Stalemate and losing “me”

Time is still whizzing on by. I’ll never understand how days drag but months fly?!?!

We are now in the position that we have our loan safely in the bank ready for when we get started, but as usual things are never that simple! We have been chasing around the results for c’s karyotyping blood test since our appointment with the clinic at the end of March. I was hoping after that appointment that we would be able to get started in April, but it’s now the 21st (Happy Easter!) and it will definitely by May now. We have chased everyone we can think of, and contacted the nhs PALS service for our hospital in order to obtain these results. They’ve suggested C submits a patient medical record access request, which we posted yesterday. It’s bank holiday weekend though, so the hospital won’t get it until Wednesday at the earliest and then they have 30 days to respond. Theoretically then, we may not get a response until late May and then won’t get started until June! I’m so used to waiting and setbacks that although it’s really frustrating it almost doesn’t even register as a problem. I cannot imagine us ever being lucky enough for this to work out for us and actually getting a real live baby at the end of it, but at the same time I can’t imagine it not working either. It’s a really strange feelung and hard to explain, but I swing between feeling certain that we will have a baby and certain we won’t.

I actually had a bit of a meltdown last night (making it infertility induced breakdown number 5,557 through the past few years!!! I swear this shizz is driving me crazy). I feel like this has been such a heavy burden to live with for the past few years, and I’ve been so sad for so long, I feel like I may never be “me” again. I feel like even if we do get pregnant and have a baby…will it be like waving a magic wand? Will all the hurt melt away just like the click of my fingers? Or will it be hard, will I always have lost a part of myself? It’s something I’m worried about. I feel like I’ve spent so many years thinking “when we have a baby it will all be ok”, but what if it’s not? I don’t know what to feel or think about that. I think for now,I just have to keep on with the journey and trust everything will all work itself out one way or another.

Once I have more news I will update again

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Update

Can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since I last updated. That really did fly!!! I’m going to try and update as much as I can remember, in case it helps anyone who ever reads this and also for my own records!

So, last time I blogged we had booked our first consultation. I had my AMH tested for the first time ever and it came back at a mind boggling 102!!! The reference range for my age was something like 4-56 so….yeah!! With PCOS, amh is almost always high so I wasn’t shocked it was outside normal range, but I was shocked by how high it was. Cue panic that I would be too messed up for IVF altogether. It was an anxious wait til the consultation.

I was also supposed to have my ultrasound at the consultation but for one reason or another the clinic rescheduled it for the day before, and altered my initial appointment to a later one as I would be making excuses to leave work early. As it happened, I decided to go for a half day off of work and checked the appointment had been altered. Turns out it hadn’t, so a mad rush ensued to get there on time. The clinic was very apologetic and it was no real issue, but I hope we have no more issues like that during actual treatment! Anyway. The ultrasound showed an antral follicle count of well over 80 follicles, meaning I will be on low stims to begin with as im at high risk over overstimulating.

The next day, 29th March, was appointment day. Finally!!!!! Excited and nervous we got there for our alloted time. I can’t fault their timing this time, we were literally in on the dot of our specified times. C had his first SA since 2016 and things were still bad, but actually  the count was up from 0.1mil per ml to 0.67mil. So still very low, but instead of less than half a million total count we have over 2 million which I was personally very happy with. The consultant wasn’t as thrilled as me funnily, and suggested we freeze a back up sample just in case of issues on the day. I was going to ask about thid anyway, so that was good too. Basically, we will be on the antagonist protocol and once we obtained results from my GP confirming i dont have chlamydia and have rubella immunity, and we get copies of C’s karyotyping results, we are ready to roll!

Side note, I always knew I caught german measles as a young kid just after my vaccinations. I think my sister had it around the same time too. I literally found out this past weekend that german measles and rubella are the same thing. Who knew?!  (Probably everyone except me, but never mind) so I have actually had Rubella in the past. Anyways. Im definitely immune because I remember being tested while pregnant in 2008 too.

