Rebekah #FlipsTheScript

Rebekah is fearless. I know this, not just from the fact that she fights a mean game of dodgeball, but also because she is an infertility warrior. 

Rebekah is here to #FlipTheScript for national infertility awareness week, here’s her story...

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First of all, tell us a little bit about you and your partner….how did you meet?!!

Hi! I’m Rebekah, 32, an Aussie living in the USA!! My Hubby is Will, we seriously have the most unconventional love story…it started as a nightmare. Christmas Eve 2014, I thought I would treat myself to a bathroom remodel. A few weeks later when the construction workers didn’t turn up to start their demolition work I called Will, the project manager from Home Depot overseeing my remodel. I was furious! Not one of my greatest moments, but let’s just say my vocab was very colorful. Six weeks later, two burst bathroom pipes, a leaky shower pan, new downstairs carpet, new ceiling drywall and paint, Will would manage to calm me down from this bathroom disaster every day. He became my new best friend.

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When did you realize that you were facing a diagnosis of infertility, how did you find out and what were the issues that you faced?  

In 2004 I went for my annual OBGYN checkup, I specifically remember the doc saying “oh, wow are you pregnant? Your uterus is quite large!!” Not something a single, 18 year old really expects to hear! I went for an ultrasound, and it seemed like the longest ultrasound of my life – I knew something was wrong.  I was in there for two hours waiting for an explanation.  It wasn’t until my follow up appointment that I found out that I had a 10cm x 8cm x 9cm mass on my left ovary.

I needed surgery. The first question I asked when I woke up from the procedure was “Is my ovary ok?”  They told me they had to remove it. I was left in tears wondering what this meant for my future as a mother.

As well as losing my left ovary, I was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I didn’t truly understand what PCOS meant until several years later when I was 22.  I married young, and began my journey to have a baby. I was on Clomid and stimulants for almost a year, but the pressure of it all contributed to our break up. The stress of timed sex, and not knowing if I would get pregnant caused so much strain on our new marriage that it ended just 8 months after our wedding. For me, it was actually a blessing in disguise.

I suffered from endometriosis and over the years had several more surgeries to remove as much of it as possible, and then another two more surgeries on my right ovary for large cysts. Luckily, my one remaining ovary remained “safe.”

When I was 28 I started to panic, I lost 80lbs in order to try to preserve my eggies and one ovary from any more cysts.  That was when I ventured to the fertility clinic specialist to get a baseline of where I was down below.  I wanted to know what the future held and how I could become a mother.

Although I was single at the time, I realize now that I put too much pressure on myself .  I wanted to be a mother so badly. The yearly surgeries took a toll on my body, and emotionally, I was a wreck.  I thought that freezing my eggs would at least take some pressure off the fact that Mr. Right hadn’t come along yet, and give me the chance to be a mother.

My Reproductive Endocrinologist doctor was amazing; I didn’t get the news I wanted, but she reassured me about it all,: I had low AMH, low progesterone and estrogen, and with just one ovary, I was facing a lot of challenges.  To add to it all, a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) revealed a mass in my uterus and meant more surgery to remove.

By this point, Will and I had only been dating a month!! It felt weird to involve him so early, but I wanted to be transparent with him since not having children could be a deal breaker for some. Three months after my surgery to remove the uterine mass I went for a checkup…

…and there it was…the big 55mm cyst engulfing my ovary, my nightmares come true. The whole reason I was at this clinic was to be proactive in saving my ovary and getting eggs, and now it might not even happen – I was devastated.

I started hormonal treatment, but when I went in for a checkup we found it wasn’t working and the only choices was MORE surgery.  But as I was prepped for surgery I finally got the good news I had been waiting for, the cyst had finally started to shrink!  So the doc cancelled the surgery and when I went back for a follow up appointment, not only had the cyst continued to shrink, but I was about to ovulate! WHAT! I couldn’t even believe it!! And this was my opportunity!

I was faced with the ‘now-or-never question’…do I get a sperm donor? Do I see if my new-ish boyfriend of a few months is willing to do the deed??!

I took all the information I needed discussed it with Will, and well, he was 100% on board.  I got pregnant that cycle with my now 2-year old son, Wyatt!

