My Guide to Surviving Infertility

Hello!! I have been thinking about this post for a while. Not sure really how many people even read the blog, but if it even gets to one person who finds it helpful (ish) then I would be happy.

If there is one thing I am being forced to be good at, or if not good at, endure, it’s waiting. So. Much. Waiting. Literally years of it! From April 2015 when we so naively set off on this journey, to possibly April 2019 when we will finally start IVF, we have waited. Not at all patiently on my part, either. And it is hard. Everyone else is popping out babies left, right and centre. Even the many women I have virtually befriended on the infertility forums online have, for the most part, moved on and had babies via one method or another. It can leave a girl feeling lonely and isolated and, honestly, quite depressed. And so I present my guide to Surviving Infertility. With capitals.

1. Talk to each other and other people 

This is a big one. It is a very tough journey and it can test even the strongest of relationships. And, as I noted above, it can feel very isolating. Friends tell you they’re thinking of trying to conceive and 2 months later they have a positive test to show you. The girl you work with tells you she’s pregnant and they weren’t even trying. Your facebook feed is full of pregnancy announcements, scan pics and babies.

It is so important to tell your partner how you feel. Tell them you’re having a bad day. Don’t expect them to just know this (they won’t, and you’ll get frustrated). Talk about what you are worried about. Find internet forums for women in your position and talk to them, too. It all helps.

2. Don’t be afraid to take a step away

So I realise this seems almost a complete contradiction to the previous point on the face of it, but it isn’t really. Sharing and connecting with others is great, but when times are hard and you are going through a rough patch, don’t be afraid to disconnect. Hide people on your fb feed, even if it’s just temporarily. Step away from the forums for a few days/weeks/months even. It’s ok to feel a bit crap about things and to remove yourself from the situation. Just take care to not become bitter about other people’s success.

3. Step away from Google!

Lord knows I am the worst for googling. I have been known as the Google queen at my past 3 jobs, for good reason. I will google the crap out of everything. But while some knowledge is power, it’s easy to get caught up in statistics and “cures” for whatever your personal cause of infertlity is. There’s nothing wrong with being armed with information, or trying alternative methods, but it’s all too easy to end up googling at 3am when you have to get up for work at 7 (definitely never something I have been guilty of…..ahem. I’ve had to self impose google bans on myself on more than one occasion because I’m driving myself crazy).

4. Distract yourself 

When you are waiting months upon months for anything to happen in your infertility journey, it’s easy to be consumed by it all. Everyone else is further along than you are. Everyone else has had successful treatment. Everyone else is on their next Step, while you’re still firmly in limboland with absolutely nothing on the horizon for the foreseeable future. Find something to distract yourself. A new hobby, reading, exercise, anything. I have a habit of spending hours searching forums for success stories or to see what people are doing who are going through it now. For me at least, this can make things worse. So I had to find something to distract myself. I take lots of walks with the dog and when I am in a slouchy internet mood, I go on reddit and find all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff to distract myself with. Whatever it is you decide to do, it will be a healthy way to think of something else while you wait.

5. Have fun!

Lastly, but most importantly, have fun. Infertility sucks. It’s draining. Its emotional. Its hard. Its expensive. It tests your limits. But, especially when you have a long wait ahead of you, it’s so important to make time for fun things. Holidays, days out, time with friends and family…whatever you enjoy. Don’t forget to be you still.

So there you have it. I’m not an expert and these may not work for everyone, but these are my top 5 tips for surviving infertility. It ain’t easy, I have found this whole thing so incredibly difficult for so many reasons, but these are what have stopped me from going insane. If anyone has any more ideas, I would love to hear them!

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The things I can change

Spring is here at last. Although it is raining and dull outside  (good old British bank holiday weather), it’s my favourite time of year. But, it makes me think of babies. Maybe it’s all the baby animals being born? Maybe it’s because I think about them most of the time, spring or not?! Well, I work loosely with animals and see a lot of notes at work about babies being born so it is even more on my mind at the moment. We are still on track to start IVF at the end of the year/beginning of 2019. Which is good!!! As usual, I am not good at waiting. Damn my impatient nature. I can feel the obsession beginning to creep in again and I’m trying hard to keep it at bay. I do NOT want to go back there.

