Infertility

The infertility guilt-it’s a thing!

I think I might have already said that, this journey has made me see all colours.

It has been, in a way, comparable to losing a loved one, for I have experienced it all: denial, disappointment, sadness, fury, depression and back again.

After all, it really is like losing something: a part of your femininity. And all of a sudden, what may not have appeared like such a big deal to you before, gets pantagruelic proportions and only one thing matters: getting pregnant.

Add to this frustration the fact that getting pregnant is supposed to be the easiest thing on Earth, cause what did your mothers tell you back when you were young and going out on your first date with your very first boyfriend?

“Behave and beware and don’t you do anything stupid or else you’ll end up PREGNANTTTTTT”

Bahahahaha I wish someone told me these exact words today, and they were right too!

Ok. So I’m not getting pregnant anymore. I used to, and I have two amazing kids for it, and if you want to read my whole story you can browse back through my articles and see why exactly I am so adamant about having a third.

But the thing is, back when I did get pregnant, not only wasn’t I doing anything special about it, I was actually preventing it most of the time.

So now I am reading all these best-selling amazing inspirational books teaching you how to improve your fertility by no longer using deodorants, or nail polish or hair colour or plastic in your kitchen or whatever and sure enough, it’s ME! That’s why I am not getting pregnant because I am using deodorant (and perfume, daily, blame the French) and I am not leaving the house without my nail polish and I wouldn’t be caught dead without my makeup. It’s ME! Or is it not?

The thing is, in the Facebook groups I am administering together with other lovely and very knowledgeable ladies, those are the issues that come up the most.

Could I have a beer before transfer/Do you guys still paint your nails while TTC/ I drink two cups of coffee a day and can’t quit, could this be why I am not getting my BFP/ Has anyone decided to throw away all plastic kitchenware in order to improve fertility.

And I get frustrated, and angry. Not so much for me, because I am oddly over it, but for them. Infertility is hard enough to deal with, no one needs added guilt for having sipped a beer or used a plastic salad bowl.

Yes, while trying to conceive and actually in any moment of our existence, it is ideal to keep fit, in our best form, eat well, sleep well, exercise and avoid excesses. AVOID EXCESSES. Now I don’t know about other people, but for me, refusing myself a sip of beer or a pampering manicure for fear of not getting pregnant because of it…is an excess.

And then, to these questions, my invariable answer is “heroine addicts get pregnant, alcoholics get pregnant-how can a beer prevent you from getting pregnant?”

If only it were so simple, and cutting off on coffee and nail polish and whatever, would guarantee us a pregnancy whenever we felt like.

Ohhhhhh and the stress thing. Let’s not forget the stress thing! You gotta love people who tell you to stop stressing, because as soon as you do you’re gonna get pregnant, mark my words! Grrrrrrrrr…

Has anyone managed to find the stress button? Turn it on and off? I haven’t.

It’s just that I wonder, if stress is such a big role player in this infertility shit, how did women get pregnant during wars, with bombs falling around them. In concentration camps. Being raped. Starving. Separated from their kids. How is this not stress, and our spending too much time in traffic is stress?

Anyway, I don’t mean to tell anyone DO this or DO that, what we put on our nails and if we colour our hair or use deodorant or have a cocktail once in a blue moon is a personal decision, TTC or not.

But I will damned if I will allow myself to feel guilty about every single thing that brings me pleasure, on a journey that demands my time, my wellbeing, my sanity, my family tranquillity. And money, girls, and money too. But that…is another topic.

Baby dust and…cheers if you feel like it 😉

 

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Infertility, Ivf

Are we done yet?

When I embarked on this journey, I never would have thought that I….

Wrong!

First of all, I never would have thought I would embark on this journey… Could have never seen this happen to myself, or myself being able to cope with it.

This infertility struggle is hard, unfair and hurts you precisely when you expect it the least. I still to this day wonder how come women who do not have any wish for children find themselves pregnant as soon as they are sneezed upon, while others have to fight for years to an end to achieve a dream that should be their birthright. I certainly asked myself the same question not that many years ago, from a different position-the position of the one getting pregnant on the pill. Little did I know life would soon place me on the other side of the barricade. Not that back then I felt less frustrated, mind you :))

Anyway, the point is that these days I am bitterly celebrating three years in Assisted Reproduction hell. Is it enough? Is it too much? Should I go on? When should we say enough is enough and frankly, ARE WE DONE YET? Cause I would love to make my life again about other things than OPKs, 2WW, BFNs and you name it.

