Sunday, 29 April 2012

Will You Hold My Hair Back?

On Friday, according to my calculations of embryo age at transfer plus days in the uterus, I was 6 weeks pregnant. With no symptoms to show I was getting worried.

For about the last week I’d been obsessively googling “5 weeks and 1 day pregnant no symptoms”, “5 weeks and 2 days pregnant no symptoms”, “5 weeks and 3 …”, you get the idea.

 The results weren’t comforting. I’d find chat forums with those headings and the poster saying things like:

 “Other than tender boobs and tiredness and a tiny bit of nausea, I don’t have any symptoms.”

 What the fuck do they think the boobs, tiredness and nausea is?!

 Yesterday I felt a bit queasy. But it being a Saturday and with nothing better to do than sit at home and try and imagine symptoms I couldn’t be sure if this was genuine or the equivalent of suddenly getting very itchy when someone starts talking about nits (or scabies, or crabs – the pube dwelling kind).

This morning, 6 weeks and two days pregnant, as I projectile vomited my breakfast I came to the satisfactory conclusion that maybe I am starting to get the odd pregnancy symptom.

Which makes me feel more optimistic about the heartbeat scan on Wednesday than I have felt for a good few days.



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Intralipids for IVF

Intralipids have been dangled over me as the cure for all our ills for a while.

They are essentially a drip of highly calorific fats (egg yolk and soya oil as far as I can find out - hence my doctor's description of it as like "getting an arm-full of mayonnaise" - I prefer it on chips but apparently that won't give the same result).

Intralipids were originally developed as a meal replacement. Somehow, someone discovered that this treatment seemed to inhibit the immune system. And this seems to be a good thing for women who have had multiple, unexplained, miscarriages or implantation-failiure.  I'm in the latter category.

I was supposed to have intralipids as part of the last round of IVF, but a last minute panic about the thickness of my womb lining and a wavering about whether to go ahead meant that I missed the chance.

This time I had my first dose on the 27th of March (cycle day 13, around about the time I should have ovulated, had I not been doing a Frozen Cycle).

I had my second dose, topping up after my positive pregnancy test, today.

I took some pictures.

First you get a needle shoved in your hand:

Then a tube feeding the liquid in is hooked up:

And this is what the magic liquid looks like (more the colour and consistency of milk than mayo):


As treatment goes it is really rather pleasant. Other than the initial sting of the needle you really don't feel a thing. Then you just sit there for two and a half hours. I was offered a cup of tea and a few biscuits by the nurse, bearing in mind that I am having a highly calorific liquid pumped intravenously into me, I did what any sane woman would do and accepted gratefully, chomping merrily on biscuits throughout the treatment.

I read my book, played a few games on my phone and left feeling absolutely no different than when I went in. I don't know whether this was the magic ingredient that made this IVF a success or not, but at a cost of around £300 it is certainly worth a punt.

As for me generally, I've still not had the slightest whiff of a pregnancy symptom.  The husband reckons I am a bit more tired than usual but frankly I'll use any excuse to allow myself an afternoon nap and being pregnant is a rather good one. Only a week to go before my first scan, and then - all going well - I might actually start to believe that I'm pregnant.



Monday, 23 April 2012

Finding out

Every single time I have had IVF or IUI I've had a sneaking suspicion it has worked. Every time, until this one. When I knew it hadn’t.

 Deciding when to test was tricky. Too early and I might get a false negative. But I had the advantage of knowing that, as it was a frozen cycle, there was no chance of a trigger shot remaining in my system to tease me with a false positive.

 On Friday night the husband and I lay in bed as I set out, in minute detail, why I thought I should test on Saturday rather than Sunday. My reasoning was impeccable but it basically came down to one thing. It hadn’t worked and I wanted to get it over and done with quickly.

 The husband was lovely. He reminded me that we still had three frozen (robot) babies and that this wasn’t the end. He made me promise to wake him up when I went to test. “I’ll wake you when I have the result” I assured him, knowing full well of my habit of waking up at four thirty in the morning on a test day. “No, before you go to the loo.”

 I agreed, and then cursed the fact at 4:30am, 4:45am, 5am, 5:20am when despite my eagerness to get it over and done with I thought it was a bit out of line to wake him quite so early. At 6am on the dot I shook him awake and then sped to the bathroom.

 I weed on the stick and without glancing at it ran back to the bedroom, put it on the side and flung myself on the husband. I’ll confess, I don’t even remember washing my hands.

