Saturday, 31 December 2011

Bang Goes That Attempt

You may remember that after my ovulation and unauthorised DIY attempt at pregnancy I decided one of three different scenarios would play out.

All of these revolved around New Year's day when I would, or wouldn't be pregnant. Naturally I forgot to take into account my body's unorthodox approach to ovulation and periods.  It should have come as no surprise that, rather than wait the conventional 14 days after ovulation to start my period it would slip in early with a Boxing day treat.

At least it meant I haven't spent the whole Christmas season wondering if my expanding belly is a result of over indulgence or incubation.

I alerted my clinic to my lack of pregnancy yesterday and was told that I could start the pre-IVF Primolut right then.  The slight problem being that I was, at that point, hurtling across Scotland several hundred miles from my clinic and the drugs I needed. I also managed to treat my traveling companions to slightly too much information about my periods.
(Although at one point I had to stop one of the guys in the car from whistling whilst I was on my mobile, I think he was trying the nonchalent "I'm not listening" whistle but it really wasn't helping my understanding of scan timings).

The revised plan is to go to my clinic on Tuesday when I'm back in London  for a quick scan to check the fluid in my womb, which they saw last time, has disappeared and then pick up the Primolut to start on day fourteen of this cycle, ready to start IVF at the end of January.

Naturally I've learned my lesson and we shall not be trying the home-made attempts this month as it would incur another delay. However, because we hadn't counted on my period starting so early it meant we have come away without the appropriate protection.

So I guess this year won't start with a bang.

Happy New Year everyone.






Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Quizmas Everybody!

Now in its fourth year Womb For Improvement Incorporated is delighted to bring you the ultimate Christmas gaming solution.

Does conversation flag around your Christmas dinner table? Seen Home Alone and Bad Santa once too often? Already memorized all of Trivial Pursuit? Want to humiliate your know-it all uncle?

Building on the success of Conceive or Concede, Conception Deception, and Barren Bingo this year’s must have game for infertiles everywhere is the perfect Quizmas Present.


An Infertile's Quizmas

Test your knowledge of infertility with this unbeatable present.

Try the Trainee Embryologist Round:

What is a Morula?
a) A South American carnivorus rodent
b) An early-stage embryo just prior to blastocyst
c) A tooth located in the back quadrant of the mouth
d) An Australian cocktail containing equal parts beer, gin and kangaroo milk

Includes ‘Grade that embryo’ picture questions.

Get all in a muddle with the acronym test:
What does HEFA stand for?
a) Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
B) Heart of England Ferret Association
c) Human Factors Engineering Analysis
d) Not fair! This is a trick question for dyslexics.

Have fun with statistics and counting with the Maths questions:

If Lizzie has three IVFs and 56 eggs retrieved in 2011 but does not get pregnant, what can we determine will be the outcome of the next round?
a) Insanity
b) It is impossible to say
c) More eggs down the drain
d) Probably seven or eight babies

If Mary wants a baby born on the 12th day of the 12th month in 2012, when should she have sex?
a) 21 March 2012
b) 11/11/2011
c) Couldn't give a fuck we’re well beyond planning birth dates, conceiving any time will do nicely thank you
d) Sex? Who the hell gets pregnant through sex anyway?

This fun interactive, meducational quiz is the perfect ice-breaker for those wishing share their fertility journey with the rest of their family. And a chance for you to put all your knowledge gleaned whilst frantically googling into practice.

Buy the complete quiz for a special introductory offer of just £6,550 plus VAT*


* Well, a girl has to fund her fourth IVF somehow ... (otherwise there'll be more sponsored posts)



Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The best laid plans ... are generally screwed up by, well, screwing

The plan was simple.  I had a scan last week, there was no follicular activity so today another quick scan just to get an idea of how my womb lining develops during a non-medicated cycle then I start the primolut, get a period start IVF number four in the New Year.

No bother.

Except.

"Ummmmm" I said, looking at my feet rather than the Doctor, "I continued testing ovulation last week. And I, er ... sort of, got a positive ovulation test on Sunday, and we kind of had unprotected sex."

(Did you like the inclusion of the words 'kind of' implying that it was just something that happened organically rather than me standing over the husband, rousing the troops, as it were).

The Doctor's look transported me right back to childhood, it said 'she wasn't so much angry as disappointed'.

I've fucked up the plan.

Tsk.

One of three things could now happen:

1. I get pregnant, save myself a fortune on IVF and live out my life as "that woman" the one who got pregnant whilst waiting for IVF.

2. I don't get pregnant, I get my period on New Year's day. We start the primolut two weeks later, with no cheeky ovulation test / sex to scupper our plans this time round.  At worst we've lost a month.

3. I don't get pregnant, I don't start my period. This has happened before when I've had a positive ovulation test, and frankly considering the doctor saw no sign of imminent ovulation on my ovaries last week I am pretty sceptical about the accuracy of the test, although a back up measure the ... ahem ... secretions of an egg-whitey nature did also point to ovulation. If I don't start my period I'll go back for a scan early in the New Year and start Primolut straight away to start a period - so it is just a two week delay.

