The need to return Weight Loss Wednesday

Here I am again! Weight Loss Wednesday returns and boy is it needed. I didn’t weigh myself the whole way through the IVF cycle so we can blame the drugs, the isotonic drinks, the high protein diet, the inability to walk anywhere due to the sheer exhaustion of down regulating hell and of course the chocolate which to be honest going through the hell of IVF should just be prescribed alongside the drugs!

None of this of course was good for my waistline that’s for sure. I had last entered my weight on my app the day before IVF started and got back on the scales the day of my official test day and this was the rather embarrassing result.

IMG_8843.JPG I had expected to gain weight but tbh I’m a bit disgusted with myself at that weight gain. It also threw my weight back up again over the IVF target weight for the clinic so if it stayed that way it would mean I wouldn’t be eligible for treatment again. It was only 4.5lbs over so achievable enough to get it back down before my follow up appointment.

So back to my old faithful Slimming world and up with the challenging myself to more steps on my fitbit. This week I’ve managed

IMG_8863.JPG I have been trying to make myself move more and get my motivation back and I’m feeling quite good for it.

IMG_8861.JPG I’m happy with this as my first week back, especially seeing as we have had visitors, dinners out, wine and our wedding anniversary all in this week.

Only one pound to get back to my IVF target!

Claire

Official test day ~ IVF

Well today was official test day, the day that was given to us with much excitement two weeks ago, God is that all it was, it feels like months ago now with all the emotional rollercoaster we’ve been on since we knew the cycle failed.

Anyway, despite knowing it failed, even I’m not delusional enough to think that what I had last week was anything but my period. We still had to pee on a stick this morning and call the result into the clinic. I don’t take pregnancy tests, I’ve only done two the whole three years of trying so to take one this morning knowing 100% I wasn’t pregnant was weird to say the least. Of course the result was just as I was expecting.

IMG_8827.JPG BFN ~ Big Fat Negative in fertility speak.

Surprisingly I was okay with it, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything else and the thought of doing it was far worse than actually doing it. I made the call to the clinic with a fake smile plastered on and got the we’re very sorry, there’s nothing else that can be said is there? I’ve asked to be booked in for a follow up appointment. I would like to speak with the consultant on whether there are some parts of my protocol that can be changed for our final attempt on the NHS. I know there are no real answers to why it failed but I want to throw everything at the next cycle. I have lots of questions about this one that I’m hoping they can at least attempt to give some sort of answers too even if it isn’t clear cut.

I’ve come to terms with it and we are going to take some time out to remember who we are in the middle of all this. We can still try naturally which is one positive of ‘unexplained infertility’ and that will be our plan for a while. Not this month though, this month is just about us…

IMG_8828.JPG

Claire xx

The IVF two week wait that never was.

IMG_8532.JPGImage Credit

This post shouldn’t have been going live until next week, I had planned on giving a run down of how I kept myself sane, things I did and the run down of ‘progesterone pregnancy symptoms’

Instead my two week wait only lasted for 7 days as on the morning of 8dp5dt (8 days post 5 day transfer) I started spotting. Hit like a ton of bricks with the heart pounding/stopping moment, this couldn’t be happening, my test date wasn’t for another 6 days but it was happening and with a heavy heart I went to tell my husband. I very rarely see him cry but today has put an end to that and to be honest I don’t know what’s harder, seeing him devastated or being devastated myself.

IMG_8742.JPG All I could do was apologise, I know in my heart that this is not my fault but it’s my body therefore it feels like it’s my fault.
Why did my body reject the embryo?why did my period start so early?
what the hell is wrong with me when everyone keeps telling me there is nothing bloody wrong with me!!
What the hell do I need to do to make this work?

I’m angry and I’m sad, no matter what small percentage that they give you for IVF success you want to be in that percentage, you want to hope that you are one of the lucky ones and why wouldn’t we think that when there is nothing wrong with us?! Over the course of the day the bleeding got heavier, I couldn’t kid myself on that this was anything other than the end of this cycle. To be hit with failure even when you always knew it could happen but didn’t want to dwell on it just winds you. It leaves you numb and just in disbelief. Why could it not be us that were one of those lucky works first time IVF’ers? But we’re not….

I know I’m not the only one that this has happened to and I know I won’t be the last. I also know that there is just as much chance of this happening when we get round to cycle number 2 whenever that may be.

