Christmas on helium – on the decks

Mum100-blog-Christmas-on-helium-decks-IVF-positivity-music-upbeatI have to thank the red rubber ball in my life – Christmas on helium. He has been doing his bouncy best over the weekend to keep me upbeat, with his mix of feel good tunes. He’s such a helpful little character. He encourages me to get up on the dance floor of life and move my lazy bod!

Our third blood test is tomorrow, so we should be much clearer about the outcome of IVF1 by the afternoon. Phew 🙂

In the mean time, here are Christmas on helium’s top ten tunes, guaranteed to overcome the grimmest of moods – even Glumbags is tapping his toes.

Dance, people!

N-Joi – Anthem

Barbara Tucker – Beautiful People

 First Choice – Let No Man Put Asunder

Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body

Alison Limerick – Where Loves Lives

Gat Decor – Passion (Do You Want it Right Now)

C + C Music Factory – I Found Love

Byron Stingily – Get Up Everybody

Liquid – Sweet Harmony

Sound of Eden – Shades of Rhythm

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On control and surrender

Mum100-blog-IVF-treatment-journey-letting-go-control-surrenderThis tweet on Tuesday helped me enormously – thank you Susan for saying the right thing at the right time, as so often happens in our community.

Mum100-blog-IVF-treatment-control-surrender-letting-go-peaceWhen I accept that I do not control the miracle of conception, I am free. I am glad to be in with a chance of having a baby. I am proud of myself for having the courage to show up for fertility treatment. By letting go of the final outcome, however, I feel peace.

It’s vital, of course, that I take action towards my dream of being a mum – that I take my medication on time and show up at the hospital, that I inform myself about the process and seek specialist care.

There are so many things, however, that I have no control over:

  • how many embies will grow?
  • will my embies survive the freeze?
  • will they stick in the right place?
  • will my baby grow inside me?
  • will it be completely healthy?
  • when will I hold my baby in my arms?

There are many times when I forget this. I search for magical formulae of precise behaviour combinations – a + b + a + b + y = a baby – right? I try to strike deals with Mother Nature. I chase after the Creative Director of the Universe to sign my agreement.

It feels better to pray

I don’t have a religion but I do pray for guidance and miracles, specifically in terms of how to be useful in this world – and I do feel strongly that I can useful as a mum.

This morning, I started out well. I prayed for direction in all areas of my life, including with motherhood. Then I listened to this Eckhart Tolle video in my meditation practice. I’ve not read any of Eckhart Tolle’s books – he just came up in my YouTube search today. In this video, Eckhart says, “can you feel how painful it is to internally stand in opposition to what is? When you recognise this, you also realise that you are now free to give up this futile conflict, this inner state of war.”

He is right, of course, the clever German sausage!

Feeling the feelings when they come

I also do not control when strong emotions will be triggered in me. Yesterday, for example, Dad 100 and I were out for lunch. I looked across the cafe and there was a little baby in a high chair. He was looking across at me. He smiled so freely, gazing with that absorption and presence that babies often have; it touched my soul in the way that all mothers-at-heart know. I cried with the unexpected connection – because I am a mother, I know this is true. It was good to allow a few tears to come in the cafe, rather than fight them back like a good British citizen! A friend of mine, Sabbir, always says this to me – when the feelings come, feel them, don’t run away. Feelings won’t kill me, but repressing them might.

The best support

In the last few weeks, I’ve experienced many acts of kindness from friends and strangers. The best support is where people allow me to feel whatever I am feeling in that particular moment – sadness, anger, joy, peace, contentment, hope, despair, grief or excitement. I have had all of these feelings in the last few weeks – I really must thank the TTC community online, who just allow me to feel whatever I need to feel. I do not sense fear of the feelings I’m having from people in our community. I’m sure this is down to the soul connection which comes through shared experience, especially where there is pain and great challenge. This connection with others is so freeing – it’s why I feel so welcome here – I can be Glumbags or Christmas on helium or Edgy McSpark or Professor Wilson or just me, Mum 100 – all of my characters seem to be equally welcome!

