Archive | October 2013

Being invisible

Last night after work I drove to the supermarket and stocked up on enough FRER and Clear Blue digitals to see me through to Monday. I know they say you can’t see a miscarriage on pee sticks, but I did last time and I’m confident I will again. Maybe that’s just the crazy talking…

The cashier who served me was a young girl, probably 18 at the most. As she scanned each box of tests through the register she openly gawked at me. She couldn’t have looked more horrified if I’d turned up to the store completely naked. I felt like a massive idiot and knew my face was burning bright red from shame.

And then of course this morning I decided not to bother even testing, so my embarrassment was for nought.

I didn’t really see the point in wasting a test. I did test last night, and it showed a solid positive, as I have come to expect with evening urine. I was sure if I tested with first morning urine I would just get that same faded second line I have seen all week in the morning. No darker or lighter each morning, just a lingering display of something I know won’t come to fruition.

I hardly slept last night. I actually ended up taking my dog Arnold into the spare room and curling up on the bed with him because my tossing and turning was disturbing my husband. I go through periods of feeling incredibly hopeless and beaten down, but mostly I just feel numb. What if this happens to me every time I get to embryo transfer? What if I get pregnant every time then lose the embryo before I even get to see it on an ultrasound? My doctor says chemical pregnancies don’t count for anything. Will none of my “children” ever count?

My sister-in-law Jess really isn’t helping my mental state at the moment, either. Did I mention after her baby was born I went out shopping and even though it broke my heart (and my bank) I spent over 2 hours and $175 buying her a whole swag of adorable baby clothing. I purchased things I would dress my own child in. I thought of my own children as I sorted through the racks. I wanted to show her I was happy for her, and was able to see past my own misfortunes to support her. Because she lives 8 hours away I then spent an hour individually wrapping each tiny outfit in pink tissue paper and thoughtfully wrote a card wishing her family every happiness, then posted them out to her.

Yesterday I received a text message from my mother-in-law, who is staying with Jess for a while to help with the baby. It said “How cute are those clothes you sent out!”

That was it. No thank you from anyone. No acknowledgement from Jess whatsoever. I didn’t even know they had received the gifts. It’s like I don’t even exist.

And both those women know exactly what I am going through. Doug called his mother and told her about our beta result. I understand maybe it’s hard to know what to say to me, but there’s no need to completely ignore me! How is it going to help me if my family starts to stigmatize me? I didn’t expect Jess to pick up the phone and talk to me for hours about how I feel or what I’m going through. I know this is a joyful time for her. All I expected was a text message that said “thank you for the gift.” Honestly, that’s it. But I’m not even worth that much apparently.

My husband’s father is so sweet and supportive, but his mother and sister just treat me like I’m a thorn in their sides.

It hurts me because I used to be very close to Jess before we found out I was infertile. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding and I used to spend so much time with her. I really felt like she was my sister and that she would always have my back. How very wrong I was! And to make matters worse she herself has suffered from mental health issues (anxiety and depression) most of her life and I’ve always been very supportive of her and tried to help her as much as I could. So for her to turn her back on me in my time of need is doubly hard to bear.

I was hoping to be able to talk over my feelings with my new counselor, but my appointment for today has just been postponed two weeks. Just my luck!! So I’ve deactivated my Facebook account in the meantime so at least I won’t have to be bombarded with any more photos of my new niece or hear Jess talk about how perfect her life is.

Sorry for this rambling post. I can only assume you’ll see more of these as I make my way closer to Monday….

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And my beta result is….

This morning I made sure I was at the pathology clinic at 6.50am, so I was first in line when the doors opened at 7am. I could have visited the clinic close to my home, but instead I chose to drive an extra half an hour so that I could get my blood drawn at the clinic with the pathology lab attached that processes the tests. A pathologist had informed me I would get my results quicker if I had my test done there, which made logical sense.

While I was waiting for the doors to open, I checked facebook. Even though we had informed my sister-in-law that today was our big test day, she had still thoughtfully posted “Feeling so blessed to wake up at 4am this morning to feed my gorgeous new baby. There is seriously no better way to start your day and nothing I would rather be doing. How good is it to be a mum!” and it was sitting right there at the top of my newsfeed.

Utterly. Appalled.

Thankfully the doors opened soon afterwards and I was able to push my husband’s sister to the back of my mind and focus on my blood test.

