My Birth Story – Part One

I’m going to try to keep this as concise as I can but at the same time I want to record the detail while I still remember it. So apologies, but this is going to be a long one!

So, toward the end of a fairly complicated pregnancy I developed itchy feet in the evening at 36+5 & told myself that if it was still bad in the morning I would call the triage number. The next morning the itching had gone & I forgot about it. That evening the itching returned (a sign of Obstetric Cholestasis (OC) is that it gets worse in the evenings). I called the triage number and they weren’t remotely concerned but said I could come in for the blood test to rule out OC & they would monitor the baby for an hour or so. I popped in, baby was fine & I went home & forgot about it. Enough had gone wrong with this pregnancy that I truely wasn’t expecting OC.

I remember every detail so vividly around this time. Twilight was so beautiful that evening that I took a (rubbish) photo on my phone. That was my last evening at home without my little lady.

20140618-113939-41979714.jpg

The next morning (37 weeks) a doctor called me and asked me to come back down for a liver function test as my bile salts were “a little high”. Still feeling pretty positive at this point I popped back to the hospital with the clothes on my back & a magazine.

When I arrived it soon became apparent that I would not be leaving the hospital without my baby. My bile salt level was 44. Over 10 = OC. Over 40 = deliver immediately. OC increases the risk of a still born baby so the treatment is to induce labour at 37 weeks to negate that risk. By this point it was about 4pm on the Monday. I was due to be scanned at University College Hospital in London’s fetal medicine unit the next morning as baby G had shown “prominent bowel loops” on the most recent scan at my local hospital & they wanted her to be checked out in order to decide where, when & how she should be delivered. The doctor informed me that that was now irrelevant as they would be inducing me first thing in the morning at my local hospital & the baby doctors would check on her once she was born. (They call them baby doctors instead of paediatricians, is this for the sad reason that I think it is?).

I was admitted on to the ward & my husband had to pack a bag for me. I text him a list that included a nighty but instead he brought me a pair of PJ bottoms without the matching top. When I complained he got all huffy and defensive & asked how he was supposed to know what a nighty was. In retrospect I think he was in a panic!

I settled into life on the ward quite nicely. The food was pretty atrocious, but there was lots of it & I didn’t have to prepare it or clean up after it so I was happy. My mum & dad came down & brought a takeaway curry for my husband as he’d come straight from work. I wasn’t jealous at all!

Here’s a tasty pic of my dinner:

20140618-111154-40314702.jpg
Admit it, you’re salivating!

The visitors had to leave at 10pm. I was monitored often throughout the night & given drugs to help with the itching. I tried to read my magazine but it was mocking me!

20140618-111320-40400225.jpg
Not great magazine, not great.

The following morning my husband “worked from home” at the hospital. Visiting hours started at 8am & he was a little late as he came via MacDonalds. (He put on a lot of weight during my pregnancy!) Shortly after he arrived at around 9am the midwife inserted a pessary to ripen the cervix that would stay in place for 24hrs. She explained that at 37+1 she did not expect this to start my labour & once it was removed they would give me a 6hr break before trying another one. In the meantime I just had to stay active as much as possible so we spent the morning pacing the hospital grounds.

Around midday I started to get sporadic, strong period pains that meant I needed to pause while I walked. I can vividly remember being in the hospital shop & grabbing hold of a display of chocolates & heavy breathing like a mad lady!

My parents came to visit in the evening & by the time they left around 8pm my contractions were 3 mins apart & rather uncomfortable. The midwives let my husband sleep in the chair next to my bed on the ward. They gave me paracetamol & I had a long soak in the bath. The midwife even came into the bathroom to monitor me so that I didn’t have to get out! They gave me some temazepam to help me sleep. It didn’t help. I certainly rested but with contractions every 3 minutes all night there wasn’t much sleep to be had.

