Friday, 30 March 2012

Womb Update

The dramatic leap from 1mm to 7mm in three days that my womb lining showed last round of IVF was Not A Good Thing. Yes having a thicker womb lining great for the embryo to bed down in but growing that fast isn’t healthy.

Which is what I have been telling myself repeatedly all morning, and why I am quite content that my womb lining has grown a respectable 1mm in the last 3 days. At 8mm it has now reached a nice thickness for embryo transfer – the ideal (so my internet trawl tells me) is 8 to 16mm. The doctors also like to see a triple stripe (I’m thinking Aquafresh here) and what do I have? A lovely tri-striped uterus.

So it is all looking very encouraging and the frozen embryo the transfer is going ahead next Wednesday.

In the meantime I start the bum injections again today, and swap my nasal spray for a more intimate squirt. Nice to mix it up again.

I’m really pleased with the timing as this way I’ll take Wednesday and Thursday off work and still have another four days to chill out before going back to the office thanks to some chocolate eating festival that is happening next weekend.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Where Are We At Then?

 I felt a bit of a tit yesterday. By which I mean ‘I felt like an idiot’ rather than ‘I squeezed my own boob absentmindedly’.

After finding out on Tuesday that my womb lining was not growing I became convinced that the wand-waving clinician who merrily prescribed me oestrogen patches hadn’t paid any attention to my hysterolgy (that word will be in every blog post from now on) and was giving me a standard prescription.

Me? Standard? Don’t they know who I am?

Clearly not.

So I...

*oh this is embarrassing*

... I wrote a letter to my booblicious Doctor – the one woman in this whole process who actually seemed to have read my notes before our appointment. I asked her to check out what I’d been prescribed and give me her take on whether this cycle was worth pursuing or a lost cause.

I dropped the letter off on Wednesday morning and on Wednesday afternoon she rang me.

Why so embarrassing I hear you cry? Your letter did the trick.

You’d think, wouldn’t you?

Only she hadn’t seen my letter and was following everything behind the scenes anyway. Turns out I didn’t give my clinic much in the way of credit. Credit cards, yes, but not credit where it is due.

She thinks this round of IVF is still worth pursuing, taking into account what tomorrows scan shows, but certainly hasn’t given up hope. The other reason she rang was she had the result of the biopsy I’d had a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t really worried about this, at the time the Doctor said everything looked nice and normal and sending the bloody scrapings off to be analysed seemed to be a formality rather than anything else.

See, what I did there? I let my guard down.

The results aren’t anywhere as catastrophic as previously. I don’t have the complex precancerous cells they first discovered. But it isn’t completely normal either. I still have a bit of endometrial hyperplasia kicking around. She doesn’t think it is prohibitive to implantation, and actually a pregnancy is the best possible cure as it blasts the lining with hormones for nine months and then sheds everything in a nice big placentery bucket of gunk.

But it also means if this round doesn’t work then yet more attention is going to have to be paid to my womb.

Gosh finding out whether I am even going to get to have this frozen embryo transfer is almost as exciting as watching paint dry, innit?



Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Arrested Development

I had my first intralipid treatment today, but I will tell you about that at another time because at the moment I am too preoccupied with my nemesis.

My sodding womb-lining.

I didn't know I had womb issues when I started, and named, this blog.  It was just a bit of a pun. Talk about nominative determinism.

New comers, don’t think you can get away with not knowing what I am talking about, here follows my potted history or hysterology, if you will.

Back in September 2008, after almost two years of infertility, I was diagnosed as having endometrial hyperplasia. This is when the womb lining grows irregularly, the cells are unhealthy, and my womb lining doesn't shed properly when I have periods and prevents implantation of any embryos.

Since then I have been on and off treatment. A mirena coil for six months here, three months worth of provera there. I've had regular womb scrape with the lining analysed to check that the cells are looking normal, sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't.

All of last year all the tests came back fine, and with no dodgy cells I managed to squeeze in three rounds of IVF back to back. But despite the womb lining looking alright at cellular level there is clearly still a problem - not least because nothing has ever implanted.

Last IVF things were a bit touch and go when on cycle day 10 my womb lining was a mere 1mm thick. However out of nowhere three days later it was 7mm thick. From having been told the IVF would have to be cancelled suddenly it was all go.

It didn't work.

The Doctor I saw afterwards decided that this round we would go straight for frozen embryo transfer.  The plan was to whisk the eggs out of me (not literally whisk, that wouldn't help with fertilisation at all) then the next cycle concentrate on making sure my womb lining was as healthy and happy as possible.

Last Friday at 7mm my womb lining seemed to be heading in the right direction.  Today, after the intralipids, I had a quick scan.  It was supposed to be a simple courtesy round just to double check that everything was developing normally.

Did that last sentence fill you with dread?

It should have.

