Friday, April 29, 2016

Odds and Ends

Just a rambling post today as I have thoughts in my head and this is a great dumping ground.

The first thing I want to talk a bit about is my mother.  My mother and I have a good, but maybe not great relationship.  If we lived in the same city, I'd suggest we go to couples therapy or something to try and address some of the ingrained issues.  I know that I don't always deal with her fairly.  I also know that she has the ability to throw me into 'furious' by doing things that shouldn't elicit such strong results.  So with that in mind, case in point.  Yesterday she sent me an email about child development and how parents can help their kids develop better blah blah blah.  This irritated me a lot.  It irritated me because it feels like she vaguely is suggesting I wouldn't know how to be a good mother (this is not the case).  It also irritates me because I'm not pregnant.  I may not get pregnant. Even if I do get pregnant, I may not carry to term.   A whole lot of things need to happen before I'm worrying about child development.  The fact is, I may never need to worry about child development, despite best intentions.  So it just irritated me, a lot.  I have to keep a close watch on how involved my mom gets with things because she has a tendency to make it all about her (no matter what it is). I've already had to field conversations with her about her 'not wanting to be a long distance grandmother' which was couched in 'I could come to the UK and help you out because you're going to need help'.  But when it came down to it, it was about her and what she wanted, not about helping me at all.  And there are precedents for this, like when I had my surgery to remove my one ovary and she came to 'help' which involved telling my friends who were coming to visit me that I was a complainer and asked her to do stuff I could do myself (for example, get me some water from the kitchen when she was going there for herself anyway), as well as showing my friends her scars from surgery and telling them how she'd had much worse surgeries herself in the past.  I feel that I am reasonably cautious about handling my mother and her emotions.  It just also makes me sensitive to every little thing.  Anyway.

More positive rambling, I've been chatting to the embryologist at my clinic because I had to fill in 'a consent to warm frozen eggs' form.  I noted on the form that there was a clause that you are signing up to which basically says they will continue to thaw eggs until the desired number is reached.  I'm glad I read that because it's not really my intention at all.  When I said I wanted them to defrost 6-7 (or half of my 13 frozen eggs), my thinking was 1 or 2 may not defrost, so I was accounting for that in my plan.  In addition, I don't know how many eggs may be collected from the fresh IVF cycle.  So I don't want them to just keep defrosting to hit 6 or 7 if I don't need that!  Positively, the embryologist was completely on board and agreed with me that because what I'm doing is different to standard (using fresh and frozen at the same time) that I would be scheduled for the first collection in the morning (good to know) which would give them time to fully assess how many fresh eggs were retrieved which would also give them enough time to thaw more if we decided to after the first amount were thawed (and they would ask my permission).  So that was good. I like feeling involved in the process, and, like I said, I'm glad I read that properly because I would have been pissed to find out they defrosted 8 or 9 to get me 6, especially if I get a good fresh collection as well.

I'm looking forward to just getting on with this next cycle!!  It's a whole month plus a bit away still. But I'm glad my outlook is positive (despite my first paragraph which could suggest I'm not).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Right decision

I am getting more comfortable with my one month delay, or my June cycle as I should probably start thinking about it! Especially since my drugs will not be delivered until next Thursday and my period is likely to start before that.  On top of which, the frozen eggs have not yet been moved (although I've just paid for that, budget update below).  So, all in all, the right decision for sure. Perhaps because of that, it feels less frustrating.  Or maybe I'm just getting used to it.

Budget update:

Previous total£12378
Courier for frozen eggs£210
New total £12588

Not much else to report.  I've had to buy some new conception vitamins as my original six month supply is on it's last sheet.  I haven't been to acupuncture for a while.  Mainly this is because the schedule that they do clinic times and my schedule haven't worked out very well.  I'm also not completely convinced that it does much of anything at all.  But I may look into starting it up again, or trying a different practitioner.  I just feel like I take enough time off work for doctor appointments, I am loathe to take off more time just for acupuncture.  Instead I'm going back to yoga, which I also had a small break from.  But maybe I'll give acupuncture another go this upcoming month in preparation.  I like it, but it just has to fit my schedule at this point.

I'm also trying to take care of some other health issues which means I feel like I'm seriously at various appointments all the time.  I've had ongoing issues with my foot from an injury last year which may now be a life-long sort of injury/issue.  I'm also trying to get a proper eye test because I think I might need glasses while at work.  This has meant trips to GP, hospital, and eye doctor - on top of fertility appointments (for example next week's 'info session' and counseling appointment). Getting old sucks!

