Archive for April, 2012

DON’T IGNORE…THE BASICS

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week and so I wanted to do one more post. This is actually entered into a competition so do please pass it on and/or comment on what you think of my efforts 🙂
The title for this post is…

DON’T IGNORE THE BASICS

During the last 5 years I have learnt much in how the fertility game works and gained knowledge in an area I was ignorant of before. This knowledge also allows me to see what’s missing however and I constantly now use that old phrase ‘if only I knew then what I know now’.

There are many stages of the infertility journey and unfortunately they do not co-operate/communicate/work with each other. This is a bold statement and of course there are exceptions but I shall break it down;

STAGE 1: Try to get pregnant. Struggle. Speak with FAMILY and FRIENDS (if you choose to, not compulsory). Trying naturally for about 6 months to a year.

STAGE 2: See DOCTOR. DOCTOR checks your basic health, details of how long you’ve been trying, age etc… May advise healthier lifestyle, some basic tests (if you’re lucky at this early stage) and some obvious pregnancy tips (when to do it, how to do it etc..). FAMILY/FRIENDS will offer their feedback on this advice. Come back in 6 months.

infertility doctorsSTAGE 3: DOCTOR refers you to CONSULTANT. CONSULTANT goes through the basics with you again (any notes ever made on you do not get forwarded to anyone else who sees you) and may suggest further tests and offer something like clomid to try for 6 months (as in our case). FAMILY/FRIENDS again have comments on everything you’ve been told and all that you have been offered. Come back in 6 months.

STAGE 4: You now need to visit THE CLINIC for assisted conception advice as the DOCTOR and the CONSULTANT have resulted in a BFP (big fat negative to those unaware of the term). The CLINIC go over your basic details (again!) and all of what you’ve already had tested. They then advise an assisted conception route such as IUI or IVF and it’s down to you to decide when. FAMILY/FRIENDS offer support and further feedback. This takes as long as it takes.

STAGE 5: If the CLINIC get you pregnant, you have to go back to the DOCTOR to announce the pregnancy and start the ‘normal’ pregnant women tests and meet your MIDWIFE who is completely unaware of everything you’ve been through so…you have to go over all your information from day one (because your pregnancy is special and you would like to keep it please and so want everyone to take this all very seriously).

So DOCTOR, CONSULTANT and CLINIC are all trying to achieve a pregnancy, but they don’t work together to do this, and you are the source of all the information (so make sure you write it all down to save time). The problem is I’ve realised that no-one ever really advised us/me on the basic things for me to do/try for MY health. It makes sense that if something physically isn’t working we should try to make ourselves as healthy as possible, try to improve our odds. I often asked the professionals ‘any tips on what I should be eating or drinking?’ and always was met with vague answers of ‘just eat healthy’ and even ‘having a drink is fine, if it keeps you sane throughout all this’. The professionals are trying to create a baby without getting the vessel (me) baby worthy. So I did my own research.

I found out about every herb and it’s properties, I learnt which ones would not work for me as well as those that would as every woman is different. I tried to understand my cycle so that I could improve it without taking modern drugs. I found out about fertility massage, acupuncture and meditation, and started to reduce my stress levels. acupuncture for infertilityThe quick fix was out the window and I’ve started to work on a longer goal period, taking supplements that slowly benefit my developing eggs, rather than taking drugs that simply increase how many I release in one cycle. My weight is being addressed, and I have completely stopped drinking alcohol as there is so much proof that it decreases your chances of pregnancy by up to 50%! I see a counsellor to address my emotions past and present, so that I am basically a better all round human being (and less mental preferably).

FOCUS ON YOUR BASIC HEALTH AND EMOTIONAL STATE AND LET NATURE HAVE A PROPER CHANCE.

My message to all of you out there who are trying is that as soon as I addressed myself as the primary concern, and not my ovaries, I fell naturally pregnant. Nothing comes close to how that felt and I’m about to cry now just thinking about it. Unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage BUT my knowledge and my efforts got me further than my DOCTOR or my CONSULTANT (my CLINIC did get me pregnant too but that also ended in a miscarriage alas). If I had done this 4 years ago I may be in a very different position now.