At 5am I gave up & asked if I could have another bath as I’d been contracting every 3 mins all night. The midwife wanted to monitor baby first so we shut ourselves in the TV room so as not to wake the others on my ward & she monitored baby’s heart rate… Which was a little high for her liking. Any plans for a bath went out the window & she decided to examine me & remove the pessary a couple of hours early. That internal examination was the most painful moment of my life thus far! My cervix was so high up & far back that she had to get elbow deep to feel it. Must be due to my retroverted uterus. They use a little pack of lube but the pessary had made things so incredibly dry that no amount of lube in the world could help me. The midwife thought I was 3-4cm but as it was so far back she wanted a colleague to examine me to confirm. Fun times. When she left to find a colleague I had a little cry. I hadn’t slept & I couldn’t handle an internal, how could I possibly give birth?! The colleague was lovely & used 2 packs of lube. She confirmed 3-4cm and they agreed that it was time I went down to the delivery suite!

To be continued…

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

So much to say, so little time to say it…

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want to blog about my pregnancy & it’s many complications. The Polyhydramnios & Obstetric Cholestasis. I’d like to tell you my birth story. I need to fill you in on the first four-and-a-bit months of parenting, or talk about raising a baby with developmental dysplasia of the hip, who is in a pavlik harness. I could certainly talk about getting Mastitis. Twice.

I will do all of these things in time, when I have the time. But firstly it is about time that I introduce my little lady, Gabriella. She keeps me busy and I am so incredibly grateful for that. She is sweet and cheeky. She smiles so enthusiastically it’s like the top of her head might fall off. She’s developing a sense of humour & often laughs until she is sick or gets the hiccups. She is strong willed & fights every nap like a ninja. She won’t take a dummy, but would quite happily sleep with my nipple in her mouth at all times. She loves music and cuddles apart from when she is overtired, then she wants everyone to SHUT THE HELL UP AND STOP LOOKING AT HER.

We’re making this whole parenting lark up as we go and it is the hardest thing that we’ve ever done, but the reward everytime that our gorgeous, goofy little lady gives us a gummy smile makes every sleep-deprived second totally worth it.

World, meet Gabriella:

“And though she be but little, she is fierce”

20140616-102612-37572636.jpg

8 Comments

Filed under Gabriella

Pumpkin Smackdown 2013 – the Results Show!!!

It’s the moment that you’ve all been waiting for, the highlight of the year, the reason you got out of bed this morning. I am about to announce the winners of the #IFPumpkinSmackdown 2013!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (Who are you? Where have you been?!) you can read all about it here and you can read about some of the awesome prizes on offer here and here.

This totally awesome competition was the brain child of Barren Betty and Fertility Doll and I am honoured to have been named “Grand High Judge and Priestess”.

There were 36 entries in total… yep, you read that right, thirty six. Each and every single entry was absolutely brilliant. I hope that you all had as much fun carving them as I did judging. If you haven’t seen Betty’s post from last night, which showcased all 36 entries with some hilarious commentary from BB and FD, head on over there now. I’ll wait… No really, go and have a look.

When I saw the entries start to roll in I knew I would need to enlist the help of my family as my decision making skills are non-existent. So, without further ado, I give to you our verdict:

1. Lamest Pumpkin

This category sounded like a laugh and a joke at first but when it came to judging there just weren’t any lame pumpkins. Until…

infertility, pumpkin, endometriosis, ivf
@subfertilechick‘s entry made the whole Turtle family laugh out loud… but it’s a pretty lame pumpkin!

2. WTF Award

This was a very competitive category. @cantchoosewhen‘s entry is undeniably awesome. But it’s blue. And it has shoes. And wings. And a plaster on it’s head. And you can’t put a candle in it. So WTF is it? Art. That’s what. Art that gets a prize for making us all smile.

infertility, ivf, pumpkin

3. Best Infertility / Fertility Pumpkin Award

Again, this category was soooooo strong, it was almost impossible to choose. You’ll notice that the remaining categories are all won by infertility-related pumpkins. You guys have some mad carving skills but what you really excelled at was the back stories. And with that I give to you The Mutant Uterus:

infertility, pumpkin, ivf, mutant uterus

For those that didn’t see the backstory on this one, hop over to Eli’s blog post and check it out. Bring it indeed.

