Pissed off and judgey

I know IF likes to take the piss but this is just getting ridiculous now.

All my sexual health tests are still in date from my first fresh cycle, apart from the chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests which were done earlier. In an effort to keep the costs down for this cycle since we’re paying for it now I thought I’d get the tests done at my GP. But they don’t do it at the GP, I have to go to a specialist sexual health clinic. There is one near-ish to us (half hour drive) but I thought I’d be clever and go to one that is near work, meaning I’d have to have less time off work – a good thing considering how many appointments I’m going to at the moment.

The only problem is I work in Tower Hamlets, the most run down borough in London. So this morning I went along to Whitechapel sexual health clinic. There are no words. They pretty much used posters about domestic violence and prostitution as wall paper, and by the looks of the people around me, with good reason. (and yes, I know how judgey that sentence is but if you were there, you would be judgey too. And if you think I’m a bad person for this then you’re judging me for being judgey so where does that leave you?? Judgey, that’s where!)

I did the swab test in the grimmest toilets I’ve ever been in (including festival toilets and holes in the ground in Asia) and then waited for 45 mins. Went in and spoke to the woman who said ‘call this number on Friday and it will give you the result’*. I asked if I could get a print out of the result as my fertility clinic aren’t exactly going to take my word for it…and I can, but it costs £30 (and another £30 for DH) and I have to go back to the clinic next Friday, when I was planning to work at home as I’ll be exhausted as I’ll have been on stims for over a week and have 2 full days of meetings on Wednesday and Thursday (and will also have to fit in a visit to Lister on Thursday somehow). UGH!

So then I thought I’d go back to plan A and check if my local-ish sexual health clinic will charge me, and if not go and do the test again there. I got back to the office at 11.10am and went to call them. They close at 11am on a Friday.**

I AM SO FUCKING SICK OF THIS. Seriously, I feel like I’m going to break. I just want a baby, why does everything have to be so hard? I just want a baby.

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*She also offered me condoms….seriously lady, I’ve just told you I need these tests for my fertility treatment. I do not, and apparently have never, needed condoms!!

**Even in the throes of my anger/despair I couldn’t help but chuckle that the local sexual health clinic’s phone number ends in 6969….you can’t make this shit up!

I miss them

Babies. Toddlers. Kids. Little Monkeys. Horrors. Whatever you want to call them, I miss them. I used to love spending time with kids, playing games, running around the park, getting lost in a game of pirates. My life seems so much duller without them. But as this hideous IF journey has gone on its just got harder and harder to spend time with them, especially since we started IVF a year ago and even harder after each of our 3 failures.

I have a group of friends of 10 couples that I’ve known since we were teenagers (or at least one half of the couple if that makes sense). We’ve grown up together, taken each step together from hanging round parks to trying to get into pubs to clubbing every weekend to University, festivals, holidays, travelling the world, settling down, buying houses and now….DH and I are being left behind more and more each month as we repeat the step of ‘try to get pregnant’ over and over again. Most of my friends already have at least 1 child and I know at least 3 of the girls are planning second pregnancies this year.

We’ve always been so close but I hardly know their kids, and their kids have no idea who I am. We braved the tail end of a first birthday party recently and it stung to hear my friends’ todders call my other friends ‘auntie so and so’ but look at me with blank faces. I want to get back out there, I want to get to know them all…hell I want to be able to spend more time with my baby niece. She’s 4 months old and I’ve only seen her 3 times – my brother only lives 10 mins away. But the pain when they’re gone is so huge. The come-down in the evening after spending a day with kids hurts so much and I just don’t know how to deal with that.

The ache seems to be spreading to other parts of my life as well. I know I’m over emotional at the moment with starting a fresh round of IVF (not to mention down regging) but I can’t even handle watching nature programmes anymore. They’re always in most part about mothers protecting their young and it makes my heart ache that I will probably never have any young to protect.

And the other day my sister and I were reminiscing about summer holidays we used to have at the seaside with our cousins and THAT gave me a lump in my throat. Because I might not get to make memories like that with my kids. Now every time I remember something from my childhood I’m left with a sense of loss.

Even talking to my mum is becoming hard, especially at the moment as its the Easter holidays so she’s looking after my nieces and nephews. Every day is another brilliant activity my mum and stepdad have thought up for the kids to do and it breaks my heart that if I ever do finally manage to have kids my parents will be too old to do the things they do now with my brother’s and sister’s kids. My (maybe) kids will never know how amazing their grandparents are.

At the weekend I was talking to a friend who is a bit of a hippy…I’m pretty sure she’s the founding member of the ‘everything happens for a reason’ brigade but I love her anyway! She said “I think the universe only gives people as much as they can handle”

I know. Puke.

