Outlander or how I lost my mind for a fictional character

It’s time to confess. I have been cheating on you, guys. But only a little bit.. Most of my long commute time, which I usually devote to blogs/twitter, has recently gone into the world of Outlander. I feel excused in this betrayal by the presence of a very hot Scottish man, the Scottish highlands and lots of people wearing kilts and speaking with a strong Scottish accent. If you do not share my passion for men in kilt, feel free to go straight to the end of this post where I tell you about yet another doomed FET..

My lovely sister found out about this TV show and bugged me until I started watching it. She needed someone to share her excitement with and know I would not let her down.. We both got so hooked up that we are now also reading the book [by the way, the book is a lot more explicit than the TV show.. I was a bit shocked by it..].

Outlander is basically the story of an English girl who goes on a trip to Scotland with her husband just after WW2. She ends up time travelling to 18th century Scotland, where she starts some crazy adventures and meets this super hot guy who is basically my ideal man: kind, smart, ginger, Scottish, strong accent, kilt and irresistible scruffy look.


I also like the lady in this book/TV show. Some things are so familiar: she’s English but finds herself living in Scotland (hence the title of the book Outlander) and she cannot conceive. I can’t but sympathize, being infertile, a foreigner living abroad (as well as in a land of wonder fertiles) and someone whose life rotates around the presence of a beautiful man (here she has it much better though as her hero wears a kilt).

No need to worry about my seldom appearances on blog/twitter land though.. Books do not last for ever.. what I think will last for ever though is my love for Scotland. Whether it’ll chose or not to remain part of the UK, Scotland certainly one of the most beautiful countries in the world and what I consider my second home  (one of these days I may have to admit third, but I’m not quite ready for that yet..).

Back to reality now! I went to see the gynecologist this morning. He checked my MRI results and thinks that I should not have an operation for now: the endo does not look severe, I am already doing IVF and he’d rather not risk it. We will probably have it done after this FET fails and we go on to an ovarian drilling.

Not much new on the FET: I started patches last week, I have been increasingly tired, the strong nausea has started and it will probably not leave me for while (in a dream world it would be a very long while, but I do not even dare to hope.. ). I will start progesterone tomorrow and I am scheduled to have the transfer on Wednesday. The lab will thaw my 2 day-2 embies on Sunday and put them in long culture until Wednesday. If they do not survive, they’ll thaw my 2 late blasts. If those don’t thaw… well… I guess I’ll just have to open a bottle of wine. Or two..  last news is that, of course, something came up at work and I have been asked to go for a short trip on Thursday. Every time I plan everything so well and every time something comes up… oh well, I doubt a short trip will make a difference to the outcome and it will keep me far from the stress of the office life..

I guess I will leave you with the motto of my new Scottish hero: “Je suis prest” or, in my case, “je suis prête”.

Posted in Books, Infertility, Movies&Co | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Heart’s Desire

HeartsDesire600pxA Heart’s Desire (Chronique d’un désir d’enfant en douce France) by Judith Uyterlinde  is the first book I read about an infertility journey. I remember desperately looking for books with infertility stories. I just wanted a book that would tell me: don’t worry, this happened to me too; I survived and so will you. This was the book I found.

I went to the bookstore and looked in several sections, including psychology and medicine, but I couldn’t find anything. Silly me, of course infertility books were in the maternity section.. [thanks bookstore managers for adding one more thing to the already long list of difficulties and humiliations in the life of an infertile. By the way, are books about death with ones about life? And ones about homeless in the the house design and decoration section? ]

Sorry, I’m digressing. Back to the book. I found it touching and honest. I could recognise so much of what I was going through in it. The writer describes so well the difficulties, the coping, the fighting, the despair that comes with infertility. But she also manages to convey the happiness and calm that come at the end of the journey, and how the huge storm of her infertility journey managed to highlight even more the beauty of the sunshine that followed. 

I can only hope that the storm will end soon for us too.

[And, if not, at least that infertility books get moved away from the maternity section!]

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The MRI experience and results

I had an MRI done last week to check for endoHospitalmetriosis. It was in a beautiful historical hospital, which really helped my mood as it felt a bit more like a half-day vacation than yet more time wasted on medical tests. Oh the pretty things you discover thanks to infertility!  Also, the guy who did the MRI was really good looking and very nice. Aren’t I super lucky?!

Overall, it was no great fun but it wasn’t tragic either. I fell asleep despite the noise of the MRI machine (why does the one in Doctor House make no noise? is it because there are better machines in the US or just because it’s a TV show?). The worst part was actually that after the exam all the gel they had put in came out and the pad they had given me was not at all enough. I ended up walking around with a wet butt, nickers and trousers for hours. Glamorous, I know.. sorry.. but I am saying it for those who will have to do this in the future. Bring your own pads and bring loads!

The discussion with the radiologist (the big Professor) was really annoying: lot of questions and an aggressive attitude. He asked about three times if when it hurts during sex it is more to the left or to the right. He wouldn’t take “I don’t know” as an answer. But how would I know? Normally when it hurts we stop instead of trying to locate the pain.. The big Professor also neglected to give any sort of explanation. He kept talking really quickly to a voice recorder using medical terms and only directed his final verdict to me with a worried look: “it is not easy…”. While I was wondering whether it was not easy to understand the results or to live with what I have, he said au revoir and left.

