I’m still waiting, in this enhanced two week wait (before the first ultrasound that gives an indication but no guarantee of viability) so I’ve been trying to distract myself. Unfortunately when working one’s notice this means there isn’t a whole lot of work to distract yourself with, and also it leaves you (well, me) a bit open to the whole “Getting annoyed with everyone in the world” thing, probably exacerbated by social media.
So here in no particular order are the things that are annoying me this week…
- Rude people. This category encompasses almost everyone on the Being Annoying list. I just think the whole world would be much nicer if everyone was nice to each other instead of being rude.
- Antisocial behaviour (such as manspreading and BO) on public transport. Travelling on public transport is not fun at the best of times. And I’m not pregnant officially so nobody gives up their seat for me. (I really want to make it to 12 weeks so I can get a smug-pregnant-person’s badge. Transport for London does these Baby on Board badges which are meant to be so you can offer a pregnant lady a seat without being scared to offend someone who isn’t pregnant. I’ve never had one although this is the second time I’ve been pregnant.) I actually got up and moved away from a person the other day whose legs were manspreading into my seat. And being pregnant, this may be a symptom or it may just be my extreme sensitivity to smell, but I cannot stand the body odour of some people on the tube – it is making me feel sick. Another time last week I actually asked a guy to stop hitting me with his rucksack. He just went and stood in front of me and kept moving around so it was banging into me and I was like, Can you stop hitting me with your rucksack? Everyone on the tube was flabbergasted as people in London don’t actually like to make eye contact, let alone tell someone when they’re p*ssing you off. But he stopped, and I just stood there being angry.
- Entitled millennials. Now I am an official old person but I have had it up to HERE (imagine a marker) with millennials and their stupid bitching about nothing. Like, seriously, someone asked you to turn your music down because it was 4am on a weekday? How dare they! (This is a specific reference to my horrible new neighbour who has surpassed even my previous Neighbour From Hell in inconsiderate behaviour, and woke up everyone in the block by playing loud music at 4-5am – her excuse being that she suffers from “anxiety and depression and bipolar” and needed to invite some friends round for an unplanned party because of it. Because her right to feel not lonely surpasses everyone else’s right not to be woken up in the middle of the night. She has now started a war on our apartment’s Facebook page saying everyone is being horrible to her and anyone who doesn’t like it is obviously OLD.) No consideration for other people… And I realise I’m sounding like my parents here.
- Being a childless woman. It’s like you get all the crap bits about being female (sexism, big sore boobs, periods / side effects from IVF drugs) and none of the good bits! Smug mums banging on about breastfeeding! Mums in general whinging about their children in a completely annoying way when other people would do anything to have a child. People who do bad things to their own children. It’s just depressing that people who don’t deserve children seem to have no problem popping them out, and then us infertiles have to suffer psychological anguish because we don’t get to have children.
- Pregnancy after loss. I literally can’t enjoy it because I’m just waiting for it to end. It’s nice we got this far but I don’t have any faith in it right now. I’m beginning to hope, and I sort of hate myself for hoping because we hoped last time and it didn’t work. I don’t want to be this fat, swollen and hormonally ranty without actually ever getting to enjoy pregnancy. I can’t just “snap out of it”. Maybe I’ll feel better IF we get to 12 weeks, but we’re not even halfway there yet. This sucks. It also means I have to keep making excuses and sounding like an antisocial ***** because I don’t want to go out drinking and have to make up a lame reason why I’m off alcohol. I just want to get to the point where we can acknowledge the pregnancy. I guess that’s 12-14 weeks.
- Solicitors/lawyers. OMG What do they actually do? We’ve been waiting for our house to go through for like FOUR MONTHS. We have all the money ready to go. They’re just delaying over nothing. I feel so mad that I could have spent my notice period on holiday and moved house but instead we are stressing that it might not even happen before I start my new job next month. And I really don’t need that stress. As for the divorce… When can I have it? This is ridiculous. I’ve been with T longer than I was actually actively married. I might be having a baby with him, and my divorce from my ex still hasn’t bloody been finalised. It’s like lawyers just make money out of other people’s pain. ARGH.
I’m sure there are loads of other reasons why I’m angry. Maybe I’m PANGRY. (Pregnant-angry. Who knows. Maybe I’m imminent-pregnancy-loss-angry.) I definitely seem to be thinking more evil thoughts lately. Although I haven’t said much to people about it. I just think them in my head.
Sit with me on this one… I may be some time.
I decided based on yesterday’s post to have a look at the private clinics. It’s a minefield. I looked for a single league table comparison of fertility clinics in London but it doesn’t exist. That’s because, as anyone knows (and I know in my job where I’m always asked to benchmark things), there’s no such thing as a like for like comparison.
The closest I can find is the HFEA website that compares different clinics’ data based on your search. But when you’re just an old “unexplained infertility” type then it doesn’t really help.
Also, I’m now into the older age bracket. The not-quite-40 but the one where all the stats show that suddenly the success rate drops.
I feel like crying.
