Monitoring Cycle

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So, we are finally getting back on the roller-coaster after a nice break away.

Last week I had my mid-cycle scan & immunes whilst my Partner gave his sperm sample for analysis.

I expected to be nervous as I was concerned my left Ovary would have another endometrioma or would be heavily scarred but instead I was strangely relaxed.

We entered the ARGC a little early and queued for reception. I filled in the wait list with my name and patient number and we took a seat in the waiting area. It wasn’t long before we were called back to reception where we were given the slips for our tests and made the payment for that days tests. We were then handed our file which had a giant floor two sign on the front.

So up we went to a little room on the second floor where one of the Doctors was waiting to do my scan.

It was the usual elegant affair, legs akimbo with the giant wand scanning my insides, finding my uterus and then each ovary in turn.

The uterus looked good, lining a healthy thickness.  The right ovary looked fine, not as cysty as I remember. Then the left. And there it was, staring back at me like a beady eye.

“There’s your dominant folical, on the left ovary” the doctor pointed out.

“I know.” I replied.

“How do you know?” She asked.

I couldn’t reply. I didn’t want to be rude or come across as a knowitall. The voice inside screaming “I can probably read these things as well as student nurse after the number of these I’ve had!!”

Instead, questions, answers, looking good.

So off we tootled, blood test slips in hand to the clinic on Harley Street.

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20 mins later, 11 viles of blood and a urine sample lighter, we went to grab some breakfast before the boyfriend gave his sample.

We arrived at the clinic on Great Portland Street a little early but it was empty so he paid and was in quickly.

What seemed an eternity later he came out. He was trying not to laugh.

He explained what had happened in the way to the tube. I can’t tell you, he’d never forgive me, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

*Insert giggling Jo here*

😉

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Metformin Month One

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Wow, hasn’t it gone quickly.

I’ve got to admit I was worried, especially when I was going to be on holiday for the first week of full dosage 3 x 500 a day. All the unpleasant side effects I’d read about…

So here’s how it went.

There may be some tmi in here so this is the warning bit.

Week 1

I started with just taking the Metformin at dinner as this is the meal I eat almost everyday without fail. All was fine. A bit of indigestion but I figured I was sleeping through most of the side effects.

Week 2

This was the tricky one. Thyroxine when I wake up. Wait an hour to take serrapeptase. Wait an hour to eat and take Metformin. So I took the Serra on the tube instead of in the office and then I could eat breakfast at work. Not a problem. The weekend however, proved tricky. I needed to make sure I ate breakfast. I’m so bad at that. I’m sure one slipped to lunch. Again, no real side effects but a bit of gas every now and again. I did notice changes in my energy levels. Less of a mid afternoon crash. My brain was less foggy for sure. In terms of my body, my skin got worse, it’s like being a teenager again. But I had increased ewcm which is a good sign.

Week 3
Original Name: PLAYA-GAVIOTAS-48341Vacation week.
I thought this would be the hard one, but, it was the easiest. I guess because we were all inclusive so meals were there, scheduled, we just had to go get them. It was really easy to remember and I made sure the gaps between the meals were even. I’ve been lucky in that the only side effects have been gas and poor skin. That said, I think the gas is to do with what I eat as sometimes there’s no side effects at all.

Week 4

This turned out to be the hardest week, getting back into routine. At work is fine but on weekends and days I work from home I’m terrible. It’s my own fault. I just don’t do breakfast. I forget. I need to make sure I don’t. It needs to be routine.

This is also the week of my first period on Metformin. It was shorter and slightly lighter. Pretty much all of the flow was on day one. I can only assume it’s my body getting used to the Metformin.

So, Month 1 is done and I’m going to keep on taking it. It’s not giving me any horrible side effects and I don’t have anything to lose.

Good job Jo. Now get some breakfast!!!

Metformin/Myo-inositol

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I can’t believe it.

My Doctor wouldn’t do it.

My Gynecologist wouldn’t do it.

My Consultant at Bourn Hall wouldn’t do it.

The ARGC however, will do it.

