Archive | November 2013

My Aussie non-Thanksgiving list

We don’t do Thanksgiving in Australia. We don’t have anything remotely similar. In fact, it’s not even Thanksgiving Day anymore here because we’re a day ahead of the USA, so I’m currently enjoying my Friday afternoon (hi from the future, you should see our flying cars!).

But everyone else is posting lists of things they’re thankful for and I feel like I’m missing out on both a delicious turkey dinner and the chance to be thankful. That just isn’t very fair now is it?

Then I realised that this is the internet. There’s no rules here. If I want to post a list of things I’m thankful for ain’t nobody going to stop me! So without further ado, may I present my list of the things I’m grateful for in 2013….

My Aussie non-Thanksgiving list

  • My husband Doug. For sitting by my bedside every time I’m admitted to hospital, even though he constantly reminds me that catheters freak him out and he shouldn’t have to watch me pee into a bag. For changing the television channel when babies or pregnant ladies come on the screen, steering conversations with friends and strangers away from danger areas, and sticking up for me when I can’t stick up for myself. For patiently letting me talk for hours about the merits of different IVF protocols, even when he is clearly bored. For making me laugh, though only sometimes deliberately. For making me happy when I’m sad, making me feel loved, making me feel beautiful. For being my best friend.
  • My dog Arnold. For being my little replacement baby, 2.4kg of black poodle fluff, and the tiny light of my life. For loving me wholly and unconditionally, all of the time. For always falling asleep when I flip him on his back and rock him like a baby while I sing lullabies. For never running out of licks, especially when those licks can be angled so they go up my nose. Because who doesn’t love it when their dog sticks his tongue up their nose? For being my constant shadow, lying on the bath mat while I take a shower, following me up and down the staircase all day long, and sleeping by my bedside every night (and sometimes spooned in front of me when Doug doesn’t catch him hopping up on the bed).
  • Two little pink lines. For allowing me to experience the joy of a positive pregnancy test. Even though those pregnancies have been fleeting, and I have been devastated to see those pink lines fade twice this year, I am grateful that I am now able to say I have been pregnant and hope to be pregnant again in the future. I know some women in this lovely online community who are yet to see those two glorious pink lines appear on a test stick. The unlucky few will never see them. My doctor reminds me that 80% of women who can become pregnant will carry a child to term. Those are good odds, and that’s something to be thankful for.
  • Nemo, Peanut and Butters. For having a small amount of time with each of my three little battlers this year. Even though I lost Nemo at 5 weeks 3 days, he will always be my first pregnancy. From 34 eggs he was my only remaining embryo on day 6 and he was such a strong little AA graded blastocyst. I’m thankful for the few weeks I spent with him, and the hope that he symbolised. And I’m thankful for my little twinnies Peanut and Butters, one of whom I lost before implantation and the other who struggled on to 6 weeks, 2 days in an unknown location. I’ll never know which one kicked on those few extra weeks with me, but I’m grateful to know he/she was such a fighter it took a dose of methotrexate to quell their spirit. I’m so glad I was able to document their short little lives, so that I can remember them and tell my future children about them. My angel babies, whom I loved so deeply despite never truly knowing them.
  • The chance to try again. We have our little Jelly waiting for us in the freezer. I’m so thankful we have another chance to become parents. And I’m also very grateful that the government subsidies in this country mean we can afford to go through another cycle or two of IVF before we run out of money. We aren’t near the end of our journey yet, we still have the opportunity to achieve our dream of having a family.
  • My family. My mother for always being there for me, even when I’m a bitch and take out my hormonal mood swings on her. My cousin Phoebe for sometimes acting as my replacement husband and attending appointments with me, even when they involve vaginal ultrasounds. My father-in-law for caring enough to cry tears of joy every time we have an egg pick-up, and tears of sorrow every time we lose a pregnancy. My brother Alex, who I communicate with predominantly through the use of pop culture references (which still confuses the hell out of my husband who was never a fan of Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live, Monty Python or Judd Apatow) and for being the only other person on this planet with the exact same sense of humour as me.
  • This online community. I never thought I would find such joy and comfort online. I know none of you personally, but I feel like I know you all so well. And I feel like you all know me. This is such a safe space to express true feelings without fear of persecution. It’s a place to vent and share bitter disappointments, as well as to celebrate achievements and the good times. You are my support network. You get me through the darkness of my infertility journey. You give me the opportunity to express myself. For all those things, I thank you.
  • Chocolate. Thank you to Cadbury, Nestle, Haighs and every other chocolate manufacturer. Thank you to the Spanish for creating the word ‘chocolate’ and bringing it to Europe, so that it could then be brought to Australia. Thank you for the industrial revolution that brought with it machines that enabled chocolate to be hardened and sold en masse in it’s current form. Just…so much thanks. I love you chocolate. I love you.