I think it takes a really emotionally developed person to do that – to just allow other people to express what they’re feeling, in the moment. I really value people in my life who can hold the space with me, without trying to make me “feel better” in an instant, without running away if I am experiencing strong emotion. I know that it’s human nature to want to relieve suffering as quickly as possible. I do this often when I see people in pain. I want to share experiences or suggestions, in an attempt to reduce or remove their pain. But really the truth is this, I don’t control other people’s feelings either.  Maybe it is better to acknowledge the feeling someone is having – to offer hugs and love  and identification where I can – but not to attempt to patch over people’s emotion.

Of course, if a friend has painful feelings that linger for weeks or months on end, then maybe that’s different – possibly that is where good friends do step in and make suggestions – but when feelings first appear, I believe the greatest act of friendship is to allow the person to express themselves, however they choose.

I will come to terms in my own time with this IVF journey – and I truly believe that by feeling my feelings, I will reach acceptance faster. For me, pain and emotions are not the enemy. Fear of pain and emotions is the enemy. And whenever I act from fear, invariably I panic and make the wrong choices.

The three week wait

Next Tuesday is our third blood test, three weeks after our double embryo transfer. Today, I do feel acceptance about the result. I don’t know what is or isn’t happening inside me. As many of you know, we had a strange set of blood test results at day 10 (HCG 10 – BFN) and day 13 (HCG 37) – very low numbers, according to our hospital, and yet the numbers did rise. I still have no pregnancy symptoms at all – but that is fine too.

Mum100-blog-IVF-acceptance-control-surrender-peace-letting-go

I want this level of acceptance that Susan writes about. I know that this process without that principle can be unbearable. When that obsession of the mind takes me over, I feel extreme pressure – that if only I find the right clinic + the right food + the right supplements + the right magic spell + the right wizard, then I will achieve my dream!

I know I’m human, however. I am committing to this principle, but there will be many times along the way that I forget. So, I’m calling on everyone to remind me:

  • to feel the feelings that come
  • to let go of what I don’t control
  • to take action where I can
  • and most of all, to live my life today, as best I can.

I am good enough and today is good enough

Dad 100 and I are getting ready for our little holiday on 6th June. We are both very excited about this trip to the white sand and blue sea. We called the hospital to make sure it was okay to travel in our situation. The nurse said it’s fine. We explained our situation to the travel insurance company, they are fine with it too (hooray!). These are little miracles at work. We can go. We can be free little bees by the sea. I may even treat myself to a new bikini!

I know a big, fat nothing

An extraordinary day

Mum100-blog-IVF-journey-blood-test-results-hopeWe had our second blood test today (day 13 after transfer), following our first pregnancy test three days ago.

The same nurse takes my blood, a kind Filipino woman called Josie. I make a point of asking her name today, because when I walk into her cubicle, she remembers me.

“What was the result of your pregnancy test?” Josie says.

Considering they see hundreds of people in the blood clinic each day, I find it remarkable she recalls this.

“The HCG was very low,” I say. “The fertility clinic said the result was negative, but we’re repeating the test. Just in case.”

Josie smiles. She puts her hand on my arm. “You know, we pray so hard for these things in life. And we do not know when or how they will happen,” she says. “But I am sure this will happen for you.”

Such unexpected kindness, yet again. Josie finds the blood test order on the computer. She inserts the needle into my left arm – I hardly feel the scratch – she patches me up with cotton wool and sticky tape.

“Thank you for remembering me,” I say. “And for your kind words.”

As I leave the blood clinic, a feeling of lightness comes over me. In fact, it’s more than that, I feel joy as I walk along the hospital corridor, past the Costa concession in the reception, out into the bright sunshine.

 

Back at home, two builders arrive at 10.30am. Remember, the mouse problem we had back in March? Well, our furry friends visited us in April and May too. Our landlord sent round his old man to ‘sort it’ – a lovely East End bloke called Terry, with a generous laugh, big hands and a Tenerife tan. Terry and his mate rip out our kitchen units, revealing some rather large holes around the skirting board, where little mice have been sneaking in. They fill the holes with wire and cement. They’re coming back tomorrow to finish the job. Our kitchen is a junkyard right now, but who cares about that!

