Another good news story

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Just wanted to share another good news story which popped up this week. This lady is an actress in the UK and has seen a reproductive immunology specialist after three miscarriages and is now pregnant and due to give birth very soon:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2930023/Adele-Silva-admits-three-heartbreaking-miscarriages-cautious-ahead-imminent-birth.html

I’m biased, as I’m seeing a reproductive immunology specialist too, but I’m really pleased that this treatment has helped someone and that it is getting more coverage here in the UK so it can hopefully help others too (including me!!).

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Results are in….

…. and it’s good news!!

My TNF levels have come down from 33 to 25 – within normal range – which means that I don’t have to have any more Humira injections!!! I’m so bloody HAPPY!!!!

This is brilliant news, as it means that we can now move to phase 2 of the treatment – and we can start trying again when I ovulate NEXT WEEK!!!! AAAAAAARGGGH!!!!

I’m over the moon that I don’t need any more injections. They were painful and made me feel exhausted, with a sore chest and a bad cold, so I’m really glad that they’re over. The effects of the Humira will last for about 9 months, so if I’m not pregnant by then i’ll have to have my levels tested again and if they’ve gone up then i’ll need more injections, but i’ll worry about that closer to the time (and hopefully I might be pregnant by then!).

I was so scared to let myself hope that this might be the outcome, as my default setting with all things fertility is negative, but I’m so happy that we’ve had this bit of good news. I’m also delighted that we can start trying again! Its been 6 months since we lost the third baby, so we’re both ready to get moving. Even if it takes us a while, at least we’re in with a shot each month, rather than just waiting and waiting like we have been. But I’m really glad that we’ve taken this time to have the laparoscopy, meet the specialist and start the treatment plan – it feels as though we’re doing all we can to have the best chance of keeping the next baby. Who knows how it will all go, but we’re doing our best.

The doc asked how I was feeling on all the drugs, and I told him that the metformin in making me feel sick pretty much all of the time, and that I’m only able to eat three small meals a day as the thought of most food just makes me feel sick. Ive lost a bit of weight because of this, and most of my friends have asked for some of it to help them shift the pounds – ha!! The doc said that because I’m small (I’m 5’4” and about 123lbs) that I can either try having one a day with breakfast, then two with dinner, so I don’t feel sick all day, or I can drop the dose down to 2 a day, rather than 3, which I’m really pleased about. I took 2 a day when I fell pregnant last time and it gave me 32 days cycles, which would still be great, even if its not 28 days like this last cycle has been. I’d trade a few extra days waiting if it meant I could eat normally and not feel sick 24/7!! I think i’ll try the new dosage (1, then 2 at dinner) and see how I get on with that. If this still no good, i’ll just drop it down to 2 a day.

So, here’s the plan now:

– I keep on the metformin, baby aspirin, Vitamin D and pregnancy vitamins with Omega 3, and start getting busy with my husband early next week!!

– On the day I ovulate next week, I start taking 25mg of steroids, then take one a day for 10 days. On the 10/11th day after ovulation, I take an early pregnancy test. If its positive, I keep taking the steroids and call the doc to arrange and intralipid infusion asap. This will help to coat the Natural Killer Cells and hopefully stop them from attacking the baby. I also start on progesterone pessaries.

– If it’s negative, I stop taking the steroids, wait a couple of days, then test again. If it’s then positive, see above. If it’s still negative, I just wait till I get my period as normal. I told the doc that I got all three positive pregnancy tests at 12 days past ovulation. He said that if you’re not pregnant, if you keep taking the steroids then it will delay you getting your period, which is agony when you think you might be pregnant. He’s tested it, and the best day to stop is 10 days in his opinion. If you then get a positive test, a couple of days being off the steroids won’t affect the chances as they will still be in your bloodstream, so you start taking them again.

– If I do get my period, I then start on Letrozole on day 2 of my period, to stimulate ovulation. I then arrange for a scan to see if i’m about to ovulate, and may need an injection of Ovitrelle to trigger ovulation. Then the same as above, get busy, start steroids, wait 10 days etc…

Phew!!!

As usual, a lot to take in, but the bottom line is that we can start trying and that’s BRILLIANT!!

The doc has said that the steroids should be taken first thing in the morning, as they can make it difficult for you to sleep as you have a lot more energy. For the last 5 weeks I’ve had absolutely zero energy and felt like sh*t most of the time, so it’ll be a strange change to suddenly be bouncing around!!! He’s recommended going to the gym after work, so that I tire myself out and can then sleep each night. Im a bit nervous about not being able to sleep, as I’m not someone who functions well if I’m shattered, but I guess ill just have to see how it goes. Im only on a low dose, so I’m hoping that I manage ok.

I asked the doc what happens if I fall pregnant and then am really sick with morning sickness. He said that the steroids take away any sickness which you have, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Apparently they are used as a last resort with women who are suffering from extreme morning sickness in pregnancy, so thats a funny coincidence I guess!!

