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?”
They’re running behind again, so it takes half an hour of waiting for me to be seen. I listen to the annoying Christmas songs on the radio. I observe the other people waiting with me. I stare out of the cheerfully decorated window. I WhatsApp Jo, who is busy at work and can only occasionally reply to me.
I am nervous. A little scared. It could be that I did all of this for nothing – the injections, the highly expensive travel this morning. If my body didn’t respond to the medication I’ve been injecting, then we’re done. I’ve already agreed with Jo that if it’s a no, if they’re cancelling the cycle, we’re at least spending the weekend in London.
I have brought chocolates for our consultant as well.She was so lovely in talking me down when I was panicked about them cancelling the IVF cycle, and I know she went above and beyond for me to make this happen. I eye the chocolates and bitterly think that if the cycle is cancelled after all, I won’t give them to her. I’ll just go to my hotel room and eat the whole package myself.
Finally, I am called in.
The consultant asks me to confirm which dose I have been injecting myself with – 125 Bemfola – and asks how that has been going for me. And then I’m stripping again and getting comfy on the examination bench.
First she has a quick look around my uterus and comments that the lining is looking good. (I have no idea what that even means,but at this point I’m taking any positive comment as a point of pride!)
And then she turns the wand to my ovary. She says that she needs to focus for a minute to count and measure the follicles. I’m quiet,but I watch her mouth as she counts. “One, two, three, four, five…” I start to get a little dizzy as she keeps on going!
I have thirteen on my right ovary, nine on my left, so twenty-two total.
I’m allowed to get dressed again, and she shows me a handy little graphic that will track the progress of each follicle. My largest ones are on the left, the front runner is 12mm already. She says she’s pleased with my results so far.
They give me another huge bag of medication, and I’m off to get my blood drawn, then to have some belated lunch.
I’m feeling exhausted, so I go to the hotel and lie down for a nap.
The consultant said she would call me if anything came up in the blood results, but I don’t hear from her all afternoon. Or not until Jo WhatsApps me to say that they couldn’t reach me, and that they called her to say that my blood levels are too high, and I need start the second injection – Cetrotide – that very night.
I don’t know how that is supposed to work. Do I do both injections at the same time? Or is that really bad and not allowed?
What follows is some phone-tag while I try to reach the clinic to confirm all of this but they’re already out of office. Finally I reach someone and they promise to email me but the email doesn’t arrive… It’s an hour of panic where I am wondering whether I have to inject right that moment or not??? Finally I do hear from them, I’m told to leave half an hour between injections, and to do it in the evening. Pfff! I hate the stress from things like that.
I go meet Jo at the Eurostar – she travelled to London straight from her job – and catch her up on everything while we queue for a restaurant.
That night we mess around with injection number two. Cetrotide is a much more complicated injection to prepare than the Bemfola because it requires mixing it yourself, but we make it work.
All in one day!