Friday, February 26, 2016

TWW 1 - Day 3

How can it only be day 3?  This is ridiculous.  My brain has scrambled over all of the possible permutations and my emotions are being tossed about like a little dinghy on a rough sea.  What if I am?  What if I'm not?  Of course I'm not.  I'll probably never be.  What if I am?  Repeat.

I've joined a couple of forum/discussion group things which are both helpful and unhelpful.  Unhelpful because I now see a cadre of women pursuing single motherhood; and, because of how the boards are broken down I'm in the 'Trying to Conceive' group.  Once a woman is pregnant, she may move to the pregnancy discussion boards.  This means the women in 'Trying to Conceive' are all, well, trying to conceive.  And that some have been at it for quite some time.  I see women who have had 6 IUI or more and numerous IVF attempts and frozen embryo transfers.  This is perhaps a bit disheartening as I've only had one measly IUI.  Of course those who have moved on may not have as many tries, but they aren't on the boards I'm tending to read at the moment.

Then in reading older posts, I saw someone had posted a link to an article that talks about how after you turn 35, the likelihood of embryos with abnormal chromosomal numbers increased regularly.  So of course since I'm 41 this was also disheartening and made me think that there is simply no chance that this is going to work at all.

But then I was on Facebook and I saw that a number of people I know who are similarly aged to me have babies.  So it's not so unusual among my peer group to be late 30's, early 40's and be having your first child.

As I said, this is only day 3 for fuck's sake.

I'm already trying to determine how it will work to immediately start the next cycle.  According to the clinic, my period is due on the 9th of March (if it's coming).  They want me to take a pregnancy test regardless of bleeding on the 11th of March.  I am unfortunately away from home on the 10th, 11th, and 12th.  This means that it may not be possible for me to arrange a drug delivery in time, or go for my first scan in time to start the next cycle for March.  If my period comes later than the 9th, for example on the 10th or 11th, I could go for a scan on Monday the 14th which will be day 4 or 5 of that cycle.  I could also call in advance so the drugs are delivered to my office on that Monday and be set to inject that evening.  However, if my period starts on the 9th, Monday will be day 6 and I think this is too late for the first scan, although obviously I will check with the clinic.  So I'm hoping that, assuming this cycle has not been successful, my period sticks to it's somewhat longer schedule and comes a bit later in that week and not earlier as I don't really want to delay by a month.  But obviously I will if I have to.

Wouldn't it all be so much easier (for any number of reasons) if this first cycle actually worked?  Wouldn't that be amazing??

But, it probably hasn't.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

IUI 1 - Insemination

Here I am at the clinic waiting for my taxi to take me back to work. Is this for real?? Holy shit. I'm back to feeling terrified. But also skeptical, incredulous, in denial, etc.  I'm feeling a lot, but I can't put my finger on any one particular feeling.  Really it's a bit overwhelming and then all of the sudden at the same time it's so overwhelming I can't think about it at all.

I did the trigger last night at 6pm. Managed to not open one of the glass vials very well and it made a bit of a mess as when the top came off it crushed.  But it was okay.  I started to get a bit freaked out about the timing of the trigger versus the timing of the insemination today as they were scheduled for 20 hours apart.  On the internet, which you should never read for medical advice, there are so many women freaking out about the timing of these two things.  Basically the trigger starts the ovulation process, but it takes time.  Both the egg and sperm have certain lifespans and ideally you want those things to match up.  When I did egg freezing, the procedure was 35 hours after the trigger (I think) so this sort of freaked me out and I went for the earliest time they told me.  However, I asked the doctor about this at the procedure and she was extremely reassuring about success rates of 20 hour versus 35 hour (which is to say, they're basically the same) and that they believe they don't want to miss the egg window so better to go early.  Fine by me.

Anyway, I took a taxi to the clinic from work. They told me to be here at 1:45 and of course I was early. But they were running late. So I didn't go in until probably 2:15. No one else was in the recovery room and I had a cubicle to myself.  Jeans and underwear came off and a hospital robe went on the front.  I got to hold it together at the back which is always fun. The doctor and trainee doctor came in and explained the procedure. I think it took longer to explain then do!

We went into the procedure room and I got on the table. The lead doctor had an ultrasound on my tummy to watch the procedure and try to see the ovary. She couldn't see the follicle, which could mean it already started to release, or she just couldn't see it from that angle. The trainee doctor put in the speculum and cleaned the womb entrance with sterile water. A tiny catheter was put into the womb and then the embryologist passes over the prepared sperm. This was connected to the catheter, injected, and all was done!  The catheter was so tiny I didn't have any cramping at all.  Not like the Hycosi at all.  In fact, I didn't even know the catheter was inserted.

