A birthday, and a goodbye.

My baby is one year old and my heart is full. A balloon of joy swells up in my chest and bursts. Not every so often, but constantly, always. When I am with her, when I thinking of her, when I am talking about her, when I am watching her sleeping …

My life is full, too. Mr Bun and I are racing, racing – juggling and tap dancing through a weekly circus of two very demanding jobs, the insanity of this property market, our marriage, our families, ourselves. It is all going by so, so fast. We are breathless. But we are happy.

Today is my daughter’s first birthday. It’s my 100th blog post. It is time to say goodbye.

I have squeezed so much pleasure out of this blog, which is wondrous considering it was borne from a place of pain. Infertility hollowed me out. It was a physical battle, but the scars are emotional. While driving last week I happened to looked right instead of left – and out popped a memory. A curve of road, a traffic light: there I had been, wailing at the steering wheel as I left behind another negative beta. Oh, that pain. The pain of wanting something so very badly. I remember every aching minute.

I am not a closed person, and have been open about what we went through … but no-one knew, no-one knew like you did. I have relished the luxury of not having to explain anything. But equally, you listened to the detail I sometimes felt compelled to go into. This place allowed me to open up all of that.

Thank you. For your support, and your curiosity, your advice … your humour! This age that we live in is truly miraculous, allowing us to build these extraordinary communities from all around the world.

When I first discovered the world of infertility blogs, I fell upon page after page, seeking out stories that mirrored mine. Some sites I found were years old, many had stopped writing altogether. Most, though, had stuck around long enough to reveal that they had finally become mothers. This gave me hope like nothing else. I like to think that maybe I’ve done that for someone out there.

I will miss this space, particularly as a kick-up-the-bum to write – because I don’t get to do that so much any more. I dunno, I may drop back and regale you with more minutiae … or maybe create somewhere new? But for now I think it’s a good time to sign off.

Life is a matter of contrast, and I’m sure there will be dark days ahead … but there will be light ones as well.

Right now?

Now – my baby is one year old and my heart is full.

Sending you all love, and luck, and happiness so pure that it makes you float.

x

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Baby No. 2

Something scary happened. I saw a newborn pic on Facebook and felt clucky. Broody. Warm and fuzzy, even.

Aren’t our brains clever little things?

I found the first six weeks three six months of motherhood really hard. Even with our struggles getting pregnant, and years of baby-free pain fresh in my mind, I just couldn’t comprehend trying to conceive when Little Bun was six months old. Because – YES – that’s what most of the baby-based medical fraternity suggested we do.

As Little Bun rapidly approaches her first birthday, the searing shock of those first few months is softening. While still bloody tough, motherhood now feels more like a beautiful new life that I’ve moved into – rather than an intensive experience I had to survive.

Harsh words? Probably. And I wasn’t that vocal about this socially unacceptable negativity … until I read this brilliantly written article via the PAIL girls.

It hit home SO HARD. It captured the visceral, raw shock that I felt at being a new mother. When LB was born, an old friend and mother of two (older) children, said to me ‘Enjoy this snuggly warm time.’ I read that line over and over. I didn’t feel warm, or snuggly. What was wrong with me? I felt cold with exhaustion. I loved my baby girl but in a primal, protective way. Things didn’t get snuggly and warm in my head for some time.

But now, nearly 12 months later, my life has hit a new rhythm of normal – and it is wonderful. With the head space that a full nights sleep (and other luxuries of an older-baby) gives you, the thought of another baby is once again a happy one. Maybe not something I’m yearning for just yet, but definitely one to look forward to.

We’re not trying for number two. I may regret these ‘wasted’ months one day. If years go by and Little Bun remains an only child, I’m sure I’ll look back on this time and wonder. I’ll ask myself if I should have leapt back onto the conception train as early as I possibly could have.

Hopefully there will be another Little Bun. A Littler Bun. But for the time being, the three of us are knitted tightly together – enjoying our ‘snuggly, warm time’.

 

Infertile Women’s Bill of Rights

This will be my second post this week extolling the wonders of the infertile commenters on my fave site Jezebel.

