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.

Progress and anxiety

Pals, I need to quit Google.

We’re getting close to making progress on the next steps in our treatment and I just can’t. stop. looking. up. shit.

I thought I’d be excited and looking forward to it all but I’m more anxious than anything. I have written a list of questions for the clinic, and looked at possible dates for protocols. We’ve decided I may not work until we’re through with this first cycle of IVF – we’re putting a lot of money and time and energy on the line to try and make this self-funded cycle successful and decided that a few more weeks without me earning a salary is not going to bankrupt us. We are so lucky to be in this position. I never thought I’d be able to afford to not work for a few months, let alone pay for a cycle of IVF. We’re so grateful, and we need to throw everything we can at this cycle.

So do I have an update? Not really. It has been a strange transition back to life here. I feel like we never left in a way, but in other moments I feel so lost and foreign back here. I don’t know where anything is, I don’t understand some of the systems in place, and we’re grown adults living upstairs at my folks’ place. It’s weird.

We’ve been up north for a week or so having time with family, but we’re heading back to our family home soon. We’ve started looking at the job listings, made a few plans for our home that we move into in April, and set up bank accounts for D and a new phone number for me. Progress.

 

 

I do miss our home. And then I remember that it’s not our home anymore. 8 years is a big chunk of your life and it feels like we left in such a blur of stress and sadness and activity. Our friends are only an internet link away, but it is confusing and unsettling. We want to be here, but we want to be there.

I guess that’s how it will always be.

I’ll write soon with further updates on how things are progressing, but there may not be too much detail for a while – some things we need to keep to ourselves. But I hope that I’ll still be able to make you feel you’re not alone – this infertility business cuts you to the bone and it’s all you can do some days to keep your head above water.

Keep swimming.

New year thoughts

Well here we are. 2017. The new year.

A year of change; a year of possibilities and hope.

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We’re in New Zealand now and it still feels surreal. It still feels like one of our usual visits, when we spend 3-4 weeks living in this house and then get on very long flights “home” again. I still catch myself calling Scotland home when I refer to it. I’ll need to change that.

This is home now.

In other developments, we are seeing the new RE/specialist at the end of the month, and we’ll also need to get a GP soon (we’re hoping to get into my old family practice). We’re not sure how quickly things will move forward, but it’s good to have a plan. If I’ve learned anything over the last year it’s that nothing in infertility happens in a hurry.

I’m hoping this will be our year. If nothing else progresses but we end up moving towards parenthood, then it’ll be a good one.

No resolutions this year. Just small changes and everything crossed.

Hope and twee

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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.

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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).

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.