My IVF journey

One Local Mum kept her diary of her struggle to have a baby. Here she shares her incredible journey with IVF.

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I knew I wanted children from a young age.† So when we didn’t conceive within a couple of years I went to the doctors for help.† We had done everything right; the house, the marriage. Now we wanted a child.††

Unfortunately our GP was very unhelpful and refused to refer us for tests.† I tried a few times but each time he said we needed to wait.† He also said that my weight would be an issue; I was about thee stone above the official weight for my height.††

I tried sending my very embarrassed husband to the doctor too but he was told the same thing: You must lose weight!† It wasn’t easy to lose weight when we were both depressed about not having children.† Meanwhile, all of our friends were having babies...

Doctor, Doctor...
We moved house and everyone said: “New house, new baby!”† If only..! We tried to change our doctor, hoping to get a more sympathetic one, but we were told that because we lived in the same area this would not be possible.††

Then I got a new job and guess what they all said....

On one trip to the doctors I asked to see a female doctor and she was much more sympathetic.† Within a month I had an appointment for tests.† It had only taken eight years!† I was told that I had polycystic ovaries.† This meant that the cysts were stopping my ovaries from naturally releasing eggs.† So all of those months/years of wondering/hoping that I was pregnant, there was a possibility that I may not have even released any eggs.††

I was then given some medication to help me produce eggs.† This was only for three months and as you can imagine, this put extra pressure on my husband.† So we were put on the NHS waiting list for IVF treatment, which was a two and a half years wait.† We did consider borrowing money to pay for the treatment, but decided to wait to see if the first cycle worked first.

Two and a half years later and we were both called in to the assisted conception unit at St Helier Hospital. It was in July.† Our medication arrived in a very large box. We still have a photo of all the medication, it made us laugh at the time.

Treatment starts
The 7th August was the start of our treatment.† Off we went to Kings Hospital to be told what happens and to sign pages and pages of forms.† They also explained about ICSI which is where they inject the sperm into the eggs if they don’t fertilise naturally.† We were given the option to do this or not, as it may increase the chance of chromosome problems.† They then left the room for us to discuss in private.† We had now waited 12 years for a child and would love any child that we had, whether they had disabilities or not.

On the 14th August we had an appointment at St Helier Hospital to explain how to administer the medication.† We waited in a very tiny room, full of photos of babies and children who were IVF babies and this made us smile.† We were told that because of my age (mid 30s) there would only be a 25% chance of the treatment working.† My husband had to inject a cushion and pretend it was my tummy. He did well given that he has a phobia of needles!

On the 9th September we started my daily injections.† I didn’t want to show my husband that it hurt as he had to be brave too in order to inject me.

Scan time
On the 17th September it was my first scan to see if my ovaries were producing eggs.† This was very unpleasant. The nurse commented that I was holding my breath; “That’s because it hurts,” I answered, making my husband laugh.† We were then told to start another injection each day. Great, two needles a day to an already bruised belly...

I had another scan on the 23rd September.† I had high hormone levels, one ovary was doing well, but they couldn’t see the other one.† While they were prodding about, I remember checking out the cracks on the ceiling and the spiders webs to try and take my mind off the pain.

One more scan on 26th September which went much better.† They gave me the task of writing down the size of the follicles (which hold the eggs.)† I had no idea what the numbers were, but the nurse seemed pleased!

Collecting eggs
29th September’s scan went even better.† I was told that they would collect my eggs the following week!† Last injection was that night; we had to sat up until 12.30am to do it.

On the 1st October, at 8am, we went back to the hospital.† We were one of three couples to have egg collection. I was last of the three (obviously they were saving the best until last!)† I was then taken into the operating theatre, feeling more excited than nervous.† They explained what they were going to do and linked me up to a drip.†

The next thing I remember was waking up seeing my husband standing over me with his coat on ready to go.† He was taking my 28 follicles to Kings Hospital where they did his sperm collection.† I had produced 20 eggs and was very proud of that!

ICSI
On the 4th October we were back at Kings Hospital, where we were told that no eggs were naturally fertilised. They proceeded to do ICSI and this produced four good quality eggs.† We chose to accept two fertilised eggs and dispose of the other two (we needed a minimum of three to freeze for a later time).†

I was told that I had ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS is where my hormone level was very high, making me produce so many eggs) and that they could freeze my two eggs until the swelling went down.† But we chose to go ahead with the insertion so as not to harm the eggs.††

We then saw our two eggs on a TV screen, which made it seem more real.† They then inserted the eggs into me with great difficulty.† This was very painful (as they had to lean on my very swollen belly) and they had trouble doing it.† To try and relieve my pain I squeezed on my husband’s hand so hard that he too was in pain!† But they had successfully inserted my two eggs.

Over the next few days I was in real pain from the OHSS. I was told that this was quite common in women with polycystic ovaries.† As we wouldn’t normally release eggs, with the correct medication they usually go overboard.

Blood tests
On the15th October I was back at St Helier again. This time for a blood test to see if I was pregnant.† I was very nervous...

The good thing was that I didn’t have to queue! It was great having about 30-40 people staring at me as I pushed to the front of the queue. Both myself and my husband took the day off work so that we could be together when we found out the results. I was home by 8.40am, but didn’t get the call until 2pm.

Hubby took my hand.† To be honest most of the conversation was a bit of a blur so I had to ask the nurse to repeat the result. The test results were inconclusive!† Either I had an early miscarriage or the embryos were slow growers.

On the 22nd October I went back to the hospital for another blood test. Again, no queue.† I couldn’t take the day off work this time, so I headed straight back to work.† On the way, I had just passed the water tower in Carshalton when a song came on the radio: Take That’s ‘Greatest Day’. It made me cry!† I had to stop crying before I got to work...†

Taking the call
At 1.38pm I got the call. I picked up my mobile and ran away from my colleagues.† “Everything is ok” the nurse said.† Well she didn’t say I wasn’t pregnant. She said she would arrange a scan. I must be pregnant I thought (though to be honest I didn’t really ask.)† The scan was booked for two weeks time, Halloween to be exact!

A quick and very calm call to my husband was followed by a very emotional call to my Mum.† Then a couple of friends and my brother.† I then had to head back to my desk.† My boss didn’t need to wait for a response, she just hugged me!

31st October.† The scan was a little painful but when we saw a tiny heart beat, we just smiled. When we left, we left in silence, just holding hands, like little kids. We were pregnant!

Watch out for the next instalment of My IVF Story, coming soon...

If you would like to contact the writer of this blog please email her at info@localmumsonline.com



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