Diary extracts part 1

These diary extracts were written during our second round of egg collection, they are linked to the article Our IVF Journey part 3, published May 27th 2019. They are as were written at the time and hopefully give an insight into the days leading up to egg collection.

The Butcher

Sunday 11th October

9.45 appointment for blood test to measure progesterone levels. Feeling calm until I recognise the butcher (the nurse who really hurt me on yesterday’s visit, I named her the butcher), she’s heading towards me!

The needle goes in, ouch, she can’t get blood so is wiggling it around and it hurts, at one point I jump with the pain she causes by having another wiggle. The butcher shakes her head, no blood coming from that arm, possibly because she has not picked a main vein I think to myself, I’ve had enough blood taken to know! I smile politely and look at her to ask what’s next, she indicates she will try my other arm, already bruised from yesterday but let’s give it a go. Less painful and success, thank goodness, she smiles and apologises profusely.

We need to kill 2 hours now, it’s 10.00 and nothing is open until 11.00 at the local shopping mall but we decide to head there anyway. Feeling nervous and hopeful, Chris keeps impersonating a Michelin man. I think this is supposed to encourage my follicles to grow in a similar way!

At the mall, I took a look in the Zara Home window, the shop wasn’t open, there was a room setting of a babies room. It’s very cute and they have a really nice white high chair, lots of pink, clearly a girls room! Here’s hoping!!!

Back at the clinic, we let reception know we are here and take a seat in the waiting room. They are running late, people that came in after us are going in before us, I think that’s because we have to have a nurse who can speak English. 45 minutes later, we are called in, the nurse is lovely, dark short hair, very pretty and a nice smile and very blue eyes but she spoke too fast for me to catch her name.

A doctor that I haven’t seen before joins us, she seems really friendly, the nurse joins her in conversation and very quickly we get to the scan. I can’t see the overall size but from the measurements I can see, I know they have grown. 3 on the left and a couple of small ones on the right. However, there aren’t the 5 on the left that yesterday’s doctor found, maybe goes to prove my theory that she was double counting. After the scan we sit down and talk, fantastic news the pickup will be on Tuesday, what a result! I am ready my follicles growing at a good pace measuring from 13 up to 17 with an expected spurt at the end.

The doctor then turns back to her screen, more chatting in Spanish with the nurse. She then back to us in English and says that the transfer will not be Tuesday but Thursday! My heart sinks and I ask why. It’s explained to me that my consultant changed my protocol last week when he was concerned about the follicle growth and as a result I need to finish the protocol………….. That’s a whole new level for us now, as that affects our flights and my return to work date.

Back on the roller coaster

Monday 12th October part 1

Time for another  blood test, will I get the butcher, waiting anxiously!

Yep, got the butcher, my heart sinks!  First thing is to find a place in my arm that didn’t get bruised yesterday or the day before. This time she didn’t hurt at all, was extremely gentle, used a different needle a finer one I think but it worked and no pain, great 😄. Now we are off to find something to do for a couple of hours.

Headed into town, found some shops and started Christmas shopping. A random thought popped into my head, as they often do when you are going through this process. I wonder if the clinics have a list of pharmacies that open on a Spanish holiday, in particular ones that stock fertility drugs. I hope so, the clinic will have this covered but it’s a nagging feeling.

Sitting in the clinic, waiting for our appointment, an hour late now, tried to call my bosses pa to book a time slot for the call which could completely change my career as it is. It’s now time to confess all to my boss and let her know what we are doing. I have no choice, I need to extend my stay and I feel sick about having to make the call.

It’s my turn and its Simone, the German nurse who I met yesterday, she is explaining everything, updating us. My progesterone levels are good now, no problem this time and our pick up will be Wednesday or Thursday depending on the size of the follicles. Simone asks about our flights, when do we need to fly home, I explain our situation and that we need to change our flights. I tell her how I am scared about works reaction, she gets it! What a relief just to know that she gets it, I could almost kiss her for showing some empathy!

I ask if the fact that the majority of the eggs came from the right last time, if that is why the right isn’t growing this time, she says there is no correlation. She explains that at 44 getting 3 is about right, they don’t expect many more. 

Simone explains that they may wish for more embryos before doing the transfer and they may want another round, but the doctor will decide and then give us the choice.

