Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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On the eve of our appointment

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 9 December 2014 8 comments

I am cautiously excited. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, since I know the NHS is a slow train and nothing will be happening in an instant.

What I do, however, expect is a discussion to plan our first IVF cycle and some sort of a timeline.

I think this is probably the closest we have  ever got to having a GPOP (a genuine prospect of pregnancy) since we started our TTC journey three years ago.

In December 2011 I ditched the birth control pill and was genuinely worried that we might get pregnant on our first go (since we were living in a dingy, draughty - but cheap - flat in South East London which was as unsuitable to child rearing as they come). Had I known that three years down the line we are still trying, I would have been horrified.

But so it is. You don't know what you're able to endure until you've been through it. And so we've endured. And in some ways we're in a better place in our marriage than we have been in ages. Somehow this awfulness has brought us closer together. We're a team. We're in this together. And that, surely is worth something in itself.

So happy 3rd TTC anniversary to us!! May this leg of the journey soon come to an end.x

Running on empty

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 30 November 2014 7 comments

Life has become so hectic in the run up to Christmas that it's a bit scary.

I am looking at my diary and between now and Christmas I've got exactly one full weekend off when I won't be working. Other than that there's always a Saturday or a Sunday when there's something work related going on - be it a Christmas Carol concert or a Fayre.

I sort of knew that this is the way it would be this year, but it's still a little scary. I've got a few annual leave days still to take this year (which I was saving for our blessed IVF), but which I just cannot for love nor money fit in before Christmas. My plan is to talk to my line manager and see whether they could be rolled over into next year. It's normally a little frowned upon, but I could really do with those days, since next year is likely the year when we'll finally embark on IVF. My line manager is normally a fairly understanding and reasonable man, so I hope he'll go with it.

Since things are so hectic work-wise I have started a regime of self care, which included a massage the weekend before last. It was a cheapo-cheapo last minute one and I wasn't thoroughly impressed with the quality. My masseuse was very pleasant, but kind of stingy with the massage oil (I nearly felt like reminding her to top it up half-way through but politeness got the better of me). She also seemed to have no problem with massaging my spine (which I thought is a big no-no?) and it left me feeling a bit bruised and battered afterwards. M. seemed happy enough with his massage but a little scared of his masseuse who had a tendency to bark orders at him. It did leave me wondering at the legitimacy of their qualifications. I think we've mutually decided not to return there for a follow-up.

Anyway, both M. and I agree that monthly massage is the way forward, we'll just have to choose our provider a bit more carefully. M. found a good deal for an introductory 1h massage in a place near to us. I think we'll sample that one next. It's just nice to be doing something that is good for us for a change and I'm so glad that M, too, is on-board.

The upside with this crazy pre-Christmas busy-ness is that I've hardly had time to fret our infertility and our next doctor's appointment is only a week and a bit away. It's kind of crept up on us. I really need to get my stress levels in check before next year though, as my understanding is that it takes three months for eggs to mature.. And at the moment mine are stewing in a nice cocktail of stress hormones. Not good.

I really don't know whether I'll get much blogging done before Christmas. Things are pretty uneventful on the TTC front, but I'll try to ping something out after our IVF(?) appointment. It's just hard to fit anything extra in when all I want to do when I get home is collapse in front of the TV on our sofa and fall asleep. Again, not good.

I still read all the lovely blogs on my reading list and can only apologise if my commenting is a little erratic. I will cheer you on from the foggy haze that constitutes my consciousness these days.

Commenting on my blog

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 22 November 2014 9 comments

I am officially married to a genius.

After battling with blogger all morning, my darling M has resolved all of my commenting issues (hopefully) for good.

We have now installed Disqus commenting system, which will not only allow people to leave comments using different browsers (people at blogger HQ, please take note), but also for me to manage my comments and reply directly to individual commenters!! It feels like I have just moved onto the 21st Century.

We are still trying to beta test the system to ensure that it really does work in as many different browsers as possible. You can leave comments anonymously by choosing "I'd rather post as a guest"- you'll just be asked to choose any name and include an email address which will not displayed.

We've tried to make commenting as pain-free as possible and really, truly hope it'll work.

Again I would like to apologise to anyone who tried to comment and got their comments eaten by blogger; I know how frustrating it is.

If you do encounter any problems with commenting on my blog in the future, please send me an email at: adventuresinendoland@gmail.com. I will try to check my emails there fairly frequently.

Just a quick one..

Posted by Haisla Wednesday, 19 November 2014 0 comments

Precious Labmonkey wrote a whole separate post to notify me that she's having a hard time leaving comments on my blog - it appears that the glitch in the matrix has returned!!

I'm so sorry if you've been trying to comment and been unable to, I will try to rectify this problem (if I can with my almost non-existent techie skills) not necessarily now (as I am already running late from leaving for work) but by the weekend, I promise.

Thanks again, Labmonkey for bringing this up - you're a superstar!!! xxx

Back again

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 4 November 2014 0 comments

I've been awol of late, I realise.

Things got a bit hectic..

First there was an inspection at work that took up so much time to prepare for. I literally worked all hours to get our centre ready.

And then we had my family over on a visit, and that was full.on.

Lovely, but full on. We went sightseeing every single day and saw pretty much all the free stuff that there is to see in London. It was great, but exhausting. I love them dearly, but we both sighed a deep sigh of relief once we'd taken them back to the airport.

And the week just gone, I've mainly working and recuperating, since we didn't really have a weekend to wind down. And then this Saturday I worked again.

So I've had a couple of days off now and feel almost human again and ready to show my face at the blogosphere. I realise I've missed out on some pretty momentous moments in other bloggers' lives, so I can only apologise that I haven't been there for you!! I will try to be a better blogger and commenter again..

I can't even remember whether I last posted before or after the IUI, so at the risk of repeating myself I will go over it again.

We had the fourth IUI on three Fridays ago. Nurse Nelly wasn't there, so we had another nurse (of no name as yet) whom I hadn't met before and although she tried to be really considerate and gentle, I actually prefer Nelly. I know, I was shocked at finding myself pining after Nelly. I'd much rather discuss Nelly's family member who missed their plane than have someone overly anxious (namely nurse nameless) do the procedure and by trying to be extra-careful cause extra discomfort.

Unsurprisingly, the IUI did not work out. AF started last week and is almost over by now.

We have an appointment on 9th December to discuss, I hope, IVF with the NHS. Providing they haven't ran out of money and turned the IVF taps off. I will beg and plead. Because they promised, promised!!!

Oh, and we did go to see the private RE who specialises also in immunology issues. What a waste of our hard earned money. We could not for the life of us understand almost a word the doctor had to say to us. I'm sure he knows his business, but my goodness. The thick accent. The practice basically reeked of money and desperation. And that is not a pretty mix. Especially when we have the latter but not much of the former.

I guess my greatest disappointment was in the fact that he couldn't really give us any reassurance. I think it's related to fear of litigation. And I think I went there with overly high expectations. I wanted him to tell us that immunology is probably the cause for our fertility problems and that by pursuing the testing and treatment we'll get our baby. Well, he didn't. He basically told us that IVF is our best option and to not delay.

He said our chances with IVF are about 20% / cycle. If we do immunology testing and find out that there are problems the treatments could up our chances to 35%.

That's all he could say.

I tried to ask him whether he thought that immunology treatments could affect the quality of the embryos we get, or whether it would only improve our chances of implantation (that's what I thought I asked at least, M. later told me that he, too, had not understood my question the way I had worded it), but he didn't really understand or answer me.

We were both pretty floored when we left that place. 20% vs 35%. Doesn't sound overtly promising does it? I don't know what I expected but certainly not that. The appointment felt rushed. I thought that with money we could actually buy some proper time and interest from our physicians, but I guess I was wrong.. Perhaps those who really care, work within the NHS and not at a private practice making the big bucks.. Or perhaps I am being overtly harsh. It was a Friday, one of the busiest days at their practice apparently. All I could hear when we left, though was the chi-ching of their cash register.

Bottom line, I guess, is that we won't bother going back there. Alan E. Beer sounded so confident in his book about immunology. The living doctors seem to be rather more reserved in their estimations, as said, perhaps due to fear of litigation, should they make grandiose promises that don't come true.

One interesting thing, however, that this £200/h doctor said was that he considered my thyroid levels too high. Mine are 3.4. According to the NHS anything under 5 is fine. He said he would like to see the level nearer to 1 on anyone trying to conceive.

The interesting thing (and perhaps mildly 'crazy' sounding thing) is that for some time now I have had an inkling that all has not been well with my thyroid. I am always cold. Always. And I get this weird 'thyroid-y' feeling. I can't quite explain it apart from feeling like all is not well around my thyroid region. So some months ago I started supplementing by taking dried seaweed. I now have a regime of drinking a disgusting drink of fruit juice mixed with a largish quantity of dried seaweed every morning. And you know what, I've been feeling mostly better. Less thyroid-y. Still cold all the time, but less thyroid-y. And if I feel thyroid-y, I take two doses a day.

I toyed with the idea of actually going back to my GP and trying to get my thyroid levels tested again to see whether there's been a real improvement (either due to seaweed or placebo effect) or whether my thyroid levels are still messed up. But I couldn't really think of a good enough cover story for why I think my thyroid is causing me problems. And even if the levels came back at 3.4 again, I'd have a fight in my hands to try to get the NHS to recognise the level as high. I just don't know if I've got that kind of fight left in me. I know I'm meant to be advocating on my own behalf and everything, but it does feel like such hard work. Especially if there is a risk of coming across as a bit a looney.

Does anyone else have any experiences of thyroid levels and TTC?

