Sunday, 13 August 2017

Madwoman in the attic

I kind of thought I was through having drama on 2ww but, I was wrong.

I tested on Wednesday,  and Thursday last week. All negative.

I had a big argument with my husband about whether we should do another round, slept in the spare room and considered going away for a couple of days.

Another BFN on Friday. I was 8dp5dt so, when the test was negative, I decided I was done. Apart from anything else, I felt really period-y and ill, and was having bad cramps. And I'd never had a pregnancy, whether it turned out ok or not, that hadn't shown up by that point.

I stopped meds halfway through the day, drank wine and cried. I made up with my husband and, we agreed if it was something I really had to do, we'd have another go in January.

Then I started being sick in the early evening, and was up half the night with diarrhea and vomiting.

Saturday morning, I had one last test. I thought I might as well use it and... very faint positive. Which my husband saw.

So I started taking all my meds again.

The stomach bug lasted 24 hours, and my husband got it too.


Frustratingly, I seem to be able to spot lines on the two tests we've done today when my husband can't. He didn't see this morning's one at all. I've waved tonight's one in his face as I'm typing this and he can see it this time, but couldn't a few minutes ago.

I don't have any symptoms, but I don't know how much that has to do with the stomach bug. If it's fucked things up, or my half day of abandoning the cycle has, or whether I would have just have ejected much of the meds from my body fairly quickly anyway.

I don't know if I'm having an actual pregnancy, a chemical one, or if this is going to be the start of getting 48 hour blood tests, or what. Or if I am hallucinating pink lines on pee sticks, or if my husband needs his eyes tested.

Blood test tomorrow.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The two week wait, again

I'm towards the end of another FET - transfer was yesterday. I've done lots of these now, but they always mess with your head.

Sympton spotted: Feeling sick.
Rational explanation: I'm on four different kinds of drugs, all of which list "nausea" as a side effect.

Sympton spotted: Mild cramps.
Rational explanation: The nice gynaecologist was up in my cervix with a catheter. This probably accounts for feeling a bit weird after.

Sympton spotting: Feeling bloated
Rational explanation: Meds and farts.

I don't always cling to rationality. Last time I tested after two days, in a fit of mad optimism, because I was sure I was throwing up so much I had to be pregnant, despite the fact that nobody gets sick from something as tiny as a 2dp5dt embryo. It was a BFN, of course.


Mind you, I find the way the last cycle turned out has a direct effect on how stressful the next 2ww is. It's like that sayign about generals always fighting the last war - after I've had a loss I'm always convined it's going to be a positive that I am going to be stressed about, although apart from between the Boy and the pregnancy that ended with a missed miscarriage, I've never had two positives in a row.

After a BFN, I generally feel a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, although more inclined to look forward to my first glass of wine than worry about having a negative.

Anyway, if this is a BFN, there are no more frosties and I'm not sure what we'll do next. I feel like, not exactly that I'm too old for all this now, but I've spent a lot of time in my 20s and 30s having treatment. I don't know if I'm ready to quit though.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The relativity of mental illness

The phone went off today. I answered and it was my older sister.

She was in tears, so much so it took a few attempts to get at the bottom of what was wrong. It turned out she was really dreading a counselling appointment she has tomorrow.

I talked her though writing things down so if she got so wound up she couldn't speak she should still communicate (her therapist apparently wants her to rehearse it all in her head), having something lined up to do afterwards to cheer herself up (her husband is an arsehole and won't do anything, and agreed with her that the things she's upset about are very upsetting.

I had to go, but then spoke to her again later. It was the same conversation, although I suggested she take up some sort of exercise as that helps (her back hurts), line up something to do with her kids (she might).

I found myself getting rather irritated a couple of times (and I hope it didn't show), when she wanted to talk about our brother dying and how she'd never got over it, and had I got over it? I still think about him, but generally get on with my day to day life, because that's what you do.

I find it frustrating that my sister rejected virtually all the suggestions.

At a loss to suggest anything else and not really knowing what else I could do, I got the conversation back onto more normal stuff, she chatted for a bit and said she had to go.

I also find it quite difficult because I genuinely have had mental health problems myself, to the point of being on ADs a few times. Twice through pregnancy losses, once through a career related drama last year.

To be honest I'm still not feeling entirely myself about the career thing and miscarriage happening so close to each other (I will blog about it at some point when I've figured out how to make it less identifying), but I have been religious about going to the gym recently, doing my actual job, spending time with the Boy and hobbies and just trying to tread water until I figure out what to do next.

