Monthly Archives: December 2013

So long stinktown.

I think 2013 may have finally broken me; I’m exhausted and limping to the finish line.  My heart is broken, my eyes are raw and it’s taking every ounce of energy I have to put on a brave face and carry on.  It seems 2013 has wrecked havoc in nearly every area of my life, I won’t give in though, that’s not who I am.  I’m a lover not a fighter but at the same time I’m a fighter not a failure.

It’s hard being back here in the same place where a year ago I carried so much hope.  It’s supposed to be a lovely summer holiday but all I can think about is how we’re still stuck in the same phase we were in a year ago and how all we’ve gained from the last year is a greatly depleted bank account and broken hearts. Once again life has carried on around us while we’ve been left on pause, and at this point it doesn’t feel like 2014 will have any more to offer except more of the same.  I hate living like this and yet I have no other option.  Until we’ve pursued every possible avenue open to us, I can’t give up.  Until giving up becomes a reality I have nothing else.

2013 has seen many of my friends fall pregnant, have babies, plan parenthood and have it all fall neatly into place.  Others have not had it quite so lucky and yet I have faith that their silver lining is right around the corner.  If only I could have faith that ours was right there beside them.  Only I don’t.  As much as I try my hardest to look to a brighter future, and have no difficulty at all in dismissing our failures to focus on the next step, I can’t help but feel that it is all in vain.  There’s an underlying current that makes me feel this one dream won’t eventuate.  I greatly hope that reality proves me wrong, but I’m not the first to say reality destroys our dreams.

Still, regardless of how down and despondent I feel I know it’s only temporary.  I feel like this will last forever yet I know it’s only a fleeting moment in time.  One way or another this will end.  Tomorrow will bring a brighter day, and so often it does.  While one day will bring despair, the next will allow a ray of hope to light the day.  A bit of sunshine, something to laugh about, time with good friends, a flower blossoming on the side of the road.  I’ve learned that if I look for a tiny bit of good then things don’t seem quite so bad.  So while 2013 has left me maimed, it will never truly break me.  It can’t, because I won’t let it.  Happiness is a choice, and I choose to be happy.

So long 2013, you’ve been complete arse.  Let’s hope 2014 brings something better.

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To my darling B

Don’t be afraid of failure, a failure only means you carry on forward to the next step.  Stay strong and progress.  The thing that terrifies me, and is beginning to look more and more likely, is running out of next steps.


WTF?!?

And here we are, our ‘what the f**k’ appointment number two.  We know we’re not here for a good time.  A second IVF fail with the same outcome from a different combination of drugs can only mean one thing, my eggs are crap.  We’ve already mourned the loss of a biological baby for both of us and have talked through the option of using donor eggs, and of course continuing down the adoption path.  We’re prepared for this.

In we go and there are no surprises.  Although we’ve missed the round table discussion on our case due to there being no meeting of the reproductive specialists this week, our doc has done a quick run round of all the others that are there and they’re all in agreement.  Our best option is donor eggs.  I always find it odd going in for meeting with our specialist, especially these last two WTF appointments.  He does his best to cushion the blow and seems constantly surprised that we’re not crying, and are in fact laughing at some stage in most appointments.  We’re just not the type of people to hold onto the negative, at least we try not to.  We have our meltdowns then try to focus on the positive, on the future.  He’s there explaining why they think this has happened and how the donor egg process works and we’re there going “yes yes yes, we’ve worked through this, just tell us when we can start and what the first step is.”

Our doc talks us through a basic overview of the process, that we can proceed with either a known donor (i.e. asking one of our friends or family) or with someone we don’t know – usually procured through advertising.  He signs us up for public funding and has a long whinge about the drama currently unfolding with the District Health Board – how they don’t feel that continuity of care is important and feel that clinics shouldn’t help people like us find donors.  It quickly becomes blindingly clear that the DHB are clueless, and the people making the decisions have never walked this path.  Our doc tells us that every meeting they have with the DHB is held with a different set of people, all with very different ideas to the last group…..and people wonder why healthcare in this country is fucked.

