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.

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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.

 

Percentages

Monday was transfer day. Our last little NHS-funded embie ready and waiting to be popped back in. This time I wasn’t really worried about the thaw as I had been last time. We had such great numbers last time – 95% of the cells survived the thaw and showed signs of regrowth in the lab. So nothing to worry about this time right?!

Wrong. Oh course I forgot the one rule about IVF: there are no rules. We trotted into the transfer room in our stupid white coats and hats with a rather full bladder and were told by our consultant that this time things hadn’t gone so well. Only 50% of the cells had survived and it they hadn’t shown any regrowth. Our chances of it working had fallen to 20%. My stomach hit the ground. I know I’ve been so spoilt with our IVF cycles so far – fresh transfer of Grade 5AA first time, 95% cell survival of 2 embies last time. I just wasn’t really prepared for bad news, and yes I know how spoilt that sounds.

I tried my hardest to hold back the tears, but once it was done I went to the loos and just sobbed. I just felt like “what’s the point”? Because if I can’t get pregnant with the perfect little embies, then what chance have I got with this wonky one? Because if it didn’t happen then, it sure as shit ain’t gonna happen now. It just felt like it was all over before it had begun.

So instead of the nice calm glow I normally get on transfer day I just felt sad and dejected and cried quite a lot – it felt more like negative result test day than transfer day. And it’s so shit because I look forward to the 2ww in a weird way! It’s like a holiday from depression world to anxiety land. But no holiday this time – or a holiday to a new destination, deprexiety town!

But by yesterday I had picked myself up a bit, in no small part due to the wonderful wonderful ladies of Twitter who showered me in positivity and virtual hugs. A very wise lady I have had the upmost pleasure of meeting from the world of Twitter once told me that there are only 2 percentages you need to worry about: 0 and 100. As ever, this thing is either going to work or it’s not. Not much point moping about it until I know (yeah right!!)

In a weird way, although I’ve not had the nice glowy feeling I normally get after transfer, it does feel like this 2ww will be a bit easier this time. The pressure is kinda off as I really don’t think it’s going to work. I mean, obviously there is a little hope monster lurking around somewhere in there, and of course I’ll be disappointed when it fails but….I feel like I’m being let down more gently than last time. And who knows, the other 2 transfers have not worked against the odds so maybe this time it will go the other way?!! (yeah right!!)

Also, because there are no crazy drugs this time to mess up my cycle the wait will be shorter. My official test date is Friday 21st but my period will be due on Tuesday/Wednesday so I’m thinking my period will come before I have to do one of those fucking horrible tests.

So I’ve been trying not to think about it all too much, but unfortunately my body won’t let me do that. Yesterday afternoon I started to get a dull ache in my tummy/lower back all very similar to period pains – this is a week early so don’t think it’s my period just yet. But it’s really pretty strong right now and I’m thinking – could this be the steroids? Did anyone else have this when taking Prednisolone? Please tell me it is so I can not send myself crazy thinking this ‘means something’, when I know only too well that in the world of symptom spotting nothing means anything!

FET again

I’m happy to report AF finally arrived on Tuesday! I called the clinic and will go in for a scan next Wednesday to check when I’m likely to ovulate…but I still have to do OPKs to pinpoint when I actually do ovulate so not really sure the point of the scan but anyhooo it makes me feel like something is happening!

Doing a natural cycle does feel like I’m cheating at IVF. I just have a scan next week, call them when I ovulate then go in 5 days later for transfer. The only drugs I am going to be taking are steroids to suppress my immune system, although I’m not sure what ones or when they start. The nurse seemed rather vauge (I know it was called prog…something!) about this on the phone but I had to come out of a meeting to answer the call so couldn’t really go into it. I’ll have to bother them again with my questions. They hate me.

Has anyone else taken steroids? When did you start taking them? Any side effects? Did you get ill?

Luckily I’ve been pretty busy at work and so haven’t really had much time to think about my forthcoming FET. I’ve just been focusing on AF arriving and been trying to block out what will happen after. Every now and then I get a flash of fear. Of the turmoil that is to come. Its so scary to think of it all. I can’t see how its going to work, but I also know I do have hope that it will and that’s what scares me. Of it all failing again. Of going back to the misery.

