The middle

The middle

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Credit: Mark Basarab

I have always loved before and after stories. Cinderella transforming into a princess. The ugly duckling becoming a swan. The hungry caterpillar emerging from it’s chrysalis.

And if asked I will talk to you honestly, happily and at length about my own before and after stories; afterwards. I’ll tell you about how I went from desperately trying to earn my place in the world to believing (most of the time) that I was enough. I will talk to you about what grief taught me about love. I will describe my struggle with infertility and how I lost three stone to access IVF and instead fell pregnant naturally.

The key word in that sentence above is afterwards. People tell me that admire my honesty in writing about the situations I have found hard. My reaction is always mixed: part proud but also part feeling like I have just pulled off a con. It’s takes courage to show somebody your scars, it another thing entirely to show somebody your wounds.

I am very good at talking about difficult experiences afterwards. When time has lent some distance and perspective and things are less raw. But sharing that brutiful (half beautiful/half brutal) bit in the middle of something I am struggling with? Ugh.

When I am in the middle of something hard, I cannot find the words to name what is happening to me.

When I am in the middle of something hard, I feel an expectation that I need to go away in private and figure my shit about before I can be in company again.

When I am in the middle of something hard I feel so bruised and skinless that an inadvertent glance could hurt me.

When I am in the middle of something hard I feel stuck. I cannot go back and unknow what I have learnt. But I have no idea how to move forward.

When I am in the middle of something hard I don’t know the story ends. I don’t know whether I will triumph or fail. I don’t know what the meaning of this experience will be until afterwards.

When I am in the middle of something hard, the last thing I want to do is talk about it.

But that’s what I ask my clients to do every day. There is so much I could say about what is happening within me right now. But I am in the middle – so I don’t. Until now that is.

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I read this quote from Glennon Doyle Melton, one of the writers who inspired me and it floored me. Yes, it is important to share our truth but what about sharing our unknowing. Why don’t we talk about the bits of our life that are still in construction. So inspired I am trying something new today. Even though thinking about hitting publish gives me a knot in my chest and that sinking sensation of being emotional naked.

Here are some things I am in the middle of:

Work

I’ve always been ambitious, it’s one of my defining characteristics. But when people ask me ‘when are you going back to work?’ I want to jam my fingers in my ears and sing loudly until they go away.

I don’t want to work again, ever. Despite the fact I love my job and staying home isn’t an option financially. I am desperately frightened that if I go back to work that ‘Push the river’ side of me, that relentless driving force will take over. And there won’t be any space for me or Nibs or anything other than pushing forward at all costs. Until I have figured out how I can work without letting it take over – I don’t want to go back. I expect my motherhood bubble will pop at some point and I may long for another identity other than mother and to exercise my intellectual muscles. But for the moment…

nope

Self-care

Having and mothering a baby has made me realise how abysmal I am at mothering myself. If I were an actual mother and child I would report me to social services for neglect. I have realised recently where this lack of self-care comes from. But I don’t know how to move forward and it makes me feel sad and stuck. Why can take care of other people, but not myself? I am starting to notice how much this is affecting my relationships with my husband, child, family and friends. And it the affect on them that is motivating me to change, not on me. That fact makes me feel even sadder. I am trying to go back to basics and ask myself daily what I need. But it is so hard and humiliating. Shouldn’t I have learnt how to take care of myself already? Is it too late to learn?

Body

I eat emotionally, always have done, and it’s becoming a problem. I eat as a reward, out of comfort, to console myself or just mindlessly. I worry that Nibs will see me and develop some of my habits. The worst thing about this, is that I successfully lost a lot of weight before getting pregnant through revolutionising my eating habits. When I was pregnant I was really careful about what I ate. But the combination of breastfeeding, tiredness, and boredom have meant I have been eating cake like it’s going out of fashion.

The feeling that keeps on popping up that I should be over this by now? I know how to eat healthily. I have done it before. I have all the tools in my toolbox but still I keep self sabotaging. Sadly I think the issue is I can moderate my approach to food when other people are at stake – but not when it’s just about me. Instead I circle around and around this issue never progressing

Marriage

He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN) and I have been in better places. Don’t get me wrong, we’re OK but we could be better. Lack of sleep and lack of time, as individuals and as a couple, has taken its toll. I find this immensely frustrating because as a couples therapist I knew that having a baby was one of the biggest stressors on a relationship and I had a chance to memorise the classic fight up close:

Stay at home parent: I love the baby so much but sometimes looking after him alone is so hard. I resent so much that your life continues almost unchanged whereas I am tethered to a tiny human being. You get to leave, to speak to other adults, to pee in private. I am never alone but I am so lonely.

Working parent: But you get to see it all: all the tiny ways he changes every day. I miss it. I miss him and you get to see him all the time and you don’t appreciate it. He’s growing so fast and I am not here. Plus work isn’t the holiday you think it is.

Repeat ad nausem

9 months ago I assured myself we wouldn’t be like that. Cue hollow laughter. We, OK being brutally honest, I have not been kind to HWSNBN recently.

It is so entwined with me not taking care of myself that I know that before I can reconnect with HWSNBN I need some time for me. To figure out who I am as a mother and individual after this immense lifechanging experience. If I am set boundaries and ask for my needs to be met; I will be a better partner to him. I am not in panic mode at the moment partly because I don’t feel like I have the headspace to panic. We are trying different things – some of which seem to be helping. We’ll see.

The future

I am very torn on if/when we should try for another baby. It took years, and years last time. And I am hyper aware I may not have years of trying left. I never want to go through that agonising desperation of trying and failing to conceive again.

But I am not ready. I am not even close to ready for signing on for the intensity of a newborn. Some days I look at Nibs and he’s so wondrous I can’t imagine not trying to give him his sibling. Some days he seems so big to me and miss him being a tiny baby in my arms with an ache in my womb. Then I have a dark day where I feel like the shittest mum alive and think I am never having any more children. 

So, this is where I am at right in the middle with all the mess and none of the glory. Watch this space.

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The second trimester of pregnancy – bring on the rainbows and unicorns!

The second trimester of pregnancy – bring on the rainbows and unicorns!

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Is the second trimester, the best trimester?

After months of tireless research – I can conclude categorically that yes, yes it is. Or it was at least for me. The first trimester was characterised by exhaustion, secrecy and fear/excitement. The third trimester has so far been filled with miscellaneous aches and pains, gradually getting more cumbersome and with shit getting real. But I had high hopes for the second trimester. Other pregnant women talked about it so reverently as if rainbows beam out of your ears and you spend it riding a giant unicorn. The second trimester is when you felt your baby move, finally stopped vomming and falling asleep or vomming while falling asleep (FUN!) and you might even… glow!

