So here I am, attempt number six is under my belt. I’m writing this as I’m a third of the way through the dreaded two week wait. After the first few days I thought I was doing better than last time. Chilling my way through week one, knowing that I needed to be emotionally strong to deal with week two (which for me is harder). The relaxed approach lasted about four days and then the usual googling, panicking and constant boob squeezing took over.
It was a rough ride of it into attempt number six. On the third or forth scan of that cycle it looked like the treatment would be cancelled. Again. I’d gone from having a good few follicles to them all stalling and nothing being viable. The doctor who had scanned me promised she’d phone back once she’d spoken with the consultant. I went home assuming that was that and began mourning another failed attempt. I began to try and get my head (and bank balance) in gear for the idea of IVF.
When I received the phone call, I was given a choice. I could continue or cancel. I was veering towards cancelling. The doctor could hear the doubt in my voice. “Why don’t you just try,” she suggested “you’ve got nothing to lose after all.” I knew in that moment that this woman had never been through fertility treatment. Yes, I had nothing to lose, apart from a rather expensive vial of sperm, another round of stress and pumping my body full of MORE hormones. Then again, perhaps she had been through fertility treatment. She knew that you just had to keep believing and keep trying and eventually things would work.
In the end I went ahead – this cycle ended up with 12 days of injections. I like to think of it as a two for one cycle – TWICE the hormonal fluctuations all in the space of two weeks, without a period. What a joy. It turns out it was the right call though. I produced two good, and one OK ish sized follicle (plus another baby one – no pun intended) and a few days later I was going for insemination. Finally a cycle that wasn’t going to be cancelled.
It was the quickest insemination of the lot. I was the last patient of the day so I guess the staff were keen to get home. This time there were over 4 million sperms. It was making the one million on the first attempt seem like nothing. But it still wasn’t as good as last times 5 million plus. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt on this journey though, it’s that timing is everything. Perhaps that cycle didn’t work because I was treated too soon after triggering and potentially I was triggered too soon. This time I felt like the timing was better, although of course there’s still that sense of the unknown because I have no idea how long it takes me to ovulate from the trigger shot. This time the gap was around 28 hours – much more in keeping with the general idea that 24-36 hours is best. I can’t help worrying that because my ovaries react in the strangest of ways (according to the consultant) and I’m some freak of nature that I may react instantaneously to the trigger shot too. It was the first time I didn’t have any spotting with the insemination though, the last two times the nurses had both told me they’d knocked the womb lining slightly which had caused it. This time there was none of that. Could it be a good sign I thought?
I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter what happens this time. It’s a last ditch attempt. It was so close to being cancelled that if it is successful then it will be like an added bonus. I’ve already decided that for me I need to move on to IVF. The meds for stimulated IUI are messing with me too much and the timing of IUI is sending me crazy. With IVF, although it’s more invasive, the odds are significantly greater and the importance of timing is (I think!) not the same.
The two week wait turned out to be as horrendous as always. Holding it together well for the first few days – after all nothing really happens then. Followed by a week of hell. Eventually though, I made it through to test time.
I used the test it out method again, on the Saturday (11 days post trigger), I had a faint line as expected due to the trigger medication. This was my baseline. What was important was if the line got darker or lighter the next day. Sunday morning I was surprised to see it was very, very slightly darker. I was shocked, so certain was I it hadn’t worked. I tested three times that day. The second two were darker still. I started to think this could be it. It was a strange feeling, nowhere near as emotional as I had expected. Perhaps because I still wasn’t one hundred percent sure. But that night as I curled up I was beaming. Monday was a mixed bag though. And Tuesday (now day 13) was ever so slightly fainter. Was this really going to be a positive or not? Could it be that the meds were still in my system? After incessant googling I came across one person who still had it in their system by day 16 but the average seemed to be 10-12 days and the official line was 14 days maximum. How long would it be until I knew for sure. I’d been taping down my tests on a card so I could compare them – a pregnancy colour chart if you will. It ebbed and flowed much more than I’d hoped. I wanted to start with the light pink shade and end with the dark maroon. Instead it was veering around uncertainly.
Every night I was so happy to climb into bed, not just in the hope I’d get some sleep, but because the next day was a day closer to knowing. I’d had enough of the grind and just wanted to be faced with an indisputable dark line, or a vanishing one so I could start to plan my next step – IVF or maternity clothes.
In the end there was no real fanfare, I was still testing positive on day fifteen which should have been indisputable but I still couldn’t quite accept it. After months of trying and everything that entailed, the idea that I could actually be pregnant and that was – literally – unbelievable. On the afternoon of the sixteenth day I had a very dark line and I knew I needed to accept that this was the real deal. However, I still couldn’t quite bring myself to say I’m pregnant, instead I’ve been saying “I think I’m pregnant”. In reality the test results are indisputable. There’s still a part of me that can’t quite believe it. In the brief, quiet moments I get, as my son falls asleep and I lay beside him, I rub my stomach and smile to myself. I can’t believe that this thing which I’ve wanted for so long is finally coming true. I feel the deepest sense of contentment that I’ve felt in a long, long time. Since the lines have darkened I’ve woken every morning with a smile on my face. For a long time waking was often greeted with the grim realisation of my life and the disappointment, anger and sadness that went with that. Now I smile. I smile at the thought that things are going to change for the better. I smile because I have something to look forward to. I smile because each day I am getting closer to what I’ve always dreamed of rather than further away. It’s early days and I’m trying not to get too carried away with it. I’m keeping it all quiet from the majority of friends and family until I have my early scan at the clinic. But inside the happiness is growing alongside my little embryo. Things are finally looking up.
This post is part of my single mum by choice series. You can read all about it here:
- Thinking about becoming a single mum by choice
- Deciding to become a single mum by choice
- Choosing a Clinic
- Single mum by choice: The Process
- Fertility Treatment Implications Counselling
- Choosing a Sperm Donor
- Preparing for insemination
- Booking the IUI appointment
- IUI insemination day
- Solo Mum Waiting To Take a Pregnancy Test
- Still Waiting To Take The Pregnancy Test
- Trying Again: Donor Conception
- Planning Fertility Treatment: The Wobble
- Planning Your Second Round of Fertility Treatment
- Fertility Treatment the Second Go
- Fertility Treatment Failure: Third Time Unlucky
- Fertility Treatment Round Four – Is This The One?
- When Fertility Treatment Fails