It's difficult because you can't measure mental health problems so I know I can't tell her that x, y or  worked for me so she needs to give herself a kick up the arse.

 I also can't get sucked into her calling constantly as that will pull me back into bad mental health myself, which helps nobody.

I know from bitter experience that as a society we just aren't set up to help other people through depression or bad mental health, but I don't know what to do beyond what I have done.

I did, once, find a newspaper cutting that my mum was going to send my sister, that was from a right wing newspaper and inferred that the high rate of women on antidepressants was down to us wanting to "have it all".

I know this was a bit bad of me, but that article mysteriously found its way into a recycling bin outside of the house. It probably had a negative impact on my mother but not as bad as the one it would have had on my sister had she read it.

I guess it's all about trying to find a balance.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The fun bits

IF blogging tends to be a bit of a depository for negative thoughts (at least it is for me), a way of getting stuff out there.

But soon, the Boy is "a five" as he calls it. We are all very excited.

Hights of the last five years, that make it worth all the IF crap and then some, are to do with travelling. I love travelling, so does my husband. The Boy does also.

There was the time we took him to a caravan when he was a toddler. He - and I know this sounds like Bad Parenting - got into a box with a lot of switches and played with them. We turned on the oven and the caravan lights all went off.

 We found someone to turn them back on but in the meantime it was past dinnertime and we'd only bought stuff to put in the oven, so he demolished half a ginger loaf we'd bought. We all like ginger cake and I have some ready for his birthday.

 I have to travel sometimes for work and when the Boy was very little we often combined this with a family weekend away (tbh, we still do). I'm not sure whether kids are happier staying in hotels than they're generally given credit for or whether this is early experience - I didn't stay in a hotel until I was 13 and he seems to just take it all in his stride.

If we're staying in a hotel or airBNB now he likes jumping on the bed, checking out the toilet, trying to persuade us to let him sleep in the biggest bed, going through the TV channels and all the sorts of things you do when hotels are a novelty.

If he particularly likes the hotel room we sometimes have to work hard to persuade him that the rest of the city is worth exploring.

 He hated camping in the Lake District; I've got a photo taken of him just after we got there and it started pouring rain. He's sitting in his car seat, staring straight ahead, scowling (it did get better, he loved the waffles we got in Penrith).

He liked camping in Galloway. It was sunny but windy; I blew bubbles for him outside the tent.

He loves Romania because of the trains, the pub at the beach that had a trampoline, that everyone was kind to him (they really were), the bread and the amazing playparks in Bucharest.

We went to Spain, unexpectedly after the miscarriage, becausse neither I nor my husband could face the dark days between New Year and school starting back without a distraction. The Boy kept us going; he loved the room, loved the toy shop in Malaga, and was generally happy with his toys afterwards. And he even ate his dinners.

The other thing - for me - I love about being a parent is teaching him to try different foods (we've got the encouraging him to travel bit ok - although I do worry about where he will end up! - and are trying to set him up not to be fussy about food).

We have a game where he gets £1 if he tries a new food, and his Dad or I get £1 if we end up eating it. He always tries the food in the end, if only to stop one of his undeserving parents from ending up with the money.

Maybe, reading this back, I should be so hung up on the infertility years that I'm training him up to move two blocks down, only eat my food and go to the same resort every year on holiday.

But maybe he'll take us somewhere exciting that we wouldn't have tackled without him, someday.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Romance isn't dead

There was an article in a right wing tabloid today... a couple who are having their second child naturally after a first IVF baby have claimed that IVF is "just as romantic".

Really.

I think there's a bit of naievety in there as they seemed to be lucky on their first go at IVF and have experienced the full horror of the infertility trenches.

But... still? Romantic? My top non-romantic things about IVF are:

The drugs. Last time round, I ended up weeping copiously when I started the progesterone. Then there's the downregging, the stims, everything else. They make me want to smack my husband rather than engendering any romantic notions.

Then there's the stirrups and general poking about in your fanny. I'm fairly disinhibited about all this now. Let's face it, if they got to me then I wouldn't be counting my IVF goes on two fingers. But romantic they are not, unless you're got very strange ideas and boundaries.

The fear of failure, that you're throwing money, emotional investment, side effects and generally feeling shit at something that might never work.

I know I'm one of the lucky ones in that I did eventually have a baby.

But, y'know, if I had the option, I'd take even the most perfunctory quick shag as being about a million times more romantic then and infinitely preferable to fertility treatment.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's Day

Since we had the miscarriage I've been pondering about the theory that secondary infertility is just as difficult as primary infertility. And why I don't think it is.

