Talk Talk

DH and I talked through all the IVF stuff yesterday. It was nice to have a proper heart-to-heart about how we’re both feeling. We’ve lived with this for so long that a lot of the time we never mention it. A failed month is just a passing comment and a few tears. A pregnancy announcement is just an eye-roll from both of us.

I struggle to share my feelings (in real life), so tend to keep everything bottled up, even from DH. It was nice to talk about it all.

So, we’re still not sure what to do. DH has reservations about IVF (albeit different from mine), but he says he is truly on the fence about it, as I am. It’s a crazy place to be, but I think we’re both just so tired of this big thing being in our lives that we don’t want to really deal with it at all anymore. We’re not committed to the ‘fight’ like we used to be.

Interestingly, DH shared a theory he has about why it hasn’t worked for us. He thinks that because I had quite a traumatic time with DS1 at the birth (I lost almost 3 litres of blood), and then when we started trying for no.3 I got pregnant immediately but ended up almost dying from blood loss during the miscarriage at 13.5 weeks, that my body somehow recognises a pregnancy from him as a threat to my wellbeing and won’t support it. He thinks that if I were to sleep with another man, I would probably get pregnant and carry to term immediately. As odd as this might sound, our bodies do have a memory of sorts, because that is how antibodies work after we have had an infection such as chicken pox or measles. And it’s how vaccines work too.

DH says he knows a doctor would laugh this idea off, but that it just might be in 50 or 100 years time when the whole process is better understood that there is something in what he is saying. We agreed that if that really was the case, then so be it. We can live with that as an explanation – especially because nothing else has turned up anything, and all people seem to do is tell us how healthy we both are. And we’ve gone from magically being able to have kids to having three years of loss, loss, loss.

Anyway, we have until next Wednesday to decide – that’s the day before my setup appointment and probably the latest I can cancel it. On the day I have to pay the cycle fee (over £3,500), and that’s pretty much the green light.

I spoke to the clinic this morning and my AMH won’t be back until Monday, which for some reason I’m desperate to know the result of.

Sigh.

I think we’ll probably do this, just so we know we tried everything. The only issue we have is if we are lucky enough to get extra eggs – do we freeze them? If it doesn’t work, would we try a transfer? We both want this to be OVER. We’re worried about getting sucked into trying longer and longer and longer.

We’re both in agreement that we’re done with the trying. We want to move on.

I think whatever happens now, it’s time for me to get all the pregnancy and baby stuff out of the loft, collect all my various bits and bobs up and get them ready to use or donate/sell. We both want a clean break and we need to mark that clearly in our lives.

This Cycle – Bust or Not??

There was one more piece of information from yesterday’s consultation that I’ve been obsessing over.

They checked my ovaries to see if my cyst was gone and everything looked okay. It wasn’t a thorough scan, it was a swish around look, and a quick follicle count. They took no measurements or photos.

When we were chatting afterwards and I said I was expecting my period in two weeks (I’m on CD15), the consultant said:

I think you’ve got a little longer than that to go, you don’t have a dominant follicle, so it might be longer than two weeks.

I don’t have a dominant follicle.

A dominant follicle usually emerges about day 9 (as far as I can tell), and then grows some more and releases the egg a few days later.

According to fertility friend’s crosshairs (and my own observations correlate), I ovulated 3 days ago, on CD12.

Now, they should have seen the corpus luteum, but they didn’t (although they weren’t specifically looking for it). They didn’t see a dominant follicle either.

So, no corpus luteum and no dominant follicle means an anovulatory cycle.

Here’s my chart:

febchart

So… for me, it’s not the clearest chart I’ve ever had. My temps are usually 80-90% below 97.9 in the follicular phase, and this month I’ve had a lot of weird highs. I am attributing that to the cyst that has “resolved” possibly interfering with my hormones.

However, I got definite egg white cervical mucus on days 11 and 12, along with three days of ovulation pain (primarily on the right, but I could feel the tenderness in both). I also got a very dark, positive opk on CD12 (I usually ovulate early after miscarriage, so that it normal too).

