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 🙂

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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 😦

Entering the thirties…

For some reason I always had it in my head that I wanted to be married before I turned 30.  I don’t really know why, but it was some kind of milestone.  Perhaps I thought I might turn into a pumpkin or something horrifying and wrinkly on my thirtieth birthday if I hadn’t gotten married by then.  30 simply seemed like a pretty scary age to reach.  I can’t remember if I ever told Chris this at the time….but we did get married when I was 29. Phew! It was actually more about coincidence than any secret desire to not get married in my thirties.  Well 30 came and went and it was just another year like any other.  I know, I’m weird. It shouldn’t make a difference.

Anyway…I digress… I am now THIRTY weeks pregnant, and this same number seems equally as scary.  For me, entering the third trimester wasn’t the scary part – it was entering my 30th week of pregnancy!  And to top it off, I have been travelling for work when I hit this milestone.  When I am travelling on my own I have waaaaay too much time to think deeply about life and what the future holds.  And that is dangerous!  It doesn’t help that October is Pregnancy and infancy loss month and I have read MANY stories of women losing their babies.  I have seriously gone through a whole box of tissues this month.

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Plus there has been a lot of discussion after the third presidential debate where Trump and Clinton discussed abortion, particularly on late term abortion.  These issues have really connected with me emotionally, where ordinarily it wouldn’t – perhaps it is just the hormones thinking too much!  I have blogged about how it took me a while to not be in denial over this pregnancy and to accept it, so I hadn’t really thought about the outcome of this pregnancy and how scary everything can seem until now.  It was really around week 27/28 when Chris and I started to seriously prepare for Rocky’s arrival that I have started to truly embrace this pregnancy and fall in love with her, so I feel there is even more to lose with this recent strong emotional attachment I’ve developed to the little pudding I am baking in my uterus.  I guess this week has been when I have started to truly worry about how this child birth thing is going to go down!  But I know that it is natural to worry for most woman who are approaching child birth for their first time (and in fact I will hazard a guess that it is equally worrying for any subsequent pregnancy!).

Getting ready.  We have been busy bunnies – knowing our diaries were getting pretty full over the next few weeks we decided to get all the basics ready for Rocky’s arrival.  The weekend of Hurricane Matthew we made all our big purchases –

  • Strollers/buggies (one jogger, one ‘umbrella’ lightweight style) which all ‘click and connect’ to a car seat.  I think they call it a ‘travel system’.  Wow choosing a stroller is intense!  It was perhaps easier than choosing a new car (Although I suspect Chris would argue otherwise with my multi-criteria analysis for buying my car!!). We chose the Graco Modes Jogger Travel System (bah which I have just noticed on sale) and Graco Breaze Click Connect Umbrella Stroller.
  • Pack n Play – this is basically a travel play pen/cot/changing table/bassinett system.  It even has a a vibrating chair and a mobile with music.  Very cool.  Who knows if it will be practical?!?! We went with the Graco Pack n Playard Nearby Napper.
  • The Layette.  We went to a few consignment/second hand baby clothing stores/boutiques and bought the basics to get us started.  Burp clothes, muslins, sleep suits, sleep sacks, socks, onesies, a few adorable outfits, swaddles, baby health care stuff. And yes, we did actually buy some clothes from the boys section.
  • Baby video monitor.  This one completely overwhelmed me.  There were so many different choices.  In the end we chose one based off reviews online because how else do you choose these days?
  • Baby Carrier/ Sling. We had a bit of fun trying these all on in babies r us.  We tried to find one that suited both Chris and I…basically it is one big long piece of cloth right?  You would think it is easy to choose a sling! Well ummmm no.  We went with the Moby Wrap Evolution Baby Carrier in DENIM!  Oh yes the colour is very important of course ;-p
  • A diaper Genie!  Basically a diaper/nappy bin.  Do we really need one?  Apparently so!
  • Diaper/nappy bag.  Sooooo many different choices – rucksack/back pack/messenger back/giant purse!  Colours, fabrics, goodies, flaps and sections inside.
  • Nursery.  We have almost finished the nursery, we are just waiting on a few items to arrive that we ordered from http://www.thelandofnod.com (wow they have some adorable stuff – at an extortionate price too!)  The majority of the furniture we bought from ikea or is second hand.  So this meant we could splash out on some of the decor items – such as the wall decals.
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I love these decals and rug!!!

Pregnancy woes.  I have been lucky with my pregnancy so far, so I guess it is expected that the last trimester will have a few woes, I can’t escape lightly.