 

When the time comes for our call to the hospital, Dad 100 joins me on the sofa. I know what the nurse will say, of course – the result is negative and I should stop the medication. I put my mobile on speakerphone. We talk to a nurse called Liz, who has been one of our regular helpers over the last fifteen months.

“Your HCG level has increased to 37,” Liz says.

I almost drop the phone. That’s nearly 4 times higher than Friday. Dad 100 and I look at each other, completely baffled.

“The number is still very low,” Liz says, “so I need to speak to the early pregnancy unit for some advice. I’ll call back later this afternoon.”

Dad 100 and I sit still on the sofa, taking in the news. I put a hand on my belly. After a week of heavy bleeding, we were convinced it was over. We’ve booked a holiday. We’ve eaten pizza and curry. I’ve been dancing around the flat each morning, to get my mojo back. Ooops!

The hospital thought it was over too – it’s only because of suggestions and encouragement from the IVF community, that I requested another test – I must say a special thank you to IVF79, for some very timely advice.

When Liz calls us back, she tells us to come for another blood test on Tuesday 31st May. I should carry on taking the Cyclogest and Progynova. She says if I experience any sudden, sharp pain, on either side, I should go to A&E immediately. She mentions the possibility of ectopic pregnancy, but I’m ‘fingers-in-the-ears’ about this. I am just stunned and delighted with the result.

I call my sister, who is very optimistic by nature. She is thrilled when I share the news. I call my Mum, she is happy but worried. My stepmum and Dad call, they’re going through a big struggle right now, with Dad’s recovery from cancer. I tell my stepmum the news, while my Dad winces with pain in the background (get well soon Dad!). They are, as we are, delighted.

 

This evening, I feel overwhelming peace and gratitude. One or both our embryos are fighting for life inside me. It feels like a miracle, after a week of heavy bleeding.

From now on, I am going to forget everything I think I know. My embie(s) and my body are up to something. I don’t know what is happening, but I’m not meant to know right now. I will celebrate each day and take care of myself.

There is hope.

Drop ’em, Glumbags!

Mum100-blog-IVF-journey-ups-downs-glum-bags-past-futurePut the bags down.

But I like carrying them.

You’ll feel better if you let go.

I will carry my bags until I’m blue in the face.

Er, Glumbags? You looked in a mirror lately?

Nope, eyes down.

You’re blue in the face already!

Really?

Yes indeed.

But if I put down my bags, someone will pinch them.

I promise you, no-one will steal your baggage. No resale value whatsoever.

Excuse me, there are tons of memories and future concerns in here – and they’re very, very precious to me!

How do they make you feel, Glumbags?

Glum.

Do you like feeling glum?

No I don’t.

What have you actually got to be glum about today?

Well, I have to carry these two heavy bags for starters.

Aha! I have a fine solution. Come out and play.

What about my hair? Will the rain mess it up?

Definitely.

Do you know how much Brylcreem I use, to smooth my navy locks?

How about this? After we play, we’ll go to the late night Turkish barber on the High Street.

What is there to do on a Sunday, anyway?

We can do handstands in the park. We can juggle plums at the grocery store. We can gargle the National Anthem in the Rose & Crown. Hey, here’s an idea – we can have a curry!

I like curry.

Let’s go, my treat. We’ll ask Dad 100 if he wants to come with us. And no thinking about babies, deal?

Can I pick up my baggage when we get home?

Sure Glumbags, they will be right here.

Okay, mine’s a king prawn jalfrezi and some sag aloo.

Oh, I love a sag aloo, I do.

Big fat negative – or is it?

Mum100-blog-IVF-blood-results-HCG-BFN-confused-beta-testMy poor addlebrained monkey! The Professor is as confused as spinach bubblegum, after our trip to hospital today.

This morning, on arrival at the blood clinic, the ticket counter reads 67. I pull a paper ticket from the reel – my lucky number is 27. I’m relieved we have to go round the clock before it’s my turn. I settle into the last plastic chair in the waiting room, between a suited man playing army war games on his iPad and a lady making an enthusiastic phone call, arms and everything.

