Archive | August 2013

The root of all evil

Oooooh vacation!

Mini holiday in the Barossa Valley. Four nights of luxury and relaxation. My first vacation from work that doesn’t involve hospitals in six years. Have I been looking forward to this little trip? Yes, yes I have. Did something go wrong? Yes, yes it did.

On Tuesday night I took our toy poodle Arnold over to my parents’ house. He’s going on his own little vacation and gets to spend the week with them. He loves my parents more than anyone or anything else on the planet, so I wasn’t worried about leaving my little smoochie puppy behind. Doug keeps on reminding me that I need to get used to little beings that I love preferring my parents over me – all kids love staying at their grandmas house.

I was standing in my mother’s kitchen when it happened. I pulled a stick of gum out of my handbag and put it in my mouth. Nothing new there, I chew gum all the time.

CRACK.

Suddenly as I chomped on the gum a burning pain shot up the right side of my mouth and I bit down heavily on something unexpectedly hard and gritty, something that definitely wasn’t gum.

Immediately I screamed and spat the contents of my mouth into my hand: Gum. Blood. Tooth fragment.

For a few moments I just stood there in complete shock, clutching my throbbing mouth with one hand and holding my tooth in the palm of the other.

“Oh my God!” shrieked my mother, who had witnessed the whole thing. “Is that tooth or a white filling?”

“I don’t know!” I replied, starting to sob as the shock wore off.

I felt around with my tongue and quickly found a huge gap in one of my bottom right molars. I raced to the bathroom mirror and could see that the back half of my tooth had crumbled away.

“Sadie don’t cry you’ll make the pain worse.” Mum said. “Let me have a look.”

I turned to her and opened my mouth wide.

“Um…what is the black stuff all over your back teeth? Is that rot?” she gasped. “No wonder your tooth cracked! When was the last time you went to the dentist?”

The truth is, I haven’t been to the dentist since I started seeing my first fertility specialist and had my first surgery, twelve months before we officially started trying to conceive. We’d always known we would have trouble falling pregnant, given my medical problems, and had started preparing and saving years ago. I didn’t want to waste any money at the dentist that could have gone towards funding IVF. Stupid I know, but women who can’t have children yet desperately want them are prone to doing stupid things.

“It’s been nearly four years since I saw a dentist.” I confessed.

“Four years! Well you’ll need to see a dentist immediately for that cracked tooth!” Mum replied.

“Totally out of the question!” I told her. “I’m flying to Adelaide tomorrow morning! I’ll just numb it with painkillers and deal with it next week.”

But after arriving in Adelaide it became pretty clear pretty quickly that painkillers weren’t going to do the trick. My tooth reacted with a zing to hot and cold food, and I barely slept last night even though the hotel bed was super comfy and warm.

So this morning I bit the bullet (not literally…because, cracked tooth…) and asked the concierge at the hotel to help me find a dentist nearby. What fun, I hear you say! A trip to the dentist should be included in every vacation!

My appointment was at midday so I didn’t bother to have lunch before I went, given that my mouth was aching. I figured I could have food afterwards once the tooth was filled. Good plan? Great plan!

The dentist was young and friendly, not at all the way I remember dentists being. I explained to her that I’ve been going through fertility treatment and pushing every cent into that venture, and asked her not to judge the state of my mouth. She agreed not to say a word about any of my other teeth, and just to do a quick fix on the broken tooth. Before I knew it I was lying back in the chair, opening wide and saying aaahhhh.

“The hole isn’t actually that bad. You shouldn’t be having such a strong pain response.” she said, pursing her lips. “Let me do some tests and take an x-ray.”

After all the tests were complete I could tell just by the look on the dentist’s face that the news wasn’t good.

“You have a bad bacterial infection below your tooth.” she said.

“Okay….” I said nervously. “What are my options?”

“We can remove the tooth and either leave you with a gap, or give you dentures or an implant,” she said. “But given your age, I strongly recommend a root canal.”

Root canal? Root canal?!?! Or…..DENTURES?!?!

“The problem is, we do root canals in three stages to allow your mouth to heal,” the dentist said. “I can easily do the first stage here, you can get the second done back home in Melbourne in a few weeks and the third a few months after that.”

It all seemed reasonably straight forward.

“So why is there a problem?” I asked.

“Well first of all this procedure is going to leave you around $2000 out of pocket, which might effect your ability to pay for future fertility treatment,” she said. “Plus each step of the process requires x-rays, and if you’re pregnant in a few months we really shouldn’t be x-raying you.”

I swear my heart started thumped in my chest and my hands went all clammy. $2000?! That was almost half an IVF cycle. For one tooth! I didn’t feel comfortable making that kind of decision about our money without at least asking my husband first, but I knew for a fact he was in the sauna back at the hotel so I had no way of contacting him. I had to make the decision alone.