  • Vaccine OUCHIE. I’ve already written about the side effects of the TDAP vaccine!!  That took several days before it wore off!  But I survived, that is the most important thing.
  • Turning into a Whale overnight.  I am struggling with getting out of our bed – I have to roll off the edge and clamber back in with a lot of huffing and puffing – it’s a platform bed so it’s not easy to get in or out at the moment, I may need a ladder soon and I suspect this is only going to get worse over the next few weeks!
  • The smallest bladder in the world.  Which means I rarely sleep more than three hours in a row, maybe two or three times a week I might get three hours of sleep.
  • Hemorrhoids.  The past few weeks my poo has slowed down to one a day (from three a day) and this has meant that I am now also suffering from hemorrhoids.  They are literally a pain in the arse!  I am afraid of them bursting and bleeding suddenly and freaking me out that the blood is from somewhere else!
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Some mild relief from Hemorrhoids 😦

  • Anemia.  I had a follow up blood test after my initial results came back as slightly anemic during my 24 week appointment.  At my 28 week appointment my results just came back to say I am still anemic despite taking iron supplements.  But the cause remains unknown because my iron stores are good.  So!  More blood tests! Perhaps I’m actually anemic because they keep stealing my blood for all these tests 😦 In the meantime I have been told to keep taking my iron supplements (YEY these cause even more constipation which I am trying to combat with fibre supplements) and of course my prenatals (which I have been religiously taking for almost three years now!).

 Other exciting things whilst we countdown to R-Day (i.e. Rocky’s arrival!).  

  • Maternity leave planning.  I get 20 weeks of maternity leave.  In addition I have normal annual leave to take, home leave (where I get to fly back with my family to the UK for 2 weeks) and normal holidays such as Christmas, Easter etc all to account for.  My last day in the office will be 4 weeks before the expected R-Day, so 2nd December will be my last day!  This means I only have 2 weeks in the office because the rest of the time I am either travelling or training!  Whaaat?!!  How am I going to keep myself occupied for those 4 weeks?!  Well I have my Executive Development Program work to get ahead on before Rocky arrives.  Plus I have some knitting to do 🙂  I guess you might see me write a few more blog posts!  And we are still writing our book on infertility for friends and family.  Plenty to keep me relaxed.
  • Maternity photo shoot.  Although Chris will probably take some maternity photos of me, he can’t do photos of the both of us easily, so we decided to hire a photographer.  I selected 6 local photographers, and of course let Chris decide which one to go with as he is the pro! Naturally, he picked the most expensive one ;-p We paid our deposit and selected our location, so the photo shoot will be in a couple of weeks time! All we have to do now is figure out what to wear!
  • Travelling to Europe.  I have two more work trips to fit in….Bavaria, Germany and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.  I love love love Bavaria at this time of year – the colours in the mountains are simply amazing!  And I am excited to be going to Luxembourg because I have never been before.
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My 30 week bump flying to Germany- and the plane’s seatbelt JUST fits round it!  I hope next time I fly I don’t have to ask for an extender belt :-s

  • Nesting.  You may recall we bought a new house earlier this year.  We have been slowly fixing things, decorating etc.  But the past week or so we decided to get as much done as possible – new sofa, new patio furniture, new kitchen table, hanging pictures, selecting photos to hang, organising the study/filing etc.  Chris has also been batch cooking sauces, chillis, stews etc to fill up our chest freezer. Bless him – he has been amazing at getting things ready because I have been, quite frankly, useless! This is what is called nesting!
  • Party planning.  I am not having a baby shower…but we are having a house, baby and birthday party to celebrate our new home and to enjoy some time with our friends before our family grows into three.  Oh and it is Chris’s birthday soon too.  So why not have a big bash?

That’s a long post – I’m sorry! But it has been a while and I wanted to capture everything that has happened in the past few weeks.  Signing off with a bump pic!

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It had been 11 weeks since the last bump pic!

Not forgetting Huckleberry

Speaking of not forgetting….this week my app ‘Glow’ I use(d) to track my periods told me that my period was due in 2 days!  Well that was a strange thing to say because I had marked “I am pregnant” on the app.  So I decided to open it up and see what was going on.  Glow was telling me I am pregnant still, so  I am not sure why it was telling me my period as due.  Anyway, it came up with a big advert saying download our ‘Nurture’ app, a follow on app to glow for pregnant women.  So I thought, well why not give it a go.  I had already used it once before when I was pregnant after IVF cycle 1 and so downloaded it off my cloud.  Once it installed I opened it up and this is what I was faced with…

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Are you kidding me???? Oh it was a stab in the gut. Yesterday I was 44 days overdue and Huckleberry was the size of a slightly bigger pumpkin at 46 weeks old!

I haven’t forgotten you Huckleberry. I promise you I never have.  But this was just too much.  I deleted the app straight away as I couldn’t deal with trying to figure out how to reset it.

Living in the moment

I should be living in the moment, but I am not.  I think about the past, I think about the future.  First let me say that I am very grateful that we have this chance, that I am finally pregnant. I know there are many women who want to be in my position.  I have been where you are.  But it is not easy, so bear with me whilst I explain.

