Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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Back to the waiting game..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 24 May 2014 0 comments

I spoke to Nelly the Nurse yesterday (she called me back!! punches air - I'm now one of those frequent flyers who have earned their same-day call back privilege from Nelly!!). And as I'd suspected, our next step is to see a consultant to discuss the future game plan.

Does the consult get booked automatically, now that I've spoken to Nelly? Like hell it does.

I am to try and call that god-awful telephone number again that never gets answered to book another appointment. And then wait for weeks and weeks and weeks to get a letter to confirm an appointment another set of weeks and weeks away (probably when we're on a summer holiday), which means that I'll have to call that number again to try to reschedule, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Me, negative, much?

Well, I feel like I've been on this infertility train for long enough now, to deserve to speak to an actual human person when booking these appointments instead of the perpetual answer phone.

So I've decided to change tack a little. Instead of being the polite little scandinavian that I was always taught to be, I am planning to leave behind all shame and become THAT person. Yes, THAT crazy lady who leaves millions and billions of ever increasingly desperate messages on the clinic's answer phone, until someone has the good sense to get back to me.

I know this is NHS we're talking, but surely a call-back to confirm that you're answer phone message has been heard, registered and is being actioned isn't too much to ask!!?? Ggggaaahhh.. Give me a moment whilst I go self-combust.

I think I might be on some kind of a progesterone come-down, 'cause I'm feeling ANGRY..

Anyway, to counter all this negativity that I have been feeling of late I have decided to try to do something POSITIVE.

I know, shocking.

I came across this little book on an adoption blogger's site, got intrigued and without much research ordered a copy for my Kindle:

I'm not much of a believer in magic (apart from unicorns, baby dust fairies, storks and other magical creatures), so the title really annoyed me, but I decided to press on regardless due to all the positive reviews that the book had gotten on amazon.

The first few pages really grated me.

For someone who confesses to have faith, I'm quite cynical, so the author's overwhelming promises of a better life (through following the magic recipe in her book of course) really got my back up.

It just sounded just like the kind of hokum that a lot of these self-titled self-help gurus like to sell to us whilst laughing all the way to the bank.

But somethings that she also said made sense. Like surely being grateful for what you have will make you happier (although I reckon it is because you realise how much you already have, not because all of a sudden you will start accumulating even more of the stuff that you thought you want, rather than need. Or maybe it'll have some kind of an impact on the kinds of things that you'll want in life. Like reflecting on the things you appreciate, makes you evaluate what you actually really appreciate and why.. and then you'll realise it's not the material, but the immaterial and blah, blah blah.. I don't know.  Does that make any sense?).

Anyway, I'm all for discovering what I appreciate in my life, especially whilst in the throes of infertility, as sometimes (ha! I mean almost all of the time) things can seem a little bleak and it can be hard to count your blessings.

So, I'm gonna start counting.

This book gives you 28 exercises for 28 days and encourages you to do one of them every day, so as to build up them gratitude muscles. Knowing how bad I am with sticking to any exercise regime, I have my doubts whether I'll be able to see this through. But I'm going to try.

Who knows, perhaps a brighter, more positive Haisla will emerge from the ashes, just in time for our consult with the Doc. And I'll be all serene and grateful, rather than ready to strangle them for all the waiting they've made us do..

One can always hope.

The day AF shows up again..

Posted by Haisla Thursday, 22 May 2014 1 comments

..is also the day a British woman with 16 children announces her newest pregnancy in the newspapers..

Yup, turns out that IUI#2's a bust..

And, yup, turns out that Britain's super-mum (as seen on the TV show 16 Kids and Counting) is having her 17th baby..

I'm not going to have a long rant about the irresponsibility of having that many children *), but seriously fertility-fairy, did you somehow get lost on your way around and in a panic dump all the precious baby dust on one family alone??!! 'Cause that's how it would seem from where I'm standing.  How about sprinkling some of it our way, eh? I know many an infertile lady who would give their right arm just for a gram of the stuff. No more for the uber-fertile dust junkies, I say! Let's have a baby-dust redistribution programme to benefit the fertility-poor!!

Anyway, pheeewh.. I obviously needed to get that off my chest..

So, yes, back to the scheduled programming - spotting started yesterday, by which time I pretty much knew game was over. AF showed up in due course today. Like clockwork. That's my body, ever the reliable one, except for when it comes to getting me pregnant.

To add insult to injury, I had to POAS this morning just to make sure. My seasoned readers will know that I don't POAS generally, and normally only do it under duress. Alas, I had booked myself a dentist's appointment for today (long over-due) and because of the dental x-rays they do, I sort of had to be sure that there wasn't an embryo cooking in my bleeding uterus.

