So I started my second cycle, a medicated cycle — oestrogen three times daily from day two to suppress ovulation and build my womb lining, then at a certain point progesterone to mimic the effects of ovulation.
The idea is that you have a scan somewhere between day 10 and day 12 and the endometrium looks thick and then you start on the progesterone, and then five days later they do the transfer (assuming all the eggs/sperm defrost OK and you actually get an embryo) — I nicked this useful diagram from the BBC’s GCSE revision pages should you want a mini biology lesson about womb linings…
Anyway — science lesson over — given that the only predictable thing about this whole process is the total unpredictability of it, predictably, things weren’t exactly textbook when I went for my day 11 scan. And when I say “not exactly textbook” that’s a bit like the “not ideal” I’ve written about before.
My endometrium, although it was in three perfect layers as it’s apparently meant to be, was only 6mm thick, and that is, apparently, not thick enough. (They like it to be at least 8mm before they give you progesterone.) So they sent me away and told me to keep taking the tablets (no, really they did, oestrogen) and to come back two days later for another scan. Which I did. And my endometrium was still only 6mm thick. And I don’t know why, and they don’t know why, and they can’t explain why it was 8mm when I did my first unmedicated cycle and why with oestrogen, which is meant to make it thicker, it’s 6mm. And obviously there are loads of variables but, but, but…. the upshot is that I’m not doing a cycle this month after all.
And honestly, that fucking sucks.
I know, I know, my precious frozen eggs are at a premium and OF COURSE I want conditions to be optimum, but fucking hell, I can’t help but be disappointed / frustrated / concerned. Because — let’s break this down…
a) it’s about another six weeks before I can try again which means another six weeks of waiting, another six weeks of finding ways to explain why I’m not drinking, another six weeks of limbo, another six weeks of not knowing what my life is going to look like in the long run, and me being six weeks further into my 40s (which if I get pregnant from my frozen eggs is not important, but if I don’t and have to start using my (not so) fresh eggs, worries me.)
b) it’s another fucking thing to worry about, another variable I can’t control. I already knew that my eggs were probably a bit old and a bit shit, but every scan I’ve ever had, I’ve always been told that the endometrium looked good – that it was in the three layers that it was meant to be in, that it looked good and thick, so why is it suddenly shit?
c) it’s more money (but then everything is more money)
d) I’m impatient — it’s nearly June and I’ve only done one bloody cycle; I want answers — WHY isn’t it thick enough and what can I do to make it better? And, of course, am prone to worrying so all of the above is “not ideal”
However…although I was upset when I first found out (I cried in the clinic, I haven’t done that for a while), I’m feeling more sanguine now. Maybe it’s because over the weekend I happened to speak to a bunch of women who, after several attempts in some cases and just one in others, got pregnant using IVF — including one mother of two who said to me “oh yes that happened all the time to me” when I told her about the sub-standard endometrium.
And, in a silver lining, Pollyannaish way, it does mean that over the next six weeks, which happens to be packed with hen parties, weddings, birthday parties and trips away, I don’t have to worry about hot tubs, swimming pools, feeling sick, being bloated (except as a result of stuffing my face) and having the odd glass of wine, so I’ll concede that’s a bonus, albeit an unwelcome one.