Every possible man and woman are in this waiting room – I still find it fascinating, each time I go to the blood clinic, all the faces and possible stories. Battered liver, Sir? Wonky heart, Madam? I put it down to watching Casualty as a child; I always tried to guess what misfortune was going to befall the characters! The ticket counter clicks on. An old lady with an impressive back hunch pushes herself up. It’s a small miracle she doesn’t topple straight over. She totters towards the nurses’ station, chuckling.

Mum100-blog-Money-Master-The-Game-Tony-Robbins-financial-freedomWhile I wait, I read a chunk of this book by Tony Robbins about money management – because there’s now a fair chance that infertility is going to start costing us some serious poundage £££££. I need to get smart about cash! We are the lucky ones, however. We are NHS-funded for up to 3 cycles (which complies with NICE recommendations, unlike many CCGs). We still have two day-6 frozen embryos – our wonderful hope – but our funding will end in January 2017 when I turn 40. There’s also the question of whether to retrieve more eggs this year, privately – but that’s another post.

Back in the blood queue…

My number comes up. A Filipino nurse with a jolly round face draws my blood. She wishes me luck with the result in such a motherly way – I am touched by her kindness, amongst all the bustle of her clinic (there is standing room only when I leave).

As I go, I am certain of the result – BFN.

Fast forward 3 hours…

I’m phoning the nurse at the specified time. The call clicks through to answerphone. A mild stalky feeling creeps in – “pick up, pick up!” – in the message, I confirm my complete availability for their call back, this afternoon.

Five minutes later, I want to call again, but I manage to hold back my inner weirdo. Clearly, I’m still hopeful about the result – it’s the same when I play the lottery. I always, always, think I’m going to win (until the balls prove otherwise) – it’s very childlike magical thinking, which I don’t think will ever leave me.

Around 3.30pm, I’m on my landline to a financial advisor called Norman. He is giving me lots of very sensible information about pensions and sickness protection cover for self-employed people. The hospital call me back on my mobile. I am so ridiculously British about not interrupting a professional, mid-flow, that the hospital’s call goes to my voicemail. I kick myself for my conditioned politeness to authority figures. When I do manage to finish the call with Norm, I scramble to call the hospital.

Thankfully, the nurse answers. She tells me that they have detected HCG in my blood – Professor Wilson faints at this point – it is a very low level of 10, however.

“We’d expect to see  a level of at least 100 on day 10 past transfer,” she says. “So, your pregnancy test is negative and you can stop all your medication.”

However, due to a timely conversation with a fellow blogger yesterday, I did ask the nurse to check with the consultant. “Is it worth carrying on with the meds a few extra days,” I asked her, “then testing again?”

The nurse phoned back twenty minutes later to confirm that I can come back on Monday for another test.

What does it mean, my lovelies?

Well, my gut still says it hasn’t worked for us. However, I must have a nugget of belief, to carry on with the meds until Monday. I know stories of low early HCG results, which then boomed to big numbers days later. Could it be possible after bleeding for seven days?

The loveliest thing about the test result was I felt a swell of pride for my two little embryos. The nurse said the most likely scenario is that a pregnancy did start, but then it arrested. Weirdly, I feel happy about that. I had truly believed nothing had happened at all – no implanation, no nothing. I was ready to blame my womb for being unreceptive. However, the blood results suggest that at least one of them did take. I love them even more for trying to stay.

The conclusion I have come to today is this: I know nothing about what is or what isn’t happening in my womb! I must learn to trust more and have patience.

Tonight, stretched out on the sofa, I am hopeful again – that it is possible, that our time will come.

To the sea

Mum100-blog-IVF-embryo-transfer-bleeding-loss-acceptance-trustFirst of all, a big thank you, to all the bloggers and tweeters who have supported us during our first IVF cycle. Your encouragement and suggestions have been a blessing. The kindness of strangers is remarkable.

