TTC Lucky charm update


Thisweek my Instagram has been filled with pretty parcels, beautiful boxes tied with ribbon and gifts galore, all wrapped with love, support, admiration and of course, your chosen lucky charm.

When i first set up this exchange i wanted to set a challenge, something to get us thinking about positivity and what others feel brings luck, what brings comfort and support during our times of need – and i knew i could trust the TTC community to surprise me with their choices,

But from keyring charms to lucky pennies, it was in there, and also including chocolate, cosmetics, personalised gifts, beauty products and a card inked with words of comfort from the heart, and although i didn’t partner up this time it brought ME great comfort knowing you have connected and communicated, TTC can be an emotional, tiring and confusing journey, but with someone to talk to and share your journey makes it that little bit easier, maybe you gained a new found knowledge of your treatment, maybe you have experienced what your exchange partner is about to go through and you are able to offer advice, but most importantly you have listened, and understood because unfortunately we can’t all come in convoy at each others precious scans or transfers {can you imagine the thought of 30+ hormonal women during someone else’s fertility appointment?!} or wait outside the bathroom for the hugs after a negative test, as much as we’d love to!

Over 60 of you took part in this exchange, showing the TTC community that you are here, now and always, so I’ve posted some of the recent photos on my newsfeed!

I hope that during your hardest times, you pull out your charm and smile with support, laugh with love and power through with positivity, someone out there is showing you that they are there, from Germany to USA, they are there. Every step, every minute, every challenge.

After the success of this exchange i will be planning another exchange early 2016, so keep your eyes peeled and spread the word, maybe by then your circumstances have changed and you have a whole new category to fit in to! Who knows what the future will bring?

‘Every gift from your friend is a wish for your happiness, but remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store, its in the heart.’

As mentioned, despite not partnering up, I’m overwhelmed by your support, having each and every one of you following my journey means i get 1501 lucky charms, every single day, and for that, ill forever be grateful.

How do you like your eggs in the morning? 

“Smile through your tears, be strong even through your fears


It’s been 3 months and not a day goes by that I don’t think of our loss, some days I’m spiralling into a dark hole and others i’m optimistic for our future, I know we have other options and everyone keeps telling me to wait, to let my body and mind heal, in all honesty I want to try  almost immediately, as if to make up for our loss.

I’m not a PCOS sufferer or a miscarriage sufferer, I am a survivor, a warrior. It’s only recently that we have moved house that I came across the file of my precious notes in the loft, packed amongst other memories and trinkets of our journey together, holiday photos, old cinema tickets, tacky key rings we’d gathered, it’s all part of me, on paper or in my mind, on photo or in my heart, it’s there and it’s buried deep within. But I want more memories, I want a bible of memorabilia, the whole shebang!
After reviewing your notes we feel we should refer you for further treatment.. Have you heard of IVF?’ – Mr.Harris.

Of course we had heard of it! It’s for people over 50 that want more children, right?

Not exactly, it’s for people like you, people who struggle to conceive naturally and still struggle with a little medicated guidance. IVF is a more monitored and controlled treatment allowing us to take control and dictate the outcome as best we can’

My head is spinning, I’m 26. Surely this can’t be right, there must be something else we can do before this? It sounds so serious, but I know deep down my consultant knows best, he knows my body better than I do, he knows my desire, but he also knows my fear, and he gingerly broaches the subject of the procedure.. Including anaesthetic.

Not a chance. No way. Hell will freeze over before you sedate me. I’d rather be wearing them slippers on my wedding day than this! The walls I usually describe as familiar suddenly feel cruel, the world seems cruel, I am bitter and scared,petrified. I am upset that the only way of conceiving our child was through Mr.F producing a sample into a sterile cup, and someone to help medically produce my eggs to be frozen and reunited at a later date.


You’re probably wondering what is wrong with me, it’s only a sedation, and honestly I can’t even tell you why I feel this way, it’s been a long standing fear of mine that I’ve never had to tackle face on, I’ve never had to confront my nemesis. I’m silent all the way home from the appointment and Mr.F knows it,he also knows there no way of reassuring me, I’m adamant I can’t do it. I throw the large information file we had been given into ‘the bill drawer’ ( You may of denied ever owning ‘comfort pants’ in my last blog but I know you have this drawer!)

I text everyone ‘it’s over

My dream of becoming a mother is over once and for all, the battle has defeated me and I’m tired, I’m tired of trying, I’m tired of pushing for the next option, i’m tired of disappointment and failure, and I’m exhausted of being prodded and poked every other day. God bless the internet because Google became my best friend, if anyone could see my search history they would be concerned!

  • ‘Can you die during Sedation’
  • ‘What does General anaesthetic (GA)  feel like?’
  • ‘What if I never wake up from GA?’
  • ‘Does GA make your heart race?’
  • ‘How long does the effect of GA take to ease’
  • ‘How many people have died during GA’
  • ‘Can you overdose on anaesthetic’
  • ‘What happens to my body if I die during a GA?’

Thankyou Google for never judging – a true friend at its finest, always there to give me the answers I need, and turning a blind eye to the chocolates I scoffed and the tears I cried whilst questioning you, and of course you never judged the lack of matching Pj’s or the ‘just got out of bed’ look I sported oh so many times upon our late night redenvouz but the more I researched the more it became apparent I was slowly reasoning with the devil, I was coming round to the idea, the desire to become a mother was beating it, slowly , but surely.

