Thursday, 21 February 2013

Treatment Over. Complete with Simulated Walk of Shame for Authenticity

So the IUI is over, and I am going crazy all over these internets.

The current fear is that the IUI was done too soon, given that it took place less than 24 hours after I had taken the so-called "trigger" shot (I confess I had absolutely no idea how this would work, and lay awake most of the night praying that I wouldn't ovulate too soon and miss the sperm).

And after all that I now find that the "trigger" doesn't trigger bugger all until 36 hours later, by which point the sperm would all have been dead as a doornail (is that the phrase?  Well, as dead as a very dead thing anyway, like, I don't know, a 5000 year old Egyptian mummy or something).

I even had a dream that all the sperm were dead.  So there, it must be true.

Perhaps I have in fact killed the sperm by visualising them dead.  I have a powerful mind you know.  Today I was thinking about Alexandra Burke (God knows why) and an Alexandra Burke song popped up on my ipod.  Now if I can trigger Alexandra Burke to sing in my ears merely by thinking about her, surely I could also be responsible for killing sperm by thinking about them dead.

The actual events surrounding the insemination are somewhat hazy.  Mostly because I was drugged up and don't remember any of it, therefore in the extremely unlikely event of my becoming pregnant, the baby will appear like some sort of miracle virgin conception that I will probably give birth to unexpectedly in a toilet (sadly, another one of my crazy dreams involved me giving birth to twins far too early in the pregnancy, i.e. early enough for them both to still be red and bloody and look like foetuses.  The dream ended badly, with one of my beloved twins dying in my arms, and me then running around desperately trying to stop the other one from dying too.  If that's not a grim premonition then I don't know what is).

Anyway, I went for a scan on Friday afternoon-the first since I'd started on the ol' meds.  Of course all my fears had been realised and I had overstimulated, although frustratingly not by much (frustrating because had I had one less follicle, I wouldn't have had to pay over the odds to get one sucked out).  I had four follicles.  Now that I've read all manner of details about other people's IUIs on the interwebs and all of them seem to know in great detail the precise sizes of their follicles (or "follies" as those in the know, such as myself, call them).  However, I was so worried about how many there were that I paid absolutely no attention whatsover to the size of mine, and now realise that I should have asked.  I'm sure one of them was 22mm, and another one maybe 17mm, both of which sound pretty standard from what I've read.

Anyway, I was offered the stark choice of either abandoning the cycle, which would have been less unpalatable had I had an unsuspecting man available to drag back to my place to try "au natrel" (which I didn't.  Men are so unreliable) and hope for the best (i.e. some babies but preferably not quads.  That would be embarrassing) or paying an extra few quid (450 to be precise) to get one "or two" aspirated.

TWO!  What was the point in taking all those poxy injections if all the eggs were just going to be sucked out?

I chose the latter.  Unfortunately this meant a total cost of £500, the additional fifty coming from the train ticket to Devon that I had purchased with the objective of attending a friend's wedding there the following day.  I also had to come back the following morning for the follicle reduction and the IUI to be performed together.

I went home and had a mournful last glass of wine, hoping that it wouldn't damage the quality of my precious eggs.

The following morning I set off for the clinic early, looking uncannily like someone doing the walk of shame, as I was completely overdressed as I was getting on a train to attend said wedding straight afterwards, but afflicted with a severe lack of make up or hair products as both were in my suitcase having been driven to Devon by a friend the night before in the expectation that I would be joining said suitcase later.

I arrived and was shown into a hospital ward-type room along with two other women who were both having egg collections for IVF.  There was a surgical gown on the bed-type thing which I assumed I was supposed to put on, but no one had actually explained to me whether I should, and the other women looked like they knew what they were doing, so I didn't want to look like a total idiot by putting it on wrong, and had to poke my head round the curtain and ask the nurse.  Embarrassment number one.

Embarrassment number two occurred when one of the other women came out of her egg collection clearly drugged up to the eyeballs and slurring her words whilst gleefully telling the nurse that she had "dreamed" she would have four eggs collected (a bit like I dreamed I had dead sperm and dead twins.  I sense a theme here and it's not a good one).  I decided that I would not be drugged up and embarrassing and when I came out of my follicle reduction and IUI (I reminded them I was having this done by asking lots of questions about how many follicles they were planning to remove, etc, just in case they got confused, thought I was having egg collection too and removed all my eggs.  HORROR) and therefore when I came out of theatre (why do they call it that?) I demanded several times that the nurse reassure me that I did not sound "drugged up," then declared that I loved the drugs and wanted them all the time, especially when travelling on long haul flights.  DOUBLE HORROR.

