Our IVF journey at Ninewells Dundee ~ Down Regulating – Part 1

I decided when I started down regulating to keep a diary of my thoughts and feelings, this post is a change from my normal style and is written in a diary style. I also figured that this part might be long so I have spilt it up so not to bore you all completly.

Day 1 ~

It’s 7 am on Thursday morning and today is the day that down regulating begins. I set all the alarms on my phone last night. It took me a while and a little internet delving to figure out good times to take it. The instructions only say spilt evenly during wakened hours. I decided to go with

IMG_8427.PNG these are the best times for me as I’ll be at home for at least three doses normally which makes it so much easier.

IMG_8432-0.JPG First sniff done, it’s not as vile as I was expecting, not nice either but I ate something quite quickly after it and the taste went away fairly fast.

Day 3 & 4 ~

Exhaustion beyond anything I’ve felt before, feels like a hangover without the alcohol x 20! Mild headaches all weekend that just won’t shift. Hoping this is my body getting used to it. Struggling to do much around the house, hard to motivate myself. Kept having to sit down on dog walk like I was an old woman. Twitter army all suggested ensuring in drinking at least two litres of water a day which really helped with the headaches.

Have been having ear trouble since day 2, thought it was wax or congestion but nothing clearing it. Wondering if it could be related to the nasal spray?

Day 5 ~

First day at work since the side effects hit, felt spaced out, no concentration and nana naps are now the order of the day. Can only partially hear out of right ear, constant buzzing. Really worried if it’s a side effect they will stop cycle, not sure whether to contact the clinic or not?

Day 6

First mini melt down, thankfully was in the privacy of my own car. Just feel emotionally drained, fed up we are in this situation and worried about my ear. Need to read up on the side effects.

IMG_8466.JPG Ouch what a nice list of side effects. Interesting to see that hearing disturbances are listed as a side effect. Wonder though if I should just put up with it or report it?

Day 8 ~

Called the clinic this morning even if this is just a side effect I need to report it. It’s really starting to affect everyday life, work has been so difficult, especially if there is background noise at all. Clinic don’t seem to think it is but have agreed if I go to the GP to check no infection that they will switch me to injections to see if it makes a difference.
Still feeling exhausted, managing to get through work though afternoons are tough, feel like I have no concentration and have no interest in things I normally enjoy. One of the things I’m pleased about is the twitter suggestion of drinking lots of water as since starting the nasal spray I’ve been so thirsty! It’s also helping to keep away the headaches, I’m trying to take a bottle of water if I even feel a twinge which seems to be making a huge difference.

Day 9 ~

GP found nothing wrong with my ear yesterday, called the clinic back and again they don’t think that it is the nasal spray causing it but have agreed that I can switch to the injection form. This is not something I’ve taken a decision on lightly, I mean who would want to inject if they didn’t need to? Not me that’s for sure! I feel though that this problem only started when I took the nasal spray, I may be wrong and if it doesn’t clear up then we will have clear evidence that it wasn’t that but I have to try to do something!

IMG_8485.JPG So this is my new medication, same as the nasal spray but in injection form. We did brief injection training, I’m fine with drawing up and giving injections to others so it didn’t take long, it will just be a matter of learning to give them to myself! Which will be happening early tomorrow morning.

IMG_8486.PNG And a new alarm has been set. I was told to do this injection in the morning as when I start Stimming I will need to do that one at night time. So from now on it will be early morning rises for injections and I doubt I’ll get back to sleep after that. Lol

Day 10 ~

I set up my injecting area before I went to bed last night, I wanted it to be a positive place so I have my little book of strength sitting out in front of it. I love this little book, it is full of pretty designed quotes and always gives me a boost when I look at it. I also have my ‘believe’ bracelet sitting on the side. This was sent to me by an old friend who has been through this process too and I love it.

IMG_8487.JPG. So it’s time to do the injection, drawing it up was fine, suppose the bonus of my nurse training is I’m well used to drawing up injections and that part didn’t bother me. I wasn’t going to allow myself to dwell on it to much as I knew the longer I delayed the harder it would be. I put on some background music to distract myself a little, pinched an inch, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and put it in. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be either. I opened my eyes again obviously to see the plunger to put it in and that was it over and done with as quick as that.