Really, honestly, I feel like I’ve wasted years of my life when I could have been trying to sort this out. It’s not through anything being different in terms of my reproductive health – I had problems that were identified way back when I was 25, so it’s not like it would have worked then. But I think it’s a mind game. Me turning that age where your ovaries are supposed to have shrivelled up doesn’t change the fact that I had problems whatever age I was. It’s not like I was sitting around not doing anything… I was in a long term relationship and we were doing what you’re supposed to do to have a baby… I really should have a few by now.
I haven’t done anything “wrong” and yet I feel like a f***ing failure, and that it’s too late to do things now because all the stats say 1 in 4 is the most I can hope for.
And I feel angry. I feel angry that it comes so bloody easily to everyone else. Even my friend who did IVF had a baby first time round and then whoopsie, had another one with no problems at all. WTF. Everyone else who has this “infertility” thing is worried about two years of trying or whatever and I have had SIXTEEN BLOODY YEARS. And I’m no closer to anything than these platitudes of “Oh well, 1 in 4, 1 in 8, just keep trying…” – what do you think I’ve been doing for 16 years? Like pretty much my whole adult life?
Today I’m feeling sorry for myself.
I can scrape together £5k. I can maybe even scrape £10k if I had six months to do it. But that doesn’t change the fact that the stats are completely against me.
I don’t feel empowered by the data. I feel even more depressed, because I have a stats background and I can see how bleak the picture is. In the 1 in 4 (best case for women my age, my rough eyeballing of London data) most of those have been preselected by the clinic. (For example ARGC, the clinic with the best success rate in London – they preselect patients. Plus it can cost £15k or whatever and it usually happens by cycle 4. I’m sorry, I don’t have a spare £60k.) In the 1 in 4 there are women who’ve been trying for a year and have gotten impatient and worried when if they’d left it, they’d probably have gotten pregnant anyway.
I’ve had many many opportunities to get pregnant over 16 years and it has never. once. happened. Unless you count IVF where it happened but didn’t get there. So excuse me for being brusque but FFS there must be a reason. For sure, we can “keep trying and it might happen naturally” which is what the doctor told us at the hospital yesterday. But the stats are not on our side. If it hasn’t happened for 16 years, really, honestly, tell me what the chances are of it happening now. I’ll give it a rough guess: less than 1%.
Yes, miracle babies do occur, but I think by now we’re all familiar with infertility-lore where you adopt a baby and then get pregnant naturally, or you quit your job and get pregnant naturally, or you “just relax” and you get pregnant naturally, or you have successful IVF and then get pregnant naturally – none of those things are happening to me any time soon. Plus I feel like any adopted child might feel a bit – miffed? – to find out he/she has only been used as a fertility prop.*
(* This is not a dig at anyone, including my parents to whom it happened! I’m just feeling mad and sad today, and also I feel like I’m always having to be an apologist for adoption – because I’m alright jack – and also I feel like most people don’t understand that adoption in the UK is different, with a very small proportion of kids adopted out of care, and having been forcibly removed from their families due to adverse circumstances, because we don’t have that same social stigma of unmarried mothers here. So no, I don’t want my child to have been a victim of abuse before they come to me. I just don’t feel equipped to deal with that. I’ve written about it a lot, but I feel like I always have to clarify. Really, there’s a lot on my blog about it so before suggesting adoption please read it.)
I don’t know what I’m trying to say today. I still have a super positive fun Christmassy post to write (I promise I’ve been keeping myself busy with nice stuff) but sometimes I just want to scream.
Or I feel like I have to face up to it – the idea that I may never have kids. I spoke with a friend about this recently – she’s a couple of years older than me and she’s accepted not having kids. Her partner has a child and had a vasectomy, and she’s thought about it and come to terms with the fact that it would be too difficult to change that and time is not in her favour. I admire that. She’s one of the most positive, lovely people I know. (I try only to know positive lovely people!) I sort of feel like if I could get to that point then I could focus on embracing that.
I’ve been thinking of childlessness more lately, and how I identify. As women, so much is implicit in our identity – and intrinsic to that is the ability to bear children. Let’s face it, that’s what boobs are for. (Weirdly they weren’t invented to be jacked up with plastic and to bury men’s faces in, whatever they’d have you believe.) I think a large part of my identity has been to be ostensibly childfree – I’ve always been the fun big sister / aunt / fairy godmother / friend. I’m pretty invested in a lot of people and I enjoy the whole family and friends thing. But in the back of my mind I always thought I would eventually have kids.
My lack of kids with my ex was probably in hindsight where a lot of the problems lay. We did all the stuff you’re meant to do: going out, cohabiting, marriage, but then there was nowhere to go. Even with all of our shared history we didn’t have a foundation for our future happiness – I don’t mean that it’s dependent on children or that I’d ever put it on children. But it was a different scenario than my current relationship with T. I feel like with T, and with Dog, I already have a family. We already have this strong foundation of belonging and security and love and fun, and if we never have a child, we can refocus on those things. Maybe I’m not explaining it well but I feel like there has to be something else tying you together other than moving onto the next stage and a shared history – I know because I had all that and it wasn’t enough. We had love, too, and I’d never want to downplay that, but it was like we had too much pain between the two of us to move forward.