Happy Thanksgiving guys, from your friend down under!

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Typical. More drama.

Shannon over at hellomynameistubeless.wordpress.com recently pointed out that we are very similar, so I thought I would continue with that theme and briefly move away from infertility to talk about our home renovations. I know this is a blog about my struggles with infertility, but I’m off treatment until 2014 so I thought it would be a neat idea to share some non-fertility related stories and give you all some extra insight into my life. Shannon is demolishing her bathroom right now and I’m glad to say my renovations are nowhere near the same scale or ferocity, but they are nonetheless a ridiculous source of frustration for me.

I have mentioned previously that we sold our house and purchased a new one (you can read a little about it here if you’ve forgotten – kindly ignore the plentiful mentions of my vagina in that post). The great news is that a little over a week ago we finally took possession of our new home. My husband was particularly excited about this fact and seemingly reverted to his childhood self. By that I mean he ran from room to room squealing loudly and clapping his hands like a demented seal.

I understand why he was so ecstatic. We have upgraded from a two bedroom, one bathroom house with a tiny backyard to a four bedroom, three bathroom house with multiple living areas and a large backyard with a pool. This new house is great and obviously a significant step up from our first house, but it’s definitely not our “dream home” if you know what I mean. The living spaces and bedrooms are smaller than our ideal, and it’s a bit further out from the city than we’d hoped for. But it’s not exactly realistic to expect to find your dream home when you’re 27 years old!

Basically, this house is supposed to be our “medium-term” house. The place where we will bring our newborns home from the hospital and they will spend the first years of their lives. We plan to upgrade to a house that is closer to our dream home when our youngest child starts school. So essentially the plan is to be in this house for around 7 to 10 years, depending on how long it takes me to fall [and stay] pregnant, and how much money we can save.

The great thing about this house is that the previous owners renovated about 80% of it. They put in a new kitchen, the pool, repainted the exterior, extended the outdoor entertainment area, erected a brand new double carport, and built a huge shed which we are going to convert to a “man cave” for Doug. This was really the kind of house we wanted, because by renovating that remaining 20% we are able to put our own stamp on the property as well as add a lot of value when it comes to resale.

We decided to get a few big jobs done before we moved in, so that we wouldn’t have to manouevre around furniture or worry about damaging walls or floors while we worked. That was a big sacrifice for us because temporarily living with my parents has been a super tough gig (think 5 adults living in a cramped house with only one bathroom) and Doug is chomping at the bit to set up his man cave. With that in mind, we wanted to get everything on our initial list completed in three weeks, so we could be all moved in prior to our holiday to Malaysia.

At first things were going swimmingly. Within twenty-four hours of taking ownership of the house, we had pulled up all the carpets in the bedrooms and upstairs hallway, and arranged for the floorboards to be polished.

We are also repainting the entire interior a crisp off-white colour. It’ll be a huge improvement on the mish-mash of colours at the moment – yellowy cream in the living areas, green in the laundry, blue and brown in the bedrooms. Yuck! After spending a week trying out 15 different shades of white, I settled on “Cotton Sheets” by Taubmans and the painting job has finally begun. So far it’s going really well. Last night alone we managed to paint the laundry, main living area and part of the kitchen.

Downstairs we are also replacing all the tiles in the living rooms and kitchen. For some reason the kitchen features small white tiles with black grout, and the living room tiles are marbled grey with murky grey grout. This makes no sense because it’s an open plan living space so the two different tile types just weirdly meet in the middle of the downstairs area.

After visiting about 100 tile shops we finally picked out a new tile. And by we, I mean me. I picked out a new tile. I put an extreme amount of thought and effort into selecting the tile, knowing it would be something we would need to live with for almost a decade and also improve the value of the house. I transferred all my IVF and baby-making energy into the process. And that’s a lot of energy! I finally chose an extra large white glossy tile with a light cream fleck to help hide the dirt, because I’m not insane and don’t plan to wash the floor every day. We also managed to find a tiler who could do the job for us almost straight away, and for a decent price.