More importantly, was this one friggen tooth going to set us back in our fertility treatment? What if I fell pregnant in the September cycle? What if I had to expose my baby to x-ray radiation? What if I had to get the tooth pulled out because I couldn’t get the x-ray?!

Then I remembered my last blog post, and how I’d decided to stop living my life for the “what if” and the “maybe” and start being a whole person again. More than anything I knew I didn’t want to be a 27 year old with dentures.

“Ok let’s do the root canal.” I decided.

And a fun afternoon was had at the dentist!

I am now back at the hotel room resting. I am incredibly numb and swollen, yet also in pain where they injected me with anesthetic. My nerves aren’t in the usual places so it took them four lots of anesthetic to finally knock the offending nerve out. I also can’t eat anything until after 9pm. We had dinner reservations for 7.30. Night ruined! Not to mention I’m starving because I had no lunch!

But I still think I’ve made the right decision. I mean, what else was I supposed to do? Luckily my best friend back home is a dentist and he is going to take care of the second stage of the root canal and also clean up the rest of my mouth. He was shocked when I called him to tell him what happened. How shameful is it that I haven’t been to a dentist in so long when my best friend is a dentist…….

I am trying so hard not to be upset and let this root canal ruin my first vacation in six years. This whole day is a write off. I’m hoping that I’m not sore tomorrow and I can actually relax and enjoy myself!

Seriously this has to be the low point of my vacation, right? RIGHT? It can’t actually get any worse than this, can it??? CAN IT?

Ugh…touch wood.

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The end of maybe

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany. I’ve realised I need to stop living my life like it’s on hold.

I’m tired of feeling like it’s never my turn. I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines just in case I might be pregnant at some stage in the future. I’m tired of missing out on important experiences, then feeling guilty about it later. I’m tired of letting life pass me by. And this time I’ve decided to do something about it.

To be honest this is more than just about how I’ve dealt with my infertility (though that’s a big part of my problem) it’s about the way I have chosen to live my entire life. I’ve always been too focused on goals to actually enjoy my life.

I was like this even as a child, always pushing away my friends in order to achieve my goals. I was competitively involved in an elite sport and would regularly shun slumber parties and trips to the beach in order to train and compete for titles. My friends never really understood, so I missed out on forging lasting bonds. But it didn’t matter to me, all that mattered was achieving my goals. I wanted to win, and so I won. I could achieve anything I set my mind too. It didn’t matter that I’d missed out on “living” my life in the process.

When I was in my late teens all of my friends saved up and toured Europe, moved to London, or did a year in the states. They were having the times of their lives. I saved like crazy too and worked six days a week at a local clothing shop, even when I was studying full-time at university, because I wanted to go overseas too and have some crazy fun like they were.

But I was determined to be mature before my time. I didn’t want to “blow” money like my friends were. So I took my holiday savings and used them to put a deposit on a house. I bought my first home when I was 22 years old. At first it was glorious and I felt special and important. But soon I was getting gloating emails from all my friends in New York while I dealt with the leaking pipes in the bathroom and tried to scrape enough money together to repair the front fence. I never did get to go overseas. Another life experience wasted.

Now it’s happening all over again. I’m determined to have a child. I want it more than anything. I will stop at nothing to become a mother. I eat, sleep and breathe fertility.

“Would you like a drink?”

No, because alcohol affects fertility.

“Would you like a coffee?”

No, because caffeine affects fertility.

“Would you like some chocolate cake?”

No, because I have PCOS and sugar affects my fertility.

“Would you like to come to dinner next Friday?”

No, because I’m in the middle of a round of IVF and I’m due for a hormone injection at 7.30pm.

“Would you like to go on a business trip in September?”

No, I may or may not be undergoing fertility treatment at that time.

ENOUGH.

This obsessive determination is ruining me. I’m not a whole person anymore, I’m just the shell of a human being. If it’s not about fertility it doesn’t interest me. I don’t care what I deny myself, or deny my husband, nothing matters to me unless it can help me to become a parent.

I didn’t even realise how bad I had become until my husband screamed at me the other night. We were in bed and he’d leaned over to tickle me. I’m very ticklish and I immediately started squealing and squirming. I grabbed my pillow and smacked him to try and stop him, but he grabbed his own pillow and smacked me back. It’s honestly been years since we let go and did something silly and spontaneous like engage in a pillow fight. We were having so much fun.

Then I blurted out “what if I never get pregnant again?”

It was like word vomit – I couldn’t stop myself, I couldn’t keep it down. It cut through the fun like a knife through soft butter. The atmosphere turned ice cold and Doug flopped back onto the bed in defeat.

“You’re suffocating me with this baby obsession.” he said quietly. “I know how badly you want to be a parent. I want it too. But there’s more to life than just this one thing. I don’t want this to be my whole life.”

