And now a really little one on the fact that we’ve actually now started on the IVF roller coaster:

Hi! It’s me again! Third time in a day! I’ve had no time to blog over the last week or so but want to keep the blog relatively up to date and in the right order – so I’m having a catch up today while things are relatively quiet at work.

So, we started. My wife is now injecting herself on a daily basis. We are awaiting the avalanche of messed up hormones which will present themselves in the form of tears and tantrums, but for now, all is well and calm.

There’s really very little to report. I was really pleased that day one of the injections landed when I landed home from Dublin so we could do it together. I want to be as helpful as I can and so as these injections involve preparing the drugs/syringes ourselves, I said I would take responsibility for all that. These first two weeks (down regulation) isn’t too bad, it’s just sucking up the right amount of drugs through the syringe, the stimulation drugs actually need to be mixed by us. I managed to slice my finger open on a needle on the first day – but apart from that, it’s all been as uneventful as injecting oneself at home can be.

We’re going camping this weekend. That should be interesting, finding an appropriate spot to administer injections!

Speaking of camping *sigh* we’re on red alert for everything that goes in to our bodies at the moment.  My wife’s favourite phrase as she presents me with a plate of green veg: “Baby likes it.”  We’ve agreed to significantly reduce alcohol (we do love our wine!) for these two weeks and then stop all together the two weeks before it all happens. What is the point in going camping with a bunch of your mates, if not to sit around a camp fire getting sozzled?  Does broccoli go on a BBQ? Gosh, we’re going to be IVF bores this weekend.

Acupuncture

Now then.  I am not so sure about this.  I read a lot about it and was impressed by the stats.  Apparently, some randomised blind study trial held by the highest fertility authorities of the land (I’m not academic, I’m not one for data and stats and understanding studies and research etc) say that acupuncture can increase chances of IVF success from an average of 35% without to 60% with.  And it’s not some airy fairy hippy dippy eejit who said that, it was someone who knew their shit.  Who am I to argue?  When we had our meeting with the consultant, planning our treatment, we asked about ways in which we could change our lives in order to increase chances, and he whole heartedly recommended (among other lifestyle changes) acupuncture.

We had a choice to make – as my wife and I are sharing the IVF between us – do we both go and get it?  It’s expensive.  There are two things acupuncture can help with – egg production, and implantation.  For the egg production, as eggs take 90 days to mature, it’s recommended you undergo acupuncture for that whole time.  We were too late for that.  Also, my wife has good eggs so far as we know – hence being selected for egg sharing.  The consultant said if only one of us have it, he’d prefer it to be me.  So I’m having it.

I had my first session last week.  We were told it would increase blood flow to the uterus (by the consultant) which will obvs (obvs!) help with implantation.  So we got there, and the first question she asked was why I was there, what I hoped to achieve.  “Well,” I said “increased blood flow to the uterus, please.”  What I didn’t realise, is that she actually intends to give me a full service – she is going to fix my entire body.  Everything I didn’t know what wrong with it to begin with, she will fix.  Including (starting with!) emotional trauma.

Now, you know when you talk to a psychic (yeah!?) and they ask you lots of questions to sneak information out of you which they then present back to you and you say “how on earth did you know that!?” It felt like a less creepy version of that.  She asked me if I had ever experienced any trauma such as a burglary or a car accident, and I mentioned that I was mugged (I failed to mention it happened in 2006.)  She then clung on to that and kept referring back to it, even afterwards when I felt like I had a bit of a headache, she declared that my head hurt in the area I received the injury, yes?  Hm.

I do believe in acupuncture – otherwise I wouldn’t be paying this woman and giving up an evening every week.  I believe in energy flow and that certain parts of your body are related to other parts (i.e. she treated my bad (??) spleen with a needle in my foot).  I do believe that a realignment of the energy will help increase my general health and in turn increase blood flow to the ute and help me make that embryo stick.  I believe that it is going to help me with relaxation in the lead up to what is going to be a few weeks fraught with worry and stress.  I also believe those stats.

All the other stuff – I smile and nod and try to pretend to look interested.

As for the actual experience…

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It was odd.  I’m not keen on needles and generally suffer with a bit more generalised anxiety than the average person.  It’s not too bad, most of the needles I felt nothing, some of them (the one in my forehead!) felt a bit odd, some – that spleen one in my foot – really hurt.  Apparently that’s just a sign that that area needs attention.  My heart one (which was actually on my arm) bled – she said that’s because of all the love I’ve experienced over the week with the new babies in my life.  Aw.

I could not relax.  I kept physically making myself relax, breathing deeply and making my body heavy, feeling myself sink in to the bed – until I forgot to remember to relax and found myself with hunched shoulders and holding my breath again.  I’m going to talk to her about that this week – I don’t usually have a problem relaxing, I’m wondering if it was the movement of all that internal energy that made me react like that.

