Cycle 31

I wish I knew why we cannot get pregnant. One would think after a year of testing at a fertility clinic I would have an answer; however we are one of those few couples that cannot be given a clear diagnosis.

I also wish I could meet someone else in my shoes and I wish there was a support group for women like me who cannot get pregnant for any clear reason. The only support groups around are for women undergoing IVF.

Facebook

Facebook is great and Facebook is bad for infertility. I have told a number of people, mainly close friends and close colleagues about my infertility, however I have not announced it on Facebook this means that not everyone knows.

Once again, I opened Facebook this morning to be greeted by an acquaintance’s ultra sound photo. There is only one ‘word’ for it… “ugh” followed by a sigh. Then I cannot help myself but think, “when is it my turn?”

I have been trying to rationalise a life without children. My husband has had no problem doing this and has decided that it is ok if we do not have kids. He reckons it will happen on its own because the fertility doctor could not find anything significantly wrong. In my mind there is something wrong because it has been 2 years and 3 months since we began trying for a baby.

I think about all of the places I want to travel to then I manage to convince myself that it will be okay if we have no children. Often I stop and think, “what about when I am too old to travel and I will not have any children and grandchildren”.

Lately I have been wanting to talk to my Great Auntie who had no children and her husband died when I was around four years old. She spent 30 years as a nun so she never had children as she married late in life. Unfortunately she passed away a decade ago so I will never be able to have this conversation.

So I will return to the internal debate that is being battled out in my head. I have only had two goo conversations with friends who both have different outlooks on having children. Both conversations were very good for helping me rationalise, however what I have concluded is that once the maternal baby switch is turned on it does not turn off.

 

Ugh…

Cycle 30 Day 1…. need I say more?

Edit..?…. probably…

I had a nice dinner out with the hubby last night and the baby topic came up. We didn’t go into depth because we were at a nice restaurant but we both got out general thoughts out.

My husband asked me how I felt about the possibility of not conceiving. I told him that some days I am fine with it, other days I am not and it is very upsetting, as well I worry about living with regrets. He told me it doesn’t bother him as he has a lot of his dad in him (attitude towards things).

I reckon I will give the natural thing a little longer. I see the naturopath tomorrow so I’ll see what she has to say. I am making a solo trip home to Vancouver during Christmas for a long 4 week visit. I am thinking that we should try for one more cycle after that trip then I will pressure him into the next treatment step: IUI and FSH injections. I just can’t handle seeing so many of my friends enjoying being mothers and the thought of missing out of that joy tears me up.

 

A picture of infertility

 

 

 

As an artist I have been wanting to put images to this blog.  I will admit that what I have posted here is not at all creative but it puts images to infertility. There are, however, many aspects that I could not photograph: the down days; the feelings of guilt when I feel jealous about someone announcing a pregnancy or birth; the marital stress; the inconvenience of rushing to the fertility clinic for a blood test (usually several in a week) before dashing off to work; the unpredictability of tests as they are all depending on cycle days; difficulty planning more than a month in advance; and I am sure I missed something.

Currently I am on cycle 29 so I thought I would tackle the structure of this entry chronologically. Two years ago we began our journey, as I am sure most people would have who had no known issues that would affect fertility. The first few cycles I was very excited and knowing a number of people who conceived within the first two tries I thought falling pregnant would be a breeze. I was wrong and now I can say naive.

The photo below is of the folder containing my 29 cycle charts. I have never tracked my cycle using a basal thermometre. I thought I would try but around the time I was considering this I saw the naturopath who told me that it was good that I wasn’t tracking using that method as she sees many women stressing over their daily temperatures and as a result reckons it is best not to use that method.

I use the charts to document my cycles so when I see the fertility specialist or the naturopath I can let them know exactly what has been going on during my cycles between visits. I also hate being surprised by my periods.

 

(Being plagued by infertility I always print multiple cycle tables at a time).

 

A few cycles passed with negative home pregnancy test results (and periods). My sister announced she conceived and gave her method a try, urine ovulation testing. Those tests were really expensive down here (until I found an online shop with an affordable test kit) so I thought I would buy the saliva tester instead.