And this time I’m pretty sure it will be incredibly tough to deal with if it doesn’t work. Its hard every time, but as this is my last frostie, and the last go on the NHS. If it doesn’t work I will not only have to start a fresh cycle again, but have to pay for the thing! Which also involves a lot of big decisions about money, clinic choice etc etc. All big stuff. All very difficult to deal with when you’re feeling depressed and miserable and unable to cope with life. Work will also be mega busy as I have a massive deadline in early March. Awesome!

On a more positive note, today I spoke to a psychology student who is doing her dissertation on the effects of blogging during IVF (@ivfstudent  if you want to find out more!) She was really lovely and it just reminded me of what a lovely lot you all are, how much support I get from this community and how god-awful lonely I was before I found you so….THANK YOU!!! xx

 

A late goodbye/hello

Well in my usual style for everything in my life, I’m a bit late with the whole good fucking riddance goodbye 2013/ what shit have you got in store for me hello to 2014! And since I’m a blogger I think it’s pretty much the law that I make some kind of reference to the passing year. I did think of doing a list of all the shit stuff that has happened to me in 2013 but….hell, that’s pretty much what my blog is anyway and I thought you guys deserved a bit of a break!

Instead I decided to list all the good stuff that has happened because, yes it’s been a shit year, yes I’ve had 2 failed IVF cycles without the tiniest whiff of a BFP but somehow some good stuff happened too and I’m really not very good at concentrating on that. So here we go:

Holidays

My favourite part of any year, and in 2013 we were lucky enough to have some pretty great ones. We started the new year in a cottage in a lovely little village in Essex with 12 of our dearest friends (and yes, their kids and 2 of them were pregnant  but….ain’t that just the way it is All. The. Time?!) It was tough at times, but was a really great way to start the year.

Then in March DH and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary together by spending a long weekend in Barcelona. Love, love, love Barcelona and really want to go back. Now. We just had the best time together seeing sites, drinking wine and eating tapas. Also, we were just about to start IVF and were pretty excited about that and didn’t know how frickin horrible doing IVF is! Then in September (post 1st IVF failure) we had a lovely week away in Menorca. It’s a beautiful island and we had a nice, if rather more subdued time with rather a lot more tears.

IVF

Yeah, I know, I know this seems a pretty strange one considering I’ve had one fresh cycle and one FET and neither bloody worked. However, I do consider myself very lucky. The NHS paid for both these cycles. I responded to the drugs, got eggs, got embryos, even got frosties. I do appreciate just how lucky I am to do this and feel such sadness for all those that struggle with any of these phases of IVF/IUI.

Work

It can be a nightmare. I have 2 egotistical Directors that can be a nightmare (they can also be pretty funny though). And I’ve been there for 5 years and am soooo bored of my position. But. I could not have asked for a more supportive line manager. She can also be a total nightmare and says some outrageously insensitive things but in a weird way I know they come from a good place. And she lets me take time off/work from home/ go to all the appointments I need and she very rarely records it as sick days/annual leave. She is awesome.

And not just her, the rest of my colleagues are so so sweet. They often know more about my journey than my friends and have been so amazing, sending me flowers and brownies and silly things to make me smile. I can’t thank them enough. Also, the one person I’ve really struggled with this year as he’s an a-hole is leaving in February! Woop woop!

Family

Again, I’m a very lucky girl. I have a great family. They are supportive and wonderful and understanding. I also see alot of bloggers/tweeters who do not have this support and I just don’t know how you do it. In particular, my sister and my mum are just incredible. I speak to at least one of them, often both, at least once a day. They are always there when I need to cry or scream or mumble that it’s just not fair and I couldn’t get by without them. My mum is always there with the right soothing words to give me and my sister, she does that too. But more than that. She understands my bitter rages. She is no stranger to loss having had more miscarriages than it is human to bear. She is superhuman. And she rages along with me, despite going through a divorce with her dickhead ex. A girl couldn’t ask for a better big sister.

