August 16, 2014

One month post post

I am one month post surgery today. 

At this point, I can happily report that I am healing up nicely although the last week has brought extreme exhaustion with it. Given it's winter here, I have been amping up my vitamin C intake just in case but I am attributing this to my body healing itself. I cannot say I am without pain, I have some internal bruising on my right side that is not budging! 

Since my last post I can happily report that we have experienced a return to optimism in this house. Daniel and I have decided to treat this surgery and discovery of endometriosis as a very possible cause of our infertility. Rather than rushing into IVF we have decided to see if we can do this again ourselves. 

This decision was spurred by a couple of things... Things got real and real fast, ladies! Our doctor has increased the length of our proposed IVF protocol to now include at least two months of 'down regulation'. This means that I would be in a menopause-like state before we start stimulation for IVF. The purpose of this treatment is to kill all endometrial tissue anywhere in my body. My doctor told me this with a nervous laugh and then went on to explain all the truly lovely side effects... dry everything(!), mood swings, hot flushes... After hearing all this the prospect of IVF this year started to feel stressful, overwhelming, yucky and a huge impediment to my PhD progress. 

On top of all that, Daniel and I just need a break. We need a break from all the driving to appointments (now 1.5 hours away) and all the stress of treatments. We are both so drained from the last six months of IUIs, scans, tests, surgery and on top of all that, we have lives to live! When you're in the midst of trying to conceive everything else can start to be pushed aside including work and any kind of quality of life. My doctor has told me on several occasions to stop putting so much pressure on myself to fall pregnant and after all this time, I can finally understand what she has been telling me. So now the pressure is off and the focus is back on living. We each have a lot going on with work and we also need to settle in to our new town more but most importantly, we just need some 'us' time. The 'us' around here has definitely been neglected and has become a little frayed of late. 

Unless we are advised otherwise, we are thinking IVF will have to wait until March or April next year. In that time I will have finished my PhD thesis, Daniel will have finished his first book and it should be published, we will have saved more money to make IVF plus a possible baby more possible and enjoyed life together a whole bunch more - sounds damn good to me! 

Thank you to everyone who has sent me well wishes, I truly appreciate it! 

July 22, 2014

ouch!

I sit here nursing four incisions and a bruised up lower belly. 

The long and the short of it: my doctor found a small deposit of old endometriosis tissue behind my left ovary. 

For those of you wondering: No, I didn't ever have definitive symptoms that pointed to endometriosis. That said, I was curious because my body has NEVER been the same after our first miscarriage and D&C. I used to lay in bed crying at night cursing our old doctor and sending searing hate to her over my altered internal body. Daniel, our current doctor and myself are all very curious if my symptoms will fade now that this tissue has been removed. 

So what now in terms of babies? 
I haven't got a straight answer on that one. The jury is out in the scientific community in terms of the correlation between endometriosis and infertility. The jury is also out on whether or not this was the reason we have had such trouble conceiving. The jury is out on whether IVF is needed or not. 

Our doctor seems to think we can get pregnant on our own with the caveat that she's really not sure how long it will take... I cried when we had that conversation. I think it was the combination of severe pain and a huge cocktail of anaesthetic and drugs... I just want definitive answers damn it! 

I have to say it is damn well tempting to hold off on our date with IVF in November as we had planned... See what happens the old fashioned way now but another part of me is scared that we'll just be wasting precious time by waiting. 

So yes... Watch this space. 

For those of you curious about a diagnostic laparoscopy and removal of endometriosis: 
I have experienced a lot more pain than I thought I would. Mostly because the deposit of tissue was in a hard to reach place (I'm thinking). Prepare for at least a week of feeling like rubbish; I spent one night in hospital as I was in severe pain and then the next few days on the lounge at home. I am almost a week out from surgery and feeling more mobile and less pain ridden but still very tired and glad I'm not working again until next week. 

The best things I did to prepare:
I made sure our cupboards were stocked to the brim with everything 
I made lots of soups the day before surgery and ate a mostly liquid diet for a few days (you don't want to be eating a three-course meal after that surgery and painkillers will constipate)
I washed all my big baggy tees and pants for lounging (you won't want anything tight rubbing your incisions - I actually have my pants slung like a homie-G because of the incisions)
Bought lots of panadol and nurofen
Bought stool softener

Things I wish I had done:
Made jelly and other liquid-based foods (I got mega over soup... thinking about soup makes me nauseous now)
Bought some nighties or baggy t-shirt dresses (pants are just so damn uncomfortable on my incisions)
  

July 16, 2014

Three for three

I don't know what it is about this time of year... Today I'm going in for a diagnostic laparoscopy which marks three surgeries at this same time of year for the last three years. I hate surgery, I hate being wheeled into an operating room, I hate the pain, I hate it all. I've been anxious about this ever since we booked it last week... Can you tell? 

