Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ 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.

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;

Stop the regime that murders motherhood

Apologies for bringing politics into a fertility blog but this is outrageous and the word needs to be spread! These women won’t even know if they were fertile or not as their chance of motherhood is being taken away from them WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT! Read on…

 Dear friends,

uterusUzbekistan’s dictator is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to control birth rates. It’s a hideous and brutal attack on women by a US-backed dictator. Call on US Secretary of State Clinton, a champion for women’s rights, to immediately cut off her support to the dictator. Click below to sign:

Sign the petition

Uzbekistan’s President is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to promote “birth control” across the country. It’s a vile and bloody crime against women being orchestrated by an odious dictator, and now is the time for it to end.    
Uzbekistan’s Karimov is one of the world’s worst dictators, he’s even boiled opposition activists alive. Yet he’s propped up by millions of dollars from the US government who pay him for military transport across the country. This latest round of brutality, this time against his country’s women, has turned the global spotlight on this monster. Let’s use this awful moment to persuade his biggest backer to ditch him.
Uzbekistan’s dictator is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to control birth rates — the latest tactic in a global war on women. But this time, it may be the last straw. Call on US Secretary of State Clinton, a champion for women’s rights, to finally strike a blow for the good guys and cut off her support to the dictator.

I’ve just signed the petition to stop it — join me in this campaign here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uzbekistan_sterilisation_meme/?sbc

Activists estimate tens or even hundreds of thousands of women were sterilised secretly when they went into the hospital for a routine procedure or to give birth — waking up with no idea that their uterus has just been removed. One Uzbek gynecologist admitted, ‘Every doctor is told…how many women are to be sterilised … my quota is four women a month’. The use of arbitrary arrest and torture is so widespread that women don’t speak out for fear of reprisals, and foreign journalists and human rights activists are routinely thrown out of the country.

It doesn’t have to be like this — the US could play hardball with Karimov, who relies on the steady flow of money from transit to Afghanistan to fund his lavish lifestyle. The human rights horror show in Uzbekistan has gone under the radar for years — but we have a real chance to break the silence now, using the explosive BBC report that details forced sterilisations, and stand with the brave Uzbek women who have dared to tell their stories in the face of stunning oppression.

Many thanks everyone xxx

It’s ovulation time (but try not to think about it!)

We’ve just been away for a few days in Stratford-upon-Avon (loved it! and it has resurfaced my love of Shakespeare) and now back to normality. According to my Menstrual App (gotta love it) I should be ovulating tomorrow, and my body is in agreement although I will spare you the physical details. I am still tea-total, still taking the supplements and still trying to lose the weight (although trips away make this pretty much impossible), so all good so far. I am strangely excited about the forthcoming 2 weeks, as;

  1. I may be pregnant (we now know it’s not impossible), OR
  2. We have the frozen embryos popped in and I may become pregnant.

Both the above are IFS but at the same time it’s 2 IFS instead of none which is what we’re used to. So I think it’s fair enough for me to be excited about that 🙂

The forward hope that we now have is helping me loads; I am better at focusing on the weight loss and I will absolutely NOT drink any alcohol. I just wish I’d done this sooner, but I guess we can only do what we can at each moment in life by responding to who we are at that very moment. There have been times when I’ve been filled with anger and refused to stop drinking as it was MY choice to do so, and I’m still me, not a baby making machine..blah blah. Times when I couldn’t control my anxiety and convinced myself that I caused the first miscarriage by not being able to stop my panic attacks. Times when I felt like I simply didn’t want to have a baby (massive denial) and times when I felt like I would never get pregnant as Mother Nature is punishing me for all the awful things I’ve ever done in my life. But now? Now I feel completely different. Now I feel like I have control over this ‘situation’ even by accepting what is out of my control like the quality of my eggs. I can still help myself. It sounds really obvious but maybe that’s at the crux of this, we have to start by helping ourselves before we turn to medical intervention.

So anyway, my natural ovulation is starting and I’m going to help myself by trying not to think about it and be normal 😉
Back on that emotional mouse wheel Jodie….

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 🙂

Replacing the TTC obsession with Weight Watchers

The phrase ‘just stop thinking about getting pregnant…and it will happen’ is a much hated phrase amongst those who are struggling to get pregnant. Annoyingly (brilliantly) it seemed to happen to work for me, as when I wasn’t concentrating on TTC (trying to conceive) but instead worrying about my forthcoming knee surgery, when I got pregnant naturally. So in an attempt to ‘stop thinking about it’ I’m trying to switch my focus on to something else: my weight loss.

infertility dietingI’ve joined Weight Watchers. It’s only been 10 days but I’ve lost 2.5 pounds, made new friends and created a new obsession. I know what I’m like and if I have a Project to do, then I obsess over it, it’s how I work best. Plus I’ve already noticed that my motivation for daily life things has changed, for example I don’t eat certain foods because they are good for fertility, I eat them because they are low on Pro Points (the counting method used by WW for those who don’t know, just a different way of looking at calories). I am prioritising my weight loss over my fertility, and I recognise that this is part of a long-term goal of fertility, but the weight loss is coming first at the moment. It occurred to me the other day that this is as good as it gets in regards to ‘stopping thinking about getting pregnant’, as in I actually believe it’s working. I feel less pressured and more relaxed, because I’m basically attempting something that I know I can achieve. It’s not that I can’t ever achieve another pregnancy, but this is a solid positive thing I can do now…and get it right.

Infertility has such a negative affect on a womans soul, it brings such a dark cloud to life and makes seemingly normal day-to-day tasks seem such a struggle. I think what I’m trying to do is break down this huge, massive difficult-to-achieve fertility mission into smaller attainable tasks that I can actually be positive about achieving. Everyday is wonderful in its own way, I have such amazing love from my husband and daughter that I can’t bear the thought of being miserable long-term, what would be the benefit in that?

The phrase ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ sums up my theory. Look after yourself, find ways to make yourself healthy and happy, and the bigger picture will slowly work itself out. At least that’s what I believe 🙂