Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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6wks and bleeding

Posted by Haisla Thursday, 18 February 2016 0 comments

We had our 6 week ultrasound yesterday at the EPU and saw this:

Two teeny tiny embryos with beating hearts.

Such an incredible moment.

Then last night when I went to the loo I noticed I had started bleeding. Properly. No more brown spotting, this was proper red bleed. No clots, but then again I'm on blood thinners so perhaps unable to form clots.

Cue a sleepless night.

I'm wondering whether all the prodding with the ultrasound wand could have caused this..? The ultrasound technician could not see any cause for the spotting that had restarted on Monday.

My uterus feels angry. Not crampy as such (not like during my period) but just irritated. And the trickling continues.

I'll need to ring up the EPU first thing this morning again. Just as they had sent us off saying that they hoped not to see us until our 12wk scan..

I'm also wondering whether I should start inserting the progesterone pessaries up the back passage, just to minimise any kind of further irritation..

Why can't things just go smoothly for once?

And I've got a big meeting (well three big meetings) at work today that I cannot miss. It's gonna be a busy day. Maybe that's for the best. It'll hopefully keep my mind off worrisome things.

4w5d, still pregnant..

Posted by Haisla Monday, 8 February 2016 0 comments

I'm sorry I haven't updated before, I have been feeling pretty exhausted this past week.

I got a call back from the clinic on Wednesday. It was the nicest nurse possible and I got very teary on the phone. She wasn't too concerned about the spotting; when I asked whether they could do some blood tests she told me just to keep an eye on the bleed and contact them if it got any worse. She was nice about it, but there just didn't seem to be much room for negotiation. The spotting continued intermittently throughout the day, but certainly didn't get any worse, so I left it at that, not wanting to jinx anything.

I spotted on and off the rest of the week. Again thankfully no fresh blood. I couldn't find any correlation between my activity levels (I initially thought it might have been triggered by my morning walk to work) so I carried with normal daily routines, whilst trying to take it moderately easy. It tapered off towards the end of the week. On Friday I rang up the clinic as it was my OTD and re-confirmed that I was still pregnant (I'd been peeing on sticks all week). I was congratulated and then given my first scan date- 29th February. I nearly fell off my chair. That was a whole 3 weeks away. I asked whether I could have an earlier scan, but the nurse said there wouldn't be any point, as it would be unlikely that there would be anything much to see before then.

I was too shocked to say anything. I mean, I've never had a scan where anything has actually been visible to the eye, so what did I know?

Thankfully I still had the GP appointment booked for this morning so I psyched myself up to fight my corner to try to get some extra monitoring (i.e. the beta blood tests). The spotting was almost non-existent by now, so I did feel like a bit of a fraud. I had my my spotting argument, my previous missed miscarriage argument and my potential previous ectopic pregnancy argument all well rehearsed.

Thankfully I didn't need to argue. I was seen by a lovely female GP, who listened to me and took my concerns seriously. I nearly burst into tears from sheer relief. I had been so worried about being dismissed by some awful unsympathetic doctor, but the one I saw today had been through five rounds of IVF herself, so was very understanding and immediately referred me to the local Early Pregnancy Unit for a scan.

I got an afternoon appointment so went there straight from work and had a scan (yep, blood test was all I was really after, but they seem to be extremely hard to come by in the UK). I was not expecting for them to see anything (as per the words of the nurse from our fertility clinic), but I was wrong. The lady doing the scan asked me how many embryos had been transferred and then turned the screen around so I could see it. And there they were, two beautiful blobs in the middle of my uterus. It's not ectopic and we're pregnant with twins!!

They couldn't call the blobs gestational sacs yet (they called them 'cysts' instead..umm), but could clearly identify that two had implanted. Also there was nothing in the uterus that could account for the spotting. The sonographer reckoned it might have been implantation bleed. She also noted some fluid in my pouch of douglas. I've read up on it in Dr Google and it appears to indicate endometriosis, so obviously the evil witch has come back, as I suspected. Hopefully it won't be very significant, I may ask about it next time.

I've got a follow up scan next week (Wednesday) by which time there will hopefully be more to see. I was also instructed to contact them immediately if I start bleeding more heavily.

I am exhausted but ecstatic. It looks like both of our embryos took. And I'm so happy that I'll be getting more frequent scans, I don't think I would have survived until 29th. God bless the Early Pregnancy Unit. Who ever knew they even existed!

9dp5dt, still pregnant but now with added spotting..

Posted by Haisla Wednesday, 3 February 2016 0 comments

I'll try to post a longer update later on today, but suffice it to say, that I'm freaking out a little bit. I know spotting in early pregnancy can be completely normal, but I'm freaking out all the same.. I had such bad cramping yesterday that I was convinced my period was about to start. It's calmed down quite a bit by now but the spotting is still present.

