Today was my day 12 scan. I’m already three days over the number of days I stimmed compared with my last cycle.
I waited an hour and a half to be seen, despite turning up to Jessops when the doors opened at 8am. It was absolutely heaving, and stuffy, with seemingly every woman and her partner in there.
At least I got a seat. There were people having to stand at several points in the morning, as there weren’t enough chairs.
So I waited, patiently. I read my magazine cover to cover. And then I waited some more, not so patiently.
Women who came in after me were seen before me. And then the waiting room started emptying out. It was then 9:30am and I was beginning to get annoyed.
My poor mom, who had given me a lift and was sitting in a coffee shop up the road, was also waiting.
And so, we all waited some more.
Then finally, I was called.
A nice, older lady, who I’d not seen before, did the scanning honours.
She seemed pleased with the results. ‘They’ve grown nicely on the left,’ she said, kindly.
But all I could was think: they should be showing me 18, fully-grown follicles (18 was my AFC). Instead, there are apparently nine, but I don’t think this nurse counted nine. To me, it looked like she saw around six or seven in total.
‘I think you’re ready for egg collection,’ she said. ‘You’ll need a blood test, so if you go back in the waiting room, we’ll get that done for you.’
So back I went, into the waiting room. This time there were no seats, so I stood by the entrance, looking out into the car park, tears welling in my eyes and panic rising within me – tightness gripping my throat.
I tried to breathe from my diaphragm, and use mindfulness to concentrate on what I could see and hear in front of me, to stop myself crying. But every minute or so, thoughts of ‘this isn’t going to work,’ ‘I’m going to have to do this again,’ and ‘We’re going to have to find another £5K’ swam round and round in my head.
After another 20 mins, and having managed to distract myself by reading an article unrelated to IVF on my phone, I was called in for a blood test.
By this point, I felt a little better. I hate blood tests, but whatever, I thought. Let’s just get this done.
The nurse did a good job in calming my nerves, and off I went, up the road to find my mom.
I called my husband as soon as I left to tell him the news. ‘Egg collection looks set for Wednesday,’ I said, ‘but we need to wait for the blood test results first, which I’ll get this afternoon.’ I fought back tears as I spoke to him, the tightness in my throat returning.
Bless her, my mom was kind. ‘How did it go?’ she said, when I found her. I just replied, ‘Can we not talk about it?’ and she said that was fine.
And soon I was OK, and we got home, and I went upstairs to log into my work computer – 10:30am, it was. Luckily I didn’t have any urgent emails to action, so I sat there feeling a bit numb.
I just feel sick about this cycle, really. I can’t understand it, I really can’t, and it’s so frightening when you’re self-funding to realise that yes, you can do everything to make it work (cut down alcohol/coffee, take a billion supplements, do acupuncture, exercise, drink loads of water…) but ultimately, what matters is how you respond to those drugs.
All my numbers are good. I am fit and healthy. I am doing everything ‘right’. And yet, if one of your follicles decides it wants to race ahead, and bugger the rest of them, then what can you do?
I’ve read on fertility forums people saying there are ways of controlling the lead follicle when it goes off on one. Others say that’s why clinics adjust your medication throughout, and do close monitoring.
Am I cutting corners here, do you think, by going to Jessops where treatment is cheap? Because today is the first time anyone has bothered to take my blood. Day 13!
Perhaps if I’d been asked to go in for an earlier scan than day 8, they’d have realised I had a runaway follicle, and could have done something? Should they have upped my meds, to bolster the little ones along? I think yes, but what on earth do I know.
But of course, if my follicles were growing normally, I wouldn’t be even questioning Jessops at all. I’d be excited and happy rather than feeling sad and miserable and scared. I just want someone to blame right now, and at the moment, that’s Jessops.
At least my expectations right now are low, so if this cycle doesn’t work out, I’m not going to be totally broken*.
*Watch this space.