Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here are things I did in preparation for my last round of ART:

*went on strict no fat, no chilli, no red meat, no sugar diet as urged by the Chinese Fertility Goddess
*gave up coffee and alcohol completely
*had six months of chinese herbs and acupuncture
*surrounded myself in fertility dolls, gew gaws, holy water, symbolic pictures and lucky charms
*once IVF rollercoaster began in earnest was accompanied by my husband to every appointment.
*worried a lot

Here are things I did in preparation for this round:

*cut down on coffee and alcohol (although after the transfer I cut it out completely)
*tried to eat more vegetables
*had three acupuncture sessions with the Chinese Fertility Goddess
*replaced the whole boiling up herbs into Horrid Tea routine with a neat little jar of granules - two teaspoons in hot water morning and night. Still ghastly but so much easier to manage.
*Went to bloodtests and Dildo-Cam dates alone. (although C came to transfer)
*worried slightly less.
I have no conclusions to draw from any of this except that in the old days we didn't have a mortgage or a childcare bill. Also this time I have been alternatively more tired (and desperately wanted coffee) or more stressed (and desperately wanted alcohol). Also, at our old flat we seemed to have a lot more shelf space for all those bags of twigs and panda paws, not to mention the boxes of thinly sliced deer antler (yum).

At my last acupuncture session with the Chinese Fertility Goddess we had a quick whispered discussion about this as she inserted the needles.
I don't seem to be so wound up about it this time, I told her.
She nodded, you have a baby now, she said, it's different.
But it's not just that
, I said, I'm so tired, I wonder sometimes how I could make it all work, if I did get pregnant.

This set the CFG off on a spate of concerned tutting and head nodding. In China, she said, they know your body is completely changed when you have a baby, it takes years to recover fully. Years.
I muttered.
That is why the aunties come round, look after you, grandmother, mother, everyone helping, cleaning, cooking. Here, I worry, where is the support? Where are the aunties?

Of course Tricky and I had aunties akimbo when he was born. Aunty K and Aunty N were support people at his birth and Aunty N went on to do much of that helping, cleaning, cooking stuff that the CFG was talking about. Aunty AJ came over from New Zealand to do the same.
So it can't be the fear of lack of support.

I think I'm worrying about not worrying enough, or something stupid like that.

I worry that my body really has changed, really isn't up to another pregnancy, that my abdominal muscle separated belly, all papery skin and wobbly flab is a poor, second-rate sort of vessel to carry a child.

I worry that as worthless as I feel I am right now, this is it, this is my chance and yet that chance is so slim, so small, so fragile it could float right out from under me on the strength of a sigh.
I worry that I'm not strong enough, not grateful enough, not needy enough...

I worry that C isn't in the same headspace as me, that before, with all the needles he had to inject and the appointments we attended that he knew exactly where we were at, what cycle day it was, how hormonal I seemed compared to the previous 12 hours, he was a rock, a steadying, calming island in an ocean of turmoil. This time, busy with work and Tricky and more work, he seems only half with me, we're sitting side by side in the FET carriage just like last time but he seems distracted, like he's juggling his Cheese-On-A-Stick* with his Southpark Showbag** in one hand and trying to text a friend with the other.

This looks like a big hill we're going up now, I say nervously as the carriage rattles ominously. Mmm says C, can you hold the Cheese for a second, I keep dripping sauce on the Send button.

As a result we've managed to have at least three "heated discussions" in the past 24 hours.
Apparantly I'm being negative. Funny that.
Yesterday morning I did something that I determined last time I would not do. No matter what.
I peed on a stick and it was negative too.
As a direct result, in a very short space of time I have experienced shock, relief, sadness, optimism, denial and grief. Oh and guilt too, because I'm a lapsed Catholic and an Oldest Child and guilt is my birthright.

And then I lay down and read Ballet Shoes for a short time, it being my current Reliving My Literary Past Therapy.

See, you think you've got infertility sussed, you think you understand the nature of the stress behind it, the pain, the depths of sadness and uncertainty. But she's cunning! She's a mystery wrapped in riddle wrapped in an enigma! And also a chameleon! With rapidly changing coloured skin depending on whether she sits on a pumpkin or a potato! Or a turd.

I don't know really how I feel at this point.
My brain is custard.
Best just to go with "tired." This seems to sum up everything right now.

* and ** completely unfair analogy, C hated both the junk food and the showbags at the Show.


Maritsa said...

Infertility - she's a wily beast. There were times I thought I was literally going out of my mind. I became paralysed by my choices - if I actively did 'something' about it by living cleanly and investigating all medical & zany avenues, then I was going against the flow of the universe by trying to control it. If I just went with the flow and did 'nothing' then I felt I was somehow missing the boat and not wanting it enough, ergo it was not going to happen. Talk about the proverbial mindf**k. Hang in there ovagirl! My thoughts are with you.

Trevor said...

Hi mate

Sorry I've not had time to comment, but I have been reading and you do pop into my head several times a day as I wonder how things are going.

