The ache

Pain doesn’t go away. It follows you. I didn’t think that moving home would fix things, but it certainly was going to be more positive, and it has been in many ways. But sometimes you have to sit with the pain, look it in the face, mention it (vaguely and without the right words) online, connect and share with people who get it and people who don’t, and stare it square in the face and carry on.

I’m so tired. I often think that I am done hoping and planning and that I am not strong enough for this. But somehow we face each new hurdle, ache, cry, and carry on. You have to carry on.

In some ways my faith has carried me. I struggle so much with it – why does my love and desire in every cell of my being not translate into this dream being fulfilled? Is it the timing, is it the season… it can’t be to make the end result sweeter because we are past that point. You know that pain and sadness have swallowed you whole when you find yourself sympathising and hurting for Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale; rational thought goes out the window when something you so desperately want is denied you and yet you are surrounded by it, often by those who don’t realise that their disdain for parenting at times can feel like their hands are in your throat and stomach, squeezing, squeezing.

Sometimes the thoughts come that God has forgotten me and maybe I am a fool and all the atheists are right but then I come back. I always come back. It’s okay to be angry with God, to be sad that He isn’t here moving mountains and healing my pain but that’s not what (my) God is, that’s some idea of God that gets spread by those of different faith. God isn’t moving chess pieces and causing earthquakes and killing children with cancer. God is under the covers with me in each sob. God is hurting with me too.

It’s hard to see past the ache with a body full of hormones, too, and I always try to remember this. Sometimes the drugs are tough physically and other times I just want to throw things at the wall or sleep until Saturday comes. Sleep until the baby comes. Maybe it’ll never come.

We are focusing our efforts on our house just now, and progress is slowly being made. It feels like we’ll never get to move into it but 8 short months ago it felt like we’d never leave Scotland, so here we are. Time is moving so fast yet so slow. I am constantly reminded that good things take time and living in the future doesn’t make me happy. I need to find smiles today.

They say laughing is good for IVF/implantation rates. I find solace in yoga, meditation, crying, YouTube marathons, and my husband. And the fluffy dog here helps too.

 

 

And winter sunrises. 5 minutes a day I see the above and things feel peaceful and okay.

I hope you are okay. I will be.

May

This recent silence doesn’t really signify anything exciting, I’m afraid. I’ve been reading your posts with interest and keeping up with progress. So many pregnancies in the infertility spaces I occupy and I really couldn’t be happier for all the mothers waiting to be mothers.

Time here is ticking by so fast. It’s already May and I feel like I’ve barely accomplished anything this year. I do, however, start a new role on Monday, and the Mr is going to be confirming something soon, too. We’re still staying with family but hoping to move in about 6 weeks. The sun is still shining yet the days are definitely cooler.

Time goes by regardless of how much you want it to stop and pause. You just have to breathe along with it and hope for good news on the wind.

I am also still in a confused state of feeling like I’m in the wrong place. I have started to fall in love with Wellington all over again, yet I’m confused as to why we’re heading towards winter and not summer, why it’s dark at 5pm, why the small courtesies and traditions of my Scottish days are no longer there. I’m still adjusting, I guess.

I’m thinking of you all often. Infertility is definitely a waiting game, no matter what stage you’re at. Nothing happens in a hurry.

Good things take time. I’m here if you need me.

Circling

Wow, hard to believe it’s been 2 months since I wrote here – and for that, I can only apologise. Everything has been very slow, in all parts of our lives. We are in a holding pattern.

It is frustrating, but we’re getting there.

We were close to having a job for the Mr, but then it fell through. Then we were getting ready to move into our new home, but decided to let the current tenants stay until the end of May to help them out – which ultimately with the job situation has ended up being a very good idea.

We are circling, floating. Time is one big long stretch to me right now, with no real routine or order to it. For someone who is a big planner, this is frustrating. There is always another week to wait, another month to sort things, more dates in the diary. It feels like progress some days, but others it feels like we’re standing still.

I don’t want to wish the year away, and I pride myself on being patient as much as I can be. But the waiting gets hard.

