The desperation. The hoping i won’t come on. The praying we get lucky.
Already! We don’t cycle til September and I’m already obsessed.
Ugh! This is what IVF does. It seeps into every corner of your life. Makes you crazy. Makes you feel inadequate.
Roll on September and i hope we get a BFP as i will not be cycling again. We plan to defrost all the embryos so there is no second attempt at a sibling. IVF has been part of our lives for 7 years and we NEED to move on.
I know its the right thing to do. I know I’m so lucky to have Little T. I also know ill be devastated if it doesn’t work. So between now and then, i need to prepare myself, so I’m not broken if it doesn’t work.
In the mean time, there’s the MS diagnosis to contend with. I’ve got many symptoms going on. It started with a numb tongue for 10 days. 2 weeks later my right side went numb for about 3 weeks.
Its progressed to:
Lack of control in right arm and leg
Fine motor skills encumbered, can’t butter toast, put a key in the lock, stir a cup of tea etcetera.
I’ve had a brain scan via MRI and I’m awaiting an appointment with a specialist. The symptoms seem to get worse with each ‘episode’ they progress quicker and last longer. I’ve had enough.
To top it all of off, my GP wants to review my anti depressants with a view to reducing them.
The appointment is next week and I’m anxious and scared. I’m not ready and i plan to tell him this and fight to stay on my current dose.
So, there’s a lot going on and I’m having some down days. I can’t even have a glass of wine as i can’t handle it, probably due to my rubbish brain, i just get stupidly drunk and make a fool of myself!
I have times where I’d love another little person to love
And then i think about how hard it’d be, having two
Then i think, do it sooner rather than later, get the lack of sleep, the nappies, the weaning out the way ASAP
And then i think of how hard that’d be logistically.
Would i even get pregnant again? Would it be as terrifying as last time?
Would the baby be healthy?!!!
Can i put Mr Me and my family through that?
I’m jealous of a bump, i miss the feeling of a baby moving, i miss feeling special, i miss growing life.
I don’t miss not being able to turn over, or being so big i can barely move, or having swollen feet/ankles/hands
Logistically, how do you food shop with a newborn and toddler? How do you attend groups with a babe in arms and (hopefully) one on the move? (Little T is still pretty stationary for now, and toothless i might add)
How would we raise the capital for IVF and then pay for a baby on one wage?
Will Little T be lonely as an only child? Am i thinking about a second because it seems like that’s the socially acceptable thing to do?
When people go into labour, i envy them. Despite it being the most painful thing EVER and the recovery being horrendous, the memory is becoming a sweet one, i see now how women convince themselves it wasn’t as bad as they thought.
I like having spare bedrooms, and i worry the kids would fight endlessly and i wouldn’t cope.
But i think about having another daily. Sometimes i think it’d be great, other days i have a near on panic attack.
Is there a good age gap? Is going from 1 to 2 as hard as they say?
So this year marks 40 years since the 1st IVF baby was born.
In honour of National Fertility Awareness week, i wanted to share some of my experiences/memories.
Ive done a whopping 9 cycles. 3 of those resulted in no embryo transfer. Of the other 6, 3 worked. Im INCREDIBLY lucky to have such good numbers. Sadly, only 1 pregnancy made it to term. The other 2 were lost at 21 weeks.
I remember after being referred for IVF i cried. I honestly thought we’d make a baby the normal way (or as i now say, traditional way). We had no idea there was a problem at the time of referral either.
Then at our 1st meeting at the clinic we are told i have polycystic ovaries (but not the syndrome) and he has poor sperm in terms of count, morphology and mobility. We have 0.01% chance of making a baby tradtionally.
Then the wait to cycle. I think the waiting was one of the worst things for me. Youve got your head round the idea and then you have to wait. Wait your turn. Get knocked back due to clinic being full/bank holidays/clinic closing for a clean/incubators not working/hormones inbalanced/uterine lining too thin…all of those were actual reasons i couldnt start a cycle or why i couldnt have an embryo transferred.
The 1st time i was naive. I got 23 eggs, the most that day. But only 13 fertilised. Youre not warned the numbers drop so fast. I got ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome but didnt tell the clinic in case they cancelled my cycle. I was really quite poorly but i was also desperate. Itd been 2.5yrs of trying by then. By transfer day i had 3 embryos left and a touch of OHSS. The transfer went ahead. 10 days later my period started.
