Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Contemplating IVF

So a couple of months have passed and not much has happened since my last entry.  I am still completely addicted to POAS (peeing on a stick) and still struggle to complete the two week wait before unwrapping those little buggers and peeing on them.  My shortest wait was literally immediately after bd'ing (see the dictionary page if you are struggling with all these acronyms!).  You are meant to wait two weeks after ovulation and possible conception before doing a pregnancy test, because it takes that long for the egg and sperm to meet, for the fertilised egg to implant, and for the HCG to show up in your system.  So I think that doing it one millisecond post-coitus was a moment of insanity.  It wasn't the first, and guaranteed it won't be the last.
This addiction can get you into trouble and can be heartbreaking.  I tested early whilst on holiday over New Year and got a positive.  My first positive since my doomed pregnancy 10 years ago.  I was absolutely elated, as were my husband and sister who came bounding into the room knowing exactly what I was screeching about (although my husband couldn't quite believe it).  It was weird, I don't know whether I instinctively knew something was wrong, but I suddenly felt hugely panicked.  The next day the tests were negative, and I got a very heavy period a few days later. So that's why it's important not to test too early, because of the possibility of chemical pregnancies, which I'm told are VERY common and mostly go unnoticed due to the fact that the early 'miscarriage' comes at the same time as a normal period, and is often no different to a normal period.

Anyway, two and a bit years of regular TTC ing, and we are now on the IVF road.  We had our initial consultation with a lovely nurse in our local hospital, and having fulfilled all the criteria we are being referred to a not so local hospital to have IVF.  I've read a little bit about it and it sounds quite harrowing, but it's very important to keep our eye on the prize and pray that it will all work out.  I slightly lost my composure when the nurse said that some IVF departments will incubate the embryo for a little while, but prefer to transfer it as soon as possible into the uterus, as 'you are of course the best incubator for your baby'.  It made it feel so real that I very nearly burst into tears. My husband didn't really get the emotion of the moment and skipped out of our appointment feeling very excited at the thought of having a fat wife and later on a mini-him.
But a bit of positivity and excitement is important, so I will try not to be a moping mary in contrast to his happy excitement at life.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Where am I?

My husband and I were talking last night about spirituality, and what it means to us.  Neither of us could really put our finger on it's actual meaning, although I think we managed to conclude that it meant something different to both of us.  I struggled with this at first but then realised that our differences are one of the things I am in love with about him, and us. 

And I started thinking about how this all ties in with trying to conceive.  It's hard for me as a 'spiritual' person (or at least someone who tries to be spiritual) to separate the two.  I have mostly concentrated on the biological, science side of it all, but what if I am missing a trick by ignoring 'The Self' in this whole journey? And how does God, or the universe or whatever it is that you believe in, tie in to all of this?  Is this what God wants for me, is it part of the bigger plan?  Or does it all just boil down to science, and chance?  I just cannot believe that.  The self, and the spiritual is an ongoing journey, so I don't know the answers to these questions.  It's almost like I have become detached from it all, and I often even feel that I have lost my broodiness with the barrage of science, doctors and hospital appointments that I have been immersing myself and my husband in over the past few months. It's all become so clinical.  Where am I in all of this?

I went to see a woman recently who does Reiki and Reflexology for women who are TTC.  She has an abundance of downloadable meditations to help these women to get back into their bodies and their fertility. In our session she did healing and reflexology whilst talking, in a suitably lovely and hypnotic voice, about my body's ability to conceive and carry a child.  I felt pretty emotional while she was doing it, but had a really hard time connecting to my body. And I realised that actually, I haven't really felt connected to my body in quite a long time. I have put on weight since we got married (I'm not obese, but I certainly don't look and feel my best) and I barely recognise the grey, floppy Mrs Blobby I am greeted by in the mirror each morning.  It also got me thinking that the slight hatred I have developed of my tummy cannot be a healthy and positive affirmation for any babies out there who are thinking of implanting themselves in my uterus.  'Come and nestle into my fat blobby tummy, I hate it, but you'll be ok in there!' Nope, it just doesn't work.  I have to recondition myself to love my body and trust it, and know that it can do what it is supposed to do.

Self hatred and disgust should, perhaps, be dealt with before trying to conceive.  And of course, that ties in with being healthy.  (I haven't gone into the science of why I might have put on weight - there are plenty of websites for that and it's just not on my mind as I write this.)  I think all of this trying-to-make-a-baby stuff is very overwhelming and can cause us to disconnect from ourselves, perhaps physically, spiritually and emotionally. 

The realisation that we are unable to do what the female body is so naturally meant to do is really, really hard to deal with.  But meditation can help.  While I meditate I put my hands on my tummy and try to think good thoughts towards that general area and in particular my slightly tubby tummy.  It's tricky, but with practice I think I can learn to accept it.  It's pretty important where babies are concerned.  I'm still trying to reconnect to my spiritual side, but in the mean time I will start with the physical and go from there. And, as a side note, I'm still not entirely sure what spirituality is, but I suppose for me it's about the connection between the self and the greater power or the 'sacred' outside of us, whatever that is for you - God, angels, the universe, the source - and the oneness of everything.  I know in the past that when I have felt properly connected to that idea, I have felt most connected to myself.  And I'm pretty sure that's an important start to the ttc journey and beyond that, being a parent.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The birds and the bees...

I vaguely remember learning about the birds and the bees when I was little. I must have been 6 or 7 years old and was obviously starting to ask questions.  I was handed a brightly coloured book with a picture of a smiley, biologically challenged (ie simplified) cartoon couple on the front, possibly holding a swaddled cartoon baby in their arms and looking rather smug.  Inside were more pictures of the smug couple in a rude state of undress, with sentences attached to the pictures, along the lines of:

'A man and a woman who love each other want to be very very close.  When the man stands too close to the woman his penis becomes large and then they make love.  The seed of the man finds the egg inside the woman and nine months later a baby is born...'

That was the general jist of it.  I think somewhere in the middle might have been some pictures of the woman getting fat and the baby freakily smiling at us from inside her transparent tummy.  It also appears that the couple remain in a naked standing position for the entire nine months.


What they of course do not tell you in these charming, educational little books, is that actually, it is sometimes just not that easy.  Where do they mention that there should be millions of these little seeds, and sometimes there just aren't? I do not recall a page where the smug naked cartoon couple have a struggle with the doctor who tells the man that his seed is deformed, lazy, drunk, stoned, undernourished or unable to make the journey to the woman's shiny little egg?  And neither do they tell you about the endometriosis, the multiple cysts on her ovaries, the hostile environments in her vagina or uterus, or the low egg reserves and hormonal imbalances that she might have.  But fair enough, it was a book written for children, and the shock of all these things come years later, when you realise that sometimes, it just isn't that simple.

If only it were.

And that's where my story begins.