always roll onto my back.

I did some reading (expect a proper research laden post coming soon) but realised that as we weren't transferring I'm not at risk of it getting worse. As soon as my body realised I'd ovulated, wasn't pregnant and my levels of hCG went down it'll reverse itself and I'd cover.

Which meant that the biggest part of the week was me hanging out in bed, waiting for the daily calls about our embryos.

Of six retrieved, five were mature. Of the five that were mature, four fertilised. 

They cleaved into four cells. And then eight cells. One went off early and became ten cells. We got daily calls, we got pictures. There was that feeling of relief and then I'd get all worked up thinking about the next call. There is just so much hope - so very much hope. 

On Day 5, when we were hoping for 4 beautiful blastocysts - we had 4 compacted morulas. 

Oh. We know that embryos that don't grow to plan aren't always viable, but to have none of embryos make it to blastocyst level is terrifying. The embryologists are as keen as we are for them to grow and gave us another day.

We had one blastocyst (one beautiful, hatching, blastocyst). They said they'd give the other three another day - just in case. Sadly none of them survived.

It's pretty heartbreaking to go through the IVF process. All the drugs, stims, retrieval and OHSS and then spend the week watching all your hard work drop off one little miracle at a time. 

I feel guilty. Like I could have done more. I could have taken the weeks pre-IVF off. I could have stuck to the diet, rather than relaxing it. I could have been more diligent with the morning supplements, and excercised and avoided BPA laden bottled water. Watching my little embyos stop evolving, I feel guilty. 

Because it's my fault - all development at this point is powered by mitochondria found in the egg - the egg quality is all on me. So when they stop developing... that's on me. 

One blastocyst. Oh. I know we only need one, but heartbroken doesn't even cover it. Diminished ovarian reserve - it's horrid. I'm still hopeful, though. That this little guy will be chromosonally normal and it'll all work out. I'm so, so hopeful.

Egg Collection

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October 2015.

It's easier this time - I know everyone, I know how it goes and whats expected of me. This familiarity makes it easier to ask questions and I was surprised to find out how much power I had.

I was terrified that I'd ovulated my eggs away before we could retrieve them. Everyone told me they were still there but I wanted to see for myself. So, with some bargaining I was allowed to stay awake for the first part of the procedure, while they cleaned me up and scanned everything. Sure enough, my follicles were still there. I relaxed, and they sedated me.

There's a new anaesthetist who let me ask questions, and surprisingly, responded with such reassurance and compassion. Unlike previous rounds, I was allowed to move the central line from my hand into my inner elbow (which is why I'm so grateful for the new anaesthetist). I hate having it in my hand, it almost always hurts and swells up and is horrid. I have nice veins on my inner elbow, and as long as they strap my arm down there's no fuss. 

I also managed to negotiate a different form of pain relief - one through my veins rather than up my behind. I'm not sure this was a great idea, actually. The collection went fine, and I rushed through the checklist (Eat something, drink something and pee) that they do before you're allowed to leave. I always prefer to recover at home, so I downed loads of water and forced my body through it so we could go.

Not so clever once we were home. I crashed out in bed almost immediately and was in a lot more pain than the previous rounds. I felt like I couldn't use my abdominal muscles at all. This got even worse when I stood up to go to the bathroom - I made it across the hall, but blacked out while in the bathroom. I now have massive lumps on my head and my shoulder where I hit the tub. I don't know how long I was out for, but when I came around I was super hot, dizzy and nauseous. I made it back to bed but oh, I felt horrid.

There's a six on my hand, from where Zee wrote the number of eggs collected so I could see it when I woke. Six. It's not the twelve from last round, or the three from the first. Six is okay. I am disappointed, though. I feel like if I'd done more - stuck to the diet and been a bit more strict with my lifestyle choices we could have got more. We'll see. They say at least four are mature, so that's helpful for setting expectations. 

We'll see. I'm hopeful all four come through fertilisation and grow into healthy blastocysts. Fingers crossed! 

Counting Down - Four days to go!

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October 2015.

We're on the tail end of this round and everything is getting really hard. I'm super tired (though I've been reassured this is a good thing). The shots are becoming a massive hurdle now - my belly is so sore and tender that it's uncomfortable (more than usual!) to do them. It's often three or four a night and I have to psych myself up and push through - definitely not like at the beginning of the round where you just get on with it. 