I have no real update to give you on our IVF/infertility situation. We are getting closer, I promise, and I’ll reveal what’s been happening soon. It’s such a crapshoot, trying to manipulate science into what should be natural – and is natural for what seems like everyone else.

We’ve been collecting treasures and pieces for our new home and are getting excited to get in there. Hopefully we’ll be undertaking some renovations before we move in, kicking off with a new fence in the coming weeks (with the permission of the kind tenants). At least we have progress to look forward to.

In positive news, the weather has been kind to us, in short moments. Locals have found it very frustrating but accept that they live in a town where the conditions change by the half-hour. As two ex-Scotland-dwellers, we’re happy to see the sun. Lots of swimming for us. We don’t feel 100% like locals yet, but we will.

I send good thoughts your way on whatever you may be dealing with this month. Soon it will be autumn, and soon we will have some answers. We’re just being swept along for the ride right now, and right now, that’s okay.

Hope and twee

pregnancy-1428143-1599x1066

It feels so long ago, but when we started this process, we had so many grand dreams and ideas.  It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of making a family and the excitement that it could happen at any time – bam! You’ll be pregnant and you’ll be counting down to bringing home a baby. What a life change. It’s really big and very exciting.

Last year I subscribed to a few accounts on Instagram/Twitter, picked up my parenting reading (because I have always been a parenting nerd), and of course, got the pregnancy apps. Oh the apps!

And what I’ve always done, and continued to do, was a lot of blog reading. I still do it now, but my reading has switched to infertility/IVF blogs. But back in those early days of trying, the blog posts I loved the most were the cheesiest ones.

I got excited by bump posts. Symptoms listed, things bought for baby, photos of nurseries. Pictures, maternity clothes…

I know, I know.  It’s considered cheesy, overdone, just so twee. But I got swept up in their excitement.  I got excited for them, because it meant that I was getting a bit excited for me too.

rainbow-3-1531291

I planned a baby book. I am a planner, so I wanted something very specific as a momento to give my child when they were older. When I couldn’t find anything (affordable) with the prompts I wanted, I made my own. I ruled pages into designs, sketched out ideas, wrote notes. I made something that I could write in and feel excited to use.

Of course, now it’s in a drawer.

But I still want the twee. I want to someday do the posts detailing and chronicling our journey. People may roll their eyes, but it’s a privilege often taken for granted by the fertile to be a bit silly in your excitement around your growing belly.

I’m often scared to do anything and possibly even think that I’ll get to do it, but I want to still have that excitement. I am pre-emptively excited about sharing our excitement.

At least today I am.

That’s the trouble with infertility. Some days it is just too crushing – you can’t read about anyone else’s joy, you hide from the world, you mute everything you can.  You spend a lot of time in your infertility groups discussing how to hide painful things/subjects on social media – we need to cushion yourselves.

On tough days you instead read the realistic stories and try and lift up your friends who are hurting when their cycles keep failing. Other days? You want the hope. You go in search of IVF success stories. Of smiling babies. Of excited mothers-to-be.

You want the twee.

(Mamas, I’m excited for you).

New pathways and mixed feelings

I’ve tried to write this post a few times. It’s never quite come out as it feels in my head.

The trouble is, I don’t really know how I feel.

8089046376_d675aa221a_o

In 3 weeks’ time, we get on (a few) planes and leave Scotland. We don’t know when we’ll be back, and we don’t know what will happen. Everything is open to us.

There are many positives to returning to New Zealand. Obviously family is hugely important to us, and all of mine (and some of his) are there.  We’ll be staying with my parents for a few months, and enjoying the summer weather and (lots) of down time.

We’ll be starting afresh, with no debt, and no obligations. We’ll be able to shake off the stress and pain that 2016 has brought to us. We’ll be unemployed and happy about it.

5786654242_c3dfaaf63b_o

But it’s bittersweet. We started this life on an uneven keel – I was the new girl coming into a country that was so similar yet so different.  He had his friends, a familiar climate, accents and words that made sense, and everything that comes with British popular culture.

