OH and I have been practically living at the fertility clinic this week. On the whole, it’s been good news: we’re going ahead with IUI #4 tomorrow, and if it doesn’t work, everything is in place to start superovulation in July. We’ve also been told that as things stand, we’ll still be eligible for IVF on the NHS after six unsuccessful cycles of IUI – my miscarriage, the extra natural cycle and the recent overhaul of the NHS don’t change that – and there is no waiting list. 🙂 Our budget is suddenly looking a lot healthier, and I feel reassured by having a long-term plan in place. I can’t know when (or if) I will conceive, but having a clear road map helps a lot.
However, there’s one dark cloud hanging over me: ovulation. I am terrified I’ll ovulate too soon. With natural cycle IUI, there is no way to prevent this from happening. The clinic monitor my follicles until one is deemed mature (greater than 15 mm), then line up treatment for the next day, and I inject myself with Ovitrelle or Pregnyl to make sure I don’t ovulate too late – but that’s all we can control for. An unfertilised egg only lives for 12-24 hours after it’s released, and there are typically about 29 hours between my last scan and the IUI. It’s so hard during this period not to overanalyse every little twinge in my ovaries, and the words ‘egg white’ take on a whole new significance (if you don’t know why, you probably don’t want to).
This month I’m worrying because my follicle was just under 15 mm yesterday, and a whopping 18 mm today. And also, I suppose, I feel like there’s been a subtle change in my ‘status’ as a patient. I’ve gone from being the girl who got pregnant first time (and would surely conceive again soon) to the woman who is expected to need superovulation and is even making IVF plans. Part of that is my doing – I chose to have all the superovulation appointments now because I didn’t want to risk any more delays if this cycle doesn’t work, and I chose to ask about IVF – but I do seem to have generated a little confusion by opting for a fourth natural cycle. A couple of members of staff thought I had doubts about trying a more invasive treatment, until I explained. I guess it’s not ‘normal’ to choose a treatment that’s less likely to succeed just because you can have it sooner – but I have no doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do for my emotional health. The turmoil of treatment is easier for me to cope with than the limbo of waiting. Still, I’m aware that I’m now deviating a little from the treatment pathway the clinic would recommend.
However, I’m cautiously optimistic. This could work. It worked the first time, after all. And although there’s always the risk I will ovulate too soon, I have to trust that the clinic know what they’re doing and that their protocol will maximise our chances of success.