* Author Topic: Why me, Fertility, IVF and the road to becoming a mum.  (Read 812 times)

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Offline marieneale

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Hi all

I have been a member on here for quite a number of years and it was a god send when I was going through my fertility treatment!  Just being able to speak to like minded people, who were going through the same journey as me, helped me get through the tough times.

It's took me a long time to be able to write about my journey but I hope my experiences can help others.
Happy Reading xx


Well.....here goes (My Journey - Part 1)

If you asked me to write this blog even 5 years ago I don’t think I would have had the strength to relive this part of my life, as certain elements were still very raw to me. Even when looking back over hospital notes to write this, I can feel the tears welling up… but I feel that I am in a happy place in my life right now to share my journey, in the hope that it inspires others to have hope. I’m 39 now and my fertility/IVF journey started when I was 25.

This is my first blog and I don’t really know where to start, so I will start at the beginning.  Please bear with me and continue along with my posts, as I tell you my story.

When I was younger I always wanted to be married and have kids and thought 25 would be a good age to do this….thinking boom it would happen!!  Eh not for me sadly.  I had already been with my husband for 6 years and thought that when I came off the pill a baby would just happen, but as soon as I did I discovered there was a problem.  I wasn’t having a cycle every month, so therefore I knew I wasn’t ovulating.  When the 6 month mark had passed and still nothing, I decided to go to the doctors, as I knew this wasn’t normal.  That’s when the tests started….

After what seemed like forever (well it is forever when you are trying to have a baby….every month drags by, as the thing you want most in life just doesn’t seem to be happening), I was sent for a Laparoscopy and Dye at hospital under general anaesthetic and this is when it was discovered that I had polycystic ovaries and endometriosis….which is not the greatest news to receive when you are trying to fall pregnant.  I can remember thinking, why me?? Well.....here goes (My Journey - Part 1)

If you asked me to write this blog even 5 years ago I don’t think I would have had the strength to relive this part of my life, as certain elements were still very raw to me.  Even when looking back over hospital notes to write this, I can feel the tears welling up… but I feel that I am in a happy place in my life right now to share my journey, in the hope that it inspires others to have hope. I’m 39 now and my fertility/IVF journey started when I was 25.

This is my first blog and I don’t really know where to start, so I will start at the beginning.  Please bear with me and continue along with my posts, as I tell you my story.

When I was younger I always wanted to be married and have kids and thought 25 would be a good age to do this….thinking boom it would happen!!  Eh not for me sadly.  I had already been with my husband for 6 years and thought that when I came off the pill a baby would just happen, but as soon as I did I discovered there was a problem.  I wasn’t having a cycle every month, so therefore I knew I wasn’t ovulating.  When the 6 month mark had passed and still nothing, I decided to go to the doctors, as I knew this wasn’t normal.  That’s when the tests started….

After what seemed like forever (well it is forever when you are trying to have a baby….every month drags by, as the thing you want most in life just doesn’t seem to be happening), I was sent for a Laparoscopy and Dye at hospital under general anaesthetic and this is when it was discovered that I had polycystic ovaries and endometriosis….which is not the greatest news to receive when you are trying to fall pregnant.  I can remember thinking, why me??

This is when my fertility treatment journey started……please stay tuned for blog 2.


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    Offline marieneale

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    Why me, Fertility, IVF and the road to becoming a mum.
    « Reply #1 on: 3/10/18, 22:40 »
    Hi Everyone

    Sorry, I just realised that my subscribe button wasn't working.   :-[

    So If you want to subscribe for the rest of my journey - this is now working  :)

    Marie x

    Offline marieneale

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    Why me, Fertility, IVF and the road to becoming a mum.
    « Reply #2 on: 9/10/18, 15:06 »
    Hi Everyone

    Hope you are still reading....:)

    Infertility (My Journey - Part 2)

    Infertility….I hate that word….but this is where the real journey began.

    I was referred to the hospital (NHS) and started a fertility drug called Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate).  For those of you that don’t know what Clomid is, it’s a drug that stimulates ovulation and I started off on 50mg. 
     
    The idea is that you are supposed to take this on day 2 of your cycle for 5 days, but because nothing is ever straight forward for me…well that’s how I felt….and due to the fact that I didn’t have a cycle, I had to take other drugs to bring on my period.  Then scans at the hospital followed to assess how well I was responding to the treatments (I won’t go into details about eggs/follicles, as I’m sure you have read it all before). 
    Well…..safe to say, that didn’t work!  So I was upped to 100mg and that didn’t work.  Eventually, I was upped again to 150mg.  I ended up taking 150mg for 4 cycles (so 6 attempts in all) to no avail!