I think I'm just going to try to enjoy this month and take care of various things.  Last month I took advantage of the break and enjoyed myself by indulging in some naughty treats.  I think I'll cut back on my alcohol though.  Last month I had a lot of opportunities to drink but I know it's considered good practice while trying to conceive that you lay off alcohol and caffeine.  I might as well get back into the groove.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hard Choice - 1 Month Delay

Yesterday I found myself increasingly stressing over the variables up in the air regarding this next IVF cycle.  I've yet to pay the courier.  The drug company hasn't called to arrange delivery.  I don't know when my period is going to actually arrive.  I have a 3-day residential workshop towards the end of May that would be difficult to be having treatment during.

All of this points to the decision I've made to delay another month.  This decision comes with its own variety of stress.  However, I think that on balance, I will be much happier knowing that my frozen eggs are already at the Cambridge clinic, that the drugs to start the cycle are already in my fridge and waiting for me, and of course that I have no conflicts in timing in June.  Stress is obviously a factor in trying to get pregnant and it is better to eliminate it as much as feasible.  I know in the grand scheme of things, this one month really doesn't matter.  However, at this stage in the game, every single time something happens it feels like a major setback.

But it isn't.  It's okay.  And I will have a much smoother cycle because of it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

IVF package and drugs - budget update

I've just spent a large sum on the drugs for my first IVF procedure as well as the procedure itself. My clinic has a package deal for IVF which includes:
  • Ultrasound scans for monitoring
  • Monitoring blood tests
  • Blastocyst culture (if needed)
  • IVF/ICSI process (if needed)
  • Embryo transfer
  • Pregnancy scan or review consultation as needed
The cost for this package is £3130 if you are not using ICSI and £4030 if you are.  Because my frozen eggs will need to have ICSI, then I am paying the higher cost.  There is no additional fee for the processing of both types of eggs, or the defrosting, or if they end up doing two different fertilization procedures on the fresh and frozen, or anything else apparently.  So that was good.  At the moment I feel this cost is very reasonable for an IVF cycle with drugs included.  But I don't have a huge amount to base that on.

The drug cost for 12 days of treatment came out to £1858 which includes: 4x900iu Gonal F pens, 7 Orgalutran injections, 1 Ovitrelle injection, and 45 Cyclogest pessaries.  I will probably need to buy some more medication as my cycles tend to run longer (from both the IUI and egg freezing experiences).  But these drug costs seem reasonable.  I should go back and compare them to my old egg freezing costs as they are again from Healthcare at Home.

I'm still trying to pay for the courier to get the frozen eggs from London to Cambridge.  I have left a phone message with the Cambridge clinic today and replied to an email over the weekend, but so far nothing.  I don't think that will be a problem but I will feel better when it is paid for and underway. The courier quote I got was £175 + VAT.  So I'll have to add that to the budget later when I find out how much the tax is.

Apparently I need to fill in yet more paperwork to permit the thawing of the frozen eggs.  Of course I do.

So the budget update:

Previous total £6490
IVF Inclusive Fee with ICSI£4030
12 Days of IVF drugs (see above) £1858
New total £12378

I've now spent approximately... a little over 1/3 of my savings for this endeavor.  It would be amazing if this would work so I could keep the rest for caring for a child, childcare, etc.  But it also means if I need to do this again, I certainly can.  Of course fingers crossed I won't have to.

Friday, April 22, 2016

More moving eggs

I've just gotten off the phone with the amazingly lovely head embryologist at my clinic.  While I type this post I am also refreshing my email inbox because of course I have more forms I need to fill in. However, he was very helpful about moving forward with arranging the courier to transfer my eggs. As it also happens, he knows the embryologist at the London clinic I used very well, so that's also good, or at least, makes me feel better- for no good reason whatsoever.

Apparently the receiving clinic does arrange the transportation.  So they'll do that, and then I'll just call up and pay.  Then hopefully all being well, my frozen eggs will arrive in Cambridge by the end of next week. That is then on time for me to start my IVF cycle with my next period which is due around May 5.

