2014- The Bombardment

Start of 2014, we decided to do IVF once again! We were courageous enough to go through it after a whole year had passed after our last ICSI. It had also been a year since the move overseas and we had settled by now. We went to see our local doctor and he put us both on vitamins for 3 months.

After completing the 3 months of vitamins, our suppression started. This was a completely different cycle than my first 2 ICSI’s, the doctor had put me on the long protocol. This time my husband gave me the injections at home and we realized how silly we were to go to a laboratory for the injections every day during our first 2 ICSI’s.

The 4 clomid rounds in the past had already made me lose a lot of hair and every time they’d recover a bit, I used to be ready again to start a new phase of treatment. The suppression drugs made me lose hair in chunks. I still wonder if it was the suppression drugs or the stress related to my studies or the sadness and loneliness that I used to feel every now and then. Losing hair became another reason for me to be sad about. I used to have thick hair and now every year I lost hair like a sick person would and I would feel insecure when I would see other girls with thick beautiful hair. It really used to make me feel unattractive when I would see myself standing in the mirror, thin as a stick and extremely less hair. 😦

After suppression we had the stimulation and then the egg collection and transfer. I think I was over stimulated and I had 30 00cytes collected! 21 eggs and 20 got fertilized! We transferred 3 embryos on day 3, 1 embryo was an 8 cell and the other 2 were 4 cell. The 8 cell was a healthy embryo, the 4 cell were late as they should have been 8 cells by now also. The 8 cell embryo made me very happy and I couldn’t wait to find out I was healthily and happily pregnant! 2 weeks later when we tested, it was negative all over again!

We were really sad and disappointed , we didn’t know what to do because we really wanted babies and our lives to move forward. We weren’t ready to wait longer. We did a 4th ICSI the very next cycle. On day 21 of my cycle, the suppression of my ovaries started and the same protocol of stimulation, egg collection and transfer was carried out. This time we transferred 3 8 cell embryos on day 3! We also had some 8 cell embryos frozen! That was a huge improvement from my eggs! I was really happy and I was extremely positive about this go. It just had to be it now! Sure enough, it wasn’t. at the end of the 2WW, we had to face a BFN.

I had missed my period for a few days that ICSI attempt so I was thinking I was pregnant and maybe I was pregnant for a few days because when my period started, I had a huge clot flow out of me which was orangish whitish and yellowish and the size of the palm of my hand. After it had come out, I fainted and fell to the ground. Luckily, my husband was around who held me and shook me so I didn’t faint for more than a few seconds. Why had that happened? Why didn’t this very embryo implant? It was my fault or lets say my my doctor’s fault. At the beginning of our 4th ICSI, my husband was very worried about my physique and health. He felt that the 3 metformins a day were extremely heavy for me and he wanted me to take a break from it all. So he discussed his concern with my doctor and the doctor allowed us to stop taking it completely! Hence, my insulin levels must have been completely out of range after I stopped taking the metformin pills and my negative pregnancy test result was right in front of me and I just stared at it with shock and sadness.

2014 was full of birth announcements, 1st or 2nd birthdays, weddings, pregnancy announcements and many other progressions in everybody else’s lives. Whereas we were still stuck and didn’t know how to expand our family. Couples who had married 1 or 2 or even 3 years after our marriage were having babies and proceeding with their lives. Some friends were sending their babies to play schools already. Time had flew and we hadn’t realized because we were on a pause. I used to be looking at the calendar on my phone waiting and planning. For what? For ovulation, 2 WW and AF and God knows what not. My calendar was marked with reminders and dates not for parties or events but for starting medicines, injections and protocols. I felt like I was living the life of an old person’s, taking a bunch load of medicines and having moods of all kinds. I was a completely different person than what I was when we married, I was certainly not what my husband had chose for his life partner.

Then there were some good things that happened in 2014 – we made a huge bunch of friends and they were all very active and full of life. We used to meet up with them on the weekends and have a great time laughing, chit chatting, singing and dancing. Getting ready and going out to meet friends really used to make us happy and forget our troubles for a few hours. 2 other couples in the group had faced difficulty in trying to conceive their babies and now they had their first baby’s. Meeting them really made us hopeful about our future and we had their support whenever we needed some encouragement to continue treating my infertility. They recommended their doctor to us and we made an appointment with this new doctor for August 2014.

I had my exams in the summer of 2014 so I remained busy and occupied with that but of course the doctor’s appointment was always on my mind.

Finally the day of the appointment with the doctor arrived and we visited his clinic with lots of hope and courage. The doctor reviewed our long history and he suggested a long protocol and to transfer blastocysts this go. We were ready to start suppression by end of August and by end September my stimulation was also completed. The egg collection was done and we had 21 eggs fertilized. Then began the wait for the embryos to become blastocysts, which they never did. 😦

On day 5 of the cycle, my embryos were morulae yet. However, the doctor believed in miracles and he transferred 2 morulae and wanted me to remain calm so that my cycle would work. Of course, I was worried but I kept my faith strong. 2 weeks later i had a BFN again and for the first time ever I broke down crying in front of my doctor.

He told me to handle myself and he told me he didn’t see a reason why I wouldn’t ever become a mother. I just continued to cry and nothing he said seemed to help but made me cry harder.

The year of 2014 was a complete bombardment of ICSI’s, Big Fat Negatives, fights amongst ourselves and the cherry to top it all with was the birthdays and birth announcements of everyone we knew.

I began to feel extremely guilty for being so infertile and not being able to give my husband the babies he always longed for. I started hating my body and my tiny stomach which was brought about by heavy metformin. I was a mess all over again. I used to cry to sleep every night and became completely hopeless.

On the other hand, my husband did a lot of research on how to improve egg quality and we somewhat found the answer. He made me join a gym for daily work out for an hour at least and he bought me lots of herbs and OPKs. We were going to try herbal remedies now to cure my egg quality issue. I started taking Vitex, CoQ 10 and Pregnacare.

The daily work out used to make me feel very relaxed, energetic and helped me to sleep better. I was trying hard once again but this time I was much more practical in my approach. I used to go for swimming and yoga on alternate days and spend a few hours at the gym daily so that I wouldn’t be lonely at home. I was still 48 kgs but I started to eat healthy and tried to gain weight. I barely became 49 kilos but I was much relaxed and happier than before so I didn’t worry myself about my weight. I also started sun bathing for 10 minutes daily because I had recently found out I was low on Vitamin D. which could have been a reason for no implantation happening all these years. I was taking things positively and I wanted to help myself not for myself but for my dear husband who loved me so much and never let go off my hand through my tough times.

If you read on the internet, lots of people conceived after using Vitex for 2-3 cycles. I started Vitex in mid October 2014 and by within a month I was noticing changes in my cycle! My periods became less painful, my ovulation became stronger and easier to detect, I had more cervical mucus than before and most importantly, I started having 28 day cycles! I had always had a 30 cycle and going from a 30 to a 28 day cycle is a big improvement in cycle terms! I was delighted and I was waiting for two cycles to happen at least so that I could start to expect a positive pregnancy anytime just like other women on the internet had got success from this lovely herb within 2-3 cycles.

In December 2014 we decided to move to a new house and after settling in and again choosing the place for my baby’s crib in my new bedroom, I traveled to meet my parents for my younger sister’s wedding. Life was good 🙂

 

 

 

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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.