Day 7

I have thought about writing so many times in the last few weeks. I’ll have to catch you up another time though, because I’ve got too much to say about right now. In brief, I had just over 5 months sober, and after our second cancelled IVF cycle in June (I failed to produce any eggs), I drank on the evening we celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I’ve drunk about 5 times since then.

I keep thinking about various quotes to help me turn everything around. To live a better way. One of which goes something like;

You can be messy, complicated and afraid. Show up anyway.

Well I tried this yesterday. I’ve had a couple of crazy-busy weeks, and I’m tired, which probably exacerbated my feelings of having made no progress whatsoever since last summer. I’ll explain: Last night was our department’s end of term night out, and it prompted me to cast my mind back to the same event last year. I remembered that a colleague was heavily pregnant at the time, which I found pretty hard to deal with. I remembered a conversation about baby names, and another colleague catching my eye and mouthing ‘are you OK’. At the time, I was waiting for surgery. We were stuck on our fertility journey, and I was powerless to move anything forward. It was merely a waiting game, beyond my control.

Fast forward to this summer, and I am in pretty much the same situation, waiting for surgery, for what could be months. This caused an unexpected fresh wave of emotion (I’d been doing fairly well recently), but I pushed through to go to my appointment at the beauty salon. Where I ended up bursting into tears whilst telling the beauty therapist all about it. She is lovely and knows where I am with fertility treatment. That must be the reason they call it beauty therapy; it almost is like therapy with a bit of waxing thrown in!

So I showed up anyway. I was messy, complicated and afraid, and it was OK. It actually helped. She asked if there was any way to avoid going out, but I explained that I actually did want to go because one of the teachers is leaving, and I wouldn’t want to miss his leaving do. And they are great people, I’m lucky to work with them. A few who left last year and even before still come out with us, too.

Off I went for my evening out, which I really enjoyed. Again, I was messy, complicated and afraid, and I showed up anyway. I drank soda water, and drove myself home at 11:30pm – stayed the entire evening. I was proud of myself.

Today, we had a wedding to go to. I made it as far as getting ready, and I was writing the card. I signed it with our two names, and happened to make a comment that I was fed up of signing cards with just our two names. I want to be able to write the names of our children too. But of course we’re not there yet. I was just venting to no one in particular but it caused an argument. He said I should stop going on and on about my feelings on the subject, but I wasn’t aware that I was doing that at all. I nearly didn’t get in the car, but we set off eventually. Mr W was making an attempt at apology after quite a lot of shouting on both our parts. But by the time we got to the venue, I just said, I can’t go in.

I was messy, complicated and afraid, and I couldn’t show up. Trying to get through my seventh sober day, with lots of other couples who all have children. These are people we know through my husbands part time job. Whilst we were fairly close with lots of them at one time, my sobriety and our infertility seems to have made it harder for me to relate to them. Plus my best ally amongst them all wasn’t able to go, so I was already feeling vulnerable. I was very shaky, and there was just no way I could go in. We stopped, he got out, and I drove home.

Which brings me to where I am now. With another couple of quotes that have been on my mind:

“Start from where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”. – Arthur Ashe

And

“You can start out with nothing, and out of nothing, and no way, a way will be made” – Rev Michael Bernhard Beckwith

As I said, I am trying to turn this all around. To really work on my recovery, and to find a better way to approach all of these challenges. I’ve also been focusing on the idea that everything I want already exists – it’s just waiting there for me to attract it into my life. On one level, I am convinced this is the case.

I had a conversation with my acupuncturist the other day about life appearing to be more traumatic as soon as you make a conscious decision to change your way of thinking, or change your approach to some aspect of life. She says it’s as though we are moving through water, in a particular direction. If we decide to change course, the stopping and changing of direction will cause turbulence as the water is disturbed, and eddies around us. That makes a lot of sense to me. She said I should try not to pay too much attention to the turbulence, and continue with my new trajectory. Which isn’t the easiest thing to do when I come home alone, in my cute outfit and red nails, and I just want to fall to my knees and ask God what more does He fucking want from me??? (please excuse my language. I am somewhat near the end of my tether).

Where is my way? I know I’m not actually starting out with nothing; I have many resources available to me to create my life afresh and –somehow – re-energise myself (even though that makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it). How much more of this must I push through? How many more fails, how much more anxiety, how many more arguments with my husband, how much more thinking that ‘we’ by ourselves are inadequate as compared to couples with families.

