Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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What happened inbetween

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 25 February 2014 0 comments

I started updating my TTC timeline and since there was a massive gap between my first two posts and my latest post I felt my TTC timeline was getting a bit bottom heavy. I will therefore chronicle here what happened between August 2013 and Feb 2014 so as to lighten the TTC timeline area, but also so that I will have a full record of our journey so far. You see, I want to be able to tell our kids one day just how very much we wanted them (punch by punch - I'm sure they'll love us for that, it'll be just as interesting as going through reams and reams of friends' holiday photos). So with the risk of boring you senseless, here is the story so far, in greater detail than would be absolutely necessary:

June 2013 Appointment at subfertility clinic. Doc suspects endometriosis and tells me to put on 4kg (as I hover on the lower end of the BMI chart - really not such a great thing and apparently heightens the risk of miscarriage, oh vey) and then ring up to book for laparoscopy and hysteroscopy.

July 2013 I embark on my 'fattening/muscle building diet'. Lots of egg mayo sandwiches and force-fed high calorie snacks follow.

Early Aug 2013 2kg gained, two more to go!

Late Aug 2013 Target weight reached - book laparoscopy, +/- ablation and dye for Nov 8, 2013.

Sept - Oct 2013 Realise in terror that my period will be coinciding with the lap. Panicky phone call to the clinic and reassurance by nurse that lap could be 'postponed' if needed. "Postponed my butt, lady", are my thoughts, followed by some frantic googling with the resulting find of magic pills called Norethisterone (progesterone) that can handily delay period. Get the go-ahead from the clinic (thanks for letting me do all the hard work, you know!) and spend the 10 days or so on progesterone and get my cycle readjusted, thank you very much.

Nov 8, 2013 Lap performed - surgeon finds two 'small patches' of endo and removes them (I never get told where exactly these patches were located or what the term 'small' means - get some neat photos of my innards, though). Tubes, uterus and ovaries appear to be in good nick and unaffected by the adhesions. We are given a three month window to carry on trying au naturel. At least my blog has an apt title!

Dec 17, 2013 Follow-up appointment to discuss the game plan. Despite the endo we are placed in the 'unexplained' category, since the endo had not messed up with my tubes/ovaries/uterus. ("Umm, doctor, have you never heard of natural killer cells and such like"). Our ER appears to have only very basic grasp of infertility, but since we are offered 3 free IUI cycles, one fresh cycle of IVF and a FET courtesy of the NHS, we shan't grumble. Are handed a stack of paperwork and consent forms and told to book follow-up appointment if we wish to go ahead with the treatments.

Feb 4, 2014 Follow-up appointment follows - as my next period is starting in a week we get signed up for our very first IUI cycle straight away. ("Holy mother of man, this train may be leaving the station after all!") Frantic emails to my boss to spill the beans and try to get some time off for said treatments, which will be interfering with work schedule. Cue in sympathetic (male) boss, who confesses to having had problems with subfertility himself. Also have to tell immediate colleagues, as re-occurring, unexpected hospital visits might otherwise raise suspicions / concerns.

Feb 11, 2014 CD1 Ring up clinic to book first scan for Monday Feb, 17.

Feb 12, 2014 CD2 Start 5 days on Clomid.

Feb 12 - 16, 2014 Side effects of Clomid: the ability to tear up at the most random things. Also some funky 'fluttering effects' in my peripheral vision when I first wake up (and esp. when I wake up during the night to go for a pee). Decide that these are probably due to de-hydration and up my water intake. Fortunately said effects disappear when I finish Clomid.

Feb 17, 2014 First ever dildocam appointment. Two good size follies (13mm & 12mm respectively) on left side and one 14mm follicle on right. Lining right on target at 6.1mm (apparently). Doc reckons IUI will take place on Thurs or Fri. (Holy moly, I don't think I've been reading the infertility blogs with keen enough eye, as I somehow thought it would take days, days to grow follies, as in taking us to the following week for IUI.) Apparently I'm an early ovulator, hence my short-ish cycles. Next scan booked for Weds Feb, 19. Am told to bring my hCG shot with me in case they need to inject me there and then. Otherwise will have to prepare for some needle action at home on Weds eve and then have IUI on Fri. Blood sample drawn for some mysterious purpose that was never explained to me.

Feb 19, 2014 Dildocam scan #2: Follies ready to burst (left side 18mm & 17mm, and right side 1x 20mm) and womb lining thickening nicely at 7.3mm. HCG shot given in the bum by the nurse (yay! for not having to shoot up at home after all - all them powders being mixed with liquids and different size needles got me all flustered. How is one meant to remember it all!?) More blood drawn. IUI scheduled for the following morning. Now, this IUI business (at this clinic) is a very convoluted routine which involves my husband making his way to an entirely different hospital(!) approx. 6 miles away from the clinic to produce his sample, have it washed [waiting time 1.5h] and then deliver it asap to the clinic where I am waiting. Thank goodness he's got a motorbike to speed up the proceedings a little.

