The ups and downs from September – December 2012

I went to see a new fertility specialist for my IVF, we had heard lots of good reviews about him through family and friends. His name was Dr Pankaj Shrivastav and he worked at his private clinic in Sharjah, UAE. We used to reside in Dubai so it was an hour’s commute to get to his clinic, Conceive Gynaecology and Fertility Hospital. Dr Pankaj had helped my husband’s aunt conceive her twins 18 years ago after 13 years of marriage and he had also helped a family friend conceive his son 14 years ago after 10 years of marriage. I was really happy about these results and I had a feeling that Dr Pankaj will help me through too.

He saw our reports and wasn’t too sure about IVF yet because it hadn’t been a year yet since my husband and I started trying for a baby. I insisted on doing an IVF and I told him that my AF was due within a week and I wanted to attempt right away. I was impatient because I had always wanted to be a young mother. He got some tests done and sure enough my Insulin was very high because I wasn’t regular with my metformin. He put me on 3 metformins a day and callled me in on Day 2 of my cycle.

I was very excited because I just kept telling myself, “It will happen now. There is no way it shouldn’t happen now”. My faith in God had started to dwindle and I just knew my doctor will help me out of this 😦 I am not very proud about that feeling and I still regret my disbelief in my Lord.

AF surely did arrive on time and we started our IVF protocol. I was on the short protocol and so it was much quicker. Since it was our very first attempt, we were scared to administer the injections ourselves at home and we used to go all the way to a laboratory to do the injections. We were really naive at almost everything. I was ready for the ovulation shot within 12-14 days and the egg collection day arrived. We were really excited and just felt it was our turn to be parents. Since it was a short protocol, 7 eggs were collected and 5 got fertilized. The doctor met us before we left the clinic and he told us that the egg quality wasn’t great and he had decided to do ICSI for us instead of IVF. My heart sank a bit but since we really didn’t have much knowledge – we ignored the egg quality talk and went back home looking forward to our news.

We had a Day 2 transfer of 2 embryos and both were 2 cell, they should have been 4 cell that day. None of the other embryos had survived. Of course, these were terrible results but I still didn’t quite believe that it won’t happen – I always believed in miracles. Sure enough when we tested the Beta hCG, I wasn’t pregnant. It was a sad day for us but we were not ready to give up yet and I was determined more than ever to just be pregnant. We decided on doing round 2 of  ICSI that cycle and began looking forward to it so the sadness didn’t really last.

It was a short protocol again and we used to go to the laboratory everyday for the injections. We both regret those daily trips to the laboratory even today. It began to be stressful now since we had done the same just a few weeks before and it seemed like our daily routine now.

The egg collection day arrived finally and we had 10 eggs collected, 8 fertilized and again the doctor complained about the egg quality. I kept my faith in my Lord strong and went on to hope for the best. We had our transfer on Day 2 and this time we transferred 3 embryos. 2 of them were 2 cell and 1 was 4 cell. The 4 cell raised my spirit and gave me lots of hope. I believed in my miracle and started to wait to test the Beta hCG in 2 weeks.

2 weeks passed and we tested. My hCG levels were at 7. I was so naive that I was thrilled and so was my husband. We thought that our embryo had made it and we were pregnant now! We were absolutely delighted and I spoke to my doctor on the phone. He of course knew what my case was like so he clearly told me that it was going to be a chemical pregnancy. My heart sank when I heard that but I didn’t let myself get upset over it. I began to hope for the best and retested for my hcg levels after 2 days, it was at 9 now. I was happy that my baby was growing. At that point we didn’t know that the hcg is supposed to double every second day. We retested and the hcg was 11 now. I didn’t think it was going to end, a day later AF arrived and I was down in the dumps.

Stress is bad for fertility and I was too upset to handle my situation with peace. My determination to have a baby while we both were young was killing me and I was just not ready to give up. Sometimes I regret those feelings, I should have been confident about my future and kept myself and my husband stress free. Instead of a second ICSI, we should have gone on a holiday and relaxed ourselves and maybe the relaxed mind would have helped us more.

I should have had a proper protocol of vitamins and metformin for 3-5 months before attempting my first IVF. I just rushed into everything and it got me nothing. Now I was stressed and depressed more than ever

We decided to take a break from all the treatments for a while and take it slow – we reverted to trying normally. We were planning to move overseas in January 2013 so I began to pack up and kept myself distracted with that.

 

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August 2012. Rather -Anxiety 2012.

Some of my acquaintances had married the year I got married and they had their first babies over the summer. Of course, social media helped me find out about the arrival of their babies and the very moment when I saw their pictures – I had a sudden feeling of sadness born inside me. It hit me very badly and every day I started wishing I would be pregnant. Becoming pregnant became the goal of my life. I didn’t ever have this sad state of mind. What happened to the cool me? Why did I suddenly start to feel my husband didn’t find me attractive anymore only because I was taking time to get pregnant? I started to feel depressed, anxious, nervous and lost my personality just behind the sudden new feeling of being ‘infertile’. Despite the bad feelings, I had my IVF booked for September so that gave me something to look forward to and be hopeful about.

Even though I wasn’t regular with my metformin yet, I started to lose some weight by now. From 54kgs, I became 52kgs. I was really happy I lost that bit of fat because I didn’t have much muscle anyway so I was happy about this bit of metformin.

