This evening, following a good workout at Crossfit and while enjoying a gin and tonic in the bath, I came across this article. For anyone in the same situation as me, i.e. involuntarily childless, it’s a good read. Actually, it’s a good read for anyone. Might make you think a little. Take some time to read it.
So it’s now Thursday and I suppose things have settled down a bit and got back to normal. The cough has finally said its goodbyes and yes, the gin and the Nightnurse certainly played their part in that. I’m back to hauling canoes and children about at work and I’ve had two long hot baths.
Training has re-started with two runs: one lovely one around Cwm Idwal in the sunshine on Tuesday morning (see main picture) and one in the absolute pissing rain in Capel Curig yesterday afternoon. So things are moving on. Except they’re not.
Today I have been bleeding. Heavily. Sorry fellas but it’s period talk. It has been so heavy that I have been incredibly dizzy and have actually lost balance twice. It has stirred up a whole heap of (possibly bottled up) emotions. I’m sad. I’m incredibly, almost overwhelmingly, sad. I can’t really describe it any other way.
I’m also tired. Despite sleeping better these last few days than I have in months, I’m knackered.
This is what I am calling the IVF hangover. Too many hormones. Too many emotions. Too much stress. Too much strain on my body. Too much rain over the last few days! It has all led to today. I’m hoping that, like a hangover, it will pass. I’ve said before, I’m not good at not coping. But tomorrow is another day. Hopefully the sun will shine.
It was the news we were expecting. We’re not pregnant. I knew. It doesn’t make it any less sad but we’ve been down this road before and now we are at the end of it. The end of the road, the end of our journey, a line in the sand.
The last couple of years have been an up and down of emotions and the last few weeks have been a condensed version of this. We knew our chances were slim but we had to try. Now it’s time to move on.
I’m sure I have more crying to do but right now I feel a bit numb. But I also feel like I need focus. Luckily I prepared for this. In 8 weeks time I have my first triathlon of the year. I have some serious training to do (after the gin I will be drinking tonight). Time to get back in shape and on with the year ahead.
We are devastated, of course. We both wanted a child to complete our little family, but we will survive. We are strong. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this IVF journey. It has been so helpful to me to be able to talk about it.
It’s really hard not to think about it. Has it worked? Has it failed? It’s impossible to tell either way until test day and that’s not until Monday. Four days away. That seems like an age. At least I’m past the half way point I suppose. And I’m working the weekend which will keep me distracted. Hopefully. Still, it’s driving me mad. I keep thinking I’m about to get my period. I don’t know why. There are no indications that it is about to happen. But then my palms start itching again. It’s only the progesterone I’m taking but it reminds me of when I was pregnant before.
In my mind I have to think that it’s failed. That’s the safe thing to do. That way there’ll be less disappointment. Won’t there? But what if? Can I let myself think about the what if? I seem to veer from one to the other in a matter of minutes. The fact that I’m still ill with this damn cough isn’t helping. I’m desperate for Night Nurse but I can’t take it, just in case. Tell you what, if it’s negative on Monday then I am getting pissed and washing it all down with a big glug of Night Nurse. At least I’ll have a good night’s sleep, something that’s definitely been lacking in the last 7 days.
What if it’s positive? What then? I haven’t really thought past this stage. I suppose I shouldn’t really as I’ll only be disappointed but is it not a good idea to prepare? I have a very active job. What will I be able to do? More to the point, what won’t I be able to do?
I think I have worked out that I’m not very good at waiting. Waiting sucks. Especially when it involves massive life-changing decisions like this. Grrrr.
The weekend was tricky for me. I’m not used to not coping but Saturday I definitely wasn’t coping (my blog post probably hinted at that). Thankfully I think I’ve passed that, for now. Well, the self deprecation anyway, not the illness. I was worried that I had overdone it, that I was ill and it was my fault. That my body was going to be trying to fight the illness so much that it wouldn’t be focusing on bringing life to my embryos. A very good friend of mine put it in perspective for me. Maybe the whole reason I was ill was because my body was too busy focusing on the embryos it didn’t have time to deal with a silly little virus.
And a virus is what it is. I have had two visits to the doctor since Saturday morning and have been given a ventolin inhaler to use alongside my normal inhaler and some steroids, both to try and ease my cough as I have had a total of about 5 hours sleep in the last two nights. I’m shattered 😦 There is nothing I can do about my coldsore, it will go away on its own. I just have to put up with it and probably stop fiddling with it… 😮
My parents have been visiting yesterday and today and we had takeaway curry last night and went to the garden centre today to look at flowers and pots to put in my currently being built garden. We bought some lavender to plant round the bottom of my apple tree (see previous blog on the M word) and it smells divine. That was a nice distraction 🙂 Now they’ve gone and I’ve got to get my head back into work mode. I’m back in tomorrow, although potentially not working directly with the kids as my cough is still pretty bad. At least the weather is looking to improve this week so I shouldn’t be getting a soaking like I did on Friday. Still, this is North Wales and unpredictable weather is the norm here.