I had him.

(It was enough).

27834142482_81ed53072e_o

The goal was 2 years. But 2 years in, we weren’t done. We were just getting started. We finally found jobs that suited us, we were earning better money, we had a nicer home, we were really getting settled.

How the next 5.5 years flew by, I’ll never quite understand. But I made my life here. I made friends, was promoted through roles at work, travelled Scotland widely. We visited everywhere on our Europe ‘must-do’ list (saving other places for another day). We got engaged. Had white Christmases. Flew home and planned a wedding. Flew home again to got married.

Started this crazy journey to have our own family.

dandelion-1406899

And New Zealand is where we hope to finish it.  We have an appointment set for late January to start the wheels in motion towards IVF/ICSI. We’re in the process of getting our medical notes from the UK so that we have everything we need to move forward.

So New Zealand has so much waiting for us. We’re so excited to do it. But it’s hard to leave.

thistle-1559110

It’s hard to explain how my identity has changed over the last 7.66 years.

Somewhere along the way I stopped being just a Kiwi in a foreign place, but started to be Scottish.  Not just in the voice (though that has changed), but in my sense of self, my pop culture knowledge, my sense of humour, my likes and dislikes. I’ve done a lot of growing up since I was 25, and I feel a bit more like I belong here than there.

I obviously have deep historical ties to this country, and I’m incredibly proud of that heritage. I imagine to Kiwis this may all seem strange, but I really feel like I will have to adjust. I will have to learn.

So we’re on an even keel this time. I’ll be experiencing New Zealand (particularly Wellington) and its culture and way of doing things, through the eyes of a fresh immigrant. A confused, displaced woman who used to belong there.  A husband who only had 18 months. We’ll have to figure it out together. We’ll have to get into our house, get a car, get jobs, get our lives established.

It’s going to be a learning curve and despite it always being the plan, I have to admit that sometimes I wonder why we’re doing it. It feels strange to be pulled from our independent lives into living upstairs in my family home. But it’s the right choice for us. And we are excited.

But I can’t say I’m not torn.

Alba gu bràth.

3666103208_4814b7ca18_o

Tapes

I think it was the illustrious TV personality Dr Phil who first called them “tapes” (though I struggle to find anything online to corroborate this) and it’s become what I call them, too.

Tapes. It’s an outdated term for sure, as who listens to tapes anymore? But whenever my mind starts to repeat something negative to me, I try and tell myself to stop the tape.

My mind has not been kind to me lately.

 

moon-and-stars-1378383-1599x2371

 

I get the same messages in a loop when I’m feeling down. Everything from “no one really likes you” and “you just annoy people” to “you’ll never be a mother” and “why bother eating healthy foods when you’re just gonna stay fat anyway?”

Most days I can tell these thoughts to fuck off. On good days I can roll my eyes at them and remind myself how much I like myself, how my friends don’t find me annoying (and if they do, then maybe I don’t need to stick by them – I mean, I know I have flaws, but I’m likeable) and how I can definitely become a mother somehow. And I’m not fat, I’m just on the chubby side and need to eat less sugar mainly because it makes me cranky, and start to actually listen to my body when it tells me how angry dairy makes it.

On bad days it’s hard to just get going on things. I get the bare minimum done and hope that I don’t run into too many pregnant women at the shops.

 

on-the-road-1635230-1598x1063

 

Positivity goes a really long way.  It’s just that over the last 18 months, with work and life stresses, I’ve been less and less positive. And I’ve written before about feeling like a failure. My mind can be very cruel, and I think obviously a large part of it is that I’m constantly hit in the face by everyone else’s seemingly-hyperfertile reproductive systems.  It’s human nature that we are rapidly reproducing, and there are very little places you can go without seeing a baby or a bump.

For me it’s become all about taking deep breaths, telling myself it’ll pass and that I don’t need to listen to the negativity inside. And sometimes someone else has the tape player and can shut it off for you, just by reaching out to check in, or reminding you how much hope there still is.

