5 May 2022

My IVF Diary

CHOOSING A CLINIC (Sept 21)

I have a piece of A4 paper with a list of 5 potential clinics we can choose to have our treatment with (which is what happens with IVF on the NHS). We've never been through IVF before so choosing a clinic seems scary. It's overwhelming and I feel the pressure is huge to get this right, but I'm also excited to start this next stage of our journey. We are going to make a pros & cons list for the clinics and hope that it will make things more simple. I've also seen that the clinics usually run opening evenings (on zoom for now!) with a live Q&A session at the end, which will be helpful - so I'm going to watch those as well & write down any questions I have.

It's a few days later and we finally chose a Clinic! We made a list of what was important to us - friendly, helpful staff, an understanding of endometriosis and miscarriage, accessible by car with parking and generally just a good gut feeling. We chose Bourn Hall in Cambridge, they just felt like the perfect fit. Next up is our consultation...

CONSULTATION (OCT 21)

We just had our consultation with our Doctor at Bourn Hall. It went really well and she answered the questions we had. My tip for questions is to always have them written down infront of you - my mind always goes blank in these appointments so it really helps!

Our treatment plan is slightly adjusted to accommodate my history of endometriosis and miscarriage, so we are feeling more confident. I will be booked in for a baseline scan and then my medication should arrive! I'm really trying to trust the process and not overthink it by keeping myself busy. She said we could be starting in the next few months!

MEDICATION DAY (NOV 21)

WOW. The medication arrived and there's a lot. It feels much more real now that we can see everything. I've been told that seeing all the medication at once can be overwhelming but it gets better when you start using it.. I'll let you know if that's true!

TREATMENT PLAN (NOV 21)

The baseline scan went well and I have been emailing the nurses (who are so understanding and helpful!) who confirmed when I could start my treatment plan. Again, it seems overwhelming but I'm sure once I start it will become second nature. They have asked if I would like a call to chat through it all, so I think I will agree to that. I have also set up some alarms on my phone for the timings of injections everyday - this will help us keep on top of them and never forget to do one!

THE FIRST INJECTION (DEC 21)

I have been thinking about this injection all day, so I was glad when it got to 6pm and we could finally do it. We watched the "how to" video multiple times and it was time for the first injection. Not sure I could do it myself just yet, so Chris is in charge. It didn't hurt as much as I thought and it definitely seemed scarier than it actually was. I felt really emotional after and did have a bit of a cry. Starting IVF feels so surreal and I can't believe we are finally here after so long. I feel like I will remember this day forever.

ALMOST AT STIMS... (DEC 21)

I've been on a month of down regulation which is known as a longer protocol, so I'm a little way into the injections now. They really do just become part of the routine and I have even done a few of the injections myself! I start the STIMS injections as well next week, which is what makes the follicles grow. It's nice to be moving onto the next step.

STIMS and scans (dec 21)

During the stimulation phase, the clinic scan you to check the follicles are growing. I have been really nervous for the first scan. My mind has been playing tricks on me... "what if there are no follicles growing?!", but there were definitely follicles which was a huge relief. The nurse was really great at explaining everything to me and it's good to have an understanding of what my body is doing - and seeing it all on the screen!

Chris and I had a little walk around the Bourn Hall grounds (which are beautiful) and now it's a just a few more injections, a few more scans and then egg retrieval. With each injection we are a step closer to the end goal and that feels really good.

EGG RETRIEVAL (JAN 22)

We are finally here.. egg retrieval day! Chris couldn't come in with me due to covid regulations, but I felt really looked after by the staff which lessened my nerves. I'm on a ward with a few other ladies who are going through the same thing and that feels strangely comforting.

Before I knew it I was waking up and given a coffee and biscuit. I felt a bit groggy but was told how many eggs they retrieved straight away which cheered me up. After having some time to wake up properly, Chris was outside to collect me. Physically I feel okay, there's a slight cramping ache in my stomach but nothing a relaxed day on the sofa won't cure.

THE WAIT (JAN 22)

We now have to wait and see how many of the eggs fertilise and then a few days later find out how many have turned into embryos. There's always a drop off so I'm expecting that and trying to stay positive. I will admit that the wait is hard, but we know it's out of our control, so waiting is all we can do.

We had a call from the clinic and luckily we had a good number of eggs fertilise. I was so relieved that the clinic called on time, it stopped me thinking too much into it all. We can try and get on with our day now and hope we end up with a good number of embryos. Fingers crossed (a phrase I have used so much during this process!)

We made embryos! The relief is immense. The next step is the transfer in a few days, where one embryo will be put back into my womb (the rest will be frozen) I'm nervous about this chapter, especially with our history of miscarriage. However, I have felt so positive throughout this experience. It's been great to feel more in control of the process and have support from the Doctors and Nurses - it wasn't as scary as I had expected. Now I'm trying to look forward to this next step, and as always.. keeping my fingers crossed.

Laura x

This post is in collaboration with Bourn Hall Fertility.

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