My reply was: “what a load of old shit, people kill themselves everyday – the universe obviously gave them more than they could handle didn’t it?!” We had to agree to disagree!

So in summary:

–          I miss kids but can’t be around them

–          I can’t watch nature programmes

–          I need amnesia to get through the day without crying

–          It hurts to talk to my mum

–          I’m 1 failed cycle away from bat shit crazy

1 girl, 2 clinics

On Tuesday we had our WTF at Guy’s in the morning and then our first consultation at The Lister hospital in the afternoon….I do not suggest doing 2 clinics in one day! By the evening my head was spinning.

As predicted, Guy’s didn’t have much to offer us. On our last FET I had a hysteroscopy and took steroids. Last year I was tested for lupus anti-coagulants, anti-cardiolipin antibodies and phospholipid antibodies  (all coming up negative) But this seems to be the limit of their arsenal. Its a shame as I really like my consultant. Dr G is great – she’s kind, no nonsense and very honest with us. I asked what would be different being a private patient rather than an NHS patient and she told us “Nothing. You will get exactly the same treatment and some people find this very frustrating as they are now paying.” You can pay an extra grand to get a more personalised service from a consultant, but Dr G doesn’t do this and if staying with Guy’s I’d want to stay with her.

So, then we went onto the Lister. After waiting half an hour (not a great start!) we got in to see Dr Greeky (DH is half Greek and we use the adjective ‘Greeky’ quite a lot!) He seems really nice, although does have a touch of the private Doctor smooze about him.

I do struggle with private medicine. I’ve worked for healthcare organisations for 10 years, not hospitals, but in health policy/guidelines centres – places like the Department of Health etc. In all of the projects I’ve worked on there have been practising NHS clinicians and frankly private doctors are thought of as money sucking devils!! So it’s a bit of a challenge to not get hung up on the ‘they’re just interested in my money’ impulse I have. Although, I did ask Dr G what she thought of the Lister and she said they are a reputable clinic that she would recommend, and not a place that will rip you off with nonsense so that made me feel a lot better. Also, I emailed Dr Greeky today (yes, I have his actual email address rather than a phone number that no one answers for Guy’s) and he responded within the hour, so maybe I can get used to this private medicine thing!

So, Dr Greeky’s suggestions were:

  • Recheck my thyroid as was slightly high last time
  • Do karyotype genetic tests
  • Do NK CD-69 test
  • Do NK cells cytotoxicity assay
  • Treat any NK problems if necessary
  • Endo scratch
  • Take Clexane
  • Use IMSI instead of ICSI
  • Stick with a long protocol – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

So…..We’ve decided to go with The Lister. It is quite a bit more expensive than Guy’s (and other clinics) but I think if we don’t try the extra stuff, despite there not being much evidence behind it, I’ll regret it. But this I also struggle with. I currently work in a centre that produces evidence based guidelines for the NHS. I often sit in meetings and discuss how desperate people are often taken advantage of by those looking to make a quick buck with tests and treatments that have little or no evidence to back them up. And now I’m one of those desperate people we all shake our heads sadly about in those meeting. But hey ho, what can you do?!!

We’ve decided to get going this month. Today is CD2 So in 20 odd days I’ll start down regging. Ugh I hate down regging.

I’m trying to feel excited and hopeful but to be honest at the moment I just feel flat. I can’t imagine this working and frankly dread the added pain of not just having a failed cycle, but having fucking expensive failed cycle. At the moment I’m just praying to have a good reaction to the drugs and to get some eggs, embryos and if I’m really lucky some frosties.

But really I just want a baby. This goal seems to be getting further away, not closer. Why does this have to be so hard?

Educating Rita…and Suzie and Lisa and Christina and Angela and…..

So after my last post and various conversations with my friends this week I have come to realise how little people understand infertility. I mean… I knew they didn’t understand it but didn’t realise how little about any of the emotions involved they understand.

In the end I did text the preggo and cleared the air, explaining that my heart is broken but I definitely don’t wish bad things to happen to her. It turns out that my friends do not know this already. I’m not sure how, but they didn’t.

So instead of getting mad about it (who am I kidding, I’ve been so mad about it) I decided I need to educate them. Because my friends are lovely people. They really are. They are caring and thoughtful and kind and they love me alot and wish this wasn’t happening to me. But they don’t get it. They don’t get why I’m so angry and bitter and resentful (at the world! Not at them. Another thing they don’t get). It baffles them completely that pregnancy announcements don’t fill me with joy. It confuses them that preggos/baby showers/cute families are like a knife in my heart. That I can’t just get over it and live my life happily until I get pregnant, which (in their eyes) will definitely happen. And they certainly don’t understand that each failed cycle is so much more than a procedure that hasn’t worked, of the loss that I feel.

