Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

Seriously not fair, but that’s life

Yesterday was strange for me as although it was the day when AF* turned up to confirm the FET** had failed and therefore devastating, it also brought relief to me. I had spent the last 7 days in utter hell, going completely insane, not knowing what to do or how to gain some feeling of control. Basically I had been spotting every day since Sunday which could either have meant an implantation bleed (except it went on longer than normal), impending period arrival, the drugs that I was taking were messing up my system or even ‘one of those’ pregnancies where bleeding is normal. Every single second of every single day those options were racing through my mind. I dreaded going to the toilet, but was compelled to go to ‘see’ what was going on; massive catch 22. I wasn’t me at all last week, I was just a crazed woman existing on a day-to-day basis. Deep down I knew it hadn’t worked, I knew I didn’t feel pregnant, but then just as much as I was convinced I knew it, I would then feel tremendous guilt in case I was pregnant, and this emotional rollercoaster would continue on and on and on.. My mental state has found release at least, something for which I know my husband is grateful for (but not as much as I am, trust me!). It’s not nice when you feel you are losing a healthy outlook on life because you are so focused on something that you can’t actually define…I think I developed a ‘mad social grin’ to cover up what I was experiencing inside.

I have spent a little while working out what I did that caused this to fail, and I’m fully aware of the following phrases;

“It’s nobodys’ fault”  –  “There wasn’t anything you could have done”  –  “What will be, will be”  –  “It’s in the hands of Mother Nature”

BUT it’s MY body that keeps screwing this up and there’s no avoiding that and if I want this to work then I should at least be up front and honest about how I see my situation. I tried to carry on during the 2WW as normal as possible, but maybe I should have rested up more (certainly not gone to the pub for example). Some women take those 2 weeks off work  and relax after their IVFs/FETs, but I had always thought that was extreme and unnecessary. Maybe I was wrong. I don’t really think I was wrong, but I’m running out of things to try.

Anyway, today I am at home because I am in some pain and could do with a hot water bottle, some paracetamol and a cup of tea, but tomorrow everything will return to normal. I have decided that the next FET (and there is one more attempt left) will not be blogged about. I don’t regret doing this at all, but I didn’t realise how draining it would be and I just don’t think I could go through it another time. It has been completely amazing to receive such loving support from people I haven’t seen in years, or people I haven’t even met, but the downside is that some people haven’t shown any support….and I thought/hoped they would. Not everyone is the same and people deal with things very differently, and some people can’t deal with things at all, so I’m not saying that anyone is in the wrong for not having posted a comment on my blog for example. What I’m trying to say is that by opening my life and heart to the world I also opened up my expectations of people. I made myself as raw as was possible. This is why I can’t do it again, it starts to make you very confused and I was constantly questioning myself. I don’t think I need that extra stress.

I will continue with my blog but when we go for the next FET …. I’m not telling 🙂

Bottom line is we’re fine, we’re putting one foot in front of the other and continuing with our otherwise-blessed lives.

Thank you all so very much for having been with me through this. I love you all x

 

* AF – Auntie Flo (period)
** FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer

It didn’t work

The FET didn’t work. This particular journey has ended.

I will post more later but right now we’re going to walk the dog by the river and hold hands. And just love each other.

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.

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I’m really feeling rather good – should I be concerned?

I have to say that this alcohol-free lifestyle is truly working for me, my skin looks better and my head seems more organised (I have a tendency towards paranoia when going through hangovers, no fun). I have joined Weight Watchers and am ‘in the zone’ for some serious weight loss, first weigh-in tomorrow and I’ve been really good all week. I’ve been reading a meditation book (slowly admittedly) and have been impressed with how much the penny has been dropping in regards to my outlook on life. I have resisted the charms of Mr Google and asking Him about the latest fertility news, or how fertile I am now I’ve been pregnant, or whether a Tuesday is a good day to have baby-making-sex…you get the idea. I am even showing more confidence at work and am enjoying handling difficult situations that used to reduce me to a dribbling wreck. My hubby and I are an annoyingly happy loved up couple, I just can’t get enough of him! I see a Counsellor and this is going incredibly well and I do feel like I’m dealing with some ‘life shite’ that should have been addressed years ago. So, all in all, I am in a good place. I should be relaxed and happy. Nothing to worry about.

