Summer’s here!!

Now that my husband and I have made some decisions about where we go next on his journey, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The weeks just after our fifth miscarriage were painful, foggy and confusing – trying to deal with the physical and emotional upset of losing two babies in two months, coupled with trying to face the reality and next steps of maybe never being able to have our own baby. Safe to say, it was a crappy time all round.

Now that we’re going with trying the hydroxychloroquine, then using a surrogate if that doesn’t work, we’ve definitely relaxed and are starting to enjoy our time off (we’re actively not trying until i’ve started the new drug) and the summer! The weather in the UK has picked up beautifully and we’re even expecting a heatwave this week – wahoo!

Now that i’m feeling a bit more relaxed, I’ve found myself in quite a reflective mood about everything that’s happened and will happen in the future. There’s one word which I think is the bane of my life, and maybe other women who are going through this too. That word is ‘should’.

Just think about how many times you use that word when thinking about all of this:

– I’ve been married for three years, I should be pregnant by now

– X has only been married for two months, we should have been pregnant before them

– I’m having fertility treatment, I should fall pregnant in the next couple of months/cycle

You see where i’m going with this….

Don’t get me wrong – i’ve thought ALL of these things in the past three years, and still do a lot of the time, but the reality is just something different. I think I’m starting to realise that maybe it’s just better to accept things for how they are, rather than how I think they should be. ‘Should’ makes you compare your situation to other people/events, and that seems to be where the upset lies, especially if you’re the one who’s worse off. The whole celebrity bump-watch obsession definitely makes this worse too! I’m realising that I can’t control things as much as I would like/thought I could, so i’m learning to just go with the flow a bit more. The reality is that most women have sex, fall pregnant and have a baby. Simple. But that’s not my reality sadly. So i’ll try my best to do what I can, hope for the best, and see what happens.

We’re going on holiday on Sunday and i’m so bloody excited about it! A week of sun, chilling out, wine, good friends – it’s going to be brilliant! I can honestly say that its been a while since I’ve looked forward to something so much, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m spending my time thinking about which bikinis to take, having my nails done, choosing outfits and I’m LOVING it! For a short time I don’t have to check my knickers for cervical mucus (cos everyone loves doing that, don’t we ladies?!), test my pee for or worry about what day of the cycle I’m on – can I get a ‘Hell yeah’!!!! I actually get to feel like a normal woman again for a while!!

I love to read whilst I’m on holiday. There’s something about having the luxury to just spend hours wrapped up in a good book which is just brilliant. I’ve bought a book called ‘The C Word’ to read when we go away, and I know that it’s going to be emotional. It’s the true story of a 28 year old woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer. She wrote a blog all about it, and sadly didn’t win the battle. Her story was televised in the UK recently and I didn’t get to watch it, but knew that I wanted to read the book. I read a few pages and was already an emotional wreck, so I’m sure the rest of the book will be just as tough to read. She was just a normal woman, married, trying for a baby (she sadly had two miscarriages as well) and enjoying her life when she was diagnosed. Just shows you that you can’t take anything for granted and that you have to enjoy what you have whilst you have it. Here’s the blog if anyone is interested in reading more about it:

Lisa Lynch’s blog

Not much else to report really, just plodding on, enjoying the sun and looking forward to holidays! Please send good vibes to My BFF at New Chances New Hope and The Pregnant Physicist who both have their 6 week scans tomorrow. I’m hoping for good news for both of them!

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Joining the Twittersphere!

I’ve just set up a Twitter account which links to my blog, so I can share any quotes/stories/pics etc which might be interesting. It’s totally blank at the moment, but if anyone is interested in following it, please have a look here:

Try Again Blog Twitter page

Big laughs when I searched ‘RPL’ in the Search box and got ‘Rob Pattinson Life’…..guess not everyone knows our acronyms eh ladies?!

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One last hurrah!

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks and i’m starting to feel a bit better after the absolute nightmare which has been two miscarriages in the last two months. My husband and I have made a few decisions, and these are:

– We will definitely try the hydroxychloroquine when we’re back from holiday in July. I’m nervous about adding even more drugs to my already massive list, but we figure that if this is the last thing which we have left to try, then we should give it a go. We don’t want to always wonder what might have been if we don’t, so I will start taking them when we’re back, then I have to take them for 6 weeks before we can try again, so we should be good to go around the end of August. If anyone is interested, here is our specialist with a woman whom he treated with hydroxychloroquine after 20 miscarriages and she now has a baby!