It was perfect! Everything was perfect! No issues at all! Nothing but blue skies and smooth sailing! Renovated house, here we come!

And then the problems started.

First we received a phone call from the floor polisher to let us know he had injured his leg and would not be able to do the job. This is a huge problem because we can’t move anything upstairs until the floors are done. The exposed floorboards are gross and sticky from old carpet glue so we can’t even really walk on them, let alone live on them. We simply can’t move in until the upstairs floors are polished.

Thankfully the floor polisher had one last available spot on 5 December, and promised his leg would be better by then. He’d better be there!! We can’t move any furniture into the rooms for at least a week after the floors are polished so we’ll be cutting it close if we want to move in before our vacation.

Then, this morning, the tiles were delivered. Perfect timing, because our tiler begins his work in three days. The delivery driver was supposed to call me 90 minutes before he arrived so that I could leave work and drive home to let him in. When my phone buzzed at about 10.30am I assumed the phone call was to let me know he’d be there at midday.

“Hi Sadie, this is Mark.” the delivery man said. “I’ve got your tiles for you.”

“Great!” came my reply. “What’s your estimated arrival time?”

“Um, now.” he said gruffly. “I’m standing outside your front gate.”

“What!” I spluttered. “You were supposed to call first!”

“Yeah,” he said, chuckling a little. “I forgot.”

Luckily my new house is 5 minutes down the road from my parent’s house, my mother was home and I’d already given her a spare set of keys to my front door. She agreed to duck around to my place to unlock the gate. Crisis averted!

Then, 20 minutes later my phone buzzed again. My mother’s name flashed up on the screen.

“Are you calling to let me know it’s all done and the tiles have been delivered?” I asked hopefully.

“Actually,” Mum said nervously. “I’m standing here with Mark and we’re both a bit concerned that you’ve been sent the wrong tiles.”

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

No. That was not a possibility. I needed the correct tiles because I had ordered the correct tiles and already paid for them in full. And because our tiler could start in three days, but this was the only time he could fit us in.

“Why do you think they’re the wrong tiles?” I asked, trying to remain calm.

“The sample tile you have here in your living room is white with light speckles. The tiles that arrived today are sandstone beige with brown speckles.” Mum said. “Did you want beige and brown?”

Did I want beige and brown? No. No I did not. I wanted white and cream. The entire house has been themed in shades of white and cream. That’s why I had painted the walls white. That’s why I had gone out and chosen all new white furniture. It was my theme. My theme! And I don’t take too lightly to people messing with my theme. Not the one I’d put all my obsessive baby and IVF energies into.

So while Mark waited patiently in my driveway, I called the owner of the tile shop and explained the situation to him.

“Oh I see,” he said rather dismissively. “Yes, the new batch of your tiles is darker than the previous batch I had in stock. But it’s still the same tile.”

“But I don’t want the new darker batch!” I argued. “I want the white batch. Because that’s the tile I chose! Had I known the new batch would be beige I would not have purchased eighty square metres of it!”

“Well all batches of tiles are different.” the owner replied, still uninterested. “I can order you in a new batch but it’ll take two weeks to arrive and there’s no guarantee they won’t also be beige. Best just to keep the ones you’ve got.”

Whyyyyyyyyyyy is my life so friggen difficult?!? I do not want beige tiles. Is that too hard to understand? Had I wanted beige tiles, I would have ordered beige tiles.

So now I just don’t know what to do! Even if I go tomorrow and pick out some new tiles, it’s very unlikely they’ll be able to get them delivered by the time our tiler wants to start the job. Never mind the fact that I started looking for tiles weeks before we took ownership of the house and it took me forever to find this tile that I liked. What are the chances I’ll walk into a shop tomorrow and just find the perfect tile for me?

I really honestly don’t know what to do here. I currently have about 100 boxes of beige tiles in my garage that I don’t want. I have a strong suspicion that when I get home from work Doug is going to try to convince me to compromise and get the tiler to just install them. But I don’t want them! I just don’t!

I need to take a few deep breaths here and try to clear my head so I can figure out what my next move will be. Any suggestions or helpful tips would be much appreciated!!

Also, if you read to the end of this post I offer you my sincere congratulations. I didn’t set out to write such boring dribble. Sorry about that!

A different kind of Christmas

We’re just a few days away from summer in Australia.

I love summer. I love heat and humidity.

