IVF a Man’s Perspective … Part 4 – The Pregnancy

The Pregnancy thing

A normal pregnancy is difficult enough but with a twin one, everything gets twice as big twice as fast, and that’s not just the mum! 2 cots / 2 car seats / twice as many vests / nappies to buy in bulk to stock up. House extensions bedroom / nursery move round.

The IVF thing

Something they don’t tell you but I’ve now found is really common is the disconnect for the man in an IVF pregnancy.  I really struggled to come to terms with the fact I didn’t feel part of this at all, I was all over the 1st one, went to all the scans, had every scan picture blu-tacked to my PC screen at work, felt every kick.

With the IVF pregnancy, I didn’t feel the urge for any of that, was it just because it wasn’t the first-born? Is everyone like this on the second pregnancy or was something deeper happening? I struggled with this for several months. Combined with being in the middle of a massive project at work meant the first scan I attended was almost at the end of the 2nd trimester.

It was only after talking to a men’s IVF group I found it was almost “normal” some found that after the first scan they connected or for some it was even at the birth when it finally clicked into place.

It essentially comes down to the notion that you had nothing to do with the creation of this child / children, the mother still carries for 9 months as normal and has that symbiotic bonding time, where as a father, you almost had zero part to play in it all. The entire decision-making process taken away from you. You have done no more that sign a piece of paper and nip to the loo for a couple of minutes.

So here we go just days left and the world changes again!

Pete

(Father of 1 & Expectant Father of another 2 with very little hair / sanity left)

IVF a Man’s Perspective … Part 3 – A Journeys End

 

So, as we come to the end of the journey and the more astute of you will have noticed the title doesn’t say failed in it anymore! After 105 Injections (Another 198 to go still), 749 Tablets, 20+ Appointments, 10 Months & 3 rounds of IVF we did it!

It is very early days but the other half is carrying a couple (yes you read that right!) of new additions to the household.

As journeys go this has been an arduous one for us both, personally it has pushed me close to breaking point emotionally, mentally & financially and is something I hope none of my friends ever has to go through themselves. Without the support of 2 strong families around us I don’t know how we would have made it through these multiple rounds of IVF each one harder than the last.

I seriously don’t know how I would have coped with another failure, I had nothing left to give and was truly drained of all 3.

We did find solace & comfort in the online Facebook IVF groups, but even at times that was hard as more and more people posted their successes as we found only failure.

Even though we only started IVF earlier this year (approximately 10 months ago) it feels like years have passed, with our lives, careers, holidays all on hold. In fact we’ve been together 8 years this year and we’ve only ever been on 2 holidays and one of them was the year after we met & the other was the honeymoon 5 years ago.

Now our IVF journey ends and we begin a new one as a family of 5, now comes the search for bigger cars, house extensions, double buggies, twice as many nappies etc.

The other upside of twins will hopefully be less arguing when picking names & God parents as there is twice as many spaces to fill this time, although the name suggestions Mrs S keeps coming out with I’m sure she’s a closet hippy! She didn’t like the lets name one each suggestion though, mainly because she knows I would pick Thor Oakenshield or Loki Morningstar.

As these kids have already cost us the same as a mid-size family saloon I’m also very tempted to name one Ford & the other Mondeo, but I don’t think she’ll will let me do that either.

I’m very glad this journey has come to an end successfully and we can move on with the rest of our lives. If you have gone through this already I’m sure you can understand what we went through. If you are going through it, I feel for you and I’m here if you need to talk about it. If you’re not, thank whoever you believe in that you’re not.

If you’ve been with me all the way I hope you enjoyed reading the journey, it’s been a useful cathartic output for me and I enjoyed it even if you didn’t. 🙂

If this was your 1st one please go back and read the 1st 2 parts as well (Part 1 & Part 2) and I hope you find them enlightening and slightly humorous in parts.

Thanks to everyone who read / commented / supported us along the way, it’s surprising how much a how you doing text or thinking of you both message on Facebook goes.

