Here We Are

Today I am 5 weeks and 1 day pregnant.

Baby is the size of an appleseed.

But I have lots of decisions to make.  Should I stay in my stressful job?  Should we think about moving out of this flat (3 split levels seemed like such a good idea at the time)?  Which books should I buy?  Well, I feel like I have lots of decisions to make anyway.

Its been a stressful month in general.  First the boiler broke, so that was £3k we didn’t think we’d have to spend.  Then our sweet doggie had some cysts which needed removing.  Another £1k plus the heartbreak of seeing her in pain after the surgery.  Now the car muffler needs replacing.  Um…no more money left.  And I don’t get paid until the end of the month.  Baby may be a hobo baby at this rate!

But I am so excited.  Yesterday I found my copy of Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition for Before, During & After Pregnancy.  I had bought it for the ‘Before’ section and then put it away, but it was a great relief to find it and read the section on ‘During’.

I am also thinking of starting a new site.  A site where I can record my thoughts about pregnancy and which I can share with family & friends when the time is right.  This site will continue until my journey with the Assisted Conception Unit is complete, though.  These are early days and while I am excited, I cannot feel complacent. 

Speechless

I am speechless.

I hardly want to write this down for fear that it can’t be real or somehow I will jinx it.

But it worked.  Somehow one of those little embryos (or possibly both) has snuggled into my uterus in just the right place at just the right time and I am pregnant.  And I’m terrified I’m going to wake up and find its all a dream.  Or I’ll go to the clinic and find out something is wrong.

But the test said its there and so are all the signs.  A ridiculously voracious appetite like I’ve never had before combined with utter fatigue, alternated with waking up ridiculously early in the morning wanting to ‘get things done’.

I think my stepfather deeply appreciated the call I made yesterday morning at 6am our time (2am his time) so I could tell my mother.

I want to write more, but quite honestly, I am still speechless.

And Still She Waits

Can you believe I’m still waiting to know if I’m pregnant?  

As some of you may know from my previous gripes, my clinic’s protocol is for me to take a home pregnancy test 2 full weeks after the embryo transfer.  Most clinics give a blood test after 10 days.  So its not until Saturday that I take the all important test and see whether or not we’ve been successful.

In the meanwhile, the two week wait has been filled up by going to work, going to school and a rather lovely – if rainy – trip to Cornwall on the long bank holiday weekend.  It was great – we got to take our beloved 12 year old dog, Gwenny (our hairy kid) with us to the hotel and were delighted to find that pretty much all the shops and restaurants welcome dogs as well.  Being a rather pretty girl, she got lots of attention.  The trip was only marred by finding a small cyst under one of Gwenny’s nipples.  My first thought was ‘Doggy Breast Cancer’ and got so upset I couldn’t sleep for two nights.  When we got back to London I took her to the vet who took an aspiration of the cyst and both she and the laboratory are fairly certain it is just a lipoma – a fatty cyst.  Just to be certain we’re having it surgically removed, however.  I absolutely love that little (big actually) girl and I can’t lose one baby just as I might be having another.

I also had two rather shocking experiences this week.  Late on Tuesday morning when I was in the loo at the office I became really distraught when I saw bright red fresh blood on the loo paper.  It felt like a lot of blood.  I put on a panty liner and immediately proceeded to call my husband and the clinic to tell them my period had started.  The clinic said not to jump to any conclusions and when I next went to the loo (which is all the freakin’ time lately) there was no more blood.  I was then shocked again when this afternoon out of nowhere I went to the loo and found more bright red blood, some of which had stained my pale lemon cigarette pants.  (This is like a bad Judy Blume novel.)  I washed out the stain in the disabled loo and dried the trousers under the hand drier, so I didn’t have to spend the rest of the afternoon wearing my coat in the office to cover the stain.  Once again I was sure my period had come as there was plenty of fresh red blood on the loo paper and in the toilet bowl.  But then nothing more came.  I consulted Dr Google and found advice from a doctor that shoving the progesterone pessary too far up (as I had been doing) could actually cause the cervix to bleed and create a heavy or full sensation in the lower abdomen, such as I had been feeling for the last couple of days.  So there is hope.