We lay there in the dark for a couple of minutes before I determined it was time. I hugged him and did that exhale type breathing that you do when you are about to jump into a freezing swimming pool. “We can try again” the husband assured me.

 I knew the answer, I reached to see the test with the same result I’d seen every other test I’d ever taken, I switched the side light on and

 “HOLY SHIT!” (I genuinely don’t think I have ever said “holy shit” in my life before.)

 The husband and I just looked at each other in total amazement.

 And that, was how I found out I was pregnant.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

Checking in

Wow.

I mean really.

So many of you dropping by to comment on my last post. It has taken a while but I have finally managed to reply to all of them. (Took so long mainly because blogger seemed to think that the only person who would comment quite so much on that post must be spam, so kept deleting and not publishing things - hence the odd blip round anonymous/ Magneto Bold's comments). [UPDATE: NOOO ... I PUBLISHED THIS AND HALF OF THEM, AND THE RECENT COMMENTS DISAPPEARED. FUCKING HELL. ]

It seems apt, from many of your comments, that last Wednesday was National Stalking Awareness Day but whilst they want to put a stop to it I say bring it on! I love to hear that so many of you have been quietly peeking in for so long.

It has been just over a week since I found out and even with my over active imagination I haven't managed to identify a single pregnancy symptom. I am trying to be chilled out and have managed to stop myself buying another of those digital tests to check that the length of time pregnant has gone up from 2 -3 weeks to 3+ weeks. Luckily they are phenomenally expensive so it hasn't been too hard to resist.

I have a week and a half until my scan. It is a funny kind of purgatory, waiting. But I am lucky that I have never had a miscarriage so this period isn't beset with worries in the way that it is for so many of you. Naturally I am not unaware of the risks, and I am sure many of you were reading the comments touching wood like a teenage boy.

My attitude however is 'fuck it', it has taken five and a half years to get this far. I am going to enjoy it for as long as I can. It might go tits up. But until I know that I will revel in being pregnant.

Although I certainly won't buy anything for the baby until well into the second trimester.

Loads (two) of you have asked for the details of exactly when, and how, and what I did when I discovered it had worked. I'll get to that soon. 



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Test Day: IVF #4, Frozen Embro Transfer #1

Well, it appears, that ... um ...

Exhibit A

I am, you know ...

Exhibit B


And just to be sure, there is ...

Exhibit C

Today at the clinic I had a blood test and they declared themselves very happy with the results. So here we are, in unchartered territory, I know how to be infertile, I haven't got a clue how to be pregnant. Hopefully I've got another 8 months to work it out.

The next milestone is a scan in two weeks to see if there is a heartbeat.

I'm so happy.



(That is a bit of an understatement.)



(Ok, here you go: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


Key

Exhibit A = Test from Saturday morning 10days after transfer of five day old (defrosted) embryo, so the equivalent of 15 days after ovulation.  Or if you prefer it in internet speak: 10dp5dt

Exhibit B = Test from Sunday morning 11dp5dt (the 2-3 is the number of weeks pregnant I am, not (necessarily) the number of babies in there).

Exhibit C = I wasn't going to test again until this morning but had a wobble so wanted to double check on Tuesday 13dp5dt. (This morning's test was exactly the same as Exhibit B, so no point in showing that one).







Sunday, 15 April 2012

Tagged

I'm pretty rubbish at responding to tags, awards and wotnot. Often it is because they come when I am in the middle of IVF and have enough to write about as it is, or because I'm not doing IVF and it feels a bit forced to do a tag when I really don't have much to say. But occasionally one hits the sweet spot, like now when I am three days from official IVF test day and my head is all over the place so answering a few Q&As seems like a good distraction.

So thank you Mrs Rochester of Its Gonna Happen fame, who incidentally had a frozen embryo transfer on the same day as me and is now pregnant! (Her clinic is much more speedy when it comes to blood tests than mine.)

1. What is your all-time favorite food?
Pimientos de Padron (little green fried Spanish chillies) are right up there.

2. If you went to college, what was your major?
Joint Honours in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology. I can't tell you how useful that has been in my daily life since I graduated. I literally cannot tell you.

3. If you could change one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be?
I have mousey beige hair so already dye it (when I'm not having IVF) so I guess that qualifies.

4. Beach or mountains?
Mountains, partly because if I want my pasty Scottish husband to come away with me that is my only choice but also I'm not big on beach lounging.

5. What is your favorite color?
Default answer as a kid was blue (because I didn't want to be one of those pink-obsessed girls) so I guess that is true today. Not that you'll see much evidence of it in my house or wardrobe.