But that is exactly why I have this nagging voice saying “you know it won’t last” and “something bad is round the corner”. My Counsellor has said that this is a form of self-protection and that my mind is just preparing me for the worst, as normally….that’s what happens to me. I also, however, have such a low opinion of myself (thanks to my upbringing) that I truly don’t believe that I deserve anything nice to happen to me; that it’s my lot in life to cope with the bad when it turns up. So I’m supposed to work on this, to stop saying negative phrases and turn them around. So these are a couple of the phrases that I am telling myself constantly, and also the doubts that are still hanging on (for now);

I am fertile (was that my one and only chance at a pregnancy with my hubby?)

I am healthy (yeah, but not as healthy as I should be)

Each pregnancy is a new one, a miscarriage will not happen just because of the two previous ones (really? I’m still nearly 40, my eggs are still rubbish apparently so my chances are still high for a miscarriage) 

I am also trying to work out how you are supposed to ‘stop thinking about getting pregnant’ as I know that therein lies the solution. How?! I feel like a dog when it tries to bite its own tail. It sneaks up on it as if the tail were a separate entity, but we all can see what’s going on and find it hilarious to watch. This is how I see my dilemma, I can’t truly stop thinking about something so that (hopefully) something else will happen … because …. I’m me … and I know what I’m doing. Haha, it’s quite funny really.

So I continue to feel good, to behave well and to learn healthy life lessons and my journey continues. Maybe my negative voices are normal and will diminish over time. Or maybe I’m due a break-down? Oh heck…I’m off again…. 🙂

I’m only human

Well I’m finally getting back to normal (physically speaking) and the rollercoaster ride is settling down to the mundane work-home-eat-sleep routine. I’ve packed away the maternity clothes, the maternity folder and magazines, and am accepting that my tummy is the way it is due to the amount I eat…and no other reason. The ‘plastic smile’ is getting easier to produce at work and I’m sure some people wouldn’t even have guessed that anything had happened to me. Normality resumes.

The words that people have said to me, or posted, or emailed, have all been wonderful and caring; and they have comforted me. The trouble is that I feel guilty somewhat. I have re-read my posts, and listened to myself when conversing about ‘moving forward’ and realised that, boy-oh-boy do I talk-the-talk….but am I walking-the-walk?

I think I’m one of those people who is at their best when helping others, but utterly appalling at helping themselves. My feelings of guilt are because I don’t feel brave or strong, I don’t hold positive thoughts in my head all day and I actually still struggle with a very negative outlook on my situation because..well..I just feel rubbish. But when I think of myself as someone else, and imagine what I would say to them, then words of wisdom and hope seem to come flooding out. I’m also very aware of my ‘place’ in the infertility kingdom (why not a kingdom?) in that what has happened to me is indeed very sad and unfair, but there are many others who have suffered far greater grief and loss. They are the ones who are strong and brave, the ones who continue after much later miscarriages, the ones who find out that their baby has died inside them, the ones who hold their babies for a matter of minutes before losing them. My heart goes out to them.

So thank you to everyone who has wished us well, and said lovely things to me, I am truly grateful for your kindness and love. All I want to do now is wave my magic wand (yes I do have one…long story) and grant everyone a healthy baby. And whilst I still believe in everything I have ever posted about; the positivity, the healthy attitude, the acceptance etc.., please know that it’s hard for me. Know that I have days when I just cry for no apparent reason other than a feeling of complete sadness. Know that when I see a pushchair there is a little part of me that winces. Know that I still put my hands on my tummy without thinking and then recoil when the memory kicks in. I know my words make sense and are the right thing to do, but I’m only human and my emotions rule me most of the time. I just didn’t want anyone thinking that I was this tough little cookie who could analyse her situation and make cupcakes out of manure. I can’t.

But I’ll bloody well keep trying.

Sort my knee out, then get baby-body ready

I am currently lying on my sofa with my knee raised, a collection of drugs at my side and all the tv remotes/notebooks/books/phones I could wish for. On Monday evening I had ACL Resconstructive surgery to my knee as a netball collision resulted in my cruciate ligament…well….disappearing. This has meant that I have been unable to do competetive sport for roughly 3 years (I adored netball) and have had to find a new way to walk as my left knee doesn’t ‘work’. I fell over quite a bit and with each fall my knee would get slightly worse, my knee doesn’t stop, it just keeps going which is very unpleasent and VERY painful. I am pleased with how I handled my knee as I listened to my physio and did the exercises (well most of the time) and knew I had to build the surrounding muscle to  help me walk so that I looked/felt normal. I did struggle with walking up/down stairs though and needed to get one of those kneeling chairs to sort out my back which also ended up in pain as it coped with my distorted walking posture. I have been through this knee scenario all whilst going through my IVF journey, but it finally got so bad that I had to face the fact that I couldn’t risk carrying a baby with such an unreliable knee. To think that I could fall whilst pregnant and lose the baby was just unbearable after everything we’ve been through.