I thought about it and I realised he was right. What am I doing to myself? What am I doing to us? I can’t keep my life on hold because of a what if. I can’t keep it on hold indefinitely.

So I did something spontaneous!

I went to a travel agent on the weekend and made enquiries about cool places where Doug and I could vacation over the end-of-year break. We have a lot of money hidden away for fertility treatment, and we both work so hard in our jobs without reward. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that the last time I took more than five vacation days in a row was 2008. Six years is too long between vacations.

I knew we could always save up more money for fertility treatment, but we’ll never get our youth back and it’s slowly slipping away. I also knew Doug would be extremely receptive, supportive and thankful if I chose to redirect a small amount of our money elsewhere so we could get away from it all and find ourselves again. Once I’d discussed different holiday options with the travel agent, and I’d picked a place I thought would be pretty cool to visit she asked if I’d like some information so I could go away and think about it.

“No.” I said. “I’ll book it now.”

“….you don’t want to check it over with your husband?” she asked, incredulous.

I sent my husband a quick text message: I’m booking us a holiday. Ok? Less than a minute later, I got the response I was expecting: Ok darling! You do whatever you want!

This new years eve, as the ball drops at midnight, I’m going to be partying on the beach in Penang, Malaysia. After a few days of serious relaxation, Doug and I will also spend some time shopping in Kuala Lumpur. It is going to be amazing. I’ve taken out great travel insurance that will cover me whether or not I’m pregnant while I’m there, and I’ll have access to good doctors should I need assistance. Every base is covered, so I have no excuses not to let loose and have fun.

If I’m not pregnant at the end of the year I’ll enjoy guilt-free cocktails on the beach. If I am pregnant, well that’ll be amazing and I’ll be douby lucky.

No more waiting, no more regrets, no more maybe. I’m taking my life back into my own hands!

With this champagne, I thee wed

First of all I have to apologise for not updating my blog for the past few days, I was struck down with the flu (again!) and haven’t had the energy to log on. But I’m here now and I do have a story to tell.

I do want to sincerely thank the lovely people who commented on my last blog post. I didn’t get a chance to respond to you each individually at the wedding, but just seeing your messages come through during the evening helped me to endure. I wouldn’t have made it through without you guys.

I’m still in a bit of shock at what I witnessed, actually. I suppose I should give you all a bit of context…

On Sunday we attended the wedding of my husband’s best friend from high school, a lovely guy named Josh. The boys still play football together so they see each other regularly. We socialise with Josh and his [now] wife Diana occasionally, and I see her perhaps four or five times a year.

To be honest I’m not head over heels for Diana and I know Doug doesn’t really like her either. She’d told me several months ago that she’d been offered a promotion at work, but turned it down because there was no point climbing the corporate ladder when straight after the wedding she was going to get pregnant and leave work to raise her family. That kind of shit makes me bitter and turns me off people. I hate people who are so confident about their ability to conceive. Don’t rub your fertility in my face and then expect me to want to come round to your place for dinner.

Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the wedding. In fact, I spent most of Sunday morning sulking because I really didn’t want to go and not just because of the gloating future pregnancy thing. I mean seriously, what kind of people get married on a Sunday? They were going to have an open bar but anyone who indulged would have a hangover at work the next day. What a waste! Plus, the wedding venue was a two hour drive so it meant even if we left straight after speeches we wouldn’t get home until after midnight. Not to mention Doug was going to know almost everyone at the wedding, including all the grooms family, whereas I would know virtually no one. Given the fact I was suffering from terrible menstrual cramps and was still upset about our recent round of treatment being unsuccessful, I wasn’t in the mood to make nauseating small talk with strangers.

When we first arrived, before the ceremony even started, Doug went straight up to one of his footy mates, Lucas, to say hello. I’ve met Lucas several times before, but had never met his wife Sandy. She was standing next to him sipping a glass of champagne and at first she seemed nice enough. We chatted mindlessly for a while and she told me about a wine tasting she’d attended the week before.

As we all made our way through to the area that had been set up for the ceremony to take place, we noticed there were very few seats. It was a very casual garden wedding and majority of guests were meant to stand for the duration of the short ceremony. Lucas immediately took one of the seats, telling me that he was allowed to sit down because he had pregnancy fatigue. I laughed because I thought he was poking fun at the fact he was overweight.

After the ceremony, we moved to the reception area and ordered more drinks. I’m off caffeine and alcohol (because I’m sadistically dedicated to my IVF regime) so I ordered a lemonade. Sandy had another champagne, and then scoffed down some raw salmon sushi that the waiters were bringing around. After a while Sandy turned to me and asked if I could hold her glass of champagne because she had to duck off to the restroom. Of course I obliged.

“Poor thing,” Lucas said. “She’s always running off to the toilet now. She’d best get used to it. Six more months of this to go!”

