I am not ok. I am very, very angry, so angry I can't breathe properly.
For two years we have thrown away everything else in our lives, we have lived from minute to minute and day to day, we have been unfaltering in our dedication. We have begged, borrowed and scraped together money for treatments, month after month after month. We rarely eat out, the only holiday we've had in two years was a junket. Two years of blood, sweat and tears later we have nothing but an excess of anger, bitterness and despair that nobody deserves to bear. I don't go out, I don't socialise, I can barely talk to most of my pre-infertility friends. They say that having a child changes your life. Well, not having one changes it much, much more.
It is very odd, at the tender age of 37, to know with almost certainty that you will get to the end of your days, your life's ambition unfulfilled. And no, I never did make it onto Top of the Pops, but that is no longer top of my wish list. Yes, there are "other options" for me to complete my much-longed for family of six, I hope I will look back with no regrets in ten years' time. But if there's one thing infertility has taught me, it is that there are no guarantees in life, and I certainly don't see donor eggs or adoption as a sure thing.
I am still waiting to bleed, still have dead babies in my belly. If I was a normal person I would still be blissfully unaware.
I had a post written in my head on Tuesday about how I was going to enjoy every minute of this pregnancy, come what may. From that first faint line on Monday I had been grinning from ear to ear. I made an announcement on a parenting board, I even put up a ticker, something I didn't do for 12 weeks on my last pregnancy. I told anyone who asked about our IVF - no point in keeping quiet about it. Last time, because of a previous miscarriage, I wanted to wait until 12 weeks. Not because of any rules or superstitions, but because I wanted to be able to celebrate when people congratulated me. I wanted to be able to say, yes I am going to have a baby. I was so sure that the first miscarriage was just bad luck, that I was prepared to bide my time and wait for the big prize of the 2nd trimester.
This time I said fuck it, that might never happen, let's celebrate now. DH emailed people, I made announcements. Everyone was delighted for us. Then, only two days later, I was overcome with fear once again.
If you read back on some of my posts from my last pregnancy, you will see me say over and over that, while pregnancy after miscarriage is terrifying, it is better than not being pregnant.
This is much, much worse.
My HPTs are as good as negative. My babies are dying. I have no hope for future IVFs. Three miscarriages in as many years, where is the sense in that? For those of you who think everything happens for a reason, please explain. To everyone who said that this would be our year, please tell me when.
I have no hope left for this pregnancy. My only hope now is that it is not ectopic and that I do not lose a tube.
Beta is 48.2. Not good for 16dpo, especially as I tested positive on Monday. I would have needed to have a HCG level of at least 20 then, which means that it is not doubling every 48 hours as it should be. This correlates with my crappy HPTs. Maybe I have lost a twin, but it is not looking good. All we can do is wait until Monday.
Yesterday my HCG levels appeared to drop. A new batch of internet cheapies arrived in the post and I had to pee. Only the faintest line after 10 minutes. I was filled with the fear, waited a couple of hours, same thing, line even disappeared when test dried. In a fit of numb rationality I called the clinic to organise a backup plan. The nurse agreed that it looked like I was losing my babies and I booked a review for 1 May with a view to doing the flare protocol and going to blast.
I tested again, got a slightly better line and tried to be positive. Another test, another disappearing line. By the time DH got home I could barely stand up, my body was aching so much. I held my pee for another 4 hours, tested again and got a better line, although not better than the previous ok one. Went to bed.
This morning there is a line. Slightly lighter than last night's and took the full ten minutes to come up, but crucially I suppose it is there. My head is the most wrecked it has ever been. If stress really did cause miscarriage then my babies would be gonners for sure.
Update: I caved and did another HPT. Much better line. Not as good as Tuesday's but a lot better than yesterday's. I don't know what happened to my HCG levels yesterday, maybe I lost a twin, but it looks like they're rising today. Some of you suggested I ask my clinic for a beta (they don't do them routinely). I will if tomorrow's test is inconclusive but I just don't want to put myself through it if I am happy with tomorrow's line. If all is well in the morning I just want to chuck all the remaining tests in the bin and stick my head in the clouds for the next 8 months. Thanks again for all your support.
This is the hardest part of all. I have been testing since Thursday. Several times a day. Friday was 9dpo, the day I tested positive on my last pregnancy. I had a succession of tests that didn't show any line for about half an hour, but did show a definite evaporation line. I cried myself to sleep.
Yesterday I rode the rollercoaster all day long. Another evap with FMU at 4am. Nothing much on the next test. Plenty of tears and thinking, and looking ahead to another cycle and another Christmas without a baby. Final test of the day, definite pink evap - more hope, less closure.
Another 4am rise, this time nothing - no imaginary lines, no questionable evap. I cried until my head hurt, couldn't sleep, came downstairs and watched a repeat of the cricket.
So is that it? Well, the sane answer would be yes. It is highly unlikely, at 11dpo and 9 days past transfer and with a test that shows not even the slightest glimmer of hope, that my babies are still alive. So will I accept this, stop torturing myself and move on? Like I said, that would be the sane option. Instead I did another test. There was definitely a line (even visible to DH) about 15-20 mins post-pee. Outside the allotted time, but it was there. Then, as if I hadn't suffered enough, it disappeared.