Where are you on your infertility journey now?

After I gave birth to Wyatt, I knew I wanted more children. I had a complicated pregnancy and birth, but we returned to the fertility clinic at 6 months post-partum to discuss number trying for number 2. But as I stopped breastfeeding I got pregnant, without intervention. Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in an interstitial pregnancy (this is a uterine, but ectopic pregnancy: the pregnancy is located outside the uterine cavity in that part of the fallopian tube that penetrates the muscular layer of the uterus.) I didn’t even know what an interstitial pregnancy was.  I went for a D&C (Dilation & Curettage, a surgical procedure to remove the fetus) and also opted to take Methotrexate.  This is a drug usually given to cancer patients, but as the pregnancy was in a challenging location the drug ensured that no more cells from the pregnancy would remain.

Two weeks after the treatment I began to experience severe pain on my left side (keep in mind I didn’t have a tube or ovary on the left).  I discovered that my hCG beta levels were still rising, and not declining like the should have been; this meant that I was pregnant but they didn’t know where. I presented to the Emergency department with severe pain and they admitted me for pain management. Being that I work in healthcare I knew this was a “BS” diagnosis, they didn’t believe I was in pain and in their eyes had done everything- Ultrasound showed no internal bleeding, D&C and Methotrexate- what else could be done?

The doc told me “well I can take you to surgery but I’m going to pull your right ovary if we do.” My heart sank, I was in pain, but I did not want him to just pull my ovary because that would put me in to auto-menopause and shut down my baby factory.  I went to bed to try and sleep off the pain. At 2 am I woke- I thought I was dying. I have never experienced pain like it in my life. I rang the buzzer and the nurse came. She was cold and heartless, standing at the door she told me “your Dilauded isn’t due for another hour.” I knew I didn’t need more pain meds, I needed a doctor, RIGHT NOW! The pain was like no other. 45 minutes of excruciating pain, I finally I found someone to help me as they walked past my room, they called rapid response, and within 10 minutes I was being prepped for the OR. My uterus had ruptured and I was bleeding internally.  With my 6 month old baby and husband at home, I didn’t even know if I was going to see them when I woke up – not to mention having more children. I was terrified.  Thankfully I am still here to tell my story. With another surgery under my belt, my journey just got even more complicated.

Four months post op I returned to the clinic to talk about trying to conceive #2… again!! I was scheduled for another HSG to check the integrity of my uterus after the surgery, but amazingly against all odds, I was actually pregnant with my now 7 month old daughter, Miss Emma.

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Has infertility changed your relationship with your partner? 

Will has been super supportive. But given he had “no issues” I always felt guilty for having all the doctors’ appointments, the bills and meds. I don’t think it really changed our relationship, but at times I did feel like I was a bit of a burden.

How has infertility impacted you financially? Did your healthcare insurance provide coverage for infertility treatment?

It makes me nervous to even think about how much we have spent between surgeries and medications! When I was on progesterone to support my three pregnancies, each time it was about $800/month.   My insurance didn’t cover anything; and to date we have spent about $40k.

How have you taken care of yourself physically and emotionally during your struggles?

After my first miscarriage I ate my way through every emotion. At the time, it seemed like a great idea until I found myself weighing in at about 240lbs. I knew I would never get pregnant weighing that much with PCOS, so I lost 80lbs, it was life changing. Emotionally, I felt so much better, and physically I knew I was helping my body.

How have your friends and family supported you through your journey?  Have you had any experience of lack of support or misunderstandings?  

Looking back, I wish I had seen a counselor or therapist to help deal with my losses, but sadly I didn’t have much support from friends and family, I was left to cope on my own. The whole miscarriage topic is so taboo, I was scared to even bring it up, and felt like I just had to sweep it under the rug and move on.

Telling someone who just lost their baby or is trying to get pregnant that “it was meant to be”, “God has other plans” or “everything happens for a reason” did not help.

I had this longing for a baby and I couldn’t understand why this would happen, it was horrible. I wouldn’t wish any of this on anyone.

What has been the hardest point of your journey and how did you deal with it?  

