My BFN and I are off to Japan

I was supposed to test tomorrow but since I’m catching a flight to Japan tonight I decided it would be safer to get at least an idea of whether I should pack tampons or drugs.

My beta was 1.

I will pack tampons.

You know how I started this cycle in pure pessimism? Well, that only lasted about a week, then my super sore boobs made me believe that there was some hope. Except I started doubting of having any chances in the last couple of days when my boobs were not sore anymore and I started having period pains.

The truth is that all this is nothing more than a lot of shit that goes on in my head because there has probably been absolutely nothing going on down there.

This is unexpectedly probably the worst heartbreak I have ever had. Pessimism doesn’t work any better than optimism. But I need to pull myself together and go pack my stuff so I don’t miss my fight. I need to find the strength to present at this conference which is way too high level for me and my current state of mind. And I need to survive today and the next 5 days without getting a hug from my husband.

I will probably be offline for the next weeks. I know lots of people are cycling or have big days coming up. I wish you all loads of luck and success! Sorry I won’t be around.

To the ones who like me will just take the rest of the summer to recover and try to have fun, I hope we’ll all feel better at the end of the summer. I’ll think of you so I feel less lonely while I drink like an alcoholic on the flight tonight.

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Jessica’s fertility proust questionnaire

Last month Jessica Hepburn, the writer of the wonderful book “The Pursuit of Motherhood”, asked me whether I wanted to answer to her fertility Proust questionnaire.

Of course I said yes! I love questionnaires!

Thinking through the questions was fun. Though challenging at times. For instance, I had no idea who Holly Willoughby was (thanks to my Dear Peruvian Reader – who is actually British – for giving me a summary).

I particularly liked a few of the questions:

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness? While I gave a single answer of what perfect happiness looks like, this question made me realise that there are so many things that make me happy and that I had so many moments of happiness this year. From lying on the grass in a sunny day, to going for a walk to take pictures, to cuddling my kitty or simply ordering Indian food and watching a movie under the blanket with my husband.
  • What food is evocative of childhood for you? I answered watermelon but this question made me think of all the wonderful things my grandmas used to cook for me (God, I miss my grandparents!). The orange sponge cake, panna cotta, fried fish, squid salad… mmmm… I wish I wasn’t on a diet so I could try to make them myself!
  • Which bit of you would you most want your children to inherit? This question, as well as a few others, made me realise how much I’ve changed through this infertility journey. Years ago I would have probably answered my (big brown) eyes. Now I answered something linked to my personality. That’s something I know I could pass on to biological children but also adopted ones or children coming from donor eggs. After all when I’m asked in which way I resemble my parents I always think of personality or values before physical characteristics.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what the heck I’m doing in the picture, it’s a fertility dance with the dolmens for me and my cycle buddies. I am a big believer in the magic powers of Celtic culture! It didn’t work for me but it did for a few of the others. So it was well worth doing!

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Infertility coming out at work (part 2)

I had my frozen transfer earlier this week: two day-2 embies transferred with no issues. Since the transfer I have been feeling very tired, stressed and emotional. I feel nauseous (due either to the patches or progesterone) and have nightmares at night (apparently because I’m taking steroids). So I’m really not in my best shape. The kitty waking me up in the middle of the night is not helping either.

I have done a lot of thinking lately and, since after 3 years of IVFing my situation is becoming more obvious at work, I decided to tell the big boss about it. A few months ago I had to tell my line manager. I hadn’t planned to but had to justify myself after crying in his office: he brought up my (nonexistent) pregnancy during my performance reviews and I couldn’t avoid crying as I had just had bad news. This time it just came from me. I’m not sure why all of a sudden it became so necessary for me to tell him. I guess I have been worried about absences and lower performance at work.

Anyways, today I went to see him and told him broadly what has been going on. I tried my best to avoid being emotional but didn’t manage and ended up having to talk slowly while holding back tears (yey me, that’s professional). He wasn’t just supportive and reassuring but also really adorable.

He told me I shouldn’t worry about the absences, that if I need to I can do more tele work too. He said not to worry about my performance either, that I have been doing a great job. He did also say that he had been worried about me and wanting to ask, but thought that it was better if it came from me (definitely!). This made me realise that it is obvious to other people that I am not doing well. I really need to do a better job at looking alright at work.

I don’t know why but I’m being very emotional about this, crying as I write.. I’m touched, relieved and grateful to have such a kind boss. Maybe it would have been better to talk to him when I was off drugs and less exhausted from months of treatments. But maybe I needed this now. In any case, it’s done and I’m happy I did it.

grateful

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Lost in beta hCG translation?

My last failed cycle left me seriously down. Nevertheless there is a unique advantage from a failed cycle: I get my period. This is a given for most people but not for me: I normally need to take meds for a couple of weeks, which generally leaves me exhausted before I start a cycle.

So, given that I had a period, that my lining and blood work look good and, above all, that my husband is really keen on it, we decided today that we’ll do a FET on this cycle. Unlike last time, I don’t have the energy to be optimistic and positive etc. I am going with the flow, following my husband’s request but going for a fully pessimistic approach, which is all more natural to a real Pisces like me.