Anyway, after a bit of lying about drinking cups of tea and wondering where all the sperm were (there didn't look like there were many in the test tube, although I was assured that there were over 9 million) I was finally free to go and hot-footed it to Paddington to jump on a train where astonishingly, I made it to the wedding on time, albeit sans make up.

The rest of the day was spent trying to avoid doing too much dancing (I had been advised to avoid the gym) or drinking (I had been advised not to do that either).  I'm sure I didn't ovulate until later that evening, which I reckon could scupper my chances as surely if I didn't ovulate until, say, midnight, that would have been more than twelve hours after IUI and by then surely all the sperm would have been dead, given that the interwebs say they only live for about six hours once they've been frozen, thawed and washed (a traumatic process for a sperm, one imagines).

Anyway, I am trying not to overthink this (have just spent the last two hours desperately searching for answers on the interwebs) as hopefully the clinic know what they are doing (fleecing me, mostly).

Anyway, I am armed with a pregnancy test and I am determined to use it.  Hopefully not until my period is late (PERIOD PLEASE BE LATE.  TEST PLEASE BE POSITIVE, OR I HAVE WASTED A WHOLE CREDIT CARD THAT I COULD HAVE SPENT ON SHOES!!!!)

Only time will tell.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Fatal Stabbing?

Aargh another needle-related disaster!

Just as I was starting to think I was getting good at it as well.  Just stick the thing in and it doesn't even hurt.


Not just today, but possibly yesterday as well (can't remember).

And now my ovaries hurt.

Surely this means that I have either
a) Inserted the syringe-and hence the medication-so close to my right ovary that it has now gone crazy with all this additional stimulation, and started whirring around producing countless eggs.  So many, in fact, that not only will my cycle have to be cancelled, but my ovaries will no longer have any eggs as they have all been rudely awakened from their slumbers, and hence after this cycle, they will both shrivel up and die, and menopause shall beckon.
b) I have in fact stabbed the needle right into said ovary and it has split open, spilling its precious contents all over my insides and rendering the entire ovary useless.

Needless to say, both of these scenarios are BAD.

Just perused the interwebs to see if I could find any advice on this.  All I could find was a dire warning thta you didn't want to hit the muscle by mistake, but with no explanation of why this should be the case.

I wonder if the pinching skin thing was just supposed to be an insurance against the pain that one would imagine accompanies stabbing oneself nightly with a big needle, but if truth be told it doesn't seem to hurt at all so either there is another reason to pinch, or everyone else who takes Gonal-F has a very low pain threshold.

I am going to ask my Fertility Friends about this. Surely they will know the answer.

In the words of the great Eminem, I'm Back I'm on the Rack and Ovulating

Loving the drama.

It is expensive though.

Went for a scan at the clinic today-first one since I started taking the medication a week ago.  It turns out that I have indeed over-responded, and the drugs have miraculously resulted in four follicles (weird, to think that something I just stuck in my stomach each night has led to such fecundity).  So naturally, if they were to go ahead and inseminate, there is the chance that I would end up with quads.

Not quite the ideal scenario.

So they won't go ahead, and I was give the bittersweet choice of cancelling the whole thing, or having some of the follicles aspirated.  The latter is obviously the more expensive, but having come this far I didn't fancy having to start all over again, so aspiration it is.

What is more weird is that the medication has speeded up one's regular bodily rhythms somewhat and despite my having thought I had another week to languish around waiting for my follicles to grow, it now appears that they are quite literally ready to pop, and hence I need to be inseminated tomorrow.

This rapidly put paid to my previous plan of hopping on a train down to Devon tonight for a wedding tomorrow.  O the drama.  And, since one of my friends had driven off to Devon with my suitcase (this was planned, she didn't just steal it) I am now stuck in London sans toothbrush, retainers (AARRGGH.  WHAT IF MY TEETH SUDDENLY SPRING BACK INTO THEIR PRE-BRACE-LIKE STATE I.E. CROOKED AND HIDEOUS??) and make up.  Not to mention the outfit I had been planning to wear to the wedding.