I love Christmas on a hot, sticky day. Everyone sits around on the verandah, because it’s too hot to be inside. Maybe there will be a roast meat like chicken or turkey on the lunch table, but it’s never as important as the cold glazed ham, salads and selection of chilled seafood. For me Christmas Day means shelling prawns and bugs, then dipping my fingers into a bowl of water to clean them off. After lunch the kids excitedly jump in the pool while the adults nap or graze on party food. In the late afternoon there’s usually a thunder storm to cool everything down before the sun sets below the horizon and a chorus of cicadas gently lull everyone into a contented stupour.

Christmas in Australia is different to other parts of the world. It’s our big holiday time. Usually we finish work at midday on Christmas eve, and most people don’t go back to work until January 2nd of the following year. As for the children, they’re off school for summer vacation as of mid-December and don’t go back to class until early February, when they have all moved up a grade. At Christmas time their holidays are still just beginning, so they’re all very hyperstimulated and frenetically excited.

December 26th, Boxing Day, is almost as important as Christmas Day. It’s the day you throw out all the Christmas wrap, the kids play with their new toys, family gathers together once more and most importantly it’s the first day of the Boxing Day Test. Cricket is a quintissential part of every Aussie summer, but no match is more important than the Boxing Day Test. Particularly when we’re playing for the Ashes, and this year we are. All around Australia on Boxing Day, television sets are switched onto Channel 9 so that everyone can keep up to date with the cricket score.

The Ashes is a series of cricket games played between Australia and England. Australia have won more games than England since the series began in it’s current format, but both sides have won the Ashes 31 times. This series is even more important than usual because England have won the last three series in a row. Australia is in a rare form slump.

It’s currently our turn to host the series. When the Ashes is played in Australia (each series alternates between the two countries) our streets become a sea of green and gold, intrinsically mixed with a sea of white and red. It’s Aussies versus Poms as the Barmy Army moves into town. Flags and banners go up in pubs and shop windows, declaring their support for one team or the other. And you start to hear chants of the Barmy Army’s genius war cry, which goes a little something like this: “Barmy Army! Barmy Army! Barmy Army!” (Yes, impressive isn’t it. At least we added an “oi oi oi” after “Aussie Aussie Aussie” in our war cry!)

Have I painted an idyllic picture for you all? Usually the Christmas break is what I look forward to most each year. It’s 10 days where I can just let go of everything, float in the pool, catch up with friends and family, keep up with the cricket score, relax on the beach, sleep in late, go shopping for bargains (our Boxing Day sales are the same as America’s Black Friday sales) and eat copious amounts of food. It’s…bliss.

But this year I know everything will be different.

For starters, we are leaving on 27 December for Malaysia and returning in the second week of January. We won’t be around for most of the activity that takes place after Christmas, or for New Years Eve celebrations.

Our trip to Malaysia was almost perfectly timed. I was going to be almost bang on 12 weeks pregnant as the ball dropped on New Years Eve, so I planned to upload to Facebook a photo of Doug and I on the beach in Penang and accompany it with something cute like “Happy New Year, all the way from Malaysia! May your 2014 be as amazing as ours will be. Love from the three of us!” and then I imagined receiving hundreds of comments from our friends and family all congratulating us and wishing us well. It was finally going to be our turn, and what a way to announce it!

But instead I won’t be uploading anything to Facebook, because my miraculous July baby disappeared when they injected me with methotrexate two weeks ago. And also because I deactivated my Facebook account a month ago, after I broke down and couldn’t stand hearing about everyone eles’s pregnancies and babies anymore.

More importantly, even if I was still using the site I certainly wouldn’t be uploading any beach photos because I’ve put on so much damn weight I can’t stand to look at myself in photos. No matter how much I try to lose the weight I can’t even shift a friggen gram, let alone a kilogram or the twelve kilograms I’ve put on this year. And it’s all well and good hearing doctors tell me “some women put on weight during IVF and some women don’t” but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to bear. If the weight gain guaranteed a pregnancy, or that I could become a mother then I wouldn’t mind. But chances are this dreadful weight gain is all for nought.

And Christmas Day itself is going to be painful this year because I will no longer be able to avoid my sister-in-law and her perfect new baby. Her constant Facebook updates and photos were a big part of my decision to close my account. I’m not too proud to admit that I have been intensely jealous of my sister-in-law, and also unclear on why life and motherhood has all been so easy for her but not for me. All of my other family, including my husband, has made the 10 hour journey west to visit the baby but I have stayed well away.

