The best of times, the worst of times

With a nod to DD, here is my year in review:

January: The start of our first IVF.

February: The worst moment of our infertility career – only two follicles at first stim scan and the realisation that we could be dealing with an ovarian reserve problem.

March: Two eggs retrieved, both fertilised, two embryos transferred and a pregnancy against all odds. And then another miscarriage. Followed by baby #3’s due date. Not a good month.

April: Another failed cycle.

May: Another pregnancy, another miscarriage, another missed birthday. And then the hardest blow of all, confirmation of our worst fears – an FSH of 17. Definite ovarian reserve problem and virtually no chance of a baby. IVF #2 begins.

June: Only one slowly developing follicle despite antagonist flare protocol with max dose stims. Cancelled. TSI. Pregnant again. Devastated again.

July: Another pregnancy. Looking good this time. Ha ha, only joking. Massive hair loss. Time to stop.

August: Blah.

September: Back to the clinic on the sly. Pregnant again.

October: Still pregnant.

November: Still pregnant.

December: Still pregnant.

To absent friends

This year there will be four empty places at the dinner table – our 19 1/2 month old, our 9 month old and our newborn twins. And the others that couldn’t make it in order to give this baby a chance. Happy Christmas my darlings – I love you and miss you all.

Normal at last

Baby was alive and kicking on today’s scan. Well, was actually asleep for most of it but definitely alive. All is as good as it can be. And the best news – “this is now a normal pregnancy”. Now, if a normal pregnancy is one where the nursery is decorated and the birth plan is written by six months, then this is never going to be a normal pregnancy (my birth plan will probably be: get the baby out alive by whatever means necessary). But if normal means that my baby has as much chance of life as any other 16w3d baby, then that’s the best Christmas present I could hope for.

In other good news, my nausea has reduced to negligible levels, I can stay up until midnight at a push, I have started to put on a few pounds and I have a definite bump. My god…………………I am pregnant!!!

Hope and hapiness

Sixteen weeks tomorrow, I can hardly believe it. All is well and I am the happiest girl in the land. I did have a brief panic last week and decided not to post about it. A lot of close family and friends now read my blog and I didn’t want to worry anyone.

All that happened was that I lay still one morning for about an hour and couldn’t feel the baby moving. Went about my business and came home with some niggly doubts in my mind. Lay down again for another hour or so and nothing. Tried again later, nothing. Shed a few tears, went back to my (home) office, couldn’t quite stop the tears and before I knew it I was back at the bottom of the pit of infertility, crying and wailing like a pro.

I chilled out a little the next day but didn’t quite get my groove back until junior started bouncing again the following day.

So, once an infertile, always an infertile? Well that is certainly true but does it mean we can never enjoy pregnancy like normal people? I don’t think so. It is terrifying at times but it is also the most fantastically wonderful feeling in the world and I can’t stop smiling when I’m not crying. Pregnancy is so important, so special and so worth waiting for. I know it will upset some people to read this and that is the last thing I mean to do but I just wanted to reassure those that are still waiting that it does make all the badness go away.

And I am so proud of myself, for getting through everything, for keeping going when many thought I should stop, when even my doctors didn’t know what to do with me. I knew it was the right thing to do, the only thing we could do and when I hear my DS talking so excitedly about the baby (it will be a girl and he will call her Josie or Annie) all the time, I can’t imagine what a loss it would have been if we had given up.

I know I am talking like a woman who thinks she is going to have a baby. I know it’s not that simple, I know there will be dangerous times ahead. But I have to be optimistic, to enjoy this time that we have waited so long for. And maybe there will even be a baby at the end of it.

Free to good home

42 x Cilest tabs

30 x 50mg/1ml ampoules Gestone

9 x 5ml vials Heparin (25,000iu in 5ml)

2 x 10g bottles Suprecur containing 15mg Buserelin

54 x 1.5g Ametop gel tubes + 94 dressings

84 x 2mg Estrofem tabs

17 x Cyclogest 400mg

30 x folic acid 5mg

If you want any of the above, email me your address and I’ll send them on.

So, yes, I have finished most of my meds. Will be staying on aspirin and Naltrexone but it’s bye bye to my lumpy, bruised and battered belly. Will be holding my breath for a while, probably (hopefully) for the next six months.

All I want for Christmas

All the good news in blogland recently has been making me weepy. Of course it would probably make me weepy in a different way if I wasn’t experiencing some good news myself but I’m sure we all understand how that goes.

I can’t believe I’m part of the gang. Pregnant I can do but second trimester? Am I really going to be one of those bloggers that gets a happy ending?

Everyone I started out with has a baby now. I stopped reading, many stopped posting and I gradually removed them one by one from my links. Same happened to my second batch. Then I slowly came across a group of women who seemed to be in the same shit state as me – endless failed treatments, multiple losses, failing ovaries and advancing years. I love these women – I didn’t even unsubscribe when some of them became pregnant before me! But not everyone gets a happy ending or even a happy beginning. My Christmas wish is that at least all of us will.