So to anyone who is thinking that they may need fertility intervention of any kind, start by looking at yourself rather than the quick fix solutions offered by the professionals. I’m not saying don’t see your DOCTOR/CONSULTANT/CLINIC, just to focus on yourself as the important carrier/creator of your baby and therefore the most important part. Get yourself on an organic diet, shed those extra pounds, start taking raspberry tea, find out about natural supplements (maca, wheatgrass, l-argenine, royal jelly) and investigate therapies that you’ve never tried before like yoga, meditation and acupuncture. I was told by someone close to me to start skipping as it ‘refreshes’ your womanly insides. Unfortunately I can’t skip at present due to a very dodgy knee BUT this woman (who is in her 40s) is now naturally pregnant so skip everyone, SKIP! 🙂
The healthier you are the more successful any assisted attempts will be.

I am only human and have had a very depressing week this week, but I still have hope for my baby. Sometimes the hope is small, but it’s still there. I have hope, I have love and now I have better health. I believe these to be very good ingredients for my little one, very good indeed.

Big kisses to you all xxxxxx

For more information on infertility from RESOLVE check out the links below;

In a dark place..

I’m not having such a great day today. All of my positivity has left me and I am in a big hole of black stuff. I’m angry, frustrated, heartbroken, sad and feel utterly hopeless. I actually feel sick. I’m not proud of how I feel, but it’s completely taken me over and I have no choice but to ride it out. I don’t think I’ll ever be pregnant and I just want to hide under the duvet with a bottle of vodka …. except I can’t can I.

Today I just can’t deal with it all. I have no more ‘coping stuff’ left. It is what it is.

infertility sadness

NIAW: Don’t ignore…

I am creating this blog for National infertility Awareness Week and hope to get as many readers as possible to spread the word on infertility! NIAW is looking for the best blog so for the first time ever I shall enter my blog into a competition! I have to write a blog starting with the words Don’t Ignore… and so here goes.

DON’T IGNORE THE POSITIVES!

Those of us going through infertility will gradually become knowledgeable to the medical situations that we are called upon to go through, or that occur naturally. We read up on other people’s stories and experiences, speak with nurses, doctors and consultants, Google EVERYTHING and chart our own physical experiences until we literally know ourselves inside out. As time plods on we may investigate alternative ideas, even lightheartedly buying fertility dolls or good luck charms and learn not to turn any suggestion away without careful and serious consideration. We might try a few things that we find initially scary like acupuncture, all in the name of our future baby. Then we face the most difficult demons; we struggle with our emotions. Empty pain, guilt, an overwhelming feeling of failure, of not being understood, of feeling alone, rejection and incredible frustration. Then there is the physical pain; the needles, the hormones that turn us into monsters, the constant probing and prodding, the surgeries and the perpetual double checking of any pregnancy symptom that may, or may not, be present. Then it starts all over again.

That is infertility in a paragraph. Or is it?

I have absolutely experienced all of the above BUT alongside all this, and growing stronger every month, are positive side effects.
I have discovered that I am not alone; that many of my friends have been through similar journeys and I have made contact with new friends who share their experiences with me too. I have learnt more about my body than most have opportunity to, and have an understanding of it that now makes me feel..well..more in control. I have met such clever professionals that quite simply want me to have a baby, which feels so very reassuring. I have faced tough decisions, dealt with them and lived to see another day (how strong am I?! :-)) I have dealt with a dark side of my persona and embraced it so I can move forward. New people have helped me to take one step at a time, and shown me such caring love that I may otherwise have never seen. I have been humbled by my egg donor who offered before I asked, and I truly believe that what she gave me is the most treasured gift I have ever received in my entire life. Through miscarriage I know that my body is working and correcting natural mistakes that cannot be blamed on anything or anyone. This journey has made me hunger to be a better person and hard as that may be, I have slowly become stronger, healthier and more empathic to others. I have developed a strong desire to help others like me, in hope that what I’ve learnt may result in someone getting their cherished baby. A bigger picture has formed allowing me to see more clearly and be infertilityaccepting of what lies ahead.
I see love differently. My husband has shown me what true, deep love is and been at my side constantly. He has held me when I lashed out in anger, and when I cried til my eyes hurt. We have naturally become a super unit of love, strength and understanding that can only come when couples face a tragic situation head on.

