Posts Tagged ‘embryo transfer’

Assisted Hatching with FET

The last time we saw our clinic we were introduced to the idea of assisted hatching. We have one more attempt left at FET (frozen embryo transfer) and it was advised that we could try AH (assisted hatching) to increase our chances of finally leaving with a baby. I had come across AH in my research but as it had never been recommended to us before hadn’t given it any further thought, but our nurse thinks that it might work for us. She explained that if our embryologist thought our embryos needed an extra push in the right direction, she would perform AH. I say if because AH depends on the outer layer condition of the embryo; if the outer layer looks ‘tough’ then AH is appropriate but if it looks ‘thin’ or ‘fine’ then maybe it isn’t, it’s very much an ‘on the day’ decision. So what exactly is AH? This is what the HFEA state;

Before an embryo can attach to the wall of the womb, it has to break out or ‘hatch’ from its outer layer called the zona pellucida.
It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning this outer layer may help embryos to ‘hatch’, increasing the chances of the woman becoming pregnant in some cases.

assisted hatching

Ok so that makes sense, although I’d never been aware of that much detail before. I now understand that a small amount of special acid is put on the outer layer to wear it away, allowing the embryo to free itself more easily for implantation. The site continues however, to say…

However, assisted hatching does not improve the quality of embryos.
The NHS guidelines on fertility, issued by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), say:
‘Assisted hatching is not recommended because it has not been shown to improve pregnancy rates.’
The guidelines also mention that further research is needed to find out whether assisted hatching can have an effect on live birth rates and to examine the consequences for children born as a result of this procedure.

Now that statement that it’s not recommended because it has not been shown to improve pregnancy rates worried me if I’m honest. The AH procedure costs an extra £250 and although infertility isn’t about the money….money is important, and we have never had any help from the NHS so we’re skint basically. I then noticed though that the above was dated 27 March 2009! So surely after 3 years there are more facts and findings, and that’s why my clinic are offering it 🙂 Our nurse also said to us that everyone who had been given the AH procedure at their clinic had ended up pregnant. Wow! That’s an awesome statistic. Trouble is I’m the type of person who then thinks ‘ah, so I’m going to be the one that balances out the stats and doesn’t get pregnant’. I don’t mean that to sound negative (I’m a ridiculously positive person) just realistic. All of us on an infertility journey are secretly petrified of the question ‘am I the one who doesn’t make it?’

I am exhausted by the last 6 years. Utterly drained of emotion, fed up of the needles, drugs and scans, and the next attempt will be our last. We are nearing the end of our journey. So if trying AH will help our Potentials to snuggle in and implant then that’s what I’ll do.

Has anyone else tried AH or know anything of interest? Do please share your stories if you have.

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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

2WW: 12DPT (days past transfer)

I haven’t posted this week mainly because I haven’t been in the best of places. I don’t think it’s worked and the anxiety and mental-ness that has come with that has been rather overpowering. I just didn’t know what to put in a post.

Basically (and without going into too much detail) I feel incredibly unpregnant and am expecting AF (Auntie Flo = period) to appear any moment. The drugs I am on have made me quite neurotic and I haven’t dealt with my ‘in limbo’ status very well at all. I broke down in tears on Wednesday and fingers crossed that was the worst of it out of my system. Luckily for me, when I fall apart (and I do fall apart) it doesn’t take long for me to pick up the pieces and soldier on, which is how I feel at the moment. At work I have been able to smile, converse with colleagues, go to meetings and all other ‘normal’ stuff, but when I get home it’s like a big emotional balloon deflating 😦 If my poor hubby just touched my arm I flinched and the tears started to well up, I just couldn’t take the emotions.

Yes I have tested early and no it wasn’t a positive result, but then I shouldn’t test early then should I?

Going utterly insane and can’t stand not being in control and having to wait for what will probably be bad news. This utterly sucks.

