Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treat

On Friday I went for the scan that was supposed to simply check that everything was ticking along nicely, that my ovaries were responding, and enable me to add yet another drug to my cocktail (Cetrocide). Instead, they steadfastly refused to acknowledge the presence of any of the ovulation inducers and were grumpily unresponsive.

As a result I was bought in for an unscheduled scan on Sunday morning to see whether they were going to be any more co-operative.

Taking their direction from the time of year my ovary decided to play a few tricks. 

Try as she might the doctor couldn’t see my ovaries. She pushed, and prodded, and whirled the dildo-cam around inside me.

Eventually she gave up and decided to try another approach squirting the gel on my stomach and doing an ultra sound the 'normal' way. As she turned the monitor round so I could see, I couldn’t help but wish that one day I’d actually see a baby waving back at me.  Instead I saw this:


Or something that looked very like it (for the uninitiated this is pretty much what an ultrasound of an ovary looks like, the ovary is the white bit with the black holes being follicles).

My ovaries have started to produce eggs. They are pretty small still, but five on each side, so an OK number for this stage in the process. 

So I got my halloween treat, my next scan is Tuesday - hopefully they will have stopped hiding and continued to have grown by them. Then egg collection next weekend.



Saturday, 29 October 2011

Mesmerising

A friend of mine puts the success of her last IVF down, in no small part, to hypnotherapy, and with a beautiful baby girl born in August who am I to argue with her?

She sent me a CD which I diligently listened to before, and during, IVF number one and two. Obviously it didn’t work, but I wondered whether that was my fault. I don’t think I ever managed to listen to the whole CD without falling asleep – and whilst one could argue that my sub-conscious was still listening away and diligently making notes my dreams certainly didn’t reflect the visualisations of a welcoming womb that I was supposed to be imagining.

But I haven’t given up on it.

There is one major thing that is missing from this round of IVF:

Hope.

I just can’t picture it working, I am still doing all the normal IVF preparation but without the excitement of previous rounds. I feel like I have already decided this round won’t work, and regardless of whether you believe that will have any impact on the outcome it isn’t much fun to deal with.

So I decided some direct intervention was needed and I booked myself in for some hypnotherapy.

Even the cynical husband agreed it was a good thing for me to do. But I suspect he only wanted me to go because he relishes asking me about my mesmerist.

The mesmerist (bloody husband) hypnotherapist has clearly had a lot of experience with infertility. As she went through my history she didn’t have a problem with terms like blastocysts and endometrium and she asked the sort of questions that she should have asked. She was equally unperturbed by my tears, “Most people cry when they see me” she remarked cheerfully.

The hypnosis itself was totally non-invasive. No pocket watches were used and at no point did I feel out of control. This concerned me a bit, I wondered whether I was thinking too much – as she counted down from ten at the start to put me in a relaxed state she told me that with each number I would feel ten percent lighter and more relaxed. As it was, for the first few numbers I worried that I couldn’t determine whether I was 10% more relaxed or not, and began fretting that it wasn’t working.

When about halfway through I developed an itchy eye this was also a source of concern, surely I reasoned – whilst at the same time trying to picture myself on a beach – if I was truly ‘under’ my physical body would have no hold on me and I wouldn’t notice that I really, really wanted to rub my eye. (I did and afterwards she said that was the right thing to do, as it was distracting me from the visualisation.)

But something clearly worked. I felt wonderfully chilled out when I left and last night I practiced the visualisations again and had a great night sleep.

Am I now convinced that the next round is going to be the one? No, not yet. But I think it could be.

Besides if I was convinced now there’d be no reason to go back next week, would there?



Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Posh Drugs

Rationally, I know it is probably because I am trying a different drug protocol for this IVF, but I can't help but suspect that it is because this time I have gone private.

Whatever the reason, my fertility drugs have just got way posher.

Today I had my first scan, to double check there were no cysts that might bring to a halt this round of IVF. There weren't.

I also had my one-to-one drugs tutorial.

I was quite blasé about this, I reckoned I could wield a syringe with an degree of expertise that would win a grudging respect from even the most hardened drug addict. But then I saw my new toy:








It is more like one of those multi-coloured biros I use to have as an 11 year old (when I'd painstakingly write every letter in a different colour - until I realised, even at that tender age, that life was too short). 


This pen delivers Gonal F, the dose is determined by twisting the top to the correct setting, then I plunge and click. But it isn't all high tech. I am also starting Menopur which is delivered by the old fashioned, self-mixed syringe to the stomach.  And I get to pop some pills - in this case Letrozole.

All this just to get me to ovulate on time and plentifully.

As a distraction, I'm very excited to announce that I have just started writing for iVillage.  My first article it is a bit of an exposition piece, so there isn't much new in there for regular readers, but I'd love it if you had a look, and maybe even left a comment - just to make the new girl look popular ...

To read click here.

Updated:  In response to Are You Kidding Me's comment. No, I'm not getting paid for this gig. I was so flattered to be asked that, even with no cash, I agreed. I know, I'm a push over.



Monday, 24 October 2011

It has started

"It" in this context being:

My six week sabbatical.

and

My period.

In theory my sabbatical started at 5:30pm on Friday night. In practice when I left work at cowboy time (ten to ten) on Friday night I still hadn't finished. At a similar time on Sunday night when I emailed my boss the report I'd spent the weekend writing I thought it had begun. In practice I think it was started when I pressed send of the email to my colleague at 4.22 this morning.  Don't worry, I hadn't been up all night but I awoke with a start and remembered one final thing I'd forgotten to arrange.

