Thursday, March 17, 2011

March update

I'm keen to know my polypectomy results but too lazy to visit rude Dr S to collect them and in denial that he will finally reply to my email and say 'all's well...proceed straight to the fertility clinic'. I have got in touch (by text of course) with Dr P (gynae/fertlity) to remind him how many days I have left of this cycle and see about a potential transfer in the next few months. I want to get on with it soon-ish...but I'm not so desperate either. So nothing to report anyway.

I am considering not broadcasting my future embryo transfers on this blog or to friends either. January was the strangest experience ever. I felt like I wanted to share my injections and egg collection etc with people but after that I felt too exposed. I might join the fertile folk next time and not document my two week wait. I will probably update this blog retrospectively, at times.

I feel like I've put so many things off in the past year especially...just in case....I'm having treatment/I'm pregnant/I'm devastated I'm not pregnant etc. I haven't wanted to deal with the fact other people are getting pregnant while all this is getting on. I've been waiting to get pregnant, as if EVERYTHING will be all right then. So anyway, I've stopped waiting, I'm getting on with things, dance classes, carnivals, looking at friend's baby photos, starting courses I may not finish, re investing in life along side fertility treatment. I've talked to friends who  know nothing of IVF and it's helped, I've allowed silly questions, welcomed them, explained the difference between explained and unexplained infertility and why we'll never be one of those couples who surprise everyone with a natural pregnancy.

The IVF bubble has burst and I've let the real world in. Very few people know about my treatment but I've stopped looking purely for others 'in the same boat' to lean on and spoken more to close friends. I welcome 'silly questions' and forgive their naivety instead of getting irritated. The more I stay in my IVF bubble the more I collude with this taboo. It's better to help fertile folk understand, in the long run.

Me & my blog

I've enjoyed my holiday from this blog, I still am. It's nice to be busy again, studying.I feel more like ME and not a patient or 'someone having IVF'. I read through some of my old blog posts. I still can't read January's posts, the excitement mid month after fertilization is too painful and I can't bear to relive the bloody ending either.

I've considered how useful the blog is, and was to me on this journey. It has been an excellent way of keeping (a small selection) of friends up to date, while I'm away. If I had had this experience in England, I would probably have written a diary instead.

In the beginning, sick of being asked about my fertility status I told a lot of people politely, to bugger off. Other, carefully selected friends, were given the link to this blog. It saved me repeating myself in this complex journey and friends used it wisely, as intended, without prompting. Logging on frequently, sending emails and texts after specific posts and wishing me luck for egg collection etc.

I hadn't anticipated any anonymous followers, it was comforting at first, I pimped my blog out (under my BC stats) and picked up a few more. I started feel like... maybe this online 'IVF community' everyone seemed to be drawing strength from was going to feel real to me. I accepted sprinklings of baby dust with out wincing and cyber ((hugs)) without cringing. Perhaps I was becoming less technophobic?

Then the cycle ended, officially, marked in blood...everyone disappeared. N had to work, long days and very few friends got in touch for a day or two, most waited for me to make the first move. I acknowledged this loneliness finally on my blog when I realised friends were still reading but not contacting me directly...I am my own worst enemy.

I had used this blog to keep people at a safe distance and now no one wanted to make the first move and I found myself alone. There were some kind comments from regular followers but the fact stats dropped by about 90% after I confirmed I was not pregnant....fair-weather-followers...logging on each day until it gets boring. It's human nature and I have never met these people, I know it's not personal.

So, this blog still has a place in my life and I will dip in and out of other peoples blogs and hope I can be helpful at times to them too. But it doesn't make me feel less lonely. I'm still afraid to be COMPLETELY honest when I write on here which is one of it's limitations.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Having a break...

