Category Archives: Uterus of Doom

Infertility… The gift that keeps on smacking you in the face…

OK, I know I haven’t posted here for a long time. If anyone’s pregnancy radar has been going off, I’m not. Definitely not. Blame a combination of moving to a house with no internet or phone line, apathy, and an intense desire to have a break from all things conception-related.

We had a break for a few months, and it was good. I felt human again. There were other things in life, like blue cheese, good wine, and of course our Obligatory Infertility Animal; our retired greyhound (who is utterly gorgeous by the way, and gentle, and funny, and helps to mend a broken heart). This week, we came back down to earth with a bump. Or an almighty crash, if you like.

I had a HSG this week. I told them, in the nicest possible way, that they should cover me with antibiotics. They said it would “depend on their protocol”. They couldn’t get the catheter through the adhesions into my uterus, so inflated the balloon in my cervix. Yes, the same poor, battered cervix that got forcibly dilated earlier this year. They got some dye through the not insubstantial adhesions into my uterus, which showed more scarring near my right tube. My right tube was open, my left was not (which surprised/disappointed me actually, as I’ve always been told they were both open. Liars). And then I started swearing at them because it hurt so much, and they stopped. They didn’t give me antibiotics.

They did, however, give me an infection.

Great news for adhesions and future fertility, hey? I went to my GP, who was surprisingly helpful, and phoned the gynae reg on call, and gave me antibiotics. I really hope they kick in soon, though, as somewhat worryingly the pain is getting worse. It’s not so bad that I can’t function, or eat cake, however. But it’s there.

I’ll keep a close eye on it. If it continues to get worse I’ll have to go to A&E I suppose and try and see gynae. I don’t know what else to do. My consultant hasn’t answered his phone this week. Helpful!

So to say I’m a bit pissed off is an understatement. I don’t know where we go from here, fertility-wise. I suspect they’d need to do more surgery for IVF to even be an option. I didn’t know if I wanted IVF, it scares me (as does pregnancy now – all I can see is the spectre of pain and failure and loss). But now knowing that I might not be able to have it, or not yet, well I feel disappointed. Which tells me that we need to at least give it a go; I’m not ready to give up yet. We need a plan. And I need to get rid of this bloody infection.

Advertisements

Lost my mojo.

I’m fed up. Utterly fed up.

I’m fed up of not getting pregnant, I’m fed up of getting stressed about my periods, which only last for 1 day of light spotting. I’m fed up of knowing what day of my cycle I’m on and I’m really fed up of having sex with my husband when I don’t particularly feel like it (headache, tired etc) just because I’m ovulating. I feel I should point out: I love my husband, I fancy the pants off him, but the thought process of “It’s CD whatever, we’d better have sex” is not a turn-on. Especially when month after month it just doesn’t work. I’m fed up of analysing the soreness factor of my boobs and I’m fed up of feeling guilty about drinking coffee/wine/not taking that bloody folic acid (is anything a greater daily reminder of your failure to be a fertile woman?) just in case.

(Edited to add: I’m also REALLY fed up of people who really should know better saying such useless things to me as “you could still be pregnant, just one of those women who still has periods and negative pregnancy tests.” I mean, come on… I feel a very strong need to swear.)

We’re midway through our fertility investigations: just waiting for my HSG which isn’t for a few months. I don’t mind waiting too much, we’ve got a house move in the meantime, but I do feel somewhat as if now I’ve got onto a train that I can’t get off. There is this incessant slow movement forwards towards IVF/FET and I’m in the system now, no matter what. I feel I can’t escape it, and I’m wondering if this was the right thing to do.

To be blunt, IVF/FET (which may be more likely what we’d have to do) scares the pants off me. I know it’s huge, I dread to think what sort of toll it’ll have on me physically (all that oestrogen…) let alone mentally. I know that it’ll more likely not work than work. I know that even if it does work there are no guarantees, particularly for me, having a significant proportion of endometrium missing, that I’ll even be able to carry a baby. And that just breaks my heart. I don’t know if I can go into this with a likelihood of failure, of miscarriage or stillbirth. I don’t know if I’m strong enough.

