Every time.

Every. Fucking. Time. Every time I have a failed cycle – because that’s the only kind of cycle I have – someone close to me announces they’re pregnant. And this time is no different.

Just before I was about to start my first fresh IVF cycle last year my brother called with the news that my SIL was pregnant. At 39 she decided she’d had enough of a life of cocktails and holidays, and although hadn’t really thought about having kids before decided she would quite like to so they just had one. It’s been really hard but I think I’m getting to the point where it doesn’t hurt too much to see my niece, and I know this will only get easier and of course I love her dearly, but she will always be  a reminder that I should have a little one that age.

As I was down regging for my first frozen cycle I got the news that a friend of ours wife was pregs. We’re not mega close with them but it still hurt. They’d been trying for about a year and she was getting really worried and the last time we’d met we talked it all through. Of course I was happy for her but it’s still hard to be left in the no-baby club on your own. And again, seeing her gloriously 8 months pregnant is a painful reminder of what I should be.

A few days after my second frozen cycle I went away with the girls and realised another one of our friends was pregnant – in fact the SIL of the pregs one from our first frozen cycle. I wrote about it in this and this post, and very sadly she had a miscarriage. I haven’t seen her for a while and suspect that she is in early pregnancy hiding.

And this time, 2 weeks after my BFN one of my closest friends emailed me last night to say she is pregs with baby number 2. I knew it was coming – she told me earlier in the year that she would be trying for number 2 this year, as will at least 2 other of my close friends. And she did it in a really sensitive way – she had read up online about the best way to tell an infertile friend you are pregnant which was really sweet of her. Knowing it was coming and facing the reality are two different things – knowing that on my wedding day she will be 7 months pregnant and I should be 5 months but won’t be already hurts so much. And at the moment all I can feel is anger and sadness and bitterness and…

WILL EVERYONE STOP STEALING MY BABIES.

Because as stupid and irrational and unfair as that is, it’s all I can think. You’ve all stolen my babies.

Since coming back from Italy I’ve been waiting for the sadness and grief to hit. It was kind of on pause whilst I was away because I just had to hold it together. Since I got back I’ve felt ok. Not exactly over the moon, but actually ok….to be honest I have been pretty much half-cut since I got back (except when at work!) and whilst I knew this is definitely not a long term solution, for a week or so it helped me through. But I knew I wasn’t dealing with it or facing it. I felt like I was in a safe little bubble of denial.

Last night that announcement popped my bubble and all the hurt and fear and pain gushed out. I’ve been crying on and off since and the deep ache in my heart and gut has returned. The huge hole of misery that I’m so scared I’ll fall into and never get out of. I don’t know how to face it. I don’t know how to deal with it. How do I accept that the ‘never going to be a mother’ option is now very very real, and in fact the most likely? I don’t know how to do this.

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Sun, sea and stress!

 

 

 

View from Bro's villa

View from Bro’s villa

The day after my BFN I booked my flights to Italy for my brother’s wedding, and flew a week later. I hadn’t booked it earlier as if I had been pregnant there would be no way after 3 years ttc and 4 rounds of IVF I would be risking anything! Especially as I was going on my own as DH couldn’t get the time off work and to get to the town where my brother was getting married I had to get a bus from Naples airport and then a train for 2 hours. However, since my womb was (still) empty I lugged myself and my baggage (physical and emotional) across Italy.

And Italy did not disappoint. It was absolutely beautiful. My brother was getting married in a little town called Maratea on the

View of Maratea

View of Maratea

side of a mountain and the views were absolutely stunning. The people were lovely, the food was amazing and the wine was plentiful, delicious and cheap.

I was staying with my mum, step dad, sister and her 2 boys about half hour away from Maratea by the beach at Praia a Mare. That was also lovely, especially as we tended to get better weather down there when it was a bit more cloudy up the mountain. It did however cause lots of to-ing and fro-ing and we always seemed to be in a rush for something or late for something else.

