We headed into transfer cycle 8 with some hope but also realistic that none of the previous embryo’s transferred had progressed past 5 weeks. Embryo 13 had resulted in our first ever positive pregnancy test, it unfortunately ended in miscarriage days later. I recovered from it as best I could. I knew I would never feel 100% ready to have another embryo transfer, but I also knew I just had to get on with it. It would never feel like the right time.
May 2018 I started the drugs for embryo 14 to be transferred. Everything looked ok for transfer, so on a sunny June day we entered the clinic. A short time after we left with a great looking blast on board. They asked if we wanted a picture, again I said no, just like all the times before. I didn’t want a reminder if this didn’t work again.
The day after transfer I carried on as normal, back to work, no break. The two week wait passed relatively slowly, as they had done the previous 7 times. I started to test early, I suppose I wanted to prepare myself for the worst again.
5dp5dt – 1st test – positive – very faint – but positive…how could this be…I entered a state of shock instantly. Followed by a state of crippling fear. With a tiny hint of excitement.
I tested each day until official test date 12dp5dt. All positive. Digital tests saying ‘Pregnant’. I called the clinic, booked in for a scan in a few weeks and entered the next three week wait.
And then it happened. On the same day it happened the cycle before. Bleeding. Bright red blood. How could this be happening again? I felt broken. I threw all but one of my positive tests in the bin in a fit of rage with tears streaming. I called the clinic. We were to have blood tests 2 days apart to check the hormone levels. So the next day I went to the clinic, in and out in 5 minutes. The phone call came, my levels were 2400 so were ok, but it would depend on the next test to see if they were increasing or decreasing. I went back 2 days later. The bleeding had continued so I was just waiting for the inevitable. The conversation I had last time which told me things weren’t progressing. The phone call came. The levels had gone up to 4400. So not quite a doubling but increasing at a good rate. The bleeding continued so I was told to go back in for another blood test. Another tense few days of waiting. The phone call came. The levels had gone up to over 8000, so again not doubled but definitely going up. How could this be? I was bleeding and yet the hormones indicated that things were progressing. I was told to wait until my scan date as my levels were going up.
2 days later I was in so much pain. Bleeding continued. We called the clinic and they told me to come in for a scan. We were worried it was ectopic, they wanted to rule it out. So we travelled silently to the clinic. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst. After a tense wait, the consultant called us in. Wanda was inserted. The screen was turned around and there it was. The sac and what can only be described as a grain of rice. No heartbeat yet as it was too early, but there was our baby. In the right place. We could also clearly see the area of bleeding, it was away from the sac but still it was there. Hubby cried, I was in shock. Complete shock. I was still pregnant. It made no sense. I was told to take it easy, to stop taking the blood thinners as they wouldn’t be helping and to come back for the pre-arranged scan. I could start the blood thinners again when the bleeding stopped.
Here the worry really set in. I had been advised by a previous clinic that I probably wouldn’t carry a pregnancy to full term without blood thinners. I needed them because of a gene that hubby carries. The C4/M2 gene. What the hell am I supposed to do? I need the blood thinners but I can’t take them. All we could do was hope the bleeding stopped quickly so that I could get back on them ASAP so that I didn’t have another miscarriage.
The bleeding didn’t stop. It carried on. We went for the 7 week scan. Bean now had a heartbeat. The area of bleeding had grown and there was a risk that it could cause a miscarriage. We had gotten further than ever before and yet there was a huge cloud of fear and doubt that hung over us. I expected every hour of everyday that I was going to have a huge bleed and that would be the end. All I could do was live hour by hour, sometimes it was minute by minute. The clinic should have discharged us at this point, but because of the bleeding they asked me to come back in 2 weeks for another scan.
Another 2 week wait which dragged like nothing I have ever experienced before. Scan day came. Bean had grown some more and was measuring a day ahead, heart beating at what looked like a million miles an hour. And there was still an area of bleeding. It was now right next to the sac and had grown significantly. I felt numb. I just couldn’t see how this was going to be ok. And I still couldn’t take the blood thinners. in my head that only meant one thing. Either way I was going to loose our bean. As I was still bleeding, the clinic asked me to come back in another 2 weeks before they discharged me.
I got booked in for my first appointment with the Midwife. This was new. I had never gotten this far before. I talked through my history and told her about the bleeding. She referred me urgently to see a consultant at the hospital. The appointment was the next day. I sat in the waiting room staring into space. I couldn’t look at those sitting around me, pregnancies progressing whilst mine probably wasn’t going to. The consultant saw me, said she wouldn’t change anything and she would take the lead from the IVF clinic as I was under 12 weeks. She wasn’t sure why I was there and that they would see me in a few weeks if things progressed. She had never heard of the C4/M2 gene issue and pretty much dismissed it. If the IVF clinic said not to take the blood thinners then I wasn’t to take them.
I lasted another few days and decided to go for a private scan. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on with the area of bleeding. Bean was still growing, heart still beating. Area of bleeding had reduced slightly and now wasn’t infringing on the sac. Finally some goodish news. Still bleeding, still petrified…but bean was still with us.
Week 11 we had our final scan with the clinic. Bean had grown some more. Area of bleeding had reduced further. Bleeding was now very irregular. Maybe, just maybe things were going to be ok.
Week 13 we had our standard 12 week scan. No area of bleeding could be seen. Bean measured 2 days ahead and my due date was set…our bean would arrive on 20th February 2019. I was still in shock. The bleeding had finally stopped.