I hoped to receive the result by midday, but alas that wasn’t the case. The paperwork on my desk assured me I would receive my results by 2pm at the latest, so what followed was the absolute slowest two hours of my entire life. I literally watched the clock for two hours.

What’s the time now? 12.15pm. What’s the time now? 12.16pm. What’s the time now? Still 12.16pm. Wait…….now it’s 12.17pm.

Then the clock struck two. And I looked at my phone. And it didn’t ring.

“What the devil!” said I.

So I sat on my hands and I kept waiting. That is, I kept waiting until 8 minutes past 2, when I had decided that I would not be waiting anymore and prompty phoned my fertility clinic.

It was then that I was informed by one of the nurses that the pathology lab was running behind schedule and my results had been delayed. Oh hey, you know what would have been courteous? IF YOU HAD PHONED ME EARLIER TO LET ME KNOW OF THE DELAY, YOU ASSHAT.

Just after 3pm my phone rang again, and I jumped up from my desk at work (super productive here in my office today, by the way…) and ran into the corridor to take the call so my colleagues couldn’t eavesdrop.

My beta result? 35.

The nurse is extremely pessimistic about my chances here, particularly given I saw my first positive on a test 4 days ago. My numbers should be much higher by now. The nurse seems to think this pregnancy is following the exact course of my last pregnancy, and I lost that one at 5 weeks 3 days.

The worst news of all is that I can’t have another blood draw until Saturday morning, and then won’t receive the results until Monday. I have to wait 5 whole days for someone to confirm I am no longer pregnant. How fun is this weekend going to be!!

I almost sobbed on the phone asking the nurse if there’s anything I can do to stop this pregnancy from going anywhere. She said no. I asked if I should be getting my estrogen and progesterone levels checked. She said no. She said there’s nothing I can do and I just need to wait for Monday then speak to my doctor.

I wish I could have a stiff drink, but I don’t even get that as a consolation prize just yet.

And now we wait.

Again.

Pre-beta insanity

You guys, I think I am legit going insane.

I know my beta is only 16 hours away, and I know I was cautioned by many of you not to read too much into pee stick results, but I just can’t take this anymore! My head is about to explode! The rational side of my brain knows this is silly, but the rational side of my brain is no longer in the drivers seat.

Late last night I decided on a whim to do another pregnancy test, as you do. It must have been almost 11pm. I hadn’t been to the bathroom since maybe 7pm but I had drunk 2.5 litres of water during the day so I was expecting nothing much to show up in the result window. I was shocked to get a much stronger positive than that morning. I was super happy, thinking maybe it wasn’t a chemical after all. But when I tested this morning at 7am the line was faded again! How can that be??

You can see in this photo the stark difference between the test I took last night and the test this morning…

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But then I compared the test I took yesterday morning to the test this morning and it is nearly identical in strength (or lack of strength more like it) to the test this morning…

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Is it possible that my evening urine has a stronger concentration of pregnancy hormone? Was the test from last night just a test that had too much dye? I am mindful that on Sunday I tested negative in the morning then received my first positive that night. Shouldn’t the tests be getting darker in the morning?? Not darker in the evening??

Also, my breasts aren’t very sore anymore. They’re still a little sore but I don’t wake up from pain if I roll over in the night anymore. Is that bad??

But on the other hand my sense of smell has lost the plot. Every little smell is getting right up my nose and making me feel ill. And this morning I had to rush to the bathroom and vomit for the first time. I have definitely felt queasy the past few days. Those are all good signs, am I right?

I know I just need to keep calm until my test tomorrow. But that’s easier said than done! I have lost the ability to keep calm.

Any pee stick experts out there care to analyse my tests and put me out of my misery?? Failing that, can anyone lend me a couple of Valium? Ha…ha…

Fertiles say the darndest things

No posts for a month, then ya’ll get two posts in one day. I’m nothing if not unpredictable. 

I just needed to share this snapshot of my life with you guys. It pretty much sums up why I have stopped talking to friends and family about my infertility struggles. I used to talk to a lot of people about my trouble falling pregnant. By a lot of people I mean maybe a dozen – a few people at work, some close friends, and lots of people within my family. But those who I confided in kept reacting in ways that I hadn’t hoped, or anticipated that they would react. They kept coming out with the wackiest crap…

“Maybe this is God’s way of telling you that you shouldn’t have children.”

