Saturday, 17 June 2017

6 Weeks Pregnant

Today I'm officially six weeks pregnant and according to my app the baby (or babies) will be looking something like this soon, if not already:

This is from the Ovia Pregnancy app and apparently I'm having a character from The Simpsons as all the growing baby images are yellow.

The app tells me that this week a tiny little heart should be beating in my offspring's chest. The baby itself will be about the size of a ladybird and the heart smaller than a poppy seed. My mind is seriously blown at both how tiny this is and also how much it has grown in just three weeks.

This week's been a bit of a mixed bag. We started it with the confirmation that I was definitely pregnant thanks to the hospital blood test, we also made it through the equivalent days when everything went pear-shaped with Olaf and Elsa, and then finished up our last day of Week 5 with a bleed.

It was small but scary and entirely not what I wanted to be seeing following the week when I'd bled and ultimately miscarried. I immediately took the day off work, put myself to bed and have remained there ever since. It seems to have done the trick.

As if to reassure me that all hope is not lost, this evening saw me with my head down the loo, retching up a storm, while I alternately laughed and cried. I've been feeling nausea for about two weeks now but this is the closest I've come to throwing up.

I'm sure I won't be saying this in a few weeks time, but for now, I hope it continues for a while.

I've also got some major good aversions. As in everything except chips. I have a theory that since we went to McDonald's immediately after transfer, the embryo(s) believe chips are the only real food. Mr Click served up chocolate spread on toast for breakfast and my immediate response was to hurl though once I started eating it passed.

Happily I can stand small quantities of dark chocolate but most sweet things are a definite no right now.

Except for sour gummy worms... or tangfastics... I could really go for some of them right now.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Taking the Test

The 'Two Week Wait' is a torturous time between your embryo transfer and the date you've been given to test on. Different clinics ask people to test on different days, some ask people not to test at all and instead have them go to the hospital for a blood test.

Even between my four transfers I've been given a range of different days to test on, from nine or ten days post transfer right the way up to 12 or 14 days after. Of course this time was the longest I've had to wait.

When an embryo implants it takes a little while for the hCG to build up in your system to be at a high enough level to be detected by a pregnancy test. This starts to be produced around day five or six after transfer but isn't really measurable until day nine, which is the first day you could expect to get a result on a pregnancy test.

With this in mind I carefully calculated that June 3rd would be the earliest I could possibly get a positive test. I'd planned to test early mainly because my official test day was a Thursday and I didn't like the idea of getting the result and then having to go to work straight afterwards, particularly if it wasn't a good result.

The Saturday seemed like the best day to do it, since we would have the whole weekend to come to terms with the result. It was also early enough not to completely ruin my hopes if it was a negative, it might have just been a little too early for it to show up, but by the same token it would help to cushion the devastating blow the following Thursday.

Mr Click and I discussed it. At first he wasn't keen on me testing early, but then he came around to my way of thinking and agreed that testing on Saturday seemed like a good idea.

On the Thursday before I was all for testing but then the following day I felt completely zen about the whole thing. I wonder if this was a little like the overwhelming feeling of 'I'm pregnant' that I got with Olaf and Elsa at about the same point. I sort of felt like I didn't need to test, I could wait until the following Thursday, it was all good.

But then I woke up at 3am on Saturday. Now, if you're not familiar with pregnancy tests, you need to hold your pee for a while before you take the test. They recommend about four or five years to allow the hCG to build up. I worked out that if I was going to take the test, it would have to be then, there'd be no way I could hold on until 7/8am later that morning.

So I dragged myself out of bed. Peed in a little container for the purpose, dipped the test, turned it over and waited three minutes.

And this is what I saw:

That was taken virtually as soon as I'd turned it over and it was a total squinter. The camera wouldn't even focus on it properly unless I stuck my ring on the thing to give it something to focus on.

