Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year jitters and 2015 reflections

I can't believe 31st December has crept up so quickly. The past couple of days I have been harbouring feelings of anxiety, worry and dread the closer 2016 is getting. I've been trying very hard to push these negative feelings down but when I mentioned to M on Tuesday evening that I was feeling like this, he admitted to feeling the same way to an extent. It feels like....shit's gonna get real in 2016! I know it is so unproductive to allow myself to follow these thought patterns but it's exhausting trying to constantly shut them down - 2016 could be an amazing year for us...or the shit-storm that was 2015 could have been the tip of the iceberg. I am all too aware that things could get so much worse for us. Infertility tries to suck the light out of life and it is an exhausting feat to constantly try and retain some positivity. I feel like I succeeded as best I could in 2015 - that's all I can ask of myself. I kept planning fun activities, I didn't let any two-week-waits affect my plans...I was determined to live my life. However, looking back in spite of my best efforts, that black cloud was always lingering, even during our funnest trips and happiest times. It's hard to fully let go and appreciate the good times when you are so aware that hard times can get harder. 

Wow, this is coming across as a super negative post. On to something more positive - I'd like to reflect on, and make note of, the positive things that I accomplished in 2015 in order to give me something more positive to focus on as I head into 2016:
  • I overcame my fear of needles. I had my first fertility related blood test in January 2015 and I didn't sleep for about a week beforehand. I had to take the rest of the day off work to recover. Over the course of the year, I estimate I've had around 15/20 blood tests and while I'm still not crazy about them, I willing hold out my arm and then get on with life. I have overcome one of my biggest fears and I am very proud of myself for this.
  • I climbed a mountain with my sister that I've had on my bucket list for a few years. 
  • I spent a few days in Poland - a place I've wanted to visit for a very long time. We squeezed so much into our couple of days there and it really was a fantastic weekend.
  • I read A LOT. I've always been a massive bookworm, but over the past few years I had taken to re-reading old favourites and taking my time about it too so I vowed to try different genres of books in 2015 and get as many in as possible and I definitely feel like I accomplished this and I learned a lot as a result.
  • I went to a massive sporting event in another country - this is something that I will remember forever and I'm grateful that I got to experience this with my parents and sister.
  • We got some work done on our house that we had been putting off since we moved in 4 years ago and it has literally changed how we live.
  • I started volunteering with a local organisation that helps people struggling in the community.
  • As a result of our food intolerance tests, we have changed how we eat. While we don't always (ever!) love our diet, there is no doubt that we are healthier now than we were 1 year ago.
I am struggling a little to find resolutions for 2016. I am proud of the resolutions that I stuck to in 2015 and I think something similar to focus on for the coming year would be beneficial. I feel like 2016 starts and ends with IVF (which we got confirmation will go ahead as planned - all our blood tests were normal...finally - something's normal!) This is such an unhealthy attitude but at the same time, how the rest of our year pans out will be somewhat determined by this (rightly or wrongly). Staring down the barrel of 2016 is overwhelming so I think I need to break it down a bit more for myself. To start with: 
  • I'm looking forward to getting back into healthy eating properly after all the excesses of the past week.
  • I spent a nice 30 minutes this morning doing online yoga, so this is something that I would like to do several times a week to try and get some mental clarity and peace..
  • I'll continue reading more, or as much as I managed in 2015.
  • Make a list of pesky little jobs around the house that have been put off and tick our way through them.
  • Be kinder to myself. I need to stop beating myself up for not being good enough/productive enough etc - sometimes it's okay to sit down and just read a book or watch TV after work. 
That's all I've got so far but hopefully it will get me going and set me off into 2016 on a positive note. Right now, I'm still terrified but I guess I have to just keep on keeping on... 

Finally, to end on a positive note - happy 2016 - may it bring peace and happiness to us all.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

We got dumped!

M got the results of his repeat semen analysis yesterday. Our Napro doctor called him to let him to give him the news over the phone. Although there was some improvement, she said it wasn't enough and that they couldn't help us anymore. We completely appreciate their honesty but of course a small (childish) part of me was thinking "we were going to break up with you once we got these results anyway!" Let's be honest, we've  been "estranged" from each other for a while now. I haven't called in with monthly blood results since October and we were only "continuing" with them until we got the results of the analysis.

