Monday, 14 August 2017

...if you could feel that life is not on hold

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who has a "no kidding" life after painful infertility experiences involving many miscarriages. So the conversation started out with us chatting idly about a gym I had recommended to her and she was super excited about it. I had gone to this gym myself but pulled out of my membership because it turned out most of the classes were heated and those that weren't were hard-core cardio. I just knew that it was not going to be consistent with trying to conceive. I know that this is a very "first world" problem of me to have, but I had a bit of a whinge about how it sucks that lots of decisions you make just have to be put on hold while you're trying to conceive. The reason I recall this otherwise pretty trivial conversation was her response... she said to me...  if you could figure that out, how to "not be on hold" then you've just about solved the suffering of infertility.  
Her argument was based on her experience.. that it was impossible for her not to feel this way through it. She said she sometimes wanted to do something like plan an overseas trip some months down the track and wouldn't do so as she would wonder - what if I'm pregnant? what if it's a high risk pregnancy that needs monitoring?   She really wanted to go scuba diving, but couldn't for the same reasons (and by the way, does this all the time now). 
It did get me thinking. 
I thought... There are many more reasons that infertility sucks... what about repeated disappointments...  grief....  loss... and what about being different from social norms and expectations? and what about the taboo nature of the topic that at its most benign makes it awkward to bring up, and at its worst, leads to discrimination... there are lots of other reasons the experience is painful.
I did wonder though if maybe that is basically it, that if you could go through infertility issues without that "life suspended" feeling the whole time, it would make all the difference and it could be much more bearable?
Well, I think she's right that it's not all that possible... but it's certainly something I'm working on... through mindfulness and appreciating and allowing myself to fully enjoy life.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

weekend fullness

I arrive to this Monday morning feeling fulfilled from a fun and a joyful weekend. We saw two different groups of friends we haven't seen in a long time, indulged in delicious food and drank a bit too much wine. We also had the time to get the house nicely tidied up and feeling peaceful and in order, ready for the week ahead. At some point though, there was a nagging part of me, trying to feel guilty because we have spent so much money this year, what with the IVF and our cat's near death and surgery! But then I thought, well, it's a good use of money this having fun business. Then I properly remembered that... actually... this is life, this is living- to be with people I care about and enjoying... and I really need to keep doing this! ... the weird worries and extreme focus that come from trying to overcome infertility makes me forget sometimes. So here's to full weekends and remembering to be alive~!!

Monday, 31 July 2017

navigating in fog

I thought I was getting good with just not knowing. But then maybe I'm kidding myself to say that, because honestly, this whole infertility thing has got me feeling far less tolerant of uncertainty.  Right now I'm sort of doing nothing. I guess I'm doing something... I'm getting information and opinions, and just waiting... as always. I'm also doing a bit of just not thinking about it, which is good too. I'm also spending some time thinking about it way too much and trying to work out silly things like if I could only just get my diet exactly right maybe that will sort it out? So it's all a bit of a foggy mix and I'm confused. I'm trying to navigate around the idea of using donors. Am I ok with it? Is my partner? Is that even where are we headed? The weird thing about unexplained infertility is that on one hand I swing to the possibility that since no one knows anything about what's happening, something really simple might get us pregnant, maybe even naturally (and the doctors emphasise that this can't be ruled out)... and then swing to thinking that since no one has any clue, we have no idea what to do and it seems impossible for it to ever work. I just need to take some time to work out what happens next.

Monday, 24 July 2017

on the beautiful indifference of nature

I had a thought while swimming in the ocean recently. The sun was warm. The waves were gentle. The water clear. At that moment I don't think I could have been more content, even though I was at the same time sad, feeling the loss of my failed IVF round, not knowing what the future held. In that moment I thought that.. life is just a series of moments. And no matter the circumstances of my life, whether I have a child or not, a series of moments is what I will most definitely get. It's up to me to be in the moments that happen.  Some joyful. Some content. Some painful. I just get to experience them.

These thoughts were mixed in with days spent by the ocean, watching as whales came out and splashed, and onlookers awed at the fortunate fact of being right there and looking at just the right spot on the horizon to catch that fleeting moment.  The whales of course were totally  oblivious to the the above-water inhabitants taking immense joy in their movements. In all likelihood, their little movement at the surface was something incidental without much purpose, just part of them swimming along, or perhaps like the whale scratching a little itch. Who knows? because underneath that ocean is another world we are not much privy to. These little splashes at the surface give us some glimpses of something much more complex going on. 

And I thought about me. I make decisions and have thoughts and plan actions and try to make meaning of things, the ocean of my inner life feels rather complex. I feel emotions, I have hopes, some that come true, some thwarted. I try to make a difference and do good things. Yet nature reminds me, with complete indifference, that at the end of the day all I really am is just a creature going about my business, just living my life and being one little part of the world. 