My cervical mucus has dried up completely, and my ovulation pain has all gone. I’ve got that mild, low backache I always get after O and I feel 99% certain that I’ve ovulated – I wouldn’t even have questioned it if I hadn’t had the ultrasound done.

So what does the scan mean?

Could they have missed the corpus luteum?

If I haven’t ovulated, why has my temp gone back up?

I feel really sad that this cycle – this one I had planned, with all our efforts at eating better, the juice fast, the diligence, the constant attention to everything that might impact my chances – might be a total no-goer.

Especially as it’s the last cycle before IVF, if we go ahead.

Pfff.

Oh well. We’ll find out soon enough.

Information Overwhelm

We had our IVF consultation yesterday and I am just overwhelmed with everything about it.

DHs SA was excellent
He has some great swimmers. He has way above average for count, motility and morphology.  Great news, although makes me feel a bit rubbish about my eggs clearly being the issue.

My 5cm post-miscarriage cyst has gone
Hurrah! Dr Bird was really pleased about that. She said: It was a big one too!

My follicle count was great
I have tons of them. At least 14 in total on a very quick eyeball of both ovaries when they checked my cyst. They were nodding with big smiles as they totted them all up. They said my lining looks great and my ovaries look great, and everything looks “very healthy” in there. (Why is all this proving so bloody difficult then??)

We have a 20-25% chance of success with IVF
This seems higher than average to me, but it’s what the consultant said, so I’ll take that.

If we opt for 2 embryos to put back (if we get 2), we stand a 1 in 4 chance of twins.
I’d take twins any day, and DH agrees, so that’s no problem.

We have a set-up appointment booked for next Thursday
This will cover how to use the meds.

We are ready to go on day 1 of my cycle, which is about 12 days away.
Dr Bird was super-accommodating in getting us all ready to go for my next cycle because she knows how much we want to move forward. She really was amazing about it all.

She has recommended Progesterone and Prednisone (steroid for immune system) should I fall pregnant.
I’m okay-ish with this. Okay-ish. I hate taking drugs. Hmm.

She recommended an endometrial scratch in the cycle proceeding as it increases implantation rates.
I’m booked in for this next Thursday, but I can change my mind. This is a bit of an issue for me, because obviously, I am hoping to be pregnant. Also, I think they give antibiotics as a “precaution” afterwards to prevent infection, but a) I never take antibiotics and b) if it could cause infection, is it really worth the risk? It’s a good procedure for those with recurrent implantation failure, but I think my body tends to implant okay, and reject eggs that are no good. I kind of feel that I don’t want to mess with something that isn’t broken, and I think extensive walking is a great way to increase circulation and blood flow to the uterus, but she is keen to throw everything at this one cycle if we proceed. So… I’m still deciding if I’m going to have this or not…

She recommended EmbryoGlue
Yuh. Really. It’s a culture that mimics a chemical produced in the implantation window. It costs an extra £100 and again she said we should throw everything at this cycle to make it work. I’ve done some research and am not convinced about it. Meta studies seem to show only a mild increase in live birth rate… Still deciding on this one too.

She said it’s highly unlikely we will need ICSI, given our history, but that we needed to decide if we might want to use it if something goes wrong ‘on the day’ and fertilisation doesn’t occur.
We said a definite ‘no’. Aside from the correlation with birth defects shown in studies, I just don’t want to go down that road. If none of my eggs fertilise, that’s not something I think ICSI will fix. We clearly fertilise eggs all the time, so if they fail outside the body, then I can accept that it just wasn’t meant to be, for whatever reason.

We’re not even considering PGD
It will double the price (which we can’t afford), but also there is a chance of a false positive (i.e. an egg identified as abnormal that isn’t), due to mosaicism in older women’s eggs. Given that the only test I’ve had done on a lost baby was chromosomally normal, it’s just not something we want to consider.

They’ll raise a script for my drugs at my set-up appointment, so I just have to order them.
That’s almost £1,000 worth of meds… They will be delivered and ready to use for day 3 of my next cycle.

All in all, I came home so overwhelmed with information that I pretty much ignored it all and instead had a glass of wine and binge-watched Walking Dead.

This is suddenly very real, very imminent, and very expensive.