6. How tall are you?
A towering five foot five inches.

7. If you could go any one place in the world (money is not a factor) where would you choose to go?
I've always fancied checking out Japan. In cherry blossom season.

8. Who is the biggest role model in your life?
I don't have one. I admire lots of people for different things, but we are all flawed humans. (Present company excepted, naturally.)

9. When you die, how do you want to be remembered?
As the woman who invented that thing that changed all our lives for the better, bought world peace and halted global warming.

10. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?

Ford: "It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
Arthur: "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
Ford: "You ask a glass of water."

From, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

(The husband imperiously informs me that this isn't a quote as more than one person is saying it. I say it is a quote from a book, and my blog, my rules.)

11. Make up your own question! : One for you guys answer in the comments : What lie did your parents tell you (either to keep you in line or for their own amusement), and you believed for years, when you were little?

My dad told me he didn't like chocolate and only ate Aeros because he liked the air. 



Thursday, 12 April 2012

Taxi!

I've never been quite sure how much exercise to do in a two-week post-IVF wait.

The rational part of me says that hundreds of women get pregnant daily without even knowing it, still going to their weekly aerobics class (do women even do aerobics any more or is it all about Zumba and Shaolin Kung Fu?), and go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Therefore it shouldn't really matter how much exercise I do.

But since when was a woman who on a daily basis shoves two pills and two vials of goo up her vag, complemented by four oral pills and rounded off with a bum jab, rational?

My Doctor doesn't advocate three days of horizontal lounging for the days after IVF, but suggests I take it easy for a few days and then resume an almost normal life, but nothing too vigorous - like the gym, swimming or cycling.

The first two, not a problem, giving up cycling is a bit more of an issue.

Although I've not changed jobs I have moved offices since my last IVF and, in order to scurry back at lunch time to walk our mutt I have taken to cycling the ten minute journey rather than walking 25 minutes. A 10 minute cycle there and back gives me forty minutes of a lunch hour at home to give the dog a brief stroll and shovel some food down.

The first five days after the frozen embryo transfer were pretty easy going, I meandered no further than a 15 minute walk from home. But then Easter ended and I went back to work.

The dog still needs to empty himself at lunch time, and as I am not to keen on coming home to a shitpit I still have to come home midday to ensure that he empties himself outside not in. (The Husband, unfortunately, works too far away to come home every lunchtime.)

I had a bit of a dilemma, do I cycle - and possibly put my little embryos in jeopardy - or not, and risk my floorboards? Then the husband came up with a plan that goes against every fibre of being, but I have to admit quite a smart one...

Get a cab home, and back to work, at lunch time.

I've told you before about how I hate to spend money on a bus, let alone a cab. But grudgingly I have to admit that the five pounds home and five back (a tenner a day) starts to seem pretty good value when I think what I have spent on the drugs, the freezing, the intralipid, the ICSI and the countless other processes that I've gone through to try and make this IVF a success.

(But I am still going to reimburse myself from the joint account, so it doesn't feel quite like spending my own money.)



Sunday, 8 April 2012

Just call me JLo

I finally understand what Jennifer Lopez feels like. Not because of my string of celebrity boyfriends, my diva-like behaviour, or because I have a set of twins brewing in my uterus. (Although fingers crossed for the latter).

It is because people seem to be suddenly obsessed with my arse.

The husband has started his nightly bumming. Not sex-wise but injections. Sober or drunk he manages to make a good stab at it. (Do you see what I did there? Comedy gold, I tells you).

This has been going on for over a week and I have a rump so tender it’d make wagyu beef weep with jealousy. As a result if I am lying on the bed reading (or more likely playing an iPhone game) I now favour lying on my front. I may as well paint a big target on my bum, it has seemingly become irresistible to the husband who will come into the bedroom and gleefully pat out a rhythm on my behind before my shrieks remind him that it is a bruised posterior and he quickly retreats.

On Tuesday, the day before the embryo transfer, I treated myself and cashed in a voucher for a neck and shoulder massage. NECK and SHOULDER. So what does the masseuse do? Tells me she starts at the tail bone, whips down my pants and starts pummelling my buttocks like an over-enthusiastic baker.

I squeaked; “I’m quite bruised there please don’t do that.”

She paused, and I felt her eyes boring into my exposed cheek. “What is it?” She asked imagining (or so I imagined) some hard core S&M action (that phrase’ll do wonders for my google hits). “An injection” I mumble.

