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Seriously not fair, but that’s life

Yesterday was strange for me as although it was the day when AF* turned up to confirm the FET** had failed and therefore devastating, it also brought relief to me. I had spent the last 7 days in utter hell, going completely insane, not knowing what to do or how to gain some feeling of control. Basically I had been spotting every day since Sunday which could either have meant an implantation bleed (except it went on longer than normal), impending period arrival, the drugs that I was taking were messing up my system or even ‘one of those’ pregnancies where bleeding is normal. Every single second of every single day those options were racing through my mind. I dreaded going to the toilet, but was compelled to go to ‘see’ what was going on; massive catch 22. I wasn’t me at all last week, I was just a crazed woman existing on a day-to-day basis. Deep down I knew it hadn’t worked, I knew I didn’t feel pregnant, but then just as much as I was convinced I knew it, I would then feel tremendous guilt in case I was pregnant, and this emotional rollercoaster would continue on and on and on.. My mental state has found release at least, something for which I know my husband is grateful for (but not as much as I am, trust me!). It’s not nice when you feel you are losing a healthy outlook on life because you are so focused on something that you can’t actually define…I think I developed a ‘mad social grin’ to cover up what I was experiencing inside.

I have spent a little while working out what I did that caused this to fail, and I’m fully aware of the following phrases;

“It’s nobodys’ fault”  –  “There wasn’t anything you could have done”  –  “What will be, will be”  –  “It’s in the hands of Mother Nature”

BUT it’s MY body that keeps screwing this up and there’s no avoiding that and if I want this to work then I should at least be up front and honest about how I see my situation. I tried to carry on during the 2WW as normal as possible, but maybe I should have rested up more (certainly not gone to the pub for example). Some women take those 2 weeks off work  and relax after their IVFs/FETs, but I had always thought that was extreme and unnecessary. Maybe I was wrong. I don’t really think I was wrong, but I’m running out of things to try.

Anyway, today I am at home because I am in some pain and could do with a hot water bottle, some paracetamol and a cup of tea, but tomorrow everything will return to normal. I have decided that the next FET (and there is one more attempt left) will not be blogged about. I don’t regret doing this at all, but I didn’t realise how draining it would be and I just don’t think I could go through it another time. It has been completely amazing to receive such loving support from people I haven’t seen in years, or people I haven’t even met, but the downside is that some people haven’t shown any support….and I thought/hoped they would. Not everyone is the same and people deal with things very differently, and some people can’t deal with things at all, so I’m not saying that anyone is in the wrong for not having posted a comment on my blog for example. What I’m trying to say is that by opening my life and heart to the world I also opened up my expectations of people. I made myself as raw as was possible. This is why I can’t do it again, it starts to make you very confused and I was constantly questioning myself. I don’t think I need that extra stress.

I will continue with my blog but when we go for the next FET …. I’m not telling 🙂

Bottom line is we’re fine, we’re putting one foot in front of the other and continuing with our otherwise-blessed lives.

Thank you all so very much for having been with me through this. I love you all x

 

* AF – Auntie Flo (period)
** FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer

It didn’t work

The FET didn’t work. This particular journey has ended.

I will post more later but right now we’re going to walk the dog by the river and hold hands. And just love each other.

2WW : 3 days in and all’s well

I know it’s only been three days but if you’ve ever gone through a 2WW (the two week wait before you can take a pregnancy test to see if your attempt worked) you will know that every day is excruciating! It’s like being 5 years old and waiting for Christmas to arrive, except there’s a strong chance that you may be getting a lump of coal instead of presents. I am actually doing very well and although I, understandably, have nothing exciting to report yet, I think I’m coping ok 🙂

Knowing that so many people are wishing us good luck and sending their positive vibes, is a huge thing; makes me very humble. My lovely donor friend is excited for us too and I love that we can talk about it together. Today she told me that she couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to help somebody out if they could, and that it’s the same as organ donating or giving blood. She is truly one in a million!

I can really appreciate that this isn’t just a journey to get a baby. There are so many little excursions along the way, and all of them are soul nourishing! Life is full of hope and happiness; it’s not about being lucky enough to find it, it’s about being clever enough to recognise it.

The Two Week wait commences!

Just a quick little post to say that the transfer went perfectly, much to my joy!

Both the embryos/Potentials survived the thaw and we had them both popped in. The process itself was the least painful one I’ve ever had! For those who are unfamiliar with the transfer process it’s similar to a smear test, and the pain varies in my experience. You know how some days your smear test nurse just can’t quite seem to get the job done and it starts making your eyes smart? Well that’s as bad as a transfer can get, so in reality nothing to be afraid of. Us women are good at manning up (says she who was shitting herself all day!)

