Nooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

nobodyExpectsTheSpanishInquisition

The Spanish Inquisition … when you least expect them.

Author’s note: The following is blatantly rejigged without the permission or knowledge of The Monty Python Flying Circus

Nooobody expects to have fertility issues! And here’s one thing you should never say to a woman trying to conceive: “Relax and it will all just happen naturally” ... and “But you’re still trying, aren’t you?”

Two! Two things you should never say to a woman trying to conceive: “But you’re still trying” and “Relax”... and “There’s always next time”.

THREE! Three things: “Always next time”, “Still trying” and “Relax”… and “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be”. 

LET ME START AGAIN!

I have a whole new respect for witches. Magic is hard to ‘make happen’ and despite all the science in the world, it still requires that little spark of magic to make a baby come to life.  As we’ve discovered over the past four years, magic can be very elusive and certainly out of our control.  But here’s the thing I find the most difficult about the whole process: other people’s comments. Which is why I tend not to say anything or if I do, brush it off with humour.

Once upon a time, I was probably guilty of saying any one of the following four quotes. After all, I already have three completely gorgeous, grown-up children. I’ve done this before. So why THE FUCK* can’t I do it now?? (Because I’m 45, that’s why. But hey, nobody said logic and babies in the same sentence without laughing, right? Just so we’re clear, my husband’s jiz is positively jumping out of the jar, it’s so fertile. And he’s got the lab report to prove it.)

So here’s my Top Four sayings that I would advise you to avoid if you’re trying to be supportive of someone struggling to have a baby:

1. RELAX AND IT WILL ALL JUST HAPPEN NATURALLY

Well, shit. Why didn’t I think of that? Seems so simple when you put it that way. But here’s the thing: this is a situation you have no control over. No control = stress (look it up. Scientific fact.) Stress = I can meditate all the fuck* I want and nothing is going to take away the anxiety of counting the days to get the timing right (and hey, here’s a tip for those currently trying – saying “Honey, I’m ovulating. Let’s do it. Now.” is not considered ‘sexy talk’ and usually has the opposite effect), then waiting for two weeks to see if anything happened.

Then there’s the fun-filled IVF road of jabbing yourself with needles every day for 10 days then going under a general anesthetic to be ‘harvested’ THEN hoping for a further five days that the little blighters fertilise/don’t start dying off/make it to transfer THEN waiting two weeks to see if anything happened.

You try relaxing under that kind of pressure.

2. BUT YOU’RE STILL TRYING, AREN’T YOU?

Ugh. Stab me in the heart, why don’t you? What are you ACTUALLY trying to say? Are we still having sex? “No, no, I thought since we can’t get pregnant, I’d go on the pill and take precautions. Or just say no to bedroom funtimes.” Stupid, stupid question.

Or in the case of failed IVF, do you mean will we immediately spend another $5000 and a full month on heartache, needle jabbing, hoping and praying? “Sure, sign me up for that shit again. I mean, I don’t think I suffered enough last time, you know?”

I understand you’re trying to be positive but the implication we take away from that question is that we HAVEN’T been trying.  And here’s an insider secret for you: even when we say we’re ‘not trying’ anymore … we still are. Until we get a baby, we’ll always be trying.

3. THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT TIME

Seriously? We’ve just been through hell and it’s not somewhere we’re keen to revisit … even though we will. Read previous response.

4. IF IT’S MEANT TO BE, IT’S MEANT TO BE

That kind of zen philosophy is not helpful at all. It’s kinda related to the ‘Relax’ response. Stress comes from having no control over a situation that directly affects you. If you and your partner decided you wanted a baby together but it’s not happening, even though you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on natural remedies, given up coffee and wine, exercised to get fit then finally turned to science and forked out thousands for a helping hand, being told that maybe it’s just ‘not meant to be’ personally makes me want to punch you. Hard. In the face. Don’t EVER say it.

Here’s the thing …

There is nothing you can say that will make it better. You are blissfully unaware (as my younger self was) of the struggles and heartache and despair these people go through EVERY SINGLE DAY.

So, my advice? Don’t even try. Don’t give them too much sympathy – they’re struggling to hold it together and you feeling sorry for them just makes it harder not to blubber like a … well, a baby.

Don’t talk about it – unless they bring it up first. Then possibly just listen and nod occasionally and say innocuous things like “I see” and “Really?”

Instead, give them coffee.

And wine.

