Tag Archives: infertility

IVF #1


Turns out CD1 arrived unofficially today so we are all go on Wednesday.

This is both good and bad news, of course. We are finally underway with this next stage of treatment and it’s good to be doing something. But also, I can’t believe we are actually here and it’s been a bit of a smack in the face reminder that this hasn’t just magically happened on its own over these 4.5 years.

I suppose a small addition of grief to this whole process, where I finally have to accept that we are in this place for a reason.

I know some people find some excitement in the start of a cycle, but I’ve felt my mood drop slowly as we’ve crept closer. I mean, maybe that’s PMS talking too but I know that’s not all of it.

Here we are, knowing what grief feels like, knowing what loss is like, and still opening ourselves up to that again. It’s life, I know. We have to be vulnerable in order to open ourselves up to the good in life. We open ourselves up to love others, love pets, spend our loves with a spouse, even knowing that nothing is guaranteed. But I guess most of the time the odds are stacked up a bit more positively.

My husband and I are in a really good place at the moment. We’ve had more than our fair share of stuggles over the last 9 years of our marriage and I feel like we are both in a good space and on the same page. Im hoping that whatever happens we can cling onto each other and continue picking up the pieces and fitting them together to create a good life with each other.

Well, wish me luck I guess!



TW: miscarriage

I’ve always been aware of miscarriage. My mum had a miscarriage during her first pregnancy, and for some reason I’ve always known about it (even though she’s never really talked about it).

In some ways, it felt inevitable.

After 14 months of trying to conceive, I took a test while waiting for my next cycle to start so I could start my first round of clomid. The cycle I was least expecting it, I was pregnant! Those thoughts of miscarriage were right there, but I hoped that I’d paid my dues to the fertility gods and that infertility (just!) was my cross to bear.

But of course, I was wrong. It feels incomprehensible to me that it was over 3 years ago now. I thought that first year was long, but here I am wondering how 4 and a half years have passed and I’m still here.

People feel differently about miscarriage. I know my mum hurts about that loss, but she had 3 children after that and we are the bandaid that makes the situation ok. We hear that miscarriage is ‘bad luck’ or ‘not meant to be’ – some may feel like that. Over time, some may come to accept that it all works out in the end.

Infertility is a double dose of grief in this situation; the loss of a potential child, without the hope of future children to soften the blow.

For those 2 weeks I knew I was pregnant, I was a mum. My husband was a dad. My job was to care for that bunch of cells that should have been turning into my baby. To nurture, to love. I ate the right food, my husband shielded me from our large, boisterous dogs. We poured love into the situation and hoped that our love was enough. It wasn’t of course, because love, desire and positivity aren’t the antidote to loss.

Some women feel like they are mums with their babies in heaven but I don’t feel like that. I feel like a non-mum. (It’s ok if you feel differently too)

At the time only my husband and I knew about it. It wasn’t until some months later that we told our families, and later still it was mentioned to some friends. None of them have mentioned it since then (if they even acknowledged it at the time). I know it’s a minefield to navigate, but it’s hard to grieve for something when it makes people uncomfortable.

As an aside, I’ve found great friends who have walked the same path and aren’t afraid of being honest about it. Get some of those.

I guess I’m thinking about this as we are a month or so off starting IVF.

However you feel about conception and the beginnings of life, I’m facing the prospect of hopefully being able to put something that’s alive into my uterus, and then statistically speaking, it will probably die. The only other time I’ve known I had something alive in my uterus was January 2015 and that did not end well.

The energy going into IVF is something I hadn’t really given consideration to. My husband got his blood test done which was a lot of emotional energy used, and now we have moved onto the appointments coming up, which he again is very anxious about. This takes a huge toll on him and also me. I don’t have the energy to plan much further than this.

I should be very clear about this – he is very supportive and he wants this. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s putting himself in a situation that he doesn’t want to be in.

