Archive for the ‘Miscarriage’ Category

Getting excited and smiling

In 2 days I will be having our ET (Embryo Transfer)! My emotions have mainly been excitable and positive, and I do feel like a giggly teenager. Is this wise? Am I being sensible? Should I not be keeping my feet firmly on the ground and ‘not jump the gun’, after all I may not even get pregnant and if I do, I may miscarry again? Does being sensible mean I have to pull a solemn face and stifle any happy vibes?

BUGGER THAT (excuse my french)!

What benefit is there to suppressing positive, good emotions? It won’t make any difference to the outcome, what will be will be etc.. People may be concerned that as I’m so happy, it stands to reason that if anything goes wrong I will be more devastatingly upset and destroyed. Well duh?! I think those emotions are standard, but they won’t be any worse just because I’ve decided to smile more before my treatment. Why should we as humans, suppress any goodness just in case the shit hits the fan? Every day is wonderful and full of potential, so why should I stick a grey cloud over my head as ‘I might not get pregnant’ or ‘I might have another miscarriage’. How many of us do the opposite? How many walk around with beaming smiles because we’re thinking ‘I might win the lottery!’ or ‘today I might meet the love of my life!’ I think we all should do that 🙂 !!!

I get it, I really do, I know what the odds are for success and I’m under no illusions about it, but I choose to look at the odds differently. If I was not doing anything, if I was just waiting to fall pregnant, then my odds would probably be under 5%. But I am doing something!!! My odds are 40%+!!!

happy infertile

This is me after our Team won a quiz last night. Shame I can’t drink my winnings, lol.

It’s all about how you choose to look at stuff. And I for one would like to have a wonderful life, preferably with another child in it, but if not….then I still deserve to smile.

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First scan to start the ball rolling

This morning I had my first scan to make sure everything was as it should so we could continue with this assisted conception attempt. When you’ve had as many scans as I have (and many of you may relate to this) it becomes a very straightforward, even humourous event. Whip your knickers off, hop on the bed and spread ’em! Then hold your breathe for the freezing cold sink plunger to delve into your most precious of places whilst smiling to the nurse and discussing the weather. I love the way they show me the screen, where my insides are artistically displayed in grey tones of pencil like scribblings, and point out which blobby area is what. ‘Ah how sweet’ I think, although I have no idea why I think this is sweet.  I have been informed that this month my left ovary has produced a follicle. Bless it.

So everything was fine and dandy and I was given Clearblue Ovulation sticks to start using every day. Now I’ve used ovulation sticks before, I bought them off Ebay and they were very basic but did the job. This time, however, I feel rather privileged to have CLEARBLUE ones…ooooh get me! The infertility journey isn’t a cheap one, as most of you are aware, and so we cut costs whenever possible (hence Ebay ovulation sticks bought in bulk) but it’s quite nice to have a super-duper-top-of-the-range bit of kit for once 🙂

Clearblue ovulation predictorFor the next few days I shall be the ‘Pee on a Stick’ woman waiting for the circle on the wand to turn into a smiley face (yes I know, a smiley face? really?) indicating ovulation, and when that happens….CALL THE CLINIC!! This all happens really rather quickly as the Clinic will then defrost 2 embryos, check for viability and defrost the other 2 if needed, then I’ll be called in for egg transfer, given some steroids to stop miscarriage, progesterone to help the pregnancy progress and then it’s fingers crossed for 2 weeks! So within 3 weeks we will hopefully be pregnant! Amazing stuff huh?! I am in such a good place about this, it’s so wonderful to be able to actually keep trying for our bambino, knowing that we are far from giving up yet. I completely accept it might not work and that’s fine, I’m not picking a fight with Mother Nature, I’ll just try again. I am slightly worried about having another miscarriage as they are a most horrid thing to experience, but I’m doing everything I can to avoid one.

I have decided to refer to my frozen eggs as The Potentials. It sounds so clinical calling them ‘frozen embryos’, and ‘eggs’ makes me think of chicken eggs, and I think that Potentials is a very hopeful sounding word for them. It also makes them sound like they are part of a 70s tv detective show, which is my attempt at introducing coolness to my infertility. Right on!