But it was all I needed to give me a little hope, so I kept watching and after about five minutes it looked like this:

Bear in mind that these photos were taken in awful lighting in the bathroom at some unholy time of the morning. In daylight you could see the line without even squinting:

I think that was when I truly believed that we might just have done it.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


... with a suspected UTI.

I think it started on Monday when we took our trip to the hospital to pick up a fresh supply of my meds. I was aware of the fact that I didn't want to be needing to pee all the way into Glasgow so I drank less than usual which seems to have had an adverse effect on me.

The problem is a sore lower back, needing to pee all the time, and feeling generally run down pretty much describes all my pregnancy symptoms so I sort of hesitated on whether or not it was worth going to the doctor. Yesterday I thought it was nothing to worry about, but this morning I asked Mr Click to make the call and he decided a trip to the doctor was worthwhile.

I'm glad he did.

To paint a wee picture (no pun intended), I filled up a sample bottle. Within ten minutes I needed to nip to the loo again. As well as ten minutes after that. About ten minutes after that we left to go to my appointment (five minutes up the road), by which point I abandoned the spousal unit to check me in so I could nip to the loo again. And then another ten minutes later (right when I was due to go in to see the doctor) I had to nip in again.

I've got a short dose of amoxicillin and we're waiting until Monday for my results to come back in case I need to take something stronger. I have a funny feeling this won't be the last time I'm getting a UTI during this pregnancy.

... After the Crash by Michel Bussi.

It's this month's book club book and I'm finding it to be one of those 'one more chapter books'. It's told in both the 'present day' (late nineties) and through a journal which one of the characters is reading. This means that inevitably a chapter ends and you have to wait until halfway through the next one or the one after it to pick up the strand of the story you've been reading so you just have to keep going.

I managed to read about one hundred pages straight off at the weekend though I've slowed down a little since then.

I'm also reading a Mother & Baby magazine, because why not? Mr Click picked it up for me today (I think to cheer me up after the UTI and antibiotic stuff). Our baby doesn't even have feet yet, but I'm going to be hot on tips to help them learn to walk when they get here.

What's keeping you occupied this week?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Books 52 & 53 of 2016: Betty's Bright Idea; Deacon Pitkin's Farm; and the First Christmas by Harriet Beecher Stowe & A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Yes, I'm still reviewing Christmas books. Look at it this way, you can use this to give you an idea of books to look out for in the run up to December this year.

First of today's books is a collection of stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe; Betty's Bright Idea; Deacon Pitkin's Farm; and the First Christmas.

This is a trio of stories, all with a Christmas theme and to be honest, they're kind of depressing. The first has babies dying at Christmas to give people a sense of pity for suffering. The second has a guy giving up on his dreams of an education. And the third was about the Pilgrims and had people dying as well!

These stories are obviously intended to be religious and moral stories for the season though one of the biggest things I was aware of as I was reading them was how much has changed since this book was written.

It's a very short book, only about one hundred pages. All the same, it took me quite a while to get through. It was a nice glimpse into the past, but it's one that I'm unlikely to read again.

I followed this up with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens because it was the second week of December and it needed to be done. This time I read it in ebook format.

I've reviewed this one so many times that I'll keep this fairly short. And I'm pretty confident that you know the gist of A Christmas Carol. If you don't, head over to Project Gutenberg and read it, then come back and read this review.

As always, I enjoyed my reread of this book. It took me a little longer than usual to read, though I've noticed in later years I've been slower to read it than in the past. For a while I used to be able to sail through it on Christmas Eve, but now I try and read it earlier in the month so it's done before Christmas Day.

I picked out all of my favourite quotes as I read. Some of them are favourites purely because of the various adaptations that we've seen and own, but lots of them are because of the way that Dickens writes. And some are a combination of both the writing and the way they're played in the adaptations.

Speaking of the adaptations, I couldn't help but imagine them as I was reading. In my head I've got the kind of perfect version with Scrooge taken from this film, and Marley taken from that one, and Bob Cratchit from this one. In my head it's also a musical with a mix of songs from three of the musical versions as well. It's a little distracting when you're trying to read.

