Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Things are going quickly!

Yesterday we had an appointment at the hospital to learn how to inject.  At least I thought that was all it was really but it was much more and we were there nearly two hours  (including prescription pick up time).  When we arrived I didn't realise I was supposed to let someone know I was there as with blood tests you don't have to but luckily someone noticed us!

Our nurse Alison came and gave us some admission forms to fill in.  It feel weird being "admitted" into hospital today, though I realise that they are for later! I've never been admitted into hospital before.   We then went through to her little room and had to fill in some more consent forms.  This time they were for whether we want to freeze any spare embryos (yes) and what we want to happen to those embryos if Mr Waiting were to die.  Mr Waiting decided that he would allow me to use them if I wished and that if the worst were to happen then I could at least have the possibility of it should I want to.  This led into a discussion about the embryos and how if we later used a frozen one then it could be years old when it gets used.  They store them for a maximum for ten years, in which time I will only be 37, but the embryos will be 27 or created with eggs/sperm that are 27 years old so they will be of young-egg quality.  It is reassuring that even in 10 years I will be still 'ok' fertility-wise.  Yes, it's older and fertility declines rapidly after 35 but I could still conceive then and that's in 10 years.  Hopefully, though, in ten years' time I will have a couple of lively children!

Eventually we got chatting about the injections and she showed me what I have to do.  I had a go with a pretend bit of flesh (it didn't hurt a bit!).  Then she said I must take them at exactly the same time so I've decided that I will take them at 8 or 8:30.  This could pose a problem when I go to the Take That concert though but she did say that as long as I did it before then  it wouldn't matter on that day as it's just a one off.

The next steps are continue taking the pill until the 5th of June.  Start the injections on the 29th of May (this coming Sunday, when I'm in charge of 50 kids in France! That'll be fun then...!).  I also got given the metformin so I started taking that yesterday too.  It can give you an upset tummy and I have felt a bit sick and crampy but that could actually be normal or due to nerves and stress (had a hell of a week at work this week what with an internal review!).

Talking of internal reviews I had my uterus measured yesterday with a trial cannulation.  I measured '6' (centimeters I presume!).  It was really not pleasant and felt like bad period cramps to the point when I couldn't talk through them.  She had to do it twice too to make sure of the measurement.  I bled a little this morning, which I sort of expected - you don't get someone prodding about in your womb with a big, long stick without expecting some sort of fall out!

The next thing I have to wait for is the period that I will get once I stop taking the pill.  I have to then phone the hospital for the baseline scan and go in for bloods.  Then, apparently, the side effects of the buserelin kick in place as the pill prevents them for a few days after you stop taking it.  Expect to be moody, upset, cranky .... Mr Waiting may as well move out as a preventative measure!

I'll upload a picture for you of my 'travel' injection kit for France and the of my newly acquired sharps' bin!

And here's my cute sharps' bin.

And, as a couple of extras, the blackbirds' nest that is hastily being worked on in the garden, and a rose from the rose bush that the BaBs ladies got for me in memory of my mum (it's the first flower this year).

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Back to front

What I mean is, I'm back on the pill.  I popped it out of the packet yesterday, stared at and cried.  I couldn't believe it had come to this.  Me, taking the pill again.  I stopped taking the pill about 5 years ago after my mum got breast cancer and I switched to the non-hormonal IUD before stopping it altogether to try for a baby.  I took the pill but it was hard to swallow.  I did not want to be taking it, to be putting these hormones into my body again.  I had a hard evening after that.  Everything kept making me cry.  I just want to fill my empty arms and the empty feeling I have inside.

On the good side my next appointment is a week today where I will learn to inject.  I am looking forward to it because we will get our schedule! In the meantime I have so much work to do! I fear that work is going to be taking over my life rather than IVF at the moment and that feels very wrong.  I am going to have to do some serious 'redistribution' of my energy after half term.  I can't afford for work to spoil things and get in the way and if that means taking time off sick then so be it.

It will work and I will have my baby next year.  Got to believe that. In a year I will read this post and will be surprised at how far I've come, how different I once felt, and how amazing life is now.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The first lot of drugs

Here is a picture of the first lot of drugs I have to take.  I have two vials of the Buserelin.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The ball is rolling!

Yesterday I went to the hospital for my first blood test.  As a summary phrase I would say "overwhelmingly underwhelming".  It was a bit of an anti-climax.  I don't know what I was expecting but it was a bit of a non-event.