Dad 100 and I are now initiated in the dark side of IVF. Until now, fertility treatment has been a long, but mainly procedural, road including:

  • dozens of hospital appointments (thankfully, close to our home)
  • giving up generous quantities of my blood (that’s fine, I can make more!)
  • countless tablets, injections, supplements and suppositories
  • some emotional ups and downs (Mother’s Day was tough, for example, but mainly there has been hope in abundance)
  • two operations with anaesthetic for me
  • one date with the ‘procurement room’ for Dad 100 😉
  • Olympic-level googling

Overall, our minds were focused on being a first time IVF success story. I pictured receiving my embryos, which our doctor said were good quality blastocysts (oh, the pride when they passed their first test!). I imagined my womb lining as the perfect home for our blasters. I considered how much time I might need off work in the first trimester. I saved every penny I could for maternity leave. The tale I was telling myself was that IVF was as simple as I allowed it to be.

How IVF 1 turned out

Our first IVF journey has taken fifteen months – from attending our first consultation and patient information evening in February 2015, to today, eight days past our double embryo transfer. The transfer was one of the happiest days of my life. Dad 100 was glowing with happiness when we came out of theatre. His face reflected everything I felt inside – the long process was worth it, for the love and connection we felt.

Then, I had some spotting on day three past embryo transfer. I have been bleeding heavily since day four. I am still taking oestrogen and progesterone, as advised by our hospital. However, I don’t have any pregnancy symptoms – and if there was the faintest swirl of nausea, or the tiniest twinge of sore breasts, I would be hanging on to that right now!

On Friday, we have our blood test (day ten past embryo transfer) – the hospital have brought the test forward, due to the amount of bleeding. If we get a negative result, then at least I can stop the meds, including the delightful Cyclogest (which actually isn’t that bad). If we get a positive test result, well, I will officially hand over everything I think I know in a bag marked ‘bollocks’ – then I will dance the tango along Homerton High Street.

Kindness is everything

What has been amazing over the past few days is the kindness that Dad 100 and I have shown to each other. We have talked whenever we needed. We have felt angry and sad and then absolutely fine, and then angry and sad all over again. We both know how important it is not to direct anger at one another. We have just said a lot of nice things to each other, which shoos away the fear and loneliness that creep up.

We’ve had some fun too, including some spontaneous meals out. It really does help to get out, especially when the sun is shining. After 3 days heavy bleeding, I relaxed my ultra-nutritious pregnancy menu and had this f**king gorgeous pizza instead – guilt free.

Mum100-blog-IVF-embryo-transfer-pizza-guilt-free

We’ve also decided to go on holiday. We went to a couple of travel agents, because our planning brains have turned to mashed potato. However, the packages weren’t right for us. Our focus was to find warmth and blue sea – the kind of gentle, turquoise water that you get in the Caribbean. So, last night, we booked our flights to Ibiza – leaving on Monday 6th June. We’re going clubbing, people, we are going clubbing! Party all night, sleep on the beach all day!

Only kidding 😉 When we arrive, we’re taking the ferry from Ibiza Town to Formentera – the very relaxed little sister of Ibiza. Formentera is a small island, which mainly consists of beaches like this. GET IN!!!

Mum100-blog-embryo-transfer-holiday-formentera

(Photo credit: Trip Advisor)

We’ve found a lovely hotel with a pool and spa facilities. They do the best breakfast on the island, including baking all their own bread and pastries. We going to hire mopeds and explore the island and swim swim swim.

My future kids are very happy about this adventure. I am relieved and delighted to say that they’re still with me. When the bleeding first started, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to connect with my family vision anymore. I feared the trust had gone. In the past, I have walked away from things I have wanted, when they have become tough. Would it be the same with this?

I cried when we did our first meditation after the bleeding started – the peace was overwhelming. However, once I settled into the meditation, the experience was wonderful. Mum100-blog-IVF-embryo-transfer-bleeding-loss-acceptance-trustI saw a picture of my family in a rowing boat at sea, an image which sums up how I feel. We definitely need to work out our new direction, but we’re all still on board, and we are united.

In meditation, I also saw another picture of Dad 100 and me, swinging our future kids round in circles, their faces delighted with how dizzy their Mum and Dad are getting. Future kids, we love you. We’re willing to wait for you. We will step up as best we can to the challenge ahead.