“Mother nature wants you to be a career woman.”

“If you were supposed to be a mother it wouldn’t be this hard for you.”

“Why do you need a child? Dogs are so much better anyway.”

“You want kids so bad? Ugh take mine, they’re driving me crazy today.”

“It’ll happen if you relax. Just relax. I said just relax. Are you relaxing?”

“But your husband has red hair. What if you go to all this trouble and end up with a ginger baby?”

I’m sure you get the picture. In general, people suck. So I’ve stopped confiding in them. Now if they ask me how I’m going with “you know, the whole IVF thing” I just say fine thank you and change the topic of conversation.

Thankfully I get great ongoing support from my husband and my mother when I need it. My brother Alex has moved home to Melbourne and is living with us temporarily while he finds his own place, so he’s around as well if I need help. He makes me laugh like no one else can so he always lightens my dark moods. I also have a cousin, Phoebe, who I see and speak to regularly. She is supportive without being pushy and often comes to my appointments with me if my husband can’t make it. With the four of them in my life (and the virtual support I receive on wordpress!) I don’t really need anyone else. 

But tonight I received a phone call from an old friend. We used to be really close and tell each other everything – we spoke every single day. I leaned on her for support during my first cycle of IVF, but she doesn’t want children so she could never really relate to my struggles and we drifted apart. Now we talk maybe once or twice a fortnight, usually via text message, and only exchange superficial pleasantries. I haven’t actually seen her for a few months. But tonight when she phoned, I just felt like I really needed someone to talk to who wasn’t already in my inner sanctum.

“Hi,” she said when I picked up the phone. “How’s your day been today?”

“So shit.” I said sadly.

“Me too.” she groaned. “Why was your day shit?”

I took a deep breath and decided to just tell the truth. 

“I had two embryos transferred recently. I tested positive on two pregnancy tests yesterday but this morning the tests weren’t great. I think this is another chemical pregnancy.” There was silence on the phone so I translated my last words into laymen’s. “An early miscarriage.”

Again, there was silence on the other end of the line. 

“That sucks.” she finally said, then without taking a breath she continued. “My day sucked because I had to go to the doctor today.”

“Oh no!” I gasped, immediately trying to push my own problems aside. “Are you ok?”

All types of awful scenarios flashed through my mind. Was it serious? Did she have cancer? A sexually transmitted illness? Diabetes?

My friend sighed heavily and I could almost hear her rolling her eyes through the phone.

“Lately my tongue has been really white,” she said. “And I heard that means something is wrong in your body. So I went and saw the doctor but he just told me I’m a hypochondriac. Can you believe it?” 

Then it was my turn to be silent. I mean….wait…what? I’d just told her I was most likely having another early miscarriage and she was more interested in talking about the colour of her tongue? The colour…of her tongue? Could I believe it? Actually no, I couldn’t. Who did she think she was? Miley Cyrus?

“Why don’t you just drink more water?” I said flatly. “Maybe you’re dehydrated.” 

“You think?” she asked, suddenly perking up. “How much do you drink each day?”

“At least two litres.” I replied. “Normally two and a half litres, but that’s because I’m doing IVF.”

Once again, she completely glossed over my words and ignored the fact I’d mentioned fertility treatment. 

“Shit that’s a lot of water!” she said. “I don’t drink anywhere near that much. Ugh I just hate stupid doctors so much! I’m glad I don’t have to go see doctors. You know what I mean?” 

No, I don’t know what you mean. I go see doctors all the friggen time. I’m doing IVF. Remember? REMEMBER?

No matter how far I travel in my infertility journey I am always surprised by the insensitivity of others. I do understand that it’s hard for those who are uninformed. I know that sometimes they don’t know what to say, they can’t relate to me, they don’t know how to make me feel better. But sometimes a simple “I’m sorry this is happening to you” goes a long way to making me feel less isolated. 

Towards the end of our conversation she suddenly brought up pregnancy again.

“It’ll be great when you’re pregnant.” she said flippantly.

“I’m pregnant now.” I responded through gritted teeth. 

“Yeah but I mean when you don’t lose the baby.” she replied as if she hadn’t said something offensive. “Like, when you’re showing.”

“Why?” I asked, unsure where the conversation was headed.

“Some pregnant chicks look fat but I reckon you’ll look ok.” was the only explanation she offered.

After that, I ended the phone call pretty quickly.