One last little piece of news related to IF (esp. in the UK) was this article that appeared in the Evening Standard on 30/10/14. Apparently NewLife clinic is partnering with Access Fertility and will be offering IVF treatments with a money-back guarantee of up to 70% if the treatment(s) are unsuccessful. I haven't yet looked more into this or read the small print. The age limit is 37, and I hope that refers only to the prospective Mums (considering that M is 42). But it did shed a bit of extra hope into our situation. If we could try private IVF with some kind of a money-back guarantee, then perhaps we could afford at least one private round. It's kind of a game changer, if it really is true.

So lots to think about, research and mull over again..

But at least we're a little bit closer to IVF. I mean December is literally almost just around the corner.

I am feeling uncharacteristically optimistic..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 11 October 2014 3 comments

Now this is going to be a long post, since I feel like I have a quite a bit to chew over..

First of all, I didn't get the job. 

It's funny, because I sort of knew it straight away after the interview (you know when you can tell that there isn't much interest among your audience) and there was this huge wave of relief that washed over me when I was walking back to the station. It would have been a great big commitment to start a new job at this junction, and I hadn't been fully conscious how anxious that had made me.

This job I have right now is not ideal for pregnancy etc., but at least I can take as much time off for my treatments as I need to - I have proven myself, people trust me and I can be open and honest about what is going on in my life and where my priorities lie (whilst still doing a great job at work). It just means that I can concentrate all my energies and efforts into getting pregnant, which is what I want more than I do a new job.

So, all in all I feel good about this.

And funnily enough I feel better about my current job, too. It's one of those things where you don't perhaps appreciate how good you've got it until it's (almost) gone. I love (and also occasionally hate) my job. It's my passion, I'm genuinely good at it; now I just have to figure out how to do it without burning out. So, I'll stick with it for the time being.

Job hunting was a nice distraction but it's time to return back to this bidness of getting us pregnant.


Secondly, I have booked an appointment for us to see a consultant at a private clinic to discuss immunology testing on 24/10/14.  I am super excited about this. My family are coming over from Finland to visit us during that week, so both M and I have taken some time off. It's just the perfect time for this appointment, as we don't have to take any additional time off from work (which can be tricky for M). We'll chuck my family into the National Gallery or somewhere for an hour and go talk to the consultant. I am in the process of writing down questions and concerns to bring up, because for the first time I feel quite excited and hopeful that we will be speaking to a health professional who will actually be interested in our particular case.


Thirdly, this final IUI cycle has gone a bit weird.  On Wednesday, when I had my last shot of Menopur, the scan showed that I had one 13mm follicle on the right-hand side and two follicles on the left (14mm and 9mm). All fine and dandy there.

But, then in yesterday's scan, the right-hand side follicle had completely disappeared. Did that follicle have a growth spurt and release an egg super early, or did it just wither and die? We may never know.

On the left-hand side I had two follies; 20mm and 14mm. We were instructed to have sex that night (which we duly did) and then I was instructed to take an ovulation test this morning. If the result was positive we were to have sex today and Sunday (and no IUI, i.e. cycle cancelled), if it was negative we were to have sex today and then do the trigger shot at 23:00 and have IUI on Monday morning.

I took the test and to my surprise it was negative. Like completely negative.

M had bought me a pack of those new fangled ovulation tests that display a flashing smiley face for 'high fertility' and plain smiley face for 'peak fertility'. I just got an empty circle. How is that possible when I have a 20mm follicle ready to burst?! (Unless it already burst yesterday, but wouldn't there be a residue of the LH I'd been producing?) These are the moments when I really don't understand anything about fertility.

Now I'm just thinking that won't Monday's IUI be a bit late for anything, if my only large follicle is already gone? Unless the 14mm one is meant to catch up or something.. Oh, who knows.. I'll just go with the flow.

Dr Duchess was quite apologetic about the potential cancellation of this cycle when I discussed it with her on Friday and said that we could have another round of IUI (should this round be cancelled) if we wanted to. I told her we'd 'think about it' (i.e. 'NO THANK YOU.'). She did then mention the magic IVF word (for the first time in the context of us actually moving towards it) and we now have an appointment with an NHS consultant on 09/12/14, which suits us perfectly, as it should give us enough time to make decisions about the immunology testing..

So, slowly, ever so slowly, we are inching forwards towards the blessed hope of an IVF.

And this is why I am so optimistic. I don't care about the job, I don't care about this cycle. All I care about is that we have a glimmer of hope in the horizon, and that that horizon isn't like miles and miles away.

So yay!!

Stuff, just stuff..

Posted by Haisla Friday, 3 October 2014 5 comments

I am exhausted by infertility.

I just had a text from a friend whom I haven't been in contact with in years (a childhood friend, whom I still count as part of my 'inner circle', even though we are equally bad at keeping in touch) letting me know that she is pregnant.

That in and of itself is all fine and dandy - yes it smarts a bit at first, but at the same time I am so pleased that she doesn't have to go through this shit that I am going through. But she would like to talk.. and that unfortunately I cannot do. I can send her my most excited and heartfelt congratulations by text, but to have to have a conversation where I'll recount my infertility journey blow by blow and she'll do the same with her pregnancy experiences will just be too much. I hope she'll understand.. and I hope she's happy and in a place where she feels ready to be a mummy (she's always been a bit of a wild child)..

I've also tied myself up in nots with all the immunology stuff.

I've read Alan E. Beer's book and I think I get the main premise - because I'm diagnosed with endometriosis there is a high likelihood that there is something wrong with my immune system. Certain natural killer cells may not be doing their job properly in sweeping up the endometrial cells that end up in my pelvic cavity as a result of 'retrograde menstruation' (which may have resulted in me developing endometriosis). Also as a result of the endo I may have excessively aggressive natural killer cells that attack implanting embryos. There may also be a host of other stuff wrong with me or nothing at all. That much I know.

However, most people who go for private immunology testing have been through a number of pregnancy losses or failed IVF cycles.

We haven't had any pregnancy losses (due to not having had any pregnancies for that matter) and we can't really afford to fail an IVF cycle.

We are offered two cycles of IVF by the NHS; one fresh and one frozen. We could probably afford one more private IVF cycle, but not the immunology testing and treatment that at that point would probably be useful if not necessary. So the logic goes that we'll try to get these immunology tests done prior to moving on to IVF. I've had this discussion with M and we've agreed to this plan in principle.

The thing is that immunology testing is shockingly expensive. The top clinic in London charges approx. £4,000 just for the testing (yep, you read that right, they do offer the most comprehensive set of tests, but still) and then there's the treatments, which are between £1,400 - £1,650 per IV-drip bag of IVIg (depending on the size of the dose) and £275 for intralipids .. It is a heck of a lot of money. Almost as much as we would spend on a private IVF cycle.. And if immunology is the issue, who knows how many rounds of treatment I would need (sometimes they are prescribed for a period of a months before the IVF cycle if the diagnosis is particularly bad). Oh, and then there's the £200 charge per consultation, not to mention other meds they could prescribe, like corticosteroids, Clexane, Humira, LIT, etc (depending on your diagnosis). The costs could really quite easily spiral out of control. Just thinking about this all makes me feel sick. Who's got this kind of money squirrelled away?!

There are slightly cheaper clinics out there (like one or two in London) but in my understanding many of them won't be willing to offer immunology testing let alone treatment unless they are also dishing out the IVF cycle themselves.

It just feels so messed up that most people can get pregnant just like that without really trying, and here we are considering spending majority of our mortgage deposit savings just to try to a) find out what is wrong with us and b) finally get knocked up. I feel angry and bitter and like it's just. not. fair! Trying to make these decision when the stakes are so high. This is our one little chance of having our own biological children. And we want to make the smartest possible decisions and spend our money wisely but the truth is that we are driven by fear. The possibility of this failing is terrifying. It's like staring into an abyss..

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In other TTC related news, AF arrived on Wednesday, I started on Menopur again on Thursday morning and our fourth and final IUI should take place sometime next week (unless of course my follicles mature and pop over the following weekend which would make this cycle a bust). We shall see. I'm not holding much hope after the failure of our last 'perfect' injectable IUI cycle. I have to say though, that the injections are much easier to deal with when dished out in the mornings. I'm far too dozy to feel anxious about them. So far so good. One injection down, only four more to go! I will survive and with minimal moaning, too, I hope.

In other news..

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 28 September 2014 6 comments

I've got an interview for a new job!!!

I am super nervous and excited.

I had literally given up this job as dead and buried since it took them more than two weeks to invite me for an interview after their closing date. I had done the psychological pep talk about how it was probably for the best and 'not meant to be' and how there were probably a ton of very high quality candidates (the job pays more than my current one with less responsibility - eeeep) and that in the greater scheme of things it would probably have been horrible to have had to negotiate the terms and conditions for an IVF cycle with a new employer.

And yet here I am with an interview (and an informal visit to boot tomorrow) lined up in two weeks' time.

I don't want to think too much about the future since the job is certainly not in the bag yet, but I am nervous either way. Luckily I still have my 'oh, well, it's probably for the best' self-spiel tugged away for a  later date, but I genuinely don't quite know what will happen if I do get this job..

I don't think it's realistic that I will be able to squeeze an IVF cycle out of the NHS in the next three months (which is the length of my notice period).. and yet I don't think I could be so brazen as to ask for time off for an IVF in my first few weeks in a new job..

Shitety-shit-shit. And I really would like this job. As said the money would be better, the job is far less stressful and far less high-risk (i.e. with less chaotic client group) and it's in an area of the field that I have genuine interest in.

However, if I do get offered this job and take it, will I be sacrificing my small window of opportunity for a biological family (by having to postpone IVF treatments potentially by months)? And if I don't get this job will I be doing the same by being in a high-stress job that is certainly not conducive to me getting pregnant?

Oh, the dilemmas of the developed world.