So thats me for now. Im exhausted today from the nerves and anticipation of the results, so I’m looking forward to a good sleep and hopefully less sickness with the change in the metformin. I am nervous about trying again, but you have to be in it to win it as they say, so we just have to try and hope for the best.

I’ll let you know how I get on with the steroids, and can’t believe i’ll be back on the two week wait in the next couple of weeks!!

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Humira results tomorrow….

Tomorrow i’m back to see the specialist to see if the Humira injections which I had have worked. I took them to lower my TNF levels, which were at 33, and they need to be below 31 now.

If it has worked, then we can start trying straight away – wahoo!!! If I have another (amazing) 28 day cycle, then I should be due to ovulate next week – wowzers!! I know that i’ll need to take steroids once we start trying, as well as intralipids if I do fall pregnant, but we will have a proper talk about it tomorrow with the doc to understand exactly what the plan is.

If it hasn’t worked, then I have to have another two Humira injections, two weeks apart, then we can start trying after that. This isn’t the end of the world, but the injections made me mega exhausted, with a sore chest and cold-like symptoms, so I could really do without having that again for another month!!

It’s my natural way to always think the worst with all things fertility, so my head keeps telling me that it hasn’t worked and i’ll have to have more injections. But i’m really really hoping that it has worked and that we can try straightaway!! It’s been 6 months since we lost the third baby, so we’re definitely ready to get cracking again now!!

I’ll let you know how it goes, please send good thoughts that it’s worked!!

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Short but sweet

Nothing massive to share, but I got my period today – 5 days early!

This is hardly the most exciting update you’ll ever hear, but I have PCOS and am on 3 x metformin a day to help control this and make me ovulate. My cycles are usually between 33-50 days, which is a nightmare when we’re trying to get preggers, but this cycle has been……*drumroll please*……exactly 28 days!!!!!

I used the opk and should have ovulated about day 14, which would mean I had a pretty textbook cycle, for probably the first time in my entire life. Wahoo!

Like I say, not the most exciting post ever, but hopefully bodes well for when we do start trying again. Fingers crossed the drugs keep working and these perfect cycles continue!

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Life after a baby…….?

This might seem like a presumptuous post (after all I haven’t even managed to have a bloody baby yet!!) but I wanted to talk about something and see if i’m not alone in thinking this….

A good friend of mine has two young children (two boys, one is 4 and the other is 1). She struggled with fertility issues herself, but is very happy with the two children which she has, so I don’t think she’s planning on having any more. She’s a fantastic mum, but also loves going out with her friends and has gone back to school to retrain in a new field, and is becoming really successful in this field. We were chatting about this one day and she told me how important it is that she has this career, as she needs something more than just her children, she needs her own time and life and success as well. I totally understand this, and I really applaud her for creating this career for herself. But it just got me thinking – how will I feel about this if I ever manage to have a baby?

I went to uni, got a degree, got a job, went back to uni, got more qualifications, got better jobs….you know the drill. But then since Project Baby started over two years ago, my career has taken something of a back seat in my mind really. I love my job and am glad to still be working (as I think i’d lose my mind otherwise!!) but at the same time, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about wanting to have a baby. In fact, i’d say there probably isn’t an hour that goes by. If I stop and think about that it blows my mind – that for over two years, this thought has been in my head pretty much every hour of every waking day!!!!!! However you look at it – that is mental!!

I know that I have to overcome the MASSIVE hurdle of actually falling pregnant, then managing to stay pregnant (it’s 3-0 to Mother Nature so far, just sayin’), but it hit me that I haven’t actually even considered what my life would be like after I have a baby. In my head its all bunny rabbits and rainbows and playdates and fairy dust, which continues for 18 happy years until they move out. Seriously, I just haven’t even thought about it.

I think that part of this is a defence mechanism – my brain won’t allow me to think further ahead than it needs to, in case I actually can’t have a baby after all. Even though we’re seeing a great specialist, there is always the possibility that it won’t work, or we have to stop trying if it gets too much, or we still keep losing babies. I don’t like to think about these options, but i’m a realist and there’s always a chance that science can’t help us.

But then I wonder – if I do manage to have a baby, where do I go from there? Would I want to stop working altogether and be a stay at home mum? Or would I go insane from the baby talk, poo and crying and actually quite fancy going back to work? Would I feel fulfilled enough being a mother, or would something else pop into my head which I then would want to do as well?

Sorry that this is a vague post, and I definitely don’t have any answers, but I think after years of having babies on the brain, I can’t quite imagine how my muddled, baby-mad noggin will manage once it doesn’t have to think about this constantly anymore – does that make sense!?!?