Dad 100 has banned any further IVF research for the rest of this week, because yesterday I went into manic research mode. We have decided to get a second opinion from a private clinic. I spent some time on the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Association website, looking at success rates for fertility clinics in the UK. I made myself feel rubbish, however, looking at how success rates decline as women get older. Dad 100 said it was too soon for figuring out the next steps and he was right.

cool_sunglasses_emoticonSo for now, our focus is on rest, laughter and gratitude. We are feeling the feelings as they come. We are letting them go when they go. And we are getting excited about our little holiday!!

 

How long will the butterfly stay?

Mum100-blog-IVF-red-admiral-butterfly-bleeding-after-ivf-embryo-transferI wanted to draw a tortoiseshell butterfly today. I don’t know why. The image came to me when I woke up, fluttering around my mind.

I used to see these butterflies as a girl, every summer, growing up in the countryside. I loved their flame orange wings with bold black and gold markings. I was fascinated by their furry brown bodies and dotty antennae.

They decorated the flowers in our garden. Their landing pads were bright petals and green leaves, in the beds my Mum created. They flapped from flower to flower; pairs danced in the sky.

I remember trying to catch tortoiseshells in my hands. I approached with the focus of a tiger, steady and soundless. Close in, I held my breath. I raised my hands, and so quickly, I cupped them around a butterfly, catching petals in my hands. Mostly, I missed; the butterfly flapped up and away, zig-zagging across the garden.

Eventually, I caught one. I held my hands in a ball shape, to give enough space and light. I carried it with me, those delicate wings tickling my palms. Then there was the pleasure of opening my hands, a magic trick reveal, before the tortoiseshell took off to the sky.

Occasionally, the butterfly sat in my hands, its tiny feet resting on my palms. That was the greatest wonder of all, those rare times when the little creature chose to stay with me – even for a few extra heartbeats, when it had all the freedom to fly away. In those moments, I believed the butterfly knew I meant it no harm. When it did leave, I watched, both delighted and sad to see it go.

Now I live in the city, I don’t see butterflies so much. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw one. I should get out to the countryside more, to remember those glorious warm summers of childhood. They were endless golden spaces, certainly my memory has made them so. Where we lived, we were surrounded by wheat fields and long grass. There were giant pines and horse chestnuts to climb, apples and blackberries to pick, big ditches to jump and scrape our knees. There were miles of farmland to explore, the roar of green combines at harvest gave such a thrill.

Any adventure was possible in that landscape.

Day 4 past our double embryo transfer

Today, the cramps are much stronger. Since 6am, I have been passing red blood. I have said my prayers of acceptance for whatever is happening to our beautiful blasters. Tears are coming and going. It really helped to draw my little butterfly this morning, there was comfort in that.

I am drawing lots of strength from the words of my IVF sisters yesterday. I know pretty much anything can happen in the two week wait, and still result in a positive pregnancy test. I have read about pregnancies in the IVF community that are nothing short of a miracle.

We spoke to the nurse at the hospital, who said to keep taking the medication and rest. There’s nothing else we can do in this waiting game. The nurse said if it becomes a full period, chances are we’ve lost them. I still have hope.

So, I’m taking to my bed today, to draw and write, read and sleep, whatever I feel like doing or not doing. Dad 100 is making some homemade tomato soup.

I am not in charge of the miracle.

This too shall pass.

Reassurance is human

Mum100-blog-IVF-day-3-past-embryo-transfer-spotting-words-wisdom-welcomeIt’s day 3 past my 5-day embryo transfer. I had mild cramping, low down. Over several hours, I passed a small amount of brown blood. I was frightened when it started. I went for a walk to the shop, to clear my head. A guy with a can of Tennent’s lager called out, “cheer up love”. I managed a smile, further down the road.

Mum100_blog_Doctor_Google_overgoogling_IVF_fertility_treatment_answersDr Google was at my door when I got home. He was making his usual guarantees of total certainty and fast results. I let him into my flat, having promised myself I wouldn’t hang out with him in the two week wait. Dr Google found an article that reflected back exactly what I wanted to see – this one on implantation bleeding. It satisfied me for about five minutes, but then I wanted more!