I have had to keep on reminding myself that this is a good thing no matter what the outcome. I either do or don't have endometriosis. This is the final test, the final frontier, if you will, in the fertility testing world before IVF.

I have to fast (no food and no water) from 8.30am so I've been up early to eat and hydrate... I'm currently surrounded by three drinks and contemplating those chocolate chip cookies on the counter eating chocolate chip cookies.

The worst part of this surgery is the diagnostic part. Not knowing what they'll find means that we don't have a clue of the outcome or the recovery.  

I hope your days are not filled with surgery and entail something much lovelier xx

July 6, 2014

Processing

I've had a lot of alone time this week with Daniel out of state attending a conference. I like my good share of alone time; I'm a reflexive soul who definitely needs her time to process all things big and small. Although I admit to being really over my alone time by the time my lover man was home, I think I needed some time to process and come to terms with our decision to go ahead with IVF. 

Calling our doctor this week to start the ball rolling was incredibly nerve-racking for me because it's official now. Just like (almost) everyone else that employs IVF to help them to have a family, I could never have predicted this for our future and that means that there is a level of acceptance that has to come upon arriving at this decision. To accept that you need help from science is tough and it's not a light decision to make. 

I've struggled with feelings of shame, embarrassment and anger lately. Daniel was most surprised by my feeling shame and embarrassment over all this... I can understand why but I just feel that my body has failed me so badly. It takes a majority of couples three to six months of trying to conceive and hey presto! after that a majority (75%) of those people get a live baby at the end of the process. We've been trying to conceive for a shade under three years... In that time I have seen couples have their first child and move onto having their second. I do feel jealousy and sadness that I don't also have a growing brood but mostly, just lately, I feel shame and a little bit of embarrassment thrown in for good measure. 

I also get nice and pissed off when I think about the cost of IVF. It hurts to think about everything I could do with that kind of money BUT if this works I am certain that those feelings will leave me. My psychologist (that I saw all of last year) once told me that anger is a useful, more constructive emotion... an interesting way to think about it. 

In the face of all these feelings though, I have to say that I'm feeling the most at peace with this decision after my week of solitude. I feel the most relaxed that I have in a while, actually, I'm not sure when I felt like this last. I'm easing off on all things baby until October/November and just focusing on myself and Daniel. It feels good to say that - maybe a break is just what I needed. 

I just keep telling myself that IVF is great because it actually does work. It might not work but the chances of it working are really high. Really high! 

June 28, 2014

hiiiii

I know... I know... It's nearly mid-year and I haven't been here in forever! Thank you for the lovely messages over the months, I have read them all and appreciate them all dearly. 

Well, where to start? I'm still here. I'm still completing my mother of a PhD thesis. I'm still NOT pregnant. That's the short follow-up to my last post.

The longer version is this...

We went to the doctor early this year and gave her the run down. I have now had more tests done and still NOTHING wrong. Ahhh! I had been thinking she would recommend more tests and possibly suggest Clomid. I was surprised though and we were given the recommendation of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). We have now completed three cycles over the last few months; one cycle with Clomid and two with injectables. Each cycle I would go in with renewed hope pretty much begging and pleading with the universe to make it our turn. I really convinced myself that it would work each time and I would do the injections, have tonnes of ultrasounds, organise Dan for appointments, get time off work, lay around for an entire day after insemination, eat lots of pineapple, do the acupuncture, take the Chinese herbs and then nothing. Nothing. Each let down hurt like glass through my heart. My grief and depression would come back every time. The emotional pain is far worse than the physical with all this. 

With the third let-down and disappointment we have decided to call it quits with IUIs. It's a lot of appointments and it is stressful (as much as I told myself it wasn't). At one point we had thought we would do four but we just can't - the ups and downs are just ruining the both of us. During this whole thing our doctor has been wonderful to say the least. Last month she gave me a lecture on enjoying life more and not holding back. I had become so restricted in what I was doing that I was actually quite miserable. I really never drank wine with Dan over dinner or when we were out, hadn't had a cup of coffee in almost three years and was scared about exercising for fear it would harm something. I wasn't living much of a life outside of worrying that I would end up doing something that would stop a pregnancy from happening. So now I am drinking coffee (very weak I should say) and having the odd glass of wine and trying to take the focus off the whole baby thing for a while. It's not easy but I'm trying. 

