Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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Feeling slightly overwhelmed

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 10 February 2015 4 comments

So we had our first IVF appointment today and since I confess to feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything I've decided to put my thoughts on paper (I mean screen)..

First things first, the clinic is wonderful, the staff friendly, and I am so very happy with our choice. It's a world away from the bumblings of our previous (IUI) clinic.

However, something obviously had to go wrong (it's us we're talking after all) and it turned out that we not only had we not received our invite letter, we were also missing tons of consent forms that they should have sent to us in advance (we only received the invite letter via email yesterday after pestering the clinic with phone calls and emails). In their defence, they are an extremely popular clinic and therefore extremely busy. These things happen, and thankfully this problem was easily rectifiable.

The downside was that today during our appointment we were literally bombarded by different staff asking us to fill out, read and sign sheets and sheets of papers. For all I know I may have just donated all of my vital organs to science.

So that was one of the drawbacks; having to decide the fate of your future embryos in a busy corridor of an Assisted Conception Unit under some considerable time pressure. I think we decided to give them up for research (should there be any left once we're done with family building) which with hindsight feels perhaps a little callous. Apparently we have the right to change our minds yet. Maybe once the embryos turn from a mere fantasy into reality I may feel somewhat different and wish to hold on to them for more than 55 years (that was one of the options given on the numerous forms - perhaps with the advance of science I'll decide to try to get pregnant again when I'm 90).

Anyway, I digress.

The next item on my list of today's experiences may appear as far TMI for some, so please proceed with caution. I am only writing this for the benefit of those new to the IF world. These are the lengths to which we are willing to go to have a baby:

Today I had for the first time in my life the dubious pleasure of being ultrasound scanned on day 2 of my period, also known as 'the blood fest'. I genuinely thought that the mention of menstrual blood would deter them in their eagerness to scan me, but alas(!) it was not so. I have therefore now faced the ultimate dildocam shame and humiliation of having a man scan my uterus whilst it is merrily shedding itself away and onto his clean exam bed. Unnerving.  Oh, and it was my first encounter with real stirrups. I didn't quite know how to hoist myself onto them, but figured it out in the end. It felt like I'd finally graduated into the big girls' infertility clinic.

In positive news though, both my uterus and ovaries looked all fine and dandy.

Meeting with the doc was positive, too. She was lovely and interested and actually took the time to ask questions and listen. She noted down my endo diagnosis and our four failed IUI cycles and those seemed to give some extra credence to our case (i.e. nope we're not just making this up and nope 'just relaxing' at this stage won't make one bit of a difference - oh, the sweet vindication). She seemed a little concerned about M's sperm analysis, too, based on the notes from the previous clinic and as she wishes to take no chances with our chances (because she cares!) she is recommending ICSI. The last thing she would want, she explained, would be to find out that my eggs and M's sperm aren't getting jiggy with it on their own (I have heavily paraphrased here) hence the little extra helping hand from science.

Also, and this was a huge shock to me, there is a possibility of us transferring two embryos and not just one. I thought this was a complete no-no with the NHS unless one is over 40 and even then they would do it under duress. This clinic seems to have far laxer stance, and yet they boast fairly low levels of twin pregnancies. I think the fact that I am at the cusp of being 36 (gulp) makes two embryo transfer a possibility depending on how our embryos turn out overall.

I also asked about the risk of breast / ovarian cancer as a result of taking all the blessed hormones requires. She said research has shown that the hormones used are safe and should not heighten the risk of cancers generally. However, in those individuals who are genetically 'destined' to get cancer later on in life, the hormones may speed up the process. Am I destined to have cancer? I don't know. My mum had both breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but as far as I know she didn't carry the genetic marker. But I guess if I am genetically pre-disposed to getting cancer then a whole host of things may have an accelerative effect on the dormant cancer genes and at the end of the day, I can't live in a bottle. So for now I am deciding not to worry about that yet.

One last thing before I go to bed.

They are running a thyroid anti-body research at the clinic and asked whether I would like to potentially take part. As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I freaking love research, so I immediately said yes. If I am chosen for this research (this will only be the case if I turn out to have thyroid anti-bodies in my system) I'll write more about it later on.

For now all I can do again is wait until my next period, which should be in approx. 25 days' time. Then they will start me on a long protocol which will involve using nasal spray for some weeks from before day 21 of the cycle (spray rather than needles - yay!!!) and then later on a pen for stimming rather than those ghastly vials and needles (double yay!!). Anyway, by my calculations it'll be late March until anything really interesting will start happening, so I've got a bit more time to get my s**t together (meaning mainly my health back after this string of illnesses). But hey, at least we're on the road to somewhere!!

Whilst I've been gone

Posted by Haisla Friday, 6 February 2015 2 comments

I realise that this blog has become a bit of a 'this is what happened whilst I was gone' journal..

In the past months I've just needed to step back from TTC and the lovely IF community whilst our waiting limbo has continued.

You may remember that in early December we were due to see our Fertility Doc at our local clinic to discuss next steps.

The good news is: IVF is our next step

The bad(ish) news: We cannot have IVF at the same clinic as the IUIs (they do not provide the service)

So in the past two months we have needed to have our application for IVF funding approved (check), choose a fertility clinic out of a choice of four (check - it was a tough choice, but we went for convenience of travel, shortest waiting list and reasonable stats re: outcomes), have our STI tests re-done (check - second time in two years - as if we'd had time to be have extra-marital affairs what with all this TTC nonsense), and get our referral successfully sent to the chosen clinic (check).

So far all the above has happened and actually taken place at quite an astonishing speed. For all my moaning and groaning about the inefficiencies and sluggishness of the NHS, I must say that I'm impressed.

We now have an appointment for our chosen clinic on Tues 09/02/2015 to discuss our IVF treatment. Considering that we had our last appointment at the previous clinic on 09/12/2014, I would call this a modern miracle.

Of course there have been some minor hitches to the ride: we didn't receive an invite letter for the appointment, just a text message reminding us of the appointment we weren't even aware of. Thank goodness for their automated text message service. I wouldn't have been best pleased if we'd missed the appointment because of their admin error. But all in all and compared to previous experiences this has been plain sailing.

So, what have I been doing in the meantime whilst waiting for all of this to happen? Well, I've mainly been sick (I had a vomiting bug just before Christmas, caught a cold during Christmas holidays, have had a couple of minor colds throughout January and now a real killer cold that started last weekend and floored me yesterday); we have also had (despite my diseases) copious amounts of amazing (non-TTC) sex (we made a pact that now that the big guns are almost out, we'll no longer torture ourselves with timed intercourse, but have a tumble when the feeling takes us) and on top of that I have waded my way though a pile of trashy romantic novels. So in one word I have distanced myself as far as possible from TTC. Which has meant that I have also read fewer blogs and done so less often and generally been a bad blogger and commenter. For this I apologise, but sincerely, I only did it to preserve my sanity.

So much sadness and joy is contained within the blogosphere (happily many of my favourite bloggers have gotten their long awaited BFPs, but so many also struggle with losses and failed cycles), that sometimes the breadth and depth of emotion just becomes overwhelming. So I step back and drown myself in fiction, because in trashy novels you always know you get your happy ending.

But hey, here I am dipping my toes back into the blogosphere again to see how it feels, and so far, it ain't too bad.