Hydroxychloroquine success story

It’s interesting that he said he’d treated 10-15 women with it, with a 70% success rate. Let’s hope that it works for me!

– Im going to talk to a counsellor to make sense of the last couple of months and just help to get some positivity back again. I feel much better than I did, but so many losses has made me quite negative and thats not how I want to be. Ive seen a counsellor before and found it really helpful, so I’m sure that it will again.

– We won’t go ahead with IVF on the NHS. This is a pretty big decision to have made, but it is a lot of tests, waiting, drugs and stress, when ultimately falling pregnant isn’t my problem. The NHS don’t offer PGS, so we won’t know anymore than we do now really. I will have my blood tests done, so I can see how my levels are compared to when I last had them done two years ago, but I think the actual IVF would be better used on someone else.

– We WILL go ahead with surrogacy if the hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work! This is HUGE news – wahooooo!!! I met with our potential surrogate last week and she said that she is happy to go ahead with it!!! I wont write too much here, as I plan to tell her about my blog when I see her again on Wednesday this week and want to see how she feels about me writing about it all, but the fact that she is happy to go ahead is INCREDIBLE!!! It’s all happened so quickly and at exactly the right time, I still can’t quite believe it!

So there we are – a pretty amazing new option has opened up!! It’s not the path that I thought we would be following, but I guess sometimes the universe puts something in your place and you just have to be open to taking it! Obviously it would be amazing if the hydroxychloroquine worked, but I have to be realistic after five miscarriages and what the doctor said, so it is brilliant to know that someone else could help us if it doesn’t. We’ve only spoken to close family, and their reactions have been lovely. There have been a lot of questions about how it works (Is it our baby? Will it look like us? Is it related to the surrogate?) as we expected, but overall everyone is just so happy that we might finally be able to have a baby somehow! There are lots of legal and financial bits to arrange with surrogacy, but right now we are just happy that we have some good news finally and we will work through all the other stuff as we need to.

I went out with a friend on Friday and it was so lovely to get dressed up, have dinner, share a bottle of prosecco and just talk and laugh like normal again! I so needed it and felt so much better for just doing something fun finally! We are going on holiday in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to just relax, laugh, enjoy the sun and be with friends – it will be brill!!

There have been several women who have got their BFP recently, including my BFF at New Chances New Hope  and also the lovely Pregnant Physicist – congratulations ladies! I’m so hoping for happy, healthy, uneventful pregnancies for both of you!!

Here’s to a happy few weeks of chilling out for me, then it all starts again with the new drugs!!!

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Next steps – surrogacy?

Last time I posted we’d been to see our reproductive immunology specialist and been given the pretty depressing news that there was really only one drug which we could try now, to hopefully prevent me having another miscarriage. Not great.

My husband and I have had some time to let this news sink in and try to make a plan about what we do next. Honestly ladies, how sick are you of having ‘another’ plan, when the last one hasnt worked? I’m not even on Plan B now, more likely plan bloody Q. Anyway. Here’s what we’ve decided for now (I say that, as it’s changing every couple of days at the moment!):

– we’ll have a break from trying completely until after our holiday at the start of July. We’re going away with friends and it will be brilliant to have some drinks, chill out, and be a normal couple for a week.

– when we get back, I’ll start taking the hydroxychloroquine. If it’s the only thing left to try, I might as well give the bloody thing a go. I am nervous about taking another new drug, but if this is the last option I have then I’ll always wonder ‘what if’ if I don’t try it.

– I have to wait 6 weeks before we can try again, after I start taking the hydroxychloroquine – so realistically we won’t be able to try again until my September cycle. God, that seems like a lifetime away right now!!! But there it is. We’ll then just carry on as we did before, with the letrozole to stimulate ovulation, and see how we go.

– in the meantime, I’ll go and get my blood taken for our IVF referral, then see when our appt comes through.

We’re having some real doubts/reservations about IVF at this stage. The main one being that IVF is usually used for women who have trouble falling pregnant, but I can fall pregnant pretty easily, I just can’t stay pregnant. So we’re worried that we’d go through all the months of tests, injections, retrieval, transfer etc, but then still have the same outcome as before. I know this sounds negative, but I think we really need to understand if there would be any additional benefits of us trying IVF versus trying naturally – I just don’t know this at the moment. So we’re going to ask the specialist and see what he says. Does anyone have any experience of IVF after recurrent miscarriage? I’d love to hear them if you do 🙂

Also, we’ve started to think about surrogacy. We’ve done a bit of reading into it and it’s a whoooole other world of scenarios, legal stuff, costs etc, but we’re slowly getting our heads around it. In an ideal world, if I can’t carry our baby, then we’d like to try and see if someone else could carry it for us. My bun, their oven! The laws around surrogacy in the UK are complex but it has been done, it just takes a hell of a lot more than just getting someone else pregnant!