I think knowing that some things are just out of our control (as hard of a pill that is to swallow sometimes) taking things one day at a time, and just trusting the process helped me keep faith. Not giving up on my hopes of being a mother was my inspiration.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

I wish I had been gentler with my emotional health, and been more public about my journey. I am amazed at how many people have been through the same thing, and instead of hiding it and pretending like it isn’t an issue we should support each other.

As it’s national infertility awareness week, what message do you want to share about infertility to the general public? 

The most difficult part about my journey was when people told me “don’t worry it will happen.” Thankfully my story did happen, but I have friends that haven’t had their sticky bean yet.

Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

While I was going through my journey I loved reading your blog, it gave me so much inspiration and peace knowing there are others out there that are also in a similar situation ❤

Rebekah, I think you have made me cry twenty times already.  Through all your battles you have come out of the other side every time a true fighter.  It might not have felt like it at the time, but I can see it from how you never really gave up.

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Please leave a comment or message of support below for Rebekah and Will 🙂

Everything happens for a reason or does it?

When I hear the statement ‘everything happens for a reason’ my insides start to gurgle a little, my heart rate begins to rise, I feel a bit sick. I try not to let it spin my head around. Being able to truly believe that everything happens for a reason must be amazing. I used to believe it, I used to believe it because it would help me get through some of the crap in my life. I’d tell myself that this shit has happened to me because it’s going to make me a stronger person, a better person, a more empathetic person, more resilient. I can turn these crappy things that happened to me into life lessons. I would be that great oak tree that gets stronger after it gets struck by lightning.

But then life got really shit when it came to growing our family. Infertility and pregnancy loss. And I questioned it. I met some other incredible women who had been through some shittier shit. I questioned it. I always sought the good out of evil…I still do, but I can’t always see it right now. So I settle with, ‘Everything happens’. Period. Full stop. The end.

But what does a mantra like ‘Everything happens’ do to me? Does it make me bitter? Does it make me a fool for not seeing the good out of the bad?

I don’t talk about religion much here on this blog, but when people say ‘it’s god’s plan’, to me that’s even worse. When I was a kid and I was upset about something I used to close my eyes tight and through my tears ask god why? Why me? And god would reason with me. Actually, I was reasoning with myself, I just pretended it was god talking to me because somehow it made me feel a little better. But telling someone when they are going through struggles ‘it’s god’s plan’ is surely enough to make someone lose their faith, because it is so hard to understand why god would let a baby die…because… it’s his plan. It’s hard to understand why god didn’t bless a family with a baby of their own. It’s hard to understand why our loved ones are taken from us before their time. It’s hard to understand why god would let a terrorist kill people at an airport who are about to go on holiday with their children (innocent children) or who are separated from their loved ones because of work. It’s truly hard to understand what the greater good or plan is. If this was true, surely god is evil? I honestly don’t think that would be the case. For me, I think it is probably better to say that it is god’s plan to be with you, if you let him, when shit is thrown your way.

My current feelings are that time spent thinking about the ‘why’ is time spent wasted. Infertility has taught me how to be in the present. It is therapeutic, it’s survival. Although, it could be argued that by saying ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘it’s god’s plan’ would actually HELP with living in the present, but I feel it would be like living in the present with your head in the sad singing lalalalala!!

So for now I’ll try to ignore those few words ‘everything happens for a reason’ and live in the present otherwise it will eat away at me, little by little. I’m glad I’m mentally able to do that right now. I know it won’t always be like that.

Perhaps I’m just parking it for another time when I feel like thinking about the bigger why. Or. Perhaps infertility has actually taught me coping mechanisms for shit thrown my way.

Infertility round 2

Caught between a rock and a hard place is what I would call planning for a second child after dealing with infertility the first time around. And we are not even at the stage of planning number two, we are still at the early stage of deciding whether we want a number two child.

Let's go back to times before we faced infertility. The times when we were naive to think getting pregnant was the easy, fun part, and it was the subsequent pregnancy and beyond that would be the more challenging part of growing our family. I'm pretty sure we would have said that our family would ideally consist of two children, a dog and a cat (or two). Today, if you asked us what our family would look like in several years time, I wouldn't be able to tell you because I just can't imagine it right now.