There is another couple going through the IVF process a few days ahead of me who I have been following intently through their blogs. It is looking like bad news for them this time and I feel terribly for them. Reading their blogs brought me to tears. Because our timelines are so close together it is difficult not to feel involved, even though I don’t know them and they live the other side of the country. She is ten years younger than me. Her odds are much higher than mine, more like 4 in 10 (mine are 1 in 15). She has the possibility of going again with two frozen embryos. This is our only chance. It’s hard not to think doom and gloom. I have another whole week to wait before I can do my test. Seven days. Well six and a half now as I have to do it first thing in the morning.
I don’t feel pregnant but then this cold definitely has a hold of me and doesn’t really allow me time to feel anything else. I have sore boobs but that would be normal if I was about to get my period. My palms are itchy as they were when I was pregnant before but that’s just the progesterone I’m taking. I’m peeing all the time but that’s hardly surprising when I’m having to sip water all the time to keep my cough at bay. My moods are up and down but then my body has been under huge stress for the last few weeks and I’m taking hormones.
And so we wait.
I don’t even know if the IVF has been successful yet but I’m already thinking I’m a bad mother. I haven’t been looking after myself properly. I can’t have been as I’m run down. I have a coldsore. I never get coldsores. I have what is, at worst, a chest infection and at best, a nasty whoopy cough and a cold.
The problem is that I don’t have the sort of job where if I phone in sick the work will wait or someone else will pick it up for me. If I phone in sick there’s a group of year 6 kids left without an instructor to run activities for them.
I felt a bit better yesterday morning too and, as I wasn’t in until lunchtime I was able to have a lie-in. What I would have done, if I wasn’t such a bad mother, is go to the doctor. But I didn’t. I chose to stay in bed instead hoping it would pass. Then, in the evening, I took 30 children on a night walk in the wind and the rain for an hour and a half. The kids loved it. The teachers loved it. I did my job well. I now feel like crap 😷
Now it’s Saturday. I have been sent home from work by my good friend and colleague who has said they will work it out. I need to be in bed. I’m not a good mother. I had to be told to go home. I do, however, have a strong work ethic. Maybe my priorities are all wrong. Perhaps I’m too stuck in my ways. I was told ‘normal life’ and this is ‘normal’ for me.
Typically, as it’s Saturday, I now can’t see the doctor. Bad mother.
So today went as well as it could I guess. The whole procedure of having two embryos inserted into my uterus was remarkably easy. The hardest thing was having to have a full bladder and worrying I was actually going to pee on Dr. Massoud. I don’t think that would have gone down too well 😮
When we arrived at the hospital we had a chat with one of the embryologists who informed us that both embryos had developed well. They like to see between 6 and 8 cells at this stage and both of ours were split into 8 which is great. The not such good news was that out of a grading of 1 to 4 (with 1 being the best quality) both of ours were graded 3. This means that either the cells weren’t equal in size and/or there was some fragmentation of the cells. Still, they wouldn’t transfer them unless they believed there was a chance, albeit about 1 in 15.
Saying it like that though, 1 in 15, sounds better than between 5 and 10%. I can imagine myself in a group of 15 people and being the only one who likes spiders or who is coeliac or who is an outdoor teacher. Being the only one to get pregnant in that group of people doesn’t seem quite so out of reach after all.
Still, from now on, it is all in the hands of nature. Science has done its bit. It all boils down to whether or not the lining of my uterus accepts those precious little packages of cells. It could accept neither, it could accept one and it could accept both (giving us the possibility of having quads as Gwen the hilarious nurse mentioned??!!) 😮
So I have been sent home with a little picture of the moment the embryos went shooting from the catheter into my uterus and instructions to just get on with life as normal, without overdoing it and getting too stressed. On Monday 27th March – two weeks from now – I have to take a pregnancy test and then all will be revealed.
Surprisingly I actually feel quite calm about the whole thing now. The last two weeks have been fairly stressful and yesterday was just damn awful but now it’s really out of my hands. It will either work or it won’t. This is our only chance. We only get one shot on the NHS and we can’t afford to go privately. In all seriousness, even if we could afford it, I don’t think I’d do it. Perhaps if we’d had spare to freeze we might have gone down that route but we didn’t so there’s not point thinking about it.