Yes, someone is finally helping us explore other treatment options before throwing us on the roller coaster that is IVF!

And they are the people with the most to gain by doing exactly that!

If you’ve read my previous post ‘Making the choice’ you will know that Metformin was brought up as an option in my initial consultation when discussing why I hadn’t been allowed to try other treatments such as Clomid previously.

I have ‘Lean’ PCOS. My ovaries are polycystic in appearance but my only symptom as ever been acne. My cycles are regular and the majority of my day 21 bloods have always indicated ovulation. 

So why Metformin?

Egg quality. PCOS can give you janky eggs. I have no problem developing follicles and have had twenty eggs collected on my first round of IVF. But, even though nineteen fertilized, by day five I only had six Blastocysts and only one stood out as good enough to go back in. The second time around, due to Elvis (my Endometrioma) I only got eleven eggs from my right ovary (the left was inaccessible) and even though nine fertilized I was left with five blastos and only one good enough to go back in – although the others did get better over the next day – but not good enough to freeze.  So Metformin is an option for me to improve this.

The consultant told me to go and read up on it and let her know my thoughts. So I did.

There was a wealth of information about Metformin, PCOS and TTC. There were also a wealth of women who had bad the side effects; mostly stomach related.

I also discovered a lot of literature supporting its use in treating both PCOS and Endometriosis.

Even more surprising was the evidence that is has helped many people who have previously undergone failed IVF cycles to conceive naturally.

However, I’m not one for pumping my body full of drugs for no good reason and I’ve spent the last few years getting my TSH levels down to a healthy number in the hope of coming off of Thyroxine, so adding more meds was not something I was willing to rush into.

In my search for an alternative I became aware of Myo-inositol as an alternative which was gaining a lot of support from both my peers and the medical community alike.

So, I emailed the ARGC asking which would be the best option for me given my regular cycles.

metformin-pills-featured-300x336A few days later I got a call from my Consultant. I wasn’t expecting that. A quick email from our nurse or perhaps a call was more like it. But no, my actual consultant called me. She went talked through the increasing evidence to support Myo-inositol but explained that there was still a lot of work to be done to give it medical credence. She would, of course, not discourage me from trying it if it was something I wanted to try, but in my case, Metformin was the better option given it’s proven medical status in treating PCOS the growing evidence for using it as a treatment for Endometriosis.

Even better? She could write my prescription today and I could collect it or they would post it. Better still? I could get my Dr to prescribe it for my so I could get it for free using my NHS card.

Now, here’s the thing; I don’t ‘need’ this medicine like I ‘need’ my Thyroxine. It is my choice to take it so why should the NHS pay for it?

So I asked if she would mind writing the prescription and that I would collect it later. Not a problem, she would write me a months worth so if I decided to go to my Dr for future prescriptions it wouldn’t be a problem. Fantastic.

So here I sit on the train, my prescription in my bag waiting to be filled.

The only question?

Is today’s Jo the last Jo in a while who won’t be feeling sick everyday for the foreseeable future?

Making the Choice

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I knew choosing a fertility clinic this time round would be harder. And it was. Until I visited them, until WE visited them.

Deciding on the fertility clinic for our NHS cycles was easy. We didn’t really know a lot about the process. I was still a teacher at the time so it had to be nearby, within an hour of school. The list was short so I picked the one with the best success rates, luckily it also had a satellite clinic close to home. The right choice for me at the time? Yes. Retrospectively? No.

It says a lot that we have ever even considered going back to them. It didn’t even occur to us.

This time it’s costing us money. This time we are being picky. This time we know what we want. This time we are going to get it. We have 2 years of experience and failed cycles behind us. This time it has to work.

So, after much research online, blogs, forums and the HFEA website, I narrowed it down to the ARGC or the CRGH.
The reviews for both are mixed.

The ARGC has the highest success rates but there is speculation the results are manipulated. It is called IVF boot camp. It can be exceptionally expensive.

Success is important but how much is it worth?

The CRGH. Another good set of results. More relaxed but impersonal and cold.