The rest of the massage was uneventful. At the end she said that she felt the lump but assumed it was a pulled muscle hence the special attention she’d given it.

Lucky me.

I keep going with the injections until test day. A negative and I stop, a positive I keep going for another 8 weeks.

And much as I hate them I reckon you can guess which outcome I am hoping for.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Another Sign?

I am constantly amazed by the number of you who have been reading this blog for years. Hanging on in with me to through thick and thick (I'm talking womb lining here). I love how much you are all hoping with me that this IVF is the one, and I think we all know why - this blog is getting pretty dull with my Groundhog Day IVF's, we all need a change!

But for you long timers, this will be a test of not just your length of reading but also your memory.  Do you remember T?

Quick recap, my friend T had IVF first back in March 2010, it didn't work.

So she tried again.

It didn't work.

Then a frozen embryo transfer.

No pregnancy either.

But, last Autumn she too went for a below radar IVF. (Of course I knew, I always know, but most folk didn't.)

And it worked. Doubly so.

At 7:00am this morning, continental time, she went in for a Caesarean. She told me yesterday so I asked her to get him indoors to text me - when he could - to let me know how it went.

He didn't.

Instead at 11:45 (their time) she rang me!

All went well and she now has a little boy and girl to call her own.

As I said to my embryo's this morning "Dig in little ones, you need to meet your little continental cousins."

So with her, and the womb mate proving that this IVF lark can actually work this is very auspicious news for my own attempt.



Thursday, 5 April 2012

Embryo Transfer number 4 - In and Out

Yesterday was the quickest embryo transfer ever. I arrived at 14:00 and was in theatre by 14:18 - I almost didn't have time to pull my lucky socks on (this time they have form as the Womb Mate wore them for her last IVF).

I still had to lie, legs spread, (neatly waxed) muff out, whilst various medical professionals traipsed around asking me obsessively my name and date of birth and getting me to check that the frozen babies were ours.

Three times, by the doctor, nurse and embryologist, I was told that the doors were locked and they were very sorry that I had to lie exposed but only the people who were absolutely necessary were there. This is my fourth time, I wouldn't care if there was a whole theatre of medical students enjoying the view.

The Doctor talked through what he was doing as he inserted the catheter with the embryos in them.

We saw this:



I know, if you squint a bit and put your mind to it you can almost imagine you can see a baby. You can't.

At this point the husband leant over and stage whispered to me "This our fourth time and I still have no clue what I am looking at."

So the Doctor explained, in agonising detail. I say agonising because bear in mind as he is talking the husband through everything I am lying there winched open, with a scanner being firmly pressed against my over full bladder. If I shed a small tear at this point it wasn't because of the emotional experience.

He said he couldn't tell from an external scan exactly how thick the womb lining was but declared it "nice and fluffy".

This is what we are looking at:


The air bubble is at the end of the catheter and shows where the embryos have been placed.  Talking of which, here they are:

These are the two ICSI blastocysts which were frozen on day 5. The assisted hatching was done this morning, one was straight out of the blocks the other one is still getting its bearings so hasn't quite come out of its shell.

So this is it.

Now, we wait.



Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Waiting For Embryo Transfer

The husband reads my blog. Often he’ll spell/ sense check what I have written before I post (but here is the standard disclaimer, all mistakes and knob jokes are entirely my own). Occasionally when he is out on the piss he’ll find out what has happened at a Doctor’s appointment by reading my blog, hence eliminating all need for conversation.

You wouldn’t know that he is constantly informed about my womb-happenings to hear him talk.

For me today is embryo transfer day. The husband insists on calling it “when the little, robot, frozen babies are put back”.

Well, they are certainly little.

But they should be thoroughly defrosted.

And I am pretty sure, despite their overly unnatural conception, they aren’t robots.

I don't know exactly what time I am going in today - could be 11:30 could be this afternoon. I'm waiting for the call.

In the meantime (other than blogging) I am running round the house, changing the bedding and sorting stuff out that I know I will suddenly notice and itch to do the moment I come back from embryo transfer when I am supposed to be doing nothing but full-on sofa-based chilling. (Can you believe that this was a year ago? I'm not going to quite the same lengths but I might sort out my cupboards this morning.)

So if you want to help me stick firmly arse to sofa this afternoon and tomorrow (and have an iphone or similar device) you can keep me entertained by challenging me to a game of Words With Friends, Draw Something or Scramble With Friends. My user name in all three is L1Z_ (note that middle digit is a one).

*** Update ***

Two embryos successfully thawed and 'viable' I go in at 2pm for the transfer.