We are having issues getting C’s results as nobody seems to have them and the consultant’s secretary at that hospital have ignored multiple emails and voicemails asking for them. I’m hoping they send them soon so we can move onto the next stage which is speaking to Access Fertility about their refund packages. Once the clinic have all results, we call Access who will get our records and let us know which, if any, programmes we are eligible for. We want to do the 3 cycle 50% refund, so 🤞🤞 we are eligible. Once that has been decided, we pay them and then we can get going. It’s scary that it’s finally almost here, but also so, so exciting! All being well, I want to be starting soon, hopefully by the end of April. Eeeeeeeeek!!! Will update when I have more news x

 

Something has happened!

20190204_193941Finally. In this extremely loooooong process, we finally have something happening. We went to our chosen clinic last week for an informal chat and that went well. Because we have been waiting a while and I am a Google obsessive, ahem sorry, fan, I already knew the majority of what they told us, but there were a few things they cleared up. We also booked our first real consultation! So exciting. So that is booked at the end of March. We have also completed quite a few forms and consents online which made it all feel a bit more real. I now need to get my amh tested, which I will do at the end of the month and then we are all systems go for a new semen analysis for C and a new pelvic ultrasound for me, complete with antral follicle count, which I didn’t have before. I’m actually not really clear on how this count will help,as with pcos I’m assuming I will have a lot of those, but I may be wrong.

So we are almost ready to start at last. I’m not sure how I feel. As it has been so long, I’m sort of used to doing nothing and being in limbo. It’s beyond frustrating and has been the toughest time of my life, but it’s also safe if that makes any sense? I don’t need to worry about wasting money or injections or anything like that while I’m in the safe limbo. I am terrified of this not working. At the moment, that’s an “after” problem. Right now, we are “before”.once we start treatment, we will be “during”, and that’s one step closer to the resolution, whether it’s the resolution we want or the one we don’t. I tell myself I’ll be happy when we are done, whatever the outcome, because we can finally move on. And that is true, to a point. I do want to be over this trying to conceive stage of my life. More than anything, I want a baby. But I also want to stop thinking about babies, and if the sad reality is that it doesnt work, I want to be able to work on moving on, healing and making peace with that. I really do. But…I also don’t want to have to deal with it not working. That’s 3 cycles (or more) away though, so I’m trying not to let myself think on that. What will be will be, I guess.

The most pressing matter for now is the not insignificant task of borrowing the mammoth amount of money required. I’m really nervous of this, convinced we won’t be able to. We both have fairly reasonable credit files and neither of us are in huge amounts of debt, but we both have some debts. In the scheme if things it’s pretty low, but I feel like we will have no chance of borrowing so much. Part of me wants to just apply for a loan now to see what the outcome is, reasoning I’d much rather find out now whether we can or not than when we are just about to start. Having said that, we still want to save a bit before we borrow and if I borrow now, I wont have as much to put towards saving as I’ll already have started paying ut back. It’s a tough call!

Sometimes I wonder how my head doesnt explode, theres always so much floating around but for now, I’m going to enjoy thinking about the exciting times ahead. I might be pregnant within 6 months!!

News at last!

Well. It’s been probably 2.5, nearly 3 years since we last had anything fertility and ivf related actually happen so I’m very excited that we are still on track for starting IVF sometime in the spring. I’m literally so excited I feel sick thinking about it. Or maybe that’s nerves?! I think it quite possibly could be a bit of both. It’s just a tiny thing but I’m so happy it is something at last! 

We are going on a tour of our chosen clinicom 4th February – a week on Monday. I can’t wait and I’m hoping it will at least dampen down the overwhelming feelings I have regarding starting this process. Being able to see the clinic and meet some of the people involved will remove a little of the unknown surround everything I hope. It is always daunting to everyone, but I feel like I’ve had so many years to think through every possible scenario and feeling that might be involved that it’s almost built it up to more than it is. Perhaps that sounds silly. After all, everyone is nervous, scared and excited all in one go when they start IVF. I can’t really compare these feelings directly with other peoples experience, you only know what you know, right?! Either way, I’m feeling all the feelings and it’s still a few months til we start.

