Who’s this irrational girl?!

infertility

So I’m sitting here in the waiting room of our fertility specialist, checking everyone out. It’s funny, how after just a few months of coming here my feelings and attitude have changed. The first time we sat here, my knees were knocking (literally), my palms were sweaty and I couldn’t focus on anything else but staring at the door and waiting for this random Dr who I had all my hopes and dreams pinned on, to call my name. I don’t remember much from that initial appointment – apart from the list of tests and referrals he sent us home with.

fertility clinic

Now I sit here, sipping on my iced latte, and perusing the other women who are sitting around me. I wonder how long they have all been trying? What stage they are up too on this journey. There’s a woman across from me whose body language says she is an old hand at this, that she has sat in that chair before, many times, each time hoping it’s better news than last time. The girl to my right keeps rubbing her hands on her shorts…Aha! A Newby! Welcome! I hope you get off this rollercoaster early and unscathed!

And then there’s me. Somewhere in the middle of these two ladies. Slightly nervous, even though it’s just a check-up (more on that later) and a little laid back knowing exactly how the process works.
Oh, and there is the uncomfortable, heavily pregnant woman who is also trying to control her crazy toddler into submission by shaking random things in his face and asking what he is feeling. He’s 2, he feels like crying and running around yelling ‘no’ at the same time. Obviously. She is looking at the 3 of us with a ‘Why? Is this what you really want? Take him. Please’. I think she’s just stopped in this waiting room to take a load off for a minute.

I guess everyone has their struggles.

My mum reminded me of this recently, that at some point in our lives everyone has a struggle or a challenge that no one else around them has dealt with. Something we can feel empathy and compassion towards but not fully understand the true feelings of that person when we haven’t been in their shoes. Don’t judge, unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes…Something we’ve all heard but for me personally haven’t really thought how true that is.

It’s hard to explain to family, or whoever your ‘team’ is, exactly how you feel. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

It’s a fine line between, not wanting to talk about yourself all the time, not wanting to talk about it that particular day, not wanting to upset anyone by truly allowing them to know how terrifyingly scary this all is, and not wanting to say it out loud because then it’s real. Some days it’s easier than others, and you just have to find the best way of telling people, in a way that they can understand. Not everyone you have on your team will give you everything you need, that’s why I personally have a few people who know what’s going on, each support in a different way and overall I get what I need. You can’t expect one person to give you exactly what you need, especially when you don’t really know what that is yourself. That’s the beauty of building this ‘team’ I keep talking about.

For me, I have always struggled with letting people completely into my life, I like to keep people at arm’s length to a certain point and only let them as close as I want them to be, especially with my health. I like to have things under control. I’m a control freak. In most areas of my life (apart from the fact that I wear odd socks..on purpose)

For me, this all started about two and a half years ago, when I randomly collapsed at work. Out of nowhere, one Saturday afternoon. I ended up in an emergency with a flurry of scary words and questions being thrown at me.
“How long have you known you have Endometriosis?” Umm about 1.4 seconds
“You’ll most likely need surgery” umm what?!
“You have multiple cysts on your ovaries”… Is that normal? Oh, it’s not? Right, ok.
“Endometriosis causes infertility” Sorry? Say that again?

This was the first time I didn’t hesitate to call for help. My mum. (Sometimes, regardless how incredible your partner is, and mine is top notch, a girl just needs her Mum). Through sobs and snot running down my face, I told her that I needed her.
What do I do? Do I have the surgery? Do I get a second opinion? What happens if I can’t have children? Mum! Help me! So it was Mum to the rescue, she flew down (we live in different states) and stayed with me while I had the surgery to remove what they could of the Endo (that’s Jargon for Endometriosis and I’m using it mainly because my spell check is annoying the crap out of me each time I type it)

Ok, so the surgery was ok, post-op was painful and at the age of almost 30 asking your mum to shower you brings on a whole new bond. (Sorry about that tattoo you’ve just noticed Mum, promise I won’t have anymore. And yes Mum, I’ve kept this promise! On a side note, when your Mum tells you at 19 that you’ll regret that tattoo, believe her! It’s more painful and more expensive to have it removed)

Anyway, the new bond with my Mother. We’ve always been close, sometimes we talk 5 times a day on the phone. I guess at each stage in your life you need your Mum for different things. But this was a situation that felt bigger than anything I had experienced before. I needed my mum as if I was a little girl who really didn’t know how to look after herself. She bathed, fed and put me to bed. It was in these days that I saw her as more than ‘Mum’. She was my caregiver, my support person, and my friend. I now understand that the word ‘Mum’ encompasses so many different people, wrapped up in one person.
It’s funny how relationships change, and as you grow older you become more like friends, but there are still times when you don’t need them as a friend, you need them as the Mum, as the grown up.

So back to the waiting room (I got a little sidetracked)…I sat and waited patiently while my new friend next to me kept wiping her clammy hands on her clothes. My name is called, in I go. A few pleasantries while I take off my shorts and undies, it’s weird how getting undressed and positioning yourself in those stirrups just becomes second nature (I mean buy me dinner and a drink first, or just a drink..am I right?)