I haven’t mentioned the sickness. Sickness had been part of my daily routine from about 8 weeks. 5 times a day. Starting at 2pm each day and lasting until 11pm. I have never been so sick. I lived on cheese and cheese flavoured anything. I tried to eat in the morning so I knew I was having at least some food. After 2pm nothing would stay down. Everyone said it would go by 12 weeks. Mine lasted until 20 weeks. I hated it and it was kicking my ass daily, but if it meant bean was growing then I would take it. I didn’t care how crap I felt, I just wanted everything to be ok.
At 16 weeks we had a midwife appointment. For the first time we heard the heartbeat. It was surreal. It is a sound I will never forget. A day later we had another private scan. I never felt a sense of excitement before a scan. I was utterly terrified. I was waiting to be told that something awful had happened. Bean was measuring perfectly for the dates, heart beat was perfect…and we found out we were having a boy. In that moment it became real and yet still every day I was terrified. Scared it was going to be taken away from us. We both wanted it so much and yet it seemed impossible that this time things would be ok.
I hadn’t gone back onto the blood thinners. I had to try and move on from the so called gene issue and hope for the best. It still played on my mind and that didn’t change. Its scary how the result of one blood test a few years before hung over us.
20 weeks and the scan was all ok. We saw the consultant and due to my anxiety they decided that I would see the midwives fortnightly and have growth scans from 28 weeks. I was seeing my counsellor regularly too. In all honesty I was struggling, really struggling. After 12 years and so much heartache and pain, I just could not get to the point where I could accept that everything was going to be ok. Everyone kept telling me that various milestones would make me feel better, would make it feel real. They didn’t. Infertility and loss had just stripped me of confidence. Would my body be able to keep doing this, would our bean continue to grow. Would we get to meet him in a few months? Instead of feeling better as time went on, in some ways I felt worse. More stressed. More worried. More scared. Feeling him grow and move deepened my hope and fear at the same time. It had taken 14 embryos to get here and I wanted it more than anything.
Things seemed to be going ok. Taking it day by day. Hearing his heartbeat every 2 weeks helped for a few hours. My bump was growing. His movements grew stronger and more regular. We went for our 28 weeks scan. More bad news. I had too much amniotic fluid. As we waited to see the consultant we both frantically googled to see what it meant. There seemed to be a few potential causes. I had blood tests for various things to see if they could find a cause. The consultant told me to go away and enjoy Christmas and he was confident the fluid would have gone down by the next scan. If not, then we would need a plan. Needless to say Christmas was awful as something else hung over us. This could all still go very wrong. I literally crawled from day to day. Dr Google once again was not my friend. Making a conscious effort to feel each movement to make sure they weren’t reducing.
The scan 3 weeks later showed the fluid had gone down. Everything else looked ok. My anxiety levels were through the roof.
2 days later we had our baby shower. I had never been to one, I had in truth avoided them like the plague in all the years we had struggled to conceive. It was a lovely relaxed afternoon with friends and family, just what I could cope with. Our little boy wasn’t even here yet and he was being showered with so much love. Maybe, just maybe, things would be ok. Everyone around is excited for us, I was still utterly petrified.
The next scan and all looked good. Growth was good. We talked to the consultant about not going passed my due date. The gene issue still hung over me and I was worried. She agreed that at my next appointment we could talk about being induced but they wouldn’t do it before 38 weeks. I went away feeling a little lighter.
A week later I went on maternity leave from work. How had I got here? How were we now so close and yet it still felt so surreal. Weeks away from giving birth and I hadn’t really thought about it. So fixated on just getting through each day and now I needed to think about what was coming next.
37 weeks and the scan was all ok. Growth ok and flow through the placenta looked good. A date to be induced was set for 39+5…so pretty much 40 weeks! We never saw the same consultant twice, so the consultant at this appointment didn’t want to induce me unnecessarily but I genuinely could not cope with going overdue so she agreed.
Time was ticking away slowly. 37 plus 4 and the itching started. Just at night on my hands and feet. I just thought it was another pregnancy related thing that was normal. 2 days later the itching was getting worse. 37 plus 6 and overnight I felt hardly any movement. He was usually active from 6am. I felt nothing. I was worried. I called the hospital and they asked me to go in for monitoring. On the way I felt him once. This was really unusual. I was hooked up to the monitors and all seemed ok. His heartbeat was fine and I started to feel some movement. I happened to mentioned the itching. Bloods were taken urgently, apparently this can be a really bad sign. A couple of hours later it was confirmed that I had developed a liver condition that can cause still birth. I was broken. I cried. I couldn’t cope. i just wanted him here safely. After a few heated and emotional discussions with various staff they decided I needed to be induced…urgently. They couldn’t do it that day so I was booked in for the next day. It was happening. I just had to get through one more night.
I got through the night. We headed to the hospital. Embryo 14…baby Edward arrived later that evening. He was here, he was ok and that was all that mattered.
I suppose you could say it was one heck of a journey. Infertility is the worst and most scary roller coaster that I have ever stepped onto. At times broke me, it broke us. I experienced some of the most painful times whilst we struggled through and those around just didn’t understand. There were times when I didn’t think I would get through the day, but somehow I did. Infertility changed me, it has helped shape who I am today. It will always be a part of me.
I want to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you for reading and sharing. I started to write as an outlet but also in the hope that it helped others know they weren’t alone. If you are struggling with infertility, please know that you are not alone. It is ok not to be ok. Ask for help if you need it and be kind to yourself…always xx