UPDATE: LIVING WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS + IVF
It has been 3 months since I first spoke to you about my battle with Endometriosis. The morning that post went live I was so nervous about sharing something so intimate and personal. I sat snuggled up in my favourite blanket on the sofa and cried and cried as messages of support flooded in! Many of them were from my own friends and family that had had no idea what had been going on, others were from women who had been going through a similar experience and I even had men tell me stories of what their wives had been through. Although nervous, I wanted to write that post to reassure other women that they were not alone, when in fact it served in reminding me, that I wasn’t alone.
Since then so much has happened and it has taken me a little while to get my head around it all! Much like last time I was really skeptical about writing today’s post, partly because I feel that by telling you guys about it I am finally admitting to myself that things haven’t turned out quite as I would have hoped and secondly because it has been a crazy emotional rollercoaster that I am not sure I can bare to relive. But many of you have been kind enough to get in touch and ask how we are getting on and once again I feel by sharing my story, even if it helps one woman, one couple, one family I will have made even the smallest difference.
After finding out I was in the stages of early menopause at the beginning of the year, time suddenly really was of the essence. My egg numbers had dropped dramatically and I was pretty much told it was now or never. I’m not going to lie that was a pretty scary decision to make. Both myself and Mr T had always been ‘whenever it happens, it happens’ kind of people, but now we were actively making that desicion to start trying for a family, like right now!
Everything went through my mind at that point. Were we ready? Did we have enough money? Had we done all we wanted to before kids come along? ‘No’ was pretty much the resounding answer to all of those questions so we wanted to take some time to think about it, but eventually after talking with each other and our families (my mum especially who reassured me that no one ever feels totally ready to have children) we both decided we would regret it if we didn’t try now and within weeks we began IVF.
I began taking Synarel, a nasal spray which basically helps to mature the follicles that release eggs. I had done the one thing no one should ever do and googled all the symptoms and expected to feel like pants, but I was pleasantly surprised that apart from bloating, I felt pretty good! I had more energy than usual and I really needn’t of worried about taking it. After a few weeks it was time to move on to the next stage. The dreaded the Gonal-F injections!
My brother is diabetic and has to take shots daily, so naturally he wanted to help me when I did my first one. I am not even kidding when I say that it took about 15 minutes for me to pluck up the courage to put the needle in and when I finally did it, my hands were sweating so much they just kept sliding down the pen, so I couldn’t push the trigger. luckily he was on hand to take over and after that, it just wasn’t a big deal anymore, I took the injections once a day in the evening for two weeks. In that time, I did start to notice a bit of change in my mood and the bloatedness started to get really bad. I was experiencing quite a bit of discomfort and was tired all the time, but I just had to keep reminding myself it would be worth it.
Unfortunately my eggs didn’t mature as quickly as they were supposed to, so for a few weeks I was travelling back and forth to the fertility clinic, so they could keep an eye on their growth and ended up having to inject for about week longer than was initially planned, but eventually they grew to where they should have been and we began the next stage. Egg Retrieval!
I was so nervous about this but by now I just wanted the eggs out, I honestly felt like I had bunches of grapes growing either side of my womb, which is making me cringe just thinking about it. Again I shouldn’t have been nervous the fertility clinic in Oxford were amazing and although I was only partially sedated, I don’t remember a single thing. When I woke up I was treated to a cup of tea and some biscuits and we were told that they had retrieved 5 eggs, then we sent on our merry way, whilst the lab technicians did the rest for us.
The next day we received a call from the clinic to say that 2 of the eggs had fertilised and we would need to go back the following day to have them put back in. When we got there we were were taken into a little room and the procedure was very much like having a smear, only they were able to show you on a screen, as the two early blastocysts were popped back in. Blink and you would have missed it, but it still felt so special to us. Up until now this was the closest we had ever been to being pregnant.
After that we were told to go about life as normal, whilst we waited 2 weeks until we could test to see if the IVF had been a success. They don’t call that the ‘dreaded two week wait’ for nothing! It was horrendous, I felt like I had been so closely monitored over the whole process and all of a sudden I was left on my own. Not forgetting to mention that after the transfer I had to take a suppository called cyclogest that was not only totally unpleasant to use but made me a complete psycho, so those two weeks were a complete emotional roller coaster.
I tried to keep myself busy in that time, I had booked two weeks of work so that I could chill out after all the craziness but in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done that. It would have been better to have got straight back into routine. Anyway the two weeks slowly trudged by and the day before I was due to test I started to feel really ill. I felt sick, light headed, achy and I kept getting a dull ache in the lower part of stomach. Mr T told me to go to bed and rest up and that is exactly what I did, but I already knew something wasn’t right. Sure enough within in a few hours I noticed a few specks of blood when I went to the toilet and I knew that was it. The IVF hadn’t worked for us this time. Mr T tried to stay positive for the both of us and reminded me, that this could happen and we could still have a positive result the next day but I knew we wouldn’t and the next day it was confirmed with a negative result.
Having to tell Mr T that it had been unsuccessful that morning was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. He had held out so much hope overnight and the look on his face when I told him the results, were devastating. The next hardest part was telling our mums and dads. I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I did that day! I felt like I was letting everyone down. Denying Mr T the chance to become a dad and our parents the chance to be grandparents. No matter how many people told me it wasn’t, I still felt like it was my fault. We all cried. We all mourned the children we had never even had.
It took me a long time to get over that. I spent a lot of time in bed and I cried so much I couldn’t believe I had any more tears to shed. I had been positive the whole way through and had never really imagined what we would do if it didn’t work first time. Naive it might be but it made the process all that more bearable. Naturally everyone wanted to know if we would try again and at first I really didn’t want to. The clinic advised us to wait a few months, give my body and mind a chance to heal and as they say time is a great healer.
We are just about to start our next round of IVF this month, but that hasn’t come without its own difficulties as this week it was confirmed I have two functional ovarian cysts which will now mean our next round is delayed. We have our fingers crossed that they will disperse naturally over the coming weeks but who knows what will happen if not?
This journey has not been an easy one and I would like to wish every woman going through this right now, all my love and support and to tell you that you are not alone on this journey! Best of luck to you all xxx