Category: Family

And time ticks on – A pregnancy update

I can’t believe I am writing this at 6.5months pregnant! I wrote here about my struggles with the amount of feelings that I wasn’t expecting when we found out after 5 years of battling infertility that we were finally pregnant.

I am pleased to say that overall the majority of these feelings have settled and I have been able to find enjoyment in this pregnancy which I am really pleased about.  It took a lot of work on my part to get my head into a good place and I think that having our 20 week scan with no issues found really helped me turn a corner and have finally allowed me to enjoy this stage in my life.  I know that we are likely to only ever be blessed with this once and I don’t want to look back and think that I wasn’t able to enjoy any of the moments associated with pregnancy.

We decided that we would find out the gender, it is something that we thought long and hard about but something that we knew in our hearts was right for us and we were not wrong. Finding out what we are expecting has really helped us to bond, to plan, to get even more excited and to feel that this is really happening. We are over the moon to say we are……

We are so excited to be on Team Blue and this weekend we even finally decided on his name.  We are not going to be telling anyone that though as we do want to keep some surprises!  But we love it and are hoping that everyone else does when he arrives.

A little pregnancy, how I am doing update I suppose wouldn’t go amiss.  I am currently under consultant led care due to my recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (I am planning to blog more about my pregnancy and MS directly as time goes on) and will be back into see her when I am 32 weeks.  She has offered me the option of induction at 38 weeks if my MS is proving to be too much of a problem so that will be something to think about as we get closer to the time of the appointment, currently I am undecided as to what is best but do know that I will be requesting induction at 40 weeks as there is no way my body could cope with going over and the stresses that that brings (stress really spikes off my MS symptoms)  I was also told at my 20 week scan that I had a low lying placenta which currently is not something major to worry about as most will move by the latter stages of pregnancy but I will be re scanned at 34 weeks to check if this has happened, fingers crossed it will have and we will have had a bonus scan too so there are silver linings!

My bump is developing nicely, I am getting all the usual pregnancy related comments, ‘oh you are huge’ followed closely by someone else saying ‘oh you are so neat’! honestly though it did my head in so much when it started happening but now I am just trying to ignore it and embrace my changing body.  After all it is growing our miracle.

I am going to try to blog a little more as we enter the third trimester, I was worried about upsetting some of my friends who are still in the trenches but I have to set that to one side as it was really affecting my enjoyment of this time in my life that I really didn’t think I would ever experience.  If you think that you might be triggered by my posts I will not take any offence if you no longer follow the blog and I wish you all the best in your journeys.

Claire xx

Pregnancy after infertility – When does it get easier?

This is a post that is very hard to write, pregnancy after infertility is not quite how I expected it to be.  There I said it.  It’s not all a bed of roses with happiness at every turn.  In fact is currently the opposite really.  I feel that infertility has robbed me of the joy of being pregnant, robbed me of my innocence where all things pregnancy are concerned.  It has left me afraid to even enjoy being pregnant.  Something I never thought I would be experiencing, something that I have found hard to acknowledge never mind talk about openly.  But today I decided that that needed to change and I took to twitter to voice my worries over feeling detached and a little flat overall about being pregnant.  It would seem that I am very much not alone in these thoughts, with so many lovely ladies reaching out to me today to say that they felt the same, that they understood.  And do you know what I have realised today.  It is okay to feel this way.

Pregnancy after infertility is a strange place to be, you are neither back in the trenches or really feeling that you belong in with other ‘fertile’ pregnant ladies, feeling isolated, feeling in limbo, not fitting in the infertility world any longer but not fitting in the fertile world either.  I mean, would someone who never experienced the bumpy road of infertility understand why I am struggling to get excited about preparing for the baby, how I am not excited about choosing things for the nursery, about how it really doesn’t feel like I deserve this after this length of time, so why would it actually be happening to me?.  Some of the friendships I have built up over the years from the blog and from twitter suddenly feel off-limits, not due to those lovely ladies, don’t get me wrong, everyone has been lovely to me.  But I don’t want to hurt anyone.  A pregnancy after infertility is hard enough sometimes for those still stuck waiting to see if their time will ever come, never mind one that actually ended up being a natural pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had exciting times, I have felt emotions of joy and complete amazement that this is currently happening to me.  But these feelings aren’t sustained currently, generally I am just feeling that little bit flat about it all.  Why am posting about this though?  Well I think that by talking about it, it will help me, by opening up to the fact that it is not what I expected it to be will help me to deal with the thoughts and emotions that are attached to that, help me to move on and get enjoyment out of the pregnancy that I have waited so long for. To no longer feel an imposter in the world of pregnancy.