I’m waiting on my AMH result, which will come in on Friday hopefully. That, plus my official follicle count next week will determine the level of meds I need to take, but Dr Bird said she anticipated the highest dose (fear of OHSS runs through me).

So, today, I only have facts, no thoughts. Add to that the fact that I am overrun with other stuff at the moment and the housework and laundry are a mountain the size of K2, I’m not quite sure when I’m going to sit down and think about it all.

Uncertain

I had a big wobble over IVF this weekend. I told DH I wasn’t sure about it any more. That I wasn’t sure my heart was really in it.

He said no need to decide now, so we’re going to our consult tomorrow, and we’ll get the infection screening and my AMH test done, and the results of DH’s SA. Then we’ll have a bit of time to decide whether to go ahead (assuming of course that we don’t end up with a rubbish SA or useless AMH result after that).

We’ve been talking, on and off, about getting a dog.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is a giant cliché, but in a weird kind of way, it would help us. Dogs are loving members of the family, and require time and commitment, both of which I have bucketfuls of stored up ready for the baby that never came. We haven’t mentioned it to the boys, but they would be beyond excited at the idea of getting one. And my Dad is a very active retiree with a garden and he owns two areas of woodland that he manages, so we have a dog holiday option too (I haven’t mentioned it to my Dad yet ;-).

I’ve always loved dogs and we grew up with them in our house, right from when I was born to when my mum left home and took them with her (I was 16), so I know all about the downsides of them, and the importance of training. I just can’t get past the feeling that there is a missing someone in our family. Maybe that someone could be a canine, instead of a human…

And the other things I’ve been thinking… how long ago all the baby stuff seems now. How difficult it would be to go back to that. How tiring, and how much I’d worry about having two kids so close together, and a third out on a limb, so much younger. I’m worried that the big gap would make me want another baby, all over again, so I could give the youngest a closer sibling, and that we’d be stupid enough to get into this whole cycle all over again.

And all that stuff in the loft… I keep thinking about the massive decluttering session I could have by letting it all go. How nice it would be to have that empty space.

And how nice it would be to have that empty space in my head, to say goodbye to almost three years of this madness and really focus my energies on something else, something that stood a chance of coming to fruition.

And of course, my youngest starts school in six months. For the first time in 6 years that will leave me with free time every, single day, to start working on bringing in some money with a sustainable freelance business of some sort. And if I can bring in some money, that means better quality of life for all of us. If I get pregnant now… that will go on hold for another 6 years.

And holiday options for us, now our children are clearing the toddler phase… they are much better. We can be more active, more adventurous, and maybe, if I can get back to earning a little money, we can see the world together.

So, there we are. All these things rattling around in my head.

It kind of feels like the right time to stop. This cycle and next cycle are the last two chances I have to have a baby in 2015, and also, coincidentally the two cycles that will take us to exactly 3 years of trying. 3 years is a damn good effort, and seven failed pregnancies in that time has been a rough ride.

And let’s not forget that I turn 41 at the end of this year. I always said (and it was a big deal when we passed the milestone that would take me into having a baby at 40+), that I didn’t want to be having babies in my forties.

I should also make it clear that I say all of this sitting high up on the fence. I’m looking down at two alternate futures here, and I can see good and bad things about both of them. If I found out I was pregnant this cycle, I’d be over the moon, but if I’m not… well, I think I’m done with the sobbing and crushing heart-ache that comes with each monthly bleed.

So, we have a big, big decision to make in the next two weeks. This IVF thing is hanging over my head and as much as I want to know we tried EVERYTHING, I’m not 100% committed to the idea right now.

That may well change, but today I feel a strong sense of how much I want to move on.

Strength

So, a little update about everything.

1. My lost recording

Husband had a look at the phone and backups, but he couldn’t retrieve it either. But you know what? After the initial shock of losing it, I actually felt okay about it. I’d been wondering on and off for a long time what to do with it, whether I wanted to keep it or not, and now the decision is made and actually it’s probably a good thing. I feel quite peaceful about it being gone. It’s pretty morbid to keep listening to it – which I did a lot in the days afterwards, trying to detect an irregularity or hear some kind of clue as to what had gone wrong. The scientist in me knows that it was just digital data that has been erased, but the (much-ignored) spiritual side of me says that the captured sound has been released back to my baby boy, so all is well.