Complicated by having to drive 300km on the day, being in an unfamiliar environment, the office being upstairs (further away from the door), being left alone before hand in an unfamiliar motel room as I will be going to the first part alone, being shut in a room with a medical person (even if it’s just talking), the potential for having a panic attack and someone medical trying to ‘help’ and him being unable to say no.

I haven’t even begun to think about injections, which I’m not too concerned about but which is no doubt daunting to a first-timer IVFer. I haven’t got the energy to hope that we will get a good number of eggs, or to think about how I’ll feel when the numbers drop from fertilisation and beyond. I definitely don’t have the energy to think about how to deal with a phone call from someone bringing news of failure at any moment.

Maybe it’s sort of good that my brain is preoccupied!

I see people talk about having embryo’s frozen, and I’m reminded that in New Zealand they aim for one good embryo (the clinics statistics say 30% of people have an embryo/embryos to freeze). Will I be grateful for funded IVF? Of course! But the thought of doing two rounds with only one embryo each time is pretty disheartening.

When you’ve had 50 something cycles all end in failure, 2 doesn’t sound like a lot (even with science leading the charge).

I would be lying if I said I thought this will work for us. But what can you do except take one step after another anyway?

The One About “Knowing”

I know how you feel.

Someone said that to me the other day. I don’t know them, they’re just a person I spoke to briefly to assure them a clomid symptoms was normal. I spoke to her enough that she thought she knew where I was at.

I’ll admit, I was a bit uncharitable. I just thought, no actually, you have no idea.

Because I remember being in that place. About 18 months in, it was hard. I don’t know if I cried a lot because I was still processing a miscarriage, or if it’s really hard in general at that time, when you realise things have changed and you have a real problem here.

But it was hard in a different way.

It was still “when we have kids” back then.

After 2 years, that was hard too. You are now double the “12 months”. The time when you should start seeing a doctor because of fertility issues has passed twice. You are double as unlucky.

Around that time, after 2 years, it became “if”. If we have kids. If we are so lucky. Still hope, still possibility.

We are nearly 4 years now. I have an appointment coming up and it’s likely to be my last. A last ditch hope that maybe after the surgery and the meds he might have some other thoughts on why I’ve still never had a regular cycle since coming off the pill.

We don’t even say “if” anymore.

We don’t talk about the future with that possibility, it’s too hard. Our plans for the future are for 2 now, even though we desperately wish otherwise.

Me at 18 months-in cried more than me now, but she wouldn’t understand how it feels. 

And I don’t know how it feels to be my friend who has done everything and has come to a new chapter in life she never wanted.

And other people don’t know how it feels to read surgery notes and see “IVF recommended”, and know you can never take that opportunity, even if it’s the one thing standing between you and having kids. Knowing you would do anything, but it’s not up to you alone.

None of us know how it feels, not really. Because we are in this shitty, god-awful situation together but all of our paths are different – even if they intersect sometimes.

I don’t know how well you coped or if it hasn’t been so bad yet or if you’re at the end of your rope. It’s not a matter of how far you went or what procedures you had or if, like me, you’re stuck at the beginning (but it’s also the end). So I won’t say I know how you feel.

I’ll just say, “that’s bullshit”.

The One About Body Image

As many women know, body image is one of those things most of us struggle with. Right or wrong, we often wish things about our bodies were different, and our self worth is tied up in what we see in the mirror.

I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately because my 30th birthday is racing up on me. My hair is getting speckled with greys (thanks mum!), I’m getting lines in my face, my body doesn’t look like it used to. 

I know I’m young, but 30 is a big number for me. I didn’t think I’d still be having children in my 30s, let alone still trying to have one. Me turning 30 also means we are at 4 years trying to conceive, nearly 10years married (all of that time, I would have been happy to have started having children). 30 is the decade when “they” start talking about dropping fertility. 

