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A very long journey - to offer hope

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A very long journey - to offer hope

Postby CarolynB » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:04 pm

Dear All

Be warned this is a mega post and may be it is self indulgent. I have not posted for a very long time but wanted to share my long journey in the hope that it might help those who are less lucky with early tries at ivf and maybe wondering whether to continue. I also post in case some of the old timers are still around to thank them from the bottom of my heart for all their support on my journey especially when I was starting out.

Some background. We married in May 2005 & started trying straight away as oldies! I naively thought that it would happen within a few months. When it did not then a good friend told me to start investigations sooner rather than later. So by Xmas that year, we were referred by our gp and having all the normal tests undertaken. They found blocked tubes on both sides.

Easy. IVF will eliminate the need for my tubes to work. Wow. Let’s get going and no doubt it will work! Ha ha. Join boards on 1st April 2006 – April/May 2006 thread buddy. For an oldie I produced 13 eggs on low doses. 8 fertilised. Not bad grades. 2 back. Feel fluey on Day 7 – good or bad? Sense bad. Bleeding 11 days afterwards. Oh dear. That was not meant to happen. Ok we were unlucky. Try again. But we did have 6 frosties.

New consultant at same hospital. Why don’t I open your tubes and all will be well. Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy – oh dear, too much damage to repair. Need to open you up completely in full scale surgery. Caesarean scar and no baby. Never liked my tummy anyway. Tubes connected but more damage than expected so no idea how long they would stay open afterwards. So after a month’s recovery. We run a tight schedule of sex. Wow. I never knew that having sex on a schedule could be so stressful. My poor dh. After a few months, back at consultants again. Please can we do more ivf.

By now on the no coffee. No tea. Organic food. Zita West vitamins. Regular acupuncture. Given up mega stressful job. Ticking all the boxes so it must work!

Let’s stick to Fresh as the 39 year old frosties could be a brother or sister! Short protocol so I could get in before Xmas. Only 6 eggs as they could only reach 1 ovary. 3 back as now over 40. Bleed day 11. Hmmm. Getting into a bad pattern here. Back again. All getting a bit routine. Follow up. Bad luck

May be time for a new clinic who at least believes in immunology. So well aware of wait lists let’s have another go at clinic 1 whilst we line up for clinic 2.

Go again at first clinic. 3rd time lucky - surely I have served my time. Short protocol again. 8 eggs. Let’s try something new and put back blasts. Day 6 – no blasts. Sit in front of embryologist who says basically most have died and they’ll put back the least bad two. First appointment at new clinic day after transfer so at least we have go 4 to look forward to. Bleed day 11. Sod 1st clinic. Sod bad luck. Wearing thin.

Transfer to the infamous ARGC. They sort out all the bad cases so surely they’ll know what they are doing. Another hysteroscopy – all ok. Chicago immunes – no issue. Dam. No issues. Let’s go again. So I use my summer holiday last year to do daily blood tests, daily scans and the rigours of the ARGC routine. 23 eggs. Over joyed. Sugar. Only 7 make it. And all are weak/fragmented/murky. 3 back. At least they get me to test day but a 4th negative. Honest follow up. Your eggs are not up to it. At least they offer some answers.

New, young eggs must be the answer. Now a donor thread pal. Spend rest of summer waiting to get kick off appointment at IM in Barcelona & getting my head around the fact that the genes will not be mine but I will still have a baby. Most expensive clinic. Shortest wait list. Must know what they are doing. More tests. They show sperm fragmentation. At least it is not all me & they can get round it by a TESA. OUCH for my dh. How many more issues could we have. ARGC help us at this end. Spain match me last Autumn, three top quality eggs back from a young donor, with a TESA on my fab dh. Must work. Get to test day – no bleeding. Called for 5th time. Sorry.

More bad luck. Let’s try again with a new donor. ARGC – repeat immunes. Show something. Phew. That is the answer. Steriods. Heparin. Ritadine. Gestone – massive injections in the bum – all added for support. TESA 2 for my poor dh. By now we are so used to it all that we just go separately to Spain so nobody to help my dh through TESA or me through transfer. Less good news from new donor. Only 6 eggs. Just two to come home. May be the donor was not the best?? Oh gosh, we have had 6 tries and still no joy.

Stop coming to boards around now. Too tired of being happy for everyone else. Too sad to write my sorry tale. People I started with have not 1 baby, not 2 babies but are on to number 3. I am part of a sad group for which however you try. Whatever you do. Nothing works. We fade away as no one wants to here our sad story when they start out. We’re bored of telling it. Everyone has moved on.