IMG_8490.JPG the clinic told me I could either inject in the tummy or in my thighs. I choose my thighs this morning as I figured there is plenty of excess there and I shouldn’t feel it as much. I need to rotate the injection site each day which I think will be easier on my thighs. I’m just hoping that now the nasal spray is finished I’ll get rid of the ear problem.
All this ear problem and nerves about switching to the injection have made me not think too much about the other side effects which I suppose is good. I wanted to make sure they are written down though so I have a record of them. The tiredness still remains, it comes out of the blue at times as well, like yesterday in the car when I just had to close my eyes as I felt so tired, headachy and sick. My boobs also feel so heavy and about to burst if I don’t have my bra on. I lay on my front on the bed yesterday and that lasted all of two minutes! You do get a period at some point on DR so I’m figuring that this is the build up to that.

Claire xx

Reading about IVF

As I’ve said before I am a person who craves knowledge, I’m often found with my nose in a book researching things so naturally IVF has been no different.,

I started by ordering The Complete guide to IVF by Kate Brian

IMG_0967.JPG It got very good reviews on Amazon and it sounded like something I would benefit from and it hasn’t let me down. It’s easy to read and I find I have been able to dip in and out of it, only reading parts that were of interest to me at that time. Kate writes in a relaxed but informative manner and takes you right through the IVF process having been there twice herself she is more than experienced to share what IVF really entails. I would recommend it to anyone about to undertake IVF for the first time.

Jessica Hepburn’s The pursuit of Motherhood is a memoir of Jessica’s journey through infertility and treatment.

IMG_0965-0.JPG it is a heart breaking honest account of the ups and downs of infertility. It made me feel I wasn’t alone in this journey and at times like someone was reading my mind. Jessica has managed to capture all the thoughts and feelings of infertility in such a moving but sensitive way.

More recently I seen a newspaper article which linked to the books of Anne-Marie Scully so I downloaded them to my kindle.

IMG_0964.JPG Her first book Mother Hoodwinked is her infertility memoir. With heartbreaking honesty Anne-Marie takes you on her journey from her initial optimism and excitement at finally trying for a baby, through to her increasingly complex pregnancy plan. The book is funny and sad and again it was like someone was reading my mind at times. Anne-Marie manages to describe the process of IVF in great detail and got me to think about things totally differently than I had done.

She has also recently released another book Five Million Born A companion guide to IVF, this book aims to guide you through the steps of IVF. It explains everything you need to know about the different options available in a very clear and factual way, from getting funding (if needed) to ways to deal with the emotional & physical aspects of IVF. It’s very well written and again I have been able to dip in and out of it as I’ve felt the need. I would recommend it to anyone struggling with the trauma that is infertility.

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Do you have any other recommendations?

Claire xx

Weight Loss Wednesday

Hello,

My name is Claire and it’s been 6 weeks since my last weigh in…

And as predicted I’ve been bad! I weighed myself on Saturday after two weeks holiday and had gained 7lbs, a half a blooming stone. You would have thought I would have learned my lesson by now but I haven’t, I need to realise that I need to be following some kind of healthy eating plan at least in my head anyway or it all goes to pot.

I did get the kick up the ass I needed though and spent Saturday getting back into Slimming World mindset and menu planning for the rest of the week and I’m over the moon to report that today there was a loss on the scales!

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So hopefully that’s me back on track, now I need to keep it going whilst going through IVF.

From what I have read, lots of people seem to put on a good few pounds during IVF with the drug regime so I’m hoping with following slimming world I can do some damage limitation.

Claire xx

One Pan Salmon ~ Slimming World

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I found this recipe in one of my old slimming world magazines and adapted it a little for what I had at home.

Serves 2
Extra Easy ~ Free

Ingredients
250g baby potatoes, halved
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 yellow & 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into bite sized chunks
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 butternut squash, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 skinless salmon fillets
2 Tsp Italian herb seasoning
200ml vegetable stock
Fry light
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 220c. Put the potatoes, onions, carrots, butternut squash, peppers and garlic into a roasting tray. Pour in the stock and bake for 15minutes.