There were 6 of us staying in a 2 bedroom chalet and tensions were running high most of the time. This was not helped by the fact that my mum, my sister and I are all control freaks! We’re all used to doing the organising and being in charge of what happens so put us in a very small space together and its going to get fraught.

Praia a Mare

Praia a Mare

Also, my mum takes an INSANE amount of time to do ANYTHING which I found very frustrating. On top of this, my father was there (in Maratea), which made my mum crazy, my sister is just coming out of a divorce and weddings are obviously packed full of couples/love which made her crazy, and I was a week into my recent BFN and there were loads of kids and babies at the wedding which made me crazy.

My step dad is an absolute saint for not just running away…or killing us all! Luckily we’re not a family of arguers so there was lots of snapping and muttering but no full on shouting – we’re far too English for all that!

But on the day of the wedding we had a great time. The venue was stunning, the rain held off and we all had a wonderful day. I’m so pleased that I went. We couldn’t really afford it with our wedding coming up in October but I would have been even more broken hearted to have missed it – to have infertility take away another experience.

View from wedding venue

View from wedding venue

Whilst away I had a long talk with my father about the whole IVF stuff. I’ve written about my dad before in this and this post. He’s kind of an odd guy and we have a rather strange relationship with him. I hadn’t seen him for 5 years so I was rather nervous about that and knew he’d upset me in some way as he always does!!! He doesn’t mean to, he’s just not very aware of other people’s emotions or of how to be sensitive to other people – I guess he’s just a pretty self involved guy and having lived in the states for 40 odd years he’s not exactly close to his kids or grandkids.

So we had ‘the chat’ about my infertility. And although he did try and say it in a sensitive way (for him!) the bottom line of what he thought was:

  • IVF is not going to work for me, I should stop trying (he actually used the phrase ‘lost cause’)
  • Surrogacy is not an option – they’ll steal your baby!
  • Adoption is not an option – all kids up for adoption have had mothers on drugs whilst pregnant and you’re just setting yourself up for a life of misery with a problem child.
  • Get over it, you’re never going to have kids. Move on with your life.

Sooo that was fun! I know he was trying to be supportive and just give me his advice, and he did admit that he doesn’t know what it’s like to really want children as he was never that bothered (gee, thanks daddy) but man it hurt! And we were at a party at my brother’s villa the night before his wedding which was supposed to be a fun night but was just me and him in a corner with me crying. (which of course made my mum angry, which added to the whole stress levels) Ugh.

On the plus side, he did say that he’d just got this big contract through at work and that he would give us some money towards the wedding. This is very typical behaviour of my father – say the wrong thing, offer money. And I am extremely grateful for that money, but I’d exchange it for a ‘proper’ father in a flash.

So overall, I’m glad I went to the wedding, I’m glad I was there for my brother, I’m very glad I got to eat and drink amazing food and wine but it was most definitely not relaxing or healing! But in a weird way with being so stressed I didn’t have time to be so sad! So, erm, I guess that’s a good thing…?!!

Sunset over Maratea

Sunset over Maratea

BFN ritual

I wake up at about 5am with an awful sicky knot in the pit of my stomach. I try to keep calm, do some deep breathing and let DH sleep as long as possible – I know it’s going to be a long day and want him to be in oblivion for as long as possible. By about 6am I can’t wait anymore and wake him up and then we cling to each other for a while and tell each other we’re scared – he tells me he’ll always love me no matter what. By about 6.30am I work up the courage to pee into my specially appointed test day plastic cup, which was all washed out and left to dry the night before.

I dip two different brands of pregnancy test into the pot – making sure I face them away from me having learnt after test day number 2 that if you dip them and see just the test line come up straight away you know its negative and have to go back to the bedroom knowing already and DH will see it on your face. So I dip the tests, close my eyes and put them down on top of the loo then go back to the bedroom to wait 3 excruciating minutes with DH.