Little did i know itd take another 6 years and 8 cycles before i brought a baby home.
I started out shy, taking my knickers off for a scan, WHILST on my period, was mortifying! By the end, id take my knickers off as easy as most people take off a pair of sunglasses when entering a room.
I knew all the acronyms, i was a huge contributer to online communities, i read all the research, ate brazil nuts, pineapple core, avocado, whatever the lastest study revealed.
I lived, breathed and loved IVF. Im still an advocate for talking about infertility, and now, sadly, terminations for medical reasons and late miscarriage.
I went abroad, to Cyprus, for my final 4 cycles of IVF. I met a wonderful team at my chosen clinic. They blessed me with 2 pregnancies including the one who made it to term. They are like family, and i like to think im paying for thier kids to go to uni!! Haha!
They were the best of times but also the worst of times
Even now, with my miracle rainbow baby sleeping upstairs, im still jealous of a pregnancy bump.
I have 5 frozen embryos, im exceptionally lucky. But im not sure i can do anymore IVF. Its emotionally draining, its a lifestyle not just a treatment. Its scary and hard and consumes your very being.
Im so grateful for IVF. I am truly lucky to live in an age where treatments get better every year. Still, i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.
Down to Bristol to see the fam. Little T was a dream. Drinks were flowing, laughs a plenty were had by all.
But, i was late. A fair few days late. I mentioned this to Mr Me on Sunday, i couldnt possibly be pregnant, could I?
Theres a 0.1% chance we could conceive on our own, and i thought we had avoided my fertile window. But we were worried.
In the last week we had come to a decision. We dont want another baby. We dont want to go through the anxiety of another rainbow pregnancy, we dont want to go through the IVF stress of will it/wont it in order to achieve a pregnancy. We dont want to risk another loss. Little T has seemingly not got Mr Me’s blood conditions or my asthma, would the next baby be as lucky?
Our lives are pretty awesome just now. Little T is a great baby, sleeping through the majority of nights, happy and content.
On a more selfish note, i cant face the 1st 8 weeks again, im enjoying being able to have a glass of wine, drink coffee, eating paté and soft cheese. I like being able to afford nice holidays and having a spare room. We work well as a 3, Mr Me and I have found our rhythm again. All in all life is pretty perfect.
Was that all about to change?
2 under 1? Really? What would we do? Financially it wouldnt really be viable. Id be permanently exhausted. A tandem pram costs a grand. How would i cope heavily pregnant with a 10/11 month old? 2 in nappies?!! The exhaustion of pregnancy, on top of parenting exhaustion? We were terrified.
The T word (termination) came up. It would be an option. But could i really go through with it after all we had been through? I didnt think so.
Only one thing to do, test and find out.
Cue a family trip to the Trafford Centre and Boots. A latte later, and there i am peeing on a stick in a Costa coffee toilet. Classy but I had to know whether i could have a glass of wine at lunch!!
Never ever have i hoped for a negative test. Those 3 minutes were agonising.
1 line!! Whoop! Mr Me’s sperm hadnt made a miracalous recovery! Pass the wine!! In fact pass me 2. (It was nice wine)
So, what this taught me was: A, i really am not ready for another baby, and B, i need to get back on the pill ASAP but it looks like ive not ovulated so it may be a very long cycle!!!
I went back to counselling this week. Mr Me made the referral when i was struggling. In the hour i was there, i managed to cover the time from his birth to my struggles to feeling better.
Over the course of this week ive realised my next session will be my last. I dont need that level of support anymore. I know how to manage my issues now. I can self analyse, know what will make me anxious and why and how to cope with that.
I know ill probably need to be medicated for depression for most of my life but im ok with that. Im ok to admit that i suffer with anxiety and depression, the same way i suffer with and am medicated for asthma. Its just part of my life. Im at peace with that.
Actually, im happy. Im happy i finally have my baby, happy that, despite all the crap, Mr Me and I made it. Happy im a mummy, a wife, a friend.
Worry, sleep deprivation and self doubt are creeping away. Little T is nearly 12 weeks old (oh my god i have a 3 month old) and hes thriving (now that hes being treated for reflux)
Now i get more than 2 hours sleep a night, im more rational, more confident. In the last couple of weeks we have settled into a nice routine.
Ive joined more classes, i spend more time just enjoying Little T and watching him learn and develop. I no longer constantly hold myself up to the impossible standard i set myself.
