Woo 18 weeks!

To begin with I need to apologise for it being so long between posts, unfortunately my nausea has progressively gotten worse and I started to vomit from week 11! 

I have been wanting to post but I have struggled to find any energy for anything else apart from working and day to day necessities. K has been fantastic, cooking for my non existent appetite when she comes home from work even though I know she just really wants to sit down and rest on the couch. 

So much has happen since my last update. The sesame seed has grown to the size of a dragon fruit, weighing 190g and is 14.2cm from crown to rump! 

At 7 weeks I had an appointment with my GP. I was unable to make an appointment with the GP who referred us for the fertility treatment which I was disappointed about as I want to thank her for everything she had done. However, I was excited to hear that she was on maternity leave herself. The GP I saw was also fantastic. Very approachable and so happy for us. She didn’t think I was being a crazy, over reacting nurse for wanting to be referred to a hospital which isn’t one of the two closest two us. I will go into why we chose the hospital we are going to in another post. The GP decided to wait till I had my scan the next week before officially putting through our referral. 

At 8 weeks we had a scan to confirm the pregnancy so the fertility clinic could discharge as from there services. It was weird seeing a tiny little prawn on the screen and actually hearing the heart beat. Even now at 18 weeks it still feels so surreal that I am actually pregnant.

When we first got through our appointments for the midwife I was a little worried as I was going to be 13 weeks at the midwife appointment and 15 weeks for our 12 week ultrasound – this meant we wouldn’t be able to get the downs screening performed. After a quick call to the hospital it turned out that they had the wrong date for my last period so they rescheduled everything to the correct date. 

K and I were excited and nervous going to our booking in appointment for the hospital. The midwife we saw was great. It was mainly filling in forms and going through medical history. I did take some information about the donor in case they needed to know  they only needed his ethnic origins so they could calculate the risk of certain illnesses. 

The midwife didn’t bat an eyelid to us being in a same sex relationship. The main outcome of the appointment was that I had risk factors for pre eclampsia as my mum had it when I was born and this is my first pregnancy – so I had to start aspirin from week 12 to week 34 (I think, I do need to check the correct week to stop it).

We had our 12 week scan at 13 weeks. I was half expecting them to say ‘actually there is nothing there!’ It was so hard to believe that I was actually pregnant even with being extremely nauseous and starting to vomit. We both shed a tear when bear cub popped up on the screen. Everything was looking great and the heartbeat was strong. I couldn’t believe the little growing, moving baby that was on the screen was actually in my belly! We managed to get a great picture of bear cub from the scan.  

  

 We had already told family and a couple of friends we were pregnant but were waiting for the scan to tell the whole world. Because we had been keeping it a secret, it felt weird telling people we are pregnant. 

Unfortunately with being a nurse I have had to let the cat out of the bag a number of times due to some of the drugs that I can’t use or patients that I can’t look after. I think I have been extremely lucky with the people I told early as they kept this quiet and even when I was 17 weeks majority of my colleagues still didn’t know. K also told a few people she worked with (in case she had to leave for any reason at short notice) and they kept this quiet too – which definitely isn’t always the case with “news” at either of our workplaces.

I am off work now for nearly 4 weeks so will be interesting to see how many people know when I get back, I have already had one text from someone I worked congratulating me. K took the decision to tell her colleague with the biggest mouth after the 12 week scan and true to form, everyone knew within a day. 

Apart from bear cub increasing in size massively and making me feel so awful, K and I have converted our civil partnership to a marriage with a big ceremony and big white dresses. I waited for my dress fitting as close to the wedding as I could just in case I popped out, lucky for me bear cub was happy hiding and even at the wedding when I was 17 +4 weeks, you couldn’t tell I was pregnant. Nearly a week later I think that I may have popped a little and have a little bump that looks like it won’t disappear in the morning like it previously has been (thank you pregnancy for the lovely bloating experience).  Our wedding was amazing and I promise to dedicate a whole post to it very soon (and share the photos from our amazing photographer). 