I have read so many brilliant blogs/articles about infertility, the emotions that go along with it and helping fertiles to understand it. Do you think I can find any now?! Can I buggary. I mean, I have found a few but none are quite right. I need the right balance of letting them know just how painful and difficult it is, and just how normal my anger/bitterness is without it seeming like I’m having a go at them.

So I need your help! Any suggestions greatly welcome. Recently I read a blog about a girl that was in a supermarket and had to look away from a mother and her toddler having fun whilst shopping. It was a great post about the hurt and bitterness that is not wanted but unavoidable. But now I can’t for the life of me find it….Help!!

Spa, sobbing and schoolgirl shit

So after many bouts of sobbing last week I packed myself off to the spa with 7 of my girls for a weekend of well deserved pampering. In the past the anticipation of this weekend would just have been full on excitement. But now, as with all social gatherings, I was a bit nervous, especially since it came only 5 days after my most recent failed cycle: ‘how much will they all talk about their kids’, or more importantly ‘who will be pregnant’ etc etc..IMG_20140223_145610

But despite my nerves and general failed-cycle-devastation I was excited. Of the 7 girls going, 5 of them I have known since I was a teenager and am very close to. The other 2 are girlfriends of the boys I have known since I was a teenager – one I’m pretty close with, the other not so much but still get on well with her. It was this one I was nervous of. Let’s call her ‘H’. She has been married for 9 months so every time I see her I’m constantly on preggo watch.

We had a lovely afternoon of relaxing round the pool and nipping out to get in the outside Jacuzzi and were feeling nice and relaxed for the evening. We sat down for dinner and got some champers in to celebrate being together which is when H’s hand went over her glass as she was ‘on anti-biotics’. That old chestnut.

I tried to hold it in. I tried to keep it together. I made it through the starter but then my eyes started filling up. Because….IT SHOULD BE ME. Even though I wasn’t very hopeful during my cycle I still had a little day dream that I could be sitting at that dinner table and could tell the girls that it finally worked. I finally got my dream. I can finally stop being miserable. Every. Fucking. Day.

But instead someone who I know has been trying for less than 6 months got her dream. Just another reminder of what I don’t have. Another person that can do what I can’t.

I got up and dashed off to the toilet before I started sobbing at the table, closely followed by my bestie and I sobbed my fucking heart out on her shoulder in the loos. Then I dried my tears, sorted myself out and went back to the table. I was normal. I chatted away, with H as well, I joined in, I laughed. I didn’t sit quietly or be moody. I got on with it after letting it all out.

The next morning at breakfast H said she was going to go home as she’d had stomach cramps overnight and then burst into tears. Some of the girls that are closer to her went off for a chat with her. In the end she stayed for a while but left earlier than the rest of us. I really felt for her – having cramps when she was clearly still very early in her pregnancy (which had not actually been directly spoken about but was obvious) is a scary thing.

I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the girls relaxing at the spa. Then I arrived home. DH said that H’s husband had called to say that she was really upset by me and had had to leave the spa early because I had upset her so much. They could not understand why I would have such a reaction to their happy news (that wasn’t actually given) and were shocked with the way I behaved.

Now, I could understand if she’d said to me ‘I’m pregnant’ and I’d cried in her face, but I didn’t. I went off, had a cry came back. I know it was obvious I was upset by it but….for fucks sake. I’ve lost all 4 of my embies in 9 months….in the time it will take her to have a baby I’ve lost 4 of mine. Also…did this mean that she just made up the cramps because if so…what the fuck? That is not cool.

 It just really brought home how little people understand about what we’re going through and how totally alone we are in this journey (apart from you lovely people of course).

I started this post yesterday and I was still SO ANGRY at her and at her husband for calling DH and making a fucking drama out of it all. She is a rather immature person and trained to be an actress so she is well….dramatic but I was just so mad that they could be so heartless and unsympathetic to our pain.

But this morning I’ve woken up a lot calmer. This weekend was the first time I’ve cried in front of any of my friends. Normally I save my tears for DH/my mum/my sister and when I speak to my friends I’m quite matter of fact. I obviously say I’m upset and its hard but….there isn’t really any way anyone can know just how difficult this path is. They don’t understand the process, they definitely don’t think of my failed cycles as losses. They just think ‘oh well, it hasn’t worked yet but it will’. They don’t understand the heart ache. And to H who leads a pretty charmed life she must be baffled at why I’m not happy that this wonderful happy thing has happened to her. She must think I’m a heartless bitch.

So now I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to exactly apologise for being upset. I can’t be sorry for being upset about this.  But I don’t know if its best to email/text her to clear the air. And if I do this should I keep it short or explain to her exactly why I was so upset. To make her understand just how broken my heart is. I don’t want it to turn into a big thing and part of me wants to just forget this stupid school girl shit but I know she’s the type of person that holds grudges and I can’t be doing with awkwardness between us. And another part of me wants to educate her so that she understands that not everyone gets the fairy tale and just how fucking hard it is for us.