I now love being his mummy. Now that ive stopped worrying about losing myself, ive found my feet. Im still me, still put my make up on, do my nails when i can, go out with my friends, spend quality time with Mr Me. Im me AND a mummy.
Now i know why we fought so hard for so long, now i know i was right to want this so much.
Ive stopped caring if i get all the washing done, stopped worrying about keeping on top of the housework. It gets done. Not today though. Today ive spent all day snuggling, because he needed me, and i needed him. There wont always be days where we can just snuggle so these days are special.
Today has been hard, Little T has been and continues to be so fussy at the bottle. He takes a few sucks, cries and spits it out and then screams bloody murder for it back again and the cycle repeats. Ive tried new bottles, new milk, faster flowing teats. Nothing settles him.
I feel like a failure. Like he hates me. Hes an angel for and around other people, including Mr Me but i feel like i just cant get it right.
Its soul destroying. Hes moany and whiney and i have less patience than i expected. Apparently i used up all my reserves going through IVF.
I feel like i shouldnt complain. I waited 8 years for this. I paid so much and lost so much. And now im shit at it. I cant settle him. I feel shit.
Hes no routine to speak of. He eats when he wants, sleeps when he wants and seems to scream inbetween times. Its bloody hard and i dont know what im doing wrong.
The occassions that hes a shit biscuit (hard work but super sweet hence shit biscuit) for Mr Me serve to remind me its not just me. He can be a shit for others. But mostly its reserved for me, hes all smiles when Daddy walks in
Those 5 minutes of contentment, or when he sleeps on me or beams are me, make it worth it but at times i just feel im not cut out for this.
Talk keeps turning to whether we will have another. Im 10 weeks in so no idea how im meant to know at this point god alone knows. But my answer makes me feel guilty. Its a resounding NO right now. The thought of a new born and toddler is terrifying. Im barely managing as it is. But theres 5 potential babies frozen in Cyprus and the guilt of not giving them a chance combined with knowing how lucky we are to even have Frosties is overwhelming.
I loved pregnancy, til the end, i dreamed of a big family and dont like the idea of Little T not having a sibling, but the thought of doing this again but with a walking, talking, little person in tow just fills me with dread. I hate myself for feeling this way.
On a different note…The way i look has gotten me to the point, where for the first time ever, i want to exercise. I downloaded an app that promises maximum results with minimal effort, “7 minutes a day of HIIT for a fitter, lighter version of you.” I bought active wear and everything to help me commit. I was excited to start. And i did it. All 13 exercises. The last one being star jumps. I was hot sweaty and exhausted, but so close. So i started jumping…and, promptly wet myself!!!!! THIS IS WHY I DONT EXERCISE. I have no pelvic floor it seems. I wasnt even aware it was happening….until i felt very wet. Pass the Tena Lady….no wonder you get free samples in after birth gift packs!! (Ive since replaced star jumps with additional abdo crunches and no more accidents)
Ive sounded very doom and gloom since Little T was born. Honestly i am enjoying motherhood, its just very different to what i expected and has literally changed everything. People tell you it changes everything but you dont really understand until it happens!!
But its all worth it…
When he fixes on me with his massive eyes, im transfixed, i cant look away, i can see him studying my face, know he knows that hes safe and wanted with me. My Mum says it his ‘look of love’
When he grabs my finger, my top, my skin, even with his razor sharp nails. Its like he holds onto me for security. I make him feel safe. So does a muslin mind you, but you know. I like to see him grab anything, i have a proud parent moment
When he burps/farts/poos im reassured that his little body is working properly and i marvel at the fact that Mr Me and I (and Team Miracle) made this perfect little human
When he smiles, i melt. I know its only wind at this point but hes got an amazing smile.
When he pouts, i melt. I dunno who taught him to pout but its perfect!!
When he makes random happy sounds, its like hes telling me something, like how the side of his pram really is super interesting. Without fail ill make up a conversation between him and i and often outloud, much to the amusement of onlookers
When i look at his face and see my mouth and eyes, his Daddys hands and forehead and chin, it reminds me of how much Mr Me and I love each other and how hard we worked to make this amazing little human
When people stop me and tell me what a gorgeous boy he is and how much they like his name, im so proud that hes mine.
In true me style, its a little dramatic. So much so, Mr Me is helping me write this as ive forgotten a lot as i was in ‘the zone’.
