PC Diary: Heading out of the first trimester

The Pudding Club Diary @ 12w2d

I have been pretty bad at this – I have sooooo much running around in my head right now that I want to blog about but have been so darn tired or busy to type it out.  I need some kind of Dictaphone equivalent to easily extract my thoughts from my head!

Another week on work travels – I am back in beautiful Bavaria, Germany as I write!  My third transatlantic trip in my first trimester.  And they are not kidding, travelling in the first trimester sucks a lot.  However, this trip has so far been easier than the previous two, I’m starting to feel a little less nauseous now.  Whoop whoop, can’t complain about that!!! (But don’t show me a salad leaf just yet!)

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The beautiful view of Bavaria from my hotel room!

I was worried that I might not be able to fit into my work trousers this week whilst in Germany so I decided before I left to go and buy some new maternity work trousers – just in case (I had already popped a button on one pair of my trousers!)  The elastic band trick doesn’t work with most of my work trousers because they have metal sliders rather than buttons.  So off we went hunting for some cheap super stretchy clothes!  I knew there was one dedicated maternity clothes store in town, but I had heard that some chains such as Target, Kohls and Old Navy did maternity clothes so I thought I’d try those stores first.  But everything in those stores were too casual or too summery and so I ended up in the dedicated maternity store anyway.

In the maternity clothes store I bumped into a friend who I didn’t know was pregnant (but had suspected based off a group text message and putting 2+2 together) and so it was just confirmed by her simple being there!  It was a really lovely surprise because she had been told by her doc years ago she may have problems conceiving, so I am really pleased for them because that wasn’t the case in the end!! Whoop whoop – screw you infertility!! AND we are both due within a week of each other! CRAZY!

Anyway, back to the clothes buying…I went a bit overboard and finally thought what the hell, as I am here I might as well buy it.  My reluctance to buy any maternity clothes was based on a fear of losing Rocky.  I overcame that reluctance, and it felt really good to be finally in acceptance of this pregnancy.

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A nice little haul of maternity clothes 🙂

 

And so with this acceptance it was time to do my first bump picture.  I know that I don’t look pregnant to the casual passer by.  I look like I ate a lot of pies!  But seeing the bump for real in this photo – I couldn’t believe it, there are definitely outward signs now of a little baby growing in there!

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Week 12 bump picture

When I saw the doctor at 10 weeks she said to stick with the gentle exercise, like walking and swimming, but for the first time in months I felt capable of doing a bit more exercise.  So I got out the DVDs a friend from work gave to me and did a bit of a prenatal workout.  I did one of the routines with Chris.  It is a 20 minute partner exercise where your partner provides resistance and balance support…it was actually really fun!  However, I ached like hell for two days afterwards.  Not a good idea to start an exercise routine the day you fly for 8 hours on a plane!  My poor back did not like me one bit. Ahh well, it’s all good for you Rocky!

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The prenatal workout DVDs I was given!!

Finally, something that I found a little bit insensitive, and also kind of amusing in some weird typical way that is infertility…my bump app told me that obviously we had sex to conceive our baby, otherwise I wouldn’t be pregnant, DUH, – well actually, this is OBVIOUSLY NOT the case with us! I wish that it had been the case…instead we had almost 17 other people involved in the conception of our IVF baby!

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“You obviously made love before pregnancy (hence the pregnancy)” It’s not always obvious you silly app!!!

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National Infertility Awareness Week #StartAsking

It’s almost National Infertility Awareness Week here in the US, 24-30 April 2016.  I don’t know if there is an equivalence in the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ or wherever you are in the world, but seeing as my blog lives in an international community I believe it should be an International Awareness Week (So doth Dani declares!).  So join us!

Here are some ways you can ALL get involved to help spread awareness of this disease, whether you are infertile or an infertile loved one’s supporter.

Learn more about infertility.  Because knowledge is power.

If you are family or a friend of an infertile loved one then change your facebook profile picture to this.  You can download the picture from here.

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If you are 1 in 8 couples you can change your facebook profile picture to one of these:

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or my favourite…..

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Let people know that infertility is a disease by using the phrase, “the disease of infertility” whenever you talk or write about infertility.

If you don’t know what to say to someone who has infertility, then you can read this article: “25 Things to say (and not to say)” from Resolve.  If you are finding that some friends just don’t understand your infertility and are saying unintentionally hurtful things – share this link with friends and family so you can help them to help you.