I know I’m still a healthy weight too, but the weight that has crept on thanks to eating my feelings and feeling overwhelmed is a bit upsetting. Because I wouldn’t mind not having a flat stomach if there was a reason. I wouldn’t mind feeling bloated and uncomfortable if my tum looked 4 months pregnant because it was.

I’m finding it really hard to have a good attitude about my body when my thoughts are often taken up with what my body isn’t doing. It’s so hard finding acceptance in a body that lets you down over and over again.

Not only do I feel like I’m fighting my body each month to conceive, I’m also fighting an army of endometriosis that wants to invade my body. Not just my reproductive organs either, although the that is my main concern currently.  For whatever reason my body has decided to fight itself, to create sickness and pain where there is no reason for it. 
How can I love my body when it seeks to destroy my dreams? When it seeks to cause pain and misery? 

How do I even find the energy to put the care into eating well and starting exercise, when I feel like nothing will change? 

Unmagical Mother’s Day

I’m not superstitious.

I don’t look for signs that *mean something*. I don’t really believe in special not-quite-coincidences or everything working out perfectly at just the right time, or pinning my hopes on special numbers or dates.

So then why am I getting worked up about Mother’s Day?

One (or half?) a pregnancy in nearly 4 years is an abysmal success rate, why would a cycle ending probably on Mother’s Day be the magic recipe? Just like the cycle that ended on Christmas day wasn’t magic and the cycles that ended every other damn time haven’t been magic either.

So why does my mind play these ridiculous tricks where my subconscious thinks it knows better than what I really know – what my rational brain and experience have shown me?

I’m trying to be ok with this not happening, and  trying to be ok with the world going on around me, but this upcoming Mother’s Day feels hard. Harder than last year which ‘should’ have been my first Mother’s Day, harder than the year before when I ‘should’ have still been pregnant.

Maybe because by all accounts, this year is do or die. This is the last year before we try to close this chapter and move into something else. The last year of still having hope (even if I try to suppress it).

Also, Mother’s Day is a shitty day for your uterus to tell you you’re still not pregnant. Screw you uterus.

Laparoscopy Experience in the NZ public system

I’ve written this post based on notes I took 3 days after my surgery, and now, 8 weeks after and having been given all the information from the procedure/s.

While the process itself is the same, the information I often see regarding surgeries and some other procedures are often from the private system perspective thanks to insurance. I’ve learned that infertility is not for poor people which is a situation I find myself in currently due to some pretty extreme outside forces. Anyway, I thought it would be good to have an account for those using the public health system and looking for experiences.

On the Day:
I went into hospital at 9.30am on the day and was admitted almost immediately. I was given a gown and paper underwear to put on and then sat around for.. around 2hrs. During this time I had blood pressure and heart rate taken, was given panadol and generally just regretted all my life choices which brought me to this place. My blood pressure and heart rate was high which seemed to be a concern, but I feel like I was fairly justified being that someone was about to cut me with a knife.

This was in a shared room within the Day Surgery until. Each cubicle was closed off by curtains, which is good because one person was snotting into the sink, and the other person was waiting for her mum after surgery (when mum turned up, there was a lot of abuse because staff didn’t let her sit in the comfortable chairs in the area for patients waiting to be discharged).

My surgeon came in about 10mins before they took me in  to just reaffirm what the procedure was. Fun fact – my surgeon ended up being the gynae I chose to stop seeing due to his manner, so I was feeling a bit awkward about that! He vaguely recognised me but didn’t stick around. I was surprised to be told they may not do anything! If they looked and decided it was too much work, they would reschedule for another day so the surgery wasn’t too long. I assume this may be to do with having other procedures at the same time and fitting everything in.

I was wheeled to theatre, then in one set of doors while they organised things in the room itself. Here I was given an IV line (successful 2nd attempt, but not sore), and waited around for about 10-15mins. I had a nurse and the anasthesiologst in this area with me, the nurse kindly using such cliched stories and phrases of “I struggled with infertility, but then I just relaxed” and “at least you can get pregnant”.