    Although it was a long time ago, I can still remember the side effects…vividly!! I think I might have scarred my husband for life, no really!! He definitely deserves a medal for my mood swings.  I can remember one time in great detail and yes I can laugh about it now, but my husband might not agree! It all it started with my husband buying me the wrong kind of ice cream, which, I flipped out about and put in the bin in my craziness!! I’m not a head case honest, it’s just I was in hormone hell…one minute I was snappy and the other I was really emotional.  The night sweats weren’t great either and I can remember having headaches and being bloated….these are all the things they don’t tell you about, yuck!  And if it had worked, all these side effects would have been worth it, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me.


     So onto the next phase….IVF.

    I would go onto the waiting list for IVF, but due to long waiting times it took about year before I was seen.  Yes, a YEAR!!!  So my consultant asked me if I would like to try ovarian drilling while I was waiting, which of course I said yes to, because I was willing to try anything.

     Ovarian drilling is done under general anaesthetic, a small incision is made in your belly button and then your abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide to prevent damage to your internal organs.   Special tools are then used to drill small holes in your ovaries.  It sounds awful, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds – honest!  Although I was really sore for a couple of days after. Unfortunately, this didn’t make any real difference either.

    Soul destroying as it was, at least there was still my IVF to look forward to and this gave me hope of realising my dream of becoming a mummy.

    Sadly I was to find out that my journey would not be as straightforward as I hoped.  You can read more about this journey in blog 3.   

    Thanks
    Marie

    Offline marieneale

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    Why me, Fertility, IVF and the road to becoming a mum.
    « Reply #3 on: 17/10/18, 12:13 »
    Hi all

    IVF begins... (My Journey - Part 3)


    4 years…. 


    4 years….that’s how long it took me to get to this stage. They were a  long hard 4 years, especially when all your friends were having babies and you would go round for hugs and cuddles, but secretly a small part of you was dying inside.  I found it particularly hard when my nieces and nephews came along…I don’t know why, I was elated for them, but found it really upsetting at the same time, continuously thinking “why not us”?.  It just seemed so unfair when some people could fall pregnant without even trying, yet I had to jump through all these hoops…….
     
    I can remember how happy I was when I got my letter through to say that my name had reached the top of the IVF waiting list, inviting me to go for a screening appointment.  We both had to provide photographic identification, fill in forms and be screened for HIV and Hepatitis B and C, my husband also had to do his bit…..ha .  We were also lucky, because the NHS that we came under funded 3 treatment cycles, other areas only get 2 (there is a campaign right now about this issuescream4ivf).  I can also remember sitting in the hospital waiting room on that first appointment, overwhelmed by how busy it was and realising just how common a problem infertility was!!!!
     
    I’ve decided to go into a wee bit of detail about my first cycle, just in case anyone who is reading this needs the info for their own comparison, so please bear with me…



    This is where the fun began….not!  Healthy eating and no drinking and the rollercoaster ride of emotions that was ensured to happen!!!  I had to go for a hormone profile and was given my Prostap injection home to self-administer and depending on my bloods (as you know from my previous posts, I don’t have a cycle as such, so this was to determine where I was by my hormone levels).  Prostap is given approximately 21 days into your cycle to supress your cycle, this then brings on your period.  I then had to go for bloods tests and an internal scan to see if I was ready to go onto the next stage. 
     
    The results of this showed that I was ready to start my hormone injections…..eeeek!  And to this day, I still think my husband secretly loved injecting me…because I couldn’t do it myself!! 
     
    I was on injections for around 8-10 days and then I had to go for another internal scan to check the progress. The hormone injections were to help increase the number of eggs your ovaries produce.  I can remember being sooo nervous when I went for my scan to check on my progress, because this is where my journey could have ended for my first cycle.  If you don’t meet the criteria for the amount/size of eggs produced then you don’t go to the next stage, this being egg retrieval.  Thank god I did and my egg collection date was set. 
     
    I had to take ‘Snuff’, this was inhaled in one nostril 4 times a day and it had to be done 3 days before my egg retrieval.  Then 2 days before, a booster injection had to be self-administered, then I was ready to rock and roll!

     The day of egg retrieval came and I couldn’t eat or drink because egg retrieval is done under sedation and my husband had to play his part ….:) and I can remember him saying he was mortified as he could hear people laughing outside the room, while he was doing his bit for society!  Well it’s hardly a barrel of laughs having your legs up in stirrups on a regular basis….was my response!

     
    When I came to, I was informed that 5 eggs were collected and I would have to wait a couple of days to see if any of them fertilised.  Those couple of days were awful, it’s all you can think about…you just want to know, and nothing takes your mind off it. Sadly when I phoned to find out how they had gone, none of them had fertilised!!   I was devastated, there was no consoling me, although my husband and family tried to comfort me…there was nothing they could say or do that could make the situation any better and I know my husband felt helpless.  I can’t describe how I felt at the time, it was just devastation, but I had to pick myself back up, as I still had two attempts left.

     As it was coming up to Christmas, I decided to enjoy my time over the festive period and booked myself in to start my second attempt at the end of February.