I had to laugh about it, otherwise I would have cried. I have enough stress and negative energy buzzing around my body at the moment, without adding shitty friends to the equation. I’ve had blinding menstrual cramps all day to add to the stress of the fading positives on my pregnancy tests, I’ve had a killer headache since lunch time but obviously couldn’t take any medication, I’m being bombarded with photos of my sister-in-law’s new baby and I have to be at work at 6.45am tomorrow for a work meeting I do not want to attend. Life is hard enough!

Thank goodness for peanut butter ice cream. That’s all I can say!

P.s next post will definitely be about the mother-in-law. Promise!

 

Good news, bad news.

Is this actually happening to me again?

Yesterday I saw strong positives on two home pregnancy tests. The trigger was definitely out of my system because I tested it out last week. You can’t imagine my level of excitement.

This morning I tested with three tests. The line is barely visible on two of them and the third test is negative.

This is another chemical pregnancy isn’t it? Am I watching this one fade out so quickly?

My doctor keeps telling me I have one of the best uterus linings she has ever seen. But is it not sticky enough? Or something? Does it smell bad? Is it not as cool as the other uteruses and my embryos don’t want to hang out with it?

Last night I went to sleep dreaming about having a baby to hold in July. This morning I think that dream was just a nightmare.

This is why the doctors tell you not to test early. This right here. Ugh why do we do this to ourselves?

An abridged account of my current IVF cycle

I’m bummed that my depression means I have missed out on recording an account of my entire current cycle. This is our third fresh cycle of IVF, but our fourth cycle of fertility treatment when we include our FET in March. So for my own peace of mind rather than anything else, I’m going to just knock out a little history in dot-point form. I must warn any of you who plan to read this – prepare to be bored.