In a strange twist, a friend’s sister, who has children, had mentioned wanting to be a surrogate. I mentioned to my friend that we were starting to look into that avenue and she was happy to speak to her sister, to see if she is still interested. It turns out that she is and we’ve now arranged to meet up next week to have a chat and go from there.

I’m keeping a very open mind about all of this at this right now, as we have agreed to keep trying for a while longer, but we thought that after 5 miscarriages, there’s a pretty high chance that I might never be able to carry our baby. There’s definitely always hope, but I’m a realist, and my odds really aren’t that great. I’ll meet with our potential surrogate (feels weird/a bit exciting saying that!) and just have a chat to see how we both feel. There are a hell of a lot of difficult ‘what ifs’ that we both have to face, so it’s not something that either of us should go into lightly, but we can just talk and see how we go. Baby steps, if you will. (Sorry for the pun!)

My husband and I are feeling slightly better, but the reality of it all is still very overwhelming. We’re not just facing the usual two week wait, or a negative pregnancy test, (as crappy as both of these are) we’re facing the reality that this might never ever work for us, even with the help of one of the best specialists in the world. It’s definitely bloody hard to get your head around.

Il let you know how the chat goes, it’s good that we still have some options, as complex/difficult/scary as they are. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Hydroxychloroquine – last chance saloon

I posted earlier in the week with the shitty news that i’d had a fifth miscarriage – my second miscarriage in two months. I’m seeing a specialist in reproductive immunology and made an appointment to see him to discuss what had happened and try and make a plan for what to do next.

Just to recap, here is the treatment plan which I am on at the moment:

metformin (breakfast and dinner) for PCOS (Polycystic ovaries)

2000mg Vitamin D

Pregnancy vitamins plus Omega 3

75mg aspirin

Letrozole on day 2-6 of each cycle to help me ovulate

 prednisolone from ovulation for 10 days each cycle

Yep – its fair to say that I rattle when I walk.

I had so many questions whizzing through my head when we went to see the doctor, but ultimately I know that this is Nature and there are no straightforward answers when it comes to miscarriage, so I wasn’t expecting much. The doctor explained to me that treating multiple chemical pregnancies is extremely difficult, and that the only thing which he would recommend for me to try now, in addition to the drugs which I’m taking already, is hydroxychloroquine. This is an anti-malaria drug which is used in several auto-immune diseases to suppress the immune system, in the way that my steroids do now. The doctor was honest and said that he is one of the only doctors in the world who is using this treatment for fertility problems, and that as it is very new and experimental, he doesn’t have any concrete data on it. But that he has tried it with women who have complex history such as mine, with some success, and that it is generally very well tolerated as a drug.

We asked about IVF and if he thinks that it would work for us and he said that its worth a try, but as always he can’t be sure. In any other field of medicine i’d probably be annoyed about a doctor being so non-committal, but you honestly just don’t know when you have a body which keeps rejecting babies – there really is no magic pill to make it stop happening. The only thing which you can do is to keep trying and hope that one of them works.

We left the appointment feeling pretty down and also pretty shocked – that one of the best specialists in recurrent miscarriage in the world is basically telling you that there is only one more thing which he can recommend to you. You always expect that there will be plenty more options, plenty of other things to try, but here we are with the shitty reality that our options are getting slimmer and slimmer, and we’re still no closer to having a baby.

In terms of what we’re going to do next – I can honestly say that for the first time in almost three years of trying for a baby, I don’t have a plan. We’re trying to deal with the pain of losing two babies in two months, coupled with having to make some pretty big decisions about whether or not to keep trying, or move to other avenues, and my brain just really can’t deal with all of it and come to any decisions just yet. We’ve talked IVF, trying with the new drug, moving to surrogacy, allsorts. The only thing that we’ve decided is not to try for this cycle, then we’re going away on holiday at the start of July with friends, then we’ll make some decisions after that. I’m a planner by nature, as so many of us who are trying are, but I think for my sanity and my health, I need some time out. I’ll let you know what we decide.

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Game over

Yesterday, I got my period. Our fifth little baby didn’t make it.

Call it womens intuition, but yesterday afternoon I knew that I had to test. I waited a few hours and the First Response came back totally negative. I just laughed as I looked at the test, from shock and disbelief. How the hell could this be happening again? But it was. Then a few hours after came my period.