I have decided to take the 'que sera, sera' attitude for now, as I can't really affect the outcome of this scenario (apart from turning down the interview, which I am not going to do..).

Anyway, in a more directly infertility related news, we're approx. one week away from our fourth and final IUI cycle (I've got a feeling we may have missed the ovulation window this month - the progesterone may have made my last cycle seem longer than it actually was and eaten a few cycle days from this cycle, so when we finally managed to have some bedroom action I fear it may have been in vain for baby making purposes) after which we should hopefully have the talk with our Doc about moving on to IVF-land.

I've also started spotting on CD 17 (three days after supposed ovulation, so certainly not implantation bleed) so something's rotten in the state of my uterine lining, which I am going to discuss with Dr Dutchess when I see her in couple of weeks' time..

I am still toying with the idea of getting some immunology testing done (I've ordered and started reading 'Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?: Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage and IVF Failure, Explained' by Alan E. Beer et al from Amazon that comes highly recommended in relation to this - I'll probably write another post about it soon) before we embark on the NHS paid IVF, just to maximise our chances. I know the immunology stuff is highly controversial, but I am still convinced that my endometriosis and immune system have something to do with our lack of babies.

The problem is that the testing is fairly expensive (we're talking thousands of pounds here) and the treatments are fairly pricey too. I would just like to speak to someone who is an expert in the field and try to get a sense of which tests might be useful.. Obviously I will go in with some cynicism attached as even the best infertility clinics are in the business of making money and therefore potentially likely to recommend the most expensive tests and treatments to everyone that walks through their doors. Hopefully I am savvy enough these days to smell a rat and a well rehearsed sales-speech a mile away..

But for now I better go do some research on my potential new employer so that I can approach tomorrow's informal visit with the required levels of knowledge and inquisitiveness.

Not even a squinter

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 7 September 2014 7 comments

N.B. I wrote this post on Thursday, just didn't have the energy to proof read it and post it until now..

First of all I wanted to thank yous all for your kind and encouraging comments on my last post. It is so heartening to know that there are people out there rooting for me through thick and thin. Your support means the world to me. 

It's 13DPIUI and the day that my period would normally arrive (with my 26 day cycles). The good news is that the progesterone has kept the usual spotting at bay. The bad news is that I POAS this morning and got nothing, not even a squinter. The test said it would be 99% accurate on the day of your period, so I suppose I still have a 1% chance of being pregnant HA HA..

I'm sorry, I don't mean this post to be overtly negative, but you know how it is.. It's hard to find much happiness in a BFN. Shockingly I am not too down or disappointed, just more like.. meh, it's not like this hasn't happened before. I'm sure the tears will come yet, but for now I'm pretty zen about it.

The truth of the matter is that I don't feel the least bit pregnant. And for me it's quite unusual to be with zero symptoms during the TWW.

But the problem is that this cycle basically leaves me with more questions than answers:

1. Did I ovulate at all or were all of my three follicles duds?

2. If I did ovulate, did anything fertilise?

3. If anything fertilised did it attempt to implant - did it succeed?

4. If the serious twinges I was feeling at 10 DPIUI were indeed due to implantation did my uterus somehow reject the embryo and were the excruciating cramps involved? Is it endometriosis? Is it immunology issues? Is it the juno particle? Were the stars not aligned and mercury not rising?

See, this is why IUI cycles suck.

So little information can be gleaned, so little can be learnt.

And it frustrates me because I want some answers!!! I want to know and understand so that I can fix and repair. And I know that shouldn't be my job, but since my doctors seem so uninterested in actually finding out what is wrong, I feel like I'm left to do the detective work myself.. Or perhaps it's too early for that. Perhaps I am meant to be waiting till my IVF cycle until we get some answers and for now just allow the doctors to continue shooting in the dark through our final injectible IUI cycle next month..

Post script:
Today I just feel sad. I've POAS'd and had two BFN's in two successive days (one of them even spelling it out 'not pregnant' in case I hadn't gotten the hint). So I stopped progesterone yesterday and have started spotting today. The reason I am sad, is that in my mind this month was our best chance so far of getting pregnant (the stars aligning and all), but it didn't work out. So I'll mourn a little and then I'll move on. I think in some ways the NHS-mandated one month break may be good for me - it gives my heart some time to mend in-between the cycles..

Cancel Hope

Posted by Haisla Monday, 1 September 2014 5 comments

Last night, having just written a blog post about allowing hope in again, I woke up to the worst uterine cramping that I've experienced in a long while.

I'd still been twinging most of the evening in the same spot, but in the dead of the night this twinging turned into an almighty 'contraction'. It literally felt like my uterus was trying to expel whatever might have been trying to implant itself there (even if the 'whatever' had been just a figment of my imagination burrowing itself into that lush lining). And from the silence in my uterus this morning I reckon that my uterus won the battle.

So my wholly unscientific conclusion is that I must suffer from some kind of implantation failure (yes, yes, I am a pro when it comes to self-diagnosis - Dr Google is literally my middle name). If progesterone cannot stop me from rejecting an embryo (I was toying with the hypothesis of luteal phase defect, which I would say has now been disproven) then my next hypothesis is the above. I know, I know, clutching straws here..

There could be two reasons for this though, a) my eggs are crap and cannot produce good quality embryos so my uterus rightfully rejects them b) there is some kind of an immune issue going on here. Either of the two could be caused by my endo..

I am now going to go and google how to treat immunology issues during IVF, just in case. Perhaps if that is the issue I should try to get tested privately before we embark on an NHS funded round of IVF and perhaps if needed could get an immunology treatment added to my NHS funded cycle privately, as in one the side. You know, covering all of one's bases and stuff..

So here is where I stand today. Pretty certain this cycle is a bust, but armed with plans for future attack.

Allowing hope to creep in again..

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 31 August 2014 1 comments

I've been toying with the dangerous substance called hope this cycle.

I guess the reasons for this downright foolhardiness could be listed as follows:

1. I had 3 follicles this cycle (which obviously equals three babies, right? Right!?)

2. My cervical mucus was 'beautiful' on the day of IUI (a direct quote from Nurse Nelly)

3. I am on progesterone suppositories for the first time ever, which should combat any kind of luteal phase defect, should I suffer from such

4. My uterine lining was 'lush'

5. I've been feeling twinges in the lower part of my pelvis where I imagine my uterus to reside since last night - 8DPIUI (although I am a serial twinge-spotter, so perhaps No.5 should be discounted)

6. I've applied for a new job and should I get it, getting pregnant right now would be really, really inconvenient since I would be approx. 3 months pregnant (and probably showing) on my start date (obviously this is all highly hypothetical, since I haven't even been offered an interview yet..)

So there we go. Here I stand, dangerously teetering on the brink of hope. What do you think- should I run back to cover or recklessly jump off the cliff and start the free fall that quite frankly has a 50-50 chance of going either way (i.e. I could crash-land really badly or miraculously find that I've learnt how to fly..)

I haven't been feeling too great..

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 26 August 2014 5 comments

Having gotten over my little needle rant of last week, I actually had quite a successful IUI on Friday.

One Weds I had two x 18mm follicles on the left side 1 x 18mm on right and a couple of smaller ones floating about.

My uterine lining was at 12mm on Weds (I think that's good and hopefully not ridiculously thick?) and apparently my cervical mucus on Friday looked 'great' (thanks Nurse Nelly, I think).

So, it just seemed like the stars were finally aligning for us. I got a bit of cramping and spotting from the procedure but all in all things were looking good. I even had the progesterone suppositories sitting on my bedside cabinet patiently waiting for Saturday evening.

And then Saturday morning came. I had some gluten-free toast for breakfast and ever so gradually all hell broke lose in my stomach. I have not had such abdominal pains since my worst IBS years. I was convinced that I'd eaten something glutenous or forbidden, but couldn't find any reason for this from my dietary choices. It had been a particularly stressful week at work with a number of aggressive incidents with clients, so I wondered whether my bowel was finally reacting to the stress..

My belly literally ballooned, but the pain was high up, like what felt like literally in my intestine. I was in agony most of the day. I felt shivery and weird and had mild temperature. Walking hurt, so I shuffled around doubled up.

I felt ridiculous. I'd had five follicles, there was no way that I could have been suffering from OHSS. And yet, what was this? A well timed stomach bug of some sort? Stress? My endo flaring up due to all the hormones that I'd pumped into my body?

My plan was to go to the walk-in clinic the following morning if things had not calmed down.

In the morning I had a bowel movement (sorry for TMI!!!) and afterwards I felt right as rain again. So I decided to wait it out. The symptoms returned but in milder form once I had eaten again.

I spent the day shuffling around again, sitting around and feeling sorry for myself (and watching things like Say Yes to the Dress) and am happy to report that by Monday (which thankfully was a Bank Holiday, i.e. non-work day - yay!) I was feeling much better and no longer had to walk around doubled up. I still had some level of pelvic discomfort (which has continued to this day) but nowhere near as bad as Saturday and Sunday.

I'm kind of kicking myself now that I didn't take myself to the walking clinic to get this checked out. Because now I'm just left with questions. I guess I was worried that they'd laugh me out of there and give me a diagnosis of 'strong wind' or something. So now I'll never know what's brought this on. Is this just the way I respond to having more than one or two eggs produced? If that's the case what's gonna happen during an IVF cycle when we're meant to maximise the egg count. Will I explode?!

I just feel like my pelvis is continually inflamed now and I can't see that being a great environment for an embryo to try to build their nest in.. Also I feel like I need to wee constantly (and this started before the progesterone). I think the closest to these sensations was the lap I had last year and this time no-one's been rummaging in my innards.

Is this normal after an injectable IUI cycle? I know some of you ladies have been diagnosed with mild OHSS so I would gladly compare notes.