The saliva tester is a little lipstick-sized microscope. The saliva is put on the end of it and allowed to dry, then it can be viewed through the other end. The saliva dries in a fern pattern when ovulation is close. I found this device tricky to use so after many months of use and no pregnancy I retired it and turned the urine tests. Even though I would get pee on my hands from time to time I did prefer this test as it reliably revealed the LH surge. I have read and the fertility specialist did have some negative things to say about this sort of test, but I found it more helpful than the saliva tester.

 

A friend told me she conceived the cycle where she used Pre-seed which is supposed to help the sperm particularly if not enough fertile mucus is produced.

 

I have had numerous blood tests, more than I can count. One cycle it was so bad the nurse was eye balling my left arm which has no visible vein for good blood taking (except in my hand), so I ended up with 3 ‘holes’ in my right arm in a 7 day period.

I have had two trigger injections with my 2 failed Clomid cycles (my lining never thickened while on this drug). I didn’t even get to use the 3rd repeat on the prescription.

 

I endured the dreaded HSG (follow the link to the post here)… all of you TTC-ers would know what I am talking about.

 

 

I’ve seen the counsellor at the fertility clinic to help me with uncertainty; help with mentally surviving surgery; help with coping with undiagnosable infertility; and help for preparing to self inject. (FYI: I hate all medical procedures!)

 

 

I endured a laparoscopy…

Before:

 

 

After:

 

Absolutely nothing was found during the procedure except for two tiny adhesions which apparently would not have been causing any problems.

Meanwhile all my husband has gone through are 2 semen analysis tests and he took me to the 2 major tests (HSG and laparoscopy). For all of the morning blood tests I left before he was even out of bed. I will admit that I have some resentment towards this.

 

 

Finally, there is the monitary cost of infertility.

I know this post will not do justice to the challenges of infertility but I felt like sharing.

Today the mid-cycle bleeding returned which I have not had since the surgery. I have been seeing a chiropractor and naturopath since the surgery follow-up appointment revealed no diagnosable fertility issues. I thought my body had been behaving itself but sadly I ovulated over the weekend and the bleeding started yesterday. I was really disappointed that the surgery did not reveal the source of this bleeding and the doctor told me it was something I might just have to live with. Earlier in the testing she did note my oestrogen dropping a little below normal, but like most of my tests there was nothing to be worried about. I think I have a mild luteal phase defect which was mentioned once during an appointment. I feel that we have a bunch of minor things causing our infertility but again nothing major enough to dictate the need (at the moment) for major intervention.

I have been putting off a conversation with my husband about pursuing IUI and FSH injections. He mentioned while we were on holiday that he didn’t want any treatment but no conversation followed as we were trying to have a nice holiday in Europe. A few weeks ago it was our anniversary and I thought we should have a few cycles after the holiday to see if things would work themselves out. However, with the return of mid-cycle bleeding I think I will bring up treatment if my period follows. I am mentally struggling again and getting really tired of watching other people’s children grow up. I don’t see why I have to suffer because he can cope and is enjoying his child-free life. Don’t get me wrong, I am taking advantage of my child-free life, particularly this past weekend where I was able to rest through the first two days of a cold and only three days after getting sick I feel much better.

I keep trying to focus on other things but infertility keeps coming to the front, it’s tiring and I feel like I have no one to talk to, not even my husband.

So those who made it to the end of this post thanks for reading.

Lonely

One of the infertility side-effects I currently have is loneliness. I don’t have many of my own friends to begin with as it has been very hard to make lasting friendships here in Adelaide and  I left all of my friends in Canada when I left.

What is making all of this worse is that my husband’s friends are all having kids which means there are more and more boy’s nights since the women are at home with their children. Also, my husband has been spending a fair bit of time with a friend who is getting divorced so naturally that is a boy’s night and certainly one I will not make a fuss over.

I spend so much time alone and wish I knew how to meet more women, preferably without children. I cannot really join a sports team as I am plagued with chronic headaches from my horrible neck. The church service I enjoy (very occasionally) is targeted towards families and retirees, which is why I have rarely attended and I never had a call back from the card I filled out.