Also, always in the background is my step-dad. He’s not a man of great words but what he lacks in words, he makes up for in deed. He has driven into London to come and get me from all my transfers and procedures, is always there with a crap joke to make me smile and more importantly always there to support my mum.

In May my brother told me his finance was pregnant (her first, his third)….it’s not been an easy time in our relationship and I’m ashamed to say I have not seen them many times this year despite them living 10 minutes away. But everytime I do see them they have been nothing but sensitive and understanding without being patronising, which is a pretty hard line to walk. Their daughter was born on New Year’s Day and I went to see her yesterday (that’s another blog post) and she is just beautiful and perfect and I am truly happy for them.

And lastly, I am thankful for my dad. This is pretty unusual!! For most of this year he has been his usual fairly useless self, dropping the odd insensitive comment on the few and far between phonecalls. Although, to be fair he has been emailing me more and asking some questions about IVF. But his present at the end of the year (see this post) really did blow me away. My father and I have always had a pretty crappy relationship and if this shit called IF can help to improve that, it’s no bad thing. (although I’d still rather have a baby and shit relationship with my father! Lolz)

Friends

Do they moan about being pregnant? Hellz yeah! Do they whine about how their difficult lives are that are the same as mine without the IF? Sure as shit they do! Do they say insensitive things and frequently ask me why I don’t ‘just’ adopt? You bet your bottom dollar! (I know I’m British, but ‘you bet your bottom pound’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it!) Do they understand any part of what we’re going through? Of course they freakin don’t! But….they sure do try. They ask questions, they try to help, they admit they don’t understand and they do incredibly sweet things to try make me feel better. They are great and I love them to bits. They don’t understand but hell, I wouldn’t want them to have to understand. I am truly grateful for all of my friends…for those that are there to talk to me about it, and for those that are there to take me out, not talk about it and get drunk when I’m on my IVF breaks…and for those that do both!

But I think this year I am extra-specially grateful for all my new online friends. This time last year I was drifting on my own in a sea of IF grief. I felt so alone and isolated and then in March I joined Twitter and a whole new world of wonderful people was opened up to me. Not long after that I started this blog which connected me to even more warm, funny and wonderfully supportive people. Thank you all so much. Your support, advice, kind words and cyber hugs have been so incredible over the last 10 months and have truly kept me going through this dark, shitty journey. I have even been lucky enough to meet 2 wonderful online women in real life! Imagine that! It has been amazing to connect with such great women, such warm and caring and loving people as you lot so thank you.

Ok, I’m done, I’m sorry. This is a long arse-post, but I guess that shows how much I have to be thankful for. I hope that 2014 will give me just as much to be happy about….ok, who am I kidding I’m totally hoping 2014 will give me something to be WAAAY happier about! 😉 I wish it so much for all you too xx

 

Starting to heal

Before I get started (and in case you don’t make it to the end of this post!) I’ve decided to slightly change my blog/Twitter name from ‘New to IVF’ to ‘Not so New to IVF’ because, well, I’m not! ….correction to this, I’ve tried to do this but not quite managed it! Any advice welcome!

It’s been a week and a half since our BFN. The first few days were truly awful but since then I’ve actually been doing pretty well. We tested on the Saturday and as soon as I put the stick in the pee I knew it hadn’t worked. We stayed in bed cuddling and crying for most of the day. The pain and sorrow was so intense, for both of us. Last time I don’t think it hit DH for a good few weeks but this time it got us both straight away.

On the Sunday I went to my mum’s and drank rather a lot of wine with her and my sister, and then drank more when I got home…it was not a pretty sight! Monday was a write off as I was more hungover than I thought possible, but in a way it was quite nice as it kicked my IBS off so I was more focused on my physical rather than mental pain. On Tuesday I managed to put some jogging bottoms on (classy) and we dragged ourselves to the local cinema. I was clearly not ready to go outside and cried 3 times in the cinema and once on the way home in the car. By this stage I was getting a bit worried about myself. Last time had been bad but it was more of a drawn-out sadness – I think for the first few weeks I was numb to it all. But this time I just didn’t seem to have an off switch for the tears. It didn’t seem possible to have so many tears in me, just when I thought I’d dried up another round would start.