Today, I can't imagine Aviana playing with a sibling in the garden, showing them how to throw and catch a ball, or holding her baby brother or sister in hospital, asking THAT question 'where do babies come from?' or her poking my tummy and proudly saying to random people that mummy is having a baby. I can't see it. I don't want to see it. Because if I see it, I think it, I feel it and if it never happens, it will tear me up forever. But sometimes my mind does wonder there and I try not to cry over the fact that it is so distant and fuzzy. The future is so murky.

And yet, I am better prepared than I was before Aviana became part of our lives. Today I know I am infertile, I know what the chances of getting pregnant again are, I'm an infertility warrior, this isn't my first rodeo!

Somedays, I'm positive and hopeful….perhaps my hormones have 'reset' and I'll get pregnant without medical intervention, we have a frozen embryo I won't need to stimulate again, I now know all the IVF tricks of the trade, it would be a piece of cake!

And other days, I'm down and negative…I'm getting closer to 40 than 30, my eggs are even poorer quality than they were before, we only have ONE embryo in the freezer-it's got a 50% chance of surviving the thaw, there is a good chance I will have another IUGR pregnancy, we will be doing this with a toddler, I'm not sure I can cope with another IVF stimulation and suffer from OHSS. And then there is the risk of pregnancy loss, An ectopic pregnancy was a cruel experience.

And the negative is winning at the moment, infertility round two doesn't look good to me. I don't want to waste the precious time I have with Aviana whilst she is this small worrying about infertility. I'm not sure where this is going, but knowing I managed to survive that infertility journey the first time and looking back at that mountain, I'm not sure I can do it all over again.

I am 1 in 8 speech

For my first international toastmasters speech which is known as ‘The icebreaker speech’ I decided to talk about my infertility. I thought I’d go big or go home! Talking about infertility to a bunch of work colleagues and a few strangers is nerve wracking!! This speech is the first of many I must give to gain my ‘competent communicator’ award. The idea is that the icebreaker speech is 4-5 minutes long and aims to ‘break the ice’ by talking a little bit about yourself as an introduction to your fellow toastmasters club members. Talking about infertility seemed like a bold challenge. 

It was hard to focus a speech that is only 5 minutes long to what has been a challenging part of my life. But in the end here is what I said…

“Ladies & Gentlemen, let me ‘break the ice’!! Let me take you back in time to when I was 9 in a leafy suburb playground of London. I was a bit of a Tom boy. I liked cars and transformers, so whenever I played with the boys, the girls would taunt me with the school playground rhyme…

“Dani & Chris, sitting in a tree

K-I-S-S-I-N-G

First comes love,

Then comes marriage,

Then comes the baby in the baby carriage”

Well ladies and gentlemen, that nursery rhyme isn’t quite so simple as it sounds after all. Because I am 1 in 8. I am 1 in 8 who suffers from the disease that is infertility. A baby in the baby carriage is not always what comes next.

Let me introduce you to Chris, my husband of 5 years….


Here he is winning the District 66 toastmasters humorous speech competition. You can see I have some competition!!!

4 and half years ago we moved to the US to work here. And it was at that point all our friends and family asked us….’so…when are you going to have a baby??!!’ Little did they know that we were trying but not succeeding. After many tests, thr doctors couldn’t tell us why we couldn’t have a baby. We were diagnosed as unexplained. So we tried InVitro Fertilisation or IVF.

Our first round of treatment we created these beautiful embryos…


We named them huckleberry and huckleberina because they looked like raspberries. Just 8 cells smaller than 0.1mm. One decided to stick around and I got pregnant!!! We were so happy! Until we discovered that it had implanted in the wrong place, the pregnancy was ectopic and so we sadly had to terminate the pregnancy as it threatened my life. 

We were devastated. We had to wait a while to try again.

Second time we created these 5 day old blastocysts. At first we didn’t name them because it was too painful. But in the end we did nickname them Petrie and Spike.