2. Husband’s SA

Husband did his thing yesterday at the clinic. When he got home he told me that the “sample production room” at the private clinic we are now using was not as good as the one at the NHS hospital. At the private clinic it was a tiny room with a Poang chair from Ikea and a few erotic magazines. We used to have a Poang chair – we bought it when we first bought our house and we didn’t have any furniture other than an old futon:

chair

We sold it on eBay a few years later when we finally got a second hand sofa set.

Husband said he walked into the room and thought: Oh. A Poang.

Apparently the arms get in the way.

He said that the NHS room was bigger, had a comfy sofa, a TV and a couple of videos.

I asked what videos they had.

Well, there was a generic soft porn video, and er, a video of a Kylie Minogue concert from 1988, he said.

I didn’t ask if he watched it.

We get the results next week :-)

3. My cycle

Damn temperature is still so high. Running at about 98.3. I’m wondering if my cyst is interfering in this cycle because 98.3 is my post-O temp (usually around 97.7 pre-O). My left side was aching a lot this morning. Trying to work out when I ovulated is going to be impossible at this rate, so we’ll only have the opks to go on. Pah. Just going to try at about the right time and then ignore this cycle as much as possible. Less heartache that way. I think it’s IVF or broke now. Actually, that should be IVF and broke.

4. A challenge

I needed something to take my mind of all this, so I’m working on a new goal – a handstand!!

I’ve always wanted to be able to do a handstand, ever since I was a little girl. I was fascinated with gymnasts on television and thought they were so beautiful and graceful. So here’s a shot of me being neither beautiful, nor graceful:

handstandpractice

I’ve decided to do 5 minutes of handstand practice every single day.

Why on earth?

Well, I’ve gotten really into yoga over the last year, and although I haven’t yet managed to create a daily practice habit, I have noticed significant changes in my strength and flexibility. I’ve always dreamed of being able to handstand, and I’ve been watching lots of youtube videos on mastering handstands.

So here we go. I’m using this method, so will be practising the wall plank (as so gracefully shown above) every day until I can hold it for 60 seconds. Then I’ll be practising the wall handstand, and finally the freestanding handstand.

I’ll post a video for you when I’m a bit better, although it might be a while.

I checked out Kino McGregor’s advice on handstands (my yoga hero), and apparently it took her 5 years to master a balancing handstand.

So I figured this would keep me busy until I’m through the menopause :-)

Behaviour I Want To Say Goodbye To

This is a list, and a confession.

It’s the things I do that consume my time and energy while trying to conceive, in what I believe is a not-very-healthy way. These things are the things I want to say goodbye to. The things that, when we walk away from all of this, I will be so glad to be done with. These are the things that I want to stop doing, and the things that I want out of my life.

1. Buying tests

Ovulation tests, and pregnancy tests. Hundreds of them. Literally. I buy them in bulk (I told you this was a confession) and go through packs and packs each month. OPKs I might use several a day when I’m getting my surge, and one or two a day in the days beforehand. Pregnancy tests I buy at 10miu and I test from 7dpo pretty much every month. Why? Because late implantation is highly correlated with miscarriage. Strangely enough, I’ve never yet had a late implantation (pretty much always a positive by 10dpo latest), but I’ve still lost over half a dozen pregnancies, so as usual, I don’t fall into the normal pattern. The last time my pregnancy tests came through, the customer services lady wrote a message on my invoice saying “I hope it works this time.” Yes – it’s true – I buy so many that they actually know who I am. Anyway, that aside, I don’t want to spend any more money on tests, and I don’t want to spend any more time using them.

2. Obsessively Googling for Miscarriage and Fertility Information

This one is particularly bad. I can’t even count the hours I’ve spent gathering information. Whole days sometimes. If I had dedicated those hours to another cause, like learning piano, or even writing a novel, I would be an expert pianist and multi-published author by now. Especially bad is that I tend to do this when I should be working on other things – i.e. during the precious free time I get while my son is at preschool. Instead, I let the house slip into a disgusting state, eat lunch over my keyboard and read studies from 1997 that discuss the effect of mint tea on the uterine lining of rats.

