Back to Square One

As I sit here today, sick to my stomach, waiting on my blood results I look back over the last six weeks and I honestly don’t know what end of me is up. I feel like giving up and over the last week or two have decided on an end date. It’s not set in stone, but something has to give. Feeling sick, not sleeping, nauseous with worry, having anxiety attacks; it’s no way to live. It’s not fair on my heart or my head, or my poor stomach.

After Nathan got better in April I was coming up to ovulation. My mucus started to appear and I had a perfect score for April. I was optimistic and excited because last month’s results were so good, with progesterone of 50. I took all my meds and injection as I was supposed to and went for my bloods on peak plus 7. Two days later I got my results. My oestrogen was fine at 500+ but my progesterone had plummeted to 25. This means I didn’t ovulated and thinking about it more, I am on progesterone top ups every month so therefore my real result would have been much lower than this again. I felt like I was back at square one and that the last couple of months taking medication was for nothing.

What more can I do, how much more of me can I give. My whole life is consumed by infertility. I can’t get away from it. Sometimes I have outer body experiences and look down at my tired broken self and wonder is it worth it. Every month when I get bad news something dies inside of me. I can’t forget about it, I can’t just try and relax or enjoy myself as I am constantly tracking each day of my cycle. My stomach is always bloated, my moods swing all month with the hormones. I am trying to remain grounded and keep my crazy for Sean but that doesn’t always work. I just keep asking myself – WHY ME, WHY NOW??

I got the results in work on a Wednesday afternoon at the end of April and to say I was broken is an understatement. I was in the office on my own thank god, as I broke down. I thought the day would never be over. I had to pull myself together in work but once I got in the car, I broke down again. I cried all the way home, big elephant size tears, I was drowned, my sunglasses kept sliding off my face. I had to pick the kids up from the childminder and I looked terrible. I tried to disguise my upset but when she asked me if I had a headache I broke down again.

The rest of the day was a blur and I took to the bed, typical Irish person, but sometimes its essential. I had no choice, I couldn’t be social able or pleasant, I just needed to process. When I get upset or anxious I have to keep occupied, I can’t sit because my thoughts consume me. So, for the days to follow I started to paint, I painted all the new fences out the back, all three coats. I power hosed and planted up a storm. Then I moved onto the front of the house and started painting all my flower boxes and arranged to have the house painted. I had to put my energy into something other than me.

I got my periods the May Bank Holiday weekend, I knew they were coming so on the Saturday night I enjoyed a few glasses of wine in my parents’ house for my sisters going away party. She moved to London to start her career and I couldn’t be prouder of her. She had an early start on the Sunday morning so it was early home for everyone. When I got home, Sean was going next door to watch a fight, so I grabbed one of the girls and we had a few drinks and a chat while the fight was on.  It was well needed and I enjoyed relaxing for a few hours. The next day was a write off. Sean was very understanding, I wasn’t hungover, I was exhausted. My bones couldn’t hold me. I got up for breakfast and went back to bed. The boys had a birthday party so Sean brought them and left me alone for the day. I got up while they were gone and cleaned up and did some washing, but it was straight back to bed for me. It was a day of rest I needed and when I got up on Monday morning my periods came.

I made a conscious effort to eat healthily, when I could. I went to see a dietician for meal ideas but I honestly didn’t find it any good. The suggestions were a lot of food I didn’t like, I know you are meant to try new things but I am 32 and I know what tastes I enjoy. I felt the meeting was more geared to exercise and he told me that I needed to be active 7 days a week. I explained that I have two kids and that this is an un-realistic expectation, but I felt like he was patronising me telling me that if I really wanted to I would and that I need to set myself an exercise goal and that should motivate me. I wasn’t there for exercise advise and nor was I really interested. The whole idea was to get suggestion of foods and meals so that I could avoid mainly dairy and wheat as they have been found to be fertility blockers. I was really disappointed with the meeting and felt it was €80.00 wasted. To top it off the meeting was Friday morning and he didn’t send me my meal plans until late Sunday night. I’m sure all of you who have young children know the stress of bringing them to the supermarket. I try avoiding it at all costs, so my window of getting to the shops that week was gone.