I am drawing on something I read about recently to help me. It basically centres on focussing your efforts and energies on what you can control and trying to forget the rest. It’s called the circle of concern and circle of control. I read about it in training related to a course at work, I wish I could remember the guy’s name who wrote about it! Anyway. In a nutshell, for this situation, you ask yourself “what’s the problem here?” Obviously it’s the lack of babies and financial implications of IVF. So, then you break it down. Can I do anything about this? Can I change the cost? Not really. I could find a cheaper clinic but I think the multi cycle package we are looking at is good value, plus the clinic is our closest alongside being one of, if not the, most successful in the area. So no, I can’t change that. So it gets parked in the circle of concern. It’s bothersome, but there is nothing I can do about it so we need to take the focus off of it.

Lack of babies….I can’t do much about the fact we can’t have them, but I can save for IVF and I can take good care of myself in the run up. So, I can move at least some elements of that into my circle of control, which is something I can affect. It is helping me feel a bit more in control of a situation that is out of my control on the whole. It makes me feel more at peace with it. I’m so glad we are finally making moves towards the goal! It’s been almost 3 years to the day since we started TTC and we haven’t made any real progress towards actually having a baby or getting treatment. I am so excited to finally be getting somewhere even if we are still a long way off.

Oh, as an EXCITING aside, we recently went to Disneyland AND got engaged just afterward. It’s been so nice to have something different to focus on!! I can spend my time Pinteresting wedding ideas instead of researching ivf success rates 😁 something else to think about is helping too. I’m dreaming that one day we can get married with H and our future child in attendance. Nothing wrong with having dreams!

Well needed break

Well. It has been quite a while since I last posted. I was finding myself going more than a little crazy over the whole IVF thing and making myself anxious so I had a little break and it has helped. I am still a little crazy over the whole IVF thing, but no longer in the anxious, lay awake half the night, panic about time off from work/finances/what if it still doesn’t work dramas.

So…since last time I have had another natural period! Hooray! Only one, but I feel like my body is gearing up for another. After the best part of 2 years with none at all, I am so pleased that I do at least have a cycle now even if it is still very far from regular. Since we know natural conception is highly unlikely, my cycle returning is more of a relief to know my body is actually functioning a little better rather than yay! We don’t need any assisted reproductive help any more. Still, I am very pleased about it.

Secondly, I am finally (!) getting my butt in gear to lose weight. I wanted to lose 20 and I’m 8lbs down now, so almost halfway there. This is good. I am also only about 1.5lbs off being the lightest I have been since this time 3 years ago, so I am really pleased with that, too.

Thirdly, we have our distraction holiday to Disneyland Paris coming up very soon – less than 4 weeks to go in fact! We are so excited (except from H as she doesn’t know yet!), just praying we avoid too much rain and ideally, avoiding snow altogether.

Spring is also just around the corner which never fails to cheer me up. It’s my favourite season. The days are already beginning to get longer, not much improvement in the weather yet but I suppose we can’t have everything can we!? I can’t wait.

Finally, we are very hopeful that we actually will get around to IVF at the end of this year. Debts will have been paid, saving will be commenced in earnest and with some help from both the bank and the bank of mum and dad 2018 will finally be the year! I’m so excited for 2018!!!!!

Am I fixed??

So today marks natural period 2 (or possibly 3) in a row. That’s one every month (ish) since june/July. Considering I had none for over 2 years this is exciting news. Is my broken body fixed? I haven’t done anything differently. I have actually put weight on again this month because I am a 🐷🐷🐷. But my last few cycles have been roughly what they were before my body gave up so has something switched inside that’s reversed it all?! Am I just on a lucky streak? I can’t believe that after all this time everything could just go back to normal. It’s so strange. I’m not sure what it is but I’m going to feed my cramping, emotional body with junk food and trash tv 😁😁😁 

It has been over a year

Since I last peed on a stick! Well, a pregnancy test one at least. We always go to a theme park for Halloween and this time last year I was writing about having to do a test just to be sure I’m not pregnant but not wanting to because I know it will be negative. Well, turns out I didn’t even bother last year because I knew it would be a bfn and I haven’t bothered since! Literally no point. 1 because I have been pregnant twice and I know I start feeling sick very early on which would be a big giveaway and 2 because with the both of our results it just won’t ever happen naturally anyway! 