On the article reporting Giuliana Rancic’s (frankly tragic) announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis, was this comment from SloppyLobster:

Infertile Women’s Bill of Rights
1. My infertility is not up for discussion. And neither are any of the other reproductive choices that I make with my body.
2. Yes, I have thought of Adoption/Fostering. There is a good reason that I am choosing IVF
3. Being infertile doesn’t mean I have to be a saint. If I don’t want to adopt, I don’t have to.
4. If I want to spend 30,000 dollars of my own money on IVF, that’s my business.
5. Infertility does not mean that I don’t deserve to have a biological child, if I so choose.
6. Reproductive choice does not end the moment I find out I am infertile.
7. It IS insensitive to tell someone to “just adopt”. You shouldn’t do it.
8. I owe you NO explanations about what I choose.
9. Adoption is not an easy route. There is a chance that I will not find a child. There is a chance that I may not be deemed suitable to have a child. There is a chance that the child could be taken back. Biological reproduction is easier in some cases.

Gold.

Um, What!?

This is pretty old now, but it caught my eye.

“A Canadian radio station sponsoring a “Win a baby!” contest has chosen the five lucky couples who will each receive $35,000 worth of IVF treatments, but not before telling them that only one couple would win.” Um, what!?

Make sure you read the full article here.

The reason this article is so fascinating, is the comments below it. Make sure you hit ‘All’ to see every one. I love that a bunch of articulate, educated, independent, feisty women band together to TAKE DOWN those few ignoramuses who dare drag out the old, ‘Why don’t infertile women just adopt/foster!?”

Cheered me immensely to read them.

Breathe.

I did it. I asked for another beta.

I’ve doubled again.
My numbers aren’t crazy-high, but they’re in the safe zone. My progesterone is also increasing. Dr D is OK with my progress.
And so, today, I exhaled a little.

Tomorrow I head off for a week with Mr Bun and his parents. Of course, it will be tough. I don’t have any symptoms at all. I am still so early. So much could change.
Yet I received some great advice via Infertile Days – live in the moment. Each day, remind myself ‘Today, things are going well.’
There will either come a time in the coming weeks when that’s no longer true. Or there won’t.

And in the meantime – I will just try to keep breathing.

Well knock me down …

A positive beta. A teeny, tiny, barely-positive beta. A beta that the nurse doesn’t sound happy for. A beta that wouldn’t even register on a HPT. Super low. Lower than Barry White with a head cold.

Like I said, knock me down …

My blood test was a Woody Allen-style comedy of errors this morning, but I finally managed it. And when I made the call at 2pm after sitting through the world’s. longest. meeting. receptionist Uber-Bitch told me about the positive.

‘It’s very low. Where are you in your cycle?’

‘… Um … I’m not sure’ (why do I always clam up like a stuttering student on the spot when they ask me that? They must think I’m a moron). Um … (counting on my fingers) day 35?’

She told me Dr D would call me back. And that she did, confirming it was indeed ‘very low’ –  lower than my last beta that ended in an early miscarriage. She’s told me I should start taking my Progesterone pessaries and Astrix again (‘just in case’), and go for another blood test on Monday. I’ll do as I’m told, but at the same time I’ve begun my normal PMS symptoms.

So, a positive beta that will drop and and fade away and that will be that.

BUT

We were on a natural cycle. Mr Bun’s sperm and my egg actually came together and fertilised. NATURALLY. Wow. I mean. Maybe this has happened before? I’ve been a week late for my period maybe four or five times in the past three years. And clearly I’ve never had a blood test to tell me otherwise.

It doesn’t matter. Whether this is our first or our fifth natural conception – I don’t care.

We can actually do it.

IVF for us will remain a two-pronged process to a) get more embies, and b) hold onto the precious things. Clearly though, b) is starting to become the frontrunner to focus on. And, after nearly three years, that’s something.

Like I said, knock me down with a feather.

Hyster-Fail

A little while ago I mentioned that Dr D had lined me up for a hysteroscopy. And I also mentioned how I was (maybe, for some people, weirdly) looking forward to it.

This tells you two things. I,

a) work too hard – the idea of a ‘day off’ is incredibly tantalising … especially when one of those delicious anesthetics are involved (hello ladies out there who have recently been extolling the virtues of the GA). This is wrong. I am talking about a medical procedure, not a day in a spa

and

b) I am a woman battling infertility for nigh-on three years, and will embrace every ‘treatment’ I can get

So, hysteroscopy booked for this coming Friday. Yay! Bring on the paper undies!

No. NO YAY.

Because my uterus is DEMENTED and SWORN TO THWART ME AT EVERY TURN. I am overdue for my period. A week overdue. A week that has now not only mucked up this cycle, but also seriously screwed the timings of next cycle – when I’m due to do IVF round 5/3.2.

(Yes, I’ve done a pregnancy test. Of course it’s negative. I wasn’t even upset – not one bit – that’s how negative it was).