Internal ultrasound to see how the injections are working, late last week I had one and it showed we needed to up the dose. It’s a fine line with FSH injections – we need to find out the dose my body responds to, you start at a low dose and increase from there. I asked why we can’t go up to the highest dose and his response was ‘well then you might fall pregnant with 8 babies and find yourself on the cover of New Idea’ point taken Doc. Last week I was starting to produce a small follicle, today, I have two lovely follicles on both ovaries that are similar size and could quite possibly ovulate at the same time, increasing our chance of twins. Twins? Two? Right, ok. We made the decision with the Dr before we started that twins would be amazing (for anyone with twins reading this, thinking Wow this girl has no idea! You’re right, I don’t, and I’ll be coming to you for advice!) but we wouldn’t want to risk my health or the health of future children by having more than a twin pregnancy. And today that became a real possibility. When I told my future baby Daddy his reply was ‘oh cool, one each’ (he has even less of an idea than me!)

So now we wait, keep injecting and have another scan later in the week. Although I am super happy that it’s all going along smoothly, I am also not getting my hopes up. As our Doctor explained, ovulating is the first steps in the multi-step process, which is fertility treatment. The drug I was on previous to this (Clomid) has left its mark with some side effects that my body needs time to recover from. So we wait.
And Inject.

Ahh yes, the dreaded daily injection. What a bitch! Now, it may not seem like a big deal, once a day, a tiny needle and all for a good cause, but its overwhelming and bloody scary! The first night I had to do it, I lined everything up, re-read the instructions, twice. Slowly put the injection pen together, double checked the ampoule of baby making liquid, and checked the expiry date. Then I put it all to the side and started my procrastination. I made dinner, I made lunch for the next day, I cut up fruit in case I wanted a juice the next morning, I wiped the benches, I fluffed the pillows on the lounge..until I looked up and was told by my partner ‘you can’t keep putting it off’ hmm spoken like someone who doesn’t have to put a needle into their own body.
And so I did it. It didn’t even hurt. Easy peasy. What is everyone complaining about on these forums I read?!
This is so great I thought, until the second night. I stabbed myself 4 times before I had the guts to keep in and press the button. Wow. This is not easy. This is what everyone is complaining about on these forums I read!
By night 3 and 4 I was a professional. A regular junkie. All done within 3.5 seconds a pat on the back and a bar of chocolate.
So now we are day 9 and so far so good. No nausea, no headaches, no hallucinations. Just a minor episode last night when ‘rational’ left my body and ‘pyscho’ entered and I waved the injection pen in the face of my manfriend yelling ‘do you want to be injected every day? Do you want me to do this to you? Come on, tell me where do you want it??’ Wow. Didn’t read that in the ‘side effects’ leaflet.
Like I said previously, blame it on the hormones. Always the hormones.

So that’s where we are at. Injections, hormones, and psychotic outbursts. Ahh the life of infertility, always fun! Let’s give a shout-out, to the partners who have to endure crazy needle waving girlfriends and pretend it’s “totally ok love, do you want some chocolate now?”

NB: Sorry to my partner for calling him the garlic to my bread in the previous blog…he was embarrassed (by me I think). You are the strawberry to my cream, the bun to my hotdog and the cheese to my macaroni. Choose one or stay with Garlic Bread. Your choice x

Heavy black heart

There’s no bun in my oven..yet

As I sit here on my couch, full of a cold, snuggled up with our dog, after just being a total bitch to my partner for no reason, I am trying my hardest to ignore the cramps and that ‘your period is on it’s way’ pain that I’ve now been feeling for 2 days. I’m thinking about everything else but that. What’s for dinner? Should I do some washing? Should I move that lamp to the other corner ..yeah great idea…actually now I want to move it back. I should paint my toenails. I wonder what Coles are going to do if they have to recall all their lettuce with this Salmonella scare I’ve just seen on Facebook. Random and unimportant things, to keep my mind from focusing on what is really happening.

My period is coming.

So, not only will the bitchy moany PMS monster inside me be arriving (joy for all those around me) I’ll be bed ridden all weekend with the pain (gotta love being a girl with endometriosis). But the arrival of old unwanted ‘Aunt Flo’ (who always seems to come for her visit at the most inappropriate time – I guess she really is like that wacky Aunty everyone has somewhere in their family), it also means that our first round of fertility treatment hasn’t worked.

This isn’t the month that I get to tell my beautiful love that he is going to be a Dad for the first time. Something I have thought about, Instagram stalked and spent hours on Pinterest and YouTube planning how to do it in the sweetest and kind-of-funny way I know he would love.

This isn’t the moment I have waited most of my adult life for – the moment I can finally tell my Mum I’m having a baby. That we are so clever, we made her another grandchild, to add to the two she already has who she thinks are the Bees Knees.

This isn’t the month that I can start buying all the baby stuff I’ve taken screen shots of on my phone …hello Bugaboo and Incy interiors .. I’m looking at you! (Not bugaboo…I’m going to beg my sister for hers)

This isn’t the month that it won’t be awkward when The Man catches me looking at myself in the mirror pushing my tummy out to see what I’ll look like when I’m pregnant .. Hopefully when it happens my face won’t be so red from holding my breath while I push out my stomach!