Nonetheless, it's still a bit disheartening that they feel we're a lost cause - even though we had already decided they couldn't help us. They're not supposed to think that!! When M told Dr. C that we have already come to conclusion that we're going to need ICSI, he was met with radio silence. I guess she doesn't approve! Whatever. We're still very grateful for the advice they gave us over the last 8 months or so but our Napro chapter is now officially closed.
On to the results. I was pretty happy with them I have to say. I feel for M because although he said all along that he expected this, I can tell that he's super disappointed and disheartened. I know that he feels guilty and even a bit useless (his own words) and I wish that I could make him see that it's not the case. I try and try to convince him that none of this is his fault (especially the part that he keeps forgetting - my womb issues) but it falls on deaf ears.

Regardless, we knew we were getting ICSI and there was no way in the world that we would get the kind of improvement that would upgrade us to normal so it was never going to change our plans. Even if they suggest we're suitable for regular IVF, we still want ICSI. We're leaving nothing to chance. Hopefully now though we have slightly more sperm to choose from. Count went up ten times higher to 2  million (still severely low) and the motility and morphology is still extremely poor but I figure 5% of 2 million is a vast improvement on 5% of 190,000. That's after about 6 months of clean eating, post varicocele surgery and a boatload of supplements. Who knows what the results could be in a years time? I don't know why I'm the only one feeling uplifted by this but any movement in the right direction is good news as far as I'm concerned.

Now on to something else that I really can worry about - my phone consultation with Dr. K on Monday, giving us the results of M's genetic testing and the test for the stickiness (?) of my blood. Please God let it be good news that IVF can go ahead in February as planned. I don't think I could handle two clinics breaking up with us in the one week - Santa do your thing and grant my wish PLEASE!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Jealousy - an ugly trait

The past few weeks have been tough for me (maybe us, but M does a good job of hiding it) in terms of pregnancy announcements. Seriously. There have been about 6. I play a lose-lose game with myself constantly of counting how many of our friends, who got married around the same time as us (and before and after - my capacity to torture myself knows no bounds) are still childless. That list is becoming ever smaller and we're now officially down to 4 couples, including ourselves. It instills a sense of panic in me, that we will be the only people left without a baby (EVER). It's so irrational but there you go. I have long since let go of the notion that I am a rational human being.

A couple of the most recent announcements came from couples who have been married for several years. We had been surprised over the years that they didn't have big announcements to make and on separate occasions, both girls had drunkenly bitched to me about how insensitive people were, asking about their plans for children and that you just don't know what is going on in someone's life and that it can be hard for some people (wow - long sentence). Since I've always felt the same, I was able to commiserate/sympathize/bitch right along with them. Now. You would think that this would make me relieved and happy that they're finally expecting? Well, yes it did. I was genuinely very happy for them - especially considering it's entirely possible that they had to go through fertility treatment to get where they are today. That doesn't mean I didn't shed some tears and feel that unpleasant sting of jealousy in my stomach on hearing their news. It's a double-edged sword. Jealousy is a horrible feeling and on top of it, I feel horrendously guilty for feeling that way. It's not a good time.

Then there are the other announcements. Like, the one that popped up on my newsfeed yesterday from another couple we're friends with. Their announcement was in the form of a Christmas decoration, showing their names and their little girl's name and with a blank space and the caption "Exciting times to come!" indicating that their family is about to expand. I read it out to M yesterday and his reaction was "so what - they already have one.." I have to say that while I don't get his logic, I thought I was okay with it but a few minutes later there were tears streaming down my face and I was ugly-crying.

I suppose my point is that it's never easy. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what the couple have done to get there. I don't mind admitting that I find it a little easier to be happy for those who have traveled a hard road to get to where they are. If that makes me a horrible cow - so be it. I'm not proud of my jealousy but it's too prominent an emotion for me right now to ignore it, or pretend it's not there. I need to keep reminding myself of this:

I have so much to be thankful for. I need to keep reminding myself of this...I do a pretty good job most days but some days throw up harder obstacles than others. I just hope that some day I'll be able to offer up thanks for the one thing that I truly want more than anything. In the meantime, we just have to keep on keeping on.