theinfertilitybubble

The journey that is Infertility

After the ovulation test

So the tests showed that I was ovulating. That sounded positive. At least my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing.

I was given a drug, Clomid. The idea behind this drug is that it is designed to encourage ovulation. Right, excellent! If this drug was meant to encourage ovulation, it wouldn’t be long and I would conceive.

Whilst this was happening, I was referred to a consultant in the local hospital. This was just to discuss what would be the next step in trying to identify why I was not conceiving. Great, things were moving along.

After a conversation with the consultant, it was decided that the next step would be a lap and dye. A coloured dye flushed through my Fallopian tubes to determine whether there was a blockage, and hence no egg reaching my uterus.  Now I was faced with two sets of emotions. Firstly, yes, let’s see what is actually going on inside and let’s address it. However there was an overriding feeling of dread. And the reason for this was because I have an allergy to muscle relaxants that are present in general anaesthetic. Basically, I do not have an enzyme in my body to break this down. So effectively, I would come round after the operation, but paralysed until the muscle relaxant wore off. But the problem is, I did not know this at the time, as I had been told all my life that I was allergic to general anaesthetic and I wouldn’t come round.

Leading up to the op, all I did was cry. I was petrified of not coming round after the operation. My husband even said , you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. I did seriously consider this, but it was either I don’t bother and potentially not have a baby, or just suck it up and get on with it. I did the latter.

So the op went ahead. After the op, I did feel quite sad and upset, selfishly thinking why me? Why did I have to go through this? It wasn’t fair. Fairly common emotions.

The results came back………….no blockage, and a slight case of endometriosis! Great, there was no blockage, the endometriosis wasn’t that bad to cause any concern. So far everything in our favour. It was decided that I would keep on with the clomid and see what happened. And another appointment to see the consultant.

 

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Poetry

A little bit of poetry this evening. I have been having a go, and its been quite therapeutic!

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THE 1st IVF round

Our first ever round of IVF was to begin! We went through the protocol with the consultant and they went through everything step by step. I have to wait for my period and then give them a ring and the protocol would start. Whoooop things were finally underway. There would be a period of injecting stimulating hormones to encourage as many follicles to be created as possible, but not too many. Then each follicle would be ‘drained’ (please bear in mind I am not using technical terms but how I processed it in my mind!) and it would determined from that how many eggs were available. The eggs were, in turn, graded, then as long as we had tidy quality eggs they would be fertilised.

I did as I was Instructed and rang the clinic when my period started. I had to go in and get my schedule of when and what to inject, swallow, etc., etc. I came away with a load of needles and pessaries and a sharps box. It was finally starting to dawn on me that, whilst I was not at all squeamish, I had never stuck a needle in myself, much less my stomach!! 😳 How hard could it be. Yes of course I knew I was gonna hurt a little.

Now all this coincided with a work trip! I had a client meeting in London. So not even a meeting down the road. This was a bloody 3-3 1/2 hr trip and then from Paddington to London eye area. Ok so let me get this straight in my mind, not only will I have to inject for the first time, but I had to do it away from home……shit! The first thing I had to factor into my journey was that the drugs had to be kept in the fridge!! Ah man, so not only did I have to carry these ‘drugs’ in my luggage, but I had to make sure they were kept cool. What if I didn’t do it correctly? What it they were kept out of the fridge for too long? What if I messed up on my very first go? Believe me all these thoughts go through your head, it is a huge amount of responsibility. If I got this wrong, then the cycle could be abandoned, and that’s another month lost! Ok let’s not think about it until we get to the hotel.

Now back at this time, mentally, I was quite a strong person. Yes I got nervous and a little anxious, but no more than anyone else. This was a huge benefit to me. I pulled on this strength massively.

So I arrive at the hotel, crap no fridge in my room. Ok now I am feeling a little embarrassed, I had to go and ask reception to store them in their fridge for me. Now I kept telling myself, they must come across this ALL the time, but it still felt eyes were on me, and people judging. But it’s what I had to do.

You can actually decide at what time of day you inject, but it has to be that time every day. I opted for the evening, but my reasoning was I could just go to sleep and forget about it, especially if it hurt. Again my way of protecting myself.

We went out for dinner with the client and then back to the hotel for a good nights sleep ready for the meeting the following day. Yeah. It had suddenly hit me in the lift going up to my room, it’s time. All the self doubts were creeping into my mind. I can’t do this, I can’t actually stick a needle in me. But I have to or there’s no baby. Ok let’s get a plan in place. I am a planner, I need to have things straight in my head, and a plan b. I would get the medication, go back to me room and just do it. Worse case, one of my colleagues at the meeting was a doctor, I would ring his room and ask him to do it. Those who know me, know I am not shy, so asking him to do it and actually let him do it was not an issue for me. However I was going to have to do this on a regular basis, so I would have to suck it up and just do it! I get back to my room, touch my hand with the needle, wow that’s sharp. What a dumb thing to think, of course it’s sharp. I txt my husband to say, right I am about to do it. I touched my skin on my belly with the needle…..shit I can’t do this. Then I began to focus on the end result, mand just get it done! I pinch the skin and pushed that needle in and injected the medication.