We are off to Naples, Rome, Kraków and Salzburg with my parents before they head back home to Australia – K is not allowing this to be called a honeymoon!. My mum is already excitedly organising her trip back over in January before bear cub is due! 

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Sesame Seed

I have sat down to write this post multiple times two weeks but just haven’t managed to. So our tiny bear cub is the size of a sesame seed weighing a mere 0.1g and is 2mm long! My question is how can something that is the size of a sesame seed be making me feel so rotten. I know that you can feel pretty rough during pregnancy, especially in the 1st trimester, I just thought  that it would come on gradually over the next few weeks.    So even before getting the confirmation that we were pregnant I was experiencing some symptoms to suggest that I may have been pregnant, now I can safely say that I am definitely pregnant.

I am feeling nauseous to varying degrees, some days feel better than others and I can get by with a small amount of nausea (mainly after eating) and I have days like today where I have felt nauseous throughout the day. What is making my stomach turn – you tell me! this varies from day to day too.

I was eating a fruit pastilles icy pole the other day (usually my favourite) and couldn’t bear the taste of the purple part at the top, normally the best bit (I had to get K to eat that part for me – she was definitely happy with that!), yet last night it wasn’t an issue and I enjoyed it. Good old heinz tomato soup, my normal go to when I am not feeling very well and need something gentle for my stomach. However, the other day while eating said soup I ended up revisiting a small amount of the soup, from this I can definitely say it tasted better the first time.

I have found small meals regularly throughout the day is helping a little, and today I found drinking ginger ale worked well (even if it was short lived). I have also been extremely tired, this one is a hard judge, as I have mentioned before I have ME so adding being pregnant to the mix I am not surprised that I am feeling fatigued. Currently I am feeling the most fatigued I have in a very long time. It is not just my body that is tired, my brain feels completely fried by 5pm each night. I am finding getting out for a small walk in the fresh air helps a little.

My boobs have always been on the smaller side, my mum would always say that more then a handful is a waste and there was definitely no waste!. However, now my boobs have increased significantly in size, I have outgrown majority of my bras and need to go and get fitted for some new ones. I have never had painful and sensitive boobs but now if I am not wearing a bra they are so sore and wake me up in my sleep when I move, looks like I may have to start controlling these bad girls 24/7 which is so disappointing as I find the best part of the day is taking my bra off at night.

Anyone who has ever had a hangover will know the awful feeling of waking up with a mouth that feels like you have been sun baking in the desert, I am extremely fortunate to have this feeling all day every day without the stories of a crazy, fun night out. It doesn’t matter how much I drink it just doesn’t make the dry mouth go away all it does is make me visit the toilet multiple times in an hour. Which brings me onto my next point; I have a very well trained bladder that doesn’t normally wake me up overnight, however currently it is acting like a pre alarm clock for me. 5am each day I wake up busting for the toilet and then can’t get back to sleep for a couple hours! Which I suppose is adding to the fatigue.

I have found that my legs, especially my ankles have been swelling particularly when I have been at work all day. I have started having to elevate them when I go to bed to help the swelling go down. The joy of being a nurse and being on my feet all day. Not only are my legs swelling my already present spider veins are becoming more prominent and I have a new addition of a very visible sore vein at that back of my leg after a particular busy day at work. Really hoping it doesn’t turn into a varicose vein.

My hormones are going crazy as well, there are days when I have no idea what I want and I start crying at ridiculous things. The worst thing is, I know it is ridiculous at the time but I can’t stop it!

So turns out growing a sesame seed into an eventual watermelon is more complicated than I thought, but as I said to K yesterday, as much as I am feeling rotten with all of these symptoms it reassures me my hormones are doing what they are supposed to do and I am extremely fortunate that K has offered to give me a 5 minute massage each day, that I can roll over to a 30 min massage which is great going as Kate hates that prior to being pregnant I would always ask to be massaged as I am a bit of a massage whore! We are looking forward to having a scan in a couple of weeks, when we will be 8 weeks to confirm the pregnancy.