I decided to buy loads of the Paleo Ireland meals and cut carbs out completely, bar rice. I don’t know whether it was stress or the change of diet but my stomach got very sick. I had chronic diarrhoea for days and the pains in my stomach got so bad that I thought it was appendicitis. At this stage, it was time for me to take sight of the situation and deal with what had happened – how I was feeling and to breath for 5 minutes. It’s when you stop for a minute your brain kicks back in and what your avoiding comes to the surface.

I called the Gynaecologists office and requested follicle tracking for this month. I needed to know what was happening in my body and which side was active this month. I strongly believe that it was my left side in April and that’s why I didn’t ovulate. I also called the hospital to find out when I was scheduled in for a DandC and Laparoscopy. I had to take action. Follicle tracking was organised for Day 9 of my cycle, unfortunately my right side could not be seen due to having a distended bowel. This was as a result of being so sick. There were 2 x 11mm follicles in my left ovary and on day 12 this increased to 4 x 11mm and 1 x 9mm. Between Days 9 and 12 was when I made the decision to put a date on it. Not an exact date but a month. I had to create a finish line for my sanity.

On Day 12 my right ovary could barely be made out, after what seemed like half an hour of searching, a shadowed sight appeared and I had a follicle of approximately 18mm. It could have been bigger but with the restricted view, we couldn’t be sure. I also had a positive LH surge on my ovulation kit that morning.

I phoned the clinic with the results and they suggested that I take the HCG injection the following night. Following their orders, I did just that. I arranged with my fertility advisor to administer the injection and I was back to hoping again. This month my progesterone intake was increased. As well as the pessary’s. I also had to take three extra injections of HCG at a lower dose on Peak +3, 5 and 7. I didn’t want to impose on my fertility advisor on all of these days so I asked my sister to give them to me. She seemed way to happy to inflict pain (only kidding), she was happy to help.

On Peak +3 we were both standing in my kitchen, I knew how to mix the liquid with the powder and get the needle ready for her, but there was no way in hell I was doing it to myself. I gave her the needle and I knew she was nervous too. I told her what she needed to do and when she approached me with the needle I reversed. Instinct 😊!!! Eventually we pulled ourselves together and the injection was administered. It was fine. It doesn’t hurt going in but it stings when the liquid is pushed in and I think it has something to do with applying pressure to the needle as you push it in. All over and Peak plus 5 and 7 to look forward to.

I was given a date at the end of June for my procedure, which means I will have another full cycle before then. My understanding with a DandC I will have to wait a month or two to try again as I will have no lining on my womb. With no lining, an embryo would not be able to implant and if it did, there is risk of miscarrying. So, in my head, July and August are out.  I made the decision to enjoy my summer with the boys and Sean. No point investing my energy into a lost cause – once I have given it two cycles we can try again. Giving us time to reflect on what’s important and all the emotional torture we have been through for the last two and a half years.

On a plus note the house is looking great. I have put so much energy into getting it looking good we are nearly there …………………………………

To be continued

Kids Come First

April was a new month; my positivity was oozing. I was so excited. Then reality hits and these things that consume you don’t seem so important anymore when your child gets sick. Easter was approaching and the kids were bursting with excitement. The thoughts of all those Easter eggs. On the Thursday before the Easter holidays I collected Nathan from my Mam’s as normal. He was complaining of a headache and was very sheepish when I picked him up. In the ten minutes, it took me to drive home he couldn’t open his eyes as the light was hurting him. I told him to go straight upstairs when we got home and go to bed.

Nathan is not a child to give in easily, there is always a row in the evenings when it is time for him to come in off the road and get ready for bed so for him to get out of the car that evening, go straight upstairs, close his shutters and get into bed was so unusual. He got into bed fully clothed with his shoes on and by the time I had unloaded the car and got into the house his temperature had soared and he was shaking in the bed. I helped take his shoes off and gave him some calpol to try get his temperature down. All the while he was crying cause the door was slightly ajar so I could see what I was doing. He fell asleep soon afterwards and I checked on him occasionally.

