The Post-Mortem

So it’s a while since I’ve updated this. Partly because there was nothing to say for a while but also because I was focusing on getting myself into a better place mentally, which I am now thank goodness.

The couple of weeks after the failed IVF were a blur of anger, upset and bitterness. I was a horror to be with and argued with my husband over NOTHING.. He would let me shout and then hug me until I had cried myself better.

As I mentioned previously, because we didn’t even get to the end of the cycle, it was possible we may have been able to apply for funding for another full round. We had a appointment to go over what happened with the consultant and discuss our next steps.

My husband and I actually had a blazing row on the way the the appointment so weren’t in the best frame of mind when we got there. The consultant called us in and before he’d even sat down said “well that was a disaster wasn’t it”. That compassionate little line right there pretty much sums up our experience with the fertility specialists.

He then went on to say things like “well it’s no good getting the eggs if they’re no good and yours obviously aren’t” and “maybe it’s time you considered donor eggs”.

He also dropped the bombshell that due to my AMH levels I wasn’t actually eligible for my first round. I had NOT ONCE been told that. So basically that was the end of the road with IVF using my own eggs and neither me nor my husband want to use donor eggs. We’d gone to that appointment looking for hope and had left feeling worse than before; I made the decision there and then that I did not want to go back to that place. I didn’t care what he said I WOULD have a child and I will find a way to do it.

For a while leading up to the IVF round I had been following a lady called Angela Heap on Instagram who specialises in fertilty nutrition. I saw something she posted about Wheatgrass being good for early stage foetal development and also, anecdotally, collecting more eggs at IVF. I therefore drank my swamp juice (wheatgrass) daily for the month leading up to my collection. Despite the fact that none of our embryos made it to blastocyst stage all the professionals commented that I got more eggs than they expected, which I fully believe was the wheatgrass.

Due to that little glimmer of hope we decided to get in touch with Angela about working with her going forward in trying to grow out family. I told her our story up to that point, she responded so quickly and was so kind. In fact I was in tears at how nice she was because she was the first person to be nice and show compassion throughout this whole process.

We have had a telephone consultation with her in which she said our situation had been handled so badly and that my body was basically being forced to do things it wasn’t ready to do. She also told us that the AMH test is basically a load of shit and that all it tells you is how well you respond to IVF drugs and not your ability to conceive naturally. AMH should be above 6, mine is 3.3, but Angela has had successful pregnancies with ladies who had an AMH of less than 1.

I expected to feel worse than I do about what happened to us earlier this year but to be honest it kind of feels like it never happened. I also feel a bit like my brain isn’t ready to let me think about it yet. I’ve just enjoyed a brilliant month (yes month) celebrating my 30th but can feel the sadness coming back now everything is going back to normal. I do feel positive, and pretty much all my bitterness has gone, but it’s hard to stay upbeat all the time when it still feels like there’s such a long journey ahead of us.

We have to save up for a little while now to pay to work with Angela so for now we’re just enjoying being a family of 2.

When nothing is certain anything is possible.

Heartbreak

Can something you never had break your heart? I think so.

The last six days have been the biggest emotional roller coaster of my life.. with no happy ending.

Six days ago was my egg collection (The details of which I have explained in a previous post)

Five days ago we found out four of the seven eggs collected were mature and all four fertilised. We then faced a two day wait to find out how many would progress to the stage suitable for transfer.

Three days ago we were told one of the embryos hadn’t changed, one only slightly and two more so but not enough. This news took the wind out of me; until this point I hadn’t even considered the version of this story where we didn’t get any embryos to transfer. The embryologist said this does happen and sometimes the embryos pull through. She couldn’t give us any odds and said it was just a waiting game to see what happened. Another horribly long two day wait stretched out in front of us. We were given a potential transfer slot for two days time and told they would ring us before 9.30 that morning if they needed to cancel the transfer. So basically if we received another phone call it would mark the end.

