I haven’t written for a while and it shows. I’m really struggling this time. On the outside I look fine but in reality I don’t think I’m coping at all.

5 years ago, I was so happy. In fact, 4 years ago to this day, I was happy. I was still on honeymoon. Still positive. Still confident. Still blissfully naive. Still pregnant.

Everything else in my life is suffering now. 2 months of no work and no pay. I’ve only just got back to college and I haven’t been at the nursery much at all. The one day I did go was a total disaster. Hint: being around 45 toddlers isn’t the greatest idea after you’ve just lost twins.

I’m crying all the time. If I’m not crying, I’m feeling shitty anyway.

I don’t feel like me anymore.

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Grief

Grief

I’m feeling it today. I’ve been so conscious of physically recovering from my surgery that I think I neglected to think about what else it meant.

I lost my baby. Again.

I saw another pregnancy announcement on FB today and it hurt. It’s been a while since one really affected me. But today just felt different for some reason.

I was so close. I hadn’t been pregnant in so long that I forgot how 2 little lines on a stick could make me feel so much joy.

I had twins. Twins. And just like that, they’re both gone.

It’s fucking shit.

Ectopic

Ectopic

As most of you know, I suffered my 6th miscarriage on the 30th December 2018. My blood test on New Year’s Eve confirmed it. My levels were still really high (2000) so although the miscarriage was confirmed, they still wanted to follow up with me in a few days.

9th January, I had my blood taken again. A few hours later I got the call to say my levels had shot up to 8000 (for people that don’t understand all the numbers/lingo, that basically means there’s a baby in there somewhere). They wanted me scanned the next day. It was either a viable pregnancy or an ectopic.

Exactly 4 weeks after I had my 2 embryos transferred, I found out that both our little beans had taken, and sadly, both wouldn’t survive.

It was ectopic.

Twin number two was sitting happily and healthily in my tube. Why did you have to move little one? You went the wrong way! You were so close…

I had the surgery to remove the baby and my right tube yesterday morning. I feel ok. I’m obviously devastated, but I’m okay. Does that make sense? I’m trying to look at the positives. My right tube was already damaged (check post ‘Twisted Cyst’) so it’s better than losing my left one. Means I still have one fully functioning Grade A tube. And the biggest positive – our baby was breathing and growing. They were alive. That means it worked and I carried. If the baby had been in my uterus, I would be still be pregnant right now. I know some of you probably think that’s difficult to think of. And to be honest, when I first heard it, it broke my heart. Why did I need to know that they were still breathing? Was that really important?

But it was. It gives me – and my husband – hope.

And hey, look at it this way; next transfer means 1 less tube for the silly buggers to go in to. Next time, they’ll stay right where they belong. Next time it’ll work. I know it.

**Also, I’d like to mention how fantastic the care was from the Doctors, Nurses, Anaesthetists and Students at Glasgow Royal Infirimary. I was really taken care of. And of course to the ladies at the ACS suite.

Perspective

Perspective

I’ve been trying to have a baby for over 4 years. In that time I’ve had 5 miscarriages (6 overall) and went through 2 attempts at IVF. I am still no closer to the end goal.

I’ve been pregnant in 4 different hospitals and 3 different countries. But shockingly I’ve yet to give birth in even one country.

I’ve injected myself around 70 times and used roughly 50 delightful little pessaries. I’ve used nasal sprays, tablets and needles to prepare myself for a pregnancy that ended too soon.

My weight has fluctuated and my trousers have went from perfectly fitting, to loose, to tight and back again.

I’ve snapped at my loved ones and judged strangers for being (in my emotional/irrational eyes) less deserving of a baby than me.

But…. it’s all about perspective right?

In those 4 years I’ve also travelled to 8 different countries with my favourite people. I’ve watched my husband become more successful and happy in his career and I myself have pursued a career that I genuinely love. I continue to grow closer to my stepson each day and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I look around me and see unhappy couples having babies and living mundane, unhappy lives and I realise that I’m actually the lucky one. I might not have my own child yet, but I have all the love and excitement I could ever need.

2019 might bring a baby. But, then again it might not. And who cares?

I have everything I could ever need and I would never dream of trading lives with anyone else.

Miscarriage

Miscarriage

It was confirmed this morning that we miscarried again.

