It’s been a while, and I’m blaming the bed crisis in the NHS for this.
I began taking the drug to induce a period on 2nd January, as planned. It was pretty uneventful, though I did feel a bit more moody – but this could just have been unrelated bitchiness. Who knows? Ten days later, when I’m due to stop taking it and wait for my period, I have a thought…John is due an operation to remove his gall bladder on 30th January. I did the maths and realised that would mean he’d be unable to “perform”, so to speak, at what could be the critical time, assuming ovulation induction by FSH injections was successful. Bummer. After a brief exchange with our consultant, we agreed that poor John wouldn’t be up to scratch and we’d now abandon this attempt in favour of picking up again after John’s op.
On the 27th Jan, John’s operation was cancelled due to the NHS bed crisis.
And we found out my mum has cancer.
Double whammy bummer.
The latter meant fitting in visits back to help them through consultant appointments and operations around our scans and injections and child care. Luckily, John has been able to work flexibly, and mum’s operation didn’t fall on a scan day for us, so it’s been close, but thanks to some fast trains and taxis I’ve made it everywhere on time. (She is recovering well at home now, awaiting biopsy results and being waited on hand and foot by my amazing dad.)
I began taking the Norethisterone again on 30th Jan for 10 days, to begin the induction of another period. I’d had the most awful bleed after the last lot of Norethisterone, and had actually contacted my consultant again (he’s going to regret giving me his email address) as I was worried because it was so bad. I now have permission to take tranexamic acid should this happen again. This is a drug used to prevent heavy blood loss from major trauma, surgery, nose bleeds etc. I took it once before when trying to conceive last time round. As it turned out though, things sorted themselves out this time, and the second norethisterone-induced bleed wasn’t as bad.
Soooooo, when my period came I contacted the fertility clinic and saw them on day 4 of my cycle for a transvaginal scan. Such a romantic way to spend Valentines day. I’m used to having these now, but the indignity of The Chair remains. Again I was told I had “textbook polycystic ovaries” and prescribed a week’s worth of injections at 37.5 IU . This is one of the lowest doses you can have, prescribed to us because of the many follicles I have just waiting for some yummy FSH to get growing. My biggest risk is that all these super-keen follicles take up a bit of FSH and grow to maturation at the same time. Ideally we only want 1-2 to grow ready for the final shot of hormone that will release them down the fallopian highway towards Spermville. So we’re starting low and slow.
The injections themselves are self-administered at home with the use of a injection pen, a lot like an EpiPen. John agreed to be my nurse and has taken great delight in stabbing me daily. Though he is somewhat disappointed in himself for not using the opportunity to draw a dot-to-dot smiley face on my right thigh. And this has all gone quite smoothly, although the first injection day was somewhat dramatic.
Not wanting Toby to witness the potentially traumatic stabbing of his mother by his father, we took the opportunity the distraction of his breakfast afforded us to administer the injection in the kitchen. I stood up and was injected twice by John, who failed in his very first attempt to actually administer anything. But I felt fine. it hadn’t hurt, and I sat down to breakfast with no problems. But I started to feel dizzy. Now, John will tell this story differently (“you hyped yourself up because you’re an idiot”), but I just started to wooze and announced I was going to faint. Luckily I was already sat at the dining table, and I awoke in the loving arms of my hero husband, just like in the movies, with my son a few feet away, happily scraping the cereal from his bowl and apparently oblivious to the whole affair. However, the following day, and ever since, I have taken it like a boss and had no such wussy episodes.
After 8 days of injections I returned for another scan. A different nurse again informed me that I had “textbook Polycystic ovaries”, however the FSH had not tempted the little eggs out of hibernation. Nothing had changed. I felt disheartened and cross. We’d expected my ovaries to go nuts, and I had been told my greatest risk was abandonment of the cycle due to over-stimulation, and here we were with nothing. I was asked to continue at the same does for another two days and then return for another scan and possibly a consultation on the way forward with Mr Walker.
So on Friday 24th Feb we went back, I was scanned, and still very little had occurred. Yet another nurse told me I had “Textbook polycystic ovaries” and I had a couple of follicles measuring around 6mm, but they want them to be 10mm or more I think, so this is not good enough, ovaries! After a chat with Mr Walker, the nurse asked us to increase the dose to 75 UI for another 4 days, and we got a second injection pen, taking our costs to almost £1k this cycle so far. We have another appointment on Tuesday 28th Feb to have another scan.
I wonder if they’ll find textbook polycystic ovaries?
The increased injection dose hurts more to administer, but I am pleased the dose has been increased rather than abandoning the cycle or continuing at the lower dose that didn’t seem to be having much effect. The only problem now is that we’re fast approaching the revised operation date for John’s gall bladder removal (6th March), so unless my ovaries get a wriggle on, we’ll be in the position of having to chose which of us is a higher priority – our unconvinced child and my needle-damaged body, or stinky John.