Ode to perfection

Sometimes, when I’m alone, I forget.

I get caught up in other things and I forget about the gaping hole inside of me.  I’ve been pretty busy lately trying to get my home business up and running.  It’s not running, it’s barely crawling in fact.  That’s one of the problems of not knowing anyone.  You need word of mouth to get started, but all the mouths I have on my side are half way around the world.  It’s not that I think people here are against me as such, it’s just that most people have little interest in the success or failure of a stranger.

Its difficult not to take personally.

It’s most difficult when my depression is rearing it’s ugly head.  There’s that little voice that says, “It’s your fault.  You’ll never succeed.  They don’t like you.  That’s why she cancelled her appointment.”  That’s not why.  The client in question did not cancel, she postponed to next week.  But it’s difficult not to listen to the voice.  I need to remember that most of the time, a clients choice has little or nothing to do with me.  It is about them, and that should be fine.  It will be fine.  I just need to remind myself of that and ignore the voice.

But when I am planning, organising, playing with make up (in the name of working towards my make up artist qualification of course), sometimes I forget all the negative, the loneliness, the emptiness and just enjoy the moment.  It’s nice.

Other times it’s like a weight holding me down.

I have to see my sister-in-law today.  (I hope she never reads this!)  She is pregnant with her second.  Both times they got pregnant on the first cycle of trying.  I’ve mentioned before that I married into a family of over-achievers.  This is no exception.  She is everything I want to be and am not.  Other than being extremely fertile, she can cook perfect a meal for 12 people with a newborn baby, her house is immaculate, she has a well paid job, tonnes of friends… All the things I don’t have and can’t do.  (Please don’t read that my house is dirty, it’s clean, but it badly needs re-decorating.  The previous owners didn’t give it much love while they were here and we can only do one thing at a time!)

My husband asked me what’s wrong because I’m being snappy.  I had to explain that it’s because I have to see her and could he please just ignore my mood.  There’s no point talking about it.  I’ve said it all a million times.  I would never expect him to not see his sister just because it makes me feel like the most useless excuse for a human being that ever walked the planet.  Its my problem to deal with.

It’s worse that shes one of my biggest supporters.  With my business, she is a regular customer in both products I sell and I am doing her lashes when I see her (did I mention I’m a lash technician now?  I don’t think so).  She has also sent customers my way.  She knows about the infertility stuff and she’s really supportive of that as well.  If I’d have got pregnant as easily as she did then we’d have toddlers just a few months apart by now and we may have even planned our second for the same time.  But that didn’t happen.  She even did the perfect thing with the second baby.  She told me in advance that they would be trying so that it wouldn’t be a horrible shock.  Then when it happened, she told my husband so that he could find the right time to tell me.  I cried for maybe an hour.  But I can’t be angry with her, because everything was done just perfectly.

So sometimes I forget how frustrated I am that I can’t seem to do anything right.  How much I dislike myself, and how angry I am with my own body and my life, and all the decisions I made which have lead me to this lonely place where I have to fight so hard just to be ok.

Other times I remember.

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Going to New York. Or not.

A little while ago I read an article which was shared by a friend/work colleague about raising a disabled child.  She herself is raising 2 disabled sons.  The article was called ‘Going to Holland’.  It used the analogy that you thought you bought a plane ticket to Italy, but when you get to the airport you find your flight has been changed and now you are going to Holland.  It’s not necessarily bad but it is different to what you expected and planned for.  It was a well written article which made a lot of sense to me.  It got me thinking about infertility.

New York is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.  But it’s somewhere I wanted to do ‘right’.  I didn’t want to do it on a tight budget, when I couldn’t afford to do all the amazing things there are to do there.  I didnt want to do it alone.  I wanted to do it in style, with a special travel companion, and really enjoy my time there.  A little like how I wanted to have children.

So anyway, we get to the airport for our lifetime dream trip to New York, go through airport security and we get told we can’t get on the plane.  I wonder why.  My passport is in date and correct.  My husband’s passport is the same.  Our tickets are paid for.  We have all the documents we need to travel.  So why can’t we go?  There doesn’t seem to be any answers.  We watch as other people arrive, board their flights and fly away without looking back.  Some people who arrive walk through the doors and straight onto a flight without even stopping, others seem to have a short wait for their flight, some people arrive with incorrect travel documents and are sent to get new ones.  Then they come back and many of them board their flights.  Almost everyone who arrived when we did is long gone.  Some are even back to go on a second holiday.  A few helpful staff members ask whether we can get on another flight but it seems we can’t.  Not yet at least.  We can’t go back out of the airport now because we’ve gone through security.  We are stuck here.  In limbo.  Can’t go forwards, can’t go back. We just have to wait and see whether there is eventually room on a flight to New York or whether someone can let us out of this claustrophobic nightmare.