Also – you’re supposed to feel all lovely and spacey afterwards.  And sleep like a baby.  That night I had a gazillion things I had to do to prepare for my trip to Dublin the following morning, the dogs then kept me up all night titting about and then my alarm went off at 5 for me to get up and make my way to the airport.  So I’m hoping that this week, I’ll be able to really try and let that relaxation work rather than fight it!

Conclusion: I’ll let you know, if I manage to get up the duff.

The arrival of babies

My brother and his partner, and my best buddy (bb) and his wife both had little baby girls last week.  They were due 5 weeks apart, but my bro’s went 2 weeks over and my bb’s arrived 3 weeks early.  They were actually born two days apart.

It’s really made me realise that there are only two parts of this making a family malarkey at the forefront of our minds at the moment.  There’s getting a positive pregnancy test, which is what it’s ALL about at the moment, and then far off in the distance there’s the beautiful little family we want to have; the mothers we want to be.  We have somehow managed to not think too much about all the stuff that comes in between.

I feel like I’ve witnessed a fair amount of trauma as far as pregnancy and birth and brand new babies is concerned.  It’s made me wobble.

bb’s wife’s waters went early, but she didn’t go in to labour.  She was kept in hospital for two days while they continually told her different stories about their plans for her (“you’re going home”/”we’re going to induce you”) and then finally induced her 2 days after her waters broke.  After a further two days of contractions but no actual labour, she was then given the super duper induction and left.  She was left there on the ward unattended to for hours and hours – when they finally came and checked on her on the ward (after bb had literally had to go bezerkus and insist his wife get attention) she was 10 cm’s dilated and they had an emergency situation to try and rush her to the delivery room.  Shocking.  She never had the option of pain relief because she was never monitored.

My bro’s baby went two weeks over.  That two weeks was torturous for his partner.  She was in pain, she was uncomfortable … and really, after you’ve waited nine months to meet your baby – that extra two weeks on top just felt incredibly unfair.  She was then induced – the induction wasn’t a great experience, baby was born 36 hours after induction.  Poor thing.

But then … then there’s this:

Jessica

My niece

 

My bro and his partner are having a hard time.  I had real concerns about her when I saw them.  First week of being parents looks hard.  Not sleeping for a week.  Bleeding nipples.  A needy baby.  People dropping in all the time.  Two dogs to worry about.  It looks hard.

I have gone from having no nieces/nephews to having a niece (/Goddaughter!) and an honorary niece.  Last week my emotions were all over the place, I was so full of love and worry.

My bro lives in Dublin which is the biggest ball ache in my current world – I flew over to see them and fell so in love with my niece that I’ve been aching inside since I came back to England.  I need that baby in my life EVERY DAY.  I messaged my bro this morning having a whinge about not being able to have a cuddle and he replied to say that last night they talked about posting her over to me.  I’m so sad for them – such a beautiful time made so difficult.  It’s a bit harder to barge in on BF as he’s not technically family – I went to see them while they were still in hospital, and am awaiting the OK to nip over to their house for another cuddle.  My need to have a proper cuddle with their baby versus wanting to give them space is a real conflict.

Conclusion: Baby cuddles rock.  Having babies is hard.

Three cheers for the NHS!

Our treatment is billed slightly odd given that we’re essentially going through treatment as if we are one person, i.e. Bec is doing the first half and I’m doing the second half of the IVF process.  There’s only one or two little bits of meds that I need on top of what we’d need if we were one person, oestrogen and progesterone hormone boosters to get my body good and ready to hold on tightly to that little embryo.  So my extra meds are billed separately.

The nurse was talking to me about the costs of these, she told me what the cost is from their pharmacy (around £150) and offered to just send me the prescription so that I could shop around to see if I could get it cheaper anywhere (this is all brand new to me, I’ve never dealt with private prescriptions before!)  She then said, as an after thought, that if I was seeing my GP for anything, then sometimes GP’s can be kind and give you an NHS prescription for private treatment.

Well, I’d been planning to see the GP for some anti anxiety meds (diazepam, to help me through embryo transfer – that’s not something I want to be stressed/jumpy for) so thought I’d give it a go.

Bec came with me just because she was around at the time – we immediately suspected the doctor was a lesbian (we have internal bleepers that go off whenever we’re within 5 feet of one) – not that this makes a difference, but we were there to ask a favour, and asking a favour of one of your own is much easier.  We explained the situation, she was fascinated to hear all about our plans and the process (in a non-doctory way) and before we’d even got to the end of the story – she offered to write us a prescription for the extra meds!  Sorted.  So we’re now paying £16.40 instead of £150!  Nice one!

She also then asked me if I wanted 2mg or 5mg Diazepam, to which I shrugged and asked what she thought, so she gave me a prescription for 20 (TWENTY!) 5mg ones and told me to see how I go and cut them in half if it’s too much!

Possibly slightly irresponsible – and rather lucky I don’t have an anti-anxiolytic addiction.

Roll up, roll up, come and get your diazees!

(Disclaimer – I’m not really selling them, in case the Drug Squad are reading this!)