The thought of that phone call haunted both me and my husband for the next 48 hours. The night before the potential transfer neither of us really slept and at about 7.30am I couldn’t lie there anymore so decided on making coffee and doing some yoga to pass the time. Willing the clock to fast forward to 9.30.

At 8.15 my phone rang. It was over. One of the most heartbreaking images of this whole experience was when Matthew walked in the kitchen and saw that I was on the phone. A face I never want to see again.. An awful mixture of heartbreak, anguish and disappointment. Seeing the one person you love most in the world break in front of you is horrendous.. And there was nothing I could do.

After breaking the news, the embryologist explained that as we didn’t get through a full cycle we may be entitled to another egg collection on the NHS but as guidelines have recently changed we just have to wait and see on that one.

In the meantime we’re trying to be strong for each other and take it a day at a time until we know the next step.

This is not the end.

Even the darkest nights will end and the sun will shine.

Potions and Needles and Ops.. Oh my!

I haven’t updated for a while and that’s mostly cause there’s been a LOT going on but I’ve also been trying to focus on other things so that I don’t turn into some deranged woman who is only living for IVF. I’ve been trying to be the healthiest I can be in both body and mind which has involved yoga, working out, giving up booze, eating really well and practicing mindfulness.

The last two weeks have probably been two of the most intense of my life and its not over yet! I started injecting myself to stimulate my follicles 15 days ago and due to my low egg reserve I had to have a higher than usual dose which meant mixing my own potion every morning. After 5 days of that I then added another injection to the mix which kept the follicles growing but stopped me ovulating. They took quite a while to get to the right size and there were 12 in total.. 8 big and 4 smaller ones. All in all that was 23 injections. Then two days ago I did a trigger shot which prepares my body for the egg collection.

The egg collection was the part of the process I was most nervous about because 1.. It’s painful, 2.. It meant being put under, 3.. I was worried about how many eggs would be successfully collected and 4.. It’s painful (okay I know I mentioned that already but I’m having a needle jabbed through my vaginal wall and into my ovaries so it deserve two mentions)

Turns out, in true me style, it was a pretty dramatic/traumatic morning! We arrived at the centre and were shown up to our room. We were pretty early so I was sat sporting my fetching surgical gown for about an hour and a half.. The wait didn’t help my nerves and I had a couple of little cries.

Eventually we were shown into the pre theatre room and the anaesthetist attempted to insert the canula into my hand.. Which very painfully went wrong! He then tried again but by this time I was worked up, in pain and crying.. Again! I pretty much never cry.. My husband and I joke that I’m a stone so the magnitude of this whole situation was obviously getting to me.

Once successfully inserted, Matthew was shown out and I was pumped with whatever knocks you out and just remember waking up in my room. In a lot of pain but also gasping for a brew! I hadn’t had a drink for about 15 hours at this point.

The canula was still really painful so I asked the nurse if she could take it out.. She said only when I’d had a wee. Challenge accepted.

Despite not feeling 100%, when the nurse left, I swung my legs round and waited to feel a bit normal. A few minutes later a braced myself and made the few steps into the toilet in our room.. As soon as I sat down on the loo I knew I’d made a mistake. I slowly started feeling more and more sick and dizzy so a nurse and Matthew had to help me back to bed where I then proceeded to have a panic attack.

Then came to oxygen mask and IV of fluids (good job that bloody canula was still in!) to bring me round a bit. I told you.. Dramatic! 🙄 I was also given some codeine to help with the pain.

Somewhere during all this I was told they’d managed to collect 7 eggs which doesn’t sound loads but good for me and my low egg reserve! Matthew and I had a bet on about how many eggs we’d get which I won so he has to take me out now! Bonus!

So now.. We wait. We should get a call tomorrow morning letting us know how many have fertilised so we have EVERYTHING crossed!

To be continued..

An introduction to IVF.. 

So as promised I’ll summarise what happened in our first IVF appointment.