Most people don’t know what to say and just avoid you altogether, but it’s the closest friends that know it’s just any distraction and the odd how you holding up mate that reminds you that there is people outside the IVF bubble you’re in and that they are concerned but sometimes just scared to ask in case its bad news. The recent scope advert for disability actually had some parallels. (Apart from the introduce yourself bit)

Hopefully other friends who’ve been getting a bit tetchy with me will now understand why I’ve be preoccupied / unavailable for lads nights out this past 12 months, at the end of the day getting Mrs S through this IVF have been priority 1 and any slight hiccup with it, it’s been my job to fix / smooth over / reassure that everything is going to be OK while under the surface panicking like hell myself & trying not to show it.

Right I’m off to stockpile on pallets of nappies & wipes and as I’ve twice as many to buy this time make sure you go out and buy a copy of my new book 50 Shades of Blonde! – 50 Shades of Blonde Book

As I said this is the end of our IVF journey but the beginning of a twin pregnancy, so I may well keep posting updates if anyone’s interested.

Pete

(Father of 1 & Expectant Father of another 2 with very little hair / sanity left)

Failed IVF a Man’s Perspective … Part 2 – the home stretch

So here we go, the last chance saloon, this time is our last shot hoping for 2 aces rather than a 7 /4 of clubs.

img_2045This time the drugs have doubled due to the nice anomaly that, well it didn’t work this time so it could be 1 of 3 things and as it would cost £3k to test for it and only £1k to treat for it so lets just treat them all anyway. Not only the extra cash but extra needles / tablets etc as well to do.

But if it works then worth every penny!

So we start the new regime and i’m getting better at the injections (I’m considering retraining as a nurse, that’s all they do right? No? ah right bugger i’ll stay as i am then).

This treatment includes steroids and man if you think the meat head from the gym gets angry on them, try leaving crumbs on the kitchen worktop with a woman on steroids and IVF hormone drugs!

Rickon Zig Zag

Duck & Weave!! Zig Zag Rickon for gods sake Zig & Zag!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

whatAnother pearler of a face was when I came home from Platelet Donation at the local blood donors and commented ooh they haven’t half bruised my arm this time, then turning round to see your wife’s face who’s stomach currently looks like she went 3 rounds with Mike Tyson from all the injection marks.

4GEESo eggs out and similar crop to last time which is a bit disappointing as we were on double dose of the hormone & all the extra drugs but it only takes 1! I do my bit in the stationery cupboard again (The reading material hasn’t got any better … EE 4G mobile internet to the rescue). Results back and all well above as usual, well done ball bags you didn’t let me down.

So eggs in the cooker and we wait for the daily report … each day another 1 seems to have fallen off and panic begins to set in for us both, what if there isn’t enough left to put in at the end?

Day 5 comes and we’ve 2 healthy ones, so do we keep 1 and freeze or take the gamble and put both in, well as its last chance and we don’t want to go through another round of drugs then both go in and we’ll take the risk of 2 attaching.

Now the dreaded 2 week wait and trying to make sure my wife actually sits on her bum and does nothing!!! Easier said than done!

october-2016

So that’s where we are now … coming towards the end of the 2 week wait, then we’ll test and know if anything took. I’ll keep you informed but not for a while as if it worked we’re not telling anyone for a few weeks just to make sure, and if it didn’t work things will be too raw to write down straight away and we’ll need time to process it.

So Part 3 the final chapter will be in a month or so either way.

Wish us luck!

 

Pete & Mrs S

fingers-crossed

Failed IVF a Mans Perspective … Part 1 – False Starts

This is my journal / journey through the IVF process & the thoughts that go with it.

Let me start by saying neither me or my partner ever expected to have to go through this, no person ever does really, it’s the old adage of you spend your early adult years trying you best not to get pregnant, then when you come to start a family you realise how hard and unfair life can sometimes be.

Multiple failed IVF cycles can cover a long period of time in a relationship, where it feels your entire life with each other is on hold, all under the control of a 3rd party, for the first year your try not to let things slip, try to still have date nights, try not to get too obsessed with timescales etc.

However each failure takes its toll and breaks-down the strongest of couples and you can see how it can easily lead to the destruction of a once solid partnership.

The hard part is watching your partner struggle for years with seeing friends / family all “seem” to get pregnant easily or worse still people fall pregnant who don’t want it / not sure whether to keep it. All this happens around you with nothing you can do apart from try to be a rock for her.

Once the decision is made as a couple to start IVF there is almost a relief as it’s now in a professionals hands and they know what they’re doing it will all get sorted now, right?