Thankfully, I soon realised that no amount of googling could solve the real problem. I needed connection with human beings, with people who have been where I have been, people who understand these strange tricks of the mind. So, I reached out to the IVF community on Twitter instead.

Some helpful and kind responses came very quickly (thank you sisters!) – reassuring me that my symptoms are perfectly normal, and more importantly, reminding me I’m not alone. I also asked Dad 100 for a hug.

I’ve learned again today that reassurance is provided by humans not internet searches. A Google search is a sprint in the darkness: I will get somewhere fast, but I might slam into a brick wall!

IVF sisters – I really appreciate your company and kindness. Thank you!

 

Conversations of delight and wonder – our double embryo transfer

First, a quick recap: we decided to start a family in 2013 and when that didn’t work out, our GP referred us to our local hospital for fertility treatment. We’ve been going there since February 2015. This is our first IVF cycle (with blastocyst embryos created and frozen last November). 

And finally, transfer day arrived – truly, one of the happiest days of my life. For our box of memories, I recorded our conversations on the way to the hospital and on the way home…

9.50am, on our way to hospital:

Mum 100 (M): How are you feeling?

Dad 100 (D): Excited. It’s an historic day.

M: Historic! That sounds very grand. Well, we certainly have some lovely English rain for transfer day – it’s nice to be cool. I have to say, I am very excited too.

D: It feels like a big event.

M: Like Christmas times fifty. I hope they’re doing well, our blasters. They should be thawed out by now.

D: I’m picturing them as actual babies.

M: Tell me what you’re seeing.

D: They’ve got bald heads like me! Their eyes are half open. They are small and pink with tiny hands and fingers.

M: Aaaaah, that’s so lovely. What’s been the best part of this process for you?

D: Right now. This process has gone on for so long that it has felt remote at times – but now it’s transfer day, it’s very exciting.

Mum100_blog_ivf_icsi_the_family_and_other_animalsM: In my hypnosis session this morning, I saw our cartoon family. I am so glad I’m doing this with you. You’ve been a good friend along the way. You’ve helped with the injections and made our medication wallcharts. You’ve put up with Edgy McSpark.

D: Good old Edgy.

M: Final thought, before we get to the hospital – what’s in your heart, right now?

D: That our blasters are healthy and happy. I’m picturing the outcome and I do feel a warm connection to them – it’s an ‘aaaaah’ kind of feeling!

M: Oh yeah, I have that feeling too. I feel so proud of our blasters and their incredible journey across 240 degrees, to come back to us today. Please let them be safe! I can’t wait to bring them home and feed them lots of nutritious food – that their Dad is going to cook for us.

D: Ha!

 

11.38am – driving home from hospital:

Mum100-blog-IVF-frozen-embryo-transfer-day-TTC-blastocystsM: How did you feel in there?

D: Quite emotional actually. I felt very proud of you and I had a very happy, warm feeling towards our babies. I was welling up in there.

M: So was I. What an amazing team, three brilliant women – our nurse, embryologist and doctor. They were so calm and friendly.

When the embryologist told us she had thawed out two of our four blastocysts, I felt complete joy. One embryo was exactly how it was before going in the freezer :-). The other embryo had ‘collapsed’, but apparently that’s okay – we’ll take her word on that!

D: The embryologist was so smiley, wasn’t she? She seemed so happy our blasters made it back.

M: Yeah, she was so lovely. The whole team there really enjoy their work, which makes me feel very confident.

I can’t believe my bladder was too full when the doctor first went in. There I was, downing water in the waiting room before we were called. I was worried I hadn’t drunk enough.

D: You had to go and let some wee out. Haha!

M: I was in the loo thinking, ‘is this enough? do I let out more? am I about to ruin everything?’ Talk about pressure pee!

Thankfully, second time around my uterus was in the right position. On the monitor, we saw the first catheter going in – a white line against the grey – like a super highway for our blasters! Then the doctor called through the embryologist. She brought in a very thin catheter with our babies inside. Our babies!!