I arrived at the hospital at 8am after leaving the house at 7:30am. My commute to work is normally 7 minutes long and so this 'commute' through rush hour was not my idea of fun.  In fact, I found it frustrating and I am glad that I do not have to commute far to work every day.  I got quite irate at being cut up at a roundabout and about someone entering a yellow hatching area when their exit wasn't clear.  This person was behind me and it didn't actually block my exit or anything but it annoyed me anyway! I had a good talking to myself - I figured the extra stress hormones circulating because of my road rage were of no benefit.

Once at the hospital I made my way up to a deserted corridor at the Department of Reproductive Medicine.  I hadn't been told where to go exactly so I wandered up the corridor and then assumed a seat in the waiting area because I figured that's what I should probably do.  There was another lady and her partner in the waiting area.  They looked nervous, like me, and I guessed that it was their first time there as well.

The waiting area is a place brimming with positivity.  All around it are photos of all the IVF babies they've produced here and the doctors with big smiley faces.  There are also fertility magazines, leaftlets and posters all geared up to the infertile.  Quite refreshing and positive.  However, there were also children's toys and books and a little play station.  Clearly having IVF is not just for those who don't have any children already.  This was something that, whilst I knew, surprised me a little.  But, maybe one day I'll be going back with Stanley and having to take him with me whilst we try for Lucy and he can play with those toys and read those books.

The nurse came and called for the first lady and she went in with her partner.  He said "Do I have to come in?" and she said "Yes, you know I hate needles".  So off they went.  My first thought was "Oh dear, they're going to have to get used to it really!".  Then a few other ladies came in, some with partners.  One lady asked if she was waiting in the right place (she'd done the whole wandering up and down the corridor then resorting to sitting in the waiting area thing too!).  I told her that I'd done what she had and that I presumed we were in the right place because the nurse came to get the first lady from here.

Looking around the room I was taken right back to that first information session on March 10th.  Back then I thought we'd be starting in September and it was only two months ago.  Around the room I was surprised at how 'normal' everyone looked.  Infertility isn't a badge that you wear but sometimes I feel like I am walking through town and everyone knows.  That they're saying "Oh, bless her, she can't have children".  I know that is a gross misconception but I felt the same when I'd lost my mum "Oh, there goes that girl whose mum died". It is a label that you give yourself.  When I lost my mum I almost felt the need to qualify my answers to people's questions with "I just lost my mum".  She was the same - sometimes she felt like she had to tell people she was talking to that she had cancer.  I feel the same about infertility but it's harder to talk about, harder than death or cancer I think.  People accept death, cancer etc. without too many questions.  People talk about it all the time.  When was the last time you had a chat with someone in the staff room at work about infertility? I bet it is close to never.  So, being an infertile, you feel that you have to hide it.  But at the same time you feel like your life revolves around it so it must be obvious; you must walk around with a great, flashing neon sign with a big down-pointing arrow saying "This is what infertile looks like".  But, as I figured in the waiting room, like I'd figured out in the information session, this is not what infertile looks like.  Infertile doesn't have a type; a stereotype; a label or a sign.  I am just me.  And the people in the waiting room were all like me.  Normal-looking, young, healthy.

I was taken out of my reverie with the nurse asking for the next lady.  I jumped up and trotted after her along the corridor (nurses walk fast don't they?).  Once in there she asked my name but couldn't find any labels for my blood vials, or any details for me (I'm hoping this is just one of those things and not a major thing!).  She took my details and asked if it was ok to do the HIV/Hep B/Hep C screening.  Of course I said yes - we won't be able to continue with IVF if I said no.  She took the vials of blood and apologised for the wait.  I'd only been there 15 minutes but she explained that it's not usually that long but the previous lady had a fear of needles so it took longer.  "She's going to have to overcome that somehow," I said.

And that was it.  The nurse explained that she isn't attached to the Department of Reproductive Medicine and so I should come back at 9am if I wanted any more information on what was next but that I should phone between 3-4pm for the results of the FSH test.  If my levels are ok then we proceed with treatment.  Then, I went to collect my prescriptions.  I made my way to the pharmacy through the maze of the hospital corridors along one of their colour-coded routes to make it easy(!).  When I arrived it was closed until 9am and so I had to navigate my way to the main pharmacy, which I didn't even realise they had.  It was a complicated journey and I ended up at the back of the hospital, going through dark corridors past the kitchens, the laundry  and other areas with electric vehicle-like trollies.  Had I not been down this route before when we'd had to drop Mr Waiting's sample off at pathology, then I would have been sure that this was a staff-only place.  Eventually I found the pharmacy and waited for at least five minutes to be seen by the staff there, despite them having noticed me they had continued their conversations.