How I expected pregnancy to make me look. How pregnancy actually makes me look.
How I expected pregnancy to make me look.  How pregnancy actually makes me look.

 

I was slightly disappointed when at midnight on week 14 I didn’t magically start feeling as if I was starring in a tampon commercial. But sometime through week 16, I went to bed at 10.30pm. Considering that previously I had been struggling to keep my eyes open past 8.30pm and this was akin to going out to an all night rave. Gradually, I began to feel more like a human being. And then even better energised. I was suddenly filled with a manic urge to clean all the things. In a period HWSNBN characterised as the week of hell as he woke up to find his pregnant wife obsessively wiping down skirting boards and culling all possessions.

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It helped that the second trimester fell over the summer holidays when for the first time in three years I was only working one job. It meant that I had time. Time to go swimming, to read and just stare at my expanding belly and to day dream about meeting Nibs.

During the second trimester I felt amazing – energised, potent and powerful. I wish that I could have bottled that feeling like liquid energy was coursing through my veins. Everything was easy and nothing hurt. At times I’d even forget I was pregnant as I whizzed around ticking tasks off my to do list.

Emotionally, although I still had days when I felt anxious, I finally allowed myself to get excited about being pregnant and even bought a couple of small things for Nibs. Earlier this year I had been working on accepting that although I was determined to become a mother I may not be able to biologically carry a child. Mourning the dream of growing this little being inside me was the only way I felt I could start to move forward and step off the roller coaster of hope and despair. But just when I had given up hope – it happened.

It took a while to recover from the emotional whiplash of ‘this dream might never happen’ vs ‘this is happening. NOW.’ As I said in my last post about pregnancy a big part of me will never feel completely comfortable and safe until I hold my baby in my arms. But as each week passed and each milestone with it, I began to relax more and more. 

At 17 weeks, I finally gathered up my courage and came out of the pregnancy closet. The outpouring of love and well wishes from friends who knew how we had been struggling made me cry – but in a good way. I’d say this was unusual but due to pregnancy hormones that week I also cried about swans, an advert for chocolate, and after stubbing my toe. Note to self, buy shares in Kleenex, preggo.

The kraken wakes

The latest scan photos of our baby
The latest scan photos of our baby

One of the most reassuring things was starting to feel Nibs move at around 18 weeks. I’d been feeling flutterings for a couple of weeks but convinced myself I was imagining it. But then HWSNBN felt it too. ‘It’s like fish in a balloon’ he said. And it was at first so light and airy like a swarm of teeny minnows inside me. At night I’d lie flat in bed, hands pressed to my tummy feeling the teeny shifts of movements. The midwife was incredibly surprised I could feel him so early as my placenta was anterior, acting like a massive cushion. As he grew the movements felt more distinctive. I could feel him rolling from side to side like a kraken emerging from the depths. He’d turn over suddenly and I’d feel that sensation like I was poised at the top of a rollercoaster waiting for it to drop. Feelings Nibs move was like having the best secret in the world especially as I still didn’t look visibly pregnant. To everybody else I looked normal but it felt like a miracle was happening within me that my baby and I were communicating in a language only we knew. 

Scans will never not be terrifying. Fact

When I feel scared I take selfies, fact
When I feel scared I take selfies, fact

After the relief of our 12 week scan, I was expecting to feel less nervous ahead of our 20 week anomaly scan. But as we drove there I wanted to throw up. I already knew that if our baby had a disability I would continue with the pregnancy. I remain firmly pro-choice but having a sister that was disabled and the light of my life meant it just didn’t seem an option for me. But what if our baby had a condition that was incompatible with life? How could I choose to keep going with the pregnancy knowing my child might live briefly and die in pain? All I could do was hope that this agonising choice was not one I would have to make.

As I lay down on bed and saw the first images of our baby on the screen I could tell the sonographer was tense. Unlike before the view was murky like seeing everything through a veil. And as she barked out measurements to her colleague I clutched HWSNBN’s hand tighter and tighter. Even he, the eternal optimist, was looking nervous. The numbers might as well have been in latin for all the sense they made to me. OK so he had kidneys but the fact they were measuring X. Was that good or bad?

I lay there feeling sicker and sicker as she frowned at the screen. Finally, she finished her measurements and I couldn’t keep silent any longer – ‘Is it all looking OK?’

A big pause.

‘Yeees, from everything I can see it looks normal. But…’

But?!

‘Because of your placenta’ (aka the massive cushion) ‘and the babies positioning’ (lying with arms crossed over their chest like Dracula) ‘I can’t get as good a view of the heart as I would like. From what I can see it looks fine but I need a better view and I don’t want to take any chances. Let’s get you in three weeks time when he’s a bit bigger and we’ll look again.’

As we left the room I made a conscious decision that I was not going to worry about it more than I could help. To my surprise I managed to do just that.

Three weeks later we returned and despite our little bat baby lying arms firmly crossed over their chest, after a bit of judicious hip sambaing and one very indignant baby later we could see that they DID have a heart after all.

Insider revelations on being the mother to the dark lord

Nib's new home

‘You know, Dana, there are many perks to being the mother of a living god.’

During the scan the sonographer zoomed in on Nib’s face to check for a cleft palate.

‘There is your babies face.’ She said obviously expecting cooing. But out of the gloaming, gulping amniotic fluid appeared a face. It was the kind of face only a mother can love. It was the kind of face that suggested a career with a cape and an amulet of fire. It was the kind of skeletal face, noseless, empty staring eye sockets that suggested that maybe I was carrying the dark lord.

Evidence for that I am the mother to the dark lord

  • Nibs likes to hang upside down like a bat
  • Nibs sleeps with their arms crossed over their chest. Like Dracula
  • Nib’s favourite activity is to kick mummy in the ribs, or head-butt her in the bladder – especially when she needs a wee.
  • As soon as I became pregnant a tower started being built on Brighton sea front. Every evil overlord needs a palace of doom afterall.

Evidence against that I am the mother to the dark lord

  • No familiar or evil sidekick has appeared. Yet.

Some might expect me to be disconcerted at that fact that I am carrying the dark incarnation of evil in my womb. Frankly I am rather excited as the dark lord position comes with a good pension and built in social life, if you like orcs. Let’s face it no matter what happens Nibs will always be mummy’s little precious and only allowed to take over the world after they’ve had tea and is wearing a vest.