Everyone knew my fears, there was no point asking for advice, I would only retort with statistics and bad experiences i’d researched, as if convincing them that it was a bad thing to do, as always I needed to convince myself first. It was only until I briefly mentioned it to a friend of Mr.F’s who’s a anaesthetist, when the idea dawned on me, she would become my counsellor! and she would provide me with a crash course in all I needed to know, I was offered counselling via my clinic which we attended but I felt ashamed to admit my fears, I was scared of being judged, I didn’t want to show my weakness as if somehow not being strong enough was going to hinder my chances, I didn’t return as I wasn’t being totally open to the idea, I would rather confide in the comfort of my own front room where no one would be taking notes

We sat and talked, mainly she talked and I listened, it was a cold early winter evening but my body was shivering from the nerves, even talking about it sent me crazy but it worked, I knew I had to book in for IVF before I changed my mind, the date was set and that was it, no going back..

By now it was the middle of winter and I have these oddly fond memories of standing shivering,and bottomless in our living room in front of the fire to keep warm,Mr.F sat at knee height armed with injections and pills, firstly the fragmin (to thin my blood due to risk of clots) into my lower abdomen, it was during these times I was grateful for a ‘little’ extra flesh in that area because they hurt,they stung with until the last air bubble expelled but the tears in my eyes stung more, I’d throw myself into the sofa in a ball and wait for the next jab into my thigh, we bonded over injections, we grew closer, we was on the journey together & behind closed doors it was our little routine, it smarted and ached and by the end of the protocol I was peppered with ugly black bruises all over my stomach and thighs, but all for a good cause because I was ready for my egg collection date, and the monitoring and prodding made the 3 week build up fly by.

Im panicking now, it was the night before the collection, I had my day bad packed (minus the ghastly slippers!) and my stomach was constantly doing somersaults, I’m told to arrive at Care Fertility Manchester deodorant and fragrance free, nail varnish was a big no-no & strictly nil by mouth, luckily I was due to go down to theatre early morning & I don’t think my nerves would of allowed breakfast. A work colleague had offered to drive us the usually 20 minute journey to Care fertility UK & save us the hassle and stress, but we hadn’t accounted for the rush hour traffic, or road diversions (I knew that if I hadn’t packed the slippers something would go go wrong!) we arrived an hour late, I’m bleary eyed from having a restless sleep and from crying through the frustration of being late, and no amount of make up is going to save my grace, we sign into reception and have our photos taken for our identity cards. I’d love to show you the photo of that very morning, it captured the mood to a tee, my face was pale, withdrawn, and in all honestly I look like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards ready to be sectioned.. Maybe,just maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to show you the photo!

My first impressions where fantastic, a clean and welcoming place with genuine friendly smiles, soft paint colours on the wall, I was blessed to be offered treatment within the NHS at this place, No sooner had i been sat in my own private room with a comfy bed when I was being taken through my observations, as soon as the nurse walked through the door I howled, and I mean howled, a full on mental breakdown just one notch below kicking and screaming level, i’d only just managed to calm down when there was a knock on the door, our surgeon, a friendly looking approachable soul, and the tears came flooding again. How would I ever do this? I wasn’t strong enough mentally nor emotionally to do this but I knew I would regret it, I had to be an adult and face my fears.

Mr.F didn’t have a clue what to do, as reassuring as he was, his words fell on deaf ears, I felt so trapped and so alone, and vulnerable in my open backed gown, why should it be the woman that does all this? All the male has to contribute is by flicking through the magazines in the ‘room’, I walked down the corridor leaning on the nurses for support as my legs buckled beneath me, almost like the final walk to death row with my dignity, confidence and the tails of my gown all flailing behind me , I hear the words;

Ok Mr.F your room is to the left, you and your wife will be reunited in 20 minutes after the procedure’.

What? 

What?!

What?!?!

I had automatically presumed Mr.F would be sat by my side in theatre holding my hand and watching as they retrieve the eggs I’d grown, I was told it would be mild sedation, I would be relaxed but a little woozy but fully responsive, looking back I think they may have heard my screams beforehand and had called in for extra emergency supplies because before I knew it I was being wheeled back into my suite with a HUGE grin on my face.. And an ever so loudly announcement that I LOVED the whole experience and I was planning on having a breast enlargement and butt implants next, Mr.F and the nurses laughed in polite unison, a unspoken code of ‘This woman is crazy!’

And that was that, within 10 minutes I was sat upright on the bed, gossiping away whilst devouring a tuna sandwich off the free lunch menu & a small slice of cake for my efforts. No pain, no tears, nothing but a huge grin & a big thumbs up!

It seems strange having no after pain, every female is different but I feel incredibly blessed that I didn’t feel a thing, almost surreal that someone had done the procedure and there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.. Quite scary to think actually.

Now I have to wait to see how many eggs they had retrieved and how many where viable, shit! , amongst my self praising I’d forgotten about that last hurdle!

It’s the run up to christmas, festivities are high, the winter has set and I’m on a countdown to presents and a baby, I have to remind myself that this is not a competition and I am only running against my own expectations.