Monday, 12 June 2017

A Confirmation & A Confession

If you saw yesterday's Silent Sunday post you might have realised I have some news for the blog.

That's right. Someone's stuck around. I'm pregnant.

Today I had an appointment at the hospital to pick up the meds to see me through the next three weeks until my scan. I was kind of hoping we'd get a sneak peak scan to see just who might be in there (right now I'm saying one, Mr Click says two; we've got £5 riding on this).

No such luck sadly but the nurse did request a blood test for me to help set my mind at ease since I've had a little bit of brown discharge (not spotting like last time).

We got the results on the way home. My beta hCG levels are over 4,000 which is pretty good.

I'm definitely pregnant.

Which brings me to my confession.

I've actually known this since the 3rd of June when I took a test five days before my official test day and got a faint but definite line.

The top one was done at nine days post transfer whereas the bottom one was 14 days post transfer.

That original one took about ten minutes to darken up fully whereas the bottom one was there right from the the minute mark.

It was kind of fun keeping it a secret like a 'normal' pregnant woman would. But now I know, I don't mind other people knowing.

Besides, I'm needing to pee so much there's very little I could do to hide it from my friends!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Moving House

I did plan a proper blog post for today but unfortunately I spent my evening doing this instead.

I'll tell you all about it in a future post.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Dinky Dodge

We don't have favourites in our house. Well, Tara is our favourite labrador but we can't have favourite rats. They're all so lovely in their own little ways.

Fezziwig begs for attention and then pushes you away when you stick your finger in the cage. Jingle likes to ask to come out and then hover in the doorway for ages before he actually leaves. Pocket just wants all of the food.

And then there's Dodger.

Due to his rather rough start in life, he's become a very special ratty. I have to admit, when we got the boys I couldn't help but think he looked rather plain by comparison to our handsome brown, black and white rats. Dodger's a black hooded rat, and is kind of a cross between my first two ratties; Millie, a chunky black and white hooded, and Rosie, an agouti hooded who was clearly the runt of the litter.

Because of his ear infections Dodger spent rather more time in the Baby Cage than his brothers. The first time we kept them all together in there but by the time he got his second infection they were too big to all stay in there, so we separated him out and he spent a couple of days sleeping in our room, getting taken to my In-Laws' house for trips to the vet and generally being mollycoddled.

And now I think he's come to expect it.

Whenever we open the top of the cage to put in food (which is delivered as they expect morning and evening, they can tell the time better than we can), the boys crowd around the shelf to get first choice of whatever the day's treats are.

All except Dodger.

Despite looking like a little dink compared to his brothers, Dodger is actually longer than any of them! He stands on the top shelf, stretches his little paws out and grabs hold of the top of the cage. He's also got fantastic upper body strength which he uses to great effect to pull himself out.

Generally he's happy to just trundle around the top of the cage, but what he really wants when he does this is a cuddle. So you lift him into your arms, or hold him in your hands, and let him sniff your face or plant little ratty kisses on your nose and lips. Sometimes he'll get adventurous and climb onto your shoulder or try to use you as a platform to more interesting things.

It's when you put him back that things get tricky. As soon as his feet touch the floor, he's springing back up again! Mr Click and I are becoming quiet adept at the manoeuvring which is required to get him back in the cage and the top or door closed without trapping any part of his little ratty personage in it.

But he's such a cutie that we don't really mind. After all, if we'd not acted when we did a few months ago, he might not be with us today. That deserves a little bit of spoiling, I think.

And you just can't say no to his demands for cuddles.

Especially as when he sleeps he looks like this:

Thursday, 8 June 2017

IVF #3, FET #3 Symptom Spotting: 1dp5dt - 7dp5dt

Since my transfer I've found myself reading more blog written by people who have undergone IVF treatment, particularly those who blogged about their 'two week wait'. Blogs were a better source of information compared to forums because people tend to keep blogging after the outcome of the test, whereas people on forums often disappear and there's never any follow up. So the person who had spotting on Day 5 disappears and you never know whether that was an implantation bleed or sign of an imminent failure.

