What a difference a day makes!

Not to the test sadly – that’s still a Big Fat Negative today – but to my brain!

Yesterday I had to test at 10dpo and it was negative. Even though i’ve never got a positive test at 10dpo before (only ever at 12dpo with my three pregnancies), I was obviously still hopeful, as any baby-mad woman would be! I got the negative test and just felt absolutely crushed. Some months it bothers me less, but yesterday I just felt totally defeated, exhausted, angry and upset. I didn’t vent on too much on here as I knew that I was just being irrational and emotional, but it really hit me hard. I went for a walk at lunchtime yesterday and had a little cry as I was walking along, just from pure anger and frustration, then headed home and had a much-needed cuddle with my husband, who was also sad from the test. Just seeing him and being with him really cheered me up, as it always does. He is my best friend and always looks after me when I’m feeling beaten up from all of the drugs, bad news and stress of all this. I love him so much and am so lucky to have him.

I tested again this morning and it was still ‘Not Pregnant’ with Clearblue. I didn’t bother with the First Response test, as I hate squinting like an 80 year old with cataracts trying to see a line which clearly isn’t there. No point. So I took the result and just got on with my day.

It never ceases to amaze me how your brain can shift completely from one mindset to another, in such a short space of time. Yesterday I was angry, upset, frustrated and exhausted, but today I feel rested, accepting and strangely ok. I know that there is still time for me to get a positive, but I’m not feeling it for this month, and that’s ok. I’ve accepted that I’m probably out and my brain is now thinking of all the good things instead of the bad, which I’m grateful for.

One good thing is that we’re going to Bath for a few days at the start of May, which will be lovely! We got married in Bath, and its such a beautiful and scenic city, so we are really looking forward to some time away from the new house, baby stuff and everything else, it will be just what we need. We haven’t been away anywhere since September last year – just before my husband’s Mum died – so some time away will do us both the world of good I’m sure!

We also have an appointment with the NHS specialist at the end of May to be referred for IVF. This is a massive deal, as it would be amazing to start that process, even though it will be long and painful I’m sure, so even though this cycle hasn’t worked, its only one more cycle until we get to start down that road, which we are both looking forward to.

I also wanted to share something lovely which a friend of mine sent me yesterday, as I know that anyone reading this will appreciate it. She reads my blog (hello, love!) as she also had a difficult time falling pregnant, but now has a gorgeous little boy and is always there supporting me along this lonely road. Here’s the message that she sent me, after reading yesterday’s post:

‘I don’t know if today is the right day to tell you this but on my wedding anniversary we took (our little boy) to the park and (my husband) took some videos. There was one of me and (my son) and I did recognise myself because I was laughing and smiling. It was a shock to see myself looking like that when i’d spent so long looking sad and not being able to get excited about anything.

I suppose I’m trying to say that the old you does feel like it’s gone forever when you’re on this horrible journey but it could come back. I hope you understand what I mean. I know it’s easy for me to say now that I have (my son) but I do remember every painful step.

Go and smash something up and be angry with the world today, its fine to do that x’.

I know that this couldn’t have been easy for her to write and send, but I was so grateful for it. Even though I felt completely lost and exhausted, it lifted my spirits a little and gave me a little bit of hope for the future, when at that point I had none. Thank you again for that my love x

My BFF, who is still suffering with shingles, and I have exactly the same cycle days this month (crazy or what?!), so we are both testing like mad women and both still negative sadly. We were there for each other too yesterday – whinging and being angry together – and I was so grateful for her on such a crappy day.

Nothing much else to report, just that I’m grateful that my perspective has shifted and for all of the support which I have from my lovely husband, my friends and everyone who reads my blog. Just having people who understand and care makes such a difference and I really appreciate it, especially on days like yesterday when everything just feels lost. Thank you all again!

X

10 dpo – test day rolls round again

photo-41

Brilliant.

Now I know that its only 10dpo, so i’m not technically out yet, but we all know that feeling when we know that we’re out – and today I most definitely have that feeling.

It’s funny how things all happen at once, but it seems like its been nothing but bad-upsetting news around us baby-wise at the moment.