Sean came home at 6ish and I filled him in, I had an appointment in Portlaoise so I rushed off, keeping in contact with him over the phone to get updates on Nathan. My appointment lasted an hour or so and when I got back to the car I saw a missed called from Sean. Nathan had woken up and got sick and he was still very hot. I knew in my gut when I saw the call that Nathan had been sick, I could just feel it. I was home soon after that and checked on him. As Sean was filling me in we could hear someone up and Nathan had stumbled into the bathroom and was crying because of the light, trying to go to the toilet. He was very disorientated and wobbly on his feet. I helped him get back into bed and gave him some Neurofen to help with his temperature.

After I settled him I called the VHI 24-hour nurse-line. I went through all his symptoms and she stopped me and said, “Mammy you need to bring him straight to A&E”. I knew I would have to, but sometimes you need a professional’s opinion to let you know you’re not overreacting. Poor Nathan, I had to get him out of bed and into the car, trying to keep his eyes covered at all times. The drive to Portlaoise in the dark must have helped him or the medicine must have kicked in because when we got to Portlaoise he had cooled down and cheered up a bit. It’s always the way when you bring your kids to the doctors they make a liar out of you. I remember as a child myself being very sick and lying in Mammy’s bed. It was late at night and before the Midoc and out of hours Doctor’s services that are available these days. Mam called our doctor at the time as she must have been worried about me and he came out to the house. When he was gone, I can remember her giving out, messing, that all I did was smile when the doctor was there and made her feel like a liar. Ooops!

Anyway, back to Nathan, we had to check in downstairs and I swear the receptionist thought I was a hypochondriac. She let us in and we made our way upstairs. It was 10ish and there were two babies ahead of us. Nathan was wrecked so he fell asleep on the couch, thank god, he did as we were waiting hours before we even got seen. I couldn’t understand the wait with only two ahead. While we were waiting a couple with a seven-week-old baby came in. Baby was crying and Mam was too, on and off. Baby had been crying all day and they were worried about him. They had forgotten to bring any bottles with them, probably not knowing how long you can be held up as it was their first. A nurse went to get them a bottle to feed him to see if that would help with the crying. As she was gone to get it, Mam was getting very frustrated and started to cry again. I really felt for her, as I know how it feels not knowing what to do to help your baby and then the guilt of feeling that you are doing something wrong.

The nurse came with the bottle and baby started to drink it. However, the teeth were too big and he was gulping. I was sitting there and I could hear him filling with wind as he gulped and his poor tummy was rumbling. I was toying with the idea of saying something, will I, won’t I. Well I did. He was crying as he drank and it was obviously so uncomfortable for him. I had to interrupt and I just explained that he was filling with air and that he was going to be in a lot of pain, the teeth were too big. She agreed and decided to fly home to get him his own bottle. I think she needed the break.

While she was gone, I offered to take the baby from her husband, I really just wanted a cuddle for myself 😊 He was so cute and tiny. Poor pet had colic and was full of air. As I held him in my arms and rubbed his back he got up loads of wind. He eventually settled and drifted off to sleep. As he was quite I was talking to the dad and subtly tried to tell him to keep an eye on his wife as she seemed to be struggling. I knew her pain, I suffered through it, and getting on top of it early and getting support and help from your loved ones is so important. He seemed like a really nice and genuine guy and was all about his wife, which was lovely to see. But something he said shocked me. I mentioned Post Natal Depression and that I had suffered with it after my boys and he said that people are talking about it too much, its everywhere. He said that people are too quick to jump to it and that in his case his wife just needed her Mam and she would be ok. He didn’t have an attitude, he was just matter of fact and that’s what he thought. It threw me really, as the whole problem is women don’t talk about it as much as they should and they suffer in silence until the problem consumes them. It needs to be more acceptable to talk about and to ask for help.

Besides that, he was a lovely guy and was asking me all about Nathan and was very kind and polite. When his wife came back, the Doctor happened to call me at the same time. Nathan was still asleep so I told them to go ahead first, they were worried and distraught and Nathan’s symptoms had subsided to an extent. They happily took the offer and we were called soon afterwards.