Other symptoms I’m experiencing are a voracious appetite, extreme fatigue and a rather delicate, bruised feeling lower abdominal/pelvic region.

In the meanwhile I’m thinking about taking a drive up to the pharmacy and sneaking in a home pregnancy test before my husband gets home.  I mean, I’ve been awfully good up to this point…but I’m still kind of scared of the answer.

The 20,000 Week Wait

That’s what it feels like.  20,000 weeks rather than 2.

I’ve kept myself busy by going to work and school but still have made time for lots of rest and even a follow-up acupuncture appointment.

And tomorrow we go to Cornwall for a few days of rest and relaxation by the seaside.

Of course that hasn’t stopped me from obsessing about every symptom I experience (or don’t experience) in the meanwhile.  The presence of my little embryos (hopefully now blastocysts) is never NOT on my mind.  Not for one second have I forgot the possibility that I might be pregnant….or worse, that I might not be pregnant.  Sometimes I think:  Of course I’m pregnant.  And at other times I think:  I could never be so lucky.

The truth is I don’t know.  And all the symptom Googling in the world isn’t going to help me know until I take that pregnancy test on 31st May.

I’ll admit.  I’m really tempted to take one before that.  I may even sneak an HPT into my suitcase for Cornwall.  Is that a bad idea?

The symptoms I am experiencing at this point are little twinges, mostly in the right lower abdominal area and sometimes running down from my navel to my pelvic bone.  I also was running on pretty good energy levels until 1pm yesterday afternoon when I instantly went from fine to exhausted.  I mean more exhausted than I have ever felt before.  I had to prop my head in my hands to even look at the screen for the last 3 hours of work.  And all day today I have been extremely tired, occasionally nodding off during my lecture at College.  (Not because I was bored, but because I was just so fatigued.)

The plan this evening is to eat my dinner while draped across the sofa, wrapped up in a warm cashmere blanket while watching all the shows I’ve Sky +’d this week.

All My Eggs in One Basket

All My Eggs are in One Basket.  Literally.

Well not literally.  I no longer have eggs at the moment as they were all vacuumed out of me nor do I have a built in basket.  But I do have a couple of embryos (which by now are hopefully little blastocysts) and I do have a uterus.  And all my blastocysts are in one uterus.

The clinic called today and the other 5 embryos which they were hoping would move on to blastocyst stage from Saturday hadn’t developed at all over the weekend.  And so they were destroyed earlier today.  Which sounds so harsh.  I immediately called my husband who was, I think, shocked.  He can be such an optimist that he doesn’t listen to things really until they go wrong.  He called me an hour later saying “I feel flat”.  I told him I hoped he felt really bad for being a total ratbag over the weekend.  We are quite a feisty couple and sometimes quite hard on each other.  We also adore each other, though.

I also returned to work today.  Somewhat against my better judgement.  But I thought it would distract me.  It was the thankless, uncaring hellhole I remember from a week and a half ago.  But with more work to do, as I’ve been off.  I resolved to spend my day being mindful.

I walked mindfully to the station – no stress about making the train or missing it.

I mindfully went through all my 500 unread emails and red flagged those for action, so I could return to them later.  And then later I actioned them, calmly and in order of importance.  Those I couldn’t get to today, I accepted would have to wait for tomorrow.

I made sure to mindfully eat my breakfast of homemade granola with almond milk – not reading emails or scanning the web at my desk.  I did the same for lunch.

I made sure that I mindfully ignored whatever pile of guilt-ridden office politics shit was thrown at me by any number of work colleagues.  

I just smiled sweetly at whoever was trying to bait me, nodding away with zen-like calmness while just thinking the whole time:  “Nope, don’t give a rats ass.  Don’t care.  Not happening.  You can piss right off.”  If there was a psychological way of throwing emotional baggage back at someone – I was doing it all day long.

There was no way I was going to risk getting upset or stressed and losing my two little blastocyst babies.

And when my leaving time came, I left.  I almost got caught up in a big Press/PR issue.  I’m pretty type A normally.  But I realised that actually, other people’s lack of preparation or follow through isn’t my problem.  So I left the office, I caught my train, and I came home to my lovely cool house and smiling doggie.  So much better here!