I felt the need to explain and apologise to my Doctor for acting on the the ovulation test, but ladies, Sunday was the first time since August 2008 that I have had a positive ovulation test outside of IVF or IUI. And last week at my scan the doctor said my womb lining looked 'perfect'. How could I resist the chance to save myself almost seven grand in medical bills? Would any of you have done anything different?

So I guess I'm on my two week wait over Christmas and New Year.

The other problem is now I'm pretty sure that means we've used up our Christmas shag.

Elsewhere on the internet, on iVillage, I've shared infallible my tips for surviving Christmas as an infertile.

***
Update: Anonymous asked "Ok, please someone explain to me why having sex in between cycles would mess up the doctor's plans for the next IVF or lining testing. Thanks."

It doesn't always matter but because of my specific issue with tardy periods and thickened womb lining I need two weeks of progesterone to bring a period on, and I need that period before I start IVF. To take two weeks of the pill from mid-cycle to 'official period start date' I have to absolutely make sure I'm not pregnant, hence they have to now wait two weeks to ensure I am not pregnant before starting the progesterone.  

Hope that helps. If not you're as confused as I am!



Saturday, 17 December 2011

Wine Me!

I get asked to do sponsored posts a lot and rarely agree because the product is of no interest to me, or relevance to you.

I’ve even been asked to review baby products.

*tumbleweed*

But this one piqued my interest. So please note the following disclaimer and we’ll get on with it.

This is a sponsored post for Stowell’s.

- - -

I give up alcohol on a regular basis. The AA’s 12 step programme has nothing on me, mine is a two step initiative -
1) Gear up for fertility treatment
2) Stop boozing

But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. I may have lost the desire to get plastered and vomity of a Friday night but I miss the ritual of coming in from work and just having a glass of wine whilst I wind down, or sipping a glass, Floyd-style, whilst cooking. And fine dining just doesn’t feel quite right whilst virtuously sipping water.

So I was quite excited to hear Stowell’s had bought out a low alcohol wine - 5.5% alcohol as opposed to normal levels of 12-14ish percent. This could well be the drink I am looking for – at that level I think the odd glass during the IVF process, let alone in between treatments, is eminently allowable.

What is more it is low calorie - at 60 calories a glass it contains about 30% fewer calories than a typical glass. So even for those of us struggling with fertility treatment weight gain (and not the good kind that is concentrated mainly in the uterus) it is an allowable treat.

They do a white and a rosé. I got to try some so went for the rosé. It was very fruity, I sort of expected the flavours to be diminished (basically I expected it to taste like watered down wine) but not at all. I think it’d work really well super-chilled as a summer aperitif.

It certainly beats my ginless tonic (ingredients: tonic water, ice, lime, imagination).

For more info visit www.stowellslight.com



Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Information Overload

The appointment today was a bit of a surprise.

I anticipated the normal routine: when I go in the doctor says "Ah hello... um" glance at the notes "er ... Elizabeth.  Now you last IVF was" another glance at the notes "unsuccessful.  You had two embryos transfered on day three"

At which point I intervene explain that no it was a five-day transfer, and then launch into my history because they clearly don't know me from Eve.

(Even the worst doctors can tell me from Adam.)

(I hope.)

But today's doctor, who I'd met before IVF number three, was properly on the ball.

She'd discussed 'my case' (I am a 'case' now) with another doctor and had Ideas, Plans and Suggestions. I took copious notes but I'm not sure I got everything but here goes:

So what are her suggestions? (That was rhetorical, I'm going to tell you).

Don't hang around, my womb lining needs to be controlled so they don't want to leave it to its own devices for too long. They want to treat it with progesterone for 14 days out of every 28 starting next week (more on that later).

Then much the same as before, grow me some eggs and harvest them for fertilisation.

The difference is what comes next. Regardless of how the womb lining looks they aren't going to put anything back in, they want to freeze what they get for a later date.

The following month will be womb-lining month. Start with another full-on scrape, check the results for any nasties. Then oestrogen pills and sniffers to get me to regrow an optimal womb lining.

Also, this time I'd get intralipids. Do you remember this was offered to me before? It never happened because when it was supposed to start they had decided my womb lining was too thin to proceed - that they changed their minds later was irrelevant, by then it was too late to start.

If all goes well, they defrost the embryos and put everything back in.

My worry is that there is a lot to go wrong. I'm particularly concerned about the idea of freezing my embryos - nothing I've produced so far has made it to frozen (admittedly I have always had two to put back in the womb so theoretically they could have been frozen). But I do worry about losing anything I have produced along the way.

The Doctor reassured me that they lose less than 10% of embryos when defrosting.  She also recommended the husband and I both get karyotyping tests. This should pick up any abnormalities lurking in my eggs or the husband's junk. It could also explain why when I get 21 to 18 eggs each time  I have egg collection, I have only ever ended up with two embryos.