2WW: It’s getting scary now

First week was fine, flew by, I kept myself busy and positive, but now as I enter the second week…..I think it’s beginning to get to me. I have been having random symptoms but the trouble is I’m fully aware that these symptoms could be the drugs, a period or a pregnancy so am trying desperately to ignore them. Also, this morning I had an EPIC freak out when I suddenly realised that I hadn’t been taking the 75mg of aspirin a day!!!!! How the hell did I forget this??!!!!! I am so disappointed in myself (and the hubby for not reminding me), I can’t believe I’ve paid thousands of pounds, gone through physical torture, emotional breakdowns and at the last hurdle forgotten to take something as simple (and cheap) as a daily baby aspirin!!!! WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!

I’m waiting for the clinic to call me back and tell me what an utter doughnut I am.

I have also noticed that I have developed anger issues which I suspect are coming from the steroids. I’m perfectly fine and then all of a sudden I simply want to stab something/someone. It’s really quite that aggressive and kicks in within a second; very strange experience. I had a go at a woman in Asda on Saturday, the normal shopping trolley rage, too many people, not enough brain cells type of shopping experience, but I had to stop in front of the yoghurts and out loud say to myself “Breathe, Jodie, breathe”. God knows what people must have thought of me.

I think I may give being a neurotic woman a go and start taking pregnancy tests everyday, just go with the mental flow as it where. It’ll all be over by the end of the week (ish) one way or another.

BAAAAAAAH!

Can you enjoy yourself in the 2WW?

Yeah baby!

2 week wait

Very glamorous!

This is me last night at a friend’s birthday bash down the local pub. It was an AMAZING night! I made lovely new friends, caught up with old ones and took photos of them all. I even had a bit of a boogie which I have really missed since my knee surgery and I love an excuse to shake my tailfeather 😉 During this wonderful evening of karaoke, cake and drunkenness (not mine of course) did I ponder on my 2WW situation…or did I manage to pretend I was someone else for the night? Nah! Of course I thought about my Potentials and how they were getting on; making sure I was drinking enough water, not doing any jumpy movements (I was grooving, not headbanging) and popping outside now and then to get some fresh air and cool down.

A couple of people offered me a drink and when I said “No thank you I’m good, I don’t drink” I noticed that nearly everyone reacts the same way to this statement. A frown. It’s like I’ve just said “Hi I’m actually your future grand-daughter and I’ve hitched a lift with a time traveller just to see you tonight” Saying “No” to an offer of alcohol is just…..unheard of! I used to be a HUGE drinker, loved my booze, and I’m trying to remember if this is how I reacted to tea-totallers? The reality is I probably did and I think it’s because drinking is such a big part of our social scene that you’re not really socializing unless you have a glass/pint in your hand. What’s strange though is that if you offered someone a cigarette and they didn’t smoke, you wouldn’t try forcing them to have one, but that’s what happens when you don’t drink alcohol. I know it’s well-meaning, but trust me I’m happy not drinking, and I’m happy for you to continue drinking in front of me…it really isn’t a problem. But it then leads to “Why don’t you drink?” and they’re not happy being brushed off with a small answer like health, they want to know everything.

So I told. I started off by simply saying that I’m trying for a baby, but that leads to “Oh you can have a couple, it won’t do any harm” which then leads to my explaining that we’ve been trying for years and have had IVF etc….but then they start putting their thinking caps on and start telling me “what you need to do is relax/go away for a weekend/I knew a woman once who did *this* and she got pregnant immediately/eat more bananas/etc.. etc.. etc..” then I want to say “yes I know all this!!!!!!” But I don’t because that’s just rude.

I actually think it’s wonderful that a conversation flowed after I was so open with a topic that most still keep very quiet, and what I have found is that people are actually quite interested. They also want to help; they search their memories for any useful tip they may have once read on getting pregnant just to pass on to me. I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable because I’m so open about a sensitive subject, but I’m pleased with how I conversed with others on infertility and how they did to me in return. Basically I had a wonderful evening with no worries, and I could be myself and have fun.

On another note, I am now 6 days into the 2WW and all is still fine. I do have some symptoms BUT symptoms come from the drugs or an impending period as well as from a possible pregnancy and I’m very aware of that so my feet are firmly on the ground still.

Honest.

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!