May – July 2012: The answer to our infertility cause. Really?

We went to our fertility specialist in May 2012 and she asked for my husband’s sperm reports. He used to travel for his work every month so I guess due to the stress the reports didn’t seem good. Our specialist recommended IUI to us and we wanted to give it a try as soon as possible. I had my AF just a few days before the appointment so we had to just wait a week until ovulation and then go for the procedure.

We were thrilled at how easily it was working for us -the sperm issue had been identified so soon and it could be easily overcome with the IUI. We just felt very lucky and couldn’t wait to see a positive pregnancy test in 10 days time.

As exciting as it seemed, it wasn’t. I wasn’t pregnant and our hearts sank a bit but we were not ready to get depressed with the idea of not being pregnant, my husband and I were perfect warriors. We met up with our specialist again and started planning another round of IUI.

Our second IUI was in July 2012 and that also resulted in a BFN. We still weren’t hit by the news. My father in law suggested to do an IVF in September and as always we began looking forward to it.

I was very optimistic and full of energy. I used to laugh loudly, enjoy every moment and day of my life, eat whatever I wanted and not eat whatever I didn’t want to eat, sleep peacefully, chill with my friends, get ready and go out. It may seem odd why I am saying all this, right? Well, just a few months later I became a completely different person. The old me disappeared and even today I can’t find the old me after so many attempts to bring her back to life.

Will continue blogging about what happened next. Take care mates and enjoy your life till it lasts.

March – April 2012: A Baby step forward.

We finally went to see a doctor after missing AF for 3 months. Sure enough, I wasn’t pregnant and I had PCOs. The doctor prescribed Metformin 500mg thrice a day and some folic acid.

I didn’t realize what an enemy PCOs was to fertility. I began to read about it on the internet and I found some posts that were terrible and very few that gave hope. I began crying after I read the terrible ones from people who didn’t conceive until years 😦

Then I came across posts by women who took Clomid and Metformin and conceived! I was relieved! So without talking to my doctor, I started Clomid (We dont need prescriptions where I live).

I took Clomid without reading how many days it was to be taken for and on what cycle day! Can you imagine how naive I was? I was lucky enough that I started it on Day 2 of my cycle and on Day 6 I just went to see my gynecologist for a general follow up. When I told her I have started Clomid, she was shocked that I was still taking it on cycle day 6! She made me stop it immediately and called me back in on cycle day 11. After doing a transvaginal scan, she gave me an Ovidrelle shot and within a few days my husband and I were busy. I had to use progesterone suppositories post ovulation twice a day to increase chances of implantation since PCOs patients are deficient on progesterone hormone.

At the end of the cycle, I had my period and I wasn’t pregnant. We were upset but were very positive and kept going on and enjoying life.

We gave Clomid another two rounds but I wasn’t pregnant. Again and again.

When I started to take Clomid and Metformin, I used to get terrible headaches and started to have a lot of hair loss. The hair loss and the bit that I had to take my medication regularly like an adult at the age of 21, used to depress me a lot but I used to cheer up myself by thinking of a positive pregnancy test and healthy baby.

I have a few regrets that I would like others to know about so that they avoid the mistakes that I made. First of all, as soon as we started trying for a baby, I had stopped working out thinking that working out will stop implantation from happening. It is a very common myth! Please don’t stop exercising when trying to conceive – you may exercise less aggressively post ovulation but before ovulation you can work out as much as you can. Especially PCOs patients, we have to work out regularly to balance our hormones, only Metformin doesn’t help. Exercising has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. If you think about it this closely, exercise rather improves fertility and increases chances of conception. Secondly, I had very bad eating habits, I used to munch on crisps and chocolates – another extremely bad thing I was doing to my insulin resistant body! Not only that, I used to drink only 700-80oml of water daily. Ideally, I should have been drinking at least 2 liters of water daily. To sum it up, I was a horrible mess. I had no idea what I was doing to myself and I was not worried about my PCOs at all, I had seen people get pregnant every now and then. I also learnt that most women of Asian descent have polycystic ovaries and Asia is the most populated continent. Another regret that I have is I used to be very irregular with Metformin when I started taking it. Sometimes I used to forget to take it because I was never on any medication on a regular basis and sometimes due to the headaches and dizziness, I used to skip some pills. I was taking one Metformin a day instead of the 3 a day prescribed by my doctor. What a sad case I made 😦

We were young so we were impatient also. So we booked an appointment with a fertility specialist although it had only been 6-7 months since we started trying! But today I am glad that we were impatient otherwise I would have never fully diagnosed my condition which I finally did in 2015, more on that bit later.

Sending courageous thoughts to all of you!

January 2012 – The Lost Period

We decided to try again as soon the period was over. We tracked ovulation and again the same process. 14 days post ovulation, I didn’t have my period again – this time for 3 whole months!

We had tested 4 days past AF was due but it was negative and we kept testing. The response was always negative and I kept reading posts on Babycenter that were posted by women who were testing negative and weren’t getting their period for months. All of us seemed to be on the same boat and unluckily, none of the women visited a doctor to get a diagnosis and neither did I. I felt I was pregnant and every little twinge and pain was regarded by me as my pregnancy symptom. How naive and what a daydreamer!

Then when it had been three months since missing my period and being confused about where it had disappeared suddenly, I finally went to a doctor.