Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Barren Bitches Book Tour

I've just done my first leg of the Barren Bitches Book Tour.

The book we read was Lolly Winston's Happiness Sold Seperately. Pop over to http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/to find out the questions asked about the book and to see who else has answered them.

I loved the book. Well, maybe I didn't love it ALL the time as it was v close to home and brought up all sorts of emotions. I was tearful at times but also laughed along with the lovely, feisty, sharp and bright Elinor. I enjoyed the other characters - handsome, sensitive Ted; sexy Gina (lucky enough to be a mother) and Gina's geeky but endearing son Toby. I think I was so wedded to Elinor that I was less connected with the others. Having said that, some of Ted's reactions and emotions made me sad for Mr G and what he's going through.

Here are my views on some of the book tour questions:

Question 1
In the beginning of Chapter 4, Elinor finds it difficult to look at a newborn and its mother in the seat next to her. She says she isn't so much sad that she can't have a baby of her own but that she can't give her husband a child. Do you find your infertility more painful because of your desire to experience pregnancy and childbirth or because of your desire to see your spouse as a father?

I think my sadness and pain is a mixture of both. I have always imagined (with some naivety I'm sure) how it would be to be pregnant - all swollen belly and maternity clothes. I expected to have that experience and now may never do so. That's starting to hurt and i've started experiencing a sad pain in my chest sometimes when I see a cute baby or catch a whiff of that warm baby smell. I'm also sad about not seeing Mr G as a father to our child. I know how much he wants to be a Daddy and how wonderful he'd be. His family produce such gorgeous brown-eyed babies, i've always been able to imagine them. It hurts that those babies may well stay in my head.

Question 2
Elinor takes up laundry and Ted works on the hutch. What new hobbies did you pick up or abandon during treatments?

Blogging! I'd never considered it before. I'm not sure it's a real hobby, but blogging, internet research and socialising with my Mind Body group and the new group i'm mentoring, takes up enough time to warrant the title hobby. I'm a full time, paid-up infertile! Where Elinor was hiding from life with her laundry, i've immersed myself in one aspect of my life.

I'm not sure i've abandoned much. Perhaps, enjoying wine and going out for unrestrained drinking sessions with Mr G. We're too guilty about drinking too much, so it just doesn't seem worth it. Having said that, we haven't stopped communicating as Ted and Elinor did. We're v much connected still. That part of the book made me realised how careful we have to be and scared me a little too - that I should be careful not to freeze my husband out or he may find comfort elsewhere.

Question 3
At the very close of the book, having discovered her balanced translocation, Elinor likens herself to a screwed up silverware drawer. "Yet there's solace in discovering something is tangibly wrong. A diagnosis rather than you're old" Have you ever felt like this? Do you have a diagnosis for your fertility problems? Was it a relief? If your problem is unidentified, or age is against you, do you wish that you did have a reason?

We started our journey with a v clear reason - severe MF. It should have been easy to fix as I was functioning ok. As time has gone on, we've found another reason - my ageing ovaries and low reserve. The first problem requires IC.SI to fix it and the second makes IC.SI more difficult as the eggs can't cope so well.
In some respects it's good to know why things weren't working out for us, but it's also made it harder for me to get over as it's such a dead end. I know this will sound crazy and will perhaps incense those with unexplained issues, but i'm almost envious of them. I KNOW that we'll never conceive naturally - the door was slammed in our faces and it just ain't happening. At least with an unexplained problem there's the slightest chance of a natural pregnancy. Ted and Elinor conceived naturally and at that point I felt betrayed by the book - I was in it with El but suddenly she was the lucky one.

If you haven't read the book - I recommend it. If you want my copy, I could mail it to you. Just let me know if you'd like it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My centenary!

Well, well, well. One hundred posts chronicling my quest to be a good J.ew and go forth and multiply.

One hundred cheery missives on the life of an infertile and just look at how little has changed. If anything, it's got bleaker and bleaker at this end. The further down the line we go, the further away we seem to be from our goal. The more we do, the less good we feel. It's the opposite of everything i've learned in life. I could put all my efforts into this - and have done really - and I still wouldn't be able to change the outcome. Hard work just makes no difference. It's not an exam or a diet or an exercise regime.

As you might have guessed I'm less then cheery. I haven't been able to bear to follow up the last happy post with life as it really is. I've just had a huge meltdown and the wonderful Mr G has walked in with a bar of G.alaxy - best choc there is. He knows the way to my heart!