It’s not just about the baby and my fear that I will completely break down when I see her tiny fingers and toes, and smell her sweet baby smell, it’s not even really about the fact that we were both pregnant at the same time and I should be preparing to have my own bundle of joy at the moment, it’s the fact that my sister-in-law has been so insensitive to me and I don’t know how to act around her anymore.

Do you know when I lost my last pregnancy she didn’t even bother to text me and ask me if I was okay. Doug came home from work and mentioned how nice it was that his sister had sent him a text message letting him know she was thinking of him. He asked what thoughtful message I had received, simply assuming she had contacted us both. But no. I received nothing. Not a single word to let me know she was sorry, or sad for us, or wanted to help me through my dark time.

When I became extremely upset, realising someone who I was previously so close to suddenly had no concern for me at all, Doug tried to calm me down by justifying her actions. He suggested that maybe she was simply too scared to talk to me, unsure what to say and worried she would become emotional. But that’s just bullshit, and also a cop out that I’m not willing to give her.

Do you all remember the story of when my sister-in-law’s baby was born? You can read it here if you don’t. I was absolutely devastated for myself, but I still sent her a congratulatory message, asked after her health and requested to see pictures of the baby. Then I spent hours shopping for gifts to send out to her. Do you think that was easy for me? Do you think that was something I wanted to do? No. No it was not. But I did it anyway, because I respect and care for my family. In stark contrast, my sister-in-law was completely unable to see past herself and her perfect life to support me in my time of need. Why would I want to spend my Christmas with someone like that? Someone who I feel like I can’t relate to at all anymore.

But I have a plan. On Christmas Day I’ve decided I will smile and laugh and coo over the baby and pretend everything is super peachy. Then I will cry the whole way home in the car. But when I arrive at my own front door I will pack my suitcase and jet off to Malaysia where I will sit on the beach, enjoy massages, drink cocktails, go shopping, have sex with my husband whenever I want to and do lots of other things people with children can’t do. I will ring in the new year in style.

And 2014 will be a better year for me. I just know it will. It has to be. I mean hey, it can’t be worse than 2013. Right?

…right?

Anti-D, Anti-Everything

Last week Shirley, one of the nurses at the clinic, phoned me and told me that I had to come in at 7am the next morning for a blood test and an anti-D injection.

For those who aren’t aware, Rhesus Immune Globulin (anti-d) is an injection that is used to prevent the immunological condition Rhesus disease. I need to get these injections because I am Rhesus negative but around 85% of the population is Rhesus positive, including my husband. When I am pregnant there’s a high chance my baby is also Rhesus positive like Doug, because most people are Rhesus positive and my babies already have a Rhesus positive parent. You all with me so far?

When the baby is on it’s way out of my body (either during miscarriage or labour – if I ever make it that far in a pregnancy!) there is a risk that a small number of the baby’s red blood cells can leak into my blood stream, allowing my body to develop antibodies against anything Rhesus positive entering my body in the future. If left untreated, during subsequent pregnancies if my baby is once again Rhesus positive my body may use those antibodies to attack and ‘remove’ it (yay!). Otherwise it can still cause lots of long-term problems for the baby including anaemia and jaundice. And nobody wants that. So basically I need to get an injection of anti-D to prevent this happening every time I miscarry and also at 28 weeks and 34 weeks pregnant (again, if I ever get that far in a pregnancy…).

The anti-d injection is produced from the blood of Australian Red Cross donors. I always find it fascinating when I’m injected with other people’s blood. Does that make me a weirdo? I know blood products from donors are also used to assist fertilization of eggs during IVF cycles and I’m also fascinated by that. I wonder if those donors have any idea they’re helping to create life rather than save life. When I imagine donating blood I see it going towards saving a car crash victim who is rushed into the hospital with an amputated leg and is bleeding out and close to death. I can see doctors running around the room and intubating the patient and shouting orders to each other. And I can hear the theme song to the television show ER. And I can see Doctor Green and Doctor Weaver, and definitely Doctor Ross. Oh hello, Doctor Ross. I have a fever would you like to do a full body examination? Oh…sorry…I think I just steered you all into one of my fantasies…

Back to the anti-d.

