Tuesday 15 September 2015

The IVF process AKA 'collecting the eggies'

I'm pretty sure every girl has a life plan. A life plan you don't mention to the man in your life at least until you're a good year in to your relationship - in case you sound like a pysco and he runs a mile! A girls life plan usually consists off a selection of things they want to achieve in life such as a career, buying a house, getting married etc and when they want to achieve all this by. Maybe lads have a life plan too? I'm pretty sure they just wing it though.

My life plan was nothing out of the ordinary. Get a degree, get a good job, fall in love, buy a house, get married and have babies. Simple. If I could become a millionaire in the process that would be great too.

I wanted two children. A boy and a girl. I'd have the first once I was married at about 29/30 years old. I'd have the second a couple of years after. I'd give birth naturally if possible. I'd breast feed. The plan was going great to be honest. I'd got a good job and fallen in love. We had just been for a viewing at a house we hoped to buy. 

Then everything changed.

Because I went and got fucking cancer.

The thing about cancer is it doesn't care about your plans. 

Before my diagnosis I had no idea chemotherapy could make you permanently infertile. I thought losing my hair was the major thing I had to worry about. Kath (BC nurse) burst that bubble pretty quickly. On the day I was diagnosed she went through the many common side effects of chemotherapy. She explained that chemotherapy kills fast growing sells such as cancer cells along with (good) fast growing cells. This is why you lose your hair. She went on to explain that chemotherapy may temporarily or permanently stop my ovaries producing eggs. We would therefore have to make arrangements for our future if this was to happen. 

Kath asked if we had any children either together or separately and how long we had been in a relationship. Dr S said he would arrange for the Reproductive clinic to contact us. 

'TOGETHER FOR THREE YEARS' Kath shouted after Dr S as he left the room to make the call. Apparently the IVF process is very strict in terms of funding. If you already have children or have not been in a relationship for very long you might not be able to freeze embryos on the NHS. To complete IVF without NHS funding costs thousands of pounds. 

We headed over to the Reproductive Clinic about a week after my diagnosis. We met with Dr R and he was very informative and took us through the whole process of freezing our embryos. There was so much information to take in. After we had seen Dr R I'd had a Prostap injection to bring on a temporary menopause. Yeah that's right I've got the menopause to deal with now too! (Hot flushes and all) I need this to protect me as my cancer is oestrogen positive meaning oestrogen makes it grow. I also started taking Letrozole tablets at this point too. These are a type of hormone therapy. 

After my Prostap injection I had a scan. As I laid on the bed I naively thought this would be a scan like pregnant woman have. I've seen it on films. The nurse will gently move the probe across my stomach and me and Michele will look lovingly at each other as we look at my little eggs on the ultrasound screen. Ermmm well it didn't quite go like that. The nurse took the probe that was attached to the ultrasound machine. Slicked on a condom added a bit of gel and shoved that straight up my vagina. No messing about. Not even dinner and drinks first. 

I had a bout 5 scans on separate occasions before I was ready for my eggs to be collected. I was also having injections daily for nearly two weeks at 10pm every night. These were administered at home by Dr Michele. (Best doctor I know) I couldn't face injecting myself in the stomach every day. I hate injections! I know what you are thinking. I should have got used to them by now. Well I haven't.

I was very nervous on the day of the egg collection. I kind of resented Michele for just being able to have a wank in a cup when I had to have a giant needle shoved up my vagina. I was second in the que for surgery. I heard the lady in front tell the anethesist she wasn't nervous and she just wanted to get it done. Bitch. 'I want the most drugs' I chirped at the anethesist when it was my turn to see her. 'The most you can give me'. 'We can't put you under Kirsty. Just heavily sedate you' the anethesist explained. 'That's fine but as much sedation as you can'.

The surgery went fine. I remember having to put my legs in stirrups and having an oxygen mask put on. Then there was a bit of 'cafuffilling' down below. The anethesist told me I could close my eyes if I wanted. Then she said I'm all done. As quick as that. I was actually in there for about 20 minutes. I think they give you some sort of drugs so that you don't remember what happened. I was wheeled back to the recovery room to sleep off the sedation.

I went home and slept for the rest of the afternoon. The next day I felt fine but the day after that and for the next couple of days I did have an awful stomach ache. I also looked about six months pregnant. We even rang the out of hours nurse at one point because we thought I might have ovarian hyperstimulation. It turns out it was nothing to worry about. It was just because, due to my situation, I wasn't having the embryos transferred back in. So they had pumped me with drugs and then just stopped so my body was just having a bit of a hard time dealing with it.

They ended up collecting 14 eggs. 6 of which fertilised successfully. I know IVF isn't always successful but at least we have been given this chance. 

You never know we might end up with six kids! (Help)

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