Knowing that I will need more drugs for the rest of this cycle, I ask whether the pharmacies are open given it is a Spanish bank holiday. Simone doesn’t know, there may be one open in the vicinity, over in the small shopping mall. Are they likely to have the drugs is my next question, Simone thinks they should but can’t be sure. She advises that we need to understand what drugs we are talking about first and of course when the pick up is. We double check what I have left, no menapur the stimulator, yes to the oragultan to stop the release, no to the zitromax the average tasting painkiller and no to Ovitrelle, the important one, so basically either way we need drugs today.

The doctor arrives to do my scan, she is very young and very smilie, I feel at ease again. Time for the scan, legs up, trying to keep myself covered with the relatively small white square cloth that they give you to cover your lady bits. The doctor isn’t very gentle with the probe but there is no pain at all, first my lining, whilst the doctor is relaying in Spanish, Simone is translating. It’s just over 5, I sense from the doctor that this is not great but nothing is said.

Next on to the follicles, left hand side first, 1 at 16.5, yayyyy, the next a massive 22 and the last 16.9, 2 smaller ones around 13 over to the right, only 2 small ones, one around 11.5 and the other 10.

I jump, very elated off the chair and brace myself for the news, will it be Wednesday or Thursday. Chris and I high 5, we are delighted they have grown, what a relief! We join the doctor, they are talking for what feels like a very long time in Spanish, I cannot get a feel for what the news that I am about to hear. Eventually the doctor turns to me to speak but then back to Simone, there is more chatter in Spanish. Back to me, the doctor, whose name I have just noticed is Paula, I don’t know why such detail makes a difference but strangely it does. Paula explains that we are ready for pick up, I feel like I have just won the lottery, however before we know it we’re back on that roller coaster, joy to anguish!

My lining is not thick enough, it measured today at 5 and needs to be around 7 so a transfer may not be possible. More chatting in Spanish and then back to me, the pick up will be arranged for Wednesday. On the same day my doctor will do a scan to measure the lining, and in between time I can take some drugs to help. I feel so relieved, just one day extra off work! Paula, the smilie doctor stands up wishes us luck and shakes our hand. Simone guides us out and explains that she will be back in 10 minutes to go through the drugs that we need.

Simone returns and takes us to the reception area, she has very precise instructions and 4 prescriptions, Ovitrelle, zitromax, ibuprofen and the one to thicken my lining. The timings are to the minute, tonight at 21.00 I take my last oragultan at 23.00 I take Ovitrelle and during dinner, ibuprofen. I start the lining support drugs this afternoon. Tomorrow I take ibrupofen every 8 hours starting at 8 am, 3 of the lining thickening tablets throughout the day, no specific timings and in the evening zitromax in a small amount of water and the best news, no injection!!! Euphoria!!

I can have a light meal on Tuesday night, take my last ibuprofen at midnight, and then fast. I make a mental note to ask Chris to raid the hotel breakfast on Wednesday morning. The last time I came around from the anaesthetic I was starving! Before I race ahead to Wednesday, let’s get onto the question of getting the drugs today because the stress is building and still I have no answers, I have to have these drugs. Chris suggests the clinic calls the nearest pharmacy, the receptionist clearly has the same idea, great we are all thinking the same! We say goodbye to Simone, thank her very much, we may see her on Wednesday when we go back, I hope so, she has made it a whole different experience, I feel very grateful.

I leave Chris with the receptionist whilst I go to the toilet, I come back to a look that tells me we have a problem, immediately my thoughts turn to the drugs and I’m right. The pharmacist doesn’t have Ovitrelle however Simone is on the case, she thinks they may have 1. Moments later Simone appears with a box in her hand, they have one, it’s in a sealed box and it’s in date. It’s one that an Italian lady bought in and didn’t need, my thoughts immediately race to her and why she didn’t need it, I hope she’s ok. Thank goodness for Simone! We leave the clinic feeling very happy.

We walked to the waiting area, feeling hopeful and light hearted and both reach for our work phones. My head kicks into gear, we need flights home, I get on the case. The only reasonable flight times we can get are from Alicante, a 2 hour train journey away. I ask Chris who is engrossed in his work emails, he shrugs leaves it for me to decide. Again I ask for his help, initially he thinks we can make this flight but on reflection and knowing I wouldn’t be able to run given I would’ve had minor surgery we opt for the later flight. Another packed Ryanair flight, possibly with screaming children, stewards who try to sell everything and are constantly on the microphone disturbing any sleep you are trying to get. Another thought goes to the captains’ speech that we won’t be able to hear again due to the poor sound system, I still don’t know why the stewards haven’t pointed this out to their seniors.

As I shut up my iPad I notice Simone leaving with her children, lovely family, lovely lady.


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