OK. 7th time lucky. Beg ARGC for IVIG, even though boarder line. Beg IM for proven donor. DH bears the pain of TESA 3. Persuade IM to do PGD. I will not have anyone tell me that we have not tried everything. 4 tested. 2 fail PGD. 2 back after PGD. Feel fluey on Day 7 (for 3rd time). Now know or have really strong sense that is my body rejecting despite the IVIG drip beforehand.

All over. ARGC agree. Start to re-group for rest of life as two. Already investigated adoption and we will not get accepted as I have an auto immune disorder. Looked at surrogacy, not enough people willing to do and they’ll never pick oldies like us. All over. It is a relief at first. By body is a mess. It is battered and bruised and bloated from all the injections and patches. Get some counselling. Treat myself. Plan exotic holiday together. We will be alright. Have only told my parents about our toils but not rest of family but as part of closure ask my mum to tell my two sisters as don’t want them to think I was a sad career woman who never wanted kids.

Mum calls after telling my middle sister and within 12 hours she has offered to be our surrogate. WHAT. I never ever for one moment thought of this. She has a boy of 3 and a girl of 7 but not the easiest journey as she is really irregular. My head spins like a washing machine for a week. Part of me and dh cannot bear more pain. Part of us is desperate to grieve and move on. But how could we turn down such an amazing, selfless offer. We cannot.

Journey re-commences and starts for my amazing sister. Counselling for me and dh, my sister and her husband. Plus all of us together. We take legal advice. We re-visit clinic 1 with our frosties and they say put them back to me. You have been unlucky. Yeah right. We go back to ARGC who think that it is worth a shot to defrost and try my sister as they cannot combat my immune issues. My dh couriers 6 frosties across London. My sister starts appointments, drugs and tests. She travels every few days from Birmingham to London. We go and help with her children. My parents drive from Devon to Birmingham to look after her kids. Lining not great. Keep going. We defrost. I can hardly function I feel so much stress. All de-frost for us. Two never start start dividing. Down to 4. Day 3 – back or carry on to blasts? Cannot take stress anymore. Want them back inside my sister. A Grade B/A goes back at 9 cells staring to compact. A Grade B 10 cell also.

We look after my sister. Nobody lets her do anything. She stays with me and dh and we keep her glued to the sofa. My parents go to Birmingham and look after her kids. I drive her home and feel sad when I leave my embies. But much more confident than in me. On Day 7, she has headaches and is sick just like day before her period. No AF arrives. I try to stay calm. How can it possibly happen. This is our 8th try. It is my crappy material. My dh’s crappy material too.

Wednesday is test day. Dh drives to Birmingham and looks after her kids. My younger sister comes to London and tests. I try to work. I figure clinic will call with bad news or she’ll text. She’ll know that I will be unable to talk. Talking to my boss on land line at work. Mobile comes up as my sister’s home number. She is calling me. I just hang up on boss. Fumble phone. Cut her off. Call her back.

She says let me be the first to congratulate you – you are going to be a Mum. I scream. I cry. I flip out. Still manage to ask number. HCG 90. OK. Not great. But good. Better than we ever got before or would ever get with my stupid rejecting body what ever I did. I call my dh on motorway. It worked. She did it for us. He cries. Call my Mum. She cries. My collegues at work wonder what has happened. I cannot function. I simply cannot believe it.

I feel totally blessed to have a sister who would go through this for me. Numbers climbed to 130 on Thursday. Waiting for number now. Please double. Please let my little one stick. I feel utterly blessed to have a dh who has been with me every step of the way through the drug fuelled haze.

Wow. If you have read then thank you. If you have questions then please ask as would love to help if my post raises questions that might help others.

Even when you feel the journey is very very dark then light can come from the most unexpected places. If your journey was short and successful then feel lucky every day and think of those who go through the roller coaster and never get the fairytale. We all need to look after them as best we can.

Love to you all.
Carolyn xxxxxxxxx
Me 42, DH 52 IVF #1, #2, #3 ICSI #4 - 10.05.2006, 12.12.2006, 10.03.2007, 27.07.2007 ICSI/DE/TESA #5, #6 PGD/IVIG #7 - 24.11.2007, 27.02.2008, 23.05.2008 - 7 BFNs
Surrogacy/FET #8 - 15.10.2008 - BFP
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Postby loopie » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:46 pm

Carolyn- thank you for your story- I think your family is wonderful ! Congratulations!

