Eggs

I guess it’s time to talk about eggs. You’ve guessed it, as this is a blog about IVF I’m not really talking about the kind of eggs that people eat, I’m talking about the ones that grow in follicles in women’s ovaries. However, bar inserting a tiny camera into my ovary, I’m never going to get a picture of said eggs so everyday eggs, in a bowl, at mum and dad’s will have to do. I could take one off the internet but I’m not going to. I quite like this picture of eggs. Anyway, I digress…

Today was day one of blood tests/scan week. I have to go back on Wednesday for the same thing and then again on Friday. The aim of these tests is to see if the drug I am taking (Menopur) is working. It is meant to be stimulating my ovaries so that follicles grow and within each follicle an egg is harvested.

I arrived at the hospital a little flustered to be honest. My scan wasn’t until 11:30 and I left North Wales in plenty of time but there were about a million roadworks on the way and every single tractor and slow lorry and caravan that could be out was out. It must be national drive slow day today or something. Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo. I actually got to the car park at 10:50 which was fine but I had to have bloods taken before and I was worried that, at this time of day, it would be really busy. My mind was soon set at ease when I walked in and there were only 3 people in front of me. Time to calm down. I’m glad no one was taking my blood pressure as I’m sure it was through the roof this morning.

I was then actually early for my scan and, as the person in front of me in the queue was running late, probably stuck in the same traffic I was, I got taken straight in. Today my ovaries were not playing hide and seek, they were there, very clearly (apparently) for the scanner to see. So all in all the whole process was very quick. In fact, I was out of the scan room before I was even meant to be in there! Very efficient. Next it was a meeting with the nurse.

I was seeing Gwen today. She’s very straight talking. Apparently I should be over the moon. I have one follicle in my right ovary which is 10mm. This might grow so it’s a ‘possible’. In my left ovary I have three follicles, one of 14mm, one of 12mm and one of 6mm. Apparently the 6mm one is a write off (it is very unlikely to grow any bigger) but the other two are ‘dead certs’. For someone of my age and with my blood results this is eggsellent news (see what I did there). So why do I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach?

These results mean that I am likely to get 2 eggs, possibly 3 eggs for collection next week. Let’s say two as this is what the nurse reckons will be the case. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for bad quality eggs. So I’m relying on those two eggs both being good quality and then both being fertilised by Elton’s little swimmers to give me the highest chance. This also completely removes the possibility of freezing any embryos. Today was the day that I realised that this is our only chance.

Gwen told me I should be leaving with a big smile on my face which I tried very hard to do. Perhaps I haven’t been paying attention along the way or perhaps people just haven’t been that honest with me. Maybe I just haven’t been asking the right questions. I don’t feel eggstatic (I know, that was bad, but I need to keep my humour up) but to say I’m feeling flat is an understatement. Desperately searching for positive thoughts at the moment. Anyone know any good yolks?

Hormones, I think…

Well I am now on day 4 of Menopur injections although I haven’t actually done my stabbing duty for today as it doesn’t get done until 10pm. I mentioned in my updated previous post that these injections are a bitch. They are a bitch to sort out and they are a bitch going in. After the first night of doing them and the stress that caused I decided I needed a nice comfortable, quiet place to get on with them. I have now moved my lovely POANG chair up to the bedroom and I have everything set on on a tray, ready for the day ahead. So, in the morning at 7am it’s Buserelin into the tummy and in the evening at 10pm it’s Menopur into the leg. I’m starting to feel a little like a teabag…

So it was Monday night I started the Menopur, after a stressful afternoon wondering if the hospital were going to ring me to say ‘STOP, you’re E2 is still too high’ (which they didn’t) and then umming and ahhing about what time was the most sensible to do them. Tuesday morning I managed a small run with a friend and Baileydog. One friend had mentioned to me that I shouldn’t run but I checked with the hospital and they said it was fine. ‘Normal life’ was what I was told and running is normal life for me. Anyway, managed a run and then got to work to find out I was bleeding. Had a little panic as I had already had a bleed just over a week earlier. I finally managed to get through to the hospital and was told not to worry. Panic over.

