Nicola’s Story: The Final Part
In the final instalment of Nicola’s Story, Nicola is trying IVF for the third time after saving up enough money to self-fund a round. So without further adieu…
Ooooh, I have to inject without an auto injector, you say? Didn’t see that one coming. I actually still had my auto injector though, so I wondered if there was a way I could transform it to be able to use with these needles? I didn’t even bother trying after I visualised myself doing it and then going to A&E with half a needle AND syringe stuck in my stomach. I guess I’d just have to grit my teeth and do it the old fashioned way.
It actually wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, it was easier and quicker. No filling up the syringe, putting it down, unscrewing the auto injector, putting the needle and syringe in, checking the dial for the right dose and then pressing the button. Nope, just fill syringe and stab! Job done, first one out of the way.
The journey had begun and, at the same time, my Husband and I had been chatting about me giving up my full-time job. Things had gotten very busy for my wedding photography and me, with bookings coming in thick and fast. We talked about how perfect it would be to devote 100% of my time to photography and how it would be the perfect career to have if and when a baby arrived. Not only that, but I was running myself into the ground with both and something had to give.
With my notice handed in, I worked out possible dates of transfer and possible dates of birth. Everything just seemed too perfect, with the predicted dates working out perfectly with my new life now. I had to give a month’s notice at work and, no sooner was that over, then we had the first scans to check on the lining of my womb. With the amount of scans the private clinic gave me, it would have been impossible to attend all of them with my day job. I also worked out when possible embryo transfer could be and again, perfect timing. And finally – a possible birth. I predicted that if it all went well, then I would be due February sometime. Perfect as I had no bookings that month and could avoid any for the following months if the best was to happen.
Perhaps it was meant to be this time? Things were just falling into place for a smooth cycle and, not only that, I have my positive mental attitude back. This came with a price though. I had to stay away from the forum. I just couldn’t read any more bad news. Don’t get me wrong, I missed the Ladies on there, but as long as I wasn’t reading about people miscarrying, or people losing their Babies, then I was completely oblivious to it. I knew one day I would go back on there, to offer encouragement to other Ladies going through this, but in the meantime, I wanted to live in my own little bubble of ‘nothing goes wrong’ and enjoy it.
My arms were so sore. With every scan, I had to also give a blood test. This then determined whether my drugs should increase or decrease. At one point they had to be increased, as my ovaries were not moving as quickly as the clinic would like. The headaches weren’t as bad with this cycle as I tried to drink as much water as possible.
Then came a big issue! I was told I could have my egg collection on the Friday. One HUGE problem with that: I had a wedding! One thing I was always prepared to do is cancel my treatment if it ever clashed with a wedding. Crazy, some of you may say, but I was never going to let a couple down for my personal problems. The hospital were great and could see how serious I was when I just casually said, “Cancel my treatment.” They let me continue with my drugs and change my date, so I had my final scan on the Friday and collection on the Monday.
Friday arrived and all my camera equipment was in the boot of the car, ready for the wedding. My Husband and I drove the hour to the hospital to get there for 7.30am. Scan out of the way, ovaries looking and feeling like tennis balls, we then headed back to the wedding, which luckily was local to me. I was dropped off and my Husband headed for work. Keeping in line with everything just falling into place this cycle, this wedding couldn’t have been more perfect as it was all in one venue so no need for a car.
The day was beautiful and at 11pm I called my Husband to come and collect me. The weekend was going to be spent relaxing, waiting for Monday to come around.
I had 10 eggs collected. Not my best amount, but it was still good. I was told the usual protocol: you will receive a phone call in the morning to tell you how many have fertilised. And so the waiting game began.
At 8am the phone rang and I am informed 8 have fertilised and they were going to go to blastocyst stage with them. I had to have more than 4 fertilised for this to happen so my luck was in. Come on, lucky cycle!
With each day I seemed to lose an embryo. The phone call two days later informed me I now had 6 surviving. By the time my transfer came around, was I going to have any left? I tried to stay positive and the day of transfer arrived. You don’t actually find out how many survived until you are in your backless gown, sat in the freezing cold room waiting for the embryologist to arrive. One thing was for sure though; surely they wouldn’t have me here if I didn’t have any left?