When they were ready I walked into the room and hopped up on the table where I was covered with a warmed blanket.

Almost immediately they gave me some sort of drug to help with relaxation and the room started moving around a bit. I was still quite anxious but it was like it didn’t fully compute and my body wasn’t responding to my brain signals. The best way I can describe it is that I knew I was anxious but I didn’t care. I didn’t feel trapped by my heavy body not responding. I think they might have put an oxygen mask on me a this point but that is a vague memory and the last thing I can recall.

Post Op
I woke in recovery, and while I felt fairly alert at the time, I don’t remember much now except the nurse telling me they’d call mum and I was on my way to the ward.

Pain wise, I had three lots of panadol that day on the ward (last at 11pm that night), I wasn’t offered any more after that and didn’t feel any need to ask for more. They did ask frequently about pain in case I needed something else so it was purely preference for me.

I first got up about 8.30pm that evening (about 5hrs after getting to the ward), and I did get the shoulder pain that is talked about a lot. It felt like a cramp in my shoulders and was probably the most painful part, but still a lot less than I was expecting. I only had this pain when standing so it was quickly relieved on lying back down. It lasted about 1-2 days.

I was hoping to go home that same day, and pain-wise I would have been fine, but I had quite low blood pressure and I was being given fluid via an IV until quite late that night.

As far as tiredness went, I didn’t get to sleep again until about midnight that night. I then woke up about 4am and was awake until I was at home that afternoon when I had a little nap. I didn’t feel particularly tired or wiped out, and the noises of being somewhere unfamiliar, plus a shared room with an extra visitor who had to be forced out at midnight and was back at 6am made for not a relaxing atmosphere! I’m sure a private room would be an upside to being in a private hospital!

The next day I couldn’t wait to leave, but it was definitely a slow process! I had to pee 3 times after catheter removal, so I drink a copious amount of water to make that happen as quickly as possible. I then sat and waited for about 2 hours while nobody did my paperwork, and in the end (after chasing them up), was discharged without it. It was supposed to be sent out along with a follow up appointment, but that never arrived.

I walked down 3 flights of stairs carrying my things and jumped in the car, ready to escape! I don’t like elevators much so skipped that, and had no problem being on my feet.

Mild pain when changing positions for about a week.

I had a “jiggly” tum for a wee bit, like my muscles forgot how to hold everything in place. This only happened when I was moving faster (like quicky crossing the road!)

Bleeding – light for about 2 days.

After about a week I felt fairly normal, by 2 weeks I was completely back to normal.

Incisions had dissolving stitches – I have 4. The lowest one was about 3cm, the ones on each side about 1cm, and the belly button was mostly invisible as it’s in a crease. The belly button one was the only one I ever felt with a pulling sensation sometimes. Any pain was more muscular feeling.

Something I didn’t know about until it happened – first period afterwards was awful! I nearly cried from the cramps, even with pain killers. I tend to take them too late, so make sure you’re on the ball about taking them before the pain kicks in too much.

I’ve just had my follow up appointment and was surprised to find I had “severe” endometriosis. I knew they had removed some but not the extent of it. This would also explain being in surgery for about double the time expected. Being that I had no over the top pain I assumed it was a little, and I think I probably have a higher pain threshold which can make my assessment of pain inaccurate.

Something that has been mentioned and was in my surgery notes was “almost certainly adenomyosis”. I remember reading Robert Winston’s The Essential Fertility Guide and thinking that I hoped I was never diagnosed with that. It’s harder to diagnose as it needs to be done via biopsy (and they often don’t know *where* to biopsy), but regardless, there is little that can be done to treat it apart from hysterectomy.

I haven’t looked into it much, but I know it lowers the chance of pregnancy and heightens the chance of pregnancy problems like premature labour. It’s something that is playing on my mind but doesn’t really change my reality, which is that I hope my body can play ball, but it has to decide that on its own.