4. Best expression in show

This category came down to 2 pumpkins with awesome facial expressions. It was neck and neck. In the end Betty’s pumpkin pipped the other entry to the post due to the fact that she had sculpted her current mental state. I think we’ve all felt like this in those painfully long gaps between appointments and treatment:

infertility, ivf, pumpkin

Good work Betty, picking a category you knew you could win. Clever.

5. Almost won award

Picking this pumpkin took about 95% of our time last night. We narrowed it down to 10 and then Mr Turtle devised a complex scoring system a bit like the Formula One that he thought would help. It didn’t. Instead it got my dad ranting about how we could end up with a first place that none of us were individually that bothered about. I managed to steer him away from the route he was obviously about to go down re politics & philosophy and back to the drawing board we went. We narrowed it down again & got to the last 4 pumpkins. At this point we had to facetime a friend of my sister’s & get her in on the action. When I didn’t agree with her I decided as Grand High Judge and Priestess that her vote didn’t count anyway. She isn’t even a part of the Turtle family. I rudely ended the conversation before she steered it onto the cute kitty that she’d bought that day and we moved on. The winning pumpkin was the only pumpkin to get 2 first place votes (me and my dad, the philosopher) it’s infertility related, and it is beautiful:

infertility, ivf, pumpkin

@Theinfernalone‘s entry is beautifully carved and seriously awesome. Check out the backstory here.

And finally…

*drum roll*

…What you’ve all been waiting for…

The Grand Winner of Pumpkin Smackdown 2013 is…

*cut to commercial break*

*cut back to me, Immotile Turtle, dressed in a sparkly red dress with a plunging neckline & far too much boob on show*

As I was saying, the Grand Winner of Pumpkin Smackdown 2013 is

Pumpkina

infertility, ivf, pumpkin

You need to click that link. There is a whole storyboard. It starts off cutesy and light with a video & pictures of her nieces and nephews and then BAM picture 4 hits you right in the face. At this point in the judging my sister burst out crying and couldn’t reign it back in for a minute or two. I’m pretty sure my dad’s eyes were moist. That 4th picture is the story of each and every one of us here at some point in our lives, we’ve all been there, we all know how much it hurts and we all just want our little Pumkinis. Congratulations to @NewtoIVF, a worthy winner.

Well done you guys, this was totally amazing, and such a brilliant way to spend Halloween.

Betty is off on her holibobs now but will be in touch to arrange prizes on her return. Enjoy!

27 Comments

Filed under FUN

8-9 weeks pregnant and in need of (another) nap

Hey everybody,

I am writing this from the (dis)comfort of my bed. The windows are wide open, I am stark bollock naked (sorry!) & a fan is pointed directly at me on full blast. London is experiencing a heat wave like never before. My train journey home from work was the sweatiest experience of my life. We (Brits) seriously need to think long and hard about installing aircon in our public transport system.

The last couple of weeks have been a wonderful blur of exhaustion, nausea & hunger.

At 8w2d just before I went to bed I noticed the tiniest dot of brown on the toilet paper when I wiped and I spent some time trying to decide if it was a dot on the roll or it had come out of me. I decided it was nothing to do with me and thought nothing more of it. The following afternoon the same thing happened again while I was at work. At this point I had had no progesterone for 5 days & I was slightly concerned that I had been taken off it too early. I decided to leave work immediately & go straight to the early pregnancy unit at my local hospital. They did a quick (external!!!) ultrasound scan and confirmed all is well with the baby. Phew. My sister came in with me and got to see the heartbeat and sobbed uncontrollably. Very cute.

In very exciting news a REAL LIFE FRIEND is pregnant. It is VERY early days but she is the only person that I know IRL that has had any sort of fertility issues so we keep each other up to date with our progress. I couldn’t be happier for her. Long story short, it took her just under a year to fall pregnant. All was looking great at the 12wk scan with baby measuring on the 50th percentile. So she started telling people her news. At 13w5d she was rushed to A&E as her pregnancy was ectopic & her tube had ruptured. They just failed to notice this at her 12 weeks scan. The odds of an ectopic pregnancy making it this far are 1 in 30,000. The odds of this subsequent pregnancy being ectopic are 1 in 10. I’m holding my breath until her early scan at 6 weeks to confirm the location of this pregnancy. I feel good about it though, and I truly hope to be her bump buddy.