Anyway, for now I am just dutifully shoving progesterone up my hoo-haa every night and hoping and praying for the best for this cycle.

Confessions of the needle phobic

Posted by Haisla Thursday, 21 August 2014 5 comments

Here's the thing - I thought I would get used to the needles. I really did.

But the truth is that I hate them; every single injection that I have to endure makes me want to vomit. I've always suffered from some level of needle phobia, but somehow managed to muddle through life, manning it up when it was time for the odd blood test or hep injection.

But this is different. I'm having to face my worst fear far more frequently than I'm comfortable with (and I've only just been through my first injectible IUI cycle; I can't even really make myself think of PIO shots and what not yet). And I genuinely thought I'd get used to them. I'd read so many blogs of amazing ladies who'd hated needles prior to treatments and after a couple weeks had become pros and started timing themselves etc to keep things interesting. I thought that one day I, too, would join this group of cool jab-confident ladies, but it doesn't seem likely anymore. I guess the good news is that it's highly unlikely that I'll ever become a heroin addict, such is my hatred of the sharps. Silver linings and all that..

Anyway. I hate the fact that I am having to go through this. I hate every needle, every side effect and discomfort, every medical procedure, blood test and speculum in my vagina.

I thought I could be a good sport about all this if I just kept my mind on the prize. But that just seems like such cold comfort, the possibility that this may work. Because right now I am putting myself through stuff that I truly, truly hate and all of this could lead up to a big fat nothing. And I feel like such a wuss and a failure even whining about this. I just feel like I want to give this up now, because I'm so sick of it and I've hardly even passed the start line. If this is how I feel during an indictable IUI cycle, how will I ever cope with IVF?

I really lift my hat to you ladies who've been through injectable IUI cycles and multiple IVFs - I don't know how you do it let alone with such panache and humour. Everyone else seems to be wearing their big girl pants but I seem to have somehow left mine at home.

I think I may be able to manage one more injectable IUI cycle and then the fresh IVF and a FET that NHS is offering free of charge, but I'm not sure whether I can manage any more than that. I mean obviously that will resolve all of our problems when it comes to deciding whether to go for private IVF treatments - if I can't hack anymore injections, then that's that I suppose. Our savings will be safe.

And yet I retain the right to change my mind. Perhaps it'll take a bit more than an injectable IUI cycle to get used to being injected regularly? Maybe it's a bit more of a gradual process? And it's not like I'm fighting some life threatening disease. I can decide to say no to this if it gets too much.. And like so many people have said before, if do get pregnant I'm sure all this 'suffering' will pale in comparison to the joy. It's just there's that big fat IF..

I would like to ask you my dear readers: How do you find the injections? How do you cope with them? And if you hated them before and these days find them easier to manage how long did it take you to get there and what (if anything) did you do? 'Cause I could really do with some tips/advice. Getting myself hammered every time it's injection time sounds like an appealing option, but may not be favoured by the medical community.. ; )


Praise where praise is due

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 19 August 2014 2 comments

So, having slagged off the NHS in my last post, I suppose I should admit that I actually had really quite a pleasant experience at the clinic today.

Perhaps I have earned enough NHS bonus points from our failed IUI cycles to now be treated with some kindness and courtesy. The thing is, once a cycle is started and I know what's going on, the clinic staff are actually okay.

Anyway, the RE, let's call her Dr Duchess (and no, she doesn't resemble Lewis Carroll's creation in the slightest but I am starting to run out of Alice in Wonderland characters at this stage so bear with me) was very sweet and talkative today.

I asked her about my thin lining during last cycle and she admitted that although Clomid is a friend of the ovaries it ain't no friend to the lining.

I also mentioned my pre-period spotting and ventured to wonder out loud whether there might be something the matter with my progesterone levels. And you know what, Dr Duchess offered to humour me by prescribing me some progesterone. Although apparently there is no scientific evidence to support its use, it won't do any harm either, so she was willing to give it a go. At this point she seems far keener now try whatever it takes to get me pregnant. Result!

The scan showed that I have three good size follicles (can't remember the sizes, but they were all around the 12 - 13mm mark) and my lining is looking plush (again I can't remember the figure - it may have been around 11mm, if that sounds plausible at all?).

And with the added progesterone, you never know, this one might just be a winner. (Check me out being all optimistic!)

So bring on the HCG shot and IUI - I'm ready to be hopeful again.

An injectable cycle in Endoland - Part 2

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 16 August 2014 3 comments

So, AF arrived on Monday. I dutifully rang Nurse Nelly; couldn't get hold of her so left a message expecting her to ring back and tell me when I was to go and see her again (for the first injection? a scan? some blood tests and maybe a cup of tea?).

She rang me back on Tuesday afternoon at work and told me she would book me a scan for Monday 18th, but that I should come in and pick up the needles before 5pm, since I would need to have the first injection that night or we mightn't be able to fit this cycle in before the Bank Holiday Monday when the clinic is shut (Whooaatt?!!).

How I manage to remain calm in these situations is still a little beyond me. So, despite the fact that M. had been to see her the week before (and had begged her to give him the needles) here she was now, asking me to come in and pick them up as a matter of urgency before 5pm or the cycle would be cancelled. I was finishing work at 5.30pm and the journey to the hospital is one hour at minimum - no chance.

So, cue in a panicky phone call to M. asking him whether he could get to the hospital by 5pm. He wasn't best pleased (understandably), but checked with his boss and was given permission to leave a little early. Situation saved.

But seriously, I am not sure how much more unimpressed I could get.

I don't think Nurse Nelly does this on purpose or out of meanness at all. She is just a little.. dozy.  She seems to live in her own little NHS bubble, and therefore forgets that patients 'may' have a life outside of the NHS, as well as other commitments that 'may' need to be taken into consideration.. The trouble is that her sweet demeanour and sort of bumbling personality means that no-one probably ever has the heart to have a go at her, so she just carries on bumbling along.. She is mostly harmless, but by golly does she at times send me reeling.

Anyway, I digress.

M. got the needles and the somewhat confusing injection instructions from Nelly (no videos, no DVDs, just verbal instructions. Welcome to the Easyjet of ART). By 11pm we were still unsure whether we were meant to be doing subcutaneous or intramuscular injections (i.e. into the belly fat or into the bottom muscle). As Nelly had many times repeated "just like the last time" referring to the HCG shot, we decided on the bum (I checked with N. the following day and she confirmed that this had been correct).

The first one was virtually pain-free. I think the nerves beforehand were far worse than the actual event. The following two (every second morning) haven't been quite so smooth, but still quite bearable. Vigorous rubbing of the injection site afterwards seems to quell the ache and the mild burning sensation.

I am still eternally grateful that M. has no needle phobia, so I can just lay on my belly and think of England while he mixes the junk and then does the actual stabbing. I am so, so very pleased.

Strangely, I think I prefer the injections to Clomid (I am on Menopur 150iu, which I believe, is the same stuff that is sometime used in IVF cycles, too(?), so I feel like it's sort of a step up and a good practice round as we slowly move towards IVF). I haven't really had many side effects; maybe some mild mood swings (e.g. a deep sense of poignancy, but no crying spells yet and a bout of rage relating to discarded bin bags at work, which I managed to nip in the bud). I have also been incredibly tired, but in a pleasant sort of sleepy way, which I don't mind at all.

So that's this cycle so far. It does feel a bit like some kind of a crazy hurdles race, where obstacles are constantly thrown our way and we need to somehow try to stumble over them towards the finishing line, which equally is continually being moved further away. But at least we're still in the race, eh?!

First scan on Monday and then presumably another one again on Wednesday and I would imagine that the actual 'procedure' will take place either Thurs or Fri. I think that has been one of the most frustrating parts of this whole ART experience- not knowing exactly when things will actually be happening and then having to rearrange things at work accordingly, and at times letting people down at a very short notice.

I am mildly excited, though. It's kind of nice knowing that medical science has taken over our reproductive lives again and that the pressure is off.

Now I just need to try to be assertive when I see the RE on Monday. I need to ask her how my lining is doing and if it's not doing well, what she is going to do about it. And whether I could, pretty please, have some progesterone to stop the pesky spotting this cycle around.

So upwards and onwards we go.

An injectable cycle in Endoland

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 10 August 2014 3 comments

Warning: another long post. I seem to be suffering from verbal diarrhoea.

I have started spotting so AF should be here any moment now.

I have started getting really quite bad vaginal itching just before my period (so, so sorry for the TMI, but if I don't share it here, where will I - on a coffee break with my colleagues?) and this has happened a couple of months in a row. I was getting really quite concerned, until I googled it and found out that it is perfectly normal and due to the lowering of Oestrogen levels. Great, so another source of discomfort to add to the great injury that is AF each month! Gahh.

Before we went on holiday we'd had our doc's consult and a brief meeting with Nurse Nelly to discuss our next injectible IUI cycle. From that conversation I'd understood that it would be pretty much like the Clomid cycle except with added needles. I.e. ring Nelly on CD 1 to book a scan, start injecting on CD2, do so every other day and depending on the scan results stop injecting at some point.

So, dear M. went to pick up the meds from the hospital earlier this week, only to find out that needles weren't included when he got home. So I asked if he could go back after work the next day (he works much nearer and finishes normally by 4pm so can make it there in time, unlike me), get the needles from Nelly and just double check that we'd understood the instructions correctly. I even wrote down some questions (like whether we should inject morning or evening, and what to do if my period starts over the weekend) to ask Nelly so that M. could bring home the answers.

Well, M. came back without the needles and with this cryptic message from Nelly:  "a) Injections from CD 2 every other day, preferably morning (so far so clear),  b) if your period starts between now and Monday, call and leave a message saying that you'll be coming on Monday morning and I will inject you".