So I hope The Potentials are getting ready for their performance; Potential Mama will see you soon x

DON’T IGNORE…THE BASICS

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week and so I wanted to do one more post. This is actually entered into a competition so do please pass it on and/or comment on what you think of my efforts 🙂
The title for this post is…

DON’T IGNORE THE BASICS

During the last 5 years I have learnt much in how the fertility game works and gained knowledge in an area I was ignorant of before. This knowledge also allows me to see what’s missing however and I constantly now use that old phrase ‘if only I knew then what I know now’.

There are many stages of the infertility journey and unfortunately they do not co-operate/communicate/work with each other. This is a bold statement and of course there are exceptions but I shall break it down;

STAGE 1: Try to get pregnant. Struggle. Speak with FAMILY and FRIENDS (if you choose to, not compulsory). Trying naturally for about 6 months to a year.

STAGE 2: See DOCTOR. DOCTOR checks your basic health, details of how long you’ve been trying, age etc… May advise healthier lifestyle, some basic tests (if you’re lucky at this early stage) and some obvious pregnancy tips (when to do it, how to do it etc..). FAMILY/FRIENDS will offer their feedback on this advice. Come back in 6 months.

infertility doctorsSTAGE 3: DOCTOR refers you to CONSULTANT. CONSULTANT goes through the basics with you again (any notes ever made on you do not get forwarded to anyone else who sees you) and may suggest further tests and offer something like clomid to try for 6 months (as in our case). FAMILY/FRIENDS again have comments on everything you’ve been told and all that you have been offered. Come back in 6 months.

STAGE 4: You now need to visit THE CLINIC for assisted conception advice as the DOCTOR and the CONSULTANT have resulted in a BFP (big fat negative to those unaware of the term). The CLINIC go over your basic details (again!) and all of what you’ve already had tested. They then advise an assisted conception route such as IUI or IVF and it’s down to you to decide when. FAMILY/FRIENDS offer support and further feedback. This takes as long as it takes.

STAGE 5: If the CLINIC get you pregnant, you have to go back to the DOCTOR to announce the pregnancy and start the ‘normal’ pregnant women tests and meet your MIDWIFE who is completely unaware of everything you’ve been through so…you have to go over all your information from day one (because your pregnancy is special and you would like to keep it please and so want everyone to take this all very seriously).

So DOCTOR, CONSULTANT and CLINIC are all trying to achieve a pregnancy, but they don’t work together to do this, and you are the source of all the information (so make sure you write it all down to save time). The problem is I’ve realised that no-one ever really advised us/me on the basic things for me to do/try for MY health. It makes sense that if something physically isn’t working we should try to make ourselves as healthy as possible, try to improve our odds. I often asked the professionals ‘any tips on what I should be eating or drinking?’ and always was met with vague answers of ‘just eat healthy’ and even ‘having a drink is fine, if it keeps you sane throughout all this’. The professionals are trying to create a baby without getting the vessel (me) baby worthy. So I did my own research.

I found out about every herb and it’s properties, I learnt which ones would not work for me as well as those that would as every woman is different. I tried to understand my cycle so that I could improve it without taking modern drugs. I found out about fertility massage, acupuncture and meditation, and started to reduce my stress levels. acupuncture for infertilityThe quick fix was out the window and I’ve started to work on a longer goal period, taking supplements that slowly benefit my developing eggs, rather than taking drugs that simply increase how many I release in one cycle. My weight is being addressed, and I have completely stopped drinking alcohol as there is so much proof that it decreases your chances of pregnancy by up to 50%! I see a counsellor to address my emotions past and present, so that I am basically a better all round human being (and less mental preferably).

FOCUS ON YOUR BASIC HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL STATE AND LET NATURE HAVE A PROPER CHANCE.

My message to all of you out there who are trying is that as soon as I addressed myself as the primary concern, and not my ovaries, I fell naturally pregnant. Nothing comes close to how that felt and I’m about to cry now just thinking about it. Unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage BUT my knowledge and my efforts got me further than my DOCTOR or my CONSULTANT (my CLINIC did get me pregnant too but that also ended in a miscarriage alas). If I had done this 4 years ago I may be in a very different position now.