I know IVF isn’t a miracle cure. God knows I know that. I know it won’t be happiness and roses and it certainly won’t be without problem. I feel it shouldn’t be taken lightly. And I don’t know if I’m ready for it. At the moment, I’m not even sure if I want it. I used to think it wouldn’t be such a big deal, we’d just do it and it’d be fine, but now I know (thanks to our last scan/meeting with the consultant) we’re heading that way, suddenly I feel out of control and careering towards something I’m not sure about.

Out of control. It’s a good way to describe the infertility journey isn’t it? You do your best, you control what you can, but at the end of the day it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. So, my way of regaining control is to stop trying. Or, at least I’m trying to stop trying. I need a break. I need to not know what day of my cycle I’m on. I need to remember that what my husband and I have is good, is enough. It was enough 3 years ago when I married him, it should be enough now.

I’m flatly refusing to do IVF before next year. I can’t. The earliest it would be anyway now is Christmas, and just – no thanks. Christmas ruined by failure/drugs/stress? No. I shall curl up with my husband and my dog (which we shall have shortly) and shut the world out. We shall all wear pyjamas, all day, and drink champagne, and cuddle up under a blanket. Then, in January, is my 30th birthday. I don’t want to be doing IVF then either. I know about success rates decreasing with age, but I ain’t that old, and I really don’t think a few months will make any difference.

It might make a difference to me though, and my emotional state.

I was congratulated recently, on my negative outlook on IVF, and the fact I thought it wouldn’t work. By someone who knew not what they were talking about, I might add. Apparently it’s healthier, compared to her other friend who is doing IVF right now, who is positive and hopeful. I told her that my negativity is borne of failure, of loss, of a broken heart. I told her that I’d love to feel hope again, that I’d love to believe it could work for us. That a future child/embryo deserves nothing less than your hope and your love.

Instead, I am trying to get my head round the idea of a childless life, just in case, and wondering if it would really be so bad after all.

My husband is of the “if it doesn’t work, we’ll just adopt” mindset. Adoption also scares me, and I know that we have to do it, if we do, for the right reasons, and it cannot be a back up. It’s a whole different ballgame of parenting, and while I suspect, being the sort of people we are, we might not be awful at it, we cannot do it while still craving a biological child. No matter how much IVF scares me, I’m not ready to let go. Not yet.

Anyway, in about a month or so we shall be moving, and we shall be taking home a beautiful retired greyhound. And she is funny, and quirky, and loving, and will expand our little family, and bring us joy. And be really happy to greet us when we walk in the door.

The only time a negative pregnancy test has been a good thing…

Interesting title, huh? Yes I thought so too. I feel a little weird for thinking it’s a good thing, but here’s the reason.

I had my mid-cycle scan today.

The good news? I have some endometrium, it looks healthy, and has reached the mammoth thickness (ha!) of 5.3mm. That’s not great, but it’s better than my last scan, which was 4mm pre-surgery. I was pleased, he was pleased there was some, but would have preferred more, and for it to be >7mm.

The bad news? I have no endometrium further down in my uterus, just above my cervix. Essentially this means that there is less area for an embryo to implant. If there is scarring at the bottom, it may be preventing the rest of my endometrium from thickening.

The weird news? There was a sac at the fundus. It was small, only tiny, but it was there. It’s day 15, it’s too early for anything from this cycle, and too small for anything from the last cycle to be viable. He wasn’t sure it was a pregnancy, but wasn’t sure it wasn’t, so he got me to do a pregnancy test.

It was negative.

It is the only time in my life I have been pleased at a negative pregnancy test. The thought of having had yet another missed miscarriage and not even knowing I’d been pregnant is too much to bear. I feel bizarrely guilty/confused at being relieved, however.

I went and bought some peesticks on the way home, to make sure, you know.

His thoughts? He wasn’t horrified, but he wasn’t over the moon. He would have preferred more, thicker endometrium obviously (so would I) but there was some. Implantation is possible in the state it’s in, though difficult. The next step is to have the other tests, but it looks like we’re heading for IVF. We get one fresh or frozen cycle here (not both). They’re not exactly generous, are they? Especially as the NICE guidelines suggest you should be able to have 3… (don’t get me started!) Time to look at the finances, I think.

