Category Archives: IVF cycle 2

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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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.

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IVF 2, Phase 3: Go!

Hello ladies,

I’ve been busy IVF’ing it up and generally feeling blue. The stim stage seemed to go pretty quickly this time because the DR stage took forever! They finally scanned me on day 19 of Buserelin & gave me the all clear to start stims on day 21.

Stimming went well, I was on double the dose from last time & I responded well. At my final scan I had 23 follicles. Unfortunately 15 of these were on the left side & the front runners were behind the endometrioma & therefore would not be accessible. They didn’t give any indication of expected numbers of eggs to collect but I was hoping for 15 and I got 12, so that was ok.

This morning I got the fertilisation report and of the 12, 8 were mature and 6 of those fertilised. somehow I’ve gone from 23 follicles to 6 embryos in a matter of days. Last time I had 3 embryos so on double the dosage I should expect double the embryos but I feel like they got my hopes up and now despite the good news I’m feeling somewhat deflated.

The weather is beautiful here for once so my sister and I spent the day in the sunshine chilling and having a nice time generally. I had been feeling fine but then this afternoon I got a bit crampy and spotted a lot & now I just want to go and hibernate for the next few weeks.

Tomorrow I go back to work and that may or may not be a good thing. I’m hoping for a day 5 transfer as that would be on Saturday and then I have the whole of next week booked off, but could be looking at a transfer on Thursday, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The timing of this cycle has been a bit crappy in that my due date from the first cycle would have been around now had it been successful. I may have avoided that if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m still keenly following the stories of my original cycle buddies and the birth stories are starting to roll in. I guess that could be me a few months down the line but right now I’m feeling too blah to believe that it could be.

I remember now that this is the worst bit. My mind is in total overdrive and I can’t shut it up.

Right now I have six little tiny potential babies in a lab in London and I’d really like the opportunity to become a parent to at least one of them. I don’t have the mental capacity to focus on much else. Wish me luck as I try to distract myself between now and Thursday’s progress report/ potential day 3 transfer.

Shit just got real. Again.

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IVF 2, Phase 2: Go!

There have been so many things going on recently that I have been avoiding writing a post for fear that my head may explode while I write. But here goes…

In January I had a laparoscopy to remove an endometriotic cyst. In my first IVF cycle the cyst had taken over my left ovary and I didn’t get any eggs from that side. The surgeon told me to start IVF 2 asap as the endometriosis is aggressive and the cyst will regrow. I initiated the process to get the ball rolling with the NHS for cycle 2 and then booked a holiday to fix my broken soul. The holiday was exactly what I needed. As the seaplane dropped us on a little platform in the middle of the Indian Ocean and a Dhoni collected us and took us to our tiny island I could feel all of my cares melting away immediately and it felt good.

infertility;ivf;depression;ivf2;male factor infertility;endometriosis

I smiled, I laughed, I relaxed. I enjoyed Ice Cream and alcohol for the first time in FOREVER. I swam with Whale Sharks, Turtles, Eagle Rays and Batfish. I sailed a Catamaran. It was the best holiday of my life and I am so glad that I took the time to recharge my emotional batteries. It was long overdue. The pic above is of me and Mr Turtle and there is NO FILTER. It actually looked like that!

AF got me the day that we got back home from this amazing holiday. I immediately rang the clinic and booked my cycle. I had to start with Buserelin on day 21 to start down regulating – something that I hadn’t had to do last time on the short protocol. Those 21 days felt almost as long and painful as a two week wait. I was a bundle of nerves and apprehension. The post-holiday blues were excruciating. I read a book called On The Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves to try to recapture some of my holiday happiness but I found myself wishing that my seaplane had crashed on the way home, and I really truly meant it.

