IVF Transfer Day

10am – It has been 5 days since the egg collection and I m back at the clinic, waiting for the transfer. It is the first time in this whole process I here without Chris – he just had to stay at work after he took some days off last week to go home with me to see my mum. Few days ago he told me that it is strange to think he won’t be there when I get pregnant.
I forgot to drink and luckily there is water fountain in the waiting room, chucking down two plastic cups of water hoping my bladder will fill up very quickly!

10:30am – I got called in to change into the hospital rope. I desperately need to pee, so my bladder is definitely full. Perhaps too full. Still no news about my embryos – have the 3 survived???
Stress levels very high. Heartburn got worse. Waiting for the nurse to collect me from the little changing room I am in.

10:45 I walked into the treatment room. There were 3 people in there: a nurse, an embryologist and a doctor. The nurse asked me to sit on the bed and then the embryologist came to talk to me. She checked my name and date of birth and then told me they will implant a 3BB embryo. I panicked as 3BB doesn’t sound like a supreme quality, but she ensured me it was a good embryo. I looked at the doctor who smiled and said that it is good an what we wanted. In any case, I thought to myself I don’t have a choice at this stage.
The embryologist then left the room via a connecting glass door to the embryo laboratory which was full of other embryologists, shelves and microscopes. The rooms were next to each other and I couldn’t keep my eyes of that room during the whole procedure.
The doctor then started the process, which looked like having a smear test. She put a long tube in, as thin as a needle, and then took it out. (I thought maybe she was doing a practice run!). Then she yelled “yep” which was clearly a sign for the nurse to go and get the embryologist from laboratory behind the glass. The embryologist then came in with a very long, thin as a needle tube and passed it onto the doctor. The doctor inserted it and ten kept looking at the clock for 1 minute. She took the tube out and the nurse called the embryologist again. She took the tube to check if the embryo has been released from the tube and after a minute she said “yes, all clear”, and within the 30seconds the doctor was ready! It was barely 11am.

11am – I got some forms to sing – do I want to freeze the remaining embryos? I don’t know, need to talk to Chris.

11:05 – I am allowed to go to pee. And ordered to think positive. And good luck from everyone.

11:07 – I am out of the hospital, on the phone to Chris who is incredibly excited.

11:15 – went to TopShop, Zara, Starbucks (camomile tea, no coffee allowed according to my husband). It is strange thinking that no one around knows that a team of people just made me pregnant. (Not officially, but for the time being)

13:00 – meeting Chris outside his office for lunch. I m supposed to stay calm and relaxed and not go to the gym (which I really crave for once!). The key is to keep tummy relaxed.

15:00 – googling “3bb embryo”. Loads of positive stories put my mind at rest.

19:00 – After dinner at home Chris kissed my belly. It was such a strange feeling.

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IVF wait before the Transfer day

This is what’s been happening since the egg collection day:

IVF
The doctor rung is the day after the egg collection to tell us we’ve got 6 eggs. I was surprised because I had 40 follicles. Anyway, I was thinking that 6 is better than nothing.

Out of the 6, 5 have fertilised via ICSI and one was damaged. Out of the 5, 4 were excellent and 1 was average.

Two days later we got another update. 3 embryos are doing fine, 1 was either exceeding expectations or was broken (TBC) and one was below average.

It was very strange to hear all of these. We were joking that our babies had very educated nannies looking after them.

I had hardly any side effects, nothing noticeable. I wasn’t in pain or any discomfort. Yesterday I got an awful heartburn, but that was it.

Chris was doing some internet research how to make the embryo stick. He took it very seriously, I must say! He even gave me details regarding pelvic exercises… Other than that, most medical journals recommend no stress (and practice staying relaxed), not to tense one’s tummy, no heavy lifting, loads of laughter to de stress, leading an active life to ensure proper oxygen flow, no hot/cold temperatures, no alcohol, no coffee, no showers immediately after the transfer, take folic acid, eat dark fruit & veg for more alkaline tummy environment, drink milk, eat avocado, Brazil nuts and pineapple.

Tomorrow is Day 5 – the transfer day.