I will continue to hope, to dream, to take my daily punishment of three injections, nine pills and one pessary, but in my heart of hearts I am already missing my babies.
Today is 8dpo, or 6dp2dt. I got through the weekend ok, survived the first few days of the week, and now I am entering the do-or-die phase of pre-testing. Ok, ok, I've tested already. Yesterday's line was almost not there and today's is the sort only visible to experts like me. So it looks like the trigger is almost out of my system. Any future lines can be taken as good news.
I have no symptoms. I have imagined a bit of cramping, some indigestion. But I am feeling fine, no nausea or tiredness. I reported symptoms by now on each of my last twopregnancies so I am starting to lose hope a little.
In fact, I am scared. I am dreading the aftermath.
DH asked me last night as we relaxed at home, our babies safe inside me, so what was all the panic of the last week about? Well, let me recap.
Wednesday 28 February: First stim scan. Only 2 follicles. Must prepare for cycle to be cancelled, but double FSH dose and come back on Friday.
Friday 2 March: 2 good follicles and 2 smaller ones. 4 is the clinic's cut-off so must decide over weekend whether or not to proceed, with the likelihood that there will be nothing to transfer. Looks like I have an ovarian reserve problem as E2 is sky high, despite FSH being low. Discuss donor egg program with doc.
Monday 5 March: 3 good follicles, 1 smaller one. Let's do it.
Wednesday 7 March: 2 eggs collected. Slim chance of having anything to transfer but somehow still hopeful.
Thursday 8 March: The long, hard wait and then the best possible news - both eggs fertilise.
Friday 9 March: Another horrible wait to see if they make it through the night. And then the hardest part of all - waiting in agony for over an hour in the clinic with a bursting bladder. Nurse tells me to pee some out, I am in so much pain. Finally get to transfer a good 4 cell and a fragmented but still dividing 2 cell. See "the flash". Go home to relax with big smiles on our faces.
I'm still relaxing. At least I was until 7am when I was hit over the head with a plastic golf club by a 3 year old in an Ireland soccer strip, who wanted me to get up and watch the rugby. I will try to relax during the Scotland-Ireland match this afternoon. It's hard though, I'm very excited.
We got two. Statistically we shouldn't really expect any embryos, but I am going to ask the statistics very nicely to think about how much they have fucked us over in the last few years, and how much they owe us this time.
I used to have a sense of anticipation before a scan. It was out of my hands so I would just have to wait and let the experts do their job. These days I don't wait. The moment the dildocam goes in, I'm scrutinising every shadow on the screen, every bit of movement, glancing at the nurse's reaction, trying to guess the size of my lining, the number of follicles in my ovaries. We watched the "Child against all odds" programme on the BBC a couple of months ago, and DH was terribly impressed when I identified all the follicles on a scan. Maybe I should just rent a machine and work from home!
I could only see three today. Where was that promised fourth follicle? The nurse announced three good follicles and I asked her to look for a fourth. It was there, hiding behind another follicle, only 8mm so will probably not make it. But it is there. We are going ahead.
Egg retrieval is on Wednesday. Bad drunken behaviour is scheduled for Thursday night, but if that doesn't go ahead we will have embryo transfer on Friday.
I didn't win but I can't complain, I've done really well out of it. There was an article on me in the Irish Examiner on Wed, an excerpt from my blog in the Irish Times on Friday, and there are a few more escapades in the pipeline.
The full list of winners is here, well worth checking out. It was great to put faces to names, in particular Roos of One Breast Less and the enigmatic Conor O'Neill (and the lovely Catherine), whose link first introduced the Irish blogging community to my blog.
Well done to Damien Mulley for pulling off such a fantastic show and congrats to all the winners. I sincerely hope I'm not still writing this bloody blog in a year's time, but if I am at least I'll have something to look forward to.
There were 4 follicles today, which is the clinic's cut-off, so we have to decide over the weekend whether or not we want to proceed, with the likelihood that there will be nothing to transfer. I've to stay on 600iu Puregon over the weekend and come back for a scan on Monday. It seems I do have an ovarian reserve problem. My FSH is normal but my E2 is really high so that is probably masking the real FSH level, which the nurse guessed would be about 10. (Why has it taken so long for someone to point this out to me? Bloods were done 18 months ago.) And given that I've responded so poorly to the highest level of meds they allow, it's likely that I have diminished reserves for my age. There's no guarantee I'll respond any better on a different protocol, although they'll probably do a shorter one next time with no downregulation and 600iu Puregon from the start; I can start this as soon as I have a bleed.
For now my choices are: go ahead with 4 follicles, convert to an IUI, or timed intercourse.
You know me, instant gratification girl. At the moment I'm thinking, what the hell - if I can start another IVF cycle straight away one way or another, then what's the point in wasting the follicles I have now? If I only have a few eggs left, I don't want to waste any.
Diminishing ovarian reserve. Premature ovarian failure. Dr Google has not been good to me today.
I am now on 600iu Puregon (Follistim), up from 300iu, and still nothing stirring. 600iu is the highest dose that is allowed so my mind has started wandering to what next if I have no response. My head hurts.