Well here I am again.
I’ll give you all some pre warning with this blog- it is very raw, honest & emotional, and at times may be all over the place, I’m sorry if this is the case and I suggest you stop reading now!
Straight after my last miscarriage early on in my pregnancy I decided that while I still had 2 embryos frozen I would just keep on going and jump back into another frozen cycle. One thing I find with IVF you are always waiting- always waiting for results, always waiting for your period to start to begin another cycle, always waiting to see if it’s worked, time goes by yet your always waiting. Time stands still for no one. With this journey I have also found that the longer you sit and think about the what if’s while still dreaming about holding your baby, time is passing by. The emotional side to IVF is cruel, it’s brutal, it’s unfair and could cause many Women and couples to have severe depression, anxiety and many problems in the relationship. I guess I’m lucky in a sense that I have always been mentally strong. I won’t deny that IVF has tested me and tried to knock me down and now I do suffer from anxiety at times but I will deal with my mental health once this journey is over in the hope that the second I am holding that beautiful baby all of this will be a distant memory and I will be OK.
This journey is not for the weak or faint hearted. It’s for the warriors. Those who never give up, who so desperately want a child and will sacrifice anything and everything to get that, those that will put their mental health second in order to keep hearing those dreaded words “I’m sorry it hasn’t worked”, those who put their body through so much yet still laugh and go about their day to day tasks as though its second nature, the warriors who are left emotionally, mentally and financially broke, some re mortgaging their house or selling everything they own just to have a baby! To some, you may think this is crazy and why would you do that? But to others having a baby is everything they want and dream. For some, having children is so easy, for others it’s so hard. That’s life, that’s infertility and this is the journey and decisions made in order to get that baby.
IVF is a battle. It’s like only the strongest survive. Your bodies, minds and pockets are pushed to the absolute maximum it’s up to those that have the strength and emotional strength to survive. Some just have to give up because they have exhausted all avenues financially and emotionally and at times lost everything. That would be a tough decision to make. Walking away from your dream and you have nothing to show for it. I feel so much pain for those women and couples.
Max and I have now been trying to conceive naturally for 4 years. 2 of these we have been trying through IVF. 3 stim cycles, 9 transfers.
I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it’s been for me, for us. How mentally tough it’s been for both of us, how emotionally tough it’s been and financially straining. Max and I have so many things we want to enjoy together yet everything is put on hold because I am either going to appointments, having bloods, injecting hormones, waiting in the two week wait, pregnant in early stages, just been told bad news, or I’m about to start another cycle. Everything gets put on hold, while yet again time keeps going.
So my journey started this cycle straight away after my previous miscarriage. I did another new protocol which I have never done before and that was HRT. Hormone Replacement Therapy. I started taking 10mg of prednisolone (to suppress my immune system), 6mg of progynova (which is estrogen that stops my period from arriving and any ovulation happening so that my specialist can time transfer to the thickness of my uterine lining). This all seems very complicated but somehow it works. So I guess in laymans terms and how I understand it- I was put on this protocol so as my immune system was suppressed so any bad killer cells in my uterus were not there and the estrogen pills to help time when my body was ready for transfer. Once my lining reached 8mm I was good to go.
So… I went in for my scan and everything was looking good. My lining was 9.8mm and my transfer was booked for the 3rd March. The day before Max’s birthday.
We left the clinic in a great space. Things obviously looking good for us. My body doing as it was told, the transfer the day before Max’s birthday so it would give him a perfect birthday present and a baby before Christmas. Life was good.
The day of my transfer I had to be admitted to the day surgery to have a 4 hour intralipid infusion. This also to help with my lining and kill off any more cells that may see the embryo as a foreign body and reject it. So I sat in the hospital and did my Uni and waited for the call to say that my embryo’s were defrosting well and they were good to go for transfer. This call came and I was so happy. Again we decided to transfer the 2 embryos. Both had survived thawing and both were looking perfect. Straight after my infusion we went upstairs for the transfer.
It’s amazing how it all happens. A catheter is inserted into your uterus and then the embryologist brings in your embryos and places them into the catheter and the specialist guides it’s up to the uterus. It’s pain free but very uncomfortable as your legs are in the air, all dignity lost, and a duck billed apparatus exactly like when you have a Pap smear is placed in. I won’t say more but the women will understand.
Then home you go to wait for the two weeks and hardest part of the journey to see if it has worked.
This was the most relaxed I had felt going in to a cycle. I was surprised. I’m normally stressed and so anxious about it all. I just relaxed, acted as though it was no different and continued on with my day to day life. We celebrated Max’s birthday and went about our life like we normally would.