 

 

The Wait Begins…

Its been 25 hours and 15 minutes since embryo transfer.

That’s pretty much how I have felt since yesterday evening when the elation of the event and the excitement of my two little mulberries being placed in my uterus turned into minute counting.  Usually Sundays are the fastest days of the week – racing through in a couple of hours so Monday can arrive.  But not so today.  Its been the slowest Sunday in the history of Sundays.  I’m pretty sure Monday will be the slowest Monday in the history of Mondays…and so on.

Its now been 25 hours and 17 minutes.

How am I going to survive this wait without going insane?

I have so many questions.

Like, why does my clinic want me to take a home pregnancy test a FULL TWO WEEKS after the embryo transfer, rather than the usual beta blood test clinics do after 10 days?  Is it that they actually want me to go insane?

And why do I have these odd cramps?

And why does eating feel weird?

I can tell my husband is anxious about the wait too, because he’s been an absolute tool today.  Instead of helping me stay rested and calm and happy, he’s been throwing strops when I ask him to help me with something (“Is this how its going to be for the next nine months???”) and has been fairly absent all day – keeping himself busy repainting the front door, going out to get dog food (a necessity) and is now at the pub.  Yes, absolute tool.  I’m attributing it to worry & frustration at being in an out of control situation, but I’m still royally ticked off at him.  At one point I stormed up to the bedroom to do a visualisation meditation, trying to convince our little embryos that they do actually want to implant themselves and join our little family.

Obviously a craft beer at our local and a chat with his mate has done him some good as he’s texted me to come meet him and bring the dog for an evening walk in the park.

Meanwhile, I feel pretty powerless too.  I’ve done all I can do…I think.  Unless there’s something I can do which I don’t know about. I’d better start Googling.  Yep.  Google is evil.  I learned that by approximately 10:15 this morning when I had looked up so many different tips, advice and protocols from so many IVF clinics, all of which conflicted each other.

I think I’ll just stick with my superstitious foods (brazil nuts, pineapple core), keep warm (good circulation = blood to uterus = increased chance of implantation) and keep up with my acupuncture schedule.  Other than that, I just need to avoid going insane or getting divorced by 31 May!

The Big Day

Well, I say the big day, but I suspect there will be lots of big days.  Like the end of the two week wait, the various beta tests, etc.  They will all feel like big days.  And if we’re lucky, there will be even more important and special big days to come after that – scan dates, due dates and then a whole lifetime of birthdays, graduations and so on.  That’s the dream, anyway.

This particular big day is my embryo transfer.  The clinic called this morning and out of the 7 fertilised embryos, there are two that they feel are dividing quickly enough to implant today.  I don’t know whether that means they will actually implant two or that just two were ready…but either way I’m happy.

The remaining five will be allowed to go to Day 5 and will then be frozen.

Its amazing the emotional stuff this has brought up.  I’ve been seriously considering leaving the job I’ve fallen out of love with and my husband has also been considering taking some time out to spend with his terminally ill father and also thinking of moving jobs.  We’ve both been stagnant in our jobs for so long, I can’t help but wonder if the infertility we experienced and our career inertia have been subconsciously linked somehow.  

But right now all I can feel is happy about this and so excited about the rest of our lives.

And also I can’t believe I just spent 5 minutes having a telephone discussion with a nurse on ‘just how full a bladder is full?’.

Thank you to all of you who sent me your tips, tricks & superstitions on what to do today and over the course of the next few days.  I have a house stocked with pineapple, brazil nuts, prunes, my acupuncturist is at the ready and I have a sofa plumped up with cushions and funny TV shows Sky Plussed (is that a verb?) to make me laugh…but no clowns.  They scare the shit out of me.

 

Egg Collection

The egg collection – my greatest fear in this whole process.

After my final scan on Monday, I injected myself with my final Buserelin and Ovitrelle (hCG) at midnight…which made me wake up vomiting into my hands 2am and I continued vomiting all the next day.  (This does not bode well for future morning sickness!)