In addition she suggests a cheeky thyroid test, more to rule it out as an issue than because she is concerned about it (I've passed this before).

The next thing to decide was when to start. The womb lining regrowth is a major concern. I am on day 19 of my cycle today so the doctor decided to scan me right then. Which is great, because I don't feel like I've had a proper appointment until I've been impaled.

The scan confirmed what my daily ovulation tests have been belligerently trying to tell me for the past two weeks. Ovulation just isn't happening, and if it hasn't happened now who knows when, or if, it will happen. This natural cycle isn't going to work so if I am going to start the progesterone there is no time like the present.

Except there is.

If I start now, I'll be ready to begin IVF straight after Christmas. At which point the clinic is closed for their annual deep clean.

Hence the plan to start the progesterone NEXT week, to start IVF mid-January.

As soon as I start the progesterone then I need to go back on contraception. But that is fine, prior to Paris the husband and I had been using the barrier method anyway. The barriers mainly being our moods and thermal, unsexy, pyjamas.

If any of you have kept up with that then give yourself a star and buy yourself a Doctorate from the internet.

So lots of plans and ideas.

The only question that remains is are we going to go with them or will we, as I was so sure we would yesterday, look elsewhere.

I've got until next week to decide.



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

IVF debrief

Tomorrow I am finally going in for my IVF debrief at my clinic.

The one where I see the doctor and say:

"?!"

And the doctor replies:

"?" accompanied by a Gallic shrug.

I like to be prepared with my one page summary sheet detailing my conception woes. I usually compile a list of questions. I dredge the internet for the latest miracle cure and wonder, out-loud to the Doctor, why we can't try that.

After IVF number two I went through both of my IVFs comparing and contrasting (the joys of having a blog noting down everything). I offered my own interpretation as to why it didn't work.

But this time it just doesn't seem worth it.  I am out of ideas.

Last time they agreed to let me try intralipids.  It didn't happen because of all the kerfuffle over my too thin womb lining, and by the time they decided to go ahead with the transfer I'd missed my intralipid window.

I half think I should be pissed off about this.  But honestly, I doubt intralipids would have helped. It was a long shot anyway. So if the Doctor cites this as the miracle cure I'll be deeply skeptical.

In fact I really don't think there is much they can say that will keep my custom. I am a postage stamp away from sending my application (with fifty quid registration fee) to another clinic that comes highly recommended.

But I still want to go to this appointment, I believe it is known as "getting closure". Talking of overused expressions, over on iVillage I slip into hackneyed clichés as I try to process the result and the way forward.




Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Rebel With A Cause

As a rule I do what I am told.

Despite knowing that the last IVF hadn't worked on the Friday I continued the arse-numbing* injections until the official test day on Monday. Even when I started my period on the Saturday I subjected myself to  the injections from hell.

Because that is what I do. I follow medical advice.

Which is why this departure is so dramatic. I am not taking the Pill.

Long time readers will know that one possible cause of my inability to conceive is due to my womb lining growing in an erratic diseased manner.  In betwixt IVFs I have been contraceptioned up to my eye-balls in order to stop any of the nasties growing back, it also has the unfortunate side effect of preventing any possible pregnancies.

As soon as I finished IVF numbers one and two I was back on the pill faster than a flower girl at Woodstock.

I haven't had my follow up appointment after this IVF yet, I was pretty lax about booking it because really who wants to sit in a room with a Doctor to be told that "you responded very well and it just seems to be bad luck that it didn't work this time, but hand over another seven grand and we'll try it again."

As a result no one has actually told me to restart the pill.  But I know they would, I just haven't asked.

Which means for the first time in about two years I have the opportunity to ovulate by myself and, however slim the chance might be of actually conceiving this month it is still an hell of a lot higher than a month when I am on the pill.

So what have I done?  Whipped out the ovulation tests, become an avid tester and, as I approach what should be the middle of my cycle, started casting amorous glances at the husband.

I think we all know it isn't going to work, but it is nice to have a hobby.


*The weren't really arse-numbing, quite the opposite. Arse-hurting would be more appropriate.



Sunday, 4 December 2011

We'll Always Have Paris

Can you guess where we went away to?


I'll rephrase that. If you hadn't read the title, d'ya think you would have guessed?

As a mini-break it was near perfect. Our hotel defined shabby Parisien chic.

The lift was chinzed to the max. I loved it.


In three days I think we packed in about 6 weeks worth of eating.  Concentrating on the banned food:

Shellfish

Soufflés

Runny cheeses


And booze, booze, booze.


We did galleries, so much walking that the husband complained he hadn't realised he'd signed up for a trekking holiday, le shopping (mainly window shopping, or licking, lèche-vitrine), afternoon naps and ... ahem ... some totally spurious, and as we all know ineffective, bit of the other.

We even managed the obligatory trip to the Parisian flea market buying something that manages to be awesome, macabre, and a miracle we got through customs.


Now we're back to reality.

I start work again tomorrow after six weeks off, and I am shitting it!