Boy/Girl/Unicorn

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I always knew from early on in this pregnancy I wanted to find out whether I was having a boy or girl. I completely understand why people might want to keep it a surprise. But after all the uncertainty of trying to conceive, I knew that I needed every bit of information I could get about this baby. The more I knew about our baby the more this pregnancy began to feel real to me.

After the scan we decided to throw a small celebratory party for friends and family who had been so supportive throughout the whole journey to conceive. To add to excitement we decided to make it a gender reveal party. The name bothered me because although we knew Nib’s biological sex his or her gender wasn’t something we could prescribe. But holding a sex reveal party for friends and family sounded SO WRONG so gender reveal party it was.

Before the scan I tried pout a number of old wives tales. The ‘evidence’ was conclusive, we were having a boy. Except both HWSNBN and I were convinced we were having a girl. Except for that one dream I had pesky about rocking my baby boy in my arms while he gurgled up at me. We even had a girl’s name we had tentatively agreed on. Before we went into the scan, I said semi jokingly let’s hope it’s a girl so the great name war of 2015 remains concluded.

Anybody who has ever met me knows that my skill for guessing the sex of unborn babies is uncanny. As in uncannily I have 100 per cent record of getting it completely wrong – a record that remains intact. Because, yep we are having a little boy.

Is there anything more unappetising than blue food?
Is there anything more unappetising than blue food?

The second trimester – the statistics

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How far along: 27 weeks

Baby is the size of: Cauliflower. Comparing the baby to the size of fruit short-circuits HWSNBN’s scientific brain.

Week 19 and starting to pop
Week 19 and starting to pop
Week 27, see ya later feet
Week 27, see ya later feet

Names: Nibs, Nibbisicle, His Nibs, the dark lord, the long awaited one. We are completely stuffed for boys names and at this point there is a strong possibility our baby might remain ‘It’ for eternity. Then again Voldemort Sauron Vigo has a nice ring to it, no?

Bump: Growing. I still feel like I fit firmly into the baby or cake camp. Depending on what clothes I wear I can go from looking very pregnant to like I enjoy a bourbon biscuit or 60. I still forget I am pregnant and when I catch myself out of the corner of my eye have a seriously Row put down the cake moment and then remember doh you’re pregnant

Symptoms: Slight back ache as my bump grows bigger.

Amazing and uncanny sense of smell. Combined with a constantly blocked nose, thanks pregnancy sinitusis. This has had one unexpected benefit – for the first year in a long time I’ve skipped all those seasonal colds.

Ability to burn in the moonlight. Thanks lack of melanin that has suddenly made me feel a lot of sympathy for pale people.

Insomnia. Just when I had regained my energy I started waking at 5am each morning filled with thoughts like ‘how can I fix the world in three months?’ ‘Should I cut my hair?’ ‘What is the difference between walnut and pecans anyway?’ You know important shit like that. HWSNBN thinks this is nature’s way of preparing me from the sleepless nights post birth. I think this proves that nature is a bitch.

Boy or girl: A boy. 

Cravings: Cauliflower cheese.

Milk

All the carbs.

Anything making you feel queasy: Luckily what queasiness I had seems to have abated. But eating too much can make me feel overfull and sick so I have to eat little and often like a small woodland creature. Dessert is no longer an option. This is dark times indeed my friends.

Maternity clothes: Thanks to eBay I now have some maternity clothes which I am mixing with my more floating normal dresses. So far I’ve been unimpressed with maternity fashion which remains both expensive and unfashionable.

Sleep: Less than before especially at 5am…

Miss anything: Crack.

I jest. Nope, so far I am loving being pregnant.

Next stop, the third trimester…

The agony and the ecstasy of the first trimester – pregnancy after infertility

The agony and the ecstasy of the first trimester – pregnancy after infertility

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(Editors note: I wrote bits of this between weeks 8-10. I’m now at week 25. By my reckoning this means I’ll publish a post about the second trimester just before I’m due to give birth. Let’s just say pregnancy hasn’t made me any more together…)

I didn’t allow myself to dream about what would happen after I finally became pregnant. It seemed needlessly cruel. Like dreaming about completing a marathon when I was hobbling around on a broken leg.

If you’d pressed me back then I would have been certain of one thing if I was able to become pregnant I’d be happy. Can anybody say destination fallacy?

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It’s hard to put into words what I felt when I saw those much longed for two lines back in May. Utter disbelief that maybe this was finally happening. A surge of excitement bubbling beneath my skin as I visualised my baby as tiny as sesame seed. And a fear so sharp I could taste it in my mouth that this baby would be taken away from me.

But happy? No, I didn’t feel even a little bit happy, not at all. That would come later. In those early stages I would swing between these feelings in an emotionally exhausting rollercoaster that I confided in very few people about because it seemed like spitting in the face of my good fortune. There were brief intervals in between where I felt with a weird certainty that everything would be OK. And even moments when I would forget I was pregnant altogether.

(Don’t get me wrong – getting pregnant has been and remains one of the best moments of my life to date. It’s just that like so many big moments such as getting married it wasn’t anything like I had expected it to be.)

I read a lot beforehand about the hellish physical symptoms of the first trimester but *whisper it* I loved my physical symptoms. I loved that feeling of exhaustion so deep that I needed a nap from just getting up and putting on my clothes. I loved the waves of nausea and over sensitivity to smells. I loved how excruciatingly sore my boobs were that wind could make me wince. Because each symptom was like a message from my body signifying it was doing something, that it was busily working to sustain the life growing within me.

Me trying not to vom/fall asleep on things. This is my happy face. Promise
Me trying not to vom/fall asleep on things. This is my happy face. Promise

But for a lifelong control freak this was terrifying too. My body was doing all of this without any conscious effort from me, so it could just as easily stop without any conscious effort from me.

I was very aware of the statistics and that my fear was rooted in facts. In the first trimester, the average woman has 20-30% chance of miscarrying and those statistics are higher for women with PCOS. Every time I went to the toilet I was on knicker watch for signs of blood. I took a pregnancy test every week and that three minute wait to see the results crawled by agonising slow. One dreadful evening midway through working with clients I started cramping so badly I was convinced the pain would show on my face. Later in bed the pain was so bad my breath felt halted and contained. I turned to HWSNBN and told him that this was it. The worst thing was the sense of relief I felt, I’d been waiting for something awful to happen and here it was. Now it was over I could deal. (It wasn’t. Thank god, it wasn’t)

The only thing that helped during those early weeks was to try and not look ahead and just focus one day at a time. Each day that passed with my symptoms intact felt like a victory. And although the spectre of the missed miscarriage hung over me, I tried as much as I could to not think about worse case scenarios.