Claire x

And just when you least expect it……life decides to throw you a curveball

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post, it is something that I have wanted to blog about for a while, something that I have dreamt about blogging about ever since I started blogging I suppose.  Something that I never believed after everything that I would actually be blogging about and that has made it very difficult to actually get words out.

On the 23rd December 2016, our lives were turned upside down with the most surprising, shocking, unexpected news that we could ever imagine.  After 5 long years, 2 failed rounds of IVF and a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis I got my first ever positive result on a pregnancy test.

You could have knocked me down with a feather, never in a million years did I expect this to happen to me, over the years I have read about people getting surprise positive tests, but sure that was other people, why would you ever believe that it would happen to you…. I know I never did.

But happen it did, for whatever reason, life decided to throw a curveball and Baby S will be coming in August 2017.

We are over the moon about this obviously, but it has also taken some getting used to.  In fact we were really just getting our heads around never being parents and putting our focus on other things so to say that this was surreal was an understatment.

The news is now all out, we have had two scans, one at 9 weeks and one at 12 and all is currently looking well.  Baby S certainly is not giving me an easy time with constant nausea and unfortunately some vomiting for 9 weeks.  Boy that was a long time!  Thankfully things seem to have settled now with that, with me only getting some passing nausea which is so much more manageable.  The level of exhaustion I have been experiencing though has been off the scale but both my GP and my neurologist feeling that this is more relating to my MS and reminding me that I need to treat this pregnancy on a slightly different level and reminding me that it is an MS pregnancy.  I hadn’t even managed to get my head around how the MS might affect me and now I’m trying to get my head around how having MS, being pregnant and then having a baby will affect me, as I say it has been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least.

As for how the MS will affect me during this, no one can say for sure, however there is lots of evidence to support a lesser level of symptoms with MS throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimester so I am hoping for me that I fall into that category.  For now though, we are taking each day as it comes and feeling very blessed to be in this position.
Claire xx

4 years of infertility

Four years have come and gone since we decided for me to get my implant out and for us to try for a baby.  Having a baby has been something I have wanted with my now husband since not long after we met all those years ago, but we waited, waited until we were married, until we both had good jobs, you know, we waited until everything was the way we thought it was supposed to be….

But for us it’s not supposed to be that way is it?  It’s certainly not supposed to be easy, that’s the one thing the last four years has shown us.  You have all these dreams, all these views on how things are supposed to be, but you have no power over them,

Sometimes things just aren’t how you thought they were supposed to be, and that hurts.

Claire xx

Infertility limbo 

  Looking for the answer…..

I realised it’s been a long time since I did any blog updates about our infertility and I suppose this picture says it all, we are currently still in limbo land. There is nothing much to report after the two failed cycles of IVF, we haven’t got that elusive positive test because “we just stopped trying/thinking about it/relaxed” *delete appropriate stupid comment
We got through the anniversary of our first cycle, I tried to not overthink it but it was hard to think that this time last year we were full of excitement & hopes and dreams. It’s even harder to think we are sitting here another year down the line, still childless.  

I’ve stopped counting how many cycles/months/years it’s now been, too blooming long for there to be “nothing” wrong with us that’s for sure. Stopped tracking my cycles, stopped temping, stopped ovulation testing… 

We are trying something though, still giving it our best shot each month but now we are currently trying a new male fertility product called Androferti which we are hoping might help if there is more of an issue with hubbies sperm and with the suggested potential issues with dna fragmentation. We were very lucky to be picked for a free trial with the fertility journeys feature over at Fertility Road Magazine so that is currently our focus. 

