Day one of stimulation (yes - day one!)
There are two intros to this blog entry - below is the one I started writing at 5:22am on Saturday 22 March 2014
I'd forgotten what it feels like: insomnia. And I'm feeling really hot, not sexy hot, more like I am going to combust hot. Could this really be a side affect of the Gonal F this early on in my cycle? You see we started again last night (well this week to be precise - it started with an endometrium scratch on Monday - start reading from the intro I wrote on Thursday evening for more on that). Work seems to have taken over my life recently so I haven't had a chance to blog and let you kids know what's been going on. Trust me, a serious amount of shizzle has been going on over the past few weeks (too much for this blog) and suddenly I find myself on the stimms, feeling like I've fast-tracked my way right up to the business end of proceedings of our much anticipated next round of IVF. So let me tell you what's been happening this week and how on earth we are only two weeks from egg collection.
Intro two - written on Thursday 20 March 2014 - I shall pick up now from where I left off!
Did the title of today's blog entry make you think eh? Thought so. I only ever tend to scratch an itch, but this is a fertility related blog so that must mean that having a scratch must be some form of newfangled treatment that can help a woman like me get pregnant. So when my lovely (and rather dashing) consultant James Nicopoullos from the Lister Fertility Clinic said that an endometrium scratch could be the answer to our implantation problems I enthusiastically had one done.
Here's a word of warning ladies: IT BLOODY HURTS... A LOT.
Don't be naive like I was and think it won't hurt. When it comes to any fertility related procedure that involves your cervix and a catheter there is going to be some degree of discomfort. That's not even taking into consideration a speculum and a clamp on your cervix. If you are told there may be some 'mild cramping' you know it's gonna hurt. I take ibuprofen for period pain so I really should have been better prepared and dosed up on some before I went in. Period pain sucks, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, I felt every little scratch of that catheter in my womb - ouch. I was told that I was very brave as I didn't flinch once - a little tear did escape however. I then had some serious cramps for the rest of that day and generally felt crap. Boo.
Endometrium scratches are generally carried out on day 21 of a 28 day cycle, or roughly half way through your luteal phase. I have a 32 day cycle so I had my scratch on day 27 (8 days post ovulation), meaning I would have been due to start stimms next Tuesday. However, I got my period four days early - that's only two days post-scratch so I had a mild panic, called the Lister and they booked me in for a scan and injection training. I did my first jab at 10:45pm last night - so we've started.
I'm on a completely different cycle to my previous fresh cycle, not only is it a lot shorter but it's tailored to me with a lot closer monitoring by scans and blood tests - yes this costs more but this is reassuring. I'm on an antagonist protocol which means no down regulation. YAY! I'm on a much lower dose of the follicle simulating drug Gonal F than before, this should stop me getting OHSS which is fab as I never, ever want to feel that bad ever again. You see, when we went for our consultation on 3 March with James my AMH results came back 'through the roof.' The average for a woman my age is 15, mine was 43 which is amazing (I'm very chuffed). I also had a follicle count of 28 (and that's without any drugs), this all adds up to mean I have a decent ovarian reserve so this is all very good news.
The antagonist protocol involves another drug called cetrotide, this prevents the luteinizing hormonal surge from causing ovulation. I have never used cetrotide before but it involves mixing a pre-filled syringe with a vial of powder and then injecting that along with the Gonal F from day six of your cycle. I'm back at the Lister next Wednesday for another scan and blood test to check oestrogen, progesterone and my LH levels and then the nurses should give me the green light to start cetrotide that night. All of this means that in roughly two weeks time we should be having egg collection, and within three weeks I should hopefully have one or two mini-me's nestling into my womb. The endometrium scratch should ensure that I have a nice thick womb lining and the environment created as a result of the increase in white blood cells will hopefully mean my mini-me(s) will want to bed in. I don't really understand how it works but evidence suggests that it does improve pregnancy rates in IVF patients.
So it's been a full on week. My amazing Hubster and I have had to pull together and work as a team to try and resolve a rather delicate situation not concerning our fertility treatment, and I said goodbye to my Bessie her lovely Hubster and Little Buddha. Yesterday was an emotional, full on day so maybe that's why I'm in the living room writing my blog at 6:33am on a Saturday morning? I'm not sure. I had a very cathartic cry last night but I'm in a very good place - crying is good - it's a massive stress reliever so do not worry about me. Before we started on our journey again I wanted my Hubster and I to be strong and calm and ready. We are all of that and I am so proud of us - the progress we have made is to be commended, IVF splits many couples up but if anything, the past 18 months have made us stronger. I am so going to miss my Bessie and Little Buddha but they are off on an amazing adventure travelling around Europe in their beautiful brand new VW campervan (affectionately named Terrance). And they're not far, Skype and Whatsapp mean they are a moment away, but I'm still going to miss them so that's why we're going to meet them somewhere hot in Europe for a holiday when we are done with our treatment cycle. So it really isn't that bad, I just hate goodbyes and yesterday was an action packed day.
It is time to concentrate on the next four weeks, nothing else matters, even my crazy ridiculous workload is going to have to take a back seat. Because it's time for us to make some mini-mes again and this is our top priority, we've saved hard for this and I don't want to have any regrets. I will most certainly keep you guys updated on our journey, but for now I can feel my eyelids drooping (finally) so I'm going to try and go back to sleep - let's hope this insomnia is a one off.
Na night x