Posts Tagged ‘unexplained infertility’

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.

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.

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.

Continue reading

Fed up with the adverts!!! Babies everywhere!!!

I haven’t posted for a while and I apologise for that, but I have been struggling. On the outside I am still happy, jokey, ‘bit of a twat’ Jodie still, but on the inside the following is going on;

  • I am beginning to think my tv knows when I sit down as it seems that when I do, an advert showing newborn babies comes on!!!! OR an advert for the latest pregnancy test!!!!
  • Despite trying to lose weight, I appear to be getting fatter (might have something to do with all the chocolates I’m cramming in my mouth as I am a depressed train wreck). The fatter I get, the bigger my tummy gets (obviously) but this seems to be particularly evil at present as I keep catching myself in the mirror ‘looking’ pregnant. Weird I know.
  • I am supposed to be 4 months pregnant right now! But thanks to mother nature stealing that from me, I have to watch my colleagues be pregnant instead. I ADORE my colleagues and am truly over the moon for them, but I am SUPPOSED to be pregnant with them.  It hurts 😦
  • We’ve started discussing adoption and fostering quite seriously now, and it’s something I’d really love to do (and have been hoping the day would come when we start this process). But it appears that it’s made me want my own even more!!!!!! That wasn’t supposed to happen! I was going to ‘move on’ and accept things, be an adult; no problem. Plus I can’t have my own anyway, egg donation is the only way for me, and we have simply run out of money.

But I am fighting to get my Christmas spirit back, appreciative of all the things I have in my life and grateful for the love and friendship that keeps me sane. This is the biggest guilt trip of all, knowing that other people have far worse tragedies going on than me. Got to keep the perspective. Got to be positive. Got to keep trying.

The NHS and Oxford Fertility Unit

One of the things that hubby and I had expected during our infertility journey was to meet fertility experts. These experts would analyse us, make recommendations and generally guide us in the right direction for our particular situation. Oh how wrong we were.

Oxford Fertitlity UnitWe were referred to the Oxford Fertility Unit and after attending their ‘Introduction Evening’ (which I do recommend you attend) we had an appointment with an ‘expert’. This was quite a moment for us as we felt we were finally seeing someone who could actually give us some solid advice and suggestions, someone who knew our situation and was familiar with all the options open to us. We took the afternoon off work and drove to Oxford (about a half hour drive).

When we arrived we went to the wrong department. I say wrong, it was labelled Fertility Unit so….that’s were we went. After waiting for about half an hour they finally worked out that we were supposed to be somewhere else, a kind of out-patient fertility area on the ground floor. So we waited there instead. After about another hour, we were finally taken through to see our ‘expert’ and as we held hands, followed her to the office and sat down with expectant and nervous smiles. This is basically how the conversation went;

‘Hello….Ms Elliott?’

‘Yes that’s me’.

She scanned through my paperwork…
‘Ok. Well I’ve seen your notes and we would recommend that you start IVF as soon as possible.’

‘What?’ Really?’

‘Yes. We recommend 3 cycles and you could start very soon. Would you like to make an appointment?’

‘Errrrr…well isn’t there anything else to discuss first, like… anything else we can try, or should be doing?’

‘IVF is what we would recommend for you.’

‘Er ok, well do we get this on the NHS?’

‘No, I see you have a daughter by your first marriage so that means you won’t get NHS funding.’

‘Right, well I don’t want to commit to another appointment right now, so I’ll guess I’ll be in touch. Goodbye.’

‘Goodbye Ms Elliott’

Suffice to say I complained about this. My hubby and I had had the wind truly knocked from our sails, we were quite heartbroken by the coldness, the emotionless, basic conversation that had just taken place. We were after someone to help us but we just got a statement of ‘IVF!’. I wanted to be told what I should be eating, what I should avoid eating, what products I should avoid using, what exercises are good for my ovaries, what positions we should try…. I NEEDED ADVICE AND GUIDANCE!!!!

I had also had the lack of NHS funding confirmed and that was one hell of a frustrating pill to swallow! My research had brought to light the Postcode Lottery for NHS funding, in that it depends on your location and thereby your Local Primary Care Trust and how they chose to handle their costs. I remember reading that if a family lived in certain boroughs of London, they could have 4 children and still get 3 attempts at NHS fertility treatment….fully paid. And yet I couldn’t get one attempt! This is an ongoing issue which I know is being addressed but unfortunately not in time for me. Plus after you’ve paid for one private IVF treatment, you can NEVER have assistance from the NHS in the future, regardless of any changes to your financial situation. To find out more on NHS funding click here

Oxford did have us back and we did see a proper doctor/expert who was lovely. He explained why we had been recommended to have IVF (as we had been diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertilty’) and he did indeed take time with us. Our choice to go to another clinic was mainly based on distance and cost, Oxford was still a consideration despite the first upsetting appointment.

I feel I must say that I am not in any way angry with Oxford or think that they are not a good place to go. What I am trying to illustrate is that nothing is ever as you expect it to be, and sometimes you don’t even have any expectations. Clinics are a business at the end of the day. I could have tests for the next 5 years, eat different healthy diets and try different vitamins but IVF is a solid step forward to an end result, and that is why it was recommended to us. So we could get a result. A baby.

On the other hand….holistic approaches are successful in gaining successes too and I will cover that in my next post. Including the wonderful Zita West…

Watch this space…

Love to all xxxx