I think the bottom line is that I wish that I could see things logically and clearly and not allocate so much of my headspace to hoping/thinking/wishing/dreaming for a baby. I wish that my brain could see and enjoy more of what else is out there, what other experiences, happinesses might also be for me, rather than focusing on this as the sole one. I saw a counsellor after the first miscarriage and he explained how strong and primal the urge for a baby is – which is generally why we women get more caught up in it than men – so I know that this won’t go away until we either have a baby ourselves or consider other options.

I had my blood taken yesterday and am back at the docs on Wednesday next week to see if the Humira has worked and my TNF levels have com down, and then we can start trying in Feb, or if I need another 2 x Humira injections. I’m really hoping that I don’t need any more shots, as I have pretty much been knackered, with a sore chest and general cold-like symptoms for the best part of a month now, which is totally wearing me out and is probably down to the shots. Ive been to the GP just to get checked out and i’m fine, so if I need the shots then i’ll go again and then we can start trying in March.

Will keep plodding on till then, only a week to go!

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A sad story, but I applaud her for sharing this

You know how it is in celeb-land; they meet someone, get engaged, get married and then ‘poof’, they’re pregnant. We all know it’s probably not that simple for them in real life, but we’re bombarded with ‘bump-watches’, ‘is she hiding a bump under there?’, critiques of maternity fashions and so on. From the minute they’re spotted wearing a baggy top, the media are scrutinising every outfit and angle to work out if they are indeed disguising their happy news.

For my sins, I’m a lover of the Mail Online. Its total celeb trash I know, but hey, who doesn’t like/need a bit of escapism most days!? It’s kind of a love/hate relationship though, as most days its filled with pregnancy announcements, bump-watches and pregnancy speculation. Many a day I’ve been enjoying looking at glamorous awards ceremonies, the latest Kardashian drama, then bang – news that someone else is pregnant.

Anyway, I was looking on there today and saw an article which really stopped me in my tracks – here is the headline and I’ve attached a link to the article underneath:

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2910056/Jaime-King-reveals-painful-past-five-miscarriages-finally-giving-birth-son.html

Wow.

I am genuinely saddened for this lady. Celebrity or not, for any woman to have to go through all of this is terrible, completely heartbreaking. I’m so pleased that it had a happy ending and that she finally had the baby she’d longed and tried for for so long.

I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone, but I am so pleased that she has chosen to share it so publicly. It’s stories like this which not only give women like me hope – that even after such difficult journeys, a baby can be possible – but it takes miscarriage, infertility and fertility treatments out of the shadows and into the public eye. It makes it a little bit easier for people to know how common it can be, to understand it and to realise how many women are affected by this. I have always been open about my journey with friends and family, but even so many of them can’t comprehend how difficult it is and how sadly common it is too. I applaud Jaime King for her decision and am delighted that she now has her healthy baby.

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Smiles – old and new

I was looking through my facebook photos earlier and had a look through other friends’ profiles too, when something struck me.

Anyone reading this who is struggling to have a baby – when was the last time that you saw a photograph of yourself where you are really smiling? Really happy?

I looked at our wedding photos and was struck by how totally happy I looked. I was marrying the man of my dreams, had a gorgeous honeymoon to enjoy, then we’d fall pregnant after that. Sound familiar……?! There was something about the way I looked which was so full of happiness, hope and a bright future ahead. It took my breath away a bit to remember how far away that feeling is from where I am now.

Don’t get me wrong, despite the three miscarriages which we’ve had in the 2.5 years since then, we’ve had some great times and are still really happy together as a couple. But every time I look at photos since then I find myself thinking ‘Oh, that was the holiday we went on when I lost the second baby’ or ‘That’s the wedding that we went to just after I found out that the third one wouldn’t make it’ – every event in my life is somehow defined by where I was in my cycle/miscarriage/treatment at that time. All the tracking/checking/waiting somehow does that to you – like a constant little cloud hovering over everything, ticking off the time until the next part of the cycle happens.

I have several friends who have also struggled to fall pregnant and over the last couple of years I’ve watched most of them fall pregnant, either naturally or with some help. As I look at their photos I see the same transition but in reverse – the faces smiling even though they’re struggling, drinking at parties even though they’d rather be at home on the sofa with morning sickness, then the relaxed, beautiful faces when they have fallen pregnant. I don’t know if I see it more because I’m still trying, but I can definitely see a change in friends once they fall pregnant after struggling for a while – its like all their worries have gone and a complete calm comes over them, knowing that everything is going to be alright, and you can see this on their face. It’s remarkable, beautiful.

I do find it odd that my husband and I have now become ‘that couple’ – the ones whom you have to be careful around, trying not to say anything to upset us. And i’m now ‘that girl’ – the one with the miscarriages, the treatments, the brave one, the strong one, the sad one. I wonder if my friends can see how my face has changed in these last couple of years too – the hope and happiness slowly giving way to pain and waiting. I don’t know, maybe its just me who sees it.

I’m so hoping that one day I can have that face – of calm, happiness and fulfilment. I really hope so.

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