I can’t share any experiences with hysteroscopy or the dye test because I was asleep, so I can only recommend that having them while asleep is excellent 😉  But these both also came back with no problems.

A year is what I’ve been told, the timeframe of what I guess is typical before endometriosis takes over again for many. A year doesn’t seem very long when we’ve been at this multiple of years.

The Doctor was excited, spouting feel-good phrases about “good chances” and being “very optimistic”. I’m happy it’s been done and I’ve turned this stone over, but I also heard this speech 2 years ago when I started clomid. I’m realistic. We have a timeframe.

This is the best chance we’ve got.

The One About Land Rovers

s-l1600I remember back at the beginning, when there was still the excitement.

I looked online at articles with titles like “Cute Ways to Tell Your Husband You’re Pregnant!”.  I’ve never liked those types of public announcements, where posts to social media were supposed to be cute but (IMO) were a little cringey!

I didn’t have the desire to share joy with everyone, but my sentimental husband would have appreciated something meaningful to mark our next big step.

I had a little note pinned to my office wall to remind me of the idea I came up with.  Cut a Land Rover stencil out, create a stenciled image on a onesie.  Wrap, gift.


But as time went on, that joy and excitement wavered.

When it happens, will be be excited or scared?

Do we take for granted that our struggle is over and that we will have a baby to fill that piece of clothing?

When the time came, a cute announcement didn’t even cross my mind.  A faint positive isn’t much to get your hopes up on, and then the worry about organising and waiting for blood test results means our excitement was put on hold.

I hadn’t even thought of this again until today.  That piece of paper has long gone off my office wall, I don’t even remember taking it down.

I feel like we have been robbed of so much.

The naivety, the innocence.  When I hear about someone getting pregnant easily with a planned baby, I just can’t fathom it!  You decide to have a baby and then you get pregnant and have the baby?  That is so far beyond my comprehension that it seems like a movie.  You mean, that *actually* happens in real life?

We didn’t purposely do anything sentimental for that pregnancy, we had a couple of weeks of rollercoaster emotions with no chance to settle in one spot.  But my husband had bought an old Land Rover a few days before we got that light pink line, and so I was a little over 4 weeks pregnant when he travelled a few hours to pick it up.

I’d forgotten about that with the chaos and heartache that followed.

But he remembered, telling me some months ago that it’s special to him because of that time, because it marks a memory, even though it’s ended up being a sad one.

Maybe it’s paralleling our life that he’s still restoring that Land Rover almost 2 years later, as we are still also restoring our hearts and working towards our finish.  That he’s spent years stripping it back, pulling it apart and now slowly putting it back again.  I feel like maybe that’s us too, coming to accept what is, trying to find ways around the rust.

Piecing our future back together with the hand we have been dealt.

The One About Lost Friendships

The other night I was reading some sanctimonious bullshit… *ahem* article, entitled Having Children is a Public Good, which was some utter dribble about why everyone should procreate. And if you don’t want to it’s because your parents didn’t love you enough (yes, it does say something along those lines in there).

I ended up clicking through to related articles, the first from a child-free woman talking about the loss of friendships due to friends becoming mothers, and the second (which sparked it) was mothers talking about the loss of friendships due to their friends NOT being mothers.

It’s all a bit messy really, both sides assigning blame, both sides hurt. I can’t speak for everyone, (in one case at least one woman just sounded like a bad friend) but I can speak from my own experience and what I think may be the miscommunication on both sides.  Most of the articles I read talk of the drifting apart but not what gets them to that place so I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve ended up here.

Changes of life circumstances can be hard on others, whether it’s new relationships, kids, divorces.  It forces a re-shuffle of priorities.  Things naturally have to change over time but that doesn’t mean it comes without the grief of losing what was.  I have certainly lost most of my friendships along the way  and not a day goes by when I don’t think about them.  I am obviously coming from the non-mother-but-want-to-be side, and I have had some poor friends who have coloured my thinking, but I hope I’ve been fair in my assumptions.