Anyway, this post is meant to be about hormones. I think my hormones are starting to do their thing. I have the headaches back. I’m hungry all the time. I have incredible bouts of all out exhaustion where I can hardly stay awake and last night I started night sweats. Oh what a joy that is. For anyone that hasn’t experienced night sweats it’s like waking up and feeling that you have just been in a bath with your pyjamas on (if you sleep in pyjamas that is) and that someone has either soaked the pillow or you have had a real dribbling issue while you’ve been asleep. The problem is when you wake up you are then super cold because you have been sweating, probably tossed the covers off and then got really chilly (after all it’s winter and the heating goes off at 9:30pm). It’s then a struggle to get warm again so you can drift back off to sleep only for the same thing to happen an hour later.

When my alarm did go off at 6:30 this morning, I was so drained that I walked into the bathroom and managed to drop my pint glass of squash straight onto the tiled floor. What a great way to kickstart the day.

This week probably hasn’t been the best week at work for my hormones to be getting the better of me. We have 45 year 5 kiddies in from Salford, many of whom are quite needy in one way or another. My patience has been running thin. In fact, on Tuesday, had it not been for the support of the trainee we have with us at the moment, I may well have eaten a small child. Thankfully it’s Friday tomorrow and they go home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, just not so much this week 😉

Next week I have a week off for bloods/scans on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so it’s a week with the folks being pampered and getting lots of rest. I am really looking forward to it. What I’m not looking forward to is my body changing shape due to increased egg production (hopefully). I’ve worked hard over the last year to get into the jeans I’m currently wearing. Think it might be a slouchies week next week 😮

Well, let’s hope I finally manage to master the Menopur injections as this weekend in the evenings I am volunteering at the Llanberis Mountain and Adventure Film Festival and I am going to need to do them somewhere other than home. Let’s hope there’s somewhere less seedy than a public toilet…

Have a good one everyone. Especially those of you heading for egg collection next week x

 

All systems go

So today it was back to the Royal Shrewsbury for more blood tests and another internal scan to see whether my Estradiol levels had come down and to check out my ovaries. The scan is a funny affair. Fellow blogger Pyjamas and Crumpets  puts it well when she talks about the hilarity of a screen to get undressed behind and a modesty sheet – kind of pointless when the nurse is about to stick a wand with a condom on between your legs!! 😀

The blood test went as blood tests do – ‘sharp scratch dear’, needle in, blood taken, cotton wool taped to arm, ‘leave that for half an hour and no lifting’ and off you go. The scan seems to be different every time. No small talk this time round, just me and the nurse (the husband stayed home for this one – he feels like a spare part most of the time anyway and I can’t really blame him) and she turned the screen towards me so I could see too and talked through everything she was doing. Fascinating really as it just looked like liquid moving around on the screen to me. I certainly couldn’t make out anything different although she pointed out my uterus and my ovaries, when she eventually found them. I just nodded (probably with a bit of a vacant look on my face). The right one was playing a naughty game of hide and seek and was eventually found tucked away behind my uterus. Tut tut ovary.

Then it was in to speak to the nurse. I was privileged today as I got to speak to the boss. Lovely lady but she did make me feel like I was being a bit of a stress head (which I probably am). ‘Why were my Estradiol levels high?’ was the question I wanted answering. ‘There could be a number of different reasons, don’t worry about it’ was the response I got. Hmmm. ‘I don’t have enough Buserelin to keep up my injections’ I panicked. ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ve done you a prescription. Just pop down to the pharmacy on your way out and collect it.’ Oh, ok. ‘So should I start my Menopur injections this evening or tomorrow?’ This question actually required her to go and get advice from the consultant. This evening apparently. That is unless they ring to tell me not to which means my Estradiol levels are still too high. They won’t know until the blood test results are in and they will only ring if I am NOT to start injecting Menopur. It’s 6pm. Does that mean I start injecting this evening? I guess it does. All systems go then.