When I got my drugs I was surprised at how little there were.  The pill packet was the same as the last time I'd been on the pill over five years ago.  The lovely Microgynon.  The Buserelin for the Down Regulation injections was really small - two small vials! I have since found out that I only have to inject a tiny amount of this and one vial will last me at least 11 days!  Wow! The bottles really are small.  I was not given any syringes which surprised me but apparently the IVF nurses will give me those when I have my injection training in a couple of weeks.  Yikes.

I returned to the main "mall" area of the hospital to see about a parking permit as it is going to cost me at least £2.30 every time I visit the hospital, which could be several times a week or ever several times a day.  But the counter did not open until 10am and I couldn't afford to stay that late due to having to be back at work.  If all had run smoothly I could've been back at work by 9am, which would be good as I would not need much cover for my teaching hours.  I briefly returned to the Department before leaving to see what happens next but the girl just told me the same thing - to ring between three and four.

So, 3:45pm arrives and I remember I have to phone the hospital - I don't know how I managed to forget until then! I tried ringing 26 times but it was always engaged so at the last attempt I left a message.  At 4:15pm I decided to try one last time before driving home from school and they answered and let me know that there was a problem with the machine and so they couldn't give me my results.  I have to ring back on Monday between the same times and so I can hopefully start the pill that day.  I think I am lucky in that I have now worked out that I won't have to start taking the injections until after I get back from the school French trip.  At one point I thought I was going to have to take them whilst there which would have been difficult! My next dilemma is deciding what time to take the injections.  It should be on a night as the next lot of injections must be done in the evening and so I could do them both together but I have to take the Buserelin at the same time each day.  I was thinking of doing the injections at 9:30-10:00pm as usually I got to bed after that but then I thought about things I'm doing in those weeks and it might be hard to do them at that time.  I am going to see Take That just after I start taking the injections and so I can't be injecting in the middle of a concert! This is something that I'm going to have to talk to the nurses about.

So, the ball is well and truly rolling now.  I never ever imagined getting to this stage and it's quite scary.  Fingers crossed for a smooth journey!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Ready, steady....

Almost go!

Well I can't believe that the time has almost come for us to start! AF arrived today so this, the 12th May, is officially Day 1 of our IVF cycle.  I am going to the hospital tomorrow for the day 1-4 blood test and I should get my schedule.  Afterwards I am going to go and collect my prescriptions.  Scary.  Tomorrow I'll be collecting the contraceptive pill (ugh, how annoying ironic) as well as the bruserelin injections (eek).  The injections will start on day 21, so three weeks' time.  I am going to try and keep this blog more updated as the process goes on.  I think I should.   One day I hope to share this blog with Stanley and Lucy to tell them how they were made.   It sure doesn't start with with "when a man and a woman love each other very much...".  Or does it?

I've just had acupuncture but I don't have my next session for four weeks.  By that time I'll be injecting.  How scary is that?  In fact, I'll be a pro at injecting by then.  As a result of the acupuncture I am really sleepy so I'm going to leave it there but hopefully I will be able to update you tomorrow after the hospital appointment.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Empty arms

This week I have visited two new babies.  One a colleague's, who was actually 8 weeks old, the other my next-door neighbour's and school friend's who is two or three days old.  I didn't hold the 8 week old, despite being offered. I don't know why.  On that day it just seemed too difficult and maybe it was to do with the feelings I had that day or the relationship I have with the person whose baby it was.  I don't know.  But for whatever reason I didn't feel like I could hold the baby.

The second baby was born just days ago and I went round just now and asked if he'd been born (I had a feeling as such by noting visitors!).  She invited me in and I stayed for a little while and she asked me if I wanted a cuddle.  Straight away, without hesitation, I said yes.  He is the most gorgeous little tiny baby.  It was truly amazing and quite overwhelming just watching him.  Yawn, staring and blinking at me, turning his head.  I was truly fascinated.  How amazing life is, to be able to create this.

My friend said that it is the most wonderful thing.  Better than she imagined.  That she is in love and I could just see and feel the happiness in her eyes and her voice.

I left excited and happy.  It was amazing to see and to hold this gorgeous little baby.  After a while I became sad.  I started to think of all these things that we are missing out on. I want all of that so much.  Does that make me greedy? It feels as if my arms are well and truly empty now.  And even with this beautiful baby in them it felt like he didn't belong there, and of course he didn't, he isn't mine.  I want to forget this pain. I want  my arms to be filled, to no longer be empty.  Tonight, I can't shake the fear that this is my forever.