    Thanks
    Marie x

    Offline marieneale

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    « Reply #4 on: 24/10/18, 10:23 »
    (My Journey - Part 4)

    ICSI….

    I won’t bore you with as much detail in this blog….as I think you get the jist of the whole process!!

    So, the consultant decided that this time round they would be trying ICSI.  ICSI is when the sperm is injected straight into the egg.  So with a mixture of nerves and excitement, round 2 started and hormone hell ensured!   I also joined a fertility chat room “Fertility Friends” this let me talk about my feelings with people who were going through the same process as me, and I have to say this did help, just having someone who understood all your worries and anxieties, as you were going through your treatment helped immensely.

    I responded slightly better to the hormone injections this time and I ended up with 11 viable eggs.  4 of which fertilised this time round….yay!!!.  So, I could go to the next stage, this being embryo transfer.  This is when the fertilised eggs are put back in your uterus.

    After embryos transfer, you have to take pessaries for 12 days, which I have to say is not the nicest!  Then test day is then scheduled for 14 days later.  Those 14 days are the worst….it’s horrible waiting to find out if all your hopes and dreams are going to be realised or shattered again!.

    So we waited……

    And the dreaded call came….failed again!  This time my results just happened to come on the weekend of Mother’s Day – bad timing or what!!!  I fell to pieces and felt like such a failure, I think I even said to my husband that he could leave me, because it was unfair that I couldn’t give him children and he could go and have children with someone else, I felt so guilty……of course he didn’t but I felt so bad!!  What else can I say…I was devastated and felt that babies/prams were everywhere….well they seemed everywhere to me 

    After this set back I was thoroughly fed up and decided that I couldn’t cope with any more treatment, so  I decided to have a break from all things baby and went on holiday and enjoyed myself  for a wee while.  In fact I had a friends 30th a couple of weeks after my treatment had failed and a group of us were away for the weekend….let’s just say it was slightly messy! 

    After doing a wee bit of research on alternative medicines, I decided that I would try acupuncture in the hope that it might help with my cycle.  So I started going to an acupuncturist and taking Chinese Herbal Medicine and I have to say I found this really relaxing and it did make me feel better in myself.

    In the December of that year, I hadn’t being feeling very well and it turns out the reason for that was that I was PREGNANT…..yes PREGNANT!  I was in total shock and I can remember my gynaecologist saying that he couldn’t understand how that it had happened and that it was a ‘Medical Miracle’ lol.   Now, I have no idea whether it was the acupuncture that made the difference or whether it was because for the first time in years, I totally switched off from thinking about trying to have a baby……I suppose I will never know!!

    And who cares…it happened and I can’t put into words how that made me feel at that precise moment.

    My story doesn’t quite end here, so hang on in while I finish up my story in my next blog.

    Please click on my link in my footer to my webpage.

    Offline marieneale

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    « Reply #5 on: 30/10/18, 20:21 »
    Pregnancy (My Journey - Part 5)

    Well that can I say….I was pregnant and a bundle of nerves!!  I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy at all and it wasn’t for the reasons you would think.  Yes, I felt sick for the first 12 weeks and then I struggled with migraines, but I could cope with that.  It was just the never ending feeling that something would go wrong and this was my one shot of being a mum, I even bought a baby Doppler so I could listen for a heartbeat myself (not recommended…. if you can’t find a heartbeat, you nearly make yourself sick with worrying).  Luckily everything went smoothly….apart from the birth!!  I had to have an emergency c section…told you nothing is ever straight forward for me!!  

    Anyway…… we were extremely blessed to have a beautiful baby girl and I couldn’t stop looking at her, we did it….we finally were complete as a family or so I thought….

    It wasn’t until 4 years later, I was feeling unwell and I can remember saying to my friend at work that I thought I was going through early menopause and I had made appointment at doctors and she said to me “are you sure you’re not pregnant” and I laughed and said “I’m positive”.  Well it turns out I was positive- the pregnancy test proved it!  She was right….I was pregnant and when I phoned my husband to tell him he said quite a few swear words down the phone…happy ones of course.

    So, yip I had two miracles….and we were blessed with a gorgeous baby boy and now our family was well and truly complete.

    Yes, I’m in a happy place in my life now and my husband was amazing through it all and we are now stronger than we have ever been together as a couple, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t hard and we didn’t have out struggles, as I’m sure lots of people do.  I’m just thankful that we made it out the other side, as not everyone is as lucky us to have their happy ending. 
    So…..miracles do happen, well they did for me.

    And just to finish up……people asked me all the time after I got married “do you not want kids yet?”, and I would always say “nope, not yet” (while screaming inside…..of course I bloody do), but what could I say, I didn’t want to have to explain myself to everyone that asked.  So please……. think before you ask someone this question, having children doesn’t come easy to us all.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and sorry for the wee rant at the end.

    Bye for now.
    M x