IVF and pregnancy loss leave people damaged and unable to enjoy pregnancy in the blissful ignorance that most of society can enjoy. We met for lunch the day after her BFP and promised each other that we would live more in the moment and enjoy each second of our pregnancies as if they’re our last. So right now I am enjoying it. It’s truly amazing. I feel dreadful most of the time and am prone to complain about the more unusual symptoms – like the fact that my left ear constantly needs to pop?! – however, I had started to believe that a child wasn’t in our future and actually the cause of all of this is a tiny little person created by me and my husband. I could not be happier, and I am so, so grateful.

4 Comments

Filed under pregnancy

5-7 weeks pregnant: blueberries to raspberries

I promise to update this blog regularly from now on.

When I first received the severe male factor diagnosis in 2011 I spent days at my desk pretending to work but in actual fact I was trawling the Internet for IVF blogs. My favourite ones were those that had similar problems to mine and then ended up with a baby. I learned not to fear IVF through reading about people’s experiences with it. I learnt so much and took so much from these blogs, they were an invaluable resource and they filled me with hope. If these women can get a happy ending then maybe one day I will too.

When the time came to start my own IVF treatment it seemed only fair that I should start my own blog and document my experience for others to learn from and refer to. It felt like giving something back to a community that I had taken so much from. And then my first cycle failed. And the depression hit. Big time. That was not conducive to blogging. And then I started cycle number 2 on a longer protocol and double the dosage. That was a very dark time. Again, not conducive to blogging.

And then I got pregnant. And I had all of these thoughts and feelings and emotions and I needed to let them out but I just couldn’t bring myself to write them as I didn’t want to upset anyone who is still in the trenches. I didn’t want to inadvertently complain about something and cause upset to a reader. But actually, this needs to be my story, start to finish. So I will document this pregnancy for posterity but also so that one day someone with severe male factor infertility, severe endometriosis, mild PCOS with one failed cycle under their belt who is almost incapable of making blastocysts will stumble across this blog and they will feel hope. If it can happen for me, it can happen for them. The only good quality blastocyst I have ever made has stuck it out this far. Let’s hope that it stays around for another 33 weeks.

I had my second scan yesterday at 7w2d and the baby is doing good. Scan pics will be posted here.

I was discharged from the IVF unit yesterday and I stop the progesterone tomorrow. Shit is seriously getting real. The depression is lifting and I am over the moon and so in love. Stick baby stick, mummy loves you so much already. X

3 Comments

Filed under pregnancy

4 years wed, 5 weeks pregnant

Howdy folks,

I haven’t really known what to say here of late. I’m at that really stressful inbetweeny phase that is essentially just a second two week wait straight off the back of the first one. I peed on a few sticks (9 in fact) and they were all varying shades of positive. As many of you know, I started bleeding on 6dp5dt so I tested & it was actually very faintly positive. The next morning it had got slightly lighter and I was concerned that this was a chemical pregnancy. The bleeding continued for next next couple of days and stopped at 9dp5dt, at which point the tests had finally started to get darker. I took 10dp5dt as a rest day and didn’t pee on anything and then on 11dp5dt, or OTD, I peed on the official stick and became officially pregnant!

I haven’t bled since, which has helped to calm my nerves enough to think that this could possibly be happening. I would kill for some symptoms right about now though for some reassurance. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to regret saying that! My first scan is booked for a week today at which point I will be 6w2d, so I assume that they will be checking for a heartbeat. If all goes well with that scan I may start to believe!

Infertility impacts the way that we mark the passing years. Birthdays are no longer an opportunity to see friends, get presents & feel loved. They are a reminder of our biological clocks. Christmases roll round and after the first couple of years spent TTC you get tired of hoping that “this time next year there might be a new addition”.