Relaxing is important but how much is support and kindness worth?

Would the money matter? It always seems to be about the money. IVF is VERY expensive.

We needed to make an informed decision. We don’t get a refund.

We had to see them both for ourselves.

Open evenings were the first thing we considered but the ARGC don’t do them and the one at the CRGH on the evening I was free was full. We figured it was probably just a marketing pitch, being the cynics  that we are and decided to move straight to consultations.

The ARGC charge for the first consultation and need your medical history and bloods before they will see you. But, they were more than happy for our Doctor to do the bloods, as long as they were stamped and signed, which is understandable. We are very lucky to have a Doctor who was happy to arrange these. I wondered if the effort and fee were a way of hooking us in.

The CRGH offer a free 15 min consultation for perspective ‘patients’. No brainer. No bloods or history needed. Again, free, a hook.

The wait for the ARGC was a couple of weeks but because of work commitments, and that I was getting Day 3 bloods in advance, I scheduled it for a month or so later so I would have our results.

The wait for the CRGH was the same but as there were no tests in advance so we ended up here first.

DKxHeCt3When we walked in the CRGH there was no atmosphere. It was clinical. The receptionist was a young gentleman who told us to take a seat. Whilst we were waiting a woman came to reception to book a day three scan and blood test. She asked now much it would be and the receptionist told her he didn’t know and she would have to speak to accounts. I wondered how he could not know. It’s good customer service to be informed, helpful and kind. The basics. She tried to book it and he told her she should have a consult first. She rightfully stated that would be a waste of time and money as she would then need a follow-up, costing more, and she wouldn’t have the results the consultant said he needed all of five minutes ago. The receptionist replied by saying that she was just saying that because she’d had her free consultation and the Dr had told her that, like she was taking advantage of the clinic. She said no, it was because it made sense, which is true, but the consultant had told her that and she should have stuck to her guns. They continued to discuss this and at one point he even rattled off the price he said he didn’t know! The receptionist basically made it a fifteen minute battle for her to book her appointment. I certainly wouldn’t have persisted. I know where I would have told him to stick it. Not a very good first impression at all!

Eventually my name was called and the receptionist told me where to go, three times, even repeating it when my partner was asking me a question, talking over him, despite the fact I had acknowledged what he had said.

No problem. It’s just a receptionist. It’s the Doctors that matter. That said, goodness knows how much business that guy is costing them!

Sitting in a corner of the waiting area, outside one of the consult rooms, we could hear the Doctor talking to someone… about the last patient he saw… and he wasn’t saying nice things either. Yes, let me be clear. We were sitting outside a Doctors office and could hear him on the phone saying unkind things about the patient who just left. Kind? No? Professional? No? Adhering to Doctor/Patient confidentiality? Erm, No.

Then he called us in. I don’t even recall how long we had waited listening to him on the phone but it was easily twenty minutes, twenty minutes of our time waiting when we should have been in and out. That’s disrespectful. His time is no more precious than ours, keeping us anxiously waiting.

A brief introduction and he was quickly taking our information and medical history. Identifying what he thought was the problem and telling us what we needed. Exactly the same as the lady before. Day 3 bloods, an AMH test and scan. We’d were to then book a consult with him once these had been done.

Sound familiar?

He asked if we had any questions and when my partner asked about finding the problem and treating it and trying naturally for a few months he was dismissed and told there was no point and we should just do IVF again as soon as possible. Thanks very much, see you later. In and out.

Cold? Yes. Rushed? Yes. Informative? No. Helpful? Very. Did I book that appointment? Hell no.

Cold and impersonal was an understatement.

Would it matter if they got me pregnant? Would it matter if they were cheaper than the ARGC?

We honestly didn’t know. We knew our friends had succeeded with them so why not us.

Was money that important?

screen shot 2014-08-26 at 185540Next was our appointment at the ARGC. We had our test results. The clinic was happy to work around these, rescheduling our consult to suit. They gave us everything we needed to get the tests done and replied to emails quickly. They called a few days to confirm. Nothing was too much to ask. We said we didn’t want a sperm test the day of our consult as it wasn’t good timing. Abstinence was not an option. Every month counts. They totally understood and made it clear this meant it would cost a bit more down the line. That was fine. It was bad timing and we didn’t want to commit before checking them out. I appreciated the transparency.

