Category Archives: IVF #1 – the aftermath

Two pregnancy announcements, two reactions

I was numb to my news, I blogged about that numbness and less than 24 hours later I was sobbing about it. It really is an emotional roller coaster this infertility lark. The floodgates opened and it all came pouring out. I was given the diagnosis on Monday afternoon and then I had a very busy week at work. On Saturday and Sunday I had far too much alone time, which meant that I had to really face how I was feeling. It turned out I was not feeling too great.

D had just calmed me down when I felt my iphone vibrate in my pocket. I took it out and would you believe it there was a 12 week scan photo staring back at me. Needless to say the iPhone was thrown across the bedroom and the sobbing started again. The scan pic belonged to a guy friend from our circle, one of the last few childless couples. Bad timing.

And then this evening I am home alone again after another busy day in the office. I checked my reader to see that Kim has got her BFP. I could not be happier. I think that this is Kim’s 5th cycle (2x fresh, 3x frosty).

I am going to use my happiness for Kim to send my friend a congratulatory text as I can’t quite muster up the genuine happiness for him just yet. It will come with time though, it always does. It just takes longer than it used to now that I’ve been stuck here for so long.

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The mixed emotions of a diagnosis

On Monday I was told that I have severe endometriosis and my left ovary is stuck to my uterus and my bowel. The surgeon actually briefly mentioned this immediately after the laparoscopy, but I was too groggy to take it in properly at the time. I couldn’t remember the precise wording that he had used and was hoping that they were wedged there, rather than stuck with adhesions. You know you’ve been in the trenches for too long when you’re hoping that your ovary is wedged between your bowel and your uterus. I had rather optimistically been googling “how do I move my ovary” which returned a disappointingly (but not unsuprisingly) low number of responses. But no, they’re stuck together with nasty black endo goop.

So far I have had no reaction to this news whatsoever. I am numb. I get up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, and then I start all over again. The repetitive, unstimulating work week has gone by and now I am sat home alone on a Saturday afternoon and I am trying to decide how I feel.

On the one hand, 50% of my ovaries don’t work. This is bad given that 99% of D’s swimmers don’t work. I do not like those odds.

On the other hand, 50% of my ovaries do work. That’s more than some people. I can still create a child that is biologically mine. I should be grateful for this.

The most confusing reaction that I am having is the overwhelming sense of relief. I always knew that there was something wrong with me. Not my borderline PCOS hormone profile, something bigger than that. When doctors asked me how painful AF was I used to comment on the subjective nature of the question and then mention that I needed to medicate for the first couple of days of my cycle. I’m not really one to dramatise my pain and I consider myself to have a high pain threshold. For a while now I had been concerned that endo had spread to my bowel as I was always very uncomfortable before a bowel movement. There is a small part of me that is pleased that I AM NOT GOING CRAZY and that I do know my body. I need to listen to my body more. My infertility struggles have taught me how to do this. I think D was really suprised with this diagnosis. He has been fetching me hot water bottles and watching me bloat up and struggle to fit into my clothes once a month for 13 years and yet I guess he must have thought that that was normal.

I remember being 9 years old on my sister’s first day of school. I couldn’t pick her up afterwards because I had severe AF pains and all I could do was lay on the sofa. I remember being 10 years old and bleeding through my towel at school. I told my teacher and she took me to the staff toilets for supplies. I was wearing a skirt and as we walked, blood started to run down my leg. That memory still freaks me out 18 years later. I wish the doctors had listened to me then. I wish that they cared as much about diet and lifestyle as they do about medicines and surgery. Most of all I wish that this next cycle gives me the family that I long for. Because it is a longing now, I long with every fibre of my being. I am ready to be a mother. Fuck you infertility.

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Laparascopy follow up: My sticky pelvic mess

Did anybody have the children’s book “Funny Bones” when they were growing up? It’s a classic. I loved it. The children that I may never have will certainly love it. It has a very repetitive rhythm and children can join in and chant along with their parents. Most of the book is devoted to a high level run down of the human skeleton that goes something like this “your knee bone’s connected to your… thigh bone, your thigh bone’s connected to your… hip bone” etc.

infertility, endometriosis, ivf, icsi, cyst, laparoscopy

It turns out that this does not only apply to bones. If you’re extremely (un)lucky this can apply to other body parts too. I met with my consultant this afternoon to have my post laparoscopy follow up appointment. So, my uterus is connected to my… left ovary… my left ovary’s connected to my… bowel. I have severe endometriosis on my left side and it’s all a bloody mess. The right is fine though, so that’s something to be grateful for. He drained the cyst on my left ovary and burned the side of the capsule that he could get to without damaging anything else. This means that the cyst will return all the more quickly. He gave me photos of my right ovary and before and after shots of the left ovary. The left one is still an endo-ridden mess, but it’s better than it was. He recommends starting IVF round 2 asap as he has guaranteed that it will come back quickly.

We discussed the endo diet and he said that any difference that it made would be a drop in the ocean given the severity of the adhesions that are already there. I’m not ready to give up on it yet though so I will persevere until my next cycle at least and see if it’s helping me to lose the weight.

