Saturday, April 5, 2014

Um . . . Still Here

Just to say that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth.

I am feeling a lot better about the fact that we will remain a family of three but still feel like I need to sort through some of the stuff in my head. I will be seeing a counsellor next week and I hope that will help. I am due to have a prolapse repair and possibly a hysterectomy later in the year, which scares me silly - especially when you add sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and a clotting condition to the mix. Before that, I have an appointment at the breast clinic to check out the fact that I'm a bit lumpy and there seems to be a tiny amount of what looks like milk coming from the left boo*b (can make a small amount come from the right, too, but it doesn't happen spontaneously). I alternate between breast cancer and a brain tumour as a diagnosis - obviously hoping it's actually just a weird hormonal thing.

The boy is amazing and frustrating. His language comes on in leaps and bounds and he is so physically active. His listening ears, on the other hand, work intermittently and he sometimes smiles or outright laughs when he is told off. The nursery obviously find this as irritating as I do! He can also be kind, sharing and very funny. Probably a normal three year old! We are trying to potty train him at the moment and it ain't going smoothly - we will get there in the end though (none of my Primary 1 children have ever come to me in nappies, so I have faith).

I have several posts in my head about parenting after infertility and being an older mum and another several about my family and how the dynamics have changed now that my parents, my sister and her family and I all live in the same city. Maybe I'll even have time to write one of them sometime - there seems to be no time for anything else but work and parenting. I really miss having time with friends and being able to chat and relax. I feel like any problem I have is magnified by the fact that I can't just chew it over with a friend. Not sure what to do about that.

I am also trying very hard to find time to exercise in an attempt (along with half-hearted calorie reduction) to lose some weight before my op. However, see above re how my time is spent to get an idea of how that is going.

Does every other parent (who also works full-time) find life so squeezed?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Still Not Over It

I'm not very sure where I go from here, both in terms of this blog and in terms of my "recurrent miscarrier/subfertile" self.

I'm getting on with life and the initial grief over the last cycle not working has passed. That said, now that the journey is over - at least in terms of new treatments and new babies - I am becoming aware of what it has left behind.

I have an amazing son and I love him with all my heart. I love him in exactly the way I expected to love my child way back at the start of this journey, when I thought that I would have a child that was genetically mine in the old-fashioned way (involving my husband, a bed and myself, all in one room - not it different cities). I do not feel any grief over the fact that he did not result from my eggs - thankfully, I discovered that was a part of parenthood I didn't require. But I do feel grief about what a very long time it took us to get here, about the fact that I am an "older" parent when I was not planning it that way, about the losses along the way (although I do not feel those as the loss of children - personally, they were very early and I view them as the loss of pregnancies and possibilities) and about the other losses we suffered while pursuing parenthood (career progression, romance & intimacy, money, self-worth, friends, confidence in my body - the list goes on).

I think I'm a better person after all this - I am definitely stronger, I empathise more with others in their difficulties in life, I am less self-obsessed (though look at me, starting every paragraph with "I"). I also maintain that even if we hadn't had a child, I would be OK - not brilliant, but OK - and I am OK with one child.

I do get angry sometimes, though, when there seems to be an expectation that I will be more grateful for my very hard-won singleton than my friends should be with their easily achieved 2.4 kids. After all, I nearly had no children - so I must be very happy to have one. It's true that I do feel lucky to have him and grateful beyond words that I had the money and other resources to pursue treatment and to be living in a time when treatments are possible. I feel immensely grateful when I think of myself as part of the IF/Loss community - without entering the pain Olympics, I think we went through a lot, but I know that there are people out there dealing with worse and not getting the result we got - how could I possibly not acknowledge my luck here. But when those around me in real life, say things like "You must be so happy that it all worked out for you?!" or "You are very lucky to have him." when referring to my son, I feel angry. Because 7 years of trying, 6 losses, countless failed treatments, embarrassing procedures, tests and questions, the discovery of several chronic conditions along the way and a failed attempt to have a sibling doesn't strike me as very lucky. Lucky would be planning a child, trying for a couple of months, getting pregnant and having a baby, followed by something similar a couple of years later if you wanted more than one!

When reading other people's blogs, I find myself reading about women who are going through such a similar journey to mine (including a couple recently from the UK who have clearly been visiting the same clinics and specialists that I did) and I hear/see them saying the same things I did. I want to rescue them - I want to tell them not to get sucked in to treatments that cost huge amounts of money and are not backed up by good research. I want to tell them not to see donor eggs as a last resort. But that's not my job or my business - I had to go through that process and I would probably not have appreciated someone telling me I was on the wrong track (even someone who'd been there before). I am helping out as often as I can at our SANDS group for those with IF (sadly most have also had a miscarriage or a stillbirth as well - please tell me there's research that's trying to join those dots because it doesn't seem like a coincidence to me).

Anyway, here I am, not quite sure where to go.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Being the mum of a baby who resulted from DE brings some painful hits.

Several people - including my own husband, to his subsequent horror and shame - have referred to my son's donor as his "real mother". This week, a good, kind friend at work (who knows my situation) was talking to me about a plotline on a UK soap about gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate wants to keep the child. My friend said she thought is was awful, as the child was not genetically the surrogate's, "she just cooked it".

Like I said, "Ouch!".

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Done and Done

This cycle is over and so is our journey through infertility and loss.

I thought I'd be ok but then the nurse who took my blood this morning was nice to me and I've been trying not to cry all day. The final straw was the call to get the result I already knew. I had to give a presentation to the staff at my school after the kids went (I hadn't been able to rehearse it because last night, when I came in from the infertility support group I help out with, I got a migraine - hardly any wonder, really - stress at work, failed cycle and hormones - the perfect storm). So, the call had to wait.