We arrived at the delivery ward at about 12.15pm on Monday 15th May 2017. They were expecting us which was fantastic given the hiccups over the weekend
We were shown to our room and met B, our 1st midwife. B talked to us about the process. Monitor baby, break waters, put me on the drip, wait for labour.
I had cannulas inserted for the hormone drip and so blood could be taken. B got flustered, bless her, so another midwife did my 1st cannula.
Bloods taken, it was time for ARM. Artificial removal of membranes. Using a hook. Its a good long hook but not very sharp. It took 2 hooks to get the waters to fully burst. I stood up to get gravity to help…they ran down my leg through 2 pads. I ended up in a puddle.
I was hooked up to the hormone drip to start contractions. Cramps seemed to start quite quickly. All the while im on the CTG to monitor baby. It showed i was having contractions before any drugs were introduced.
It became apparant i had to go to the loo so unhooked from CTG but hormone drip still attached i relieved myself. Better now than later.
The contractions ramped up at this point. Gas and air was in use. I leaned on the bed and over the bean bag. It felt like i couldnt cope, i thought i was soft. B kept telling me it was happening fast but i assumed my pain threshold had dropped. I was overwhelmed.
At 3, D came in, my 2nd midwife, i could barely talk to her at this point but i noted her pink hair and knew we’d get on. She introduced herself, i asked for drugs.
30 minutes later the anaesthetist arrived and took her sweet time setting up meds and pumps. I was litterally on the floor over a beanbag at this point and had to get to the bed for the patient administration device to be attached to my other hand. Its hard moving CTG wires and drips whilst also contracting for Britain. We moved on the count of 3.
Stuff gets blurry now. Mr Me says once hooked up to the good stuff i told the room at large i loved whoever gave me the good drugs.
I was examined and told i was 6cm. I asked ‘is that all?!’ I was told id gone from 3cm to 6cm in less than hour with no increase in meds and thats why i was overwhelmed.
Mr Me says i was sweating like a good un at this point, contracting really hard. 30 minutes later he noticed the remyfentynill cannula had come out and i was bleeding everywhere.
Gas and Air before each contraction as i no longer had access to the good stuff. Another long wait for the anaesthetist despite the emergency alarm being pulled. 10 people turned up including the anaesthetist but they all promptly left again, including the anaesthetist. Mr Me really wanted to kick off on my behalf as only he and my midwives understood i was in agony.
I briefly opened my eyes but really was concentrating on the pain. I remember being asked for my hand and D telling me she had put loads of plasters on as i was sweating so so much.
Examined again at 3.30pm to be told im fully dilated. 3hrs 45minutes after hormone drip administered. Instead of baby being born by midnight, it was going to be MUCH sooner.
15.33 i started pushing. And pushing. And pushing.
I have never sweat so much in my life. I had bought a cooling spray and it was the best thing ever, Mr Me held my gas and air, sprayed me, and gave me water in between coaching. I think id have passed out without the spray and water.
There was a catheter inserted at some point as they thought pushing wasnt working due to full bladder. Didnt feel or register that!!!
Suddenly baby wasnt coping. Surgeons came in. I was going to theatre. Forceps or C Section were on the cards. Risks were being reeled off. I was asked to sign consents. I had no idea what i was signing. I knew i was exhausted and sensed something was wrong. All i could hear/concentrate on was the rain.
D explained what was going on so i stopped taking the meds. I begged her to get me there as i couldnt do any more. My body kept pushing.
I couldnt stop it so i pushed with no pain relief. I was sober. D was in scrubs, when and why that had happened im not sure. She reminded me about theatre. I begged again.
She told me that we werent going after all. I just pushed and she had seen baby. But i couldnt get him out. They had to cut me. I saw the scalpel but didnt register it. I was doing it drug free. And it fucking hurt. 3 pushes after the cut and they pulled him out. 18.01.
Just over 4 hours. 2.5 of those pushing… the Dr who stitched me, that bloody hurt too despite many locals, said i was a hero.
Toby was taken away after he was briefly put on my chest. He was in shock (he was??) and quiet. Mr Me could see him but i couldnt. I asked 40 times if he was ok, was alive. Finally they gave him back. Not once did he cry.
An hour to stitch me up.
No one tells you it feels like your ass has been blown out after birth. My vagina may not have been involved given the sensation i felt upon standing. Its weird. Really weird. I pee’d and had a shower whist Mr Me dressed Tobias.
I thought birth hurt until labour was over. I was wrong. I still cant move properly. Think John Wayne x 1 million.