Of course, not only is every woman different, every pregnancy is different and as I mentioned last week the side effects of medication and the symptoms of early pregnancy often go hand in hand. This means you can't really compare one person's experiences with your own, but it's sort of nice to know that other people are going through the same thing as you (or went through it, no matter what the outcome).

And with that in mind, I thought I'd share a quick rundown of my first week after transfer, just in case you've found your way here by Googling "4dp5dt blog post".

For the lay people at there the first number and two letters, such as '4dp' stands for the number of days post, the second number and letters stands for 5 day transfer (which is how old our embryos were when we transferred them). The second number will always stay the same but the first number will change each day.

1dp5dt (Friday)

I was feeling pretty crampy, almost as though I was gearing up for my period. I was pretty emotional as well as feeling generally anxious. Probably the other main symptoms were feeling headachey and light-headed which I put down to starting the Clexane the night before.

2dp5dt (Saturday)

I think that it was around Day 2 that the tiredness started creeping in. Considering I was sitting at home with my feet up, I wasn't really doing anything which warranted getting tired about. There was less in the way of cramps this day so I guess that what I'd been feeling was from the transfer itself. With Olaf and Elsa this was the day that I felt very definite implantation pains which I didn't feel this time around, so I kind of wound myself up that perhaps it hadn't worked.

3dp5dt (Sunday)

I finally got some actual twinges and unusual sensations in my abdomen. Perhaps a sign of implantation? I also had an overwhelming sense of happiness, it wasn't really that I felt sure it was working, but I just felt like I was doing everything I could and I was cool with that. Still very tired and my chest felt a little sensitive as well.

4dp5dt (Monday)

I started to feel really thirsty. It wasn't really that I had a dry mouth, just that I was aware of needing to drink more. I also had a fantastically vivid dream that night. I was still feeling pretty happy but waves of emotion would hit me as well and I would need to have a bit of a weep. I think I was also suffering from a touch of hayfever as my nose would alternately block or run at various points in the day. Ended up with a massive craving for doughnuts.

5dp5dt (Tuesday)

Back at work at last. This is both a good thing and a bad thing since I need to focus on what I'm doing so I have less time to obsess about what's happening in my body but also people keep asking me how it went and how I'm feeling which makes me think about it more.

I feel like I get hit with all the side effects/symptoms today. I feel knackered by about halfway through the day, I crack out the ginger biscuits I've been hiding in my locker because I'm feeling nauseous, I'm still really thirsty which of course means there are some moments when I end up going to the loo three times in an hour. Feel nauseous and bloated, end up leaving my jeans undone when I finish work because it's uncomfortable to button them.

I'm slightly anxious as I had a touch of brown spotting when I got up and again periodically through the day. We are moving seats at work and while I'm ferrying stuff from my old desk at one side of the room to my new one the fire alarm goes so I have to stand outside in the sun while we wait for the clearance to go back in. End up feeling really nauseous and kind of light-headed. Feel convinced that I'm out and it's only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and yet kind of optimistic too, decide to try and stay optimistic.

Have to do my Clexane injection on my own. Survive and don't die!

6dp5dt (Wednesday)

I had All. Of. The. Side Effect/Symptoms again today! A little more spotting but no where near as bad as the day before. Still feeling crampy but also incredibly bloated. I make it to lunchtime before I have to undo my work trousers. This helps to almost instantly relieve the nausea, though it seems to come back whenever I start to feel peckish. I eat quite a few ginger nuts.

More vivid dreams. More drinking. More peeing. Got really bad backache as well. Not sure if this is due to my chair at work or if I've been sitting differently because of the bloating.

7dp5dt (Thursday)

Mr Click sees me in the shower and announces that I must be pregnant because my belly is so bloated there's no way there's can be nothing in there! I've felt crampy all day, a mix between feeling like I'm gearing up for a period with a mix of IBS-type cramps thrown in there as well. Begin to wonder if all this peeing might not be a UTI instead and debate whether I should try blasting it with cranberry juice.