Now the waiting begins.  Since the egg may or may not be released yet, there is still some time (say, 24 hours) for it even to become fertilized.  Then it takes some time to properly implant.  I need a progesterone test in a week to verify l ovulated, although I can't imagine I didn't.  Then they gave me a home pregnancy test to take on the 11th of March.  This is actually a bit more than 2 weeks which sort of sucks.  I'm sure the waiting is going to be emotionally taxing.

But really, as the doctor said, that's all there is to it. She made an effort to express to me that there is pretty much nothing I can do at this point that will change the outcome.  She said, if I have a doubt about something, I shouldn't do it.  But not because it will make a difference, but more because it will make a difference to how I feel and my stress levels.  She said to keep taking vitamins and wait.

So that's pretty much all I can do....

In the meantime, assuming this cycle doesn't work, I asked about when I could order the drugs for the next cycle.  They said to call on the first day of my period if it starts and hopefully I could get the drugs and come in for a scan on day 4.  So.... obviously there's a much greater likelihood that this will be the case as opposed to the alternative.

Monday, February 22, 2016

IUI 1 - Day 11 Scan, Trigger (I think)

I'm waiting for the clinic to call me with the timings for what should be my trigger shot this evening, and the time for my IUI procedure tomorrow morning/early afternoon.  It's almost 3pm and I'm still waiting.... frustrating.

The scan this morning was fine.  I've been feeling some crampy 'fullness' in my right side which is the side my ovary is on.  I don't usually get pre-period feelings of any kind, so it's been a bit weird to feel my right side, particularly as this isn't really a stimulation cycle like it was for egg freezing.  Here there's only one good follicle. So why all the pressure??  Maybe it's just the drugs working.

At any rate, the scan showed my uterine lining continuing to grow as desired and a straight line growth of the one good follicle which was at 14mm on Friday and is now 18/19mm this morning.  The nurse said this means my trigger should be tonight and the IUI tomorrow.  We went through how to mix up the Pregnyl which is a bit fussy.  You have to snap tiny glass vials and do the whole powder/water mixing thing.  I asked why they use Pregnyl instead of Ovitrelle and the nurse said that based on their very limited numbers, they had better results with Pregnyl.  So that was good enough for me!  Even if it does come in an easier to use syringe.  I'm sure it will be fine.  If I think about it, I might take pictures of these teeny tiny vials.

The main thing I'm waiting to hear other than the timings for things is whether I need to do one injection of the Pregnyl or two.  This is based on my blood test results.  This time it took her two tries to get the blood out.  The first time she went for the same vein that the nurse went for on Friday so in order to hit a different spot on it she went higher, but no luck. So she ended up going for the same spot on the second try and it gave up the goods.  Hopefully I don't have to give any more blood tomorrow.

I had my second acupuncture appointment on Saturday which went well.  It was very similar to the first one with needles in my abdomen, right ear, arms, hands, calves, and feet.  She again did the warming trick with the needles and put a heat light on my feet.  I managed to doze off during the treatment so that's probably a good thing!

I have very low expectations for this procedure, as in, I do not expect it to work at all.  Of course I will be very disappointed when it doesn't, but right now I feel that it won't.  Which will also mean I'll be scared shitless if it does!  It's really impossible not to think about it and have hopes and worries as you go along.  Minute by minute or second by second even.  I'm trying to just stay sane and go with the flow.  I'm going to have to wait two weeks to know anything at all which I'm sure will be headache inducing with how much my brain will mull it over.

I suspect the procedure tomorrow will be relatively straightforward and quick-ish.  I will write it up after the fact.  They told me that when you're scheduled to come in they defrost the sperm in advance so there's no waiting around.  They also said that there is absolutely no benefit to laying down or what have you for however long.  Either you're going to get pregnant or you're not and that is not going to make a difference in the slightest.  I'm sure I'll take it easy, and may in fact take a taxi from work to the appointment and back (instead of cycling).  But it's pretty much out of my hands at this point.  Not that it particularly ever was in my hands to begin with if you think about it.

Anyway.  It's all very exciting, terrifying, and disappointing all at once at the moment.  Which seems to me to be just about normal.

Friday, February 19, 2016

IUI 1 - Day 8, Scan 2

Back from my second scan this morning.  It's a different game to egg freezing.  The nurse was very pleased with the scan where there was one growing follicle (around 14mm) and 5 sleeping baby follicles.  Of course with egg freezing, or IVF, you want all the follicles to be growing at an equal rate.  So I was a bit tense when I only saw one follicle emerging.  Of course with IUI, this is exactly what you want!  You don't want multiples because that would risk multiple babies.  The nurse was very positive about what she was looking at, so that was all good.  And my uterine lining was also as desired.  I have another scan on Monday and will continue with the 75 Gonal F injections.  I suspect Monday night or Tuesday night will trigger so Tuesday or Wednesday will be the insemination.