Tomorrow I will be celebrating my 4 year wedding anniversary. In spite of our troubles, these have been 4 good years. Here is a pic of us as a pair of blissfully ignorant 24 year olds, head over heels in love and optimistic for the future:

20130626-193337.jpg

At this point I still had 5 months of birth control pills in my possession, I knew that I would not be collecting any more pills at the end of that pack and assumed I’d be pregnant without having to worry too much about when I ovulated.

I ate whatever I want & enjoyed a hectic social life that on the whole, revolved around alcohol & bad food. More proof of that booze guzzling can be seen in a shot taken a little later on in the evening of our wedding reception:

20130626-194743.jpg

Since that fun-filled day there have been a lot of tears, many sleepless nights and lots and lots of waiting. We went from excited and optimistic to deflated and depressed. Somehow, through it all we have (just) retained our sanity and (mostly) kept smiles on our faces. We may not get through a bottle of wine with a nice carb-ridden dinner quite as often as we used to, but we have fun. This last pic is from our holiday in April. I have never felt more content in my whole life than I did on that tiny island. It truly was an escape from our infertility woes and it is a memory that I will treasure forever:

20130626-200741.jpg

So on our 3 year anniversary we celebrated with our first trip to the IVF hospital to discuss cycle number 1. It makes me a very happy lady to have made actual progress a year later. This has never happened before! On our 4 year anniversary I will be very cautiously, nervously, tentatively, a tiny bit pregnant. No matter what happens, I am going to celebrate this progress as I am the closest that I have ever been to the life that I have always dreamed of.

Wish me luck, I’m so afraid that I’ll wake up and it will all just be a dream!

24 Comments

Filed under IVF cycle 2

6dp5dt: Red blood, a faint BFP & an award

Long time no blog. Again. My absences have not been intentional and I can assure you that I am being equally lax about everything else in my life, if that helps? I’ve wanted to update you all on my progress but I. Just. Couldn’t.

On Monday morning WordPress notified me that it was the one year anniversary of my blog. As is typical of me at the moment, but atypical when I’m not drugged up on whore-moans, I took a miserable view of this anniversary and thought back to all of my hopes and expectations in the run up to IVF cycle one. This year has had plenty of highs but the lows have been the lowest that I have ever experienced. It’s been a very testing year and as I near the end of my IVF#2 2ww I can only hope that the next year is a brighter one.

I am currently PUPO with a grade 4bb blastocyst and a Morula. Last cycle I only had 2 Morulas. This is definite progress. Here they are:
infertility, ivf, icsi, endometriosis, 6dp5dt, infertility blog 2013, embryos, grade 4bb blastocyst, morula

It’s an awful pic, I was disappointed with it. The one of the left is the blastocyst & the one on the right that you can barely see is a morula. On day 3, 4 of the 6 embryos were looking good at 7, 8, 9 & 12 cells. On day 5 we had 2 Morulas, a 2cc blast and a 4bb blast. We agreed to transfer the two blasts. By the time of the transfer the 2cc blast had started to arrest so she put back the 4bb and one of the morulas. On day 6 nothing had made it to freeze. I think it’s that fact that put me back in my skunky funk.*

Then I noticed that Mrs But IF over at had nominated me for a Super Sweet Blogging Award. This could not be more appropriate right now given the ridiculous amount of carbs that I am craving and the batch of 24 cookies that I baked on Sunday and barely shared with anyone! I am letting this nomination be my motivation to get back in the chair and blog about things that aren’t all doom and gloom.

So here goes:

SUPER SWEET BLOGGING AWARD RULES

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.

Thank you Mrs But IF, I really appreciate this opportunity to blog about some other than my own misery! (And cramps, lots and lots of cramps).

Answer 5 super sweet questions.

Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in the blog post.

infertility, ivf, icsi, 6dp5dt, cramps, endo, endometriosis, infertility blog 2013

Nominate 12 other bloggers.

