Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Value of a Support Network

The last few days have been pretty dark days for me.  I know I ended my last post on a fairly positive note but I've been really struggling to feel that positivity.  I keep randomly bursting into tears and I feel drained, wrung-out.  I finally recognised what I am feeling this morning: it's grief.  Grief for a baby I never managed to create in the first place.

I know intellectually that is irrational, but that's the thing about grief: it's not rational.  It hits when you think you have things under control, and is triggered by things that seem completely unrelated on the surface.  Everyone is affected by fertility struggles differently, and everyone feels grief differently.  This is how I am feeling, and I want to acknowledge that, deal with it, and move on when I am ready.

I know my journey to creating a family is far from over, and as a friend pointed out, there is more than one way to a family.  The desire for a family is not something I can just put aside.  It's not like I can say, "Okay, well, I can't have children without intensive assistance, oh well, let's move on."  I've heard from friends who have also struggled with fertility that this desire never goes away, even when you think that part of your life is over.

Which brings me to my support network.  Dave and my parents have been there through every part of this journey so far.  My sister and the rest of my extended family have also been hugely supportive.  Dave's parents have helped financially.  My friends from work, one in particular, have been great.  But the most amazing thing is the support I get from random people online in places like this blog, Facebook, and (especially) Twitter.  There are two main reasons I blog about this stuff: Firstly, and most importantly, because I want to demystify fertility and help people realise that creating children is not as easy as it seems, and to show people in similar situations that they are not alone.  But also, I blog about this because writing about my experience helps me work through what is going on and deal with it.  And the responses I've received have been nothing short of fabulous.  I've had complete strangers reach out to me who heard about me through a friend of a friend or who happened to see something I tweeted. I've received virtual hugs and plenty of sympathy from so many people.  Random people have sent me cute things like baby sloths.  Just when I feel at my lowest, a friend sends me a message reminding me that I have people that care about me and hope I am okay.

It may seem like such a tiny thing, flicking off a quick "*hugs*" on Twitter or Facebook, but I tell you, it really does make a world of difference.  To know that someone out there is listening and understands you are in pain and wants that pain to stop.  People say that social networks are destroying communication and interaction.  Well, that's bullshit.  I have made some really close friends through Twitter and I get plenty of social interaction.  I can type things that I might not ever say out loud.  I can throw an SOS into the void and get a dozen responses of support.

So, to everyone out there who has supported us, and me in particular, thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart.

Monday, October 31, 2011

IUI Round 4 Result: Negative

I had the blood test on Saturday and unfortunately it was negative.  I had suspected that it would be, and thought I was prepared, but the result hit me a lot harder than I expected.  I had to flee work and then spent the rest of the afternoon swinging between raging and bawling my eyes out.  I tried to make a chocolate cake to make myself feel better and the cake mix exploded everywhere.  In short, it was not a very pleasant day!

After discussing the result with each other and with my Mum, we've formulated a plan.  We are going to take a year off actively trying to conceive.  If we get pregnant in that time with no assistance, great, but it won't be our focus.  Instead, we are going to save up for a big overseas trip in September with my parents.  It's my Mum's 60th birthday in early September and she is very keen to go to Italy while my sister is there and see some other sights in Europe also.  Obviously a Europe trip is very expensive, and so I also suggested an alternative could be Asia.  In either case, we will have an extended holiday around that time.

In the mean time, this blog will be fairly quiet.  I may occasionally post updates here, but it will essentially be dormant for a while.

If you read my personal blog you'll know I'm a fan of the game Dragon Age II.  There was recently new Downloadable Content (DLC) released for this game.  While playing through the DLC, you encounter the following quote:
In uncertainty, find infinite possibility.
        - An old Orlesian saying 
I really love this quote and I am making it my touchstone for the following year.  I'm uncertain what my future holds, but that simply means there are infinite ways my future can play out.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

IUI Episode IV: A New Hope

(Bonus geek points if you get the title reference).

So.  Here we are at our final IUI round of the year.  I started my injections on Friday (after a bit of a hiccup forgetting in the morning in the rush to get my dog to the vet - I did my first injection in the evening) and have my first blood test and scan on Friday next week, which will be Day 9.  I'm shooting for a Monday insem but as usual, it's not entirely in my control!  I feel a bit more blasé about this round, which is surprising because I thought I'd be stressing out that we're up to round 4 with no result.  I guess a wait-and-see approach is my only option at this point.  So, let's wait and see.