I frowned at him but said nothing. I still couldn’t really understand what he was talking about, and if he was trying to make a joke I clearly didn’t share his sense of humour. Later on, as we were making our way to our table, I pulled Doug aside.

“Is Sandy…..pregnant?” I asked.

“Yeah she’s just gone 12 weeks.” he replied. “Lucas told us at footy practice last week. Are you okay? You know she’s sitting next to us at the table? I’m sorry I had no idea.”

Completely disregarding the fact that I was going to have to endure sitting next to a pregnant lady all night (I know…what are the chances…) I started to become seriously upset.

“Do you not see her?” I hissed at Doug. “Do you not see her drinking alcohol?”

“Surely it’s non-alcoholic cider?” he asked.

I love my husband, I really do, but naivety is rarely a character strength.

“Of course it isn’t!” I rolled my eyes. “They aren’t serving non-alcoholic cider. Why do you think I’m drinking lemonade?”

Doug’s eyes went wide as he realised the obvious truth. We were going to have to sit next to a pregnant lady all night, and we were going to have to watch her down champers. Excellent.

After sitting at the table for half an hour and listening to her go on and on about how terrible it was to be pregnant, and how she was so tired all the time, and how awful it was that she couldn’t drink as much as she wanted, I finally had enough. That’s when I ran off to the bathroom and posted my last update.

I wanted to scream at her “What do you mean you can’t drink as much alcohol as you want?! You should be upset because you can’t drink ANY alcohol anymore. NONE.” I wanted to smack her in the face for being so selfish. I wanted to tell her she was being a total dickhead, tell her she was extremely lucky to be pregnant and that she should stop complaining. I wanted to confess that I would kill to be in her place, and never take a pregnancy for granted like she was. Instead, I ran away to the bathroom and cried. That’s mostly the same thing, right?

I’m going to admit now that the drinking wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my last post, although I don’t know why I feel the need to defend this woman. I did mention that she was sitting at our table getting drunk, but I was a bit emotional at the time and perhaps exaggerated. Over the course of the evening she consumed four glasses of champagne. Hardly enough to get her blind drunk. But four glasses of champagne is four glasses too many WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT. I can’t make any excuses for her there.

After finally making it through dinner and speeches, everyone was given some time to mingle between tables while the cake was being cut and served to guests. Everyone at our table got up and hit the dance floor, but I felt unwell so I stayed behind. Doug did his husbandly duty and stayed with me, even though I knew he really wanted to go and have fun with his mates.

It was at that moment that the mother of the bride approached us. Can I just say, I’ve met Diana’s mother once – Josh and Diana were hosting an Australia Day BBQ at their place 9 months ago, and her mother came over to drop off her dog. Diana’s mother has a toy poodle, the same as us, so we’d chatted for a while about the similarity between our two dogs. She seemed like a lovely lady, if not a bit overbearing. I’d seriously spoken to her once in my entire life.

“Hello my dear girl Sadie!” she cried out dramatically, embracing me tightly. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m good, how are you?” I lied, trying to untangle myself from her. “It’s been a beautiful wedding and Diana looks stunning.”

“Yes it’s a beautiful wedding.” she agreed quickly. “But I really want to know how your IVF is going.”

I’m sorry…………………what? No, really? I mean, excuse me? You just said what now?

“We’ve actually just failed another cycle.” Doug said, jumping in to save me. “It’s a hard time for us at the moment.”

I just stood there, with my mouth hanging open, like a stunned mullet (how’s that for an Australian colloquialism!). I didn’t even know how to react to this woman, who I had met on ONE PRIOR OCCASION, asking me how my extremely personal battle with infertility was going. I’d specifically asked Doug not to tell Josh about IVF, because I hate being put into these exact situations. I don’t like the added pressure that comes with people constantly asking how our treatment is going, especially strangers!

“You know I hear there’s a clinic in Sydney that does testing on the embryos before they put them in your uterus to make sure they have no genetic problems.” said the mother of the bride. “Maybe you should fly to Sydney for treatment?”

“All clinics offer that service.” I said sharply, trying not to come across as too rude.

But seriously, now she was offering me advice? She didn’t even know what she was talking about. If it wasn’t her daughter’s wedding day I’d have said something a lot harsher.

“I know a naturopath in the northern suburbs who gets a lot of girls pregnant.” she persisted. “Do you want me to give you his phone number?”

“Actually,” Doug said quickly, before I could open my mouth again and say something I’d probably live to regret. “Sadie has blocked fallopian tubes, among other problems, so a naturopath isn’t really going to help us. Thank you for the suggestion though.”

“Well I’ll pray for you” she said, reaching out to pull me into another tight embrace.