I received the written results yesterday and they are only a tiny bit clearer:

  • My ovaries and uterus appear to be clear of endo (good news, right?).
  • My uterus is tilted to the left (after much googling I believe this can be due to endometriosis).
  • My left ovary is really high up, which I already knew because my dildo cam appointments are all about finding the lost left ovary.
  • The area between the bladder and the uterus seems to be clear of endo.
  • The cul-de-sac (pouch-like area behind the uterus) is stuck on the left side, but it is unclear whether this is due to endo implants.
  • There are endometrial adhesions in the area between the uterus and the rectum (which explains the pain).

That’s it for now. I don’t really know what to do with this info. What do the endo experts think? Has this affected IVF results? Will I need a lap to check and eventually have the implants removed? Will I need to adapt the IVF treatments? Hopefully the gynecologist will enlighten me! 

Posted in Infertility | 27 Comments

Finding the courage to discuss endometriosis symptoms

In the last years I have been worried about endometriosis but when I tried to talk about it with my old doctors they cut me off saying that I had no reason to believe I had it. I didn’t insist because I was too ashamed to talk about it anyway. The thing is, I have gone through plenty of website discussing endometriosis and I believe I have reasons to worry. 

After so many failed cycles, I finally decided it was time to talk. I own a big thank you to a friend who was kind enough to share her own I-may-die-of-shame experience and gave me the final push I needed. Really, thank you!

This doctor finally listened. Or rather, he read: since I was too ashamed to talk about glamorous symptoms , I ended up writing a list and handing it to him. My list of endometriosis symptoms is as follows:

  • Painful, heavy and very irregular periods, often with clots 
  • Pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis and lower back
  • Diarrhea during periods
  • Painful bowel movements right before and during periods
  • Occasional bleeding from back passage
  • Often cramps around back passage right before periods (so strong I generally cannot move)
  • ‘Spotting’ or bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sex in some positions
  • Infertility (of course!)

Sorry I know this is TMI but I am writing this down so if others have the same and read this list, they know they are not alone.

The gynecologist agrees with me that I may have endometriosis and told me to get an MRI. As IVF is the solution for endometriosis and I am already doing it, he thinks that it’s not worth doing a laparoscopy for now. 

Any thoughts from endometriosis experts and sufferers?

Other than this endometriosis discussion, we’ll go ahead with another frozen transfer. I’ll start the meds to induce my period as soon as I feel ready and I think the FET will be sometime between late September and early October. After all the failures this year, I can’t feel enthusiastic about it. But we can only keep trying.. 

Posted in Infertility | 33 Comments

ありがとう – Thank you Japan!

I got back from Japan a few days ago and I’m still in awe at this wonderful trip! I loved everything: the calm madness of Tokyo, the quietness of the woods, the beauty of the temples, the perfect harmony of Japanese gardens, the incredible kindness of the Japanese people, the food, the unexpected discoveries, the traditions, the old and the new, the countless shades of green in the forests, the sun light coming through maple and ginkgo tree leaves, the hot spring baths, the karaoke singing Japanese songs after drinking way too much… 

We walked and biked around loads trying to see and experience as much as possible. I loved getting to the evening with my feet on fire or sore legs. It helped regaining possession of my body: little by little I had no more sore boobs, nausea, or tummy pains. I lost the weight I had gained with treatments and I’m now feeling really well. 

I wish my mind was as quick as my body though.. I spent the first week in Japan waking up at 4 AM in tears. I blamed it on jet lag and decided to cure it with jogging (it’s amazing how many people go jogging or walking at 5 AM in Japan!). Things got better as days went by but sadness and panic often came back when we stopped running around. The worst was when we went to these beautiful onsen (hot springs): I was sitting in this outdoor bath, with a wonderful view on the maple trees and the soothing noise of a small river, but all I could think about was dead embryos, doctors, tests, decisions to be made, my parents getting old and, above all, the fear of never being a mum..

A friend reminded me that grief comes in waves and you just need to wait for the wave to go away. I guess that I loved Japan so much that I made this wave a tsunami… But even tsunamis pass and I’m really hoping this one will be gone soon.. 

Anyways, enough with the whining and time for some pictures now! Here is a small selection: 10 out of the 2000 I have.. yes I am an addict!

A huge lake of lotus flowers at Ueno Park in Tokyo. The lotus flowers are much taller than me.. 

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Our fortunes up outside a temple. My husband got “Very bad luck”, I got “The last fortune”, which is even worse.. According to Japan our wishes will not come true..

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The crowd at Shibuya crossing in Tokyo

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The golden Pavillion in Kyoto

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Bamboo forest in Kyoto

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Torii at the Fujimi Inari temple in Kyoto. We went for the full walk/hike: I don’t think I have ever gone up so many steps my whole life! It was definitely worth it!!

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Wishes up the trees for the Tanabata festival in Kyoto

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The huge torii in the water in the Miyagima Island.

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One of the many super cute Buddhas we saw

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Maple trees in the summer light in Kamakura

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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.

Posted in Infertility | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

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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