So now it’s time to catch breath, slow the pace and refocus my energy towards that end goal. I remind myself of what is important to me – myself, my sanity, my relationship, my family and my friends. The finish line is there in front of me, I’m just running a little further behind than I had expected.

Fashion disasters and buttered toast.

“Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.”


*If you haven’t already signed up for the August TTC Exchange click here!*

Just 30 minutes before i had been stood in this same carpark, i vividly remember wearing a colourful summer maxi dress to match my mood, the sun was warm upon my shoulders and it felt like a day ill never forget, but of course it was a day i’d never forget, but for all the wrong reasons, we have stumbled back out into the carpark, the sun still shining for everyone else but a large dark cloud above us, still in shock, we had lost our baby.

  We sat in the car and just stared, no tears, no screaming or talking, we must of sat in silence for 30 minutes or so, i knew then i had to be pro-active and spread the word, i needed to let it all out, i remember the first person i rang was my Dad, he answered his mobile within a heartbeat, i could hear the excitement in his voice as he asked how it went. I couldn’t find the words to say, it was then that it all came tumbling out, sobs,gasps, retching, somehow it was harder saying it out loud, it was as if it was real if i spoke the words.
He knew, the sorrow in his voice told me so, the tears he tried to hide, the words he didn’t say, the words he hadn’t prepared for summed up how the conversation went, but i did hear his tears and his heart break. My next call was back to my clinic, i needed to hear the familiarity of my nurses voice, i needed comforting, Erica picked up the phone and again, as if it was all a new experience the words came out, along with the emotions, my chest was getting tighter with every phone call i made to family and select friends, others i sent a quick text, i couldn’t bare to look at my phone full of message of support, how would i explain to everyone id lost my baby?

Erica took control immediately, she listened to my concerns of doubt over surgery, my long standing fear of anasteathic and what was best for my body, i was given the option of a D&C or a medicated miscarriage, I opted for medical intervention, Mr.F was happy to support any decision, he knew this was something I’d need to take control over. Four days later i make my way back to the Assisted conception unit at 8am as advised with a small holdall packed with magazines, HUGE Bridget Jones style knickers,bottled water, slippers and some Pjaymas, the night before i was parading around Tesco’s clothing department pondering over slippers, which are comfy? which are the nicest looking? which are the softest? Which will match my new Pj’s?  i must of spent an hour deciding, looking back it was more than likely my hormones and fear kicking in, i don’t even bloody wear slippers! .. although the large knickers where a trusted favourite from my underwear drawer, more like my comfort pants (I’m not the only one that has these right?) I just wanted everything to go as planned, as if somehow without the slippers i wouldn’t be able to cope with this.

I was scared of what to expect, i chose to go alone, poor Mr.F but i needed to conquer this and show my body that i could do this alone, i needed time alone to grieve, i have always been a sole griever, i much prefer my own company than to sob into the arms of others (hence the ice queen nickname!)

IMG_3341

I don’t know why but i assumed i was being led by my usual nurses Helen and Erica to another department of the hospital, but i was in fact led to the ward opposite the conception unit, a ward i’d passed so many times before without a second thought, it turned out to be a ward where ladies of all ages and situations came to for medical intervention, including abortion.  My views on abortion are dependant on the situation, everyone has their own opinion, but one thing i am strongly clear on is that i most certainly did not want to be surrounded by ladies who had chosen to abort their child under personal circumstances when i had just lost my child without a so much of choice. Again, speaking out about my experience has given me to opportunity for strangers to speak out and express the same views, the inappropriate placement of maternity units up and down the UK,i’d had scans within the maternity units amongst heavily pregnant ladies, i’d been to appointments with midwifes and been given information and leaflets on natural pregnancies,but none to suit my situation.

I was however extremely lucky that i was given my own private room, with the most wonderful nurse, a real down to earth lady from Liverpool, she sat me down on the bed and explained all id need to know about the procedure; ‘We insert pessaries into the vagina to induce contractions, helping your body naturally pass the remainder of the womb,there will be cramping and moderate pain but it is all mirrored on a natural miscarriage, it can take upto 48 hours for the sac to pass but hopefully we can monitor you whilst you are in here and guide you along
I unpack my comfort pants and lie on the bed, the pessaries have been working for 45 minutes or so, and with nothing happening, i am offered round after round of hot buttered toast, milky tea and support. ‘Movement often helps speed up the process of the bodily functions’ i am told, so there i was pacing the room, in silence, i found myself cradling my stomach as if to protect my child, mindlessly dreaming about what could of been, I also remember looking down at my slippers thinking ‘what the hell have i bought? They are the ugliest, cheapest looking slippers that i had ever seen. It angered me so much more than it should, they didn’t even match my PJ bottoms! Luckily i didn’t have much time to care about my fashion disaster for much longer because suddenly i felt a wave of pain in my abdomen, woah, it came on thick and fast.