My period started, as predicted, on Saturday but after midday. So my official cycle day one was Sunday. Tomorrow morning (day three) I go for my scan and all being well start the injections.

One day in and everything seems to be going swimmingly, let's hope the same can be said for the husband's sperm. 



Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Timing Is Everything

I was going to say that the dates of my six week sabbatical couldn’t have worked out better if I’d planned it.

Then I remembered I had.

But I’d planned it fairly incompetently.

Firstly, I got the date of the last pill wrong by a week.

Secondly, I knew I was going to be on a new drugs protocol so I didn't really know how the new regime was likely to pan out.

So when I asked for, and was granted, six weeks unpaid leave starting on the 24th of October. I wasn’t entirely sure it would work.

On Friday, after my womb invasion, the nurse sat me down and went through the protocal.

I take my last pill tomorrow and go in for my first scan on the first day of my period (or, if I start on the weekend, on the Monday). Judging by every other time I’ve stopped the pill I should get my period on Saturday. So my schedule looks something like this (a more detailed breakdown here):

Week one:
Day one: Scan and start injections

End of week one & week two:
Regular scans and blood tests

End of week two:
Egg Collection

Week three:
Embryo Transfer

Week four:
Waiting

End of Week five:
Test

Week six:
A week to absorb the result - good or bad, probably go away somewhere. Before going back to work.

Obviously things can get screwed up at almost any stage but assuming it all goes well it is pretty damn perfect.

At what stage do you think things will go wrong?



Saturday, 15 October 2011

Womb Biopsy

I spoke to my Dad on the phone yesterday morning.

He knew I was going for an appointment but had lost track of what this one was for.

I explained it, as I have on here, as like sandpapering my womb to get the embryo to stick.

He chortled.  "Now I understand, when you put it in engineering terms." For that was his profession. But then he got a bit ahead of himself.  "I would have thought" he conjectured "that they would do it just before the put the embryo in." Clearly thinking approximately three weeks prior to the transfer was a bit premature.  At this point I had to remind him that a) it was an analogy and b) he wasn't actually a fertility doctor.

The womb scrape itself was painful, more painful than I remember.  I found myself wishing I'd bought a block of wood to bite down on. I contented myself instead by wrapping my hands in the modesty sheet and gripping it as the Doctor scraped around.

The pain is like intense period pain spasms, but when you are stirruped-up with a gentleman between your legs, making small talk, you can't double over in pain and call him a fucker.

Yesterday evening I'd confidently planned to go round to some friends for dinner, predicting that I'd feel no after-affects.  I was wrong, but forced myself out anyway.  What a glorious dinner guest I must have been grumbling in the corner about my womb spasming. The only time I managed to get animated all night was when I was trying to describe the pain, explaining to the men that they could never understand the pain a woman feels.  They tried to counter this with a discussion of the agony of being kicked in the bollocks.

Well, that may be true.  But I've never known a fertility Doctor to suggest a well-aimed gonad shot as a cure for male infertility. The worst the husband has had to suffer is an orgasm.



Thursday, 13 October 2011

If It Ain't One Orifice Its The Other

Today I went to hospital.

I prostrated myself before some medical practitioners and opened wide whilst a biopsy was performed. In doing so, hopefully, they have removed something that has been irksome for that last five years or so.

If you assume that this biopsy is the one from my uterus that I was promised 5-7 days before the end of the pill (I take my last one in six days), prior to IVF, well, you'd get 100 points for having such an excellent memory and minus 150 for being utterly wrong.

Instead I had a growth removed from my mouth. It has been there for years and is nothing other than a little flap of skin left over from a blocked saliva duct. I mentioned it to my dentist last time I went (I like to go to the dentist every six months - ensuring I never go more than half a year without telling someone I'm not pregnant) and just a few weeks later there I was bib-on, head back and just a little prick in my mouth.

For the anaesthetic.

Less than ten minutes later I was out, dribbling, and doing a pretty impressive impression of Lesley Ash/ Coutney Love/ A trout* (*encircle appropriate cultural reference as applicable). Whilst a little flap of my mouth skin wends its way to the lab for further scrutiny. (I'm sure it'll be fine, but these medical practitioners feel the need to check everything bit of flesh they cut off me just in case).

Tomorrow is biopsy number two, entrance on the downstairs level. The roughing up for my womb for better embryo stickage. Two biopsies in two days, don't be jealous - some of us are just born lucky.



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Work Life balance

I have never known work like it.

I am in work, at my desk at 7am, and don’t leave until 8 or 9pm

I know you’ve all worked longer hours. So have I, but not for so long. Weeks on end. I work weekends and when I am not working I am thinking about work.

Last night I awoke, with a start at about 3 in the morning. There was a bloke in bed next to me. I desperately tried to remember who he was. Then I recalled I was married, so it must be my husband. Right?

What was his name?

I ran through the names of the guys I worked with. None of them sounded quite right.

Eventually I had to wake my own husband and ask him his name. Genuinely.

When he told me such a wave of relief spread over me. Of course! That was right, got it. Phew.

Bear in mind I got together with him when I was 18, I turn 36 next year. I’ve been with him almost half my life.

That I literally, for a moment, in a sleep fuzz, couldn’t remember his name is indicative of how out of balance that work / life thing is at the moment.

Still the worst should be over come Saturday ...