The Empty Nest

Recently I was trying to explain how me and Mr TY have been left feeling after the last couple of years and found the ’empty nest syndrome’ the best way to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that it usually relates to mothers (or fathers) when their children head off to university/move out to live on their own.

We thought we would have children and thought that that was what we would be doing with our lives right now. And through all that trying we have lost our way career-wise. So now we find ourselves without those children, and without any direction or experience of a career we want to pursue. It’s our version of an empty nest.

Another way I describe it is like standing on the edge of a cliff. We were walking along a perfectly suitable path for many years but suddenly the path has bought us to an unexpected cliff edge, with no idea what is going to happen next. Theoretically we could fly, we have no ties, we could do anything we want, but we don’t know what we want. We weren’t expecting to be here so we haven’t given it much thought.

I know the answer is time but when you’ve got no idea what to do, time doesn’t feel like an answer.

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Family

I joined a running group based at the local stately home and at the start they make announcements about upcoming activities and events happening at the venue. 

Last week they told us about some fun days for ‘families’, £5 gets the whole ‘family of 4 or 5’ in, lots of activities for all the ‘family’.

Maybe I’m over sensitive but it really put me off. It made me feel protective about my ‘family’ of 2 (3 if you count our very independent cat).

I love my family, however small it is it’s mine. Maybe I should ask for a discount at the activity day!

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What now?

I haven’t written for a while as I really didn’t know what to say.  I’ve been trying to work out who I am and what I’m doing and following the last couple of years they’re not easy questions to answer.

One conclusion that we’ve come to, I don’t think I’ve written about this before, is that we are going to put off further treatment to next year.  We just haven’t felt strong enough to go through it all again any sooner.  We moved to a little village 18 months ago, when I was pregnant from our first fresh IVF cycle and ever since then we’ve been in a state of flux and haven’t really settled in.  Because he’s quite sporty Mr TY managed to get involved in some of the teams here and got to know lots of people last summer.  I on the other hand didn’t want to socialise because I spent the summer having (unsuccessful) FETs.  After that everything broke down really.  I went off sick from work and left in October and Mr TY changed jobs but it didn’t work out and he left in December in the middle of our ARGC treatment.  Then disaster struck with the second miscarriage at Christmas.  We started 2016 heartbroken, unemployed with a house renovation underway.  Even now, 6 months later, our lives are unrecognisable to this time last year.

After some healing we started looking for what is next.  If we’re not going to have children what are our dreams and how can we achieve them?  And even if we are lucky enough to have children in the future, what are our dreams and how can we achieve them?  It seems more than a shame to have to settle on just one or the other.

So we’ve been trying to work out what would make us happy and give ourselves the rest of this year to enjoy our home, settle into village life, rebuild our confidence in ourselves and work out how to be happy again.  We’ve got small jobs to cover our monthly outgoings, our incomes have dropped considerably but the truth is that hasn’t been that bad – I don’t miss the trappings of high salaries (mostly!).  It’s taken a lot but right now I feel happier than I have in ages and it feels good.  We’re still not there but the ideas for what’s next are coming in and I think there are a couple that could really work.  It’s going to take time but I finally feel like we might be getting somewhere.  I’ll let you know when we do.

 

Swimsuit Shopping

What has this got to do with infertility? Well, that’s the problem, it really shouldn’t.  However in need of some swimmers for some proper swimming (no bikinis allowed) I found myself shopping for a swimsuit recently.  I appreciate that this isn’t necessarily a great prospect for most people – maybe models enjoy it – but what I found brought me close to a breakdown.

It’s no secret that I’ve put weight on over this process, I can’t fit into many of my clothes right now, but actually seeing myself in a swimsuit was mortifying.  To make it worse I had to try on everything potentially suitable in 3 shops before I found one that was passable.  The very last one I tried on!

I might well have put weight on if not in the process, I tend to fluctuate a bit, but I just can’t imagine I would have put on this much if it wasn’t for the treatment, the miscarriage and the comfort eating since.  So it’s just another area of my life that infertility is affecting.  I didn’t need to think about all that whilst out shopping but it creeps up on you at the most unexpected moments and reminds you what your life has become over the last few years.

I’ll never forget her

Following my procedure to have my pregnancy removed – I still haven’t found a nice way to say that, not sure there is one – they tested the embryo to see if they could help with our ongoing battle to get pregnant.  I received the letter out of the blue at the end of January.  It was a girl.  I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting that piece of information.  It really knocked me for six.  The letter also said that there was no evidence of trisomy 15, 18 or 21.  So no more answers unfortunately.  They are waiting for further test results but I haven’t heard anything more yet.