Still feeling tired and have a little bit of spotting though the lightest so far and it's pinkish rather than brown as before. Begin to feel anxious about waiting another week for the test.

I'll share how the second week of the two week wait has gone in another post.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Anxiously awaiting...
... test day.

It's looming very near now and just hoping that everyone is still where we left them. I'm hoping I will soon have some very good news to share about Bo and Luke.

... this little gift Mr Click came home with yesterday.

Hopefully it'll be some time before I'm able to use the bath bomb (since baths are a no-go at the moment, you're allowed one as long as it's not too hot and what's the point if you're not boiling?) but I'm hoping to crack out the soap to celebrate before too long.

... that you have to be very careful shaving your legs when you're on blood thinners.

I'm currently sporting two very fetching plasters on my right ankle!

... a trip away in August.

Although our original plan had been to take a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour but a family friend has invited us to visit them so we've taken them up on the offer. It's a part of the country that Mr Click used to visit on holiday when he was much younger but it's somewhere I've never been.

I've been scrolling through pages and pages of places we might like to visit while we're there. I suspect that we may have to make a repeat visit in the future because there just won't be time for everything!

How's your week going? Waiting for an important date or looking forward to something fun?

I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Books 50 & 51 of 2016: The Jewels That Was Ours by Colin Dexter & The Spirit of Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

I decided to take a short break from the Christmas books at the very end of November last year and Mr Click was working on his Colin Dexter books so I decided to give the next one a go; The Jewel That Was Ours.

A group of American tourists are visiting Oxford when one of them dies suddenly and the priceless antique that they were bringing to a special presentation is stolen. Of course, once Inspector Morse is on the case, it's not long before things get very complicated as the case is solved.

I got through the first half of this book quite quickly but then as the case dragged on I found that I slowed down my reading as well. I wanted it to be solved but it seemed to take a long time for it to get figured out and I just found my attention wandering.

I don't know if part of the reason for my slowing down was because I could vaguely remember the TV adaptation . It's been quite a while since I saw it, but I think that the ending was different. I guess that's a good thing since you can enjoy the book and the adaptation without one spoiling the other.

This book definitely doesn't give you what you needed to know to solve the case. I suspected that this is also part of the reason why it took me so long to get through as well. If I can't help figure out the case myself, I end up feeling frustrated and I guess that translates to a lack of motivation to go on, since nothing I read will help me solve the crime.

Mr Click has very nearly finished reading all of these books, I think he's just got the one left, so I suspect that we'll be watching the TV series in the next few months. I'm quite looking forward to seeing the adaptation of this one again.

By the time I finished up The Jewel That Was Ours I was ready for something a little more Christmassy, so I went with an ebook version of The Spirit of Christmas written by Henry Van Dyke in 1905. This is a collection of essays and stories about Christmas.

This is a really short little book. I was able to read it all on the 8th of December in a couple of sittings, but it's short enough that it could be read all in one go.

The story at the beginning kind of reminded me of Pilgrim's Progress. It was the angels learning about the birth of Christ so I guess that it was the setting which put me in mind of Pilgrim's Progress. On the whole though, I preferred the essays. The very last one made me think of A Christmas Carol since the message was about carrying a Christmas spirit all through the year.

It's an interesting little read and I think I picked exactly the right time of year to read it.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Going Up In The World

Mr Click and I have been planning a short break in August which means our Tara-Tup gets a little holiday in the local Kennels and I put out a call to my friends to find someone who will volunteer to look after the Mischief.

Last time this happened Tara went away with a lead and some tins of food, whereas the rats (at the time this was Yoda and Wicket) took a big cage, a small travel cage, a big bag of shredding, a big bag of food, a tub of treats, cleaning spray, and of course the rats themselves. It filled the car! Our boys do not travel light.