So to anyone who is thinking that they may need fertility intervention of any kind, start by looking at yourself rather than the quick fix solutions offered by the professionals. I’m not saying don’t see your DOCTOR/CONSULTANT/CLINIC, just to focus on yourself as the important carrier/creator of your baby and therefore the most important part. Get yourself on an organic diet, shed those extra pounds, start taking raspberry tea, find out about natural supplements (maca, wheatgrass, l-argenine, royal jelly) and investigate therapies that you’ve never tried before like yoga, meditation and acupuncture. I was told by someone close to me to start skipping as it ‘refreshes’ your womanly insides. Unfortunately I can’t skip at present due to a very dodgy knee BUT this woman (who is in her 40s) is now naturally pregnant so skip everyone, SKIP! 🙂
The healthier you are the more successful any assisted attempts will be.

I am only human and have had a very depressing week this week, but I still have hope for my baby. Sometimes the hope is small, but it’s still there. I have hope, I have love and now I have better health. I believe these to be very good ingredients for my little one, very good indeed.

Big kisses to you all xxxxxx

For more information on infertility from RESOLVE check out the links below;

NIAW: Don’t ignore…

I am creating this blog for National infertility Awareness Week and hope to get as many readers as possible to spread the word on infertility! NIAW is looking for the best blog so for the first time ever I shall enter my blog into a competition! I have to write a blog starting with the words Don’t Ignore… and so here goes.

DON’T IGNORE THE POSITIVES!

Those of us going through infertility will gradually become knowledgeable to the medical situations that we are called upon to go through, or that occur naturally. We read up on other people’s stories and experiences, speak with nurses, doctors and consultants, Google EVERYTHING and chart our own physical experiences until we literally know ourselves inside out. As time plods on we may investigate alternative ideas, even lightheartedly buying fertility dolls or good luck charms and learn not to turn any suggestion away without careful and serious consideration. We might try a few things that we find initially scary like acupuncture, all in the name of our future baby. Then we face the most difficult demons; we struggle with our emotions. Empty pain, guilt, an overwhelming feeling of failure, of not being understood, of feeling alone, rejection and incredible frustration. Then there is the physical pain; the needles, the hormones that turn us into monsters, the constant probing and prodding, the surgeries and the perpetual double checking of any pregnancy symptom that may, or may not, be present. Then it starts all over again.

That is infertility in a paragraph. Or is it?

I have absolutely experienced all of the above BUT alongside all this, and growing stronger every month, are positive side effects.
I have discovered that I am not alone; that many of my friends have been through similar journeys and I have made contact with new friends who share their experiences with me too. I have learnt more about my body than most have opportunity to, and have an understanding of it that now makes me feel..well..more in control. I have met such clever professionals that quite simply want me to have a baby, which feels so very reassuring. I have faced tough decisions, dealt with them and lived to see another day (how strong am I?! :-)) I have dealt with a dark side of my persona and embraced it so I can move forward. New people have helped me to take one step at a time, and shown me such caring love that I may otherwise have never seen. I have been humbled by my egg donor who offered before I asked, and I truly believe that what she gave me is the most treasured gift I have ever received in my entire life. Through miscarriage I know that my body is working and correcting natural mistakes that cannot be blamed on anything or anyone. This journey has made me hunger to be a better person and hard as that may be, I have slowly become stronger, healthier and more empathic to others. I have developed a strong desire to help others like me, in hope that what I’ve learnt may result in someone getting their cherished baby. A bigger picture has formed allowing me to see more clearly and be infertilityaccepting of what lies ahead.
I see love differently. My husband has shown me what true, deep love is and been at my side constantly. He has held me when I lashed out in anger, and when I cried til my eyes hurt. We have naturally become a super unit of love, strength and understanding that can only come when couples face a tragic situation head on.

To summarise, my life is now more full of love and happiness, than when we started out on our infertility journey.

I refuse to become sad and miserable, I choose to smile and be positive.

My thought process is that if I were a baby soul looking for a Mummy…I would definitely pick the happy one.
Even if she is a bit nutty.

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Next step has been planned…here we go again!

