It has sunk in now. Normal service has been resumed in our house. The wailing, screaming, sobbing that can be heard from the street. The aimless pacing up and down.
It's still too early to call but it looks like this is failed IVF number one. That I can cope with. But the implications of such a poor response to the meds is a different story. Looks like my FSH is sky high this month. Should I start thinking about donor eggs??? We already ruled out donor sperm in favour of adoption, but that was only ever a hypothetical situation.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
No, let's save complete mental breakdown for Friday. I've come into this with a strong determination to make it work and something deep inside me still feels it can. And IUI worked for us before so I am a bit of a fan.
There's a piece on me in The Examiner today. Going to dry my eyes now and go and get me a copy.
First follicle scan is tomorrow. I'm on day 7 of stims today and still no real rumblings down below - is this normal? By day 2 of IUI stims I had pains in my ovaries, by day 7 I could barely get in and out of a chair. I know the sniffer will keep my system supressed, but was still hoping to feel some action by now.
Would also appreciate any advice on exercise. I do two hours of fast walking a day, to and from work/creche. Is this ok? The clinic told me it was ok as long as I feel up to it (I do) but other advice suggests no exercise at all during stims or the 2ww.
Overall I am still quite relaxed, eager and a little excited. I know we've got our hopes up so many times before and I really should know better but I just can't help myself.
Tomorrow is the first of many hurdles, will let you know the numbers by lunchtime.
Some people may not like what I'm about to say. It goes against conventional thinking about infertility and IVF, at least it goes against the literature - maybe personal opinion differs.
I find IVF easier than any other stage of our infertility journey. So far. Despite the pain in my belly, the headaches, the enormous hole in our finances, I am considerably less bitter, broken and angry than I have been since this blog began. Most people who have been through this will agree that the hardest part is dealing with those rogue emotions - jealousy, bitterness, resentment, anger. Trying to come to terms with life in a fertile world and the complete and utter bloody unfairness of being left behind while others progress their lives oblivious - that is harder for me than failed treatment cycles and dead babies.
I still think about TTC every second of every minute of every day, but these days my thoughts are more positive. Maybe it's because this time I have a far greater chance of conceiving than ever before (50% chance of pregnancy followed by a 60% chance of carrying to term, although statistics have never done me any favours before). Maybe it's because we are doing everything we possibly can to make a baby, and that is all we can do.
The darkest days of all were during the long, hard months after my first miscarriage, before we started treatment. 13 of them. The devastation at the end of each cycle was equal to that of my first miscarriage, of my failed IUIs. Each one another miscarriage, another baby I wouldn't get to hold in 8 months time. And all the time waiting, waiting, waiting for an appointment at a fertility clinic, then waiting for tests, procedures, results, battling for a chance at treatment, fighting with doctors, willing someone to allow us a shot at the best possible chance.
And two years on, here we are. At last. There is simply nothing more we could be doing. It is out of our hands now and that is such a relief. Yes, there are many things that could go wrong, and we may have to go through this many times. But for now I am thankful that the crying has stopped and the psychological strain has eased up a little. I still cry for the baby that was due in a few weeks, the one that should have a first birthday coming up, I cry on cue at pregnancy and birth announcements, and every now and then I have a good sob at what this has done to us. But at least now it's predictable, no longer debilitating.
I've accepted that this is our lot in life, yet I have set out to do everything in my power to change it. Getting to this stage has made life easier for all of us. If choosing to do IVF has changed my way of looking at our situation then yes, I do consider it to be easier than Clomid, IUI, trying on our own. It's certainly done more for me than "just relaxing" ever did.
Does anyone inject into the thigh? Please tell me more.
I'm just back from a toilet trip, during which I lifted my top to find a big bloodied mess at the site of this morning's Heparin injection. The blood appears to have been seeping out slowly for some time. I also have an inch round bruise on the other side of my belly button from yesterday morning, although last night's attempt seems to have left me unscarred.
The nurse did suggest I inject the Puregon into my thigh as I'm quite slim so there's not that much room in my belly for 4 needles a day. I dismissed her suggestion with the air of an old hand, I'm used to it you know. Well, it seems I still have a lot to learn. So, if anyone can enlighten me to the mechanics of injecting into the thigh I would be most grateful. Where exactly do you do it? Any tips for minimising pain and bruising?