What do you think I should do? I don’t want to be a bitter old bitch, but I also don’t want people to be left with the idea that I’m overreacting. I know I have more important things to worry about but I just can’t stop obsessing about it.

Lefty don’t lie

After nearly losing my mind on Monday afternoon after spotting started on Sunday I tested on Tuesday morning. BFN.

I knew it was coming, and really I’ve done a lot of my mourning since transfer day. But. It just hurts so much. I see so many people on blog/twitter world who have spotting and feel like their period is coming and they get a BFP. So many people who have poor quality embryos and very complicated cases…and I am genuinely happy for them all. It’s not the same as fertiles – another knife in the heart with every FB scan photo. For you ladies I’m happy. Just….when is it my turn? Why have I had 3 failures with apparently no cause?

Although in a weird way it’s kind of easier as there is a reason this time. The embryo didn’t thaw very well so it’s understandable it didn’t work. That it’s not just me. Normally for the first day or so I’m just numb – it takes a while to hit me. This time I felt raw from yesterday morning and had my bout of hysterical crying straight away, although I didn’t have the horrible stomach lurch when seeing the one single line. I knew that’s what I was going to see.

I’m so sick of this shit, and I’m so so fucking angry. But I just need to mourn and then make a decision about which private clinic to choose and somehow find the money to pay for it.

 

In other news, just before Christmas Barren Betty suggested a cream I could use for my hideous acne ridden skin that has been getting slowing worse since I came off the pill to start ttc-ing. This cream has worked wonders but its pretty strong stuff…I’ve ruined a few towels as its striped the colour out of them!! I stopped using it a few week before my FET as didn’t think it would be very embryo friendly but last night I decided to put some on to get rid of the horrible spots that have appeared over the last few weeks.

Now, I may have put on a bit more than normal in a self-flagellation-esque move but….I woke up this  morning with bright red cheeks. I mean serious tomato face. It’s all puffy, swollen, sore and very very hot. I blame you BB – this is all your fault 😉

Oh and I also have a cold. Awesome. My life is awesome.

Lefty

We’re not talking political leanings here, although mine are also rather lefty, but boobs. Specifically, my boobs. Well, the left one anyway.

Before I get my period I get a line that starts off tender and ends up painful going from just under my left armpit along to my left nipple (that image is my present to you…you’re welcome). Well guess what started being tender yesterday? Lefty.

I never had much hope for this cycle but we all know that somewhere in there my hope monster was lurking, waiting to surprise me the second I let my guard down. But the start of the painful lefty has pretty much squashed that. Pretty much because, you know, it’s just fun to torture yourself with maybes at 3am.

But in my heart of hearts I know it’s over and this hit me last night. We were watching the film ‘About Time’ – warning to infertiles everywhere DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM – and I started sobbing and didn’t stop for about an hour. Then started again. And stopped. And started. It was a fun night.

To top it off, it was our 11 year anniversary yesterday. We’ve certainly had better. Poor DH had to put up with me as a total mess all night with nothing but trifle to comfort him. He does love trifle though.

On Thursday night we went out to a Rudimental gig at Brixton Academy. We booked the tickets last year and were really excited about going for our anniversary as they are great live and Brixton is always an awesome venue. Little did we know when we booked we’d be mid -2ww so instead of being either a) pregnant b) able to get drunk and let ourselves go we were sipping water and feeling very out of place. I was torn between being really paranoid about getting bumped or banged and knowing it hasn’t fucking worked anyway and being pissed off I couldn’t just get involved.

Everyone there seemed free and happy and up for it, not to mention drunk/off their faces on something. I felt so out of place. Shit, I just felt jealous! I don’t fit at the dinner parties with our friends anymore talking about their kids, I don’t fit in my family anymore with my new niece, and I didn’t fit there. I’ve never been so lonely in such a massive crowd.

On top of this, a number of their songs make me a bit weepy at the best of times, and one in particular ‘Not Giving In’ has been our IVF theme tune throughout so when that came on I just started full out sobbing. Awesome. Oh and half way through we noticed there was a preggo stood right in front of us. We had to move.

After a while I did cheer up a bit and got into it a bit more and we did have a nice time, not quite the time we had imagined when we booked the tickets but still ok. Just annoying because in a few days I’ll get my period and it will be another kick in the (already sore) tits that we could have just gone out and had a wild night.

I’m so sick of this. I’m so sick of being sad and lonely and broken hearted all the fucking time. And not just me. Some really lovely lovely people here in the blog world/Twitter have also had their dreams ripped from them again this week. It’s all so fucking unfair and I’ve just had enough of it.

ENOUGH NOW IF, ENOUGH NOW.