D: Another ID check, just to make 100% sure.

M: I felt so happy and emotional at that point. I gave my name and date of birth and I squeezed your hand so tight. Did you feel that?

D: I did.

M: I said a little prayer as our blasters were transferred – a prayer of acceptance, handing it all over to Mother Nature. What did you see when you were looking at the screen?

D: Lots of grey blobs! And when they did the transfer, I saw the bright liquid come out of the catheter. Our blasters, landing inside you!

What about you?

Mum100-blog-IVF-embryo-transfer-scan-hospital-blastocystsM: Just that bright light, like a shooting star. The doctor said she put them back near some thick lining. I think our embryos hatch and implant over the next three days.

D: Is that what they do?

M: Yeah, they settle in. Aaaaaah, I love our blasters. They made it back from the cryosphere.

D: And when the embryologist checked the catheter afterwards, to make sure they’d definitely been transferred – that was brilliant when she gave the thumbs up.

M: Pure delight. I could have kissed them all!

D: And now, we’re bringing them home. There are four of us now. We’ll say a prayer for them everyday.

M: Let’s do one now.

D: Please look after our little embryos and help them embed into the lining. Let them grow over the next two weeks, so that when we go back for our blood test in two weeks, it’s positive. Please help them thrive in there and grow into healthy babies.

M: Aaaah I feel so happy!

D: I am very proud of you.

 

The audition

Mum100-blog-ivf-fertility-treatment-embryo-transfer-future-kidsOn the eve of our frozen embryo transfer, our future daughter and son called us up for an audition. We’re amongst hundreds of thousands of hopeful Mums and Dads, auditioning for conception – did you know the stork delivers 353,000 babies each day?!

Dad 100 and I dressed up in our least creased clothes (we never did get around to buying that iron!) and we put on our best shoes. Off we went to our audition in a small theatre, a short hop from Hackney Downs.

Our future kids called us on to the stage. We stood in the spotlight, adjusting to the bright lights. I squeezed Dad 100’s hand, to disguise my nerves. Dad 100 gave me a smile. Then the questions began.

So Dad 100, what games will you play with us?

We will play hide and seek. We will spin round and round until we all fall down. We’ll play in the park on the swings, the zipline and the climbing frames. 

What will you do to make us laugh, Mum 100?

We will buy ice cream and eat it without spoons. We’ll make animal noises at the zoo. We will jump all over your Dad and play with his face. 

Why do you think you’ll be a good Dad?

I will be daft when I need to be daft. I will be caring when I need to be caring. I will always watch out and be there for you.

What will you teach us, Mum?

Well, I’m learning how to doodle, so we can have lots of fun with colouring pens and paints. I’m not worried about making a mess – Dad 100 says I’m a bit messy anyway.

I’ll also teach you to believe in yourselves.

Are you excited about being our Dad?

Very excited! It will be great fun. I’m looking forward to all the good times together and watching you grow.

Why should we choose you to be our Mum?

Ah, now that is a good question! I thought this one might come up. To be honest, I find it quite hard to answer – but for you, my future kids, I will have a go.

I think you should choose me to be your Mum because I will go to any lengths for your happiness, health and fulfilment in life. I already love you very much and talk to you each day. I think in good times and in tougher times, we’ll make a brilliant team – your Dad, you kids and me.

I’m not any better than any other Mum out there. I’m not any more deserving. All I know is I would love the job!

What about when we get you up at night, Dad – are you up for that?

I’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy and comfortable and secure. Even if that means getting up at 3 in the morning, and 4 in the morning, and 5 in the morning…

What stories will you read us in bed, Mum?

I will write you stories, where you are the heroes of your own adventures. You tell me where you want to go – to the moon, to sea, to a faraway land or a castle in the clouds. Then I’ll make up a story to take you there. 

I’ll also read you books I loved as a child. Roald Dahl stories. Mr Men. The Magic Faraway Tree. The Little Prince. 

Thank you for coming to audition today – we’ll let you know in two weeks if you’ve got the part.

Thanks future kids!