If that doesn’t make a difference though, where will that put us? Staring down the barrel of IVF #3 with our only option to go abroad. That is a minefield within itself too, so many questions that will need answered before we go ahead with that,  so much money needing to be found from somewhere, so much emotional investment. 

Why is this so bloody hard??? 

Claire xx 

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week in the U.S. #niaw

This week sees National Infertility Awareness Week in the U.S. The UK will be running their own in November in the run up to the fertility show at Olympia.  Infertility is a international issue and any way that we can raise awareness to it should be used in my opinion, so here I am blogging a little to raise awareness this week.


The theme is ‘you are not alone’. My one hope from being open and honest and blogging about how tough it has been for us and the challenges that we face with infertility is that I help someone feel that they are not alone.

  
One in 8 couples suffer from some form of infertilty, stop for a second, look around you, that’s a lot of people and most go through this in silence. Infertilty knocks away at you, you live your life with the hope of a different future, often only able to talk to your partner about it, sometimes not even being able to do that.

You are not alone though, I am one of those 1 in 8 people too.

  

Let’s talk about infertility, support each other, remind ourselves that we are not alone.

Claire xx

Empty arms on Mothers Day.

Today is Mothers day in the UK.  A day where my arms are empty of my own child, a day where my infertility seems to scream from the rooftops, a day where I am not yet a Mother.

But one day I dream that my baby will still come and one day I will be a mother in the true sense of the word.  For now though, on this lovely day of celebration, please don’t forget those ladies who are still waiting on their dreams to come true.

I found this poem on the internet a few years ago.  The words say it all.

Claire x

And the grief washes over us….. The end of IVF#2

And so it is all over yet again, however this time it feels more final. As I’ve mentioned before we are very lucky to have received two funded cycles of IVF on the NHS and for that I am very grateful. We have used these up with little or nothing to show for it, apart from a lot of heartache. For those that think IVF is the easy option, you are so far wrong it is unreal. This is by far one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through and today it has broken me. Infertilty is a disease, not a choice….

We are totally numb, again we got to 8dp5dt (8 days past a five day transfer) and I started to bleed. Official test day is not for another 6 days, though Dundee do do a long testing wait period. This time I won’t be testing again, I will just call the clinic on the day which ironically happens to be Mothers day and call in the negative result.

Part of me didn’t expect anything else, once we were told at transfer that we basically made very shite embyros this time, I zoned out of the two week wait that never was. People told me to have hope and there was a tiny bit there but it was tiny. I couldn’t allow myself to believe that the outcome would be anything other than a negative result, I suppose it was a bit of self preservation, you know what I mean? Trying to pre-empt the bad result so when you get the bad result it doesn’t hurt as much. Rational? Maybe not. Did it work? A tiny bit, or so I thought.

When the realisation hit, the early test that was negative….done to try to prepare myself. My attempts at self preservation to try and stop it hurting so much were forgotten, it hurt like hell, I feel like a zombie, head not really with anything I am doing, thinking about it, not thinking about it. One thing I know though is that we gave it our all this time and there is nothing about the cycle or the way we prepared for it that I would change. I wanted to make sure before we started if it was to fail that we wouldn’t be able to say “if only we did this or if only we did that” and I am grateful to be able to say that with all the things going through our heads, regret is not one of them.

Where we go from here is another question and probably a lot more soul searching and I am sure there will be blogging. All I know is for the minute we are stepping off the trying to conceive roller coaster all together. After basically being told that it would look like our sperms and eggs aren’t compatible I think the kindest thing to do for ourselves is to stop for a while. We will need to look at whether we do further IVF at some point in the next few years but for now, no more waiting and praying every month for a different outcome. We need to remember what life was like before trying to conceive. It will never return to that naive place, the place before we ventured into the world of infertility, I am not that stupid to think that way.

Normal will now have to become a new type of normal, it won’t go back to what we used to think of as normal. A we can’t have kids naturally or possibly at all? now the new normal. Will we cycle again ever? is now the new normal. Will be ever be parents? is now the new normal.