But on Wednesday I decided I needed to put proper clothes and make up on and go out into the world. My work have been brilliant and let me have the whole week off (last time I had 2 days and it was nowhere near enough!), and DH’s work said he could have 3 days so we took ourselves off to the seaside. It was a pretty miserable grey day but we had a wander around Margate (a place I often went as a child with my cousins during the school holidays), went in the Turner gallery they’ve opened on the sea front and looked in the antique shops in town. It was good to feel a bit more human again, and I haven’t cried since then….well, ok I had a little cry yesterday but I saw my mum so it doesn’t count.

Thursday I saw a friend who had 3 rounds of IVF to have her first child, and then another 3 to have her second. It was lovely to see her although she is in a rather bad way as now has very bad post natal depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It was a bit scary to be reminded that a BFP doesn’t solve everything and bring you instant happiness and I really felt for her as she’s been through so much already (she had appendicitis and preeclampsia in her second pregnancy).

On Friday my wonderful best friend whisked me off for an evening of pampering and champagne at The Sanctuary spa in Covent Garden. I’ve never been there before and it was definitely the best spa I’ve been to – so relaxing and chilled. My bestie is doing well at defending her title!

Saturday I went for cocktails with a pretty special lady 😉 and then last night I had a friend over for dinner who moved to Australia 3 years ago, just before we started TTC. It was lovely to see her but kind of sad to think how much my life has changed since I last saw her. I really was a different person then.

Sorry for the day by day breakdown, but all in all I’ve had a very busy week, and some of it has been really good! I feel a lot more together than I did less than 2 weeks after my last BFN, but I do know it will come and go and I’m by no means free of the crushing grief yet. But I do feel my heart closing around it, protecting myself. I can talk and think about it (and write this post) without wanting to cry. In a horrible way I think I’m just more used to this life now. Although I was incredibly sad for a few days, I’ve returned to normal much quicker as I just can’t really imagine it working…I can’t imagine my life anymore without an undertone of sad. Shit, how depressing is that?!

Why?

Why why why why why why WHY?

Is pretty much all I can think. The rest is just a deep all consuming pain. A desperate longing that seems will never be filled. A hatred of everyone and everything. An overwhelming sadness that fills me up.

What is wrong with me? Why won’t my embies implant? Two….how could neither of them stick….two. That’s three gone now. One left in the freezer but how can I have any hope that one will stick?

I know it’s a stupid thought and I would tell anyone else feeling this way to not be silly but I feel like I’ve let everyone down. There were so many people cheering me on and I’ve failed them all. I know it’s stupid but I can’t help feeling it.

It would be bad enough if my pain was just that. Mine only. But its not. I’m like an earthquake that starts a tsunami of sadness that washes over everyone I love. To have to ring my mum and hear her sob. To tell my sister and hear her cry harder than me. These are not the phone calls I wanted to make yesterday. I know they cry for me. I know they are heartbroken that I am heartbroken. I know my mum sobs so hard because I’m her little girl and she can’t fix it. And it makes me cry harder because I might never have a little one to love so much.

And there are still so many others to tell. Even though we didn’t tell all our friends we had started again, we will need to tell them how it ended. I’m not a good enough actress to gloss over it.

But of course the worst is DH. His heart is as broken as mine and it breaks mine all over again to see it. He said yesterday that he’d been daydreaming of having twin girls. Isn’t that just the saddest thing ever? He wants this so much. He tries to be strong for me but I know he’s just as broken as I am. He decided yesterday to start a twitter account to be able to rant at the world and as I get so much support from it. There don’t seem to be many men out there for him to follow – any suggestions very welcome. He is @daddyhopeful (‘DH’) Any love you can give him is greatly appreciated. We’ve decided not to follow each other – is that weird? I think it is better to both have a space that is our own.

Thank you all so much for the lovely message you have left me. I’m sorry I don’t have the energy to reply but know that I have read every one of them and they have truly helped me – that goes for twitter as well. I honestly don’t know how I’d get through without you guys. xxx