Saturday, 27 May 2017

IVF #3, FET #3: Transfer Day, Part 1

It's funny how little superstitions creep in around your IVF cycles, especially when you've done more than one cycle. I'm guessing this is probably a normal thing to happen, I've definitely read of people who have to eat at a certain restaurant after transfer or will watch a particular film in the run up to egg collection, because that's what they did when it worked, so that's what they have to do this time.

I'm afraid I am one of those people.

The day before our transfer I very carefully made a list of all the things we needed to do that night and evening. This included things like organising the medication I would need the following day (since we needed to leave early and didn't know what time we would be back), laying out my clothes (so we could get up and leave with the minimal amount of stress) and making sure my lucky unicorn Ixi was packed in the bag Mr Click would be carrying (I have been banned from all heavy lifting).

The outfit I picked out is the exact same one that I have worn to every other appointment for this frozen embryo transfer; comfy jeans (with a hole in, oops), stripey top, Hogwarts Quidditch top and Wonder Woman socks. This was what I wore for the egg collection and that went pretty damn well, so I wore it for my baseline scan and that went perfectly, so I wore it for my lining scan and that went really well too. So there was never any question that I would wear anything else for Transfer Day.

Now although this is our third frozen transfer, it's our fourth transfer total. Two of those we've travelled to the hospital by car and one on public transport; the one where we travelled by public transport was the one which stuck (for a while). There was some debate about how we would get to the hospital and eventually we decided we would go by train and bus to keep the day kind of relaxed and give us something to do if we had a bit of a wait before we could go in.

The way that a Frozen Transfer works means that first the embryo has to be thawed, this only takes about twenty minutes but then they like to monitor them for a while to make sure they do everything they're supposed to. Ideally an embryo will be warmed up and then will continue on as it did before, dividing, preparing to hatch, actually hatching. Some are a little sluggish (who can blame them after being 'asleep' for so long) and others hop right back to it.

So on the day of the transfer you'll get a call from the Embryologist to let you know if they've thawed successfully. We'd given permission to keep thawing embryos if one didn't make it, but I was still hoping it wouldn't come to that. You don't like to think about your potential future babies failing to make it over the first hurdle. Nine seems like such a lot but it's strange how quickly it can seem like hardly any.

We had to leave before we got that call so we made our way into Glasgow, along the way I got very excited to see a pair of magpies out the train window (two for joy, of course) and the woman sat opposite us obviously overheard me freaking out talking about the transfer with Mr Click and wished us good luck as we got off.

Even though I knew we had pretty good odds for a successful thaw, I couldn't help but feel that little niggle of doubt that it wasn't going to work. We've been pretty lucky so far to have three embryos frozen and three make it through the thaw. That's 100% success. What if, I wondered, we'e used up all our luck? What if this is the time they don't make it? How many of our top quality embryos could we blow through in one go?

We headed up to trade in our old phones when the call from G, the Embryologist came in. Did I mention I got a new phone last week? Well I've never actually had to answer a call on this phone before!

Here's a little tip if you might be getting a call from your Embryositter: Make sure you know how to answer your phone!

I hung up on him!

In case you're keeping track, that's now twice I've failed to take a call from the Embryologist, the first being their first day of life when I totally missed their call. Thankfully G called back a second later. He was fine about me rejecting his call, I'm guessing they get a lot of that; anxious parents hitting the wrong button or something.

And he had good news for us.

Both embryos survived the thaw! And since we were already in Glasgow we got bumped up the list. Transfer was set for 11:40am giving us about an hour and a half before we needed to head to the hospital.

As for what happened when we got there, I'll save that for Monday, which is when this happened:

Friday, 26 May 2017

Frozen Embryo Transfer Update

I'll write a proper blog post later but for now enjoy this quick selfie I snapped yesterday of Mr Click and I all suited and booted (or at perhaps bootied, since we had to cover our feet with those paper booties they wear in Silent Witness at crime scenes).

This was taken shortly before we went in for the transfer, which, if I have slightly more energy than today, I shall tell you all about tomorrow.

Spoiler Alert: It went really well!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

IVF #3, FET #3: T-Day!

Today is the big day!

Note: We're not bring all nine home with us, this just happened to be the first embryo photo I found on my laptop!

Hopefully by the time you're reading this I will be what is known in IVF-circles as 'PUPO', that is 'Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise' and all being well my future offspring will be getting snuggled in nice and tight ready for a cosy nine months with me.

