Transfer Cycle 8 – Embryo 14 *Trigger Warning*

***Trigger Warning***

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

You are not alone

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer Cycle 8

I can hardly believe we are here. I can hardly believe this is us. Transfer cycle 8. Embryo number 14. The 10th time I have started a cycle in the hope that I get pregnant. It has happened once, just a few month ago with embryo 13. Unlucky for some, we thought it was lucky for us and look how that turned out.

And here we are again…back at the starting blocks. I try not to use bad language in my blog but…right now I’m so fucking angry and upset that we are back here again. Why us? Why me? Who the hell knows. It’s so fucking unfair. I hate this, I hate what it has done to me, to hubby and to us.

Right now I’m lying on a sun lounger staring at clear blue sky. An intense heat. It sounds idyllic. It looks idyllic. Those who are around us have no idea why we are here. We are here to get away from it all. To try to gather ourselves back together, to renew our strength, our courage, our relationship. We are in a good place. So much better than we have been before when cycles haven’t gone well. There were times I didn’t think we would get here again, we were so broken. But we got through it. We talked. We grieved. We survived. And here we are, on holiday again, loving being together and yet both worried about what comes next. Holidays are our reward for IVF failure…there I said it. The only reason we have so many holidays is because we need them. To escape, to recover, to try to find some slice of happiness after such sadness.

In the immediate aftermath of our miscarriage I thought that we might be broken again. We are not. We are facing the next cycle together, head on. Trying to keep a sense of perspective. A whatever happens, happens kind of approach. Deep down inside I am afraid, scared, petrified. It feels like I am suspended at the top of the Oblivion rollercoaster with the words ‘don’t look down’ ringing in my ears, knowing that I’m headed into free fall, with no control over what comes next. I daren’t look down. Another negative. Another positive. Another miscarriage. Another heartbreak. It really is the worst fucking rollercoaster that I have ever stepped onto. I’ve been on it for 10 years. When will it stop? I suppose it will stop when we decide it’s time to stop. We have 5 frozen embryos, now isn’t the time for hitting the stop button.

I have started the drugs for transfer number 8. I don’t have the headaches I had last time, but I do have the tears. I’m not sure if it’s the oestrogen, the reality of what we have already been through or fear of what is to come. Maybe a combination of all 3. I hope the tears pass soon. I hope the fear passes soon, but that’s probably unlikely.

What if I never see two lines again? What if that was it? What if all I see is one line & the words Not Pregnant? What if all we ever get is the 12 days of thinking we were going to be parents and being so utterly crushed when the words ‘not progressed’ are said by a nurse on the other end of the phone? That can’t be it. Or maybe that will be it. Maybe that’s the closest we will ever come. I need to drop kick those thoughts out of my mind right now.

Hubby is convinced that one of the 5 will work. The statistician in me doubts that. The odds certainly don’t feel in our favour. I hope more than anything that he is right. I don’t know if I will survive being crushed another 5 times, I don’t even want to think about it.

The next month is going to be another tough one. For now, I need to take one day at a time. Enjoy the sunshine. No more reading books about IVF and miscarriage. And remember that whatever comes next, I’ve been here before. I’ve survived it, we both have. We used to head into transfer full of hope and optimism, we even used to talk about our future family. Now, we talk about how we will cope when it doesn’t work. That in itself shows how shit this whole thing is. But, it is what it is. I have to try to remember that this can work, I can get pregnant. It took 13 embryos and 8 years of IVF to get that far. Maybe this time we will get even further, maybe we will even clear the hurdles and get to the finish line. Right now that doesn’t seem likely, but if we don’t try we will never know!

Let’s do this…again…

What next?

This week was our ‘follow up’ appointment following my miscarriage.  We could have gone a few weeks ago but I needed time and space before I ventured back there.  IVF clinics are strange places, nervousness and optimism hang in the air, silently people wait for whatever is coming next for them.  I have lost count of the number of appointments that we have had in clinics.  Too many too count & probably more than anyone should have in a lifetime.  On the week that would have been our 12 week scan, instead we waited to see the consultant to talk about our next frozen embryo replacement.  To say I had mixed feelings would be an understatement.  I sat waiting and just kept thinking, I shouldn’t be here, I don’t want to be here.  I imagine everyone else sat waiting is also thinking exactly the same thing.