I've contacted the clinic and am waiting for a call-back. Am just hoping that they'll agree to get some blood tests done to check my hCG and progesterone levels. Sadly it's not standard procedure in the UK probably due to costs. But surely they'll do it for a freaked out, spotting lady..?

I couldn't get an appointment to see the GP until Monday, such is the state of the NHS these days.

As said, I will try to post a bit more later..

6dp5dt after FET#2..

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 31 January 2016 0 comments

...and I get this:

A thin whisper of a line and it appears I may be a little bit pregnant again

I tested this afternoon, so the result is extra light, perhaps with FMU it would be a tad darker?

The only reason I tested this early (as you may know, I am not a POAS kind of girl unless I have symptoms to encourage me or I absolutely have to) was because my wee started smelling funny two days ago (sorry if this is TMI). I woke up the other night twice to go to the toilet and noticed a strange pungent smell (the only way I can describe it) in my wee and it resembled something I'd noticed  during the very early days of my first pregnancy, but had since forgotten. It was only when I re-smelt it that it came back to me.

So after that night, every time I went to the loo I kept on furiously sniffing around after peeing (gross, I know), just to see whether I'd made up the 'scent' in my head. Well, it turns out I hadn't.

Apart from that I haven't really had many symptoms that I could not put down to progesterone. I'm maybe a little bit more tired than usual  and my sense of smell is super heightened but that's about it. I've had a few bouts of unbelievable hunger (to the point where I once woke up at 5am to cook pasta) and a few very fleeting moments of mild nausea. Apart from that nada.

Truth be told, I am just thrilled to be pregnant again. After our last failed FET I was beginning to wonder whether our one pregnancy had just been a fluke; our one good egg.

It would be great to get at least a little further than we did last time, obviously preferably all the way to the birth of a healthy baby.

However, I am holding on to a large chunk of realism here. We're at 6 days post transfer. We've got 4 years of infertility behind us, four failed IUIs, one failed fresh cycle and  one failed FET. Babies: zero. But still, here we are, just a little bit pregnant again.

It's a potentially long hurdles race ahead of us, but I'm just going to try to take it one set of hurdles at a time, however far that takes us. No point in worrying about things at this point.

And at least we've got the back up plan of immune testing & treatments, if this really doesn't work out. That in itself gives me hope. If my immune system is indeed attacking our beautiful embryos, at least we may find some ways to combat it.

But today's pee-stick is looking fairly promising. Last time the line was still this faint at 10dp5dt, so this may be a slightly more robust pregnancy. And those pee-sticks are only £3.50 for two (from Sainsbury's, apparently they detect hCG at 15mIU/ml), so I can afford to test every day if the mood takes me! : )

Anyway, the next step will be trying to get a blood pregnancy test out of my GP. I've got a feeling it won't be easy, as I think they normally only provide pee-sticks to confirm pregnancy (which is fine and dandy if you're a normal preggers person and not a hyper-sensitive infertile). I may try to pull the "Oh, I went through a suspected ectopic pregnancy (that resolved itself by itself) last time" card, or just have a good ol' hysterical hormone cry in front of the doctor. Not sure whether either of the two will work, but surely it's worth a try? If anyone has any experience of NHS GP's and blood pregnancy tests, please give me a shout!

Another day, another FET

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 24 January 2016 0 comments

I have gone incredibly quiet in the blogosphere and can only apologise. To those people whose blogs I read, I'm still around and reading, just don't always get a chance to comment. I apologise and will try to do better.

We are approaching our next FET and tomorrow is the D-day, or should I say T-day (for 'transfer').

In bullet points:
-This round is on us (or 'self-funded' as the clinic likes to call it) so we'll have to cough up £1,200 plus meds, which truth be told is much, much cheaper than I'd expected.

-The prep for this FET has been dead easy (and identical in terms of meds to the previous one). A week of nasal spray (Suprefact from 26/12/15), then approx three weeks of 6mg of oestrogen tables together with the spray (from 01/01/16) and then adding progesterone suppositories from 19/01/16 onwards (coupled with the oestrogen pills) up until pregnancy test (date of which TBA).

-We'll be transferring two embryos as we no longer are categorised as high risk for a twin pregnancy after two failed cycles (and thanks to my advanced maternal age).

-I've been diagnosed to possibly have some clotting issues, ie. (APS) or antiphospholipid syndrome. Full diagnosis would have required a follow-up blood test, but my doctor just recommended some extra meds (name of which escapes me), which I will be starting tomorrow.

-If this round fails I am going to look into getting some immunity testing done. I loath the thought of spending such amounts of money on something that isn't really scientifically recognised yet, but having managed to produce  eight 'high quality' blasts I struggle to understand how we have failed to get pregnant yet, unless there are some other as yet undiagnosed issues underlying.

