Blog about having premature ovarian failure and trying donor IVF with my sister's eggs

Archive for the ‘HRT’ Category

Hello HRT my old friend

One of the great things about being pregnant was that I didn’t have to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as my placenta magically produced oestrogen which was otherwise lacking in my body as my ovaries stopped making it when I was in my mid thirties – hence my premature ovarian failure.

While I was pregnant I asked my IVF doctor and my obstetrician when I would need to begin HRT after I had my baby. Both said I should wait around six months and then go back on it.

Well given the state of my poor old head, we’ve had to bring that date forward somewhat.

I restarted it about five days ago after my psychiatrist contacted my endocrinologist to confirm it with her. And I’m already feeling better. It’s amazing what a difference HRT makes – without it a girl can feel so anxious, withdrawn and down.

Upping my oestrogen means any remaining breast milk is drying up but breastfeeding my wee babe was already out of the question since I began on the antidepressant Pristiq last week.

So my mood is gradually lifting and I’m slowly feeling a little better. It can only improve I hope.


Things to do with placentas

Ever eaten pate made from someone else’s placenta? I haven’t, but my sister and brother in law did unwittingly when their friends served it up to them over dinner once. Yuck yuck yuck!!!

Placentas come in handy in other ways too – mostly notably that they house and nurture a baby during pregnancy (no kidding Einstein!). I’ve also heard of people planting trees over them in their gardens etc.

I’ve also recently found out that another fantastic use for placentas is as a temporary replacement for HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

Apparently your placenta begins to produce oestrogen at around 10 weeks’ pregnancy, meaning the ovaries sit back and take a break for a while (until you stop breastfeeding after you’ve had your baby). I guess they stop producing any eggs to stop any new babies being made while you’re pregnant.

The very cool thing for people whose ovaries have stopped working (like me) is that we don’t have to take HRT during pregnancy as we have oestrogen swimming around in our bodies, care of our placentas.

I am delighted! I love that my body can magically do this. I wonder if there will ever be a way to harness our placentas in this way when we aren’t pregnant, so we don’t have to take HRT?

Miscarriage of Justice

I never thought I’d begrudge someone their grief – especially after my last post. But how I’ve changed my tune. Something has happened to make me feel unexpectedly angry, irritated and resentful.

One of my best friends has for the past five months been trying to get pregnant. She conceived for the first time immediately but then sadly lost the baby at eight weeks. She then conceived immediately again but then tragically lost this second pregnancy at 12 weeks.  I was devastated for her and have been helping her through her grief as friends do.

She’s had lots of support from others too – but surprisingly, this is what I am finding irritating. She’s told many people about her loss, which usually I would say is great as I think being open and honest can be very healing. But instead I find myself angry at the support she’s been getting. Probably because I can’t get the same support. For example she can say she has miscarried twice over the past five months. Many people identify with that as they may have experienced the same sad loss. They then share stories and bond.

Meanwhile, what can my husband and I say?  That we can never have our own biological baby and have been dealing with that loss now for almost five years. That I went through early menopause in my 30s and have been mourning the loss of my youth and womanhood. These things just don’t have the same ring, plus how do you bring it up in conversation? Well, you just don’t, as you don’t want to see people squirming in discomfort or at a loss for words for what to say.

Then to rub salt in the wound, my friend said that she didn’t know what would be worse – what she’s been through or what I’ve been through.  That really grated but also confused me. I feel I should be able to claim the monopoly on grief for what I’ve been through as it’s been for longer, is double-edged (infertility and early menopause) but then again, how can I say that? I’ve never miscarried so how would I know what is worse? Both our losses are intense.

My friend is now booked to see an IVF doctor. This makes me steaming mad as I feel she is hopping on the infertility bandwagon when she has not earned a place on it yet and when there is every chance in the world she’ll be able to have her own child if she falls pregnant again.

Being infertile is not something I’d wish on my best friend, but her actions are making me feel she is belittling the enormity of it. To say you are infertile means you cannot have your own child. This unwelcome title should never be claimed by someone who has just started dabbling in the ‘trying-to-have-a-baby’ realm as it is so insulting to those who reluctantly have to wear these stripes.

PS: my apologies for my vitriole and also to my friend, who I know is just trying to work her way through her own grief in the best way she can. I obviously have some issues still to work through myself. But hopefully this will resonate with someone else out there when they read it.

Reasons to be cheerful

I always feel cheerful being anywhere with lots of greenery, birds and beauty. London, UK, apparently has the most green open spaces of any big city in the world. The parks are huge and beautiful and full of hidden delights.

One delight I discovered on my wanderings there was a solar-powered park bench in Richmond Park.  The bench has inscribed across the back with ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and was put there in homage of Ian Dury, an iconic musician from the 80s who sang a song with that title.

Ian used to sit in that area in his quiet times. The cool thing is that if you take along some headphones you can plug them into the bench and listen to his tunes!

Ian was disabled as a child by polio so could have felt very sorry for himself but instead he chose to look on the bright side of things.

My reasons to be cheerful are many:  I have a gorgeous, generous husband who I am in love with; a loving family and friends; a stimulating job with good support and resources; a lovely home and garden and a car called Ginger who goes everywhere with us.

Another reason to be cheerful is that I detected the early signs of osteoporosis in time to stop it. Had I not done this I would have been consigned to a crumbling back in my 50s, which was my Grandmother’s fate – she had to wear a kind of corset to literally hold her back together in her later years.

Sometimes I feel devastated that I didn’t have my children in my 20s when my ovaries were still working (I have premature ovarian failure). But had I done so, there is a chance I would have had a hysterectomy – what some women opt for after they’ve finished having their family.

If this had happened then I would never have noticed that my periods had stopped and I never would have known I had gone into early menopause, which often causes early osteoporosis due to low oestrogen levels.  My daily doses of HRT and vitamin D are now steadily reversing the effects of osteoporosis, so hopefully I won’t end up disabled at an early age.

So that is one very good reason to be cheerful.

Today’s blog is inspired by the blog from Journal of a Childless Heir .