It will be gratefully accepted and much appreciated.

*Sorry about the swear words, Ma

Keeping the faith

It’s Day 4 today. Today I will find out whether we have embryos to transfer tomorrow or the poor little windowlickers have failed to keep trudging along. I’ve been here once before. We got the phone call at 3.30pm the afternoon before. The team was out before I even got a chance to bat.

Now, I’ve done my fair share of personal growth-related reading over the past 5 years about positive thinking and how we create our own universe and we chose this path long before we were born for a reason. And to be honest, I can look back and see where I did indeed manifest what I wanted.

This morning, as I watch the sunrise over this city I’ve sat stewing in over the past 5 days, far from home and my love and family, I asked myself “How?How do I stay positive? How do I manifest this little bit of creation to go my way? How do I possibly affect the universe and all it’s magic in such a manner that the outcome is in my favour?”

And you know what? By writing this blog and thinking about how I’ve done it in the past, I think I’ve found the answer.

I wanted a marriage that was loving and equal, where I didn’t feel inadequate and the ‘follower’ who had no hand in the decision making process for the family. I eventually got it but had to go through a divorce first. And I can remember thinking how I didn’t want to be married anymore … And to my shame, started acting like I already wasn’t.

When I separated I needed a good job and a community that would support me as a single parent and an opportunity came up to move back to a job in a former organisation I’d worked for in the town I’d only left 18 months ago and swore I would never return to. I started planning our move even before I got to the interview stage. I acted as if I’d already got what I wanted.

The same job three years later was stifling. It had served its purpose. The kids were grown, I had been able to financially support them, buy a car, have a credit card (yep, didn’t think the bank would give me one – so naive), take the kids on an overseas holiday. I was safe, secure, had found a loving partner who was everything I had imagined, including the reading in bed together at night (it’s the little things). I was ready to get out of that job and to try something different. So I started studying graphic design at night and on weekends.

I wanted to be free of the red tape and ridiculous bureaucracy; to be master of my workflow and able to do things I really wanted to do; explore other avenues. I knew what I needed: a financial cushion; networks from which to get clients; a supportive partner who would be happy as long as I was happy. For the 6 months before I resigned, I was working as if I’d graduated with my diploma and already left, doing jobs after hours in my home business. I sold my unit to give us that financial cushion. I acted as if I’d already got what I wanted.

The common theme in all these stories is that I started acting as if I’d already got what I wanted. And perhaps there, my friends, is the answer. Don’t worry about how it will happen. Just have faith that it will. And act as if it already has. Does this mean I start buying baby things? Do I start looking at the calendar, making sure I don’t plan any big trips for April-May next year? Maybe.

I guess with the other situations, I felt like I had some control. With this, I believe we’re relying on the magic of the universe. Maybe all it takes is buying a little baby suit today to get the ball rolling …

The cycle begins

Baby_bottle

Suck it up, sunshine

And not to put too fine a point on it, I’m a little bit crazy this morning … and the drugs haven’t even started yet.

One word of advice to any would-be IVF’s, especially over the age of 40. Don’t look at the internet. Don’t read the forums. Don’t look at the statistics (although you actually do have a far greater chance of getting pregnant than winning the Powerball jackpot tomorrow night, so that’s comforting to know).

The thing you have to remember is that someone usually does win. They do get lucky and for them, all the statistics are proven wrong.  I have personally known three much younger women who have tried IVF – two got lucky with their first round. The third struggled and proved to be hyperstimulated by the drugs and gained an incredible amount of weight in a very short time and was generally miserable for over a year, constantly beating her body into submission until finally – FINALLY – she got lucky.  I’d say there was a helluva lot of hard work and determination behind that particular ‘lucky’.

I’ve had one go. It really wasn’t that bad regarding the whole drug thing. I didn’t turn into a crazy woman because of them – felt quite normal, in fact. Normal, at that point, being stressed beyond your wildest dreams. I rather stupidly suffered freezer burn on my stomach because of a wayward icepack and the fact I’m not all that keen on feeling that goddamn needle piercing my skin. But physically, I’d have to say it was a breeze.

Mentally and emotionally … not so much.

My gorgeous NIH (the only person I would ever willingly jab myself with a needle twice a day for) and I recently went on our long and extravagant and totally fantastic honeymoon to Japan and Europe and on the tours, we met some truly lovely people … and a few stupid ones.