If it doesn’t work then I just have to get used to the fact my life will be childless. I won’t be the only woman on this planet who wants children but can’t have them. Elton has a daughter who I love very much. We will be ok. Life goes on. We will probably go on some faraway holiday somewhere. I have my back up plan of the numerous triathlons that I have scheduled for this year as well as a 100 mile closed road cycle sportive in September. My mind will be occupied with training. I have my dog. I have my friends. I have a good life and we are happy.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading this blog and giving us their support. It means a lot. It’s been an interesting journey which isn’t quite over yet… 🙂
My mistake. I was expecting a call before 11. I never got one. Imagine what that did to my mental state. Actually don’t. By the time I did get the call (around 3pm) the inside of my brain probably resembled scrambled egg.
Anyway, next hurdle crossed. Midday tomorrow we go back into The Royal Shrewsbury where I will have both developed embryos transferred into my womb. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the success rate for a sticking pregnancy for someone of my age is between 5 and 10%. Oh boy. The odds really are stacked against us.
The next two weeks are going to be hell.
If I thought I was tense yesterday, it was nothing to how I was feeling this morning. After a night of broken sleep, constantly needing to pee and very weird dreams, I finally woke up around 8:30. Then the anxiety started. When were they going to phone? I felt sick. I managed a cup of tea but food was out of the question. I spent ages on Facebook looking at stupid videos in an attempt to distract myself from the reality. The reality that there could be bad news, that this could be the end of our journey.
10:00 the phone rang. Jason the embryologist has a soothing voice but was giving nothing away. After he’d confirmed my name and date of birth it happened. ‘Well, it’s good news’. Oh my goodness, the relief that washed over me in that instant was almost overwhelming. I’m glad I was sitting down. Once he’d let me catch my breath he checked that I was in a position to take in all the information. I was. So, the ‘mass’ that they found wasn’t an egg so it was definitely 3 eggs that were taken. That’s fine. The third egg wasn’t mature so that was a no go. Back to the original two eggs. BOTH FERTILISED!! Massive hurdle over 🙂
Jason was very pleased. ‘That’s a 100% success on your viable eggs’. Whoo-hoo! So now I just have to wait until tomorrow to find out if these precious little packages are going to develop into embryos. Apparently each one has a 90% chance of becoming an embryo which is pretty high but it’s not plain sailing. Of course then there’s the major issue of my womb accepting them if they do develop but we’ll cross each hurdle as we get to it. For now at least, we can semi relax, until the anxiety of tomorrow’s phone call sets in…
I managed to get hold of Elton half way up Snowdon with a group. He’s over the moon. Must have been super hard for him setting off for work this morning not knowing what was going on, when I was going to get the phone call, whether he’d have signal to speak to me. At least he is going to be distracted for the rest of the day by work. I, on the other hand, am going to need to do something, anything to keep my mind off things for a while!
This morning was tense. Capturing the first pee of the day in a pot and then doing a pregnancy test. This was positive but does not mean I’m pregnant, it just showed that the hCG injection I had to take at exactly 10:00pm on Wednesday had worked. Then it was nil by mouth all morning which automatically just made me hungry and thirsty. Just before leaving mum and dad’s I had to administer an up the bum antibiotic – lovely – before heading off to the hospital.
Once there it was paperwork, blood pressure (which was surprisingly normal by the way), a chat with Gwen the nurse, with Jason the embryologist and Dr Magani the gynecologist. Also a cannula was put in my hand and I was made to change into the sexy gown.
At 10:00 I was taken into the procedure room where had to lie in a very ungainly position with my legs a kimbo. I was given happy drugs then everything goes a bit fuzzy. I remember being talked through what was going on and why it was more painful towards the end. I also remember them talking about 3 eggs. I could definitely feel the pain but it’s all very vague 😐
Next thing I remember is coming round in recovery with Elton there. As I started to get a bit more compos mentos I was given a cup of tea and some gluten-free cornflakes (they had no biscuits) and then it was explained to me that they had managed to get 3 eggs plus an additional ‘mass’ which could be a 4th egg. Way to go!
Now I am back at mum and dad’s eating my weight in mini Daim bars (we went to IKEA yesterday), drinking tea, watching crap TV and getting Bailey cuddles. Elton has had to head home as he’s working all weekend.
The waiting game has started. I’ve done my bit, Elton has done his bit. It’s now down to the combined work of Science and Nature to see if this journey continues or stops here. Distractions definitely required until the phone call tomorrow morning from the embryologist letting us know whether fertilisation has taken place…