My mum
My mum’s health really deteriorated. My family called in the evening of the egg collection day. I was on a first flight out at 6am the next morning, and another flight today to get back for the transfer, and will fly again the day after the transfer. It’s absolutely the worst timing possible, but I’ve got no choice. I am not worried about the number of flights I m on, but the incredible stress I am under with my mum’s being so unwell… There is no way I can relax and I started thinking that we won’t be lucky with IVF this time.

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IVF Egg Collection Day

7:15am – Chris just took away my tea literally from my lips as I was half way drinking it. The nurse said no more food/drinks are allowed from 7:15 and Chris is clearly taking it very seriously. We both had a sleepless night so I m glad we packed our hospital bag (iPad, magazines, lethal amounts of paracetamol, water, chocolates for the nurses, and overnight clothes just in case) am and prepared our most comfortable clothes the night before.

8:15am – we got to the clinic and were shown into our area. By area I mean curtained square with an armchair and a chair for us to wait in. The nurse came in and took my basic vitals and asked for me to change into hospital gown. Apparently I got an athletes’s vitals. I also changed into the hospital gown which Chris tied me into so tight, I looked like a made to measure Diane Von Frustenberg dress with no room to breath. And then another nurse put need needles in my arm for the procedure.

8;30am. Waiting time. The nurses are really lovely and there is someone wishing us good luck every 5 minutes.

9:30 into the operating theatre. It’s quite a big room, with the massive bed in the middle and 6 members of staff.
All women, all very friendly. As was put on the bed, a sedation tube was put into my nose. It didn’t seem like it was doing anything as I was awake, but when I looked at a clock it was 10:15 and it was all over. I felt only a very mild discomfort. I was then put on a wheel chair and bright back to our waiting area where Chris was already waiting for me, following giving his sample and making a trip to a local coffee shop to bring me a latte and a small sandwich.

10:30 latte drunk, sandwich eaten, but my head feels like I have been hit with a brick. Apart from that, I am not feeling bad at all. My eyes hardly stay open so Chris is reading “Marie Claire” out loud to me.

11:10 – Chris has been sent tot the pharmacy to pick up antibiotics for me. In the meantime, the embryologist came to say that they only managed to collect 6 eggs and although Chris’s quality sperm has improved, they suggest we still go for the ICSI treatment to give us more chance for the eggs to fertilise.

11:20 – I m a little disappointed that from my 40 growing follicles we only got 6 eggs. That is a smaller number than the average 8-12 but there is nothing I can do about it. Finishing drinking my coffee as I need to go to the toilet before we leave so can report back to the doctors whether there is blood. Chris is still not back from the pharmacy and I m worries to tell him what the doctor said to me. Still no physical pains and the headache is getting better.

11:25 – I have been shown how to use the next step of medication – a vaginal gel that I will have to insert almost like a tampon for the next few weeks, starting tonight.

11:30 Chris is back with the antibiotics. He is not disappointed and in good spirits, making me laugh. He ordered us a taxi home for 12pm so we will be out of here soon.

11:40 I am dressed in my own clothes now and ready to go to pee with the nurse. Feeling dizzy when walking but the nurse is holding my hand. No blood in pee so we can definitely go home as soon as the taxi arrives. Still no pains.

11:50 – Discharge papers are here. The embryologist will call us tomorrow to let us know how many/if any of the eggs fertilised and how long we will have to wait until the transfer back.

12:00 and we are off! The whole thing took less than 4 hours, it wasn’t scary or painful. Brilliant nurses and staff. Now the nervous wait until the call tomorrow.

13:30 we are shopping. Zara, Tk Maxx, Ikea… Full of energy.

15:00 all of a sudden I m feeling like I’ve been hit with a brick in a head! Luckily we were driving home and I couldn’t wait to lie down.

15:15 I hardly made it through the bathroom door and I m sick. And then sick two more times before i fall askeep until 7pm.

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About families

On Sunday we went for another early morning blood test. After that we planned to do something relaxing as it really seemed like in the last few weeks all we did was manage work commitments, hospital appointments and caring for my mum via very difficult lengthy phone calls with the doctors and my family. Frankly, on Sunday we were both beyond exhausted physically and emotionally.

We planned to look after ourselves: Chris wanted us to go the gym for a gentle swim; I wanted to have my hair done; and then we wanted to go for lunch with Chris’s visiting parents to a very nice (but cheap) restaurant that all of our friends and in fact, TV shows, rave about.