A lovely break, I'm looking forward to it. This blog has been so useful to me and I still have much more to blog about but for now I'm having a rest. In January my life disappeared and became all about treatment. In February it gradually came back and I want to keep it that way. I can't remember the last time I routinely checked any of the fertility websites and I feel better for it, I have never been a big fan. In January, my intense treatment regime fuelled the posts on the blog but lately it's the other way round and my posts are fuelling unwanted fertility related thoughts. Time for a change.

Since I've spent less time blogging I've begun to reinvest in the real world. I occasionally get the urge to log on to other websites and then I ask myself why? It's purely habit and always leaves me feeling crap. It reinforced all my fears and brings new anxieties to light. Occasionally it's a good resource for questions but I'm learning to rely on N and the Doctors here, check against the NICE guidelines and lean on friends, even fertile ones. They don't know how I feel but then nor do the infertile ones. My quest to find somewhere I belonged in this situation has left me feeling so isolated because I've been looking in all the wrong places. 

I've let myself become defined by my (in)fertility status and life has been put on hold, waiting for it to begin with a pregnancy,  happy feelings accompanied by 'ifs, buts and if onlys' when really right now I am happy, I'm healthy and I'm lucky and I'm letting life pass me by feeling stuck, waiting, in limbo. So I'm challenging that. The times in between treatments are a gift not to be squandered. However this story ends, I will never regret the money, time and energy used in trying to conceive (past, present or future) but I will regret wasting the time in between.

This week on Facebook I found pictures of, 'Elena' an old school friend who died in 2006 from a brain tumour. We were thick as thieves, we spent every lunch hour, comparing sandwiches (her's were always better), in some field or a disused class room, planning our future... until we turned 15, we discovered boys, we fought, we had deep dark secrets buried in our middle class homes and drifted apart. In 2004 we collided again when I was on my lunch break in the hospital gardens. Still beautiful, I recognised her instantly, it never occurred to me she could be a patient, certainly not having chemo to buy herself some time. 
So we sat, ate our sandwiches, and talked of the past instead of the future, filled in the gaps, said 'Sorry' and laughed at the wrath of 15 year old girls. We didn't have the babies we'd planned and we still felt too young. Elena was single and sad about it. I had just met N and downplayed the fact I imagined I had met someone to spend the rest of my life with. Then she and I parted. I wanted to share my fears for the future, I'd missed her so much and I wanted to know all about her future hopes and dreams but her future was more uncertain than I can ever imagine. That was the last time I saw her. One last lunch break. She used to dare me to run into the middle of a field and shout, she'd say 'go on...who cares' and we were always late back to class, 'who wants to be stuck inside when we have this lovely afternoon?'. Quite right!

Well I have a few more appointments but afterwards I have nice things planned to do. I'm looking forward to my next transfer and equally to the time in between. I've got so much to do, even with no money and being tied to a few dates in my diary. 

I look forward to catching up soon. Infertility and all the treatment that goes with it is still a big part of my life so feel free to email (China Girl any questions re short protocol for example). Take care everyone. Hasta luego!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How would you announce a pregnancy?

As I'm addressing my irrational (though very understandable) feelings towards pregnancy announcements I'm wondering about this. Irrational because some affect me immensely while there are others I couldn't give a toss about. Normal but a little irrational, (though there's good reason deep in my subconscious).

I thought about the above question during my 2 week wait before the bleeding started. I think I would celebrate each day tentatively, a worry free pregnancy is out of the question but I want to appreciate the experience regardless of the outcome. I would announce it on my blog. It's my blog and therefore not the same as website communities or FB. People have a choice if they want to log on and read and as most will have followed my story it will not be a shock to send somebody into tears over their corn flakes as might if it appeared on FB.

I feel that while IVF success stories can be motivating and are easier to swallow than effortless conceptions, once my journey began I felt more sensitive. I couldn't bear to see joyful BFP's once my treatment had failed. It was too raw a time to give me hope for next time. I stayed off the websites until I could separate my agony and jealousy from my feelings of happiness for others success stories that they truly deserved of course. The two feelings run together and it's always hard to feel these conflicting emotions and manage them in the presence of people you care about and pregnancies after loss and fertility treatments.