The verdict is………

Today is 13dpIUI, according to our nurse who did our IUI we should test 18 days post IUI which seems like a long time to wait, especially for 3 of our cycles we have been told to test on day 14. This morning there was still no spotting so we decided to test, knowing that we may be still a little early.

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So we are over the moon, can’t believe we have finally gotten pregnant. We understand that it is still early days and will take it one day at a time, today however you cannot wipe the smiles off of our faces.

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Knicker watch

So yesterday was 12dpIUI and the day that I normally will start spotting. Every time I went to the toilet yesterday, my heart was in my mouth. This wasn’t helped by being at work and a really hot room that was making me drink lots of water! K was getting hourly updates and I was very happy to report that there was no spotting by the time I went to bed at 2330 last night.

The last couple of days I have felt a little different then my last cycles. Friday I have had significant hip pain causing altered sensation in my foot, I played netball on Thursday night but don’t recall jarring it or landing on it funny. My boobs are massive at the moment, a little tender with weird shooting pains. K even commented on Saturday how much bigger they are. During the day on Saturday I had to make a few mad dashes to the toilet after reacting to something that I ate for Brunch. Saturday night I was being completely emotional for no reason at all which is very unlike me. Yesterday it felt like I had a bladder the size of a pea though I was convinced that it was because I was drinking so much water. I have also have had weird pulling abdo pain and some cramping.

I have really been trying not to get our hopes up and trying to avoid googling but I can’t help myself. It seems the closer I get to my period coming, the more I need to google. Surprise, surprise google everything I have felt above and many people state they had the similar symptoms in the 2ww and gone on to get a BFP; The hip pain could be the ligaments in my pelvis stretching in preparation for pregnancy or just that I did something to it at netball on Thursday. Increase thirst is also a sign of pregnancy, though could just be that I was working a very warm room at work. Having diarrhoea can be a response to hormone changes that occur in pregnancy, though must things you read suggest that constipation and pregnancy go hand in hand due to the progesterone causing the bowel to relax and therefore not it doesn’t contract enough to move waste products through the bowel. My boobs do get a little swollen and painful during my normal cycle just before my AF is due and then they reduce back to their normal size once AF arrives. It is the same with being emotional, K always blames crazy emotional outbursts on my AF arriving, though Saturday night when I suggested this she thought that it was different, a bit clingy rather then door slamming emotional. The last symptom, having a bladder the size of a pea, now come on I understand that later in pregnancy this can happen as the baby is causing pressure on the bladder, but if I am pregnant now the embryo is about the size of a poppyseed, however good old google says that there is an increase in blood flow to the kidney’s increasing the volume of urine.

So thank you google, I have no idea if I am pregnant or not. The no spotting today is the most promising sign I have had in all of my 5 cycles, so everything is crossed.

So who will carry?

When speaking to anyone about our decision to start a family one of the first questions we get asked is, “so which one of you is going to get pregnant?”. I don’t really mind this question as people are generally just curious as we are starting what is considered a non-traditional family. I also don’t mind when people ask why we have chosen myself, (J rather then K) it’s a fair question. However, I do get a little offended when people comment that we could just try with K as things haven’t been working for me, (especially if they have never asked why it is me rather then K currently trying to get pregnant).

On the surface, our decision was easy; I am older and was concerned about my eggs becoming mouldy and I had a greater urge to be pregnant. K on the other hand, can’t wait to be a mum but couldn’t think of anything worse then being pregnant. So obviously I was always going to be the one to carry first.

Though when you look closer at both of us and as a friend put it, neither of us are the perfect candidate to become pregnant. To start with I probably have PCOS with a high AMH level, meaning that I rarely ovulate which makes it difficult to do IUI without any medication, so I have had to use medication for all of my cycles, the problem with using medication is that I am at risk of over responding to the medication making lots of follicles, which will be even more of a concern if I have to do IVF.