IMG_8744.JPG But within the pain we are feeling we have to pick ourselves up again, we have to believe that one day we will be successful.

Infertility is a soul sucking shit of a evil thing, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone

IMG_8745.JPG

Thank you to each and every one of you, for reading my blog, for tweeting me, for texting and asking after me every step of this journey. You will never know how much every one of you have helped me and I can never repay you but I want you to know it did and does mean the world to me, thank you.

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ September Edition

Some of the small things that have made me happy over the last month.

IMG_8512.JPG
Flat out Schanuzers

IMG_8529.JPG There has been plenty of daring to believe this month.

IMG_8537.JPG Sneaky little winter sun holiday breaks booked.

IMG_8555.JPG Important votes cast.

IMG_8563.JPG There was a mammoth meeting of Schnauzers at the beach.

IMG_8571.JPG New colourful crochet hooks purchased.

IMG_8575.JPG Wet but nice dog walks.

IMG_8591.JPG Amazing new chocolate found.

IMG_8604.JPG Sunday morning Starbucks enjoyed.

IMG_8624.JPG Sunshine and autumn leaves canal walks.

IMG_8646.JPG There were amazing cupcakes and best friend meet ups.

IMG_8660.JPG There has been plenty of wearing this and believing miracles can happen.

IMG_8681.JPG And Schnauzer sunny shadows.

September has been a hard month emotionally but we got through it and despite everything else that has been going on its great to look back at all the small things that have helped to keep me going and put a smile on my face.

Claire xx

Our IVF journey at Ninewells Dundee ~ Egg transfer

Well after a very stressful couple of days we made it back to Dundee for transfer day. We had had the call from the embryologist on day 3 and it wasn’t the news we had been hoping for. Of the seven that fertilised, four had not developed any further than 2-3 cells so were discarded and it was gutting. Of the other three, only one was graded as good with the other two being okay but not as good as they would like on day 3. It was like being kicked in the stomach, telling my husband was devastating. Would we even have one left on transfer day? Dundee culture all embryos to day 5 in the hope that they get to blastocyst stage which is the top quality embryo. This is good as hopefully you will get a great looking embryo at the end but it also means you run a very high chance of losing a lot of embryos that don’t manage to make it to day 5 and that’s what happened to us.

IMG_8531.JPGImage Credit

The day before transfer and waiting to meet with the embryologist was one of the most nerve wracking times I’ve had. I kept repeating to myself we would have one to transfer and one was enough, it was all in my power to get rid of the bad thoughts that maybe we had none….it wasn’t helped by the embryologist being slightly delayed to do our consultation. Every negative thought I had was creeping back in then.

Finally after what felt like weeks to us but was in fact only 20mins we went to meet with the embryologist to discuss how the embryos were looking and to find it if we had any to transfer. To hear the words as the door closed ‘it’s okay, it’s good news’ was more than a relief. I could have cried there and then with the relief. We only had one worth discussing for transfer but it was looking good. Embryos are graded and we had one good looking grade 4ab little blastocyst! The others really weren’t good enough to transfer back and he really didn’t think they would increase our chances of getting pregnant so it was recommended that we just put our one blasto back, which we agreed.

Thankfully I didn’t need to wait to long to go into the transfer room as the full bladder needed was starting to get a little uncomfortable. My husband did a good job of taking my mind of it, even if it meant giggling at him in his scrubs and hat for transfer. Everyone in the transfer room were lovely and put me at ease. I hadn’t read to much about transfer point so wasn’t sure what to expect. It was more uncomfortable than I thought it would be and must have been pulling some faces as my husband was telling me to squeeze is arm as much as I needed to. Oops.

Thankfully transfer doesn’t take to long and we got to watch it all on the ultrasound. Not that there is much to see, the embryo is that tiny that the only visible part is when it is released from the catheter and a small white speck appears on the screen then quickly disappears. If you weren’t watching and didn’t believe the consultant when he pointed it out you could be forgiven in thinking everyone had lost the plot.

However as it’s the first ultrasound of what will hopefully be our first baby I’m going to share with you our tiny little speck.

IMG_8666.JPG

It was an emotional time, I think it was everything coming together, knowing that you have this fertilised little egg back on board, that we managed to get here, that we were in with a chance, it was all overwhelming and when we got back to the room we both hugged each other so tightly and both cried. It’s such a surreal feeling, we did joke that this is the most pregnant I have ever been and I’m now PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) * infertility speak* Now we wait……

Snuggle in tight blasto baby.