I went through all of Nathan’s symptoms with the doctor and he felt it was important to get a sample of Nathan’s blood to test. Poor Nathan doesn’t do pain, bit like his Daddy. I had to restrain him while they inserted the cannula. He is so dramatic at the best of times and was sweating and screaming at the thoughts of the inserting the needle. He also needs to know exactly what is happening at all time and needs to watch so that didn’t help matters. I remember about a year ago he got a splinter in his finger. It was hurting him and he wanted it out. That day will be engrained into my memory forever. I sat him on the kitchen counter and although he wanted it out, he didn’t want me to look at it, let alone touch it. That was proving to be difficult because without super powers I wasn’t going to be able to get it out. He screamed and shouting and sweated for a solid hour. He jumped down off the counter so many times and pulled his hand out of mine every time I was close to getting it out. Two people called to the door that evening to what I am sure they thought was a torture house. I was shouting at him to stay still, he was shouting at me to take it out, don’t touch, stop, ouch it hurts and then Sean was there trying to calm us both down. It was like a comedy show on TV.

So, you can only imagine what he was like when they were trying to put the cannula in. They got it in eventually. He is allergic to the numbing cream so they used a spray, but even that wasn’t welcomed. They took a sample of his blood and told us to wait in the waiting room until the results came in. At this stage I was getting tired and so was he. I thought they were going to send us home as he wasn’t symptomatic anymore. The couple with the baby came out while we were waiting and they were given the all clear with baby. He had colic and that’s why he was screaming all day. I suggested they get him tested for intolerance to dairy and also look for some alternative remedies that might help him. As they left the doctor approached me and took me by surprise. He told me Nathan’s white blood cell count was alarmingly high and they were admitting him. They were worried about Meningitis and wanted to get him on very strong antibiotics asap.

I called Sean to tell him and asked that he get some clothes ready for us. Then I called Daddy to see if he would bring them over. I felt terrible as it was 3am before we got admitted so he had to get out of bed. Sean fell back to sleep, the big dope 😊 I had to ring him again to wake him up. Once Dad had gone I was able to lie down on the extra comfortable chair bed and close my eyes for a while. On the rounds the next morning the doctors explained that they were worried about meningitis and that they wanted to send bloods to Temple Street and run their own bloods cultures. They also wanted to do a lumbar puncture – I said no, not unless it was completely necessary and wanted to wait for the blood results first. Nathan was spiking a temperature for a few hours but it was soon controlled with medication and the nurses were in every few hours to administer antibiotics into his cannula.

Its gas, kids are so funny. Nathan was upset as he was missing his last day of school – seriously! It was more like missing out on the party in school. He had loads of visitors that day and was delighted with all the match attacks he got, spoilt rotten. The boredom was starting to set in and he was in isolation so couldn’t leave his room. Either could I as he didn’t want to let me out of his sight. When Dad came over late I ran out when he was going to get something to eat and left Nathan with Sean. When I got back he was asleep and I followed soon afterwards. The next morning when he woke up he was as bright as a button and that was heightened when Nanny arrived with the white and grey united kit. He was made up. Had to get dressed straight away. He was running around the room and dancing. After Nanny left for work we got some breakfast and he wolfed it down. All we needed now was the doctors to come around to discharge us, we had cabin fever.

The night before we got the all clear for meningitis. I had to chase them for the results as no one told us. With those results and the fact that Nathan hadn’t spiked a temperature since the day before and he was in flying form, I wanted to go home and keep an eye on him myself. He didn’t need round the clock medical attention anymore. The doctor came in and he was lovely. He got Nathan to do some jumps and tests and Nathan was loving the attention. He had young kids himself and was chatting football with Nathan as he was all kitted out. I asked for him to be discharged and eventually got around him. They wanted us to stay for the week, but I had Jacob to think of, my job and also Nathan’s sanity. He wasn’t feeling sick anymore, if he was I would be the first to stay. They let us home on the condition that we came back daily for IV antibiotics and therefore the cannula had to stay in. It was a compromise we could accept.

Nathan was delighted to get out and he strolled out on top of the world. He insisted on going straight to the barbers to get his hair cut. He’s gas. Dad met us there with Jacob and he was thrilled to see us both. It was a beautiful day and Nathan was glad to get home to his own house and see his friends outside. He sat on the bench first talking to them and he even snuck in some football.