I dropped our medical records off a week or so before our appointment. I found the building (Victorian) with its high ceilings, beautiful, but you knew it was a medical facility. Still, it felt welcoming. The receptionists were as kind in person; checking  my information was correct on their system they proceeded to label my documents thoroughly.

A week later I had our results scanned by the lovely receptionist at our doctors (who went out of her way to do it)  and sent to me so I could forward them on to the ARGC as I didn’t have time to drop them off. Of course I was worried, but again, not a problem, as long as I bought the hard copies to our appointment.

Even though they seemed nice I was in doubt as to if this consult was going to be a waste of money if the treatments were going to be so much more expensive than the CRGH. At one point my partner and I  talked ourselves out of going at all. We couldn’t afford it if it was as much as some forums led us to believe.

Let’s not bother and just go to the CRGH. Let’s not bother doing either. Let’s adopt.

Doubt, bad experiences and fear screaming in our heads at the same time, neither one of us in the right frame of mind to pick the other up. But we stuck to the plan. We’d paid our deposit. We’d committed. We weren’t going to tap out, we’re stubborn. We fight.

The question was the same regardless. Hedge our bets and go for the cheaper, relaxed, option or give it everything, once, no matter the cost?

On the morning of the appointment we have an appointment with a mortgage broker, exploring ways to fund this potential adventure. It finishes two hours before our appointment at the ARGC. Plenty of time to get to London and grab a quick lunch… unless of course, you get to the train station, park up and pay only to find out your trains are subject to cancellations and delays of up to 60mins because of a person under a train! We run back to the car and drive 30mins to another station on another line, closer to London, only to find the station car park full! Thank goodness I know my way around the area and am able to find a space in a nearby street quickly. We just miss a train. We are going to be late.

Maybe we should just not go? Maybe the world is trying to tell us something?

But still we go.

Grabbing crisps from the station shop we head to the underground and walked to the clinic on Devonshire Close. There’s no-one there. And breathe. Maybe they’re on lunch? And breathe.  I call the main reception to be told all appointments have been moved to the Wimpole Street building.

A short walk and we arrive. I can breathe. We make ourselves known, take a seat and complete our paperwork. We quickly relax. Again we wait but it’s not a problem. We aren’t the only ones and there are magazines aplenty and a tv to distract us, although our phones do a pretty good job of that anyway.

Soon we were greeted by a female consultant dressed in scrubs who took us to a cozy but spacious room a few floors up.

The consultant had clearly taken the time to read our notes. She double checked our medical records and talked through our notes. She addressed my concerns about my blood tests and was very happy with them.  We talked about our previous cycles and my endometriosis. She explained why the decisions which were made were probably made, and agreed these should have been talked through with me at the time rather than just ‘happening’ to me. Examining our previous treatment and outcomes she explained where it was likely the problem would be; egg or sperm quality or, given our good quality embies in previous rounds, implantation. She talked about our options, what tests she thought were necessary, what was unnecessary and was very clear about the controversy surrounding Immune issues and NK Cells and asked us to read up on it so we could make an informed decision, their paperwork providing links to reading resources.

I asked why we were going straight to IVF again and why I had never been given Clomid. She explained that it would be of no benefit as I have a regular cycle. Elaborating on this, she explained another option for me to consider would be metformin as it can help with insulin resistance, heavily linked to PCOS and that it may also be of benefit given diabetes runs in my family. In addition, there is evidence it can improve egg quality and couples have conceived naturally on this whilst going through the IVF process. She warned me it can have bad side effects and if I decided to give it a try I would need to up my dose very slowly to avoid these. Again, I was told do some research on it and let them know if it was something I wanted to pursue.