We had it in our minds that we would do the next cycle in June.  The plan was two weeks away on holiday and then come back to start treatment a few weeks later.  It felt like a good plan.  As soon as I sat down I clocked the notice that said they were closed for lab work in July, which meant that between certain dates patients are unable to request treatment.  I know my cycle dates, June isn’t happening.  I will miss the cut off by about 3 days.  Just brilliant.

The consultant kept us waiting for 25 minutes.  How appointments are running 25 minutes late at 10am I have no idea.  At least she will have read our notes in that time…surely?  That will be a no then.

Sitting in front of a new consultant who hasn’t read our file was a little frustrating.  She was lovely, but I just wish they would at least read the file.  What don’t they get about how exhausting it is to keep going over the last 10 years?  Her first words took me by surprise…’how are you?’ and ‘I’m so sorry for your loss’.  Wow, some compassion.  Instantly the atmosphere changed.  She asked me some questions about the miscarriage, when I started to bleed, when I stopped taking drugs, if I had taken a test 2 weeks after to make sure it was negative…all of this is or should be ON MY FILE.

Her view is that it was a positive thing that I got pregnant.  Obviously the miscarriage was not the outcome everyone hoped for…but…for the first time ever I got pregnant.  We have 5 excellent quality blasts in the freezer.  As this is my first miscarriage, there is nothing to indicate that there is an underlying problem with me, the likelihood is (in her opinion) that the problem was with the embryo.  She is very hopeful (her words) that I can get pregnant and have a baby.  No more tests needed.  Just bad luck I suppose.

I asked about the steroids and clexane.  She prefers a natural approach unless we have known issues. Do I have killer cells?  Yes…READ THE FILE.  Ok, she will prescribe steroids.  Do we have known blood clotting issues?  Yes…READ THE BLOODY FILE.  Ok, she will prescribe Clexane.  If I get a positive I start aspirin.  Progesterone injections are my choice, I choose them.

My body dealt with the miscarriage as it ‘should have’, which apparently is positive.  My cycles have returned to normal straight away.  We can go ahead with another transfer, as soon as I feel ready.  I came away filled with renewed hope.  We have some great quality blasts and maybe at least one will become our future child.  The cloud of ‘this is never going to happen’ has started to lift.  The sadness is fading and being replaced with a new feeling.  A feeling of hope and optimism.

She talked to us about the clinic closure.  My cycle in June falls after the cut off date.  Why is nothing ever straight forward?  Why am I always left with huge decisions to make?  So, we either start again in a few weeks, whilst we are away on holiday.  Or we wait until mid-July.  We have a week to make the decision because I will need to take the delightful oestrogen patches on holiday with us if we decide to start on the next cycle.

I suppose the question is, do I feel ready?  I will never be ready to see another embryo on the screen before it is put back inside me & I will never be ready to take another pregnancy test again.  I have come to the conclusion that I will never ‘feel ready’, we just have to make the decision and go for it.  Is 2 months long enough to wait in terms of being physically and emotionally ready?  Is 4 months too long to wait and will I just end up being an anxious mess in the meantime, it feels like a long time to wait.  Part of me wants to wait because then we have hope for longer, the other part of me wants to get going again because I am loosing patience and I want to be pregnant again.

Either way we are heading towards transfer cycle number 8 with embryo 14.  I am left with 2 questions:

  • How the hell did we get here?
  • Why us?

Right now this is how I feel about infertility…YPMTFO

 

 

 

The question of “Giving Up”

I’ve been asked over the years if I’m ready to give up.  Our latest cycle seems to have raised that question again.  Before I go any further I want you all to know that it hurts to hear these words.  I wonder if those that ask this question have ever walked this path or have ever thought (and I mean truly thought) about what they would do if they had been dealt this hand.  For most people, they fortunately will never have to make decisions about the path they choose to take to try to have a family.  I am glad that they have never had to even think about the things that we think about every day, I hate that anyone has to go through this.