C xx

Our IVF journey at Ninewells Dundee ~ Egg Collection

My second progress scan showed a good improvement in my follies from the scan 3 days before. I still only had the two on my left ovary but they were now up to 16mm each and my right had 1 x 20mm, 3 x 18mm, 1 x 17mm, 1 x 16mm, 1 x 14, 1 x 13mm & 2 x 10mm which was a great improvement on the Friday.

I had to wait on a call back from the clinic after my results were reviewed and that came around lunchtime. We were good to go for collection and it was booked in for Wednesday morning.

IMG_8631.JPG I was instructed to take my trigger shot at 11pm which was 35.5 hours before the planned collection and told to fast from the midnight before. All of my other Injections were to stop which meant that I got an Injection free day the day before collection.

We had to be on the ward at 8.15am so it was a very early start to do the 1 1/4 hour journey up there. No food from midnight the night before and I was only allowed up to 250ml of clear fluid before 7am.

We got to the ward at 8.10am and were quickly shown to our bed space. It was a hive of activity then, getting booked in, meeting the consultant, getting prepped for theatre and meeting with the embryologist. Everyone was so nice and put us at ease from the minute we walked in. I was third on the list so we had a little bit of a wait but not too long, luckily I had brought some magazines so we read those to pass the time.

Suddenly it was my turn and I was wheeled of to the theatre and hubby was sent to the men’s room to do his bit. I can’t remember much of this part, Dundee use deep sedation which I was told was a level down from a general anaesthetic, before I went in I was told that I would answer questions if I was asked them but wouldn’t recall any of it and boy is that true! I can remember a slight pain then the next thing was I was in the corridor being wheeled back with them telling me I had talked throughout and told them all about the blog! It’s as well I’ve not said any bad things.

Once back on the ward area my stats were checked and we were told we got nine eggs, we were really happy with that as the consultant in the morning had estimated it at 7. I was a little uncomfortable, like a bad period pain, I had been given some pain relief in theatre but did eventually ask for some paracetamol as well which helped ease the cramps.

IMG_8645.JPG After some tea and toast (much needed) and a couple of glasses of water I felt good enough to get up and moving about. Before discharge I just needed to make sure I could go to the bathroom with no issues, which was fine and we were good to go, along with a big bag of progesterone pessaries…..nice! I was instructed to use one that night then one every day up until our official test day. And we were on our way home to await the call from the embryologist the next day to let us know how many fertilised.

I was uncomfortable for the rest of the night so I spent most of it dosing on the sofa with a hot water bottle attached to my tummy which really did help. My husband was great looking after me and making sure I still kept up with my water intake. I was still very bloated and that continued on the day after but thankfully 2 days post egg collection I don’t feel the size of a house. Thankfully I have no signs of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome which was always in the back of my mind and I feel back to myself today.

We got a call nice and early the day after egg collection to say that 7 out of our 9 eggs have fertilised so we were both very happy about that. They will check them again on day 3 and give us a call to let us know how many are continuing to grow and to give us a time for egg transfer on day 5. The clinic aim to do all transfers on day 5 and will discuss with us on that day how they are looking again. They aim to do a single embryo transfer only if any have managed to get to the top level but if they haven’t then we may need to be discussing if we want to return more than one. This of course would increase the risk of twins so I think we have some discussing to do incase this is what happens!

Claire xx

Our IVF journey at Ninewells Dundee ~ Stimming

IMG_8533.JPGImage Credit

Yay we made it onto stimming, baseline scan at the end of down regulating went well, both ovaries were inactive and lining was thin so we did some injection training for the stimming drugs. It comes in an auto injector pen which I had never used before but after a quick demo by the nurse I felt confident enough. This is where my nurse training really comes in, yes giving myself the injections has been odd but the actually medical side of it all means I’m taking that part in my stride.

IMG_6347.JPG. I have been started on 150 of Gonal F. I’m not sure if this is the norm or not but from what I’ve seen it might be classed as a lower dose which I think is probably due to my high AMH. My clinic advise you to take your stimming medications in the evening so I’ve decided on 7.30pm, it seems to be when will fit in better for me and gives me a nice 12 hour gap between the two injections.

