Ivf#4, Stim day 5

First scan tomorrow and nervous is an understatement!

Feeling bloated, emotional and very tired. Have spent today crying over nothing (literally sobbing while watching non-tear-inducing on tv) and napping on the couch. I’ve not even eaten as I don’t have the energy to go cook or buy food. 

Tomorrow morning I’ll know if fostimon is working 😳

Day #3 of Stims

Fostimon is a pain, not the actual injection itself but unlike Menopur and Gonal-F it only seems to exist in 75iu doses, each packaged into their own individual box. I need 225iu daily, so it’s a huge waste for me to have to open 3 tiny boxes, throw them all away, included 2 vials of water since I only need 1 water: 3 powders. Who thought that up?

Otherwise, I feel absolutely no different. It’s only been three days, I know. I wasn’t expecting to feel much different. The nurse cleared me for low-levels of Zumba, so I did a class last night. Without jumping, twisting or excessive sweating it’s not nearly as fun! But it was exercise nonetheless and got the blood pumping a little. She says if I can’t talk while doing it I’m doing it too hard. Huh. First scan in 3 days so I’ll know more about my reaction to fostimon then. PRAYING it’s working well!

I’ve been eating really well, keeping to under 50g carbs a day and under 1300 calories with no refined sugar. I did slip a little tonight though and indulged in a slice of chocolate cake while waiting for a client to arrive. It was delicious but I had no desire for anything else naughty after it so my brain must be adjusting to the diet! Hoping the better eating and better blood sugar levels help the stims to work.

I’m currently waiting for my brother to arrive for a visit. He has something to tell me (praying he’s not going to tell me he’s pregnant too haha) And I’ve decided to tell him all – the endo, the IVF, the miscarriage. Once he knows I’ll have nobody to hide it from, I’ve only not told anyone else yet incase word got back to him before I’d had a chance to tell him. Once he knows I plan on being very open about it – if people don’t like it, screw them! I finally want people to know what I have been through and what I continue to go through.

And finally, why do all the good bookings coming through when I may be due? If this IVF cycle works I’ll be due in late January 2018 and right now I’m getting oodles of bookings for December 2017-March 2018. I know from my previous cycles that I can’t NOT take the bookings just incase or I’ll have no work if it fails, but looking at my accounts if it does work I’ll end up paying back a LOT in deposits to clients who booked in those months, and will also have pretty much no income after July this year. That’s scary. I’ll cross that bridge if and when I get to it, I’d much rather a baby of course but the thought of no income for 6 months scares the hell out of me. I already owe a lot of taxes from last year which need to be paid soon, but hopefully it’ll balance out if I do get pregnant because I can assume a lower income for this fiscal year and be entitled to more tax credits so maybe I’ll break even. Self-employment and prospective motherhood is hard as hell! I’m still on the lookout for a temporary or part time job just to help get some extra money in.

Please please please let this cycle work……

…and go

Baseline #2 went better than #1! Lining thinned from 8mm to 5mm (must have been the intense Zumba class last night!) and I start on fostimon tonight. First follicle scan on Monday morning. 

I’ve also been cleared to carry on my Zumba until Monday as they say there’s little chance of damage in the early stims days. I’ll take it much easier, of course, but I’m glad I can keep exercising. It’ll keep me sane on this cycle!

Pause

Baseline didn’t exactly go to plan – lining is way too thick still. Nurse is hoping it’s just a case of AF being slow to arrive properly (even though I’m bleeding heavily!) so I’m going back tomorrow for baseline scan #2. Think thin thoughts so I can get started! If not, I may have to delay for a couple of months and go back on the bastard norethisterone 😭

Here we go, for a fifth time

AF has arrived and brought her horrible, crampy friends with her. Baseline scan is booked for tomorrow morning, and my fostimon, merional & cetrotide is ready for action.

I’ve lost 10lbs in the last month, have stuck to a low-carb diet to balance my sugar/insulin levels which is supposed to greatly help follicle/egg growth, and I’ve been taking my ubiquinol/coq10, inositol & prenatal vitamin religiously.

Let the egg-growing commence!

Wearable Billboard

When you’re struggling to conceive or have had loss, it’s extremely difficult to handle someone close to you getting pregnant. It’s even more difficult when that person is your sister, you don’t get along anyway, and she’s making it her pleasure to rub it in your face and make you feel like shit.