I worry that I've overdone myself and planned too many things (we're going away for a 6oth, and I'm doing a favour for my hairdresser), but feel obliged to push through. Zee says I'm handling this round better than the last two - I'm less hormonal, I think? I'm not sure. I'm definitely sleeping more, anyway.

My biggest fear going into egg collection is that I've ovulated all my eggs away. We've been a bit fast and loose this round, and I know, I know we had two cetrocide shotes on the last day but.... I still can't share the fear.

I hate this bit, where everything just gets so hard. Eye on the prize through - we're only a few more days out. We've set a date for egg collection. Only four days from now. Only four more days!

Kick Off - Costs of IVF

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October 2015.

The kick off for this round was tonight. It wasn't so bad, really. Zee and I are pro's at this now. Zee mixed everything up like it was no big deal and we did shots just like we've always done them.

The hard part this time was the cost.  The cost of this is heart breaking - we’re on our fourth round which just feels crazy. I hate worrying about money like this, but this is the first round where I haven’t been able to wave off the cost like it was no big deal. I’m feeling the pinch and I hate this. I’m weighing up the treatments that might give us a better chance (like IMSI with it’s improved fertilisation options) and the cost of it (an extra £1700 on top of already a £6600 price tag).

I just… feel like it’s unfair to have to choose between whats best and what we can afford. We had to borrow from family to cover this round. I won’t lie - my pride has taken a hit. I’m unbearably grateful that we have such generous people in our lives but as an independent asking for money because my body is broken is hard. I hate being in this position. I hate asking for hand outs, but I also feel like this is our only shot at a family.

I’m between a rock and a hard place. Infertility - it’s hard. So many tears.

I asked friends to pray for us today. If this is our last round (which is likely because we can't afford another round) then I feel like we should do all we can, really.

Oh infertility. You're the worst. 

CD2 - Bloods, chaos and practicing patience

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October 2015

Pre-round bloods today. The clinic was chaos. I hate going during my lunch break - everyone else is trying to squeeze whatever they need into that free hour too. 

The receptionist I liked is gone (she’s moved upstairs to behind the scenes) and the replacement is stressed and full of disdain, rather than smiles and gossipy stories. Most of my favourite nurses have left. The nurses that are there are stressed out with too many patients. There was too much going on and the waiting room was struggling with extended waiting times and oh. It was not a fun visit. 

I feel terrible about it now, but at the time I made a bit of a fuss because I ended up waiting over an hour for bloods. I’d forgotten that the only reason a clinic is backed up like this is because something has happened to another patient. A patient that could essentially be me - if anything ever happened I’d hope they’d look after me rather than shunting me out the door to deal with the long line of other patients. I’d like to be better at practicing patience.

My nurse was new, I liked her. She was lovely but very very new. I think it helped that I knew what bloods we were taking - LH, FSH, E2 + AMH, where to go and what coloured vials she needed. I even went as far as tourniquetting myself up and sterilising my inner elbow for her. I was glad that there was no drama, just bloods. She was pretty amazing, the best blood taker I’ve had! Didn’t even feel it.

Truth: I’m not sure that my FSH will be low enough to move forward. It’s been such a stressful month. We’ll see. I’ll find out tonight, anyway.

——

My FSH levels are low (hurrah!), but heartbreakingly my AMH has dropped 5 points since I got it done last December. My AMH is getting lower and lower and lower, and my odds with them. Oh. Sadness. The ups and downs of infertility, hey?

Round 4 - CD1

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Oh. It's always an odd moment, while you're sitting on the toilet having discovered that your cycle has come. That pause when you know that from here, time will shrink into moments. It will be counted out in days, slowing itself down to lots of waiting interspersed with scans, bloods and medication. That the next 15 days till egg collection (fingers crossed I get that far) will be quite emotional ones.

Oh hope. I feel like I'm hoping for a miracle, and I'm scared to hope.  I'm scared to hope that I'll respond well to the meds and will produce many mature eggs. That a large number of them will fertilise well and grow into chromosomal normal blastocysts that survive sampling and freeze well. That's the happy days plan. Fingers crossed. 

If this round goes well, it will be our last round of IVF. After a year of this I'm hopeful that we'll be done, that we can go back to living and happiness and life.  

So, CD1. I've emailed the clinic to organise bloods to make sure that my FSH isn't too high, and then we'll start. We'll see, the next few days will let us know if we're moving ahead, or not. 

Fingers Crossed.

Bonus Blastocyst

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August 2015.