While chatting to the embryologist I have also learned:
  • eggs are defrosted rapidly;
  • so if none defrost, there may be time to defrost more; and,
  • that for fertilizing both the fresh and frozen eggs at the same time they can use the same vial of sperm even though they have to be done through different methods.
So that was useful.  It was also useful to hear that because I am undergoing treatment, my first year of storage for all things needing storage is covered. It's only after the first year when I may start to have storage fees.  So that was good.  I was thinking I was going to need to cough up some more money to store things in Cambridge.

So the next thing to get on top of is the drug order and delivery.  I have a day in lieu that I need to take for work so ideally I can arrange that for the same day as the drug delivery and just be home to stick everything in the freezer.  As I'll be on 300 Gonal F a day for a while, that's going to be a lot of pens.  Instead of Cetrotide which I took during egg freezing, I'll be on something else (I'll have to look up the name at home) which you inject in the morning.  So Gonal F at 8pm every night and this other drug at 8am every morning starting on day 6 I think.  I also can't remember what she said the trigger was going to be.  But it's also something different because apparently the UK is having a Pregnyl shortage.

I keep refreshing my email but there's nothing there......

By the way, I've had very few comments on this blog, which is fine of course because the blog is a dumping ground for me more than anything else.  But I'd be happy to connect with other people, particularly if you're going through the same, have been through the same thing, or are thinking about it.  I'm on the SMC forum, or you can message me here public or private.

Of course there was something wrong with their system and my email address so the embryologist has just called (an hour later) to tell me and I've had to provide a different email.  Luckily, that came through so we should be moving along with the paperwork now!!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moving Eggs

Following from yesterday's decision I got on the phone straight away this morning with my previous London clinic to see about moving my eggs. I had to leave a message but they called me back within an hour and I explained what I needed.  The clinic manager was able to email me through the consent forms for the transfer and also my credit note for the refunded storage fee (I paid for 10 years up front).  Of course they are also charging for their time in handling the transfer so that was slightly reduced.  But it works out to around £500 refunded, so that's good!  Of course it will probably go straight to storage at the Cambridge clinic, but whatever.

So now it's all about arranging the courier to move the eggs from London to Cambridge.  The London clinic said that usually if a transfer is being done within the UK, the receiving clinic arranges the courier.  So far this morning I've copied in the Cambridge clinic to all correspondence but I haven't had a response yet.  In this instance, the London clinic is winning in terms of quick turn around and responses, but hopefully the Cambridge clinic will check their email at some point today and it will move.

My only fear is that this doesn't happen efficiently and there is a hold up.  But that really shouldn't happen.  If the Cambridge clinic doesn't respond to email today, I will be on the phone with them first thing tomorrow.

In other updates I've also made a counselling appointment to discuss my use of a donor, although not for 3 weeks  yet.  Hoop jumping progress.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pre IVF consultation

I had my pre IVF consultation with my clinic this afternoon.  I went there thinking I had a perfectly reasonable plan which has been encouraged both by my egg freezing doctor (way back when) and by the first doctor I saw at this clinic.  This was, mainly, to do a fresh IVF cycle and save my frozen eggs as a last resort.

This plan was immediately questioned by the doctor I met to have my consultation with.  It was the same doctor who did my Hycosi although that was the only time I've met with him previously.  He thought I should be going straight to my frozen eggs as this would give me the best chance of success at this stage.  Now, the reason for not using the frozen eggs straight away was if I am fertile now, that gives me an option for the future, if I want one.  I don't at the moment think I want one.  I think that one child would be all I want.  But I liked the idea of holding something in reserve.  However, the doctor was really surprised and encouraged me to not put my body through IVF when I could use frozen eggs.  So this threw my thinking completely out. I held firm at first, and then as we kept talking I started questioning myself.

In addition to this confusion, he was looking at my file and saying that I needed to attend the 'information session' as a matter of policy.  Now, way back when, when I started treatment they said I had to do the information session.  Then, when I explained I'd done egg freezing and was pretty well versed in the fertility sphere, they said I didn't have to.  But apparently now I do have to.  So I got scheduled in to attend an information session where I strongly doubt I will learn anything new.  In addition to this hoop jumping, he informed me that I also needed a consultation with a counselor about the implications of using donor sperm.  I don't mind meeting with a counselor, but again, I feel fairly well versed in the implications of using donor sperm and am in fact this weekend going to a conference hosted by the DCN - so I will jump through this hoop but it annoyed me.

Anyway, back to the consultation.

