I didn’t want too much of a delay for my next cycle, given the disappointment with the last cycle. The earliest we could get back out to Valencia was late September, so a couple of months later from our first visit. We started the pill to put my ovaries on rest mid September. Once I’d had a scan to confirm this was the case and they were resting, I was to start a slightly different course of medication, this time to include chlomid and of course the dreaded injections.
I won’t repeat the process of the cycle with you again, it pretty much followed the previous pattern, however I will say that it wasn’t any easier injecting myself. What I will start to talk about is the emotions, the feelings and the roller coaster. The first notable change was the amount of people that we told this time, whilst we remained highly positive, we were understandably nervous. We knew we had eggs in the freezer so the pressure wasn’t as great but equally the more eggs that we collected the more chances we had to get the quality that we needed.
The fact that the percentages for most clinics are really high, in the high 60’s, you just don’t quite believe that you will be one of the few that don’t make it the first time. You have to go in to the journey this way, positively, there’s simply no other way of dealing with it. So, whilst we didn’t have a failed transfer the first time round, the disappointment was still painful. For us, going into it a second time was clearly a no brainer, we had eggs frozen and we were aiming to add to that.
What also made a difference going through the process for a second time, it wasn’t as worrying this time, the little things that I’d previously worried about no longer worried me. I was also a lot more direct with the clinic, their communication at times wasn’t great and in the first round I used to get desperately stressed out by it. I knew the questions to ask and the sorts of timelines involved.
I remember on one of my trips to Spain, the day before I was due to fly out, I was just about to walk into a client meeting on Canary Wharf. My phone went and it was a Spanish number, so I obviously took it. The clinic needed some bloods from me, before I got to Spain, utterly ridiculous! I was 2.5 hours from home and even if I had been at home there was no way that I could get these tests done the same day. Actually, in hindsight, I could’ve got them done in London at the Doctors Laboratory but I didn’t know about that then. The stress that call caused was awful and totally avoidable, the coordinator was insistent it had to be achieved and without it she didn’t know if we could proceed with that cycle. Thankfully the clinic agreed to do the tests themselves when I flew out but that took a lot of phonecalls and stress to get there.
We arrived in Valencia, again we decided to stay out for the duration of the process beginning to end, we factored in 12 days, giving ourselves an extra 2 due to the delay we had last time. On our first follicle scan our consultant wasn’t overly happy with the size and growth or my lining, as a result we were to carry on the meds for a few more days. We went to the pharmacy to get more medication and to carry on. And so, the emotional roller coaster started, I was upset and really scared of course, we were worried about whether my follicles would get big enough and if we would have a successful collection but also whether the transfer could happen due to the lining.
It was on this visit that I encountered the nurse that I called the butcher! Now, no one likes their bloods taken but this lady was particularly bad, instead of taking blood from the obvious arm vein she insisted she take it from a smaller one. It hurt, bought tears to my eyes and caused me to yelp more than once. She wiggled and reattempted a few times before giving up and going to the obvious vein that was far more prominent. She really hurt me, I still remember that blood collection now.
I dreaded seeing her again and as bad luck would have it , I had her again, much later in that week. I remember various nurses coming out and calling patients in. I saw her come out and prayed it wasn’t my turn…. It was! Crazy the grand scheme of things but its amazing what you remember and what stays with you!!
Its funny how many people who knew we were going to Valencia for a second time that year, kept wishing us a fabulous holiday, amazed that we were going back to the same place twice in one year. Telling us how lucky we were to be able to have a second big holiday. I’m guessing some of those friends and work colleagues, who had no idea about what we were doing, are reading this now. It was the furthest thing that you could get from being on holiday. No wine, panicking about being in too much heat, going to and from a clinic every other day, going under anasthetic, worrying that there wouldn’t be any eggs to collect. During the stay, we never stopped worrying and of course, injecting daily was a challenge.
I don’t know if it is just me, but I became OCD about everything, just not wanting jeopardise our chances. I stopped exercising when I started injecting as I didn’t want to put my body under additional pressure. Obviously, I watched how much alcohol I drank and if I did have a glass of wine it would be organic. I started on homemade smoothies, filled with goodness. I ate copious amounts of spinach, it was one of the few vegetables that I liked.
It’s these sorts of changes that start to separate you from your friends, particularly for me the drinking. It was no longer fun going for nights out, listening to everyone chatting about nonsense and clearly thinking they, as we all do, were very funny drunk. It wasn’t only that, I lost the ability to find insignificant things funny, during the course of the IVF process I lost the ability to be carefree and to be honest, relaxed. It was such a hard process that trivia, petty arguments, that at times were so important to others, seemed insignificant to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who became driven by IVF and having a baby.
The one area that I remained completely normal in was at work. Work was my sanctuary, I’d always worked hard, put in the hours and it was something that I could own and control, unlike IVF. No one at work knew that we were going through it and that allowed me some normality. After each failing, I could return to work, put extra hours in and throw myself into it, in some ways I had my most success at work during this period, I certainly had the biggest promotions!
We were delayed again in Spain due to my lining and follicle growth, I can’t tell you how much of a failure you feel. Again, our dream was in question but this time, my sanity and safety net of work was to be jeopardized. I had to stay in Spain for longer, just for the collection and I’d have to fly back out for the transfer.
At the point at which we realised that my collection was going to be round about the day we were due to fly home, Chris and I went into crisis talks about my work and how I was going to ask for an extension to my holiday. In my diary, meetings were going in, how did I stop that! I was fairly new into a new promotion; the CEO who I reported in to, was a tough lady and I was still at the point of proving myself. Or maybe I wasn’t still proving myself given I’d got the job, nevertheless I would never rest and its in my nature to keep striving. In many ways that equipped me well for IVF.
So now we were dealing with my body failing me and my fear of the impact on my work. Now don’t get me wrong, my babies are more important than my work, without a shadow of a doubt! However, whilst I remained positive, I couldn’t be sure I’d be lucky enough to have babies and therefore I was extremely nervous to risk what I did have, a safety net, my career.
I remember exactly where I stood to make that call, we were by the poolside at our hotel Las Arenas in Valencia. I stood overlooking the sea, away from Chris and I was pacing, terrified of the reaction I would get.
My boss was incredible, just amazing, I remember babbling, I never babble at work, I do anything but however on this occasion I felt like I had so much to lose. Crazy hey, now I look back but at the time it was real. She gave me as much time as I needed out in Valencia, she cancelled my meeting schedule for the first few days that I was due back. I couldn’t have asked for more and for that I am forever grateful. That single act allowed me to forget about work and focus on the job in hand, exactly what needed to happen, and I was able to relax about that part of my life knowing it would be there when I got back.
With this came a new dimension of course, now someone at work new of my plight, would that change things, would it change my hiding place.
My next blog will share with you the diary extracts of this period, hence I have purposely missed some detail out.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, thank you for taking time to do so.