When the time is up we go into the bathroom together, holding hands and gingerly walk towards the tests. They say what they always say. Not pregnant. One line. Pure, pure whiteness. I throw at least one test across the bathroom before animal noises escape from me. DH holds me up before I can crumple to the floor. We go back to the bedroom and cry. And cry. And cry.

An hour or so later I call my sister. She coos soothing words to me, she crys with me. Then I call my mum – the worst call to make. I know where I get my animal cry noises from. My mum is not a crier normally – I’ve heard her cry way too much over the last year. She crys because her little girl is in pain and she can’t do anything about it. I will never have a little girl to love so much. I hate that I make her feel this way, I know it’s not my fault but she’s sad because I’m sad and I hate it.

We send our texts to friends and family. I let my twitter family know. I prefer to get it all done and out the way in one go. We try to sleep – DH usually does but I never can.

We get up about 11am and have something to eat, potter round the house. Random bouts of crying ensue. By about midday I run a bath and open the wine. I realise that DH has thrown away the tests and all packaging, tipped away my pee and washed the cup out. He goes out and buys lots of naughty food whilst I lay in the bath – he’s so brave to go out into the fertile world and I’m so grateful I never have to go with him. What did I do to deserve such a wonderful man.

We bumble through the afternoon. In the evening we cook a special dinner together, radio on, rather tipsy. We watch Game of Thrones. We cry.

Pumpkini travels – part 2

Well, I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to find out where Pumpkini went next! Last time we saw him we’d been livin it up in London, Sydney and Berlin. The heady city life was all getting a bit much for him so he headed off for some R&R in the Welsh country side with the wonderful @Mandy_J1

Mandy_Menai StraitsHe surveyed the Menai straights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He got all regal at Conwy castle

Mandy_Conwy castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then he got his melon twisted by trying to pronounce the most unpronounceable town in the world

Mandy_LlanfairPG

 

As beautiful and refreshing as the countryside was, Pumpkini is a city boy at heart, so he set off for Paris and the Elisa_Effil tower 2warm welcome of  Today I hope. He totally loved the Eiffel Tower…well, who doesn’t?

 

 

 

 

Then of course, it was off to see the Arc de Triomphe

Elisa_Arc de Triumph

 

Finally, Today I Hope took him out for a night on the town….I’m not sure I approve of her corrupting my little boy. Oh la la!

Elisa_Seine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next was Surrey, back in the UK to see the horse-loving and general outdoorsy @lordysgirl . Pumpkini’s life of debauchery was soon forgotten with the hearty activities @lordysgirl had lined up for him.

LG_showjumpingHe went showjumping….

 

 

 

 

LG_cycling….bike riding…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And had quite a lot of fun playing hide and seek – can you spot him?

LG_Hiding with van

LG_hiding with horse

 

LG_Having wine

 

After all this excitement he relaxed with a cheeky glass of wine – who can blame him?

 

He’s just arrived stateside to visit @onfecundthought in San Diego….and so the adventure continues!

Pumpkini travels part 1

Just over 6 months ago* I was crowned champion of IF pumpkin smackdown with the story of Pumpkina and her dreams of a pumpkini…my greatest achievement in life to date. A few weeks after that my little pumpkini set off on his travels and has been steadily making his way around the world, putting right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap would be the leap home…..no, no wait, that was the premise of Quantum Leap.

Pumpkini has actually been making his way around the world bringing hope, love and giggles to infertiles everywhere – the ones he visits and the others that have a little smile when they see him in a new part of the world.

So I thought I should do a little 6 month round up of this travels and spread a bit more of his infertile love…hmm that sounded better in my head. Anyway…..