Anyway, today I’m having an Eeyore moment. (Thanks Ashley!) I really have been touched by the responses to my previous post and all you wonderful ladies providing support. I know there’s hope – but sometimes it’s exhausting. I know there’s happiness – but sometimes it’s fleeting. And I know there’s love – and that’s what counts. If my life ends tomorrow, I know I’ve enjoyed it. (Though NB please remember me at a thinner weight!) Ach, I’ll get through. I always do. I just need to believe that one day in the future we’ll be able to look back and say Look how far we’ve come…
A quick one today, but I had to share.
This afternoon my work’s resident crazy lady came round to speak with me. I say “crazy” as she just acts in a way that is usually a bit much for most people. (She went off on maternity leave a while ago and when she had the baby, she sent round pictures to everyone in our larger team, including the really important people, of the baby freshly born – with blood and guts and aspects of her that really should remain out of the workplace. It went down in my workplace history… Is she the one who… Yeah.)
Despite me doing my best to look busy, and in response to her “Are you busy?” saying “Yes I am busy!” she decided to natter at me for approximately 10 excruciating minutes. There was small talk, including probably some kind of tentative request for me to give her some work (the word hellsno springs to mind) and then she decided to move it onto personal life.
I’d like to preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who likes to bring my personal life to work. Maybe it will happen, to the closest of work colleagues, but I’m even one of those people who doesn’t like to be on Facebook with colleagues. (At my last place, they used to think this was hilarious and would try and find me on Facebook until I blocked them all.) I mean, I just don’t think you need to share that much with your colleagues. (I did once, with my ex… and we all know how that turned out. Work/life separation, I think.)
So she’s like, “And how’s your personal life?” And I said, in a very British way, “Yes it’s fine”. She’s not British which maybe explains why she’s so g/d ignorant of the British unwritten law which says “If I say the word fine, that means we aren’t going to talk about this any longer.” (Think about it. Fine in British is kind of like the opposite of fine. It basically means F-off, in a polite way.)
She took this as an invitation to talk longer, despite the fact that I was staring at my laptop and trying to do a jedi mind trick on her to just go away and leave me alone.
“Where are you living?”
Umm, I’m fairly sure you’re never going to be invited round there, so why do you need to know?
I told her where I was living. Vaguely, with not enough detail for her actually to track me down, though I wouldn’t put it past her. She has that sort of glint in her eye.
“Maybe you should move to X, near me.”
WTF? No really, are we even friends? I don’t think I’ve ever given you that impression… and if I have, I apologise! I take it back! Why did I even look up? Oh yeah, because you came round specifically to speak with me. I don’t want to speak with you! I have to do some work! Go away!
And then came the final straw:
“Any news?” – whilst staring meaningfully at my – I admit it, I’m trying to get rid of it – muffin top. (Perhaps not skillfully enough disguised in a loose flowing top. Obviously not disguised enough.)
I sort of did a double take.
Was she really asking me if I was pregnant? Oh yeah, she was. This is Mrs No-Tact-Whatsoever we are talking about here. Mrs I’ll-Email-Photos-Of-My-Freshly-Birthed-Baby-Out-Of-My-Vajayjay. What did I expect?
I sort of stammered, “No. Do I look fat or something?”
She carried blithely on.
I mean, even the most tactless of people knows that you never ask about pregnancy, even if it’s staring you in the face. And even the most foot-in-mouth person would have a bit of self-knowledge to understand that asking a non-pregnant person if they’re pregnant is pretty embarrassing, and would STFU and leave the conversation.
BUT NO! She stayed talking for another few minutes!
Jeez. H. C. (Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Jeepers. Shiiiiitake mushrooms!)
I actually can’t believe it. I mean, I was feeling pretty bad what with the IVF weight, hormones, and post-miscarriage comfort eating but that just takes the
biscuit slice of pizza.
I immediately texted my BFF, T, and my Other Friend (she’s not my BFF but she is awesome). And they all responded with various strains of I can’t believe anyone would be so rude. (Plus a bit of laughing I’m sure. I mean, if it happened to anyone else, I’d be laughing.)
Also T, bless him, sent me the following message: “Well you look gorgeous. Maybe she just thought you looked glowing.”
(There’s a reason I’m sticking with him for life.)
On the plus
size side, it’s given me the kick up the not inconsiderable backside to stop wallowing in excuses and lose some weight. I have about two months to go until Orlando and I want to be able to wear a swimsuit in the water park without feeling like a beached whale. (I don’t care how big I am relatively… I feel fat in myself.) It gives me an excuse in my head at least, though I don’t know how long that will last! I stopped weighing myself after the miscarriage as I was too depressed, but I will have to (wo)man up and do it, so at least I can watch the kilos dropping off. (Before you think I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t need to lose weight, at my heaviest pre-IVF I had varied by 14kg, which is a lot when you’re short. And I would hazard I’m 5-10kg above my heaviest now which is nuts. Even more nuts than the nutter.)
So, thought for the day is:
It’s never acceptable to ask someone if they’re pregnant.
It’s just as insulting to ask someone if they’re pregnant whether they were recently pregnant or not. Actually it’s possibly more wounding but less insulting, I guess.