The first 9 days of Buserelin injections passed slowly, but without many side effects and then all of a sudden BAM: I am a hormonal wreck. It is difficult to distinguish actual emotions and feelings from side effects. Some side effects are obvious. No amount of water could possibly quench my thirst. As I pause between sips I gasp for more and my mouth is dry. My head hurts. My boobs are huge and sensitive. My mouth tastes of metal. I can easily attribute these things to the drug. However, the side effect that is really getting to me now is the D-word. Buserelin can cause temporary depression or worsen existing depression. Unlike simply feeling thirsty, depression is not obviously a side effect of medication. If your face turning purple was a side effect and my face turned purple I could take comfort in the fact that it is a side effect of a drug and it will pass when I stop taking it. Depression on the other hand gets all up in my head and messes with me. It takes me to a dark place and offers no promise that I will come out the other side. It makes me doubt absolutely everything. I struggle to function and completing the simplest of tasks is incredibly difficult.

Stupid Stork linked to a fascinating blog on depression the other day. You can find it here and I highly recommend taking a look as Allie describes the bizarre lack of ability to function as a normal member of society in such an eloquent, beautiful way. I have found myself laying face down on various surfaces: my bed, the rug in the living room, the floor of the study, and I have a sort of out of body experience where I float up above myself, watch myself doing nothing, judge myself, and then continue to do nothing but berate myself in my head.

I worked from home on Thursday and Friday last week and when I say worked from home I mean I laid on the floor with my laptop somewhere in the vicinity and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I couldn’t concentrate at all, which is another side effect and I vowed that I would absolutely go in to the office on Monday morning and work so hard that I would make up for it. Monday morning came and I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It. So, off to the doctors I went. I cried and cried at the rather bemused doctor about how plenty of other women survive IVF just fine but that everything makes me cry and I can’t focus on anything or motivate myself to do anything and he passed me a tissue, gave me a sick note for a week and got me the hell out of his office as quickly as he possibly could.

Since then I have been in a pretty heavy shame spiral about how much better everybody else handles IVF. On day 17 of Buserelin injections I hit a blood vessel and gave myself my first ever IVF bruise. On day 19 of Buserelin injections I went in for my query scan and the doctor said that my retroverted, retroflexed uterus makes it really difficult to scan me. She’s the first doctor to admit that. Normally they just plough in there and really hurt me! My lining is nice and thin and my bloodwork looks good so I start stims tomorrow, 225 units of Gonal F. Finally some progress! I would be super happy about this gradutation to phase 2 of IVF 2 if it wasn’t for the fact that my evil left cyst has returned. They drained and burned the thing in January, when it was 2.4cm and already it is 2cm. I haven’t even started the FSH yet, I dread to think how big it will get this time.

So, if I have managed to complete this post without my head actually exploding everywhere this is definite progress and something to celebrate as it means that I was sat upright and focussed on one thing for long enough to complete a task. Maybe moving on to the next stage is dragging me out of this awfully funky headspace and maybe tomorrow I will actually achieve something around the house. Perhaps I’ll even go back to work next week for the distraction and to stop giving myself yet another reason to be disappointed and frustrated. Right now I plan to just take each day as it comes and try to look after myself. Hopefully I’ll be back to ‘normal’ soon, whatever that is.

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Just keep swimming

Hello everyone,

I hope that any Americans reading this are managing to dodge Mother’s Day.

I’m on day 10 of Buserelin injections and I’m getting fidgety. Last cycle, I did the short protocol. Rather unsurprisingly, it was short. This time I’m doing the long protocol. It’s looooong.

Last time, by now I had had 2 scans & was on the home stretch. This time, my first scan is not for another 9 days. It’s getting boring. You’d think I’d be good at waiting by now but I’m not.

My life has been on hold for 3.5 years and it’s getting tiresome, I want to move on to the next phase of my life… Or at very least the next phase of my treatment. So for now I am focussing on keeping my head above water and not letting myself be overwhelmed, which can be hard when it’s just.so.overwhelming.

On a positive note, menopausal May has not been noticeably menopausal yet. The only real side effect so far is that my boobs are ready to Incredible Hulk their way out of my skin. Hubs is happy.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekends and don’t work too hard next week, I know that I don’t intend to.

