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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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.

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 …

Getting Lapped

The past week has been all about getting lapped.

Not one, not two, but FOUR couples have announced their second pregnancies. Two of these couples had their first well after we started trying for a bub.

Faaaark it hurts. Even though I’m on a two month break from the IVF train, which generally means I switch off from the acute ups and downs of infertility, it’s stuff like this that breaks through like some sort of fucked up dog whistle.

WHEEEEEEEEEEE!!! HELLO! IT’S STILL HERE! YOU’RE STILL INFERTILE AND – GUESS WHAT – IT STILL HURTS!!!!

So, yeah. Second pregnancies. Rub it in, why don’t you? If we were one of those blissfully, ignorantly, fertile couples we too would probably be announcing a second pregnancy right about now. I always wanted to pop out two (three!?) in quick succession.

HA

At thirty, I guess I should be expecting this more and more often now. It doesn’t stop the little stabbing pain it causes. An excellent bullseye, right in the middle of my heart.

 

 

How Private is Your Blog?

As I descend happily into the delights of regular blogging, I’ve found myself thinking about online anonymity and what it means. There’s an honesty I feel I can give here, amongst a community of people who understand just how horrific this process is. As loved as I am by my support network in real life, there’s only one – Mr Bun – who really understands. Here, there are many.

The life of someone going through IVF is, at once, both painfully private and brutally public:

Sneaking out of the office for hushed phonecalls with your nurse. Grasping for more tall tales about why you won’t be drinking at yet another dinner, function, party. Pseudo-smiling over yet another squealy pregnancy announcement. Batting away the inevitable, well-meaning ‘When’s it your turn?’ questions with carefully studied replies.

And then there’s the flip side. You sit exposed in waiting rooms, lie open under ultrasounds and queue up at blood clinics with so many others. You all avoid eye contact, but it’s clear – you’re all INFERTILE. There’s no turning away from it. A hidden condition laid open in the most intimate of settings.

Mr Bun and I made a decision early on to be pretty open about IVF. The loose rule is, if you’d be OK telling Person X about an unsuccessful round, you can tell Person X that you’re undergoing IVF at all. Make sense? So, many people know about what we’re going through. Not in a blow-by-blow way, but enough that they can be supportive and understanding at times when it’s most appreciated.

Then there’s the next level up. The intimate friends and close family who know more. The pain, the results, the plans, the dates. Yet even those can sometimes lose track. And that’s why I’ve been thinking – how many of you share your blogs with friends? And is it a good thing? Because, as much as I think it would make things easier – I wouldn’t need to repeat updates or re-tell stories – I believe there may be something in the anonymity that is in itself quite powerful.

At the end of the day, my biggest hurdle to telling anyone about our infertility is Pity. I naturally shy away from telling newly-married couples, or women in their early thirties. Because I know it’s only a matter of time until they fall pregnant. And when they do, they have to tell me – ohhh, the pity in their eyes. It gets me every time.

I guess, until I move through the fear of Pity, it’s not much use to open this place up to my Real Life friends. But maybe. Maybe by letting them in I’ll be moving through the Pity stage faster.

Image: thank you

Friday is Bloat-day

 

Hello.

This will be a quickie as I’m at work, in the quiet of the early-morning office. This week has been about reacquainting myself with the Puregon pen, and popping my 10mg of Solone every morning.

I half hoped the little dose of steroids would do something for my wobbly bits. Ha! I think the hormones are stronger than that though. I’m definitely … bloatier … than I was at this point last stim cycle. My Puregon dosage’s only gone up by 50ml to 200ml a day, but that’s clearly enough to give me a 10-donut-binge stomach this early on.

My high-waisted skinny jeans are becoming less fashion statement, more medical necessity from stopping the entire world wondering what the hell’s going on down there.

Anyhoo. Had the first blood test and scan today, and I’m up to 14mm diameter in at least one of my follicles, so have officially started my Orgalutran injections too. I hate those bad boys. Can still feel it as I type. Ouchee.

So, I’ll carry on prodding my increasingly fleshy belly and head on in for another scan on Monday morning. Fingers crossed we’re all on track, which means this time next week I should be recovering from my Collection.

You can probably tell by my tone that I’m feeling pretty upbeat. Even with all of the drugs and needles and tests, this is still the best part. Everything’s moving in the right direction. This little control freak can tick off her days and cross meds of lists and it all seems terribly … normal. I’m just trying not to think about the end of the month.

Hope all of you ladies are tracking along well. Happy Friday to you xx

IVF Bali-Style

I leave for a week’s holiday in Bali tonight and my packing has largely consisted of my stressing and re-stressing about the small mountain of medication I will be taking with me. Of course, it’s my luck that this third round of IVF, after an extended break of six months, needs to begin smack bang in the middle of what is such a desperately needed holiday.

And Bali, of all places! I keep imagining how I’ll explain to the scary customs officials that this mini-pharmacy in my carry-on is all to do with my sad, empty uterus … melodramatic, moi?

Setting aside the shitful timing, I am looking forward to getting started again. This will be our third round since Aug-Oct last year. It’s been a long break – longer than both of us planned.

I was in such a bad state emotionally when the second round failed.

I remember falling into the house after a particularly wretched day, sobbing down the phone to Mum, barely having enough energy to close the front door behind me. It was time for a break, to give my brain back over to other things. And I think it’s been a good thing. I feel clearer, more focused, more positive … but I’m also crazy-hormone free, which as we all know won’t last.

Time off over Christmas was lovely, but Mr Bun has clearly been itching to get back on the IVF train since then (toot! toot!), and here we are.

It’s also our last FET with the one little embryo that’s been hanging around, just chillin’ (excuse the pun), waiting for us to get back on board.  My previous FET was a natural cycle, and I started my period before I’d even had my blood test. So, this round will be overflowing with all sorts of oestrogen, progesterone and other fun things in between. I’ve no idea how they’ll make me feel. I don’t care, really – just want to make that uterus of mine so damn comfortable the little emby won’t ever want to leave.

Deep breath … and, off we go!