A letter to my Infertile Friends

Dear Infertile Friend,

I am sorry I started this letter with “Dear ‘Infertile’ Friend”.  I am sorry I labelled you ‘Infertile’, because if there is any one single wish I had in the world, it wouldn’t be ‘I wish I was pregnant with my child’, it would be ‘I wish there was no such thing as infertility’.  I do not wish infertility upon even my worst enemy.  Infertility is not a label, and it doesn’t define you, so I am so so sorry I started this letter in this way.  But….I am differentiating you from my non-infertile friends because you have given me something my non-fertile friends are unable to.  This letter is to say thank you.  Thank you for helping me get to where I am today, yes I am still empty arms, but I am stronger now than I was when I started this winding, mountainous path called infertility.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your infertility journey, you have given me something that has made me stronger.  Whether you have just discovered you are less than fertile, going through medicated treatment, IUIs, IVF, surrogacy, donor eggs/sperm/embryos, adoption, child-free living, pregnant after treatment or living with your rainbow baby – you have amazed me.

To those who have shared with me their intimate stories of struggles, pain and, most importantly – light, you have inspired me to stay strong on my path.  Whether you shared just a brief snapshot into your life or have shared every minute of every step of the way – it has all added up to how I feel today.  Stronger with you in my life.

My friend, you have layed open your heart on the table, exposed it, allowed it to be vulnerable just so you could help me understand what lay ahead of me – so I could prepare for the good, the bad and the damn right ugly.

Please do not underestimate the power of your voice and how it has touched me.  I can’t measure it – but just know that it has.

Thank you,

Your Infertile Friend X

IVF DIARY VOL I: 15-17 Aug 2015

IVF_Diary_Vol1cMedication(s) administered and dosage(s).  Progesterone 1ml, vivelle dot estrogen patches 0.1mg x2.

Medical procedures undertaken. Nothing!!!

How do I feel today? I am 11 days past my 3 day transfer.  I am very close to ‘prove’ time…I am feeling sadly indifferent about being ‘PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise’.

Time has flown by this weekend – it was quite an epic weekend.  First of all it kicked off with a games night with friends – we played Risk – I didn’t win 😦  But it was still fun (Did I mention I hate losing??)!!! Saturday day time we took a trip to the ‘not so Dismal’ Dismal Swamp.  The conditions were glorious.

Dismal_Swamp_AUG

Dismal Swamp – How did it get it’s name???!!!

Saturday evening we went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza.  I AM SO LUCKY!!!  You may recall that I originally booked front row tickets for my Mum as a Birthday present for the 6th August – which ended up being the same day as my 3 Day Embryo Transfer.  Because I was on doctors orders for 24 hour bed rest I was unable to go 😦  But then an amazing act of mother nature cancelled this show because of a lightening storm.  Thank you mother nature!!!  So we re-booked our tickets for this Saturday….and it was AMAZING!!!!  Any other circus will never be the same again….these people are just so talented – the story, choreography and music FABULOUS!

Cirque Du Soleil

Chris doesn’t like ‘Selfies’ (It’s not a selfie, but a groupie!!!)

But the amazing weekend didn’t end there!  Sunday we headed to Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park for a bike ride where we saw mother nature in her awesomeness again.  Afterwards we had a dinner sunset picnic on the beach, followed by a hunt for bioluminescent Plankton.  The plankton was lighting up the dark skies of Sandbridge beach’s ocean water in an amazing luminous green colour.  As you walked on the wet sand the ground lit up with luminous green beneath you (A bit like in Avatar!!)  I wish I could show you some pictures, but there would be no justice in the photo, you just had to see it with your own eyes to appreciate what an amazing phenomena this is!

I also completed my 4 week online course on Data Visualisation…it kept me a little distracted, but honestly it was a mistake to sign up for it with everything going on over the last 4 weeks.  If it had started 3 weeks later it would have been good to keep me distracted in the 2 week wait rather than working when I was struggling to recover from the egg retrieval!!

We bumped into a friend at the supermarket on Sunday who has previously sent us a private message of encouragement after our facebook announcement of our Embryo Transfer.  I nearly burst into tears as she gave me a big hug and wished me lots of sticky vibes.  So lovely.

As you can see I spent a lot of time having fun this weekend, but I was not distracted from the fact that I was sad at times for absolutely no reason at all, I cried over the smallest things, and I argued with Chris over the smallest things.  DAMN DRUGS messing with my emotions!!!