I have no idea which of the Nine that will be, but I'm hoping that some time in the future they might get to read the letters I wrote to them during April (along with the dozens of others I intend to write along the way).

If any of you would care to put out some good vibes into the universe in whichever way you prefer; good thoughts, well wishes, prayers, whatever, they will all be gratefully accepted.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Making use of...
... the local library at last!

The library is open late on a Tuesday so I took advantage of this to pop in on the way home from work and pick up the May Book Club book.

Of course, this means that I'm now frantically trying to finish the ebook I'm reading at the moment. It's taking a little while since I'm falling into the habit of nodding off while I'm reading it. The night before last I woke up to find Mr Click blissfully snoring away on top of my Kindle. Luckily there was no harm done.

... for tomorrow! Embryo Transfer Day!

I wrote out a massive list of things I needed to get done this evening. We've got a very early start tomorrow and I've got the complication of meds to take before I go so I need to get as much done as possible tonight.

As I'm writing this, I'm charging my Kindle, Fitbit and powerbank. Next up on the list is organising the clothes I'm planning on wearing (my lucky outfit which I've worn to every appointment on this round, the nurses must think I'm a real skank with only one set of clothes). That's to be followed by doing a stock take of the meds I have in the cupboard (and scattered elsewhere around the house) so I can request extras to see me through to the Official Test Date.

... for an early night.

We do have an early start after all. And it's kind of an important day for us.

Keep everything crossed for a successful thaw and transfer.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Books 46 & 47 of 2016: The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel & Dear Almost a poem by Matthew Thorburn

Yesterday I shared The Hogwarts Tag which included a picture of my Halloween costume for last year. I very carefully hand-lettered a book cover for a Muggle Studies textbook. That 'textbook' was actually the 46th book that I read last year, The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel, the fourth book in the Earth's Children series.

When it's not dressed up as a Hogwarts school book, it looks like this:

This book follows Ayla and Jondalar's journey back across all the land that Jondalar spent the last two books travelling through. Their journey is pretty time sensitive as the last bit of the journey requires them to cross a glacier and warmer weather is rapidly approaching. They meet up with a lot of other people and have a lot of hot prehistoric sex!

This is a massive book; it clocks in at 724 pages! This was the main reason I picked it to become a Hogwarts textbook because it looked suitably massive enough to be a magical book. Sadly I don't have Hermione's beaded bag so it took me nearly a month to read as it had to stay at home rather than come out in my bag; if I'd taken it with me there was very little room for anything else!

I think it would have been better as at least two, if not three books. Ayla and Jondalar spend time with several different tribes and since Auel goes into so much detail on everything that even more detail could've been given to the cultures and the book wouldn't have been so huge. There was SO MUCH of this book dedicated to the scenery and the flora and fauna that I couldn't help but skim read those bits.

And then there's the sex. There's so much sex. Ayla and Jondalar regularly stop to 'share Pleasures', which isn't bad in and of itself but the book could have been about two hundred pages shorter if they'd not stopped to bonk quite so often!

When I finished this on the 24th of November I was initially at a bit of loss for what to read next and just planned to select a Christmas read from my Kindle when I arrived home from work to find a package from Stacy @ Stacy's Books. It contained a copy of Dear Almost a poem by Matthew Thorburn.

This is a book length poem, written after the author and his wife experienced a miscarriage. It's addressed to the child who they never got to meet.

It arrived on exactly the right day, the one year anniversary of losing our twins and it was just what I needed to read. I'm not sure I can even formulate the words to explain just how beautiful this book is. I had a physical ache in my chest as I read it. I stopped up late and cried.

You can actually feel the love and grief in the words on the page, but in a way it was also nice to read. Pregnancy loss is one of those things which is so rarely spoken about, it was strangely validating to read a book written by someone who experienced it and had gone through all those emotions you had felt and were feeling.

I don't normally share quotes on my book review posts anymore, but this one had so many quotes I wanted to save in my book journal that I can't help but share the top five I selected to copy out in the the end, because this will explain my feelings for this book far better than any words I can use.

Pages 25 & 26
I want to show you
what life is like
here where you ought to be
with us, but aren't:
a not-uncommon story
though few people will tell you

it's their story too. They choose
not to relive it, relieved
not to revisit what happened
or didn't. What should have.
What went wrong
for no other reason, finally,
than that it didn't go right.
Ours is the story of how
is became was and was became
wasn't, became no,
became not. The story of
our almost girl, our might've been.

