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.

Monday, 3 July 2017

trials of transfer day

Well it was transfer day on Saturday! The news we had beforehand was: 12 eggs, 11 for ICSI, 8 embryos formed, and at day 3, my doctor thought that 3 of the embryos were looking good. This time we didn't use the embryoscope, so there were fewer observations being made. We didn't get a report at day 4, so we just waited till the transfer day, (day 5) to hear news of the final score.... I was feeling pretty good prior, as those numbers are pretty good for us based on previous rounds.

On transfer day, I remembered that in previous rounds I do not leave the transfer procedure feeling too positive. Reflecting to myself why that is, I think that... it's the news I get from the scientists. They tend to explain all the events they have seen and they talk about how the quality of the embryos is poor and how unfortunately there won't be anything to freeze. Maybe it's not fair to blame them, it's the results that I don't like. But sometimes, you just want less information. I think this was why I opted not to have the embryoscope this time. In general, I am all for knowing things,  I love science, I love being curious... but in certain situations it isn't my emphasis. I know about as much as science seems to know about our situation, which isn't much... and anyway, I don't necessarily need to know all about it on transfer day.  I want to feel hopeful on transfer day. So this time, I thought to myself, I will let the scientist know that I don't want too much information. I just want to feel positive about what IS happening, not what is NOT happening. The reality is something is getting transferred. So there's some chance. 

So I went in, feeling pretty good and I spoke with my partner about the "not too much information" policy. But we were too late getting this message across to the team. When the scientist was introduced, a new one I haven't met before, she started talking and in her opening sentence to me, she had already said too much in simply her tone of voice, the phrasing. Matter of factly she said something like "We only have the one blastocyst today, unfortunately all the others are not suitable".  But she wasn't on her game as the plan was always to put in 2, so we put back in a morula too along with the blast. I don't know why she didn't realise that. But it suggests to me that she didn't think much of the morulas if she called them unsuitable.

So yet again, I left the transfer feeling somewhat deflated. This sucks because in reality, having even just one blastocyst to transfer is a good thing. It would just be really nice to know that we could possibly have other tries at this without having to go through an entire cycle of stimulation each time. I feel like that would really help me feel optimistic over the two week wait, I could think about option A being pregnant, and option b trying with more frozen embryos. Instead I feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over and getting nowhere. I will try to stay hopeful, I really want this to work... but I am also aware that I am faced with the possibility of doing it ALL again if it doesn't work... or... really wondering if the same approach is going to get us anywhere and whether we have to renegotiate to something totally different... either of those options don't inspire me much... So I'm left holding a combination of hope and discouragement, which somehow I'm trying to fit together.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

harvest time!

Monday this week was egg harvest time for me. They've pulled out 12 good ones, and I got the news today that they have created 8 little embryos. We will just have to see how these little embys grow now. While the numbers sound good so far, we are cautiously not getting too excited about it since last round we got 9 embryos at this same stage, but by day 5 there was only the one good one, and another one that was barely passable.
Well, all we can do is hope!
Do your best little guys! grow well!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

IVF and the warping of time

I am up to my 5th time doing this IVF business... And yet, somehow, my head doesn't quite get used to the strange warping of time while I am in an IVF cycle. 
I find that life gets divided into "before cycle", "in cycle", "after cycle"... Like the other day, I called up dad because I felt as though it had been SOOOOO long since I had spoken to him. Then I realised it was only about 2 weeks,.. less actually? I couldn't even work it out. I thought about all that had happened since then. Not much really. Just me going to work, and giving myself needles. I really didn't have anything newsworthy. So why did it seem like a lifetime ago? 
... Before cycle.

A coping strategy for me is to try to stay somewhat straightforward about day-to-day life while on a cycle, to just go through the usual motions of life. I learned this after the rollercoaster of cycle 1, that it might be better for me to remain in a state of emotional equanimity, just focus on getting through while I'm getting through, and wait till the end to rejoice or fall apart. 

