Last Thursday I had a hysteroscopy at the local hospital. Something that my IVF clinic said I would need to have done privately, i.e. with them and at just over £1,000, and that it should be on the cycle before my next period to boost the effectiveness of IVF (something to do with the womb lining being irritated and an embryo preferring to bed down in that environment).
Somehow I managed to persuade my GP to refer me to the hospital so I could ask them. This was just over a month ago and miraculously, after asking all the angels (I talk to angels, hug trees, but aside from that I am fairly normal, ish) for the procedure to be given to me on the NHS, if it was meant to be, and for it not to be allowed if it wasn't meant to be, the doctor at the hospital said I could have it. So that was miracle number one as apparently if you're going private they don't tend to let you have it on the NHS, and then usually you have to wait months for an appointment, but miracle number two, my appointment came through within a couple of weeks. I decided that all these signs were very fortuitous and that the universe was conspiring with me to get this IVF malarkey done as quickly and as cost effectively (I also got all my blood tests done by my GP rather than paying £s to have them done at the clinic) as possible.
So I had the hysteroscopy and they took a little biopsy (it didn't feel very little at the time with just a couple of paracetamols chinned at the last minute) and then it was all fine other than some slight spotting. Fast forward a couple of days and over the weekend an almost black (look away now if you're eating or squeamish) discharge appeared that got worse, coupled with lots of cramping. Given my period was due at some point between Monday and Thursday this week and by Tuesday it was still the same dark stickiness, I was starting to freak a little. I started worrying that perhaps it had messed my cycle up, as it was so close to my period coming, and that it would mean delaying IVF until the next month. Argh!
So Tuesday night I had a chat with my body and asked it very politely for my period to arrive the next day. I also asked the angels for good measure. And then, voila! Tuesday night's bad cramps turned into the arrival of AF on Wednesday morning...hurrah!
Only one problem; this meant I would have to start my meds and I had decided to visit and stay with my sister the night before. So I found myself home alone at my sister's faced with my needle and my Buserelin and a totally blank mind. The nurse had taken me through the demo at the speed of light and as she'd also shown me what to do with the Menopur - different needles and measurements - I didn't have a clue. Plus they didn't give any handouts on how to inject. Craziness!
So I phoned the on-call nurse and she talked me through it. No problem except I put the only needle I had with me through the grey plastic cover of the Buselerin and bent the bugger! Realising my error, I ended the call to my nurse (I can multitask with the best of them but apparantly not take instructions over the phone and inject myself), took the lid off, got the fluid up, forgot to flick any bubbles off, and tried sticking it in my tummy. At the wrong angle (almost horizontal). I tried again, same deal. By this time little red prick marks were appearing and I was breaking out into a sweat, wishing I was home with my husband and he was sharing in the drama. Then I thought, bugger this for a game of soldiers, and I jabbed it in, and success, I did my first injection.
That's when the fun started. Within a few minutes I started to get hotter and clammier, my legs felt locked in place, my throat tightened and, oh sweet Jesus, was this the arrival of the mother of all allergic reactions? Prone to the ocassional bit of drama, I envisioned my sister arriving home from work that evening, totally oblivious to the fact that I'm doing IVF, and finding me dead with a needle by my side. It was a pitiful image and before I really went to town visualising it all, I thankfully had a word with myself.
I realised that while my body was probably having a bit of a reaction to this new drug, some of these symptoms also matched those of a panic attack. I work in the wellbeing field and have helped clients who suffer anxiety and panic attacks before. So I treated myself as if I were a patient and went to work doing some tapping (EFT - great for anxiety), some deep breathing, a bit of energy healing, and some praying to the universe for good measure.
Within 10 minutes I had talked myself down from the ceiling and was staring to feel better. Hallelujah! And then I was up and about spending the next few hours with clients. In the afternoon I had to pop to the clinic for my first scan to see how my ovaries were doing. Naively I though the scan would be over my tummy, but then my lovely consultant appeared, with what looked like a giant dildo in his hands covered with a condom. Oh joy. Nervously I said that I wasn't quite prepared for this as I'd thought it would be a different kind of scan. He brusquely looked at me, told me in no uncertain terms that I had better start preparing myself from hereon in, and with that, the big blue beast was inside of me. Yikes.
It actually gets worse. He then asked me if I was constipated to which I replied that I never am (the joys of being a vegetarian) and then he pointed to a black circle and said 'here's one, here's another one, and there's another one'. Given that he had segued from the poo conversation directly to the dark circle conversation I thought he was pointing out poos. How mortifying! Thankfully I asked him what they were and he said follicles. Phew.
He then turned to me and said that I was doing very well for a woman of my age (42...cheers) and that I had at least 7 follicles. Which apparently is a good thing for an old lady such as myself.
The rest of the day improved after that and I managed to do my evening injection much quicker and easier, and this morning's too. I do feel not quite myself on the Buselerin but hey ho, onwards and upwards. I'm not looking forward to the Menopur that starts tomorrow though; 4 ampules worth of stuff each day, ugh.
But I know that many have done this before me and got though it okay, and many people are going through much worse. So I may as well try to embrace the process as it unfolds. I could really do with a big glass of vino though. Dry July seems like a very bad idea right now!