Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's All Happening, Or Is It?

I've been back from holiday for over a week now and had great intentions of updating quickly, there has been quite a bit going on.

The holiday was great fun, just what we needed. The days in each port were whirlwind fast as we tried to see as much of each country as possible. The evenings on the ship were amazing. Such good food, reasonable entertainment and friendly people. An added bonus is that the general age range was 50+ (although there were a good number around our age) this meant I felt quite young which was very welcome as I have been feeling very past it lately. Too many bubbly young teachers at work. It was nice to feel spirited again.

The only downside of the whole time away was the fact that I was in the 2WW. CD 1 was due on the Mon and so I was quite excited by its absence, I had decided that if it hadn't arrived by Thur I would be quite safe to POAS in Barcelona. I had this romantic notion of finding out in such a beautiful city. By Wednesday night, however, the dull cramps arrived. I got really quite upset. It is hard enough without all this extra drama. I always find the first couple of cycles after m/c extra traumatic.

Ok, so it was hard to be thrown a scrap of hope but it did lead to a silver lining. It wasn't going to be possible to do blood this cycle but I had already made an appointment to see my GP on the Monday that we arrived home (to ask her if she would go above my consultant and try to refer me for m/c testing directly). This now would be day 5. Yea, blood work for the new clinic could take place this month after all! This means I can return to the old clinic to squeeze in another cycle before Christmas. It isn't as good as being pregnant of course but it is a bonus and it cheered me considerably.

Now I was all geared up. All I had to do was phone the clinic and ask for a day 20 appointment. I hate making these calls. I'm not sure why but I really procrastinate over certain phone calls, they become huge lumps of dread. The reality of the call is always such a relief compared to the build up. I can't work out why I put myself through the anxiety and why I rarely just clear the tasks at the first opportunity.

I hadn't been in touch with this clinic to tell them of the outcome of the pregnancy. On their records I would show six months pregnant so I knew I had all the explaining to do. I should have been in touch with them ages ago but (see last paragraph!) I just have never felt that they deserved an explanation. I was happy to walk away and have nothing more to do with them. Only my recent need to move ahead QUICKLY has made me reconsider.

The phone call didn't go as I'd planned. I asked for a day 20 appointment and she told me I was too late?????? Turns out the clinic is closed for refurbishment. Aghhh. I came off the phone and sat with my head in my hands. I didn't cry, just sat there. To have to cope with not being able to cycle and then it all seemed to work out in the end, why this? Why can't it just be easy.

After about ten minutes of sighing I had another thought. I had recently been told that there was yet another (newly opened) clinic in our area and they had no waiting list yet. I looked up their net pages and liked what I saw. I gave them a phone. They said they thought it may be possible to cycle with them this month. Yea! But I had to have an ovarian assessment and scan. - that evening in an hour and a quarter- if I was to make the cut off for the blood work in time for a decision this cycle. OMG. MR L wasn't even home but he was due in soon. I took the appointment and decided to go for it. He arrived home that very moment, turned around without a grumble (which is unusual when he's expecting to eat!) and off we went.

We only just got there in time. I really liked the clinic. Very nicely presented and the staff seemed thorough. Mr L felt the whole set up was so much more pleasant than the old set up. I am waiting to hear the results of this blood test and to hear whether we will be able to cycle there this month. It is all very rushed, it's not how I like to do things at all. Not a bit BUT I am quite at peace with it all, strangely enough. If we can cycle then I will be pleased to commit despite my lack of previous research (of course I have been Googling ever since and I'm really pleased with my findings) If we can't cycle then I'll be ok with that too. I've done everything possible to make this happen and now there is nothing to be done other than accept the outcome.

(P.s. Has anyone had any experience of the 'Ovarian Assessment Test and AMH blood test - used to determine ovarian reserve' or know the standard results or how does it influence differences in a cycle? )

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happiness Sold Seperately

Elinor seemed to turn all of her books on the subject of infertility backwards on the bookshelves, where Roger found them while cleaning. Why do you think she did so? In what ways do you think people who are struggling with infertility help in keeping infertility such a "taboo" topic? Do you see infertility ever becoming a more accepted or understood topic?

I can completely relate to this one. When I went on holiday I put all my books on fertility and miscarriage in the attic. My mum was feeding the cat. My mum! She knows what we are going through, more or less, but I didn't want her to see the rather well stocked library I have built up. Why? I'm not completely sure. I don't think I want her to know truly how much this whole deal has taken over my life. I don't want her to know how desperate I have become. I don't want her to pity me.
I think that is what is behind my secrecy. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I feel like I have failed and I don't want others thinking of me in this way too.
I know this is not a rational way to think. My losses are no more my fault than any random illness would be, but I see infertility as a failure. My failure. Maybe it is just a pride thing.
I also don't want to discuss infertility with others if I feel they can't really understand how totally consuming it can be. To bare my real feelings and the depth of hurt to someone to be repaid with a, 'well, if it is meant then it'll happen' type comment would ensure the end of a friendship for me. It is just too difficult to explain to the wider world, so I won't.
Unfortunately, although this is a self-preservation technique, it is doing nothing to help infertility to be understood. Even my close friends and family aren't invited into my world. Unless people like me can be comfortable enough to talk, explain and share I don't see it becoming a more understood topic. I think it will always be taboo for me.