Oooh exciting day today!! We’ve been to the clinic to discuss everything that’s happened (miscarriage from last year and updating the Consultant on the natural pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage), to see what their opinions/recommendations are, and to decide where to go from here. We have 4 frozen embryos from our (wonderful) donor so here is a basic list of our questions;

  1. Does the fact that I conceived naturally mean we can try on our own for a while, or should we strike whilst the iron’s hot and use the frozen embryos whilst my body is in the ‘pregnancy’ zone?
  2. What can be done about my 2 miscarriages, am I at higher risk? Or as they were from 2 different eggs, does that make a difference?
  3. Does freezing the eggs for another year mean they will be less…effective?
  4. I was told I have a tilted uterus, does that change anything?

So our Consultant (Mr Norman Taylor) got updated by me and answered like so;

  1. It’s entirely personal choice – you can do either. Wait and try naturally or go ahead straight away with the frozen ones (he knows I’m aware of my age so I think this is a no-brainer to be honest).
  2. I will be put on steroids when I get pregnant (do you like that? I said when not if) which is normally prescribed to repeat miscarriage sufferers to help…well….to help the pregnancy not miscarry (medical expert I am not, sorry).
  3. Freezing the eggs is fine, no problem with the length of time frozen so we could postpone if we chose to without worrying about the eggs getting frostbite.
  4. This was hilarious! ‘Tilted uterus means nothing, nothing for you to worry about. It’s what they say to women that just frightens them’ is pretty much what Mr NT said. I truly love his no bullshit way of talking.

So…we have made a decision! I am currently on day 3 of my first period following the miscarriage and when I am on day 1 of my next period…..we are phoning the clinic to start the ball rolling and within 3 weeks I will have the frozen ones put in!

This may sound very quick and I’m sure family members and close friends will be concerned for me acting too hastily, but there really is no need to wait. I am at the healthiest I’ve been for ages (in 4th month of not drinking, losing weight, eating super healthy and taking my supplements) and my body has had 2 pregnancies within 7 months, so it should know what to do 🙂

The nurse has talked us through everything and it couldn’t be simpler this time round. I’m on a natural cycle so no injections or tablets, just a few scans before egg insertion followed by taking progesterone and steroid tablets to help keep the pregnancy. Also, the cost is amazing, last years egg donor IVF cycle cost us £8000 but this round is under £1000!! Incredible! Plus we have 4 eggs, and as they only need to defrost 2, this means that we may still have another 2 to try later (providing the defrosted ones are ok and we don’t need to defrost all of them at once).

I am buzzing, you may be able to tell, and yet I am fully aware that things may not work out as we hope…BUT when you’re on an infertility journey you simply have to get excited about what you’re doing because YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING. My wonderful husband has also agreed that I should blog about this cycle, in real-time if you like, so you will all know what’s happening when it happens. This is a bit scary, but I started my blog in order to help others know what it’s like to go through IVF etc. so why hold back now?

Stay tuned people, let’s see what miracles are up my sleeve!

positive infertility

And so to normality…

Ok, so it’s been a month since the miscarriage and I think Auntie Flo is on her way and I appear to have mixed feelings about this. Part of me is devastated and angry as I so DESPERATELY want to be pregnant again (all the positive thinking is helping but I can’t hide from my true feelings), and another part of me is glad my body is returning to normal so that next month I can hopefully be pregnant (being positive there) and my body will be in a good healthy position in order to avoid another miscarriage.

You see there’s a lot of opinions, medically speaking, about when one should try again after a miscarriage. Doctors have been known to recommend leaving it as long as 6 months before trying again, and others say 1 month. The truth is it doesn’t matter physically, as your body will only do what’s right for it anyway. There are people who have fallen immediately after a miscarriage, didn’t even have a period, and had a healthy baby. There are of course others, who fell immediately only to miscarry again, which is why Doctors ask us to wait at least 1 cycle, allowing our bodies to return to normal and be ‘baby ready’. I have been told that leaving it 1 cycle allows the lining to properly restore itself (makes perfect sense), thereby allowing the womb to be perfect. Doctors also want us to deal emotionally with our miscarriages, and not rush into another emotional rollercoaster, and I understand that.