I thought, naively, that getting pregnant would heal the wounds of those years of trying fruitlessly to have a baby. But it seemed like I carried a parcel of that old anxiety with me. I’d forgotten that it was the hope (that two week wait) that hurt the most. And the first trimester is that two week wait on steroids.

Compared to so many other couples struggling to conceive we had it easy. Our journey was not particularly long or medically invasive or full of loss like some of my friends. But when you’re in the midst of infertility you don’t know if you will conceive next month or never. Living in limbo never gets easier and it had left it’s mark.

I don’t know if women whose journey to conceive was easier felt like this – the barely controlled panic. Knowing myself as I do I expect even if my journey to conceive had been less rocky I still would have felt a certain measure of anxiety. It’s always been in my nature to distrust good fortune and look to the sky not for rainbows but approaching comets. But I felt so jealous of the women who on getting that first positive pregnancy test were able to skip out and buy babies shoes, who shared the news widely, who said with confidence that their baby was due in January. I realised midway through the first trimester with a kind of mourning that my experience of pregnancy will never have that optimistic certainty that everything will be OK. Until I hold my healthy baby in my arms I will always be waiting with baited breath to pass the next milestone, to have the next scan, to feel the baby move – to exhale just a teeny bit.

For me it felt like pregnancy was a skittish woodland animal that I would scare away if I make any sudden movements at it. The only thing I wanted to do in these early weeks is curl up under the bed in a pile of blankets and not move or do anything. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for my reclusive instincts I was juggling three jobs at the time so I had no choice but to keep going. Although everything else stopped as I realising that powering through my exhaustion was no longer an option.

Post dating scan faces
Post dating scan faces

I felt in limbo – I didn’t belong in the world of the happy pregnant women but neither was I a member of the infertile club anymore.

The worst thing was not the physical symptoms or anxiety but the guilt. Complaining about pregnancy after infertility feels like a person who was dying of dehydration bitching that there is a fly in their champagne. I felt extraordinarily guilty that I wasn’t enjoyed this privileged experience I had longed for and fought for. I had so many friends who would long to be in this position and instead of enjoying it I was worrying.

The guilt was insidious. I was very aware of how hard it can be to hear pregnancy announcements especially if you are struggling with infertility. And that my joy might inadvertently hurt somebody because they so desperately want to be in my shoes and they aren’t. One of the reasons I wanted to be open and honest about the fear (as well as the excitement) of getting pregnant is because to help other future woman going through this feel less isolated. Just as reading how other women felt and realising I wasn’t alone helped me immeasurably.

The guilt is still there but it was lessened when around week 11 I realised I as much as any other women have the right to feel whatever I feel around this pregnancy. And that’s it’s OK to feel afraid, as well as blessed, to flip between the certainty that everything will go wrong, and the wish that everything goes right. Sometimes it’s OK to focus on surviving a new experience rather than thriving. And day by day, hour by hour somehow I made it to that first scan. When the sonographer said ‘There’s your baby. And that’s it’s heart beating’ and I saw strong but clear the rhythmic thud of Nib’s heart – there was the happiness I’d been seeking like the sun coming out after a storm.

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The first trimester – the statistics

How far along: 13 weeks

Baby is the size of: A peach

Names: Just a nickname: Nibs.

Bump: A teeny one. But I’m sure it’s pregnancy bloat rather than pregnancy belly. 

Week 8
Week 8 – bloated
PicMonkey Collage 11
Week 11 – so, so tired

Symptoms: I realised early on that I have been so focused on getting pregnant, that I have almost no knowledge of what happens when you are pregnant. This means I have spent most of the first trimester consulting Dr Google with questions like:

What is going on with my boobs and why do I want to cut a bitch when she brushes past me? What is leukomania and why is it so gross? Why do I feel like I have two corks stuffed up my nose – permanently?

The biggest surprise has been the exhaustion. I expected to feel sick, I didn’t expect to feel like I had glandular fever. But every pregnancy symptom feels like a gift at this point. Bring it on body.

Boy or girl: Team unicorn all the way! That’s an option right? I have managed to horrify a good number of well-meaning people who have asked what I’m hoping for, by responding without thinking ‘a live one.’

Cravings: Milk. Milkshakes. Milk on cereal. Milk by the galloon. I’m guessing the baby needs calcium

Lemons in any form – squeezed on salad, or vegetables and fresh lemonade. But and this is important not at the same time as the milk. That would be gross.

Anything making you feel queasy: Sweet things. Quorn. Anything complicated. Pregnancy has reduced me to toddler tastes

Maternity clothes: One of the benefits of losing a shit-ton of weight before getting pregnant means that my larger clothes will last me a while before I have to buy maternity clothes. Even so waistbands are not my friend and I cannot bear anything tight so all my jeans have been packed away. My lovely SIL has gifted me with some of her maternity clothes and my favourite pick is sleep bras. AMAZEBALLS.

Sleep: All the time, at every moment of every day.

Best moment this week: having the scan and realising that little Nibs is a) in there and not a deluded figment of my imagination b) that his/her heart is beating c) and that they are measuring perfectly on schedule.

Miss anything: No, I am so beyond grateful to be pregnant even the extreme tiredness is welcome. Check back in the third trimester and we’ll see if I’m still singing from the same hymn sheet

How to get pregnant

How to get pregnant

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After years of knowing you’d quite like a baby, yanno in principle, one day, in the far off future = after there have been more mojitos, more holidays, more lie ins). Wake up one morning and realise you want a baby NOW.

Talk to husband, ignore the look of mild terror in his eyes, as you explain the baby NOW plan.

Husband persuades you that as you are working, finishing the last six months of your counselling degree, having counselling and also counselling other people that maybe the baby NOW plan could wait six months. Agree, reluctantly.

Six months pass.

How past you thinks getting pregnant happens. You deluded fool, you
How past you thinks getting pregnant happens. You deluded fool, you

Embark on this baby NOW plan full of excitement and hope. Of course, it won’t happen the first month – you’re not stupid. But definitely by month two. Out of earshot, the baby making gods laugh at you.

During the first month when you period is late and you start throwing up try and fail to get excited. When your period comes, try and fail not to cry.

Try. Fail. Try harder. Fail. Try to pretend you are not trying. Fail.

Begin to worry that all those years of practising not getting pregnant and being really truly awesome at it have meant you suck at getting pregnant.

Try not to freak out that something is wrong. Fail.