The next feeling was huge relief, followed by overwhelming emotion. I rang my husband in tears. He was worried, what’s wrong, what’s wrong. To which I answered, I did it, I just did it. You will honestly never understand how that feels and the emotion that goes along with it unless you have been through it. Trust me!

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What happened next? ……….

Clomid clearly wasn’t working, so it was now time to move on to next step. Whilst age wasn’t bothering me too much, time was getting on!

We were referred to the IVF clinic, and an appointment with the IVF Consultant. The day we arrived at the clinic, I have to admit I was s*****ng myself. I just did not know what to expect. Would they tell me right there and then that I could have IVF? Would they do a whole heap of tests there and then? How was I going to inject? What if this didn’t work? My mind was on fire. My hopes were up one minute, after all wasn’t this the miracle science that had given loads of people a family. Then my hopes were rock bottom, what if (those magic words) my body just wasn’t up to the treatment? What if my eggs were crap? What if I had very few eggs? I was very excited but also quite scared!

I am not telling you this to scare you, I am telling you because you will feel these things, maybe not all of them, but I guarantee some of them. And do you know what……that’s ok. It’s normal to be scared and excited all at the same time. It’s something that means everything to us, and we do not want any mistakes or to be told, ‘sorry that ain’t gonna happen!’  It’s the unknown, and if you are anything like me, I hate the unknown with a passion. This is something that really pushes me out of my comfort zone, still does, and more so the older I get. I like to be in control. But that is a whole different story.                                                                             It is a very daunting prospect and experience entering an IVF clinic. As I soon as I walked in I felt a little nervous, but do you know what I needn’t have been.               My way of dealing with situations that I feel embarrassed in or nervous, is to either laugh or non-stop talk! The staff in the clinic were so lovely and welcoming, I instantly felt at ease. I thought there would be an awkwardness or we would find it hard talking about this, after all it is a sensitive, still taboo to a point, subject talking to a complete stranger about your reproduction. I Didn’t feel any of this. All I felt was, I was surrounded by people willing and eager to help me reach what I desperately desired…..to be a mum!

So as anticipated, the consultant when through my history, had a look at all previous tests. Saw that clomid wasn’t working and that I had a mild case of endometriosis. Now the start of this journey from here gets a bit hazing, because as I referred to in a previous blog, I kept very few notes. I didn’t need to right, I was gonna get IVF and be pregnant within the year!

First stop, yep you guessed it, tests. Not just me, my husband too. He wasn’t getting away with it lightly! A whole heap of tests to make sure we didn’t have any of ‘those’ conditions, look at my egg reserve and ovulation, etc., etc., and a look to see how he and his little swimmers were.

Even these tests come with a certain amount of anxiety. But back then I wasn’t anxious about them, the only feelings I had were, come on, come on, when can we start. I had waited long enough, and seen enough people around me announce their pregnancies……..my turn now!

We had had all the tests, and it appeared, at that time, that I had PCOS (Polycycstic Ovaries) with endometrosis. Now this again, in itself, didn’t bother me. I had known plenty of people who had PCOS and endometriosis and have had children, and in some cases, not just 1! The advice to the other half, take some supplements that help men (No I don’t mean viagra) and to, how do I put this politely, air those bad boys, especially if you are an office worker. Sitting down for too long is not good, they need to breathe and have a bit of air! Guys I am being deadly serious here, do anything to increase your chances.

I started to watch what I ate. I have IBS, and this was something that had to be tackled. whilst there is no evdience, in my mind it  couldn’t be helping. I know people who have gone for reflexology to help them get pregnant and others who have done acupuncture. I went for the latter. i was going to soon become a pin cushion, may as well start now!

I considered myself, at that time, to be pretty fit and healthy. however I dialled back the training a bit and tried to cut out or change things that were making the IBS worse. Even if my mind believed it helped, can only be a good thing surely?

With all this in mind, our first appointment was booked to start actual IVF. This s**t really was starting to get real now! how exciting, it wont be long and I will be a mammy, we will be parents with our own bundle of joy.

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Clomid and IUI

So Clomid was to be our choice of medication to determine if this could encourage ovulation and increase the chances of me conceiving and then ultimately having a baby.

So off I popped to the pharmacy for my prescription of Clomid. I don’t really know how many prescriptions I had now, all I know is……yep you guessed it, it didn’t work. I was still childless.