Firstly, my lovely BFF (Best Fertility Friend), who is having the same steroid treatment as me, developed shingles last week as a result of having a lowered immune system from the steroids. So she has had to stop the steroids to give her a chance to fight it, then wait to see if she is pregnant and hopefully continue the treatment. This really upset me as it’s a horrible illness and she doesn’t deserve to have to go through all of this shit, in addition to the usual stress of trying for a baby.

Then a friend of mine who tried for two years to fall pregnant, only to fall pregnant with twins whilst taking clomid, had to have an emergency c-section at 33 weeks as she had a ruptured placenta. The rupture was so severe that the doctors told her that she could have died, and one of her babies is now very poorly as a result of being starved of oxygen after the birth, so they are all still in hospital.

Both of these things just made me angry and upset that the people who try the hardest seem to have the worst luck, it really is unfair.

This morning’s tests really put me in a shitty mood. I spent the whole weekend feeling dreadful because of the steroids, so I was really hoping for some good news today. But as we all know, just because you hope that something will happen, doesn’t ever mean that it will.

The summer is right around the corner now, but I hate that I just can’t get excited about it. I remember when summers were about wine and parties and holidays and bikinis – carefree days with nothing to worry about but what to wear and where to go. Now I have to plan where I am in my cycle, if my skin will be in a massive breakout after the steroids, if I’ll need a scan that week, if I’ll be shattered because of the drugs. It’s just shit and I’m tired of it.

I said to my husband last night, ‘should we just forget it all and go on a blowout holiday to Vegas?’. For most people who are struggling to have a baby, they could take a break from trying and say ‘f*ck it’, go on holiday, get drunk, have fun, fall pregnant, then just go from there. But the reality is that with my diagnosis, if I’m ever going to fall, and stay pregnant, I’ll need constant treatment all the way through – from before we conceive until well into the pregnancy. This is what makes it all feel so stifling – and what has basically taken so much fun out of our lives – the constant planning, drugs, timings, no alcohol, no fun.

I can handle not falling pregnant for a while – its natural to have to try for a while, so I can live with that. But what’s killing me is watching all of the fun slowly drain away from our lives because of the rigid treatment and routines that I have to follow, and watching myself change as a result. I guess I just want the old me back, but the old me has gone forever.

I won’t say more, because I’m just full of that anger and disappointment that we all know when we get a negative test. I’ll let you know how the rest of the week pans out, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up, I certainly wont be.

X

UTI? Please no!!

I’m 7 days past ovulation today and plodding on ok so far. I don’t feel quite as mental as I usually do at this stage, maybe because i’ve got the weekend to enjoy which is a great distraction!

As part of my Reproductive Immunology treatment I start taking steroids the day after ovulation and they reeeeeeally wipe me out, as they basically lower my immune system so that my Natural Killer Cells won’t attack the baby if I fall pregnant. The first month I took them I hardly slept at all, then last month I slept much better and this month I’m sleeping but still absolutely knackered!

I had to stay home from work yesterday as my chest was really sore and I felt totally wiped out. I slept during the day, which I never manage to do whilst I’m on the steroids, but then I woke up in the night with a funny pain in my ‘lady area’ which I thought might be a UTI. Baaaaah!!! That’s the last thing I need, as i’d need to stop taking the steroids and take antibiotics, so I’m really hoping that its just one of those things and it clears up. I’ve felt shattered again today, and my bladder/lady bits area just feels weirdly ‘full’, so I’m hoping that its nothing and I won’t need any more drugs. I’m already rattling like a bloody Maraca band as it is!!!

I have to take a First Response test on Monday at 10dpo, which I always hate as its way too early and just stresses me out! But i’ll have a go and keep you posted. Keep your fingers crossed that my bits get better and I don’t need any more drugs!!!

X

10 things that help when you’re trying for a baby

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for two and a half years now, and have lost three along the way. During this time there have been massive highs and even bigger lows, which we’ve managed to deal with, but I find sometimes the hardest thing to deal with is day to day – just getting out of bed, plodding along, waiting for the next part of the cycle. So i’ve put together a list of things which help me out, day to day. These are in no particular order, but I hope that some of them help:

1 – Accept the bad days

One thing which still shocks me is how one minute I’m ok – getting on with life, making plans, at work etc – then the next minute I’m an emotional mess, in floods of tears. Sometimes there’s a reason for this (baby/miscarriage related) and sometimes there isn’t – it just hits me and no amount of rational thinking/talking can help me – I just go to pieces. Some of this is down to my medication I expect, but you know what – it’s ok. I accept that some days I’m going to feel like shit and that’s just how it is. I’ve been trying for bloody years to have a baby, and have gone through three miscarriages, so you know what – its ok to feel like this sometimes. So if you feel like this at times, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do something nice for yourself, whether that’s a bath and a good cry, a walk outside or an early night, just do whatever you can to get through it and know that tomorrow will hopefully be a bit better.