That one actually annoyed me the most. Doug and I are both atheists, but we have absolutely no problem with religion and firmly think others should believe whatever they want to believe. But somehow, this woman had invaded my personal space on both a physical and mental level, offered me ridiculous advice without prompting, and then told me she would pray for me. I didn’t want anyone praying for me, especially when I hadn’t asked them to help me in any capacity. This is someone who I would never in a million years have confided in. She had no right to know about my infertility, let alone tell God about it. I felt violated.

After she finally walked away, it took Doug and I a considerable amount of time to figure out how Diana’s mother had come to know about our fertility treatment. We have since pieced it all together. Doug had confided in his best friend Ben. Ben and Josh play football together and live nearby to each other so they catch up regularly. Ben would have let it slip to Josh, who then went home and told Diana. Diana is the biggest gossip around, so she’d obviously told her family and possibly everyone else at the wedding.

Suddenly I felt very self conscious, and couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone was staring at me. Was I the freaky IVF girl? Did everyone know my secret?

After a tiring and upsetting wedding, we drove the long two hours home and crawled into bed at just past 1am. I was exhausted and just wanted to hide from the world.

When my alarm went off a few short hours later and I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for the start of another arduous work week, I felt like a blanket of pain had been thrown over my body. Sore throat, headache, blocked nose, aching muscles, burning eyes. The dreaded flu was back. How unlucky can one girl be?!

Thankfully I’m on the mend now. I’m glad tomorrow is Friday. I’m going to try to take it easy on the weekend so I can be healthy again before our trip to Adelaide on Wednesday. Touch wood nothing else goes wrong for me between now and then!

 

Scraping the bottom

I’m currently hiding in the restroom at a wedding.

I am not coping very well. I suppose that’s obvious, right? I mean who updates their blog at a wedding?!

How did I get here? How did this become my life?

There’s a pregnant lady at our table. She’s knocking back glass after glass of champagne.

I swear it’s taking everything I have within me not to stand up and punch the champagne flute out of her hand.

She is at our table getting drunk, and I am hiding in a toilet cubicle with terrible period cramps absolutely miserable because our last cycle of fertility treatment failed.

This is a new low for me.

All over red rover

On what was supposed to be my twelfth day past ovulation, I got my period.

I had quietly suspected it was coming the other day when I wrote my last depressing post, and then started to get really weepy. Overwhelming sadness is always my first symptom. But I tried to push the thoughts aside as I reread what I had written. There was just no way. It was too early.

The truth is, having never ovulated before, I didn’t really know what to expect. The only other time I’ve come close to ovulation was my egg pick up in February, and I got my period ten days after that as well but I’d assumed the hormone injections and the artificial nature of the egg removal had caused abnormalities in my cycle.

But no, it turns out I have a ten or eleven day luteal phase. Of course I do! Just one more shitty thing wrong with my shitty body. I mean hey, whatever, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like I’ll ever ovulate again, and even if I did ovulate it’s not like my Fallopian tubes are open to let the egg through. My luteal phase could last ten minutes and it wouldn’t make me any less likely to fall pregnant.

Now I’m just on the countdown to September IVF. I’ll give my body a few weeks rest to mimic a natural cycle then put myself back onto ralovera for seven days to start an artificial period. That’ll be my fifth period of the year! No wonder I’m so tired. I don’t think I’ve ever had my period more than three times in a year my entire life.

I didn’t cope very well at work yesterday. I had to rush off to the bathroom three times to cry. In the end I left work at about 2.30pm because I’d had enough of hiding in a toilet cubicle. I feel like I’m all cried out now, I feel much stronger and calmer today. I’m also feeling more confident about the next round of IVF, and hopeful that we will at least get to egg pick up.

I am incredibly disappointed that my miracle one-in-a-million pregnancy didn’t eventuate, but not really surprised. As Doug said to me yesterday, there’s absolutely nothing to indicate my left Fallopian tube is even still partially open. It’s been eight months since they last checked it, and it’s highly likely it’s closed again. This whole thing was probably never going to happen.

I feel bad ending this on such a low note. So that this post isn’t entirely doom and gloom, I will now tell an amusing anecdote…

Did I mention to you guys that my husband and I are selling our house? We live in a small, two bedroom house that I purchased on my own when I was 22 years old. It was the perfect size for me, and close to the city. When Doug moved in three and a half years ago he brought with him duplicates of everything I own. We suddenly had two sofas, two dining tables, two beds, two outdoor settings etc. He also brought along a vast assortment of fitness crap (for want of a better word) that for some reason found a place right at the front door for all our visitors to admire.

“Hello, welcome to my house, don’t trip on the weights bench, do be sure to navigate around the cross trainer, and mind the treadmill!”

Given our house is clearly too small for us, we decided to take the big mortgage plunge a little earlier than originally intended and find a bigger (read: more expensive) house. It will be something we have to do in the future anyway, because I’m not raising my children in this shoe box, and I don’t plan on moving to a new house when I’m six months pregnant or toting a newborn. Now is really the perfect time to do this.