Just relax and it will cure your infertility

Do not punch the multiple people in the face who tell you to relax. Instead reply through gritted teeth ‘I am relaxed.’ Don’t act surprised when they don’t believe you.

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Go on another epic holiday of a lifetime. Your husband and you tell each other ‘it will be the last one’ with the silent sub text that surely your baby will be coming soon. You’re wrong.

Stay put in a secure job because surely you’ll get pregnant this month. No? What about next month? Next year? Haha think a-fucking-gain.

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Go to the GP. Push them for tests. When your hormone results come back they will tell you, that you are fine. That you’re young. That it will happen naturally.

Google progesterone levels. Find normal, scroll down, and down, and down to where you are. Panic.

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Order herbal remedies and start taking so many vitamins you rattle.

Go to acupuncture. Tell acupuncturist about your symptoms. She, unlike the GP, listens. She, unlike the GP, notices that your luteal phase is short, very very short. So short that even if you were able to get pregnant there wouldn’t be enough time for the baby to implant.

Go back to another GP and insist they look at your test results again. ‘Hmm, well this does look low. I think we need to refer you.’ Stare unblinkingly at them while trying to communicate that maybe this should have happened four months ago.

bitter

Hate how infertility makes you feel: bitter, sad and ashamed. Decide it’s time to be honest and come out of the infertility closet. Cry at the loveliness of the responses you receive.

Wait for a fertility referral. After 6 weeks call the GP about your referral. Manfully resist to drop the F bomb when the receptionist tells you the GP ‘forgot’ to make it. Ring the GP again days later when the hospital tells you the GP forgot to send over your test results. After 15 phonecalls finally get the GP to send over the referral and the test results. Slow clap GP, slow clap.

Wait.

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Get referred to a fertility consultant. Expect to have to convince him that something is wrong. Within a minute he looks at your hormone results and says ‘With your progesterone levels this low it is unlikely you will conceive naturally.’

Almost punch the air with triumph and relief that somebody is agreeing with you that something is wrong. Until it sinks in – something is wrong.

The fertility consultant thinks you have PCOS. The good news about having a possible diagnosis is there a possible treatment. The bad news is the NHS won’t offer any treatment until you lose 3.5 stone. And as the consultant tells you gravely women with PCOS find it hard to lose weight.

Freak the fuck out. How the hell are you going to lose 3.5 stone?

Do everything in your power to lose weight. Overhaul your diet. Go from doing no exercise to working out six days a week.

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Lose 8 pounds in the first two weeks.

Go for a ultrasound. Watch your ovaries like a hawk, they look normal right?

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Start to feel good about getting fit. This unlike your malfunctioning ovaries is something you can control.

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Get pneumonia because you are working too hard. Find it funny instead of the warning sign it is.

Get so dedicated to this working out lark you try and do it with pneumonia. Collapse hacking on the floor. ‘Don’t fucking do that to us again.’ say your lungs.

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Have good days and bad days. Lose 3 stone week by week, push-up by push-up.

Do a lot of work on yourself emotionally. Feel the feelings. Turn towards the pain. And realise you will OK oneday, one way or another. But it is also OK to not to be OK right now.

When the NHS fucks up your referral for more fertility tests break down in sobs and refuse to be consoled all day. Realise your tears might be due to the fact that you have been working 40 hour weeks, working two jobs, squeezing workouts in wherever you can, and trying to have a baby and yet again you are doing too fucking much.

Ignore your husband when he tells you to quit your job. Listen to your best friend Ros when she tells you to quit your job.

Quit your job.

The traditional I'm sorry I'm leaving cupcakes
The traditional I’m sorry I’m leaving cupcakes

Get offered a new freelance role two days later. Good news: they want you start immediately. Bad news: old work won’t let you take your holiday and leave early. Decide you can totally work three jobs for a month, right?

Try and hide that you are feeling sad and defeated by infertility. Fail. When your best friend Ros tells you she has booked a girly weekend away, cry. Because she knows you well enough to sense when you are drowning.

Get frustrated when the weight loss slows to a crawl. In addition to cutting out carbs and sugar now stop eating fruit and dairy as well. You have a month to lose seven pounds. You can do this.

Feel like you’ve lost the person you used to be, and that you’ve no idea how to get her back.

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In April go away with your best friend R to stay in a honeymoon suite at a witch themed BnB in Glastonbury. Collapse into fits of giggles when the owner thinks you and your seven month pregnant best friend are a couple.

When out shopping your best friend Debs and former co-member of the greatest coven Farnham had ever seen buys you a fertility spell, decide it will be a laugh to do it tonight.

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Pray. Climb to the top of the Tor and speak to the horned god. Visit the goddess in the chalice well and leave an offering for her.

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When your husband the scientist asks you what your doing with a green pouch stuffed down your knickers look shifty.

Try and get pregnant for another month.

Feel a twinge in your hip that you are convinced is ovulation pain. Then get depressed that is over for you for another month.

Feel cheered by the fact that next month after you get your period and have one tiny and oh so painful procedure, you’ll finally be eligible for fertility treatment.

Go to a children’s birthday party. When a pregnant woman asks whether you have children and you answer no. She tells you ‘Don’t. God being pregnant is so awful.’ To your credit you do not snap back ‘Because infertilities a fucking cakewalk?’ You also refrain from telling her you’d carve out both ovaries with a spoon to be sat where she is cradling her pregnant belly. Instead excuse yourself to go a cry and in the loos. Much more productive. Then emerge red-eyed and drink all the gin til you feel sick and your husband takes you home. Your baby is hours old and thankfully not connected to your blood supply yet.

Ugh hangovers
Ugh hangovers

Work three jobs and when you are so tired you fall asleep in the toilets at one of those jobs tell yourself it’s the work and not the baby implanting inside you, out of your awareness.

As a lifelong tea agnostic become obsessed with tea and drinking a cup a day. You reason it’s because of the exhaustion due to the three jobs. You’re wrong, it’s your first craving.

Leave one of your jobs to go freelance. Leave behind unimportant things such a maternity benefits. Tell yourself it doesn’t matter because you didn’t get pregnant at those other jobs the ones with the really cushy benefits. Besides you’ll get another job before you get pregnant. Let’s face it the one thing you have as an infertile woman is time.

Put on four pounds. Curse. Rant to your husband about how you are doing everything right and why haven’t you lost weight this month.

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Go for a massage. When they ask if you could be pregnant, laugh in their face. ‘Not even a little bit. I mean I am trying. We’ve been trying for a while. But it seems like it would take a miracle for me to be pregnant.’ Decide to stop talking at the horrified look on the massage therapists face.