It has given up, it hasn't grown at all in the last four days.

I'm inclined to cut my losses.  I still have five blastocysts on ice why waste one or two on a uncooperative womb?  I reckon stop now, try again next month.

The Doctor wants me to start oestrogen patches tomorrow.

I'll get another scan on Friday and see whether this round is worth continuing with or whether I can give up on any hope of a 2012 baby.



Saturday, 24 March 2012

The ups and downs of Progynova

I've often worried, when in the midst of a drug orgy that is IVF, that I'll take the right drug in the wrong way.

What if I inject my intra-muscular injection into my stomach (absolutely no chance of hitting a muscle there)? Or the rectal suppository takes a front bottom journey? Or, worse, I swallow it in fit of absentmindedness.

To the best of my knowledge, so far, I've negotiated the various drugs successfully.

Yesterday, at my 8 day scan to check how my troublesome womb lining is developing, the doctor decided to increase my intake of oestrogen. At the moment I'm topping up any natural oestrogen with three little Progynova pills a day - taken orally.

The Doctor told me to also take Progynova vaginally twice a day. Which was fine, I'll shove anything up there nowadays, and I asked for the prescription. She said I didn't need one as I was already taking it, "But orally" I exclaimed. It got to the point where I reached into the bag and showed her the pills I was swallowing before I twigged that she meant for me to take the same pill two ways.

At least it means I don't have to worry about taking the right pill, I just have to make sure it goes either up or down depending on the time of day.

I had heard of Viagra being prescribed in exactly the same way for womb lining growth, and I will confess I am a little disappointed that I wasn't given a bunch of that, just for the comedic (and black market) value.

We are still on for Intralipids on Tuesday which in most exciting - two and a half hours of a mayonnaise  drip.

I can hardly wait. 



Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Are We Nearly Done?

After the thrills of last week this week seems rather tame. The most exciting development has been to download a medication tracker app to remind me to take my Buserelin four times a day, Prontogest thrice daily and once a day alert me to take folic acid and aspirin.

I don’t get a scan until Friday so in the meantime I just hope that my womb lining is growing in a neat triple layer all fecund and welcoming for a couple of soon-to-be-defrosted embryos.

Without the injections or heavy ovaries it is hard to remember that a transfer is going to happen. I am certainly much more forgetful about medication than I have ever been before (hence the app).

I have yet to calculate the due date of any baby conceived.

Well, I say that, I’m blatantly lying - it’d be on or around the 20 December. Busted. However, I haven’t obsessed about the date or even fretted about it being too close to Christmas – Wenceslas/ Holly/ Ivy are perfectly good names.

I’ve not acupunctured, hypnotherapised myself or even waxed.

I haven’t changed my diet or replaced my caffeine-free tea bags. I’m back on the hard stuff.

On the one hand you could interpret this laid back approach as something pretty admirable, a low stress approach to IVF. More realistically I worry it is symptomatic of a complete lack of belief that anything I can do will affect the outcome, I am almost resigned to failure. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have already handed over many thousands of pounds for egg growth, collection, storage, womb scrape and other incidentals I’d be inclined to forget the whole thing.

I have often wondered when enough is enough. A few years ago I thought five years would do the trick, that it would be the trigger to give up on my baby hopes. A few months ago I thought “just one more time”. Now, with five embryos on ice I definitely won’t stop until every single one has been defrosted and replaced in my womb. But once these ones have gone will I start again and try to grow some more in the hope that another 20 eggs will give me something tangible than an ever increasing overdraft and massive sense of injustice?

I am beginning to think that maybe I won’t.

But who knows, if there is one thing I really should have learnt by now if these hormones have a tendency to make my mood somewhat changeable (at this juncture spare a thought for the husband who took the brunt of a hormonal wife with added Mother’s Day on Sunday). Maybe tomorrow I’ll bound out of bed and declare that I will keep going until every last egg has been squeezed out of me.



Friday, 16 March 2012

Womb Scrape - Done

It has been a big week this week. A job interview on Tuesday and today my insides were prepped for the frozen embryo transfer.

I love the inane chit-chat of the anaesthetist as they try to put you at ease before sending you under. Today's topic was that hairdresser classic "Have you been anywhere nice on holiday?" Of course I talked about Scotland and she came back with ... (Edinburgh-based blogger Making Babies on the NHS you're going to love this) ... "Edinburgh had a lot more culture than I thought it would have."  I think she was maybe imagining a little more Braveheart and a little less Athens of the North.  But she redeemed herself by saying that she preferred Edinburgh to Glasgow. 

On waking up from and anaesthetic I was determined not to make any mistakes in my text message to the husband. Remember the first time I wrote:

"Itn out . Take you time coming over. Pleads cam you gring salt & vigniger mscoyos & leamomade."