So after all the talking it turns out our first step is to meet with one of the counsellors to talk through the stages you go through and all the issues and feelings that can arise with a donor egg cycle.  I’m wary of this as my last meeting with one of the counsellors there was a complete waste of time and money, but if this is the way we need to start then let’s get into it.  We book in for an appointment in February with the counsellor I DIDN’T see last time.  I hope she’s better value than the last one!  It will be interesting to see what she says, and see if some of the things M and I have spoken about come up in the session.

I’ve already worked through one thing that seems an obvious mental hurdle with donor eggs – that I won’t feel like the child’s mother.  It had me upset for a while, the thought that when our son or daughter (should we be lucky enough to have one or the other) gets to that ‘I hate my parents’ stage they can bust out the “your not the boss of me, you’re not even my mother” and biologically they’d be right.

Not one to leave a problem unsolved, I toiled and teared-up over this for a day or so until I remembered reading something amongst the adoption paraphernalia. It stated that the person who gives birth to the child is legally the child’s mother until measures are taken to change this.  That was enough to put an end to my torment, if I could give birth to a child, I was the child’s mother.   One down out of a seemingly endless array of possible obstacles.  I’m sure we can get through any of them but my biggest fear will still remain, what if it doesn’t work….


The longest post ever, but still not long enough

On top of all this infertility drama going on in my life, a dear family friend passed away last week (we found out the same day as we found out my eggs hadn’t fertilised no less).  It was a bit of a shock regardless of the fact that it was in some way expected.  I guess when you know someone your entire life you just don’t imagine them going, especially so young.  As much as it hurts when grandparents die, it’s something you’re somewhat prepared for, whereas this just blindsided me.  Being the reflector that I am, the news didn’t really hit me for a few days.  For some reason I take a while to process things, being level-headed when the news breaks only to crumble later, usually when I’ve made it home and am alone (thankfully).   Unfortunately this hit me the day of his funeral, not ideal as this isn’t a day about me.  As the proceedings started the tears began to fall – I know, not unusual at a funeral but this time it was a constant battle to keep them under some kind of control.  I just wanted to run to the car and bawl my eyes out in a place not surrounded by other people.  The photo slide show towards the end nearly broke me, especially when the photo of C at our wedding appeared.  So hard.  I was teased for being a crybaby but I bet most other people there had already had a good cry about C’s passing, I hadn’t.  Anyway, this isn’t post about me, it’s a post for C, and a post for his wonderful family.

A university friend of my parents I have literally known C my whole life and what an impact he, and T, have made on it.  As a child, my brother and I would look forward to visits from C & T who were living overseas at the time.  Always armed with a ridiculous amount of presents for us it was like Christmas come early.  While this is exciting for a kid, C & T’s visits were more than just presents.  Their visits were always times of fun and laughter, where all the adults seemed to relax and life paused for just a fraction of time.  I will never forget C’s crazy magic tricks, pulling coins from behind our ears while we squealed in delight and begged him to do it again.  Or the amazement at how he managed to stop a toy syringe plunger from being pushed down (or pulled up) by us only to achieve it easily himself moments later – a trick I have used on many kids since.

This is a man who, with his beautiful wife, paid for me to fly solo half way across the world to stay with them in Hong Kong as a ten year old.  A man who when I suffered from jet lag and was homesick, sat up with me at 2am instructing me in the the ways of solitaire and other computer games.  Who when I felt tired at a restaurant, left the party with me to take me the long boat ride home distracting me the entire time with silly jokes and interesting conversation  A man who in Hong Kong, and many other times too, treated me to endless fun, shopping, and love.  Endlessly generous, I still have many of the gifts bestowed upon me from this trip and from the various other visits over the years.  I’ve stayed with C and his family in Hong Kong and Belgium and have lived rent-free in their beautiful Italian villa more than once.  There are so many of my life experiences that I owe to this man and his family that I will never be able to express my gratitude enough.