Telling my husband it was a girl was really difficult.  As the person in the relationship who gets pregnant I had been thinking positively and listening to conception related meditations from word go and when we heard there was a fetus this time I felt that this really was our baby.  Whilst my husband was positive too I think once it went wrong he protected himself by thinking of our baby as cells rather than a baby, I can understand why.  But on hearing it was a little girl it made it real for him.  It was horrible and has introduced new things that upset us both.  We were clearing out a room recently and found my old doll, I loved her so much when I was little and maybe she would have loved her too.  Having said that, I’m glad we know.  As my friend said, ‘You’ll never forget her’, I found real comfort in that.

It made it more real for my family too.  I think they had been in the same boat as Mr TY, but again this made it real.  In a way that helped me feel less alone.  That makes me sad for me last year when there was no fetus and for all those people who lose their babies early without knowing.  It doesn’t make it any less of a loss.  My heart goes out to you all.

 

Catch Up

I haven’t written in a few weeks, I just haven’t been able to face it. Fortunately for you reading this I won’t go into too much detail, that would be the longest post in history, but suffice to say it’s over for us.

In short from a low level HCG starting point we started scanning at about 6 weeks and over the course of a week we went from seeing our first ever embryo sac to the baby has stopped growing. There was a lot of painful back and forth in between with second opinions needed because people kept changing what they could see. I know they weren’t doing it on purpose but it was heartbreaking, especially when at the scan to confirm the miscarriage they said, ‘oh, I think it’s grown in the last 2 days’, this should have been great news but we knew it wasn’t really possible. I burst into tears, legs akimbo on the table, it wasn’t pretty.

This time I wanted to take control of the miscarriage though so took hormones to stop it happening naturally, I would have just been waiting for it to happen all over Christmas. But because it was Christmas I couldn’t have a procedure until the 4th of January, so I couldn’t even think about starting to move on until then.

I don’t think this is my most eloquent post, sorry. I just felt I needed to write something but I want to get it over with asap.  Needless to say I’m still not in a great place. Last year I went straight back to work but not working this year is meaning facing up to how I’m feeling which is good and bad I guess. Lots to work through.

I haven’t read through this, I’m just going to press publish. I hope it’s not a complete disaster!

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On the up

My levels are increasing which is great news. The phrase the clinic used was ‘you’re not out of the woods yet’, but they are happy it’s going the right way.

Friday – 18
Saturday – 23
Monday – 74
Wednesday – 274

Back in on Friday.

Not getting excited yet but…

We had our test yesterday. The last couple of days were terrible, worse than last time I think. I’m on a lot more progesterone and it really is making me more moody, I could probably start an argument with mid air. Not to mention the heat, phew! I stayed at home with my husband who at least understands me and that seems to help. Arguments so far: none.

We arrived early yesterday morning for the blood test. I felt so sick once I’d done it, I wasn’t expecting that. The call came a couple of hours later. It wasn’t the worst news but not a positive either. They want your level to be 25 for a positive and mine was 18. Queue a very miserable day. Well actually, I just slept for the next few hours. That and listened to the Zita West pregnancy meditation – positive thinking I decided. My husband went for a three hour walk (partly because he needed to get out, partly because he got lost! We’re staying up near the clinic for a couple of days and he’s not too familiar with the area). He makes me laugh.

They tested my progesterone from the bloods that morning and I got a call at about 5 to say that looked good. Come back in at 7am for more bloods to see if the pregnancy level decreases or hopefully increases.

Cut to the chase, its gone up from 18 to 23 so still not quite 25 but going the right way. I’m in now having intralipids. Then another wait before more bloods in the morning.

It’s not going to be straightforward it seems but it hasn’t been thus far so why change now. 

Here’s hoping for rising levels.

Post transfer blues

It seems ridiculous but I had the worst day on Monday. All should have been relatively positive but I was a mess. We had 1 Day 3 embryo transferred on the Sunday. It was a grade 4 – the best apparently – and the cells had been dividing nicely. We also had a further 5 embryos still developing with the plan to transfer another on Day 5. All good.

But.

I was a mess.

I encouraged my husband to go out as I was just bringing him down and all I needed was to feel guilty about that too. I watched the tv in my pjs. I finally got up the momentum to shower and start the day at about 1 and just when I thought I had turned a corner, from nowhere, I found myself thrown to the floor sobbing uncontrollably! It is actually a little embarrassing to go into the tantrum I had. By myself. Whilst managing to calm myself down for short periods I repeated this episode twice more before taking myself off to bed and listening to some calming music.

When my husband came home it was all I could do not to get worked up again but he really helped and we chilled out, doing a puzzle (rock and roll I know) and decided to have some comfort food, pizza, which I have been avoiding. I would definitely argue it was medicinal.

I shouldn’t be that surprised I guess. With all the drugs in my system and also swapping from the stims to the progesterone it’s going to have an affect. 

Several days later I’m still a bit up and down although feel a bit more under control. We had the second embryo put in on Day 6 in the end. Test day is the end of next week…