Someone needs to invent a crazy lady repellent spray.
(Or: Sometimes we all need a little rant.)
I think some of you might have gotten a slightly unrealistic view of how optimistic I am, based on some of my previous posts. I mean, I like to try and do jedi mind tricks on myself to try and make the best of things, which I like to think is a rational response to less enjoyable situations. Or in Pollyanna terms, I try and play The Glad Game.
Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game,” an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna’s father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because “we didn’t need to use them!”
In terms of my many years of infertility, subsequent IVF and miscarriage, I’ve tried to play The Glad Game by identifying and taking joy in the small happinesses and trying not to let this define my life. In many ways, I feel like I’ve moved on in a healthy way following my miscarriage and even though I feel like I think of it in the back of my mind almost every minute of the day, I’m able to rationalise and bring balance by repeatedly focusing on the things I have to be happy about.
The Glad Game: Infertility Edition*
- I don’t have a baby but… isn’t it great I get to have lie ins at the weekend?
- I can’t get pregnant but… I get to stay slim(ish) and I don’t get saggy boobs and stretch marks!
- I don’t have kids but… I have a better job than all my friends who are mums!
- I lost the baby but… I can drink as much wine as I want and eat cheese!
- I had a miscarriage but… at least I know that I can get pregnant after 15 years!
- We don’t have kids but… we can do things at short notice and go on holiday when we want to!
- We aren’t parents but… we have great people (and animals) in our life who we love and care for!
(* I hope you read that in the slightly sarcastic British humour way it was intended!)
Sometimes it’s tiring trying to see the good side of everything.
Sometimes getting upset is a completely rational response. Really… Who can be Pollyanna all the time?
I get the same thoughts as everyone else, and coupled with the British sarcasm and cynicism, I have to tell you that my friends I know in real life would be in hysterics to think that any of you might consider me optimistic! I am “blessed” with a deadpan BRF (do not click that link if your filters are strict… it stands for b—-y resting face!) and no matter what I do, people seem to think I’m in a bad mood. My dad likes to tell people about how I’m the only baby he ever met that could stop an adult from across the room just by staring at them.
I’ve learned over the years how to counteract this – depending on the situation, I force myself to blink (rather than do my special death stare) and smile (despite the fact that I just don’t feel like walking around with an inane grin on my face), and probably by being excessively wordy in an attempt to explain myself. (“I may look like I want you to shrivel up and die but rest assured I really like you, gosh, isn’t that a lovely dress you’re wearing? Will you be my friend?” type stuff… Those of you who read my blog regularly will know the blethery style!)
But… sometimes my defences are down and I have a completely emotional response to something. I’m not immune to the power of frustration and sadness over focusing on the good stuff.
And today was one of those days.
My friends in the infertility community (that club nobody wants to be in) will be familiar with this one.
Sometimes I just see red and today was one of those days.
Note to self: Stay off Facebook.
So, today I was on Facebook, harmlessly minding everyone else’s business (!) and I was presented with a big advert in the middle of the page. I know Facebook likes to do this and has some sort of dodgy data scraping algorithm which decides which adverts you’re going to see. I know how the paid advertising works, because I have a page on Facebook which I’ve occasionally done some advertising for, so I know that you pick out your target audience, either by aiming at friends of people who’ve liked the page (the reasoning being that friends of people who like your product are more likely to like your product than complete strangers, and may have similar interests to their friends) or you can aim at people who like certain things – you put in keywords to do this. For example, if someone has said on their profile that they like rugby, you can target adverts for rugby related clothing or rugby matches.
Anyway, so what do I get this morning (whilst I have a bad headache that may or may not be related to some wine I drank last night) but…
An advert for nappies!
WTF. Do I really need a baby-plastered image advertising nappies (diapers to my American friends!) at this time of the morning when I have a blinding headache and I’ve not long ago lost a baby? Even worse, the name of the company is Beaming Baby which just bloody enraged me. The advert had a literal beaming baby surrounded by nappies and I just thought WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?!
What did I do?
I wrote an extremely stroppy message to Beaming Baby.
I told them they needed to review their targeted advertising.
I told them not every over 30 year old has a baby.
I’ve just had a miscarriage.
I’ve never “liked” a baby page and I don’t have anywhere on my profile that I like babies, or am interested in baby stuff.
I’ve occasionally bought presents for baby showers (so I can understand why suggestions come up from amazon, for example) but I DO NOT HAVE A BABY!
Yup… I’m not proud of myself here but I had a slight rant. (They haven’t replied… I’ll tell you if they do.)
The thing is, there’s no button you can press to make the baby stuff go away. (With the Zuckerberg-Chan pregnancy and miscarriage announcement, you’d think there might be.)
Here’s the thing… You can focus on all the great stuff in your life, which I really do try and do, but there comes a time when you are faced with a beaming baby. And all the Glad Games in the world can’t really make up for the fact that you don’t have one.
I don’t have my beaming baby.