Why should I give up?  8 years, 7 transfers, 13 embryos…maybe it is enough, maybe its never going to work.  We have 5 more embryos frozen.  At the moment, that is 5 more chances.  Of course, there may come a point in the future where we decide to move on, but that is very different to ‘giving up’.

‘Giving up’ somehow implies that I don’t want it enough.  It implies that I need to admit defeat.  I have news.  This isn’t something that either defeats you or you beat it.  We entered the world of assisted conception 8 years ago, completely naive to the fact that we thought IVF would work first time.  Even the GP told us we would ‘just need a little help getting pregnant’.  For us, IVF it didn’t work first time.  We seem to live in a place where hope is given and then within a few weeks it is gone again.  Yet we continue to move forward.  Our relationship has been tested in ways I never thought possible.  I have had more medical procedures than I care to admit.  I have suffered depression as a result of not dealing with things when it didn’t go well.  I have felt left behind, out of touch with those around us and I have lost people who were once my friends.  There is a vacuum of silence between me and most people ‘close’ to us as they struggle to know what to say and I brace myself for what they might say.  Its a lose lose situation.  Everyone else around us moves forward, mostly with families that have grown over the past few years and will continue to do so over the coming years.  Our route to parenthood isn’t as simple as it is for many, but does that mean I should now ‘give up’.

Infertility will never defeat me because I am not at war with it.  It is part of me, it is part of us and our lives.  Saying the words ‘we give up’ will not make that go away or change it.  We have made the decision to continue to try to have a family.  I know it is not in the conventional way, but for us it is the only way it is possible.  Whilst we have the strength, courage, hope and probably just as important, the money, to keep having treatment, then we will.

There will come a point where we will move on.  In fact, this time last year I thought I was at that point.  It didn’t feel like I was ‘giving up’, it felt like I was starting to move on in a different direction.  I spent what felt like weeks and weeks in counselling sessions saying that I thought I would ok if we didn’t continue with treatment, but seemingly going round in circles, probably trying to convince myself that it was the truth.  We hadn’t had any treatment for 12 months & I was feeling the best I had done for a long time.  It turns out that I wasn’t quite ready to move on.  Something was telling us both that we would regret it if we didn’t have at least one more cycle of IVF.  It was a joint decision to find a new clinic and have more treatment.  It was the right decision for us.  Just as the decision right now to have further treatment with the embryos that we have frozen is also the right decision.

I went into the last frozen transfer with a renewed hope and positivity.  I am afraid of treatment, but that is because I know the reality of what it feels like and what the drugs do to me.  Yet, I am still willing to try.

Seeing 2 lines for the first time in 12 years truly was one of the best days of our lives together.  The day I started to bleed was one of the worst days of our lives together.  Being pregnant and then miscarrying has made our grief and sadness so much deeper that it has ever been before, but it has also given us renewed hope that one day somebody may call us ‘mum and dad’.  Should we ‘give up’ on that now?  Yes I am sad, I am angry, I think why me, I have no explanation as to why 6 transfers haven’t worked and why 1 did work and then didn’t continue to develop.  There is a place in my heart for all 13 embryos and there always will be.  I will always think of the dates that they would have been here with us and how old they would be now.  That will never leave me.  I know that 17th November will be etched on my brain and in my heart forever.  We have been through a lot, maybe if I was reading this story I too would be asking why we ‘keep going’.  And yet we are not ready to move on.  Our last cycle did the opposite, it gave us hope that at least one our 5 remaining embryos may actually stick around for the duration.  Whilst I know I am in the depths of sadness right now, I also know that in time it will lessen and I will be ready to transfer another of our embryos.  And as I keep being told, hope is everything.

