Third scan today to see how my lining was doing. It was Dr L, joy, she of the excellent sense of humour who has done four out of five of my IUIs/FET. I hadn’t seen her this round at all. She was without her sidekick, who is now qualified. How soon the little ones leave the nest.
There wasn’t one of those modesty disposable blankets on the bed as usual. Dr L obviously eschews such niceties. She commented on how bruised I am with the Clexane. My legs are a blue and grey treat alright but I was more embarrassed at the state of my bikini line, which I haven’t bothered with for a while and which was openly exposed to her eagle-eyed gaze. She was probably thinking, “Good God, no wonder this neanderthal is single”. I will shave for the transfer, promise.
It was a quick scan. The extra Estrofem tab since Monday has been doing its job and we’re at 9.2mm, so all is good. I was to stop the nasal spray after my second dose today and to start the delightful progesterone suppositories on Saturday morning. We booked in my transfer for 4pm on Thursday as planned. I’m to arrive at 3.30pm. I’m not sure if Dr L remembered how uncomfortable I was with the über-full bladder the last time but she said just to stop drinking at 3pm and fill up from there and to go to the loo if I’m in discomfort. I might actually do a test run a day or two before but I’m aiming for 330ml, not the litre I took the last time. I’m sure it all depends on how hydrated you are and what you’ve been up to during the day. I am determined not to ruin the experience and be miserably uncomfortable like last time. I’d like to enjoy it.
Dr L brought me down to the dungeons to the room where they hook you up to the intralipids. I’ve walked past this room a few times heading to the IUIs/transfer and little did I realise that there might have been a gang of girls in there on comfy armchairs watching TV and reading, like a very sedate sleepover.
I had never really asked what the intralipids were all about and have been strong in not hitting Google about any of this immune stuff. Dr L explained on the way down that the natural killer cells attack the fat in the intralipids and are “destructed”. It’s only now I realise she was saying “distracted”. So, it’s basically a ploy to keep the NKCs busy and stop them from attacking your embryo(s). Sly.
In case of interest, there’s more info on my patient consent form here. Notice the fact that its benefit is “still under evaluation”. Hmm, at €350 a pop.
A nurse I didn’t know came in to hook me up, which was when I realised I should have eaten and drunk something. I had only had water with my tablets all morning. Generally, I have a quick hot chocolate in the waiting room and breakfast when I get home, but I had been expecting to be called in any second so hadn’t indulged. I could have had a slap-up pancake breakfast while waiting as it happened, as they were about 25 minutes late calling me in.
The nurse tried to get the blood pumping from my left arm but the vein collapsed once the needle was inserted. Same again on my right arm, always the crappier one anyway when I donate blood. She fiddled around on both arms and attached the intralipids to the right one and we tried and tried but no flow. I was a little mortified that I hadn’t thought to eat but she was very sweet and only worried about butchering me. She fetched me a banana and water and arranged for a doctor to come down, as she said they were usually skilled at targeting smaller veins.
There was one other girl there, already hooked up and buried in a book. We struck up a conversation and she is heading for IVF with donor eggs, from her sister, having tried with her own. She is 42 and views this as her last throw of the dice. She had contemplated donor eggs from somewhere like the Ukraine but her sister, who has two children already, offered. What an amazing thing to do for someone close to you. She likes the fact that the child will know about its genetic heritage and be as close as possible to her own genes. She had told her sister to halt the process at any time if she felt unsure about it and then felt bad when her sister was over-stimulated and produced about 22 eggs from 38 follicles.
We talked in general terms about anonymous v non-anonymous donors and the importance of donor kids knowing early on about how they were conceived, plus the legal mess in our country about who is the mother of surrogate- and donor egg-conceived children, before I told her actually I was single and using donor sperm. She didn’t bat an eyelid except to say I was brave.
I think this is the first time I’ve told a stranger about what I’m doing. I mentioned it to a very drunk single mother at a party last summer but I don’t think that counts. I wish this girl a huge amount of luck, as it sounds as if she’s been through a lot.
To cut a rambling story short, Dr L turned up to have a poke at my veins, a whole hour after she had brought me down to the dungeons in the first place. She had no luck either, and said my veins were just collapsing, which might have been down to the Clexane. She also said my veins are tiny and wondered how I was still alive, not quite sure how to take that. I volunteered to offer up one of my toes like a drug addict on The Wire but Dr L said my colleagues might question my blackened exposed foot. She was about to try a small vein near my wrist, which she said would hurt, when I asked if it might make sense to come back the next day. Thank you self-employment for sparing me that pain!
So at 10am tomorrow we will try again. I’m to wear long sleeves to keep my arms warm, drink warm water and maybe use a hot-water bottle (not sure how that combines with driving). I may leave off the Clexane in the morning and I’ll make sure I’ve had breakfast.
Surely it would be easier to just drink the bloody stuff.