But it didn’t work. I didn’t get pregnant. It was very stressful and even Chris didn’t want to try again so soon. But we decided to try again. Third time lucky they say?!? This time we created thee 5 day old blastocysts – and as you can see we got a better photo of them  third time around!


And it worked!!! Today we have our beautiful daughter Aviana who is now 6 months old.


We are the lucky ones. Not everyone of the 1 in 8 gets to take a baby home in the baby carriage. It was a hard journey and involved hundreds of injections and there were many tears. People ask me now that I have a baby when will number two come along, or will we have another baby? But I tell them it’s not quite so simple as that. It’s hard. I wanted to share this with you today as my icebreaker because this is a subject deep to my heart and I hope you have learned something interesting about me today.

Ladies and Gentelemen, Thank you.”

I really enjoyed giving this icebreaker speech. It probably wasn’t what people would have expected as a first time topic. I got a great response from the audience. There was actually someone in the audience who was going through IVF themselves and have done two cycles at the same clinic as we used. They were about to decide whether or not to go for a third cycle and whether to stay with the same doctor. I offered details of our local infertility support group. It was obvious it was meant to be that I talked about this topic for my icebreaker. 

Infertility leaves a scar. I am grateful we were the lucky ones, but it doesn’t suddenly disappear from your heart when you have a baby. For me, continuing to talk about it and spread awareness helps the healing.

Tiny Bump tears

I’d forgotten about the Ed Sheeran song ‘Tiny Bump’ until this morning.  Today I put on the Ed Sheeran album + I bought back in 2012.  It’s been a while since I listened to it and I had forgotten this beautiful song he wrote about his friend who lost her baby at 5 months pregnant.  I just bawled my eyes out.  Actually it also reminded me that I put the entire album on my birthing playlist.  And yes, I think I told Chris to skip it when it came on.  Not the best song to listen to when you are in labour!  If you haven’t heard it, it’s on you tube, linked below.  Just wait to those last two lines of the song and have a box of tissues to hand.

Postpartum recovery and pregnancy loss trigger

My postpartum recovery hasn’t been too bad at all. For the first 5 or 7 days I lived in the big stretchy pants with the huge pads that the hospital give you to take home. The amount of blood loss was heavier than my heaviest of periods, but the type of blood was different to a normal period, it was more of a pink and mucousy looking colour. Today, 13 days later and I’m still bleeding (as expected) but the amount of blood is more like a normal period for me. The blood colour goes between normal period type blood and a light pinky color. I’m now in normal pads and normal underwear (my normal period underwear anyway!).

I had a second degree tear inside my vagina that was stitched up, so I haven’t felt too much discomfort from the stitches.  However those damn hemorrhoids I was suffering from before giving birth almost tripled in size and a new one appeared too.  I’ve been using the prescription cream they gave me at the hospital and it has done buggar all.  Well if that is really the worst that I came away with, I am doing well.

So things down there really aren’t that bad.

But psychologically things are a bit different.

The first few days I experienced contractions every time I breastfed. These contractions were not like Braxton hicks or labour contractions. I’ve experienced these type of contractions before – when I miscarried. So every time I felt these contractions my mind wondered briefly about huckleberry (from our first IVF cycle). But I’d look down at Aviana nursing and I’d smile.  It’s funny how life turns out. It’s bitter sweet.

Christmas Day I had perhaps done too much walking around, later in the evening I bent over to pick up something, I stood up and suddenly felt like something squishy the size of a tennis ball appeared in my knickers. I grabbed my crotch confused and dashed to the toilet. There in my knickers was what looked like a huge ball of abloody clot. I freaked a bit, then prodded it expecting it to be soft like a clot, but it was actually a ball of tissue.  I shouted at Chris to take a look (yup, short of pooing in front of each other, nothing is sacred when it comes to all sorts of bodily fluids!).  My mind instantly felt and remembered my miscarriage and passing big clots.  I burst into tears and said to Chris ‘could this be….???’.  Chris knew what I was thinking, and he said no…it couldn’t be, they would have seen it on the ultrasound earlier.  He was right, if it was Aviana’s twin they would have seen it sooner.  But then I thought – they never saw Huckleberry on the ultrasound did they?….