Here are some things I think would have helped:

Meet Me Halfway

The thing with meeting up with parents, and I’m sure parents will agree with me here: it’s tricky to find the right place.  You don’t want to come to us due to our house with our things around, cupboards to get into, a lack of child friendly entertainment (a childless house is stressful, I’m told!).  So we come to you, or we meet at a place you want to meet – maybe a child friendly cafe so your kids can be loud and can play on the equipment supplied.  Maybe it’s somewhere we wouldn’t pick ourselves but we go there anyway.  Not to mention we are fitting in between your schedule: naps, snacks and nappy changes take priority.

Physically, there isn’t meeting in the middle.  We have to go somewhere that is suitable for both you AND your kids, and you are the one that is going to deem it suitable or unsuitable.

But it would be really great to meet metaphorically half way.

If we are coming to you both where and when suits you, it can feel like we are the entertainment: showing up when you’re bored or need adult company, shooed off when we get in the way of the schedule.

Here are some ideas:

You be the instigator – contact me so we know you want to see ME, not just the first person who shows some interest.

Show that our meet up is important to you too. Have you done some baking?  Invite me to share and I’ll bring the drinks!  Going to the park?  See if I want to come for an impromptu catch up while the kids play. Who would ever say no to a park visit?  Going somewhere for the toddler where they might need your assistance?  We are capable of holding the baby and won’t begrudge being part of your world.

Take Note of Your Audience

With the mum-club entry, your everyday conversations have change.  Brands of nappies and wipes, the next playgroup and toddler milestones are conversations you’re having regularly.

If you start talking about mum-specific conversation topics, you start talking *at me* not with me.  Let’s be honest, you don’t want to hear my opinion on your brand of baby carrier because I haven’t used one.

If we cross over into mum talk, it starts creating a wedge.  It alienates me. You are still your own person, we still have shared past experiences, funny memories and shared interests.  What netflix shows are you watching?  How was the beach? Yes, tell me about your kid chasing seagulls, I won’t bite!  Do you need any relationship support?  Want to vent about a friend?  Here I am!  Ask me how I am! (You would be surprised how often this doesn’t happen).  Yes, talk about your kids, talk about what you’ve been doing and how funny they’ve been, but maybe keep toilet training stories for someone who can commiserate.

I’m Not Judging

If your kid comes up mid-converstation and interrupts me talking, I don’t begrudge them.  I’ll wait, and not in a passive-aggressive way either.  I’ll wait until you have achieved whatever it is you want to, either listening to what they have to say now, or asking them to wait until I have finished.

Is your house full of toys?  Cool!  Hand prints on the glass? I have dog noses instead, what’s the point in cleaning them just to have them get smeared again, right!?

If your place is a proper dirty pig-sty I might judge you on that, but I’m judging your cleanliness, not your parenting 😉

Most of us have been around children plenty, yelling and crying and interruptions do not matter to a good friend.

Don’t Assume Someone Else is Filling a Role

When your titled changed to mother, no doubt your relationships did too.  The person you are in contact with most is probably a mother.  Maybe during the day you commiserate about the baby not being asleep at nap time, you send little messages and snapchats to each other during the day to fill the time and ‘talk’ with adults.

Maybe you think that your childless friend has someone else to talk to now.  Maybe you two drifted apart a bit and you think she’s filled your void with someone else.

But maybe not.

I know in my case this isn’t true, and I can tell you that on top of the hurt of losing friendships, the lasting sting comes from the fact that I’ve lost them because I can’t have the baby I long for.  This is especially true for people with whom I have shared things I’m finding hard.  If it’s not public knowledge, don’t assume that I’m receiving support elsewhere.

Yes, I Do Know Things Have Changed.

In reading these blame filled articles, one of the common themes is, “they don’t understand that my world shifted and my kids are my only priority”.

No, actually I do get it.