Today is my due date for my first IVF. That means My Reality is dealing with a similar date around this time. I wish I was having my babies today and I wish we had never plunged the depths of despair that we have this year. But how can I complain? I have got a happy beginning, if not yet a happy ending. I get to approach Christmas for the first time in three years with hope and happiness.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, just wish I had a magic wand, that’s all.

What to expect when you’re expecting

I picked this up recently for the first time in four years. I remembered it to be an enjoyable and exciting read, and if I ever had any cause to question it before, it didn’t stick in my memory.

Now, coming to it with a new pair of eyes, I put to you the thesis that it is part fiction, part comedy, heavy on rhetoric and completely unsuitable for those that don’t have “normal” conceptions, pregnancies and births.

Take this gem for starters:

“A positive test [after IVF] doesn’t necessarily mean a pregnancy.” (No further explanation.)

?!?!???????

“A fetal heartbeat appears between 10-20 weeks of pregnancy.”

And my favourite:

“As remarkable as modern medical science is, when it comes to pregnancy diagnosis, it still sometimes takes a back seat to a woman’s intuition. Neither tests nor doctors are infallible. You know your own body – at least externally – better than your doctor does. “

Oh please can I go and spread this piece of wisdom around TTC boards????

Other gaffs: Missed miscarriages are very uncommon (in most cases the baby has died several days or weeks before the woman has any sign there is anything wrong), second trimester miscarriage is caused by something wrong with the mother, not the foetus (most commonly caused by chromosomal problems), an ectopic pregnancy will not give a positive on a HPT (HCG will always rise when implantation starts – if this happens outside the uterus it may stop rising once it reaches a certain level but it this will happen long after you have had a positive HPT) and poor nutrition after the first trimester will harm the baby (the baby takes what it needs from the mother’s body so it will generally only be the mother that suffers).

I only flicked through most of the book so there may be more. I did look up induction as I was induced on my first pregnancy and had to laugh when they warned that labour after induction may be “unpleasant”. I wonder if they’d consider having your legs sawn off without anaesthetic “unpleasant”. Or if they generally consider labour to be pleasant.

I’m not one to take the softly, softly approach. I like to know how things are going to be so I can prepare properly. This book takes the “don’t worry, sure everything will be just fine” approach and while it is conversational and informative in the areas in which the authors have their own expertise, there is a lot of padding and fluff that may not wash with anyone that has had a bad experience.

What is the difference between me and a 15 year old?

Answer: nothing!

We both have an identical risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. Woohoo – I won at something!!!! F*** you statistics, I knew I’d get you in the end! And let’s not forget the fact that you said I only had a 30-40% chance of getting to this stage of pregnancy. Premature ovarian failure??? Advanced maternal age??? Look who’s laughing now?!?

Ok, ok, victory dance over. Normal service resumed. I know how common late miscarriage and stillbirth is, especially amongst us lucky infertiles. And I have never had an easy pregnancy, not even on my successful one. We nearly lost our darling son, a threatened miscarriage where we were given odds of 50-50. In my naivety, I took the midwife’s word for it. I now know that a heavy bleed followed by a small-for-dates foetus is almost always followed by bad news. Then there was the eroding cervix at 25 weeks, not to mention the fun and games of a 42 week induction. But we made it so we know it can be done.

Speaking of miracles, DS has taken over the housework! He comes home from school, inspects the stairs and announces that he thinks they need a hoover. Whatever you say, boss. He’s going through a real “helping” phase – all I have to say is “I have a job for you” and he jumps to attention. He is going to change the baby’s nappies and the baby will sleep on the bottom bunk of his bunk beds and he will look after it. Up until this pregnancy he wanted a brother but now he is adamant that he wants a sister. He thinks the video looks like a boy but is still hoping for a girl. DH thinks boy too. I don’t really mind, there are so many good things about both. Hell, I don’t care if this baby is a hermaphrodite with two heads as long as it doesn’t die.

I am still fairly nauseous but the vomiting has stopped. I’ve even put on a pound. I have a tiny little bump, only visible when naked. I can feel the little one swishing about in there so I think it is still alive. I know I have been very celebratory today but most of the time I am filled with caution. Just taking things one day at a time.

Introducing Baby B

I cried in the waiting room beforehand. I hadn’t thought much about the scan in the lead-up to it and when hit with the reality of the possibility of another lifeless three month old foetus, I crumbled. But today was our day. Heart is beating, baby is growing and everything is the right size and in the right place. And then, the icing on the cake – the nuchal fold measured 1.2mm. We have to wait until Wed for the blood test results but based on the scan, we were told the risk should be in the thousands. The nuchal fold test gives an assessment of the risk that the baby has Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. We had both braced ourselves for this as we expect that if it can happen, it will happen to us. All we wanted from this scan was a live baby, anything else was only ever going to be a bonus.

And now that we have been properly introduced, I don’t just want a baby, I want this baby. I just can’t believe how lucky we are. Part of me is still very, very angry that it has taken so much of our lives to get this far but…….oh…….just look at that video…….what was I saying???