Which brings me to my second point. We really need to start upping our health game! I’ve been saying for months about taking supplements and losing weight and exercising more, yet most evening you will still find me on the sofa with a big bag of crisps and chocolate and the Netflix remote. Whatever gets you through, amirite? Seriously though. We actually do have to start this now. We could be only 3/4 months from starting, timescales permitting. I’m so excited!!!!! I will report back after the visit with my views and how it went.

 

 

 

It’s getting nearer!!

I cant believe I can finally write this but it is *finally* getting to the countdown for when we can get started. In the new year it will be time to start losing a bit of weight and beginning to take our vitamins and supplements to make sure we have 3/4 months built up in our systems before hand. I’m so, so excited!!!!!!!!! The savings are coming along, maybe not quite so much as I would like to have but still on target.

I’ve been semi active on Instagram and babycentre, following ivf boards and ladies going through ivf. It’s so nice to feel less alone and isolated, knowing there are real live women out there going through the same things, feeling the same feelings that I am. Feeling the same lost feelings, the same jealousy over people you dont want to feel jealous of. It’s also been hard. I’ve been following them for 18 months or more, so have seen many, many women go on to get their happy endings and some who are still trying, or who have moved on. I have found the hardest thing without a doubt has been the limbo. I still feel it now, although I’m thrilled it won’t be for too much longer now (still feels like a lifetime some days though!)I just cannot wait to get on with the next stage.

I have been following other women’s stories and I keep getting a little tingle of excitement. What if that’s me in a few months? What if I’m sharing a picture of a positive pregnancy test? Moaning about feeling sick even though I’m so so grateful for it? Sharing scan photos, picking names, buying baby stuff? I almost dont want to think about it, because what if that jinxes it somehow? It’s ridiculous. This is a dream of mine. When I dreamed of going to uni and graduating I never stopped myself from thinking of it in case it jinxed it. When I went for my dream job, I never stopped myself imagining it in case it meant I didn’t get it. Maybe I want to spend a few minutes imagining it all and pretending it will be me. It might be me! Maybe one day next year, I’ll be able to update with amazing news for a change. I hope so. I cross everything and will allow myself a day dream today.

Fertility Supplements ahoy

I actually cannot believe it has been nearly 3 months since my last post. Where the heck did that go?! So. I’m starting to think about supplements and things in the run up to it now as you need to take things for a few months to allow them to get into your system properly before you start. With MFI and PCOS, we need to make sure everything is tip top with us both. Pcos can result in poor quality eggs and as we don’t know the cause of C’s low sperm count, we don’t know if they might be poor quality too, (little miss ray of sunshine over here assumes they’re not great, but we don’t actually know…). Anyway, we want to boost everything up really. We are taking the following daily:

1000mg vitamin C – some studies have shown this to improve sperm count and motility. For women, some studies show that it can increase progesterone. My understanding is that oestrogen dominance is part of pcos, so I guess that may help to balance the hormones?! If not, hopefully I won’t get a cold anytime soon 😁

Omega 3 Supplements – omega 3 improves sperm motility and morphology. Whilst we are using ICSI, motility isn’t really an issue as they inject the sperm directly into the egg, however morphology will still come into play (as far as I know?!)

Vitamin D – some studies show that sufficient vitamin d levels can improve sperm count in men and improve pcos symptoms in women. As vitamin D is made mainly by exposure to sunlight, we are all sadly lacking it in Britain (although perhaps not so much after the amazing summer we have just had)

Wellman and Wellwoman conception – bog standard conception multivitamin, containing differing levels of essential vitamins to promote a healthy fertile body leading up to conception.

I actually need to buy some more Wellwoman so haven’t included them in the photo. I got all the vitamins at good old Tesco, as I didn’t want expensive vitamins you can only buy online. I admit that this did influence what I bought!

If you’re looking into supplements for fertility I would encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. There’s a dizzying amount of info out there on fertility supplements and even the ones I am using have some contradictory advice online. It can be a bit of a minefield!