We found out today that our embryologist wasn't willing to call it at 2 blastocysts, so he gave a slow one an extra to day to catch up and see if it would form into a blastocyst and IT DID! They sampled it, it responded beautifully (as in, it survived) and was frozen.

We have an extra blastocyst, which brings us up to five! Five little frozen embryos. Oh embryos! We've worked so hard for you and the odds are so phenomenally against us. I'm scared to hope, but can't do anything but. 

Two of Twelve... a sad 16%

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Three of our embryos made it to blastocyst stage, but one of the didn't survive the biopsy. I'm heartbroken... two embryos. I worry, because we're only half way through this marathon. From here our little embryos still have to survive thawing, a PGS chromosone screen and implantation. 

It's an uphill battle, and epic uphill battle. I'm so scared that we'll never make it to the end, that we'll never have a family. That I'll genuinely never be able to have children. I do a lot of day dreaming, about the kind of life we'll lead if we're childless. Lots of travel, side hustles, fancy things. I'm trying to bring myself to place where it isn't scary or sad.

We'll see. I'm trying both to be hopeful, and realistic. The cognitive dissonance is hard. Needless to say, with every blastocyst we get our chances go up by several magnitudes.

I'm trying to wrap my head around doing another round. For the dieting, and the supplements, and the crazy no BPA, no phathlates, no inorganic, no diary or carbs or sugar. None of that. It makes me tired and want to cry a little bit. 

In the mean time, I'm well off the diet. Mac and cheese. Wine. Chocolate. I think I need to just sit for a while before we launch into the next round.

Please survive, little embryos!

SaeComment

August 2015.

I definitely still feel like I’m recovering. My body doesn’t feel like my own, it’s bloated and cramping and quite horrid. I’m in a lot of pain, but all of that is secondary. I’m waiting for the daily call as to how our embryos are going. It’s a rollercoaster of emotion: the nervous anticipation, the worry. The tense two minutes on the phone as you try figure out exactly what it means, trying to squeeze as much information out of an embryologist as you can.

I feel bad for them, they have to make these calls everyday to people as tense as I am - trying to understand each every little nuance, because the stakes are high - this is our future we’re talking about. The chance to have a family. It’s tense. 

Our embryos are coming along, three are ahead (11 cells and 2x 10 cells) and two are bang on with eight cells. I worry. I worry I worry I worry. Having embryos develop quickly is not typically a sign of success. They’re over achievers that will burn themselves out before getting to blastocyst level. Please so down, little embryos. I want to you to survive.

It’s hard to hope. There’s nothing more I can do, I’ve done my bit. I’m trusting in a clinic and science and embryologists. I worry though - this is only their day job, but this is my life. 

I'm scared to hope

SaeComment

August 2015.

Well, fuck. Five of 12 eggs fertilised. Only five... I know they say it's all up to chance, but last time we had three of three fertalise. To only have five come through this initial gate is heartbreaking. 

I'm so down, and I know Zee is too. I'm scared about how many will come through this next week. Of the five, they definitely won't all make it. This bit is the worst, watching and waiting for our little embryos, our little beacons of hope for a family to wink out and die. 

Having 12 eggs, to finally be considered a normal responder was amazing. I felt like we'd beaten all the odds, only to arrive here, the very next day, brought back to earth with a sudden and painful bump.

Oh five little embryos, please live. Please grow in to healthy little blastocysts. Please be chromosonally normal. Please survive! 

Egg Collection

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August 2015.

Egg collection. It all comes down to this moment - the quality is all on me, and at this point I feel like I've done the very best I can. It's been four months of ridiculous dieting and supplements, avoiding plastic and phathlates and BPA like it was a my job. I wouldn't eat or drink from plaster, I wouldn't touch paper receipts, I just... the crazy all comes down to this moment.

I'm grateful for the familiar faces. The embryologist behind the window, my RE and the nurse who always jokes with me in the waiting room. They did a lot to put me at ease. 

The anesthesiologist give me something to make sure I wasn't ill after (I never respond well to anaesthesia), and then the anaesthesia. It was white and milky. I felt it flow up my arm, there was a horrid taste in my mouth and I was blessedly out after that. 

When I came to, the first thing I did was look at my hand. I had the nurses write on my hand how many eggs we got, because I know last time I was nuisance and asked every few seconds. It was the first thing I looked for when I woke up, and I almost immediately burst into tears. 12! I'm so grateful, and relieved and amazed. I am feeling all the feels.