Maybe its easier for those around us if we ‘give up’?  Of course it probably would be, they wouldn’t have to ride the roller coaster that we ride with each cycle, they too could get off.  Maybe they have ‘given up’ on us after all this time.  That’s ok too.  I get it, our story is now getting a little boring.  We don’t have a baby for all of our efforts, the reality is we may never have one.  It is probably hard for those people around us to watch us each time we are plunged to the depths of sadness and hope that we crawl ourselves out of it.  Each time we do.  It perhaps scares people that I may drift to a place of darkness.  Just because the tears are flowing and I feel sad right now for what might have been, it doesn’t mean that I am going to get to the same place I did before.  I got there because I didn’t cry or talk about it.  The fact that I am is a good thing.  It means I am dealing with it and not burying it.  How many times can we go through this?  To that there is no answer, I know that we will know when it’s time to move on.  I wonder if people would like me to say I’ve given up so that I can somehow forget what we have been through the past 10 years and just ‘get on’ with life?  I will never forget any of it.  I am changed.  I am different to most people that I know in the real world.  Infertility and our journey means that I always will be.  I have accepted this, I just hope one day that others can also accept this about me.

So, please don’t ask if it is time we gave up or if I’m ready to give up…when it is time for us to move on, we will let you know.

S&C Header

Small Steps

The last few weeks I have struggled, swinging from being ok to being completely grief stricken.  My stress levels have been building, my anxiety has sky rocketed and have just generally felt rubbish.

Last weekend I had to pee on a stick to check that my body had ‘dealt with’ the miscarriage.  Staring at a negative test filled me with so many emotions, sadness that it was finally over, anger that we had to go through this, panic that we may never see two lines again and fear about what comes next.  The clinic called me a day later to check that I had a negative test.  The nurse talked about a follow up appointment, apparently it would be something to look forward to.  I corrected her, in a nice way of course.  I am forever disappointed, yet not surprised, by the lack of empathy and support that clinics show to patients.  I still haven’t been asked if I would like to speak to a counsellor.  Maybe it’s not in the script, who knows.  Its pretty poor though.  All they seem interested in is when I go back for a follow up and for another transfer.  Basic support seems to be lacking.  It really needs to change.

I have days where I feel generally ok.  Work is completely manic at the moment but at least it means the time passes quickly.  What is also means is that my stress levels are through the roof.  I have been working long hours just to try and keep things under control.  I haven’t been eating properly.  I wake up early worried about things.  I have pain in my back and shoulders.  All of these are my stress indicators.  I can hear them screaming at me to stop.  I cannot stop.  I feel a huge sense of responsibility to do the job to the best of my ability.  I suppose work is a great distraction, but at the same time I am also very aware that we are hoping to do another FET in the next 8 weeks and being in a state of high stress is not going to help me one bit.  In fact, I wouldn’t cope with it and so I cannot allow it to continue.  I can also feel myself hurtling towards the point of another panic stricken breakdown.  Last weekend I had moments of feeling like I did when I hit rock bottom.  For most of the day I felt the same way that I did on that fateful Sunday in December 2015 when I knew I couldn’t carry on as I was.  It was a scary place to be.  I never want to go back there.  I am determined not to.  So, it is time for some self care.  I need to try and re-balance things.  Easier said than done.

Alone

In the aftermath of the last treatment cycle, I feel alone.  I am surrounded by people and yet there are times when I feel completely alone.  Our latest cycle only added to the desire for a family.  I feel like I have been pushed back 5 years in our journey as the yearning for a family throws me back into the depths of feeling empty, feeling like something is missing and feeling that I am so far apart from those around me that I just can’t connect with anyone.  I thought I had moved on from these feelings, but I suppose it just shows how quickly it can all come flooding back.  A family was within reach, we had done it…but no, a cruel twist of something came and snatched it away from us.  And once again I am left with a heart smashed into a thousand pieces.  People struggle to say the right thing.  People struggle to say anything.  Someone dared suggest that at least now I know I can get pregnant…just no.  On so many levels, just no.  I understand the sentiment but no, not right now.  I am plagued by the feelings infertility brings, right now it will not leave me.  I know in time I will move forward.  I have done it before and I will do it again.