M and I were shown into a room, sat down and told that this was likely to take over an hour (blimey!) and she wasn’t wrong.

Before attending we each had to fill out what felt like a application to MI5 so she quickly checked those and then got to it.

We were shown a diagram of the female anatomy (vagina, cervix, womb, ovaries) which was used to draw lots and lots of thing on throughout the meeting.. Follicles and eggs mostly! Which is funny because apparantly I don’t have many of those left so she was probably a bit generous. 

She explained how the whole process worked and how many eggs they would expect the harvest from me. Doesn’t that sound awful.. Harvest eggs. From a human. And because I have a low egg reserve the number expected from me is fewer than it might be from someone with a “normal” reserve.

At some point during this explanation she dropped the small (not small at all really.. Pretty f*#&ING massive to be honest)  bombshell that we would only be entitled to one round and not the two we were expecting. This was just due to where we lived. Now that was obviously pretty gutting in itself but when she went on to explain more I realised how serious that was. And this really was where it got serious for me. I think I’d been in denial and totally not accepting of this situation but having her talk about it in such detail meant I couldn’t hide from it any longer.

Skipping past a lot of the detail we got to the embryo part. The embryo is what they “put back in you”. If I’m very lucky I’ll get 4 good fertilised embryos that can be used.. They’ll pop one in and freeze the others. Now this was the hard bit for me.. If we’re in the fortunate position that embryo number one works and we get a baby that’s their job done. We can’t then use the other embryos for a sibling unless we pay. We also have to pay to store the embryos. Maybe some people know that and I was just being a bit naive but I assumed you could use whatever they got. I mean.. They’ve done the hard bit; all they have to do is put it back in! And I know you’re probably thinking I’m getting ahead of myself wanting two before I’ve even got one but I’m just being honest about what was going through my head and when you’ve ALWAYS known you wanted a few children (That just having the one never even crossed your mind) it’s a shock. I think I was only really half present for the rest of the appointment and left in a bit of a daze. With an appointment to start the process in January.  
So that’s it. Our brief overview. And I still don’t know how I feel. I know IVF is amazing and for some women it’s their only hope but I know there’s eggs in there and I technically CAN conceive naturally. If time was on my side I would research some more holistic approaches and just.. Wait a bit. (Yes, I don’t ovulate which I know is kind of imperative to the whole conceiving thing but miracles happen and I still have hope) However, due to my low egg reserve I’m on a bit of a ticking time bomb. Like I need to at least give IVF a shot while I  I can so that they can get some eggs out while they’re still there.

So in short I don’t really have a choice. 

IVF. 

Let’s do this. 

Preparing for Christmas.. 

.. And the onslaught of questions. 

Seeing the people that I saw last year who asked why I hadn’t popped one out yet and will probably ask again. Maybe this year I won’t be quite as polite. 

I’m thinking of making myself a sign that says “Yes I can drink; no I’m not pregnant; please pass the wine” 

Then again I might just curl up in a ball and hide away for the holidays. 

A letter to Evelyn Rose.. 

On Saturday morning I returned from a work trip to the far east.. China and India to be specific. I was absolutely knackered, emotional and so happy to see Matthew. We had a lovely little day mainly consisting of trying to keep me awake until it was an acceptable time for me to go to sleep. Sunday morning my sister in law came round with my precious niece Evelyn Rose who I’d missed so, so much! We had a bit of a catch up and I changed a dirty nappy (standard). Hannah then handed me an envelope containing the card in the image and I was overwhelmed. This meant so much to me I think because of where we are on our journey and to feel that closeness with my niece is a somehow a comfort to me. Hannah has had some bumps on her own fertility journey and Evelyn is a rainbow baby herself.. 🌈 Evelyn Rose you’ll never know what a gift you are to us all and I can’t wait to watch you grow and guide you along the way. 

Love always, 

Fairy Godmother, Bex.