Page 41
This is the story of
what's missing, a space
one can see only
because we've filled in
everything around it:
keyhole I peer through
to what I can't hold,
little hole in my heart
where the air leaks out,
little no more, no luck or way
or how.

Page 44
I think of you still,
so still, and not there anymore
in that dark room,
though I ought to know
better, though I feel
the tiny light I cup
deep inside me gutter
and go out. "It's strange,"
Lily says when
I come home, "and unsatisfying, isn't it?
To hurt like this for someone

we never met?"

Pages 53 & 54
a piece of me that's
missing. I almost didn't
know she was there
but she was there and now
she's gone.

Pages 71 & 72
It scares me
I can no longer
picture your face,
which was only ever
my imagining of
how your face
might look someday -
not enough
to hold onto.
I've had to learn to live
with this: we
didn't see you, didn't
meet you, only
knew you
were there a little while
and then you weren't.

There are lots of little repeated motifs through the book as the seasons change and the author seems to come to terms with the loss they experienced. The sense of loving someone you never got to meet and really knew nothing about, but who you loved completely unconditionally.

Even if you've never suffered that kind of loss yourself, read this book. It might just give you a glimpse into what other people have suffered and you might come close to getting a tiny sense of understanding.

Just read it.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Hogwarts Tag

I've started keeping a little document on my laptop for blog post ideas and when I saw The Hogwarts Tag on A.J. Sterkel's blog @ Read All The Things, I knew that was a thing I needed to do.

Being a massive Harry Potter nerd, who has spent part of the last week planning a trip to London for the studio tour, this seemed right up my street. If it's your kind of thing too, feel free to tag yourself and leave a link in the comments to your answers.

The Hogwarts Tag

Am I a Pureblood, Half-Blood or Muggle Born?
I swing between being Pureblood and Half-Blood. I think maybe I'm technically Pureblood, but there's a Squib in there somewhere which muddies the waters somewhat! I'm happy to embrace my Muggle-ish side.

Which wand chose me?
Laurel, 10 inches, unicorn hair core (of course), slightly springy.

Did I take an owl, cat, rat, or toad with me?
It would obviously be a rat. I just might have to smuggle two in with me, after all, they need ratty company!

For practical reasons, later on I think an owl would be useful, but while I'm at Hogwarts I can use the school owls, right?

Where did the sorting hat put me?
I am so definitely in Ravelclaw! 

Note the rat in my cauldron!
What house did I want to be in?
Ravenclaw all the way. Ever since I first read the Sorting Hat's song in the first book I've known where I truly belong. Pottermore has only confirmed that for me (twice).

What lessons are my favourite and least favourite?
I think I'd be really good at Charms and I would love Transfiguration (though I'd need to put in a little more effort there). History of Magic would come to me relatively easily and I'd do fine with Ancient Runes. I would also really enjoy Muggle Studies.

Potions would not be one of my top subjects. I'd probably be okay on the theory but not so hot on the practical side of things; same with Herbology. I would want to be good at Defense Against the Dark Arts but coming face to face with a Boggart would flummox me!

The form my Patronus takes?
According to Pottermore it's a Sparrowhawk:

But I've always felt that it would be more likely to be a dog, specifically a collie.

Your Patronus can change over time though, right? So perhaps I'll get my collie some day.

What does a Boggart look like for me?
I'm with Ron on this one, a big spider would send me running for the hills. That or a negative pregnancy test perhaps.

Do I partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?
Definitely no on the sports front. Perhaps I'd join the Wizarding Chess Club, or the Charms Club. Perhaps I'd organise a book club or knitting group for my fellow students.

Where would I find myself hanging in my free time?
Either the library or in the Ravenclaw common room. Somewhere peaceful where I can surround myself with books.

What would I most likely get detention for?
I managed to go right the way through school with any 'bad comments', demerits, punishment exercises, or detentions. I was a swot.

Of course, Hogwarts is a different kettle of fish so perhaps getting caught performing a spell that backfires or doing something stupid in class.

What career do I want after leaving Hogwarts?
I imagine I'd go work for the Daily Prophet (or some other Wizarding publication) or perhaps get work in Flourish & Blotts. In the end I'd probably end up working for the Ministry or perhaps finding some way to get back into Hogwarts; Flitwick or McGonagall have to retire sooner or later!

How about you?