2 – Remember that it’s not all about you

I’ve been guilty of doing this a lot in the last couple of years, and am really trying to be better. Even though you are struggling, your partner is too, so remember that. I’ve found trying for a baby and losing babies to be quite an isolating and very personal experience – maybe because its my body that it happened to, or because it’s my body which is the problem (my husband’s sperm is exceptional, apparently!), but I feel the whole situation very personally, and react by going into my shell (I’m a Cancerian too, go figure) and shutting people out, including my husband. Part of this is probably guilt too, because I haven’t been able to give him the baby which he wants as badly as I do.

But – your partner is upset too. They want a baby, they hate seeing you upset, and they probably get far less support than you do, because its not directly happening to their body. So when you’re feeling down – try and think about them, and think what would be a nice thing to do for them maybe. Whether its a day out for them with their friends, or a date night, or just making them their favourite meal for dinner – just try and think of them and do something nice. And you’ll probably find that when you think about them and their feelings, you’ll feel less upset about yourself, which can only be a good thing all round.

3 – Get outside

This is a simple one, but it always works for me. It’s the hardest thing to do sometimes, but just getting outside for a walk will always lift my spirits. It doesn’t have to be anywhere amazing, just a walk round the block can help, but I try and look at all the lovely things around me – the birds, the trees, the feel of the wind on my face – and try to be thankful for them. It’s bloody hard to be thankful when you’re on this journey, but I have my health, a loving husband and family, and a good life overall, so I remind myself of these things and how lucky I am to have them. It might sound like a cliché, but life is short, so try and be thankful for what you have, even though you’re wishing for that bit more.

4 – Plan ahead and tempt fate

One thing which has been a nightmare throughout this journey is knowing what you can and can’t plan, ahead of time. Whether it’s holidays, days out, trips to see friends, I’ve found myself checking my fertility timings first and more often than not, putting things off ‘just in case’. This is especially true nowadays, as I have monthly ovulation scans, then the ‘will I or won’t I sleep’ joys of 10 days on steroids, then the early pregnancy test fun from 10 days past ovulation until I get my period. Great. But you know what – if you want to do something, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen – you fall pregnant and can’t go? It’s a win-win situation! So book that holiday, go see your friend, having lovely things to look forward to will always help, and it saves your diary being full of only scans, tests and medications.

5 – Find a BFF (Best Fertility Friend)

Unfortunately, there are lots of us walking this road together. But the beauty of the internet is that it brings us together, even people with very specific stories/experiences. Through my blog I have found a woman with an almost identical story to mine, and she is also seeing the same specialist as me for treatment. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up! We have been lucky enough to meet up and become firm friends who can share our worries, journey and excitement, all the time knowing that we understand exactly how the other feels, as we’ve been through the same experiences. I’m so grateful for her and for the bond that we share.

In my experience, most regular friends will try their best to be supportive and compassionate, but they just don’t understand the complexities of my situation and can often say the wrong thing/be scared and instead say nothing at all. I don’t get angry with them for this, I wouldn’t know what the hell to say if I hadn’t been through all of this, so I don’t try and explain, I just get on with being their friend and keep the baby talk to a minimum.

Even if you cant find a BFF near you to meet up with, see if you can find a blog from someone with a similar story to yours and make contact with them. Even a text, email or phone call from someone who totally understands can make the world of difference if you’re struggling, and knowing that you can be there for someone else too is a wonderful feeling.

6 – Be nice to your body

This is an obvious one, but one which can be easily forgotten. There are absolutely some days when all you can manage to eat is a pizza, chips and then a family size bar of chocolate – that’s ok. But it’s a sad fact that if you eat loads of crap, you’ll feel like crap, so definitely allow yourself these days, but for your mental state as well as your body, try and put good food into your body whenever you can.