 

Lots of people have asked us when we will do another cycle.  I swing from wanting to do it as quickly as possible because I want to be pregnant and have a baby, to never wanting to put us through it again.  The thought of hormone patches, scans, injections, steroids and an embryo transfer fills me with utter dread.  I have always been filled with hope when we knew we were having FET.  Now I am filled with fear.  Maybe it is too soon to be thinking about it, but I can’t dwell on what has happened last time.  I need to find the strength to move forward.  Grief will come and go.  We all reach the point at different times of knowing when we are ready to go again.  If we get to June and I’m not ready, I won’t do it.

For now, it is small steps to start to prepare.  I have started to walk the dog more often, the fresh air definitely helps with the stress levels.  It will hopefully help me get rid of a few pounds that I put on during our last cycle too.  I need to address the stress issues at work and this time I will not be consumed by it, but it is easier said than done.  I have booked an acupuncture session in 2 weeks time.  I didn’t do it with the last FET but I think it may help my anxiety levels.  We have a follow up appointment at the clinic at the beginning of May.  I’m not expecting them to change anything but we can’t cycle again without the follow up.  All chocolate is removed from the house, healthy eating starts again from now.  Today I have started my vitamins again.  Small steps indeed.  But important ones.

steps-in-the-right-direction-life-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures

I need to try and work through the fear and reach a place of hope.  This quote sums it up perfectly:

“Never let fear make decisions for you.  Try to make life choices from a hope-filled perspective, as this will give you the greatest potential of achieving a happy life” 

Zoe Clark-Coates, Saying Goodbye  

The next few weeks will be key for me in deciding what to do next, more treatment or not.  All I can do is take each day as it comes, look after myself, be kind to myself and know that it will get easier with time.  The moments of grief will pass, the emptiness will lessen and I will find a way to move forward positively.  I have to.

You are not alone

Endings…& New Beginnings

Two weeks ago I felt like my life was falling to pieces and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  In my last post I wrote about surviving the first seven days after my miscarriage.  Another week has passed and still the grief hits me in waves.  I have also felt the anger come to the surface.  The questions that no-one can answer, why me? why us? why did this happen?  In reality, we will never know why.  All we do know is that we have been through so much in the last 10 years since being given our infertility diagnosis, I really don’t know how much more we can take.

For the last week, each morning when I left the house for work I have cried.  It starts when I tell our puppy, J, that mummy loves him.  I haven’t stopped saying it, I have said it to him since the day we had him, just now it seems more loaded.  I know one day it won’t bring the tears, but for now, it does and that’s ok.  My grief, my tears are an expression of love.

Grief

The loss, the grief, the hope that gives us nothing but heartache, the sadness, the tears, the anger, the feeling of being broken, the emptiness, the sheer exhaustion of it all.  In the immediate days after our loss, I wondered if I would ever be able to put me and us through it again.  Sometimes I feel done.  I can take no more.  Then I think about the 5 embryos that we have frozen, the embryos that we created (with a lot of help from the embryologists of course) and I know I cannot walk away from them.  I also know that it has changed me, just as infertility changed me, this too has left a mark on me that will last forever.  I know I have already started to move forward.  But I will never forget.

Each day feels a little easier and then it hits again.  But that’s ok.  We have tried to resume normal life.  We have even started to think about the future again, we have to otherwise what else do we have.  The FET cycle that we just went through is now over, it has ended.  It ended in the most awful way and I wish it hadn’t, but no matter how much I want to change it, I can’t.

 I am reminded that with endings, come the possibility of new beginnings.

New Beginnings

We have 5 more embryos waiting for us.  I need to start looking after myself again, getting healthy and basically I need to stop consuming my body weight in chocolate.  I have no idea how long it will be before I feel ready to go through another FET cycle, but I know I will get there.  And when I do, I need to be as healthy as possible.