But, but, I thought we would be doing the injections ourselves..? And no one had told me about Monday morning before then, what if I'd arranged appointments with my clients or something!? (I hadn't but still, this sloppy and inconsistent communication is really starting to get to me - this was now Thursday evening). So I rang Nelly on Friday morning. Unsurprisingly couldn't get hold of her. So I just left a message saying I still felt confused about the cycle and asked her to ring my mobile or work numbers (thinking she would try one and then if she couldn't get hold of me would try the other) so we could talk it through. At 5.15pm I noticed that there was a message on my mobile phone (now this is where I have to take part of the blame myself. As it had been a really busy day I hadn't checked my phone regularly, thinking that Nelly would ring me on my work phone and had therefore missed her call). Basically she re-iterated that I should come in on Monday and I could ask my questions then.

I'm really quite livid and still in the dark as to how this will all pan out and how it will affect my work. What if my period doesn't start by Monday - do I still go and see her, or just ring her on CD1? I mean I could spot for days. My periods are pretty regular but I have the odd wonky cycle. Will I have to go there every morning for the injections, or does she just want to show me the first one (I really hope the latter)? Will the scans then be every other day or not; what does this all mean!!??

I just kind of feel like this is such routine to them (the staff at the clinic), that they don't even realise that us patients are completely left in the dark by their vagueness. Surely this is not good enough, even from the NHS!?!? I mean, will they be like this when it comes to the IVF cycle ("oh yes, just have a few injections and uhm.. a few scans and then we'll 'book you in'.."). I mean, I like to be well-organised and informed and prepared. And not only that I like being that way, but I have to, BECAUSE I HAVE A JOB!!! Aaaggghhh. I am sorry, but this just frustrates me so much.. And I am so envious of some of you, who receive such excellent care and actual time-lined plans etc. I am just scared that I am in the hands of some morons, and this is really pretty serious stuff here that I can't afford to be messed around with.

Anyway, having now analysed all the vague data Nelly has given me, I think this is what is supposed happen:
I will ring Nelly as near to CD1 as possible (even the weekend and leave a message if I need to). I will then go and have the first injection done by her (perhaps I'll also have a scan, perhaps they'll have to check for cysts etc - I'm just guessing here, because nobody's told me), she'll show me how to do it and then will give me the needles for the rest of the shots. I will go for scans every other day as I did with the Clomid cycle and stop injecting myself when they tell me. Then it's HCG trigger time and then the IUI. This would be the best case scenario and hopefully the more likely.

The worst case scenario - Nelly wants to do all the shots herself and I will have to go to the hospital nearly every day until the IUI (unlikely though, because surely that would be a complete waste of their resources.) So in order to keep myself sane, I will pretend that scenario one is true and be open to be told otherwise on Monday and completely change my plans.

I am starting to get a little worried though. Am I bringing this all on myself by not being assertive enough? Is this the way this clinic generally operates (I genuinely feel like I've slipped into some kind of Wonderland - who ever thought this blog's name would prove so apt)? Will added assertiveness make a difference or just put their backs up and make them treat me less favourably? What is a girl to do?!

I'm really hoping that when we get to the IVF it'll be done by some other people (even by the fierce head of the department - let's call her Dr Queen, who did my lap -  at least she seems competent, unlike the rest of her bumbling clinic staff).

Ooh, the joys of NHS.

Oh, oh and just one more thing since I've got started. How come I only learnt that my uterine lining was on the thin side during my last IUI afterwards and by accident through a letter that I received which had been sent to my GP (I have insisted that I am cc'd to all their correspondence, and thank God for that)? How come this was never mentioned to me during the cycle and how come nothing was done to actually thicken it!!?? These are the questions I will ask the RE (who is yet unnamed) when I next see her. I mean ggrraahh!!

Well, one thing's for sure. If I happen to get pregnant during any of these ART cycles, it certainly won't be thanks to the competence of the NHS but down to a pure, unadulterated miracle. So, maybe all this nonsense will prove to serve some purpose by strengthening my faith..

Back from Finland

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 9 August 2014 4 comments

We came back from Finland last week; arriving back on Sunday and returning back to work on Monday. That was a bit of a mistake in that I've been so wiped out by work this week that even thinking about writing a blog post has been beyond my reach. So I can only apologise for my long absence, but if it's of any consolation, we had a brilliant time away. : )

I won't go into too much detail about the trip here, but the weather was gorgeous (+30 degrees almost everyday) and we spent as much of the time as humanly possible in the lakes (of which there are lots, and lots and lots).

We got to see my relatives, which was lovely. And you know the one thing about Finns that I really like, is that they don't ask too many personal questions. Despite the relatives fest (which included my Dad's 70th birthday party), no-one asked me once whether or when we are planning to have babies!! Either it's the culture (Finns are fairly private people) or the word has gone around (I've told my Dad and my step-Mum about our struggles and haven't asked them to keep it a secret, as it'll save us the trouble of telling everyone) and people are too polite to ask, but man, was that refreshing!

The only real heart-wrencher was finding out before the trip that two (out of my three close remaining friends in Finland) were pregnant; one with twins. I'd heard about the singleton pregnancy quite a few months ago on Facebook and sent my congratulations, but only heard about the twin pregnancy just before our trip.

I feel a bit bad about this, but I almost deliberately chose not to spend too much time with them this time around (they both also have very young children, which makes it trickier to attend activities, esp. when heavily pregnant). I invited them for a few things (a day at the beach, a day trip to Tallinn) but they declined from both, which I was kind of grateful for. We only really saw them at our God daughter's birthday party and even then for a short time only. By then I was able to put my own s*it aside and be genuinely happy for them, ask questions etc. So it was fine. Of course it hurts, but they're my friends and what are they supposed to do, put their lives on hold so that I can catch up? Hardly. So I'd put my big girl pants on and dealt with it (proud infertile moment*).

What really struck me (and was almost more painful than my two pregnant friends) at this party, was that we were the only childless couple left. And yet still, no one asked us about our baby making plans, not one! Oh, the polite Finns, how I love thee. But it was sad, really sad.. It just showed me how far behind we'd fallen in this whole 'creating a family' business. Some of the people there (who were literally only a couple of years older than me) had pre-teen kids! Ouch.

My only consolation was knowing that we will get there. It may take some time, but we will get there and one day we won't be the couple without kids, but just one of the many families. And then I'll be able to share my stories and experiences that I've had with my kids. And you know what, the truth of the matter is, that I didn't even mind listening to all the stories and shared advice about kids, I just absorbed it all and stored it up for later. Because one day, one day it'll come handy for us too!

Other than that our holiday was fantastic. Almost ruined by PMT (which quite frankly is getting out of hand these days and no amount of evening primrose oil seems to curb it), but again we dealt with it, got over ourselves and just had a lovely time together. It was actually really nice to be a bit removed from the IF scene. I deliberately didn't do any writing (I did follow all of you as best as I was able to and tried to comment, too - and hey, some of you got some really great news, congrats!!!) and it was just really nice, for a change. Which didn't mean that we didn't try this month, but somehow it just didn't seem all that important. (What's our chances naturally, anyway, eh?!)

It also cemented our determination to fulfil our dream of moving to Finland. M. has been in love with the country the moment he first landed there (which was 3 months after we'd met in summer 2008 - my cousin had a wedding there and I was planning to go so asked him to go with me. He met almost all of my HUGE family at that wedding and yet decided to stick around - impressive. And I remember my aunties commenting on how he seemed like a keeper ; ) . Language is a big issue and barrier for the move, but M is doing his best to learn it (poor thing, it really is an awful language to study as it doesn't resemble any other known language really) and we'll have to sort of start from the beginning again when we get there. But we've looked at the pros and cons and the pros seem to outweigh the cons, in that even if we'll end up being poorer there than we are here in the UK, our quality of life in so many ways would still be better. My Dad has an empty flat in south of Finland which we could hopefully use in the early stages as we set ourselves up (my brother has never shown any interest in it, despite having been offered it for his use). So once this infertility coaster has come to an end, that is our plan. We haven't told family and friends yet, as we don't want to raise their hopes, but are working towards it, as we do more research on the matter and slowly develop our plans.

I find that it really, really helps me, having an aspiration  for our future. It helps me to shift some focus off this infertility rally and provides me a glimpse of the bigger picture. This is just a season in our lives, it'll be over soon and after that there'll be better times ahead. Obviously this'll have some impact on our adoption plans (I have done my research obvs.), in that we'll have to let the Social Worker know from the start that this is our plan and it will limit our adoption options and probably increase the waiting time for a suitable child (if we go down that route). But, hey, since I've become an expert in the art of waiting, what's a couple of months / years, eh!?

This is turning into a bit of a gargantuan post so I think I'll stop here. I kind of feel like I'm a bit overloaded with things to say (perhaps taking a break from blogging wasn't such a clever idea after all) so I'm afraid you may just have to suffer the consequence in the form of back to back blogs, for a couple of days, so I do apologise in advance!

*) Courtesy of Awaiting Autumn - thanks for your blog post, it inspired me to recognise my own PI moment ; )

Post-consult thoughts

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 13 July 2014 9 comments

So, I decided to take a couple of days to reflect and gather my thoughts after our consult with the doctor before sharing them on the internets.

I'm aware that most of my recent posts have been of the more depressing kind, and although I have received such kind and compassionate responses, I am a little sick of always using this blog as the site where I discharge my darkest musings.

So I thought I'd take some stock and try to express here some of my more reasoned and balanced reflections for once.. (we'll see how I'll fare with that!)

Firstly, let me say that as a result of our consult, an IVF doesn't appear to be in the cards for us any time soon just yet.

For some reason I had misheard the doctor the last time we saw him and was under the impression that in our area NHS dishes out 3 IUIs and one fresh one frozen cycle of IVF to infertile couples.