Oh and my ovaries? Apparently multicystic instead of polycystic. Not sure what the difference is on that one…

Plan number… 964 is it now?

So, as you know, I saw my new consultant yesterday. I don’t really know what to call him, as he wasn’t quite as suave in real life as he looked in his pictures. Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that one.

I haven’t really known what to write about the appointment, hence the lack of updates until now. I don’t really know how I feel about it, and if it went well, so I guess I’ll just state the facts and see what you all think.

Firstly, the good part was that he listened to my concerns, and I don’t think that there was anything I forgot to say. He seemed to know what he was talking about, in that the outcome was what I expected, and probably what I think should be done, if not what I want to be done (but then I don’t want any of this).

His thoughts were that my periods are light because 1) my hormone function might be screwed up, 2) there is a primary problem with the endometrial lining, or 3) this is just “the new me” after Asherman’s, and my periods are light, yes, but my endometrium is thick enough.

His plan is to exclude (1) by doing day 3 FSH/LH/Oestradiol bloods. He doesn’t think that this is the problem, but to be complete, and to make sure nothing obvious is being missed, he wants to do them. Fair enough. I did have a mid-cycle oestradiol done a few months ago which was “excellent” so he thinks these should be normal. He did point out that my ovaries are polycystic, but didn’t seem too bothered by this, thankfully (and wasn’t trying to blame my light periods on them!).

He wants to do a mid-cycle ultrasound (tomorrow) to see what my endometrium is like mid-cycle, and see what’s actually happening to it, what the pattern is etc. He’s scanning me himself (!) as he wants to be sure that he looks at it in depth. I’m scared. I know it’s going to be thin, so I don’t really know why I’m worried, but just the confirmation of fears I suppose. He said that if it is thin, he’ll probably scan me again in another cycle; he doesn’t want to take one reading and leave it at that. I think this is fair enough, I can see that if I was the treating doctor, I’d do the same, and I know he’s just trying to get all the information together to make a plan.

He’s requested an HSG, to see the contour of my uterus, see if my tubes are open (there’s a possibility they were scarred by the Asherman’s, or if there was an ascending infection that helped to cause the Asherman’s), and to see if there are any adhesions in my uterus. Again, I think this is a good plan. It has the benefit, as he said, of possibly breaking adhesions at the cervix etc without the need for further surgery. I’m not looking forward to it, but hey.

He listened to my stories of my cervical pain. He wondered about doing a hysteroscopy under GA and dilating my cervix even further. I wasn’t happy about this – this would be the 6th time my cervix has been dilated, and the thought of cervical incompetence is already weighing heavily on my mind. If we have to do it, we will, but as I wasn’t happy about it he agreed to leave it for now, on the basis that if blood can get out, sperm can get in. Whether it is preventing my endometrium from developing is another matter, that will hopefully be revealed by the other tests.

So: after all that, the plan obviously depends on the results of those tests. If it is a problem with the endometrium (which to be honest I think we can safely say it is) we’re looking at IVF, to see how my endometrium responds during a fresh cycle (he said that the fact of having lots of follicles means there is more oestrogen floating around, which can assist the endometrium) or if it’s not great, FET and “shitloads of drugs” as he put it. He mentioned oestrogen patches, injectable oestrogen, aspirin, vitamins C and E, something called pentoxyphylline (?sp) and said that it would be “hard work”.

He didn’t tell me to go and get a surrogate. He said it was possible to have a baby, but I suspect it’ll be a long and difficult road to get there. He told me the only reason having a baby would be impossible was if we had either no eggs or no sperm, and he’s fairly confident that isn’t the case. So I’m pleased that he shows no sign of giving up and that he’s willing to work with us. He seemed relatively positive to be honest, when I asked him what our chances were. The other two gynaecologists have been positive too. I don’t know whether to believe them or not, either they all agree because they’re all right, or they’re wrong because they haven’t been right so far, if that makes sense.

So, what do you all think? Good plan? Bad plan?