The embryologist walks in and gives me a warm smile and I knew she had good news. Embryos are graded and I had four grade A’s surviving. This was amazing news and better than I had hoped for because it meant I could freeze two. Only 10% of people can do that when going to blastocyst stage, I was informed. I was asked if I was sure I wanted two embryos put back at grade A as the chances of a twin pregnancy were very high. I had to do everything in my power not to shout “HELL YEAH” and just replied with a polite “yes, please.” I even joked, “Stuff it. Just put all four back,” and laughed at the look on the poor nurses’ faces.
The next bit was amazing. She told be to look at the screen and this is when we saw our ‘babies’ for the first time. There on the screen were my two grade A embryos waiting to be placed inside their warm snuggly home.
I was told to lie down, a sharp scratch in the back of the hand and I was ready to be put into a relaxing sleep while the embryos were put into their rightful place. While the anesthetist was injecting the white liquid inside my hand and I could feel the cold traveling rapidly up my arm, I twisted my neck around so I could see our embryos on the screen. I hadn’t seen the previous ones, so, while looking at them and feeling the happy drowsy feeling of being put under, I willed my embryos on. I was telling them in my head how wanted they were and how much I wanted them to survive and with that, I was asleep.
I woke up feeling so sick and unwell. Asking my Husband for the kidney shaped bowl, I was scared to be sick in case the pressure of it popped my embryos out (yes, you have these ridiculous thoughts). I soon discovered that they hadn’t given me a sickness injection while I was under like the previous hospital, so off the Nurse went to get it.
“Turn over,” she said. “Why? Where are you sticking it?” I said. “In your bum,” she said. “WTF!” I nearly said but turned over graciously. I’m not even going to lie, that thing stung and I have a lot of junk in my trunk, which I assumed would take the edge off things. Nope, stung like hell. About 10 minutes later I felt great, whispering to my Husband to pass me my clothes from the bedside cabinet like some convict planning to escape. I had been told to wait an hour, you see, but I think you know me by now. I wanted out of there and back to my own home.
The nurse came in as I was putting on my last shoe and I shot up straight and smiled a big cheesy smile as if to say “Aaaaaaaall better.” She laughed and said I could go and to let them kn?ow in two weeks what the results were. I remember saying “Do I get a test?” (yes, I know I still have about 75 in my cupboard) and the reply was no. No?? I have paid you people thousands of pounds and you don’t even give me a test. Still ranting to myself in my head, my Husband is pushing me out of the door and back to the car. To be honest, it probably would have been used on day six anyway and been wasted!
Told to take it easy, the next day I am walking into town for a client meeting. Yep, I don’t listen! Halfway back I’m worrying that my footsteps are too heavy and I might be dislodging the embryos with my big elephant steps, so take it a bit more steadily. The next two weeks are to be spent relaxing, ish.
On day seven I test. I know, I know. Back away from the tests right? I’m like an addict waiting for my next fix. There is nothing there. Why should there be, they have only been in there seven days! I lay on my side just staring at the test and I am now imagining a line. I am now officially crazy. I blink and the line is still there, very, very faint but there.
I ask my Husband to check and he can see it too although he does say, “It’s very faint, virtually not there.” Elbowing him out of the way (what does he know?), I write on it ‘1’ and tell myself I will test two days later. Tomorrow comes (more fool you if you thought I was letting two days pass haha) and I test again. The line is darker. I can see it without squinting, holding it up to the light and staring it out! This is marked with a number ‘2’.
I did manage to actually skip a day here and, sure enough, the following day after that the line on test 3 was darker still. Now, this is the logical thought I had in my head. When I tested early on my first IVF cycle it was the day before and the line was very faint. Surely that should have been a lot stronger? I am getting the same faint line here, but a week before my test date and with each test it’s getting stronger. These babies are ‘Super Babies’.
So my positive mental attitude and me plod along like this until the test day is here and I bring out the big guns. The Clearblue!!! Anyone TTC for a long time knows the Clearblues only come out when you mean business and here I was with it, armed and ready. I didn’t go for the digital this time because of the memories I had with it from my first cycle, so fresh cycle and different make of test.