The nurse had said if I experienced clots bigger than the size of a quarter I should phone in.  But then the guidance my OB had sent me home with was if I experienced a clot bigger than an orange.  Whatever this clot like thing was, it was about the size of a small mandarin.  I didn’t have any other symptoms and did not pass any other clots, so I decided not to phone the doctor.  I didn’t want the emotional stress for nothing that is just considered normal postpartum recovery.

I never expected to think about our loss so soon after giving birth 😦

What’s infertility got to do with a terrorist attack?

I have been surprised at how many people have commented on my apparent levelheadedness during the terrorist attack in Brussels airport.  Although the absolute fear and terror was running through my mind, my actions seemed logical.  I’m surprised, because I just did what I did – and even I am somewhat surprised at my own response.  However, I think that it is all mostly about an element of luck.  Some people have told me, they believe in some kind of divine intervention (I personally do not believe that, whether god exists or not).  The luck was the third suitcase bomb didn’t explode.  The luck was that I wasn’t closer.  The luck was that the terrorists were ill prepared to carry out a more sophisticated attack.  (Apparently, they had been planning more, but for some reason failed to implement it).  The luck was that I was in the right place and it simply wasn’t my time to die.

A friend of mine made a really interesting comment about the difference between a man and woman’s propensity to take risk.  A woman’s appetite to take risk varies with her menstrual period, where as a man’s appetite for risk remains relatively stable.  When a woman is in her ovulatory stage, she is less likely to take risks.  Therefore, hormones surely have a role to play in risk taking.  So what does that mean for a woman who is going through infertility treatment and jacked up with lots of hormones?  Does this mean that a woman’s propensity for risk is heightened or lowered depending on the stage of their treatment, how different would it be compared to if they were in their normal menstrual cycle?

During the attack, I was on Day 12 of the down regulation part of my IVF cycle, preparing for my upcoming stimulation phase.  I had already been experiencing some of the side effects from these drugs (I wrote about them in my previous diary entry here).  The question I have is – had I not been on these drugs would I have reacted differently to the situation?  We will never know the answer, because we will never know what could have been.  But it is an interesting question never-the-less!

I can tell you that the feelings and emotions I have been experiencing after getting caught up in the attack are not dissimilar to how I felt after being told our pregnancy was not viable.  I’ve experienced random crying over what could have been.  Sadness, frustration, anger and numbness – all feelings that have washed over me in the immediate days past these traumatic events.  I never thought I could ever liken an impending pregnancy loss to surviving a terrorist attack.  But I am, and that is simply how I have been feeling over the past couple of days.  I’ve also experienced the overwhelming feeling of love and kindness from friends and family after these events.  And I mean overwhelming to the point where I have been dumbstruck.

I anticipate that I might attend some kind of therapy after experiencing what I did this week.  The question I have is, why haven’t I been so accepting of undertaking therapy for infertility after our loss and constant failure? If these feelings I am experiencing are so similar, perhaps I should have gone to therapy over our infertility sooner? I don’t know, but perhaps I just didn’t realise the intense emotions and trauma infertility slowly piles up upon us.  Or maybe, the reason is because I feel like I have absolutely no control over a terrorist attack, and maybe I *believe* I have some control over my infertility.  I think my perspective might have changed over the past week; I know some of you wonderful ladies have tried therapy for infertility and swear by it.  Going to therapy doesn’t mean I am weak, it means that I am strong, strong enough to recognise that help is there for the taking.


 

For those inclined…a couple of journal articles on risk taking and a woman’s hormonal cycle:

Variations in risk taking behaviour over the menstrual cycle:  http://people.uncw.edu/bruce/hon%20210/pdfs/risk%20taking.pdf

The influence of menstrual cycle and impulsivity and risk taking behaviour:  http://www.ledonline.it/NeuropsychologicalTrends/allegati/NeuropsychologicalTrends_17_Iannello.pdf

 

Miscarriage & the shameful tabloids

I love a quick flick through the trashy magazines whilst I queue up at the supermarket*, and this week I was saddened by the headline of the Star magazine:

“Gwen’s Baby Heartbreak Emergency Visit To Hospital”

“This was our last chance to start a family”

“Gwen terrified Blake will leave her”

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So I picked it up and actually bought the magazine.  I thought it would be about a personal account of Gwen’s struggle with miscarriage.  Maybe a celeb was being open about how terrible miscarriage is and spreading awareness.  So I made an impromptu purchase.