To summarise, my life is now more full of love and happiness, than when we started out on our infertility journey.

I refuse to become sad and miserable, I choose to smile and be positive.

My thought process is that if I were a baby soul looking for a Mummy…I would definitely pick the happy one.
Even if she is a bit nutty.

Continue reading

Stop the regime that murders motherhood

Apologies for bringing politics into a fertility blog but this is outrageous and the word needs to be spread! These women won’t even know if they were fertile or not as their chance of motherhood is being taken away from them WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT! Read on…

 Dear friends,

uterusUzbekistan’s dictator is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to control birth rates. It’s a hideous and brutal attack on women by a US-backed dictator. Call on US Secretary of State Clinton, a champion for women’s rights, to immediately cut off her support to the dictator. Click below to sign:

Sign the petition

Uzbekistan’s President is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to promote “birth control” across the country. It’s a vile and bloody crime against women being orchestrated by an odious dictator, and now is the time for it to end.    
Uzbekistan’s Karimov is one of the world’s worst dictators, he’s even boiled opposition activists alive. Yet he’s propped up by millions of dollars from the US government who pay him for military transport across the country. This latest round of brutality, this time against his country’s women, has turned the global spotlight on this monster. Let’s use this awful moment to persuade his biggest backer to ditch him.
Uzbekistan’s dictator is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uteruses without their knowledge or consent to control birth rates — the latest tactic in a global war on women. But this time, it may be the last straw. Call on US Secretary of State Clinton, a champion for women’s rights, to finally strike a blow for the good guys and cut off her support to the dictator.

I’ve just signed the petition to stop it — join me in this campaign here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uzbekistan_sterilisation_meme/?sbc

Activists estimate tens or even hundreds of thousands of women were sterilised secretly when they went into the hospital for a routine procedure or to give birth — waking up with no idea that their uterus has just been removed. One Uzbek gynecologist admitted, ‘Every doctor is told…how many women are to be sterilised … my quota is four women a month’. The use of arbitrary arrest and torture is so widespread that women don’t speak out for fear of reprisals, and foreign journalists and human rights activists are routinely thrown out of the country.

It doesn’t have to be like this — the US could play hardball with Karimov, who relies on the steady flow of money from transit to Afghanistan to fund his lavish lifestyle. The human rights horror show in Uzbekistan has gone under the radar for years — but we have a real chance to break the silence now, using the explosive BBC report that details forced sterilisations, and stand with the brave Uzbek women who have dared to tell their stories in the face of stunning oppression.

Many thanks everyone xxx

Infertility: disease or condition?

Just a quickie post.

I’ve noticed that people are referring to infertility as a ‘disease’, but I don’t think I agree with that. I think it’s a condition.

I think it’s a condition because it’s something we can suffer with, but don’t fully understand yet so therefore can’t label as a disease as such. I certainly don’t feel that I have a disease, just an unfortunate situation.

But what do you all think? Am I not understanding the medical explanation of the two terms disease and condition perhaps? Or maybe it’s just that different countries use words slightly differently? Please reply with your thoughts…

It’s ovulation time (but try not to think about it!)

We’ve just been away for a few days in Stratford-upon-Avon (loved it! and it has resurfaced my love of Shakespeare) and now back to normality. According to my Menstrual App (gotta love it) I should be ovulating tomorrow, and my body is in agreement although I will spare you the physical details. I am still tea-total, still taking the supplements and still trying to lose the weight (although trips away make this pretty much impossible), so all good so far. I am strangely excited about the forthcoming 2 weeks, as;

  1. I may be pregnant (we now know it’s not impossible), OR
  2. We have the frozen embryos popped in and I may become pregnant.