I had read so much about stims helping people feel better from the side effects of Down Regulating and I’d hoped it would for me too. It did, for the first day or two at least, even letting me have some motivation to plan things for the two week wait but it hasn’t lasted and day 4 of stimming was awful. I really struggled at work, constantly not feeling with it which is not good when trying to recall things and sort out other peoples problems, feeling exhausted, tearful and agitated. Not a good mix! And the bloat, let’s not forget the bloat, my tummy feels as hard as a rock and I look about 3 months pregnant every night. It does get worse at night and is mostly away in the morning so it’s definitely bloating. Am I selling it to you yet? Now is the time that you repeat the mantra *it’s all for a good reason **repeats all day.

Water and isotonic drinks are now my new best friend

IMG_0977.JPG Every one on twitter and the fertility forums are all for the drinking lots and lots of water and isotonic drinks, not just through stimming but through Down Regulating as well. It seems to be recommended for the fluid nourishing the eggs, for rehydration, helping headaches and it has been reported to help prevent Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome I’m trying to drink at least 2litres of water a day and one isotonic drink so along with bloating, I’m constantly running to the loo too, the price we pay for stimming!

One of the other things that is meant to help is a hot water bottle on your tummy to gently heat the area and encourage the follicles to grow. Now whether this works or not I don’t know but my pink furry friend is now joining me on the sofa for a while every night after my injection.

IMG_0979.JPG Even if it doesn’t encourage follicles to grow it does help with feeling that bit more comfortable in the evening. I can’t actually find any evidence to support using heat to encourage follicles to grow but it doesn’t appear to hurt either.

One of the things I wasn’t expecting so I thought it would be good to mention it here was getting EWCM and boy did I get it. Enough to send me into a bit of a panic that I was going to ovulate before I even managed to get to my scan. After a quick panic stop tour of Dr Google it appears that this is very normal and people even experience more than they would usually do on an unmedicated cycle. My clinic want you to stim for around 9-10 days on average with a progress scan booked in for day 8.

IMG_8603.JPG I had hoped for a good response at my first scan but was disappointed. The clinic though did tell me things were fine but I needed to stim for another couple of days and get rescanned in a further two days. I only had two follies on my Left ovary at 10mm & 12mm and 2 small and five on my Right ovary, 3 x 13mm & 2 x 12mm along with 4 small. The clinic need them to be around the 18mm mark before they want to trigger but they were hopeful that at my next scan they would be ready and egg collection could get booked in. It will be the full 10 days stimming for me then!

Claire xx

Our IVF journey at Ninewells Dundee ~ Down Regulating Part 2

You can read about the first 10 days of down regulating here.

Day 11 ~

Working today, no real change in my ear, suppose I had hoped it would suddenly just clear up but it hasn’t. I had a bit of a melt down last night, just felt so overwhelmed and emotional about everything. I’m scared this is all going to be in vain and I’ll end up with this hearing problem & tinnitus forever. Have been having some cramping on and off so would be expecting AF to turn up soon. Second injection went well today to but boy am I exhausted and my head is killing me

Day 12 ~

Bad headache all day not lifting with water, really don’t want to take paracetamol. Very strong cramps overnight and AF arrived late last night. Glad it’s arrived in a way though as I had been worried as the clinic had said it should arrive within a week of starting. Struggled with injection this morning, think it was because I was so tired and feeling like I’d been hit by a bus when I got up. Even managed to accidentally stab myself in the finger…ooops.

Day 14 ~

Today has not been a good day, started off with a really bad headache which I relented and took paracetamol for which did help. I’m still really pushing myself to drink at least 2 litres of water a day which I think does really help. I’ve just felt so exhausted today, like overwhelmed by it. I had to have a rest in the car at lunch time, I didn’t manage to sleep but it did feel better to rest for a while. Though over the afternoon I felt really nauseous and the headache came back. I ended up coming home from work a bit early and slept for 1.5 hours, even after that I still felt exhausted. Really hoping for a better day tomorrow! Only slight change in my ear, I was really hoping it would be back to normal by now but I suppose when I think about it why would it be when it’s a listed side effect of Buserelin not just the nasal spray.

Despite the side effects I’m still trying to be positive, to focus on the good things and to continue to choose hope.

