Saturday, 17 May 2014

Our Story

So, the long and short of it was that we needed fertility treatment. 

Firstly we embarked on IUI (inter-uterine insemination). We did 8 rounds of IUI in total, most of which were back-to-back, over the course of a year. 12 exhausting, draining, emotional, expensive, stressful months when every one of our treatments failed. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we had to move on to IVF.

Like most people I had my own perception of IVF and to be honest I was absolutely dreading it. All you really hear about is how many cycles couples have had to do in order to get pregnant, so to say I was skeptical about our first is an understatement. 

I started a programme of drugs to firstly halt my own natural cycle, and then to stimulate my ovaries to produce as many follicles as possible, each one potentially containing an egg. I had an ultrasound scan every other day to check how many follicles were growing and measure how big they were. When they were nearly ready to pop I went in to the clinic to have the eggs removed. Or so I thought...

What had actually happened was that I had reacted early to the final injection that I had taken the night before, causing the follicles to pop before I got to the clinic. I was sedated for the egg collection so I didn't know anything about what was going on, but was told afterwards that the consultant started the procedure and the 20 or so follicles I'd had the day before had ruptured and were empty.

That could have meant abandoning the whole cycle, but luckily our consultant was able to alter the procedure and after a lot of looking around he found 7 follicles that were still intact, each containing an egg. 3 days later 3 of the eggs had fertilised and become embryos. We decided to have 2 embryos implanted and freeze the remaining 1. Then we waited 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test.

The morning of the test I woke in a foul mood. I'd had some bleeding from around day 9 after the embryos were put back, so I really had no hope whatsoever that the treatment had worked. I grumpily did the test and left it on top of the toilet, not even wanting to look at the result. As I was brushing my teeth my husband came in to the bathroom and glanced at the test. In the mirror I saw his eyes widen in disbelief and I knew I was pregnant.

5 anxious weeks later we had our first scan and saw 2 tiny flickering heartbeats. Crazy.

So you know the rest of this story; I had twins and started writing a blog to myself. The end? Not quite...

For me there was always a feeling that the journey was unfinished. I often thought about the embryo in the freezer and so 3 years after the initial treatment we decided that we would investigate putting it back. We were told that the chances of success with an FET (frozen embryo transfer) were less than a fresh IVF cycle, but that as our embryo was good quality it was worth a shot. Once again I started taking drugs to halt my cycle and booked in to have the embryo transferred. We got a call that morning to say that it had defrosted successfully and all was looking good. The transfer was very straight forward and overall the experience was a great deal less stressful than the last time. Then we waited 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test.

It's funny, but this time I knew that it had worked. I remember sitting on the sofa thinking "well, clearly I'm pregnant", but I've no idea what gave me that idea. This time when I took the test and climbed back into bed I barely needed to look at it before I passed it to my husband and we both started giggling. 

5 weeks later (and a sleepless night) we were more than a little relieved to see just the one tiny heartbeat flickering. In all honesty if it had been twins again I would have been devastated!

So, there you go: one (nearly disastrous) cycle of IVF, 3 embryos and 3 babies who are sort-of-triplets, born 3 years apart.