So, now I am at the mercy of the ridiculous NHS appointments system. I have no idea when my next cycle will begin, but I would expect it to be around April time now, judging by last year’s waiting times. I’ll be doing the long protocol this time, which is what most people do. Does anyone know at what point in the cycle down regulating begins? Last time I went straight into stimming on day 2 of my cycle. This time it’s going to be far more involved.

In other news, I went back to work today. It was exhausting. This Laparoscopy really took the wind out of my sails. It is a major operation & I didn’t really realise that until I was unconscious on the toilet in my hospital room! I’m still walking at half speed and I’m still a bit bloated. I’m half expecting someone to ask me if I’m pregnant at some point. Not sure how I’ll react to that, although I expect violence is inevitable…

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I’m being haunted by my dream baby

I read a blog post last night that moved me. Please pop over and send love and positivity to IdioticInfertility as she has had a very tough past few days (weeks, months, years) and is feeling blue.

I read her post aloud to D while we were in bed. I cried as I explained how well she describes all of the negative, hopeless thoughts that rattle round my mind as I contemplate my next cycle. We discussed what an incredible support network the blogging community is and how much her posts and emails have cheered me on through my dark days. I really hope with all my heart that she gets her happy ending and I’ve never even met her. This got me imagining my own happy ending as I drifted off to sleep.

I had the most vivid dream that I have ever had in my life. It was so lifelike, I still struggle to believe that it didn’t actually happen. I had a newborn son. He was biologically ours and I had just given birth to him. The midwife put him in a little babygrow and handed him to me and I could feel his weight. She told me to try breastfeeding him and I could feel his gums on my nipple. I could smell him. I can still picture his face. And when I woke up this morning I had a full second of blissful happiness before reality hit. I do not have a child. It was a dream.

All day I have been daydreaming about this little boy. I feel like this need for a child that has been steadily growing in the pit of my stomach for the last 3 years has always been a faceless hunger. I wanted a baby but I couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t imagine myself being a mother. I just couldn’t believe that it might happen. I have been focusing on squashing my hope, burying it. I could hope for a BFP & if that ever happened then maybe I could hope for a heartbeat at 7 weeks, I could handle the hope in safe little increments, without ever getting too carried away.

This little guy has totally fucked that up. Now I need him. Now I can’t imagine life without him. Now I need to hurry up and book my next cycle and it needs to work.

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Snow: Make-up for the world

England looks gorgeous right now! I commented to D, who is a beer and football kind of guy, how gorgeous it looks and he responded with “snow is like make-up for the world”. I didn’t ridicule him for going all poetic on me, I just smiled. It really is, everything looks clean and pretty.

The infrastructure to deal with snow doesn’t exist here as we so rarely have heavy snowfall like this so close to London, so the country grinds to a halt. I literally could not have picked a better time to be housebound recovering from my laparoscopy as pretty much everybody else is off work too. We Brits often get mocked by people who live in snowier climbs for staying home with an inch of snow on the ground  so I thought I would show you the state of the roads by my house. There are actually a few inches of snow on the ground right now. Only the main roads have been gritted. There are no snow ploughs. In the below photo I am stood at a T juntion in my street. If you look carefully you can see the tyre marks. An excellent reason to stay home snuggled up with your families.

snow, infertility, ivf, icsi, endometriosis

D’s football keeps being called off so he has been around loads more than normal and I get to enjoy being looked after. He made me a breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs yesterday and served it up with a champagne flute of mineral water on the side – cute!

I had been sulking about not being able to go sledging as we last had snow this deep in the late eighties so it could be another 25 years before I get another chance. I can’t really use my stomach muscles at the moment as everything is still a bit tender and I’m too bloated to wear anything other than my PJs so D decided to wrap me up in a pair of his jogging bottoms and a hoodie over the top of my PJs and made this awesome snowman with me. It is the biggest snowman that I have ever made and I LOVE it! Normally, after snowfall in England, a snowman this size would mean that there would be no snow left on the ground, but we still had a couple of inches. I’d like to make a matching snowlady but I think it will start to melt soon.

photo

Other than playing in the snow, I also went to see Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Django, on Saturday night. I loved it. What a lovely weekend. And now I’m off work again all week – yay! This week should be much more fun than last week as I actually don’t feel too bad so I should be able to spend some time enjoying the freedom. I hope that you all had lovely weekends too. One week until my follow up consultation. Must keep busy! x

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A little peak inside my crazy brain

I started the week with a Laparoscopy and it’s got slowly better ever since!

I will post more about that once I’ve had the follow up consultation with the surgeon as it wasn’t as straightforward as they hoped & I don’t understand the implications, or whether further surgery is required prior to my next IVF cycle. I sincerely hope not as I learnt that:

Low blood pressure + general anaesthetic + a nurse that hurries me to pee so that I can go home = Hollie unconscious & not breathing on the toilet! Oops!

Since then my anxiety levels have been crazy high & although I’m exhausted I’m not getting enough sleep. When I do sleep I have really vivid, bizarre dreams. The hubster tells me not to tell people about my dreams as they didn’t actually happen and therefore aren’t remotely interesting. If you’re wondering where he draws the line with this logic he has never read a fiction but likes TV & films – go figure.