I also unfortunately have ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome post a nasty chest infection that knocked me for six for nearly four months. Since my initial illness, I have struggled with getting back to being 100%, I suffer from overwhelming fatigue, foggy head, muscle tiredness, temperature regulation issues and the big thing being that it feels like a cement man is laying on top of me making it difficult for me to move. No one can tell us the affect ME will have on my pregnancy. When I asked my specialist if there were any concerns about me getting pregnant they seemed positive about it, stating 1/3 of pregnant people with ME have an improvement in their symptoms, 1/3 of pregnant people have their symptoms stay the same and 1/3 have an increase in their symptoms…which will I be? I suppose we will have to wait and see.

Obviously getting pregnant can put a huge strain on anyone, especially if someone has a chronic illness. I have thought about this long and hard and have decided that there is no right time to get pregnant. My ME is more stable now then what it was this time last year and 10 times better then it was 3 years ago. People have suggested that maybe we should wait. However, there is no guarantee that I will improve anymore than the way I feel now and I also have to think about how mouldy my eggs are going to get if I wait longer!

With knowing about my health, one would think that K would definitely be a better candidate to carry our baby, that is if the thought of a baby growing inside of her didn’t make her want to vomit! K is a type 1 diabetic and has been since she was 11, this means that her own body doesn’t produce any insulin so she has to inject insulin with all the food she eats. Being a type 1 diabetic increase the risk of pregnancy for both the mother and the baby so before you try to get pregnant being a diabetic then you need to have very strict control of your sugar levels both before and after eating. At the moment, K’s diabetes isn’t the most stable it has been so even if K would entertain the thought of getting pregnant we would have to really work at getting K’s sugars down, which is being a little more troublesome despite how hard K is working at bringing them down.

Health isn’t the only thing to consider when deciding on who will be the pregnant person. I work in the NHS and have a really good maternity package, K earns more then me and doesn’t have as good of a maternity package as she works in the private sector, so it makes sense that I am the one to get pregnant as we will be financially better off and I will be able to have more time off work. K and I have both discussed the changes the government have made to the way maternity leave payment can be used in families, meaning maternity leave can be shared between both parents which is great. However, in our situation it will mean that K will only get SMP which will be a significant drop in K’s income. I think this is something that we will look at more once we are pregnant to see if it will work for us.

So long story short, the main reason for me carrying is being worried about my mouldy eggs and K couldn’t think of anything worse then being pregnant. In reality, deciding who is the right person to carry is a very personal decision.

The 2ww

The next step after the IUI is to wait patiently to see if AF turns up or not in 2 weeks time aka the 2ww. You would think that 2 weeks would go relatively quickly but when you are waiting to see if you are pregnant or not, then 2 weeks is a very, very long time and the waiting makes you go a little crazy. I go into over drive symptom spotting. Funny niggling abdo pain, does that mean that I am pregnant? I have farted more then normal, surely that means I am pregnant! And surely I need to check my cervix for position and how hard or soft it is! Good old google is great, put any symptom into google and you will find others with the same who ended up being pregnant, giving you false hope. During the 2ww my every waking thought is if I am pregnant or more upsetting, not pregnant. The not being pregnant is getting harder and more upsetting with each cycle, nothing prepares you for AF to rear its ugly head signifying that yet again it has been another failed cycle.

Something that I have found slightly useful during the 2ww is this diagram;

Conception timeline

Pregnancy symptoms only once the embryo has implanted and HCG levels start building up in your body. Implantation for most people occurs 8-9 post ovulation, though occasionally this can range from 6-10 dpo. Knowing this, I find the first week of the 2ww easy as I know implantation hasn’t occurred yet, instead my egg is hopefully busy dividing getting itself ready for implantation to occur.