And on that note... when the outcome is clear, I just let myself feel what I feel. There's nothing more to do. Let the feelings come and flow through.  Because I know that eventually I will bounce back. I am like that, resilient. I am grateful for that.

So I think that I have learned to stay in balance, yet, I cannot help but get a warped sense of time that disorients me.  Perhaps it is because IVF is itself a way of playing with time. Extracting all these eggs that would usually take a year  or longer to come out, but doing it in one month.  Or maybe it is because I am injecting myself day by day. It could be as simple as there being so much talk about timing and dates of procedures. I am starting to wonder if it is because I have introduced a competition with time... trying to beat the proverbial biological clock. This disorientation is time's way of fighting back. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

just moving through round 5

Day 11 today of my 5th round of IVF.

It seems outrageous, since so much of my headspace is distracted by IVF musings of late, but I totally forgot to give myself the morning FSH injection yesterday. Ooops! mad dash home during my lunch hour, since I finished work quite late yesterday. On to the Orgalutran from last night too. I've always found that one a bit ouch. Has anyone else out there forgotten?

I was so appreciative to see people's comments on my post about the stories that are out there. It was somehow comforting and uniting to know that there are so many people who have been and are right now are going down their own path with facing infertility.  I actually have plenty of friends who have had some infertility issues and needed some treatment to help... I was even going through IVF at the same time as one of my good friends. She's now pregnant and it feels as though we are veering down different forks in the road. She can look forward to her baby. I feel like now I am facing the possibility that IVF with my own eggs might not work, and have to look at other options like donor eggs, adoption, or childlessness.. In fact, except for one friend, they have all gone on to have children at this point. And I think it has been going on a lot longer for me than it did for my friends. Not that it's a competition whatsoever. But I suppose I had been feeling that I was alone somewhat. I know of course, I am not. Many are going down this road.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

the stories that are out there

It seems to me that the happy-ending story that is so often "out there" about infertility is this: "Here is a couple who struggled and struggled to have kids, and then, finally, they had a baby. The end"...

I think something about this story feels like a lack of honouring of the losses felt along the way for infertile couples. I know life goes on, and I know it does no one any good at all to get stuck in grief or pain. But surely there is some kind of transition for people to adjust from infertility to parenthood? Maybe there is a certain loss that is always felt? Transitioning to parenthood seems like it would be a hard process following infertility battles, and different somehow from a "normal fertility" transition to parenthood which I am sure would be hard enough (and I think is spoken about a lot). Something about the "...and then they had a baby" part of the story seems a bit dismissive about the infertility dramas, or gives a message of- if you try hard enough and long enough, you'll get there, and then you can move on to happy endings.

Increasingly, I have found myself asking of the infertility story... but what if they don't have the kid? What if they try really, seriously hard, and just... can't? How does that scenario pan out to become a happy ending?

Society, (and even the internet!), offers far fewer answers to this question.

One answer to childlessness that I feel is "out there" is this... ok, no kids? well then, you have to be amazing. You have to shine in your career. You have to do something super humanitarian. Or maybe travel everywhere and have a lavish lifestyle. The pressure's on! Stand out! I wonder if this feeling of pressure to be outstanding stems from another strange perception out there that childless people are selfish... I don't understand the selfish argument. Well, for one, what if the childlessness is forced upon you by infertility... the outcome has nothing to do with the self... and, if childlessness is by choice, surely there is not a single thing selfish about that? (To be honest, the more I sink money in to infertility treatment the more I start to think, man, this quest to having kids is kind of a selfish endeavour, but that's another story!) The case could just as easily be made that childlessness is altruistic. My guess would be that childless people would end up working more, on average, than parents, and therefore end up paying more in taxes ... taxes which prop up the education and healthcare of other people's kids by the way!. Not having children, they probably have smaller houses to live in, use up less resources and therefore pollute less. If the decision to not have children is due to some sort of insight into their personality being unsuitable for parenting, then, that decision is amazingly unselfish.