  • 1 October – my first day of FSH injections (125 IU Puregon).  I have just recovered from pneumonia and returned to work a few days earlier, but we decide to press ahead with the cycle for financial reasons. In Australia we have a Medicare “safety net” that catches patients undergoing any type of expensive medical treatment. Our healthcare system is amazingly subsidised, but patients who need extra help are eligible to receive even more in subsidies once their medical spending for the year reaches the safety net cap amount. You are automatically caught by the safety net, and the subsidies aren’t means tested. I don’t know what that capped amount is, but we reached it in January (ha…ha) and after that point all of our medical bills became cheaper. It brings the cost of each IVF cycle down substantially. This was our last chance to do a cycle for the year, and as of 1 January 2014 the safety net resets to zero and we have to spend money on medical treatment to reach it again. We figured we may as well give this cycle a red hot crack while it was still cheap.
  • 5 October – start Orgalutran shots. Hello old friend, I’ve missed you. I enjoy the time we spend together and the searing pain, redness and swelling that flows across my swollen belly like a tsunami every time I inject myself. IVF is fun!
  • 8 October – my first scan. As usual, my ovaries are slow responders. My first scan shows a bunch of follicles (which is normal because of my PCOS) but the biggest is measuring 5.7mm. The doctor instructs me to stay on the Orgalutran just for another couple of days until we can check my ovaries again.
  • 10 October – Finally something is happening. My left ovary is responding, but the follicles are all small. A couple are around 11mm. My right ovary has shrunk back down. The doctor is worried all but one of the follicles are also going to shrink and my body will try and ovulate again. This didn’t work out for us last cycle, given the fact my tubes are blocked. I am nervous. Doug is optimistic. Stupid husband…
  • 12 October – Cooking with gas. The follicles on the left side continue to grow and a few are now 15mm. The doctor is extremely happy because it looks like we are going to get just a few mature follicles and hopefully I will avoid OHSS after pick up. She told me that any doctor can get 30 eggs out of a girl with severe PCOS, but it takes a brilliant doctor to get just 7. Do doctors even realise when they are blowing smoke up their own asses? We decide to do a 50/50 split of IVF and ICSI. Previously we have done ICSI because my husband’s sperm quality is borderline, however I am paranoid about ICSI birth defects and want to try IVF. We have never done straight IVF before and I want to see if we can be successful, but the doctor is concerned none of the eggs will fertilize and we will all feel awful. The 50/50 split is a compromise we are all happy with.
  • 14 October – Go time! The scan shows approximately 6 follicles on the left, the largest measuring 20mm and the rest ranging in size from 19mm to 14mm. There are also two follicles measuring 13.5mm that have popped up on the right ovary. The doctor is pleased with how I’m looking and tells me to trigger at 5pm that evening. I am still at work at 5pm so I duck into the bathroom and inject myself. I feel naughty but I don’t know why. What if someone sees me and thinks I’m a heroin addict?
  • 15 October – Paranoia. We need to arrive at the hospital at 6am tomorrow for admission, which means a 5am wakeup call. Yay! The time between trigger and pick up is 38 hours. My last clinic did the pick up after 36 hours. This slight difference has resulted in anxiety, sleeplessness and insane googling of phrases like “38 hour egg pick up, did they miss the eggs” and “what happens if they miss the eggs”
  • 16 October – Before egg pick up. After arriving at 6am, I am called through to the presurgical waiting room really quickly. I like that there’s no messing about. I am weighed – 76kg. I have put on 3kg during the injection period of my cycle. During my first cycle I had put on double that amount before pick up so I am pleased. I am dressed in a sexy blue hospital gown, an even sexier hair net and told unfortunately I can’t wear any underwear. Not even the mesh type! But then I’m wrapped under warm blankets so I don’t mind. I am wheeled through to the surgical theatre at 7am. We all have to wait outside the room for 5 minutes while they warm the room up for my eggs. My last clinic didn’t do this and it fills me with confidence. Of course the eggs need a consistent temperature. Warming the room up makes sense! While we’re waiting the nurses talk to me. They’re all shocked that I’m there for an egg pick up and keep saying “but you’re just a baby” I try to explain I just look young without makeup, but they insist that most of the women they see having egg pick ups are 40. I think they’re exaggerating. When I’m wheeled into the theatre I tell the doctor I’m worried about the 38 hour time lapse, but she squeezes my hand and tells me the eggs will still be there.
  • 16 October – After egg pick up. Suddenly the surgery is over. I don’t remember going to sleep. The nurse in the recovery ward is talking to me, and asking me if I am ok. When I tell her that I am, she informs me that she was very worried about me. Apparently they’d already woken me up once before but I’d complained I was going to vomit and my blood pressure had plummeted then I’d passed out. I have no memory of such an event occuring. There’s a sticker on my left hand and someone has written on it in black pen “7 eggs” and then added a smiley face. They got eggs! I am relieved at that, but also disappointed as I was hoping to get at least 10. I am shocked we have managed to extract my doctor’s perfect number and expect she will gloat about it when I see her next. After I eat something and empty my bladder, the nurse scans my belly and it shows my bladder is still full. We repeat this process several times over the next few hours, but every time I go to the bathroom and think my bladder is empty the ultrasound shows it’s even more full than before. Eventually they have to catheter me because they are worried my bladder isn’t functional. I am terrified of the catheter, but pleasantly surprised that it actually isn’t very painful. Can one be pleasantly surprised by a catheter? Anyway, turns out my bladder was actually empty and had likely been empty the entire time. The ultrasound scan is picking up free floating fluid outside my bladder. This is a bad sign and means I am suffering mild OHSS. The doctor wants me monitored to make sure it doesn’t progress like it did last time.
  • 17 October – Road to recovery. I am feeling super. Hardly any cramps, although I am still extremely bloated. So this is what it feels like to have an egg pick up and not almost die. The embryologist phones to let me know they did IVF with 3 of our 7 eggs, and ICSI with the remaining 4. Two of the IVF eggs have fertilized, and two of the ICSI eggs have fertilized. I am really upset that our measly 7 is already reduced to 4. Given this low number, the doctor decides to swap out our day 5 blast transfer to a day 3 cleavage transfer. I am now very upset because I know this lessens our chances. The transfer is scheduled for 19 October.
  • 18 October – Winning battles. I research extensively and find evidence that the success rate is slightly higher for day 3 embryos when two are transferred instead of one. First I convince my husband that I want to change up the transfer. He is not keen, but utters those magic words “whatever you want darling” which easily wins me the battle. Next I need to convince my IVF nurse, who is the gatekeeper to my doctor. She is easily persuaded. Finally, I need to convince my doctor. She is the toughest nut to crack. She keeps on stressing the increased birth risks for fraternal twins. I ask her what the risk of fraternal twins is when two embryos are transferred on day 3. “1 in 4” she says. I then ask her what the risk of identical twins is when one blast is transferred on day 5. “1 in 4” she says. I then ask if the risks are higher for identical twins and she says they are. She suddenly sees the point I am making. The original plan was to transfer one embryo on day 5, so my risks of twins are the same either way. She concedes defeat, stresses it’s my decision and says she is happy to sign off on two embryos if that’s what I want. Victory.
  • 19 October – Peanut and Butters on board. While filling my bladder for my transfer I sit nervously by the phone, but hoping it doesn’t ring. The clinic will only call me if there are no embryos alive to transfer when they check them in the incubator. Thankfully the phone remains quiet and we head off to the hospital at 11am. I am not in very much pain and wonder if my bladder isn’t full enough. These are the types of stupid concerns you have when you do IVF. You worry when you aren’t in pain. The embryologist shows me the best two embryos available to transfer. A perfect day 3 embryo should have eight cells. Our two embryos are both grade 2. The first is 6 cells (minimum acceptable number of cells for a healthy embryo at day 3), with no signs of fragmentation (good!) but not compacted (bad). The second is 7 cells (slightly behind ideal), with some fragmentation (bad) but showing great signs of compacting (good!). Interestingly these two embryos are both of the ICSI embryos. We have a grade 3 IVF embryo in the incubator which the embryologist doesn’t think will make it, and the other IVF embryo has already arrested. The embryologist says she has never seen anything quite like our grade 3 embryo. The shell is extremely thick because all the reject sperm have clung to it to form a barrier. She said this often happens a little, but for our embryo it has happened big time. She is fascinated but also stresses this is proof that in the future we need to do ICSI. Our IVF experiment has failed. Our two embryos are transferred. I watch them enter my uterus. I name the 6 cell Peanut and the 7 cell Butter. Afterwards we go to breakfast and I tell Doug that Peanut is a boy but Butter is a girl. He looks at me like I’m absolutely insane. Which…I am. He asks if we can call the embryo Butters instead of Butter, because he likes South Park. I reluctantly agree. Peanut and Butters. My little fighters.
  • 21 October – Welcome to the family Jelly! The embryologist phones me. She says she was surprised to see our IVF embryo in the incubator was a strong finisher and she was able to freeze it as a grade 2 blastocyst. I am both shocked and thrilled. To have a back up embie on ice was all I ever wanted. She stresses that the shell is still extremely thick and suggests even with assisted hatching the little guy might not be able to wiggle his way out of the shell to implant. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. To match with Peanut and Butters I name the third embryo Jelly. Doug isn’t happy because in Australia we put jam with our peanut butter. I stick with the name Jelly because embryos look kinda like jelly.
  • And now….we wait. Official beta day is 30 October.