I have dealt with this miscarriage much better than the first one, as it has given me so much hope and spurred me on with the healthy eating and alcohol avoidance (into month 4 now). But I didn’t count on missing the pregnancy symptoms so much! Last years pregnancy was without symptoms, but the February one had them all. I felt sick, my boobs were killing me and my tummy even changed shape, and despite the unpleasantness of these physical feelings…..I really want them back 😦 I think I feel so ready to be pregnant, especially mentally and emotionally, that the frustration and waiting is utterly doing my head in! Even though I am having period symptoms, there is still part of me hoping that they are pregnancy symptoms (as we all know they are pretty much identical, just to confuse us even more!).

So anyway, I know that it’s much better for my body and baby-to-be that I have at least one period before falling again (keep with the positive thinking there Jodie) so this is all fine. It’s also great that I have now got 3 months tea-total under my belt as this is how long it takes for our eggs to mature, meaning that they are as good as they can get from now on. Another achievement is that I’ve lost 4.5 lbs in weight in my first 2 weeks at Weight Watchers, again, all heading in the right direction for a healthy pregnancy. So here I go trying naturally for the first time in several years, having found new hope out of a sad ending. I would say wish me luck, but luck has nothing to do with it, we make our own luck x

Ooh on another note, we saw The Hunger Games at the cinema yesterday and a quote in the film really hit me, so I want to share it with all others who are still trying;

‘The only thing more powerful than fear, is hope’

So ladies, don’t be fearful…..be hopeful 🙂

I’m really feeling rather good – should I be concerned?

I have to say that this alcohol-free lifestyle is truly working for me, my skin looks better and my head seems more organised (I have a tendency towards paranoia when going through hangovers, no fun). I have joined Weight Watchers and am ‘in the zone’ for some serious weight loss, first weigh-in tomorrow and I’ve been really good all week. I’ve been reading a meditation book (slowly admittedly) and have been impressed with how much the penny has been dropping in regards to my outlook on life. I have resisted the charms of Mr Google and asking Him about the latest fertility news, or how fertile I am now I’ve been pregnant, or whether a Tuesday is a good day to have baby-making-sex…you get the idea. I am even showing more confidence at work and am enjoying handling difficult situations that used to reduce me to a dribbling wreck. My hubby and I are an annoyingly happy loved up couple, I just can’t get enough of him! I see a Counsellor and this is going incredibly well and I do feel like I’m dealing with some ‘life shite’ that should have been addressed years ago. So, all in all, I am in a good place. I should be relaxed and happy. Nothing to worry about.

But that is exactly why I have this nagging voice saying “you know it won’t last” and “something bad is round the corner”. My Counsellor has said that this is a form of self-protection and that my mind is just preparing me for the worst, as normally….that’s what happens to me. I also, however, have such a low opinion of myself (thanks to my upbringing) that I truly don’t believe that I deserve anything nice to happen to me; that it’s my lot in life to cope with the bad when it turns up. So I’m supposed to work on this, to stop saying negative phrases and turn them around. So these are a couple of the phrases that I am telling myself constantly, and also the doubts that are still hanging on (for now);

I am fertile (was that my one and only chance at a pregnancy with my hubby?)

I am healthy (yeah, but not as healthy as I should be)

Each pregnancy is a new one, a miscarriage will not happen just because of the two previous ones (really? I’m still nearly 40, my eggs are still rubbish apparently so my chances are still high for a miscarriage) 

I am also trying to work out how you are supposed to ‘stop thinking about getting pregnant’ as I know that therein lies the solution. How?! I feel like a dog when it tries to bite its own tail. It sneaks up on it as if the tail were a separate entity, but we all can see what’s going on and find it hilarious to watch. This is how I see my dilemma, I can’t truly stop thinking about something so that (hopefully) something else will happen … because …. I’m me … and I know what I’m doing. Haha, it’s quite funny really.

So I continue to feel good, to behave well and to learn healthy life lessons and my journey continues. Maybe my negative voices are normal and will diminish over time. Or maybe I’m due a break-down? Oh heck…I’m off again…. 🙂