Instead of:

"I'm out. Take your time coming over. Please can you bring Salt & Vinegar McCoys and lemonade?"

This time I really concentrated, I proof read it and everything. It wasn't so bad. I got:

"I'm out should by discarded in hour. x"

Obviously I meant "be discharged" and predictive text had its own interpretation, but a distinct improvement, and way more accurate than most of my drunk texting.

Apparently my womb lining was looking very healthy.  I'll get the biopsy results next week but it is unlikely that any of the endometrial atypia has grown back. So now more drugs, a scan in a week, intralipids in a week and a half and the transfer ... um ... well, sometime after that it all depends on how my womb lining grows.

I'm feeling pretty good now, in fact I might even take the dog out for a little stroll.  Just to get a bit of fresh air. I won't go far, maybe to the top of the road, you know, to where that new cupcake shop has opened.

What?! I was nil by mouth this morning, a girl needs to keep her energy up.



Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Snort

I am pretty sure my colleagues are starting to think I am some kind of coke fiend.

A couple of times a day I disappear into the disabled toilet for about thirty seconds. When I come out I am sniffing and wiping my nose.

The only thing that might alert them to the fact that my little jaunts aren't gak related is I wait until my phone alarm starts blaring before nipping to the littlest room, and very few addicts (in my limited knowledge) need to be reminded to ingest their substance of choice.

Also I don't emerge from the toilet and immediately start telling anyone who will listen all about me (I have a blog for that).

I am sniffing Buserelin four times a day (at home in the morning and evening and at midday and 4pm at work). It isn’t an unpleasant procedure, neither is it anything to look forward to – I am almost completely ambivalent towards it – which considering how much I disliked injecting buserelin I’d say that was a win.

What would you assume if someone you worked with was exhibiting similar behaviour?



Sunday, 11 March 2012

Should We Annul Our Marriage?

For those of you the other side of the Atlantic you might not be aware of the row about Marriage that is currently filling the gaps in the papers between debate about the future of the National Health Service and speculation about whether Princess Kate is pregnant.

At the moment gay couples can have a Civil Partnership in the UK. It gives partners similar rights to married male/female couples in terms of next of kinship, and a break on inheritance taxes. But it isn't allowed to be called "marriage" and can't take place in a church.

A commitment from our government to change its title from Civil Partnership to Marriage has caused the Catholic Church to get up in arms. I say up in arms, actually a couple of bishops have written a letter to be read out in church this morning (hey we are British, this is our equivalent of the Arab Spring).

The argument in the letter focusses on the purpose of marriage. You can see the full text here.

It says:

"Understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and for the creation and upbringing of children, marriage is an expression of our fundamental humanity. "

And:

"There are many reasons why people get married. For most couples, there is an instinctive understanding that the stability of a marriage provides the best context for the flourishing of their relationship and for bringing up their children. Society recognises marriage as an important institution for these same reasons: to enhance stability in society and to respect and support parents in the crucial task of having children and bringing them up as well as possible."

The zinger right at the end is:

"A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children."

I know a gay, civil-partnered, couple who have adopted two children. I am in a traditional marriage but we have not fulfilled the intended purpose of marriage, because we haven't procreated.

Surely by this logic the gay couple are fulfilling the churches purpose much more fully that the husband and I who have "just" made a commitment to each other.



Saturday, 3 March 2012

Highland Retreat

My sleeper train fantasy had been mainly fueled by heavy exposure to Agatha Christie. Unfortunately there were no brass fittings or oak paneling on the Calendonian London-to-Inverness Sleeper. On the plus side there were no murders (as far as I am aware).

The cabin was tiny.


So we repaired to the bar, where I got very overexcited (and I hope not too vocal) on seeing a proper train spotter clutching his well-thumbed volume of "Rail Times" like a bible. We decided that alcohol was the best insurance for a good nights sleep so applied ourselves rigorously to the task. It sort of worked, on the one hand the gentle rocking motion helped lull us to sleep, but on the other hand uncoupling the train at four in the morning where it diverted to different sides of Scotland prevented us sleeping right through.

Dawn, in the highlands, from a train, was well worth the slightly shabby nights sleep and was a good hangover cure.



We wanted remote and we got it.



We didn't do much for the two days we were there. A bit of walking and a touch of quiet contemplation in front of a log fire.



I didn't get to see a wild haggis, but I found the next best thing, a Pushmi-pullyu which I'd always thought were extinct.



After a couple of days in the Highlands we had twenty four hours in Edinburgh. We managed to cram in a pub crawl of our old haunts, as well as treating ourselves to a posh dinner at a place we could never afford as students.

Now, with the holiday over it is time to gear up for the frozen embryo transfer. First though my insides will be getting a thorough inspection on the 16th when I have my womb scrape. I'm not entirely sure what the Doctors will see during the operation but I suspect my barren landscape won't be a pretty as this one.