733 days, 23 failed cycles, 4 IUIs, not one missed period.

Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I arrived on the beautiful tropical island which would become my home for the next 7 1/2 years.  I would meet my future husband there and my life would change forever.

Seven years ago today I travelled to Bangkok to bring a cot for my boss’s brand new baby. I just made it in time! Happy 7th birthday Lulu.

Six years ago I announced that I would no longer be working as a scuba diving instructor, but instead would be helping to open a school on the island. The owner of the school’s mother repeatedly told me “you’ll understand when you have your own” and even back then it drove me mad. Firstly because teaching is NOT parenting. Yes there are similarities, but it’s not the same job. Yes, you raised 3 children. Well done. I’ve had classes of 30. Not the same job. Secondly, because even back then I was ready for kids. My now husband wasn’t so we waited.

Two years ago today began my first cycle of TTC. I didn’t expect that I would still be childless by my 37th birthday but that’s going to be my reality. I joined the Kindara community in the November of that year.

One year ago today the friends who got married 5 days after we did announced the birth of their beautiful son. Happy birthday Harry.

In the early hours of today, one of the few ladies who has been sharing my journey since close to the beginning, got her BFP. I know she as much as anyone will understand the feelings I’m having. I’m so happy for her and her husband. If I had had to pick someone who was not me to be pregnant then she would have been in my top 3 short list. I decided not to narrow my list any further than that because I don’t actually get to pick, so there would be no point listing out the pros and (cons?) of 3 truly amazing and deserving women.

This leaves my list of OG’s (old girls, as in the ones I’ve been with since the beginning) to 2. Two ladies who have been in this struggle with me since I joined Kindara. Two. Everyone else got pregnant. Most already had their babies and some I know are trying for baby number 2.

It’s a bit like being picked for teams at school. You know you’re really great at this sport but no-one picks you. You wait as all your friends get picked.  You watch them go out there and play their game. You’re sure you could play just as well as them, if only someone would pick you to play. But they don’t. You wonder whether you did something wrong and you don’t deserve to be chosen. You didn’t, but you still wonder. At what point do you ask the teacher to step in and help? Really, who want to go running to the teacher for help? But sometimes, if you want to play badly enough, you just have to do it. Maybe when the others see how well you can play, maybe next time they’ll choose you sooner.  Maybe.

The ‘teacher’ of course represenrs medical intervention. My teacher has been politely suggesting someone chooses me since last December.  After 4 failed IUIs, we were going to step up our game and start IVF with September’s cycle. It at least I thought we were. The doctor wants to do a full week of estrogen priming at the end of the cycle nefore our IVF cycle so we have to wait yet another cycle. Yet another month I don’t get to spend with my children.

Today my period started. Cycle day 1 of cycle 24. I am so bloated that I look pregnant. I’m so sad that I can’t cry (who knew that was even a thing?) I hurt everywhere. My heart, my mind and as an extra kick, my f#*king uterus as well.

Happy anniversary.

Infertility: The gift that keeps on taking

Well after going the 50 minute drive back and forwards three times over the last few days, my second IUI is officially cancelled.  My last post explained that my uterine lining is very thin from the Clomid.  Between Friday and Monday it thickened up nearly 3mm, but between Monday and today (Wednesday) it only added 0.3mm to the thickest part.  The blood test the clinic did indicated that my LH level is rising, getting ready for ovulation.  They expect the peak to be tonight or tomorrow morning, meaning ovulation will probably happen at the weekend.  Because my lining is so thin, implantation is very unlikely so they thought I should save the money and cancel.

I wasn’t going to write this post today, but then I though, this is the exact reason I have this blog.  Somewhere to vent my feelings and frustrations, where others are welcome to join me, but if they don’t want to hear / read it then they don’t have to.

There are a lot of feelings going on right now.  Sadness, anger and frustration being the primary ones.