I passed a pretty big bit of tissue yesterday morning so I was already relatively prepared for the worse. I walked in to the room calm, ready and dry eyed.

But the minute she scanned me everything changed. Subconsciously there must have still been some glimmer of hope. But when she told me there was nothing left I broke down.

I’m heartbroken.

But I’ve got though it before and I’ll get through it again.

I am superwoman.

Worries

Worries

I’ve been going back and forth about whether I should post this or not. I worry if I sat it, I will jinx it.

I got a positive last night. And a stronger one again this morning.

I thought I would be happy. But in reality I’m terrified. I’ve had light pink spotting and cramping since last night.

I’ve waited so long for this and for the past 8 days I’ve been hoping to see a positive result but now I’m just so scared. I don’t want this to be over again. I’m not ready to deal with another loss.

I haven’t told hubby about the spotting as he’s at work and he’s insanely busy just now. I don’t want to put my fears on to him yet. So I’m reaching out to my friends here.

Deja Vu

Deja Vu

I think if you ask a non-IVFer what the hardest part of all this process is, they’ll say its the injections, that it must be really difficult to jag yourself every day over and over again. But, in reality that’s probably the easiest part of the whole thing.

I have my second transfer tomorrow and I’m terrified. As the date grows closer, I’ve found myself struggling to sleep. I’m having dreams where I find out the transfer failed again. (I guess they’re more like nightmares then?)

The emotional side of IVF is so much more difficult than any injection could ever be. My hormones are all over the place and I’m an even mixture of excited, apprehensive and just plain scared.

I never imagined I would need another transfer. I always thought I’d get pregnant first time and I’d get my happy ending.

Going in to this 2nd round, I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been.

IVF 10-Step Survival Guide

IVF 10-Step Survival Guide

I’ve put together this handly little guide for anyone who’s about to start IVF or anyone that’s even curious as to what it’s all about. I imagine this guide will become so successful that in the near future it will become compulsory reading in all clinics.

Bear in mind, I’m an NHS funded IVFer so some of my experiences differ, although most will still be roughly the same (especially the dreaded pessaries – more on them later)

1. How many? NHS in Scotland offer 3 fully funded tries. Once you have your baby (whether that be first, second or third attempt) you don’t get any more shots at it. You’re free to take your eggs (if you have any) to a private clinic though.

2. The wait. From my GP referral to my first transfer date, the whole process took about a year. Most of the early stuff is filled with paperwork and having blood taken (seriously, the blood thing gets old). The juicy stuff starts around 9,10 months in.

3. Injections. There’s a few different types you take and I’ll be sure to list all the boring technical rubbish at the bottom. I was dreading these. For a reasonably heavily tattooed woman, I fucking hate needles. But actually, they were fine. I managed to do most myself and I barely felt them. You might get bruising but it’s nothing to worry about. Tip: It’s easier if you sit down and give yourself a little jelly belly so you can pinch easier.

4. Injections. Yup injections again because I lied a little. Not ALL are as nice as each other. “Clexane” is a blood thinning little shit and I shall refer to it as “him” because that’s how much of an irritating little shit he was. Like a little brother or rebound ex boyfriend that you dumped as soon as the alcohol wore off. He stings and itches like hell. Just remember he’s not permanent and you can rejoice by throwing him away the second he’s served his purpose.

5. Don’t make plans. If you do, be prepared to either change them or postpone your treatment. We flew to Greece on the day I was supposed to start my injections so our date had to be pushed back a month. We’ve also had to cancel birthday parties and lunch plans because of IVF. A lot of appointments are last minute and follow-ups depend on how you respond to treatment so there’s not always definite dates for you to follow.

6. Be prepared. If there’s something you really CAN’T cancel, then be prepared to find yourself in the most obscure situations – cue standing in a (hopefully) deserted hallway of a very fancy wedding venue while lifting a floor length fishtail gown up to your armpits while your partner whips out the needle and shoves it in. *cough* “That’s what she said”

7. Egg Retrieval. Admittedly I was shitting myself for retrieval and the aftermath. The process itself was painless (it obviously helped that I was out my face on drugs – the prescribed kind of course) but afterwards I did have a little pain. My tummy was tender and I felt huge. I spent the day in bed feeling sorry for myself, but was back to normal 2 days later. I was lucky enough to have enough egg reserve that I won’t need to retrieve anymore anytime soon.