What could possibly stand in a way of that? Chris’s parents.

Just as we got to the gym they rung and said that despite us making plans long time ago they now had a big breakfast and no longer fancy lunch. We should meet somewhere else for coffee and can we meet sooner.

How incredibly selfish, I could not believe it. Swimming got cancelled, so did my hair appointment as I booked it for before lunch (silly me wanting to look nice for once!). What about us being actually hungry? Not to mention the fact that we were really looking forward to going to town on a Sunday afternoon, change the scenery to help us get some space from our problems, even if for few hours.

The point is that they know exactly what we are going through and at no point have made any attempts to go out of their way to try and make it easier for us. The funny thing is, we booked the restaurant 10mins walk from the hotel they were staying, but because we could not come to town fast enough, they agreed to come half way towards us, on a day where almost all of the public transport was either shut or replaced. So eventually they only arrived 15mins earlier than we originally planned and guess what: they had full blown lunch with desserts!!! What was the point of all this?

When they arrived at no point did they say “sorry for throwing your day upside down”. Not even an acknowledgement.

Chris was fuming but said nothing as he decided that it was not worth having an argument now which would add to our stress.

I sat there (listening to them talk about themselves, their holiday plans, their recent holidays, their fitness training) thinking how little they care about us and how preoccupied they are with their own lives and needs. I wanted to cry at the thought that my mum would give up everything to be with us and help us. But they prefer to make our lives more difficult for absolutely no reason.

I know it is a small thing, but it spoke volumes. Chris hasn’t spoken to his parents since. I have no intention to build any relationship there. Chris said that all of a sudden he saw his parents in a completely different light: cold, selfish, detached. He said that it is just him and me and our kid in his picture of our family. I found these words very sad.

In the meantime I keep getting worse and worse news from the hospital where my mum is – my mum being the most understanding and big-hearted person I know. I cry every night but try to keep strong for the IVF. Once that is over, the embryo transferee back, I will be on the first plane to see her. I pray every night that I will get there on time. I m very lucky to have Chris to help me go through it.

I desperately wanted my parents to be grandparents. I wanted my kids to have them as grandparents. I know they would have been amazing. My dad spoke about being a grandparent so often and he had boundless love to give. And now my mum is in a hospital and I m not sure if she will be leaving it. I find it so unfair. As I m writing it I’m on a packed train from work and as there are tears coming down my face like crazy, I need to stop typing now.

Tomorrow we are booked for egg collection.

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What? Another blood test?

It’s Sunday and I’ve been here everyday since Friday for a blood test. I m completely off gonal-f as my eggs are growing like crazy. My left ovary hurts like hell.

My body feels like a big balloon. My thighs are massive, covered in cellulite. So is my belly. I blame water retention. I m normally very fit and go to the gym 5 times a week, but I really struggle now: cannot do many exercises because my tummy hurts (nausea and water retention), hands hurt (veins hurt from the daily blood tests), legs don’t hurt yet so that’s the only thing I can exercise. It is very difficult to stay fit and I didn’t see that coming.

Mum is still in a hospital, getting ready for an operation tomorrow at the same time as my morning scan.

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3rd scan

All good, eggs are growing slowly. 40 follicles, ca. 20 growing. Gonal-f injection cut in half to avoid overstimulation. Eggs collection booked for Wednesday. Side effects: extreme nausea.

Mum in a hospital, not receiving chemo. There is mucus collected in her lungs. I m being told it is serious. Normally I would fly out immediately to be with her, but the doctors here asked me to come for another blood test first thing tomorrow and then on Monday. My family from overseas are flying there and we’ve got rota until Wednesday. It breaks my heart.

There is “Glee” on the little tv in the corner of the waiting area, Kurt is singing a beautiful slow version of “I want to hold your hand” .

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Another day, another ovarian scan

Today’s scan was very straightforward. Number of growing follicles: 12. Size of growing follicles: between 10 and 13mm. This is quite good, steady progress, slightly slower than normal which means more scans than planned (2 days extra). Number of small follicles: 27!!!! This is not so good. I m now in danger of hyperovulating. My minimal dosage of gonal-f might be even more reduced or taken out of the treatment completely (the dosage is one of the causes why my follicles are growing slowly). The doctors will discuss it in a team meeting later this afternoon and will call me if I’ll have to change the dosage. This means having my phone with me between 3pm-6:30pm, ie during my back-to-back meetings at work.