I should have been well into my second trimester by now. (I stopped counting so I don’t know exactly… too upsetting to focus on.) I should have been wearing the belly band which is sitting on the side still in its packet, unopened. It arrived the week we were told it might not be good news, so I never opened it. I should have been clear headed this morning because I wouldn’t have been to the pub last night. (We won the pub quiz – still not enough consolation for my baby dying, I’m afraid.) Or… I might have gone to the pub and been able to do that smug-pregnant “I’m not drinking; I’ll have a lemonade” thing, which I never got to do. I could have made jokes about how fat I was getting whilst secretly thinking ha!
But I never got my little beaming baby. I don’t want to be reminded of this all the time. I don’t need reminding. It’s there, my loss, looming in the back of my mind pretty much every minute of every day.
(To be fair, my baby would probably be more cross looking.)
They say women are better at multi-tasking than men; I say this applies to thinking and remembering loss. I can do everything else… I can live my life… I can walk my dog and cuddle him and rejoice in how lucky I am to have the most amazing dog in the world. I can go to my job in the corporate world and talk about stuff that needs a PowerPoint presentation to accompany it. I can go out on adventures with T. I can stay in and watch tv. I can cook dinner. I can be a proper grown up. I can be silly and act like a child.
I can do all of these things because I am a woman. I am strong. I am an expectant mother. I just don’t know when my child is coming… or whether the one I lost is the only one I’m ever going to have.
So… here’s my thought for the day.
If we can put out positivity then eventually, by the law of averages, it’s going to come back. But we have no way of controlling how it comes back. I might be blessed in my life in all other areas than ever having a baby. I don’t know because I’m not at the end of my journey yet… so I’m going to keep trying, because persistence is key to success.
Being like Pollyanna isn’t about being happy all the time – it’s about choosing to focus on the things we can be thankful for. Playing the Glad Game. We, in the infertility community, who know about loss… we are used to playing the game.
But we can’t all be Pollyanna all of the time. And that’s okay.
My friend (used to be a real life friend – now fb friend since she cancelled dinner on me the day she found out she was pregnant… I haven’t seen her physically ever again and she’s now on baby #2) just posted on fb advocating a reduced hours working week. The video was all about not being able to get back family time and see kids grow up and so on and so forth. It said that the average worker works 47 hours a week and it was advocating a 30 hour week… whilst playing pictures of kids and babies and men talking about how they wanted to spend more time with their families.
It kinda made me see red.
Maybe it’s the context: She’s one of those people who “accidentally on purpose” got pregnant to trap the boyfriend. (It was a success.) I used to go out on the town with her and she was intelligent, thoughtful, fun and we’d have interesting conversations IRL about corporate life and 30-something social stuff. She now has only one topic of fb posts: babies. I recently had a miscarriage after 15 years of “unexplained” infertility. On my last project whilst going through the emotional and physical drain of IVF (only to lose the pregnancy at 9 weeks), I was working 80-90 hour weeks with the majority away from home. She has spent 2 of the last 2.5 years whiling away her time on maternity leave posting daily pictures of her kids.
I’m feeling kinda sensitive.
My point is: Why do parents feel like they have some sort of monopoly on having a work life balance?
I’m sorry, but I’m a human and therefore if you think that normal people deserve a work life balance, that should extend to all people and not just parents. Don’t keep giving me this rhetoric about how you want to spend more time with your children… Maybe I want to spend more time with my dog/partner/family. Maybe I have hobbies and interests outside of work that I don’t get to do because of work.
Your free time is not more precious than mine.
Let me start off by saying I’m still worried. Maybe this is just me and my low expectations but I guess I’ll carry on worrying until / if we get to 12 weeks. And then I’ll probably worry some more. It’s not bad news but it’s not good news… It’s just news. Well, he’s still hanging on.
Anyway, as you can see… We had an ultrasound and here he is.
Introducing: Pizza Baby.
(This is a bad phone picture of a print out.) Right now Pizza Baby is 5.3 mm. This means he’s very on the small side. According to my pregnancy app, I’m one day off Week 7 and at week 7 he should be 1.3cm. At Week 6 he should be 6mm. And he’s still smaller than Week 6. They said it was fine and as expected but…
I think I have anxiety because from the outset the nurse was like “This is very early for a scan” and then she was digging around with the wand and then had to get the doctor to come in and everything and then they said “It’s not very clear” and so on. They just sort of seemed to be being a bit… delaying things, or fobbing us off. She kept saying it wasn’t clear enough although the doctor said he could see the heart beat.
To my mind he just looked like a round black blob. And there was a flicker of white on one side. Obviously it was massively magnified as the little guy is like Week 6 size or a bit smaller, so he’s half a centimeter which isn’t very large at all. So the little flicker is probably like less than a millimeter.
In the end they said in order to put my mind at ease (as if!) they would do another scan this time next week. So that’s another week’s wait. I mean it’s obviously more like 5 weeks wait (for a 12 week scan) unless something goes obviously wrong before then. But I just felt like they weren’t telling us something.
T says I have to stop worrying as it’s bad for the baby and he seems to feel absolutely fine about it. I mean, he keeps referring to “the baby” and saying I’m pregnant and need to take it easy and stop worrying. Oh and stop being anxious because it’s bad for the baby. (This is right up there with Just relax and you’ll get pregnant in my book. Easier said than done.)