The results of POASing were obviously negatory.

In more positive news, though, my teeth are looking lovely. No decay, no holes, no drilling. And the dentist was lovely, too. Must remember to write a glowing review on the NHS-direct website. Good dentists, in my experience, are hard to come by and I like to rave about the good ones I do find. Share the love, or something.

Anyway. That's that. Not quite sure what the next steps will be. Will ring Nurse Nelly tomorrow to let her know. I think it's either going to be a final round of IUI (although I will insist on having an alternative to Clomid - the eye symptoms I get, man, it's like being on hallucinogenic drugs), or a consult with the Doc to discuss "alternatives" (presumably meaning IVF).

Not sure, which route I would prefer right now. Another round of IUI seems somewhat pointless, but moving on to IVF just seems pretty freaking scary in terms of being so close to the end of the road..

Trying to remain positive and clutching onto whatever straws I have left.

*) ..even though I partly feel like doing so - it was practically her older children bringing up the younger ones in the TV-programme I saw - there's no way that a parent can provide sufficient amounts of love and care to that number of children, surely?

3 dpiui + Desperately Seeking Juno

Posted by Haisla Monday, 12 May 2014 0 comments

Warning: the following post is full of post-ovulation, hormone come-down negativity. Please proceed with caution..

I'm 3 dpiui and have had mild ovarian pains radiating from my pelvic region all day..

I am fully aware that it's way too early for this to be anything pregnancy related, but am just a little concerned for my over-worked ovaries. I hope I'm not burning them out in the process.

Of course I then had to google '3 dpiui and mild ovary pain' and found out that it's quite normal after taking Clomid. It could be the ruptured follicle, it could be a cyst, it could just the moans and groans of an over-heated ovary. So nothing to worry about, I guess..

I've also been thinking about what is causing our infertility and my thoughts keep on returning to this article that I read in the papers some weeks ago.

What if I am missing the Juno protein and M's sperm isn't even aware of the presence of my egg in the fallopian tube? What good will IUI be to us then? And could it explain why nothing is catching; why we've never even gotten a vaguely positive pregnancy test?

If that is the case, my mild worry then snowballs into a massive anxiety avalanche regarding our (potential) future NHS funded IVF round. My understanding is that NHS does not offer ICSI as a matter of course, or potentially ever (if anyone's got personal experience of the contrary, please, please let me know through the comments section, I would really appreciate it). So if I'm missing the Juno particle (or protein or whatever), standard IVF won't do us any good and there's a possibility that we'll waste our one free chance of IVF and won't even get anything to freeze for a FET cycle. And then we'll have to spend thousands of pounds on more cycles, more time, more potential heart ache.

So these are the current anxieties floating in my head. I was kind of hoping that by writing them down I could somehow control them a little better, but no dice.

I don't suppose there is a simple, easy test to check the presence or absence of Juno in my system.

How I sometimes dream of blissful ignorance when it comes to all things reproductive. The more I learn about the many ways in which human reproduction can fail, the more I start despairing about our situation and wonder how anyone, seriously, ever manages to get knocked up. How?!!

Blah.. I just have to wait out this TWW and then take all my anxieties to my Doc (should this cycle be a bust) and hope that they'll have some answers or solutions or magic beads..

Until then, I will do my best to seek out distractions.

A warning: the following is another mammoth post after my long radio silence. I went down with a cold on Saturday and really didn't have the energy or inclination to update my blog during the week..

The cold kind of botched up my plans. Instead of getting stuff ready for the week ahead, I just ended up having to rest and recouperate. I was probably the only person spending the lovely, sunny Bank Holiday weekend indoors, grrr.. All my work colleagues were nice and tanned, whereas I was pale and pasty and with huge dark circles. Let me be the cautionary tale; this is what stress does to your system..

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

I had the interview on Thursday and had more or less managed to kick the cold to the kerb by then and therefore be at least semi-coherent in my answers. The interview went fairly well untill the very end when I mentioned my 3 month notice period. The interview panellists' jaws dropped. They were looking for someone to start in mid-May. Had they not read my application!!?? I had quite clearly stated the terms of my current contract and had assumed that the 3 month notice period had not been a problem - surely otherwise they wouldn't have invited me for an interview!? I was pretty miffed. Part of me thinks 'what a waste time', the more mature part of me can see that it was good practice for any future interviews. I was just so not used to being on that side of the panel. Oh, the nerves!