So, I figured I’d give you the bare bones of these dreams and we can all try to understand just how crazy I am:

Dream 1
There is a knock at the door and it is a lady carrying two newborns, one with a pink hat & one with a blue hat. They are our embryos from an IVF cycle that we decided to do with a surrogate as my body sucks. I knew that they were put in the surrogate and I knew that she got a BFP. I also knew that her scans had all gone well and when her due date was but I completely refused to acknowledge that I would get babies at the end of her pregnancy, I was only too aware of the things that can go wrong, so I protected myself. We hadn’t told a soul about the surrogate so that we wouldn’t need to tell anyone why there was no baby when things went wrong. When she turned up at our door to hand them over we had nothing, no crib or Moses basket or nappies (diapers). The girl filled her nappy pretty quickly so my mum had to run to the supermarket and buy new nappies and we had to sleep with them in our bed. A problem that I would so love to have!!

Dream 2
I only remember fractions of this dream. A friend that I went to school with and haven’t seen for a few years picked me up to take me somewhere. she was obviously pregnant. In real life she got married last year. When I got home another girl from school was in my bath (?!). She too had a bump. I happen to know that her 3 year old daughter was an IVF baby and that she was treated at my hospital. She said that she had conceived this new baby naturally after living on the endo diet since the birth of her daughter.

Dream 3
D was sat on our stairs completely naked having a chat with me. This is not unusual! The odd bit was that I noticed a cross between worms & maggots crawling out of his scrotum!! They were long and thin and really tiny & they were climbing out of a tiny hole one at a time & were wriggling around on the stairs. I freaked out & D looked embarrassed but said that it had happened before a few times & he had never seen a doctor about it. I decided that this was treatable & causing his infertility.

I think that these mainly boil down to me being one frustrated lady! I am frustrated that I may never have children and even if I do it will be a worry-filled pregnancy. I am frustrated by everybody but me being pregnant. I am frustrated that while I desperately search for the cause of our troubles, western medicine is only interested in circumventing the symptoms. Even though our diagnosis is severe male factor, D has never had to drop his trousers for an inspection, this maddens me. So much so that I would like to start a charity that researches causes of male factor infertility. Maybe I will one day.

I’m still managing to stick to the endo diet, it’s extremely difficult, but I’m doing it. I’m going to start doing weekly weigh ins & we’ll see if I can get to my pre IVF goal weight.

Wish me luck!

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Progress, at last!

Man have I been busy so far this year! It’s been year end at work so I worked two 15 hour days back to back & then worked from home on the Friday to chill out & recover. I’m not as resilient as I used to be & get worn out more quickly. Also, I was working at such a frantic pace for those 2 days that I only took a ten minute break each day to eat my lunch, which meant that my head was buzzing when I got home & it took forever to switch off enough to get a couple hours of sleep before starting again.

Year end is now done & the auditors won’t be here until the end of the month so I am using that window of opportunity to get my cyst removed. Yay! The pain around AF has been indescribable ever since the failed IVF cycle. I went into detail here and I have deliberately not harped on about it since, for fear of boring you all to tears, but every month I have experienced this pain that leaves me completely useless, writhing around in agony. It’s an 11 on the pain scale.

So, even though this will involve laparostic surgery (in through the belly button – eeeew!) under general anaesthetic, I am happy about it. Very happy. If I can just go back to mild disappointment every time AF comes along that would be great, as it is currently serving as a very powerful monthly reminder of how much I suck at making a baby!

At my WTF appointment the IVF consultant told me that endometriosis will be bypassed by the IVF so, even though the cyst meant that they couldn’t harvest any eggs from my left side, she didn’t want me to have a laparoscopy as she thought that they might take some healthy ovarian tissue with it. I made her refer me anyway & when I saw the consultant who will be doing the surgery he agreed with me & said that most IVF centres want the cysts gone before treatment. I am so glad that I fought to see him. I am just disappointed that I had to sob uncontrollably at the IVF doctor whilst telling her that I am tempted to just get a hysterectomy to avoid the pain before she would back down and refer me.

It’s scheduled for a week on Monday so that should mean that by my next AF I will be cyst-free, which is a very exciting prospect. I do not expect to be pain free, as I never have been, but I expect to be able to control the pain with painkillers again.

My resolution for 2013 is to really look after myself in a holistic manner. I will go back to see my acupuncturist & the crazy kinesiologist. I am also attempting the endo diet, to keep further cysts at bay. It is hardcore so I think my plan is to stick to it 80-90% of the time. Tomorrow I am going to go for a long run & I am really looking forward to that.

I am thinking of delaying cycle number 2 in order to get myself to a better place. Hopefully only by a few months, but I think that they could be very worthwhile months. I am considering seeing a doctor in NYC that believes that infertility is caused by bacterial infection which can be treated with antibiotic therapy. I want to be tested for that before putting my body through another cycle, as it is in a pretty bad place right now!

I plan to lose 18lbs before the next cycle – somebody pass me some grilled vegetables!! X

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