We have a holiday booked so we can get some time away and hopefully some sunshine.  It will give us some time out and hopefully some space to heal.  To breathe.  To just be.

This week I finished my college course.  Another ending.  I have spent the last 6 months with some truly amazing people, all on their own paths, but all of us trying to reach the same end point of becoming counsellors.  I have been touched by each and every person in some way, the stories that they have shared and the safe space that was created so that I too could grow.  I feel lucky to have been on a learning journey with each of them.  Many of them are continuing to study together, my path is different.  So, I said a heartfelt goodbye to each and every one of them.  The tutor has held us together as a group, encouraged us, questioned us, guided us and most importantly has allowed us to just be us.  I feel privileged to have been taught by her.  She too has touched my life in a positive way and she has helped me to grow and flourish.  Saying goodbye to them all was hard, but I know in this course ending, we are all moving to a new, wonderful beginning.

It is 6 months until I start my university course and I can’t wait to get going!  Last week in the throws of sadness and anger I was going to withdraw from the course but with the dark clouds slowly clearing I can see that would be a huge mistake and if I want this I have to grasp the opportunity with both hands and give it my all.  No-one else is going to change my life, my career, only I can do that.

And so I have made progress.  I have bad moments, sad moments, angry moments, moments when I think depression is seeping back into my life.  But they are just that, moments.  Moments that pass.  Moments that are followed by brighter moments.  One day at a time, things are getting easier.  The miscarriage has changed me, why wouldn’t it?  I will never forget and I will never stop thinking about what might have been.  But I am digging deep to find the strength & courage to move forward.  It is all I can do to get through this.

S&C Header

From hope to heartbreak…

We transferred our embryo just over two weeks ago.  There is a reason the two week wait is also know as two weeks of hell.  During the last two weeks I have experienced more emotions than I ever thought possible.

The first few days of the two week wait I swung from ‘this can work’ to ‘this is never going to work’.  Two days in and I sat sobbing, saying that I’m never going to do this again, it is just too hard.  And then some positivity appeared.  But at the same time, I was gripped by fear.  All of the previous 6 cycles where it hasn’t worked kept coming back to haunt me.  The drugs probably playing havoc with me.  Oestrogen patches, progestrone injections, blood thinning injections, steroids, a conception vitamin pill and vitamin D became my daily routine.

I went for a counselling session 5 days after transfer.  I needed a sense of perspective and I needed to try to calm down.  I just couldn’t settle or concentrate on anything.  I talked things through.  It became apparent that my anxiety levels were sky high and I needed to try to take back some control.  Most of all I needed to breathe.  I came away from the session feeling much lighter, I had been able just to talk about living through another two week wait.  How hard this time is and how much it messes with every single part of you.  The will it work, wont it work, playing over and over, like a broken record.

6 days post transfer I was in the shower and I felt a sudden wave of nausea.  This was new.  By this point in previous cycles I had started to bleed.  So far, no bleeding.  I got through the day with something in the back of my mind niggling at me…this may have actually worked.

7 days post transfer and I caved and did a pregnancy test.  The First Response was calling my name…shouting pee on me from the bathroom cabinet.  And so I did.  Slowly but surely a faint second line appeared.  For the first time in 12 years of trying to have a baby I saw a second line, a positive test.  I took it to show hubby, just to check I wasn’t seeing things.  Nope, there was a definite second line.  Hubby cried, I just stood there completely numb.  This had actually happened.  I’m really not sure how I got through the day.  All of a sudden, hope had returned.  I was pregnant.

We were cautiously happy.  I was completely in shock.  I was also expecting it to end any second. I continued to test each day, knowing we were still 5 long days until the official test date.  Anything could happen, there were no guarantees that it would continue.  Over the coming days the second line appeared quicker and darker each time.  10 days post transfer I braved a digital test.  I have only ever seen the words Not Pregnant and part of me was expecting to see them again.  Still no bleeding, feeling more nauseous I took the test.  Then words I never expected to see appeared…Pregnant…closely followed by the words 2-3 weeks.  Holy shit.  The test the next day was also positive, as was the one on official test date.