But... I digress...

The thing I find annoying is that the happy-ending story you hardly ever hear of is... "this couple struggled and struggled for years with infertility, and sadly, they realised they were never able to have children. It was hard, but they managed to adjust, and went on to lead a fulfilling life. The end"

This story needs to be out there more!

The lack of this story gives us struggling with infertility far less direction, and less hope. Because instead we put all our hopes into the possibility of a baby, and it becomes such a fixation.

I think we have to remember our lives too, and remember that there are many ways to live out our days. Finding meaning in our short lives, and paving our own path is not so easy. In fact, sometimes I wonder if part of the reason that we are often so hell-bent on child bearing that it seems like a ready-made-life-meaning-making answer.

Since there is not really a clear social narrative about childlessness, there are things I am really very unsure of if that is where I am heading. The uncertainty factor makes it seem a scary option. Like... do I have to restructure my life plans?  Is there more expected of me? How do I get my need to nurture met? What if I can't cope doing my job any more, or I no longer appear to have legitimacy there (because I work with parents and children every day)... what's old age like when you have no kids? Do you use your support networks in a different way? I so, how? Is there a bigger search for meaning that needs to happen when you can't have kids? If so, how do people do that, how does it work out for them?

I still do hope, very much, to have a child, although I know that I can be ok if I don't have children in the end. I believe my own story can have a "happy ending", which ever way it heads... just as long as I consider what I want life to mean for me... a given part of the story, which needs to be respected and which I am sure is true for all of us, is that the story will have pain along the way.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

it's ok

Today I'm ok.
My partner and I are in this together.
I have friends who understand.
I have opened up to the right people.
I have a dog who looks at me with love.
I have two cats that need a lot of time in laps.
...and yoga has always got my back.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

the IVF roller coaster

(warning - some explicit language)

Round 1 of IVF. It started in 2016. It went like this.
I was excited!
I was actually really excited.
I love my fertility specialist! He is so lovely and caring and he listens!
Each day I felt like I was injecting with intent. Injecting with a cause.
My eggs were growing!
I had 17 follicles, and they were looking good.
Felt like a super star.
I was getting almost manic.
I had another friend who had just fallen pregnant using IVF. She fell pregnant round 1. I assumed it'd go the same way for me.
I had more eggs than she had! YES. Winning. I have lower doses of the medicines and still more eggs. YES. Winning. I have nice sized follicles. YES, winning.
Lalalala... Everything is all going so well! It's all going to be good!
Surgery day to take the eggs out.
Loved that sedation. BOOM. Lalalalala!!!Loved that pain relief. Yeeeeah.
Even loved the stupid sandwiches in hospital, I was starving. (I still fucking love those sandwiches)
YEs let's GO! let's DO THIS!
I got looked after by my lovely partner. I got so much sleep and felt so goooood! All this work, all this caring from the team. Ah. I have a GOOOOOD feeling about this.
And then I called by the lab the next day.
And I was told.
(That may not have been the exact words used).
That's all we made.
and then I called every day to make sure it was growing.
And it didn't grow so well.
Well, it grew ok.
Enough to transfer at day 5. But it was not even a blastocyst.
All that excitement. All those needles. All those EGGS. For one little "poor quality" emby.
(and by the way- don't talk about my embryo like that! )
Then came the pessaries.
 I really did not think that those pessaries were that awesome.
Transfer day.
The scientists have long faces. It's a poor quality morula.
whatever people, put that thing in there, I have been drinking water like you told me to and I desperately need to pee.
My legs are splayed apart for the fertility specialist, the embryologist, two random nurses and my loving partner to see.
FUCK I need to pee so bad
And it is FREEZING in that room.
In goes my morula.
My partner thought it was awesome. Miracle of life and all that.
I did not think it was that awesome. I felt underwhelmed.
(The PEE I did afterwards. now THAT was awesome.)
still on the Pessaries, twice a day. ugh.
But are my boobs getting swollen? I think my boobs are swollen.
I feel kind of pregnant!
(I have no idea what that feels like)
YES YES YES... They said that emby was not good but I might be pregnant.
I'm sure I FEEEL pregnant.
Is that implantation spotting? that's a thing.
google: implantation spotting.
bleeding more heavily.
The continuation of pessaries until my 2 week wait blood test, even though I totally had my period was also not awesome.
Fuck. Period.
fuck can this whole process just be over now?
I'm not pregnant. I know I'm not
It didn't work.
It was supposed to work
... Just wait till the blood test. Keep taking the pessaries till the blood test. They said "no matter what"
Why do they say that? why do I keep having to use pessaries even if I get my period?
man I hate my fertility specialist, how could he do this to me?
seriously can't they just put me out of my misery?
hm... Well maybe they say it because even if you bleed you could be pregnant? Maybe? Could you bleed this much and still be pregnant?
check google.
Google: how much can you bleed and still be pregnant?
Hm. some people bleed.
maybe. maybe that's me.
Okay. There's still a chance!!
Is there a chance? surely not....??
ok ok ok... stay positive till the blood test.
Blood test.
It didn't work.
I knew it didn't work.
This sucks.
Nothing frozen at all.
I hate my specialist! what the fuck? What went wrong?
A whole other round ahead.
I'm Losing. Seriously losing.

