I have felt so bereft this week, my poor laptop cable went to laptop cable heaven, and thus I’ve not been able to access the internet much, only on my phone. However, a shiny new laptop cable has arrived this morning, and I’m back in the land of the internet again (incidentally, I got so much more housework done when I was without my laptop…). Fortunately nothing too eventful occurred this week, at weigh in I lost 4lbs, which takes me to around 10lbs needed to lose before I can have IVF, hurrah! Follow up clinic is in 11 days time, I’m looking forward to having the full picture.
So, I’m tying myself up in knots again. I had to see my GP yesterday to get another course of antibiotics (my 3rd since my operation 5 weeks ago…) and I asked her to repeat my levothyroxine prescription. She wanted to check my TSH level again, and I mentioned I’d had it done a few weeks ago, along with other fertility clinic ordered bloods. She went through them all, and I have got a raised TPOab – raised thyroid antibodies. Marvelous. After a little bit of reading it appears that this is an auto-immune problem, leading to a higher risk of miscarriage and unsuccessful IVF procedures. I’m wondering if by having this there is a link to other auto-immune disease, and whether my clinic will consider this when treatment planning. I guess it’s just another question to add to the list….
So, good news! I’ve completed my first week back on the Cambridge Weight Plan (CWP) and from last Wednesday morning I’ve lost 12.5lbs! I’m SO happy with that, I really am. Takes me much closer to the goal needed for IVF, and I feel like I can see a difference. I feel less bloated, tummy looks smaller and I think I can see my collar bones making a re-appearance! I’ve only got 8 weeks until I can start upping the protein that I eat – I need to make sure I do this for a minimum of 12 weeks before IVF. At the end of the next 8 weeks I’m hoping my BMI will be around 28/27, and that in the 12 weeks following I can get my BMI down to below 25. It really feels achievable now, I’m really not that far away, especially when I started off with such a large BMI of 46…. I look back on those photos and really wonder why I did that, how did I let myself get like that. There is no way I’m going back to that, that’s for certain! Clinic appointment in 2 weeks and 6 days, I know I’m not going to be at goal weight, but to be honest, this appointment is about setting a plan, using all the up to date test info we have. We will get the full results from my operation, including uterine biopsy. I’ve had all my bloods taken again, so will have a better idea of what my hormones are up to, and The Husband has had his fishes tested again, so yes, we will have a very clear picture then.
Bad news – I had my smear test yesterday, and my cervix looks abnormal. Apparently I have 2 ‘horns’ on my cervix (oohh, a horny cervix, get me!). The lovely nurse got the lovely GP into to have a look, felt like I should have started charging for tickets ’round up, round up! Come and see the freak show!’. Anyway, GP doesn’t seem to concerned, if smear comes back negative then they will just leave it. When I got home last night I suddenly remembered that about 10 years ago I was referred to the gynae team, who did swabs etc, and they noticed something on my cervix then. It’s just odd as nobody had mentioned anything since then! I will ask my doc at the fertility clinic when I go, as I had a hysteroscopy, so surely they would have seen it too…. So, fingers crossed it’s all a fuss about nothing, and that I just have a unique cervix – the midwife (albeit it not quite qualified as a midwife, very nearly there, just waiting for uni to process the paperwork and get my registration sent off…) is already worrying about my cervix dilating when I get into labour. I can just imagine my horny cervix leaving my with just a tiny lip, not allowing me to be fully dilated, which would probably be typical for me, if I’m honest! Anyway, moral of the story is this: please keep up to date with your smear tests. My school friend died earlier this month from cervical cancer, she was 34. Please, if you don’t know when your last one was, phone your surgery and check. Book it in. It only takes 2 minutes and it could save your life.
So, I started back on the Cambridge Weight Plan, today is day 4. I’ve stuck to plan, and not really struggling with feeling hungry, which is good. What I am struggling with is the mental side of it. I’m only 4 days in and I’m feeling really low, really missing food. I’ve no idea how I am going to carry on. The Husband is fab, he’s preparing his own food and doing the food shopping. Great, yes? Yes. However, he’s come home and has bought a trolley full of healthy food, which had got to be better than unhealthy food, right? Wrong. I’m now sat here, trying to bargain with myself ‘Yes, you can come off the plan, eat lots of healthy food, go to the gym, go swimming, go for walks etc, etc.’. Promises I’ve made and broken in the passed. I know that I struggle sticking to things like slimming world or weight watchers and basic calorie counting, I don’t have the resolve to stick to it. I only need to lose another 1 stone and 7lbs to be eligible for IVF, and we’re probably looking at doing that in August/September, so I’m in no rush. Which doesn’t help as I’m not provided with an immediate deadline. Before I started this attempt I had decided that I will stay on this part of the plan (459 cals a day) until my birthday, which is less than 9 weeks away, then step up the plan to start including more protein, ready for starting IVF around 3 months later. I’ve done really well on this plan previously – I lost 4st and 5lbs in around 15 weeks last year, so I know it works for me. I’m feeling so miserable right now. Oh, and to top it all off, I’ve got another wound infection, and I’m on my second lot of antibiotics. Joy.