I am frustrated because the first time I used Clomid, my lining was thin.  I mentioned the result of the scan that I had before I started any treatments.  My lining was 8mm at 10 days after ovulation (10dpo).  I was told that is a good measurement for that point in the cycle.  I don’t understand why I was given Clomid a second time.  They promised better monitoring – which I have had, but the Estrace doesn’t seem to be doing it’s job.  I feel like I have wasted the last two cycles.  With no medication, I have a decent lining and I ovulate.  With medication I will ovulate probably just one egg, and have to take extra medication to try to make my lining thicker.  So actually, I didn’t just waste this cycle, I sabotaged it.

I am angry with the clinic and doctor for doing this, or rather not doing what they are supposed to.  Every failure I am angry with my husband for making me wait so long to start trying.  I don’t want to be.  I know he cares and doesn’t want me to be upset, but I also know that he is far less invested than I am.  He will shrug it off and think, never mind, there’s always next month.  I know he isn’t sat crying in his work truck like I sat and cried on my bed.  I know he doesn’t feel like a failure, or like less of a man, like I feel like less of a woman.  I know he doesn’t feel like there is an empty hole inside of him.

I am angry with my sister-in-law for getting pregnant the first month of trying, and for having a perfect baby who my mother-in-law adores.  I am very aware that this isn’t a rational anger.  Like many of us going through this, I experience the internal conflict that I am having bad feelings towards someone who doesn’t deserve them.  Unlike some, I am at peace with that conflict.  I acknowledge that my feelings are neither rational nor fair, and I make sure that the person involved does not have to deal with my feelings.  I am not going to make myself feel bad for feeling this way.  I don’t believe that will help anyone or anything.

And I am sad.  I am sad for myself, but I am also sad for any future children I may have.  Every month they are not conceived is another month I won’t get to have with them at the end.  I am going to die when I am going to die.  It’s another thing which hits just as unfairly as infertility.  Having just learned that my uncle has, what we have been told is incurable cancer, that is on my mind today.  He has been one of the healthiest people I know.  He turns 70 next month, so he’s not a young man, but neither is he especially old.  He is my mom’s older brother and only 7 months older than my dad.  Living away from family makes these things a lot harder I think.

So today has not been a good day.  At least things can’t get worse on the TTC front for another 2 1/2 weeks.  I can’t get any less pregnant than I am now, so we will try naturally, hope for the best but stay realistic that this won’t be the month I get that elusive second line.

More Failings – the feelings

In the last post, I talked about what is happening with my body at the moment.  I’m sick – can’t talk and struggling to swallow, and I have a crappy uterine lining which could lead to the cancelling of IUI#2.  Here is how I feel about all of that…

So right now I’m wishing we had gone straight to IVF.  This cycle would be my FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) if we had followed that route.  This is my last full cycle before my 36th birthday.  The age I said at the beginning that I would stop trying at.  I think if I’m honest I was trying to scare and possibly upset my husband.  He didn’t seem to care that much.

I do.

I know there is no way I can just give up.  There is no way I can move on when I haven’t tried every option available.  I don’t know how I will deal with life with no children.  I don’t know how I will deal with my friends who have kids.  I don’t know how I will deal with the sympathetic looks from those who never struggled with this.  Most of all, I don’t know how I will deal with marriage.

To me, marriage has always been about a family.  In this day and age, what is the point of a silly bit of paper saying you are tied to one person until you die?  Family.  Not that parent’s have to be married to have children together.  I am most certainly not judging unmarried parents here.  I am just saying what I wanted for myself.  When we got married, we left the tiny tropical paradise island that had been our home for over 7 years and moved ourselves and our cats to Canada.  Why did we choose Canada?  Apart from the obvious that my husband is Canadian, the country offered a future.  Secure jobs for both of us.  A good enough income for my husband that I could stay at home while our children were young.  A good enough education system to offer our children a bright future.  Health care, pension plans, a good retirement one day…

A life.

Without a family, I find myself asking, what’s the point?  Why do I need all of this?  Why am I studying for a career educating other people’s children when I can’t have my own?  Why do we both work so hard with only 2 weeks a year holiday (vacation)?  Why do we live in a country that is cold at least half of the year?  Why do I need a 5 bedroom house when a three bedroom would give me an office and a spare room?  Why can’t I go back to my tropical island where it’s hot?  Or even a different tropical place?  Would that even make me happy, or would I be just as lonely there?

These questions don’t have an answer.  At least not good ones.  I’m not suggesting for one minute that I want or intend to leave my husband.  But he’s home.  He isn’t leaving Canada any time soon.  I am not home.  I think its common for people who ave lived abroad for a long time – I honestly couldn’t tell you where ‘home’ is.