IMG_7703.JPG

Day 17

I’m starting to count down to stims now. Hopefully when I get my baseline scan in a few days we can get a plan in place to start the stimulation phase and get an estimated date for egg collection. I’ve not really allowed myself to think too much about this part and I’m still trying not too as there is so much that can go wrong in this part in terms of cancelled cycles, not responding etc. It’s all a little to much for my fluffy side effect of Down regulating brain to take in! I’m just hoping that stims helps take away some of this exhaustion.

IMG_8530.JPG

Day 19 ~

Today is the first day I can really hold my hands up and say that I am a hormonal wreck. Angry, irritable, tearful, you name it. Not a pleasant day and I must hold my hands up to my husband not reacting to me being a snippy cow. I have been worried about the scan coming up, I had my AF around day 10 for 4 days but since then I have had breakthrough spotting/bleeding on and off. I hope this doesn’t mean my lining isn’t thin enough to start Stims

Day 21 ~

Baseline scan day. Both ovaries inactive, lining of womb thin enough to start. No issues! Did speak with nurse about the spotting after my period and it’s quite common, she said it meant things were working well and the scan showed that.
So we got our next set of injections, a prefilled injector pen this time so we had a quick demo and got the instructions for dosage written down along with booking in my action scan for next week to see how my
Follicles are growing. Tomorrow will be just continuing on the Buserelin injections and then on Day 23 I will start adding in stimulation injections using 150mg Gonal F. Keeping positive.

Claire xx

Random acts of kindness in a world of a lot of pain

People never cease to amaze me and since being open about our fertility struggles the way that people have supported us and willed us on has been amazing! The support from my twitter & forum friends have been second to none, yes I have never met them but they are my friends none the less, these girls get me more than I can imagine and I have been so lucky/overwhelmed/appreciative of the little things that they have done for me over these last few years.

I wanted to do this post to show how random acts of kindness are the best and to show you how these lovely ladies surprise me time and time again and of course to thank each and every one of you who have supported/willed us on and continue to do so. I’m so happy that I decided to share our infertility issues. It’s good to share!

IMG_8526.JPG A hug in a card from the lovely Kirsty arrived just when I needed it the most.

IMG_8527.JPG A sign of hope from the amazing Janine, this now hangs from my fridge where I look at it every morning and remember to have hope.

IMG_8529.JPG Daring to believe book filled full of positive quotes from my amazing Sister. This sits on my desk at work giving me a gentle reminder each day.

IMG_8528.JPG This arrived in the post one day totally taking me by surprise, it’s from a very old friend who I discovered was in a very similar boat to me. Infertility is a very small world and only by being open about it have I found out there are so many people that I know going through this.

IMG_8520.JPG The amazing Jo, a girl I met on Babyandbump right back when we were waiting to try and have become firm friends ever since sent me some real life ‘baby dust’ and a lovely card to put in my IVF positive corner.

IMG_8543.JPG These gorgeous ear rings were sent to me by my sister.

I want to thank each and every one of you, for every tweet, every virtual hug, for every blog comment, for thinking of me when I needed it the most and I want to thank you all just for being you! It is helping me more than you can imagine.

IMG_8545.JPG

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ August Edition

Some of the small things that have made me happy over the last month.
IMG_8221.JPG There has been a week spent in the South of Ireland

IMG_8234.JPG Seaside visits

IMG_8242.JPG Quality time spent together.

IMG_8265.JPG Visits to wildlife parks for first birthdays.

IMG_8273.JPG First birthday celebrated and cakes eaten.

IMG_8325.JPG Old fashioned sweet shops visited.

IMG_8339-0.JPG Irish house blessings bought for the hallway.

IMG_8352.JPG Schnauzer loom bands given.

IMG_8349-0.JPG Picnics at the beach.

IMG_8355.JPG Seafront dog walks.

IMG_8379.JPG Football stadiums toured.

IMG_8381.JPG Dinners out and wine enjoyed.

IMG_8388.JPG Blow out pizza and movie night to finish our holidays.

IMG_8389.JPG Shaggy dogs appearing.

IMG_8426.JPG Peaceful coffees enjoyed.

IMG_8432.JPG Medication started

IMG_8446.JPG Disney movies watched.

IMG_8474.JPG Loch’s walked around.

IMG_8476.JPG Non shaggy dog reappeared!

What are the small things you have enjoyed this month?

Claire xx

1 2 3 20