I then asked a load of questions specifically about the injections and told them I didn’t have enough needles. I now have enough needles. I think I know everything I need to know now. The only thing I don’t know is exactly when is the best time to do them? I have to do them in the evening so they don’t get mixed up with my Buserelin injections which are done in the morning. So when? I was thinking I’d do them at 7pm each evening as I do my morning ones at 7am but then what if I have something on in the evening. Maybe I should do them at 10pm before I go to bed? Oh I can’t decide. I’d better make my mind up as it’s getting later by the minute. Aaarrrggghhh!

I don’t know why I feel so stressed out about this. I feel fine about it until I have a hospital day. I think maybe it’s the hospital that’s stressing me out. I see all the other couples in there. There’s tension and anticipation in the air. Everyone is embarking on the unknown. Will we, won’t we? Is this our time? Is this your time? Which statistic will we be? It creates stress. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be fine again.

The other thing that’s getting me down slightly is my loss of motivation. I’m an outdoor instructor. I’m an active person. I usually run a few times a week, get on my bike when the weather is playing ball and swim when I can. I haven’t done anything for over a week now. I just can’t get myself out the door. Elton and I have decided to go swimming this evening. I know it will help, I’m just struggling to actually go. I think having someone else will help. I need to get my running partner on board so she can kick my butt into touch. Exercise is good for the psyche and helps reduce stress. It also gives me something else to focus on.

I’ve decided. 1opm. Right, better get to the pool!!

Update Tuesday 28 February: 

Those Menopur injections are horrible. A real faff to sort out – I’m on two injections of three powders and one ampule per injection which means I have to draw up an ampule, inject it into the vial with the powder, then draw that up, insert into powder number two and repeat. All this without getting any air bubbles in the syringe and maintaining 1ml of liquid (I had to dip into a second ampule to do this). Injecting 1ml is quite uncomfortable, especially in the stomach so after the repeated faff of getting the second injection ready, that went into my leg. Still uncomfortable but not quite as much. Soooo looking forward to 10pm. Not.

Further little update

All change. Just got a phone call from the Royal Shrewsbury to say that my blood test results have come in from this morning and my levels of Estradiol are too high. They would like you to have a level less than 200 (200 what I’m not quite sure…) and my level is 765.

So, it’s continue with the morning Buserilin injections for now and have another baseline blood test and scan next Monday morning to see if my levels have dropped. No Menopur injections until my results are back next week. This means the whole process moves back a week.

I’ve been told not to worry. Hard not to though 😦

Little update

So it was into hospital today for my baseline bloods and scan. Apparently everything from my scan was ok although it took the nurse rather a long time to find one of my ovaries. It was quite funny actually as during the obligatory smalltalk, it turned out that she had been on a trip in a North Wales slate mine last week with a company that both Elton and I work for, Go Below Underground Adventures. Small world and all that 😉

Anyway, I digress. We then were able to have a chat with the nurse about the next lot of injections that I am starting, the Menopur. Turns out I don’t have to do six injections every evening (thank f**k for that!!) but just two. I do have to use six tablets though, and two ampules. I got told off for not watching the video of how to do it so I am going to do that shortly!

So it’s one injection at 7am and 2 injections at 7pm for the next six days. My evening injections will then change as I will go down to 4 tablets and however many ampules (I’ll worry about then as and when I have to do it). Next Monday I will have my first of three blood tests and scans to make sure my ovaries are being stimulated correctly and not being over-stimulated. It is important that I don’t get ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Interestingly a friend asked me how I was feeling about it all today and I really don’t know. I’m not feeling good but I’m not feeling bad. Numb was the only word that I could think of to describe how I feel. I suppose it’s all a process at the moment. I can’t get excited about it and I can’t feel negative. I think maybe I’ve just switched myself off from it a bit.