My partner then asked the same question before about the chances of us conceiving naturally. The consultant explained there was always a chance and whilst we were preparing for IVF, things like the Metformin or Immune treatments (if we chose it) would be treating the problems as soon as we started them so the chances would increase as these issues were eliminated.

After checking we were happy she talked to us about the monitoring cycle and how to go about getting the tests we needed in order to start our journey if we decided we were going to move forward with IVF. Again we were told which we could go to our Dr for and which we needed to have done at the clinic.

We explained that we would be away during the ovulatory period in my next cycle so if we went ahead our monitoring cycle would have to be in October. The consultant said we should do it when we were ready.

She went through the vitamins and supplements we were taking and gave us a few more to take to improve egg and sperm quality. The comprehensive list is:

Me: Pregnacare for women, Omega 3 (DHA&EPA), CoQ10 (I take Ubiquinol which is more effective), vitamin D and B12

Man: Pregnacare for men, Omega 3, CoQ10, additional vitamin C 1000ui & additional vitamin E 800ui

There was never any assumption we would proceed with our treatment at the ARGC. There was no pressure to get our tests done there or have unscientifically proven treatments.

Cold? No, Rushed? No. Informative? Yes. Helpful? Very.

475853399I had my preference but what did my partner think? I didn’t say anything to give him time to process but he brought it up sooner than I thought he would. On the walk back to the tube in fact. Asking me what I thought, I didn’t say, I didn’t want to influence him. I wanted to know what he thought. So I asked him back.

He found it more relaxed and informative. He liked the consultant and that we could get most of our tests done at the doctors. We were both still worried about money, and still are, but the contrast between the clinics was clear, our choice was clear, certainly for my partner who made up his mind about the clinics quicker than he makes up his mind about what to have for dinner!

We had both decided. The ARGC was the choice for us.

Of course, this is just our experience of these clinics and I know other people have very different impressions to share about these clinics, both good and bad.

If you are looking to this blog for guidance you are already heading in the right direction by doing your research.

My advice is to go visit the clinics you are considering yourself, even if it costs a bit of money. A few hundred pounds at the beginning of your journey to find the clinic for you is still cheaper than ending up at the wrong clinic later down the road when it’s too late to turn back.

Everyone is looking for something different from a clinic and only you will know what that is, even if it’s not until you find it.

Everyone talks about getting a ‘gut feeling’. I don’t know if that’s a thing but I did know which clinic to go to as soon as I had been there. I knew which one we were going to choose  before that but I can’t say how I knew. Perhaps my subconscious had already worked out what we wanted and which would offer what we needed.

What I do know is that I feel more comfortable with the ARGC than I ever felt with my NHS choice. I also know I never do things by halves. I’m all in. So it makes sense I would choose a clinic with the same approach to IVF as I take with life.

So indecisive Jo, off you go, we know where we’re heading now.

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The confusion in the blood. 

Tonights Jo is confused. 

#Bones #Brennan
Her bloods are confusing.
LH 3.2, FSH 6.2, estradiol 185, Prolactin 81. 

So elevated oestrogen and prolactin, yet still better than in 2014 when oestrogen was 700+ and prolactin was 120+. 

What does it mean?
Oestrogen? Is it suppressing the FSH? She doesn’t think so. Her AMH has always been great. A welcome side effect of PCOS. She’s guessing it’s her lovely Endo doing it’s Endo thing and causing estrogen dominance.

Prolactin? Does she have a pituitary tumour? Probably not. Is it her hypothyroid? Possibly, although TSH is finally an awesome 1.8, under 2 at last. It’s only taken three years! She’s guessing it’s a functioning cyst courtesy of the PCOS.

Of course these conclusions didn’t come easy. But, she is good at guessing, informed guessing at least (don’t ask her to guess the winning horse in a race – she’d be wrong!).

Emotions are all over the place, up and down. The rollercoaster that is infertility. 

At first joy. TSH, LH and FSH all good.

Then, utter disappointment. Oestrogen too high, prolactin to high. First thought; Poor egg reserve and poor egg quality. 

Distraught.

Then google. Remembering what she’s read, remembering what she’s learnt these past four years, remembering the new information. Putting it together.