3. Maudlin reflection on how sh*t it all is

More wasted time. Instead of doing something productive or enjoyable (writing, which I love, or reading a book, which I love just as much), I will slouch on the sofa feeling ungrateful and angry at the unfairness of the world, and then sink into a trashy television series to take my mind off of the “difficulty” of everyday life. It’s a deliberate blocking out of the world, and I also do it to escape behaviours 1 and 2. It’s also yet another totally mindless waste of my time.

4. Freaking out about other people’s pregnancies

It’s horrible. The envy, the jealously, the tears. And it’s totally unnecessary. I know it’s bad, because my wonderful husband, who is eternally supportive of me, once said “You can’t stop other people from getting pregnant.” No. I well know that. And I need to deal with it better. I should be able to be graceful enough to at least manage some enthusiasm and genuine smiles, right?

5. Not taking care of my appearance

I slob around in the same old clothes, most of them bought after I had DS1. I know I look like an untidy bag-lady sometimes, and worst of all is that a lot of the time, I don’t really care. I’m too busy doing 1, 2, 3 and 4 to spend any time on how I look. And that affects my confidence and makes me feel worse. Which exacerbates behaviours 1-4. Deep down, I suppose it’s a kind of self-imposed purgatory. I don’t deserve to look nice until my body functions properly and gives me a baby. Which I know sounds crazy, but I think that’s what it all boils down to.

6. Not committing to any form of exercise

I have tried multiple times to get back into running. And failed over and over again. Even things I still do, I don’t really commit to. I move around, I do a bit of yoga, a bit of strength training… and at the back of my head is the constant evaluation of whether it is worth forming a habit that I will have to stop when I get pregnant. I avoid signing up for races, or joining anyone else in exercising, because I don’t want to make excuses, or feel like I’ve failed if/when I become pregnant. And inevitably, I do get pregnant, which reinforces the behaviour, but then I lose the baby and I’m back to square one. It’s like my life is literally on pause. Talking of which…

7. Living life on pause

Nothing else can get a look in because of what we might be doing in six months. I avoid socialising, I avoid everything. I don’t want to show up for anything while I can’t get this thing right. I can’t focus on work, hobbies, pleasure, or even just being me, because I’m waiting. Waiting. Always waiting, for a baby that never comes. I even avoid close friends, because I don’t want to see them until everything is okay and I’m having that third child. Until we have something to talk about other than pitying questions about how I’m doing emotionally. I want to be enthusiastic and happy and sociable again, but I can’t. Because at the moment it just feels like I’m the failure. Still with no news and sadder every time they see me. I want to burst back into people’s lives with a big smile and a baby in tow and brave story of how we beat the odds. Instead I fear that I may never see some of my friends again, simply because I cannot bear to be pitied and I am afraid they will never see me as anything other than “the one who tried to have another baby but couldn’t”.

8. The emotional highs. And lows.

This isn’t so much in my control, but I am tired of everything always being so damn important. Instead of highlights like getting a good review at work, and lowlights like having to pay out for extra car repairs, we have highlights of adding a new child to our family, or a decent heartbeat at a scan, and lowlights of losing a baby, and being hospitalised for blood loss. I’m TIRED (I keep saying it), of the extremes in emotion. The extremes of what one month brings compared to the next. I want a lower-key existence. I want to celebrate smaller victories and mourn smaller losses. I want a quieter life. I’m done with all the drama. I’ve had enough drama to last me a lifetime – and then some. I want smaller ups and downs.

9. Obsessing over everything I eat.

Everyone who has spent any time TTC knows all about this one. Caffeine, sugar, gluten, alcohol, milk, chocolate, peas, soy, pretty much everything you put in your mouth has a points score. Did I mention I was tired? I’m tired of constantly analysing every mouthful of food. Tired of trying to eat perfectly. Tired of feeling guilty because I ate some white potatoes or I had a squirt of maple syrup on a (buckwheat) pancake. I’m even tired of writing about it.

So there we go. The inner workings of my obsessions.

