How long should you wait to disregard other people’s feelings?

Having personally gone through (and still living with) the tourment of infertility and subsequently the IVF journey I understand how hurtful it is to see baby scans and pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement.

So when I became pregnant myself I tortured myself with the debate of posting my happy news announcement because I knew some of my friends were in a similar position as me.

It can become so exhausting worrying about what other people might think that at some point you have to tell yourself enough is enough. Yes, your little announcement might upset a couple of friends but true friends (and those in the same position) should be happy for you.

If not move on. You don’t need to be friends with the whole world nor do you need to be liked by lots of people. In the baby journey the only people that matter are you, your partner and the little miracle you’re growing. Ok immediate family as well and possibly your BFF but really you need to stop with the whole “oh what happens if Jens, uncles’ best friends jack Russel will get upset if I post a 12-week scan” attitude – move past it and live.

Then once that miracle is born share as little or as much as you want too. It’s your life, your rules.

Katherine xox

Birth announcement

For those eager eyes amongst you waiting patiently for news of our little miracle baby. Well today you are in luck. Yes it’s a little late (3 weeks late in fact), but we’ve been in such a rollercoaster since.

Our unicorn baby was born Sunday 26th November weighing 9lb 2oz – 2 whole pounds more than his estimate. Delivery was via caesarian section due to failed induction at 41 weeks gestation. Our little man was becoming quite stressed so the consultant wanted him born as soon as possible. The staff at Darlington Memorial Hospital were absolutely wonderful and looked after me and my husband during the whole process. They kept my spirits up and kept me informed of progress.

Our son is doing perfectly well but I’m not 😢 I’ve been quite poorly on and off with my gallbladder since the birth. I cannot thank the NHS enough for their help the last few weeks and I have more care to come in the new year.

Therefore, I shall continue to take a mini break from blogging for a few more weeks whilst I get to grips with been a new mummy (and recovering).

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Christmas is about love, family and friends so treasure each moment and make memories that last a life time.

Katherine xo

IVF: the two week wait (2WW)

You have just had your embryo transfer, taken a home pregnancy test and told which day to do the test now what?

Well the first day or two you are likely just recovering from the procedure. You may feel tired, bloated and have some abdominal discomfort similar to period pain. You may also suffer from mild to severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).

You can use a hot water bottle to help with the pain but remember not too hot and not directly in contact with the skin.

You can take baths but not too hot. Sometimes it is recommended to resist the use of bubble bath during the next two weeks. Some research suggests that bubble bath can irritate your already delicate vagina and cause thrush or another form of infection.

Common questions:

I’m so bloated / Am I pregnant already?

It is normal to feel the size of a house and look about 5 months pregnant during the two week wait. You can thank good old progesterone for that.

You can drink herbal teas like peppermint to help combat the bloat. It is recommended to up your intake of water as this can help flush out any trapped fluids / constipation.

I’ve got terrible pain / discomfort in one or both my ovaries.

You’ve been through a lot the last few days and weeks. The stimulation medication will have left your ovaries slightly larger than normal (think tennis balls). This can cause discomfort and or pain on one or both ovaries. This symptom shouldn’t be ignored entirely as it could be mild OHSS. Sometimes (but it is rare) OHSS can be severe and lead to serious illness or death. Mild OHSS should resolve itself within 7-10 days (or by your next period if you are not pregnant)

If you are experiencing severe pain and any of the following seek medical attention:

  • rapid weight gain 15 – 20kg (33-44 pounds) within about 5-10 days
  • severe abdominal pain
  • severe or persistent nausea and vomiting
  • blood clots in one or both legs
  • decrease in urination
  • shortness of breath
  • tight or enlarged abdomen.

You can self-help with mild OHSS by increasing your fluid intake preferably with electrolytes. Rest as much as possible and increase your daily protein (at least an extra 60grams).

I have sore boobs / itching nipples

Once again our friend progesterone and the HCG trigger show injection are to blame. This may feel like a very very early sign of pregnancy which is driving you mad. Whatever you do refrain from doing you home pregnancy test. You could get a false positive due to the trigger shot days before.

I feel so sick is this normal

Remember you’ve been through a lot the last couple of days / weeks. You are likely to feel nauseated from the hormones you are still using. That combined with nervous excited can leave a nauseous butterfly sensation in your stomach. Try to eat little but often and plain foods if easier like toast. Also it is worth noting that early pregnancy can cause a decrease on your immune system making you susceptical to germs, coughs and colds.

It’s been a week and I feel like I’m about to have my period

Early pregnancy and your period have a lot in common with each other. Try not to focus too much on the cramping sensations just yet. It could be implantation which usually occurs about day 9. Implantation can cause bleeding (but not everyone gets this). It is usually brown in colour. Some ladies have a little spot of blood in their pants and others a little bit more. Bleeding can last a couple of hours to a day or so. If the flow has increased and / or you are starting to fill a pad every couple of hours unfortunately it is likely your period has arrived. Still wait until test day just to confirm.