7 – Don’t torture yourself unnecessarily

There’s a show on British TV called ‘One Born Every Minute’ which shows babies being born in hospital, with a bit about the parents and their journey to parenthood as well. I LOVE this show, but watching it always makes me cry, as it reminds me of what we’ve been through and makes me wonder if we’ll ever have our own baby. I record it when it’s on, then watch it on my own (I wouldn’t subject my poor husband to graphic birth scenes!), and inevitably bawl my eyes out, but recently I’ve wondered – what the hell am I doing?! Yes, it’s a lovely show, but why watch something which I know will upset me? So now I don’t watch it, I just stick to things which make me feel better instead.

It might sound obvious, but we all have our triggers – TV shows, christenings, baby showers, facebook – so think about what yours are, then do your best to minimise the pain. It might be blocking pregnant friends on facebook so you’re not bombarded with scans, updates and pregnancy complaints (I’ve certainly done this and it definitely helps), or politely declining an invite to a baby shower if you don’t feel up to it. But the bottom line is that self-preservation is so important on this journey, so be polite in how you do this, remembering that not everyone understands what you’re going through, and save yourself the upset wherever you can.

8 – Stand up for yourself

You know your own body, feelings and needs better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to push for what you need. Sadly, time is never really on our side on this journey, so make that appointment with the doctor, research your situation and ask for what you need to help your situation improve. Don’t be baffled by science, or rushed out of the doctor’s office without the help you need – ask your questions, however silly you feel, and keep asking until you get what you need. I’ve had to learn so much about things that I had no clue about, but all of it has helped me to get what I hope is the right treatment for my body, and even though it has been frustrating that doctors haven’t helped me much, I feel better that I educated myself and wasn’t afraid to keep going until I got the help that I needed.

9 – Try alternative therapies

I have reflexology every couple of weeks or so and find it so helpful. I have no idea if it actually does anything for my situation, but it’s my time for myself to get in tune with myself, relax and think positive thoughts about my body and what it’s trying to do.

A lot of these treatments can be expensive, but many local colleges offer massages, reflexology and other therapies for a fraction of the price. Or have a look online to see if there are any offers near you. Just having that time for yourself to focus on your body and what you are trying to do really is lovely.

10 – Remember who you are

This is probably one of the most important points for me.

Before our miscarriages, I was fun, carefree, healthy and excited for the future with my new husband. Nowadays I look in the mirror and sometimes I hardly recognise the person looking back at me. My skin is pale and slightly gaunt, my face hairy from PCOS and steroids, and I have a sadness in my eyes and my tone which I can’t ever really seem to shake. It pains me to see how much I’ve aged and changed with the losses, drugs, waiting and sadness of the last few years.

But you know what – FUCK THAT. I am not just a woman who is struggling to have a baby, I am a friend, a daughter, a wife and a pretty decent human being. So despite all that I’ve been through, I make time to put on my make up, get dressed and get out there and enjoy my life. It’s not about masking my feelings, if I’m sad I’m sad and I let myself feel like that for a while, but I try and remember the fun things that I enjoy – girly days out with my friends, holidays with my husband and the comfort of spending time with my family – and do them whenever I can.

So remember this about yourself too – you are alive and loved and there is so much more to you than all the crap of this journey. Do what you love and what makes you happy.

X

One day…

  

I had my ovitrelle trigger shot yesterday and no problems with it, so we’ll be trying this evening and tomorrow and that’s us for this month!

We’re off to a christening on Sunday – a good friend of mine had her second baby last summer so it will be her day. I bought her a lovely little white cotton dress with a cute blue cardigan to match, and also bought her big sister a Peppa Pig t-shirt, so she doesn’t feel left out. 

I’ve just wrapped everything up so it looks lovely, and had that familiar sinking feeling that I’m sure everyone reading this can relate to – ‘will it ever be our turn?’

I’m lucky that I LOVE buying baby clothes – I love how small and cute they are, all the different styles and colours, I really enjoy it. I also think I like it because it allows me to wander around the baby section for a while and not feel like a fraud. I can’t walk around and buy my own baby’s clothes, but I can buy them for someone else at least. I suppose that will have to do for now.