A little while ago we invited several different real estate agents over to give us appraisals, talk about the value of our property and discuss different marketing strategies. We ended up going with a really great young agent who is super enthusiastic and I’m confident she will get the job done. But one of the other agents said something to me which I just can’t seem to shake.

This agent was probably in her late forties; a well dressed larger lady who didn’t really seem too keen on selling our house, or any house. I think she was in the wrong profession because all she kept doing was complaining about how much she hated her job. Not the best sales pitch! After giving her a tour of the house we were sitting at our dining table going through some marketing strategies when Doug got up to take a phone call and the agent suddenly looked over at me.

“So you’re selling this house because you’re in the family way?” she asked.

There is nothing in our house to indicate we’re starting a family. No crib sitting in a box in the corner, no ultrasound photos stuck to the fridge, nothing. And it’s not like we have a big flashing neon light above the front door that says ‘IVF lady inside…enter at your own risk!’

“No?” I replied, perplexed. “We’re just looking to move to a bigger place closer to our family.”

“Free babysitting?” she asked, winking at me.

Yes that’s right, she was winking at me. As if this was all a big conspiracy.

“No.” I said, more firmly this time. “I’m not pregnant.”

“Ok, I understand,” she said. “Let’s pretend I never mentioned anything.”

I was extremely thankful that she had decided to drop the stupid subject, and hopeful that the conversation could move back to marketing strategies. Not that I was going to hire her to sell our house after all that…

“I know it’s bad luck to talk about your baby while you’re in the first trimester so I understand why you’d want to keep it quiet.” she added as if she couldn’t help herself.

Before I could say anything else Doug sat back down at the table. Not wanting to upset him, I quickly steered the conversation back to selling the house. I was in the middle of an IVF cycle and didn’t need the added stress of seeing my husband throw a real estate agent out onto the front lawn.

After that the meeting couldn’t end soon enough. Not only had she accused me of being secretly pregnant and told us she hated her job, she also told us she thought our house was worth $50,000 less than it actually is and refused to market it for a reasonable price. She was possibly the worst real estate agent in history.

As we were showing her to the front door, she took a step outside then turned back, leaned in super uncomfortably close to my right ear and whispered “congratulations on the baby” before walking away.

“What did she just say to you?” Doug asked.

“She said she liked my earrings.” I lied, pulling him back inside and closing the front door.

I still can’t believe that she refused to accept I wasn’t pregnant. Going through IVF, and particularly going through ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, I’ve become a little swollen around the middle and a few people have mistakenly thought I was pregnant. But when I’ve corrected them, they’ve always had the good grace to look suitably embarrassed. Never mind the fact you should never ask someone if they’re pregnant, this lady didn’t bother asking she just forced a pregnancy upon me.

What’s your worst experience with this? I know we’ve all been there at some stage. Do you get hurt when people think you’re pregnant, or simply laugh it off?

(I think that was a pretty good effort to lighten the mood! Snaps for me!)

Stranger than fiction

You remember that movie ‘Stranger than Fiction’ where Will Ferrell plays an IRS auditor who can hear narration in his head, and it turns out he is the subject of a novel Emma Thompson is writing that’s all being translated into real life? I feel like that’s happening to me right now.

Well, I’m not hearing narration in my head. I’m not that crazy yet. But I do feel like I’m part of someone’s novel and I can’t escape from the stupid plot. My life is too bizarre right now to be anything other than a work of fiction. Did I mention I’m a character in a novel about early pregnancy symptoms? You see, I seem to be afflicted with pretty much every early pregnancy symptom conceivable at the moment.

Sore breasts? Yes. Fatigue? Definitely. Nausea? Yeah, got that. Headaches? Every day. Dull cramping? All the time. Gassy? Uh huh. Bloated? You know it. Backache? Yep. Achy legs and hips, moodiness, runny nose, vivid dreams, food aversion, upset tummy? I’ve got them all!

Pretty much the only things I don’t have right now are creamy cervical mucus (I still have heaps of clear, watery mucus) and a positive pregnancy test. And the thing is, I am extremely doubtful I’m ever going to see either of those things. At least not in this cycle.

You remember how in the movie it turns out Emma Thompson intended for her protagonist to die in her novel, thus Will Ferrell was also fated to die? I’m pretty confident at the end of my novel it will turn out that all these symptoms I’m experiencing mean nothing because I’m not pregnant. My body is just playing one huge, cruel joke on me. I’m not that girl who has a multitude of serious medical problems and ends up magically falling pregnant. I’m not that lucky.

To make matters worse, we’ve realized I can’t start my next IVF cycle in a week’s time, as was originally planned. It’s something we should have known before now, but the truth has only just dawned on us.