In this moment the diet and all the crazy and the extra meds were absolutely worth it ... I recovered faster from the anaesthetic, and was much more pulled together, and of course, many more eggs. Having my body in optimum condition had a massive difference! I'm blown away. You guys, I'm over the moon! 3 eggs last round, TWELVE this round!

Grateful to the powers that be don't even cover it. Blown away, 12!

Getting through the shots

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There comes a point when you need to remind yourself why you're doing it. Looking down at three syringes full of hormones, I empathetically did not want to inject them into my belly today. I feel wretched. Annoyed at Zee for not being able to work out the doses himself, despite us doing the stims every day for the last week. Annoyed at myself for being so wretched and grumpy, and even more at him for being gracious and kind to me.

Tonight was the first tears. I hate this bit. The emotional all over the place, in control of nothing feelings. My body, it doesn't feel like my own at this point. And I know, looking down a the syringes that these hormones are only going to make it worse. That it will hurt. That I will feel tender and sore and will cry, as I hold tightly on to Zee, willing it to be over.

It burns after. A tight, hot burn around the injection site. It'll burn a while, while I'm trying to sleep.

It's hard at this point to not feel resentful. Of people who can have children without IVF, and the £30k price tag. Of my body, for being so very broken. Of the entire world, because this is HARD and it HURTS. I'm trying to remember that my body is being injected full of hormones every night, and so perhaps I'm not on the most even of keels right now. 


This is hard. It hurts, and I'm super emotional. My chance at a family are worth this, I'm sure of it. I'm fuelled with hope, but I'm not very good at suffering graciously or in silence. Its hard, and it hurts.

FSH levels - 8.1!

SaeComment

July 2015.

I was nervous, so nervous. I didn't want a repeat of last month - but what if this was the end? What if my body was done, and that was my fertility season? That my reproductive system had closed up shop and nothing, not even invasive and expensive procedures with wildly ridiculous odds could help?

I got the call at work, and hid down a side corridor. The nurse had no idea I was even nervous, she made small talk and organised my next appointment, and delightfully mentioned my FSH levels were 8.1 as an aside. The second I was off the phone I cried. Great wracking sobs of relief. My body wasn't too old, I still might be able to have children. Oh God, thank you thank you thank you. 

I'm so relieved, like I have something concrete to hold on to. A few weeks of shots, I can do that. I just need to make it egg collection.

Oh life, I miss you, I feel like you're just around the corner. I can do this. Just a few weeks.

We’re not doing IVF this month. My FSH is too high.

PersonalSaeComment

June 2015.

I cried. I’m devastated - I was so ready to kick off another round. I felt silly being upset though but it meant that I pottered about the apartment and cried.  I was meant to do a girls brunch, but cancelled. The girls ended up coming over after and we cried some more.

I feel guilty. Like I haven’t followed the strictly diet enough, I dropped the ball on touching receipts and got all stressed out over work and now I can’t do IVF. I feel like I’m all over the place, it’s a bit of disaster.  If my FSH levels don’t come down next month, this could be it.  It could be over before it’s even started. That’s my fear.

The flip side is that I know I can do more. So - this next month I’ll be on the super strict diet. I won’t touch any receipts. I’ll take all the supplements, rather than just the little ones. 

Edit - I realised yesterday that all the pans I’ve been cooking with are covered in a non-stick, likely BPA coating. I’m freaking out - anything even remotely bad for me is being binned. To make up for it, I’ve bought super nice, really expensive stainless steel pans. 

Please go down FSH, you’re making me paranoid and crazy.

Back at the Clinic

PersonalSaeComment

June 2015

I’m back at the clinic again. It’s both familiar and reassuring. I’m glad it’s finally kicking off and grateful that I know what to expect. There are a few new nurses this time - a few familiar faces too. I think I shocked a few ladies waiting in reception when I had a rather gossipy, in depth conversation about the receptionists holiday. She’s always been nice to me and catching up after several months seemed like a polite thing to do. I was breaking the unspoken waiting in reception rules though - same as riding the tube: no eye contact, no talking. 

Still, I feel like an old hat at this. It’s reassuring to know what comes next, to know what to expect. I do feel a but prickly about it - IVF is hard and never fun. I’m hopeful though, hopeful for more eggs, and good quality. Possible future babies. I’m so hopeful.

We’re doing bloods, and then we’ll get started with the round!