During this time you put the horrible Pessaries in. The progesterone support. Waxy bullets that get inserted which for me was 4 times a day. I even had a joke with a friend that I could make candles with the amount of wax I had inserted and that would then run out! They are horrible things. Degrading. And besides that give you symptoms that make you feel as though your pregnant. The only benefit of them is it’s helps to keep the embryo inside and to maintain a pregnancy and any women undergoing IVF would do anything to have a baby.
My descriptions and the way I express myself in my writing is nothing compared to what we really go through. I try and describe it the best way I can but even then it’s not 100% accurate. Despite being on this journey for so long and doing back to back cycles I am still only learning a lot as I go along.
So day 5 post transfer comes along and I was sitting at home and I thought bugger it, I’m going to pee on a stick and see if it’s worked..
So I did.
I had a squinter. A second line which I wasn’t even sure was there it was so faint. I also had in the back of my mind that this was how my last transfer had gone. I kept peeing on sticks and the line wasn’t progressing. So I didn’t get excited at all. Just pleasantly surprised.
Day 6-9 I kept weeing on sticks and by this time I was getting a little excited.
We had a great line progression. It got to the point where the HCG line was darker than the control line.
The next day was D day and I went in for bloods for the first time ever quietly confident.
Then came the call with screams of elation down the end of the phone. Wooohoooo we did it your pregnant. Despite knowing deep down I was I just cried. The girls in the lab and at the clinic ride this journey with you. Your highs, lows, ups and downs. For them, telling me for the first time I was officially pregnant I could feel how excited they all were for us.
My HCG was 230 and progesterone levels 29. I had to go back in 3 days time for more bloods. We could finally tell family and close friends we were pregnant.
Then you get anxious again. I know you should be excited because FINALLY your told your pregnant but then you need to know that the pregnancy is going in the right direction and your bloods are doubling and you progesterone increasing. A naturally concieved pregnancy at this time would not even know they were pregnant and any sign of a drop in progesterone levels can lead to a threatened miscarriage.
My next bloods HCG 681 progesterone 47.
My next bloods HCG 13,140 progesterone 78.3.
I was definately on a winner. My bloods were strong. Increasing very well and above average at all times. Maybe I had twins in there as my numbers were strong. This, you don’t find out until you have your first scan. So we decided to tell a few more people. My symptoms were getting stronger I was feeling pregnant and I was apparently starting to get that pregnancy glow. Max and I were on cloud nine. It was finally our time. We could start to get excited because we were going to be a family.
After my bloods on Friday with a HCG of 13,140 and progesterone of 78.3 I had a large bleed with clots. As you can imagine I sat on the toilet and cried. All I could feel was clots passing. Looking down seeing bright red, my heart sank. How can I go from that morning having such a good reading to that afternoon sitting in a pool of blood? I phoned my specialist straight away. I was told to lay down, insert more waxy Pessaries and take it easy and come for bloods again on Saturday.
That night felt like a lifetime.
I went for bloods on Saturday.
My HCG has risen to 16,858 but my progesterone had dropped to 48. This was still ok. My bleeding had stopped. It could have been a subchorionic haematoma, I may have been miscarrying the one but the other was going to fight on or as it’s common in IVF pregnancies that women bleed. I still had my baby.
We were still doing ok but each trip to the toilet I dreaded. I was so scared I would look down and have blood staring at me. I didn’t though all of Saturday.
Sunday I woke up and all was still ok. I went to the toilet and all going well still no blood.
I just took it easy, layed down and started reading.
I suddenly felt an urge to go to the toilet which was no different as I had been going nearly every hour as it was because I was pregnant and my bladder needed to be emptied every 5 minutes! So off I went. I was horrified. I had a few drops of blood running down my leg and when I sat down I passed more large clots. My stomach was starting to cramp at this point. I just kept sitting there passing more clots. Crying. I just couldn’t understand how my excitement was quickly being taken away from me and all the while knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do about it to stop it from happening. I just had to let my body do it’s job. Let nature takes it’s course.
Max came home from the shops and off to the University hospital we went. I was admitted.
The team there were amazing, I had the most compassionate and caring Dr and I will remember him always. He is definately in the right industry and I wish more people who were Doctors had the caring nature he did.
We waited for my scan. Max sat with me all day. Didn’t leave my side. Deep down I knew what was happening to me. As they say it’s a Mothers instinct. Max is always the optimist and he kept me trying to remain positive. I think it was a bit of denial also. We weren’t ready for this to be over AGAIN. We had come so far this time. I was just 2 days away from hearing my babies heart beat.
Each time I went to the toilet there was more and more blood. More clots. I had to have endone for the pain now. As each clot passed I knew it was a part of my baby.
We went for a scan. I was due to have my scan with my specialist this coming Tuesday. It would confirm how many embryos had survived and how many heart beats we could hear.