When I lost my first pregnancy in April I was with a large and impersonal clinic with unimpressive levels of patient care. I was never offered the anti-d injection, even though it should have been mandatory. Luckily when I was tested at my new clinic they found that Nemo’s blood cells had very kindly avoided my blood stream as he vacated the premises and I hadn’t developed anti-bodies. But I’d completely forgotten this time around that I would need an injection and was unpleasantly surprised to receive the phone call from the nurse.

Not only did I have to come in at 7am, I had to get another huge intra-muscular needle in my thigh. Why is it always in the damn thigh lately? And why always in the muscle? Give a girl a break.

After terminating the ectopic pregnancy I was looking forward to resting in the weeks coming up to Christmas. I was looking forward to not having to be up at the hospital most mornings before work for tests or scans or appointments or injections. I was trying to see the positive side to losing my little Peanut and/or Butters. But no! The inconveniences continued!

Five minutes after receiving the bad news, my phone rang again.

“Hi Sadie, it’s just Shirley again.” said the voice on the other end of the line. “We’ve changed our minds. Can you come in tomorrow at 7am for the blood test and then 7am the following day for the anti-d shot.”

Ugh. Seriously? Two days in a row? Just my luck.

“If the blood test comes back negative do I still need to get the shot?” I asked hopefully.

“Yes.” Shirley replied sternly. “And don’t forget the day after that you need to come in here for your first follow-up blood test following the methotrexate.”

Well…..damn. Apparently you can’t sleep in when you’re going through IVF, you can’t sleep in when you’re pregnant and you can’t sleep in when you’ve lost a pregnancy. You just can’t sleep in. At least not if you’re me. And I am me.

To be fair, the anti-d shot itself wasn’t too bad. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near as painful as the methotrexate. It sort of just felt like a regular FSH injection, except with a much bigger needle. I’m glad I had it done. Now I don’t have to worry about anything else going wrong next time we go through a cycle. Because let’s face it, not too much else can really go wrong for me at this point.

Now I’m just waiting for my next follow-up appointment with Doctor Vacation. Sorry, wait. I meant to say with Doctor B when she comes back from yet another holiday abroad. That will happen in the first week of December.

Now that everything is out of the way for this cycle, I can simply be “anti-everything” and just take a break from all the infertility stuff. At least for another couple of weeks. It feels so nice to just be away from it all. I can focus on other things now! I might even be able to catch up with a couple of friends for coffee and not bore them with fertility treatment talk. And I might even drink actual caffeinated coffee. I’m wild!

I can’t believe how positive I am being at the moment. I actually feel a little bit like a real human being!

You guys, I give it a week tops until I am back on here complaining about some other crisis or drama in my life.

A week.

A wake-up call for all of us.

The other day I received what was clearly a spam comment that somehow made it through the wordpress filter system. Ordinarily I’d just delete it, but then I changed my mind and thought I might share it instead so you can all learn some very important lessons:

The most obvious way of boosting your chances of getting pregnant is to have sex quite frequently. Although this might seem pretty trivial, the timing of having sex is equally important. Women ovulate at different times according to their cycles, so it is essential to calculate their most fertile days. For those women who are fairly regular in their cycle, the 14th day of their cycle is the most fertile. Even for those who aren’t regular, they can find out their most fertile period easily with the help of an ovulation kit. Sperms remain in the body of a women for about six days but the egg only has a lifespan of about 24 hours, so it is advisable to have sex about 2-3 times a week.Having the right position during intercourse is equally if not more important. The sperms have to travel all the way to the female’s fallopian tubes, hence some positions like the women lying on her back or placing a pillow below the hips do help in conceiving better by guiding the sperms at an upward angle.

The most obvious way to boost my pregnancy chances is to have sex frequently? My goodness why didn’t I think of this before? My husband and I have wasted two and a half years of our lives, and tens of thousands of dollars on IVF and multiple surgeries when all we had to do was have sex!

And I wish I’d known before that even though I don’t have a regular cycle I can still easily find out when I ovulate thanks to an ovulation kit. Never mind the fact I don’t ovulate at all. Never mind about that!

You guys, this may startle you, but I think I’ve been doing this all wrong! The entire time!

What’s more, I think we’ve all been doing it all wrong!

Okay everyone, new plan. We all need to have sex 2-3 times a week, use ovulation kits and put pillows under our butts. All our problems will be solved quite instantly. Put away your tissue boxes because there won’t be any more tears around here. We will all be parents by next Christmas at the very latest.

You’re welcome, guys. You’re welcome.