The Mischief currently live in a Ferplast Jenny. We got this one several years ago, back when we had our girl rats and Carol figured out how to open the door (waking up at 3am with a rat in your bed is a little alarming, especially when two of the rats are missing from the cage).

Now I've liked the Jenny cages. My first one was donkeys years old when we decided to retire it (it was getting harder to keep clean and there was the aforementioned issue of the rat being able to open the door) and after considering the alternatives, we went with another Jenny. This was the new improved version, with plastic coated bars which helped to keep it cleaner for longer.

But now the coating is coming off the bars and it's getting rusty which I don't think is great for the ratbags. Plus not long after we got it, the girls chewed through some of the plastic which keeps the top in place. It's still fine but I dread the day when one of the boys realise that they just need to chew away some more plastic and it would be very easy to get out.

I'd hate for someone to be watching the rats for us and have someone decide to go for a wander. Plus it's getting harder to keep clean and the shelves have jammed in place. Rather than spending the £20-30 to replacement, we're sucking it up, paying an extra £50 and getting a whole new cage (complete with three shiny new shelves).

I was all set to get another Jenny but they seem to be a bit hard to get hold of so we're going for a Savic Zeno 3. It's actually a little bit larger than the cage the boys are in at the moment (so even more of my little living room is going to be taken over by rats) but I think they'll enjoy moving in. I think we'll enjoy setting it up too.

Of course, I did break the news of their impending move to the Mischief. Fezziwig was the only one who was awake at the time and he was supremely underwhelmed.

I'm sure he'll be more enthusiastic once it gets here.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Film Review: Moana

I really wanted to see Moana but we just missed it when it was at our local cinema so when we were putting an order in to Amazon shortly before our frozen embryo transfer, I asked Mr Click to use it to make up the order so we could watch it during my long weekend chilling at home.

The day after our transfer, I dragged myself out of bed in the afternoon, settled in front of the TV and we popped in the film.

Moana is a teenager who must set out on a quest to help save her people as their island is slowly enveloped by a curse. She meets up with the demigod Maui who must help her to return the heart of Te Fiti to prevent the spread of the darkness which is taking over her island home. Of course, along the way, in true Disney style, Moana learns what her true destiny is.

I can remember when I was younger being told that you can always tell a Disney film by the way that they animated the water. Disney animators seemed to have cracked the way that water flows and ripples and reflects the light in a way which many other film studios just couldn't seem to get.

Nowadays I think that's probably not so much the case. When you look at films like Shrek or Ice Age the water flows and ripples and reflects the light in a very believable way. But Disney have outdone themselves with the animation in Moana.

I wasn't expecting the sea to be a character in its own right, but it selects Moana for her quest as a child, capturing her spirit and calling to her despite her parents attempts to keep her away from it.

Moana is a brilliant character as well. She can't help but be drawn to the sea from an early age, after the encounter seen above. But she's the chief's daughter and is expected to help lead her people. Her father is keen to keep her away from the sea following his own bad experience, but eventually Moana gets her chance to go and heads off on her mission to save the island.

She's a strong character, but she's also a teenager and she's not totally confident in herself. I think she's pretty gorgeous as well. I like that Disney are exploring characters of different races and even more impressively almost every character in this film is voiced by an actor of Polynesian descent. As a young white girl I was lucky in that many of the Disney Princesses had skin or hair or features just like me (more or less) and it's only in recent years that I've really become aware of the fact that for many children that's simply not the case. I think Disney still has a way to go in this department, but I think they're taking steps in the right direction.

Moana's got a lot to learn which I like in a character, it's always good to see that a character is out of their depth and doesn't really know what they're doing. Obviously if you're going to run off and take on a mission at sea, perhaps one important thing to master is the ability to sail. Something which Moana isn't too hot at, but luckily (or perhaps unluckily at first) she meets up with Maui.

Maui is a demigod who thinks rather highly of himself. Unfortunately, he needs his hook to use his shape-shifting powers so they have to hurry off on a side mission to retrieve this from Tamatoa, a giant crab creature before they can restore Te Fiti's heart. Maui isn't overly keen on Moana at first, but gradually he comes around.