They had me.

A few moments later a couple queued up behind me and the lady  also caught sight of this headline; she was quietly speaking to her husband about how sad that is…and then….she started crying.  Her husband consoled her and asked- why are you crying?  I couldn’t quite hear her response through the tears, but it made me feel like crying for her, for me and for poor Gwen Stefani.

Later that day when I got home and started to read the article about Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s relationship and their ‘heartbreak’ (I had no clue they were even dating! That’s what happens you get rid of your cable TV to save money! All my celeb gossip knowledge gone!).  The magazine article explained how the couple have been “trying to conceive for four months” (BTW – they have only been dating for four months!) and now they may have to “abandon their hopes for a child together”.  Anybody having to abandon hopes of conceiving their own child is a very sad situation, even if it was only for four months they tried (Gwen is 47 and has 3 boys her youngest is 3 years old).  The Star’s secret source apparently told the magazine that “[Gwen] doesn’t want to talk about it, but her friends are afraid she might have had a miscarriage or was told that she can’t have any more kids.”

What the *%!% ??? …..so basically Star magazine, you created a headline out of some random source who said Gwen *might* have had a miscarriage.  MIGHT have had a miscarriage.  Or she was told she can’t have kids.  Oh and “she doesn’t want to talk about it” – yeh she wouldn’t want to talk about it to YOU, the ‘secret Star magazine source’.  Because you are already doing a shitty thing and speculating to a magazine about poor Gwen’s personal family life.

This source then claims that “Gwen and Blake are so in love and have been trying like crazy to conceive a baby.  They thought it happened – she told him she had all the signs of being pregnant. They were absolutely ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the doctor to confirm the happy news.”  And here comes the clincher of the story “Gwen must be devastated.  I think she’s scared Blake will leave her if she can’t have his baby.”

Am I living in cuckoo land or is this story just outrageous??!! I can only imagine that if Gwen has seen this headline she would be devastated that this magazine published this story about her miscarrying in this manner – whether there was any tiny bit of truth behind it or not.

It turns out (unsurprisingly) this article was simply untrue.  This has to be the worst kind of low down tabloid story I’ve read in a long time, clutching at straws and making something up like that is just so wrong in many many ways.  Gwen & Blake I wish you could sue these big arses for this terrible story.  But I know you probably won’t because you would have to drag your private life about your personal family building through the courts.  And you have only been together for 4 months.  No one wants that at this stage of their relationship, especially as they have been through their own messy personal divorces not long ago. I am so sorry to you Gwen, and Blake.  I am sorry I bought that magazine, I didn’t know.

It’s just shameful Star magazine.  I am boycotting all your publications and your sister ones like OK! too.  I admit I love a bit of celeb gossip, but this isn’t gossip, it’s just heartbreaking 😦

*US translation – I love a quick flick through the trashy magazines whilst I am in line at the grocery store.

The tears

I woke up like any other morning, rolled over and checked my phone to see what the time was.  I can’t help but check my notifications on my phone in case something exciting has happened whilst I’ve been sleeping (a pretty bad habit of mine)…if there is a facebook notification then I open up facebook.  This morning, bleary eyed I opened up facebook and there was a stream of lovely photos of my friends in the UK celebrating mothers’ day (it’s not mothers day here in the US)…it warmed my heart. I like mothers’ day, I’ve never found mother’s day difficult whilst trying to conceive.  Yes it kind of sucks that I’m not a mum yet, but I feel more association with the day to my mother and celebrating her. But……

This morning as I woke up, for some reason when I read a post about someone who was pregnant and celebrating being a mother, it triggered me.  I thought about how far along I would be if huckleberry had decided to implant a few inches lower in my uterus rather than where ever else he was hiding probably in my fallopian tube (we never found out exactly).  I would be 32 weeks pregnant with a nice bump.  I would be waking up, probably complaining about some pregnancy ailment.  I would be asking huckleberry how he felt like behaving today.  We would probably have the nursery almost ready…..maybe I would have bought that adorable onesie I saw last week in TJ Maxx…maybe, just maybe, I would consider my self eligible for mothers’ day today.  And so this morning, I quietly had a bit of a cry thinking about these things of what might have been.

