Friday, 21 June 2013

Cocktails and Pancakes

by Bex

First of all, I was, and still am, overwhelmed by all the comments, tweets, messages and emails of support and love directed to myself and Nik over the last couple of days.  Although I wanted to share our story, it was still a nerve-wracking thing to do and I really was shaking as I published it and sent a tweet out.  I can honestly say, I'm so glad I did it.  I've had messages of love, good luck, crossed appendages, advice on coping, people praising and thanking me for sharing, stories of others' IVF/IUI experiences, a funny video and an offer of defence in court if I happen to punch someone in the face for being insensitive!  lol.  I can't thank you all enough for getting in touch.  Those of you I know, some of whom only in a virtual way, and those I've never even heard from before.  Thank you.

This week has been more than a little disjointed.  Just to give you a little bit of background in why we crashed so hard this Tuesday - I had a procedure under sedation on Monday followed by lots of excitement and we were on a high starting to believe our luck was changing and more hopeful than ever that IVF would work.  We had been giggling about the funny things I was saying as I came round from deep sedation (Nik made a voice recording of me and it is hilarious).  I don't want to go into much detail about our problems but the biggest factor affecting our outcome is my low AMH.  Basically my ovarian reserve (the number of eggs I have left) is about 10-15 years ahead of where it should be at my age.  This means the chances of getting many eggs during treatment is low which slashed our odds of success to just 16%.  Now this is not hopeless and we were told that due to my age (31) the quality of any eggs should be good so if we did get quite a few, our odds would spring back up to 40%!

Early scans while I was injecting FSH were showing a small number responding, as expected, and we were just happy that something was happening.  On the day we ended up with double that!  We were so excited and just had to wait overnight to find out how many fertilised to know when they'd be implanted.  (Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the number of embryos we ended up with.)  What we did not expect to end up with was none.  Not a single one fertilised.  The most upsetting thing was having been prepared for the possibility of not getting any response, or very few eggs and being prepared for embryos failing to implant.  We were not prepared for this.  Apparently it happens in about 5% of cases and we can still try again.  Now that I have had a few days of being down, I can pick myself up and concentrate on the next stage and start hoping again.  It's the only way I can keep going.  That and numerous projects, of course!

I took the rest of the week off, since I work with the public and they're unpredictable and can be frustrating I thought it was best to take a few days away from everything.  I am lucky that everyone at work has been so understanding (they've known all about this for a long time as I couldn't have coped without them knowing, seeing them every day with so much going on) and helpful and supportive.  They drove me home as I was so upset when I found out, having phoned to find out which day I was going back in.  We were shell-shocked to say the least.

Anyway, as you know, writing about our situation has really helped me and already the love and support from you all and our families has been phenomenal.  I am so pleased to be able to share my story at last, I really do hate secrets and I'm so grateful that Nik is happy with me sharing our personal experience.  I'm certainly not going to be writing about this a lot, my blog is one of my great distractions from everything so don't worry, things shall remain more upbeat as usual.  That's how I need this place to be, but I also find it cathartic to be able to share my writing about the other side of life and explain why sometimes my heart isn't quite as much into writing or anything else for that matter.

Oh and I promise to stop going overboard for the quote pictures too, Nik hates them - "They're like those fridge magnets!" - but I like them, despite the cheese factor I'm afraid!

On Tuesday night, Nik was working late and unable to get cover to come home and be with me.  My father-in-law recommended I have a drink.  I haven't been drinking for a couple of months now in an effort to be healthier and doing any little thing I think might help make success more likely.  I decided it was time to make a massive cocktail!  (Recipe ready to share this afternoon, just in time for the weekend!)  I had fun experimenting, tasting and taking photos of my creation and it passed some time as I waited for Nik.

On Wednesday I made the effort to get dressed and made pancakes for breakfast before heading outside to walk to work and fetch my car and I think getting out in the sunshine and fresh air truly helped.  I popped in to see everyone and reassure them I was still alive and doing better then went to Braehead as I had some refunds to take back before I ran out of time.  Braehead might not have been the best place to head as it turned out to be full of buggies, silly but something I'd rather avoid this particular week.  Anyway, a wee handbag purchase helped cheer me up (it was only £14.99) and I raided the menswear section (post coming soon, I've found so many great things) in H&M again!  Who doesn't love a bit of retail therapy?

I have written a longer post about how I generally cope with the rollercoaster of IVF.  It feels so good to be able to do that now as before I felt I was writing about just one side of life and I am so used to being open with friends and family, it seemed strange to not be able to do so here.  I have to remember that it's not necessarily the norm to be so open in such a public way (although I think it's a shame that IVF tends to be something which is kept secret as it's definitely a time when you need the most support from those around you - something which has come through in the emails I've received this week!), especially when this does concern my husband as well.  I hope that by sharing, I am helping other couples going through this, as reading other blogs has done for me.  I also hope that it helps make the whole thing somewhat more acceptable to talk about as we've found talking to people about it makes it not only easier for us but for them too, especially when it comes to time off work.  If people understand what we're going through, they're so much more likely to help us out if we need cover at work at short notice and can understand that we're not just being awkward!


Amanda said...

Nice breakfasts and walks definitely help. I wish and hope that next cycle will go well, there are so many steps involved, life is so fragile, but miracles do happen, all the time. Hugs.

Unknown said...

So glad writing it down helped for you. I'll be keeping fingers crossed and keep sending love your way xx

Unknown said...

I've just been catching up on your blog posts for this week, and just wanted to say that I've really appreciated your honesty and 'real-ness'. Although life is tough sometimes, it's great that friends (online and in person) can support each other on blogs like yours!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bex-this is Lottie again!

I have found your 'cheesy quotes' have given me strength this week so don't apologise for them.

I have a friend who had low AMH and her husband had severe Male Factor too. They had four ICSI and the fourth one worked (she's now due in August). Hold in there and be strong. This will pay off for you.

My counsellor taught me that often we only see a pregnancy as a success. However, she has made me see that, instead, there are actually varying degrees of success. Two successes you have had this week have been:

1. More good eggs collected than you had dared hope for.

2. You and Nik supporting each other and managing to even find time for a laugh amongst the difficulties.

Next time the doctors may try a slightly different approach, or ICSI instead of IVF, or it just might work out differently.

You have been so brave to share and I am happy you did. This, like you said, should no longer be a taboo subject. It is very hard to deal with, without being made to feel ashamed and unable to talk about it.

Take care of yourself and lean on each other to stay strong.

best wishes,


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