I’ve written about gifts and I’ve written about experiences but C (& T) gave me so much more than that, they taught me that it was ok to be me.  I grew up with another girl, another family friend, who being only 4 months older than me, was a constant companion throughout my childhood years.  Confident, creative, and loads of fun, I never felt like I measured up to her.  Forever the shy child I never quite managed to come out of my shell, I was often quiet where L was boisterous, withdrawn where L was extroverted.  How I wanted to be like that so much (and sometimes still do)!  While most adults got frustrated, C & T never seemed to, at least not in my vicinity.  I can’t even really put my finger on how, but they made me accept that this was me and this was ok.  As a child that was enormous, and as an adult it is immeasurable.  Feeling worthless is the worst thing in the world and to have someone make you feel like you are someone, and can be something, is life changing.

I also owe many of my interests to C.  He, along with my Dad, sparked my interest in photography, a hobby which led me to a photography degree upon leaving school.  I remember the excitement in the small darkroom tucked away in the back of the garage, as images appeared like magic in the developing tray, the beauty of the black and white picture upon the page.  When hunting through old photographs for C’s funeral photo board we struggled – he was always the one behind the camera, capturing the ever-changing world around him.  One of my favourite shots of him is one I took aged ten, a look of surprise on his face as I snuck up and photographed him.  I remember feeling so proud that I’d managed to capture him on film – the one and only photo I have of him from that time.

Another interest sparked, again along with my Dad, is my fascination with history.  This again led to another degree, a Bachelor of Arts with a history minor.  I loved perusing his shelves of history books, specifically those with World War Two or Chinese subject matter and spent a lot of my time at uni in an Asian studies class or a Chinese or Japanese history session.  From his tales of the Orient, to teaching me to instruct the taxi driver to “please stop here” in Chinese, to history books on a shelf, it’s hard not to believe that my fascination with Asia, and history in general stemmed, at least in part, from C and his life overseas.

There’s so much to say about C, to be grateful and thankful for, that I just can’t fit it all in a post.  There is one thing however that I really can’t leave out, and that’s the infamous C interrogation.  Anyone who knew C will be able to tell you about his curiosity with the world and other people in it.  This is evident in his multiple degrees, his love of technology, and in the constant questioning of everyone around him.  Not a visit would go by without C sitting you down and grilling you about one thing or another.  I remember warning my friends before we walked through the door, “you’ll probably get interrogated by C but don’t worry about it, everyone gets it”.  I have such a chilled out, easy-going Dad (which is fantastic), I always felt like C covered the role of the stereotypical father figure, grilling my boyfriend’s to make sure they were acceptable.  While mostly fun and interesting these interrogations were occasionally a little frustrating….but what I wouldn’t give to be interrogated now!  It’s sad how you never truly appreciate anything until it’s gone.

I kept expecting to see C at the dinner and drinks we all had following his funeral.  I’d catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye only to turn my head and see someone else, or even worse, no one there.  It would be nice to think that C was there with us and could see how much we all loved him regardless.  I could just picture him out on the deck with the pipe he was inseparable from, lecturing us all on how we should finish with a grappa or limoncello (thanks for introducing me to them C – well, thanks for the limoncello anyway, I’m still not sold on the grappa), perhaps a little Whiter Shade of Pale playing in the background.

I tried a number of times to write this post and each time I struggled with what to say, where to start, and I had so many IT issues that I was starting to think maybe C didn’t want this written, and was using all his technology skills to stop me doing so.  Nevertheless, I got here in the end.  It’s one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write and I”m sure my garbled writing reflects that.  Apologies C, I know you’d be horrified, but sometimes you just can’t edit stuff out.


Save the Bumble, save the world.

It’s fair to say that this has been one of the worst weekends of my entire life.  What started off as a great big ball of hope ended a mere 24 hours later in a spectacular fiery inferno.