The questions:

1. COOKIES OR CAKE?

Can I have both please? Since the super speedy return of the endometrioma (sung to the tune of Return of The Mac, obvs) the endo diet has gone out of the window and I am once again a sugar-addicted monster. Try telling me not to eat cookies for breakfast, see what happens. I’m going to choose cookies because my homemade ones are so much better than my homemade cake.

2. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?

Chocolate. Always.

3. FAVOURITE SWEET TREAT?

My mum’s homemade scones with low sugar, lumpy raspberry Jam (Jello? Whatever the J in PBJ is) and lashings of super thick Cornish clotted cream. She made me a batch on embryo transfer day last cycle so for reasons somewhere between superstition and insanity I haven’t had any this time (see also: no facials or pedicures, as they are also possible reasons that last time didn’t work).

4. WHEN DO YOU CRAVE SWEET THINGS THE MOST?

When I’m awake.

5. SWEET NICKNAME?

At the moment Mr Turtle has taken to calling me mumma bear, which is pretty sickly sweet. That will sting if this cycle doesn’t work.

The nominations:

This has been the most fun part of this award. I decided to include a mixture of the blogs that I’ve been following for the past year as well as some new blogs and some blogs that are new to me. Some aren’t even infertility blogs would you believe it? I do not expect people to continue this chain mail but it got me sat upright and writing so I’m happy to be doing it. I do, however, recommend hitting up the below blogs, they are awesome. And in no particular order here they are:

1.
Ok this one may seem like a bit of a cheat as she nominated me BUT, read and tell me it’s not justified. She sums up so eloquently the difficulty in trying to live fully while balancing two possible futures that are the complete opposite of one another.

2.
Betty is fabulous. She will be attempting IVF cycle two shortly. Cycle one was a bit of a non-starter. She makes fantastic book recommendations when you need distractions during the IVF 2ww, and she draws fabulous (I’m hoping this wasn’t a one-off).

3.
Somehow this lady managed to get 4 eggs from 3 follicles. 2 eggs fertilised and she is having them put back tomorrow. Please follow her and wish her all the luck in the world for this, her second IVF cycle.

4.
Like me, she suffers with severe male factor infertility. She recently miscarried her first BFP from her second FET and she needs hugs. In spite of this she is a great support on Twitter @libhope.

5.
Sarah is newly pregnant after IVF#1 following 10 IUI BFNs. I like to read success stories when they are entertaining and not just gushy. Sarah does this well. And her cat is adorable/ an asshole, much like mine.

6.
Pregnant with “Turkey” and a new foster-mom to two girls after 4 miscarriages.

7.
Georgette recently suffered a chemical pregnancy and has 2 frosties on ice. Her blog has a ridiculous amount of useful info on immune issues, go take a look.

8.
Theresa cycled alongside me last summer and is the proud new mumma to IVF twins Abigail and Miles, you can catch her on Twitter at @runnergrl819, she’s pretty awesome and they are adorable.

9.
We cycled together last summer and she is now a proud new mum to a little IVF baby girl. We are diagnosis twin as her husband is severe male factor and she spots for the second half of her cycles just like me. How lucky are we?!

10.
Lydia is a relatively newbie blogger. She is currently on a short break after IUI#4 failed and her in-laws are crazy, just like mine.

11.
The best blog ever written about depression. Ally’s hilarious cartoons explain this awful condition so beautifully. I’ve spent a lot of time hunting for corn recently. There is no corn, I repeat, there is no corn.

12.
A food blog. For anyone attempting the Endo Diet or the Low GI diet this website is a godsend. Her raw brownies rock my world, as do so many others.

*tiny small print that you really should ignore…
I noticed a little blood on my liner today and tested and it was a faint BFP. I have never seen that second line in years and years of trying and I am terrified. Just when I calmed down and stopped shaking enough to question if this was really happening I started bleeding dark red blood. So far no clots, but it’s not spotting, it’s bleeding. Yuck. I really need this to be the start not the end. Pretty sure I’ll have a sleepless night before retesting in the morning. Wish me luck.

13 Comments

Filed under IVF cycle 2