If her LH is low then are her cysts even back? It should be high if they are, but she’s ovulating according to her cycle, regular, 28 -30 days. What is going on? Is she pre-menopausal. She is old now. What if She does have a tumour, that would explain all her squiffy hormones…

This will be the state of her brain for the next few days, perhaps a week.

Only a fertility Dr can piece this together, good job she’s seeing one next week.

But is it worth it if her eggs are poor? Are they poor? The results are still a million times better than before. She got good eggs before, they should be even better now right?

This Jo doesn’t know. She just googles too much and tries to learn as much as she can to inform herself and piece it all together. Hopefully she gets to say I told you so, she usually does.

But until next week, this confused Jo will stay confused.

**Update**

All is good. Jo is happy. The consultant was very happy with my bloods and said everything is looking very good. Horrraayy!!

It doesn’t come easy…

Talking about my struggles with fertility doesn’t come easy.

We are 4 years down the line.

I’ve been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, PCOS and finally, after 2 failed rounds of IVF, Endometriosis.

Remembering our journey doesn’t come easy. 

It’s filled with ups and downs, hope and despair, successes and ultimately failures.

It’s a year since my surgery to remove a 5cm endometrioma (discovered on first scan of 2nd round of IVF – too late to cancel), legions and scar tissue and to put my organs back to where they were supposed to be. Yet my Dr says he saw no active endometriosis during surgery and the scaring was all on my left side. We don’t know when I had it and when it ceased being active. When did I fix myself? 

Am I fixed?

I had hoped surgery would fix our problem, but here we are, a year later and not even a hint of a bfp. 

Letting go doesn’t come easy.

I thought we were done. 

This year was supposed to be about me, getting my health back, getting myself back, an old me becoming a new me.

I’d tried to put all of this behind me. To move on. To let go.

And I think I did it.

People announcing pregnancies stopped bothering me. My heart stopped being ripped in two when I saw newborns. I stopped keeping track of cycles, worrying about what I was eating and drinking, indulging in whatever I liked, dairy, pics, gluten, alcohol, Endo, Thyroid, don’t care, pass the pasta and procecco.

Then it happened…

Saying this doesn’t come easy.

The day after seeing our friends, who successfully had IVF last year and have the most gorgeous baby to show for it, Mr M said ‘Shall we book an appointment then?’ 

It took me a minute to register what he said. 

I was stunned. No fluttering heart, no sickness in my stomach, no excitement or hope.

Deflation.

‘Really?’ ‘Are you sure’ 

I’d let go. I was done. I was apprehensive about going through it all again. Could I be bothered? Did I want to put myself through all of that again? Put my body through all of that again? I’d convinced myself having a child would be expensive, inconvenient and a lot of effort. I even ran this through with Mr M, almost trying to talk him out of it. 
But we’ve wanted this for so long…

It’s not easy getting back on this rollercoaster…

Small steps, deep breaths, don’t dare to hope, don’t dare to dream… Reach for the sky and wait to come crashing down again. Enjoy the twists, embrace the turns. It doesn’t last long and you can get off in the end… or can you?

Infertility… there’s nothing easy about it.

The Mother’s Story


She wasn’t there for the longest time, the mother in me. She hid in the shadows, filled with fear. The pill bought her the security she needed when she knew it wasn’t her time…

I didn’t want kids. I was a career woman, perfectly content perusing my dreams, and not doing a bad job of it either.

Then I met my partner. He didn’t think he could have children (let’s just say he’s accident prone). He told me early on in our relationship and it was never a problem. 

Then, a year or so later we decided, what the hell, why not, let’s give it a go, see what happens. We made a plan. I was to give up my successful career working behind the scenes in tv and retrain as a teacher. The London commute wasn’t something we felt would work well with little people on our hands. We would renovate our flat and buy a nice home with a big garden.

And so it was. A year later I was qualified and my pill was binned. We moved soon after.

