Galloping Along Again… IVF#2

It hardly seems like any time since I was writing these posts about our first IVF Cycle back in February. But here we are, doing it all again already. Whilst trying not to dwell on the fact that I should have been 15 weeks pregnant by now, I can’t help but feel amazed by just how quickly this second cycle has come around.

Not that it was without setbacks, of course. This is me that we’re talking about, after all.

One of the changes we made this cycle was not using the contraceptive pill. I’ve never been a fan of the pill. It’s a totally unnatural way to get hormones and there is something about it that messes up my blood sugars (and my moods) way more than hormones that are injected or absorbed transdermally. So instead I took a short course of norethisterone – a synthetic progesterone – in order to “time” my cycle. Except, that didn’t really work out, because once I stopped taking it, my period failed to show up.

No bleed means no IVF. So much for “timing”.

Once again my stress levels sky rocketed, because I’d planned all the timings of this cycle to be a bit less stressful in relation to work, and suddenly I was having to change everything again.

My period eventually showed up in the afternoon that I was all set to cancel the cycle. With its arrival, I thought we were back in business. Until, that is, my baseline scan revealed that my uterine lining was no where near thin enough to proceed and – to add insult to injury – I had a another bloody cyst, on the other ovary this time. Prior to all of this fertility malarkey, I must have had at least 10 gynaecological scans for various reasons and I’ve never, ever had a cyst on my ovaries before. Now for the second cycle in a row we were being delayed by one.

Initially the nurse wanted me to wait four days for another scan, but that would have pushed the cycle to the point where I couldn’t guarantee to be available on the necessary days, so I was back to facing cancellation. I didn’t toss that out as a bargaining tool – it was the honest truth. But once the cancellation word was mentioned, there was a flurry of reorganisation and an arrangement for me to re-attend on the Saturday. A part of me felt slightly awkward, because I was a crying mess of a woman, probably coming across as a bit pushy, having special arrangements made for me. But another, bigger part of me thought “hell, this is what we’re paying SO MUCH money for. They should do everything they can to help us out.”

So Saturday dawned and I was scanned by one of the consultants himself. My lining had thinned out to “just acceptable” and the cyst had shrunk fractionally. It was decision time. Cancelling the cycle at this stage would have meant losing all the benefits of the endometrial scratch. If we proceeded, we needed to decide whether to leave the cyst or drain it. Funnily enough, before the scan I’d been all prepared for a it of a fight about draining the cyst and had my questions about whether it was really necessary lined up. But then the consultant suggested that we not drain it, and in a flash I was practically begging him to do it anyway. Talk about change of heart! I suppose that it hit me that the last cycle worked pretty well from the ovarian stimulation point of view. Not draining it would be doing something different that may negatively affect the outcome. However once I was reassured that it was significantly smaller than the one I had on the last cycle, I relaxed a little. Overall we felt we had a lot more to lose by not going ahead than by just getting on with it.

So just like that, we were up and running.

The experience of IVF this time has felt quite different. I don’t know if it’s simply no longer a novelty, or that I’m more pragmatic and less excited about the whole thing, but it has faded in to the background a bit more this time. To the point that twice I’ve forgotten about injecting until 10 minutes past the time I was supposed to do it! Perhaps it helps that I feel I know a lot more about the process now and so I’m not doing quite so much reading or research either. The only thing that I’ve focused on a little more is my diet. There seems to be mounting evidence that a lower carb (less than 40% of calories from carbs) diet may be beneficial in assisted reproduction cycles. I try to eat lower carb anyway, as it is kinder on my blood sugars, but I’m not strict about it. This cycle I’ve been focusing a lot more on the overall balance of my diet and ensuring that I get plenty of protein and “good” fats.

With this in mind, today’s stimms scan was particularly disappointing. Right now I have fewer follicles developing than I did at this stage in the last cycle. I’ve still got a good crop, but I just felt as though I’ve been looking after myself even better this time than last and so if anything things should look better not worse. The rational part of me knows that this is not how it works, and that every cycle is different, and that scans are very subjective anyway. But I still can’t help worrying.

Fewer eggs means fewer chances.

And this time it has to work. I’m just not sure that I’ll ever be able to properly come to terms with any outcome other than having another baby.

Fingers crossed for next week.


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