Congratulations if you’ve read this far! What a boring update. To make it more interesting here’s a photo of Peanut and Butters. They’re cute, huh?

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To make up for this boring post, next time I write I’ll update you all on my charming mother-in-law. Everybody loves to read about mothers-in-law! Especially bitchy ones! Am I right or am I right? I am right.

A light in the night

It was very late at night, perhaps almost midnight.

My husband Doug and I were lying in bed, in the dark, listening to the monotonous whoosh of the fan turning overhead and our dog’s quiet snores wafting across the room from his bed in the corner. Just as I was drifting off to sleep the room suddenly lit up.

“That’s your phone.” I said. “Someone has sent you text message.”

“Have they?” murmured Doug, also half asleep. “That’s nice.”

Realising he wasn’t going to fetch his phone off his nightstand, and curious about who would text at such a time, I stretched over his body and plucked his iPhone off the charger. I could see his sister’s name on the brightly lit screen.

“It’s Jess.” I said, shaking him a little. “Maybe the baby is coming?”

My sister-in-law Jess was due any day with her second baby. The one that had taken them three months to conceive. The one that had been flaunted in my face for the past nine months, never mind the fact that for a time earlier in the year we had both been pregnant and I’d lost my chance at happiness in April.

“The baby isn’t coming.” Doug said, taking his phone and putting it back on the charger. “We have just been texting all night. Chatting.”

“This is very late for her to be chatting.” I pointed out, mildly suspicious.

“She has insomnia.” he said dismissively.

With that, he curled his arm around my waist, pulled my body flush against his and whispered in my ear that I should try to get some sleep.

