“This was the last shot”

BY KATY ROBSON-MALONE

Ok, with IVF there is a lot more to it so this is a pretty long blog. Bear with me!

This was the last shot. Our final attempt to be a family of six. I felt really optimistic and excited all at the same time. Only thing was, it seemed that everything that we thought could go wrong, did!

The first thing was the sperm! It got held up at customs and to make it worse, it was over a bank holiday weekend. So we are worrying about it not being here on time and the fact it can thaw after a certain length of time. Seriously! As if this wasn’t stressful enough. So in case you ever need to know, the container can keep it frozen for up to 10 days. The time difference in America didn’t help matters with trying to get in touch with the sperm bank. I was so worked up about it all, Lynz had to take over. I’m glad she did, as I wasn’t sure if I was really pissed off or if I was going to cry.

We both breathed a huge sigh of relief when the sperm arrived safely at the clinic – now we could concentrate on the treatment.

I was on a short protocol this time round, but I was on the stims meds for what felt like ages. We were due to have our eggs collected on the Wednesday, but my follicles didn’t respond as planned. The clinic increased the dose of the meds and I came back two days later feeling hopeful, but I was on my own as Lynz was at work. I really wished I wasn’t. The scan wasn’t good. One follicle had taken over and was ready for collection, but the rest of them weren’t and very few were even close to being mature enough. It was suggested that we cancelled the cycle. Of course, I cried. We had already invested a lot of time and money into this cycle and to be two days from egg collection and be told we may want to consider cancelling the cycle was soul destroying. The nurse gave me a cuddle, as I really was a mess and I couldn’t get through to Lynz to talk through our options. We could cancel the cycle and pay for the treatment so far, or continue with a boost drug right now and hope we get some good quality eggs on Friday. I couldn’t make this decision without speaking to Lynz. Finally, she called me back. She’s way braver and bolder than I am, plus she loves a gamble, especially when the odds don’t look great, so she said we should continue. WOW! I was so proud of her in that moment. She wasn’t all wishy-washy, faffing around. She was just straight to it. “We only need one egg, Katy”. It is moments like this when I remember just how much I love her.

I got the super booster injection and went off to work googling “foods to help your follicles grow in IVF”. Supposedly pineapple is good, so I bought, and ate, a whole one! Desperate times and all that.

Next step was the egg collection, which was done under a general anaesthetic in hospital. I love that feeling when they put you to sleep. Sleep is always a hot topic in our house, as we are never bloody getting any, so to have somebody physically put you to sleep is like a dream come true.

When I came round, the first thing I wanted to know was how many eggs did they get, but the recovery nurse didn’t know. I had to wait until the doctor came round later. It felt like ages as we were on tenterhooks. I had forgotten how tense this time was from the last round of IVF. It’s amazing the detail that your brain seems to omit from your memory. I suppose it’s a bit like childbirth – if you remembered every last detail then you would never have any more children.

Five. We got five eggs. Initially we felt disappointed as we managed to get seven in the last round of IVF, but then Lynz was quick to remind me that we donated three of those so were only left with four. Yup, she has done it again.

It was one hurdle after another, as we were then told by the embryologist that they had thawed the sperm and it was of a lower motility than they hoped. “Jeepers,” I thought. “I can’t take anymore!” It was like a rollercoaster that you know you need to get to the end of, but you don’t want to open your eyes. Thankfully the embryologist was amazing at going through the facts and figures so we both felt confident that we could still get a good result. We just had to wait overnight to see if any of the eggs fertilised.

It was the last thing on my mind before bed and the first thing I thought of in the morning. “When will we get the call? How many will have fertilised?” We got the call fairly early on, which I really appreciated. Three made it to the embryo stage. Three! Wow. We can get one from three, right?

At each update, the three were still doing well. I dreaded the calls. It was all that was on my mind. I have no idea how people who go through many cycles of fertility treatment cope. It is so hard. So hard!

Day three came and the embryos were still going strong, so they chose to do the embryo transfer on day five as a blastocyst. This part of the procedure is really straight forward, just like insemination. It just meant we now had 12 whole days to wait until test day. And breathe! Plus, as a little bonus, we even had an embryo, which was good enough to freeze. This was our cushion and it brought me a lot of comfort.

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