So to cut a long story short, I shall be arriving at the clinic tomorrow in full wedding regalia, ready to be aspirated with the IVF people having egg collection (this will involve being sedated, like, in a SURGICAL GOWN and everything-at least I hope there will be a gown involved.  Don't fancy wearing my nice dress in theatre.  To the theatre, maybe, but not on the operating table) and then jumping off the table post-insemination and onto a train to Devon to attend said wedding.

Good luck to me.  The baby (should I be fortunate enough to be blessed with such) is totes being named after the happy couple (well, one of them.  Probably not both, unless I spawn some weird hermaphrodite).

Good luck to me again.  One can never wish oneself enough good luck.

Friday, 8 February 2013

"Yes, I am familiar with Epipens."

And so it begins.

Everything got off to a good start, i.e. despite everything seeming so easy in the clinic with the nurse explaining to me how to use the Gonal F pen and how she made it all look so simple, just like taking a lid off a felt tip pen and writing with it, and then I get home and promptly stab myself in the finger with it (a painless, but surprisingly bloody affair).

A bit like my first scan today (ewww TMI).

And thank God I've never been in close proximity to an Epipen emergency.  It would be a disaster for all concerned.  "Hang on, let me just check Youtube for a video of someone doing this!  I know you're lying on the floor with a swollen windpipe, unable to breathe and gasping for air, and your face has swelled up to the size of a beachball, but it'll be fine!  Just five more minutes!  Oops, you appear to have died."

I still can't believe I'm doing this.  Felt very brave today, injecting myself (well, once I had managed to get it into the right spot).  Sort of like a diabetic or other variety of ill person for whom every day must be a struggle, and who must literally be covered in holes from all the injections.

Anyway, have spent millions of pounds on it now so it had better work.  Although on the plus side, if it doesn't, at least I won't be having a baby with a man who may well be a total minger.

Oh God, banish terrible thought from head.  What if the baby grows up and reads this, and realises it has a terrible, cruel mother, who only cares for her child's physical attributes and once said to a colleague that she hoped her baby didn't turn out to be autistic.

OH GOD WHAT IF THE BABY IS AUTISTIC?  AFTER ALL ITS MOTHER CAN'T EVEN USE AN EPIPEN!!!!!  Is it called an Epipen?  I don't even know.  What else is one to call it?  Gonal F pen?  Anyway, I told the nurse I was "familiar with Epipens"  in a sage and knowledgeable manner today when she brandished the pen and asked me if I had seen its like before.  As in, we had a five minute training slot on it at work back in 2008.  So there you are, I am familiar with Epipens. 

Anyway, I'm off to stalk the many anxious and often hysterical chatrooms on the interwebs dedicated to women having fertility treatment.  Women like me.  I bloody knew this would happen.  I knew it in 1995 when I did that GCSE coursework on it.  I should have just cut my losses and had a baby then.  Then I would never be in this position.  I mean, what have I even done between 1995 and now anyway?  Only GCSEs, A levels and university.  Other than that it's just been a load of drunken carousing really.  Should have given up my youth to tend to the youth of tomorrow, like any good Daily Mail reader would do.  Bloody career is a quintessence of dust anyway.

Oh God now I'm really depressed.

AND the leaflet inside the aspirin pack of the aspirin I have been ordered to take (apparently it helps to prevent heart attacks in people with angina, though I'm not sure that that's the reason I am supposed to be taking it) says it may impair fertility.  The nurse assures me that this is not the case, and that they always prescribe it, but I have been obsessed with reading those little leaflets inside packets of tablets and sanitary products and assuring myself of their devastating accuracy ever since I read an article in Just Seventeen about somebody who had ACTUALLY CAUGHT toxic shock syndrome from a tampon.  You know, it could happen.

Let's hope not though, as I'm on my period at the moment and would hate to think that there could be a deadly reaction when one mixes the dangerous triumvirate of Gonal F, aspirin and tampons.

What with those and the folic acid, I am going to be literally rattling this month.  And to think that last time I got pregnant all it took was a couple of buckets of wine.

OK so I lost the baby.  Doesn't count.  Must have been because I wasn't taking a weird concocotion of medications.

Right, I really am off now.  I am starting to bang on about nuffin'.