I attended the IUI clinic, had all the necessary tests, conversations and off we embarked on the IUI journey. Now the drugs that you are given are designed to stimulate your ovaries to producing follicles. Any more than 2 follicles, then the cycle has to be abandoned due to increased risk of multiple births. Fine that’s ok, a couple of follicles and we are on our way. In our true style, nothing was that simple for us. My body reacted extremely well to the drugs and I was consistently producing more than two follicles, so treatment had to be abandoned. I lost count the number of times it was abandoned, and at that time I didn’t keep notes, which is bizarre for me as that’s my thing, make notes on everything! I think, if memory serves we only actually had one round that went all the way. but that failed.

We started looking at the future and if this treatment didn’t happen, what would we do next.

I already knew about IVF because of people I knew who had gone through it. However, I was determined to have my 2 free rounds on the NHS….why not I had worked since I was in college, through university and after my uni days were over, and I had contributed, so why not. However, in order to have your free rounds on the NHS (as it was when we started, it may have changed now), you had to have 2 failed attempts at IUI. I don’t mean 2 failed goes, I mean failed attempts, so from the initial stimulation through to intra uterine insemination (IUI). Ok, that should be easy enough. Again, as is with fertility treatment, nothing is easy.

Now at this point, I was genuinely starting to think I wasn’t meant to have children. But I am no quitter. This was not going to beat me. It was time now, surely, to turn to IVF. We had discussion with our team, and I was referred for IVF treatment. Ok, excuse my phrase, but this s*&t started to get real. Being quite ignorant to the fertility world, I labelled myself as ‘one of those’, you know the ‘defective ones’, ‘the ones with problems’. Yep these are all the things I thought, and people do believe you me.

It was now I was thinking wow, there really is a chance I wont become a mum. I wouldn’t get the chance to do all those mum things with my child, to teach my child life lessons, to go on adventures. Even now, recalling these thoughts and feelings brings a lump to my throat, and a little bit of anger that I had to go through that. But this is my mind now, slightly battered and bruised, and not my mind back then. Back then I was very mentally strong, not a lot got to me and I refused to be beaten. I had always been like that growing up. I guess I can attribute this to my family in many ways. I was always taught if crap gets thrown at you, you pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and you carry on…….and this is what I was going to do and this is what I did.

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Sorry for the delay

Hey guys. Just wanted to pop on to say sorry for the delay. I wrote my next bit, saved it as my daughters bed time was calling, now i cant find it, so will have to rewrite!! 😢😢

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Next chapter……

Get ready for the next instalment on my IVF journey

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Today!!

Ok so i thought i would just pop up a post about today. Even though my IVF journey is kinda over, it still has an impact on me from time to time.

Today on the school run we are listening to Kidz Bop singing ‘someone you love’ by lewis capaldi. Well listening to the words has made me cry. Its such a beautiful song and has made me think of my journey and of the people that supported me and helped me.

So even though people may think ah that part of your life is done, it still has an impact from time to time xxx

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So how did it all start??

Just like any other couple who got married we started thinking about starting a family. I wasn’t hugely bothered, i was doing well at work, getting my career, so if it happened it happened.

Then times moves on and you start to wonder ‘wow is everything ok’ or ‘its ok, it can take time’, ‘it will happen next month’. But it doesn’t.

Ok no need to panic, i just need to follow and note what my body and period is doing. Still nothing.

Right lets start googling. Googling how to become pregnant, the best exercise or best foods to eat. Possible causes of not conceiving. Is it me? Is it him? At that point i am a fairly level headed person and i don’t read too much into what i am reading.

I considered myself to be pretty fit and healthy, so why was this ‘natural’ thing that all women should be able to do, not happening????

Then comes the advice from people, don’t stress or it wont happen. Auntie betty’s friend’s daughter relaxed and forgot about it and what do you know, they are pregnant. Yes cheers for that, no pressure!

Ok been trying for a little while now and still nothing. Time to make an appointment at the doctors. Usual routine blood tests done to determine whether ovulation has occurred. It has. Great! So why the hell am i still not conceiving?!?!?

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My IVF Journey

Hi

Welcome to my blog on the IVF journey.

I am Amanda and I am a wife and a 40 something mum to my gorgeous little girl.

Around 2005 we started trying for a family. I thought it would be relatively easy. It’s easy to conceive, right? It’s what women are built for, right? Within a year or two I will be pregnant, right? Wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for the journey we were about to go on.

We’ve had few highs and many lows, when finally it worked! Whilst pregnant it got me thinking that it may be helpful to share my experiences in an attempt to help others and hopefully alleviate some of the stress that goes along with it. The idea passed me by as I got on with life as a mum.

However, I tried IVF again and fell pregnant in 2017. Then it all went horribly wrong, so that really gave me the incentive to write the blog, as well as encouragement from friends, to enable me to get all my experiences down, as well as share and hopefully help people going through IVF.

I intend to write about my experiences, right from the beginning, all the way to the present day.

My hope is to provide some support to people embarking or currently going through their IVF journey. There is no better support and help and advice than from someone who has actually experienced it, because believe you me, you have no idea unless you have been there.

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