On the walk home feel sick and convince yourself it was good massage. When the sickness lasts, get frustrated that you are getting ill again.

Your boobs hurt so much that even the wind becomes your enemy.

When you period is late, try not to think about it. You’ve been crushed by hope before.

Three days later take a pregnancy test. You haven’t taken a pregnancy test in six months. True to pattern, it’s negative. The one solitary line feels like a punch to the gut.

Later that night feel familiar cramps. Cry over whatsapp to your best friends and in person to your husband. Buffeted by waves of sadness inside you is your baby the size of a poppy seed.

Stay on knicker watch, high alert. Begin to get freaked out when nothing happens.

Two days later driven by something you can’t explain fish the test out of the bin. Look at it again and see the tiniest of shadows. A line so faint that the hubble telescope could barely see it.

Show the line to your husband expecting him to laugh it off and tell you that you are seeing things again. Instead he, Mr Scientist, tells you that you are pregnant. You fail to hear this. ‘No, I’m not.’ you say.
‘Take another test,’ he says. Refuse. Your period will come and you aren’t testing anymore it just depresses you. Besides you aren’t pregnant, you’d know.

Take your last pregnancy test at what you think is 6am. Look at the clock and realise it is 4am and your first morning urine is actually mid sleep urine plus you peed at 1am so there is no way it will be accurate. Be annoyed at yourself for wasting a test when you see the second line. Faint but visible even without the help of the hubble telescope.

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Hold the line up to the light. Shake the test like it’s a magic eight ball saying future uncertain. Put the test down on the sink and back away not taking your eyes off the line in case it disappears.

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Run into the bedroom and poke your sleeping husband, ‘The test was positive! I think I’m pregnant…’ You’ve waited for this moment, dreamed of how it would look and feel. In no version of that reality did your husband grunt, turn over and mumble ‘Of course.’

Try to sleep. Fail. Try again. Stare at the pregnancy test.

Go online fall down a google hole by entering the words ‘False positive pregnancy tests.’ Start to feel sick.

Shake husband awake. ‘Ugh what time is it?’
‘Five am’
‘Why?’
‘Look at this.’
‘No. Go away’
‘Is there two lines?’ Accidentally drop phone on his head when trying to illuminate pee stick.
‘Ugh’. Him groggily from early morning/having a phone dropped on his head ‘Yes. Now can I sleep.’
‘I’m pregnant?’
‘I know.’ Said in a tone.

Decide to leave husband alone. If he is going to be a dad he’ll need his sleep.

Wander round the flat. Your hand on your belly. Whisper ‘Hello you.’

Take a picture of the morning. It has never looked more beautiful to you.

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Miracles

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To my dearest baby Nib,

I’ve always believed in miracles. I just never thought one would happen for me. You see, our family already had our miracle – your auntie Sarah. Asking for another felt greedy.

Getting pregnant naturally might not seem like a miracle to most people. But it became clear last year after multiple meetings with the fertility consultant that we would need a plan B, a plan C and because I’m a pessimist I even began to prepare for plan Z – a life without children.

But in April completely unexpectedly our long awaited miracle came.

You.

During the years we tried to have you I joked to your daddy that it was OK our baby was coming, you’d just inherited his sense of time keeping.

This is one of my favourite photos. Because it is the first photo of you - even though at the time we had no idea you existed.
This is one of my favourite photos. Because it is the first photo of you – even though at the time we had no idea you existed.

For weeks I had no idea you existed. You were a silent passenger cushioned inside me, busy with the business of growing. When I missed my period instead of being excited I was miffed. You see, I had no idea that I was finally pregnant or even that it could happen naturally. Ironically for the first and only month I was longing for my period to come so we could have the final in a series of intrusive tests and be put on the list for fertility treatment.

When I finally gave in and tested the test was negative as I knew it would be. I cried, I mourned and I waited for my period to come… and waited… and waited.

A couple of days later when my period still wasn’t here I fished the negative test out of the bin and saw a faint second line. I thought it was a evaporation line, your daddy the optimist was convinced it was positive. ‘You’re pregnant.’ He said. I ignored him. On his urging I tested again certain it would be another negative.

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I can’t describe what went through my head when I saw those two lines. Shock and utter disbelief, I couldn’t be pregnant, could I? A wave of excitement that maybe after all these years, you were finally here. And fear so strong I could taste it that this miracle would be taken away from me.

I lay there watching the day dawn, my hand on my tummy, whispering nonsense to you. Together me and your dad gave you a nick-name then, names have power after all, we called you Nib. You were barely the size of a cocoa nib, so teeny, and so longed for.

The days stretched endlessly as I waited to see you for the first time. I swung between feeling with a pure rightness that all would be well and a terror that deep within me that something had gone wrong. I leaned heavily on your dad, your fairy godmothers Ros and Debs and your aunty Lauren.

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Finally at the end of my first trimester we had our scan. After spending months whinging that I just wanted to see you, I’d decided it was better to not know. Your daddy ignored me. I sat shaking in the scan reception remembering all my friends whose miracles had been taken away from them.

At first all we could see on the screen was darkness, that’s it I thought sadly. But then the sonographer zoomed in and said ‘There’s your baby and it has a heartbeat.’

First scan of our baby

I cried because there you were flexing your tiny starfish hands. I even collapsed into giggles as you mooned us. Your daddy stared transfixed at the screen like you were the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. ‘Can’t you feel that?’ He asked. ‘Not yet’, I replied.

You are torn between wanting to dance and wanting to sleep. You have daddy nose and throw your hands around like I do when startled. You are perfectly imperfect from your overly large head to your teeny fingers and toes. And I cannot believe how in love I am already with this tiny being barely the size of a peach. I loved you before I even knew you existed, and when I doubted you ever would.

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Like any mother I have so many hopes, wishes and dreams for you, my baby. But, if pressed like a fairy at christening, my one gift to you, my darling, is that you always know how much your father and I loved and wanted you. That you carry this love and feeling of being wanted like a tiny spark at the core of you to warm you in your dark moments.

Sleep now little Nib. Sleep and grow until I can hold you in my arms.

Love,

Your mummy Rowan

Bleak midwinter

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

As in I’m feeling incredibly sad. I knew this was coming even thoughout the past couple of months I have been genuinely happy and at peace with my life. A friend suggested that maybe I had been burying these issues. But it didn’t feel like I was denial. More that my happiness was that bittersweet sensation of a person who knows that winter is coming but dances in the sunshine anyway.