Yep, infertility fucks with your mind big time - pretty sure this isn't news to anyone here - and unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do to help. The best anyone can offer, even those of us who have been through the same thing, are more stories of the 'My friend tried 2,000 times and then it worked for her' or 'My friend tried 2,000 and failed, you should count yourself lucky, at least you have Tricky'. Both of which tend to only increase feelings of guilt and inadequacy (and, incidentally, wanting to kill the person talking).

What I guess I'm trying to say is that I don't know what to say. What words to speak which would provide comfort? I have none; I do not believe there are any. I do, however, believe you're tough enough to get through this - whether it works or not.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed still (which is really making typing difficult, but hey, I don't mind going the extra mile for my friends)

Good luck Ovagirl.

Lin said...

One of the most annoying expressions (when it is being said to me...) that is heard so much lately is, "It is what it is." And while it may be true, that truth is fluid and ever-changing.

I am sending every little bit of quiet, white energy your way.

daysgoby said...

Take care of you, dear. That seems like a very heavy burden to carry by yourself.

calliope said...

well fuck.
here I thought that it would be easier this go 'round. I mean, hell, you went through so so so so much to get Tricky.

None of this makes sense to me. But of course I am constantly upset by the unfairness of life and am often winded by the not making sense bit.
I really wanted this to be easy for you guys.

Still crossing fingers and putting hope out into the universe for you.


Mima said...

And yet another that doesn't know the right words to comfort you, but is sending all the good feelings, rest and good luck possible to you. Waiting is a really hard thing to do especially if there is temptation to avoid as well.

This time round there is another added factor that you have missed off your list and that's Tricky. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that your lucky blah, blah, but that he takes looking after, and that takes time and energy that wasn't being used last time. So please don't be too hard on yourself.

Anyway thinking about you and sending all the best.


Em said...

Oh, Ovagirl, I wish I had the right words. The ride on the infertility train is different the scond time, but it still sucks something awful. I'm still clinging to hope for you. Wishing you all the best. --Em

Thalia said...

Oh OG, I'm so sorry about the expanse of white space. How bloody depressing.

MsPrufrock said...

I'm so, so sorry OG. I've not yet entertained the idea of baby number 2, but my assumption is that being there again, in the mire, would take you right back to those pre-Tricky times.

Speaking for myself only, I seem to think I've gotten over infertility somewhat, but I know it would take one negative cycle to send me right back into the thick of it again. I'm sorry that you have to go back to that place.

Mony said...

Well, it's a mindfuck. First time, second time....
Quite beside myself for you.
Damn, that's a creepy picture!

OvaGirl said...

Thanks for these kind comments and trevor's crippled fingers. I don't really know, I lurch from feeling happy to feeling incredibly lonely. Following previous 'heated discussions' C and I are fine again which just seems to add to the confusion. You know I think the whole infertility experience is so devastating that if you are lucky enough to move through it you block out all memory of the horror. The mind protects its own. Mima I do keep Tricky in the equation, honest, though maybe my post was a bit all about my state of mind...
and it was only yesterday I thought maybe the progesterone is having an effect on me too...
Mony, it IS creepy isn't it! I took this picture outside an artists studio... she was too big for me to drag home and stick on my shrine with all the other fertility gods and goddesses...

Vacant Uterus said...


Em said...

I have been so out of touch I didn't realise you were trying again! Thinking of you.

Nic said...

I'm sorry you're tired. I'm sorry that you and C have been at some odds. I'm sorry about that white expanse. But still hoping.

Anonymous said...

I have this misguided belief that if our upcoming defrost results in failure, that it won't be quite as bad as the previous times of emotional devastation, as we are so happy/lucky to have our 20 month old daughter. However, I'm starting to realise that it's going to be the same old 2 week wait/pee stick/beta test result waiting/migraine inducing horror.

That's the hard thing about committing to a defrost post baby -being brave enough to get back into that complete mindf*ck. I hope very much that you see a second line. JulieB

Anna H. said...

ovagirl, i've been a lurker for years, but wanted to say that i'm so sorry to read this -- i'm thinking about you and c and tricky.

two things: progesterone always made me as wonky as could be (my husband half-jokes that i would veer between suicide and homicide when i was on it) and in a way that estrogen never did. so, take care of yourself as you ride out the hormonal roller-coaster.

also, i understand that feeling of living after infertility, when you're ok -- good, wonderful, even! -- and then being slammed back to that awful, awful place. we don't have kids, but have been 'living' again after years of infertility sadness; we feel happy and strong the vast majority of the time, but a conversation or an announcement will happen and we are rocked again... the thing is, it's usually not even the old, familiar child-craving, but rather just an echo (a sonic boom, really) of really awful, awful times. it's a flashback to that state of being and it's powerful even when we feel conflicted about having kids.

so here you are, grieving the loss of your last frozen chance, but also grappling with those reminders of a stark and brutal time. be good to yourselves right now.

wishing you the very best.