I know people who have experienced the agony of miscarriage or who are battling complicated pregnancies. It is hard to make public announcements. Those with IVF success stories, want to share and others will draw strength from their tales so it's worth posting on fertility websites. However, some are gentle and dignified others seem to be on a par with the smug boastings so many infertile people find hard and when they appear sandwiched between a failed cycle and a miscarriage it feels insensitive and crude to see so many capital letters appearing in one title.

While I'm battling to 'own my feelings' regarding bumps and bundles on my FB feed and trying not to get bitter about these people sharing their excitement I have found the tables have turned. These enviably fertile folks are really quite innocent in their happy, excited, public displays of motherhood. While people who have battled infertility should know better surely. They have suffered (and complained) about such announcements so should perhaps save their excitement to friends, family and other parents.

How can any of us tell that there is not someone in our social circle quietly battling childlessness and who is unaware of our much deserved future IVF successes who may find themselves locked in a toilet cubicle, blubbing over our baby shower. I have blundered my way in the past and shudder at flash backs of innocent questions I have asked couples about family plans. Now I know better. So I feel any future celebrations will remain on this blog, a small update to the stats on BC perhaps as I know it helps some people and close friends and family. Even if I adopted one websites suggestion of a 'pomegranite' woven bracelet to symbolise my battle with infertility I don't think this would excuse any smug or boastful announcements.

So perhaps my philosophy has become, treat others as though they are all struggling with fertility or have struggled to conceive, when broaching the subject because I know how it can feel. While the blissfully unaware fertile folk don't know how it feels. Perhaps I can think of some gentle ways of letting them know, rather than thinking up bitchy oneliners. Well, it's worth a try...on a good day!


Well, another box ticked and always an eventful visit to the local hospital. Lots of forms i can't read to be signed and paper clothes to wear. I wanted to stay with N who saw me to the lift with the porter but I managed to leave with a brave face and I was relieved to be able to wear my own clothes as far as the theatre. I met Dr P in the lift so felt happy that I was on my way for the right procedure. I didn't expect Dr S to grace me, a mere patient and a female one too, with his presence.

After a bumpy ride in a trolley to the anaesthetic room I was moved from side to side by staff preparing theatre next store. 'Someone' gave me some an injection of local (which stings) to dull  the pain of the cannulae (drip needle), sort of defeated the purpose but anyway it seemed that 'a little sleepy medicine' was an understantement. Good old Dr S, I should have asked Dr P for a proper explanation. I started to breath oxygen via an anaesthetic mask but at that point I thought 'oh well so this is a GA', in went some Fentanyl, Dr P muttered some broken English sentiments about happy dreams and off I went. Somewhere lovely and very vivid that disappeared as I heard my name called (shouted) and out came the airway and all I could taste was anaesthetic gas.

I now feel like I've smoked 40 Marlboro reds with the filters ripped off on a 48 hour bender. Rough. The recovery was ridiculous. N was told to wait on the floor above so he lost me for 2 hours. They wanted to keep me for 4 hours and made me wait 2 hours before drinking water. If that goes down OK then it's tea with 3 sugars and wait another hour. I had to beg to leave as N had a flight to catch and I couldn't leave alone. I sneaked off to the bathroom and fed my drip through my clothes, did my hair and drank my tea in one gulp and rang the buzzer. The Nurse was not happy as I had jumped the water to tea stage and spoilt the order. Eventually we escaped. If the NHS post recovery time was the same they would have to cut theatre lists by 70%. I like the relaxed approach but think the time would be better spent preparing pre op info like telling patients to be nil by mouth etc and what to expect afterwards.

Glad that's done. I feel v rough with throbbing head and cannulae site but absolutely no pain from op site so there you go. It took 45 mins and the polyp (just one) has been sent to hystology. Results next week.