Next week is going to be a busy one. Back and forth from North Wales to Shrewsbury Monday, Wednesday and Friday and work on Tuesday and Thursday. No rest for the wicked. Lets hope my hormones keep it together enough for me to retain some level of normality…

Track Marks

Well, here I am, five days into my injections, with a line of track marks across my tummy. I have to admit, since the first injection, they have become much easier. Yesterday I even managed to do it in a public toilet while waiting for Elton to set off on his first Ultra Marathon from Brecon. It did feel pretty seedy but I managed it and that is all that matters.

This evening I am getting to grips with the headaches, the tiredness (is that even a symptom or am I just tired?) and the grumpiness.  Actually, maybe the grumpiness is a product of the tiredness. Maybe the headache is a product of the tiredness. Maybe I’m just tired as it was a long week at work last week and I’ve had a long drive today. Oh who knows? I guess I’m now in the position where it becomes easy to blame the medication for things rather than seek to find alternatives.

I appear to have started menstruating as well. I can’t remember whether this is supposed to happen or not. I was given 23 days worth of the contraceptive pill before I started my injections so I’m guessing that it’s normal. I can’t actually remember being told anything about it although I probably was. Information overload. Maybe that is the reason for my headache. I mean the menstruation rather than the information overload.

Tomorrow morning I am off to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Fertility Unit for my baseline scan and blood tests. The scan is an internal scan so I’m not really looking forward to that bearing in mind I’m bleeding. I suppose they’re used to it though. I should also be seeing someone to explain to me how to do my Menopur injections which I have to start tomorrow evening. I think these are going to be the complicated ones. I have to mix a tablet into an ampule of liquid and then inject that ampule. I have to do that six times. In one evening. I think I’ve got track marks now… 😮

I’m not actually sure whether I have to stop my morning injections after tomorrow or not. My piece of paper just says ‘keep taking until told to stop’. Maybe I’ll get told to stop tomorrow. Maybe not. If not then I guess I will be injecting morning and evening. Fun. I’ll let you all know when I know!

I just wanted to add that I’m conscious I skipped over the issue of miscarriage and this is something I also want to discuss on this blog. Once I’ve got the next few days over with and the injections sorted, I’ll get back to that. Thank you for reading 🙂

 

Getting to grips with needles

I’m not going to write every day but I think today deserves a little attention. Today was injection number one day. I had this thing in my head that the injections were going to be easy. After all, I’m not afraid of needles, I have had many injections over the years and give blood regularly. Funny then how it took me about 10 minutes to get it sorted 😉

I think maybe I suddenly realised the importance of it all. I can’t get it wrong. It’s not like in a hospital or a clinic where mistakes can be rectified pretty quickly. I can’t have too much, I can’t have too little, there has to be no air in the syringe, I have to put it in the right place, it has to be done at the right time. Oh my goodness, suddenly the pressure is immense.

needles

First of all it was about timing. The injection has to be given at the same time every morning. So what time do you choose? I’m very fortunate in that my colleagues and my boss at work know about this but still, do I want to be skulking off to the toilet to do this? Not really. So that means doing it early. But I’m off for half term next week and going away this weekend. Maybe I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn 😦 Still, 7am seemed like the most appropriate time and a time when I can be (hopefully) somewhere sensible every day.

So, 6:30 this morning I was up. It took me about 6 attempts to get the syringe sorted. Back and forth, drawing up the liquid with the big fat needle, flicking the air bubbles down, squeezing the excess back into the bottle. Too much? Squeeze more out. Too little? Draw more back up. Shaking hands, increased heart rate, sweaty palms. This isn’t me. I’m the calm and collected one.

The alarm went off at 7am on the dot (obviously, as that’s what alarms do), large needle swapped for small needle, the patch of skin on my ‘pinching an inch’ section of tummy cleaned with an alcohol wipe and injection done. Phew. These are the easy injections. The tough ones start next week.

I guess I should now think about having breakfast, walking the dog and getting to work. Like I said, life goes on 🙂