Both the above are IFS but at the same time it’s 2 IFS instead of none which is what we’re used to. So I think it’s fair enough for me to be excited about that 🙂

The forward hope that we now have is helping me loads; I am better at focusing on the weight loss and I will absolutely NOT drink any alcohol. I just wish I’d done this sooner, but I guess we can only do what we can at each moment in life by responding to who we are at that very moment. There have been times when I’ve been filled with anger and refused to stop drinking as it was MY choice to do so, and I’m still me, not a baby making machine..blah blah. Times when I couldn’t control my anxiety and convinced myself that I caused the first miscarriage by not being able to stop my panic attacks. Times when I felt like I simply didn’t want to have a baby (massive denial) and times when I felt like I would never get pregnant as Mother Nature is punishing me for all the awful things I’ve ever done in my life. But now? Now I feel completely different. Now I feel like I have control over this ‘situation’ even by accepting what is out of my control like the quality of my eggs. I can still help myself. It sounds really obvious but maybe that’s at the crux of this, we have to start by helping ourselves before we turn to medical intervention.

So anyway, my natural ovulation is starting and I’m going to help myself by trying not to think about it and be normal 😉
Back on that emotional mouse wheel Jodie….

Next step has been planned…here we go again!

Oooh exciting day today!! We’ve been to the clinic to discuss everything that’s happened (miscarriage from last year and updating the Consultant on the natural pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage), to see what their opinions/recommendations are, and to decide where to go from here. We have 4 frozen embryos from our (wonderful) donor so here is a basic list of our questions;

  1. Does the fact that I conceived naturally mean we can try on our own for a while, or should we strike whilst the iron’s hot and use the frozen embryos whilst my body is in the ‘pregnancy’ zone?
  2. What can be done about my 2 miscarriages, am I at higher risk? Or as they were from 2 different eggs, does that make a difference?
  3. Does freezing the eggs for another year mean they will be less…effective?
  4. I was told I have a tilted uterus, does that change anything?

So our Consultant (Mr Norman Taylor) got updated by me and answered like so;

  1. It’s entirely personal choice – you can do either. Wait and try naturally or go ahead straight away with the frozen ones (he knows I’m aware of my age so I think this is a no-brainer to be honest).
  2. I will be put on steroids when I get pregnant (do you like that? I said when not if) which is normally prescribed to repeat miscarriage sufferers to help…well….to help the pregnancy not miscarry (medical expert I am not, sorry).
  3. Freezing the eggs is fine, no problem with the length of time frozen so we could postpone if we chose to without worrying about the eggs getting frostbite.
  4. This was hilarious! ‘Tilted uterus means nothing, nothing for you to worry about. It’s what they say to women that just frightens them’ is pretty much what Mr NT said. I truly love his no bullshit way of talking.

So…we have made a decision! I am currently on day 3 of my first period following the miscarriage and when I am on day 1 of my next period…..we are phoning the clinic to start the ball rolling and within 3 weeks I will have the frozen ones put in!

This may sound very quick and I’m sure family members and close friends will be concerned for me acting too hastily, but there really is no need to wait. I am at the healthiest I’ve been for ages (in 4th month of not drinking, losing weight, eating super healthy and taking my supplements) and my body has had 2 pregnancies within 7 months, so it should know what to do 🙂

The nurse has talked us through everything and it couldn’t be simpler this time round. I’m on a natural cycle so no injections or tablets, just a few scans before egg insertion followed by taking progesterone and steroid tablets to help keep the pregnancy. Also, the cost is amazing, last years egg donor IVF cycle cost us £8000 but this round is under £1000!! Incredible! Plus we have 4 eggs, and as they only need to defrost 2, this means that we may still have another 2 to try later (providing the defrosted ones are ok and we don’t need to defrost all of them at once).

I am buzzing, you may be able to tell, and yet I am fully aware that things may not work out as we hope…BUT when you’re on an infertility journey you simply have to get excited about what you’re doing because YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING. My wonderful husband has also agreed that I should blog about this cycle, in real-time if you like, so you will all know what’s happening when it happens. This is a bit scary, but I started my blog in order to help others know what it’s like to go through IVF etc. so why hold back now?

Stay tuned people, let’s see what miracles are up my sleeve!

positive infertility