So, I called Dr D’s offices and one of her receptionists told me in her uber-bitch tone that

‘Youhavetogoforabloodtesttocheckyouarenotpregnantthenwewillcallyou andgofromthere’

They really are SO rude there.

‘Oh. OK. Um, do you mind telling me if (‘if’ … HA!) the test is negative, the procedure will still go ahead on Friday?’

(quick sigh – as i ‘please stop bothering me’) ‘Ifyouarenotpregnantthenwewillcallyouandgofromthere’

I’ve hung out with Dr Google. I know hysteroscopy’s are best performed at the beginning of the cycle. I know tomorrow when I call for my blood test results they’ll cancel my appointment. I know they’ll tell me to go away and call them when my period’s begun.

It’s the not knowing that is the pain. I don’t know when I’ll get my period, so I don’t know when I have the procedure.

Why am I stressing out? I’ve been doing this for years. You think I’d be used to waiting.

Well, my in-laws are arriving from the UK next week. I don’t want to be in hospital or recovering at home when they arrive. Hostess-with-the-mostest-ing doesn’t normally include lying on the couch in your jammies watching junk teeve and mainling chocolate biscuits.

Harrumph.

The Sad Reality

The sad reality of Infertility … it never leaves you, even when you’re having two months ‘off’.

I snuck out of work early today (erm – that would be 5.45) and went for one of those awesome cheapo Vietnamese manicures. I was sitting there, blissed into meditation by the hum of lady-chat in a language I don’t understand, and the amazing hand massages they give – then:

BAM

My eyes snapped open, my head whipped down and my heart started thumping: she was using alcohol wipes to clean the cream off my nails.

There. Right there. It was the smell of an IVF round. It was the smell of my standing in my kitchen, belly bared, wiping down ready for the needle. It was the smell of lying on the couch, clutching ice to my stomach ’til it stung. The smell of hope. The smell of failure.

And I was just getting a fucking manicure.

 

(image: thank you)

Plan B

So, my weekend away was pretty scrumptious, and included (in no particular order):

– a bubble bath with a glass of red

– a walk along my favourite bit of coastline, ever, in crackingly good late Winter weather

– a fabulous, memorable meal filled with local ingredients, some of which I’d never heard of (let alone tasted – sea blite, anyone?)

It was wonderful.

One of the best bits of the weekend was the conversation Mr Bun and I had over said meal. Of course, as it always does, talk turned to ‘our situation’. Not in a sad, ‘isn’t our life awful’ way. More in a, ‘this is what we’re dealing with now’ way.

Yet this time, the talk was different. Maybe it was the wine, or the out-of-this-world food – maybe it was because we’ve had a month off IVF and we’re starting to feel like normal people again. Whatever it was, it meant that we spoke about ‘Plan B’.

Plan B has nothing to do with fertility treatment, or surrogacy, or adoption. Plan B is life without kids.

I know. Heavy, huh?

Let me get something straight. I don’t think we’ll move to Plan B. I’m ‘only’ (hate when people say that) thirty. We’ve got a whole lotta years and strategies and things to try in our future.

But the Plan B we spoke about wove a magical parallel universe into reality. It had travel, and adventure, and beauty. It sounded fun, and exciting, and like something we could both fall in love with.

We’ve started to carve out ourselves a rabbit hole – an escape hatch – that didn’t exist before. Something I know in the coming months (or, god forbid, years) that I will return back to, and craft, finesse and add detail to.

I can’t believe it’s been three years and this is the first time we’ve ever spoken about it. Like I said, I don’t think that it will be our future – at least not intentionally. However, just talking about it has made me feel better. It’s given me a sense of control that I haven’t had before. And that can only be a good thing.

Spread ‘Em

While we’re taking August and September off IVF, one of the agreed treatments with Dr D was a hysteroscopy to ‘clean out the pipes’. I have read that this can increase the success rate of the subsequent IVF round, but I’m a little dubious. We had the same hopes after my laparoscopy back in 2010, with no luck.

Either way, it’ll be an interesting exercise – and yes, I know this makes me sound like a creepy hypochondriac who seeks out hospital –  but I feel better for having some form of treatment to focus on in the time off between rounds.

Has anyone had a hysteroscopy? What was the recovery like? I’ve been told it’s a lot better than a laparoscopy, because obviously you don’t have an actual incision to worry about. I’m booked in for the beginning of Sept and my recovery will sit over the last free weekend Mr Bun and I have before his parents arrive for two weeks (!!)

Will I be mobile enough to tizz the house up? Because, you know, I clearly have my priorities in order …