Recently I was looking through a Preconception Journal which I had been keeping on and off since we began trying for a baby back in July 1997.
Upon going through the Journal it dawned on me I had not actually given you a timeline of what I have gone through whilst trying for a baby. The only things missing will be the last few miscarriages as for some reason I had not wrote about them.
SO here goes…
We decided to try for a baby the day after we got married, the reason being, I had not packed my contraceptive pill in my honeymoon case (they were still in my overnight case back at my parents). We had been together for two years before getting married and had been living together for over twelve months so decided now would be good a time as any.
After trying for a baby for nearly twelve months and nothing happening we decided to go and see our GP. Our GP arranged for me to have some blood tests and hubby had a semen analysis, this was back in April 1998. The results were that my Prolactin levels were hugh so the test got repeated and again came back high. Hubby’s Semen Analysis came back with errors so he had to repeat it again twice before we had the results which were he had a low sperm count.
I had futher blood tests in June and August of 2008 and they both came back with high levels of Prolactin, so we were referred to our local Sub-Fertility Clinic at our local hospital.
Our appointment came through for the 15th of September 2008 and we were advised that our problems sounded like a combination of my irregular periods and hubby’s low sperm count. In saying this he decided to repeat my blood tests and hubby had yet another Semen Analysis.
Yet again my Prolactin levels were high and hubby’s sperm count was low. So the next step was for me to go for a HSG. This was arranged for day 5 of my next cycle.
On the 6th of October I trotted off for my HSG but had to have it postponed as I was still bleeding and they were not happy to continue with it, so it was re-arranged for the 13th of October.
On the 13th of October we trotted off yet again and after a lot of pain and discomfort (and tears on my half) I was informed that my left tube was slightly dilated but other than that there was nothing to worry about.
The next consultation was on the 10th of November 2008 and we were informed that so far everything appeared fine with my tests and we were diagnosed with Male Factor Infertility. We were informed the next step would be for us to complete some cycles of IUI and for hubby to see a Urologist to confirm there were no blockages etc on his side.
Hubby saw the Urologist and we had the all clear on that side and it was a mystery as to the low sperm count.
On the 10th of November 1998 I went for my first Ultrasound. They could not see my ovaries very well so the ultrasound was changed to a Vaginal Ultrasound. I was informed that follicles in my ovaries were very small so I would have to go back for numerous scans until they were around 20mm when I would have my first attempt at IUI.
I went back on the 23rd of November and my follicles had grown to 8mm but was still not big enough so we went home. On the 26th we went back and they had grown to 13mm and it was decided to have a first attempt, so I had my first IUI. Yet again this was quite uncomfortable, but we left quite optimistic. We were advised to go back on the 30th to check the size of the follicles again and we would have a second attempt if necessary.
On the 30th I had another scan and they were perfect at 20mm so we had another attempt at the IUI.
The next fortnight was terrible as I was wondering whether this had worked for me. I really hoped it had, but unfortunately I found out it had not and my periods appeared on time.
We decided to have another cycle of IUI, so on the 4th of January 1999 I went for a scan, they were 7mm, on the 7th they were 9mm and on the 11th of January they were 17mm, so we went ahead and had a first attempt at the IUI. Again it was rather uncomfortable but I grinned and beared it, as it would definitely be worth it if I fell pregnant. I went back on the 15th of January for a further scan and I was informed that I had ovulated so it was decided that it would be appropriate for us to have a second attempt, so off again I went for the IUI.
Yet again it was unsuccessful.
On the 12th of February I went for a scan and the follicles were 0mm, on the 15th they were 22mm which were perfect so we had out third cycle of IUI, which unfortunately was again unsuccessful.
On the 19th of March off we trotted to the scan department and was told my follicles were 12mm, but they could not fit me in for furthe scans for over a week when it would have been too late so the cycle was cancelled.
