Tag Archives: male factor infertility

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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Filed under IVF cycle 2

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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Filed under IVF cycle 2

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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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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Filed under IVF #1 - the aftermath

2013?… Oh go on then

Goodbye 2012, year of incredible highs and horrific lows. Never have I felt so many conflicting, vivid, passionate emotions in the space of an hour, let alone a year.

Waving goodbye to 2012 means leaving behind the year that we had our first failed IVF attempt, I had my first proper infertility related meltdown, and the year that I found out that I most likely have endometriosis.

Sounds like a year that would be very easy to let go of doesn’t it? In some ways it is and I can’t help but think that it would be hard for 2013 to be worse, but then I wonder how much harder IVF #2 will be, as it’s going to be a longer, higher dose protocol. I wonder how much harder it will be to dust myself off and try again after cycle #2. I am scared to let go of 2012 & throw myself into another cycle. I can’t bare the thought of letting that evil bitch hope creep back in.

2012 had some really excellent moments that I will remember forever as the highs that made living through the lows worthwhile. In February, work sent me to New York for a few days. When I arrived in the office for the first time my colleague that I speak to every day but had never met rushed over and hugged me and had baked me a cake. I managed to contain the rush of happy tears that I could feel creeping up on me. That moment reminded me that I am a good, nice person who makes friends easily. My husband flew out with me and we extended the trip by a few days and took in lots of sights, I was 2 months off clomid & just starting to feel like me again, I suppose it was the first of many turning points.

In April, my mum turned 50 & we went on a family holiday to a tiny island in the Maldives. It was by far the best week of my life. Every second of the entire week was too good to be true. I will treasure the memories forever. The turtle part of my blog name comes from the last afternoon spent in the Indian Ocean when I swam alongside a turtle with my sister and husband for at least 15 minutes. I had never seen one in the wild before and it was just incredible. (Immotile being a memory of the worst day of my life thus far – when we were given the severe male factor diagnosis).

In August we flew to Rome for a long weekend of indulgence before starting the cycle. We ate ice cream twice daily & ate pasta washed down with red wine from wine glasses the size of my head. It was exactly what we needed to relax.

I confided in a few people about my cycle and their response was so much kinder than I could have hoped for.

I had 6 counselling sessions with a therapist that totally got me. She helped me picture happy endings that don’t include children. I know that this current state of hoping and wondering and crushing disappointment is not forever, no matter what the outcome, life will get better again.

As I leave 2012 behind, I start 2013 laying in bed next to the man of my dreams, the man who runs me baths & fetches me hot water bottles & makes me hot water and lemon at the first sign of a painful cramp. He is there through all of the bad times and he will be there for the good too, my fun sidekick.

We’re starting to make plans for 2013 and so far they involve visiting another Maldivian Island, doing a road trip down the Westcoast of America and my first ever skiing holiday. I am excited to get started with these things and I suppose that cycle #2 will be the rough that goes with the smooth.

I hope that every single one of us has the 2013 that we wish for, whatever it looks like. We certainly deserve it!

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Filed under IVF #1 - the aftermath

A different kind of hope?

Hey everybody,

I think I have had an epiphany!

I’ve been thinking about my future ever since my last counselling appointment and I’ve realised that if I don’t have children (melodramatic after one IVF cycle, I know – but bare with me) it might not be shit.

Only might not, but that’s way better than the previous option which was either definitely will, or at my lowest point once my last friend has a baby I’ll drown myself/leap in front of a train. Now that I’m being a bit more rational I can see how happy I am at times even now right in the middle of all of this shitiness. It won’t be like this forever. Even if it keeps failing, one day I will stop trying. Then that son of a bitch hope will stop messing with me & I can move on to the next phase of my life.

In trying to avoid the hurt that comes with hoping that I will one day have children, I had shut out any kind of hope. Now I am slowly allowing little bits of hope to creep back in, like hoping that I will have a happy future. It doesn’t have to look the way that I thought it would, as long as it’s fun.

Obviously it goes without saying that I desperately want children. I certainly wouldn’t put myself through another cycle if I didn’t. But this way, as I start thinking about getting ready for cycle number 2, it feels less like life or death than it did last time around.

Epiphanies are good like that!

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