onwards

For reasons that will become apparent fairly quickly, I have delayed writing this post but (deep breath):

Unfortunately, the positives on the HPT did not get much darker, then they started to fade, then they turned negative.  Another chemical, as it turned out. This was our last embie, and we have decided that we will not have any more fertility treatment; so that, as they say, is that.

Or, on the other hand, maybe it isn’t, because whilst the big four-zero is creeping up like a malevolent line manager, maybe there are some little glimmers of hope that we will be able to add to our family. Maybe, just maybe we will miraculously fall pregnant naturally. Maybe in time we’ll think about adoption. Maybe I will have a moment of complete insanity and acquire a puppy as per my ominous threats to H and the Dog. Who knows?

Before I sign off on this blog, I would like to offer some words of comfort and (limited) wisdom to anyone chancing across this blog during their own fertility treatment. Initially I was going to write countless trite bullet points of mawkish counsel but, in the end, all I have to say is this:

It will be ok.

I mean that. It’s a tough time, the drugs are a bastard, the failed cycles are shite, the disappointment unbearable at times, but these things pass.

Whilst the last two cycles have been, on balance, fucking awful, I will remain forever and eternally grateful to the miracle of science that enabled us to have our wonderful, looney Nipper and at least the chance of a sibling, even if didn’t work out for us on the latter front.

Now it is time to focus on some new life challenges, such as:

  • Do I still have a job?
  • Am I too fat to learn to scuba dive?
  • Will the Nipper ever be toilet trained?
  • Where can I buy a cocker spaniel puppy?

and other such great eternal mysteries.

To anyone who chances across this blog during their own treatment, I wish you the very best of luck.

Thanks for reading.

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HPT hell

What’s that thing about the definition of madness, you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results blah blah blah?

I propose an alternative definition: the definition of madness is a 39 year old woman on her last IVF/FET cycle insanely doing HPT after HPT after HPT on the 2ww.

Don’t ask me why I do it, I just don’t know. Probably because, being delusional, I think it will give me some form of control over this period of limbo, except it doesn’t, as each test creates its own new agony, e.g.:

  • Why can H not seen the positive result on this test that I have stripped of its casing and held up to the lightbulb, when it is plain to see from a distance of at least 3mm?
  • Why is this superfaint line not getting darker 48 hours later?
  • Why did the same brand test read almost negative with FMU at 6.30 but a faint yet cheery positive at lunchtime?
  • Is this positive a false positive?
  • Why in the name of ARSE is this Clearblue digital which cost approximately half my monthly wage showing a BFN at this time?

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

As for you, Google, you’re no help whatsoever, with your tales of people getting BFN all the way until OTD which keep rousing my spirits interspersed with gloomy tales of chemical pregnancies which is a route down which I am extremely keen not to go again.

6 days till OTD. In order to retain some shred of sanity and dignity, I shall now commit to a  POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE.

  • The line will get darker.
  • I will get a positive on a clearblue digital.
  • The result on OTD will be a healthy, happy BFP.
  • The 6 week scan will show us a very healthy, happy embryo.
  • And I will be extremely, eternally grateful for all of this.

I am now going to put my feet up the wall (yoga pose) and watch Arrested Development.

T day

Yes! 1 x blastocyst on board, 100% intact from the thaw and expanding. All went to plan. Here, for posterity, is a brief record of Transfer Day.

  • 6.30am. Alarm goes off. Ignore. Nipper comes in. Progesterone, oestrogen, and CBeebies (first 2 for me,  CBeebies for the Nipper).
  • 7.00am. Fertility yoga sequence (aka lying on floor coughing up remnants of delightful lingering cold that Nipper kindly bestowed upon me).
  • 8.00am. Briefly check work emails. Five million emails from far east overnight. Read manically, compose update to client in haste as due to leave at 8.30am.
  • 8.35am. Get in shower.
  • 8.55am. Leave house. Eat toast in car. Beautiful day. Deposit N in nursery. Reassure H that we will arrive perfectly on time despite leaving house nearly thirty minutes later than planned. Down large bottle of water to fill bladder (procedural requirement).
  • 9.50am. Arrive at clinic. Exactly on time. (IN YOUR FACE, H).
  • 10.00am. OK, really need a wee now.
  • 10.01am. Shown through.  Dress self in standard issue towel and plastic clogs. Reassuringly brisk consultant, nurses and kindly sonographer. Embryologist puts embryo on screen and confirms all looking good. Legs in stirrups. Stare pointedly at ceiling for next 10 minutes whilst things go on with catheters and my cervix.
  • 10.30am. ‘Tis done. Best Wee Ever. Brisk advice from brisk nurse about dos and don’ts. We get a photo to take home (of our embryo, not of me in stirrups).
  • 11.00am. Brunch with my H.
  • 12.00pm. Get home. Get into bed. So do H and the Dog. THERE IS NO ROOM IN THE BED.
  • 1.00pm. Insane conversation with parents.
  • 2.00pm. Watch Netflix.
  • 4.00pm. Consider packing for mini break. Write blog instead.