8. Side effects. Either I didn’t suffer too much or I’m already a crazy bitch but whatever the reason, I didn’t find the side effects too bad. The bloating was pretty bad and I had a few days here and there where I felt a little low or a little short tempered but honestly no more than my usual PMS (again maybe this is dependant on what I took so I’ll add it at the bottom). I was expecting the worst but what I got was far from that. Really, I was a little angel. Hubby would agree, right babe?

9. Transfer. I loved this part. For me, it was the most exciting part of the process. We watched as our embryo was implanted in and got to watch the entire process. It was completely painless before, during and after. Whatever happens through your whole IVF experience, I guarantee you will look back at that moment fondly.

10. Pessaries. The thing you definitely won’t look back at fondly. I like to refer to them as “The Devil’s little hand maidens”. My husband has helped clean me after a miscarriage; he has removed vomit soaked clothing after too much wine and I’ll hold my hands up – he’s seen me poop – but the pessaries are even too much for him to witness. You pop them up your bits (a bit like a tampon, although a tampon doesn’t shed it’s skin on to your pants 30 seconds later). I often imagine an alternate universe where Clexane and Pessaries are sharing a bottle of wine and laughing hysterically at the shit they do to us. The little bastards. Tips for pessaries: wear a pad, not a panty liner because no matter what Google says, a panty liner is no fucking good. Don’t wear good pants unless you want them forever caked in white plastic discharge. NEVER show your partner (trust me, they don’t want to see it). Some people will recommend going through the back door but to be honest both options are equally crappy (scuse the pun)

Now that you have my handy tips on how to get through it, I hope you’ll all enjoy your IVF journey. It might be a royal pain in the arse at times but I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s been, and continues to be an amazing experience.

********

The boring stuff:

Injections: menopur 150 twice a day. Cetrotide 0.25 once a day taking the place of the evening menopur dose. Clexane (not used in ALL fresh cycles but I have a history of RMC). Once a day.

Tablets: frozen cycle I was on 6mg of progynova (2mg 3x a day)

Nasal spray: frozen cycle I had to take this 4 times a day at specific times. It replaces an injection but unfortunately tastes like shit.

Booster injection: ovitrelle. One injection at a specific time.

Pessaries: cyclogest 400mg. Twice a day. The bastards.

Ring Girl

Ring Girl

Ding ding, Round 2! I sometimes wonder if people would be less inclined to question my childless status if I had a ring girl following me around with what stage of IVF I was in.

Round 1 – Awaiting transfer. Relatively calm. Preparing for her next move.

Round 2 – 2dpt. Waiting impatiently to pee on a stick. Stay the f**k away.

I find it funny how people react when I tell them I’m having IVF. Their reactions can usually be grouped in to 3 sections:

Pity Party – “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry. Is it you that has the problem? Your husband? Oh my, that’s such a shame. You poor thing. So brave.” (Listen, I’ve woken my husband from a very sound sleep on more than one occasion to get rid of a spider who was doing nothing but minding his own business. I am NOT brave.)

It’s All Relative – My personal favourite. “Oh my aunt/cousin/bridesmaid/boss/cleaners 3rd cousin twice removed dog walkers boyfriends sister went through IVF. Hers never worked but I’m sure you’ll be just fiiiiiiine” You don’t need to prove to me that you understand the process because you know someone that went through it (trust me, it’s not the same) and if you don’t have a story with a positive outcome – don’t bloody tell me it! (Where’s my ring girl when I need her?)

Is there a doctor in the house? – It appears there is yes. Or they MUST have studied for at least a few years otherwise surely they wouldn’t be giving out this invaluable medical advice? “It’s because you’re stressed. You should relax and then it’ll work”. “It’s too much pressure”. Gee. Thanks Doc. Problem solved. Because that’s what they think I have. A problem. A problem that every Tom, Dick and grossly unqualified Harry like to try and fix.

A problem is defined as a harmful situation that needs to be dealt with. That is not what I have. I prefer the term ‘hiccup’. A temporary setback. That’s all it is.

Because I know this won’t be forever.