There is a part of me that knows this is what God wants from me – to be grateful for all the blessings I do have. To know that I am in no way inadequate, and my life is abundant as it is now, and I do have everything I need.

But this is where I am; in between two states of mind. In between two potential futures. Feeling adrift in some weird parallel time zone that opened up when I decided not to go into that hotel to the wedding today. Kind of alone. So I hope you don’t mind I wrote to you.

Cheap date

Thank you for all the comments on my last post. As always, it’s so good to know I’m not alone. I went to the meal in the end, and enjoyed it despite my food being a good 10 mins later than the others’. Long story, but in the end I asked for the cost of my main course to be knocked off the bill, as I had to wait until everyone else had finished before getting mine. I had already paid £5 deposit beforehand, and my soda water was free, so the entire evening only cost me about two quid!! How cheap am I?!

Just remembering that has lifted my mood a bit 🙂 I had a fairly rubbish day at work, and decided that I, too, am now pissed off and just waiting for the Christmas break (we break up on Tuesday so not long). I was doing fine, quite cheery up until that point. Anyway, I got home, made tea, then had a bit of an argument with my husband over nothing in particular. The day just isn’t going great, and I really felt like having a glass of wine. So after eating my chili (which husband changed all the flavours of at the last minute – Grrrr) I went and got in the bath. I put Epsom salts in and lit candles. And I started reading Belle’s book again. I got to page 44 then got out of the bath, made myself lemon and ginger tea. I’ve calmed down a bit now. I’m in bed with the cat next to me, purring.

I’m pretty sure I’m on day 20 and I think it’s best that I don’t try to have ‘just the one’ because it’s nearly Christmas. I don’t want to drink from now on because we have our first cycle of IVF coming up (hopefully) in January, and I don’t want to feel like I didn’t do everything right.

So now, I’m going to bed. Tomorrow is another day, maybe a better day 🙂

 

Anxiety

Well, the ‘fluttering heart’ I mentioned in my last post wasn’t so bad the few days before our appointment at the clinic on Friday. Perhaps I was over the worst of the anxiety – maybe it was still there but I just didn’t notice it as much.

The outcome of the appointment was fairly positive – we have decided to try at least one cycle of IVF with my eggs. I plan to post in more detail about that on the other blog. The odd thing is, although I’m feeling pretty good about that, the anxiety has returned.

I think it might be due to a Christmas meal I have to go to tonight. It’s a work thing, a leaving do, too, in a pub. I’m 15 days sober today, and while I really don’t want to drink, I could do without putting myself into drinking situations deliberately. I actually just want to hibernate. I can’t think of anything to enjoy about going to socialise with people. That sounds so terrible, I know. But the truth is, infertility has knocked my self confidence (not that I had much in the first place), so I can’t see myself functioning in a setting that is purely social. I have forgotten how to ‘present’ myself , if that makes sense? I don’t know who I am anymore, I got lost somewhere. I feel…blank, in a way.

My work colleagues know about the fluttering heart, I told them earlier in the week. So I could feasibly text someone and say it’s causing me chest pains again, so I can’t go tonight. But I can’t keep letting my world get smaller and smaller, can I? I must push myself out of my comfort zone? My chest hurts just thinking about it.

It’s times like this when I need a sober friend, face to face. And I think this is part of what ultimately led me down the path of relapse last time – feeling isolated in a world full of normal drinkers, and lonely because of our struggles with infertility. (There it goes again, my chest thump thumping away. the other day when the irregular beating had died down, I thought, ‘is my heart actually still going??!’). I did drive past the venue for a local AA meeting many times during that year, eyeing it up and always chickening out. But I don’t think AA is for me.

So in the absence of a sober friend right here beside me (because, let’s face it, none of the ‘normies’ get it), I’m writing this to you. I really don’t know what to do.

New blog for infertility

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I wrote! I’m currently on day 10, and I’m emailing Belle again.

I’ve had the usual ups and downs. I went back to the fertility clinic to have blood tests, and I get the results on Friday. I think it’s because of the anticipation of this that I’ve got a very fluttery heartbeat, which is causing chest pains. I couldn’t run properly on the treadmill at the gym yesterday because of it. Very annoying. And it’s actually causing me to feel very anxious. All I can do is try to take plenty of deep breaths.