Realising you're infertile, or at the very least not as fertile as you'd like to be, isn't a very pleasant thing to do through. For years women are fed the idea that if they're not really careful that they'll get pregnant at the drop of a hat, but that it's easy to manage fertility.

It's a bit of a shock to the system that it doesn't always work like that, and I think always takes a bit of time to work through.

Personally, I've accepted being functionally infertile now. Although it caused me immeasurable pain in the past, I've now got to the point that I might as well rage about not being able to sing, or - to use a more practical example - being shit at parking. There's just no point in getting upset about not being able to get pregnant without a lot of help any more, I'm good at other things and in other ways have been quite lucky.

Losses also causr their own grief, in their own way. Not neccessarily in any logical fashion - the most upset I've been was having a chemical pregnancy after my first ever IVF shot.

The missed miscarriage was awful too of course, but I wasn't in anywhere near as bad a state. It's partly because you get a bit easier at managing things; aiming to be as out of it as possible for the actual miscarrying (not for everyone, but I don't trust my body to do anything well when it comes to pregnancy, even miscarrying), already knowing that things can go wrong, and of course I had the Boy.

That's the difference. If there hasn't been an adoption, or a bereavement, then the vast majority of people who have secondary infertility have their child in their lives.

The drugs still give me a thumping headache and a bad temper. But a couple of mornings ago the Boy came into our bed, snuggled under the covers and we miaowed at the cat until she came over so I could teach the Boy how to stroke her (put your fist out until she bumps it with her head, then front to back, and if her tail flicks she's getting annoyed).

Teaching your kid how to treat animals, or read, or swim isn't the only thing you can do. I'd probably have gone further at work, travelled more, learned more if I'd decided not to invest so much time and money in IVF and then the Boy. Neither option make anyone a better person. But I don't regret my decisions, although I am very aware that IVF doesn't always work out for everyone.

I got another negative today so I'm very nearly out for this cycle. But at least I got to spend the rest of the day taking the Boy to the park and then digging for worms in the garden.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Schrodinger's pish stick

I've been getting sick in the mornings. I know, I know, that this is from the progesterone more than anything else. But still, at 3 days post transfer, I cracked and decided to pee on a stick. It was negative.

I hate the waiting. I don't think I've ever had a cycle where a negative turned out to be a positive a few days later.

And, I don't know if this is just because I'm getting a bit older - although not, apparently, any wiser about early testing - but the drugs feel awful this time around. In addition to the weeping I'm also getting spots everywhere - my face, my scalp... urgh.

But at the moment I am neither pregnant nor not pregnant.

I've also been arguing with my husband a lot. He's been preoccupied with lots of other things, which we've been talking about more than the cycle. But I'm getting really fucked off with him hiding upstairs on his computer while I sit downstairs with a thumping headache, fielding questions about trains and atoms from the Boy.

Tonight's row was at dinnertime, because I was trying to put together a plan B if this cycle doesn't work. I find this is immensely helpful. It means if the cycle doesn't work I'm not totally pulling myself up off the floor, I've got something positive to focus on. Normally it involves booking a holiday or, more generally, having something lined up to look forward to.

So I was talking to him about holidays and generally trying to make myself feel like it wouldn't be quite so shit if this cycle doesn't pan out, and then he came out with "Oh, but it might still work this time".

I felt like stabbing him with my fork.

I think his point of view is that the drugs are driving me up the wall, that we're maybe doing this too soon after the miscarriage and we need a good long break after this cycle. And that we're going to a kiddie theme park near a big post-industrial city in a few weeks so I should be content.

Mine is that the drugs are making me feel like shit, but in order to cope with this I need him to be a bit more supportive and actually come up with plans and suggestions that aren't as a result of me prodding him. I am not getting any younger, I hate the limbo of treatments, and I need a more definite timescale for career purposes, and, more importantly, the more you can ignore the emotional trauma and just do cycles the more likely it is that IVF will work. And yes, a break would be nice but it needs to be something a bit more life affirming than what we've got planned so far.

>>>> Later notes <<<<

I feel a bit unreasonable for some of the stuff I was moaning about. The whole point of IVF is that you get to do stuff with your kids, after all, and even if I wouldn't choose to spend a day in a children's theme park normally, I'm sure it'll be lovely memories for us and the Boy.

We also had a big talk and hopefully he'll be a bit more supportive from now on.