In my wildest dreams we have a kid or two, and we spend our weekends doing family things.  My thoughts are of our nuclear family unit and friends don’t factor into it.

But here’s what else I know:

If I don’t ensure that I am an individual person outside of being a mother, I know I would be doing a disservice to myself and my (theoretical) kids.  I would want my children to see me as their mother, who is also a hard worker, a small business owner, a loving wife, an animal lover, a loyal friend.

Is it a lot to bear? Sure, we all have to wear many hats.  But is having friends detrimental to your life or do you actually gain something by sharing your life with trusted friends who are both mothers and non-mothers?

I know if any mothers read this, especially those in the baby toddler stages, they will still argue that I don’t get it.  I’ve read the things, I’ve seen the articles and the rantings and the justifications.  But what I’m telling you is, from the outside it says: you aren’t convenient to me.  You are not worth my time or effort.  I don’t care enough about you. I can only have friendships where people swan after me, for me to pick up and put down whenever I feel.

That is not a real friendship.  It’s really about the love you share with your friends, its about the intimacy of sharing tough things and knowing someone has your back.  It’s about fostering relationships where you can give support, but also receive it back in abundance.  It requires give and take.  I’m not saying your friendships should be to the detriment of your family, I’m saying it can enhance your life, even the ones that take a bit more effort.

I Haven’t Communicated Well

Here are some things I could have said that could have changed the trajectory of my relationships some years ago.  This is a lesson to myself for the future:

“I’d really like to see you soon, let me know when works for you”

“It’s so sunny today, want to meet at the park?  We can feed the ducks?”

“I know you realise your pregnancy/new baby  brings up a lot of feelings for me, ask me over anyway.  I want to be in your life but I’m sorry if I cry”

“I want to make it to your baby shower but it’s a bit much for me. Can we catch up next week instead because it’s not a reflection on how I feel about you and your baby”

“Please don’t try to protect me by excluding me”

But here are the things that have stopped me communicating clearly: I don’t want to be annoying, I feel like you’re too busy and I have been brushed off in the past because of a ‘daily schedule’  clash.

There Are Some Exceptions

A bad friend is a bad friend.  People that tell you they don’t like kids are insulting to you for good reason.

People who don’t give your kids the time of day are bad friends, because if they loved you they would also love those that you love.

Don’t tar all childless or child-free people with the same brush of being anti-parents and anti-children.  Some may be, but many are the total opposite and don’t have kids for their own reasons.

Finally – a step forward!

I finally braved going back to my GP for a referral.

I’ve seen 3 GP’s at my small doctors surgery in 3 visits.  The first suggested going on the pill (a bit counterproductive, but hey), and that I was “still young” so not to worry.  A few months later, the second referred me to a specialist because my symptoms clearly pointed to a problem, despite only being trying to conceive for less than a year.

I was hoping to see the second doctor, a woman, again.  However being a small town, a woman GP is apparently a rare thing, so while she’s usually there ONCE a fortnight, this time she was on holiday so it would be months if I was to wait.
After my dealings with the specialist I saw, I was anxious.  I made the appointment then cried.  I worried about it but I pushed through because I was continuing to get nowhere fast.

So I went there and saw him, and he was happy to do a referral.  But still subtle digs and arguments about my decisions, and a slight smirk after taking my blood pressure, which was slightly high because I was “a bit upset”.  There is a lot to me said about sexism from doctors surrounding “women’s issues”.
I know my anxiety wasn’t just about that visit, but I had worked it up to be a big thing in my head.  Not only that, but because it ultimately stemmed from how I was treated around my miscarriage, the anxiety was all tied up with grief around the loss and was a huge tangle of emotions.
So a month or so later, I saw the new specialist.  I felt much more calm about this, even though this relationship was likely the most important part of where we went from here.

I needn’t have worried.

He was so great.  He was thorough, he asked questions, he believed my answers.  I had another internal scan (yay!), we talked through options, he was understanding about my situation regarding my husbands involvement.