Press stop if you can. Don’t let those tapes run. And on the worst days? Aim for pause.

Jinx

The infertile are often terrified of the power of the jinx.

Being around baby stuff is depressing as it is, but there’s nothing worse than buying a special item and it hanging around the house, reminding you of your empty womb. So most of us don’t buy things.

Even though we want to.

I remember those initial exciting times of trying to get pregnant. I looked at adorable baby things, made Amazon wish lists, dreamed about nurseries and how I would surprise my husband.  Eventually, though, those wee bits and pieces that I had collected needed to be given away. It was just too hard.

It’s not to say I don’t still have things. I maybe have 1 or 2 items left, stored away. I’m sometimes compelled to buy when I see something a bit special or sentimental. But I try to keep it in check. I veer wildly between wanting to be optimistic, and not wanting to have reminders making me feel too sad.

Then there’s making plans. We start off thinking about how getting pregnant will affect certain events or trips in our lives. Eventually, 18 months later, you realise that you just need to live your life. Plans can change. Your life may be totally different in a year.

But there’s still that worry about the jinx. What if buying that onesie ruined it this month? What if planning to be the sober driver this weekend is just asking for trouble? What if realising the baby would be due on an important date meant that it will no longer happen?

It’s hard to get out of your head sometimes. But buy things if you want to. Plan fun things in your life – Lord knows with infertility stress you need them. Let go a little and don’t worry about upsetting some superstitious order of things. Because maybe that onesie will bring so much joy to someone else, if you need to pass it on. Protect your heart and hold back if you need to. But sadly we often have no say in whether we will get to have this experience, and if you want to dream?

shoe-1418264-1598x1062

Dream a little.

Limbo

So we’re still in limbo.  As I said in an earlier post, we’re waiting til we get home to proceed with anything.

It’s a weird place to be in, and coincides with being in limbo in so many areas of our lives. We can’t sell the house til the bathroom is fixed. We can’t plan when we leave the UK until I know what’s happening with my work.  We can’t have a baby until we pay to make one.

Life is weird, guys.

 

8089047573_1c1001e103_o

 

It’s kinda nice to not be trying, though. We’re just relaxing and enjoying ourselves and that’s a good part of it. I do panic a bit that we’re not taking our vitamins reliably – it’s a help to both of us if we remember to do it, particularly as it takes 90 days to be truly effective and all that.

 

autumn-acer-1399380-1600x1200

 

In other news, autumn is basically here. It’s definitely getting cooler and the leaves are changing.

Life keeps changing, and I keep running to keep up.

The Pain Olympics

Today I wanted to write about something many call the Pain Olympics.  If you’ve never heard this term before, let me lay it out there – it’s the idea of ‘one-upping’ each other in something we really shouldn’t be: in who has it worst.

It’s hard not to compare yourself with others. It’s the way that we relate to people – we reach out by talking about shared experiences, we commiserate on life’s difficulties, and it takes away that feeling of isolation when you hear someone say, ‘Me too’.  Someone is telling you their struggles and there’s a part of your brain that thinks, ‘Oh yes, I know this feeling well’ or ‘my sister/husband/mother had the same situation’, and you can offer insight and comfort when needed.

But unfortunately it’s become a habit of many, however well-intentioned, to compare in a negative way. To downplay your pain because hey, someone else has it worse.

 

couple-watching-sunrise-1-1370865

 

You see, infertility sucks.  If you’re reading this, it’s likely we’re in a similar boat. The myriad of negative feelings going around in your brain and manifested in your body can drive a person crazy.  The stress that comes with the procedures and tests gets added to the panic and fear of failure. The medicine may fail you. Your body may fail you. Science may fail you. You may not get your happy ending. And then what?  Where do we go from there. We’d have spent time, energy, health and often thousands from our bank accounts, and we would have no more steps to take.  There isn’t ever the ‘we got drunk and oops’ possibility.  It’s like spending your life preparing to climb Everest and then getting stopped at base camp and your guide saying, ‘No. You will never go further than this.’