They also took my blood again today to ensure everything is on track and as desired.  I shouldn't get a phone call unless there's something wrong and they want to change the drug dose.  This time it only took two tries to get blood out of me.  On Monday I think I'm going to slug a large glass or two of water before cycling to the clinic.  Being a human pin cushion is not particularly amusing.

Meanwhile, my second acupuncture appointment is scheduled for tomorrow.  I've been good about taking my conception vitamins.  I've also signed up to the Single Mothers by Choice website so I can make use of the forums.  I've added a couple of links to the side of the blog and plan to add more as and when I find them useful or of interest!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

IUI 1 - back in the swing

So I've had two days of injecting.  Tonight I reduce the amount from 150 to 75.  The first two injections have been fine.  I'm a little perturbed to consider that my belly is fatter than when I did the egg freezing.  I wish it wasn't so hard to lose weight!  But that is neither here nor there.

Friday morning I'll have my next scan and see what's happening with my follicles.  I did some reading today to try and better understand what's ideal in an IUI.  Apparently there's a lot of interest in both the AMH and antral follicle count.  I think I mentioned that the nurse counted 6-7 follicles on my ovary.  This is apparently in the desirable range for someone my age.  Having looked at some other blogs online, I read about women freaking out that their AMH was 3-5 and that was with two ovaries.  Also these women had lower AMH numbers to me. So I'm feeling relatively okay about my general fertility level for my age.

I saw another statistic for IUI today which said my chances were not 5% but 6%!  So that's obviously much better. I also read something else that said that pretty much every woman officially trying thinks she might be pregnant the first go out and usually isn't.  And of course there's that statistic about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage.  It's all ups and downs and obviously it's all just on my mind.

I've also been thinking about finances and budgets.  So I'll update the budget in a moment.  Mostly I'm thinking about the high cost of child care (not to mention things a child might need).  The nursery close to my house costs £200/week for full nursery care.  So let's just call that £1000/month.  I may qualify for some minimal tax relief, but not much.  So where will this money come from?  I know child minders are less expensive.  Still, it's daunting.  If I somehow get pregnant on one of the first... let's say 3 tries., then I'll have enough money saved for a year and a half of child care.  Of course in that time I'll also be trying not to use that money so I'm sure it can stretch to twice as far.  Still, pretty scary stuff.  I know people make it work, and I'm definitely going to rely on hand-me-downs and support from my family.  Still, having a child is no small undertaking, and one I'm not attempting lightly.

I did manage to see the new acupuncturist on Saturday and have an appointment for this upcoming Saturday as well.  I pretty much think that other than sticking needles in you, every acupuncturist you see does it differently.  This is the third I've been to in my life and it was different from the first two which were different from each other.  Overall I thought it was okay though.  I've decided not to include the cost of acupuncture as that's obviously completely optional.  Similarly the conception vitamins and things like that just aren't worth accounting for in the budget.  I do tell myself when spending money on them though, that they are worth coming out of the overall budget.  but obviously that's a choice.  The current budget is:

Previous total £4834
IUI Inclusive Fee£638
New total £5472

I was talking to my mother on the phone about the baby plan and explaining what I thought I could afford (2 IUI, 3 fresh IVF, then go to the frozen eggs).  And she was like, "So what do you think that's going to be, like £10,000?" and I just laughed at her.  "No mom, try £30,000".  It's really not something you undertake lightly at all unless you are made of money, which I am not.  I can only hold out hope that I don't blow through all the money trying to get pregnant.  Of course I could blow through all the money and not get pregnant at all.  Pretty crazy when you think about it!

Monday, February 15, 2016

IUI 1 - Go

This post may be somewhat premature as I'm still waiting to hear the results of my blood test from the clinic this morning to let me know for sure that I can go ahead with the IUI this cycle.  Of course there is no reason to think that my blood test will be anything other than normal.

This morning I cycled over to the clinic for my 8:30am appointment.  First I was taken to have my blood drawn.  After trying in both arms and getting nothing, and after drinking two glasses of water, they decided to do my scan first and then see if the blood cold be drawn after.  The scan was quick and easy.  My uterine lining was thin as expected at the end of my period, and as desired.  The nurse also counted 6-7 follicles on my one ovary (the other is gone remember!).  So all looked in order.  After the scan, the nurse gave me the schedule for my Gonal-F injections.  Tonight and tomorrow I will do 150 and then it drops to 75/night.  My next scan is scheduled for Friday morning at 8:15.  I then have another scan scheduled for next Monday.  On Friday they will determine if I should go ahead with the Pregnyl or wait until Monday.  Since today is day 4 of my cycle, it's hard to say.  My cycle is often a bit longer (~32 days) but then this month it was 28 days. That makes this Friday day 8 and Monday day 11.  We'll see how it goes.