My Guide to Surviving Infertility

Hello!! I have been thinking about this post for a while. Not sure really how many people even read the blog, but if it even gets to one person who finds it helpful (ish) then I would be happy.

If there is one thing I am being forced to be good at, or if not good at, endure, it’s waiting. So. Much. Waiting. Literally years of it! From April 2015 when we so naively set off on this journey, to possibly April 2019 when we will finally start IVF, we have waited. Not at all patiently on my part, either. And it is hard. Everyone else is popping out babies left, right and centre. Even the many women I have virtually befriended on the infertility forums online have, for the most part, moved on and had babies via one method or another. It can leave a girl feeling lonely and isolated and, honestly, quite depressed. And so I present my guide to Surviving Infertility. With capitals.

1. Talk to each other and other people 

This is a big one. It is a very tough journey and it can test even the strongest of relationships. And, as I noted above, it can feel very isolating. Friends tell you they’re thinking of trying to conceive and 2 months later they have a positive test to show you. The girl you work with tells you she’s pregnant and they weren’t even trying. Your facebook feed is full of pregnancy announcements, scan pics and babies.

It is so important to tell your partner how you feel. Tell them you’re having a bad day. Don’t expect them to just know this (they won’t, and you’ll get frustrated). Talk about what you are worried about. Find internet forums for women in your position and talk to them, too. It all helps.

2. Don’t be afraid to take a step away

So I realise this seems almost a complete contradiction to the previous point on the face of it, but it isn’t really. Sharing and connecting with others is great, but when times are hard and you are going through a rough patch, don’t be afraid to disconnect. Hide people on your fb feed, even if it’s just temporarily. Step away from the forums for a few days/weeks/months even. It’s ok to feel a bit crap about things and to remove yourself from the situation. Just take care to not become bitter about other people’s success.

3. Step away from Google!

Lord knows I am the worst for googling. I have been known as the Google queen at my past 3 jobs, for good reason. I will google the crap out of everything. But while some knowledge is power, it’s easy to get caught up in statistics and “cures” for whatever your personal cause of infertlity is. There’s nothing wrong with being armed with information, or trying alternative methods, but it’s all too easy to end up googling at 3am when you have to get up for work at 7 (definitely never something I have been guilty of…..ahem. I’ve had to self impose google bans on myself on more than one occasion because I’m driving myself crazy).

4. Distract yourself 

When you are waiting months upon months for anything to happen in your infertility journey, it’s easy to be consumed by it all. Everyone else is further along than you are. Everyone else has had successful treatment. Everyone else is on their next Step, while you’re still firmly in limboland with absolutely nothing on the horizon for the foreseeable future. Find something to distract yourself. A new hobby, reading, exercise, anything. I have a habit of spending hours searching forums for success stories or to see what people are doing who are going through it now. For me at least, this can make things worse. So I had to find something to distract myself. I take lots of walks with the dog and when I am in a slouchy internet mood, I go on reddit and find all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff to distract myself with. Whatever it is you decide to do, it will be a healthy way to think of something else while you wait.

5. Have fun!

Lastly, but most importantly, have fun. Infertility sucks. It’s draining. Its emotional. Its hard. Its expensive. It tests your limits. But, especially when you have a long wait ahead of you, it’s so important to make time for fun things. Holidays, days out, time with friends and family…whatever you enjoy. Don’t forget to be you still.

So there you have it. I’m not an expert and these may not work for everyone, but these are my top 5 tips for surviving infertility. It ain’t easy, I have found this whole thing so incredibly difficult for so many reasons, but these are what have stopped me from going insane. If anyone has any more ideas, I would love to hear them!

And the babies have arrived!