Obviously, I am not a total basket case (honest!)- I still hold it together enough to run a house and smile at people when I talk to them. I still manage to pull off a pretty good “normal daughter(-in-law)” to both sets of parents. But inside… it just feels like everything is worn out and patched up with sellotape. I’ve had enough. Enough of reading studies on whether eating spinach will raise my progesterone, or how implantation is affected by how much you laugh. Enough of it all. If I’d known this is what we were letting ourselves in for, I think I might have thought twice about getting back on the TTC train. As much as three children is my dream, my perfection, my claim that I have done things PERFECTLY, it’s not good if my dream is slowly destroying the person I am.

And it’ll be a good thing to leave all that behind.

I Lost My Baby’s Heartbeat

I read a post this morning at My Perfect Breakdown.

It was about memento’s: saving things and marking the dates of our lost babies.

We’ve never given our lost ones names, or done anything commemorative. When you lose several pregnancies each year, it would be kind of crazy to keep up with it all.

What I did have though, tucked away on my iPhone, was a 20 second recording of my baby boy’s heartbeat. It was recorded from a doppler just a few days before he died at 10 weeks 4 days (early for a doppler, I know, but I’m very small and one of the lucky people who actually got to hear it before 12 weeks).

That file has sat on my phone for almost exactly one year, and I’ve listened to it maybe half a dozen times. It has a strong, regular, galloping sound. The sound of life. The sound of my child. That tiny baby I held in the palm of my hand after I miscarried. I always wondered how it could sound so strong one day, and be gone so soon afterwards.

I thought of it after reading the post above, and I went into my phone to find it.

It’s no longer there.

Looking online, it seems that the last upgrade to iOS 8 wipes out voice memo data. Sometimes it is recoverable with software, but I have tried, and mine is gone.

Just disappeared, into nothing.

I am so very, very sad.

I’m not big on sentimentality. I don’t hoard stuff (any more), but I didn’t know that the last time I listened to that sound, would be the last time I listened to it. I wasn’t ready.

It feels like a sign. A sign that everything about this is slipping away from me. That it really is all over and I will never, ever have another child.

Right now, today, I don’t even want to try any more.

I’m too tired of it all. Defeated. Broken down. I surrender. I can’t fight any more because I have no fight left.

And I feel relief. Relief that we actually don’t have to go on doing this to ourselves. Relief that if we stop I will never have to go through another miscarriage.

It’s all just too sad today.

Cycle Day 6

I don’t think it’s going to happen this month.

My temperatures are currently running at post-ovulation level. I don’t know why, but they haven’t dropped after AF. Well – they did drop for two days, but have shot back up again.

I’ve googled this as much as I can, but the only indication I can find as to why my temps are so high are

a) perimenopause (oh great!), or,
b) low oestrogen (which will mean a too-thin uterine lining).

Basically, I think things still haven’t settled post-miscarriage.

It’s really unusual for me to have cycle irregularities. But, I suppose I am 40 now, and my mum went through menopause at 44.

I just feel so tired of it all. It really seems that I never manage to take a step forward, it’s just been almost three years of walking against a glass wall.

feel really hormonal, as well, which is unheard of for the first two weeks of the month.

I even took a pregnancy test, which I knew would be negative (I’ve just had a period and we didn’t exactly try this month), just to rule it out. So right now, I don’t know what’s happening.

But what I do know is that I don’t care as much any more.

I don’t know if it’s just exhaustion, or if I’m somehow moving on, but I don’t have the energy to really worry about it. There’s only so much a person can take, and you never really know where that point is until you’re faced with difficulty. I think I might be getting there. When I think about not having this baby, it still makes me want to cry. But when I think about doing things to make it happen… I’m not sure I can really be that bothered any more.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re still eating healthily. Husband has his SA booked for tomorrow. We’ll still give it a shot this cycle. But… it just isn’t the be all and end all it used to be.

I used to feel that my whole life’s happiness depended on ‘completing’ our family, properly. The way I always intended. That passion and drive for a dream has faded. I love what we already have. Maybe there are other things in life that are waiting for me.