Like Jacob Marley I’ve been visited by some familiar ghosts. The first let’s call the ghost of primordial darkness. I’ve always found this time of year difficult. And I know from speaking to others and from working with people struggling with their mental health that I’m not alone in this. As the darkness grows like ink swirling through water, as the trees stretch skeletal fingers towards the dying sun, as the earth freezes appearing so barren nothing will grow. Some primal fear catches me and I begin to worry that the light will never come back and we’ll remain in this internal twilight forever. And I always breathe a sigh of relief when we pass midwinter and the longest night and begin to move back towards the light.

The Ghost of past trauma

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It’s fitting that the actual longest night has always been the anniversary of the darkest night in our family history. 32 years ago today, my first Christmas, my sister was knocked down in a hit and run. I haven’t written about this on the blog before. It isn’t my story and I don’t want to cause any pain by talking about it in detail. But it has always been a difficult day. There is an ambivalence between the pain of what happened to my sister, the loss of the person she could have been, and the joy at the person she has become despite the most difficult odds. My sister is the kindest person I know, a talented artist and a silly bugger. To think only about how she became disabled is to ignore the gift that is her, ‘the girl that lived’. But neither can I deny how sad it is that choices have been taken away from her.

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Tonight in Brighton there is this pagan festival that sums up this ambivalence. During the burning of the clocks people march through the streets with paper mache clocks and sculptures which they throw in the sea. We are going as a family. Although we haven’t talked about it I think it reminds us that even in the darkest night the sun still rises eventually.

The Ghost of recent loss

I’m sad because Christmas always reminds me of Lianne. If you’ve ever experienced a loss you will know that anniversaries and special occasions are bittersweet. She loved Christmas and every year we would go drinking Christmas eve in reindeer antlers. Spending every Christmas day with a stinking hangover was a small price to pay for a night of laughing with your friends until your ribs ached. Even before she died as she got sicker and sicker and finally was unable to come out, Christmas became infused with fear. Would this be the last Christmas with her? I really miss her and have so much I want to ask her and talk to her about. So Lianne if you’re there and not a ball of energy somewhere or been reincarnated as grumpy cat: what’s heaven like? Are the angels hot? Do you miss us too?

The Ghost of future pain

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So we’ve covered seasonal pain, old trauma, recent loss and that brings us nicely like Jacob Marley to the ghost of future pain. Another year passes and I am still not pregnant. And I’m not going to lie Internet friends, this fucking sucks. When I started trying for a baby every month I would get my period I would console myself by saying don’t worry it will happen next month or surely the next month after that. By the end of last year during a similar depressive episode I told myself dont worry it will definitely happen next year. This year that hope has burnt away to ash and I no longer make any predictions at all. I hope against all evidence that I could get pregnant next year but know it is equally likely to take years and also there is a possibility, slim but it exists, that it may never happen for us.

Do you want to know the cruelest thing about infertility? As it becomes more clear that the problem is with me I realize I can bear my pain. But I love HWSNBN so much, how can I bear the thought of being the one to prevent his dream of being a father? We talk about it and I know this is my fear not his. That he loves me more than that. But it hurts.

My period was late for a week and a half this month and even though HWSNBN and I tried not to hope we couldn’t help but imagine a different Christmas one of possibility that next year would be different. My period came last night and I wept inconsolably. Speaking to HWSNBN and my parents helped. Knowing that they will be on my side wherever this journey takes me helps. This pain is changing me, tempering me in the fire into a new person but I worry about losing who I was. I worry I might snap and break under the crushing weight of a thousand disappointments.

And so it goes
ESTRAGON: ‘I can’t go on like this.’
VLADIMIR: ‘That’s what you think.
Waiting for Godot, Beckett

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Like many others with depression I’ve been here before. This is territory I’ve mapped too many times. And there is something almost comforting about the bleakness of the vista, the scarred rock face, the waves tumbling over my head.

There is nothing I can do about these ghosts. The more I work with trauma the more I realize how unhelpful the notion of closure is. There are some wounds that never heal, despite our best efforts we have to learn to limo along with them anyway. I can’t protect myself against past loss or from future pain. All I can do is sit and feel these feelings until they pass. The only way out is through.

Small things help. The realisation that I am not alone, that other people find this time of year difficult too. That there are people who love me even when I am not my best self. Letting go of expectations of how Christmas will be helps. If I cry then I’ll cry and if I laugh that’s OK too. Writing about how I feel here helps even if only my mum reads it.

But the thing that really helps that keeps me trudging forward when path is so dark I can barely see is the knowledge that no matter what long dark night of the soul I am experiencing this too shall pass and somehow, somewhere the light is returning.

Infertility and me

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has an untold story. This is mine.

For the last year I haven’t been talking about two big things going on in my life in this blog. I’ve written endless drafts of posts that remain unpublished. The first, my struggle with finding fulfilling work that pays, I wrote about here. Here is the second.

Coming out of the trying to conceive closet

In our modern world, it feels as if many formerly taboo things are now acceptable: white shoes after Labour day… sexting… hipsters…

Is confessing you’re trying to get pregnant the last taboo?

It makes sense. I mean, few of us feel comfortable telling the world let alone *gulp* your family that you are totally DOING it. I haven’t been open for pragmatic reasons with work in case it might have ‘ramifications’. But as my friends, family and now the entire internet knows, *waves* hey internet, HWSNBN and I are trying to having a baby.

And it isn’t going well.

I mean stuff’s happening, no sniggering at the back. We aren’t sitting there twiddling our metaphorical thumbs. But I’m not pregnant, not even a little bit, not at all.

Most of my friends got pregnant in month one or two. When we started trying I ‘expected ‘ it might take a while – three months, maybe even *GASP* four. But it’s been well over a year and counting now and I’m not pregnant. Which means I’m officially infertile. Never have I tried so hard to not achieve something and yet I have. Do we get a special badge? A secret handshake? A scarlet ‘I’ to pin to my clothing? (If I look as hot as Emma Stone then I’m game)

Scarlet A on Emma Stone's clothing in Easy A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I get that when it comes to the infertility leagues over a year is nothing. But when it feels like everybody around you is getting pregnant as soon as a willy is waved in their direction. I can’t help but wonder – what’s wrong with me?

F– you body

What makes it hard is that for the past year my body has engaged in bi-monthly game of Psych. ‘You know what would really fuck her up, ‘ it whispers, ‘if we give her all of the pregnancy symptoms with none of the actual pregnancy. Wouldn’t that be funny? Psych!’