...NOW I think I know what people mean about the "IVF roller coaster".

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

it's the eggs... they're not organic!

This is my favourite piece of unsolicited advice so far!

I was in the midst of a two week wait one day a few months back, and well, I totally had my period. I had a very strong urge to rebel against my infertility. But then, I'm encouraged to persist, sticking those stupid pessaries up my endings until the official pregnancy test because ... you never know... I decided that, given the rebellious mood, I needed a couple of gin and tonics this particular evening, but then got an attack of the guilts. What if I actually AM pregnant? I probably shouldn't drink. I have spent all this money, gone to all this effort. How stupid would it be to have a couple of drinks?

So here was my solution. I went down to the local shops and bought a pregnancy test. I'm pretty sure I was looking like hell, there were probably tears galore throughout that day, and I recall just wanting to get in and out of the shop unseen.  I had picked up a couple of groceries... including the pregnancy test, and went to the self-serve checkout because I couldn't even be bothered to face a real person at the check out....

And do you know what happened? Some random lady at the self serve area decided to comment on the fact that I was buying a pregnancy test. This seriously happened. She came up and said "OH love, are you hoping to get pregnant?" and I have no idea why I talked to this person I was so taken aback with the inappropriateness of her approach, I said "Um...  yes.... but I'm quite sure I'm not". and like I said, I don't even know why I was talking to this person, but somehow I ended up saying "yes, we've been trying very hard, for a very long time". The lady persisted. And honestly, she was nice enough... but I was so grateful when she finally walked off and I could return to my miserable lack of fertility... only she came back a few minutes later as an afterthought to provide some sage advice, "You know love, I had troubles falling pregnant too, and you know what did it for me? I switched to organic eggs. It's a bit dearer, but you should think about it".

Oh right. That should solve my problems. Thanks lady!

Oh and it brings this to mind---  If any of you have not seen the Catherine Tate show's "Egg race" skit,  follow the link and check it out.

Monday, 12 June 2017

no need to panic

The last time I visited my fertility clinic I panicked. I was just sitting there getting a blood test, I looked at the blood coming out of my arm, then I looked at the nurse, and then I said I felt faint, and BOOM... a kind of negative epiphany just hit me right there. That I'm overwhelmed. That I don't like what is happening.