At this point we were told to try Clomid which helps with Ovulation, this would be a 3 month course of treatment and I was to take the tablets on days 2-6 of my next cycle.
It was around this time that I had my second miscarriage, it all happened on the 22nd of April 1999 and I was only a few weeks pregnant so was devastated that it had happened to me again.
On the 7th of May we began our next cycle of IUI and I was informed my follicles were 10mm, on the 10th they were 11mm so the cycle was again cancelled.
It was at this time that they decided to test my progesterone levels, they were fine.
On the 7th of June we tried again for the IUI, my follicles were 9mm, the cycle was cancelled again.
On the 6th of July, we tried for the IUI again, my follicles were very small, on the 16th they were 11mm. The cycle was again cancelled.
By this time I was getting a bit fed up of the cycles being cancelled due to them not being able to fit me in for scans. I was informed that the reason being was that they had to put the pregnant women first and the infertility scans were fitted in when possible and was only during the mornings of four days a week.
We decided to take a break as I was finding the whole thing very stressful, so I was given some more Clomid and was to try getting pregnant naturally.
Once I had completed all of the Clomid I was told to go and see my GP to get a repeat prescription, which I did on the 29th of December 1999.
On the 13th of January 2000 hubby had another semen analysis and we were told that again it was low. The motility and morphology were fine, but the numbers were low.
On the 24th of January 2000 we decided to try again for IUI, this would be our third completed cycle. On the 24th my follicles were 18mm and we had our first attempt, on the 27th they were 0mm, so I was told it was possible I had recently ovulated so we had our second attempt.
This last cycle of IUI was unsuccessful and we were told our only option would be IVF which we would have to pay for as it was not covered on the NHS.
As we were not happy with the way our treatment had been handled we decided to leave and try on our own. It was at this time I decided to write and complain as I was really not happy with my treatment. We had had numerous cycles of IUI cancelled due to not being able to be scanned appropriately. The cycles we had completed had not been followed through correctly as the inseminations had not been administered at the most appropriate times. On top of all of this, whilst I was waiting for the scans to be done, I was left to wait in the maternity waiting room full of women oohing and aahing over cute baby scan pictures.
The outcome of all of this was that the subfertility unit was closed down and the money was put through to the Cancer Department. We had the option to go to a meeting with the consultants which we had been dealing with, the scan operators and the nurses but we declined as we did not feel comfortable being in a board room with all of them at one end of a table and us two at the other.
Over the next 6 years we tried many different things to get pregnant. We tried seeing an alternative healer, bach flower remedies, BBT Charts, changing our diets and taking numerous different vitamins and herbs, None of which worked.
On the 5th of December 2006 we saw a consultant at the Gynae Department of the local hospital. It was a nightmare from beginning to end. I got weighed and was not allowed to take my big boots off and was told very nastily that I was morbidly obese and that I would not be allowed IVF due to this. I was devastated and burst out crying. All I wanted to do was go home but hubby persuaded me to stay. The midwife had been very nasty and even hubby was shocked.
When I went in to see the Consultant I burst out crying and hubby told him what had been said to me, the nurse in there could not believe it and the consultant was not too happy. He told me I would have to get my BMI below 30 to be able to get a free go at IVF on the NHS, there was roughly a twelve month waiting list, but as long as I lost the weight everything would be fine, I would have to lose roughly 20 pounds. We were told that they no longer undertook IUI at the hospital and the only thing they could do was to repeat the tests etc and refer us to Liverpool for the IVF.
I was told I would have to undergo another HSG and that was scheduled for the 9th of January 2007. I was also to have numerous blood tests etc and hubby was to have another Semen Analysis. We went home rather upset but at least felt that things were now being done.
On the 9th of January I went in for the HSG but it was stopped half way through as I was in a lot of pain and the doctor was not happy to continue.