Being in nature connects me with something bigger. Its size dwarfs me and makes me feel insignificant in a way, yet at the same time, special, wonderful... like those little moments when we see the whale making its presence known at the surface of the water. 

Hello World! I am part of you!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

coming back from a break

We have just had a little break away from our usual life... (back into it this Monday, eek! ) This last week we gave ourselves permission to just enjoy our break, and decided not to think or talk too much about fertility struggles. I think we did well. We stayed by the beach and were able to watch whales every day just splashing about out there. One day we saw about 40 dolphins, surfing in waves and jumping out of them, just for pure fun. We ate amazingly good seafood, had gelati, and the odd afternoon beer or wine. We tried out surfing, and we didn't do too badly. We went bike riding around the bush near the beach and on the beach too, which was so much fun, and our dog came along with us for the ride, he absolutely loved it. Our little cat finally got out of hospital, and he came with us for the holiday. So in all we had our dog and two cats with us on the break, which did kind of feel like our own little family. For me, there is nothing like being with nature to reconnect to a bigger picture, and remind yourself what a little speck you really are in it all. I find that very comforting. 

So it was a great little get away and we did manage to enjoy ourselves fully. It might be a hard to get back into work today, but we are tough, we'll manage. 

I have absolutely no idea where we are at with our fertility planning. Well, we don't really have a plan. I guess that's what we need to work out next. I'm meeting with a new doctor who is known to be a bit more experimental than my current one who is fairly conventional, though that may not be until next year. At some stage we will meet up with my current doctor to ask a load of questions. I guess we're giving ourselves a little break from this fertility stuff too for now. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

...and round 5 draws to a close

The fight for baby making, round 5, has drawn to a close, with a negative result as the outcome.

My doctor just spent half an hour on the phone to me after I got the news of the blood test today. He's very sweet, but I think it was to make sure I've had the news properly sink in. He used the phrase "I don't think there's anything more I can offer" (without going down the route of donors). I'm grateful that he's saying this honestly now rather than have us waste years trying, like I know can happen.

So this occasion marks a spot I think. I don't think there is going to be any more plodding along the IVF path for me, unless there is something radically different to try. We will have to work out what direction the journey will fork off from here.




Sunday, 9 July 2017

CATastrophe comes just when we need it

I woke up on Friday to unseasonal rain heavily falling, and an ominous feeling.  My 10 year old cat, who to put it simply is our little animal soulmate, had a massive turn in his health the day before. We had taken him to the vet and he was in over night. It was quite a mystery issue. He was on a drip and they thought perhaps he'd be better after 24 hours, and so we were hoping that he would come home today. Our plans were to head off on Saturday for a surfing holiday. While not ideal, we figured we could bring our cats with us on the holiday so we could keep an eye on the sick one.

Instead, we discovered later that day that he'd gotten worse. He had to go in to a specialist vet to have more investigations.

Then I was aware that I was getting cramps... suspicious period-like cramps. Checking in the bathroom... yes, blood was flowing. This was getting beyond what could pass as "spotting". So I was thinking... Ah #$@#%!  It's looking a lot like this round of IVF has not worked. But I put that thought to the back of my mind, as I was starting to feel convinced we'd have to put our cat down, something I couldn't bear to face.

I was able to leave a little early from work and check in on our cat. It turns out, he needed to have surgery. I won't even mention the cost. I've rationalised it as... At least this cost is one that has a chance of returning a real-life thing that I love back in to my arms. So we went ahead with it.

We are just waiting around now for him to be released from hospital, and crossing fingers that he has no complications. He is doing really well so far.

Unfortunately, the we-really-need-it-holiday is on hold for now.

Sometimes it just seems like you attract disaster... e.g.... just as a side note, the surfboard which I bought for this holiday arrived with dents all through it... Oh and another fun thing happened involving me transporting a couch from Ikea. Funny story in the first instance since my partner got the measurements wrong and we couldn't actually fit all the ikea things in the car. Fortunately that problem was ingeniously solved by opening up the boxes and re-arranging the contents. But I ended up with a large sofa pillow on the roof rack, which later flew off down the highway. As I walked back to get it, hoping it was still ok, there were little traces of fluff all flying across the road, which increased incrementally in size the closer I came to the remains of the sofa pillow. Bit of a face in palm moment.

On the absolute plus side, no one has died! Even my cat, I think he's going to pull through. Have to say that we are feeling a bit defeated (and broke!) at this point ourselves, but we'll pull through too.
Hopefully some surfing to come soon.