My husband and I then had a sad few hours of trying to come to terms with it, and how the treatment which I’ve been having clearly isn’t working. We’ve always just tried to to get the best help that we could, but it’s frightening when even that help isn’t doing what it should. 

I told my husband that whatever happens, right now I need a break. My body and my mind are absolutely worn out and I want off for a while. He totally agrees. So I will speak to the specialist today and let them know this. I expect I’ll need to go see him to discuss next steps and what could have happened, so I’ll arrange that and see.

I need a full cycle off my drugs before I go for IVF blood tests, so I’ll do that this cycle. I’ll also go for some drinks, nights out with friends, and we have a holiday at the start of July with friends too, so that’s come at exactly the right time. I definitely feel like both my husband and I need some fun back in our lives, some normality and a break from all this shit. Whatever happens, he is my priority, and we definitely need some time for ourselves right now.

I honestly don’t know what to do regarding the IVF. It’s pretty much our last resort now, and I’m terrified that even if I fell pregnant, this would happen again. I don’t know whether to carry on the reproductive immunology treatment or not, I just honestly don’t know what to do for the best. But for now I’m just going to speak to the doctor and then chill the f**k out for a while. 

I might be a bit quiet on here for a while, I’ll just see how I feel. But thank you to everyone for all your good wishes, I really appreciate them. Let’s see what the next chapter brings…..

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Milestone Number Two in T-4 days

As of today I’m (hopefully) 4 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I haven’t tested at all since Thursday last week and am feeling better for it, but the nerves are still very much there.

In a vain effort to keep my sanity, i’ve decided to break down the waiting into key milestones. The first one was yesterday, as that’s when my period was due. It didn’t come, so that was step one! The second one is hoping that I can make it past Friday this week. Both of my chemical pregnancies – the one last month and the very first pregnancy I had in Dec 2012 – both ended exactly 10 days after I got a positive pregnancy test, and Friday would mark 10 days since I got my first positive test. There are no guarantees that I wouldn’t lose it after 10 days, but having a milestone somehow makes it easier for my brain to manage, so for now I’m just focusing on getting past Friday.

With all of my miscarriages, they’ve started slowly and painlessly, then got worse as they’ve gone along, so I wouldn’t really have any idea that they were starting beforehand – no cramps or anything like that. This makes going for a wee very interesting, as i’m checking that tissue like a mad woman every time I go. It’s like a mini victory every time I go to the loo at the moment! Just hoping it stays that way. The next milestone after Friday would be the 6 week 3 day scan, but that feels like a lifetime away, even though it’s only two weeks!!

I’m generally doing ok. Symptom-wise I have a few, but most of these can be attributed to the millions of drugs that I’m taking, so I’m not getting too excited/putting too much emphasis on these just yet:

– I’m pretty tired most of the time, but the progesterone supplements are probably causing that

– My boobs are quite sore most of the time, but again I think this is probably the progesterone

– I have a few cramps here and there, but nothing major, and i’m a bit bloated. Again, probably the progesterone

– I get a very small wave of nausea every now and again, but I think this is just from the pretty constant worry which I have most of the day!! And I think its too early for morning sickness yet anyway

– I am feeling very emotional – much more than I usually am – but again I think that this is because I’m basically a ball of nerves and anxiety, trying not to explode at any moment!!! I’ve booked to see my reflexologist on Thursday, so hopefully that will help me to chill out a little bit too.

When I was pregnant last month I found an interesting booklet in Boots chemist (this is a UK pharmacy chain for anyone reading outside of the UK) for when you fall pregnant. It was just your usual informative type booklet, but the straightforward simplicity of it just took my breath away:

photo 1-10

photo 3-11

As someone who has had four miscarriages, the idea that being pregnant just follows these simple steps was incredible. I would need a few boxes after step one – where I panic that i’ll lose this baby as well, argue with myself about whether I should keep testing or not, should I get my beta HCG levels taken privately, should I book an early scan just in case…you get the picture!! It just brought home once again how easy and stress-free having a baby is for most women. Nothing much else I can say about that, but it just makes you realise once again how much you’re in the minority with all of this.

So that’s me for today. Kim Kardashian revealed that she’s pregnant again this morning, so that’ll be another media overload of bump watch, maternity style, due dates, gender reveals – you know the drill. Just what you want when you’re having fertility treatment or trying to keep sane and hoping you don’t miscarry. Great news eh, ladies…..?!?!

Thanks again for all your kind comments too, I really appreciate it!

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