And unfortunately, even starting this process, I feel like we need to be prepared for that.  We need to have other options in mind, and to know what our limitations are.  Some don’t even get treatment, either because they’re scared of the invasiveness of it all, or they can’t afford to.  Adoption is expensive and difficult. You have to consider that it’ll just never happen.

It’s devastating.  It rips everything out of you.  You can’t imagine life without children, but now you have to.

But it’s not cancer.  I know.

You’re not dying like my mother. I know.

My sister just lost a leg. That’s terrible.

My best friend is on long-term sickness benefits so she’ll never even meet anyone. I’m sorry.

My uncle was homeless. That’s awful. I hope he’s okay.

My sister was abused by her husband for years, we just got her out. Oh gosh, I’ll be thinking of you.

Can we just all agree that this is all awful? That there’s no scale of what trumps what?

 

rainbow-3-1531291

 

My heart hurts for the world. All the time.  But by comparing, by one’upping, what are we gaining? What are you trying to say?  That because children are being bombed in Syria, my personal pain doesn’t matter? Because because because?

Let’s stop.

Let’s listen.

Let’s support each other.

Let’s share common ground.

Let’s not compare.

Because yes, it can make you feel grateful and lucky for what you have. But everyone’s personal hell is just that – their personal hell.  Missing out on a promotion 2 or 3 times in a row when all you want to do is achieve that role? Awful and destroying.  Being dumped by a partner before your wedding? Unimaginable.  Going bankrupt and starting again?  So hard.

But it doesn’t take away anyone else’s problems.  The pain I feel being isolated as a childless woman in a world filled by the beautiful children of my friends and family – it hurts. It’s a real feeling. It’s important to acknowledge it.  And yes, I’m not dying. But emotionally, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through.

We can’t put ourselves in the shoes or lives of others. But we can listen to what they say. Everyone is struggling with something, everyone has their breaking point.  I’m sending hugs to you and hope that whatever hurts will be fixed soon.

This too shall pass.

Too much

So I think we’ve decided to wait until New Zealand to proceed with fertility treatments. This is both a good and bad thing.

I mean, I should be happy that on top of my awful work environment and trying to sell our house (and we now need insurance repairs to the bathroom), I don’t have to add IVF. But my heart hurts from waiting this long and I wonder just how much more I have in me.

 

calm-3-1308950-1600x1200

 

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not long.  If we can get our results from here and get an appointment in NZ when we get there, in theory we could move forward in February/March.  6 months seems interminable at times, but it’s not forever.  It’s just the not knowing. It seems unbearable to think of waiting 2 years to have a child, which is why we’re going private for at least 1 cycle, but it’s painful and scary to think of all the reasons it’ll go wrong (it may not work at all, we may not have any embryos afterwards to freeze and will have to have a whole fresh cycle, they’ll find something else wrong…) and that we’ll possibly spend $14,000 on a failure, then the following 2 cycles (public funding) will fail too and we’re at a dead end in terms of having biological children.

This is my brain 18 hours a day right now, people.

I’m my own worst enemy – don’t think I’m not aware of how ridiculous I come across sometimes. It’s just all I can think about. It’s all I want. We should be able to do this natural thing that keeps our species going and we’re just big fat failures at it, while those who don’t want children or mistreat them get pregnant on a whim or a bender.

(I am not here to judge your personal choices but I’m allowed to occasionally be bitter).

 

5786654242_c3dfaaf63b_o

 

All I can do is try and breathe. Some days it feels impossible.  Some days it really feels like no one cares. Some days I want to go buy all the baby things and make plans and prepare for our future kids and other days I just think all of that is a big fat mistake, and I’m just not meant to have children.  What do you do when you feel your life’s purpose is impossible?

I looked up adoption on the weekend. I just… I dunno.

It’s a mind fuck. It’s unfair. It’s hard. It’s all-encompassing.  And with everything else going on right now, it feels too much.

Just get me to New Zealand, please. Get me out of this job, out of our messy and broken house, away from this feeling.

Deep breath. In… out.