I wept with joy as I read the last paragraphs - so amazing and such a wonderful reminder that angels are here on earth -
good luck and wonderful healthy baby karma for you and yours

best!
loopie
Me 41 Dh 41
1st IVF BFP!!! Jan 2008

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Postby Welshgirl38 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:13 pm

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Carolyn my cycle buddy and my very good friend - i am soooooo pleased for you sweetie, tears are streaming down my face - im totally lost for words - your sister is an amazing woman and i already LOVE HER TO BITS :) Im so happy for u, i really am - how wonderful!

I have been with u thru some of your journey and i know how brave u have been ... this is now YOUR time hun, this is your turn to smile and be happy and to jump around - this is for YOU and DH!!

Amazing sister ... amazing family - i KNOW u will make fantastic parents, im just so dam happy for you .

Much love to you ALL ...

Becky Xxxx

1 IVF=BFN 2 IVF=BFN 3 IVF=BFP :) m/c @ 8 wks :( 4 IVF=BFN
We must now let go of the life we had planned, to live the life waiting for us..

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Postby nic4 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:15 pm

Carolyn...im a lurker on the threads,dont post much now,4th attempt for my gorgeous little boy,he's 14 months already...

Ive read lots of your struggles on donor thread and awaiting tmt...

IM SOOOO BLOODY HAPPY FOR YOU AND DH...

I was particulary interested when you did your cycles at arrg as i had watched a documentary about them..At long last you have your happy ending,i'll pray your embie sticks and you have a wonderful healthy son/daughter..

Keep us posted,its always lovely to hear the miracle stories..xx

Much love,Nicola..xxx
1st ivf,jan 2006(bfn) 2nd ivf,april 2006(bfn) 1st FET,july 2006(bfn) 3rd fresh ivf,nov 2006 (BFP) by the grace of god..1 baby due end July 2007..Jack born 24th july 2007..
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Postby squeezan » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:54 pm

Congratulations Carolyn
I followed some of your journey on 'awaiting tmt' thread and am so pleased for you
Su
38,single.ttc with iuid
3 cycles 100mg clomid-BFN
2 cycles menopur-BFN
Nov 07 menopur-BFP!!
Ist scan 13/12 - 1 perfect heartbeat
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Postby CarolineP » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:42 pm

Carolyn

Thank you so much for sharing your deeply moving and personal story. You and DH have shown so much strength of character on this emotional journey, I am sure you will make exceptional parents.

I look forward to hearing your updates and welcoming your baby into the world.

DH and I are toasting your success.
CarolineP
Me 50 DH 57 - TTC 10 years
IVF July 04, Sept 04, Dec 04 all -ive
Mar 05 +ive - Amelia Leah born 30/11/05
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Postby AuntyPebbles » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:07 pm

Aww Carolyn hun it's an amazing post i found it in no way self indulgent it's informative and so touching, i think we joined this around the same time? so weve shared a lot of this together so to be able to watch you move forward is amazing.

I am of course made up for you.

Sending sticky bean stick vibes and bunches of love Debz n sammy
Me 42 ,DH 45 ...3 IVF's BFN
Mommy to my beautiful girls Gabby(4) and Kenzie(2)

Now on Face Book pm me for information..
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Postby lara312 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:43 am

Carolyn your story is so amazing and so is your sister it just shows that ladies should never give up you deserve this so much after all the crap you went through i'm so happy for you and dh you will make a fab mammy and daddy has you have so much love to give just like you never gave up on your dreams of becoming a mammy
much love to you all and please keep us posted
lots of love Rachel x x
after 8 yrs of trying 2failed ivf 1 m/c and 2 miracles
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Postby beachbaby » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:41 pm

Carolyn, Wow, I am so happy for you, what a fabulous sister. I am in tears (of joy). You so deserve this, hope those beta's keep getting stronger.
Good luck for the next 9 months, you and DH will be fabulous parents.

Jayne
Me 39, DH 40. TTC 5years
4th times a charm,1-IVF, 3xFET's, 2 chemical
Twin boys born 9/7/08
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Postby CarolynB » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:57 pm

Ohhhh. You've set me off in a pool of tears all over again. The replies are all so touching. Thank you

Loopie - thank you for taking the time to reply when your big event is right here. So hope all goes well

Beckster - so pleased that you are being brave and having another go. So hope that it is 3rd time lucky for you & B. Cannot watch the X without thinking of you. I say Diana to win :D It is still keeping me (vaguley) sane!!! Keep me posted on this try. I shall cross everything for you

Nicola - ARGC are top drawer. Really. What ever the programmes say. They are prepared to try new things. We cannot wait for them to be proven. May be they are not all tea and sympathy but their monitoring is second to none. I loved them even before they helped us on the final leg of our journey. Cannot believe Jack is that grown up already. Hope that you are having a ball and loving every moment of being a Mum

Su - WOW. Cannot believe that your little boy is 3 months already. Bet he has a right personality by now!