-I have tried to boost my uterine lining this time around by drinking min 250ml of pomegranate juice daily since starting the oestrogen tablets and it seems to have worked - the nurses pronounced my uterine lining 'textbook perfect' at the scan on Tuesday.

Textbook perfect uterus prepare to receive your new guests and please, please remain hospitable for the next 8 or so months!!

FET #1 - BFN

Posted by Haisla Wednesday, 4 November 2015 0 comments

I kind of knew this already on Sunday, as I peed on a stick to give us a bit of a heads up & time to process before the actual OTD on Tuesday, and it came back stark white. Not even a squinter was to be seen.

It turns out that at this stage in the game a BFN is far less devastating news than waking up to a failing pregnancy. Not being pregnant is the norm for us, so nothing's really changed. And after two weeks of being on hyper-alert about any potential symptoms (also known as the dreaded TWW) returning back to normal is actually quite a relief.

I think for some reason M. felt this failure far more acutely than I did. I guess I had the benefit of living in my body for the TWW and realising that I didn't really 'feel' pregnant. Not like I did last time. I mean I had symptoms and all, but none of them were really wholly convincing. Sure I felt nauseous, tired, etc, but I would like to have it here on record that they were just symptoms of the progesterone, should I ever come to wonder.

Anyway, I'm now waiting for a call-back from the clinic for our WTF appointment. This is the end of free treatments, so we need to talk game-plan. The guidelines recommend a two month wait between cycles, but unless there are very good medical grounds for that recommendation, I would like to (and M. agrees with me) to proceed with another FET as soon as possible (i.e. in December). Because it turns out that FET cycles are actually quite long. If I wait for one cycle (to help my body reset or whatever) and start a new FET cycle in December, the earliest we would transfer an embryo is mid-Jan. Waiting for two months would push things to Feb and we just haven't got that kind of time, thanks very much.

There's a list of questions I have for the Doc when we next see him/her (we don't have a regular RE at our clinic, but see a different doctor every time), one of them being about transferring two. Now that we've proven that perhaps the quality of our embryos is not quite as high as the doctors originally assumed, perhaps it'll be less risky to transfer two. Because again, I'm not sure we've got time to do 6 FETs in a row, in case it turns out that all of our embryos are bad. That would mean that by the time we get to do another fresh IVF cycle I'll be pushing 37 and M. his mid-40s. And as we all know what time does to egg quality, it's one of those things I'm not keen to take a gamble on.

So that's the plan, and just having a plan makes me feel so much better. I can wait one month to let my system recalibrate - I mean, after all,  I've become a bit of an expert on waiting. In December this year, I will have waited for 48 months in all. If anyone would have told me that in early 2012 I would have had a heart attack, and probably never had had the nerve to even start on this journey. Sometimes it's best not knowing what the future holds, eh.

Upwards and onwards, then. I'm dusting myself off and moving on.

FET accompli

Posted by Haisla Wednesday, 28 October 2015 0 comments

Actually we had the FET on Friday and I am now 5dp5dt.

I've been feeling so hormonally unbalanced (i.e. going through the dreaded emotional rollercoaster) that I haven't even been able to bring myself to post about the transfer until today. I've just been feeling really negative & pessimistic, until yesterday, when at 4dp5dt I finally started having some 'symptoms' (nausea, sore boobs, ravenousness, knackeredness, the usual). That however was short lived and today I'm feeling absolutely fine and normal again.

What really gets me, though, is that last time (when I actually was pregnant) I had some very specific symptoms that stood out from the TWWs past: 1) I went completely off my sugar-free chocolate bars, which are normally my favourite treat (like I properly could not stomach them) and 2) I gagged at the very smell of my favourite perfume and had to use it very, very sparingly. Those were my tell-tale signs that something was going on. No such symptoms this time around. Food seems to smell amazing to me (even meat), but that could easily just be the progesterone talking.

Anyway, the FET itself (like so much of this cycle) was most uneventful. I wore my snowflake socks in honour of our 5 day frozen snowflake that got transferred into my ute. It was a bit more uncomfortable this time around, but the discomfort could have been due to a trainee nurse bursting into the room as they were doing the mock transfer to ask a question of the senior nurse who was pressing the ultrasound wand against my poor over extended bladder. The senior nurse seemed most displeased about the disruption, as was I. But I think it was an emergency of situation, so I'll let the trainee nurse off the hook.  Thankfully once that little episode was over they got on with the actual transfer and it went as smoothly as anything. We even got a little photo as a souvenir:

That little blip in the middle is our precious snowflake. I hope he / she is still there and nuzzling in. And if that's the case that she / he will send us some strong messages - nausea, vomiting, I'll take anything at the moment.