Now, I know people mean well and they’re trying to be helpful and positive but being told I just have to ‘relax’ and that will fix everything just makes me want to punch people in the mouth.

“Oh, really? That’s it? Gosh, I’m such a silly billy. I never realised.” :/

The truth is you meditate and do visualisations and work hard to just think that it all will fall into place and everything will happen the way you want and you’ll get that damn baby because goddamn it you’re so goddamn relaxed you’re almost comatose but then you go through the motions and everything looks ok and you only get 5 eggs harvested but hey it only takes one right so you hold onto that and remain positive and then they phone you on day 3 and say that one failed to launch altogether and two have since stopped cell dividing and one looks a little dodgy but there’s one, still one there and hey, you only need one, right? Right? And then you get the phone call on the afternoon of Day 4, the eve of the big Day, Day 5, where your one little egg is due to be put back in your basket and hopefully blooms and grows into a goddamn baby that will give you and the NIH who deserves a baby, who deserves a 6 a side soccer team of babies because he’s so fucking awesome with kids big and small and even your teenagers liked him when they were young and snotty and you love him so much it scares the crap out of control freak little you and  oh no oh kay that last egg you’d pinned all your hopes and dreams on has fallen over. *cue sobbing and promising each other you’ll never do this again*

And yet … a year later … here we are again.

But you know? I feel like I’m in a better place. As a couple, we are so much more stable and settled (possibly because I’m not so psycho and he’s not living WITH a psycho). Maybe, even though at my age the odds are against us, we’ll win the lotto.  At least I don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if I don’t win and I’m a little bit proud of myself for actually having another go, knowing now what I will go through.

Possibly that last paragraph was my false positives starting …Wish us luck 🙂

Eggs over easy, thanks.

Sperm-And-Egg-Cell

“This is Ground Control to Major Tom. You’ve not quite made the grade …”

This post is a little personal but hell, it’s my blog and I’ll share what I want to.

The NIH and I have been trying to reproduce for *oohh* about 3 years now and so far we’ve had several failures to launch … which, if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll understand has not been gracefully received by myself.

We had one go at IVF last year and it didn’t go well.  The drugs were fine. The jabbing myself or getting NIH to jab me with a needle every night was fine and the initial retrieval was pretty easy. I did get a freezer burn injury from holding an ice pack on for too long but that was just my stupidity.

However, the little guppies-to-be didn’t make it past Day 4 so we didn’t even get to transfer stage. Probably a blessing in disguise, as we had our wedding to plan in January and as a consolation prize for our trauma, we went on a 7 week honeymoon to Japan and Europe because we could.

But now we’ve recovered from the trauma; we’re back home and things are very calm and pleasant for both of us, we’ve decided to give it another go. And if this doesn’t work, we’ll look at egg donation because I’m edging over the hill and time is really running out.

I already have three grown-up children but NIH doesn’t have any and believe me when I say he deserves to be a Dad for all the right reasons 🙂  When we first started dating, he told me he wanted 5 kids. I choked on my coffee then sputtered that unless he counts my three as his and we have twins, it probably will never eventuate with me.  Now that we’ve gone through 4 miscarriages and one failed IVF, he’d settle for one.

I’m often asked why I’d want to have more. since I already have three and essentially I have my life back.  Sometimes, I’m not sure how to answer that myself.  I guess because my kids have all grown into gorgeous young adults whom I truly love, not just as their mother but as one human being relating to another.  Maybe because I’d love for NIH to experience that unshakably deep, overwhelming love and adoration of another little person even if they do decide to keep you up all night, throw up all over you and generally curtail your social life.  Maybe because I felt I had at least one more child in me (metaphorically speaking) but the ex was not happy with Number 3, let alone any more.  And because I want to experience raising a child with a dad who actually gives a shit about his kid and gets involved in their life.

But … how do you ask someone to donate a piece of themselves for you? My sister in law would do it no questions asked (in fact, she said exactly that when I told her) but she is only a couple of years younger than me.  The doctor suggested my daughter, since she’s 22, but no. I just … I couldn’t.

I don’t have BFF’s that are under the age of 37. I have quite a few acquaintances that would qualify and one in particular who has done IVF and knows the routine. But it’s such a big thing to ask!

I don’t like asking for directions, let alone asking someone to jab themselves for two weeks then go under general anesthetic to have their eggs retrieved.  I guess there’s two choices to make here – either I get over my embarrassment and humiliation … or I get NIH to do it.