I’m worried about what the fertility doctor will say on Friday. I’m worried that using my own eggs will be a complete no-no. I really want to try IVF but if I’m being honest, I think it’s a whole different ballgame using donor eggs. I mean, of course it is, I know you know that. What I mean specifically is, I can try to pretend I have absolutely no issue with it whatsoever, but in truth I think I’ll need a bit of time to adjust to the idea, if that’s what needs to happen.

Anyway, I have started a new blog for the infertility stuff, so I will try not to go on too much here! It’s called waitingforbabyh, so please follow if you’re following me for the IF posts 🙂 I think I may have just posted on here when I wanted to post on there… I’m just going to check that out!

 

Lots of emotion

It’s now (almost) Tuesday, nearly three weeks since my operation. I’m going back to work on Thursday, and I’ll be glad to get back into a normal routine.

I’ve had plenty of ups and downs recently. I spent a good few days feeling extremely anxious about any possible social engagements over the Christmas period. The ever-present social anxiety coupled with the decision to drink or not drink at events; all of which feels even more unsettling when I think about it through the filter of our infertility struggle, which is the biggest thing going on in my life right now.

Last week my friend came to visit me – the one with the two year old. She didn’t bring her along though – I just wanted to have some time for the two of us together. I had been pulling away because I was finding it very hard to relate. I was focusing on our differences rather than our similarities, and last weekend I decided I needed to try and put that aside, and spend some quality time. She is my oldest friend, after all! So we had a lovely afternoon. I did feel uneasy and lost when she had been talking about playgroups and potty training and waiting lists for schools for a while – a kind of sinking, ‘oh my god this might never be my reality‘ sort of sadness. But it was OK, we moved on to talking about other things. I’m really happy it went so well 🙂

On Thursday I went to collect my sicknote from the GP, and as I was pulling out onto the main road, I passed my Dad, who was walking to the chemist. I won’t go into all the details but it’s impossible to stop there, and he had more or less reached the chemist, so I went on my way. But he wasn’t wearing a coat! I flicked the indicator stalk button thingy and it told me the temperature outside was 7 degrees. Now, Dad had lost his coat and hat somewhere a week or two ago, but he went shopping with my sister, mum, aunt and cousin to buy a new coat. He is suffering from short term memory loss and it makes me so sad. I find myself wanting to protect him. I popped in to my parents house on my way home from the GP. Mum was busy in the garden and I said to Dad, ‘where’s your new coat, Dad? It’s 7 degrees out there and I saw you walking to the village with no coat on!’. He kind of said ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I should put it on, I don’t want to upset you’, and he gave me a hug. I just dissolved into tears…Lots of emotion.

He sat me down at the kitchen table and made me a cup of tea. Mum came in from sorting the chickens and we talked about stuff. Dad showed me the new coat, plus an anorak with a fleecy liner (that mum doesn’t like). He felt the new one should be for best only, as it cost a lot of money. But I explained it was to replace the lost coat, which was for everyday. I made sure he didn’t just think it wouldn’t go with his casual clothes. So hopefully that’s all sorted, he’ll definitely be wearing a coat from now on!!

I also told Mum about Mr W having come home from the pub a couple of weeks previously, and having a huge argument with me. A few days after the operation, and he started the argument by blaming me for the state of the kitchen! Which was in a mess, but I’d already decided I would clean it up the next day. Well, he was even talking – not in so many words – about divorce. I didn’t know what to do. I really thought that might have been it. The argument changed to the subject of IVF. Apparently I had been ‘ramming it down his throat’ for far too long and he’d had enough. A little while after that, he burst into tears and said he just wished we could do it naturally. He’s worried and afraid what will happen if it doesn’t work. I really needed to get all that off my chest, but I’m so glad I waited until everything had well and truly blown over before I said anything to Mum.

So yes, a bit of a rough ride so far. But I think I’m settling down again, emotionally. I’ve got a lot to write about in future posts, as various thoughts have been floating through my mind. I somehow have an urge to understand much more about endometriosis – about what causes it and how to minimise it’s effects, if that is possible. I feel like it is a part of me, it’s just something that my body is doing, and rather than somehow blank it out of my thoughts I need to know it better.

I’m also trying to let go of the idea that I know what my future should look like, and let go of trying to control the outcome at every stage. I do know what I would like to happen, and sometimes that does get the better of me and I worry about how I will cope if things don’t turn out the way I want them to. But I know I need to be open to all possibilities, otherwise I risk not seeing the good things in my life – the things that might not match my hopes and dreams but are blessings nonetheless.

