I haven’t written a blog for a long time but I have been asked by a lot of people what was the protocol we used.
So that leads me to this blog post.
What a weird year 2020 has been so far. I did a cycle earlier in the year and had what was known as a chemical pregnancy. The embryos implanted but they stopped growing. If you remember at the end of 2019 I did 3 back to back stim cycles to embryo bank. I managed to get 6 PG normal embryos in the freezer.
From those the first 2 didn’t implant. Nothing! No sign at all. The next 2 a chemical.
Then COVID hit!
Everything to do with fertility was thrown in the air. Including all non-elective procedures.
I had said to Kee please can I have a laparoscopy to have a look around and see if my endometriosis has grown back. I didn’t have many symptoms beside bloating and a bit of pain around my period time but with my 2 previous surgeries for removal of endometriosis I didn’t have pain either. It had been 2 years since my previous lap and I knew it was time. COVID had other ideas and that was put on hold.
I was left with the ultimatum- transfer again no lap. Or wait until elective surgeries came back, have my lap and then cycle with my final 2 PG normal embryos.
I chose to wait.
Thankfully the wait was only 4 weeks but that felt like an eternity and anyone going through IVF would understand. I just knew deep down I was facing the fact of surrogacy- meaning more stim cycles for me to get more embryos or we would also need to consider egg donor. I wanted to give myself the best possible chance.
Once the lockdown lifted and surgery was back I had my laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, D&C, lipoidal flush. I had bad adhesions, some Endo which was all removed. Ashermanns and anything wrong with my lining was all ruled out. My uterus looked perfect, my tubes were patent and I had a good clean out.
It was 4 days after my lap that my cycle started.
My protocol didn’t change.
Full immune protocol
– 10mg of prednisone from day 2.
– 100mg of aspirin from day 2
– Clexane 40mg at night
– Progynova 6mg daily
– Intralipids. Every 2 weeks until 14-16weeks along. Plus day of transfer.
Vitamins I take- Zinc, fish oil, vitamin E, vitamin D, folate.
Day 11 of my cycle is always a scan to check lining. My lining at that point was 8mm. Absolutely perfect and ready for transfer. So from there we did 5 days of progesterone and I transferred on a Saturday morning.
2 perfectly normal embryos were transferred. This lot I called Maysmie. They were transferred in May and Max’s Mum was Maizme, so it had to be a good sign, right?
From there I normally take time off- relax- lay around! Not this time. It was straight to work on call and it was a long and busy day.
At this point after 11 stim cycles and 27 embryos transferred- the Two Week Wait is a breeze for me. I don’t even really think about I just get on with it.
On day 3 post the transfer I started to feel hot and flushed. Same on day 4. So I tested. And a line appeared. I couldn’t believe it. I have been in this situation before so couldn’t get too excited. I’ve seen the line progress to so dark then fade, I’ve seen it not progress….
But by this point I knew I was safe.
BETA day came around and HCG was 359 and my prog 66.9. I was having bloods every few days to keep checking and everything was doubling perfectly. My progesterone was fluctuating which is very normal for me so I was on 1,600mg of Oripro rectally a day and 100mg of progesterone taken orally a day!!!!!!! Last lot of bloods at about the 7week mark my HCG was nearly 100,000 and my prog 58. So it never really got that high and dipped as low as 31.
At this point Max and I were happy. But with my history we were very guarded. I had been here before.
7 week scan saw 2 little babies and 2 heartbeats. We were over the moon.
8 week scan they were perfect still
9 weeks scan- still perfect and it was time to graduate from Kee 😭
I’ll talk about him later.
10 weeks scan still perfect and NIPT done even though they were PG normal embryos we still wanted that extra reassurance. Everything came back as low risk and all was perfect.
11 weeks still perfect
12 week mark and we had a scan and saw the ob and we were allowed to share our news with everyone.
I’m not going to lie- it’s been an anxious time for us and still will be until we hold our babies. I have had a few problems already with my blood pressure and things but it’s all been taken care of straight away by my amazing obstetrician Dr Hassan.
The first 3 months have been hard. I won’t lie and I hate complaining. I have been so sick. So nauseated, faint, highly anxious, scared, and just every day feeling like shit! I won’t lie. But I am blessed, so blessed.
I remember a couple of years ago I said to Kee- how come I don’t have morning sickness? He said “ Samantha, never wish that upon yourself” I think it came back and got me, because I have been very sick. Some days hardly moved from the bed and if I did it was only for a short period and then I was back.
So here we are.
At the 3 months mark
A long way to go yet
But we cheer the small wins
I have put myself through so much over the last 6 years that I feel it’s finally my time.
– 11 stim cycles
– 27 embryos transferred
– thousands of injections which will still continue until about 26 weeks of my pregnancy
– so many general anaesthetics! Operations, flushes, scratches, intralipids, canulas, bloods taken- to the point now I have no veins.
– 5 miscarriages. 4 normal embryos. 2017 being my hardest year.
– so many tears, tantrums, heartache, questions…. always asking- “why me”.
I was told when I started this journey I would be pregnant 1st go. I was 30. Here I am at 36 and still no live baby.
Let’s talk about Kee:
The man is a genius. He never once gave up on Max and I. He held my hand for each operation, he let me get angry and frustrated and would comfort me back to why I was on this journey. He is a huge believer in treating immune issues and for me that’s the reason I’m here. He listens to us and let’s us advocate for ourselves, he is straight up and down with why or why not we should be doing something. He does absolutely everything (except bloods) on our journey so he is present for everything. He never gives up on us and he keeps pushing boundaries to ensure we get our dream.
That is someone you want on your side.
There were times there I got so frustrated by it all. I would whinge to him. But he took it on board and we got on with the job.
My journey has been so hard for me emotionally and mentally. I’ve always struggled each day with how to keep going but somehow I did.
I won’t lie I have some really down days over the last 6 years- but I kept going. I would do absolutely anything to keep my mind off it. I’ve completed a degree and a half in that time, I still work as a nurse, Max has been sick, we have had so many curve balls thrown at us- but we got on with it.
You just have to.
Life is about figuring out the whys and how’s.
And working through them.
Max and I have become stronger for what we have been through. And for that I’m so thankful. I’ve witnessed marriages fall apart from this journey. But ours grew stronger and we had a deeper connection. Max has seen me at my worst days and my best. He has loved me unconditionally through it all and supported my decision to keep pushing through, even though he knew it was hurting me, he still made sure I was feeling loved and supported.
So here we are:
We know we have a long 6 months to go.
But for now we are happy and will face any challenges that come our way. We always have.
We know we have the best of obstetricians looking after us. And we know she will do everything in her power to ensure I can carry these twins for as long as possible and deliver them as safely as possible.
My heart hurts for the people still on this journey.
If I can advocate 1 thing it will be- Immune issues are real. Don’t let a specialist tell you they aren’t. Don’t let them not provide the right protocol to you. They exist. There is so much evidence out there to suggest that using prednisone, aspirin, clexane and intralipids is the way to treat them. Don’t let people tell you that’s not true.
If they don’t listen to your wants and needs. Move on! Remember your paying them. I can’t stress that enough.