The first month we tried, my period regular as clockwork was late. I felt nauseous, there was a taste of sour metal in my mouth, my breasts killed. Torn between excitement and terror I wondered – was this it?  When my period arrived a fortnight late, I cried in HWSNBN’s arms. But it was OK, it was the first month. I’d be pregnant soon, I knew it. Insert the foreshadowing laughter of doom.

Over a year later this has happened five months out of twelve with varying intensity of symptoms. Although I tried to not hope I couldn’t help myself. I imagined myself being pregnant. Holding the baby in my arms. Brushing my lips against their downy head.

And then when my period comes the despair cuts like a knife. I feel stupid and deluded. ‘Idiot, you really thought you were pregnant this time. As if this will ever happen for you.’ It doesn’t last, I have weeks where I am OK more than OK but for a day or two I feel so gutted as if infertility gods have scooped out my insides with a blunt spoon.

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A new hope

The Dr’s have been less than helpful. The first time they tested HWSNBN who was fine.

The second time they looked at my age and told me to ‘relax’ you’re still young ignoring my insistence that throwing up every other month wasn’t right. Only when I insisted did they refer me for blood tests which revealed that my progesterone levels were low.

Here’s the science bit. Progesterone is a key part of the luteal phase, the phrase after you ovulate and prepares the womb for the embryo to implant. If you don’t produce enough progesterone then there isn’t enough time for the embryo to grown and implant. Which explains all the impostor pregnancy symptoms because it seems I might able to get pregnant. That all those times where I thought I was pregnant, I might have been –  it just doesn’t stick.

Yep, after all those stupid jokes I made it seems it’s really true my womb is like the Sahara and just as welcoming.

I was told to wait until it’s been two years, the NHS cut off point for my age, and then we’ll refer you. So I took herbal remedies and ate a special diet and hoped, and hoped, and hoped. In the meantime at the advice of my acupuncturist I started tracking my cycle using my temperature. This reconfirmed the test results the length of my luteal phase which was only 7 days not long enough for the standard 10+ they recommended – supporting the fact that I had a progesterone deficiency.

Determined not to have to wait another year I took my charts to see a nurse not a Dr and she took one look at my charts and bloodwork and typed a referral letter to the fertility clinic immediately. I didn’t know whether to cry or kiss her but the relief of being heard was immense.

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Emotionally being infertile sucks. Who knew?

Before I found out about the progesterone for the long year of trying and failing I’ve felt there was something wrong with me. Not biologically, although there may very well be. But emotionally. Not being able to get pregnant makes me feel sad, stupid and ashamed, deeply fucking ashamed. Because this simple natural thing that everybody else seems to be doing so effortlessly I am failing at.

What makes it’s harder is that I am of an age where everybody seems to be getting sprogged up. Some days all these babies and pregnant women make me feel so happy and hopeful. One day that will be me, I tell myself. On those good days, and there are many of them; I can parcel out my pain, shoving into the closet at the back of my mind. I can say with only the tiniest twinge: ‘I am so happy for you’ because I am.

Other days it only seems to confirm my wrongness. I feel like Maleficient at a christening peering in cribs jealously. Except not gorgeous like Angelina Jolie but ugly deep within. I want a baby. What’s wrong with me? I deserve it as much as them (as if deserve comes into it at all). I tell myself that these feelings of grief, of anger, of envy are why I can’t have a baby. That I’m so filled with poison that nothing could grow within me.

Logically I know it’s silly. Many people struggle to conceive, I’m not alone. The reason I can’t conceive is not because of my feelings, or that I am not so secretly and awful human being but because of a hormone imbalance (and possibly other undiagnosed problems. I expect them now like lightning bolts from above).

And I know I am lucky  in comparison to many of my friends who have struggled with miscarriages, still births, losing a child. I am lucky but comparing myself to others, telling myself I have no right to my pain when others have it much worse, doesn’t help.

I also know many women who I love and admire who have either through choice or chance not become mothers. I don’t think they are stupid or should feel ashamed. Why do I feel that way about myself? As if this one thing that I cannot (currently) do sums up my measure as a person. But still the feeling persists.

I love HWSNBN so much. And we can control many things. The effort we put into our relationship. Where we live. What jobs we do.

But we have no control over whether we will be able to have a baby naturally. It could happen next month, it could take years and let’s face it, it could never happen for me. For us.

No matter how hard we try. No matter how much we love each other and believe we would be good parents. No matter how desperately we want a child.

Ask me again when we're going to have kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it’s that I think that keeps people from admitting they are trying to have a baby. The possibility of coming so close and never getting anywhere. And the question, the raised eyebrow, the hints – all well-intentioned and coming from a place of love. Yet still they flay you, until you feel like you are bleeding from a thousand papercuts. The world feels fecund while your womb remains a barren wasteland.

Let me be clear, we aren’t giving up. Even if the hormone therapy doesn’t work we are very privileged to live in country where IVF is available on the NHS. Furthermore, there are hundreds of children who need a good home and parents who will love them.

I will be a mother even if it doesn’t happen how I envisioned. But oh god, this infertility rollercoaster is not for the fainthearted. It hurts. How it hurts…

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming clean about my infertility

Why am I writing about my struggles to conceive?

Because this is a huge part of my life and I am not willing to hide it anymore.

Because I am compelled to write, to open a vein and bleed onto the computer screen just as I have written in journals and on scraps of paper. Words help.

Because my infertility has felt shameful for too long and I know the answer isn’t secrecy but showing that vulnerable side of me to the world.

Because I ask my clients daily to make themselves vulnerable and I am not doing the same.

Because I have been helped so much by brave women talking openly about how hard this process can be. Including my best friend whose courage and honesty always inspires me.

You will find that it is necessary to let things go simply for the reason that they are heavy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It feels like there is a massive pressure on women, in particular, to pretend that our lives are effortless and easy. But trying to expand our family is hard, it takes effort and I am sick of lying and pretending that it isn’t hard and it doesn’t hurt. It does.

If anybody else is out there, whatever your story, please get in touch. I would really appreciate someone to talk to about this.

It’s got easier recently. I let go of my expectations that this might happen for me, it may not.

Turning towards these feelings helped – I can’t even describe how much. Finding a medical professional who took me seriously helped. Realising that even though I want children that they aren’t a destination and they won’t solve anything or make me happy helped. But if I know anything about feelings is that there will be times when I will be devastated I cannot move from grief.

Stay tuned for further, probably incredibly self-indulgent updates. If this is oversharey I’m sorry, please skip these posts and I promise be back to my old self blogging about my hair and fashion wishlists soon.

And once the storm is over