The next few days we went back to the hospital each day for IV antibiotics. After a few days though his fingers were very cold and his arm too. He was uncomfortable and had pins and needles. I called the hospital and they said they would probably have to redo the cannula in the order hand when he came in the next day. That was not the case. They removed it completely and he was reassessed. The doctor had a team of student doctors with him and nurses and on review of Nathan’s file wanted to re-admit him. I refused, he was only covering himself I think and we negotiated to get oral antibiotics instead. We were free, Nathan was thrilled. He had to get repeat bloods the following week but besides that he could start enjoying his Easter holidays.

We never found out exactly what was wrong with him but was glad it didn’t manifest into something serious. With all this going on you can only imagine I completely forgot about myself. I didn’t get a chance to arrange follicle tracking and I sure wasn’t thinking about ovulation. Luckily I was only at the beginning of my cycle and didn’t miss any of the important days…………………………….

To be continued

March – The Month of Many Weathers

I started into March down in the dumps and just heartbroken. But as I said before I had to pick myself up and look forward to the next month. I think a positive attitude helps things along. I started my new cycle on March 2nd and on day three and four I took my fermara x 5 on each day. I called the OBGYN to arrange follicle tracking for day 9. This has become so important to me as it helps me understand what is happening inside. How my body is responding to the hormones and if this month is looking good. Well it was all good news this month with my results, things were looking up. But don’t get too excited – no pregnancy yet.

On Day 9, I went for follicle tracking, Aideen greeted a very upset me. I found it hard to hold back my disappointment of last month and getting my periods. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am always hoping for the best and miracles so that when it doesn’t happen the disappointment is huge. Aideen could see that I was upset and explained a few things. My scan showed that I had a follicle 17.9mm – this was a good size for day 9 but not ready to rupture yet. The scan also showed the many follicles or cysts in my left ovary. Aideen asked me out of the blue “what do you do to be creative”. I thought I misheard her at first and asked her to repeat herself. She put me on the spot. I couldn’t think of anything off hand and just replied that I don’t really take much time to myself for anything. Aideen explained that in Chinese medicine your left side is your female side and your creative side. By being creative you are forcing your left side to work and this may help it to be more functional.

This is where “Get Creative” came from. Aideen told me to go home and even if I just did some art with the boys or found a hobby for myself this would help. When I thought about it afterwards, although I don’t sit down with the kids for art time as they are so busy, I am very creative in my own ways. I love to partake in interior design, I think I have a good eye for it, I am also very creative in the garden and love putting together plants and colours and creating a calming space. I love to bake and decorate cakes and buns and there are loads of different ideas rolling around in my head at any given time. So, although I am not obviously creative, I am definitely not without creativity.

I was scheduled back in for another appointment a few days later, on day 12. This time the follicle had grown to a juicy size of 24mm, it was ready to pop. I arranged for my HCG injection to be given that night as advised by the fertility clinic and then the next morning I got a positive result on the ovulation tests. Everything was looking good. I had a few days of good mucus and from this I was able to calculate my peak day. My review appointment was the 20th and I was full of hope going up there. I met with Dr. Michelle and we went through my charts briefly and then discussed changing my medication going forward. I also told her what Aideen had suggested about taking Co-Enzyme’s and Exputex – she agreed and included them on my updated medication list. Then she suggested the Food Intolerance test. This was quick and simple and a whopping €135.00 on top of the consultation fee. But as you can see from my previous post about the results it is worth it to find out.

A few days passed and on peak plus seven I got my bloods done – Progesterone and Oestrodial. I was optimistic this month and couldn’t wait to get the results a few days later. I remember ringing the nurse and it felt like I was getting my leaving cert results all over again. The butterflies in my tummy were flying all over the place. The nurse nearly knows me at this stage and when she gave me my Progerterone result I had a little screech of excitement. It was 50.4. Such a huge jump from last month and I was thrilled. The Oestrogen was also good at 537. I felt so positive this month and of course was wishing and hoping that this was it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be this month either and although getting my periods upset me I was so hopeful as the results were finally looking up. April, this was going to be the month………………………………

To be continued