Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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I am feeling uncharacteristically optimistic..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 11 October 2014 3 comments

Now this is going to be a long post, since I feel like I have a quite a bit to chew over..

First of all, I didn't get the job. 

It's funny, because I sort of knew it straight away after the interview (you know when you can tell that there isn't much interest among your audience) and there was this huge wave of relief that washed over me when I was walking back to the station. It would have been a great big commitment to start a new job at this junction, and I hadn't been fully conscious how anxious that had made me.

This job I have right now is not ideal for pregnancy etc., but at least I can take as much time off for my treatments as I need to - I have proven myself, people trust me and I can be open and honest about what is going on in my life and where my priorities lie (whilst still doing a great job at work). It just means that I can concentrate all my energies and efforts into getting pregnant, which is what I want more than I do a new job.

So, all in all I feel good about this.

And funnily enough I feel better about my current job, too. It's one of those things where you don't perhaps appreciate how good you've got it until it's (almost) gone. I love (and also occasionally hate) my job. It's my passion, I'm genuinely good at it; now I just have to figure out how to do it without burning out. So, I'll stick with it for the time being.

Job hunting was a nice distraction but it's time to return back to this bidness of getting us pregnant.


Secondly, I have booked an appointment for us to see a consultant at a private clinic to discuss immunology testing on 24/10/14.  I am super excited about this. My family are coming over from Finland to visit us during that week, so both M and I have taken some time off. It's just the perfect time for this appointment, as we don't have to take any additional time off from work (which can be tricky for M). We'll chuck my family into the National Gallery or somewhere for an hour and go talk to the consultant. I am in the process of writing down questions and concerns to bring up, because for the first time I feel quite excited and hopeful that we will be speaking to a health professional who will actually be interested in our particular case.


Thirdly, this final IUI cycle has gone a bit weird.  On Wednesday, when I had my last shot of Menopur, the scan showed that I had one 13mm follicle on the right-hand side and two follicles on the left (14mm and 9mm). All fine and dandy there.

But, then in yesterday's scan, the right-hand side follicle had completely disappeared. Did that follicle have a growth spurt and release an egg super early, or did it just wither and die? We may never know.

On the left-hand side I had two follies; 20mm and 14mm. We were instructed to have sex that night (which we duly did) and then I was instructed to take an ovulation test this morning. If the result was positive we were to have sex today and Sunday (and no IUI, i.e. cycle cancelled), if it was negative we were to have sex today and then do the trigger shot at 23:00 and have IUI on Monday morning.

I took the test and to my surprise it was negative. Like completely negative.

M had bought me a pack of those new fangled ovulation tests that display a flashing smiley face for 'high fertility' and plain smiley face for 'peak fertility'. I just got an empty circle. How is that possible when I have a 20mm follicle ready to burst?! (Unless it already burst yesterday, but wouldn't there be a residue of the LH I'd been producing?) These are the moments when I really don't understand anything about fertility.

Now I'm just thinking that won't Monday's IUI be a bit late for anything, if my only large follicle is already gone? Unless the 14mm one is meant to catch up or something.. Oh, who knows.. I'll just go with the flow.

Dr Duchess was quite apologetic about the potential cancellation of this cycle when I discussed it with her on Friday and said that we could have another round of IUI (should this round be cancelled) if we wanted to. I told her we'd 'think about it' (i.e. 'NO THANK YOU.'). She did then mention the magic IVF word (for the first time in the context of us actually moving towards it) and we now have an appointment with an NHS consultant on 09/12/14, which suits us perfectly, as it should give us enough time to make decisions about the immunology testing..

So, slowly, ever so slowly, we are inching forwards towards the blessed hope of an IVF.

And this is why I am so optimistic. I don't care about the job, I don't care about this cycle. All I care about is that we have a glimmer of hope in the horizon, and that that horizon isn't like miles and miles away.

So yay!!

Stuff, just stuff..