He started off sight seeing in London with me…or more specifically the sights that are on my way to work, starting with Tower Bride:

bridge Then checking out the Shard, and enjoying the Tower of London in  the rain (of course, it is London afterall):

2013-11-08 12.42.31

tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Pumpkini was tired of the London weather and wanted some sunshine so I packed him up, and shipped him off packingto see @ivfferescent in Sydney

 

 

 

 

 

@ivfferescent welcomed Pumpkini into her home ….and into her heart

Amy_sydney street

Amy_face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He repaid her kindness by supporting her at a colleague’s maternity-leave party…just chilling out by the hummus, keeping an eye on herAmy_buffetBut they had the most fun together when out and about…. this video still makes me giggle everytime.**

 

After enjoying the sunshine, the next stop for Pumpkini was Germany to see @littlemissicsi and the impressive sightsLittlemissICSI_berlin of Berlin….I also think he might have been out to sample some of that famous Berlin nightlife.

 

Tune in next time to find out where Pumpkini’s travels took him next!

 

 

 

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*I can’t work out if I’m horrified that it was so long ago or that its gone so fast?!

**Pumpkini obviously only encourages safe driving practices!

Birthday girl

Yesterday was my birthday, and to be honest I’d been dreading it. DH had to go to work; I had to go to the clinic for a blood test to monitor my progesterone (its fine) and I’m on the bloody 2ww for god’s sake!! And my birthday/May in general is tainted for me as 3 years ago, just after my 30th birthday we started ‘trying’, and then last year in May we started our first round of IVF.

But, it actually turned out to be a pretty good day. Firstly, after DH had gone to work I got a text from him to say ‘go downstairs, there’s a surprise waiting for you’. I went down to find a cute homemade ‘happy birthday’ banner hanging up in the hall way. As I walked through to the kitchen DH jumped out at me shouting Surprise!! He frightened the life out of me!! He’d secretly taken the day off work – I was so pleased.

We made our way up to the clinic and about 5 mins walk away the heavens opened – it absolutely tipped down. DH gave me his coat to try to stop me getting wet, meaning he got totally soaked to the bone – my hero. I was wearing linen trousers which had to be wrung out when I got to the clinic! This was not good as I have a serious wet clothes phobia…really really hate having wet clothes on, its just blurghghghgh… even as a child I hated having water fights in the summer, no matter how quickly my clothes would dry.

Anyway, after the clinic we went off for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants near Waterloo where we had our engagement drinks too many years ago. Then on the way home we stopped off for cake from my favourite cake shop – perfect.

I was also totally spoilt by my friends and family with lovely gifts, flowers and well wishes.  This IVF business is so shit but it does make you appreciate all the wonderful people in your life (and it kinda makes them make a fuss of you hehe!)

Decisions decisions

After a fairly sleepless night the call came early this morning – 3 of our 4 embies had survived. One had 6 cells, two had 7 cells. The clinic advised us to wait to go to day 5 and try for a blastocyst, saying it was unlikely that we’d have any to freeze as only 3 left, but they also said they understood if we’d rather go for transfer today (day 3), and if so would recommend transferring 2.

What a decision to make. In such a short amount of time. We decided to go into the clinic to talk it through with the doctor (as only spoke to embryologist on the phone) but we’d pretty much decided to transfer the two today. The thought of getting to day 5 (which is on my birthday!) and being told that none had survived was just too too scary. It was also pretty scary going against the clinic’s advice – they are the experts afterall – but we just had to go with our guts.

By the time we got to the clinic (3 hours after the call from the embryologist) our little 6 celled embie had been doing funny things. It had gone from 6 cells back down to 4 cells – apparently this is very unusual. Embryos should not do this, normally they just stop growing not regress so the decision was kind of made for us. The doctor and embryologist agreed that with just 2 embies still going, the best plan was to just get them back into me today. I’m so pleased we followed our guts and went into the clinic, I really do feel like it was the best decision in the end.

So in they went. And I am very grateful to have got here and be sat in bed PUPO but also….really very disappointed to have no embies to freeze. This round cost so much money, especially as I needed a load of extra stims, and we’ve just got this one shot.  If it doesn’t work – which, quite frankly it probably won’t – we’ll have to start all over again. Again. And I ain’t getting any younger (or richer).

But for now I’ve got to try to put this all from my mind and just relax and welcome my little embies. Wish me luck.