As for my belly, ok, ok, I'll wear the loose fitting clothes I was told to wear in the first place. Any other suggestions?
I had my first scan today. I had to bring our signed consent forms back to the clinic, so we went through them late last night. The first three sections were easy - if we split up, I get any frozen embryos; if either of us dies, the other one gets them. We had to think about the next one - what happens if we both die?
I had thought previously about what would happen if we had embryos left over at the end of our baby-making days (highly unlikely, I still dream of 4 children). I wouldn't have them destroyed, so the decision is between donating them to science and to another infertile couple. In the past I have found it difficult to imagine "my" children living with another couple, but this is obviously compounded by the fact that most of "my" children do not yet live with us and may never do.
But hold on a minute, we are dead. Our children are still alive. Another couple is still going through the daily devastation that has ripped our lives apart over the last two years. There could be no better home for our children than one that has been ready to welcome children for years, no greater parents than ones that will go to these lengths for their children.
The scan went well. I am fully downregulated, officially in menopause. Tomorrow I start Puregon and Luveris injections to stimulate my ovaries, Heparin injections and Aspirin and Prednisolone tablets to prevent miscarriage, and I continue to sniff. So far, so good.
Despite having mentioned the Irish Blog Awards to only one person in real life (thanks sis!), I have been shortlisted in all three categories for which I was nominated. The shortlist is based on votes alone so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, I am truly stunned and honoured to have made it this far.
I am also a bit freaked out that there may be non-infertiles, who might actually know me reading my blog as a result. I am completely out of the closet about our infertility in real life, I just never really told anyone about my blog. To date I have assumed that most people who have found me here have done so via parenting and infertility resources, and if they happened to know who I was in real life, that was ok because they had come from a sympathetic source. I've never used my real name so nobody could have found me by googling.
Well, this is as good a time as any to come clean. I was interviewed by a lovely lady for a national newspaper today, so my real name will be out there soon. Sorry if you feel misled, but it's not really Feebee!
I've started sniffing. It's a 3 times a day inhaler that's designed to put me into menopause over the next week and a half. The idea is that my body stops all egg production of its own accord, so that I start with a clean sheet for stimulation. That way, when I start the stimulation injections, all eggs will start to be produced at the same rate and hopefully will be ready for egg collection at the same time. But that's another day's work - I just sniff for now, so I don't even have to contemplate what to do with the 200 or so syringes I found in my big box of tricks last week.
We had good fun with the syringes. I pulled out about 40 needles, DH gasped, I found another 60, then another 20 and we started to giggle. Oh how we laughed by the time we'd emptied the box; what an adventure this is going to be.
It reminds me of the time a couple of weeks ago when I turned to DH and said "but do you think couples with 3 children and loads of money are any happier than us?". At least we can still laugh.
Due to my brief respite from the irrational aspects of infertility, I have been able to ponder the void of perception between how fertiles imagine infertility might be and the reality of day to day life as an infertile. Within this void lie the answers to the perennial questions:
Why don't you just relax? Why don't you take a break? Why can't you just be grateful for what you have? Why is it so hard?
The fertile can't understand why, the infertile can't explain why not.
One can describe the lengths to which infertiles go in order to try and have a child - the physical, emotional and financial cost of their pursuits. Yes, that certainly sounds hard, maybe a holiday will make you feel better? But you see that's what you don't understand, there is no escaping this feeling of dread, disappointment, despair. Oh dear, you sound obsessed and depressed, you need to relax.
Somehow I have managed to relax. Actually, that's not strictly true, I have managed to obsess about other things for a change. In shifting my focus, I have been able to understand why it was not necessarily an act of gross insensitivity for others to suggest that I concentrate my attentions on my beautiful son instead of worrying about children I do not yet have. So, I have obsessed about whether or not to send him to a private school, whether or not to mortgage ourselves up to the eyeballs in order to give him the best possible home. I have also realised (you're not going to believe this one) that other people's pregnancies are good news in which I can share as a mother, and this does not have a detrimental effect on my life unless I choose to let it.
I have tried to look at my life without the infertility goggles. I'm not talking about the "count your blessings" approach to life, what I mean is I've tried to strip off the layers of emotional reasoning and look at what's underneath. This is what fertiles see. A family with daily family choices to make, and an ongoing struggle to overcome.
But still I am very sad that we have had to go through this, very, very sad.