What has helped is being out of the ‘baby-zone’. For years, I’ve socialised with mothers and babies. Suddenly, all the children in my social circle (well, most of them), are growing up, thinking about school, attending school, turning into little people. I don’t have newborns shoved under my nose all the time and it’s a blessed relief. There’s no longer a constant, daily reminder of what I am missing. There’s no longer constant exposure to conversations about babies, pregnancy and birth.

I’ve even had passing thoughts about just making a clean break. Getting rid of all the baby stuff. Taking it out of the loft and giving it my blessing to go to new homes. Getting the space back. Getting the sanity back. Wouldn’t that be cool? To not have it all any more? It’s not imminent – the thought of it also makes me want to cry, but only for past grief, not for future grief, if that makes sense.

There are several emotional obstacles to this process of saying we’re done, and I’m giving them more thought than ever because I think we have to face the fact that after this cycle and IVF we really will be done. They are:

1. My mother-in-law
2. My sister-in-law
3. One of my oldest friends
4. ‘Ending’ on a miscarriage
5. My own childhood
6. The perception of giving up/failure
7. My Dad (to a lesser extent)

I’ll explore these in detail in a separate post, abusing this blog as a public personal therapist ;-)

In the meantime, we wait. Because that’s all you ever do in this game.

Cycle Day 1

I had a dream last night that I gave birth. I was so happy, and wondering when we could start trying for number four (I know – crazy – but it was a dream). In my dream I went to the toilet and felt the placenta suddenly fall away from me, and I was shocked that the hospital had sent me home without checking it was out.

When I woke up, my period had started and the blood had soaked through my knickers and onto the sheets.

Funny isn’t it? Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I think our minds are connected with what our bodies are doing.

Well, it’s been a long month. 33 days to be exact.

My ovulation was a few days out following the five day juice fast we did, so that explains why I’ve deviated from my usual 28 days.

So.

Back in the ring this month, and this is the month I am going to conceive our third child. Yep – it’s definitely going to be this month. There is no alternative. Ovulation is due on 3rd March.

Just in case, however, things don’t go according to plan (because you should always have a plan B), we have also made appointments for our pre-IVF testing, which we’ll do this cycle, so everything is ready to go if for some reason I don’t get pregnant.

So, three things going on at the moment:

1) Ongoing diet changes

The juice fast has been amazing in helping me stay on the straight and narrow. I haven’t touched any sugar, diary or caffeine since I did it (except for some maple syrup on pancake day), and now, almost four weeks on, I really am feeling the benefit. My energy is good, I’m sleeping really well, and my skin has finally, finally cleared up. I reintroduced meat after about two weeks and had zero adverse affects, so I’m eating that occasionally too. We’re cooking pretty much everything we eat from scratch and I’m staying away from processed foods, tinned foods (BPA) and anything that comes under the umbrella of “crap carbs”.

I’m taking B12 (methylcobalamin), ubiquinol (best form of CoQ10), a prenatal vitamin and I am still on a very low dose of DHEA.

I have had almost ZERO physical symptoms with this cycle. No backache in the weeks after ovulation, no tenderness in my boobs at all, no bloating, no breakouts, and barely any ovulation pain. I did feel a bit tearful just after ovulation, which I think is a result of both hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) being on the low side – it’s the same every month. But otherwise, this has been a very quiet and restful month, and I think that (hopefully) means that my hormone levels are nice and steady, and everything is working as it should be.

I’ve been listening to a Glenn Harold relaxation CD (“Complete Relaxation”), every night and he is AMAZING. I’ve tried several relaxation tapes, and most of them are pretty good, but there is something about this one that just does it for me. I fall asleep listening to it every single night without fail, no matter what has happened in the day. Partly, I think, my diet means I am sleeping better so it’s easier to drop off, but I am a terrible over-analyser and this tape basically stops me from running over conversations and analysing them to death every night. In fact, in the last few weeks there have been three nights where I have actually slept though the night from around 10pm to 7am without waking up. For those of you who sleep well, this is probably no big deal, but I have barely slept through the night in 5 and a half years, so for me it is huge.

What else… oh yeah – I dug out my fitbit and have been trying to meet 10,000 steps each day. I want to make sure I am getting adequate blood flow to my ovaries and uterus so I can build a decent lining. Some days I do, some I don’t, but it’s making me more aware of movement. Lots and lots of walking is my plan for the next two weeks – the more the better.