What are my symptoms? The sharp pains have subsided over the last few days, which makes me think waaay too much that this IVF hasn’t worked.  Apart from the growing boobs and the emotional schizophrenic Dani, I have no other symptoms.

How does Chris feel today?  Chris has put up with a lot of my random outbursts of tears and overly aggressive and defensive approach to every day occurrences.  He has been worried about me, of course.  He is very hopeful and talks to huck and huck, telling them to bury deep and grow strong.  He helps keep me mostly sane about all this.

Any results? No.

What’s next?  Test time!  I will do a home pregnancy test at some point before my blood test on Wednesday.  I know they are not wholly reliable after IVF but I want to have some kind of expectation before hearing the results over the phone.

Weight. NSTR

Waist.  Still not quite back to my normal waist size 😐

Boobs. NSTR.

Hours of Sunshine 🙂 The sun has just not stopped shining this weekend…if sunlight is as important as they say they are for egg development then my eggs are getting BAKED!!!

150817_IVF1_Stats

*Notes.  I take First Response Reproductive Health multi vitamin gummies (pre-natal) and CoQ10 200mg gummies daily.  NSTR = Nothing Significant To Report.

It can be all a little bit confusing

Infertility treatment IS pretty darn confusing.  And I’ve spent 100s of hours researching it.  It’s confusing because there is no one single way to treat infertility.  If they had figured out a magic pill to get you pregnant we would all be taking it.  Unfortunately, there isn’t that one pill.  There are many causes of infertility and so treatment is specific to the couple being treated.  The journey each one of us take to the great pudding club will be unique.  And it can be confusing with all that medical jargon, drugs (brands and generic versions), procedures, timings…and to make things worse, it will probably be different each time we have another try to make a little one.

We have been asked many questions by friends and family about our infertility, and I am so glad they do ask – firstly, it shows that they care, and secondly, it helps spread awareness of infertility (did you know that 1 in 10 couples are infertile?).  So to this end, I have put together a page on my site that introduces some of the important terms we talk about a lot, all in one place.

(My new page: What does it all mean?)

I have also updated the ‘about me’ page to include a timeline of what we have tried so far.  We will be using these pages as a place to direct family and friends for a bit of background as we start our first IVF cycle and tell a few more people what we are going through.

My dear friends, I just wanted you to know how grateful I am that you are here with us and support us along the way.  Thank you for understanding and thank you for providing us with words of strength and comfort X

Reflections on the future – using someone else’s ten lessons learned on Infertility

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a Huffington Post Article “Ten things I would tell my past self about infertility”, written by Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg (she has written other posts too).  Not only was it an interesting article, but my friend told me “I can be your number 9”.  Number 9 in the list of ten things was:

9.  Find one person to whom you can talk uncensored.  Check in with yourself about what and who feels good.  This might be a friend, a counselor, a support group — anyone who can support you unconditionally and isn’t invested in the outcome.

Well of course, my friend already is my number 9 🙂  I’ve got this one nailed already!  So what about the other 9 suggestions in the list of Ms Goldberg’s lessons learned?

1.  Recognise that the limbo of infertility puts you in an impossible situation.  This is something we are totally dealing with right now, with the added limbo on whether we stay in the US or move back to Europe.  Fortunately, one of those limbos has been taken away – I have been offered an indefinite contract, so I don’t have to leave the US in December!  We have choices.  But we don’t have choices when it comes to whether we get pregnant or not!  So we are handling it OK right now, better than last week.  We will just take one to two weeks at a time.  It’s pretty hard work on the abdominal muscles all this limbo business, but you get a good work out, and your muscles only get stronger as time goes on.

2.  Feeling sadness will not define your path.  I have had a pretty tough few weeks on this front, and I have questioned my ability at work, if I am coping.  I even asked myself if I was depressed.  I don’t believe I am depressed, but just sad.  Being sad is OK.  How do I know I am not depressed?  Well I just googled it, and I am not depressed, I don’t fit the descriptions.

3. Define and honor your limits.  Here Ms Goldberg talks about pressure to try everything on the medical front.  It can be quiet easy to go far without questioning medical treatment, for example agreeing to ICSI, agreeing to freezing embryos, agreeing to participate in research etc.  We have made sure we talk about it together, but I am not sure Chris and I have the same feelings on how far we go on our path.  I think I will feel what I will feel, in the future and I can’t predict that right now, so I don’t want to put a maximum number of attempts, money or time on our path.