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The Infertility Lessons

Apparently it’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I figured that was as good a time as any to pull my head out of the sand that it has been buried in for the past 2 months. I start Burselin injections on 3rd May so I really need to accept that IVF cycle 2 is about to be all systems go…

If anybody fertile said “everything happens for a reason” in relation to my infertility I would knock them out. That said, I try to believe it because otherwise everything just seems so f*cking pointless. I’ve spent the last 3+ years on a quest of self improvement. I’ve lost 30 lbs, started an English degree, explored the possibilities of other careers & put the wheels in motion so that one day I can escape my day job. I’ve discovered running, yoga, pilates & kung fu. I joined a fancy gym with a nice pool. I’ve hired a cleaner and had a clear out. I’ve discovered slow cooking, I make better use of my freezer & do grocery shopping online. My diet is now dairy free, gluten free & sugar free. I feel like I’m running out of things to get better at.

I had a moment of clarity this morning when I was going through this list in my head and thinking what else I could possibly work on before motherhood & then I realised the thing that has been going on in the background this whole time: my relationship with my husband has evolved.

To put things into perspective, I will have been with my husband for 13 years in September, we’re pretty tight. But things are better now. So much better.

We got together when I was 15 & he was 16. We were two fiesty, loud, opinionated teenagers and looking back it amazes me that we made it through those first few years. Everything was so incredibly intense. I loved him so much I could strangle him. His opinion mattered so much to me that when we disagreed it drove me crazy. Our fights were heated & loud. We’d laugh til we cried & we spent every second of every day together. He is incredibly funny and silly but he’s also completely able to blend in and behave, which I am not & never have been able to.

I commented once that I felt like the infertility had fundamentally changed me and made me less sparkly. Actually, I think I sparkle more. At least when I’m with him. Perhaps only when I’m with him – my friendships are suffering as a result of all the babies that my friends keep having!

Since we started this journey my cousin’s wife died of ovarian cancer aged 33, my house flooded & we had to move out for 8 weeks while it was completely renovated (I love you house insurance!) and Mr Turtle lost his job & was unemployed for 6 weeks.

What I’ve realised is that if you can function each day, holding down a stressful and high-powered job in the city managing a team of people over two continents when your entire world is falling apart, things don’t get any more difficult. When life is as hard as it gets, it doesn’t get harder. I’ve learnt what is important to me & I’ve learnt that while we disagree on small things we are completely and absolutely in alignment on the big things.

I love how he just has to take one look at me on a bad day & he’ll fetch me a hot water bottle. I love that he’ll help me cook weird and wonderful meals to fit in with my ridiculous dietary requirements & I love that he’ll then go and eat fish and chips with his mates when I’m not looking.

I love that he’s given up booze again in the run up to this cycle & is back in the swing of exercising every day before work (and he’s getting buff – think Eminem in the “Love the way you lie” video. Mmmm)

I love that although he doesn’t do fiction he read through my first creative writing assignment really carefully and made some amazingly astute observations and suggested improvements. I feel like I am one half of a team that would be incredible parents, or incredible fun buddies who travel the world leaving chaos in our midst. If there is only one thing I can be completely and utterly certain on it is him.

We don’t need to fight anymore. There is nothing on this earth worth fighting over.

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IVF Round Two… Go!

What a week: Pancake day, Valentines day, my first run post-op – man did that feel good – and then my appointment letter came through for my next IVF cycle!!!

Pancake day
Is pancake day a thing outside of the UK? I was considering just ignoring it given that I’m sticking to The Endo Diet but I found a recipe for gluten free, dairy free pancakes that consisted of 1 mashed banana & 2 eggs cooked in a little coconut oil. YUM!

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I covered it in pecans, cocoa nibs & agave syrup & it was DELISH.

Valentines Day
This consisted of a trip to see Die Hard & a card from D that made me cry. Inside he wrote some really sweet things & at the end he put ‘don’t ever change’ *sob*.

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And finally, in 10 days I will be discussing round 2 with the IVF hospital. This means that I could start as early as April, although I think I’ll actually be starting in May because of my holiday. I am excited and am focusing on getting my body back in shape between now and then.

Things are finally moving again! X

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