I made the phone call to the clinic.  The nurse asked me what the result was…positive I replied.  I wanted to burst.  This was actually happening for us.  She booked us in for a scan for 3 weeks time.  Now, we just had to get through the next three weeks.  We moved from the torture of the two week wait to a new torture of the three week wait.  Not sure how we were going to get through but finally it felt like this was going to happen.  Cautiously happy but we were now starting to get a little bit excited that we would be having a baby in the middle of November. 10 years after being told that we would just need a little help to get pregnant, it finally felt like our dream was within reach.  I went for another counselling session.  It was clear that I was in shock.  Although it was the outcome we both wanted more than anything, I never actually believed it would happen.  I talked about all of the things I feared, most of all I feared that this wouldn’t end well and that I would be broken once more.  As ever, the session provided some perspective.  I started to actually believe that this was happening.

Two days later at 14 days post transfer I did another test.  Clearly I had turned into a pee on a stick addict, but why not?  As much as I feared seeing a negative, I loved seeing the positive, the 2 lines or the words pregnant.  This time it said Pregnant 3+ weeks.  Eeeek things looked to be progressing as my HcG levels were rising.  I moved from living in a constant state of fear that I would start to bleed at any point, to living with some hope and happiness that we were finally going to become parents.

It’s frightening how 24 hours can change everything.

15 days post transfer at lunchtime, I went to the bathroom and I had started to spot.  My heart beat out of my chest, my stomach sank and I felt sick.  I knew this wasn’t a good sign.  15 minutes later and I had a huge gush of blood, bright red blood.  I rang my boss and told her I needed to go, I left the meeting I was in and drove home.  I cried all the way home.  I knew this was the start of the end.  How could this be happening?  Why me?  Why us?  What have we done to deserve this?  How can life be so cruel?  How are we going to get through this?

I managed to get hold of hubby on the phone.  There is something utterly devastating in having to tell the person that you love most in the world that our dream of a family is probably over.  I could barely speak for the tears that were flowing.  My heart felt like it had been ripped out.  Hubby phoned the clinic and they asked me to go in for a blood test.  I would then need to go for another one 2 days later to see if the Hcg levels were rising or dropping.  The bleeding had subsided and was now back to spotting, but still I knew it wasn’t right.

Blood test taken, no false hope from the nurse, simply a time will tell type conversation. Back home we just couldn’t speak.  Dr Google became my new best friend but also my worst enemy.  So many stories of pregnancies progressing even with spotting.  I couldn’t grab onto that hope.  I needed to be realistic.  I started to send the message out to those few people who knew we had a positive result to prepare them for the worst.  Those closest to us clearly as devastated by the news as we were.  I hate that we keep putting people through all of this loss and grief.  Its just too hard.

The next day the bleeding had definitely turned to very light spotting.  OK, so maybe things could be ok.  The clinic called, my Hcg levels were at 3000, which for 5 weeks pregnant is in the middle of the normal range.  The nurse said we would need to carry on with the drugs, take another blood test tomorrow and hope that the bleeding stayed to the minimum but it would just be a matter of seeing how it goes over the next few days.  As the phone went down, I felt utterly deflated.

Within 10 minutes of the phone call, I had the most horrendous period pain.  I knew it was over, I knew what was coming next.  An hour later, I was literally pouring with bright red blood & I started to pass huge clots.  It is definitely over.  Whilst we wait for the blood test to confirm, in my heart I know it is over.   I have never felt so broken in my entire life.  The tears just keep coming and coming.

Embryo 13 on transfer cycle number 7 hasn’t survived.  Our hearts are literally shattered.  I do not even know how we start to grieve, to heal or to start to recover.  I have no idea where our strength will come from to get through the coming hours, days, weeks and months.  There are no words.

To our bean…for the very short time you were with us, we loved you more than we ever thought possible and more than you will ever know. 

You will be in our hearts forever xx 

Miscarriage