At this point in my life I would have completed (please sit down) 7 IVF cycles, 6 IUI cycles with full IVF protocol, 2 Clomid cycles, 5 Femara cycles, and numerous natural TTC cycles. All those in a 3 years bracket, with all the hope, deception, rage and frustration they brought upon me. My last IVF cycle is barely over, and I am still into my 2WW-so you will say I am jumping the gun and speaking as if I knew this cycle too was doomed. The truth is, at one point it’s getting harder and harder to keep your spirits up, positivity starts to appear silly and at the end of the day it’s probably an instinct, as if to save you from the heartache that invariably follows the broken dream of yet another month passed with nothing to show for it.

For the last couple of cycles I have been telling myself: this one is my last. And yet I would find rays of hope and the courage (or craziness) to try again, for (yet another) last time.

But when do we say “no more”?

Some stop when they run out of funds to finance their journey. This is a very important aspect because infertility is not only heartbreaking and a burden on one’s mind and body, but it also destroys your budget and eats up your savings. For them in this category, the decision is easier made, for once you’re out of cash, there’s no point in asking when to stop, you know you have to do it, and here is your bank account making your decision for you. Frustrating but undebatable.Some stop when they can’t take no for a pregnancy test anymore. Repetitive failures to conceive may dig deep into your self esteem, damaging the zen of your couple and your relationships with other people around you (especially the luckier ones, and especially those who were not even remotely interested in having yet another baby, and keep whining about “these things happening to them”)

Some stop when they realise this hunt for the golden egg takes too hard a toll on their marriage. Because this is another taboo people usually do not wish to discuss: a process supposed to bring a couple together gets people apart. Intimacy is lost, desire diminishes, pressure builds up, and what was supposed to be an act of love in the pursuit of the fruit of love itself, becomes-let’s face it-a fixed schedule of lovemaking, timed by hormone levels and subcutaneous shots. And this is hard. What may start as being funny (we have to have sex NOW, I have a positive OPK) becomes a self imposed task a couple of cycles later. You eventually begin to forget yourself as a couple, and your sex life starts to be measured in ovulation tests, sperm morphology counts and number of follicles retrieved. And that’s harsh!

We are not trained for that, we grow up being told getting pregnant is easy peasy, why… everyone gets pregnant, especially when they don’t want to, so when it doesn’t happen for us, and we have to fight for it and pay for it too, it appears unfair and frustrating.

I know for me this is my last time doing IVF. Luckily it is not a matter of money, French basic insurance covers fertility treatments, or I would have never been able to have so many cycles so far. For me, having previously been confronted with loss and mourning, this infertility journey had me passing through all the stages of grieving, once more.

First, I was shocked. By shocked I mean I cried for two days in a row and lost a few pounds in the process. Don’t laugh at me, but this actually happened when I found out my AMH was 0.2….Now I know better but back then I was a sucker :))

Then, I was very excited for my first cycle, and perfectly sure it would work. How many times have you been told “never mind if you don’t get pregnant, you can have IVF”? Exactly! People outside this journey believe IVF is THE golden solution and it is infallible. Meh…Anger hit me hard when my first cycle failed. I was angry at my body, angry at my age, angry at the timing, angry at all pregnant women, angry at God. As if the whole Universe was against me.

A few failed cycles later anger left place to depression. I wouldn’t say I was depressed in the medical sense of the word, for I never needed medical assistance for it. But I guess I was this close…

And then a sort of shell built around me, and I became numb. I lost my positivity, for frankly how many times in a row can you fool yourself that this time is gonna be the good one? And I became convinced that it will never happen to me. And I didn’t care anymore. I mean I would do everything that needed to be done, like a robot, like a little infertility soldier heading towards another defeat.

Emotionally, I am sorry to report, I am still there. Numb, indifferent, unable to care anymore. But this time the little soldier lost its dedication. This time I surrender and I am neither ashamed nor do I feel guilty. I did my part, we both did our best. We have been together in this journey and we have supported each other but it is time for us to find ourselves again. If the Universe cares to surprise us with a (natural) miracle, we won’t say no to it 🙂 And if it’s not meant to happen for us, we surely will find other ways to grow together and love each other and enjoy what we have including those two wonderful children of mine that he adopted and loves as his own flesh and blood.

He deserved more, and I will forever be bitter about not being able to offer it to him. But I believe there are stronger forces than us up there, and they may know better than we do. And that what is meant to happen, will eventually happen.

For once I give up control, and boy do I feel free 🙂

Love and peace and baby dust to you all ❤