It’s difficult to know where to start with this post, as I feel like I haven’t talked about our journey for a while. Since our miscarriage at the start of the year our intended plan for 2019 was pretty much thrown into disarray and we didn’t know which way to turn or what to do next. As impulsive as ever I decided to try to forget about my infertility for a while and I went out and got myself a job. A really good job, in a similar capacity to what I used to do before I took my ‘career break’. I was determined to try and get a semblance of my previous life back and stop letting my infertility take over.
Throughout our infertility battle I have become much more in tune with my body. Most of the time I hate it for being broken and not letting me have the child we so desperately want; but I’ve also learned to listen to it and take heed when it’s letting me know that things aren’t right.
Within a couple of days of starting my new post, I started bleeding. A lot. I was sitting at my desk and realised what was going on so thankfully with it being lunchtime, I jumped in my car and headed home. I won’t go into all the details but by the next afternoon I was in the gynaecological ward at our local hospital. After a thorough examination and an internal scan, it would appear that I’d had a cyst which had burst. The result was the massive bleed and some scarring on my ovaries. We chatted with the doctor afterwards and she asked us if we were intending to do more IVF. When we said we were but we weren’t sure when, she suggested we get on with it. Reading between the lines, what she was saying was that while my reproductive system was still relatively healthy, we should take the opportunity of doing another cycle before anything else happened. She was confident that the scarring on my ovaries would heal, but what she was effectively saying was don’t waste any more time.
In fertility if you’re over 35 you’re considered ‘old’. I’m 37 next month and therefore pushing my luck a bit in terms of taking for granted that I’ll still be able to function normally for the purposes of IVF, or conceieving naturally for that matter.
Once home, rest and a serious discussion were on the cards for Dave and myself. In the end, we decided that we had to listen to the warning my body was so obviously trying to give me, and proceed with more IVF. I got in touch with my boss and explained the situation to her. I was so sad to be giving up the chance of a tremendous job before it had even really begun, but thankfully she was so amazingly understanding and asked me to keep in touch.
After a few weeks of rest, we contacted the fertility clinic and told them we would like to push ahead with round 3. We had our consultation appointment last Thursday and admittedly I was terrified. It was like going back to the scene of the crime. The last time we’d sat in that waiting room we’d been there to discuss our miscarriage and truthfully, we’d been annoyed from word go; from being taken half an hour late to then being rushed through our appointment with a doctor we didn’t even know; the whole place just wound me up.
Therefore I was really not looking forward to going back, but what choice did we have? The Aberdeen Fertility Clinic is the only one in the North East of Scotland; unfortunately we didn’t have a variety of clinics to choose from. We had discussed the possibility of going elsewhere for treatment, i.e. Edinburgh, Glasgow, London or even abroad, but being close to home is really such an advantage when going through your treatment, especially considering the amount of times you have to visit the clinic throughout the cycle. And besides, the treatment we receive will be similar anywhere we go, and amazingly Aberdeen is known as a centre of excellence for reproductive medicine.
I am definitely the type of person who holds a grudge and I think my whole experience of the fertility clinic was being tainted by just 1 or 2 individuals who had been rude to us or not treated us in the way we would expect. I knew that I needed to get myself out of this mind-set and remind myself of the countless lovely people we had met there and had really done their best to help us.
With that in mind we set off for the clinic last Thursday and thankfully we had a great appointment. We met with 2 nurses and a new doctor to the clinic who was really lovely. He explained things so well and perhaps because he was younger, he spoke to us like we were real people, not just a number. He gave me a scan and thankfully my scarring had all cleared up on my ovaries and the initial count of follicles on each ovary (which give an indication of how many eggs you’re likely to produce) was a good number, so they were pleased and so were we!
After speaking about what treatment plan we would follow, the risks involved (my age!!), some new research concerning the development of embryos and completing our pile of consent forms, we agreed to go ahead with IVF cycle 3. We then sat down with the nurse to work out dates and amazingly they were able to start us more or less immediately, so I commence treatment on the 7thof May, with our egg retrieval booked in for week beginning 10thof June. We were both really pleased that we could start straight away; the last thing I wanted was to have another couple of months of waiting before kicking things off. This way, I don’t have too much time to think about things.
As before, we are both doing everything we can to ensure this cycle will be healthy and productive. We have both been taking our fertility vitamins for over a year now and we have just stepped Dave’s up to super-duper fancy ones (with a very fancy price tag too!), which are very highly recommended by embryologists and fertility specialists. I am going to start my reproflexology (reproductive reflexology) again and do it in conjunction with the IVF cycle. The lady that I go to is so lovely and has helped so many people achieve their dreams both naturally and through IVF. She even told me that doing the reproflexology alongside IVF can increase your chances of success to 52%, which is obviously amazing.
Another thing I’m starting this week is counselling. As I’ve mentioned before, I often struggle with my mental health and keeping my head above water where my infertility is concerned. And whilst it’s still an ongoing battle what I’ve come to realise is that I feel so much benefit from talking. Dave will definitely agree with that I’m sure haha! Also, when I have my monthly visits to my GP, I feel like even just talking to her for 10 minutes makes me feel so much better. She has been suggesting counselling to me for months now and I’ve always resisted, mainly because I feel embarrassed and a fraud admitting that I need a counsellor when so many people have much worse problems than me. Yes, infertility is a hard thing to deal with, but I’m not ill, no-one has died and I would feel ashamed using a counsellor when so many other people are far worse off than me. Over the months however I’ve come to realise that everyone’s problems are relative to them and their life, and it’s ok to say you need help.
Obviously I don’t know what it will be like yet; I may not like it at all or I may not like the counsellor, however I feel it’s something that could potentially really help me. Just being able to offload all my thoughts on a weekly basis to someone who is professionally trained to help may be a great thing. Especially doing it in conjunction with my IVF cycle where my mind will be constantly in overdrive.
All in all, we are doing everything we can and feeling positive about the upcoming cycle. At the end of the day there’s only so much we can do; we have to give it up to mother nature and just hope that she comes through for us this time.