CarolineP - Thank you. We are both proving that it can happen for the older parents as well as the youngsters!

Aunty - thank you for encouraging me to write the post in the first place. Was not sure as had not been here for a while but it was good advice from you as always. You have been an absolute rock, even when you had troubles yourself. Thanks for everything

Rachel - Cor blimey. Ruby now over 6 months old. I recall your amazing miracle BFP when you were waiting for egg share just like it was yesterday. Sure she is a right cutie. Bet you love shopping for her!!!!

Jayne - your twins are growing up already. Bet it is such fun to see them interact with each other

Thank you all. Posting back to people like this reminds me of how I used to enjoy posting so much. It has given me back my posting MOJO!

So Thursday was 135, Saturday was 290 on hcg but progesterone was dangerously low (50 rather than over 100). ARGC want sister on gestone - huge injections in the bottom. She freaks - understandably. I feel more guilt than I thought possible as to what she is going through for me. I collected her today from Birmingham. Drove the 250 mile round trip to clinic. They showed me how to do for her - properly. Never sussed doing these injections in my bum. Not too bad. She is less daunted now she knows what is involved. Hope I can do as well as nurse at ARGC! CRICKEY. We'll try to get her local surgery to help. Progesterone still low today (still 50) but hcg is up to 478. Taking a day at a time. The stress never ever ends. But we are still in the running which is what matters. Please keep going little one, we want you so much.

Lots of Love
Carolyn xxxxxxxxxxx
Me 42, DH 52 IVF #1, #2, #3 ICSI #4 - 10.05.2006, 12.12.2006, 10.03.2007, 27.07.2007 ICSI/DE/TESA #5, #6 PGD/IVIG #7 - 24.11.2007, 27.02.2008, 23.05.2008 - 7 BFNs
Surrogacy/FET #8 - 15.10.2008 - BFP
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Postby Angie65 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:42 pm

Carolyn - I have often wondered how you are going so it made my day to read your wonderful post. It is in no way self indulgent so please continue this thread so we can hear all your updates.

What a wonderful bond you will always have with your sister. Also once you hold your baby all the memories of the painful times you've had with the IVF will completely disappear and seem a life time away. Wishing you and your family all the luck in the world. Please keep in touch.
Me 39 PCO - TTC since Aug 05
2 IVF/ICSI, 2 FET. All BFN
BFP Oct 07

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Postby shantala » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:31 pm

carolyn - not sure if you remember me but we cycle together on the dec/jan thread. all i can say is wow! what an amazing story....even though i remembered most of your story it was still so amazing to read and i never guessed the ending!! when i read it last night i had tears in my eyes and was so choked. its just wonderful. i'll be praying and keeping everything crossed for you, dh and your sister.

will be keeping a very close eye on you!!!! so chuffed for you

xxx
2nd IVF/ICSI - baby girl Elliana born 21.4.08 weighing 7lb 6.5ounces; 7 frosties left...
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Postby wishfull27 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:46 pm

Hi carolyn

just wanted to say how pleased I am for you and DH and like many others your emotional roller coster brought tears to my eyes

Everything crossed for you all xxxx
IVF 4 BFP
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Postby LauraLou » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:04 pm

Carolyn-

I can barely see the computer, as I am crying so hard! I am so incredibly happy for you!!!!! There is no one, absolutely no one, who deserves this more than you.

I have thought about you often and wondered how you were doing. I don't come here often anymore but for some reason decided to check in today. I couldn't believe it when I saw your post. What an incredible gift your sister has given you!

Please keep us updated. I will be praying for you, your sister, your DH and precious miracle baby!

Laura
Me 38, DH 52
1st IVF 5/06- BFP m/c
2nd IVF 9/06- BFP identical twin boys!!
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Postby kellym » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:06 pm

Carolyn,

My cycle buddy from January, I am so happy for you - tears are streaming down my face. My DH came rushing over wondering what was wrong - when I told him your story he was so excited for you and DH... as am I!!!

I am so thrilled for you that you found the way to your dream... it was meant to be and I have no doubt that this time it has worked for you and DH. And what a wonderful, selfless sister you have. This experience will bond you forever!!!

I can't wait to follow your story and hear the news, especially once the ultrasound time comes - although I am sure right now that feels like a long time away.

Big hugs to you. I know these first few weeks are a mixture of excitment and worry... but it has worked this time!!!

Kel
7 IVF cycles - 2 chemicals, 5 BFN
1 FET cycle - BFN
9th IVF cycle - BFP!! Twins born Sept 18/08
Trying again May 2010!!!
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