Not mine, obviously! C’s cousins both announced within weeks of each other early this year that they were expecting and they are both here now. And beautiful they are too. Gorgeous baby boys, who, despite only being about 4 weeks between them will actually grow up to be in different school years. Funny how that can be. Both mummies and babies doing well and it’s all very exciting. But. Of course. It is also a little bit shit too. I’m trying very hard to not let myself be completely consumed by this shit shower that is infertility and being too broke to do anything about it for the very far foreseeable future but it isn’t always easy. And I tend to only blog about it when I’m feeling crap so probably makes it seem to any reader that I am always negative and miserable but I’m not (honest!). And sometimes I think it’s ok to accept that you feel like crap sometimes. It’s hard. It’s miserable. And the never knowing if you will eventually be lucky enough to have a baby or not is the absolute worst thing. If someone was able to say “it’s gunna take 5 cycles of ivf but you will eventually be successful” or “i know it’s awful to deal with but it’s just never going to happen for you” or even “surprise mo fo’s!! You win the infertility jackpot and get preggo naturally, but it will take another year!” Then it would be oh so much easier to deal with. Some people say it’s the surprises that make life worth living and in some cases I absolutely agree but I would 1 billion percent like it to not be like that for this. 

But, sadly, these things are not things I can control at all. Something I can control, however, is doing something about my weight. My target is officially 1 stone off, although secretly it is 1 stone and 5lbs, which will put me squarely back to where I was before all of my huge weight gain. I’ve already lost a stone from my heaviest, but it has been up and down over the last 2 years. Happily, I am already half a stone down. Happy days!!! So, plan of action is 1. Lose weight 2. Save. And save. And save. 3. Get a super lucky first round positive ivf success. I’m all over this. 

Drumming up some positivity

So I have been pondering lately how rubbish IVF success rates are. I mean, really they are LOW. But then when I thought about it, in a given cycle there is only around a 20-25% chance of falling pregnant. Added to which our chances naturally are less than 1%. And suddenly that 30 odd% chance of success per cycle doesn’t seem quite so bad. Not ideal but not the worst it could be either. 

Hurry up genetic results and please be ok then roll on next July!!!!! 

Plan…..B?!

I mean I guess it might be plan B. Officially. Unofficially I must be on Plan W at least by now. So IVM, on further investigation, is A No Go. The success rates are just too low and the clinic we were looking at perform it under 10 times….a year. With a succes rate of 15%. So 1.5 people get pregnant a year from it!!! Haha. Ohh I love the way statistics don’t quite work sometimes lol. 

So. Back to IVF. I’m still a big fan of the mild IVF idea. I feel like now this is decided. Although C seems reluctant. Je really wants it to happen naturally (don’t we all!) and maybe it will. I certainly have plans to try some unconventional methods if I ever get this wrecked body of mine ovulating (soft cups and preseed anyone?!) but we need to face the fairly shitty statistics that it is almost certainly not going to happen. I feel like I write that every time. I reckon I probably do. Play another record girl! It is true though so if I want to repeat myself I will and neh neh neh neh neh you can’t stop me!!

In good news, I really feel as though I am starting to accept things now. The past few days I have felt much better and I did wonder if it was just one of those days I have had a few of where for one day (or more usually, part of one day) it has felt like it isn’t the end of the world. But this feeling seems to be settling in. Not that I think that it will be like this forever. I’m always one pregnancy announcement away from being upset. I am dreading any close friends announcing a pregnancy because I know it will hurt like hell which is horrible,because having a baby is amazing. But you can’t help how you feel. Anyway. As I was saying. For now I am feeling good. Positive in fact. I havent felt positivw for months. A little despondent that my body still. Won’t. Work! But positive. I really hope one day I will se a bfp again. And I am lucky to have seen two in my life and have my beautiful dd. I hope to god one day she can have a sibling but the idea of it never happening doesnt clutch a vice around my heart. At least not for the moment anyway. And I will take that!

We have less than 4 weeks now until our results at the clinic. I don’t get the point really cos although C had a hormone test, as far as I can tell it doesn’t matter if anything is low anyway cos they won’t treat it. Just this genetics thing I am worried about now, I wish they had explained it better so we had an idea of potential outcomes. I know they will tell us at the appointment if there is a problem but I am the kind of girl who likes to be able to plan for every eventuality (read: google the fuck out of every possible angle). Still, i’m sure it will soon come around. Just please let it be some good news for a change!!