I am really really keen to get this whole icsi train going right now. If I was in a better position I would borrow the whole lot and pay it back but I think if we got lucky enough for it to work first time we wouldn’t be able to make the repayments while I was on maternity leave so it’s not an option. This time next year we will be thinking about it though I hope, which is a nice thought. Mind you, my estimates for when we can start treatment have been waaay off so far, I thought it would be July next year a few months ago. I really feel like it will be never at the moment, there is always always something else that needs paying for. I’m being good though, I am curbing my spending which is a good start! Disney in March and then we can start saving 🙂 

Positivity

I’m feeling really positive at the moment. I just got a new job 🎉 and I’ve been Insta stalking people who have been getting ivf bfp’s. I mean, obviously, ivf can work. Of course it can! And does. But it also doesn’t sometimes and being the pessimistic person I am I can’t help but think there’s no way it will work. But sure it might. Why Not?! So, we are going to do a multi cycle deal where we pay for 2 full cycles and any embryo transfers. It’s going to take a little longer to save up for but lordy we will be saving for ages anyway, sure a few extra months won’t hurt. It’s a tough call though. Our clinic has pretty much bang on 50% success rates. So…one go might well do it and then we have paid loads extra for no reason. But…if it doesn’t, the peace of mind of knowing we can just head straight into round 2 when we are ready would be priceless I think, and take the pressure off a little. Also getting the transfers too, that will be nice. If we are lucky enough to have frosties. There’s probably a limit but even still, it just all eases the pressure! 

And it will work for us, one day. I’m going to remember that. Only if we get to the absolute end of our personal road will I start worrying about “what if it never happens?”, or, I’ll try at least! 

This is kind of weird, but…

For the first time in 29 months I got my period naturally. Maybe thats too much info, sorry! But since stopping my pill in April 2015 I had a period induced by norethisrone  (sp?!) In August 2016, a post-hsg bleed in the September, 3 clomid induced bleeds this year and 2 ‘bonus’ bleeds while the drugs were still in my system. I’m assuming this is a proper one, as the first time I took clomid I took it for 5 days, 2 months in a row and then had a bonus bleed the month after stopping. The next time I took it, I only took 2 tabs instead of 5 so was surprised to get a period at so. Even more surprising was the bonus bleed afterwards. So to have another bleed…i can only assume it’s a real one. It feels different to the clomid one too, although that might just be me being weird.

I’ve always had a theory my pcos was triggered by weight gain and I have lost a bit recently. I’ve got down to the weight I am now before though, and it didn’t trigger anything. All a bit weird!! But anyway. I’ve also put  on a ton recently with my unexplainable at the time but now much clearer cravings for crappy food, but I’m determined to start again on Monday with the healthy eating. 

I’m buzzing about my period, who would have thought the day would come!!!! 

Taking time out.

In the absence of anything hapoening anytime soon for us, I am trying to make time for myself. I love reading. I always have and I always will. I’ve bought a lot of books over the last couple of years that have been fertility/pcos/IVF related and, to be honest, these are not fun reads. Particularly the IVF ones. Whilst I am sure I will appreciate them far more nearer the time, right now they are like….like they’re written in another life. For future us. Who know about injections and egg retrieval and embryo transfers. Right now, it seems entirely foreign. It doesn’t make me feel better or make anything seem easier. I need to lose myself in other things. I need to think about other things. I’ve been here before and I know I will soon be suckered back into all things IVF, but until we are nearer the time I do need to make a concentrated effort to think about something else and occupy myself. 

We went trampolining yesterday, for someone else’s birthday. It was so much fun. All 3 of us were grinning and laughing so hard. I want more days to be like that! This sounds so, so awful, but sometimes I feel more wrapped up in ‘the baby that isn’t’ than the one who already is. And she is fabulous. Funny and kind, sweet and beautiful – and a pain in the bum and also my world. She deserves more of my attention and I feel like a terrible mother that sometimes what is happening in my head affects how I interact with her. I try not to be too harsh on myself, because this is TOUGH and I’m not perfect, but I really need to try and focus on what I have, rather than what I don’t.