 

Baby Raspberry Post #4 Post Op

It’s a week and a half since I had the operation. Luckily they managed to do what needed to be done through laparoscopy, rather than laparotomy, so I am recovering very well. I did stay in hospital overnight, as the op was mid afternoon. I was grateful for the overnight stay really, apart from the fact that the nurses were VERY loud and I didn’t sleep much until they gave me some morphine syrup(?) half way through the night.

One thing I didn’t cope with very well was overhearing plenty of conversations between the nurses about pregnancies. I won’t go into detail, but one of them was expecting, and what was happening to another patient in a separate room provoked a discussion between the nurses about all things relating to the announcement of pregnancies etc. Now, I had already felt upset and alone after the consultant had spoken to me the day before. He basically said he thought I had a frozen pelvis and didn’t know if he could carry out the procedure successfully. Then, there was the pregnancy test and the cheery, relieved way that the nurse told me it was negative. And now this. I lay there on my own, listening to the nurses talk about pregnancy and babies, wondering what the surgeon had found when he operated, wondering if I will ever be able to carry a child, even, will I ever be a mother?

I was given a card to fill in about my experience of the hospital, and there was a box on the back for comments. I filled it in with something like what I’ve just said above. I’m not going to stay silent, I thought. Not that I wanted to blame anyone, it was just that I wanted my perspective to be known. I gave it back to the sister and then a short while later she came to me and closed the curtains. I thought at first that she was going to have a go at me! But no, she said ‘I’ve just read your comment card, and I can only apologise’. She was lovely to me. I was so grateful. She told me she’d had her little girl through IVF so she was fully aware of all the doubts and fears around infertility. I felt better, I felt less alone.

The overnight stay also meant that I got to see the consultant on the rounds the next morning. Firstly, the registrar who was in the operation, and a consultant who wasn’t, came over with my file. I averted my eyes from the photographs! The consultant said they had removed the fallopian tubes and some cysts from the ovaries. Also the endometrial polyp was removed from the uterus. Scar tissue was successfully removed, so that the uterus was now moving freely. So far so good. The thing is, the cysts will keep coming back on the ovaries. It seems there will be no let-up. More bad news…the ovaries are stuck to the posterior of the uterus. Hmm. So will I have to use donor eggs for IVF, I asked? (I know these are not IVF specialists I’m talking to, but at this point I want any scrap of information or opinion I can get hold of!). The consultant (who wasn’t in the operating theatre, bear in mind) was very jolly and said ‘Oh, you are young, you should definitely try using your own eggs!’. And the registrar (who was in the op) had a very serious expression and didn’t say a word. Now, we all know I’m not young in reproduction terms – I’m 37. And my ovaries…stuck, and with cysts. That didn’t sound too great to me, but nevertheless; I let myself feel good about the possibility of using my own eggs.

Those two ladies left, and a bit later Mr D, the consultant who did operate came over, No file or anything, I think he wanted to just come and see me before I went home. I was dressed and waiting to be collected at this point, so we sat side by side on the bed. He said it wasn’t as bad as he thought it was going to be in there (!) But he warned me not to wait – to go straight to the private clinic to start IVF as soon as we can. No argument from me there. In fact I’m glad he said it, in a way, because I was able to tell my husband, who would otherwise be thinking that there’s no point going until after Christmas. He doesn’t know that reproductive hormones wait for no man (or woman). About the ovaries…could I use my own eggs? He said its really a problem of being able to physically get at the eggs, considering the position of the ovaries, and the recurrence of the cysts. I’m thinking maybe another ultrasound at the private clinic might be a good idea, just so we know what we’re dealing with.

So I’m home. All sorts of things have been going through my mind, as you can imagine. One thing I do know, and I am trying to do something about, is the fact that I need to be prepared for the possibility that none of this will work out, and perhaps I wont end up being a mother at all. It’s a bit scary. But I think that part of the way to deal with that – and something that I need to be doing anyway – is to really look at my self-esteem. It has never been that great, but now more than ever I want to actively try to improve it, to believe that I am a worthy person, that I’m loved and loving, and I need to recognise that this life of mine, well it’s the only one I’ve got. I’m all I’ve got, and I don’t want to waste anything by wishing I was different. I’m so fed up of feeling I’m on the outside of life looking in whilst everyone else has it all figured out.

If anyone has any tips as to what has worked for them in terms of improving self-esteem, please share – I would be most grateful 🙂