Lobotomies

Well, I’m not pregnant. No surprises there, then. My rocks deflated over the last few days and I started spotting this morning. Sigh. I have been to the supermarket and bought crisps, wine and chocolate this morning, and intend to have finished all of them by this evening.

I’ve been doing this whole pregnancy/trying to get pregnant/infertility crap for 20 months now. I just counted. That’s depressing. I know that there are many people who have been doing this for far longer, and I don’t mean to sound all “why me, this is shit” when it is less in comparison, but I am getting really, really fed up of this. It’s rubbish. And everywhere, are people that fall on erect penises (sorry, WFI, I had to steal it, I loved it so much!) and get pregnant. Humph!

I went to a barbecue this weekend, at my friend’s house. She’s a nice girl. She has a nice baby. However, she also has lots of friends with babies who all like to talk about baby-led weaning (whatever that is, and no, I don’t really want to know) and nappy contents and vomit and sleeping patterns, and they think that everyone else wants to hear about those things as well.

Mr W and I were trying to escape the many babies (and their parents, who all seemed to have had a lobotomy along with their successful reproduction, gazing goofily at darling Harper* and coming out with comments like “I didn’t know what love was until I became a mummy to my little boo boo bear.” That was a direct quote by the way.) by watching the cricket. For me to watch the cricket means I am really trying to escape something, as I hate cricket. However, even then we could not escape the women who came over, sat next to us, and started a discussion about teething.

I swear, if I do manage to have a living baby, I will never be one of those women. I will not talk about my baby’s bowel habits in public, or how many times they bit my boob that morning.

(I should add that after everyone left, nice baby went to bed and we had grown-up conversation with wine and a very strange film about giant bugs. Far more civilised.)

And to top today off perfectly some complete dimwit that I went to school with whinged on somebody’s facebook status about how she wanted a dog instead of a baby. She’s pregnant. Grrr. I spent the rest of today shaking my fist at the sky, saying “Why, God? What the bloody hell are you playing at up there? Because I just don’t understand any more.”

*Yes I did use Posh’s new daughter’s name as an example. Because it’s stupid.

Also, please can you all think of questions for me to ask the infertility doctor next week? Because I’m running out, and I’m sure you can think of some (possibly slightly more intelligent) questions. So far I have:

  • Why is my lining so shit?
  • Why are my periods getting lighter?
  • Why does nobody seem to be doing anything about it?
  • Why is my cervix painful each month?
  • Why has nobody given me any hormones to try and increase the thickness of my lining?
  • Why do gynaecologists blame my polycystic ovaries for my light periods when I didn’t have light periods before I got Asherman’s? And I ovulate every month?
  • Will you try IUI and if so what are you going to do to try and sort out my endometrium so it isn’t a wasted effort?
  • Will you do IVF and will it work?
  • Will someone please monitor my lining throughout my cycle and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
  • Please don’t tell me it’s hopeless. Please. I’m not ready to give up on this.

Pfft…

I am, what, about 10 days post-ovulation. My boobs are sore, and I am sitting here with cramps. I REALLY wish that this wouldn’t happen if I’m not pregnant. It annoys me, vastly. Because even though I know chances of conception are, well, slim, there is still a part of me that is hopeful every time I have two rocks sticking out of the front of my chest. And that’s the part that gets disappointed.

I’m developing a theory, that perhaps, on these months where the second part of the cycle sees me wince every time I take off my bra, that perhaps conception is occurring. It’s not every month, for sure. I wonder if the poor little bugger is dividing away, looking for a nice place to bed down, and then doesn’t quite manage it. I don’t know if that even makes sense, physiologically, but it’s a theory, I suppose.

Perhaps himself should equip his sperm with drills so that the poor embryo has a fighting chance? Or even No More N*ils?

I had a friend over for lunch the other week. She’s pregnant, I know she is. My infertile pregnancy radar was blaring away so loudly I’m surprised she couldn’t hear it. I tried to enquire, nicely, stopping short of  “Damnit woman, is that a food baby or a real one?” but she wasn’t playing. So in my perhaps twisted way, I decided to tell her that I was worried we couldn’t have a baby, and the fact that that is really hard for us to handle. Just to make her feel slightly more awkward. Perhaps not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I was having an “I’m feeling bitter and infertile” day. We all know those.