I think i'll do a bullet point run down of the last couple of weeks - too much for you to read otherwise:

* Most recent L.upus diagnosis from specialist is that I don't have it. Will need steroids for next IVF attempt though.

* Have tested positive for one type of the NK cells, but apparently not one to be too bothered about - CD3's. THey can also indicate immu.ne issues like L.upus.

* New clinic will treat me. Have said my chances are rubbish - but based on the Ov.arian St.ress Test (and I can tell you my ovaries, like the rest of me, are pretty f-ing stressed at this point), my A.MH and an.tral count - the stats are up from 3% to 10-15% - Woo Hoo!! Yay for the stats!!! Cheery lady doc at new clinic said "we will treat you but you must remember that your chances are really low". NOW I feel totally postive!

* For the record, i think i prefer male docs. Cheery lady doc is too pretty and young and I spend my time looking at her thinking I bet she's not going to have any reproductive issues.

* As cheery lady doc was a bit dismissive of us, we arranged to see head honcho doc - who'd been away at a conference when we got our test results. We went in to speak to the nurse about starting meds for this cycle that day. BUT when we saw the head honch, he had more news. Mr G's hormones are up the spout, well, his LH is and they've suggested a 3 mth course of Men.opur for him!!! When i'd stopped smirking at the thought of him injecting 3 times a week for 3 mths, i realised that means we can't try again until J.anuary!!! They think we should throw everything at this cycle and make it our last. I'm worried about both of us being on these drugs and wasting 6 months (as it will be by then) of my reproductive life waiting for treatment...

* All this news has thrown me into a huge, and I mean HUGE, cavernous depression. I've been taking D.HEA for almost 4 mths and will that all be to waste if I don't cycle now? I can't bear to wait another 3 mths AND I don't want this to be my last cycle.
I know the choice is ours, but OMG this is now SO hard. MR G and i are in a total spin. I feel we're on an endless miserable journey to who knows where...
On the real life front, i've been working really hard. A chef friend and I did a market on Saturday. We sold ginger and choc chip biscotti, choc orange biscotti, chutneys, fruit butters and cake and browines. It went ok but not fantastic so we'll have to do it again to off load all of our jars of produce! I'm also looking at buying a cafe with the same chef friend and with my Un.cle, who's a genius businessman. V exciting but also v scary.

Read Lolly Winston's book and really enjoyed it. For those not on the Barren Bitches book tour - who've just read it - the book Happiness Sold Seperately and it's an easy (in parts) but emotional (much of the time) book about a couple's marriage issues after infertility. I laughed and cried. I'm book-less at the moment so if anyone has a recommendation - probably not an IVF related novel this time - that'd be great!The cover of my book looks different to this - maybe the En.glish reprint.
Oh, my brother and his wife had their third, a little boy. I'm pleased for them but (witch that i've become) seem to have run out of the ability to be truly happy for other people's reproductive success. I wish they lived near 'cos i might get to enjoy my gorgeous niece and nephews.

So, time to go and watch S.trictly Com.e Dancing - the sparkling, sexy high point of my week!

Good luck to Andi over at Minimenow - i really hope this works for you sweetheart - and to Almamay at Almamay's Infertilty Journey. Do go and support them in their waits. I'm thinking of you both x

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's not all misery here

Thought i'd post quickly before bed time. I'm so full of moans i thought i'd share some good stuff for once.

Mr G and I had a truly gorgeous day today. Woke up early-ish - for a Sunday, that is. Got dressed and headed off for a lazy breakfast at a great cafe he'd found. Drank coffee with my food.

Came out and the sun was shining. Put the top down of his convertible car and drove into the centre of L.ondon. Went to see an art exhibition at the N.ational Por.trait Gallery and then ate lunch outdoors at a C.ovent Gar.den restaurant. Had a glass of wine with my meal.

Drove home in the fading sun and chilled out.

It was a day in which there were no gaping child-sized holes. We were happy with each other and with our life. If only it was always like this but at least it can be.

Hope all you girlies out there are having at least some moments that are as content as moments I have had today xx

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More results...still not out of the woods

Just a quick post as I should be in the shower and getting ready to go out with friends for dinner.

Had the rest of the secondary tests back to try to eliminate L.upus. All clear. I said to my Dr how pleased I am it's not Lup.us but she said it still could be! Darn. Those darned Anti Nuclear Antibodies were so high it seems i'm not quite yet clear. My doc's going to ask her specialist what he thinks AND how it'll affect my IV.F.