4.  Listen to your doctor and trust your gut.  I’m not very good at questioning a doctor, after all they are supposed to be the qualified ones, right? But I do get gut feelings about people and I have a positive gut feeling about our doctor, even if she seems a little crazy sometimes.

5.  Have rote answers prepared for nosey questioners.  I have talked about this on two occasions recently, but I think it depends on the situation.  It’s a careful balance.  This week I caught up with some friends I haven’t seen for a year, and I totally lied to them about what we are going through (I didn’t lie directly, I just avoided the opportune moment to talk about it) and I wish I had just been honest because I know they would have been great about it.

6.  For every medical procedure you go through, find a soothing activity for your body.  Ahhh a couple of massages I think might be scheduled.  Maybe we need to think about this more.

7.  Take care of your heart.  This is more about protecting yourself from emotional overload moments, like going to baby showers.  Well I have decided to tackle these head on.  Infertility doesn’t define the me and the type of friend I want to be to my friends.  I won’t let it, and it’s worked so far.  I will take care of my heart, but I know Chris has got me on this one too.  He’s like my cod liver oil or what ever is good for your heart – he is my added protection layer for my heart.

8.  Invent a project.  Well I have decided to take another online course starting in a week.  This will be my project.  It will be a useful distraction, I hope, rather than be an added stress.

10.  It will be OK, though your definition of OK will change.  I tell myself this a lot. Everything is going to be OK.  And if I ever doubt this, all I need to do is listen to Chris’s playlist of movie’s all time greatest dramatic soundtracks, like the one below.  And everything is going to be OK again.  This is my future.

My new cubicle buddy is actually an IVF angel!

There are some benefits of telling your work colleagues that you are about to go through IVF.  My new cubicle buddy told me that she gave injections for her friend going through IVF – so she not only knows all about IVF, but also has the injectible skills! Haha! She kindly offered to give me any of my injections if I needed the assistance.  So if we have an emergency like the time Chris had to stab me in his work car park…my cubicle angel will be there for me 🙂  In fact, another friend at work has also offered her assistance too with the injections (she has never given one before, but isn’t squeamish about it like me!).  I am loving the love and feel very grateful to be surrounded by such lovely friends 🙂

love

Feeling the Love right now

So, do you want children too?

So, do you want children too?

Multiple choice answers, you only get one chance to get the right answer:

A) Reply smoothly, “Yes, some day soon – kids are cool”.

B) Reply, indignantly “No, never ” (By the way, did you know that you just spent 10 minutes complaining about kids taking up all your free time – you have put me off them for life).

C) Reply, matter-of-factly “Yes, actually we going to be making one in a petri dish next month, maybe even two.  Hopefully that will do the trick.”

D) Pretend to see someone calling you from the other side of the room and run away, trying not to cry until you make it to the toilets.


This weekend I went to a beautiful wedding back in the UK, my friend from school was tying the knot!!  I lamented in my last post about drinking alcohol at the party and dreading answering the question why I wasn’t drinking.  In the end, I decided to have a couple of drinks, but only a glass of champagne and glass of wine – I also tried a bit of gin and tonic (ohhhhhh how I miss you gin and the bitter-sweet taste of tonic water with a slice of tongue tingling lime).  I will say, that having not being used to these beverages I was a little tipsy – in a good way – it went straight to my head!  But a merry affair was had 🙂  It was just the most lovely wedding and I am so happy for my friend that she has found love with a rather lovely gentleman who will treat her well.

The wedding was at a beautiful venue in a harbour on the South coast (a tad windy!)

The wedding was at a beautiful venue in a harbour on the South coast (a tad windy!)

Right, back to the subject of this post.  Without thinking much about having to answer the question “Why are you not drinking”…I forgot about the classic question that came a bit out left of field “So…how about you, do you want children?”.  And to make matters worse, the question came from a ‘high school ex boyfriend’ who I haven’t since in as many years.  He had just spent several minutes talking about his kids (who, by the way, were two adorable little cuties who are super bright) and he then just came out with the question.

So which multiple choice answer do you think I gave???  Well, for some reason I decided to go with C: “Yes, actually we going to be making one in a petri dish next month, maybe even two.  Hopefully that will do the trick.”  I don’t know why it was my instinct to say it, but then the conversation just got awkward after that.  Damn it.  I hate awkwardness.  I won’t be using that answer EVER again 🙂  I’ll stick with A: “Yes, some day soon – kids are cool”.

And time stands still….