About six months ago Doug and I agreed to a long weekend in the Barossa Valley with his boss and her husband. The Barossa Valley is about an hour northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and also where a large proportion of Australia’s wines are produced. We’ve been looking forward to the trip for months. I’ve never actually been to the Barossa, and I haven’t had any vacation time from work since 2009 because I’ve been using all my leave to attend medical appointments and recover from surgeries. I desperately need time away. I desperately need a few days off work that doesn’t involve pain, sickness or hospitals.

But here’s the problem. We will be leaving on Wednesday 28th August and returning on Sunday 1st September. Assuming I get my period this weekend, that will put us at cycle day 11 or 12 when we go away. Anyone going through IVF will understand how critical those few days are. A normal IVF cycle involves a trigger shot late on day 14, and egg pick up on day 16. Even though I’ll be back home in Melbourne for day 16 of my cycle, they can’t trigger me on day 14 without scanning my ovaries first to confirm my follicles are ready. Thus, I can’t do IVF in August. It’s just not possible.

The frustrating thing is, I’ve never had one of those text book normal IVF cycles. My first cycle I was triggered on day 17 and had egg pick up on day 19. My second cycle, I injected for 24 days and ended up not even getting to egg pick up. There’s nothing to indicate I’ll have a normal cycle this time either. But there’s no way the doctor will allow me to go without a scan between day 11 and day 15.

This was supposed to be a win/win month for us. We would either end up miraculously pregnant after I ovulated for the first time ever, or we would dive head first into our third fresh IVF cycle. Yet somehow, as usual, nothing goes to plan in our world and August is going to be a lose/lose month. There will be no one-in-a-million pregnancy and there will be no IVF. I can’t believe I’m so unlucky even my first vacation of any description in five years is contributing to my problems.

I know it’s only a month to wait. I know September isn’t so far away. I know in the grand scheme of things a month doesn’t really matter. But I’m still so supremely frustrated. I’m sick to death of treading water. I’m sick of waiting for it to be my turn for something good to happen. I’m sick of life passing me by. I’m sick of hearing about my sister-in-law and her amazing, awesome, fantastic, easy pregnancy. I don’t want to be injecting myself with hormones when her baby is born. I just won’t cope.

I know what you’re all going to say: Calm down Sadie, relax, take a deep breath. You’re only nine days past ovulation. You don’t know for sure you’re not pregnant yet.

Rationally, I know that’s all true. But I’m not rational right now. I think my hormones are getting the better of me tonight and I can’t help feeling this way. I just want to curl up in a ball and weep. I think the only thing that will cure this is a good night’s sleep.

For now I have Pitch Perfect in the dvd player, a cup of caffeine-free tea warming my belly, my little snuggle-bug puppy curled up in my lap and my husband keeping a watchful eye on me. There’s not much more that can help me tonight.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Welcome to Crazyville. Population: me.

Sadie…you idiot.

Yesterday I went from calm, in control and enjoying my relaxing Saturday to full blown crazy. The insanity set in so swiftly I couldn’t seem to stop it, or even slow it down. One minute I was my normal self and next thing I was Psycho Sadie. I don’t even know how it happened, but now the crazy is turned on I can’t seem to switch it off again.

It started not long after I woke up. I was standing at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth when suddenly I was overcome with an overwhelming urge to vomit. I gagged and spat out the toothpaste.

“What’s wrong with you?” Doug asked, listening to me choke. “That cold still lingering?”

“Yeah it must be.” I replied sadly. “Just my luck!”

I’d come down with a cold earlier in the week and had two days off work to recover. I’d assumed I was over it and was looking forward to enjoying an illness free weekend. It was my first weekend in a long time that didn’t involve hormone injections or the stress of timing sex (or dodgy syringe inseminations) with ovulation. Of course my stupid body had other ideas. The cold was clearly back, except I only had this one weird symptom.

After a quick shower I ran the gauntlet of the freezing hallway and entered the warmth of our bedroom (we can’t afford to heat the whole house – we’re paying for IVF you know!) and started dressing myself. Pulling my bra across my chest and hooking it closed behind my back I winced in pain.

“You ok?” Doug asked, watching me with interest.

“Yeah,” I said, rolling my eyes at the fact he was still watching me like a hawk. “My boobs are so bloody sore today.”

“Still cramping?” he asked oh so casually.

“Yeah I am but don’t get excited Doug. It’s just the progesterone.” I warned him.

My sweet husband had been jumping on my symptoms all week. I’ve never seen a man so eager. Every time I mentioned I had a cramp or felt off he had cried out “Implantation!” and I had to calmly set him straight. It was starting to do my head in.