The saying goes, ‘home is where the heart is’ but that’s not helpful.  My heart is split.  My husband and cats are here and they are who I most want to be with.  The friends who have known me the longest, who have stuck with me through all the difficult times, through my battles with depression and more, are in England.  My family is in England.  The place I felt the most at home is on the other side of the world.  Did I mention that we are moving house soon?  I forget.  Anyway, I’m sure that contributes to my unsettled feeling.  We bought this house thinking it would be our family home for a long time, but less than a year after buying, we have to sell and move.

I’m so sick of moving.

The longest I have lived in any one home in the last 4 years is 11 months!  In fact, today is 11 months since we moved into this home.  This is also the longest time I’ve been constantly in one country for 10 years!

Back to TTC.  My birthday cycle, I will be one week into the TWW on my actual birthday.  Definitely no BFP by then.  My only conciliation is that at least we know about the thin lining.  Well, actually, it has been a concern of mine for some time due to light periods and minimal cervical fluid.  But at least the doctors know now.  I have another scan on Monday to see whether or how well the Estrace is working.  After that they will decide whether the IUI is happening.  I don’t have a good feeling, but I will try to remain hopeful.

More failings – the facts

I started writing this post yesterday, then realised I went off on a complete tangent and was writing about something completely different a few paragraphs in.  I’ll try again.  This time I will split it into two separate posts, first the faces, then then feelings.

My last post talked about the Whole30 and how I am determined to do it properly.  Unfortunately this week had other ideas.  I got sick.  Anyone who works with kids will understand this.  You get sick.  It started with a sore throat.  I took Wednesday off work, but went back Thursday because I have that immense sense of guilt that someone else had to cover for me, and was I REALLY that sick?  Well yes.  Thursday did it for the voice.  I started out a bit husky.  Then I started sounding like I could work on one of those sex-chat phone lines.  Then I started sounding like a man in drag.  Then a teenage boy whose voice is breaking.  Then Marge Simpson.  Now I can’t even get that much sound out.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried looking for cough syrup which doesn’t have sugar, corn syrup or some other evil sweetener in it, but if you find one then let me know!  So I am breaking my whole30, but at this point, I don’t see it as a choice.  Still a failure, but not a choice.  The worst thing is, I can’t even monitor how my body is feeling relating to the sugar, because I feel like crap anyway!

I went to the doctors today because swallowing has become a problem.  Yesterday I was drinking hot drinks to sooth my throat, but today I seem to have lost the ability to swallow and I choke almost every time I try to take a drink.  The irony that when I’m trying the hardest to be healthy, I get the sickest I have been since having dengue fever in Thailand, is not lost on me.  At least it’s not dengue!  Anyway, I have been signed off work until Thursday (I don’t work Fridays anyway) and I’m actually a bit excited about having a week at home.

Yesterday was the scan to see how my body is responding to the Clomid treatment.  There’s ok news and bad news.  The ok news is that I have three possible follicles.  A 12mm on the left and an 11 and 13mm on the right.  They think one or two of those will mature (come on two!).  The bad news is that my lining was only 3mm.  I know it’s early – cycle day 10 yesterday, but that’s pretty thin.  Last time it was 5.5 on IUI day, which was cd16.  So lucky me, I get to start on Estrace (estrogen supplement).  This time, those nasty little blue pills aren’t to be swallowed, I stick them right up my lady-parts!  I ‘took’ the first one right away.  Without being too crude here, its actually really difficult to insert a tiny little pill and get it all the way up there.  I hope I did it right, but I kept losing it!

I was warned it could get messy so I stocked up on panty liners.  I bought my usual thong-style ones, but also some normal ones to go inside the three pairs of big-pants I own. For anyone who has never taken Estrace vaginally before, what goes up must come down! seeing blue discharge on the panty liner is a bit odd to say the least.  I’ve been told by ladies who have to combine progesterone suppositories with Estrace that the two mix together and come out an odd shade of green.

Of course, I turned to Dr Google as well,

“Step away from Dr Google”

I read that a lot of ladies have had good results with vaginal Estrace.  I also read that there is this yoga pose where you lie on your back with your legs up a wall, which can increase blood flow to the uterus and improve lining.  Isn’t it lucky I’m off sick; I can make time to do that every day!  besides that I didn’t find anything I haven’t already tried.  Evening primrose oil √ Vitamin E √ Pomegranate juice √ Baby aspirin – I’m going to start this again.