What also became crystal clear during the interview was that I did not like the manager of that department. She didn't come across as a particularly warm or compassionate person. I'm fairly sure she wouldn't have been very impressed had I gotten the job and then had to tell her about our IVF plans and the time off required.. And to work under someone like that - no thanks. Work is often stressful enough without adding a non-supportive line-manager into the mix.

So all in all, as good as the job sounded on paper, I'm now fairly positive that it wasn't meant to be. And that's what I was really praying for - real clarity about whether this was the right step for me to take or not. Which is not to say that I wasn't utterly depressed after the interview, but somehow a good night's sleep and conversations with friends have helped me to recover and I actually feel quite chipper again.

So, my job situation remains the same. What I do know, that if I am to stay in this job, I will have to do something about our current workload, as it is just not manageable. I'm thinking of instigating a service review to assess what we are currently doing and what changes we'll need to make to ensure the sustainability of the project. And I'll keep an eye out for other opportunities whilst I'm at it. All I know is, that something's got to give, whether it's radically overhauling this job or finding another less stressful one.

Since this past week wasn't nearly stressful enough with all of the above going on, I also had my scan for IUI#2 on Wednesday.

It turned out that I'd responded really rapidly to Clomid again and had one large (18mm) lead follicle on the right ovary and two smaller ones (11mm) on the left, which meant trigger shot at home on Weds night (oh, the joy!) and the actual IUI on Friday on CD10. (Did this give my poor uterine lining enough time to plump up nicely - who knows! The doc didn't seem particularly concerned).

I was a bit panicky about the trigger shot on Weds night, but luckily my worries about the upcoming job interview far out shadowed any needle phobias. It was a job that just had to be done. M. was a real champ and did the actual injecting. I did worry about mixing all the powers and liquids, as it had been three months since I'd been shown how to do it and M. hadn't been present at the 'training'. He is so much better at retaining that kind of crucial information, but by following the written instructions, we did alright in the end.

The most difficult job was cracking open those vials! Man, what's with them vials?!. M. managed to smash two of the tops into smithereens  in his attempts to open them and I was convinced that I would somehow get powdered glass into my bloodstream and die a horrible and bloody death. Since I'm still alive and kicking, I'm fairly certain that that didn't happen.

Anyway, we ended up watching a tutorial on how to open them bloody vials. It took us all in all approx. 20 minutes to do the opening and mixing bit and then approx. 2 mins to do the actual injecting.

M. was a real pro. Very steady handed and calm. It hardly hurt. The most uncomfortable bit was when the liquid actually went in - it just stung a little. Otherwise, no problems. The following day my bum was a bit sore, but that was all.

I really hope M. will be around should I need to do any further injections (can you sense how little hope I have for this IUI cycle, oh ever the pessimist, I am) as I'm not sure whether I'll be able to face the needles by myself..

IUI#2 in itself was fairly uneventful. In fact, I would say that cramping-wise it was far less painful than the last time, and I would like to think that this is due to my new regime of evening primrose oil supplementation. I'm hoping that this means that I have finally managed to balance my prostaglandin production, so that the bad ones are no longer overpowering the good ones and causing all sorts of unnecessary inflammation and cramping. Surely that's got to be good for baby-making?

I'll also need to get my stress levels under control and boost my system overall. The more I read about how stress affects our cortisol levels, adrenal gland function and as a result hormone levels, the more convinced I'm becoming that this is a big issue that I'll need to tackle next. I know I am stress-prone and am also the only person who has the power to change that. To that end, I have now purchased a few relaxation meditation downloads and my plan is to try to use them daily. I found one with 5-, 10-, 15- and 30-minute meditations, so that I can choose one according to how much time I've got each day. I'll also need to look at my sleep patterns and ensure I get enough snooze every night. Not to mention regular, gentle exercise.

Heh, I sound like someone making new year's resolutions (which I personally am notoriously bad a t keeping), but it's nice to have a plan, and a bit of a sense of control over this 'overcoming infertility project'.

So that's that, really.

If this cycle is unsuccessful, AF should rear its ugly head roundabout CD22 (or 21/05/14 as per normal people's calendars) or CD24 (23/05/14) latest, after which I'll POAS if AF has not shown.

In preparation for an interview..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 3 May 2014 2 comments

I got an email yesterday inviting me for the interview on Thursday..

I was elated. And then I got terrified. The whole ramifications of having a 6K paycut just washed all over me. Turns out I have huge anxiety issues around money, that somehow to this date I haven't had to confront yet.

To be fair, it could also be the Clomid I've been taking for the past days. How is one to make rational decisions when in a hormonal haze? It doesn't feel fair somehow.

