This post was written in October 2015 when everything was still fresh in my mind. It hasn’t been published until now, because it was a very difficult thing to talk about and process at the time. I would like to finally share my story of secondary infertility and beyond (currently expecting a little miracle in February 2018 – we are over the moon) over the following days/weeks. It’s both therapy and also hopefully something that someone else might find helpful or informative or interesting. I tried to document my experiences by writing the stuff I would have wanted to read. I’m no hero or crusader but I do hope that I could make at least one person feel less alone.
As I sit here on the first day of my stupid (literally) bloody visitor for the 15th month since we started trying for a baby, I am feeling a little bit nervous. A little bit overwhelmed. See, I thought waiting for my period was stressful for the 14 months that came before this! The confused feelings of hope versus pessimism fighting each other every single day until I got that negative at home pregnancy test or later, when I’d given up on those and just waited until the bleeding started.
But no…this is a little more stressful! See, there’s all these rules before they start doing some proper tests (I have already had what feels like litres worth of blood tests removed from my body so it totes doesn’t count) and they all depend on where you are in your cycle. I won’t bore you with every little detail, but basically once my period arrives I have to jump into action. An ultrasound 3-4 days in, a blood test to prove I’m not pregnant (doesn’t take a rocket scientist but I do understand why they do it), an X-ray to check my tubes at 10 days (which isn’t as lovely and easy as it sounds and involves stuff stuck up my clacker and dye forced through my tubes)!
I have a long way to go on this journey (even if things go amazingly with early medical intervention for whatever might be wrong with me it will feel like forever haha), but I am starting to learn so many things. Here are some of those things…
It’s all pretty fucking emotional
I mean, I’m not stupid. I knew this would be an emotional rollercoaster. I mean, duh. But I didn’t realise just how much. I have cried over things that I never thought I would cry over. I think I tried to be all matter of fact going into this, which is a ridiculous expectation because have you met me (or read my blog)?
Some days, the weirdest (in)fertility related stuff will make me cry like a baby. I don’t even mean a single tear rolling down my cheek as I grieve for the baby that feels so far from my reach. I mean, big fat tears that keep on coming. And the craziest thing? It feels so damn good to cry sometimes!
Earlier this month, I found out that the 5K fun run I was going to do with friends wouldn’t be a realistic option, because I will most likely have that X-ray right before it. I had been so excited about the run. If it hadn’t been fertility related, I would have shrugged, made mock angry noises about not being able to go, apologised to my friends and been done with it. But what did I do? I CRIED LIKE A BABY on and off for two whole days. And the thing was, I wasn’t wallowing. I was just crying! It’s like you kind of get on with things, but you cry too. It’s like a release valve that keeps me going, weirdly enough. I guess sometimes the bigger disappointments rise to the surface when you experience smaller ones.
Get a really awesome magazine subscription – treat yo’self!
All these appointments mean some sitting around. I have learned that I really want to make the most of that time. It’s like my poor woman’s version of the mythical ‘me’ time! Before all of this, I considered getting a subscription to my favourite magazine Marie Claire. I then thought, don’t be silly, Kez. When’s the last time you actually got through an issue from cover to cover? Don’t waste your money!
NOW? Now I think it will be the best investment ever and will give me something nice to look forward to – a little distraction. Also, you get a discount if you subscribe, so technically I am saving money 😉
Always a fan of a bargain!
You have to let people in
I know it sounds funny because I’m generally quite an outgoing, open person. But sometimes I just can’t talk about certain tough things going on behind the scenes for me. I freak out about making myself vulnerable or about how people will react. I worry about burdening others with my problems (even though I am always happy to be there for my friends). When we made our first appointment with the specialist, I started to open up a bit with those closest to us and the most wonderful thing happened. A lot of people were full of love and support. I mean, sure, I should have expected that because we have such beautiful people in our lives (hashtag blessed and all that), but I am an anxious freak sometimes. I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I just expect the worst.
I didn’t want to be that person who never talks about it, because no-one ever talks about it. The year leading up to that had been so stressful with nobody to share the struggles with. I decided that I just couldn’t go on any longer keeping it in or I might explode.
When the kindness started coming back to me, I was so overwhelmed. It was the first time in my adult life that I had ever put myself on the line so much. To see that there was nothing but love and positivity was so humbling (and shocking) to me that I actually took a few days to let it sink in and accept it. To all of those who have been there for me/us – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much you’ve made a difference.
Some of the weirdest stuff will make you feel better – just go with it
Want to know something totally embarrassing and ridiculous? Right now, my fight song is Bad Blood by Taylor Swift. Yep. Because each time I get my period (instead of being pregnant), now we’ve got bad blood. It makes me giggle, but it also makes me sing at the top of my lungs like a loony. It’s not even an optimistic song and the metaphor doesn’t quite translate and I really find Taylor Swift irritating, but it makes me feel all bad ass. I get all feisty and for a second, I feel like I’m gonna blow up the place with my awesomeness and (sometimes) good hair and maybe everything will be OK. I am not even gonna apologise for it. I’m just gonna take the laughs where I can. Even if mostly I’m just laughing at myself. #squadgoals (OMG I hope you know that was a joke)!
The other day, my mum (who is amazing and went through infertility with my dad before they adopted my brother and I) said, “You just have to learnt to go with the flow…literally.”
Yeah, it’s funny. So expect stupid ‘period’ jokes*. If you’re too grossed out, you might need to find another blog haha.
I just bought myself a whole bunch of planners and stuff. It’s helped for two reasons. One being that now I know where the hell I’m supposed to be and when. There are so many dates and times and appointments thrown at you when you start this process. I have to remember haematology appointments (I may have a little blood disorder** – no biggie), specialist appointments, dates to have blood tests by, ultrasound dates, blah blah. It’s a bit overwhelming. I have a dedicated folder to keep my referrals and test requests from my doctor in. The idea of losing some of those just gives me anxiety! I have to know what’s going on each week and I admit I had become a bit chaotic and disorganised before this, so it’s been a great kick up the arse.
The second benefit to being more organised is that it helps me to feel in control. It calms me. At a time of my life where I couldn’t be more out of control of what’s going on (i.e. not knowing what’s wrong with me or whether I’ll be able to get pregnant again or when that might possibly happen), having a way to keep organised just makes me feel like I’m nailing something. I can breathe out, knowing that I haven’t forgotten anything.
I hope that sharing this stuff helps somebody else. If you’re going through this too, I am cheering you on. I really am. I know that I am new to this whole process and I can’t imagine what it’s like to try for multiple years with no success***, but I am sending lots of love x
I shall leave you with this…
*It actually got less and less funny
**I was subsequently tested again and got the all clear – turns out I have a slight tendency to be a ‘bleeder’ but I don’t have any diagnosis for Von Willebrands as originally suspected
***3 years later…