The nurse also gave me a little purple carry bag for the Gonal-F in case I need to inject while not at home.  I didn't get that last time.  It comes with a tube for needle disposal and everything.  Very thoughtful.

After the scan nurse I went back to the blood nurse.  I think she was a bit nervous after not getting anything from either arm so she called in a colleague to try for a third time.  Meanwhile, I drank another glass of water in the hopes of plumping my veins.  This nurse went for a deeper vein but funny enough I didn't feel it at all when it went in!  And she managed to get the blood.  So that was good.  Third time was a charm.  Although I hope that doesn't hold true for the cycle.

It's impossible not to start a cycle and be hopeful even though my chances of success are low low low.  I'm taking my vitamins, I'm off alcohol and caffeine.  I'm eating lots of vegetables and good foods.  I'm doing the best I can!  So of course I'm hoping for the chance that this might actually happen.  Which is a bit better than being utterly terrified.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

IUI 1 - First scan scheduled

I am feeling a little bit less freaked out than I was yesterday.  Though still not entirely comfortable.  My period is not being very helpful this month.  Yesterday I had the barest bit of color and today it seems much the same.  No 'full flow' as it were.  I called the clinic and they said that they want the first scan to be between day 1-4 and that it really needs to be once full flow has started.  So they scheduled me for first thing Monday morning.  If my period starts in full tomorrow, this would still be day 4.  The nurse reassured me that there is a problem starting too early, not too late, so Monday would be fine.  I am of course now concerned that Monday is late somehow.  Funny how the brain works.

In other news, after my panic yesterday I did try to talk (text) a friend of mine who has been through years of fertility issues.  I was not particularly happy with how she responded to me.  Very terse and dismissive.  Of course I've supported her through her years of ups and downs.  With her experience, you'd think she might have been a bit more sympathetic.  It just means I can't really rely on her for talking which sort of sucks.  I also briefly mentioned my emotional state to the boyfriend.  To his credit he handled it well.  I'm trying to keep him in the loop and not put too much on him, as I said, he's barely processing his own emotions about it.  But he did okay.

I'm also trying to set up some acupuncture appointments.  I'm a bit late to the game here and I should have started earlier.  I could go for one today but I'd have to leave work early.  The next available appointment is next Saturday which is perhaps a bit late for it to be in any way effective this cycle, for as effective as acupuncture is.  Unless I go somewhere else of course.  I had some good experiences with it during egg freezing and I'm keen to do it again because I think it can't hurt and if it helps, great.  So we'll see how that goes.  At least I'm being reasonably good at taking my conception vitamins at the moment!  I can't say I'm the best at 'all the things you should do when trying to conceive'.  I'm trying.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Any Day

This morning I thought I might have my period but it was inconclusive.  It took me until about mid-day to need to use the bathroom.  As I went up to the bathroom I started to get nervous.  Then I got more nervous.  Then I started to freak out.  My period has not arrived.  But it should in the next couple of days.  Today is day 28, my cycle is somewhere around 32 but fluctuates.  This response wasn't what I expected from myself.  I considered upon reflection of my shaking hands and shallow breathing that I was actually a little bit terrified.  It's not that I'm having second thoughts about the plan.  And the success rate percentage for me is not particularly good, especially not doing IUI.  But it's still a really big deal.  And it could happen.  And somehow, that was very much frightening as I walked upstairs to use the bathroom.

Upon further reflection as I walked to lunch, I considered that part of the panic also comes from the isolation.  Who do I have to discuss this with, in respect to my fears and hopes and emotional state?  Most people I know, 'know' what I'm doing. But they aren't necessarily the people I want to bend the ear of sounding a bit insane rambling on about my emotions.  I mean, I could.  I probably just don't want to.  Especially not with those friends who have had their own fertility issues and journeys.

I also don't want to call on the boyfriend who had another freak out this past weekend.  He is having trouble accepting that I'm doing this, and how he views it reflects upon him and our relationship.  He doesn't want to leave me, but he's not happy with this either.  I am keeping him updated about what I'm doing, but I don't think he could handle my emotional stress on this issue when he's barely addressing his own.

So anyway, any day!  Things are going to happen.  That will statistically probably result in nothing happening. However, this blog might become a bit of an emotional dumping ground for a while as I process how I'm feeling through this journey.  Which I suppose is sort of what blogs are for.  You've been warned.