I’ve been given my instructions (no shellfish, no alcohol/fags, glass of milk daily, at least 2 litres of water daily, no marathon running or weight lifting) and my drugs (aspirin, steroid tablets and progesterone suppositories). My clinic has made a little change to the suppositories this time round…..they’re not going in the same place as before! This is a sensitive subject and I’m conscious that some work colleagues read my blog and may never be able to look at me quite the same ever again if I go into too much detail here. So I’ll just say that my husband thinks it’s hilarious and keeps blowing raspberries at me!

ivf

I am so going to get this…one day.

I asked the lovely Annette (our nurse/fertility expert) today what the situation was with my taking herbal supplements now? A very in-depth conversation followed where she explained that nothing has actually been scientifically proven that supplements/acupuncture/etc.. has increased pregnancies. Now this is something that I agree with and I’ve always viewed meditation and acupuncture as something for the woman, as opposed to creating a pregnancy. And my research into supplements has shown me how complex this field is and how you really shouldn’t chuck tablets down your neck just  because it’s the latest feature article in a Health magazine. Subsequently the tablets I chose to take were quite basic, all round good supplements that would benefit my whole body. I steered away from things like Agnes Castus for example, as I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to know that I was doing the right thing (Agnus Castus is a supplement that you take for 2 weeks then stay off it for 2 weeks during your cycle, so quite specific, and there is conflicting advice on whether you can take it when pregnant or not). At least this is my thought process, I completely accept and respect that others have differing views on this, I was just trying to help myself as much as possible. Interestingly though, Annette explained that supplements can be quite potent and could interfere with the drugs the clinic provide for example. This is proven with St John’s Wort which can interfere with chemotherapy (http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7362/460.4). So I am now off my supplements. This is a fascinating topic though and please do reply with your thoughts and opinions.

So anyway, I am now officially in the Two Week Wait zone and can do pretty much nothing until I’m allowed to take a pregnancy test. I have no doubt that the time will drag by so I’m going to try to keep myself really busy (but not stressed). I’m helping my Mother-in-Law out with her cake making business and we have our first Wedding Fayre to exhibit at this Sunday! I’ve been making wedding favours and cup cakes by the tonne, trying to find that perfect, original and unique ‘idea’ that will make us our millions 🙂 Her website is www.cakesbymariepike.co.uk if you want to see how great she is. I digress….sorry.

I have (controversially I’m sure) already been conversing with my Potentials and making sure they’re settling in. As soon as I knew I was pregnant with my daughter (nearly 17 years ago) I talked to her constantly, I couldn’t help it, it just seemed natural. So I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t do the same now just because the beginning is slightly different. I’m gonna go with the flow!

Assisted conception, natural cycle..here we go

So today I am on Day 4 of my cycle, have contacted the clinic to let them know, and have made the first appointment for next week! This is a strange feeling this time round as it all seems to be happening so quickly, by the time I am Day 28 I should be pregnant…or not of course. With our previous IVF cycles (as most of you may know) it seems to drag on for a couple of months; filled with appointments, drugs and injections. This cycle, however, is a ‘natural’ one so I won’t be taking drugs or having any injections (woohoo!), just going for scans. I might be a bit weird but I find scans quite amusing; ‘oh look, there are my ovaries, and what’s that there..sneaking about… oh! it’s my bladder. Marvellous!’ Not everybody is lucky (?) enough to see their insides on a regular basis you know.

I have been told I will be given ovulation sticks to use daily and then when ovulation is occurring, they will pop in our defrosted, donated embryos. Ta da!! That’s pretty much it. After everything I’ve been through this is rather exciting and relieving. We’ve had an emotional couple of weeks too, so it’s nice that I can look forward to this.

At the weekend I visited my nearest-thing-to-a-sister-type-friend who has become an awesome health professional since the days when we used to play with Barbie dolls, and she helped me out with my latest supplement collection. I’ve actually asked her if she’ll write a fertility post for me so she can share her wisdom and advice to all of us, so watch this space. Her name is Gabriella Clarke and thanks to her I now have the following collection to keep me young and fertile;fertility supplements

  • maca
  • wheatgrass
  • royal jelly
  • l-arginine
  • pre-conception tablets including folic acid

This little lot is a total of 10 tablets and I switched from powder form to tablets on purpose as I had grown tired of the green smoothies I had to make. Not sure if that’s working out for me though as the tablets get stuck in my throat and make me gag! Yes I know, I need to man up.

fertility supplements

My morning fix

I have also managed a nice steady weight loss and have lost nearly a stone, so I’m feeling rather good about myself at present, healthily speaking. I’m also feeling very determined which I think is different to feeling positive. Feeling positive just means that I’m hoping this will all work, I’ve felt positive for some time now (apart from the occasional bad day of course), but feeling determined makes me feel like I have more control…and Jodie likes control! I’m determined to make more of an effort, determined to be healthier, determined to hit the gym, determined to lower my stress RAAAARRRR! 🙂 So I welcome this new attempt with open arms! COME ON! I’M READY FOR YA! 

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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