We have to cross London in rush hour and I am still feeling terrible, so we leave well on time.

In the tube station each train car is packed, so much so that we can’t even squeeze in the first three trains that stop. I feel unsteady on my legs, but try not to worry. We HAVE to get there. Egg collection isn’t optional!

In the fourth train that stops we press on, into the mass of people. I hold on to a rail on the ceiling.  Jo juggles a backpack with constantly checking on me, making sure I don’t either faint or throw up. A few stops down a seat opens up, and I sink into it gratefully.

I don’t feel like I’m on my way to a surgery. It feels important sure, I’m nervous, I’m nauseous, I can feel the swelling of my stomach uncomfortably pull my muscles – it’s like doing sit-ups in reverse this growing eggs business. But I don’t feel ready to be sedated and have someone take these out of me.

Jo and I take bets on how many eggs will be collected today. I say eleven, which is optimistic. Jo bets on a more sensible eight and suggests that the winner gets to nickname our first frozen embryo. We come up with silly names for a bunch of them, laughing a little.

We make it to the Raynes Park Create clinic.

Read more

I don’t feel any better.

There are some hours, usually in the afternoon or early evening, where I can actually eat something and it all seems less severe. And then the pounding headaches of the evening come back. Mornings are the worst, where I am shaky and nauseous. My body is responding too strongly to the medication, and even though I am injecting a lower dose now, it isn’t easing off.

Jo and I go for the last scan – me trying hard not to pass out on the tube on the way there – already knowing it probably won’t be the best of news.

We’re back in the by now very familiar waiting room at ABC, cautiously sipping some water.

We are seen by a different consultant today, which I don’t like because it’s such an important day!

I lie down on yet another examination bench, and the scan starts. It hurts, today. She measures lining and blood flow, then finds fluid behind my right ovary. This isn’t good, as it’s another sign of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). She counts my follicles, but gives up at ‘over fifty’.

I get dressed again, and we look at the chart with my follicle measurements. If we’re lucky, the top runners will grow enough by egg collection time. I can’t wait for them all to grow anymore, even though I wish I could. This was the last scan, and I’m out of time, we need to plan the surgery.

All that is left to decide is whether I am healthy enough to have an embryo put back some days after the surgery or not.

Read more


I don’t do so well. After my first scan at ABC, the next few days are a haze of throbbing headaches and bouts of nausea. My legs feel shaky, I can’t eat, my stomach is bloated. I knew this would get difficult and I was prepared to feel sick at a certain point, but it still isn’t fun. Especially as we are in London and there is so much I would normally love to do!

Jo gifts me a belated birthday present, a Thai massage. They do a wonderful job and my muscles feel better, but the rest of me is still a mess. I drag myself through it, mentally counting down the days and the injections that are left.

I google for any way to help the medication side effects, I drink endless litres of water, I eat protein bars,anything that helps.

We have another appointment at ABC IVF planned and I really look forward to it, hoping to get some relief for all of it.

We go for a blood draw first,and then I’m back in the, by now familiar, waiting room. Only Jo is by my side today, and she gets to enjoy the repeated questions as well on whether I have emptied my bladder – I have! I have!!!

Read more

It’s six in the morning.

I get up in the dark, gather my last bits and pieces, and give the cats one last cuddle. Jo needs to take the train to Brussels to go to work, and I am on there too with my little red suitcase, going to London. This is it. It’s really happening!

The Eurostar takes its sweet time, so by the time I’m actually in London and near the ABC clinic that morning I am running through the pouring rain, dragging my suitcase behind me, trying to make it there on time for my appointment.  

As soon as I arrive in the clinic, drenched with rain, the receptionist looks up and sternly asks me to ‘empty my bladder’. I go to the bathroom, then take a seat in the full waiting room, aware that I look like I’ve been hosed down. There’s nothing like feeling the faint shame of having forgotten to take an umbrella to London…

Until another receptionist sticks her head around the corner and shouts at me in front of the entire waiting room, “Can you confirm that you have emptied your bladder?”

Read more

After some casual medication smuggling, things finally got going for real at home.

I started prenatal vitamins. I had my very last drink. I used inhalers to start preparing my lungs for surgery.

I took Provera pills with hormones twice a day for a week, there was an excruciating wait where my period was supposed to come but didn’t, and then, when it finally did arrive… the clinic emailed to say they wanted to reschedule the IVF cycle because it could end up being too close to Christmas. I nearly fainted reading that!

I called and pleaded with them, half in tears, babbling about hotels and train costs and please, just please… To their credit, they were very understanding and they let us change clinics for the surgery to one that doesn’t close before Christmas.

And then, a few hours later, I was already sitting in the kitchen with Jo unwrapping a needle and wondering how on earth to stab myself with it.

Read more