Now that she’s telling the world, I have a whole new dimension of other people congratulating me, and that’s even worse. Just this morning, I was caught completely off guard when two family friends bumped into me and congratulated me on my sister’s pregnancy. I hadn’t even considered having to deal with this, and it took all of my might to retain composure and not break down in tears. “You must be so happy!” they said, “I just know you’ll be spoiling that baby!” The truth is no, I’m not happy for her. And I’ll probably never see the baby anyway. But you can’t go telling people that, it makes things awkward.

I often feel like screaming out about what’s happened to me. I don’t particularly want to keep my IVF and miscarriage a secret, but other people get very awkward when you mention it so I’ve not told many people. Even those I’ve told have not particularly cared, and want to say or hear as little about it as possible, my own mother and sister included.

So now I’m faced with a dilemma of avoiding family gatherings for the next 6 months (or until I can share news that I’m pregnant) or somehow tolerate the inevitable chit-chat about how FUCKING AMAZING it is that she’s pregnant, without wanting to go throw myself off a cliff (because honestly that’s how I’ve been feeling).

Life, eh? Things would be completely different if my sister wasn’t a lying, cheating, selfish bitch and, you know, we actually got along. My brother and I have not dealt with her in 3 years but she’s so self-centred I still don’t think she realises.

In better news, today if my last pill day! Just waiting for AF to speedily arrive so the real fun can begin. Nobody knows about this cycle, just you guys and my doctor! If it works I’ll break the news at 13/16 weeks, immediate family included.  Let’s hope that’s what it comes to!

IVF Pants

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I had to head to work this morning and my black work slacks just did not fit the IVF belly bloat. I’ve lost weight everywhere else, but that belly – nope, norethisterone says NO! Luckily I still have my maternity pants from my first cycle (which I bought not knowing how badly I’d bloat during IVF, and I had a month packed with weddings to shoot!) so I dug them out and they were huge on me, but at least they comfortably fit my belly. They are now my IVF pants ❤

Only 2 days to go on these dreaded pills. I’m Zumba’ing tonight and I’ve not had sweets for, erm, 24 hours now (winning!)

Also, ignore the state on my bed – it’s laundry day (the dog did not get laundered)

Here come the waterworks…

Oh norethisterone, what are you doing to me?

The pills aren’t very pleasant, but they’re also not as bad as I was expecting. Sure, I feel incredibly sick for an hour or two after I take one (and I have to take them 3 times a day), but after hearing that a lot of women go full-on crazy I was very worried because let’s face it, I’m crazy enough as it is. I don’t need extra!

I’ve taken them since Wednesday, so I’m on day 6 of them now. My uterus feels very heavy and is starting to hurt now, but additionally I’m full-on emotional and crying at the drop of a hat. More than usual, anyway.

Only 3 more days to go. Praying that I don’t get the awfully heavy and excruciating period many women complain of as I have a busy work week next week.

Think Positive Thoughts

Different cycle, different outcome

I’m so glad I keep my blog for moments of despair so I can look back on previous cycles and try to pinpoint where everything went wrong.

Cycle 1 – Menopur, started on 225iu and increased from there as needed. 19 eggs collected (9 for me, 10 donated) Outcome? 80% fert rate, 3 blasts, pregnant with twins, miscarriage

Cycle 2 – Menopur again, started on 375iu, gradually reducing. Only 9 eggs collected (4 for me, 5 donated) Outcome? 2 morulas, no blasts on day 5, 75% fert rate, BFN

Cycle 3 – Gonal F, started on 300iu, HUGE number of follicles (20-30+!), dose dropped repeatedly, 27 eggs, 22 mature but only 2 fert (9% fert rate). One day 3 embryo frozen, FET BFN

I try to research and learn about my cycles because when you’re a private patient you really need to take care of yourself and tell them what you want/need.

This time, I’m on a completely different protocol (short, not long) and different meds (fostimon & merionel with cetrotide). The powers that be say that a short protocol tends to work better for those who overstimulate, which usually I don’t but last cycle I did, and I strongly, strongly believe that the fact that I was so overstimulated gravely affected my egg quality last time.