Just as a note, please don’t take anything I say as actual medical advice.  I am just repeating what I read on various forums on from a Google search and while my first aid certificate allows me to bandage, or even resuscitate a person in need, it does not make me any kind of doctor.

To summarise, I failed at the Whole30 and I (my body) failed at making a uterine lining thick enough to implant a baby.  Next up, Failures – the feelings.

The Whole(ish)30

 

Last week’s post was inspired by a well-meant but hurtful email, but I have been meaning to write about the Whole30 for a while and as nothing exciting or prominent has happened this week, it seems as good a time as any.

Have you heard of the Whole30?  Its an eating plan designed to eliminate all the ‘bad’, inflammatory foods from your system.  Like a kind of reset for your body.  It has helped a fair few ladies get pregnant.  But not this lady.  Not yet anyway.

I began my Whole30 on 5th January.  After reading the book, I decided that would be a good day to start.  It was a Thursday.  I don’t work on a Friday through until Monday afternoon so I thought it would be good to get the toughest days out of the way while I had time to be at home, mostly alone and sulk by myself about all the chocolate, pasta and other enjoyable treats I was missing out on.  The book promised that it would be difficult.  It said that a lot of people crack and quit.  Well in case you didn’t realise yet, I’m no quitter!  I am, unfortunately, not the ‘roll in shit and smell of roses’ type either.  That was my sister.  I have never been a label reader when it comes to food.  One piece of good luck in my life is that I have never had to battle with my weight, so I never felt the need to analyse everything I ate.  I just ate a balanced diet, with the occasional ‘treat’ (read: chocolate binge whenever AF showed her face and another cycle failed) and I exercised regularly.  Well, anyway my bad luck (maybe that should say ‘choice’) came first from a box of cashew nuts.  Unsalted, plain and roasted in peanut oil (peanuts are a no go on the Whole30).  Fail, and technically, start over.  Then on what should have been the end of week 3, we were invited to breakfast at a relative-in-law’s home.  We walked in the door and I realised that I had completely forgotten to mention my inconvenient eating plan.  I ate fried eggs instead of the pancakes, but ate the sausage.  I figured maybe a little sugar, but it should be ok.  Nope.  They put corn syrup in most sausages!  Corn syrup?  Why?  Corn can be very inflammatory and is a definite no.  Fail, and technically, start over.

The following weekend we ate out, as we have done most weekends this year.  I ate the same meal I had eaten three times over because I knew it worked for my diet, I drank my tea – of course there is no alcohol on this eating plan.  Then I thought that maybe a soda water would be good.  It would have been.  Unfortunately they gave me tonic water.  Having already, very politely sent back a salad because there was cheese on it when I had made my dietary requirements very clear, I didn’t want to be a pain again (spot the English) and because I had squeezed so much lemon and lime into it, I just went with it and it didn’t really twig until the bill came and I saw Tonic Water sat there!  Have you ever actually researched what’s in tonic water?  As well as a huge amount of sugar, there is also the quinine – originally used as a malaria cure but apparently a synthetic version is used, and at a much lower dose I may add, but still…

So here I am, on what would have been day 38 of my ‘get healthy and pregnant’ fix, not pregnant, not feeling any healthier and not had any alcohol or chocolate since the new year.  However, I am not a quitter.  This cycle brings the long-awaited IUI #2, so I will be sticking with this Whole30 for a little while longer.  100mg of Clomid this time.  Last time, in December, 50mg made my uterine lining extra thin and also didn’t seem to actually work judging by the single, very under-developed egg that was there the day after the darkest OPK line of my life (it was darker than the control line by a loooong way).  This time I hope it will be better.  I wouldn’t be averse to twins if there were a couple of healthy eggs in there.  Triplets would be a bit much I think, but twins I think I can do.  Or one.  I’d take one and be delighted.  The appeal of twins is that we would have two children in one shot.  I wouldn’t have to go through this all over again.  If I accidentally got pregnant with a third that would be fine too, but if not then I’m all good.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

Next Friday I have a scan to see how many (please be a good number) eggs are developing and when the likely IUI date will be.  I predict Thursday 23rd based on last time.  I’m taking every lining thickening remedy Dr Google suggested.

Step away from Dr Google – no good comes of it.

I am drinking pomegranate juice daily, I have vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil, I’m drinking ginger tea daily, and Red Raspberry Leaf tea as well.  Last time I had to go on Estrace (estrogen) tablets to try to thicken up my lining and they made me a bit crazy.  That should make for some good blog entries though.

Wish me luck!