I've had my tests at the new clinic. Antral follies - 8. Weird, as I had 10 at my last check a few months ago. I guess each sonographer sees it differently. I'm now waiting to hear about my Anti-Mul.lerian Hormone, F.SH and how my Oestra.diol levels were affected by the single dose of Pure.gon I had to inject on day three of my cycle. The Pure.gon injection was done at the clinic. The nurse was going to administer it, but I asked if I could do it myself - it was weird doing it with her there, but weirder, I think, having her inject me in my stomach.

I've had a busy work week. Had lunch with a UK celebrity chef, which was interesting and did a public interview (in front of an paying audience) with a cook book author. Both were fine although I was really nervous about the interview. Worked at a job serving cana.pes for 250 on Thursday. Flat out work - from 8am until 11pm, but it was good fun and a distraction.

Oh - a few infertile moans - i think i need to stop travelling by tube (London Underground trains to you Stateside chicks). They're carrying ads for Pre.Natal vitamins. All the posters have pics of pregant bellies. I seem to sit opposite one every time I get on a train. It p*ss*s me off! Never mind. I also have to go to a friend's birthday dinner. It's a girls' night and all the other girls' are smug yummy mummies. I'm not sure I can face a whole night of child chatter. They all know about me so that might be awkward too. One of them has been too scared to tell me she was having her third child. She never told me. We just stopped talking and now she has had the baby we still don't speak. No falling out, just silence. How awkward is that going to be?! I HATE being infertile.

Time up. Gotta go and shower. xx

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Maybe the big man ain't home...

...because he hasn't paid any attention to my prayer.

This week has been big time UP and DOWN. My return to the scarey clinic was less scarey. All my hormones checked out fine. I even ovulated this month - as always - for what that's worth. I booked myself in for a hysteroscopy - because they said it was essential and I figured i'd be a good girl so they can work their magic. Feeling positive.

That was Monday. On Tuesday (straight after carting 14 types of hummus to a newspaper so they could taste it and I could write them an article about it) Mr G and I went for a consultation at another clinic. We're becoming full blown clinic whores.

The Dr there a tall Italian in scrubs read through our fat file of info and asked a few questions. Then he gave us his view. A three percent chance of IVF doing the trick for us. With my knackered eggs and Mr G's poor tired sperm, the tall Italian, felt we might need to look at other options.... He didn't want to take our money if the odds were so stacked against us.


He did agree to do some tests (which at a few hundred pounds would be cheaper than the hysteroscopy at the other clinic) to assess what my poor ovaries are capable of and how many eggs might be lurking in there. If the results are ok he'll let us have a go with him. You'll be proud of how well I held it together. Mr G fully expected a hysterical meltdown and kept rubbing my shoulder supportively, but I really was ok. It's hardly a earth shattering news after our last three cycles.

He suggested egg or sperm donation might help us out and explained in more detail than any other doc has so far just WHY my eggs might be struggling. That was unwelcome but helpful.

After we left i had a minor meltdown in the car and when we went out to dinner later - to review a local restaurant - the tears kept on coming. Mr G and I had a huge row about donation - he can't even contemplate going that way and i'm more open to it. I WANT TO GIVE BIRTH TO OUR CHILD DAMMIT!! He'd rather adopt. Suddenly, we could see a big gaping hole ready for our fledgling marriage to fall into. It was and is frightening.

We woke up on Wednesday both feeling flat and gloomy. It was perhaps, the lowest day i've had of this journey.

But that was not all the big man has rewarded me with this week! On Friday, my doctor rang with the results of my immune bloods. Forgot to mention I had them done too.The Killer cell tests and various others. 17 tubes of blood! Anyway, my Anti Nuclear Antibodies (whatever they are) are sky high. High ANA's at the level mine are at are an indicator for...wait for it...Lupus.

Fabulous. So, not only am i unlikely to conceive with my husband't sperm and my eggs but i may have a horrible disease! Excellent. I actually am not too panicked by it. I feel fine. My doc said it's unlikely but they're testing some of the blood they already have and will let me know. She told me not to panic so many times, i started to get more nervous! The only good thing is that perhaps that might have affected the first three IVF's. I may need steroids if I go again.

So, I sit here tonight unsure what to think. We've had a good weekend - we say M.ichael Clayto.n - and two hours of G.eorge C.looney is enough to cheer anyone up. I LOVE that man. We also had the BEST lunch at a Persian restaurant in M.arylebone. Really gorgeous food. I'll deal with the ANA's and whatevers as and when.

Well done all you BFP's! I'm delighted for Leah, Erin and Bea - go girls! xxx