Until that point I was somehow doing ok with it. But the last visit to my specialist, just days before that blood test, was not particularly positive. He basically said that he doesn't really know what is going on. He says on the one hand, what's happening could just be random variability, and maybe we've just been unlucky. But in that visit, he seemed to think that something's up with my eggs, that they are a bit resistant to forming life, even though they score great on the AMH. Until that point I'd had in my head that there was something suboptimal about the sperm, again, they do great on the general tests but a more ingrained analysis has shown slightly higher than normal rate of fragmentation. But I was never convinced that this was a big issue, because it was only ever so slightly out of the normal range. But in MY head, I thought, if we ended up having to go the donor route, it'd probably be with sperm. But at that last visit, he started speaking about donor eggs. I'm pretty sure I just stared at him blankly and remained full composure. I remember him saying - how do you feel about that? I just said, well... we're not ready for that now. That news took a while to kick in. I mulled away on it. And then it suddenly hit in the middle of a blood test. That this is really not good news.

Well... I'm happy to say, no panics today! I visited again for my first check up of my current IVF round. Had a blood test too, same nurse. No panic. I'm good to go. Since that dreaded blood test day, I've had a laparoscopy, dye studies, and D & C to check out whether I have endometriosis. I got the ALL clear. Everyone's talking about how people have increased fertility after this procedure, so I decided, I will take the opportunity of possibly enhanced fertility, and try again with my own eggs.

But this might be the last round I try using my own eggs... maybe, maybe not...  I'll see how I go.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

it's invisible

I met up with a group of friends on the weekend, an old group I haven’t seen for ages, who do not know about my fertility struggles. They’ve all reproduced, in fact, the air was thick with fecundity, and children were running about everywhere mostly at knee height.  It was a situation that made it obvious... we’re missing something… fertility, a child. Someone, in a harmless enough way, said something about babies and sleep deprivation, then a throwaway remark to us “… and that’s why these guys don’t have kids”…  Oh yes, that's funny. True, sleeping is quite wonderful and yes we get plenty of it. I chose to smile and laugh. I didn’t show the grief, because the grief is invisible anyway... just like my child... and the grief may be unnecessary because I don’t even know if I am supposed to be grieving, because maybe our missing child will miraculously show up one day.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The start

This isn't really the start.

I'm not sure where the start point is.
Maybe it was when we decided to stop using contraception and be "not trying, but not not trying". If so, that was around 8 years ago now.
Maybe it was more like... when I visited a doctor about something unrelated and she said  "You've been trying to get pregnant a really long time, that must be getting really devastating"...  and I thought - no... it's not devastating... because... I'm not trying... I just not not trying... 
Maybe it was after that conversation, when I realised, yes, seriously, it had been a very long time.
Maybe the start point was when I officially tried to get us timing sex. Whenever that was.  You might be able to gather I wasn't keeping track too well. 
Maybe it was when I saw that all my friends were falling pregnant within a few months of stopping contraception, and it dawned on me that... oh... that's normal. What was happening for us was not normal. 
Maybe it was the knowledge of my pending 35th birthday that got me to get out of my little daze of denial and see a fertility specialist.
I know that something definitely started when we made that visit to the fertility specialist and we were told...  your "infertility" is unexplained and you're probably going to need to do IVF.... wait what??  No... surely we just need to time sex a bit better. Ah, my friend denial likes to stay close.

But then again, I feel like it all started at some point far less definable...  when I simply had an idealistic notion in the back of my head that this is how it will all happen... one day I'll just be able to fall pregnant, and it will be from passionate spontaneous love-making with my partner. It won't be timed half-hearted intercourse. It certainly won't be from weeks of injections, surgery to remove eggs, and incubation of embryos in a lab. No, it won't be like that because I won't really have to deliberately force anything, because conception will be an inescapable consequence from all the love taking place... and it will be all be a smooth process, so easy and natural. And I'll have a glowing belly radiant with life. And when the time comes I suppose the baby will just glide out of me and I'll be a perfect parent.

If I am honest with myself, yes. I think I really might have believed that at some level.

But that vision has gradually eroded from the reality of our situation.

So I don't know precisely when this "journey" started. But I definitely know that today is a start of sorts... it is the start of a new cycle, my first day of round 5 IVF. And the start of this blog.