Anyway, I will be visiting a high school friend in NSW in a few weeks so I will be getting a very precious girl’s week which I am really, really looking forward to!

 

Two years

August marks two years of trying to conceive.

At this point I have really lost hope of us conceiving naturally and it appears (to me) that everyone is getting pregnant and having babies. However, we have been trying so long now that we are watching peoples children turn one.

I try really hard to stay positive and to refocus on things that were important in my life which have fallen by the wayside like my art work, our huge family house (which we cannot fill), and weight loss.

Art work – I studied art at university and I am a high school art teacher. I have not kept up my own art practice very well and want to get it going again because I always feel great when I have completed an art piece. Unfortunately as soon as I get a little depressed I loose all my motivation.

Our house –  my husband told me when we were deciding to by his family home that it would be great when we had teenagers.  At that point we were engaged and I figured why by a smaller house only to upgrade in 5 years time when we had enough money for a family-sized house. We are at the point where we need to decided on how big to rebuild the deck, what is making the decision difficult is that we might not want the house if children don’t happen. The deck we are thinking of putting on will be more like an outdoor living room (a covered, semi-enclosed deck), but if we sell that size deck would be unnecessary.

Weight loss – Even though I have focused on healthy eating and living I have not lost any weight. Mainly due to being concerned about over-doing exercise and the negative effects that can have on fertility. Also, the stress of some cycles during the past two years probably saw me put on weight. I was scared to look at the scale when the naturopath weighed me last week after a three week holiday in Italy and Croatia where I ate cured meat, cheese and desserts  almost every day. To my surprise I weighed a couple of kilos less than a few months ago. This has given me good motivation to keep going.

However, even with three things to focus on I still feel tormented about our infertility. My husband mentioned during our holiday that he does not want to go through anymore treatments. (I should have reminded him we only tried clomid for two months which did not work for me. Today I asked him what will we do with our selves (weekends) if we do not end up with children. He could not answer. I do not have much hope for becoming a practising artist as my artist network here is crap and I am not sure how to improve it.

Once again I feel a cloud of uncertainty hovering over me. I like to have a plan however I am usually flexible enough for that plan to change… a great example is my coming to Australia. I can only pray for that ‘feeling’ / ‘attitude’ I had then to engulf me now as it would make me feel better about what is happening in my life now.

Plan B

Plan B commences Saturday.

We put Plan B together about 6 months ago so that by this school holiday if we were not successful in conceiving we will go to Europe for a very nice holiday so that we would have something positive to look forward to. After one year and eleven months of trying to conceive this is a well earned holiday.

I am hoping it will help me relax and to almost forget about trying to conceive. I am also hoping that my father-in-law will move on shortly after our return as he has been living with us for six or so weeks.

The day after we arrive in Milan I am having lunch with my pen pal whom I started writing to about fifteen years ago and met for the first time about 8 years ago when I backpacked around Italy. A week later I will meet my relatives in Dubrovnik. This will be a very special meeting as my mother’s father left about 90 years ago leaving 2 brothers and a sister, and he never went back to even visit. My mother only came into contact with the family when she inherited (part of) the family farm. Since she felt she (morally) had no right to the property, and why would she want property in Croatia, she signed it over to a cousin. Since then she has been pestered to come visit. Unfortunately this year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is only now finishing treatment. (Everything is fine and the outlook is nothing but positive). When I told her we were going to go overseas for a holiday she said I should go to Croatia. We’ll spend about 2 weeks altogether in Croatia and about a week in Italy.

People who have children are jealous and I will admit that was what I was going for… I know that will sound terrible but… they have what they wanted, since we can’t have the same thing we are going on holiday.

Unfortunately it looks like I may ovulate on the flight home. I said to my husband that  we might need to get busy in the toilet… he was unimpressed. So I kindly ask my body… Please ovulate at the end of our holiday in the romantic city, Venice. we booked a very nice hotel so I hope that might help trigger a nice egg and entice those sperm.