Well, turns out that I was wrong and we are in fact entitled to 4 rounds of IUI (M. had thought this was the case, but had been wary to contradict my certainty). It also turns out that NHS is rather reluctant to skip any of the lower intensity procedures, so we are stuck with two more IUIs for now. With a month's wait in-between. Plus any extra-curricular postponements and delays that seem to be the NHS's forte.

The good news is that for the next two rounds we'll be using injectables rather than the blessed Clomid that nearly gave me double vision. The doctor seemed rather concerned about that. Apparently it has something to do with the hormones in Clomid triggering the pituitary gland, which can then have an affect on one's sight(?). The injectables on the other hand directly affect the ovaries, bypassing the pituitary glad completely. So that's one positive that came out from this consult.

So, note to self, if Clomid gives you eye-symptoms, ask for injectables instead!

When I asked about my age and whether IVF would not be better option for someone over 35; the doc's answer (I really need to come up with a name for him - let's call him Dr Caterpillar, in reference to good old Alice's Adventures) was that NHS will do IVF treatments up to the age of 40. I was so shocked at this answer that didn't know what to say in response! So, they would be quite happy to make me wait till I was forty before offering me IVF. No urgency, no recognition of my 'advanced maternal age', no appreciation of my rapidly diminishing ovarian reserve or decline in egg quality. Sometimes the NHS just makes me sick!

Then came a discussion of my weight again. I'd been quite pleased as I'd managed to maintain my weight steadily at the just over 20 BMI mark all year and had been quite self-congratulatory about it. Well turns out that that's not quite good enough and Dr Caterpillar considers me a poor responder based on our second round of Clomid (only one follicle). A poor responder?! But I ovulate every single month on my own!!! How am I a poor responder? (I didn't actually say this out loud - there is something about receiving these treatments free of charge that makes me bite my tongue, in case they decide to take it all away.. despite that fact that I have paid my tax an national insurance for the past 15 years in this country and am well entitled to the treatments I am receiving..)

Anyway, he recommended that I try to gain more weight. Apparently fat not only helps us to keep warm, but also regulates hormones, and so the more fat (within reason i.e. below BMI 30) the better the response to medicated cycles, it would appear.

Ironically since that appointment I have been suffering from the runs for three days now (apologies for TMI!), so have managed to lose even more of the precious weight  that I'd so carefully maintained.

I'm torn. On one hand I want to do everything in my power to make these cycles successful, on the other hand I am so sick of trying to eat more than is natural to me for the purpose of gaining weight. I had to do it last year for the lap and it left me feeling miserable and physically ill. I'll do what I can to make sure that I eat hearty meals and have snacks in-between, but I am not going to drive myself nuts over this.

So, the next steps forward look something like this:

Try naturally this coming cycle since we are flying to Finland for a two week holiday and I will be ovulating whilst there. (Nurse Nelly was thrilled when she heard that we are going on holiday and gave us a little encouraging smile that no doubt meant to say 'hopefully I won't be seeing you again'. I was almost expecting her to add the cheerful 'just relax' adage, but she knew better than throw herself to the wolves like that).

In August when we're back my period should start fairly shortly after that. I am to call Nurse Nelly again, pick up injectables and start jabbing myself at CD2.

If this round is unsuccessful, then we'll have a month's break (as stipulated by NHS to 'try naturally') in September and return back for IUI#4 in October.

With this timeline I am not expecting us to reach IVF until December, perhaps even Jan - Feb 2015, depending on the spanners that no doubt will be thrown in the works by whatever administrative errors, ultrasound closures, doctor's holidays etc that the NHS may care to conjure up. I am just trying to be realistic with my expectations here, having had my hopes dashed so many times.

So here are the positives:
1. We're doing injectables rather than Clomid
2. According to Nurse Nelly injectables are better for the uterine lining, which is excellent news, since with Clomid mine seemed to remain on the thinly side
3. We get 4 rounds of IUIs - I should surely view this as a positive; more is better than less, no?
4. We are still due two rounds of IVF - fresh and frozen - should all else fail
5. We aren't offered 6 rounds of IUI as is the case in some boroughs - can you imagine that!!! With all the 'rest cycles' that amounts to bloody 12 months all in all. And for some that is not a choice. It is a set of hoops randomly selected by NHS for people to jump through before they get to do IVF.

The negatives:
1. I'll have to wait at least 5 more months until we get to do IVF (i.e. we will remain on the "kiddie coaster" even longer than expected - thanks to JCH4DCU at Four Years Later for that lovely metaphor! : )
2. I will be a few months shy of 36 when that happens
3. My eggs are withering - why doesn't the NHS care!!!??

The questions I didn't have the tenacity to ask:
1. We've had two rounds of IUI - why didn't they work? 1 egg + 1 sperm + 1 reasonable uterus is all that is required and as far as we know we had all the components in place. WTF?!
2. I am getting older, and somewhere deep in my psyche IUIs seem like a big waste of time. I ovulate every month, M's sperm's okay, we have timed intercourse - what is the difference? What is the point?
3. What if I'm a poor responder to IVF meds and we don't get enough eggs to freeze? Do we forfeit our right to the FET?

Bottom line is that I feel peculiar after this consultation. I feel like the NHS is eking out these treatments in the vain hope that one of the cheaper ones will 'catch'. I don't think they really are able to see us as real people due to their restricted funding and guidelines. There is no real choice, we are on a conveyer belt and the choice is to accept what is on offer or walk away. And at the moment walking away would mean walking directly to a private clinic and parting with thousands upon thousands of pounds of money, which we can ill afford.

So the question is: do I stick with the free, no-choice treatments (with the risk that I may be wasting my time with sub-par clinicians, practices and facilities) or take our savings and choose to do probably max. one cycle of IVF at a top notch clinic and thereby exhaust all our options in one clear swoop (because the NHS would not take us back from going private). Since we are not rich, I am leaning towards option one. Am I being foolish?

On friendship, babies, longing and fear

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 5 July 2014 3 comments

Only four more days to go till our next consult.

Time has gone fast, I have to admit. I have been kept busy, which is a good thing, but  it has kept me away from the blogosphere, which I don't like.. Maybe it's done me some good..

It's been a pretty painful week, though, too.

We went to see one of my good friends I. and her husband H. and their wonderful nine month old baby girl E last Sunday.

I'd dreaded this visit, because as much as I love I, her husband and E, seeing them together always breaks my heart. I love spending time with them, but always, always end up leaving their place feeling wistful and blue. I just cannot help it. Because what they have is all I want. And surely that is not too much to ask? To have a family, a small but perfectly formed family, with all the difficulties and challenges that it brings. All the alterations to timetables and buying of baby gates and trying to find foods that the baby will eat, the crying spells and the sleep deprivation. And yet, I would welcome all of that with open arms.

And it's the one thing right now, that I cannot have.

I am so ready to be a Mummy.

And it wasn't always that way. It's taken me years, literally years, to get to this place where I can say that I am ready to be a mummy. Even when I met M. I wasn't sure whether I'd make a good mum or whether I liked children enough or whether I actually really wanted to be a mum at all or whether that was just yet another expectation that society had placed squarely on my shoulders.

Well, it turned out that the reason I wasn't sure whether I liked children was because I didn't really like myself very much. I didn't understand my own feelings or my own needs, so being faced with a small creature with desperate early needs and emotions just scared the s*it out of me. It all went back to my early childhood, my relationship with my dad; all very complex and painful stuff, but once I got it all (more or less) sorted out, I realised that I actually really like children. I am fascinated by them, I am able to enjoy their company, relish their innocence, take pleasure from seeing them grow and develop. I have patience and love to give. I am no longer perplexed and anxious, because I understand a few things about needs and emotions, now. Those little bundles that used to terrify me, now kind of make sense and I am drawn to them in a way I never thought possible.

So I'm ready to be a mummy, and it's not just an intellectual or emotional readiness. From somewhere I have acquired this deep yarning. It's not just a whim or an 'I want'. It's primal and raw and guttural and it rears its head when I'm around babies. It is like my body recognising what it is meant to be doing and responding to the cues with this deep longing. And yet somehow it simultaneously also fails to fulfil its function in turning that longing into a reality.

Another thing that makes me sad when visiting I. and her family is that she is my compatriot and is also married to a Brit. Our lives have had such parallel trajectories; we both came to the UK at the same time to volunteer in our early twenties (we met and became firm friends at our first conference) and were the only ones of that large volunteer group to remain in the UK to study. We've been through ups and downs; she went on studying further on, whilst I went on to establish my career, and we got married within two years of each other. We started trying to get pregnant roughly the same time (this was by no means planned!!); she got pregnant last year and gave birth in September. Her trajectory kept on going, whilst I got stuck on my tracks.

She has a child who is the perfect blend of her and her husband; she gets to speak our language to her child, introduce her to the children's books from our childhood and buy baby clothes from back home. That's what makes it so bitter sweet. In her I see what my life could be.

I may not get to have a baby who shares my heritage if we end up adopting. I may not get to breast-feed, or teach our child to speak my language from day one. I may not get to carry my baby and give birth. I may not get any of those things.

And that, my dear readers, breaks my heart today.


Posted by Haisla Saturday, 21 June 2014 14 comments

I sometimes write blog posts that are so depressing and self-pitying that they don't even really deserve to be released into the blogosphere (this is a sentiment often expressed by IF bloggers around cycle day 1, so I will join their choir today)..

This might be one of those posts, I fear; a post that perhaps should have been left for my eyes only.
So I can only apologise to you in advance and give you a strong prior-warning to enter at your own peril. For those of you joining here from ICLW, even deeper apologies for this fairly depressing introduction - I promise it is not always this bleak out on planet Endoland and that I will post a little recap of the journey so far and a better introduction in the coming days. Unfortunately this is what you'll be stuck with today:

AF has arrived again, and together with it, the crash and burn of a progesterone come-down.