You see, I know almost certainly that I’m not pregnant. For the past forty-eight hours I’ve had bucket loads of clear, watery cervical mucus. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. When I first noticed it I thought I had peed my pants. Given my propensity to research everything and my newness to ovulation, I immediately turned to Doctor Google for support and learned that this is one of the first signs that your body is preparing for your period to begin. Ideally, if pregnancy was occurring, my mucus would be creamy rather than watery. I’d explained that to Doug and he looked like someone had just told him his kitten was dead.

After the bedroom incident, Doug went off to meet his mates. They were going out to lunch then spending the afternoon and evening at the football. As he was leaving, he kissed me goodbye and asked me if I had any creamy cervical mucus. That’s not normal, right? I mean honestly I was just glad to have him out of my hair for a few hours. I didn’t need his forlorn stares when I was trying to enjoy my weekend and I certainly wasn’t planning to provide rolling updates on my vaginal discharge.

With no one at home I decided to meet up with my mother and go shopping. Doug and I are selling our house and I have been jazzing up the rooms and doing a bit of decorating before the real estate agent comes to take the official photos. I wanted to buy two new rugs and some candles. I also needed some supplies to scrub stains off the tiles in our outdoor area and some pot plants.

After spending a few hours at a department store and going a little bit silly with my credit card, we decided to stop in at the hardware store on the way home to pick up cleaning supplies and pot plants. As soon as I walked in the door, I was overcome with the smell of paint and grabbed my mother’s arm.

“I’m going to be sick.” I gasped.

“What’s that?” she asked absently, perusing a range of garden gnomes near the front of the store.

“I said I’m going to be sick!” I hissed urgently at her.

When she finally turned to look at me I must have been pale as a ghost because she reached out to grab my shoulders, then dragged me through the store to the customer bathroom in the back. In the end I didn’t vomit, just dry retched for a few minutes. But I still felt queasy and had no idea what was wrong with me.

“Have you taken a pregnancy test?” Mum asked when I exited the restroom.

“No Mum!” I replied. “I’m only seven days past ovulation! And I’m not pregnant!”

“How do you know?” she pressed. “You seem pregnant.”

“Because I’m not.” I said firmly.

“Do you have any pregnancy tests at home?” she continued. “Maybe we should buy one?”

“No I don’t have one, and no I don’t want one.” I said, shooting her a warning glare. “Drop it. Now.”

Thankfully she did as I’d asked and didn’t bring it up again for the rest of our shopping expedition.

But it was too late. The seeds of hope had been sown in my mind. That night, as I sat alone on my couch eating Chinese takeaway and waiting for Doug to get home, the cogs in my brain slowly started turning.

Was there a reason Doug and my mother had been looking at me so curiously all day? Was it because I did have nausea, and I did have sore breasts and I had been experiencing dull, pressure cramps for days? Was it because I was pregnant? With that, my rational self completely lost control of the situation and my crazy self came out to play.

You see, I’d lied to my mother at the hardware store. I did have a pregnancy test at home. In fact, I had eleven of them. Like most women going through fertility treatment, I tend to keep stashes of them hidden for emergency purposes. And this was definitely an emergency…right?

Dropping my food, I raced upstairs and pulled the tests out of their hidey place in the back of my wardrobe. I dropped all but one of them onto the bed, and held the packet aloft triumphantly before hurrying into the bathroom. My little dog Arnold followed me excitedly, watching my every move with great interest. His eyes, they were judging me…pulling me back to reality.

“What are you doing Sadie?” I asked myself out loud. “Put the test down. Put it down. Put it down.”

Ignoring my own warning, I ripped open the test packaging and let the contexts slip easily into my hand.

“You’re seven days past ovulation.” I berated myself angrily. “And you’re about to waste a test with evening urine. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING.”

Did I stop? No.

Did I take the test? Yes.

Was it negative? Yes.

Was I devastated? Stupidly, yes.

I threw the ghastly test in the bin then covered it with paper towel so that Doug wouldn’t see it. The last thing I needed was for him to think there was a possibility and start hounding me about my cervical mucus again.

Suddenly feeling tired and depressed, I decided the best thing would be to get a good night’s sleep and try to forget the whole thing had even happened. I knew I could brush it off as a moment of weakness, move on from it and stay strong until mid-week when I originally planned to test. The crazy had momentarily emerged, but I knew I could shove Psycho Sadie back down inside me. No one needed to know about my little slip up.

Then I woke up this morning, locked myself in the bathroom and did another pregnancy test.

I LOCKED MYSELF IN THE BATHROOM AND DID ANOTHER PREGNANCY TEST.

I have full blown lost it, people. Full blown lost it….

An infertile and her pregnancy tests are easily parted I suppose. So I guess I’ll be testing every day from now until I either get a positive result or my period because I don’t see any other way to end this madness. Either way, I hope something puts Psycho Sadie out of her misery soon because it looks like she’s here to stay for the next little while at least.

Weakest. Resolve. Ever.