I’m not to dwell on the ‘what ifs’…but yet it reminded me that there are many, many women out there who have mother hearts.  We might not be able to see them, but they are loved by many. So to you all…happy mothers’ day X

mother's day.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

At least you know you can get pregnant

I think I’m quite a tough lady when it comes to receiving mis-informed and unintentionally hurtful infertility advice from the more fertile.  I experience it frequently because I am open about our infertility journey.  I forgive them because I know they don’t understand infertility as a disease and they only mean the best for me.  And I also know they couldn’t possibly truly understand how I feel because it has never happened to them.  Similarly like to people who have suffered from other diseases such as anorexia or depression or cancer, I don’t know what it is like or how it feels…I would never offer my uninformed opinion about treatment options or ways to overcome the symptoms of these diseases.  I won’t offer consolation that attempts to make them feel better about their disease.  Rather, I will offer my ear and my hand.

So why is infertility any different to any of these other diseases in how we talk to other people about them?  Why do so many bloggers end up writing about this struggle?  Is lack of education really the cause of this? May be other disease sufferers experience similar unhelpful comments too.  I really don’t know.

Have you seen that film about depression where friends and family offer their advice about depression, but the recipient of the advice is portrayed as a cancer sufferer?  The point of the video is that you wouldn’t say these things to someone who has cancer, so why would you say these things to people who have depression?  I think it is a great educational video (it’s at the end of this blog post if you want to see it).  Ultimately, I think there needs to be a film in a similar light about infertility.  I know there has been outrage on some forums of comparing infertility to cancer.  I understand that it is outrageous because people generally won’t die from infertility.  Comparing depression to cancer may also outrage many people as well…but depression can lead to suicide, it can kill too, but it is not a well understood.  So what is my point?  My point is that there are helpful things you can say to someone with infertility, and then there are unhelpful, even hurtful, things you can say to someone with infertility.

I have written about things that hurt, what to say, what not to say to someone with infertility many times before (ignorance is bliss, a voice of the child free family, Grow some thicker skin, you are so lucky you don’t have kids, Understanding: #YouAreNotAlone, Reblog from Que Milagro: Pardon Me While I burst into flames).  Today’s post adds to this list.  Today I am writing about one particular comment I have received multiple times since our loss from IVF cycle 1 from both fertile and infertile people:

“At least you know you can get pregnant”

I’m just going to put it out there straight away.  There is nothing consoling about this.

I get that there are many women who have never seen those two pink lines, me being one of them until our fist IVF cycle.  So I understand how hard it is to get negative after negative 25 times in a row.  But being pregnant  and losing a pregnancy is not consoling, knowing that I ‘did get pregnant’. I didn’t stay pregnant.  Maybe they would say “But it’s one step in the right direction”, yes perhaps, but it was then like ten steps back after our loss.

Would you say this to someone after they lost their baby during childbirth?  No.  Would you say this to someone who lost their baby in their third trimester? I doubt it.  Would you say this to someone who has suffered from recurrent pregnancy loss and miscarried 6 times? Definitely not. Would you say it to someone with secondary infertility? For goodness sake, NO.  So why does this need to ever be said at all?  It makes absolutely no sense at all and simply reminds me that we simply FAILED.

I am due to have my first beta test on Friday and in some ways, I am afraid of a positive than a negative.  Don’t get me wrong, I WANT A POSITIVE MORE THAN ANYTHING.  But I am afraid of when the positive comes, I know that even if this is my one successful pregnancy, my journey through the first trimester is going to be a psychological challenge.  If we ended up in a similar position to last time with a slow rising beta levels, pregnancy of unknown location suspected ectopic, yes it will be easier knowing the process the second time around, but it will be bloody damn hard to go through it all again.  And that is why I cannot accept the statement  “At least you know you can get pregnant” as consoling.

exhausted