Try not to focus on the implantation bleeding if you haven’t had any and your on day 10-12. Not everyone gets this.

I feel pregnant already should I do my test early?

You should only do your test on the day that the clinic told you. This is because they have worked out approximately 14 days after transfer is when the artificial trigger shot of HCG should be out of your system. If you have fallen pregnant your ovaries will take over the production of HCG and this is what is picked up on a urine home pregnancy test.

Can I go on holiday during my two week wait?

Yes, why not. You may feel a tad uncomfortable first couple of days after the transfer. Whether you want to go abroad for a week or just have a long weekend away with your significant other anywhere where the two of you can focus on one another is nice.

Can I have sex during two week wait?

Yes, however if it is uncomfortable hold off for a bit until you feel ready.

Is it true I should only use the first pee of the day for my test?

Yes and no. If you are pregnant the test will say so regardless of when you pee on the stick. It is true that the concentration of the pregnancy hormone HCG is slightly higher in your first urine of the day.

Help the line is really pale does this mean it’s negative?

No. Some tests are much more sensitive than others. If you can see the additional line regardless or dark or pale you are likely to be pregnant.

Some ladies rush out and get brands such as clear blue with digital indicator. These tests are the same as the cheaper versions but actually say pregnant or not pregnant.

My test was positive now what?

Congratulations you are pregnant. Now you need to ring the clinic. You will be asked to pop in. You will be given your maternity file notes and additional progesterone if required. You will likely be booked a viability scan for around week 7.

My test was negative

Unfortunately for some this can happen. You will still need to phone your clinic and let them know the outcome. You will still need to take your progesterone until advised when to stop.

I feel alone and ignored by my clinic

Now that you are in the two week wait you are left in natures hands. You have likely had daily contact with your clinic over the last few weeks and now feel abandoned. It is true that you don’t really speak to the clinic but the nurses are available to answer any queries you may have.

There are several support groups on social media available from Facebook to instagram. You may enjoy the silence and peace or you may wish to speak to ladies in a similar situation.

Katherine xo

IVF: embryo transfer

Whether you have had a fresh cycle or frozen cycle the procedures are very similar.

Progesterone

You will have likely started using progesterone pessaries with the first one inserted just after egg collection. The pessaries are normally recommended for rectal insertion until after the embryo transfer. This is due to them leaving a waxy residue which can make embryo transfer difficult if this is in the vagina.

The progesterone is provided to help keep your endometrium (uterus lining).

The procedure

You will speak with your embryologist prior to going down to theatre to discuss the quality and quantity of embryos for transfer. It is recommended for one embryo to be transferred regardless of age to minimise the chances of a multiple pregnancy. (Read here for more information of choosing number of embryos)

You will arrive at the clinic once again and escorted to a cubicle with your partner in attendance. You will require a half full bladder for this procedure and depending on the length of wait can become uncomfortable.

You will walk down to theatre (or wheeled depending on the clinic). You will remove your dressing gown and pop onto the bed. You will be asked to lay down and place legs into the stirrups. Your bottom half will be covered with sheets and your abdomen temporary exposed whilst they pop some lubricant on for the ultrasound scanner. Your bladder will be checked at this stage to make sure it is full. The full bladder helps with embryo transfer. You will feel some slight discomfort from the pressure applied.

Your partner is able to attend theatre with you and they will sit just next to your head and hopefully hold your hand throughout.

The embryologist will repeat several times the process and ask you to confirm your full name and date of birth a couple of times throughout.

You will be shown your embryo(s) on a television screen just before transfer.

Will it hurt?

Yes, it could hurt depending on your personal threshold of pain. For most women the procedure is like a very uncomfortable invasive smear for others its sharp or dulling ache in the lower abdomen.

You won’t be given any medication or sedative prior to embryo transfer.

The transfer

You you have a practice transfer using saline solution before the actual insertion of the embryo(s). This is to check that the tubes are clear. Once you have confirmed your details and seen your embryo(s) on the screen the transfer will begin. You won’t actually feel them insert the embryo(s) as it is so tiny.

Afterwards the tube and vagina clamp will be removed. Don’t feel ashamed if at this stage you feel like you’ve just relieved your bladder all over the bed. It is actually the residual saline flush escaping.

You will be helped off the bed and shown an ultrasound of your uterus before and after the embryo transfer. This may look like a little flash of light on a dark background. You will probably be thinking of nothing other than going to the toilet at this stage so probably I’d your head and go ‘oh yeah, wow’ it’s not that your ungrateful but you are likely uncomfortable from needing a wee so badly.

You will pop back into your cubicle and asked to rest for a little while. Have a drink some biscuits pop to the loo again and the. You will be allowed to return home (or to work).

You will need to continue taking your progesterone pessaries and can start vagina insertion if rectal had caused discomfort from constipation.

You are now on your official two week wait (2WW).

Katherine xo