Plans for rest of the day involve: brief walk with Dog, collecting car from garage, and avoiding packing until the last conceivable moment. Fascinating, no?

Official test date is 21 September. Resolved absolutely under no circumstances to go through insanity of last time and test before then. Also googled “how early can I test after FET” and “where can I buy first response tests en route to Glasgow.”

Right, little star, get implanting, and please, please stick. X

Staycation

Earlier in the year, H and I decided to book a week off in June, and a fortnight in September, with the idea that we would have a “sensible” June holiday (i.e. somewhere British, damp, self-catering, i.e. like being at home but without any of the convenience), and then an indulgent week in southern Spain.

Then my parents offered to pay for a family holiday in September in a hotel in southern Spain to which we had always wanted to go, which was very exciting.

Then followed several months of prevarication by my parents whereafter they suddenly announced that they were going to buy a holiday home in France.

Then it was suggested that we would have a trial villa holiday in France.

Then it was suggested that the venue be moved to the UK, as sister in law is expecting.

Then brother and sister in law, quite understandably, said that they wouldn’t come.

Then my parents pulled out and said that the two of them were going away to New England instead.

So this left H and I mid-cycle with no holiday planned, but as it looked like transfer would fall slap bang in the middle of our holiday period, we decided we would have an enjoyable staycation for the fortnight instead, and have a relaxing time at home, and try and not get too jealous about other people’s holiday photos on Facebook.

Anyway, this is what I have learned about staycations this week.

Lounging by pool with cocktails = guiltily long hot bath with cup of tea whilst Nipper in nursery

Spa treatment = blow-drying whole head of hair instead of just fringe

All you can eat buffet = 4 pieces of toast

Banterous conversation = conference calls which I agree to do because I’m not really on holiday

Vibrant nightlife = watching Bake Off in bed at 9pm

Me time = 2 hours mumsnet

Discovering new places = trying to find baby changing facilities in local village

Absorbing local culture = argument with neighbour re: parking restrictions

Soaking up the sun = finding fifteen minute slot in endless sodding rain to walk Dog

Conclusions: screw this, booking a trip to Scotland for after the transfer.

T-3. Excited.

T-7

Endometrial thickness scan! Tra la la! What a charmless phrase.

11mm thank you very much and therefore we are all systems go for defrost and transfer next Tuesday. Next Tuesday? This seems a long way away. That’s day 19. I thought transfer took place on day 17.  Oh, no, just checked and it’s between day 17-21. What do I know?

Last B-sting tomorrow and then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, it’s onto progesterone suppositories and all the fun that entails.

(QUERY: what has happened to my life that I have been reduced to writing about my womb lining and rectal medication online? ANSWER comes there none.)

Tomorrow marks the commencement of 14 days holiday from work. To celebrate, I shall be getting up at 6am for a conference call with Hong Kong and then spending the rest of the day writing reports which I should have written last week.

Nipper has strange red spots on chest. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if it turned out to be chicken pox? (No.)

If you’re interested, the nutritional programme is going very badly. It’s going something like this: breakfast – toast; lunch – sandwich; dinner –  toast. Oh and chocolate. However I have surprised myself by sustaining the yoga practice, probably because it involves a lot of lying on the floor in a semi-comatose state.

H, if you’re reading this, I’ve just thought, we can take the Nipper to the zoo the day before transfer. Yeah? I’ll discuss further with you when I stop pretending to be working, turn off my mac, get off my arse and walk into the bedroom in approximately 45 seconds.

Struggling

Day 10. 2 days to scan.

Struggling this week. Feel very low, tired and quite unpleasant both in body and in demeanour. I don’t know if it’s the drugs, or if I have a bug, or if it’s just me.

Big, big, buserelin tantrum this afternoon when washing up and the WATER HAD THE TEMERITY TO KEEP SPLASHING OUT OF THE WASHING UP BOWL. Kicked the kitchen cupboard and ran upstairs to hide.

Keep swinging between wild optimism at the thought that this cycle might be successful, and gloom at prospect of what sometimes feels like the inevitability of failure, after the kindly consultant pointed out to us that, after one live birth and one miscarriage, this cycle ought by the laws of probability to fail outright.

