Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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Feeling slightly overwhelmed

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 10 February 2015

So we had our first IVF appointment today and since I confess to feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything I've decided to put my thoughts on paper (I mean screen)..

First things first, the clinic is wonderful, the staff friendly, and I am so very happy with our choice. It's a world away from the bumblings of our previous (IUI) clinic.

However, something obviously had to go wrong (it's us we're talking after all) and it turned out that we not only had we not received our invite letter, we were also missing tons of consent forms that they should have sent to us in advance (we only received the invite letter via email yesterday after pestering the clinic with phone calls and emails). In their defence, they are an extremely popular clinic and therefore extremely busy. These things happen, and thankfully this problem was easily rectifiable.

The downside was that today during our appointment we were literally bombarded by different staff asking us to fill out, read and sign sheets and sheets of papers. For all I know I may have just donated all of my vital organs to science.

So that was one of the drawbacks; having to decide the fate of your future embryos in a busy corridor of an Assisted Conception Unit under some considerable time pressure. I think we decided to give them up for research (should there be any left once we're done with family building) which with hindsight feels perhaps a little callous. Apparently we have the right to change our minds yet. Maybe once the embryos turn from a mere fantasy into reality I may feel somewhat different and wish to hold on to them for more than 55 years (that was one of the options given on the numerous forms - perhaps with the advance of science I'll decide to try to get pregnant again when I'm 90).

Anyway, I digress.

The next item on my list of today's experiences may appear as far TMI for some, so please proceed with caution. I am only writing this for the benefit of those new to the IF world. These are the lengths to which we are willing to go to have a baby:

Today I had for the first time in my life the dubious pleasure of being ultrasound scanned on day 2 of my period, also known as 'the blood fest'. I genuinely thought that the mention of menstrual blood would deter them in their eagerness to scan me, but alas(!) it was not so. I have therefore now faced the ultimate dildocam shame and humiliation of having a man scan my uterus whilst it is merrily shedding itself away and onto his clean exam bed. Unnerving.  Oh, and it was my first encounter with real stirrups. I didn't quite know how to hoist myself onto them, but figured it out in the end. It felt like I'd finally graduated into the big girls' infertility clinic.

In positive news though, both my uterus and ovaries looked all fine and dandy.

Meeting with the doc was positive, too. She was lovely and interested and actually took the time to ask questions and listen. She noted down my endo diagnosis and our four failed IUI cycles and those seemed to give some extra credence to our case (i.e. nope we're not just making this up and nope 'just relaxing' at this stage won't make one bit of a difference - oh, the sweet vindication). She seemed a little concerned about M's sperm analysis, too, based on the notes from the previous clinic and as she wishes to take no chances with our chances (because she cares!) she is recommending ICSI. The last thing she would want, she explained, would be to find out that my eggs and M's sperm aren't getting jiggy with it on their own (I have heavily paraphrased here) hence the little extra helping hand from science.

Also, and this was a huge shock to me, there is a possibility of us transferring two embryos and not just one. I thought this was a complete no-no with the NHS unless one is over 40 and even then they would do it under duress. This clinic seems to have far laxer stance, and yet they boast fairly low levels of twin pregnancies. I think the fact that I am at the cusp of being 36 (gulp) makes two embryo transfer a possibility depending on how our embryos turn out overall.

I also asked about the risk of breast / ovarian cancer as a result of taking all the blessed hormones requires. She said research has shown that the hormones used are safe and should not heighten the risk of cancers generally. However, in those individuals who are genetically 'destined' to get cancer later on in life, the hormones may speed up the process. Am I destined to have cancer? I don't know. My mum had both breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but as far as I know she didn't carry the genetic marker. But I guess if I am genetically pre-disposed to getting cancer then a whole host of things may have an accelerative effect on the dormant cancer genes and at the end of the day, I can't live in a bottle. So for now I am deciding not to worry about that yet.

One last thing before I go to bed.

They are running a thyroid anti-body research at the clinic and asked whether I would like to potentially take part. As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I freaking love research, so I immediately said yes. If I am chosen for this research (this will only be the case if I turn out to have thyroid anti-bodies in my system) I'll write more about it later on.

For now all I can do again is wait until my next period, which should be in approx. 25 days' time. Then they will start me on a long protocol which will involve using nasal spray for some weeks from before day 21 of the cycle (spray rather than needles - yay!!!) and then later on a pen for stimming rather than those ghastly vials and needles (double yay!!). Anyway, by my calculations it'll be late March until anything really interesting will start happening, so I've got a bit more time to get my s**t together (meaning mainly my health back after this string of illnesses). But hey, at least we're on the road to somewhere!!


Jessica Howard said...

I am so happy to be sharing this journey with you. I can't wait to read how things will go next month and will be keeping my fingers double crossed for success. xx

Patient Subfertility said...

This is really exciting (and scary). I have high hopes for you and IVF. This is going to do it!!!

Haisla said...

I hope so. It's scary though, so much is hanging on this, that I'd rather not think about it too deeply. Thanks for your encouraging words!!xx

Haisla said...

Thanks, luv!xx

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