I also had a blood test to check my hormones levels. I’ll have one every 2nd day from now on. Yes, I had a feeling 2 needles a day were not enough! They say “three is a charm”!

The nurse said that the latest I can expect the “egg collection” would be next Wednesday. That means in week’s time!!! This sounds really soon.

Meanwhile on he other side of the world my mum is having her lungs scan for her cancer. I know this is just a test and the results won’t be available for some time, but it still stresses me out and I can feel one big knot in my stomach. She hasn’t been feeling well in the last few days and last night when I spoke to her she couldn’t stop coughing, so I am very worried. I cannot wait to speak to her as soon as she is out of the hospital.

It is now 9:20am and I am on my way to work where no one has a clue what my morning looked like.

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Ovarian stimulation scan

Today we were due for 2nd “ovulation scan”. We are now in the second part of the IVF, following the “down regulation” which means my natural cycle was turned into temporary menopause (ca. 2 weeks). The first part involved a daily injection of buserelin and even though Chris put his entire gentleness and love into administering it, there was nothing pleasant about it. I m good with pain and needles, and to be honest, the first two days I thought “it’s easy, I can do it”. I can do it, but it is not that easy. I work full time so the morning nausea caused by the drug made my journey to work really uncomfortable. My anxieties about my mum (complete with nightmares) rose to sky-high levels and I felt like a nervous wreck. I lost focus at work. This is on top of various digestion problems which I am not able to fix with a whole range of various pills because everyday I’ve got a different issue…Luckily, now we are only on half the dosage of buserelin, but we’ve got additional injection in the evening (gonal f). This one makes my follicles grow faster.

At the first ovulation scan I was overjoyed: my body produced 22 follicles! Like a garden of Eden. But today the doctor said that there are additional ones which means I m at a serious risk of over-stimulation which can be dangerous and brings a new set of side effects… So for the time being my gonal-f injection dose is minimal and my follicles are not getting bigger.

The ovulation scans take place every second day. I was lucky the first fell on Bank Holiday so didn’t have to take time off work. The second one was early in the morning so at work I could simply say that I’ve had a GP appointment; and for the next one I’ve arranged a “working from home” day under a false pretence of fixing a boiler. I don’t have any other excuses ready for next scans. I cannot tell my manager that I’m going through IVF – I’m not really sick in the strict sense of the word… Besides, she is new and so I don’t know her at all, I’ve got no idea how she would react. I like my job and I am good at it, I don’t want to jeopardise my career before I even have a kid. When I’ll have the kid, then I am pretty sure my career will get a hit anyway, no matter how good I am at my job.

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This is what IVF looks like

This is what IVF looks like

This is what IVF looks like

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About the little things…

Phoned my mum. She didn’t pick up. I phoned her again 5 minutes later. Nothing. Perhaps she was in a shower or downstairs doing laundry. 10 minutes later she still didn’t pick up. I phoned her mobile – switched off. Called Chris (my husband) from my mobile and asked him to stay on the line with me while I used the house phone to call my mum’s neighbours to check if she was there. She wasn’t. I phoned her friends who said she should be at home. I rang again and no answer. All I kept thinking was that she was coughing the day before and feeling tired and assuming the worst. Chris came home and sat next to me while I tried calling everyone and eventually asked my mum’s friends to go to her house. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I was literally paralysed with fear. I got the call back – my mum was fine – her phone was broken. I started crying and shouting at mum, telling her she must buy a new phone immediately and move house to get better mobile reception and that I cannot do this over and over again. For almost two hours while I was trying to call mum, I was seating on the sofa curled into a ball, paralysed with fear! Chris said that I cannot go on like this especially when we are trying for a baby. This will not be healthy when we are pregnant. Easier said that done. But for the first time in my life I think that maybe it would not be a bad idea to ask a professional how to cope with this.  Now, 2 hours after, I’ve got a killer headache and I feel nauseous. I don’t event know whether it is from the stress or from the two types of IVF injections I am on now.

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