And then Wednesday was the big day!  We drove into the ACU for my egg collection at 11am and the team at Kings College Hospital are truly amazing.  Considering they do this all day long, everyday, they have not lost their humanity or ability to care for each couple as special people, experiencing this scary and exciting experience for the first time.  Every step was explained to us and our questions answered patiently.  At moments when needed,  a gentle squeeze of the hand was offered.  We both felt really cared for.

As my followers will know, I was really scared of the egg collection because of the concept of a needle going up your vagina.  A vacuumy needle going up MY vagina, in particular.  And I became even more worried when I found out that because my asthma is particularly acute right now, they weren’t going to give me the normal sedative.  All they would offer was a stronger than usual dose of morphine.

Trying to keep your dignity and not sound slurry whilst on morphine is futile.  And I really wished that the ceiling in the operating theatre wouldn’t keep moving around…it was very disconcerting.

But you know, the process was only about 15 minutes long and my husband was with me the whole time, supporting me and watching the process on the big screen.  And in the end the probing of the vaginal ultrasound was far more painful than the needle or anything else.  I actually couldn’t feel the needle at all.

The next day (yesterday) I was at my College, giving a presentation, so we arranged for the clinic to call my husband to tell him if any of the embryos were mature and a good enough quality to fertilise.  In a way, while I would have liked to get the call, I’m glad they called him, because it helped him feel more involved.  Up until now, his role has been to go into a room and ‘produce a sperm sample’ with nurses banging on the door asking him if he’d finished yet.  So when he got the call at around 11.30 yesterday, he sounded so happy to call me afterwards and tell me that there were 8 eggs retrieved, 7 of which were mature and we had a result far better than the clinic had expected:  7 fertilised embryos.

It suddenly became real for him – that we are really going to become parents!

And when we called our parents, it suddenly became real for them too!  My mother, who has up until now been slightly disinterested and skeptical of the whole thing, now realises that she might become a grandmother soon and she is so excited.

Our single embryo transfer happens tomorrow afternoon, so please send your love and good wishes and positive thoughts our way.

And please share your advice on anything to do after the embryo transfer:  nutrition, positions, activities (or lack thereof), superstitions.  You name it, I want to hear it!

Chicken

That’s what I feel like.  For two reasons.

1.  Because I had my 4th scan today and the acupuncture I had on Saturday did its job…I’ve got loads of little eggies ready now for collection.

2.  Because I’m also still kinda nervous about the whole needle/vacuum/egg extractor being shoved up my Queen Victoria.

My egg collection won’t be until Wednesday morning at 11.30 and in the meanwhile I just have one more shot of Buserelin at 7pm and my full 250 IU shot of Ovitrelle (an artificial hCG) at midnight tonight.  Then no more injections!

Meanwhile, while I have to worry about needles up my yaya, my husband has to worry about his challenging instructions the clinic sent home with me today:  ‘Male partners should ejaculate tonight and then abstain until giving a sample on the day of egg collection.’

Up until now my husband has been to all my appointments and scans with me, but he couldn’t make today’s, given that his company was making their major redundancy announcement this morning.  I think he’d be mortified by having the nurse explain his ‘duties’ to him.

Actually I do feel sorry for the guys in the ACU waiting room.  Sitting there with their little empty ‘specimen’ jars, ready to be called in by the nurse to the special…well, spunk producing room, I guess…which must be horrible.  Well leafed pornographic material is provided.  It must be much harder than it seems.  But still, my heart doesn’t bleed too much for him.

 

Scan, Scan, Scan

Here’s my week so far.

Monday:  Ultrasound with junior doctor.  Sent home.

Wednesday:  Ultrasound with senior consultant.  Sent home with additional FSH prescription.

Friday:  Ultrasound with nurse.  Sent home with yet another additional FSH prescription.

So guess what’s booked for next Monday?  Yep, another scan!

I left the clinic and immediately called my acupuncturist who has booked me in for tomorrow and hopefully he can help those little lazy follicles speed up.

I’m feeling anxious about school and work and my part time job.  I’m anxious about letting everyone down and not being able to explain why.

But this is so important.

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