So the doctor relented that ultimately it was my decision but it was clear he didn't think I should be doing fresh IVF to start.  He was also saying that a lot of things had to happen to start the cycle so I couldn't just assume I could start with my period in May which stressed me out.  He then saw me getting stressed and tried to convey that staying calm through all this is helpful for getting pregnant. In the meantime, I'm thinking to myself that I understand where he's coming from but he's not being particularly helpful in ensuring that I am calm because he's causing all sorts of disruptions to things that I thought were reasonably fixed!

So as we're discussing it back and forth, and he's making me feel not so great by commenting that if I only got 6,4, and 3 eggs on my egg freezing cycles that my chances for IVF retrieval at this stage were not so great, he mentions that I could consider doing a fresh IVF cycle and also at the same time defrosting half of the frozen eggs to increase my chances of having one or two viable embryos.  Now this sounded better to me.  First, because I can plan to start the IVF cycle in May and now it's really about getting in touch with my London clinic to arrange the transfer of my eggs to Cambridge and having them in place for this to happen.  It also allows me to save half of the frozen eggs for a second try either immediately if this doesn't work, or in the future possibly.  So I think out of the 13 frozen eggs I have, I may suggest they start by defrosting 6 for this cycle.  Those will need to be fertilized with ICSI, and they can be watched alongside anything that may be retrieved from the fresh cycle.

So it's a slightly different plan but one I actually feel reasonably good about.  I am also going to email the embryologist to see what would happen for example, if the 6 don't defrost or fertilize for some reason, would there be time to defrost the other 7 in this cycle (I actually have no idea how long it takes to defrost an egg although I assume not so quickly).  This means I am now waiting for them to price up this option and the drugs costs and then I can order my drugs and schedule a counselling session and attend the information evening and be all set to start my IVF drugs on day 2 of my period.


So a good result in the end that I have a plan and it's all systems go.  But really more stressful than it needed to be and a bit of a kick from a doctor who was clearly trying to tell me that he didn't think my odds were so great being over 40.  But anyway, I'll see what I get fresh, and I'll give some of those frozen eggs a chance and we'll see where we get to.

But first I need to call my old clinic and see about getting those eggs transferred to Cambridge.  I'm sure I'll need to sign a release or some such even though I will never actually see these eggs and it will all be done clinic to clnic.  The UK is very strict on fertility issues!  So much paperwork.

Anyway, it seems like more updates will be on the way as the planning progresses.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Planning for IVF

Just a quick note to say that I've scheduled my consultation appointment for next week to sign all the paperwork I need to do to have an IVF cycle.  I'll then need to order drugs in time to start with my next period which should be early May.  They said they don't do a birth control start as they have found that slightly diminishes success rates.  So that's fine by me!

I realize through this process that I'm actually very open with people about what I'm going through.  This means that I have people asking me about how things are going or have gone.  I don't really find this upsetting though.  Part of me thinks I should.  But I guess it helps me see my support network.  And no one is offensive about it.  Part of me feels like it's better to have that support that keep it all to myself.  Although funny enough when my mother gets in touch to ask me about it, that annoys me.  Ha!  Mothers and daughters.

I'm sort of looking forward to an IVF cycle.  While I'm disappointed the IUIs didn't work, with an IVF cycle I feel I'll have much more information on my current fertility chances and better knowledge of exactly what's going on.  I obviously hope it's successful, but if not, then it may be time to use those frozen eggs.  But that's still one IVF cycle away at least.  So hold that thought.

This month I'm enjoying a bit of freedom and the free dinners I have this week which include free wine.  Not overkill mind you.  But then I've never been a huge drinker.  Anyway, more from me next week after this consultation unless something else of interest occurs to me.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Cycle 2 ends, a month off

Definitely my period.  The official test was negative, bleeding continues although still a bit oddly albeit steadily.  I need to give my clinic a ring and let them know and schedule the consultation to begin IVF on my next period.  So one month off.  I'm sure it will go quickly.  In the meantime I had a nice glass of wine last night because I could.

I'm sad the IUIs didn't work.  However, I'm sort of looking forward to an IVF cycle as I will then have a lot more information about what's happening.  I suppose we'll see how the cycle goes and if it's a complete bust, perhaps move straight on to the frozen eggs.  Anyway, one thing at a time.  At least now I won't be having a Xmas/New Years baby.  I always think that sort of sucks birthday wise.