Nope.

This is the month that I feel somewhat like a failure. Like once again my body has failed me. That I’ve failed. As a woman. As a partner. As a daughter.

As a 31 year old woman, making a baby is what we are meant to be able to do. It’s easy right? You decide you want to start a family together, you come off the pill, you go at it like rabbits thinking it’s all fun and sexy and you make a baby.

No. As it turns out, sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes you try for almost a year and start to wonder why it’s not happening. You buy countless pregnancy tests, different brands because obviously it’s the test that’s incorrect not your body and then you start to slightly panic when they are all negative. Umm… WTF is going on here!? Ok let’s have sex in the morning. Yep that’ll be the problem. Our bodies aren’t working properly at night, too tired from work and everyday life, that must be it. Nope. Nothing. Hmmm… Ok. Let’s eat reeeeeally healthy and do lots of exercise and have fun with friends and not think about it and then it’ll happen, right? Everyone says, when you don’t think about it, it happens.

Wrong.

Rightio..let’s go and see a fertility specialist. Ok so now we have a plan. We both need to go through some tests, make sure everything is working the way it should…that nervous wait to get the results is a killer…and the tests (for me) are invasive and painful..he on the other hand had to endure a blood test and give his ‘sample’ in a cup and he was done.. but you would think he had run a marathon whilst pulling a Mack Truck on a chain the way he tells his side of the story. He does that, he makes jokes to lighten a heavy situation. It’s one of the things I love most about him.

We sit and listen for the results, all pretty good on his part (fist pump)..me on the other hand. How did I get this body? Was I terrible in a previous life? So I don’t ovulate consistently because of the cysts on my ovaries, and when I do, I ovulate ‘bad eggs’ (let’s call them rotten eggs to keep with the egg theme). Which would explain the miscarriage we had in August.

So we are to start Clomid – a drug that basically tricks your body into producing the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which you need to make you ovulate, and you need to ovulate to get pregnant. Ok, seems easy enough. Take one tablet for 5 days and then go for an ultrasound with the Dr. Have sex when we are told to. Ohhhh yeah sooo sexy! And not at all awkward!

Don’t get me started on the sex you need to have whilst trying to make an offspring. I kid you not, sometimes I don’t even want to look his direction, let alone drop my pants and I know he feels the same. Anyone who tells you “making a baby would be so much fun, think of all the sex” has obviously never tried to make a baby this way.

Back to the sex…it’s all fun and sexy when you first start. And then it’s a job. It’s work. A chore. Like something you know you have to do, but you would rather do anything else. Like taking out the garbage..it has to be done but I put it off until the bin is overflowing and something starts to smell. Now I’m not referring to my life companion/lover as garbage. No no no. He is the total opposite. He is HOT. I think he is the garlic to my bread and I usually want to jump his bones all.the.time (except Monday nights at 8.30 because I’m too busy with The Kardashians). Seriously, I bloody love this man. And I know he feels the same about me. (Although I’m sure after my unprovoked outburst earlier his love for me dimmed a little for a while…silver lining to all this is you can blame everything on ‘the hormones’).

But when there is someone telling you when and how to do it, for that week, it becomes work. And it always seems, that when we are told to do it, it’s at the worst possible time. I have just finished a nightshift, he has just come back from travelling interstate for work, we’re tired, we’ve had a stupid fight (no I didn’t empty the dishwasher .. Again ..I think you can see the pattern of my lack of household chores) or we just don’t want to, plain and simple… Think of it like this… The times you just want to be a slob on the couch, stare at the tv and ignore each other .. The last thing you want to do is get sexy and do your thing…well guess what?! You HAVE too. Twice a day. For as many days as some Dr you’ve met 6 times, tells you too. Ohhh yeah…(insert sexy music here).

Anyway, back to the tablets. We thought it would be easy. Seemed straight forward enough. Well it would be easy if my body didn’t react so badly. I hallucinated – first that my hands and feet were 10 times bigger than they were (weird) and then I started having a great convo with my Nana in the lounge room (she passed away almost 10 years ago). Embarrassingly I almost passed out at work. Luckily I work with some amazing girls who were awesome.

We finished the treatment and had multiple ultrasounds and finally I ovulated! Yay! One beautiful follicle! Go me! Go us! So we did what we were told (see above). And then we started the two week wait until we could test…that’s today. Negative. All six tests. All 3 different brands.

Negative.

So now we wait, for ‘Aunt Flo’ to come. Joy. Then we start again. Round 2. Injections. For 12 days. It feels intense and more hardcore than popping a tablet for 5 days, but it’s what needs to be done. The thought of injecting myself is scary, emotional and surreal.

So I guess you now know what this blog will be about, to be honest I have always found writing things down a cathartic and freeing experience, so if no one reads this (not you Mum, I know you’ll read this…sorry for any swearing) it’s a way for me to put down in writing how I feel about something I want so desperately. Heavy black heart