The second week is when I start driving myself crazy and driving K crazy with the regular question of “do you think I am pregnant”, of course poor K has to answer yes then I bombarded her with the follow up question of “why?”. It is me clutching at straws just hoping that we are pregnant. I have been trying to wean myself from googling my symptoms as realistically I realise that in reality google isn’t going to be what ends up telling me that I am pregnant so instead I am on constant knicker watch! Charming I know. Apart from my last cycle when I took cycolgest to increase my progesterone levels, I have never made it to the 2ww mark without getting AF. I always spot 2 days before AF arrives so I have some pre warning. I google like crazy to see if the spotting could be implantation bleeding but just get my hopes up till the ugly AF rears her head properly and then I am completely deflated.

K is amazing at being my rock and keeping my spirits up, even though she is clearly disappointed we are not pregnant again. We also have amazing family and friends who are extremely supportive as well, although sometimes I am sure people have said things they think are well meaning and supportive but I haven’t found that the case. I am sure that it is difficult for people to know the right thing to say as in reality there isn’t anything that can be said to make me feel any better. I had been warned from a friend who has been through this process (who has two beautiful girls) to be prepared for a long journey as most people think they will get pregnant the first time they have treatment, but majority will not. I thought that it would be a journey but never imagine that it was going to be as hard, as invasive and as heartbreaking as it has been so far.

So instead I am focusing on trying not to stress about the outcome, I know deep down in my heart that we will get there. I am 8dpIUI, if all is going well my little embryo should have already have divided and be ready to implant today or tomorrow, if it is successful I hopefully will not have any spotting on Sunday and AF will not rear her unwelcome ugly head. I promise to K to try to stop going crazy over symptoms and I will try to stop checking the position of my cervix 🙂

5th IUI

So we are an old hand at the whole IUI thing but not to the whole blogging thing, so bear with me.

On Tuesday we had our 5th IUI. When we started this process and heard that we would get funding for 6 rounds of IUI and 3 rounds of IVF I never thought we would be nearing our last round of IUI and starting to think about IVF. The whole TTC journey has definitely been a emotional roller coaster.

We started this cycle with our first scan on the 1st May. Every IUI has been the same;

  • First scan day 1-4 of my AF, if my ovaries are quiet i.e. there are no cysts and to measure the lining of my endometrium. I have found that if I go in on day 1 my lining is normal thick. This could mean that I am pregnant so they always make me do a pregnancy test before starting my injections.
  • If there are no cysts then I start my injection of Fostimon. The Fostimon is used to grow the follicle.
  • I have another scan normal 7 days after the first to see how the follicles are growing. This scan also measures the lining, how many follicles are there and the size of the follicles. I continue with the same amount of Fostimon, however if I have more then 2 follicles they would drop the dose of Fostimon that I would give myself to try to reduce the number of follicles.
  • We are then back at the Homerton for another scan normally 3 days after the last. This is often day 12 to 14. This scan is again looking at how many follicles there are, the size and the thickness of the lining.
  • Once the dominant follicle is ready (size greater the 18mm) then we see the nurse to find out what time the trigger needs to be taken and when to come back for the IUI. The trigger (Gonasi)  is another injection taken that will release the egg (ovulation).
  • IUI is then done 24 hours after the trigger. IUI involves a soft catheter being inserted through my cervix,then the sperm is injected into my uterus.
  • Once the actual procedure is done, we are left alone in the room so I can keep lying flat for 10-15mins then we get up and leave to start very long 2ww.

  

 So we are 2 days post our IUI also know as 2dpIUI, in the dreaded 2ww for the 5th time. Frustratingly the nurse who did our IUI told us to do a pregnancy test in 19 days if I don’t get my AF. This is frustrating as we are told a different time to test with each IUI. I really hope this cycle is going to be successful, however I am feeling a little down that the previous 4 haven’t worked and it is hard not to be negative about this cycle. I just have to keep positive. If we were in a heterosexual  relationship our 4 goes of IUI would be equivalent to having sex 4 times to try to get pregnant, so still early days.