Infertility is the loss of an assumed future….. Never take it for granted.

C xx

Day 3, Day 5 and Egg Transfer – IVF#2

Sorry for the delay in posting this update and for those who don’t follow me on twitter I am not going to dress up this post. This cycle really wasn’t good at all. Our Sperm and Eggs really didn’t seem to like each other this time.

The embryologist seemed to think this was okay. I breathed a sigh of relief, there was a chance that the slower ones could catch up before day 5, but at this point we had 4 on par with what was expected and that was better than last cycle. As usual Dundee aim to culture all embryos to day 5.

Off we headed for transfer on day 5, full of chat about how many we would transfer, never even passing a thought to the possibility that we may have little or none to transfer. I mean this cycle felt so different, from start to finish. We were totally dumbstruck when we were led into the room and were told that we didn’t have any even reasonable quality embryos to transfer. Two blastos had been discounted, I’ve no idea why, they obviously weren’t good enough to return and you have to respect that decision, they are the experts in their field after all. Then the major blow, the only other two were early blastocysts, they couldn’t be graded which is what you want. We vaguely remember being told that one had ‘odd looking cells’ appearing at the top of it which she didn’t know that they might mean. When we questioned it, she did say that due to the same presentation on the last cycle, we may have just found out the reason for our infertility and instead of being unexplained we are possibly looking at having some from of chromosomal incompatibility. Our sperm and eggs just don’t match, they may never match and that was overwhelming.

We were told that we could return the two early blastos, but basically not to expect too much from them, even mentioning that we could just not transfer anything at all. But there was no way that we could do that.  That damn little spark of hope that you have, you know, hearing all those stories of crap embryos becoming lively little babies. It snuck in and took over.  So we decided to transfer both, in for a penny and all that.  There was no excitement though, the drive home was actually spent discussing our options in the future.  Could we afford to cycle again?  Would we use Dundee?  Should we ever try to get to blasto stage again or are we better hoping a day 3 transfer would stick? Would we want to adopt?  Not the questions that you expect to be coming home with after a transfer that’s for sure.

I’m not going to leave you hanging, the cycle as predicted didn’t work.  We gave it our all.  We are done…..

C xx

The numbers are in #ivf2

Yesterday was Egg Collection day. I had my final scan on the Sunday morning and things were looking good. My follicles had moved on a lot from the previous scan on the Friday and we got the go ahead to trigger on Sunday night. 

I took the trigger injection at 11pm on the Sunday, injection free day on the Monday and up for egg collection on Tuesday morning. 

It was a bit of a case of déjà u when we were shown to the exact same bed space and told that we were third on the list which was the same as last cycle, I was hoping this was in fact a good omen and it turns out it was! 

Egg collection went perfectly and we were chuffed to bits to be told we got

Image Source

We got a bakers dozen, lucky number 13! An increase of 4 from our last cycle which is good. I had gone in hoping that if we got the same as last time or one more then I would be happy so to come out with 4 more than last time made me feel very happy. 

Tuesday night was spent in a bit of daze, I was a bit uncomfy after the procedure but this was eased with paracetamol, hot water bottle and a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I slept surprisingly well and was up early to await the call from the embryologist.  Thankfully we didn’t need to wait long and the call came before 9am. I was surprised to find out that when my eggs where taken to the lab we had in fact got 14! Not the 13 that they thought straight after egg collection. 

I was hoping luck would be on our side, I had opened the kitchen blind that morning to see a little Robin staring right back at me. 

Robins mean a lot to me so I had a little word with my late Granny and asked for some good news. And good news is what we got….

I can’t quite believe I am writing that figure. Of the 13 we thought we had yesterday we have 13 fertilised normally this morning. 100% fert rate in my eyes! 

Obviously the next few days are another major hurdle as we wait to see how many are still developing on day 3, then how many are hopefully left on day 5 for transfer. This second part of the IVF process is so difficult in my eyes as you really have no control over anything anymore and can’t even let yourself believe you are doing something like you did when you were stimulating. 

It’s all up to those little embies now to keep going strong. Fingers crossed. 

Claire xx