I buzzed for the nurse and she paced with me, trying to keep up with my frantic motions, rubbing my back whilst holding my hand, she said words of comfort, but it didn’t help, this was it and there was no turning back, i was given a bedpan and told to go to the toilet to pass the movement, my dignity was stripped when i had to retain my product and leave it in the bathroom for the nurse to collect anD assess, i sat on the toilet and sobbed, i couldn’t understand why this was happening, it was emotionally draining, but I soon got used to visiting the bathroom every hour to try and pass more retains, sometimes i sat alone, sometimes i sat with the nurse, sometimes i cried, sometimes i sat in silence, from toilet paper to sanitary towels, it all had to be kept and assessed for development, one thing i will always vividly remember of my experience was when the nurse assured me that the remains will go to a crematorium for a dignified disposal, it then dawned on me that i hadn’t just lost a 10 week old baby, id been robbed of the chance of a child, a toddler, a teenager, id lost out on it all, id never get the chance to see this baby grow, id missed out on school sports days, cuddles and love & memories.

4 hours later and I’m advised that as the process had slowed down and my pain was manageable i had the permission to go home and complete my miscarriage, i was confident now, i knew what to expect, i knew how this process of events would occur, so Mr.F promptly picks me up, and i cry all the way home, I’m sat curled up ball in the passenger seat and he holds my hand all the way home.
No sooner had i stepped out of the car when i felt pressure between my legs, presumably from the fetal position id been sat in, it had helped the natural movement, rushing to the toilet i sat down and i felt the motion of a large clot passing, or so i thought, it hit me instantly that it wasn’t a clot, it was my child. It was then i really broke down, i cannot explain the feeling of grief at that time, it was honestly horrendous, it was terrifying, it was heartbreaking and it was over. I stood up,not knowing what to do,how do you ever prepare for that situation? I walked away without looking back and went straight to bed, Mr.F knew what he had to do, he took a deep breath of courage, flushed the toilet and closed the door behind him as he left, his head bowed, as simple and undignified as that, he knew it needed to be done, i heard his slow footsteps climb the stairs, and no words where spoken as he slid into bed, held my shaking body and lay his head next to mine.

I bled for another 3 weeks, sometimes heavier than my normal cycle, sometimes average, the days got easier as the bleeding eased, it was like a weaning off process, the memory still hurt but the pain didn’t, i had to get on with life, i couldn’t let this take over, i opened up to friends about the experience and talked more freely, i sat and looked through my scans and notes, it all helped the process, i still have kept my notes in a folder and often get them out, only this time I’m not breaking down, i smile fondly of our experience of happiness and i remember the anticipation and excitement of the news we were expecting, it takes me 3 months to move on, I’m ready to get that excitement back, surely it can’t happen again…. Can it?..

IMG_3342

“Never give up on the good times, gotta believe in the love you find ,Never give up on the good times, living it up is a state of mind.”

Tatty

X

Silent tears and irrational fears. 

*If you have missed my previous blog,catch up here*

If love could of saved you, you would of lived forever.


The two week wait is finally over, we are advised by the clinic to visit on my 14th day following transfer to perform a blood test & a pregnancy test, I knew as soon as I was given this advice I would be testing myself at home, I didn’t think I could handle a stranger telling me my fate. If I needed to cry I could do so in the comfort of my home, I could wail as long as I wanted and not be escorted from the premises!

It turns out it was the right decision because the IUI failed, and once again, so did my hope.

I was adamant it would work, I had once again built all my hopes up and had the ‘gut feeling’ this would be ‘the one’ we where due to get married in 3 months time & I was hoping to announce our wonderful miracle on the day, to be surrounded by cheers and love and it would all be like a fairytale, I now look back and realise how naive I was towards fertility, I constantly mirrored myself on other success stories, every twinge I could relate to I did, I tried to be blissfully ignorant towards the negative stories, it was more than likely the worst thing as I had no comfort at my time of need, nothing to relate to, I felt so alone – me and Mr.F against the world.

Strangely enough despite feeling like my dream was over the maternal instinct within me suddenly went from despair to determination, something deep inside me just clicked and as the days flew by one after another I got on with it, I still don’t know how to this day.

We hadn’t told many people about our treatment, mainly due to embarrassment and the stigma, I felt less of a woman, I know Mr.F’s bravado was dented, his ego had a big ugly black bruise, since my experience i have spoken to many friends openly and one theme that reoccurs during fertility treatment is that its taboo, i wouldn’t express my problems to friends, its only since writing this blog that I’ve realised that in fact the best thing to do is open up and listen to peoples own experiences, be a shoulder to cry upon and challenge the never ending questions of ‘When are you having children?’ (the worst conversation killer) My immediate family knew and once I’d opened up it was a relief to share my highs and lows, Pappa H bless him didn’t understand much of the technology side at the time but since relaxing and letting him into my little bubble of treatment he now just about understands, and my 78 year old Grandad was just as confused, he’d never seen fertility problems, he’d never experienced them and most certainly in his time there was no fertility problems, you just got on with it, The one person that guided me through was Auntie B, with 30+ years as a nurse and specialist in Endocrinology, specialising in hormones, she understood every irrational fear and thought. Every new medication was discussed at length, newspaper cuttings of medical breakthroughs were saved, support was given & I cannot thank my family enough for all that they have done.

Mr.F was involved from right the start, asking the questions id forgotten to ask, reiterating the nurses instructions when it all became too much to take on board, but I figured he needed a break and there would be many times I’d ring my Auntie and offload all my built up anger and emotions.

We decided to carry on and try another round of IUI, this time I was more prepared, I knew what to expect, I knew the procedure and the routine, it helped massively, it felt like a walk in the park, just another routine appointment, i never felt stress or anxiety just excitement and positivity.