As I have said before and will say again, I dread to think how I will fare when on synthetic progesterone. I can only imagine being a god-awful mess, if this is anything to go by.

And this is the problem of infertility blogging, especially for a girl like me, for whom, so it feels, nothing ever happens (IF-wise, that is). I'm just treading water, re-hashing the same old feelings, thoughts, responses, month after month. I can take the needed emotions out of the closet and line them neatly on the bed each month in anticipation of the arrival of the dreaded nemesis. It's become a well practiced routine, with only slight variations. I can pretend that it is not happening, I can play down the levels of hope. But every month, I lay out my emotions on the bed in wait for the arrival of the inevitable, in the hopes that being organised and ready will somehow lessen the pain.

It is monotonous and it is boring; it is even boring me writing this.

In many ways it's not actually like treading water at all, because at least with water you can imagine a beautiful beach or at least a pool where you can let go and just float to the top.

Not so, in this crap-fest.

If it's unlike treading water, then perhaps it is more like going around in ever decreasing circles, visiting the same sights with each passing month, with nothing new to experience or see or say, because it is pretty much just the same each time. I feel jaded and I don't know how many more circles I can go around, before I just go f*cking crazy.

I just want something to happen; something, ANYTHING. Give me a false positive, a chemical pregnancy, betas that are wonky, even a miscarriage (and please don't judge me for these thoughts, for of course I know that each and every one of those scenarios is a terrible tragedy and I would not wish them on my worst enemy), just anything that is not this nothingness, this absence, this blank where there ought to be a pink line, this blood in the panty liner, this bloating, this spirit-sapping, soul-destroying monthly little death. Because, yes, without wishing to sound melodramatic (which I obviously do), that's how it feels each month. A little bit of me dies inside. A little bit of hope, a little bit of that heady innocence, a little bit of the person that I used to be. It is being gnawed away by the greedy b*tch that is Infertility, and I have a feeling that she wants to leave nothing behind once she is done. How long I will allow her to gnaw away at me is anyone's guess. Because the other option is stopping, and that seems somehow even more unimaginable.

So I moan and I groan and I allow Infertility to gnaw away. It seems like a small price to pay when the ultimate prize is having your own biological child. But it does leave me wondering - who will I be when (if) the much expected finally happens? Because as well as being gnawed away, it feels like something else is growing back to replace the bits that were injured or lost. Something tougher and more leathery. Like emotional scar tissue.

And what if I don't get pregnant? Will the level of scarring I am allowing myself to go through be acceptable should I have nothing to show for it? Or will I forever regret that I allowed myself to become so greatly altered? Perhaps it'll pay to have a thicker skin?

So as well as moaning and groaning I try to insulate myself. With gratitude, with positivity, with prayer; by looking after myself mentally, physically, spiritually. But all the insulation in the world won't stop the gnawing from taking place, and I have to recognise that at the end of this process I will be forever changed. And that it is up to me to decide to what extent I will allow my emotional landscape to be ravaged.

I know that for myself I will have to let this carry on for a while still. Because I am not yet ready to stop.

Disregarding 'symptoms'

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 15 June 2014 2 comments

This month I have decided to disregard any 'symptoms'.

I am also telling lady hope to stay well away from me unless she's got something concrete to bring with her, like a missed period and two pink lines on a HPT.

Otherwise, hope, I'm just not that interested, do you hear me?!

And that strategy seems to be actually kind of working, although it is getting increasingly difficult to follow as the days go by.

Somehow my pregnancy-watch-fever seems to grow exponentially in direct correlation to how close to the next period I get.

This is not helped by the fact, that my PMS symptoms are identical to possible pregnancy symptoms:

Feeling hot all the time? Tick. Needing to wee every freaking five minutes? Tick. Feeling mildly nauseous? Tick. Feeling tireder? (I promise you, that is a word - in my dictionary when I am king) Tick. Supercharged olfactory system? Tick. Sore boobs? Sure, tick. Emotionally imbalanced? Tick.

So if I ever was to get pregnant, I really wouldn't know until I'd gotten some proper proof, because these spoof symptoms just dangle the carrot of a 'potential pregnancy' tantalisingly close, only to snatch it away at last minute.

I'm really not impressed with my body at the moment.

I just want to get the blood fest started (and I know it's going to be gory - it is another 1-month-after-IUI  AF after all), so that I can get on with life. PMS is not fun, I'm tired of being hot, tired, cranky, weepy, bloated and crampy. Two more days until AF should show, and I solemnly swear no underpant-checking marathon this time.

And I've got this sneaking feeling that I've written an almost identical post not too long ago. Seriously I'm starting to feel like I'm living some kind of a de-ja-vu life or am having an eternal groundhog month going on or something where things repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseam.. 

If Bill Murray turns up, I'll know I'm in trouble..

P.S. The Common Ostrich (a lovely blogger with an amazingly funny blog - check her out) kindly notified me, that blogger was eating up non-blogger comments. I checked with blogger forum and sure enough it turned out that the word verification system was throwing spanners in the works and making comments disappear. I have now deleted the word verification system in the hopes that it'll make things better. So, my deepest apologies if you've tried to leave comments, only to have them devoured by the internets. I had no idea. I promise that the problem has now been rectified and that I will love and cherish all comments left and will try to reply to them, too.

The NHS Strikes Again - Part 2

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 14 June 2014 2 comments

You know how we were meant to have our next consultation at the fertility clinic on 19th June i.e. next Thursday?

You know how I had been looking forward to it so that we can finally have a new game plan?

Well, today I received a letter from dear old NHS stating that 'due to the reorganisation of the fertility clinic' (whatever the hell that means) they have cancelled our appointment and re-booked it for Thursday 10th July. WTF universe!!!!??? (Apologies for the excessive exclamation marks, but I kind of needed to use them to indicate the strength of feeling here).

I have had to adopt: "Breathe-'everything-happens-for-a-reason'- breathe-'everything-happens-for-a-reason'-breathe.." as my mantra just to stop me from absolutely hitting the roof. Not sure it's quite working..

This is typical NHS stuff and in some ways doesn't surprise me one bit. But it's shit all the same.

It adds another three weeks to my current wait (so not a TWW but a ThWW this time).

The ticking of my biological clock is getting deafening these days,  I haven't go the time for this kind of p*ssing-about!!

On top of that I had to cancel a session with my counselling client to accommodate the appointment on 19th.  And I don't like that. At all.

I feel like I should explain. As well as doing my day job, I see counselling clients once a week on a Thursday. (I'm proper qualified and all, but I know it's a bit shocking that they allow someone as emotionally doolally as me to see counselling clients, although I promise, all counsellors are a bit soft in the head and with their own little neuroses).

I normally try to bend over backwards to not cancel my counselling sessions as I know the disruption it can cause on the progress being made. It's just not fair on the clients, but sometimes I accept that it cannot be helped (like when I've got an infertility appointment to attend). So when the NHS starts messing me about, I'm really not happy. Basically I've cancelled next week's session and will have to cancel yet another session on 10th too, on top of two cancelled sessions in end of July  which coincide with my summer holiday. Leaves me feeling like a bit of a shit counsellor, really.

I guess I could try to contact the client to de-cancel (is that even a word?), but it does all get a little messy.. Grrraaahh.. I'll be on the phone to my supervisor on Monday, that's for sure..

The sad thing with the NHS is, that I daren't even try to bring this appointment forward. What would probably happen is that they'd cancel the appointment on 10th and then never get around to re-booking it. The above scenario is not unheard of with the NHS either. So 10th it'll be.

My last whinge is that I'd also already signed up for the IComLeavWe in the hopes of actually having something interesting (and infertility related) to say for people to comment on. Now it'll just be the same-old-same old 'twinge here, twinge there' stuff.

I think I may have to take up some exotic hobby (hang gliding or mountainboarding, anyone?) or something just to while away the days and to keep this space interesting..

Feeling deflated

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 8 June 2014 0 comments

I'm having to admit it, I am feeling deflated.

I was hoping to put it down to yesterday's bad weather, but today is sunny and I am still feeling the same.

I know it is probably partly progesterone related (I ovulated sometime around Weds or Thurs) and am now in the terribly depressing TWW territory again. I'm a bit concerned that I seem to be getting these depressive hormonal fluctuations more frequently now. It used to be just after my period (my post-period blues, that I could recognise and rationalise away) but now it also appears to happen post-ovulation.

I suppose it could also be the accumulated mileage of our fertility journey and the mounting disappointments. Or alternatively I take a really long time to process treatment related failures (i.e. our last IUI) and am just now mourning that, too. I don't know. I've always been a bit of an emotion burier and only years in therapy taught me how to dig around in my emotional quagmire to find the root causes for feeling blah at any one time.

So I think as a result of writing this post I've found it, the root cause for this bout of blah and it is the last failed IUI cycle, indeed. Thanks for dropping by sadness, it's nice to see you made it to the party after all..

But no, I should try to be a bit more compassionate with myself. It sucks. And yes, it was only our 2nd IUI and, yes I had very low expectations for it to actually work, but it sucks all the same. And I've got the right to feel angry and sad and deflated about it.

I think what really doesn't help is that I get extremely short and light periods with Clomid. Which lengthens the period of the lingering (almost psychotic) hopefulness that perhaps I may be one of those women who have light periods and then magically turn out to be pregnant after all. Well, I'm not. I ovulated last week, which I think finally nailed the coffin shut and proved to the eternally hopeful part of my brain that yes, the last cycle WAS A BUST. So now I can mourn and finally let it go. What a mind-f*ck, though, truly.

I'm sorry to be so angry and negative and deflated, but I promise you, this is actually helping.

