A period, rather than a semi-colon

(Or: Going with the Flo)

And here it is.

I don’t know how I thought I would feel when I got my period – the first period after my very first pregnancy and my very first miscarriage. (I refuse even after all this time to call it “Aunt Flo(w)” as I don’t believe in calling such a ****ing horrendous thing by the name of some benevolent female relation – so sue me!) It felt like it was coming yesterday, and it happened overnight. I feel sort of resigned. Sort of morose.

I’ve just looked up the dates. I started this journey back in April. I was so optimistic then! My Day 1 on the IVF journey was April 15, and my last period ended on April 25. My (IVF) pregnancy was confirmed at the beginning of July and lost a few short weeks later. It’s now August 13, almost four months since we started on our IVF journey and around 15 years since I first could have considered having a child. A lot has happened in that time and the time before. I finally joined the blogging community. I finally put a name to that loss – infertility; not just not-being-a-parent – and we suffered a new loss, of our much wanted baby.

How do I feel?

In some ways I feel mildly depressed. I don’t think I have anything like full on clinical depression, so I definitely wouldn’t want to overplay it. I think I have a right to feel disappointed, grieving and angry at times. It’s a natural reaction. For me it’s more of a low level background noise, with the loss always there in the back of my mind, whereas my days are generally a net happy result. I have my amazing partner T and I have my superdog and I have a job which I don’t love, but which pays the bills in the way that I don’t have to worry about it too much. I’m in a way better place than I was a few years ago, in my Other Life.

And yet…

It’s probably the hormones and the nasty shock of my body having to get used to a period after a brief hiatus of not having them for a while. I have horrific periods, but I’m happy to report that whilst they bear no resemblance to my friends’ stories of periods (I seem to lose a lot of blood, and I’ve had operations for endometriosis, and I have a fibroid, and I’ve been given drugs to make them lighter and less painful with no discernable effect), they are nothing like a miscarriage. And for that I’m grateful, because I don’t know how I’d cope if it happened again. But we will try, of course.

I think I feel emotionally tired because we have to put our hope on hold for a while. Whilst I know there’s no real reason why we’d ever get pregnant naturally, because it’s been 15 years and I had no sniff of a pregnancy until IVF, I always had this hope in the back of my mind that it could happen naturally. Because it happened for my parents after 15 years, miraculously. Because I’m now with someone who actually wants to make a baby. But they found a fibroid during the confirmation scans for my miscarriage, and it’s right smack bang in the middle of my uterus, so really it needs to get sorted out before we can start again.

The appointment with the gynaecologist isn’t until October, which seems so long away when this was identified in July. I know it’s not life threatening so I should expect a wait, but it’s hard to be optimistic when I know I won’t get an operation to remove the fibroid until October at the earliest (and probably later once I get on an op waiting list). And after that I’ll have to heal, and we will have to wait until our turn comes round for IVF cycle #2 which could be at least six months, and our hospital (where the fertility clinic is) has completely shut down comms, so I have no idea what to expect. It’s disappointing.

Just the waiting.

We are all in the infertility community used to it. So many stories of waiting, and hoping, and some of them have happy endings and some don’t. And meanwhile, other people’s happinesses are hard to bear. By which I mean: other people’s fertility, the representation of everything I/we don’t have.

Today: another bump post of a pretty much ex-friend looking more glamorous with a 28 week bump than I do even without a bump. I’m dumpy, 15kg over my old weight, confidence hugely knocked. The one thing I used to have over Them was that I could turn men’s heads (for in my experience, there’s nothing more appealing to sleazy men in the city than an emotionally screwed up borderline eating disorder). Why do I even care? I don’t know… I don’t need other men’s approval. It’s just I’m realising that I can’t even be a vixen if I can’t be a mother. (I told you I was feeling sorry for myself.)

And elsewhere on social media: a post been going round for a while about tattoos of semi-colons; they’re meant to represent that a story isn’t finished, which people have used to represent all sorts of persistence through loss (such as fighting depression). As opposed to a full stop (“period” in US) which represents the end of something.

And I guess that’s what my period is.

It’s the end of our chapter, of our first IVF, of my first pregnancy, of my baby so lovingly if medically conceived, of our first loss.

But not the end of our story…

T kisses me and tells me he loves me every day. If he could, he would take my broken heart and hold it in his hands and squish it whole again. He’s a good man. I’ll always be happy for having him, and for enabling me to have Dog (who I’d probably never have adopted on my own), for our little family with its ghost baby who we may or may never meet.

I really am okay.

My blog is cathartic so you get the best and worst of me… and periods bring out the worst, so don’t be alarmed. If you met me today in real life I would smile. I’d be fun. You’d think, she’s fine. I was hugely flattered the other day when a couple of girls from work asked me to join them for a drink. (I hadn’t been out with them before… The nature of my work means it takes ages to get to the going out friends stage as we rarely work with the same people.) We drank bubbly and chatted, and I realised that I was okay. The thought of going into the dating game (as they were) makes my stomach turn. I’m happy to have found my prince-who-isn’t-a-prince. If my worst problem is not my health, or having enough money to live without putting myself in danger – I’m better off than the majority of people in the world.

And so I persist. We keep calm and we carry on. It’s the only way. And tomorrow (or in approximately 5 days) I will feel much better.