School was stressful. My health deteriorated. I knew something was wrong. After we moved we registered with a new Doctor who immediately sent me for blood tests. Hypothyroid. Excellent, a reason for not getting pregnant. We’d been trying for almost a year. My Doctor is thorough. ‘Best send you for more checks to make sure  you’re okay and no damage has been done.’

 Another year. That’s how long it took. Scans and X-rays and blood tests. Temping, ovulation kits, herbs, vitamins and Accupuncture featured in between. I’d worked out I was estrogen dominant but my Doctor simply said something along the lines of… ‘Everything looks okay, your progesterone is inconsistent but not a problem. However, your partners sperm isn’t it’s best. IVF for you.’ I knew it!

How could I be a teacher, have this much stress in my life and have successful IVF? Surrounded by children all day. Greeting parents in the playground. Dealing with social services and the parents who couldn’t parent. Why did they get to have children and I didn’t? Insert childish ‘it’s not fair strop here!’ That wasn’t going to happen. I kept saying I was going to leave, as much as I didn’t want to I knew I had to. 

We had chosen our clinic and I had our referral.  Randomly one day, it hit me. It was real. It was happening. That’s when I did it. One sunny day in January. I was to leave at Easter. As much as they wanted me to stay, tried to convince me to stay. I couldn’t. I would be leaving the teacher in me behind.

Back to tv I went. The relief was immense. The commute didn’t matter anymore, my health did. The flexibility of my job and the autonomy to work to my own schedule (within reason) with the trust I would get my tasks done was a relief. I didn’t have to tell anyone what was going on. I just got on with doing my job…

And the IVF! 

We had our first round that spring but it was unsuccessful despite excellent egg retrieval numbers (20) fertilisation numbers (16) and good quaility embryos (4bc). But there were things which signalled trouble, that should have been addressed (Elvis) but weren’t…

Work was intense and I was loving it so we took a break from ttc and I went back on the pill for a couple of months whilst we were filming. 

Come January I was staff again and was to enjoy the security of a permenant job and all the benefits the come along with, like maternity leave. That was the green flag I needed to try again.

The second round of IVF went well but reflecting back should have gone very differently . Elvis had moved in and my left ovary was struggling. He was a result of a more complex internal disease that should have been delt with previously…. Endometriosis. Discovering his size was too little (or in his case big) too late as I’d already started my stims. There was no going back. Despite his presence the right ovary did well and we still got a good number of eggs (11) despite not being able to reach those on the left as Elvis blocked he way. 9 of these fertilised but my little 3bb didn’t stick.

Our IVF journey was over.

Now it was time to deal with Elvis. He had to be evicted. My fertility clinic had to refer me back to my Doctor who had to refer me back to my gynocologyst who would then do further tests and a surgery. By July Elvis had left the building and I was left to unpick everything that had happened. To analyse and doubt my decisions. To question my choice of clinic, my treatment and fight for my justice, for my right to be a mother. 

I learnt the hard way to question Doctors, to analyse their every choice. To ask for what I wanted. But now I do.

Now I am on my own. Making myself better. 

I sometimes wonder if it was written in the stars, my battle. A fate for me sealed at a very young age. 

My mother, who judged my neighbours when I was a child because they needed IVF, back when it was new, said something horrible about it. What I don’t recall. But I remember thinking, even at such a young age, that I would too ‘now you’ve said that!’

Then I forgot. Until ‘Maybe Baby’ which I watched at the cinema. Sitting there thinking ‘I’m going to have to jab myself with needles if I want kids. I can’t be dealing with that.’ I think that’s when I decided I didn’t want them.

Fast forward a decade or so. The pill is in the bin and ‘if we don’t do it this month we’ll never get pregnant!’ Did my own words curse me? Did I cast some kind of spell on myself? Did I ‘just know?’

Was she hiding in fear, the mother in me? Not fear of having children but of not having them. Was that why I didn’t want them? Because she knew we could never have them?

There are other ways I know and who knows what is to come. 

I don’t know if my journey is over. It may only just have begun.

All I know is whenever I try to leave the mother behind, when I think I have, she is still there, doing what all good mothers do, watching and waiting for when she is needed.