Hitting pause

 

What keeps me going is this constant thought at the back of my mind that we’ll look back on this one day and remember it as pre-baby.

What keeps me going is excitement and hope for all those milestones and firsts; for all those special moments as a family.

But what happens if it’s something that never comes to be? I’m always trying to reconcile that and cushion myself for that blow in case it’s our reality. But right now I can’t accept that as a possibility. I have to keep hoping.

What is life without our family when it’s been a life goal for both of us for so long? What other plans do we make? We’re not big partiers, we barely drink, we’ve done so much travel and accomplished so many things in our lives. We’re so ready and so passionate.

Adoption in New Zealand is extremely difficult, near impossible. Surrogacy is a possibility but there’s no reason why I can’t carry our babies, that I know of. We just need one to stick. But time after time it’s just out of reach.

The conditions have been right but we still don’t make progress. We follow every rule but it still won’t happen. We hope and pray and support and love our friends and family and make good choices and yet we can’t get these stars to align.

It’s out of our hands and seems to be luck more than anything. And it’s hard knowing we’ve reached $20,000 spent and are still childless.

I’ve never felt such lack of control over anything in my life. It’s tougher all the time and some days I struggle to put a positive face on. But maybe you can help. Please keep hope for us. Maybe collectively hoping will send more positivity our way.

I am so hopeful for all of you, too.

I will keep trying to write here, but for now we’re focusing on our home and getting a pup, and maybe in 2018 we’ll have better luck. Because it seems to be mostly about luck. And for now we’re all out.

 

Advertisements

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.

More writing

2 other pieces of mine have been published in the last few months over at The Spinoff Parents.

If you’d like to read them, they are below:

How to support your friends and loved ones who are struggling with infertility

An IVF journey: A mother writes to the baby she hopes to have

If you’d like to keep up with all of my work, please visit my Facebook page, always linked at the top.

Thanks, as always, for supporting my writing. ❤

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.

sky-1189308-1598x1206

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

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