That girl

I’ll start with the headliner – I’m 6 weeks pregnant. If you want to skip this post, go ahead…been there many times.

For those of that are ok to read about it, this is the story of how I found out I’m that girl.

Since my last (forth) failed IVF cycle in May I’ve been attempting to ‘forget about it all’ and have a summer of fun in the lead up to our wedding in October. As you can tell from my last post this hasn’t really been going that well. I did fill my summer with fun things but the pain was still very intense and I was filled with an all-consuming sense of dread that this was never going to happen for me.

We continued ‘trying’, albeit half heartedly – not testing for ovulation just DTD around the time I usually ovulate. Last month it fell on a Monday, I was knackered and told DH I really couldn’t be bothered and what was the freakin point anyway? It was hardly likely to be lucky cycle number 42. But DH convinced me we should….oh the romance!

Day 32 of my cycle came around and still no AF. I quite often have cycles of 31 days but I checked my tracking sheet (yes, I’m an obsessive infertile) and noticed that I’ve never got to day 32 and there is always spotting for days before if I have a 31 day cycle and I hadn’t had any spotting at all. So despite it being ridiculously unlikely it was still on my mind…that little voice that says ‘maybe’ can never be crushed despite so many disappointments. So I decided to do a test so I could stop thinking about it and just get on with making dinner for the three 14 year old dance students I had staying with me.

I peed on the stick, and then cleaned the bathroom a bit (14 year old girls are messy) and my eyes swept past the test and I saw 2 lines. 2 LINES. I’ve never seen 2 lines, not even a hint of second one. My first thought was ‘there must be something wrong with this test’. I was shaking but I just couldn’t believe this could be right. I rushed out and bought 3 more tests of different brands.

By the time I got home one of the students was having a shower and then dinner was ready so I couldn’t retest. DH came home I didn’t say anything, still sure it couldn’t be right. I sat through the longest dinner of my life and then rushed to the bathroom and did 3 tests – all said the same. The digital test said 2-3 weeks. I went downstairs and told DH and he sobbed his little heart out once he’d got over the sheer disbelief.

The next day I called the GP to book an appointment – I was cheerfully told that I didn’t need to see the GP, I just needed ‘decide where I want to have my baby’ and call the hospital. What the hell?!! Fucking fertiles. I don’t have a baby, I have maybe. Its the strongest ‘maybe’ I’ve had so far but its still a maybe. I insisted on seeing the GP, who also talked about ‘my baby’ willy nilly and refused to give me an early scan.

Then on Tuesday (a week after finding out) I had some brown spotting. It wasn’t much so I tried not to panic – I know how common it is. Wednesday morning brought more so I phoned the local midwife who told me to go to my nearest early pregnancy unit, which really freaked me out because if the professional is worried its bad news right? As I was at work I went to St Thomas’ EPU, DH met me there and my mum insisted on getting on the train from Kent to be there too. After a very anxious 3 hour wait for a scan we went in. It was too early to see much but there was a sack and yolk in the right place and all looked as it should. DH and I cried, like alot. The nurse looked at us like we were mad, although surely she sees this all the time?! But then she did ask me if I’d ever had an internal exam …look at my notes lady- 4 rounds of IVF – I’ve had more dates with dildo-cam than you’ve had hot dinners!

Today is the first day since Tuesday that I haven’t spotted so I’m hoping I’m done with that. I’m trying to be as zen as possible about the whole thing. My boobs hurt. I feel sick in the mornings. I’ve got to try and trust my body, no matter how much of an a-hole it’s been in the past. If it does go wrong I’ll have plenty of time to be sad and feel like shit. Although it is quite worrying that the longer I’m pregnant, the closer I get to my wedding day leaving less time to recover from a miscarriage. It really is ridiculous timing …my hen-do, the wedding, the honeymoon…but if this little miracle sticks around I couldn’t give a shit. And if nothing else, it proves that my body CAN get pregnant, something I was very much doubting.

So for now at least, I’m that girl. The girl that everyone tells you about, who takes a break from IVF then gets pregnant – I’m like an urban myth. And of course I’ve already been told by my mum and MIL that its because I ‘relaxed’ and ‘focused on something else’. Except I wasn’t at all relaxed. I was miserable and stressed and having a baby still filled so much of my thoughts. Also, I totally stopped all of the good stuff – healthy eating, no drinking (wine was becoming one of my 5-a-day), mediation, positive thinking etc etc. My mum is convinced its because I started taking these vitamins my aunt had taken after numerous miscarriages that, she believes, helped her to go on to have a baby….I’m still sceptical (although I’m taking them religiously!!) but if nothing else my hormonal acne has totally cleared up for the first time in 3 years, so if you’re interested this is the company, but be warned – it ain’t cheap: http://www.foresight-preconception.org.uk/Default.aspx

Keep everything crossed for me people.

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Summer of fun

I was going to start by saying I’ve been a bad blogger as haven’t blogged for ages and what’s the point of having a blog if you never write anything….but then Barren Betty got there first and said all that earlier this week. Yeah, thanks for stealing my thunder BB.

Sooo anyway…where have I been? I’ve been bloody busy doing a million things that’s where! Organising bits and pieces for the wedding, booking a honeymoon (Sri Lanka- eeek!) and, well, getting drunk a fair bit too.