Pass me the water I'm filling up!


Monday, 2 April 2012

Not An April Fool's

This post was written 9 weeks ago:


Thursday 7:20am

It is 12 days since the wombmate’s secret IVF [secret because she told no one other than me, our other sister and (I guess) her husband that it was going to happen] on her two previous attempts this was the day she started bleeding. She told me that she has booked today and tomorrow off work, and was going to test today. She must have done her first wee of the day – she’ll know by now if it has worked.

[Checks phone]

Nothing

I know what it is like. I’m not going to hassle her.

[Checks my phone]

Oh! She’s just played her turn at Words With Friends (a scrabble game for the iPhone). She wouldn’t play a game if she was upset would she?

Hmmm… no direct message through the game. No matter – just play a 36 pointer – I’m too competitive to let her win regardless of what shit she is going through.


Thursday 7:56am

She’s just played another word on the game: “map” – can’t read much into that. Still no news.

I WILL NOT CALL HER.

I WILL NOT TEXT.

I WILL NOT BUG HER.

Thursday 8:16am

Well … maybe just a neutral little in-game message. Just so that she knows I’m here: “How’s things?”

Thursday 8:55am

Must work, must not check phone.

[Quickly checks phone]

Nothing

Thursday 9:43am

My Brother-in-law has played his turn at Words With Friends, he wouldn’t do that if he was comforting the wombmate/ upset. He has played the word “junk” there is plenty I could read into that maybe his junk has done the trick … OMG he has sent me an in game message maybe this is it…

“Stop looking at my junk”

How did he know?

Right, he has opened the conversation let’s try and glean some information from him. Message back “If you will put it out there … How are things in your household this morning?” See, they don’t call me subtle Lizzie for nothing.

(They don’t call me subtle Lizzie at all.)

Thursday 10:32

No response from either.

Thursday 16:15

Finally a response from the wombmate: “I feel a bit bloated.” What the fuck is that meant to mean? I give in “Have you tested?”

“No. I think I might have OHSS [Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome] though”

Now she bloody tells me, all day I’ve been a nervous wreck for no reason. So I text her and tell her to drink lots of water and then ignore her for the rest of the day.

Friday 7:20am

[Checks phone] Nothing.

I will not do a repeat of yesterday. Screw her! She is dead to me.

Friday 12:15pm

I text her: “Have you tested?” Her response “Nooo too scared.”

Friday 13:12

I call her during my lunch hour.

Five Minutes later

She still hasn’t tested. She is bloated but is still weeing and isn’t short of breath or nauseous – the danger signs to look out for. I didn’t say anything at the time but OHSS usually get worse if you are pregnant, so as uncomfortable as it is this is A Good Sign. She has promised me that she will text me as soon as she tests – whenever that will be.

Saturday 8:30am

She has played her turn on Words With Friends – I message her. “Are you going to test today?” She replies “Maybe”.

Saturday 8:54am

She calls. She wouldn’t call if she was upset. I know, first hand, you can’t talk to anyone in those hours after a negative test this is also A Good Sign.

I deign to answer the call, because I’m nice like that.

She’s doing the small talk thing. ‘How are you? Where are you’ (It is before 9 on a Saturday morning, I’m in bed doofus).

I humour her.

Eventually she tells me she had a positive test.

She tells me she wanted me to be the first to know, so I give her permission to tell her husband. Turns out she already had – which makes her a lying little tyke.

It is very rare for me to hear about a pregnancy without immediately feeling my state of unpregnancy. I didn’t at all. I’m so happy for her, and for me.

I’m going to be an *unt!
______


I waited 9 weeks to let you guys know because she wanted to wait until her 12 week scan before going public. She had it last week and all the measurements are good and it is starting to look like a little person.

* that is an 'a' not a 'c'




Sunday, 1 April 2012

Shocking Research!

It has just been announced that researchers at the University of Camford have discovered a correlation between unexplained infertility (i.e. where there is no apparent physical cause) and attention seeking.

A paper published today by Owen Leigh, Jo King and Soh Ree indicated that women who are have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility have a higher propensity to blog and less shame when talking about intimate procedures than the rest of the population.

The conclusion they have drawn is that infertiles actually don't want to become pregnant because once they do they will become more 'normal' and receive less sympathy and support from others.  The suggestion is that unexplained infertility is a variation of M√ľnchausen syndrome, that affects women at such a deep level that (without even realising it) they can prevent implantation of embryos.

You can read the full study here, and I strongly suggest you do.