I may now finally be able to get off my a*se and go and do something useful, like yoga or enjoy the sunshine or something. Thank you for anyone who is reading this for sticking with me on this messy journey. Hopefully I will be off to a sunnier disposition from here on end. Upwards and onwards as they say..

When things actually (sort of) work out..

Posted by Haisla Monday, 2 June 2014 2 comments

We have an appointment to see the consultant on 19th June!! Yay!

And I didn't even need to beg or pester.

I left one message. Rang the following day and was told that the appointment was already booked for us for 19th.

Should I be slightly concerned, though, that I still haven't received a letter to confirm this magical appointment? Perhaps I should re-commence pestering, just so that I'll have something in black and white. It's like the fricking Willy Wonka factory, this clinic of ours. The doors could easily shut on our faces, should we arrive without proof of our worthiness to meet the factory owner consultant.

So that's good news. Hopefully after 19th we'll have some semblance of a battle plan.

The bad news is that my next cycle is due to start two days before that appointment. Which means that my dream of getting an actual IVF cycle squeezed into this side of the summer holidays is probably not going to happen..  Timing-wise it's all a bit screwed up, but I'm trying to hold on to the hope that everything is happening for a reason and at the right time, etc. etc.

Now we just have another month to kill.. More 'natural' TTC (although I'm not sure how 'natural' it is to have a pre-planned sex schedule) on the menu then. Although I think we may just try to have fun this month. Somehow the hope of the (hopefully) upcoming IVF cycle is taking some of the pressure off. Which is nice.

And I think my gratitude exercises are helping. I am feeling genuinely happier just by counting my blessings each morning. Even if sometimes I'm just listing all the mod cons in our flat (this is when I'm still half asleep and unable to string a thought let alone list together).

So turns out that gratitude rocks. I'm going to try to keep it up, alongside yoga and healthy eating and enough sleep (not doing so well on that one considering it's nearing midnight and I need to wake up 6.30am tomorrow).. We'll see how long I'll manage to keep it all up.

Back to the waiting game..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 24 May 2014 0 comments

I spoke to Nelly the Nurse yesterday (she called me back!! punches air - I'm now one of those frequent flyers who have earned their same-day call back privilege from Nelly!!). And as I'd suspected, our next step is to see a consultant to discuss the future game plan.

Does the consult get booked automatically, now that I've spoken to Nelly? Like hell it does.

I am to try and call that god-awful telephone number again that never gets answered to book another appointment. And then wait for weeks and weeks and weeks to get a letter to confirm an appointment another set of weeks and weeks away (probably when we're on a summer holiday), which means that I'll have to call that number again to try to reschedule, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Me, negative, much?

Well, I feel like I've been on this infertility train for long enough now, to deserve to speak to an actual human person when booking these appointments instead of the perpetual answer phone.

So I've decided to change tack a little. Instead of being the polite little scandinavian that I was always taught to be, I am planning to leave behind all shame and become THAT person. Yes, THAT crazy lady who leaves millions and billions of ever increasingly desperate messages on the clinic's answer phone, until someone has the good sense to get back to me.

I know this is NHS we're talking, but surely a call-back to confirm that you're answer phone message has been heard, registered and is being actioned isn't too much to ask!!?? Ggggaaahhh.. Give me a moment whilst I go self-combust.

I think I might be on some kind of a progesterone come-down, 'cause I'm feeling ANGRY..

Anyway, to counter all this negativity that I have been feeling of late I have decided to try to do something POSITIVE.

I know, shocking.

I came across this little book on an adoption blogger's site, got intrigued and without much research ordered a copy for my Kindle:

I'm not much of a believer in magic (apart from unicorns, baby dust fairies, storks and other magical creatures), so the title really annoyed me, but I decided to press on regardless due to all the positive reviews that the book had gotten on amazon.

The first few pages really grated me.

For someone who confesses to have faith, I'm quite cynical, so the author's overwhelming promises of a better life (through following the magic recipe in her book of course) really got my back up.

It just sounded just like the kind of hokum that a lot of these self-titled self-help gurus like to sell to us whilst laughing all the way to the bank.

But somethings that she also said made sense. Like surely being grateful for what you have will make you happier (although I reckon it is because you realise how much you already have, not because all of a sudden you will start accumulating even more of the stuff that you thought you want, rather than need. Or maybe it'll have some kind of an impact on the kinds of things that you'll want in life. Like reflecting on the things you appreciate, makes you evaluate what you actually really appreciate and why.. and then you'll realise it's not the material, but the immaterial and blah, blah blah.. I don't know.  Does that make any sense?).

Anyway, I'm all for discovering what I appreciate in my life, especially whilst in the throes of infertility, as sometimes (ha! I mean almost all of the time) things can seem a little bleak and it can be hard to count your blessings.

So, I'm gonna start counting.

This book gives you 28 exercises for 28 days and encourages you to do one of them every day, so as to build up them gratitude muscles. Knowing how bad I am with sticking to any exercise regime, I have my doubts whether I'll be able to see this through. But I'm going to try.

Who knows, perhaps a brighter, more positive Haisla will emerge from the ashes, just in time for our consult with the Doc. And I'll be all serene and grateful, rather than ready to strangle them for all the waiting they've made us do..

One can always hope.

The day AF shows up again..

Posted by Haisla Thursday, 22 May 2014 1 comments

..is also the day a British woman with 16 children announces her newest pregnancy in the newspapers..

Yup, turns out that IUI#2's a bust..

And, yup, turns out that Britain's super-mum (as seen on the TV show 16 Kids and Counting) is having her 17th baby..

I'm not going to have a long rant about the irresponsibility of having that many children *), but seriously fertility-fairy, did you somehow get lost on your way around and in a panic dump all the precious baby dust on one family alone??!! 'Cause that's how it would seem from where I'm standing.  How about sprinkling some of it our way, eh? I know many an infertile lady who would give their right arm just for a gram of the stuff. No more for the uber-fertile dust junkies, I say! Let's have a baby-dust redistribution programme to benefit the fertility-poor!!

Anyway, pheeewh.. I obviously needed to get that off my chest..

So, yes, back to the scheduled programming - spotting started yesterday, by which time I pretty much knew game was over. AF showed up in due course today. Like clockwork. That's my body, ever the reliable one, except for when it comes to getting me pregnant.

To add insult to injury, I had to POAS this morning just to make sure. My seasoned readers will know that I don't POAS generally, and normally only do it under duress. Alas, I had booked myself a dentist's appointment for today (long over-due) and because of the dental x-rays they do, I sort of had to be sure that there wasn't an embryo cooking in my bleeding uterus.

The results of POASing were obviously negatory.

In more positive news, though, my teeth are looking lovely. No decay, no holes, no drilling. And the dentist was lovely, too. Must remember to write a glowing review on the NHS-direct website. Good dentists, in my experience, are hard to come by and I like to rave about the good ones I do find. Share the love, or something.

Anyway. That's that. Not quite sure what the next steps will be. Will ring Nurse Nelly tomorrow to let her know. I think it's either going to be a final round of IUI (although I will insist on having an alternative to Clomid - the eye symptoms I get, man, it's like being on hallucinogenic drugs), or a consult with the Doc to discuss "alternatives" (presumably meaning IVF).

Not sure, which route I would prefer right now. Another round of IUI seems somewhat pointless, but moving on to IVF just seems pretty freaking scary in terms of being so close to the end of the road..

Trying to remain positive and clutching onto whatever straws I have left.

*) ..even though I partly feel like doing so - it was practically her older children bringing up the younger ones in the TV-programme I saw - there's no way that a parent can provide sufficient amounts of love and care to that number of children, surely?

3 dpiui + Desperately Seeking Juno

Posted by Haisla Monday, 12 May 2014 0 comments

Warning: the following post is full of post-ovulation, hormone come-down negativity. Please proceed with caution..

I'm 3 dpiui and have had mild ovarian pains radiating from my pelvic region all day..

I am fully aware that it's way too early for this to be anything pregnancy related, but am just a little concerned for my over-worked ovaries. I hope I'm not burning them out in the process.

Of course I then had to google '3 dpiui and mild ovary pain' and found out that it's quite normal after taking Clomid. It could be the ruptured follicle, it could be a cyst, it could just the moans and groans of an over-heated ovary. So nothing to worry about, I guess..

I've also been thinking about what is causing our infertility and my thoughts keep on returning to this article that I read in the papers some weeks ago.

What if I am missing the Juno protein and M's sperm isn't even aware of the presence of my egg in the fallopian tube? What good will IUI be to us then? And could it explain why nothing is catching; why we've never even gotten a vaguely positive pregnancy test?

If that is the case, my mild worry then snowballs into a massive anxiety avalanche regarding our (potential) future NHS funded IVF round. My understanding is that NHS does not offer ICSI as a matter of course, or potentially ever (if anyone's got personal experience of the contrary, please, please let me know through the comments section, I would really appreciate it). So if I'm missing the Juno particle (or protein or whatever), standard IVF won't do us any good and there's a possibility that we'll waste our one free chance of IVF and won't even get anything to freeze for a FET cycle. And then we'll have to spend thousands of pounds on more cycles, more time, more potential heart ache.

So these are the current anxieties floating in my head. I was kind of hoping that by writing them down I could somehow control them a little better, but no dice.

I don't suppose there is a simple, easy test to check the presence or absence of Juno in my system.

How I sometimes dream of blissful ignorance when it comes to all things reproductive. The more I learn about the many ways in which human reproduction can fail, the more I start despairing about our situation and wonder how anyone, seriously, ever manages to get knocked up. How?!!

Blah.. I just have to wait out this TWW and then take all my anxieties to my Doc (should this cycle be a bust) and hope that they'll have some answers or solutions or magic beads..

Until then, I will do my best to seek out distractions.