By now we had been married & honeymooned in Dubai & The Maldives, I had the most wonderful day, but in the back of my mind I wished I had a baby on board, I knew we had so much love to give to a new family.

A week after returning from honeymoon we was sat in the clinic ready for a fresh start, sadly this time didn’t work again either,…NOR THE NEXT.

3 attempts is the recommended amount of tries’ -Mr.Harris’ words echoed around my head as we received negative after negative pregnancy test result. I remember thinking my chances of becoming a Mother had gone, my dream was over, and that was inconsolable, i hadn’t researched the next step,i was so positive it would work.

‘The quality of your eggs are great, we should attempt one more time for a successful pregnancy’ – Mr Harris.

I’ll be honest I wasn’t hopeful, it was like a routine now, a chore. I  knew it wasn’t going to work, why should it? My body had let me down previously so many times before… until..


3 months later:

I’m sat at the same clinic, the same room with the same nurses Helen & Erica, the same screen used to monitor my ovaries, only this time we where hear to see my 8 week old babies heartbeat. And what a joyous moment that was, it was one of life’s experiences you can’t put into words, I’m surprised I could hear anything over my own pounding heart! Mr.F gave my hand a little squeeze, I could see the excitement and relief in his face, this touched me more than the scan and is a highly treasured memory thats forever etched in my mind.

Our third attempt at IUI had worked!!! ♥

IMG_3173

We measured at 8 weeks 3 days, right on target, I couldn’t believe after all our trials and challenges the patience and determination had paid off.
Being discharged back to the regular maternity unit at my local hospital was daunting, I’d grown to know the familiar walls, the never ending smell tea & coffee making facilities, the bond with the nurses, this place had seen more genuine tears and prayers than a church, these walls kept my secrets and thoughts, but we knew we couldn’t stay longer, it was time to fly the nest.

IMG_3176-1It sounds silly but one of the greatest milestones for me was visiting a local midwife and being handed my green pregnancy notes, id run my fingers across the page in awe,feeling the crispness of the pages beneath my fingertips, staring over and over again at my name written in black at the top, it was little things like this that built to the excitement, I was in a bubble of euphoria and nothing could stop me, it suddenly hit home, we was expecting a bloody baby!!!

10 weeks into my pregnancy my usual tender greats started to ease, the morning sickness dwindled off and I didn’t feel very ‘pregnant’ & i could suddenly enter a room with strawberries in there without feeling violently sick.

After doing esearch upon research I found that without any bleeding, cramping or clots I was more than likely safe, it was my go to symptom checker in the middle of the night when i tossed and turned, instead of listening to my body i relied on advice from forums, instead of listening to the sensible part of me, i became oblivious to the fact that all women are different, again by not speaking out i was just a number, conforming to the expected symptoms and limited knowledge, i pushed the doubts to the back of my mind, telling myself not to be dramatic.

Week 12 and we are sat in an unfamiliar waiting room at the local maternity unit, Mr.F is silent, I’m in awe of the ladies that surround me, some ready to give birth, some with the smallest bump ready to start their journey, and all I kept thinking was ‘where’s my bump?!’, me and Mr.F had taken the day off and planned to head to the Trafford Centre to buy our very first baby item.. and spend a small fortune on neutral baby grows, hoards of paint samples for nurseries and brochures on furniture, Today was a good day!

We are led to the sonographers room and I am instructed to lift my dress up ready for the scan, my breathing slows down and I am waiting to hear the heartbeat.

SILENCE.

‘Can you empty your bladder please, it’s a little tricky to find baby, we’d like  to perform an internal scan’ 

I pop to the toilet, still blissfully unaware there is anything suspect, to return back to the room, ready for the scan I’ve received so many times before, only this time Mr.F is as white as a ghost, I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it but his hands are shaking, I’m sure of it. I think I’ve got the wrong room, this isn’t the room I left, it was smiles and excitement, the atmosphere in this room is cold and unwelcoming.

After what seems a lifetime the midwife performs the internal scan and I hear the words that no woman should ever hear in her lifetime;

“I’m sorry, you have lost your baby.”

Panic.   Dizziness.    Panic.   Sobs.    Panic.    Panic.    Panic. 

Why is she saying that?! I’ve only just seen my baby’s heartbeat, I’ve had no bleeding, my baby is there, we are you saying this?!

My heart shattered into a million pieces, my world had been flipped upside down in a matter of seconds, and still to this day when writing this blog it brings up so many emotions that i experienced in that moment, the raw heartache and devastation will never leave me, but times a healer and i found comfort in the words of others, i found solace in the fact it wasn’t meant to be, what did anger me and led me to a downward spiral of mild depression and anxiety was the events that happened when i was asked to leave the room during the scan, Mr.F had confided that the nurse has flippantly mentioned ‘she (referring to myself) has lost the baby’. No compassion was given, no after care or advice on my next step, nothing. This led to me making a formal complaint within the NHS (more on this later on in the blog)

We later went on to learn that I’d suffered a ‘Missed Miscarriage’ – cue plenty of research! We was no longer in the 25% of failed fertility, we was now into the 20% bracket of women that suffer miscarriages within the first 3 months of pregnancy.