Again another rod inserted so that they could see if there was a sac there and listen for a heart beat. I kept trying to analyse the sonographers face to see if he was giving anything away. He was very good at his job.
Back to my room I went and we waited for my formal report.
During this time in the bed next to me I had a girl crying and carrying on while being specialled by a nurse 1:1 about wanting to have a cigarette and she doesn’t care if she goes to jail. So security were called because she was going to light up right there and was getting physical with the nurse. And the girl opposite me who also was being specialed 1:1 demanding to have a pregnancy test. Both these girls were obviously troubled. Max and I stuck in a little corner grieving with each other while hearing this commotion around us.
My heart sank when I heard that. I just cried. I thought to myself how can it be so unfair. Here I am losing my baby that I have tried so hard for and I believe I deserve when there is a girl opposite me affected by drugs and alcohol and looks homeless and obviously doesn’t care if she is pregnant or not yet falls pregnant just by looking at a man and will more then likely have a child sent to a family which may not be it’s own to care for it, demanding to have a pregnancy test. I know I shouldn’t be so judgmental but it hurt. It hurt so bad. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt anyone by those comments but I was and still am hurting so bad.
Our report came back.
They had found a sac. So one baby. Inside the sac were retained products.
The lovely Dr sat with Max and I and explained I was miscarrying. I hadn’t got rid of all of it yet but hopefully my body in the next few days would rid of all the products. It’s still uncertain if I will naturally or if I will be required to have an operation to help this happen. This I will find out over the next couple of days.
So back to square one we are.
No more embryos left from this cycle. Just 2 absolutely shattered hearts.
We know there was a heart beating inside me yet we never got to hear it.
There was a baby growing yet we never got to hold it.
We will never get to hold this baby that was to be born on the 20th November.
We can stop dreaming about nurseries and looking at baby items for now as our journey with IVF is to continue.
My specialist again is amazing. Replying to me straight away, answering when I call him, just being there for me as a friend and a specialist. He is a man who is at the top of his game and shows so much compassion towards all his patients. He never gives up on us yet is brutally honest if he believes you are wasting your time. For us he believes the journey is not over. I am nearly there. I am so close to my dream yet I feel so far away. It won’t be long before I hold my baby in my arms but until then I have a bit of a fight on my hands.
I’m strong, I’m determined, I’m a warrior. I will fight on. My heart is broken, my heart is aching, and I wonder at times am I really dealing with this all properly? How can I have so much heart ache yet still be able to function each day. My own strength has shocked me. I didn’t realise when I started this journey it would be so hard and I’d still be here now, trying, waiting. I have never cried so many tears, been so emotionally drained I could sleep for days, and I’ve never layed in bed all day just crying. But I am today. And I probably will tomorrow. I am trying to figure out how best to deal with this. To grieve properly for my baby I never got to hold, my baby that has its angel wings. Our baby. Our little angel. How do you grieve properly? How do you grieve for something you never saw, yet held in your body and heart but it’s gone now? No one quite understands.
So again it’s another sad ending. So far a never ending story. A never ending journey.
3 stim cycles, 9 embryos transferred all pretty much back to back cycles giving my body no time to rest, my heart no time to heal and my mind emotionally drained and no time to think.
Max and I will find the strength to eventually go another round. We both want this so bad. We will again put our life on hold to achieve what we both yearn for. I will again have to go through another cycle of injections, hormones, more weight gain, another round of egg pick ups, more transfers, in the hope that cycle number 4 will be our lucky cycle.
We will just keep praying.
This journey is tough, this journey is so cruel and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.
My heart is shattered.
My dreams lost.
Nothing in life comes easy but the best things come to those who wait.
I will never give up on my journey as hard as it is and as cruel as it is. It’s just not my time right now but it will hopefully be soon.
I don’t write these blogs as a sympathy vote. I hope I am helping other women going through the same thing as I am and those that are yet to go down this path but may need to. Be prepared, it’s not easy. This helps me heal. Writing helps me grieve it helps me vent my frustrations, my hurt and my feelings. It helps to soothe my soul. For those people that find this tough and ask why am I so brutally honest then unfriend me now. This is me. Warts and all. If you can’t support me during my darkest times please don’t pretend to in my happiest.
Today I feel like absolute shit. Like I’ve been hit by a freight train. I have so many emotions running through my mind and body. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m hurting, I just want to break something or hurt myself. Why me? Why us? Why is my body continually failing me? Why does it hate me so much it won’t carry a baby to full term? I wish I could scream and kick and yell. But I can’t. I’m trapped inside this horrible body. I’m just not sure how much more I can take.
Tomorrow is a new day and I hope I feel better! Hold your loved ones tight and think how lucky you are. In just an instant a blink of an eye, something so dear to you can be taken away. 😇 Appreciate how lucky you are and always remember there is someone out there who would love to have what you do.