To make things worse, M. had a leaving due to attend with work, which meant he spent most of the night in a pub and then trying to find his way back home, poor lamb. Which meant that I spent the whole evening alone stewing in my anxieties. And when I'm anxious, I'm not great in reaching out to friends. Somehow I don't feel it's fair to start pouring out my problems on others (esp.  with kids) on a Friday night. And I felt far to overwhelmed to blog. So I stewed and stewed and finally fell into a fitful sleep.

So this morning, when M. and me were both up, I couldn't contain myself, but just had to pour out all my anxieties on him (sorry, M). Not a great thing to do to someone who's trying to overcome a massive hang-over. But he did a stellar job. He was kind and sweet and funny and listened to all my fears and anxieties and then with his usual calm and rationality went about allaying them all.

So, I feel a bit better now. Not great (which is a shame, as I'd prefer to go to an interview 100% excited about the new job opportunity) but better. And what can you do really, this is real life and not some pollyanna bullsh*t.

We have jointly come to the conclusion that my mental health and well-being is more important than money. And that this fairly well paid, but high-stress job that I'm in, is just not cutting it for us. Yes, it may mean that we won't be as attractive to mortgage lenders, but so be it. We wouldn't be able to buy yet anyway, as we don't know whether we'll need to spend our deposit savings on a round of private IVF somewhere down the line.

Yes, it may mean that we'll have to tighten our belts a little bit and think before making certain larger purchases in the future. And yes, ultimately we won't be able put away as much money onto our savings account as we have so far, but we should still be able to put something away, which is the way I prefer to do it.

There's a little part of me that can't quite believe that I am having to write all of this; that this is actually my life. Never in a million years would I have envisaged having these problems and these decisions to make. Even when I started reading other people's blogs, I kind of thought, oh, how exotic - having to think through such complicated scenarios. My life plan was always fairly simple - get married, have kids, live happily ever after (and somewhere down the line buy a house). And here I am, having to make difficult decisions with variables of which many are unknowable (like will we ever actually be able to get pregnant).

So there we have it. I'll give the interview a good try and if I get it I get it, if I don't I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled on other opportunities. And I do obviously reserve the right to totally still change my mind and cling on to my old job and the comfort of my plush paycheque and refuse to let it go.

I am still to make a decision as to how or whether I'll bring up the IVF thing at interview, though. But I think I am leaning towards the 'I will not'. I just want to be sure that if I get turned down, it is because there is a candidate who is more qualified than me, not because I spilled the IVF beans.

So if I get the job, I'll probably take a three month treatment break (providing the NHS will allow this) and then resume on the activities, once I have passed my probation. This should give me enough time to a) prove to my new employer that I am a good and trustworthy and hardworking employee and also b) build enough rapport with my new line-manager to feel comfortable telling them about our fertility struggles.

So that's the plan. 'Cause I always need a plan. Control-freak much, moi?

On the IUI front, things are not looking good. I spoke to Nelly Nurse on CD2 (today is CD4) and it would seem like the IUI date will coincide with a weekend. Whoops. And do NHS clinics open during weekends? Well, no they don't, silly. So we may have to 'try naturally' AGAIN. That seems to be Nelly's favourite saying 'try naturally'. The kick in the teeth for us, is that due to the fairly heavy medication that M. is on (oh yes, did I forget to mention that he is recovering from an extremely painful slipped disc and is on a bucket full of medication at the moment) it's become a real struggle for him to ejaculate. Oh, joy. A side effect for one of his medications, indeed is, retrograde ejaculation, which basically means that the semen will end up travelling backwards rather than out. Not conducive to conceiving. He does normally rise to the task, but man, it is an uphill struggle.

Our clinic doesn't seem overly worried about this, but I do think we'll need to have a stern talk with them about how much stress this 'just trying naturally' business is causing us. And I think we'll have to sit down with them and discuss the possible new job, it's implications to our treatment plan etc. I don't think somehow, that they are used to having these kinds of conversations with their patients. Without wishing to sound cynical, I do think that we are just figures on their sheets and not really real people with real jobs and lives apart from this infertility business.

It always seems to baffle the NHS staff that we are working people and that trying to arrange the treatments around our working hours can be a struggle. This really isn't a patient-led system at all and I am getting increasingly unhappy about it. Yes, I should count my blessing in that we are getting this chance at all and free of charge, but man, how poor a service are we meant to expect in return?

Sorry, rant over.

This has turned into a bit of a longer post than intended, so thanks for your patience if you managed to read this far. I will try again, to find my happy place and be a bit more balanced a writer in my next post. Perhaps that'll happen once all this Clomid wears off. Two more days to go..