The dreaded injections!

Our first injection, with Will’s help of course!
Excuse the terrible quality, he’s not the best at taking pictures!

So after 3 weeks of nasal sprays, on February 5th, I had an internal scan (you’ll have MANY of these if you are/will ever go through IVF) to check that my ovaries were, how they would describe “nice and quiet” meaning they were not producing any eggs. The fertility specialist was happy that my ovaries were quiet and so we were told we were ready for the next stage of our treatment…
INJECTIONS!

On February 7th we done our first injection!
I was sooo nervous to do the injections, but actually, I barely felt anything! I think it’s just the fact that you have to inject yourself is what’s scary. Plus it’s not exactly enjoyable, but I definitely thought it would be much worse than it was. Also, I still had to continue with the nasal sprays, but my dose was reduced from 2 sniffs 4 times a day to 1 sniff 4 times a day. And thank God, my nightmares stopped!

8 days later, on February 13th I had an internal scan to see what my ovaries were doing and how well I was responding to treatment. The past few days I was starting to feel a bit of discomfort on my lower left side, I told our fertility specialist this, assuming it was something to do with my ovaries being stimulated. She told us that she wasn’t expecting to see much on the scan, this was just a simple check up to see how I was responding to the treatment. So we were not to worry if the scan didn’t really show anything.
So she went on to scan me and found my left ovary was producing some eggs, also the right side but not as many. She went on to book me another scan in 2 days to check on them and to make sure I wasn’t over-stimulating.

February 15th I had another internal scan to have a look at my ovaries. My pain on my lower left side was really uncomfortable now! I found it really painful to bend in certain positions, like putting socks on. It sort of felt like a stitch that never went away.
They told me my left ovary was very full, which explained the pain. They explained that in a normal menstrual cycle, a woman would produce only one egg, with the follicle (the bag of fluid the egg is in) measuring roughly 2cm. So for me, it was like having a small bunch of grapes on my left ovary! They counted around 10 follicles just on my left ovary and around 6 on my right. Though the ones on my right were quite small and so most like weren’t maturing well.
Nonetheless, the clinic was happy with the amount and quality of follicles I had and so booked me in for egg collection.
You can read my experience on egg collection on my next post 🙂

Treatment begins with nasal sprays…

Here’s a little peak of the scrapbook I was talking about in my previous post.

On January 16th 2019, we started treatment!
So I started on a nasal spray called Buserelin, which was to switch off my ovaries and stop them from producing any eggs. I had to have 2 sniffs 4 times a day for 3 weeks, which was actually quite hard to keep up with at first. 4 times a day really felt like a lot, you have one dose and before you know it, it’s time to have your next dose!

The nasal sprays didn’t have many side effects for me from what I can remember, other that awful nightmares! You know them reeeeaaally vivid nightmares where you wake up out of breath and if your heart beats any faster you’ll go into cardiac arrest?
Yeah, they were really horrible! I actually began to dread going to bed because I knew I would have nightmares all night. But they did stop once my dose was reduced. You can read about the next stage on my next post :).

From referral to starting treatment

In July 2018, we had our first consultation with a fertility specialist to discuss our fertility issues and a treatment plan. However, we had both quit smoking and were using an e-cig to help kick the habit (I would have really struggled without that e-cig!). We were honest about using an e-cig with our fertility specialist, but this meant we had to do a 6 month no smoking course! So we ditched the e-cigs straight away and had to meet up with this lady every month in our local sainsburys cafe and breathe into a machine which measures the amount of carbon dioxide in our breath to prove that we were non-smokers, which of course we passed each time!

So 5 months later in December, they invited us back for another consultation to prepare for treatment!!! This was so exciting, it felt like we were really going to have a baby soon!
We were told that we would get 3 cycles free on the NHS (thank the lord for the NHS!)
3 cycles is actually really generous we thought! Especially seeing as depending on where you are from in the UK determines how many cycles you get on the NHS, if you are from Oxford you only get 1 cycle!

Anyway, for Christmas that year Will bought me the coolest Christmas present ever! A hp sprocket, which is kind of like a polaroid, but rather than it being a camera its like a mini portable printer which you connect to from your phone through bluetooth and can print mini photos. Also you can peel the back off and stick the picture to anything! Which gave me the idea to start a scrapbook of our IVF journey and fill it in as we go along, with mini pictures of us together and what we’re doing at that point in our lives, and obviously what we’re going through treatment wise.
Imagine when our child can look back at our scrapbook and realise just what a miracle they really are!

A bit about me and why I am going through IVF

So, first off I will start by saying this is my first attempt at creating a blog! So i’m a bit all over the place at the moment because i don’t really know what i’m doing, and definitely winging it! So apologies if it all looks a bit messy!

My name is Steph, i’m 23 years old currently living in Gloucestershire, UK.
I don’t really have any hobbies as such, I just LOVE animals!!! In particular cats, you can see three of my beautiful babies on the right. But I really do love all animals. And cheese.

So, what we’re really here to talk about is why am I going through IVF?! And probably a question you’re all asking is, why so young?
Well, 2 years ago when me and my partner Will, age 31, decided we wanted to have children in the near future, I came off the pill and thought it wouldn’t be long before I fell pregnant and everything would be perfect and we would live happily ever after. Well obviously that wasn’t the case. We werent actually trying for long at all before we made an appointment with our GP, and that is because Will knew he had a very low sperm count and was concerned that we would not be able to conceive without assistance.

So the GP tries to expain to us that we need to have been trying for 2 years before we would get referred to fertility specialists. But Will being Will, (he’s an EXTREMELY impatient person, he wants everything done there and then!) managed to get them to refer him for a semen analysis, and also test my fertility to rule out any other possible cause of infertility. We had actually only been trying for 6 months at this stage, which I know is no time at all, however we were soon informed that the chances of us conceiving naturally were very, very slim!

Photo by sergio souza on Pexels.com

So Will had a semen analysis test, which came back showing he has very low count. The average sperm count is anywhere from 15-200 million sperm per ml. Will’s sperm count is only at 2.2 millions, which is considered very low. Tests also showed that the motility of his sperm was very poor, meaning that they aren’t very good swimmers either!
In the midst of this, I had lots and lots of blood tests to check my hormone levels. Luckily, all of my results came back normal, which was a relief! However due to Will’s semen analysis results, our GP agreed to do an early referral to a fertility specialist.