We saw the nurse afterwards and she was quite matter of fact (not my favourite lovely nurse who is the most reassuring nurse in the world) and she said that everything is fine. And I asked why we were having another scan and she said lots of hospitals would discharge us now to the doctor (as in go back to the normal GP and not be a special case) but they felt that the scan wasn’t very clear and wanted to give us “the benefit of an extra scan”. And also that it was booked in early. (I don’t think it was booked in early – I mean, it was booked in by the fertility nurse and is apparently a normal time to have an early scan.)
So I sort of feel in limbo. I still don’t feel elated or anything. I felt nervous and almost like I was going to cry before the scan. I now feel like… What if he isn’t growing? He’s already on the small side. Why are they giving me an extra scan? Is there something wrong? etc etc.
I bet this sounds really stupid and ungrateful and I’m truly grateful that I’ve managed to come this far. I really am. It just feels more worrying somehow. And I find myself feeling really resentful of normal women who just get p!ssed and instantly get up the duff (pretty much all my friends) and don’t worry at all about pregnancy, announce it really early, sail through it, don’t worry about symptoms and miscarriage and everything. I don’t think they even do anything for the first 3 months. I could be wrong, but I think they just relax and wait for the first trimester to be over.
And the other thing is, in the UK we don’t have all the tests you guys in US/Canada seem to have. We don’t have bloods taken or anything. I just have Crinone (progesterone gel) which I’m supposed to take until week 10-12 and folic acid and the odd ultrasound. If we hadn’t scheduled an extra one for next week then I think I wouldn’t have anything until an ultrasound at 12 weeks, and normal people just have that one and nothing before. Go figure! I’m not sure if this level of testing puts my mind at ease or whether I’d feel better having tests more often. I think I would probably feel better if I had the blood tests, betas and whatnot as at least I would see some sort of progress. I guess if we go back next week and he’s still 5.3mm (or worse, disappeared) then we would know.
Oh and now it’s time for a mini vent…
I have this one friend who I feel like it’s really difficult to remain friends with. She is just the smuggest person in the whole entire world. She was always a real party girl and drank loads and it’s like everything she wanted just fell in her lap. She wanted to get into a relationship – done. Wanted to get married – he proposed (after being told to). She was even really quite old to be thinking of getting married and starting a family (40+) and yet decided she’d stay on birth control until after the wedding because she didn’t want to get pregnant before getting married. You’d think the odds were low for conceiving in your forties with a really unhealthy lifestyle – heavy drinking and overweight – but no, when does she conceive but on her honeymoon. Whilst drinking.
To add insult to injury I’ve had a really tough time at work and whilst she was pregnant, T lost his job so we were completely stressed and strapped for cash. During her pregnancy she decided she didn’t want to work any more so gave up work. Sold a house, bought a house. Spends her days doing nothing but counting up money and being smug. (Do I sound bitter? I am bitter.) Also I might add that she always expects a lot from people financially – like she picks out her own expensive birthday presents from Tiffany & Co and expects everyone to donate, and even booked her own hen do in a really inconvenient out of the way expensive place and demanded we all paid her the money. Probably at a profit to her. I wouldn’t put it past her. It’s not like she is generous either – she is the stingiest present giver in the world. One year I got her MAC makeup. Her most recent present to me was a second hand book and the previous one was some stickers to put on your nails. (I am not 16 and the likelihood of me wearing nail art in my corporate office is nil.)
She’s now had the baby and we are expected every time she’s in town to make some sort of pilgrimage to go and see the baby. (Just to be uncharitable for a minute, it is a very weird looking baby. Miaow. Then again, ugly babies make cute adults in my experience so it’s probably going to be a looker.) I mean… Every. Time. And she actually messages me each time to try and harangue me into going to see her (and THE BABY), even though it’s usually at some out of the way location which would take over an hour to get to, and she books The Visitation at 6pm or something (when anyone with a job in the city is still at work). And even though I told her I was working 18 hour days. Another time she was demanding everyone made a trip out of town (I don’t have a car) which would have been a 5-6 hour round trip on a Sunday. I said no thanks.
So yesterday there was another invitation from this friend, and another smuggy smug ultrasound on Facebook (different people) and I just felt like screaming.
Why can’t I just enjoy this pregnancy?
Why does everyone else get to be all happy and pregnant and I just feel anxious?
Answers on a postcard…
So I know there have been other posts about this, but can I just reiterate:
It is rude to ask people about their marital/parental status!
Yet again today I have been faced with a barrage of questions around why I don’t have kids. The final straw was when my ex (long ago ex, from uni) messaged me on Facebook specifically to ask me why I wasn’t married with several children by now.
Even when I responded and said “That is a personal question!” and “It isn’t something you should ask people”… He still kept asking!
In the end I stopped replying.
Seriously though… Why do people think it’s okay to quiz people about their personal lives like this? Why is it okay to have this gross invasion of privacy on a daily basis, purely because of the fact that you’re a woman? (My ex and my current partner rarely get asked about anything like this.)
Q: Why don’t I have kids?
A: Because I haven’t had any. THE END
In the context of my little rant, I thought it worth producing a handy flow diagram showing when to ask someone about why they don’t have children.