 

 

“tired of being sensitive to my infertile friend”

Thank you for so articulately communicating this. It doesn’t surprise me at all that someone was searching such things. Some of my friends have made it extremely obvious I am nothing but a drag and a burden to them. As if I don’t have enough to worry about already! Good on you. Just, good on you.

Forever Infertile

This was an actual search that brought someone to my blog. Sadly, it wasn’t the only one along that theme. It makes my blood boil! Oh, boo hoo, you’re tired of exercising sensitivity toward your friend? Your friend? Well, let me tell you some things your friend is probably tired of:

  • She’s tired of hoping and praying, month after month, that this month will be, by some miracle, THEMONTH.
  • She’s tired of her body letting her down, month after month.
  • She’s tired of feeling broken.
  • She’s tired of crying herself to sleep.
  • She’s tired of invasive and painful tests.
  • She’s tired of medications that make her ovaries work overtime and take her on an emotional roller coaster ride, month after month (not to mention all the fun side effects, like nausea, fatigue, sleeplessness, hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches)
  • She’s tired of watching her savings account being drained…

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2013, in IVF. 1 Comment

And you let her go

I’m currently up at the hospital sitting in a comfy reclining chair in the oncology unit.

I came here to receive an intramuscular methotrexate injection to end my pregnancy of unknown location. They can’t pick it up on any scans because it is too small, but it’s clearly there somewhere. Most likely in my right tube, but we’ll never know for certain.

In the ward each patient gets their own little nook with a big green recliner, visitors chair, tv and little table, but we can all see each other which is a little confronting.

Everyone else here has cancer. Everyone else here is receiving chemotherapy. Everyone else here is potentially dying. I am here just to end an unviable yet persistent pregnancy. I feel like a massive fraud. I feel unworthy to sit amongst these people. They are the true faces of strength and bravery.

The nurses are so lovely. They keep asking everyone questions like “can I get you a warm blanket?” “can I get you a tea or coffee?” “can I get you a sandwich or some biscuits?”

I would love a cup of tea but I keep politely declining. I don’t feel entitled to consume this food or drink. This level of care is not for people like me, it’s for people going through life threatening illnesses.

Other than that I feel calm and unemotional. I know this is the right thing to do. I wish my husband was with me, but I am coping fine on my own. I don’t want to weep or scream, and I am able to joke with the nurses. I am doing okay.

A nurse approaches me and picks up my chart. She’s probably 40 years old with cropped blonde hair and a friendly smile.

“Oh golly intramuscular methotrexate! Yuk!” she says sympathetically.

“It’s fine, I’m doing IVF so I’m used to being injected and poked and prodded.” I reply, replicating her friendly smile.

“I have a close friend who did IVF!” she gushes. “She got 6 eggs and ended up with 2 children.”

“That’s nice.” I say, understanding that she’s trying to be positive and helpful.

“How many cycles have you done?” she asks.

“Four.” I tell her.

“Wow!” she gasps. “So how old are they?”

“Sorry? How old are what?” I ask, confused.

“Your kids.” she says. “Your IVF babies.”

My chest tightens and my stomach drops. I’m sitting in a recliner in a cancer ward waiting to get an injection of a chemotherapy drug to end a much wanted pregnancy, and a nurse is asking me how old my children are? Seriously?

“I have no children.” I say soberly. “All of my cycles have been failures.”

For a moment she is silent, then she brings her hand to her mouth in shock.

“I’ve just put my foot in my mouth haven’t I?? I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have asked you that!” she says frantically.

At this particular moment in my life I really don’t need to be having this conversation, so I quickly try to shut it down.

“It’s fine.” I reply hastily. “What you said was pretty low on the insensitivity scale.”

But in my mind I’m not so calm. I’m actually boggled by the fact this registered nurse standing in front of me clearly believes each cycle of IVF is guaranteed to give you a child. What the actual fuck.

After apologizing a few more times the blonde nurse scurries away and is quickly replaced by a brunette.

“Ok I’ll be taking your vitals.” she says. “Can you hop on these scales for me?”

I nervously do as she asks and step onto the scales. I watch the digital reader dance between 75.50 and 76.20 before finally landing on exactly 76.00kg. After 10 days of daily exercise and extremely healthy eating I have lost a grand total of 0.00 grams. Yay me.