Tonight, I want comfort food and wine. Tomorrow, I want to restart my anti-anx.iety medication. I want to be numb for a while. I don't want to think about those three embryos that could have been my son's brothers or sisters and the fact that, even if we did do more treatment (which we can't/won't) we can never have that donor and that genetic combination again. That breaks my heart - how could I not want more like him - more for him?

And if one more person tells me "it wasn't meant to be", I might say something unforgivable.

Of course, although the physical journey is over the emotional one is not - and we will always carry it with us. Everything feels fragile right now - I am terrified that we will lose our wee boy, which would be to lose everything. And I can't bear the thought that he might be lonely - if not now, then one day in the future.

I think I have some processing to do.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Familiar Feelings

I went to the shopping centre today and there seemed to be babies everywhere.

And Clea.rblue seem to be advertising pregnancy tests on TV a lot. On Thursday, I passed a couple and the guy was pushing a double pram - "That's not fair!" I thought, "They got two at one go!". Yup, all the sad, angry, bitter, jealous stuff I thought I'd ditched when I had my son has come back. In fact, some of it I thought I had ditched before he was conceived. They're subtly changed this time - babies and pregnant tummies are still triggers by themselves, but siblings are really hitting the jealousy button. I saw a couple in the supermarket today with a toddler and a very new baby in a sling - and to cap it all the guy was singing to the baby and his partner (wearing the sling) was doing a little dance! Do they not know I'm in a delicate place right now?!

I POAS yesterday afternoon - I was cleaning the bathroom and there are two tests in the cabinet, both almost two years out of date (no idea whether that stops them working or not) and the urge took me. Very negative. That was 6dp3dt, so I know it was obscenely early and, working backwards with the figures from my son's HCG levels, I don't think he would have shown up as a positive at that point. I got a level of 120 at 12dp3dt and working on the idea that it would at least halve (since it was more than doubling) every 48 hours working back, it would have been 15 at 6dp3dt. I think Cle.arblue registers positive at about 25. So, probably too early on an out of date stick but I still feel low about it - mainly because my gut tells me it's right (oh and, by the way, can you tell I'm thinking about this a lot?).

I got a pack of new ones today and will test again tomorrow. Most cycles when we were having some sort of treatment, this was my strategy: test early and when you get a negative, you're disappointed but you know there's a chance you're just too early, repeat daily till you lose all hope. I liked to think it let me down gently - there was certainly no way that I was entertaining the idea of success right up till the clinic called with the beta to shatter my dreams again.

As for all those horrible feelings, I will get past them. I had achieved a state of relative equilibrium even before my son was conceived. After his birth, I was unstoppable - I patted bumps, cuddled babies and burbled away about the joys of breastfeeding. And for a long time, I did not think there would be any children, never mind two of them and I was delighted with the one I got. For the first year or so, I didn't even think of the frozen embryos - and we actually talked about donating them on, till the clinic told us that was not allowed in this country. I think that the fact that half of the girls from my antenatal group have had baby no.2 and the other half are trying has something to do with it - and the fact that most of my friends have two (or three) kids. Briefly, I was "one of them" and now I feel different again and I don't like it. Some people do not view parents and one child as a family, I find. For some people, it has to be two parents and two children - nice and symmetrical. And we did, way back in our courting days, agree that we wanted two.

Of course, the biggest and best reason we wanted this to work is for our son. His best friend came round last night and the pair of them ran and played and climbed and giggled so much. It was quite a different atmosphere to when it is just the three of us. It made me feel sad. At one point they were in the bath together and my son was swinging his toy watering can and it hit his friend and I told him to be careful of his brother. I have no idea where that came from - except I suppose that I do - wishful thinking.

I will be ok again. The hormones will settle, I can take my anti-dep.ressant/ anti-an.xiety medication again and I can switch from the beta-bloc.kers that make me tired to more modern blood press.ure medication. Oh, and the ring pessary for the prolapse being too big and in the wrong place is probably not helping my mood right now (noone wants to go near it till they know whether I'm pregnant or not) - I could have the repair surgery and do much more than I can now. I can grieve what we have lost and get on with enjoying life with my wee boy - which he deserves.

I will be ok again.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No More Second Chances

The other embryos did not survive the culturing on process. We didn't think they would but it's still sad. This cycle is bringing back a lot of negative "not fair" feelings I thought I had let go of when my son was born. I can only hope they'll fade with time.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Never Simple

So . . . I have a 7 cell day 3 embryo on board. 

Of the three we had to defrost, one was a no-hoper (lost 7 out of its 8 cells), one lost 5 out of its 9 cells and they'll culture it on but don't have much hope for it and the one that went back kept 7 out of 8 cells. So no choosing from three lovely day 5 blasts for me but a clear decision for a day 3 which takes some of the agonising out of it.

Feeling pretty miserable though as the bl**dy ring pessary I have for my prolapse had to come out for transfer and wouldn't go back in properly. Ended up at the hospital gynae ward but they couldn't sort it out fully and I've now got a bigger size of ring but it's still not sitting properly AND I'm terrified that all the pushing and shoving down there will have ruined any chance of this working :(. As post transfer techniques go, it's hardly ideal! Feel particularly miserable about the possibility of letting my son down by not giving him a sibling.

Test date is Fri 17th but I'll POAS  before then. The problem with the ring also has implications if I do get pregnant, as it suggests the prolapse has worsened. The only treatment for prolapse while you're pregnant is the ring pessary but it seems my muscle-tone is now so poor that it wont stay in place at all. So there may come a point where bedrest is the only alternative which would be disastrous with my clotting issues (need to remain relatively active). If anyone out there has any knowledge or experience of pregnancy with prolapse, I'd love to hear it - I can find almost nothing online

Ugh - just feel miserable.