This time, I want to aim for 10-15 follicles/eggs which seems achievable. I’m also on a lower dose of drugs this time (225iu)

Another issue has been my ‘sticky eggs’/. I’ve done ICSI for all 3 IVF cycles, not because my eggs particularly needed or called for it, but because my chosen sperm donor was ICSI only. This time I have changed to a non-ICSI donor, and my consultant wants me to do 50/50 IVF & ICSI which I was happy with. After doing some research tonight I’m going to make a note to the embryologist on Egg Collection day that I want to be informed before any fertilisation attempts as to the quality and appearance of my eggs (ie. do they look sticky/abnormal/immature?). I want any immature eggs in the IVF 50% of my fertilisation pot, apparently immature eggs can fertilise with IVF in some instances, but never with ICSI. If they think I need ICSI for all my eggs, I want to know and be given the opportunity to pay for them all to be ICSI’d

As for cycle abandonment, I wonder whether my last cycle should have been cancelled due to the crazy number of follicles on my scans. WHY wasn’t it cancelled? I wonder this a lot. Only one of my ovaries does anything (the left one is a lazy bugger) and at my last scan before EC I had a whopping 26 follicles on ONE ovary, and 6 on the other, and these were only the follicles large enough for egg collection – they didn’t bother to count the others because they were too small to be mature anyway. That shows I was way overstimulated. Should I have cancelled it? Is it even my place to say that I want to cancel a cycle? Would I have lost the cost of that cycle had I decided to abandon it based on follicle numbers? These are all going on a list for me to ask my nurse when I’m there next week for my baseline scan.

I’ve become that patient – the one who thinks she knows everything, the one who wants to know exactly what’s going on and not just take things at face value, the one who starts many sentences in consultations with “I read online that…”. The one who paid £50 for a copy of all of her clinic records just so she could read through them and try to piece together my cycles. When I had my NHS scan last week the consultant was laughing at me because I was twisting around to see the screen (they don’t have the luxurious large screen TV mounted to the wall like my private clinic does!) and I kept asking her what she was looking at and why things were like that, I must have really irritated her but she didn’t say anything – in fact, she answered all of my questions.

This is me, just how I am. I need to know what’s in my medication, what it’s for, how it affects my body, how everything comes together to play a part in IVF. After 5 cycles I have a pretty good idea now but there are still some things that throw me. When my nurse called me to tell me to take norethisterone a few weeks ago I was badgering her on what it was for and why I needed it. I’m a pain 😀

So, yes. I’m trying to remain positive and realistic about this cycle. Last cycle went badly because of the follicles numbers, I’m sure, so I just need to keep on top of it this time and make sure that we don’t have a repeat of it.

Sugar is now gone (bye bye chocolate 😦 ) and it’s all for this cycle. Please, please let it work.

As for my family issues, I have made the decision not to tell any of them I’m going again. I will make my own way to egg collection alone (train, bus and taxi again!), and if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant they will find out at either 13 or 18 weeks. I want the time to enjoy my pregnancy stress-free. As they have showed me this week I owe them absolutely nothing, just like they feel they owe me absolutely nothing.

Getting Fit For Fertility

I’m a bigger gal, so weight loss has always been something that I’ve known could be/probably is affecting my fertility. This is despite the fact that I ovulate regularly, and my most successful IVF cycle was at my highest weight of all time!

So for these next couple of cycles, I’ve really been giving it my all. I was spurred on by my consultant saying that she would not refer me for further tests or treatment until I’d got my BMI down to 30. Eek. At my consultation on March 14th my BMI was 36. As of today, i’m shocked and glad to say that I’m down 7 lbs, and down to a BMI of 34.5! Slow, but at least it’s in the right direction, and I didn’t exactly eat so well throughout March – oops.

I’ve been upping my exercise level big time. I do Zumba 5 times a week, aqua zumba once a week, and try to either take my dog on a 3 mile walk on the other days or walk on the treadmill at the gym for an hour. My goal is 15,000 steps a day and I’ve been hitting it a good few times a week!

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week – I do one hour Zumba class in the morning, I walk my dog for an hour in the afternoon, I do another Zumba class in the evening, immediately followed by an hour of aqua zumba. Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound am I right?

I have approximately 9 weeks until my June follow-up appointment, and I really need to lose another 27 lbs by then…so I really have to give it my all (and then some) without killing myself!

This weight loss is also hopefully going to help this IVF cycle, hopefully allowing my stims to do a better job and produce some better quality eggs. Then I don’t have to chop off a limb to meet the weight limit in June because I’ll already be pregnant 🙂