Off to the clinic for a sperm deposit and check-up, results come back way over the UK average sperm count / motility. Mini Hi 5, Gold medal & victory dance for me!! This elation is quickly replaced by a deep feeling of guilt that this could be something wrong with your partner or worse still the dreaded unexplained infertility.

For a man this is pretty much the end of his involvement in the IVF process, you then have to sit back and watch your partner go through many many invasive and much more uncomfortable checks & procedures, we do get off very lightly boys. The worst part of mine was it was the room next door to the receptionist and a busy corridor with some questionable 1980’s reader’s wives material (Thank god for 4G internet!!!!)

4612469868_238x228Once all the checks were completed and the results came back with the dreaded unexplained infertility this gives your stomach a huge drop as how can they fix it if they don’t know what’s wrong (the equivalent of the check engine light of the car, could be an engine coil could be the fuel filter, if only the wife had an ECU plug socket somewhere & I could attached the diagnostic machine).

Now the 1st round starts, not helped for us by my wife being needle phobic and the protocol we were on requiring 2 injections a day at the same time every day for weeks. So I step up and honestly a small enjoyment not because of giving my wife a little prick before you ask, but because I’m involved again and have some connection to the events.

Now these drugs are big hormone hitters and all credit to my wife, the nurse gave us some stories about how emotional & mood swingy she would get but she did really well, even after dropping her beloved iPhone down the toilet (Not the first time I may add) which would send most people today into a meltdown.

The day finally comes for them to remove the eggs and we got a bumper crop more than average (Hi 5 for the wife’s ovaries) of them my little fellas fertilise 80%, again over average results, they go in a cooker for a few weeks and we get over average amount through to the last stage. All looking good confidence is high!! We must have just needed that little bit of help from IVF’s Mary Berry.

ivfThe checks continue and soon it comes round to implantation day another time I’m needed (again in a slightly more private room but the same reading material, maybe I’m a porn snob?? But back on the 4G internet I was).

So that’s us back in the hands of the professionals and a 2 week wait for a pregnancy test, confidence still fairly high as we’ve been above average patients all the way. We have photos of the cells & even a video of it growing in the chamber, what felt like nice touches at the time but it’s strange how attached you get to that photo just like a 12 week baby scan, so when the test came back negative it was crushing for us both.

A brief week to regroup and pick ourselves back up from the floor and its back to the consultant to talk about starting round 2 as we had frozen the other eggs from round 1, the doctor is confident and even says the odds are approximately 50/50 at our age group at this clinic so this time maybe?

This round of drugs is tablet not injection but already the optimism that we both shared is starting to wain as we spend the weeks prepping, this time the hormones did hit like a train & also sickness, maybe it was the adrenaline of the 1st go that kept it all at bay or these drugs are harder on the system.

This round was a lot harder to stand back and watch my wife get sicker and have no involvement / nothing I could do or say, matters made worse at the check-up when they double the dosage for the final couple of weeks.

Back to implantation again and this time I can’t attend so a friend of hers has to go down, we’re given the test date and it falls slap bang on the last day of a planned holiday, not ideal, the whole holiday is spent on tenterhooks (& alcohol free on her part).

Its bad news again and this time it just feels harder for many reasons, it was supposed to be 50/50 and we’ve done it twice? The next go is our last go, the next go is back on injections, Why can’t we do what people seem to manage round the back of a night club at 3am by mistake? What’s wrong with us? We already have a naturally conceived child so it must be possible for us?

What feels like rock bottom and 2 false starts is hard … hard to cope with yourself never mind be the rock you need to be for your partner. Especially as men we are prewired to bottle everything up and push it deep down never to be talked about, its not the sort of conversation you can strike up down the pub, so John did you see Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal at the weekend, by the way me and the missus are struggling I could do with a hug. So you bottle it up, drink it away, take it out on some poor unsuspecting sod on the 5 a side pitch and power through.

So for those of you that read this far. That’s where me & Mrs S stand on the cusp of the last round, we had already agreed this would be the last set as we’ve seen people spend thousands & thousands and relationships destroyed by the constant cycles & are determined for this not to be us as well.

To be continued in Part 2 ….. fingers crossed for the next few months.

fingers-crossed

Pete