It got me thinking about how many friends’ babies I’ve bought gifts for in the last two and a half years – when they fall pregnant, when they have the baby, when they have the christening. I’ve bought the cards, bought the gifts, done my bit. And I know that realistically this time next year I could have a baby of my own, but I have to be honest and say that it just all feels so damn far away. 

Losing lots of babies makes you scared for the future, and even though I’m hopeful I still am scared, and I don’t think that will ever really go away. The thought of having a baby shower, a bump, a baby – I just honestly can’t imagine it. I was looking for gifts today and saw ‘Coming Soon’ photo frames which hold baby scan photos, and personalised cards to send out to announce the birth of your baby, and I just can’t imagine ever being in a position to buy any of these. Maybe my brain is trying to protect me by not imagining this, I don’t know, but even though we’re having all this treatment, it just seems like a distant mirage – which I’ll keep getting closer to, but never quite reach.

I’m sure the christening will be lovely, and I’m looking forward to lots of cuddles and time with the baby and her sister. I just really hope one day it will be us.

X

Letrozole round two!

No baby last month sadly, so I took my letrozole from day 2-6 again and today I went for my ovulation scan.

Before I get into that, I had some intense side effects this month!! Firstly a MASSIVE break out of spots about 5 days after I stopped my steroids. This happened last month too, but I thought maybe it was a one off, but it came again at exactly the same time. Honestly, I’ve never seen spots like it – I’m a 33 year old woman and it was like I was a teenager again, only worse!  All over my face, neck and chest and lasted about a week. Grim. So it looks like that might be a regular thing from now on – bloody hell!!

As well as this, I had a total meltdown on the second day of taking letrozole. I don’t know if it was the drugs, or just me having one of those days, but I cried when I woke up, when I got home, and before I went to bed. I felt fine the next day, but it was like i’d been hit with a massive wave of emotion and it just all came out at once. I haven’t had a day like that in ages, but there you go. Maybe the letrozole isn’t as easy to take as I’d thought after all…..!!

Today started off in a comedy fashion – my husband and I recently bought a new (but very old!!) house, and today the bath and shower started leaking spectacularly through the kitchen ceiling. Knowing that I had an internal scan this morning, I reeeeeeally needed to get washed, but as the shower was completely out of action, I had to stand in the kitchen, on a towel, trying to wash my bits with a bowl of water and some shower gel. Oh. The. Glamour. We saw the funny side and my husband had to stand guard outside in case the plumber walked in. Brilliant!! 

My husband had to stay at home and help the plumber, so I went into London alone for my scan. My specialist is on holiday, so I saw another doctor instead. I never have any problems being alone for my appointments – after so many scans/appts/examinations I’m pretty much used to everything, so I didn’t mind being by myself. I spoke to the doc and walked into the scan room by myself to get ready, but as I walked into the room I saw the ultrasound machine and something in me just froze. It was one of the big, older ones, not the small hi tech ones that my new specialist has, and seeing it instantly brought back memories of all the hospital scans that I had when we lost our three babies. 

I wouldn’t consider myself a massively sentimental or emotional person, but seeing that machine absolutely floored me. It just took me back to all those hospital scans – walking in, hoping that there would be a heartbeat, hearing that there was a heartbeat but no growth, hearing that there was no heartbeat, hearing that our baby had died. It was absolutely horrendous. But I got ready and had the scan. 

It was good news again this month – my lining was triple layered (which is good apparently, I’d never really heard of this before) with a thickness of 10.2mm which was also good. I had two follicles ready again – one on either side – at 19mm and 18mm. Brilliant! So I have to have the ovitrelle injection tomorrow evening, then try on Thursday and Friday, then start the prednisolone steroids on Saturday. 

I know that I should feel really happy today, as I’ve responded well to the drugs again, but the scan moment today really hit me. Seeing that machine and going into that room should be a joyous time – going in for your first scan, seeing the heartbeat for the first time, finding out if it’s a boy or a girl – but for me it holds nothing but horrible and painful memories. Every pregnancy scan that I’ve ever had has been abnormal/bad news. There’s never been a good one. I honestly can’t imagine ever looking forward to a scan, if I ever get that far again, I just know that that worry will always be there, which is horrble. All I can do now is try again this month and hope for the best. I’ll let you know how it goes and good luck to everyone else in your two week wait!

X