Infertility is a couple’s disease, there is a mis-perception that infertility is a woman’s disease, this is not true.  So don’t forget all the men who are affected too.

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So what am I doing for National Infertility Awareness Week?  I have been prepping some microblog posts, one-a-day, on the subject of this year’s theme #StartAsking – I will also be posting on my personal facebook page – eeeeeeek!!!!

I am participating in Miss Conception Coach’s Bloggers Unit Conference!!!!  Watch this space for my article!  You can follow her on wordpress and see all the inspiring articles for the conference, her instagram is @missconceptioncoach – she posts lots of beautiful and inspiring words of wisdom 🙂

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My local infertility support group is running an information desk at our local clinic throughout the week, and I will help man it for a few hours to make people aware of who we are and what the support group does 🙂

As part of Resolve’s Advocacy day some members of my local infertility support group are visiting Washington DC to talk to members of congress about important family building issues.  I can’t go because I have to work (Boooooooo) but they will be taking my letters I have written to our Senators and Congressman with them!

And of course I will be doing all the social media stuff too.

 

OK that’s a lot for now!!!! TTFN!!!

 

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.

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The Childless Analyst

I don’t really talk about my job much from the pure and simple fact that it is quite a dull subject to talk about.  But today I wanted to share with you something that happened this week.

I was observing a student class who had a task to describe the ‘persona’ of an analyst.  They had a template to fill out that included things like: name, role, tasks, products they produce, skills….their family and draw a picture of the analyst.  Now considering this is meant to be a ‘typical analyst’….there was always going to be some stereotyping involved with this task.

And here is what the students came up with:

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They filled in the box under ‘Family’ a big fat X…i.e. no children.  They then discussed that in actual fact the analyst probably has a cat and some fish instead.  Well, apart from getting the name DAVE wrong, if they put DANI in the name box they would have been pretty accurate and I would have given them full marks!

But I simply sat there in disbelief as the students discussed why they put a big fat X in that ‘family’ box.

So, today I decided to give up Trying To Conceive because I have a greater desire to fit the stereotypical childless analyst in the eyes of my peers.  I haven’t discussed this with Chris yet, but I am sure he will be pleased that he can now get some fish again (he misses his fish)……

……….IN OPPOSITE LAND……..!!!!!!

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NaBloPoMo November 2015

Welcome and unwelcome advice

I read a lot of other blogs and forum posts where people suffering from sub fertility have had bad experiences with unwelcome advice from friends, colleagues, families and even strangers.  I have been lucky enough to not had any unwelcome advice from people I have confided in.  In fact, I have been overwhelmed with the love and support we have been offered in return for confiding in our journey to conceive.  Am I lucky or have I just been super careful to who I tell?

I asked my husband if he had any unwelcome advice so far….he has been very open with our journey with his work colleagues, so I was intrigued if they have been helpful or unintentionally upsetting?  (My husband is tough skinned though, so he can take a lot and not take things to heart like I can quite as easily).  Apparently, he has only had one bad experience where he felt like he wanted to punch his colleague in the face, but it was surely unintentional.

We have had amazing support and advice which has been welcome so far…but to what extent do you risk putting yourself out there to get hurt by a friend’s unwelcome advice (unintentionally, of course, it’s not their fault, they don’t know)?  For example, this week I am on my work travels in Paris, but I have had to cut my trip short by one day for my CD 12 ultrasound – how do I explain this to my work colleagues?  So far only two people at my work know about our journey.  Worst of all, how do I explain it to a group of people I am just about to meet and work with for the next year and a half? I am having moments of bravery, where I fell like just coming out with straight away:

“I’m very sorry I have to leave a day early, I have an important medical appointment back in the US – oh no, nothing serious, it’s just that my husband and I are going through fertility treatment”

Hmmmmm, doesn’t sound very professional. But I don’t want to lie either. I have approximately two hours to figure this out before I meet the group.

My conundrum is not really about sounding unprofessional, but more about exposing myself to unwelcome advice from colleagues I barely know. I probably wouldn’t want to punch them in the face, but I would probably want to run away and cry. And when I cry, it takes hours for my face to return to a normal colour again!

I’ll let you know how it goes and what I decided to do!