The nurse then takes my temperature, and checks my heart rate and blood pressure. She is extremely surprised to see my blood pressure is ‘text book perfect’ for my age and weight, particularly as the hospital environment tends to have a significant detrimental effect. I told you – I am cool as a cucumber.

After a boring discussion about drug side effects and after care, the nurse disappears. I am left alone for some time to watch tv, while the pharmacy downstairs prepares my dose. Morning television blows. I flick channels until I find Antiques Roadshow. I stare at the screen but I’m not absorbing what I am watching.

After 20 minutes a new nurse comes to see me, pushing a silver cart. She opens a draw at the bottom of the cart and pulls out scrubs, goggles and a mask.

“We have to fully suit up when we’re administering chemotherapy drugs.” she explains. “Even though you’re not getting actual chemo.”

I want to tell her I don’t really give a damn what she wears, but I remain silent and smiling. I know soon this will all be over.

The nurse draws the curtain so the patients around me can no longer see me, adjusts my recliner so I’m lying almost flat and lifts my dress to my hips. Then she cleans my thigh with an alcohol swab and turns back to her tray to prepare my needle. It’s a much bigger needle than I’m used to, but I am not afraid.

“Do you want me to warn you when I’m about to inject you?” she asks, the needle hovering inches above my skin.

“No.” I say decisively, closing my eyes. “Just jab me.”

Once I feel the initial sting as the needle touches my leg, I open my eyes to watch with interest as she pushes it down into my thigh muscle. She then draws up on the syringe before slowly injecting a yellow liquid into my body. She holds the needle in place for a few moments to make sure the contents has been fully administered. I am used to this process because it’s a regular step in self-administering FSH injections.

Almost immediately a searing pain starts moving across my thigh muscle and down into my lower leg.

“Wow that hurts!” I gasp.

“I’m so sorry,” the nurse says. “There’s nothing I can give you to help the pain.”

“It’s okay.” I assure her. “I’ve had far worse pain on a multitude of occasions.”

I am left to sit for a while to make sure I have no adverse reactions. The nurse goes off to let my doctor know the dose has been successfully given and I am told that soon I will be discharged.

At the moment I’m feeling incredibly nauseous but otherwise fine. I don’t feel overwhelming sadness or grief or anything at all really. Apart from the aching in my leg I feel like maybe I’ve just been at the doctor for a check-up, rather than to terminate a pregnancy. I am numb to it all.

After they let me leave I’m going in to work. The nurses were shocked when I told them, but honestly I don’t have much of a choice.

On Wednesday night I started bleeding out of the blue so I went up to the hospital to get tests, and also sent my inconsiderate boss a text message to let her know I wouldn’t be in on Thursday. She responded at midday the next day, informing me that since I was at the hospital she would expect me to provide a medical certificate to prove I was telling the truth about my whereabouts. Upon reading the message I simply burst into tears. What an awful thing to send someone when they’re going through a crisis. I’ve kept her really up-to-date with my IVF progress, even though I am not legally obliged to. How appalling that she chooses to treat me with such disdain.

I don’t know how the rules work in other countries, but in Australia all government departments, statutory authorities, bodies and entities strictly enforce a policy that only requires staff to produce a medical certificate when they have been on sick leave for three consecutive days. I was asking for one day of leave in dire circumstances and she just had no right to make me feel so awful.

All of last night I was much more anxious about calling in sick again today than I was about the methotrexate shot, even though my doctor gave me the medical certificate my boss had requested. In the end I decided it was just less stress to drive in to work after I’m discharged, so that’s what I’ll be doing.

Yesterday I was informed I will be getting weekly blood draws until my hcg level drops below 5, and then the doctor said we can start planning our next FET cycle, which is promising news.

Doctor B told me she is extremely reluctant to consider removing my Fallopian tubes at this stage because I am so young, and removal of the tubes leads to decreased blood flow to the ovaries and also the risk of lower quality eggs. But she did stress that if I keep having problems the option is not off the table. I’m satisfied with that for now, but still feel uneasy about my risks in the future.

I guess I’m just going to focus on taking it easy this weekend and trying to move forward with my life. There’s nothing else I can do.

Flicking television channels just now I landed on a music channel that was playing the Passenger song ‘Let her go’. This is the song I listened to over and over when I had my first loss in April. I can’t believe it’s playing now as I haven’t heard it for months, but it really is quite fitting.

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low.
Only hate the road when you’re missing home.
Only know you love her when you let her go…
And you let her go.