She hasn’t contacted me since. I wonder why.

In the slightly brighter end of the spectrum, I got accepted for a degree course I’d applied for, and really wanted to get onto. So in October, I will officially be a student again… 6 years after I last was.

I can’t think of a title, so let’s just say Sunday.

I haven’t posted here for a while. I keep half-writing ranty-type posts about various matters (God, doctors, friends…) and then giving up or running out of self-righteous steam halfway through.

My man-flu (bird-flu?) and everlasting coughing has finally gone away, after what seemed like ages of not being able to breathe without coughing. I also went to a wedding last weekend, where I realised just how old I’m getting, as I barely made it through dinner without falling asleep, and had to leave straight after the first dance in order to get into bed. And not for an amorous reason, either. Sadly.

A friend of mine (the cheesecake-eating one) texted me the other night, to tell me she’d had her baby a few days before, and they were both well. To be fair, she has been fairly considerate, especially on the whole F*cebook side of things – no vomit-inducing updates from her. no updates at all in fact, as I don’t think she uses it much, but still. Considerate. The whole lack of any contact was another matter, but after a few letters have been exchanged, I believe it was well-intentioned, if not actually the right thing to do.

Anyhow. I read the message, and my first thought was (and I kid you not about this…): “But I have to go and have sex with my husband tonight, I’m ovulating! How could she tell me this when I need to not be upset!”

I know. You don’t have to say anything.

Once I mentally slapped myself, and realised that there’s no way that the poor woman could possibly know my menstrual cycle, my second thought was “It’s not fair!”

I realise, that I sound somewhat like a petulant teenager, and you’ll all be pleased, no doubt, to hear that my third thought was “I’m glad they’re both OK etc, that’s good news.”

I know it’s not fair, and the unfairness of it stems not from the fact that she can have a baby easily, but from the fact that I can’t. From the fact that ours have died. From the fact that this whole reproduction thing is so easy for some, yet so hard for others, and if it were fair, it would be easy for everyone. But actually thinking about how unfair it is doesn’t help. It only makes me feel worse, and I’m so bored of it. It would be so nice to be one of those lovely, serene, calm women, who’s only thoughts are good ones. I’m not entirely sure they exist, however. I do feel so guilty about my mixed feelings.

I also noticed, when a mutual friend asked me if I’d heard the news, that I can’t control my face. I do it every time someone tells me they’re pregnant, or they’ve given birth for example, and they’re in front of me. if I read the news, I’m fine, I retain full control over my facial features. Yet if somebody’s actually in front of me it all goes horribly wrong for a brief moment. I can’t explain it, and heaven knows I can’t recreate the expression, so I have no idea what I actually look like when I’m doing it, but my facial features rearrange themselves without my say so into what I can only imagine is some sort of unpleasant grimace. Bizarre, and probably unattractive. I have no idea how to control that either.

Mostly, I suppose, I am so sick of the way that my life seems to revolve around my menstrual cycle and lack of fertility. If I’m not actually on my period, I’m thinking about how often and when we should have sex, and then I’m thinking about whether I have any pregnancy symptoms, and then I’m thinking about how depressed I am when I’m not pregnant again. Combined with a constant pregnancy radar alert system, and trying not to be unhappy when people are pregnant, and trying to deflect advice such as “why don’t you just adopt?” and “parenting is really hard anyway”. I hate the fact that my life has been reduced to this, and I want to claim my life back. I want to reclaim me.

My appointment at the “infertility clinic” has come through, for the 21st July. For those of you who have been to such things before, what should I be prepared for? What will they actually do there? And what should I be certain to ask? (Obviously apart from the whole “please help me get pregnant”…)

 

The Response

It took until today to get a response from Mr Consultant. To be fair, he did write me an actual letter instead of emailing me, so probably had to wait for his secretary to type it up etc.

