Just as I was starting to break down last night, I received the short, sharp shock of AF. Life goes on. Not my baby's life obviously, nor the lives of the four that came before it. This one will be forgotten as quickly as the others. Onwards and upwards.
As it happens, we were already dealing with some devastating news that we received last week so we are more aware than usual that this is not much in the big scheme of things. But I have still shed some tears for the baby I only knew for two days, and several more for the IVF cycle I thought I wouldn't need.
Very, very, very faint today. Tilt it this way, that way, catch the light just right, you know the sort.
I have one HPT left. That means I have used 24 in the last week. That is approximately 24 hours of staring at a small piece of card with pee on it. Really, what did I do with my time and money before infertility?
This is torture. Just like last time. A succession of very, very faint lines, none particularly darker than the others. It is 14dpo. Temp dip and cramps were on Thurs, 11dpo. A digital test would probably tell me I am pregnant, just not the sort of pregnant I want to be.
Looks like I am pregnant again. I was shocked and surprised to find a second line yesterday. It was faint but DH could see it. That was 13dpo. I am waiting for this morning's test to dry. About ten minutes have passed and I'm not sure if I'm imagining the line or not. Please don't say chemical pregnancy - my baby is due on 2 February and I am already wondering whether it's a boy or a girl.
Just had Bertie at the door. I ignored the doorbell at first (doesn't the self-styled man of the people know the Champion's League final is on???) but then saw him out the front window and couldn't pass up the opportunity.
He wanted to know if everything was ok. No, actually, it's not.
What about the cost of childcare? Some cheeky nonsense about 10 euro a month rise in child benefit. Doesn't go far towards paying 1k a month creche fees. He knows it's hard. What's he going to do about it? He's going to keep trying to improve things. How? Ah, you know, he's always improving things.
He didn't know that fertility treatment costs are out of pocket. He is going to "look into it".
You think you'll let it all out when you finally come face to face with the man in charge. But it's much harder to call someone a cnut to their face.
How to help your friend or family member through infertility
A few simple pointers to make things easier for everyone:
1. Listen and learn
Listen to what your loved one tells you about their infertility, their feelings and their treatment. Trust that their feelings are valid and don’t try to dismiss them or interpret them using a framework that you understand. The more they feel they can talk to you, the more you will be able to help them.
2. Avoid platitudes
It is better to say nothing at all than to say the wrong thing. Don’t try to offer words of consolation such as “I know it will happen for you” or the classic “Just relax and it will happen”. Just a simple “sorry” and a hug will do.
3. Don’t offer unsolicited advice
By the time an infertile couple has decided to look for help, they probably already know more about trying to conceive than any fertile couple has ever needed to know. Once they have started medical investigations, they will have talked through their treatment options with their doctor and will be as informed as they need to be.
4. Educate yourself
Read up as much as possible about what your loved one is going through. That way you can talk to them on their level about the investigations they are having done, or the treatments they are enduring. Not only will it help you avoid offering them irritating platitudes and annoying unsolicited advice, they will also appreciate that you care enough to do this.
5. If you’re not sure, ask
If you don’t know how to act or what to say, ask your loved one. Only they can tell you the best thing to do. There will be times when it is too hard for them to talk and others when they will welcome a chat – let them decide.
If you have any suggestions for improving the list, I would love to hear them.
Today is the first anniversary of our second child's due date. I should be running round like a blue arsed fly (with a bump?) making cake and getting the house ready for an influx of toddlers. Part of me feels ripped to pieces but most of me just feels, yeah, whatever. It's just one of many dates that I could beat myself up over - miscarriages, due dates, failed treatment cycles, birthdays, Christmases, Mother's days, they're all reminders. But so is every pregnant woman that walks in my line of vision, every child that has a sibling, every bit of "good news" that happens to someone other than me. So what's the point?
A lot of people who haven't been through what we have talk of guardian angels that protect them from harm, a god that makes good things happen to them. Good for them, but I don't have that - I take on that role myself. We aren't going to have a baby because an angel in heaven is looking down on us; we will have a baby because we will keep trying every avenue that is open to us until our baby arrives. And then we will do it all over again!
In the meantime we have a life to live. Lots of things to enjoy and look forward to.
Since we got NTL at Christmas, I have stopped watching TV. This is because it now requires three remote controls to operate the TV. If I was single, this would probably not be a problem. However, with a three and a half (god forbid we'd forget the half!) year old and an adult with short-term memory deficiency in the house, the chances of all three remote controls being in the same place at the same time are nil. So what do I do? I don't get mad, I get online.
Why sit through a whole news bulletin when a quick scan of the headlines can sift out the best stories? Why waste half an hour of my life watching a soap when an online source can relay the damage in a few lines? And what about multi-tasking? I can watch a news report whilst writing an email whilst trolling a message board whilst waiting for an MP3 to download! And if I really want to watch that soap, I can do it where I want, when I want.
So why do I still feel like I'm missing out? The Internet offers every (and I mean every) aspect of entertainment on demand, in any room of the house, at any hour of the day or night. If the water cooler kids are talking about last night's episode of ER (I have never seen ER), I can go and check it out on my lunchbreak and join in the chat. What's the problem?
For me, the missing ingredient is the timing and its communal consciousness. It's the comfort of knowing that, at 7.30 on a Monday evening, the nation is sitting down to watch Coronation St with their bellies full and the sun slowly setting in the west. We are doing it together, the way it should be done. And Saturday evening telly can only be watched on a Saturday evening with a curry and a few cans of beer, and the knowledge that we are all nodes in the great Saturday evening telly-curry-party network. Who would have thought that slouching on the sofa, watching X-Factor on your own could be such a shared experience? It's because you know that there are others out there, millions of them, having the same feelings at the same time, and you can store up all of those feelings and share them out with everyone else later.
I look forward to getting sucked back into another round of Big Brother, once we ditch the remote controls.