Incidentally, if anyone uses a fitbit and wants to connect with me, my profile is here:

2. IVF

We’re booked in for a sperm analysis next Tuesday, and then infection screening and a follow up consultation the Tuesday after. They will also test my AMH, which I’ve never had done, so that will be interesting. After that it *should* be a case of letting them know when my period arrives – probably by 18th March – and we’ll be good to go (assuming the cyst has gone on my left ovary).

I’ll post about the IVF choice separately, and our reasoning, but we’re opting for straightforward, vanilla IVF. No ICSI, no PGD. Our clinic transfers on day 5.

I am actually looking at IVF as our exit plan. I don’t really think that it’s going to give us a better chance than we’ve already had, but we need to try this because if we don’t I will always wonder ‘what if’.

3. Failure

Because, of course, failure is an option.

I have to be realistic at this stage, and I think given how much effort DH have put into changing our lifestyles over the last year or two, we can find some kind of peace in knowing that we really DID do everything we could. It’s not feasible for us to dedicate our lives to “perfect” health, but we’ve given it a really good shot.

I don’t want to carry on living in fear of eating the wrong thing. Or wondering if I’m causing a miscarriage via an obscure sub-clinical vitamin deficiency, or a low grade immune disorder. I want to be me, without all this obsessing and crying. Each time I miscarry, I head back into TTC with a vengeance, but I have to say that my enthusiasm tails off quicker each time.

If I can’t get pregnant now, or next cycle with IVF, given everything I have done, and how much I have read and researched, and how many changes I have made to the way we all live, if my body still will not cooperate, then I think I can possibly begin to believe that I really am too old to be having children. Not that 40 is too old, but that for me, at 40, my body doesn’t want to go through the process any more. That my lifestyle choices, or maybe my genetics, have potentially shortened my reproductive lifespan and I need to accept that I am who am.

Self-acceptance is never easy, and it is even harder in the face of failure, but I know that’s where peace lies. So in the midst of all this, I am thinking about that too.

And I am hoping that I can accept what happens with grace.

Although, obviously, I reserve the right to go out kicking, screaming and biting while they put a straightjacket on me and throw me into the back of a hospital van.

IVF

I contacted the clinic today and said we want to try one more natural cycle and then give IVF a shot.

I have cried and cried over this. I never wanted to do IVF and I don’t have much faith in it as a solution to be honest. But I don’t think I can close this chapter without trying everything, and god knows I’ve tried everything else.

What I want to do right now is take a holiday from myself, have a nice time in the sun somewhere for three months and then come back and deal with the aftermath.

And I’ve decided NOT to renew my fertility friend VIP subscription for the umpteenth year in a row.

I’ve talked to the husband about maybe having some counselling to try and get me through the end of this. I know, despite all the hope in my heart, that statistically I’m probably not going to succeed. We can’t afford more than one attempt at IVF (hell, we can’t actually afford one attempt if we’re brutally honest), and my exhaustion of this whole process, and my fear of more misery, is getting to be too much.

I’ll admit it – I hate being pregnant in the first trimester. It’s shit. I always bleed, I can’t relax, I’ve lost so many babies, it’s just a totally shit time. I really don’t think I can cope mentally/emotionally with these endless losses. I just don’t want to do it any more. I still want to get pregnant and have a baby, but I never, ever, EVER want to have another miscarriage. EVER.

And that’s always going to be a risk while we’re doing this. And I know a miscarriage after IVF is a high possibility (perhaps even more so for me), and that is totally shit as well, but there we go. There’s a chance, and this way we’ll know we tried everything.

And you know what else, while I’m having a bit of an emotional rant? I’m sick of constantly analysing and evaluating what I eat and drink. Sick to death of it. Sick and tired of being so f*cking good all the time in case what I ingest affects my eggs, or my implantation, or my pregnancy, or just whatever. I ate a ton of sweets and chocolate and junk food with DS1, and I practically lived on Rice Kripies for the first 13 weeks, so you know what?

I just feel like saying f*ck this to the moon and back again because I am done with it.

My apologies. I’m feeling pretty hormonal today.