I didn’t even have to wait the three minutes. Both lines appeared within seconds. We were officially pregnant!
This was our little secret this time though. People who knew we were going though it (Parents and close friends mainly) were told the results, but no one else. They were so happy, but I wasn’t. I was cautious. I’ve been here before. I know what it’s like to get your hopes up, think it’s worked and then to have them thrown out the window and feel stupid that you even thought it was possible.
Cautious I remained as I rang the clinic and they said congratulations to me down the phone. It just didn’t feel like they were saying it to me. I felt so cold and heartless, but I couldn’t risk getting attached. I watched my Husband acting like an excited Child in a sweet shop and my heart melted. What if I let him down again? He wanted this so bad.
I was given a scan date and the waiting game was back on. I started loitering around the forum but didn’t dare post. I saw all these positive results along with the negative ones again and asked myself what the hell I was doing? “Stay in your own safe bubble where nothing bad happens,” but I just wanted to be a part of the community. I wanted to share my good news, but decided against it.
We drove to the scan three weeks later and I cannot even crack a smile. I stare out of the window and look moody. I don’t feel moody; I just want to be with my own thoughts right now. We wait in the waiting room I am very familiar with and our names are called. Usual protocol, “Everything off from the waist down” and on the bed I jump. The reason you have to take all your bottom half off for this scan is because the baby might be too small to see through your tummy just yet (it’s only 7 weeks), so an internal might be needed.
She puts some cold gel on my tummy and presses down and then we see it, our tiny little baby.
An internal is then performed because the Lady would like a closer look. It is here that she points out the heartbeat. This tiny flicking section of the baby’s body that hasn’t even formed into the shape of the heart yet, is flickering away so fast that I ask if that is normal. It is also confirmed that it is a singleton pregnancy. Pictures are printed and evidence is now handed to me about what we have just seen. A miracle! This warm feeling washes over me and I am clutching the scan pictures walking back to the car. I don’t want to let go of them or stop looking at them. It’s been a long time coming and I want it to last as long as possible. My Husband had one question though, “What happened to the other one?” “Not sure,” I reply. He pauses a few seconds and replies, “Perhaps it just dropped out?”Perhaps it did, love,” I reply and just smile to myself.
Our past journey is over and our new journey now begins and was it all worth it? Oh yes! I’m still being cautious, not buying things before 12 weeks, etc., but the Husband has been window shopping. Did you know you could get Nike Air Jordon baby booties for Boys and Girls? I do now!
By the time you read this, I will be nearing my 12 week stage and hopefully baby and I are still going strong. I just wanted to thank everyone for reading our story and showing your support. You will never know how much that means to me and how hard it was to share this with you. Special thanks goes to Julia, who makes me smile daily with her blog posts and is one of the nicest people I’ve met and spoken to.
I hope this has given at least one person hope that one day, you can have the little baby that you yearn for. It might be a tough journey, but it is worth it. Just stay positive and never give up. You never know: Julia might even let me come back with my birth story! xx
Awwwww! I am crying with joy reading this again. I’m so incredibly happy for Nicola and her Husband. You’ll be able to read about Nicola’s progress on this blog, as she will be sending in monthly updates. And OF COURSE she’ll be coming back with her birth story! Also, I’m hoping to tempt Nicola down to London for a photo shoot with me in her third trimester, as I think she really deserves it. Thank you again to everyone for your comments throughout this story and MANY THANKS to Nicola for sharing. It took a lot of bravery and she almost did it under a pseudonym. I’m so glad she decided to do it under her own name.
I’m always on the lookout for amazing stories like this one to share on the blog. If you’d like to be considered, please send me an email in the comments section. I have some amazing stories coming up for you in the next couple weeks that I think you’ll find very interesting.
Also, please visit the blog next Wednesday for a very special post in conjunction with the RSPCA 24-hour Tweetathon. I am one of 24 bloggers asked to take part in the project.
Now go and have a glass of champagne in Nicola’s honour!