We decided yesterday that November will be it and we'll do our first cycle of IVF. Today has been tough for me thinking about it. Mostly because I have been doing everything in my power to not have to do IVF. I have done so much to make sure we didn't get to this point over the last year but none of it has done any good. When our last IUI didn't work I had to process the fact that I have now done everything in my power to get this party started 'naturally'. Such a hard pill to swallow! This afternoon I realised that I've got a few months up my sleeve which left me asking what I should do with those months... Should I still keep tabs on trying by ourselves or give up on tracking everything entirely? Should I just focus on me for a while? Start pilates like I have wanted to for ages and just live? Who knows... I guess I'll figure this out as we go. I think the hardest thing with all of this is that no-one can see into the future to see what's around the bend so life becomes lived in a bubble of uncertainty and hope built on uncertainty. I really do hope we have a baby in the end; we've fought so hard for it to happen already. 

On other fronts... 
We moved! 
Dan got a really great job early this year so we packed up and left Brisbane. I think we're still in shock slightly but we're happy with the change. We have a lovely big house and I've had lots of fun decorating it and making it a home. So I guess we can say that life ain't all bad! Living in regional Queensland has been interesting but we're still within driving distance of Brisbane and all of our friends and family so that has made the transition much easier.

I think moving has been a good fresh start for us and my creative juices have been flowing easier to write the thesis. I have no idea how or why but I think it's something to so with sleeping far better here, the country air and possibly the effects of caffeine pumping through my body. 

I do hope you're all well and I will try to post more these next few months. I would love to hear from those of you that have gone through IVF - anything and everything you have to share would be greatly appreciated. 

Sal xxx 

January 5, 2014

2014 || 31



These first days of the new year have had me optimistic and anxious all at once. I have felt the usual obligatory optimism that comes with a new year, an opportunity to turn a new leaf but the occasional negative thought does creep in... What if this year is another let down? I wallowed in this for a while until I realised that I really cannot see into the future (try as I might) so I suppose all any one of us can do is summon all the hope we can muster that 2014 will be a year that brings miracles. I have two big huge goals for 2014 and try as I might to keep my focus on those goals I often feel like they're both impossible and I just can't do it. 

Goal #1 
Get pregnant. Stay pregnant. Give birth to a live baby. 
(okay maybe that's three goals)  I think I'm still in disbelief that we don't have a baby yet. We are creeping up to the 2.5 year mark and running out of steam so to mark that milestone we have made an appointment with our OBGYN. I have been researching fertility drugs and intend on asking our doctor if we can try one. Actually, I will probably demand such (we have not received the diagnosis of infertile but in some cases like ours Clomid is reported to help) . I have devoted a great deal of myself to this quest for a baby and with each loss I have also lost giant portions of myself. I have learnt to relax, meditate and to say 'no' to things more often. My life is very simple these days and I feel like I have simplified too. The question is, how much do I really need to change before we get our miracle? I have been told time and time again not to stress and I have managed to wipe buckets, if not gallons, out of my life but I also fear that I'm squashing parts of me in this quest. Trying to get pregnant, falling pregnant and then losing a baby invades all aspects of your life. I have put off so much and said no to so many things including too much work related. I recently met a woman who struggled to conceive for 7 years. 7 whole years. Fuck that. Life is so cruel. I cannot imagine the heartache she and her husband went through for those years. They have the cutest little boy now and are such a happy little family of three. Stories like those give me hope and scare me at the same time. How much of themselves did they lose in the process? I really did hope that handling things differently this time around would prove to be successful for us but it hasn't happened yet. I've had weekly acupuncture, taken my Chinese herbs as told, meditated frequently, quit the gym to walk most days with Dan, participated in therapy with a psychologist and even hypnosis. I can vouch for all these things and have seen improvements in my physical and emotional wellbeing but really, why me? Why do I have to spend all this time and money devoted to the 'trying' part of getting pregnant? It baffles me. Our doctor says we have just had a really bad run with luck in terms of both pregnancies and has no idea why it takes me so long to fall pregnant. Some days I am tempted to give up on this dream entirely and work at achieving a really ripped body, work hard, earn lots of money and invest in a designer wardrobe. I'm not sure I could ever resolve myself to that but some days it's tempting. 

31 is days away. Our doctor says we should be done having a family by 35. I want three children and feel like that dream is slipping from me as each cycle passes. We really need some better luck. I hope luck finds us soon.


Goal #2
Finish the PhD.
If nothing else, this is something that must happen in 2014. I am going to get the damn thing written, submitted and passed so I can at least continue to progress in my career. Personal life definitely impedes upon writing a thesis. I took four months off from this after losing the baby and it did me a lot of good but it has also been hard to pick up where I left off. Must get the thesis written... Must get the thesis written.

Bonus Goal #3 
Be more of myself.
I really have lost giant parts of me. I am determined to beat those awful feelings that sweep over me so easily some days. Instead of letting it all swallow me I really hope to enjoy even more of life again.