I just cannot stop myself getting worked up about IVF. It seems that every spare moment of time, I am researching IVF, looking for things I can do to improve my chances. Researching all the ‘added extras’ such as having an endometrial scratch, using an embryoscope, using EmbryoGlue, having accupuncture, meditation, weight loss, vitamin supplements and even planning to visit the chalk fertility ‘thing’ in the south of England. I’m currently obsessed with comparing clinics results against each other, but the results aren’t very recent, and so many advances have happened in the world of IVF recently, and I don’t think the current HFEA results reflect these advances. Everyday in the media there is always something about infertility/IVF that may offer conflicting views to those you already hold, or conflicting advice to that which you have already taken on board – most recently taking pre-conception multivitamins has shown links to increased miscarriage rates. Seriously, what is a desperate woman to do? I’ve even been researching IVF clinics abroad – I really don’t know if we will have further attempts of IVF in the UK or not.
I’m also getting very worked up about having treatment and working my scans / blood tests / medication around working shifts. In an ideal world, I don’t want anyone I know, especially work colleages, to know I am going through IVF. I don’t want to have to tell people that the treatment failed, or tell them early on that I am pregnant. This is something so, so personal to me, it’s something that I am petrified about and I don’t want to feel like the whole world is watching me. Whilst I moan about the media not offering a true representation of the roller-coaster of infertility, it is still something that is personal and unique to every individual that experiences it.
The bitterness is rearing it’s ugly head. It seems that every woman and her dog are getting pregnant or having babies. Women just have to look at their other half’s and puff, as if by magic, they’re expecting. Up until I had my diagnosis I didn’t really feel bitter, I just thought ‘ooh, it might be me next month….’, although it never was. The husband and I have always said we would adopt if we can’t have our own, but I can’t get over that feeling of needing to be pregnant and give birth. I want to know what it’s like to POAS and see the two lines or a ‘+’ sign. I want to know what it’s like to see my tummy expending and to feel those first movements. I would even welcome the relentless morning sickness, the uncomfortableness, the pregnant wobble as you walk up the aisle in the supermarket. I want everything that comes with pregnancy, because I know that it will be worth it when I hold my baby in my arms. One day.
So, in the interest of my career (I’m a nurse and student midwife, yes, the irony isn’t wasted on me!) I caught up with the 3rd series of Call The Midwife last night, so this post might be a bit of a spoiler if you haven’t seen the most recent episode. It’s addressing infertility, in particular, that which is similar to mine. I think we’re really fortunate that we live in an age and a society where we have access to amazing diagnostic and treatment facilities, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the treatment I’ve had, with the only issue being delayed clinics, regular appointment changes and sulky receptionists. The medical care I’ve had has been good, so far. I will be really interested to see how this storyline progresses, especially as this is the days pre-IVF. There is a part of me that hopes that the storyline shows the true devastation that infertility brings, unless you experience it, you will never know what it’s like. Waiting for that ever allusive BFP, to be told that it won’t happen naturally, is brutal. As I’ve said before, I always had hope that it might happen naturally…. I suspect the final episode in this series will end of with Shelagh (the ex-nun) getting her much wanted BFP, thank goodness for the BBC and it’s rose tinted spectacles. I don’t think people know about the endless cycles of fertility treatment that couples go through, I don’t think the media has done enough to show what it’s really like. It’s a painful process, and when people know that you have to have IVF, they’re reaction is as if it’s a surefire thing. Well it isn’t, far from it. It’s not guaranteed. At my clinic we get one funded cycle of IVF, NICE guidelines recommend 3 funded cycles. So, after my first cycle, we are looking at between £5000 and £6000 per cycle. I’d really appreciate it if you could sign this petition: Fairness in IVF availability on the NHS petition, it may not help me, but it will help others who will go through the same problems as me.