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20 comments

  1. TryTryAgain

    Another brilliant post. I’m 100% with you on all of this – the waiting is by the far the worst, and that ‘background noise’ description is perfect. There’s not a minute goes by that I don’t think of all of this, it’s always there, even as life goes on. The wait till Oct is horrid – I had the same last year when I had to wait from our 3rd loss in July until my laparoscopy in October. It’s just limbo, no man’s land. I got through it by enjoying wine (I know alcohol’s not the answer, but hey, make the most of it whilst you can I say!), not having to track my cycles and trying to feel like a ‘normal’ person for a while. I hope this might work for you. I’ll be thinking of you as always xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Oh wow, that’s tough! It just seems interminable sometimes. You’re right… It’s limbo! I’m even wondering whether to try and pay to get surgery quicker. It just upsets me to know that the fibroid’s sitting there, silently scuppering my chances. You make great recommendations there… The wine! I’ve been having a few! 🙂 Thanks for your support xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    AF also showed up for me today, and it actually helps explain why yesterday was such a horrible day for me. You know what, days like yesterday just make me want to pack it in and call it quits (yesterday was a very bad day with work, the type of day that makes me want to go back to my unemployed by choice status, even though I know that’s rationally not an option).
    But instead, like you, I’ll persist through the crap, and keep moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ah, we are in sync from across the water! 🙂
      I do feel really similar about work – although I’m working for someone else. Sometimes I just want to pack it in! Yesterday I was feeling super morose but then one of the girls from work asked if I wanted to go for a quick drink, so we did. I seem to attract girlfriends now rather than men! 🙂 But at least it is something.

      My period just makes me feel so urgh. I wouldn’t even go to work today and would work from home but have meetings. I wish I didn’t have such awful periods. Are yours bad? It’s such a design flaw I think! 🙂

      Like

  3. dinksbydefault

    “And meanwhile, other people’s happinesses are hard to bear. By which I mean: other people’s fertility, the representation of everything I/we don’t have.” Sometimes I feel so guilty for the unbearable amount of jealousy I have for both my real friends and for my facebook “friends”. I love that you just came out and said it, no filters. We can’t help how we feel and you are not afraid to share it 🙂

    I am with you in the waiting game (also for a uterine related issue). It is definitely not fun BUT I keep telling myself that fixing this “issue” will hopefully pay off in the end… Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I don’t know. I feel resentful a lot of the time but try not to show it. I was saying on another post that I always do the “click like and don’t look” on bump pictures and baby pics. I felt really kind of knocked about the bump picture yesterday. She looked amazing. But also I know that she’s wanted it for a long time so I have to be happy for her. And she was adopted too… So we have to root for each other! I think it’s just hard to see bump pics now because I should be posting them myself. 😦

      Sorry to hear about your issue… Are you going to have to wait ages? I keep telling myself that too but it doesn’t really work for me all the time! 🙂

      Like

      • dinksbydefault

        You’re nicer than me by clicking like. I just tell people I am “never” on fbook if I see them. If the person recently had the baby (or rarely posts bump photos) I will like it, but if it is their weekly “Baby X is 24.5 weeks old today” photo I just straight up skip it.

        I have two months (I’ve got like 2.5 weeks left!) of progestin treatment then back on pre-IVF birth control for 3 weeks (and an in office biopsy to confirm progestin treatment “worked” during the BC). Whatever “worked” means. So pretty much getting me all hyped for IVF again with the risk of it not happening at the last minute again. Trying to not obsess over the what ifs though (can you tell its working? HA!).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        Oh poor you! I’m glad I’m off meds for the moment but I really don’t feel great due to the period. Hopefully it will pass. I hope that the IVF happens for you! As for Facebook I totally get you. I hate all the bump pics and weekly updates. But I just keep hoping that one day it will be me! (I probably wouldn’t be posting bump pics though!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. babyyesno

    I remember those weeks.. always around 5-6 weeks after the D&C. Like you I felt miserable and the little bit of hope I had shrivelled to around 1%! but by day 5 though there was only a week til ovulation so my hope then would go up! However, I am concerned they are leaving the fibroid for so long? Will you have an operation to remove it? When I did my stim cycle they also found a fibroid growing right where an egg was supposed to implant. They can only see it between days 7-14 of the cycle as that is when the lining expands enough to see it. (my first doctor didnt see it) So when they retrieved the eggs they also removed the fibroid. They would not transfer any embryos until I had fully healed because the chances of a successful implantation for me with a fibroid was very low.. They did it 3 full months later! (its all about ‘% success’ rates in medical tourism)
    I then scheduled in something every weekend until that time so I had something to look forward to.
    I hope September is full of activities for you 🙂 and I hope you get a little bit of hope back soon. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yes it sounds exactly the same! It’s 1.5cm right smack bang in the middle. The doc and the nurse who did my miscarriage scans said that it was likely to affect pregnancy – both implantation and growth. Not good news! So I don’t really even want to get pregnant if it would risk miscarriage. 😦 We are on NHS in the UK and the wait just to see the gynaecologist is 4 months, which seems nuts! I don’t know how long after that the op would be scheduled. How did it work for you? Thanks for sharing your experience! Xx

      Like

      • babyyesno

        If I was going through the Dutch medical system they probably would have waited to see if it just went away on its own. But it is pretty quick here. However, we took the huge risk of going to Spain to do it privately because they couldn’t do our PGD here. What a difference! In Spain I was scanned every 2nd day, my meds were adjusted according to the scan and when it came to the fibroid they said they had to remove it because implantation success was low, I had the op the next day. (Also a pleasant experience compared to home??!) I had a good experience there and if you are getting standard Ivf it’s not too expensive in IVF terms. About 5,000 euro.
        As I say, I had a good experience, maybe some others didn’t.
        I hope the NHS are quick!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        That sounds brilliant. I don’t think ill get to have anything done about the fibroid until the end of the years unless I manage to get it covered on health insurance. They are being super unhelpful though so I can’t see that happening. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you! I’m really hoping it might be earlier but I don’t think that my health insurance will pay, and that’s the only way I can speed up the process. 😔

      Like

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