So many decisions on this journey seem monumental to make, only to find that the result is a lot of 'stuff' (time, etc) you maybe didn't expect and that certainly slow any sort of real progress.  Or at least not consciously.  It seemed like such a big deal to decide to try, and now getting pregnant seems like an impossible hurdle.  And I've only tried two cycles!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

TWW 2 - Day 15 ugh

I'm pretty sure it's my period.  But a very strange period.  So maybe there was some nonviable action going on in my uterus.  My period hasn't started properly but it's like a start stop bit of smudge, bit of color, then nothing, then something then nothing.  I'm feeling a bit crampy though.  And all tests are negative.  Including the one I took this morning which was a clinic test.  The clinic wants the official test to be tomorrow.  Which is fine.  But I have no reason to think this is anything other than my period.  I will test tomorrow to confirm, and be waiting for my period to arrive properly.  Then it's a month off before starting my first IVF cycle.  Ho hum.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

TWW 2 - Day 14 confuzzled

Firstly, I got the days wrong on the last two posts so have edited them.  I think that's right now.  This makes today day 15 post IUI.  If I had my IUI two weeks ago on a Wednesday and today is Wednesday, then that's right.

This makes my current situation with what is coming out of my vagina even more confusing.  According to what I got from the clinic, my period is due tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a 28 day cycle.  Now it is not uncommon for me to get some light colored discharge right before my period.  On the other hand, my cycle has really not been 28 days in the past 7 months.  Only once did it come in 28 days and is usually 30.  So this would be very early.

This morning there was some pinkish mucus looking tinge on the toilet wipe but no discernible period blood.  I put on a pad and have gone about my morning.  Toilet break at almost noon and the wipe is clear.

On the other hand, pregnancy test this morning, which is supposedly sensitive to 10mIU (which should mean an early detection) was negative.  All my tests so far have been negative.

So is it my period or is it not my period?!

I meant to use one of the tests the clinic gave me instead of the Ebay ones this morning but I forgot.  Tomorrow morning I will remember.  This is horrible.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TWW 2 - Day 13 nerve wracking

I just got back from a 2 day workshop.  At the workshop I managed to have a tiramisu (before remembering it has coffee in it), a sip of wine, and a cup of tea.  Meanwhile I'm thinking I can't possibly be pregnant because everything is negative so far.  I just got home, went to the toilet, and had some funny spotting.  So now I'm wondering if that is implantation bleeding and maybe I am pregnant?  Of course the first thing I did was to take another pregnancy test, which came up negative.  So I've scoured the internet for what it says about how many days past implantation bleeding do people get positive tests and how many days past ovulation is implantation bleeding normal.  Ugh!!  Part of me wants to be convinced that it's nothing.  But it's too early for my period and there's no reason for me to have any sort of colored discharge.  It's very light and minor, so sort of seems exactly what they say implantation bleeding is like....

Hello, mental bomb.

I just.....

Fuck!  I read someone saying on the internet that they didn't get a positive pregnancy test until 3 days after bleeding.  It's definitely too early for my period, by like 3-4 days and that's according to the clinic, my period tends to come a bit later.

Maybe tomorrow morning I'll use of the two pregnancy tests the clinic gave me.  I want to be hopeful but I've been so convinced that this was definitely a cycle that hasn't worked.  Now I don't know what to think.  Well, I do know what to think, I know I need to sit tight and wait and test when I'm supposed to.

And stop slipping up with caffeine, etc! 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

TWW 2 - Day 11 so far negative

I know it's still early and the chance of false negatives is still around 30%.  However, it is more unlikely at this point that this cycle has been successful.  I will continue to test daily up until when the clinic said to (still five days away).  I'm starting to feel a bit disappointed.  On the other hand, if this cycle has really been usuccessful I'm actually sort of looking forward to moving on to IVF as it will give a much better picture about what's going on.  For example, if none of my eggs fertilize (assuming they get any) then that's information I just don't have now.  To be honest, I've had two IUIs in my entire life.  That means I've tried to get pregnant exactly twice.  Even if I was with a partner and we were going the natural route this wouldn't be shocking, especially at my age.  And is certainly no indication of likely success.  It's just a little bit different when you're paying for every cycle and watching it so carefully I guess.  Anyway, this cycle isn't over yet, so I'll finish it out obviously and then go on from there.