It’s not what I wanted. well, it sort of is, and sort of isn’t. Mostly it’s scary, and made me shed a tear or two, though I’m not really sure why. He basically said that the adhesions at my cervix were pretty filmy and easily broken, and he doesn’t think that’s affecting my ability to conceive. He feels that I have a lot of positive features that favour fertility: my age, normal BMI, decent medical history and lack of scarring in my actual uterine cavity.

However, he doesn’t feel that oestrogen to try to thicken my endometrium is indicated, as my cycles are regular, and therefore this suggests that I have normal hormonal function. This is all well and good, but everyone else with Asherman’s seems to get it! And possibly more to the point, nobody’s actually bothered to try it with me, so how do we know it won’t work? We don’t.

He admits that he’s not an infertility specialist, so he’s referred me to someone who is. I guess this is a good thing, they may have more of an idea about how to actually get me pregnant, and having just had a quick google, this new chap seems to have done some research on endometrial thickness, and improving implantation rates, and recurrent miscarriage so must have some idea of what he’s talking about. But I’m scared. I’m scared that he’ll just say “go and find a surrogate… your uterus is buggered.” But I guess we’re all scared of that.

All in all, I suppose it’s good, but what I really wanted was “You’re in fine fettle, and ooh look you’re pregnant!” Even though I’m not, and that would be highly unrealistic anyway, and I’m certainly not likely to be this month as himself is a snotty mess of man-flu. Not exactly appealing, for me or him….

Otherwise: the moving is going well, but does anybody have any tips for getting rid of skips? Ours was supposed to be picked up on Tuesday, but wasn’t, and despite several phonecalls to the company yesterday and today (with responses of “It’ll be gone by the end of the day…”, “It’ll be gone in the morning…” it’s still there. And it needs to be gone, as the new owners are moving in very shortly…

Being brave.

I was brave this morning. After my period reached an all time low, I gathered up my courage and emailed my consultant, finally. I’d been putting it off for months, feeling too scared, and not wanting to be thought of as a “nuisance patient”. I don’t even know why that mattered.

I reminded him of my history so far, and then told him that my periods were even lighter. I asked if he was still confident that we would conceive, then asked if I could try a month of oestrogen to try to thicken the endometrium. I asked if this would need to be done in conjunction with IVF and if so would I need to wait and go through a fertility clinic. I asked if there was anything else that could be done. I asked if the remaining scar tissue at my cervix could be preventing the rest of my endometrium from thickening, and if so could something be done about it.

I’m a bit concerned as to what his response might be, part of me wants to bury my head in the sand, and stick my fingers in my ears and pretend that none of this is happening to me. The other part of me wants a child, and realises I need to do everything I can to try and accomplish that for me and for my husband, which involves being pushy, unfortunately.

Aside from that, we have been taking rubbish to the dump, and starting to clear out our house ready for our move in 2 weeks’ time. Exciting stuff, huh?

Book recommendations, please.

I am feeling a little sad, as my sister-in-law has just announced (via the combination of slightly cryptic f*c*book updates (what is WITH people these days?!?!) and my hyper-sensitive pregnancy radar blaring away in my ears) that she is pregnant. Well I say she announced, I got fed up and asked her outright actually.

This causes a few issues with me, mostly the whole “why is she pregnant and I’m not, and she only just started trying, and she’s younger than me and has only been married for 18 months and it’s not fair and I miss my baby” thing, but also some deeper issues with my in-laws, and their acceptance of me, and my failure as a baby-making machine which always seemed to be all they were interested in me for. I might talk about this another time, I don’t know. Does anyone actually have a perfect relationship with their in-laws? Probably not.

Anyway, my point… I was reading HFF’s latest post, and somebody mentioned something about a hot bath in the comments section, and I thought: “Ooh, a hot bath, I’d love a long bath, with wine and candles and a good book that I can really escape into.” The problem being that all the books I have that I haven’t finished reading are theoretical books, and not particularly escapist, or even interesting. So any recommendations are most welcome. And if there are no accidental babies in there, that would be even better. As a guide to what I read – I’ll read pretty much anything, except for horror. My favourite book is probably Memoirs of a Geisha, I also love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Dan Brown’s books and most things Jane Austen’s written.

Suggestions on a postcard, or actually in a comment, please!