How my knee looks at the moment

So I had my reconstruction booked in before we go for our last IVF/egg donation attempt this year, hopefully allowing sufficient time for me to heal before becoming pregnant. This wasn’t easy as I’m sure most of you would empathise with the urgency and driving desire to go for IVF as soon as possible, I’m not getting any younger either so am more than aware that every month brings my chances down. But the bigger picture is that the healthier I am, the better my chance of producing a healthy baby. This surgery which is forcing me to lie down for recuperation, be looked after  in regards to what I’m fed and making me organise our family life more than normal as I am limited in movement, has also provided me with an opportunity to contemplate on my health and take some ‘me’ time for improvements.

I can be very self-negative, have low self-esteem and struggle with day to day situations that no-one is aware of (my anxiety and panic attack issues), so I’m hoping that this time will allow me to really address some of my issues and become a better, stronger person. One big area for me to work on is my weight, which will be difficult as I can’t work-out as such, but I can certainly help myself to develop a healthier eating plan. I have successfully avoided alcohol now for 3 weeks, not a problem, and am starting to see a difference in my skin! This is a great spur, and I am now enjoying being tea-total 🙂

I have some pod casts on meditation and weight loss that I plan to relax to, and a wonderful book on assessing and improving myself as a whole (a wonderful christmas present from Kristen). I’m feeling very positive about this, which is surprising as I’m supposed to have PMT at present, lol! My knee hurts unbearably when I bend it at the moment, but I have to move it to get it working, so I’m following my physio to the letter. In fact I think I might be too keen and have over-done it a bit as my large scar has just started bleeding….scary! I will be off work for at least 2 weeks (hopefully longer as I want to be as good as possible before I go back to all the stairs), but I have lots of lovely drugs to see me thought this rough time.

I know we aren’t supposed to blame ourselves with miscarriage, but the controversial fact is that I think we all probably do a bit. After all, something went wrong inside me, so it’s hard for me to not think that my weight played a part, or my inability to deal with the stress I get from work or my old womb..etc. I can’t obviously dwell on this, but I can learn from my doubts and hence why I’m now trying to improve myself for next time. I am truly excited for the next attempt and want my knee to be fully ready to support a big bouncy baby 🙂

A different kind of IVF guilt

I have moments when I stand back and take a good hard look at what I am doing. How I feel about IVF as a solution to infertility and how it fits into the world as a whole. This thought process always leads me down a path of guilt as I recognise how many unwanted and unloved children there are, already born, that are desperate for a Mummy and Daddy. I confront the inner adopter/fosterer in me, someone who is very much alive and keen to be heard.

I have often thought about fostering during the last 10 years, as it is something that I think I would be chuffing brilliant at! My own troubled childhood, 2 divorces, being a single mum for 9 years and other ‘life stuff’, have all left me very empathic and with an understanding of dysfunctional family situations deep enough to listen to any story without over reacting. My heart really does miss a beat when I think of troubled teens who feel no-one cares, young children missing out on cuddles and babies who just want to be held. Worse still are the ones who need help healing from some awful trauma, and I want to help them. When I think about this….I feel a terrible guilt for going through IVF.

My journey is (as is everyone’s) not just mine but a shared one with my partner, and he is my motivation and reason for IVF. I utterly understand and empathise with him, that he simply wants and needs his own child, and I would do anything to give him a son/daughter. Strangely I already have in a way, as he is Step-Dad to my 15-year-old daughter (and he is marvellous!). But as time goes on, and the money runs out, and still no baby, our conversations are forced to address other options. And we have. Many times. Sometimes I get hysterical, sometimes we both get angry but both of us completely accept that we want to have a family, however it is created. We both have so much love to give that we know it would be a crime not to share it.

During the last year I have made enquiries, just dipping my toe in the water of fostering and adoption, to see how it works and what would be needed of us. It’s not straightforward, but I strongly agree with all the stringent investigations, documentation and interviews as such tiny, and fragile souls are at stake.

This year though we have our frozen embryos, and they are our ‘little babies’, so we optimistically go forward with our last egg donation IVF attempt! This is the next chapter in our lives and we couldn’t be more excited about it 🙂

But if it doesn’t work…..well….then I think we both know where the next chapter will take us. You got to look at the bigger picture right?