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Place the salmon on top, spray with fry light and sprinkle with the herb seasoning and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15minutes.

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Easy to make and even easier on the washing up!

Enjoy

Claire x

Our IVF journey ~ Fear, Anxiety, Apprehension

Less than a week to go until I start down regulating for our first ever IVF cycle and the anxiety is kicking in. I am a person who craves knowledge; I suppose it’s the need to be in control that takes over and having knowledge is having some control in my books anyway.

So with that I’ve finally started thinking about IVF and what it may mean to me. There are so many variables, not just the will it work or not but also the will the drugs effect me or not, down regulating appears to be no joke, you are suddenly attempting to switch off your ovaries and with that can come headaches, mood swings, extreme tiredness, hot flushes, low mood and even some reports of depression. A stuff of dreams…not! As much as you don’t want to think about all of this I need to, purely to know I can cope with whatever is thrown at me, to know I have thought about it really does help me even though this may not help others but that’s what makes us all unique isn’t it.

I think what is causing me most anxiety at the minute is the waiting, the unknown of what I’m getting myself into, the emotional side of IVF is the major hurdle in my view. You know that hopefully the effect of the drugs will only last a short while, that there is hope at the end that all this will result in a positive pregnancy test and eventually safe delivery of our baby.

But your emotions, they are a whole different story, happy, scared, anxious, cautious, positive, hopeful, low, strong to name but a few, swinging from one to another at the drop of a hat, never knowing what one is going to come next. Putting that brave face on, not only for others but for yourself but inside doubting your every move, second guessing yourself. It’s exhausting and I’ve no doubt it’s just going to get worse as we move through the IVF cycle. I need to acknowledge all this and by writing it all down it has really helped. I know that I have the strength to do this, no matter what the outcome is I can and I will get through the ups and downs of our first IVF cycle.

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Wish us luck

Claire xx

Homemade Personalised Bunting

Recently I was put in charge of decorations for a colleagues joint retirement and I put my printables Pinterest board to good use and decided to make some homemade personalised bunting.

I have pinned quite a few printable bunting’s but this one really jumped out at me for being nice and bright. You can get it here on the Ruffled Blog it is really easy to print off and has a few options for colours for the most used letters which really helped when the same letters run beside each other.

I found then extremely easy to cut out with them being traditional triangle shaped

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And very easy to string together, I just used a hole punch in each corner and used string.

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I was really impressed with the finished article and it took pride of place on the wall for their retirement party. The ladies loved it too and I will definitely be using it again to make personalised bunting for other parties.

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Claire xx

First birthday cake decorating

I decided or foolishly thought it would be easy to decorate a cake for my nephews first birthday – before I start, let me tell you it’s not and I’m now in total awe of cake decorators. But overall I am happy with what I achieved and hope that my brother and sister in law will be too.

I wasn’t brave enough to attempt to bake a cake and ice it myself so I cheated and bought this decorate your own cake from Sainsbury’s

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I also needed to buy some ready to roll icing to do the decorations with and some alphabet cutouts.

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I picked up this mould from Dunelm Mill which is really easy to use, you just need use a small amount of ready to roll icing and press into the mould.

20140801-140456-50696182.jpg it can be used over and over again and you would be able to come up with different designs for different cakes with it.

20140801-140556-50756898.jpg This is my attempt at the bunting, excuse my messy tray as a back drop! Each pattern came out well.

I had wanted to do the candles but the cake wasn’t deep enough so I went for multicoloured letters on top with bunting around the sides.

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I’m quite happy with the end result, yes it does have that homemade look about it, it is by no means perfect but I think for my first try it has turned out well. I am sure it will get a smile from my nephew on his Birthday.

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Happy 1st Birthday wee man.

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ July Edition

The small things that have made me happy over the month of July.

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There has been plenty of time spent at The Helix

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Freezing cold beers to ease stressful days

20140726-211801-76681364.jpg There have been maxi skirts, feet out and sunshine days

20140726-211941-76781128.jpg Exciting but nerve wracking post received

20140726-212046-76846097.jpg My first ever loom band bracelet made by my gorgeous niece.

