IVF Process – I’m Very Fortunate
I didn’t know how easy it would be for me to get pregnant as it had taken my mum four years and a few exploratory investigations to have me. My periods had never been regular, anything from 20-50 plus days. So, after Steve (my husband) and I had been trying for a while and had had several negative pregnancy tests we decided to speak to our GP. We both had tests carried out – these all came back fine showing that there were no problems. There was nothing obvious as to why we couldn’t get pregnant.
I wanted to take it further due to my family history with my mum and also my aunties had never had children. The GP referred us to a specialist for further investigative tests. I thought that we would be given a hospital and a date to go and speak to someone. When the letter arrived it gave us a few options to choose from. We sat down and looked at the hospitals that we had been offered and the reviews that people had given. In the end we chose Wrightington and the Hewitt Centre as it was a small unit where it was near enough a 1-2-1 with your nurse and doctor – so they got to know you very well and vice versa.
A date was given to us and I started to feel nervous as I didn’t know what to expect or what lay ahead. On the day of the appointment we arrived in plenty of time and looking round the waiting room and seeing other couples you realise you’re not on your own. We spoke to the doctor and we went through the family history and our concerns. As my periods weren’t regular I had to ring the unit on day one of my next period and book in to have a series of blood tests. I had several blood tests over the next few weeks so that they could capture and map my hormone levels over a period of time rather than just on one day like I’d had at the GP. Steve also had to give another sample so that they could get an accurate sperm count.
When the blood results were back in we had a meeting with the doctor, my hormones were extremely low and I was producing hardly any eggs – my “egg store” was very low. Due to our ages (at the time I was 36 and Steve 41) and my family history they decided for us to go straight ahead with the IVF Process.
Our next step was for me to have a “HyCoSy” or a Hysterosalpingo-Contrast-Sonography on day ten of my next period. This involved having a tiny catheter inserted through my cervix and a fluid being injected in so that the fallopian tubes could be examined. This allowed them to see if there were any blockages. The procedure showed that my tubes were clear but I did have a fibroid on each of my ovaries, however where they were positioned wasn’t a cause for concern.
Once this procedure had been carried out and showed no problems we had to wait for my next period for me to start having the injections. During this time I had been admitted to hospital with renal sepsis. We had a chat with Wrightington and decided that we would leave starting the IVF for another month so that I could get myself better both mentally and physically. As we had left everything for a month I had to have my bloods re-done to make sure that nothing had changed with my hormone levels. The results showed the same as the first set.
Whilst I was having the second set of bloods done I had spoken to the nurse about my worries with regards to the injections, you hear about the horror stories! She was really helpful and showed me the needles that I would be using – they were tiny. Steve and I had gone in to be shown how and where to inject me. I had to have an injection in my thigh every day, alternating each leg. I will be honest, I couldn’t do it myself so Steve had to do it. It’s not that it hurt, it was more the fact that I couldn’t put a needle into myself.
Over several weeks I had injections to put me through an early menopause and reduce the lining of my womb, a series of injections to make me ovulate and maximise the number of eggs and finally an injection to mature the eggs. On the day of the egg collection, Steve had to give a sample whilst I got ready for theatre. When I had come round from the sedation we were told that eight eggs had been collected. It was now a waiting game to see if any fertilised. A few days later we were told that three had fertilised and there was a ‘front runner’. This embryo was implanted when it was six days old. On the day of implantation we got to see the embryo on the screen. It had been rated a ‘BB’ – this meant that it was a B for the foetus and a B for the placenta – all in all a very good rating.
We got a phone call a couple of days later to say that the other two embryos hadn’t progressed and wouldn’t survive the freeze/thaw process if we were to keep them. This meant that we just had the one embryo. At week six we went back to Wrightington – this was the most nervous day of all. We had an ultrasound and looking back at us on the monitor was a little foetus and a beautiful strong heartbeat. I cannot describe the feeling at that moment – we were pregnant. We went back at week nine and you could see the start of the arms and legs forming. Steve and I didn’t want to call the feotus ‘it’ as we weren’t going to find out what we were having so the name BB was chosen after the embryo grading.
The twelve and twenty week scans went well. I had been very fortunate throughout my pregnancy as I didn’t suffer with any morning sickness or heartburn. I was to be induced at week thirty nine as they don’t allow you to go full term with an IVF process pregnancy.
After having the induction it was clear that my cervix wouldn’t dilate and BB was getting stressed so I had an emergency c-section. BB arrived into the world and became our triple B – a beautiful baby boy. Hearing his cry for the first time and having him placed on my chest was the most amazing feeling I have ever had. We went back to Wrightington a few weeks later to thank them for everything they had done, even though the words ‘thank you’ didn’t seem enough, without them we would never have become a family.
In September we were invited along to Knutsford along with all the other Hewitt babies for an afternoon tea celebration. Seeing all those babies and toddlers gives you great hope for the future for other families that are going through the IVF process.
Would we do it again? Personally we have decided against having another round of IVF. We feel very fortunate that it worked first time round and we are looking forward to watching the world through Samuel’s eyes and to enjoy all of his firsts together as a family.