This is more of a rant/vent than part of the IVF experience as such, but I just wanted to say:
I’m so angry (or maybe more upset, frustrated) at the world today. There’s a number of reasons but really I think it’s just a perfect storm.
It’s day 4 – the day before embryo transfer. I have to go and get the embryos implanted tomorrow. This should be a really nice time… A relaxing and hopeful and happy shared experience with T.
But instead I’m working 18hr days on the project from hell. I don’t actually get much shared experience with T. I’m staying in a hotel and sleeping 4 hours a night in a city 3 hours away. I’m on my way back now just so I can do the transfer tomorrow morning. This evening I have to work until about midnight – 1am and I won’t get a good night’s sleep as I have to get up and work before going to hospital for the transfer.
I’m feeling tired, emotional, I have horrible symptoms (the ones which are bothering me the most are the massive swollen stomach, horrible sore swollen boobs and spots), my team working for me are really stressed and on the verge of tears by constantly changing project demands and I don’t have any time to spend with T. If I’m at home like I will be tonight, I’ll be working until I go to bed.
This is not how it should be.
I’ve also been reading some stuff on adoption which I came across from starting this blog. I think it has kind of opened up some unprocessed feelings for me and I just feel angry. Particularly about ignorant people making horrible comments about adoption and adults who were adopted having their opinions invalidated. That infuriates me.
And maybe also the whole concept of possible biological relatives (through IVF) makes me think about all those things too. It makes me feel really angry almost(?) that I have to go through all of this bio/racial identity stuff. I don’t know anyone in the world I’m biologically related to. In that sense I am categorically as related to my dog (who’s “adopted”) as much as I am to any human, as much as I am to my partner and my family. There is literally no categorical difference – I am not biologically related to any of them.
Maybe it’s the hormones having a bad effect. Maybe it’s the pressure of a crazy long hours high stress lots of travel job. Maybe it’s the stress of going through infertility and IVF.
All I know is: Day 4 is meant to be the “relax” day and I feel anything but relaxed.
I have an announcement to make…
It had to bloody happen, didn’t it? It’s summertime, which means hayfever season and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS PREGNANT.
I’m not pregnant. I’m just… blobby. I’m actually turning into Jabba the Hutt. I’m not even going to dignify that with a picture, because it’s actually Jabba the Hutt with swollen breasts, greasy hair, skin breakouts and a load of stomach bruising which in combination is I’m not pregnant.
Anyway, so it turns out that all the weddings we attended in the last year resulted in an easy quick-as-you-like-it pregnancy. The first one – my extremely self-satisfied everything-comes-easy friend: pregnant on honeymoon. The second one: another honeymoon baby. And now, the ones who’ve been trying to “catch up” with us for a while (cue announcement – I mean, when does anyone make efforts to catch up otherwise?): ANOTHER BLOODY PREGNANCY.
I’m happy for them. I really am. Well… that and fuming. Because for every super-pleased-with-themselves friend who gets knocked up on honeymoon, there’s me:
Yes: during my long spell of infertility (= my life) I’ve actually managed to get into a long term relationship, cohabit, get engaged, get married, get separated, do a lot of silly things, get into another relationship, cohabit… and decide to try for a baby. That whole thing spans over a decade and doesn’t even count the decade before that where I was mainly growing up and trying to find out my way in life. And now we’re on the lovely not-at-all-guaranteed IVF journey and I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself. In a ranty way. (Btw this is just a vent. I’m always nice to pregnant friends. I even buy thoughtful gifts and feign an interest in their pregnancies when really I just want to scream it’s not fair!!!)
During just one year the number of babies that have popped out (on Facebook mainly) are enough to build my own little army of babies. (They wouldn’t do anything. So probably not that effective as an army.)
This is how I feel. It’s like everyone who even sneezes gets pregnant. Today’s announcement = the last straw. I even was invited to the meet up “catch up” but I knew there was likely going to be a pregnancy announcement so I avoided it. Typical. If only pregnancy were catching, I’d have about a hundred babies by now.
So here’s what I think…
“If you don’t like something, change it.”
A long time ago when I was going through a bit of a hard time (and no doubt causing others a hard time… for which I’m truly sorry) I came across this manifesto for life, and it resonated with me.
For so much of my life I felt like I was letting people down, and not being the person they wanted me to be. And I would try super hard to be that person, the one who’d be the best friend they ever had and would never be unfriended. And that led to a lot of disappointment, because like King Canute I discovered that you can’t hold back the tides. The times they are a-changin’, and friends change more than almost anything else.
If I look at my friends now, they’re not the same as the friends I had 5 years ago. They’re not even the same friends as I had 3 years ago. I have some friends who’ve stuck by me through thick and thin (literally, haha) and some who are new and amazing and some who are old and fading into other people’s orbits. And I’m okay with that, I think… Although I still think of the old ones, the ones who are lost.
In the beginning, when I was at school, I would cling hard onto those friendships because I wanted everything always to remain the same. I would do everything in my power to make sure that we would never be torn asunder (*dramatic adolescent me*)… I would write long letters and think of brilliant presents and I’d always do my utmost to be the bestest friend in the world. And I was rewarded with some pretty great friends. Which is great because a lot of them have stayed with me till adulthood.