One of my favourite things about Maui is his tattoos. He's covered in little miniature representations of himself and the great things he's achieved. These little mini-Maui's seem to be rather critical of him which is the source for lots of little funny moments. There's something about the tattoos which reminds me of the chorus in Hercules.

Maui also has probably the best song in the film, You're Welcome:

If you've not heard this before, be prepared to be singing it for the rest of the day!

The music in this film isn't quite as earwormy as the songs from Frozen, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm sure there are many preschooler parents who are thrilled not to have Let It Go the Second blaring at them every five minutes. I was a little disappointed that the songs didn't quite capture me the way that they did when I watched Frozen (and to some extent, Tangled) but now I feel like they're more of a slow burn collection of songs. I think with each rewatch I'm going to like them a little bit more.

And that's the same sort of feeling I have for the film as a whole. I think that there'll probably be a lot more that I could say about this film once I've watched it again. I'm actually already planning a rewatch a week on from seeing it, which is a clear sign that a film has actually grabbed my attention even if I didn't think it had.

If you've not seen it already, definitely make time to watch it. Enjoy the story, have fun listening to the songs, and celebrate the new characters Disney have introduced us to.

Friday, 2 June 2017

IVF Superstitions

I'm fairly certain that I'm not the only person out there who has developed a set of very specific superstitions relating to their IVF treatment. They're probably sort of obsessions at this stage, though that sounds kind of bad, I prefer to think of them as little habits and routines, which spins them in a more positive light.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I was planning a blog post ahead of time and I chickened out of writing it because I couldn't bring myself to write how many days past transfer I was for that day because it seemed somehow unlucky to assume I was going to make it to that many days past transfer, especially considering how last year's frozen transfer ended so disastrously.

Which in turn got me to thinking about how we ended up taking the train to our most recent transfer partly because that was what we did on the cycle that worked. I suppose it's only natural to want to try and recreate the events which led to your last success.

Back when we were originally planning on taking the car for Bo & Luke's transfer, Mr Click mentioned stopping at a particular carvery on the way home. I immediately shot him down. And why? Because we've stopped there for lunch twice after previous transfers and both of those failed. It's got a black mark against it now, even though that's just a sad coincidence.

On the two that have failed I've also done a bit of walking soon after the transfer, whereas I was very chilled after the cycle that took. Going by that logic I came home from the transfer last week and put myself to bed and relaxed all weekend.

One little quirk I've developed is having a lucky totem. This time around it's my unicorns; Ixi has come along to every appointment (crammed into my bag, poor little guy) and each appointment he's come to has gone smoothly so he's obviously doing his job. The rest of the time he lives beside my bed and it's quite comforting to reach out for him when I'm feeling a little down.

With Olaf and Elsa it was a poster pinned up on the door which was to be theirs. Each time I passed it, I'd tap it for luck. And I had two little charms which I wore on a bracelet, again, I'd fiddle with those when I needed something to distract me.

I think during a cycle, particularly during the interminable two week wait, you need something tangible to hang on to and have some control over. So much of your time during a treatment cycle is spent either waiting to find out what's going on in your reproductive system or at the complete mercy of the hospital and the drugs you've been prescribed; we have to retain our sense of power in any way we can.

And I think for many IVFers we do that with our little routines and superstitions.

We might not be able to control the outcome of the two week wait, but we can control whether or not we eat at an unlucky restaurant or whether or not we're wearing our socks which make us feel like things will go right.

We might not be able to see whether or not our tiny embryos have implanted in our uterus, but we can cling onto that little reminder that they're in there and hold it in our hands in the way that we hope some day to be able to hold our children.

So while it might seem kind of silly, and I kind of hesitated about even posting this blog post today, I think I'll just carry on doing these little things in the hopes that they'll help us get the result we want. And even if they ultimately play no part in the grand scheme of things, well at least I'll feel like I've done everything in my power to help them along.