Thursday evening and egg collection is scheduled for the following morning.  I’m excited yet nervous, hoping like crazy that all these extra drugs have paid off, that the side effects are worth it, and that we will get a decent haul from the follicles growing inside me.  At the last scan there looked like there were at least 11 follicles to harvest from, maybe more.  Egg collection is scheduled for 8am which is great as I’m really not good when I don’t have breakfast and an 8am collection means I can have my 6 hours of no food beforehand and still have breakfast at a somewhat normal time.

At the ungodly hour of 7:30am we rock up to the clinic and while I’m getting prepped, hubby stops off at the lab to do his bit, only to come back with an amused but slightly horrified look on his face,  “It’s quite an odd experience dropping your sperm off with S’s brother” he says.  Argh! I’d forgotten that our friend’s brother worked at our clinic, and it turns out he’s our embryologist for the day.  I doubt he’d recognise us, I think I’ve only met him twice, but when he walked into our prep room and started talking to us about my scans and the process for egg collection, it was like our friend was standing in front of us talking about our eggs and sperm – S and his brother are that similar.  It was so weird and slightly unsettling.  At least he’s not the doctor performing the collection though right!

Into theatre and it begins.  I remember slightly more from the procedure this time and am prepared for the drunk feeling afterwards.  What’s more, it’s a great result.  11 eggs!  Two more than last time, we can only hope they’re of a decent quality.  In slightly more discomfort than the last time we did this, we manage a quick shop for Christmas presents before heading home for a quiet afternoon and relaxing evening on the couch.

Saturday morning.  We’re both in a good mood and are hopeful but nervous.  I decide to make hubby breakfast – a treat for him as I don’t enjoy cooking.  Halfway through making eggs and my cellphone rings.  Butterflies explode in the pit of my stomach as I answer the call.  “It’s not good news I’m afraid” and my world dissolves.  Turns out the results are much the same as our first IVF, only worse.  It seems stupid now but it really hadn’t occurred to me that that was possible for us.  The classic ‘it won’t happen to me’.  Out of our 11 eggs, 8 of them are either abnormal or immature, and of the 3 mature eggs none of them have fertilised normally.  NONE.  The lab tell me there may be a glimmer of hope and that they’ll keep an eye on the 3 embryos throughout the day and will call in the afternoon with an update.

I hang up the phone and relay the news to hubs.  Shellshocked we sit in near silence eating our now well-overcooked eggs.  I shed a couple of tears, and so does he, but to be honest we’re both so shocked that we’re not really sure what to do.  The day is all a bit of a blur now, but we did head out somewhere because when the 2nd call from the lab comes we’re driving back towards home along the motorway.  One embryo had shown signs of fertilisation but for some reason only got halfway there.  The other two, nothing.  That’s it, it’s all over.  From excitement, hope, and joy to absolute devastation in little more than 24 hours.  How can this be happening to us?  Not only is this IVF cycle a bust but we both know, with a similar result to IVF1, that this is more than likely the end of the road of a biological baby for us.  I’m heartbroken.  It’s a strange feeling as although I’m perfectly fine with a non-biological child, it’s quite a shock to hear that your body is defective and can’t do what it’s supposed to, that it can’t do the one thing it’s evolutionarily supposed to do as a woman.  And, being mistaken for brother and sister more than once, my husband and I have always wondered what our children would look like – a combination of similar yet completely different genes….I guess that’s something we’ll never know.

The rest of the weekend is incredibly subdued.  We cry, we think, we analyse, we cry some more.  We start to tell people what’s happened – although not until near the end of the weekend so as not to put a downer on other people who, with the gorgeous weather across the country, should be having a marvellous break.  We start to focus on the next step.  And look forward to work to distract us.  And then more bad news hits – but that’s another post in itself.

So our dream for a biological child seems over.  Of course, there’ll be no confirmation of that until our WTF appointment with our doctor in a week or so but we both know what he’s going to say, he prepped us for this after the result of our first IVF cycle.  It’s tough, real tough, but what can you do, that’s life right?  Save the Bumble, save the world.


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