Last time I left you on a cliff-hanger (well, more like on the side of a low ledge) as I had my WTF appointment the next day. And as predicted it was more of “we don’t know why it didn’t work, you should try again, it should work at some point!” Well ‘should’ is all well and good but so far it just doesn’t and it’s all getting rather expensive, not to mention fucking heartbreakingly awful. Basically, we’ve tried every trick they have, so we should just repeat…but honestly, after 4 failures how can it work? Surely it’s just that they don’t know what the problem is, not that there’s not a problem?

DH and I have decided to give the whole IVF gig a rest for the year. We’re getting married in October and going on honeymoon over Christmas so we’re just going to ‘forget about it’ (yeah, right) for the rest of the year and see where we are and how we feel in the New Year.

Instead we’re going to have a ‘summer of fun’. We’re going to drink, we’re going to eat, we’re going to visit loads of places we say we’re going to but never do. We’re going to get our lives back again. And I have to say I’m rather excited about it.

And yes, I still get miserable, and yes I have days where the pain just stabs me in the heart and the god-awful realisation that this really, really might never happen kicks me in the tits, but I’m determined to enjoy this year.

So far we’ve been doing pretty well – we’ve been for a walk along Regents canal….

Little Venice

Little Venice

Although IF is still never far from our minds – this was DH’s wish on a ‘before I die’ chalk board by the canal:

before I die

We walked up to the top of Primrose Hill before going for a lovely Greek dinner at Lemonia (where John Torode from Masterchef was having lunch too!)

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill

 

There have also been rather a lot of cocktails…..some up high….

View from the Shard

View from the Shard loos!

And some in posh hotels with lovely Twitter girls…

cocktails

And this is pretty much my plan for the summer…drinking cocktails and having fun (and definitely not being heartbroken and empty)! Fuck you IF. Fuck you.

I get knocked down…

…but I get up again. Isn’t that how the shit 90s song goes? Except I’m not really sure how to get up again.

This week is definitely up there in the list of worst weeks of my life. After my friend’s pregnancy announcement burst my denial bubble last Sunday I worked at home on Monday, feeling fragile and tearful but making it through the day.

On Tuesday I went to work and had a very stressful meeting in the morning, the outcome of which was basically that out of a team of 6 people I was the only one left to do any work on a very big and difficult project (one of the reasons being my Director is going to Bali for 3 weeks – alright for some!) I then realised I had forgotten to do things on 2 of my other projects and then had one of the women I manage (who is overly dramatic and anxious) haranguing me about what I was going to do about a problem on her project which is essentially unfixable.

And I snapped. It was just too much for me and I felt so overwhelmed, all this stuff was going on at work and all I could think was ‘I’m never going to be a mother. I’m never going to have children. Work will be the only thing in my life and I hate it.’ I went to the toilets and sobbed. This is not an unusual occurrence but normally I go in, have a little cry, if anyone comes into the loos I stop or cry quietly until they leave, then dry my eyes and get on with my day.

This time I just couldn’t stop. People came in and out and I continued with huge gasping sobs. My work friend came in and asked if I wanted to go and get a coffee and chat but I sent her away – there was no way I could think about leaving that cubicle. It was so scary, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that out of control of my emotions – such a huge wave of grief that pushed me down and wouldn’t let me up again. After about 10 minutes or so my boss came in, by which time I was a little calmer. She took me away for a chat where I told her I just wasn’t coping and felt so overwhelmed. She told me to go home and work at home the next day and she’d have a think about what she could do to help. I then had to walk through the office with a tear stained face and collect my things – of course there had been an all-staff meeting that day so everyone from my company was there. Awesome.

As I waited at the bus stop on the way home I was on Twitter on my phone when I saw an email pop up from my friend that had a miscarriage shortly after our spa trip entitled ‘Our exciting news’…..well, we can guess what that was about! Of course I’m happy that after having a miscarriage she has now got to 3 months with her pregnancy (meaning she must have got pregnant again the month after her miscarriage) but when I saw that email, after the day I’d had it just tipped me over the edge again. I sat on the bus with tears rolling down my face, as if I hadn’t humiliated myself enough that day. I managed to stop crying by the time I got on the train but felt like I was going to hyperventilate. What a fucking day.

On Wednesday I spoke to my boss who said that I should go off sick for the rest of the week….but there was an all day meeting on Friday for the big and difficult project and if I didn’t go to it it would have made my work over the next few weeks almost impossible so I said I’d go to that. She then said that she’d spoken to my 2 Directors and they all agreed my workload should be cut in half for the next few months until I feel more able to cope. I just can’t express how bloody awesome my work is…it definitely helps to work for psychiatrists/psychologists at times like these!

Thursday night I realised that the meeting on Friday was being held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists! Cue another meltdown! I felt really anxious Friday morning before going into the building but it wasn’t too bad, I just made sure I didn’t look at any of the artwork.

The weekend has mostly been better – Friday night I drank wine with friends in the sun in Regents Park which was lovely and chilled, and then yesterday I went shopping with my Bridesmaids for their dresses, which went very well so that’s another thing ticked off the wedding list.

But today is, of course Father’s Day. I hate that I’m stopping DH be a father. I went to my mum’s for lunch and my brother and SIL were talking about filling in a ‘baby’s first book’ for their daughter and everyone was talking about the different things their kids did and the stories/memories they tell their kids which made me lose it again. I took myself off to my old bedroom and sobbed. I just can’t get the thoughts that I will never be a mother out of my head. I will never fill in a ‘baby’s first book’. I can’t think of other options: donors, surrogates, adoption. I can only think that.

Have my WTF appointment tomorrow so we’ll see what they have to say…more shoulder shrugging I’m sure.

 

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!

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!)