As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve become more realistic about friends and I’ve come to the understanding that you can’t cling onto every single one of them. I just don’t have the time or the emotional resilience to do that. Plus you learn to let them go when there are good reasons to. There have been some who’ve left me because of the simple fact of geography – old work colleagues who I don’t see every day any more, or people who’ve moved to the other side of the country or world, where you just can’t keep up the connection. There are the ones I think of wistfully, like my ex best friend (well, not best friend exactly, because I don’t like to rank my friends, but up there with the main ones) who I don’t even see any more. We never fell out – we just drifted apart. We didn’t have that old yearning to meet up again and again any more. I feel like you should always try and have that excitement and want to meet up with people. I try and infuse my friendships with that.
You definitely manage to sift out some friends when a relationship breaks up. Or, more accurately, they sift you out. I tried not to be too upset about those friends because I felt that I was “the bad one” and that the one who leaves also deserves to lose friends. I picked myself up and I carried on. And I made some really good friends during that dark time. (Some not so good ones as well, but that’s another story!)
But the ones who I really feel that I’ve lost, who almost without exception have stopped being friends without me even trying: The Mummies.
I first recognised this phenomenon when my friend asked if we could meet up and she brought her 4 year old and I realised I hadn’t seen the child before – and she then had another child who I still haven’t seen. There are loads of them:
…There’s the friend I haven’t seen since she was on her way to meet me for dinner (it was her shout, I remember that, as I’d paid for our last very expensive meal and she’d promised to pay the next time!). That day she found out she was pregnant so she cancelled on me – and I’ve never seen her again, in person. She now has a kid at school and another one who’s a toddler – I still haven’t seen her since.
…There’s the friend who never told me she was pregnant and I found out via social media that she’d had a baby. She knew about my fertility issues and maybe she was being nice by not saying anything. I haven’t seen her since either. It’s like she just dropped out of my life.
…There’s a score of other friends who’ve had babies, friends who I eagerly send huge care packages of presents to on the birth of their children… and who I never see again.
Is it me? Am I avoiding all of my friends who have children?
I think maybe it works both ways.
I’m pretty sure they see me as a horrible un-child-friendly person who doesn’t want to hang around with babies or talk about breastfeeding all the time. I don’t have anything in common with those people and maybe I come across as unenthusiastic or unfriendly about it. I just can’t bring myself to spend my rare free time with people who are carting babies and toddlers around – the idea fills me with dread.
I’m a terrible person.
The thing is… I don’t want to spend time with those people because I don’t want to be reminded all the time that they have what I don’t have… I don’t want to hold your baby and I don’t want to watch you breastfeed and I don’t want to do anything which makes me feel again and again that I probably won’t ever have that. I don’t want you to look at me in pity and I don’t want you to make assumptions about how I “hate” children, because nothing could be further from the truth and I’m tired of having to make out I’m happy and/or explain myself all the time.
I’m sad and I’m jealous and I don’t know if I can still be your friend.
And maybe they feel that. I think that’s why friends with babies start avoiding friends without – because they are a reminder that it doesn’t always work out. They’re so happy with their new baby and they don’t need that kind of forced happiness in their life. Because I really do try… I’m the biggest fairy godmother in the world – I spoil the children I know. But there’s a kind of sadness there and maybe they’re worried it’s contagious and they don’t want to have to deal with someone else’s sadness.
And the only ones who stick around are the ones who know and can feel it. The ones who are super sensitive and generous with their children and don’t try to force them on me or me on them… Who can just let us be friends, with or without their babies being there. Who try and preserve the friendship even though this big huge thing has happened to them and they can’t stop smiling, but who are sensitive to the fact that I can’t begin to comprehend this and sometimes it might make me act a bit weirdly.
And maybe that comes across as me being really petulant and selfish and I really try not to be, because I want to be happy for them, I really do. But it’s hard not to feel helpless when the loss just hits you every now and then. That everyone in the world is pregnant apart from me. That maybe this is punishment for not being the best nicest person I could be, and I don’t deserve happiness – I have too much of it anyway and I’m luckier than I deserve to be. The idea that I’ll maybe never know anyone I’m genetically related to. (Most of the time I’m fine with it, because I never have, but every now and then it’s like: kapow!)
Ultimately, I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. It’s more a random rumination on loss, or more accurately, missing something I never had. I guess I’m really thinking… I wonder if I’ll ever be a part of that club? Will I ever be a mother?
So… Back to the manifesto. If you don’t like something, change it. I’m trying to do that. I’m trying to be a good person and a friend I would like to have. (I rarely ever live up to my own expectations, but at least I’m not as bad as I used to be.) I can’t quit my job as then I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent, but I’m trying to make the best of it… I’m trying to have an open mind and heart. And I’ve seized the opportunity to make things happen, to make a baby happen. I’m lucky in love. I’m living in one of the most developed countries in the world. I have a job and I can look after myself. I have lots of amazing people (and animals) in my life so it’s not like I’m missing out on love or snuggles.
I’m doing okay. I’m doing my best. That’s all any of us can do.