Monday, October 3, 2011

IUI Round 3 Result: Negative

Another negative.  In my gut I knew that was the result, but there's always that tiny hope that I'm wrong.  We tested a day later than normal this cycle and I still hadn't started bleeding but I guess that was just the progesterone.  We've decided to go straight into the next cycle, which we've never done before, mainly because of the timing: we have a mini-holiday at the end of November and then after that it's Christmas etc.  So we wanted to get in our last try of the year before all that happened.

I haven't lost hope just yet.  We have one more round to go before we reassess.  In some ways that will make this upcoming round harder to deal with, I think - knowing it's our last try.  But of course it's not the end of the road.  We could continue with IUI cycles next year.  We could get pregnant naturally.  We could consider adoption.  IVF, at this point, I would only consider if we were in a position financially where I didn't have to work, because I just don't think I could handle the stress and intrusiveness of it.  And of course, it's financially out of reach for us right now in any case.

So.  One more round to close out the year.  Fingers crossed it's fourth time lucky.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

IUI Round 3: I-Day!

This round started off well and I was feeling pretty good in the prep phase - until I got hit with an awful migraine on Thursday morning.  I'm sure this was at least partly triggered by my hormones.  I felt like I'd been kicked in the head by a horse and all I could see was stars which is unusual for my migraines - I hardly ever get a visual component.  I slept for most of the morning and felt a bit better in the afternoon but still really tired.

Friday we went for my second blood test and a scan and were told to prepare to be back in the afternoon for the insemination.  Unfortunately, after lunch Shelley from the Clinic called to say my body wasn't quite ready yet and we'd been bumped to Saturday morning.  I had to take a trigger shot of Ovidrel to make sure I ovulated on time and then prepare for the insem on Saturday.

Saturday, today, I woke up and wheedled breakfast in bed out of Dave - a cup of tea and some Pop Tarts (I wish they weren't so hard to find and expensive here!).  Then Dave produced his sample and we headed to the clinic for our 9:30 arrival.

When we arrived at the clinic (a little late) we had to wait for quite a while before they came and took the sample to be prepped.  Then there was another wait while they did that, during which we endured some awful Disney TV show and the inane prattle of the other people in the waiting room.  Finally, however, we were led into the procedure room (a different one from the last two times) and told to get ready.

Of course, there was yet another wait after that.  I lay on the procedure bench, uncomfortable on my back and impatient for it to be over with, for at least 10 minutes before Dr Swift finally appeared, we did the name & date check, and got down to business.

The moment of truth had finally arrived.  Did the surgery a month ago help?  I was going to be annoyed if it hadn't.  But thankfully, the insemination was blessedly quick.  Probably only a minute or two and it was over.  Much easier than the last two.  I still felt crampy and uncomfortable afterwards but at least there wasn't all the rigmarole I'm used to by now.  So - back on two 400mg progesterone pessaries and blood test on the 3rd of October!  Fingers crossed it's third time lucky for us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

IUI Round 3: Update 1

Had the first blood test of Round 3 today.  My numbers are looking good but not peaking yet so I'm going back on Friday for another blood test and a scan.  I'm still holding out hope that we can do the IUI itself on Monday.  Jo the Clinic nurse talked about perhaps giving me a trigger shot on Friday and doing the IUI on Saturday but we'll see what my bloods are like on Friday.

One of my friends gave me this link today.  It really resonated with me because a lot of what she talks about I have experienced too.  It reminded me that no matter what my situation is, I shouldn't compare myself to those around me.  Everyone is dealing with their own lives, their own struggles, and I shouldn't let my experiences affect their experiences and vice versa.  It's quite a long post but I really recommend it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

IUI Round 3: A New Beginning

Day 1 of my cycle today means I start my drugs tomorrow.  75IUs of FSH, same as the last round.  Dr Swift is happy that the dose is right - last round I produced one excellent follicle at about the right time so fingers crossed we have a similar result this time.  And then of course we get to see if the hysteroscopy and D&C and had has helped make the insemination itself easier.  I go for my first blood test on Wednesday next week.  Fingers crossed we can do the insem on the Monday after that!  This round I definitely want to have both I-Day and R-Day off work.  Last round on results day I was a complete mess and couldn't focus on anything.  If both of those can occur on a Monday then that would be fabulous.

I'm feeling a little more confident this round but also a little more comfortable with whatever the outcome is.  It's always a fine line between being positive and building yourself up too much, as anyone in a similar situation would know.  So I'm staying positive but also adopting a wait-and-see approach.