There are however a few practical problems with this cycle. First my husband got to know yesterday that he will have to leave for a week. So I will be doing everything on my own. I was surprised to see his sadness when he thought we had to wait to the fall to cycle. Besides the annoying paper work needed for me to do the FET without him, this is not that a big deal.

More importantly, I have agreed to a work trip to Japan (followed by some time off) and cannot cancel now. The problem is that I may not be able to do the beta hCG test before leaving. The gynecologist said it’s easy to do it in Japan but google was of no help. Having noticed in my blog’s stats that I have a reader from Japan, I’d like to ask for help to my Japanese reader/reader in Japan (as well as anyone else): do you have any idea of where and how I could get a beta hCG test done in Yokohama or Tokyo? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

This will be fun. I’ll be like Scarlett except lost in the translation of a beta..

Lost in translation

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For ten minutes

Per-dieci-minutiA few weeks ago I read a wonderful book I want to tell you about. Its called “For ten minutes” by Chiara Gambareale (unfortunately I don’t think it’s been translated to other languages). But it doesn’t matter because it’s the idea of the book I want to talk about. The main character is a girl who has lost herself and her interest in life after being left by her husband and lost her job.

After months of useless therapy sessions the psychologist is getting nowhere and decides to ask her to do something she has never done for ten minutes every day for a month.

“Would you like to play a game?”
“Which one, Doctor?”
“For a month, for ten minutes a day, do something that you have never done before. Anything.”
“What does it mean?”
“Just do something, whatever you want. But it must be something you have never done”
“And then, Doctor, what happens in the end? Will I be normal again?”

I love that question: will I be normal again? Will I have my life back? While initially skeptical the girl starts trying many things from putting on bright nail varnish to hip hop dancing, cross stitching, cooking or playing the violin. Little by little she starts seeing some light and a life besides her ex: she starts seeing a new world because she is new.

I can see a lot of me in her. Being left by the love of your life or losing your job, like childlessness (when we desire a child), can lead us to feel too far from the life we pictured in our heads. I don’t know how feasible it is to do something new every day for ten minutes but I wish I had had this idea when I was in a very dark place. It may have helped getting out of it sooner.

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And yet another WTF appointment

We call the appointments after a failed IVF cycle WTF appointments but, while the question may be implicit, I am pretty sure nobody goes back to their clinic to ask “so, WTF happened?”. I had my 7th WTF appoitment on Monday and, as usual, I went there in an ok mood, smiled, said I was feeling better, etc. But somehow this time, I actually ended up very closed to seriously asking “WTF?!?!”.

I told the gynecologist that I wanted to do an ovarian drilling. He said ok but then gave me examples of patients that ended up being unable to use their ovaries. It’s good to have information and it made me realise I need more time to think things through. I went on explaining that I feel that part of the problem is that I’m such a hormonal mess due to my PCOs that the embies don’t stick even when they are good ones.

He said the ovaries are not the problem, that it’s the head and the ovaries just execute. Obvious question: what does it mean it’s my head and what can I do to fix it then? Of course he starts talking stress and life style. And here is where I lost it a bit….

I have made massive efforts to avoid stress. I have completely changed my lifestyle (work less, take time to relax, not to mention mediation,  yoga, diet and all the rest..). I didn’t expect this would get me pregnant but that it would at least shorten my periods from three years to a few months… but I have seen no improvement whatsoever.  

When I said this he told me that maybe I wasn’t praying enough then. I have to believe that he was trying to be funny. I surely haven’t prayed enough as I am absolutely not religious. Although a non-religious person I spent a hell of a lot of time lighting up candles in churches and asking for help despite my husband’s puzzled looks.. 

He went on to say I shouldn’t feel guilty about all this and that sometimes there is just no explanation on why things don’t work the way they should. I know that but somehow this discussion left me sad, irritable and with even more doubts on what to do next… all clear signs that I’m not doing too well right now.. it’s crazy how much time it takes to get better… 

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Yet another heartbreak

The beta was 1, which means there wasn’t even a tiny bit of sticking. My uterus is basically a cemetery for embryos.

I really did everything I could to make this cycle work. I feel like I have been on it for about 6 months. I just feel so lost and heartbroken.. This is out 4th attempt at IVF and 5th failure if you count the frozen cycles.

I have nothing to blame myself for but I still have regrets.

I regret having been positive about it. I regret having been fooled into being optimistic by the sickness instead of reading the stupid information leaflet from the start (someone – e.g. the doctor – could have warned me that the patches were going to make me feel nauseous…).

I regret not having warned my family more, especially when I saw them smiling after I was feeling sick (they were really convinced it was morning sickness).

I regret having thought and dreamt of myself pregnant, of spending Christmas at home with a big bump, of telling people, smiling, crying of happiness, thanking my doctor, gong in for a scan, hugging my husband with happy tears… I’m starting to doubt whether any of this will ever come true… 

I regret having allowed myself to laugh with my mum and sister about the fact that the baby would have been Pisces had it worked (hubs and I are both Pisces).

I regret being completely unable to wait instead of projecting myself into the future.

I regret having played strong, letting my husband to go away with friends this week-end. I’m not strong and I really wish he had been here with me last night and this morning and I wish he were here now.. 

I know I’m lucky to have other embies in the freezer. But these were our top-score ones. If they didn’t stick why would the other ones?

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