Tag Archives: ttc

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”.

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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.

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.

Joy.

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.

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.

Mumsplaining: Why you’re not always an expert.

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I have a number of friends who are currently pregnant, and it’s really reminded me how infertiles and pregnant women/mothers are looking at things from completely opposite viewpoints. Infertility is so isolating, I don’t feel like I can join in the conversations of my mother friends for fear of getting the old “just you wait….!”, or the few people I have told don’t seem to know how to deal with such an emotive topic and completely ignore what I’m going through.

But while I choose not to participate in parental converstations, I’m a good listener, and I’ve been trying quite hard to keep my eyes from rolling around in my head.

I know mansplaining is a thing, but I think we need to add mumsplaining (or momsplaining) to our dictionaries.  The amount of times mums and mums-to-be think they’re experts and need to explain child bearing to silly little me astounds me.  And I’m talking about women who haven’t even birthed the baby and had to change a nappy yet!

So, my mumsplaining friends, here are some things you aren’t an expert on:

How to get pregnant

Statistics don’t lie, most people will get pregnant in a reasonable time frame providing you’re doing it right.  If you’re one of those people, your advice can get in the sea.

No amount of,

“we did it every second day for a month” or
“I put a pillow under my bum” or
“It took us four months and it was SO HARD, but then I started taking unicorns piss capsules, I totally recommend them!”

is going to make a difference to me.

So you had sex at the right time, hooray for you!  What do you know about the lifecycles of sperm and eggs, or the position of your cervix, or the texture, acidity and use of your cervical mucous?  What do you know about hormones and chemicals and how your brain is connected to egg development? What do you know about having sex at the right time for literally years and what it does to a relationship?

Do you have some advice?  Is it based in science and something my Doctor is unlikely to have told me?  If not, keep it to yourself.

Experience with Medical Professionals

I had a friend try to ‘mumsplain’ a stretch and sweep to me, with added extra emphasis on how AWKWARD it was.   Trust me, I know how it feels to have medical professionals poke around in my business.  Was ‘poke’ an inappropriate word to use?  Good, because that’s how it feels.  It feels like a violation.

Maybe you remember the first time you saw your babies heartbeat?  Maybe you felt excited and nervous when the dildo wand came out and got lubed up.  Last time I had one of those up me it was to confirm a miscarriage, complete with blood.  SUPER AWKWARD HUH? LOL.

Your awkward situations with medical professionals get you one step close to meeting your child, mine get me a big fat bill, some hollow encouraging words and an extra tear in my already broken heart.  It’s not really much of a reward if I’m honest.

Hormones

Anyone remember the lady that used clomid as a defence in court?  I know pregnant women often use the hormones excuse, but maybe don’t use that on somone who has been on fertility drugs.
Every woman I’ve known who has given birth and taken clomid at some point has said pregnancy hormones were a dream in comparison.  And when I refer to clomid as “grumpy pills” to my husband, he smirks a little and keeps his mouth shut.  Men around the world are terrified of women on this drug, it’s not just crying in the supermarket feeling overwhelmed about deciding between carrots and pumpkin.

Clomid is of the devil, and I’m pretty sure your baby isn’t.

And don’t even get me started on the bonus hot flashes!

Pre-baby Lives

I know you’ve done it, admit it, if you’re a parent you’ve scoffed.  Someone has said something about childrearing while not a parent, and you’re ready to tell them why they’re wrong.

I know non-parents have plans and thoughts which may change with experience.  Maybe we don’t get just how hard it is to go to the shops now, what with all the baby paraphernalia and the actual baby.  And maybe we’re so lucky to have all the time and the money and the freedom.

A friend who is about to become a dad tried to dadsplain money and babies to me.  I wonder how much they spent, with their baby furniture and pram bought by family and hand me down clothes and free maternity appointments?  And yet I know a couple who recently spent $15,000 in one month to lose that wee embryo and come away with nothing.  I know what I’d rather spend my (lesser amount of) money on!

Maybe non-parents dreaming about becoming parents are living in la-la land.  Maybe we have it all wrong and we’ll roll our eyes at ourselves one day.

But just give us this.

Infertile or not, give us all the benefit of the doubt.  Infertility changes you, much like someone who has a near death experience might say “I’ll never take another day for granted”.  You don’t tell them that you’ll throw their words back in their face when their car breaks down.  We’re not saying we know the challenges, what we’re saying is, “this has had a profound effect on me, and I’ll never be the same again”.

But, even if you were an infertile (and I may get flamed for this one!), you no longer “get it”.

I know ex infertiles think they get it, but hear me out.

You are Captain Hindsight.  You are looking at infertility as a woman with a happy ending.  You know where your road ends up, you are a mother.  The number of children is irrelevent, and I’m sure it’s pretty awful to not have the family size you imagine if you’re dealing with Secondary Infertility.  But you know you are a mum, you know what it’s like to have a child, you imagine your future and theirs, ending your story being old and grey, your grandchildren or great grandchildren sitting at your feet.

You can’t help it, the journey was worth it for you and you should be happy.  When you got pregnant you moved to the outskirts of the group, and the moment you had your baby your membership was revoked and you joined The Mothers.  Don’t be upset, none of us want to be in this group anyway!

The moment you say “I’m so tired, I wish she would sleep”, you lose me. When you wish for some time to yourself you may as well be from another planet.

And while I said above that you’ll never be the same again, having your baby is also profound.  You might feel different from the other mothers, you might feel more grateful or be more worried; but when your child came into your life, your world shifted again in another permanent way.  In a good way this time.   I’m not saying you can’t offer support, just don’t use your happy ending as hope for anyone but you.