Time is standing still – nothing has changed in our lives, well not in the way we planned for anyway.  And everyone else is moving forward.  I noticed this today as I realised our hopes have not yet come to fruition.

In April 2014 I went back to the UK for a school friend’s wedding; it was the first time I’d seen some old friends for quite some time and my friend who was getting married lives in Australia so it was soooo good to catch up – in style of course!  I wasn’t drinking at the time – there was a free bar – so I braved telling a couple of my friends that Chris and I were trying for a baby.  I remember being EXCITED yet nervous.  14 months later, and I am going back to the UK for another wedding.  I will see people I haven’t seen in 14 months and some people I haven’t seen since school!!!!  What’s my story this time?  Why am I not drinking? Well it’s the same story – Chris and I are trying for a baby.  But this time I’m going to feel sad, I’m not sure I can face actually saying the words out loud this time without a tear in my eye.

So my plan of attack is to drink….Well drink a little bit – or walk around with a glass in my hand at least.  Part of me also thinks – what does a bit of alcohol matter?  Well I will be about 6DPO at the wedding (I don’t know for sure because I haven’t tracked my cycle, I’m guestimating).  Darn it!!! I’m going to feel guilty drinking more than one.

And so time has stood still – I just ‘liked’ about ten posts on facebook all relating to babies becoming toddlers, toddlers becoming kindergarten kids.  Babies I have still yet to meet, who won’t be babies when I do meet them.  Time continues to grow and build lives outside of mine.  I’m grateful that I have a happy and fortunate life.  Life really could be worse.  I’m not being depressive.  Please do not worry!!! I am just being observant, sensing and feeling about time more than I ordinarily do – that is all.

from thedailyquotes.com

from thedailyquotes.com

Infertility Awareness: Sharing our Journey

It’s national infertility awareness week soon, 19-25 April 2015.  The theme is “You’re not alone”.  There is a blogging challenge under this theme which I have been thinking about writing.  I asked Chris if he thought it would be a good idea for us to write a joint blog post under this theme and post it onto our personal facebook pages.  After all, it is the making people aware of infertility week – how better to make people aware than to share our journey so far?  But Chris quickly pointed out that this would be too much to share.  We would get more questions like, “Any news?”, we would be asked about our troubles at times when we just don’t feel like talking about it, we would also get the unintentional insensitive thoughts, ideas and suggestions (a great post about this “Pardon me whilst I burst into flame” I re-blogged here).

This all makes me so sad.  Sad because I feel like we should make people more aware of the statistics (how common it is), the hidden suffering, the variety, complexity of infertility problems and the many options/choices of treatment.

Our journey is getting a bit rocky

Our journey is getting a bit rocky

The infertility journey is a rocky wild path, that will throw all types of extreme weather at us, it’s physically exhausting and mentally draining.  We know the peak is high, we may come across false summits.  Some of us may fall down, some of us may find shortcuts (we always hope to find shortcuts!) and sometimes the path simply becomes longer and windier than we ever imagined.  We can ask directions from the experts along the way, they help us to see the path as a gentle winding pleasant route, but they can rarely help when nature creates that avalanche and cuts you off.  If we have our friends with us, they can help us round and scale the new challenges that pop up…they  don’t need to be there all the time, they can relay it up the mountain with us, but surely we are better off not going it alone?

via ferrata2In some ways this journey reminds me of the play we saw last year, K2.  This is a story of two climbers who scale K2 but come across difficulties in their climb, death is near as they fight for survival together.  The two contemplate the meaning of life, family, friends, God and our existential existence.  Ultimately, if there had been at least one other person with them, they all may have survived.  Is our infertility journey like this?  If there were more than the two of us, if we fall, will it be easier to get up and keep going?  Movies often portray climbers that find themselves like the K2 scenario as egotistical and selfish.  But climbers are misunderstood, climbing is more than adrenaline or ego, big climbs are often an exercise of self examination, a chance to get away from the daily grind. I am not saying that in this case infertility sufferers are like climbers.  But what I do wonder, is that we similarly are misunderstood.  We are misunderstood because no one knows we are out here on our journeys.  Should we make more people aware?  How can we do this?

We are out here on this journey because the top is going to be beautiful, it will be worth it in the end, worth the financial burden, the mental exhaustion, the physical pain.  I’ve heard it is amazing up there.  I just don’t want to be alone.  But I’m not sure we are ready to invite everyone to join us on our journey just yet.

Top of the world

Top of the world