Feb 20, 2014 Husband goes to do his thing, whilst I wait for the phone call to instruct me to make my way to the clinic. We meet at the clinic door, make our way in, I sign a bunch of paperwork, my husband hands the nurse his 'sample', gives me a quick kiss and dashes off to work. So much for a romantic conception! The nurse proceeds to insert the 'sample' into my vajjazz (only minimally painful - like mild period cramping) and then I am asked to lay down for 20 mins before I am released back into the wild. I go back to work, as if nothing's happened, and do a lot of boring (non-laborous) admin work. Our first IUI-TWW has officially commenced! If my calculations are right and  the amount of hormones pumped into my body haven't interfered with my cycle too much, I should be getting my period right about on the hubby's birthday, whilst I am away at a conference far far away. Nice, that'll be a fun birthday present. Also because of the hCG, I've been told not to POAS until day 15 after the IUI which is two days after hubby's b.day, so I can't even surprise him with a positive birthday pregnancy test, should such miracle ever happen to occur. Grrr...

Uh-ummm it's been a while..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 22 February 2014 0 comments

So I almost decided upon abandoning this blog last year (and sort of did) but have come to have second thoughts. I've been worrying about all sorts of things from 'can I keep this up, and if I can't will that make me a terrible failure' to 'what if I get pregnant next month and will then feel like the village idiot' to 'what if I do make bloggy friends but then end up being a bad bloggy friend' (remembering all the primary school pen pals I had from abroad; relationships which soon enough fizzled out due to my lack of commitment and enthusiasm to keep them going).

But despite these fears I have decided to continue blogging anyway. First of all, I am still not pregnant, after more than two years of trying and have now embarked on our first IUI. This IUI has sort of made me feel like I have finally graduated into the 'real infertiles' club (I know it doesn't exist apart from in my head) and given me a bit of kudos (not to mention things to write about), whilst last year I was just a hanger-on trying to get fatter and finally fit in with some sort of a diagnosis. Well, here I am, another girl with endo (although categorised by our RE as 'unexplained') and turns out that I am well and truly infertile or subfertile, belonging to the unlucky 5% that can't manage to get knocked up within two years of trying with traditional methods.

Secondly, I will also oust myself as a potentially bad blogger, who will potentially let her potential readers down, start following blogs and then potentially find it too laborious to continue etc. And you know what, I'm ok with that. I will continue this for as long as it serves a purpose and for as long as it feels right. And I won't beat myself up for being a bad blogger, because this blog really has one purpose and one purpose alone, which is to keep me sane whilst we go through these processes that are needed to either get us pregnant or out of the land of trying. If I meet lovely people on the way, great, I acknowledge that some friendships are fleeting, and failing to keep in touch for the rest of my life doesn't diminish the value of the support given and received. I will continue this for now, and that is all I can promise.

I have also finally reached that stage, where I have had to stare infertility in the face and admit that there may come a day when I will no longer be able to keep going. I am hoping that that day will come later rather than sooner and that I can somehow get through at least these blessed IUIs and cycles of IVF (that we have so generously been promised by the good people of NHS - I know how lucky we are in having won this post code lottery) before I pop the cap open of some BCPs and start looking for adoption agencies. Obviously I am hoping even more fervently that we don't have to go through all those cycles at all, but that I may miraculously be nestling an embryo in my uterus as we speak. And of course I may still change my mind should we go through all the free fertility treatments that NHS has to offer and still not be pregnant, and decide to go ahead and throw all of our life savings at a private fertility clinic with the bestest and cleaverest REs in the land in one last ditch attempt before calling it a day. As so many infertile bloggers have asked before me: "when is enough enough?"

To be honest, this first IUI has been pretty easy on both of us. It is like 'the IVF on stabilisers', I guess. The hardest part was trying to arrange time off work and explain to everybody why the appointments were so randomly placed and taking place with so little notice. I think for now everybody who needs to know knows and the rest think that I just have a lot of 'meetings' to go to.

I am trying to brace myself for a BFN (keeping in mind that stats relating to successful IUI outcomes on mild endo patients vary from 5-11% per cycle depending on which research you read) whilst holding on to just that little bit of hope. I'm a bit bummed that I haven't really gotten any side effects from the HcG shot, which I was sort of looking for. Feeling for the first time just a teeny little bit pregnant would have been nice, even if it would have been all chemical based. After all (without sounding too down-beat), it may be the nearest I'll ever get to feeling pregnant (yes, yes, I know I should be thinking happy thoughts and giving my uterus positive vibes, but quite frankly after two years of positive thinking and hopeful vibes month after month, I'm a little low on the happiness reserves right now - I'll smile when I'm pregnant, how's that?).

So that's that. I'll try to be a bit more regular a blogger and may even dip my toe into commenting on other people's blogs (instead of just lurking). My only problem is that most of the blogs I have been following are pretty old (I tend to find interesting blogs and read them like a book from the beginning - I'm telling you some of the best and most gripping stories I have ever read) and the bloggers have either found that they no longer have the time or need to blog (which I totally understand and respect, see paragraphs above) or their blogs are now about parenting or adoption or living child-free. I don't mind following bloggers who have moved on, but where do I find those bloggers who are still in the trenches, who I could relate to and cheer on? I suppose I better go a-hunting..