The past should stay in the past, but I can’t help but question why we went through everything that we did to make our baby rocky (I wonder why anyone should have to go through that, and for some even more).  We still don’t know the cause of our infertility, and this is difficult for me to deal with.  Why did it work this time?   Out of 25 embryos we made, 1 decided to implant itself in the correct place.  1 survived. 1 made it.  But why didn’t the other 24 make it?  Just because I am pregnant, doesn’t mean I have closure on my infertility, why my body doesn’t want to do what it is meant to do.  I was on the edge of losing hope of any medical resolution.  We treated the symptoms, but we didn’t treat the cause.  We are still unexplained.

And all of this is in the past…right?  But then there is the future on my mind.  What if this baby dies inside me?  What if this baby is still born?  What if all this medical intervention has created a baby that cannot survive, that never had a chance or is severely damaged in some way?  What if we go through all this and get to the end with nothing in our arms, nothing to put to bed and kiss every night, but left with a heart of love, broken into a million pieces.

The future is still an infertile one for me.  I do not have confidence that we figured out how to resolve our infertility.  I believe what has happened was a result of simply try, try again and we got lucky.  Luck was on our side?  This is really hard to deal with because, I may never be this lucky again.

It is hard at times to live in the present right now.  I mostly do, but the past and the future sneak into my mind occasionally.  When I catch myself doing this, I remember the things I have learned in yoga and meditation.  I bring myself back to the present.

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

 

‘Tis the season…Pt 2

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  True.  But my feelings can’t help but be a bit up-and-down like a see-saw.  So I decided to split my post into two.  Depending on how you are feeling this season, you may only want to read one or the other.  Maybe you feel a little bit like me, so read both!

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Pt 2: ‘Tis the season to be not so jolly


‘Tis the season to be not so jolly

I already blogged about the difficulties of the holiday season for those of us struggling with infertility (my post is here), so I won’t cover old ground.  But this isn’t always the season to be jolly.  And as much as I have equally had lot’s of jolly things going on, I have recognised that life isn’t always quite so jolly at this time of year.

1. Gift Shopping.  I hate shopping at the best of times, and shopping with the Christmas crowds – my worst nightmare – I’ve written about this before.  Shopping for baby gifts – EUGHHHH.  I am an emotional roller coaster with this one!  I love buying cute baby stuff, but when I see cute baby Christmas stuff – especially adorable onesies with “My 1st Christmas” I’m a wreck.  I don’t think I need to say anymore about this one.

2. Distance.  I am a few thousand miles from some of my greatest friends and of course my family.  So when my mum told me she had received my Christmas Parcel and cried, I cried.  Damn it.   It’s not easy being far from loved ones at this time of year.  We have had lovely offers from friends inviting us over to theirs for Christmas Day, but in fact this is something we just can’t do this year.  We are going to start our own family traditions – I wrote about that already – we are excited to do this, but it’s not easy to do.  Some people may say that we are lucky we don’t have to deal with ‘forced family reunions’ with nosey inquisitive family members; but even if we were back in the UK we are lucky that we have the most supportive family that this wouldn’t happen for us.

3.  Trying to Conceive.  Officially we are allowed to try to conceive again, but I have mixed emotions about it.  I wrote a separate post about it so I won’t repeat it, but this has been playing my mind this week.

4. Facebook.  A friend posted on facebook what seemed to be a pregnancy announcement, until you get to the bottom of the long carefully written post and realise they are just talking about santa clause.  It was poor taste for someone like me struggling to get pregnant…but even more so because I felt sad that this couple may just find them selves to be one of the “1 in 8 facing infertility” one day.  I wanted to tell them it was in poor taste, but then realised that I would just come across as a scrooge bag as so many people had already commented how funny it was.

5. Money worries.  As my credit card bares the scars of many swipes this holiday season and our bill from the infertility clinic shows up with a surprise payment from September, I have the constant feeling of every penny counts.  Actually, we are very fortunate to be in a comfortable financial position, but I want to keep our options open for the future and don’t want to close a door because I didn’t keep control of our outgoings.  But Christmas is a time for giving, so in general I don’t feel guilty for the gifts I purchase or the charities we give to – it’s just the gifts that Chris and I give each other and the seemingly endless nights of eating out that make me feel guilty!!!

6. Coping with loss.  This applies to anyone who has lost a loved one, not just those who have had to deal with losing a child, as well as anyone who has experienced loss of something of their physical self.  Ultimately the Christmas holidays plays heavy on the heart of someone who has lost their hopes and dreams.  As I sip my cup of tea in my new mug “When it rains look for rainbows” this reminds me to remember the positive things and love that I have been lucky to have experienced and made me a richer person, and “When it’s dark look for stars”, this reminds me to look up and remember our dreams are still out there and we are being watched over.  It’s still difficult, and gets harder getting closer to the big day itself.

be nice

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you nothing about.  Be kind. Always.


We have far more jollynesss to keep us going for the festive season  but it’s these kinds of things that remind me it isn’t easy for everyone, and even more so for many more people who don’t have the jolly things I described in my earlier post.

On the subject of coping with the festive season.  Resolve has an excellent fact sheet about coping with the holidays (here) – it provides a collection of great articles I recommend for reading over a cup of tea.  You may need some tissues to go with that too.