Posted by Haisla Friday, 3 October 2014 5 comments

I am exhausted by infertility.

I just had a text from a friend whom I haven't been in contact with in years (a childhood friend, whom I still count as part of my 'inner circle', even though we are equally bad at keeping in touch) letting me know that she is pregnant.

That in and of itself is all fine and dandy - yes it smarts a bit at first, but at the same time I am so pleased that she doesn't have to go through this shit that I am going through. But she would like to talk.. and that unfortunately I cannot do. I can send her my most excited and heartfelt congratulations by text, but to have to have a conversation where I'll recount my infertility journey blow by blow and she'll do the same with her pregnancy experiences will just be too much. I hope she'll understand.. and I hope she's happy and in a place where she feels ready to be a mummy (she's always been a bit of a wild child)..

I've also tied myself up in nots with all the immunology stuff.

I've read Alan E. Beer's book and I think I get the main premise - because I'm diagnosed with endometriosis there is a high likelihood that there is something wrong with my immune system. Certain natural killer cells may not be doing their job properly in sweeping up the endometrial cells that end up in my pelvic cavity as a result of 'retrograde menstruation' (which may have resulted in me developing endometriosis). Also as a result of the endo I may have excessively aggressive natural killer cells that attack implanting embryos. There may also be a host of other stuff wrong with me or nothing at all. That much I know.

However, most people who go for private immunology testing have been through a number of pregnancy losses or failed IVF cycles.

We haven't had any pregnancy losses (due to not having had any pregnancies for that matter) and we can't really afford to fail an IVF cycle.

We are offered two cycles of IVF by the NHS; one fresh and one frozen. We could probably afford one more private IVF cycle, but not the immunology testing and treatment that at that point would probably be useful if not necessary. So the logic goes that we'll try to get these immunology tests done prior to moving on to IVF. I've had this discussion with M and we've agreed to this plan in principle.

The thing is that immunology testing is shockingly expensive. The top clinic in London charges approx. £4,000 just for the testing (yep, you read that right, they do offer the most comprehensive set of tests, but still) and then there's the treatments, which are between £1,400 - £1,650 per IV-drip bag of IVIg (depending on the size of the dose) and £275 for intralipids .. It is a heck of a lot of money. Almost as much as we would spend on a private IVF cycle.. And if immunology is the issue, who knows how many rounds of treatment I would need (sometimes they are prescribed for a period of a months before the IVF cycle if the diagnosis is particularly bad). Oh, and then there's the £200 charge per consultation, not to mention other meds they could prescribe, like corticosteroids, Clexane, Humira, LIT, etc (depending on your diagnosis). The costs could really quite easily spiral out of control. Just thinking about this all makes me feel sick. Who's got this kind of money squirrelled away?!

There are slightly cheaper clinics out there (like one or two in London) but in my understanding many of them won't be willing to offer immunology testing let alone treatment unless they are also dishing out the IVF cycle themselves.

It just feels so messed up that most people can get pregnant just like that without really trying, and here we are considering spending majority of our mortgage deposit savings just to try to a) find out what is wrong with us and b) finally get knocked up. I feel angry and bitter and like it's just. not. fair! Trying to make these decision when the stakes are so high. This is our one little chance of having our own biological children. And we want to make the smartest possible decisions and spend our money wisely but the truth is that we are driven by fear. The possibility of this failing is terrifying. It's like staring into an abyss..

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In other TTC related news, AF arrived on Wednesday, I started on Menopur again on Thursday morning and our fourth and final IUI should take place sometime next week (unless of course my follicles mature and pop over the following weekend which would make this cycle a bust). We shall see. I'm not holding much hope after the failure of our last 'perfect' injectable IUI cycle. I have to say though, that the injections are much easier to deal with when dished out in the mornings. I'm far too dozy to feel anxious about them. So far so good. One injection down, only four more to go! I will survive and with minimal moaning, too, I hope.