We had lost our miracle child at 10 weeks, no explained reason, no symptoms, no time to grieve.

The timing could not be any worse, my grandmother whom I was dearly close to had passed a few days before with a long battle will illness, I remember during her final days sitting with her in hospital, feeling pride that I was carrying her first Great Grandchild, i held her hand against my lower abdomen and promised to carry on her memory within my unborn child, we would never forget her and my child would know all there was about the Grandma that wasn’t there to love, I found comfort in the knowledge that when she finally rested her eyes she was unaware of my sorrow and heartbreak, and it brought great comfort to me at my darkest times and still does to this very day.

Less than 25 hours later I was sat in the family funeral car following the most amazing woman on her way to her final resting place. I chose to carry out a natural miscarriage due to to the timing with the offer of medical intervention booked just days later if there was no natural movement, it was one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging events I’ve ever put my body through, our bodies work in mysterious and wonderful ways and somehow I got through it. My body carried me through and did what it needed to do, but every hug and tear shed at the funeral was followed by a silent tear from the grief of losing our baby.

I had just lost two of the most important people in my life and i had no idea what i needed to do to carry on.

The very last time i held her hand. Joan Hall 19/01/1941 – 24/05/2013


🎶Goodbye my friend,

i know your gone,

you said your gone but i can still feel you’re here, its not the end.🎶

 Further advice on a MMC  here or miscarriages, listen to your body, seek advice,accept support.

Grieve if you need to, laugh if you need to.

Be strong,you’ve got this,  i promise.

Tatty

X

Poll the other one!

Well ladies the results are in from having YOUR say, firstly i wanted to create a poll out of curiosity, would there be anyone out there that has had the same experience as me? and secondly to hopefully give reassurance to others that you are not alone, we often hear of others suffering miscarriages and fertility issues but what are the real numbers for that? How many people are just like you?

-keep reading >

When the stirrups are rockin’ don’t come a’ knockin’

“Fingers crossed but not legs” –

A quote often expressed by my wonderful Auntie Bev throughout my treatment.


If you haven’t previously been following my journey ,you can catch up here.

Thankyou! (i couldn’t possible fit it into this blog so click here to see my gratitude!)

Imagine this;

Legs akimbo,knickers discarded to the left of you, your other half to your right, a team of strangers stood at the foot of your body and a long plastic contraption thats going to be inserted into the place that no stranger should ever go.

Nope its not an extract from 50 shades of grey,its in fact a routine appointment at the assisted gynaecology unit, it was then that all my dignity was left at the door.

The cold metal pressing onto the back of knees from the stirrups remind me that I’m here for a reason; to monitor my ovaries and see why I’m not ovulating,despite being told i am a PCOS sufferer i am still none the wiser how it effect my reproductive system.

With the snap of a rubber glove,a squirt of the (ever so cold) lube and a gasp of shock, i am told to look on the screen at the side of me.

Typical ultrasound of an ovary with PCOS

All i see is a mass of greys, whites & black swirls, a cotton wool like painting, i feel strangely disconnected with this part of my body that I’ve never seen before despite it being me. I expect to be angry at my ovaries, to let them know how the have previously failed me, but nothing.

I’m told that the little pockets are filled with fluid,little sacs that under developed eggs grow, however they don’t release eggs with PCOS, with 1 in 5 women suffering the same problem, only a handful experience the same symptoms, some with no symptoms at all, however as I’ve aged I’ve realised how it effects my body, how to control it and what triggers more symptoms (more on this later).

Mr.Harris the lead consultant scribbles some notes down and answers all my questions with ease;

“Whats the next step to conceive?”A trial of various medications,Clomiphene(Clomid) tablets firstly.

“What does Clomid do?”  – Clomid is commonly used stimulate ovulation. It works by blocking estrogen receptors at the hypothalamus, which is an importanthormonal control centrefor the body

“How long do i take this for?”3 months,due to the risk of long term use & the increase of immunity after long term use. 

“RISKS?!” – Some of the most common side effects are weight gain (Good old mother nature letting us know she’s still alive and kickin’!) bloating, stomach problems, breast tenderness, migraines or other headaches, hot flashes, and other similar symptoms.

“Lovely!.. pass me the pills and see you in 3 months time!”

Off i pop, with a large paper bag of pills, and an even larger grin to match, this is the start of our journey to becoming parents, gosh how easy was that?..

7am the following morning i am stood barefoot in the kitchen, with a glass of water ready to wash down the sugar coated miracle, the excitement is hard to contain, I’m on a high already and just know this is going to be the one. With every tablet i take,  I’m replacing it with thoughts of pink cribs & blue booties, modern prams and teething rings.

3 long and mentally draining months later and sadly it was soon replaced by “why didn’t it work” and “what the hells wrong with me!?” Mr.F is cradling me and and i feel so vulnerable, id spend hours researching the effects, I cannot count the hours of spent reading other women’s success stories, so to have a failure knocked my confidence hard, I was devastated, i could feel Mr.F’s heart beat a little more than usual, i know he’s disappointed despite not openly discussing his emotions, we sit in silence and the only time we discuss our experience is when we pick up the phone to re-book in with the clinic.