The good news:
Ovulation!  My last blood test showed good progesterone numbers (44), and the scan showed a 16mm follicle on my left ovary on day 8.  It’s looking like my body is doing ovulation on it’s own so no need to worry about clomiphene again at the moment.  This is such a relief, just knowing that I’m not reliant on anything to get over the first hurdle of having an egg available.

We have a plan!  I’m hesitant to call this good news, but I’m also pleased to have a direction.  He was tossing up between a laparoscopy and dye test, but in the end decided the lap is the way to go, with the dye test while I’m there, and he added in a hysteroscopy and D&C for good measure.

I’m not looking forward to it of course, but it will be such a relief to hopefully have some answers.  I want to know that there is nothing ‘major’ to worry about, and while I think he’s probably right with tentatively guessing endometriosis (despite a lack of typical symptoms), it’s a load of my shoulders to have a thorough investigation to rule out anything nasty.  In almost three years I have been unable to align my symptoms with any typical diagnosis, either gynecological or infertility related.  That has weighed on my mind this whole time.

I have some concerns regarding this, though none related to the actual surgery.  Work-wise, I’m self-employed so taking time off is basically an impossibility, but something I will have to work around for a day or two.  I won’t really be able to take recovery time off, but I can take it a bit easier and can have help.

My husband won’t be able to be with me, and I worry about his stress levels on the day.  He does find this sort of stuff really hard so I’ve not given him much details and have tried to reassure him it’s pretty minor.  This means I either have no support person with me, or I ask my mum which is a challenge all in itself.  In doing that, I know everything she knows and hears is going to be spread around anyone who will listen, and that she will feel her involvement is important going forward.  I don’t really want this to happen and I don’t mind going into this alone really, but I would like someone there who can contact my husband and reassure him as soon as I’m out of theatre.

Plus I’m sure some food won’t go unappreciated during the overnight hospital stay!

Anyway, status quo for now until the surgery is scheduled (likely in the next few months), and then I will make a decision.

Have you had a laparoscopy or hysteroscopy? Any tips?

Breaking Free

I’ve spent the last two and a half years being fucking scared of someone asking how I am.

I’ve moved around a bit and have an interesting relationship with my family, so it’s not as hard to avoid that question as you might think.  You hear the phrase often but frequently it is used in a way that means “hi”, and the asker doesn’t actually expect a response.  I don’t have people in my life to ask me that question for real anymore.

Some of that is not my fault, I seem to have friends that see me as a leader, so they don’t seek me out to check on my wellbeing.  But some of it is my fault.

I’ve pulled away from everybody.  I don’t know what to say and so I’d rather not say anything at all.  I’m not a talker, I’m a deep thinker and reflector, but by not sharing I isolate myself.

My situation is difficult in multiple ways.  Some people get part of it, but mix it all together and its a bit overwhelming. Trust me, I know.  I know I’m unlikely to receive understanding so I don’t start.

In our household we deal with infertility and mental illness, both diseases I find to be at the top of the list of “I will have empathy for you as long as it doesn’t become uncomfortable for me”.

But I’m sick of being stuck in this box.

This box where I can’t talk about the things weighing on my mind. Where I can’t tell anyone that today was a hard day and share some of that burden. Where I can’t find support either emotionally or physically. Where being vulnerable is off the cards because it might make someone think that I’m weak.

I’m allowed to be weak. I’m allowed to need picking up once in a while.  I’m allowed to interrupt people’s lives and I’m allowed to expect to have friendships where sometimes I need to be carried and refilled.

I’m allowed to tell the world who I am and what I feel.

I’m so tired of hiding, waiting for the day things get better. Life can’t improve if I dont take risks, life can’t change if I’m stuck in a cycle of wishing someone would ask me how I am, but being too scared to tell the truth.

I owe it to myself, and I owe it to everyone else who is hiding.

I don’t want to be scared anymore.