Optimism fuelled by intense broodiness. Lovely, tiny little new born baby at wedding in which I was singing this afternoon. Wanted to skip down from the choir stalls and give it a cuddle. This would no doubt have alarmed its parents (whom I do not know), so fortunately I didn’t.

Despair countered by imagining what I might do to comfort myself if cycle fails, e.g. take up scuba diving, lose some weight, drink gin.

New side effect this cycle which I don’t recall experiencing before of bizarre mental behaviour. Examples: whilst napping in car (as passenger not driver), suddenly waking up and saying “Zip!” (???); chasing after a woman in the shopping centre whom I was convinced was someone I had been to university with (it wasn’t); having argument on phone with hairdresser receptionist who denied I was booked in for an appointment until I suddenly realised I had booked at Trevor Sorbie and was in fact on phone to Toni and Guys.

Told my mother, who comfortingly suggested this was probably not the drugs but more typical of early onset dementia.

I’m going to bed.

Yoga with a dog and toddler

So, day 3 of the oestrogen regime. Memory is a weird thing isn’t it? In my mind it’s always buserelin that has been the utter bastard, but actually last week wasn’t too awful in the end, despite my grumbling. Then I started on the progynova and, man alive, it’s shite. All I want to do is lie in bed and eat marmite toast, and the world won’t let me.

Anyway, to help build up my lining to optimum levels for transfer, and being unable to extract myself from either work or the Nipper for long enough to be acupunctured, I have been reading this book on yoga for fertility, which I was a little fearful of, but it’s very very good. There’s not too much theory or “beardie-weirdie” stuff as one of my friends calls it, just suggested programs for various times in one’s cycle and guidance on how to fit it in around ART. And loads of other stuff on diet, affirmations etc that I haven’t really touched on yet, but will probably get round to during the 2ww when it’s too late.  An experienced yogini I’m not, but I did find yoga very helpful during pregnancy and labour, and on the rare occasions in the last few weeks when I’ve organised and motivated myself sufficiently to spend half an hour or so doing the poses (which are all well explained and simple), I’ve felt a real benefit.

Exceptions to this are a) when the dog decides to join in b) when the Nipper decides to join in and c) when both decide to join in, as there is only so much labrador spit and being punched in the face by a plastic tractor  that you can take when trying to increase your prana levels (yeah?) until you decide it’s better to just get up and turn CBeebies back on and make another marmite sandwich.

So, one more full week at work and then 2 weeks or so of “holiday” (i.e. dealing with work from home) during which time hopefully I get the old size 8s into the stirrups again and display my nether regions to the kind embryologists for our final transfer. Obviously, I refuse to acknowledge the possibility of either a) the oestrogen not working or b) our final frostie not making it out of the freezer, as neither of those options is acceptable.

I should really listen to a Zita West cd and go to bed early, but you know and I know I’m going to look in the cupboard for a chocolate doughnut and then watch Streetdance.

onwards and upwards

I am officially down-regged. Hooray!

And now, twelve days of oestrogen supplements and back for a scan on 1 Sep. If all looks good then, we’ll be looking at transfer a week later, which is most convenient, as I am off work that week, and will be able to sit in my PJs watching Netflix and obsessively checking the blackberry.

Unfortunately no respite from the b-stings which continue for now, but I feel a lot better about them now we have moved onto the next stage.

I really now need to focus on my organic diet/daily yoga/increased sleep/decreased stress regime (says she, spending her day off having a massive panic attack about a job and stuffing her face with chocolate).

This afternoon we have a meeting at the nursery to review the Nipper’s progress generally as a human being. Slightly nervous about this, bearing in mind he likes to carry around three plastic tractors at all times, takes spoons to nursery in his pocket, and speaks in his own pidgin Nipperspeak, but who wants normal? This review is a practice run for the proper review with the health visitor in a week or two. Now that I am definitely not looking forward to. Had to fill in insane questionnaire, e.g.:

Does your child react appropriately to dangers such as moving cars and fire? (Er, actually, I tend not to put my 2 year old in front of moving cars and fires).

Instruct your child to put his plates in the kitchen after a meal. Does he comply? (No. He’s 2. He’s running round with no trousers on and a saucepan on his head shouting HELLO DADDY.)

Is your child too friendly with strangers? (What? I mean, WHAT?)

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand and welcome an expert review of the Nipper’s development and, like all parents, crave reassurance that everything is tip top and as it should be. The problem is, I really really can’t cope with criticism, especially not of my boy. I do sometimes feel I’m really not grown up enough for this parenting business. (I am 39). (Oh god that sounds old).