We later found out that despite a high number of Clomid patients becoming successful (75%), that we are in fact one of the many 25% that failed- it still didn’t heal my heart, I didn’t care about failure anymore I just wanted to move on, it almost became a need than want.

No sooner had we left Mr. Harris’ office than we are back again, sat in the same chairs, the same blue printed privacy curtain, the same question on repeat, “What next?”

My answers are met with a response I’ve never head of ‘Intrauterine insemination‘ (IUI)

Its funny how the mind works at the most oddly pressured times,i daren’t repeat some of my thoughts or questions but if you have ever been on this journey I’m sure you can relate, no question is ‘stupid‘, no thought hasn’t been thought by a woman before you, we won’t be the first and we won’t be the last.

Just to make you feel you aren’t alone, i can share this experience of another lady (i can honestly say it wasn’t me!) that was told to me by my Nurse Helen on my first day of my internal scan, upon looking on the screen she saw a black mass, no ovaries, no cysts, no womb, no nothing. Helen’s face must of been a picture because it soon became apparent that she has entered the probe a little lower than expected, i don’t know whats more confusing, that the patient didn’t express her concern at being checked there or that she willingly allowed the examination to continue!

Im not sure of the validity of the story or if it was an old wives tale but it certainley helped me relax, it also gave me reassurance that there was only one place that probe was going!

We are given a folder of information on IUI and i vow for it to become my Bible, i read it every evening, i study every morning, feet up in the bath? The information is right by my side, i want to be in control of this, i want to know everything thats about to happen. I want to know my chances,my success rates, and everything in between.

Im confident and ready for this, I’m mentally prepared and ready to be inseminated.

Ive taken a weeks dose of Norethisterone to induce a cycle- often used for ladies to delay their cycle before a holiday,wedding etc,this will in effect control when my cycle is due to the date;

tablets

Ive given myself daily injections of gonadotropins to stimulate a higher quality of mature eggs.

This was mentally and emotionally challenging, I’ve never self injected, its all another reminder that this isn’t a natural way to conceive and i feel alone, i soon found i couldn’t do this myself, so with plenty of trust and plenty of practice on an orange i enlist Mr.F with the task of injecting directly into my leg, this often ended in tears and a unsightly pattern of bruises along my thighs, who says romance was dead? During my medication i am closely monitored via internal scans to ensure i don’t overstimulate too many eggs, the eggs need to be perfect quality and quantity,  and when the timing is right, Helen tells me to use my final HCG injection to trigger the release of my eggs.

inject

36 hours later (to the very hour) the timing needs to be precise to catch the right time of the sperm meeting my newly released eggs  i am back in the clinic, Mr.F has previously done his job, producing a fresh sperm sample (oh how the other half live!) on the morning of the procedure, and its all go from there, (i attend with a full bladder to help with a clearer picture on the ultrasound when placing the catheter into my cervix) and a good book in my handbag, and some fruity sweets, i am naked from the waist down and ready to be impregnated, i chose to bring Mr.F with me for distraction and of course i would also like to say that he was there at the time of conception!

I’m a little apprehensive, I’ve done some research into the pain and agree with the majority of women that had had the same procedure, its as painful as a rountie smear test,slightly uncomfortable but bearable, I try to focus on my breathing as the catheter is inserted into my cervix and the freshly washed and the healthiest hand picked sperm is injected through the catheter, 2 minutes later i am done. I feel nothing, slight cramping, and just a strange sensation that i could now in fact be pregnant.

Now for the dreaded advised two week wait, 336 hours,14 days, 20160 minutes, and a whole lot of anxiety, dread and excitement.

Times a ticking’ and my fate is sealed.

🎶Free your mind of doubt and danger
Be for real, don’t be a stranger
We can achieve it, we can achieve it, ‘Cos tonight, is the night,                                                                                                  when 2 become 1.🎶

Tatty

X

A doctor,a parent and un-hormonal teenager.

‘Your Daughter needs to come back when she’s ready to start a family.”


**If you haven’t already read my previous blog to this,please click here as they follow on.**

I’m sat in the doctor’s office, a box of wafer thin tissues and a shabby poster of the female anatomy to my right, my father to my left.

Id begged Pappa H to take me to clinic due to irregular periods, whilst my school friends moaned and skipped PE every month without fail,n i had nothing to contribute to the group.

Not a cramp, sanitary towel or pimple in sight.. and oddly i was slightly disappointed. I know what you’re thinking ‘Where is her Mother in all of this?!’

Well seeing as my Mother did a run quicker than you can say Ussain Bolt from the family home just aged 7,i had no choice.

Explaining the birds and the bees,first boyfriends & the menstrual cycle, Pappa had no choice either, I saw nothing wrong with it, it was just a fact of life that we had to get on with, and this is what brought us to be sat here with an unconcerned professional.

Holy macaroni, i wasn’t planning a family, i could barely look after my Tamagotchi goldfish ‘Bubbles’ never mind raise a child, but somehow that single comment angered me it angered me that i wasn’t a screaming hormonal acne riddled teenager.

I wanted what my friends had, and no medical professional could give me any magic little pill that would gain me access to conversations in the school playground with the rest of my female friends, in fact it wasn’t until i was 18 that i discovered i suffered from PCOS*

Along with a new found love for make-up, alcohol, the  opposite sex, and of course the disposal of my fake I.D (Hurrah!) ..I also gained a new found knowledge of

  • Absent periods
  • Extreme tiredness/lack of energy
  • Hirsutism – Excess body hair – All hail mother nature (!)