The next morning I was awoken by the sound of my own phone vibrating insistently. Someone was calling me. I forced my eyes open and glanced at the screen. My mother-in-law’s name was buzzing at me. My mother-in-law and I barely speak to each other anymore. She wouldn’t call me at 7am even if her house was burning down. It could only mean one thing. I ignored the call, threw back the blanket, trudged down the hall and found Doug in the shower.

“Your mother is trying to call me.” I said. “She must have baby news.”

Doug turned off the shower, wrapped a towel around his waist and crossed the room to wrap his arms around me.

“Jess went into labour yesterday.” he said. “I didn’t tell you because I wanted you to get a good night’s sleep. The baby was born about an hour ago. It’s a little girl and they named her Amy.”

And that is how my heart broke into a million pieces.

Of course I pretended I was fine, I said how pleased I was that Jess had an easy birth, how excited I was that Layla had a new little sister and then I kissed my husband goodbye as he rushed off to an early work meeting. But as soon as his car’s tail lights had disappeared around the corner I was a sobbing mess.

I cried as I showered myself, cried as I sat with my legs on the edge of the bath tub inserting another tube of Crinone gel into my cervix to provide progerstone support to the low quality embryos that had been transferred six days ago and surely hadn’t implanted. I cried as I dressed myself, cried as I fed the dog, cried as I realised I had spent so long crying that I had now missed the bus and would be late for work. I cried as I reversed my own car out of the drive, cried as I drove to work, cried as I paid for parking, and then somehow managed to pull myself together right before I entered my office. Just after 10am I lost it again, locked myself in one of the bathroom stalls and cried so hard I couldn’t breathe anymore. Gulping for lungfuls of air, I began to choke, and then gag. I thought I was going to pass out.

The birth of new babies are a time for celebration. But I felt like I couldn’t have been more upset if someone had told me my grandmother was dead. This was…grief. But what was I grieving for? I was bitter, despondent and guilty. Good people didn’t react in such a way when they were given happy news. There was clearly something very wrong with me.

Jess and her husband had started trying for their second baby a year after we started trying for our first. And yet here they were actually holding their little bundle of joy, and we were still childless. And filled with hate. Jess and her baby were a reminder of every inadequacy in my reproductive system. They were proof that I was flawed, incapable, a failure.

Another small piece of hope was sapped from my heart that morning. With Jessica’s baby came irrefutable proof that the world was moving on, that the world had never stopped. The world does not wait for me, or my children. Other people around me would fall pregnant and have healthy babies, but my life would continue to be on stand-by. And that was something completely out of my control. Other people were going to feel joy even if I felt none, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I felt absolutely disgusted that I still feel nothing but bitterness, jealousy and anger for Jess and her baby. I don’t know who I have become. I don’t recognise my own face in the mirror anymore. I have become weak, and sad, and little.

Even my fertility doctor noticed that I have “allowed negative thoughts to take over my mind” lately. I haven’t had the emotional strength to blog. I have very much wanted to write, because writing is something I love, and my emotional outlet. But when I would log into wordpress, I’d just stare at the computer screen until I thought I was going to cry, and then click the little red X in the top corner. I had become a shell of myself. A dark blanket has been thrown across my mind, and is stifling my happiness and sense of self.

The fertility doctor said she has seen this happen before. Infertile women reach a point where they are just completely beaten down by their circumstances, and they just become tired of it all. Will I ever be a mother? I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. Does that tear me up inside? Yes, it really does. My doctor has referred me to a new counsellor. My first appointment is next week. She specialises in treating women who are going through IVF, so maybe she will be more understanding than the last counsellor I saw.

I’m not sure how much shit one person can put up with in one year. Major surgery, three cycles of IVF, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a frozen embryo transfer, early pregnancy loss, pushing through with my exams and graduating from my masters degree, a horrible bout of the flu, strep throat, pneumonia, finding out I am losing my job at the end of the year, a nasty mother-in-law, watching my sister-in-law have her perfect second baby, and most likely finding out this cycle has also been a bust and my embryos didn’t take. Again.

I found this little quote and I really like it. I think it applies to me. I am trying to make it my mantra.

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I am trying to fight my way out of this fog of depression and anxiety. I will try to write more, I will try to tell you about my cycle, I will try to offer you all the support I once offered you. The support I appreciated so much from you, and the support I enjoyed providing in return. I’m not making any promises, but I will try. And maybe one day I will look back on this and feel pride that I made it through to the other side. Maybe.