Even if that does mean occasionally going out with a small crocheted unicorn stuffed in my bag.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Side Effects or Symptoms?

Bo and Luke have now been on board for a full week and despite my assertions before the transfer that I wouldn't be symptom spotting at all, thankyouverymuch. I can't really help myself.

There are a few reasons why this is a pretty stupid idea.

Firstly, as many websites tell you, most 'normal' women wouldn't be aware of the fact that they are pregnant at this stage. I'm the equivalent of 12 days post ovulation and the majority of women don't become aware of the fact that they're pregnant until they miss a period which probably wouldn't be happening for another few days. Plus many of the symptoms of early pregnancy are pretty similar to an impending period which just confuse things even further.

Secondly, an oft-shared table (amongst IVFers) shows what happens on each day post embryo transfer. hCG, the hormone secreted by the growing embryo, doesn't start entering your bloodstream until roughly six days after transfer; possibly earlier if it's hatching at the time of transfer, obviously later if it's a late implanter. If that was going to give you pregnancy symptoms, you'd need to wait a couple of days at least for there to be enough in your system to give you anything.

And thirdly, it's a sharp upswing in your progesterone levels which gives you most of the common early pregnancy symptoms, so when you're taking copious amounts of progesterone you have no way of knowing whether the things you're experiencing are pregnancy related or merely a side effect of your meds.

I tried to make a mental note of the side effects I was experiencing before the transfer. I had a touch of insomnia which seems to have vanished, presumably because I'm also suffering from extreme tiredness now (also a side effect of the progesterone). I did notice I was peeing a little more as well shortly after starting the meds which I noted mainly because that, along with the insomnia, were my main symptoms when I was pregnant with the twins.

Now I'm still peeing a lot, but I have no idea whether that's simply because there's more progesterone in my system now, or because there's someone else inhabiting my body. Or perhaps it's because I'm drinking about twice as much as I normally would. That's because I'm feeling a lot more thirsty than usual. Dry mouth/increased sense of thirst can be a sign of early pregnancy, but it's also a side effect of progesterone.

Recently I've been experiencing some crazy bloating. I don't know if I didn't notice it immediately after transfer because I spent the long weekend wearing pyjamas which are rather generous around the middle, but this week I've discovered that by the afternoon at work I have to undo my work trousers. Failure to do this results in them cutting into my rapidly expanding belly and makes me feel very uncomfortable and ill.

Mr Click actually took one look at my massive belly and announced that I must be pregnant because I'm so big there must be someone in there!

Bloating can be an early pregnancy symptom. And why? Because progesterone can slow down the gut, causing a build up of gas and constipation (among other delights). And what am I taking? Progesterone, of course.

Each morning I'm back to slightly more normal proportions but by lunch time I'm puffing up again. I'm guessing this is because my slow digestive tract is getting several hours as I sleep to get things dealt with, then I wake up in the morning, start filling myself up again and by lunch I've hit saturation point again.

Other possible symptoms/side effects?

Well, I'm getting a touch of nausea, again that's another side effect of the progesterone that I'm on. That seems to be worse when I'm feeling hungry though the other night I drank a cup of peppermint tea before bed and was convinced I was about to throw up. It passed after a few minutes and it hasn't been back since.

And then there was a touch of spotting as well. Last year's frozen embryo transfer failed five days after the transfer and that began with some spotting first thing in the morning, so you can imagine how my heart sank when I got a couple of little spots on Tuesday morning (exactly five days after our transfer). I've had it a few more times since then, though nowhere near as heavy as last year's spotting (which very quickly developed into a full on period).

If you Google it, there are boards full of women who had 'implantation spotting' and went on to deliver a perfect baby, along with plenty of women who didn't. But even this could be caused by the progesterone. Since one of the drugs I'm on is in pessary form, it could be irritating my cervix and causing these little episodes.

And so you can see why all of this is sort of madness inducing. Obviously the only way to know for sure is to wait for the test, which gives me plenty more time to analyse these things a little more!