Oh…

And due to 2 close family birthdays this month my slimming world adventures have been a disaster this week. I’m pretty annoyed with myself really, but tomorrow is another day and I’ve got everything prepared for it to be a good day! It’s like eating junk once on Wednesday for the first birthday has awakened and absolute beast inside me. I’m so hungry! I want all the junk! I’m ending today with cake and then starting again tomorrow 🙂 

Waiting is long

This is almost a genuine image of me right at this moment. I’m a little chubbier, but otherwise, spot on. I have downloaded a spiffy little countdown to my phone, which doesn’t do much to lift my spirits but I am looking forward to seeing it countdown!!! 

So many babies everywhere. School has started again and we live right next to one, so it’s babies and bumps everywhere I look on the way to work now. It will be our turn soon though! I’ve been checking out our (eventual) clinic’s stats and they are at about 46% for my age group. That’s really good going and it’s our local clinic too, so it’s only 20/30 mins away so not too daunting to visit regularly. I feel like….I feel like I am done with all the feelings really!! It’s been so long trying and so long til we can do anything, I feel like I exist in some weird limboland nobody else seems to inhabit. Most people I speak to online are either nhs funded so it’s slow but moving, or privately paying and doing it now. Couple that with the fact that we are lucky enough to have H in our lives and we do seem like a couple who don’t quite fit anywhere! But that’s okay, it just still seems quite isolated at times. 

Also, can I just talk about internet advertising for a moment here. Random, I realise but still. I have noticed recently my ads seem to have crept from fertility things to pushchairs and cots. What gives?! Someone has a messed up algorithm (Sounds painful…hehe). 

So, as usual, I have nothing to update. Quelle surprise. In unrelated news, we have booked Disneyland again though. I cannot wait!! If we factor out both the Disney trips and the dog that we have had, we would actually be more than halfway saved for IVF. But, as mentioned before, I think there needs to be a balance when you’re saving up. I feel like, particularly with H, it’s not fair for her to not have a holiday or anything. We already only go every 2 years anyway, so I think that’s a fair compromise. 6 months to go for that woohoo. We are just creeping in before they stop the 25 year celebrations, I am looking forward to seeing it. 

So, in a nutshell – waiting, saving and looking forward to Disneyland!

And the babies have arrived!

Not mine, obviously! C’s cousins both announced within weeks of each other early this year that they were expecting and they are both here now. And beautiful they are too. Gorgeous baby boys, who, despite only being about 4 weeks between them will actually grow up to be in different school years. Funny how that can be. Both mummies and babies doing well and it’s all very exciting. But. Of course. It is also a little bit shit too. I’m trying very hard to not let myself be completely consumed by this shit shower that is infertility and being too broke to do anything about it for the very far foreseeable future but it isn’t always easy. And I tend to only blog about it when I’m feeling crap so probably makes it seem to any reader that I am always negative and miserable but I’m not (honest!). And sometimes I think it’s ok to accept that you feel like crap sometimes. It’s hard. It’s miserable. And the never knowing if you will eventually be lucky enough to have a baby or not is the absolute worst thing. If someone was able to say “it’s gunna take 5 cycles of ivf but you will eventually be successful” or “i know it’s awful to deal with but it’s just never going to happen for you” or even “surprise mo fo’s!! You win the infertility jackpot and get preggo naturally, but it will take another year!” Then it would be oh so much easier to deal with. Some people say it’s the surprises that make life worth living and in some cases I absolutely agree but I would 1 billion percent like it to not be like that for this. 

But, sadly, these things are not things I can control at all. Something I can control, however, is doing something about my weight. My target is officially 1 stone off, although secretly it is 1 stone and 5lbs, which will put me squarely back to where I was before all of my huge weight gain. I’ve already lost a stone from my heaviest, but it has been up and down over the last 2 years. Happily, I am already half a stone down. Happy days!!! So, plan of action is 1. Lose weight 2. Save. And save. And save. 3. Get a super lucky first round positive ivf success. I’m all over this.