The book explores different kinds of love. It seems that their battle with fertility (and really Elinor's battle with herself) has changed the type of love Ted feels for his wife. Has your journey with infertility and/or loss changed the love between you and your spouse?

Absolutely. No one in the world has a better idea of my journey than my husband. He doesn't always understand everything but I can be totally honest with him. His babies died too so I don't get angry at his advice or assume he doesn't understand the hurt. Having him be my rock has taken me to a new level of respect and love for him. He has stuck by me through some black times, he has shown patience I didn't know he had. He doesn't judge me or expect me to act or feel a certain way. He has held my hand through some ugly scenes and he still loves me. We have definitely grown closer. I wish it hadn't happened for these reasons but I am glad our relationship has developed such depth.

As we see glimpses into Ted & Elinor's relationship after their unsuccessful fertility treatments, we discover that Ted seeks solace in the garage and the gym -- places where he can "fix" things. Elinor finds refuge in the laundry room and by re-reading classic novels from college. Why do you think Elinor is drawn to these activities? What activities do you engage in as a way to soothe your soul during your fertility quest and why do you think you are drawn to them? What about your partner - does he/she have places or tasks that provide some refuge?

We are very like Ted and Elinor in this respect. My husband retreats to the garage and motorbikes. He likes to restore classic bikes. When life is difficult he'll start a new project. It takes his mind off things I suppose. Gives him an escape, a focus. It seems to work for him.
I am like Elinor too. When I am down I can't bear to be with people. Nothing seems to cheer me up as much as a full day of housework. No interruptions. I love to clean. It has a purpose, it is physical and it makes me feel good. I can lift my spirits. I don't know if it is symbolic, it doesn't feel it. I just like to clean.
Funny that I don't like to clean nearly so much when I am happy. I haven't realised that before!

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Happiness Sold Separately? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Tour by visiting the master list at Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #8 (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Frustration, More Frustration and a Little Fun.

It is getting so early dark here. Winter is just around the corner. It has made me impatient, another year almost over, I'm still not pregnant, time is marching on. Here's the frustration part..........

We went along to the potential new clinic last Monday. I liked the doctor but he reckons we don't need IVF straight away. He wants to wait 6 months (What for?) and then start in March. He's not asking us, he has decided. Now this seems like a long time away to me. March. I was hoping cycle. We have started the proceedings with the Hep B, Hep C, HIV tests having been done there and then . I have a line for day 3 testing of... FSH, estradoil, LH, Prolactin, TSH, rubella, full blood count, testosterone and thyroxine. Most of these have already been done but he wants them done again. Seems to me that no doctor actually trusts another, doesn't help me to trust any of them!

Even more frustrating, I have drawn a blank at the miscarriage testing. My gynaecologist just will not entertain it. She does not accept the first two pregnancies as clinical (they didn't need any medical intervention and the first wasn't even on my GPs notes). She will not even speak about them other than say early losses are very common. I even wrote to her asking that she refers us for further testing based on 4 losses, being over 35 and about to start another IVF cycle (which she did refer me for) I wrote so that there would be a copy of my letter in my file and she'd have to reply in writing. I thought this would make her a little more accountable for her actions and therefore more likely to help. In her reply she only referred to the losses that needed ERPCs and told me that guidelines do not recommend testing yet. I am so frustrated at her, at the NHS, at the whole deal. There seems to be nothing I can do to receive decent healthcare round here.

So I now have a problem, well two problems really. In a complete about turn from not wanting to try again, I now want to try IMMEDIATELY. I have had it with the waiting and hoping. I want to do everything in my power to get, and stay, pregnant or have closure if it doesn't happen. I need this torture to end, I can't have my life on hold indefinitely.
So the first dilemma was whether or not to go back to the original clinic ( I have already paid for a cycle and haven't done it yet) I wasn't impressed by their treatment last time but it would be a start, then I'd have new clinic to fall back on in March. I kind of decided that this is what I would do when problem number two emerged. My husband doesn't want to. He want to DIY until March.

I have tried to explain my need to move forward quickly but he reckons we are going to fall pregnant in the next couple of cycles. Based on what?? Of course I asked him this and he replied that he just felt it. Sigh. After much discussion, ok , me talking, him glazing over, he said, and I quote, " Well, I won't fight you."
What sort of commitment is that? It means I have to decide, if it all goes wrong I've wasted our money and I'll have to put up with the look. The 'I told you so' look. I am going mad with the overthinking. Absolutely mad.

Everything if complicated even further by the fact that we are going on holiday and my period is due that week (why wouldn't it be?) This means I can't get the day 3 blood work done for the new clinic. This will also mean I can't start down regulation, at the old clinic, on day 20, I think. I'm no doctor but I would imagine that doing day 3 blood work next month whilst down regulated may lead to some interesting results, no? So.... Now it looks like the earliest we can cycle, if everything else goes our way, would be December. What are the chances of the clinic running as normal. I just know I'd end up with retrieval on Christmas day or something equally as awkward. Cycling in January might be too close to March? I really don't know. It's all too hard. My head hurts!

The fun part is the holiday I mentioned. A cruise round the Med. We booked it on the Friday after the final scan, (before the ERPC on the Monday). We really can't afford it as, of course, we are looking at further IVF treatment but we felt we needed to get away. For a while I felt like it was a huge mistake. I was so miserable that I didn't really want to go away but I am looking forward to it now. It'll be fun to spend some time together.

Perhaps I'll relax so much I might even........ Well, I can dream.