20140726-212230-76950033.jpg Sneaky Schnauzers sitting on cushions and making me laugh.

20140726-212715-77235802.jpg Practicing for a cake for a very special little boy who is turning one next month.

20140726-212836-77316863.jpg Schnauzer’s the size of The Kelpies

20140726-213009-77409659.jpg Sunshine filled days spent in the garden

20140726-213148-77508788.jpg Schanuzer’s in paddling pools

20140726-213216-77536366.jpg Quality time spent together

20140726-213240-77560879.jpg Al fresco dining

20140726-213440-77680907.jpg One of the hottest days of the year falling on my days off.

20140728-075949-28789432.jpg it’s nearly Festival time in Edinburgh which means a run of preview shows in my home town for half the price.

20140801-080210-28930690.jpg Ending the last hour of my working day on the last day of the month doing this :)

Claire xx

IVF the next step ~ Ninewells Dundee

So we are still hurtling towards IVF, feeling somewhat out of control but somewhat in control now we have a start date.

We got our start pack through the post the second week in July, only three weeks after our initial appointment at Ninewells which I was very impressed with.

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Included in the pack was the Nasal spray Supercur I will be using this for 2/3 weeks from Day 21 of my next cycle to suppress my hormones. The information from the assisted conception unit says

Supercur is a nasal spray that suppresses the hormones controlling the ovary. This is referred to as down regulation.

Also in the pack was a treatment schedule

20140726-215627-78987090.jpg So we can have an idea of how things will pan out. We are on the standard protocol for Ninewells which is estimated to take a minimum of five weeks from starting Supercur to the date of egg collection, though of course the cycle of treatment can take longer for a variety of reasons.

At least this gives us something to plan for and we have been able to work out approximate dates for starting and the week of possible egg collection and transfer, which will help me to vaguely plan my caseload at work and plan for some time off. I’m not going to do anything about time off though until I see how I respond as obviously it depends on the first step going to plan to get the second step in place.  I still haven’t really figured out how I am going to manage work if I am honest, my line manager knows about the IVF and she will need to know when we are heading for treatment as my clinic is 2.5hrs round trip I will need to have time off to attend appointments, they are great though and have said I can have the time off with no issues.  My main issue will just be how to manage my caseload, especially if I have to do any extra hospital appointments/scans etc at the last minute which is highly likely.  I also would like to take time off for egg collection and between that and transfer date as my job can be very stressful I don’t want to be worrying about my patients and worrying about myself.  I am not sure though if I shoud attempt to book this as a holiday or to self certify for 5 days illness.  The issue with using holidays is the dates may change at very short notice and I’m not too sure how accomodating my work will be for that.  God I wish this was easier, you think that you have got over one hurdle to only be met with another and we haven’t even got to the hurdle that is the actual treatment yet!

Looking at all of this information has been a bit overwhelming, hence me not blogging about it for a while as I got my head around it and still now I can’t figure out how I am going to manage balancing work with IVF but I am sure that I will find a way.

Even though we have the pack, have the treatment plan, looking through it all, thinking about it all makes you think about how there are so many variables to even managing to get to egg collection point and that is scary. The control is being handed over to my body and science from here on in.  That gives me a little bit of relief in a way, no more counting the days waiting to ovulate on my own, checking my temperatures each morning, constantly on knicker watch, counting the days wondering if my period will arrive.  Although of course I realise that I will still be doing some of these things during IVF, it is a bit of a relief that most of the run up to it will be handled by the clinic.  After this long trying to conceive,  that feels very strange!

Claire xx

Weight Loss Wednesday

Not as good a week fitbit stats wise as last week as I’ve been working this weekend so missed out on a few of my long walks.

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I haven’t fully returned to Slimming World ways yet though, despite talking to myself about it every morning and telling myself today is the day I have probably only had 2 days where I actually stuck to it 100%.

I did still get a loss though which I am chuffed with.

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This weekend I have my sister visiting from Ireland so I am not expecting a perfect Slimming World week at all, especially not with cocktails planned for Saturday!

Claire xx

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