And the one that mattered the most yet didn’t sink in until later on in my life –

  • INFERTILITY due to lack of ovulation.
d506a6e509fc2e0ddd73bae704016bfe
Photo credit: Ashley Seil smith

These little cysts that littered my ovaries were most certainly not welcome,i wanted rid and i wanted rid now.

Little did i know my first appointment at the Women’s health clinic was the start of my lifelong journey to motherhood, from advice to losing weight – “eat an apple“.. (i kid you not!) to “Have sex more often and relax

Now one thing that annoys me is them 5 little words,them 5 little words that flow so freely from the mouths of others,

“JUST RELAX AND IT WILL HAPPEN”

RELAX? What do you think I’m doing in the bedroom department?! i knew i wasn’t the most experienced sexually active teenager but if it has happened to my hairdressers friends cousins niece, then it would surely work for me right? (!)

Im sure you have worked it out by now, it didn’t work, if only life was that simple. However i do thank my lucky stars i didn’t work, because i often wonder what my life would be like with a Walton like family in tow. Would I still be able to jet off to Ibiza on a whim? Would i be able to sit in my PJ’s and eat chocolates for breakfast at 3pm on a sunday? (reaching for the selection box as we speak) , would i be able to share my experience with the rest of the world about my sorrows, my highs and my dysfunctional life at 3am when i can’t sleep?

Id trade in all in within a heartbeat if i could, minus the chocolates, our newly formed family could sit watching movies with a box of Thorntons Finest by our side, but i soon learnt that the chocolates and alcohol had to stop, and quickly, because before i knew it, i had hopped onto the rollercoaster of Assisted Conception to find that egg, and boy what a ride its been.

*All you need to know about PCOS

egg_running

🎶 Viva Forever, ill be waiting.🎶

Tatty

x

*Want to carry on reading? Click here for the follow on*

Just one taste of that delicious cake.

I wish I could start this blog off with a more positive background,but I guess that’s how IVF works,like a piers fairground ride,unnerving,exciting,full of ups and downs with the sickly feeling at the pit of your stomach from too much sugar,or in my case,the feeling of uncertainty of my desire to achieve motherhood before my 30th.

Now for the purpose of this blog I am 28 – for the purpose of my sanity & not so secret fancy of childhood cartoons,90’s music & slapstick comedy,let’s pretend I’m 21 and me & you will get on just fine. Just don’t remind me of when the Spice girls split- It’s still a touchy subject to this day.

I often ask myself if I was to visit 2008 and meet my 21 year old former self, what advice would I give? The first line that comes tumbling from my mouth is ‘blonde streaks & purple eyeshadow is not the future’ .. With ‘do not let fertility control your life’ a close second.

 Would the former confident,outgoing stroppy 21 year old listen? – Hell no.

I wish I did listen,my teachers in Secondary school would always scribble the same five words over and over again in every year end report ‘Natalie needs to listen more’

You see it’s kind of in my DNA to ignore the preachers & do my own thing,but I’ve got to give it to you Miss Crosby-I guess you was right all along, and without blowing my own trumpet (who am I kidding I LOVE being right),I wish the forner Miss Sixty flared jeans wearing,Ugg boot loving madam DID listen to that inner voice that told me over and over again,to carry on doing my own thing,to carry on reaching for my dreams & to enjoy life -blonde streaks an all!

But the preacher in my pocket was well & truly ignored when the moral dilemma of whether to have a tipple on a school night came up,the voices was well and truly drowned out by a large Vodka & lime with a few shots of tequila thrown in for good measure,and the Angel on my shoulder must of danced with the devil that evening because it was then I met Mr.F, I’d say it was love and first sight but I’d be lying,partially because I couldn’t remember what my handsome husband looked like and more importantly because I wasn’t looking to meet Mr.Right at all,but safe to say I’ve hung up my beer googles and my ‘I’m totally in love with you ‘ contact lenses are firmly fitted. Fast forward 7 years and here we are,blissfully married,new home,fantastic memories (ok the beer goggles came out to play for a few of these ‘memories’!) but all in all a fantastic life.. Bar one missing ingredient to bake the perfect family cake.. An egg.

Thats all it takes right? You can’t bake the most delicious,soft sponged,vanilla frosted,raspberry filled cake without eggs. Ok,it may LOOK perfect and oh-so mouth watering from the outside but you cut right in the centre of the cake and you will see it’s nothing but a beautiful disaster.

You know exactly what you added to the mixture,you followed it to the letter;

1 cup of excitement

– 2 tablespoons of hope

– 1/2 cup of nerves

– 1 vial of excellent sperm

– 2 teaspoons of love

-5 years of marriage

– 1 HUGE pinch of medication,scans & monitoring

-1 good quality egg

And finally but not least – 2 people whom are ready to be parents,who have an abundance of love & commitment to give. And you see the call for the egg,that’s what’s missing.

1 bloody egg! So where the hell is this egg & why don’t I have it?

 

Stick with me,this can only get better.. But I can’t promise on the taste on music.

Zig-A-Zig-Ah!

Tatty x

*Want to keep reading? You can follow on here*