Our next consultation was on the 16th of January 2007. We went through the fact that the HSG could not be completed and we decided to go for the Lap and Dye instead. They checked me over and it was confirmed that even though I was overweight he was still happy to proceed with the Lap and Dye. All of the other tests were fine apart from hubby’s sperm count still being low. I immediately went upstairs to the ward for a pre-op assessment and everything was fine.
On the 7th of February I went into hospital for the Lap and Dye. I was quite worried about this as I did not want to be stuck on a maternity ward in the middle of a pile of women on bed rest. Luckily I was put into a private room away from all of the pregnant women. The staff were lovely. The following morning I went down for the Lap and Dye, I was so scared of what they would find. The theatre staff were lovely and calmed me down. When I came round from the Lap I was in a lot of discomfort and did not feel well at all. They kept me in recovery for ages as they were quite concerned. After around an hour they took me back upto the ward and I went back to sleep.
Shortly after hubby arrived, I was quite spaced out from the anaesthetic and was still in quite a bit of pain. Unknown to me I was also bleeding very heavily and asked hubby to go and get me some sanitary towels from the local supermarket. As soon as he went I called the nurse to help me clean myself up. She was very surprised at the amount of blood but very kindly helped me to clean myself up and changed the bed. I had one of those lovely beds with the remote controls so was able to adjust it so that I was relatively comfy.
When hubby came back up I was feeling slightly better and tried to eat. I was supposed to have gone home but the doctor’s decided to keep me in over night to ensure I was okay. I could not keep anything down but managed to keep it quiet from the nurses as I really wanted to go home the next day. Hubby had brought me some sanitary towels which were more suitable that the ones the hospital had provided and that made me feel more comfortable.
The next morning I still hadn’t managed to urinate and was still bleeding quite heavily but lied to the staff and said I felt fine and was so glad when the consultant came round and said everything had been fine and they had not found anything and as long as I felt okay I could go home, so I straight away rang hubby to come and get me. It was another 12 hours before I manage to urinate and nearly 24 hours before I managed to keep any food down. I was so glad to be home and for it all to be finished. One of my wounds got slightly infected and I had been told that the stitches were dissolvable ones, but apparently they weren’t and I spoke to a nurse I knew and she kindly arranged to get them taken out the following week.
I know all of this sounded terrible and I would definitely not recommend going for a lap and dye instead of the HSG, but I was glad everything had been found and it was worth it to have a clean bill of health in that sense.
On the 5th of March 2007 we went back to see the Consultant and he was happy with the way my wounds had been healing and he was happy to prescribe me some more Clomid (4 months at 100mg for days 2-6) and wished us luck for the upcoming IVF.
It felt weird knowing that our next step would be IVF. I was and still am terrified of the thought of the injections etc, but it will all be worth it if I get a baby out of it.
On the 14th of May 2008 we went to the Information Evening in Liverpool Women’s Hospital. I was informed I had to get my weight below a BMI of 30 and were given a list of consent forms to complete along with a pile of blood tests slips and hubby’s Semen Analysis paperwork.
We left the Hospital feeling quite positive and I was determined to get my weight down. I felt like all the pressure was now on me.
I managed to drag out the blood tests for a couple of months. Hubby went and had his Semen Analysis on the 6th of June along with his blood tests. I went and had my blood tests on the 8th of July, by which time I had nearly completed my weight loss goal.
We had our consultation letter for the 28th of August so the pressure was now on. I luckily managed to lose the last 5lbs by detoxing and basically starving myself for a week. As you will remember it worked and my BMI was declared as being between 29 and 30.
The Initial Consultation on the 28th of August went really well. We were told that we would be having ICSI rather than IVF as the success rates were higher and the next step would be to telephone them on the first day of my next cycle. It is now 5 days since my periods were due to start and I am still waiting. Do you ever get the feeling your body is trying to buy you some more time LOL.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I was finally pregnant after going through all of this. The chances are very slim though and as soon as my periods start and I have telephoned the hospital I will update you on my Infertility Project….