Monthly Archives: April 2014

Alternate directions

I started this post back in February and now, almost exactly two months to the day, I’m making good on my promise to myself and knuckling down to complete the job.  After multiple posts on donor egg IVF it’s time for one on adoption to even the score.  It feels good to finally be able to write something else on this front as it’s still very much an option for us even though our world seems a bit dominated with DEIVF at the moment.

So what is there to report?  Well, after a few messages back and forward I finally managed to catch up with a former work colleague who had not so long ago been through the adoption process herself.  Such a fantastic opportunity to chat through the process with someone who has firsthand experience, someone who, to make things even better, is such a lovely, bubbly, and all-round friendly person….and of course her wee 11-month old bub was just adorable!

She shared her story with me, walked me through the process step-by-step and gave me bits of advice along the way.  This is the order things happen in, make sure you go into the workshops with your head in the right space, this is what a profile looks like.  It was so helpful and now I feel a bit more prepared to tackle the long process that is adoption in NZ.  With only 5 domestic adoptions in the year to July (2013) the chances seem slim, but if she can be one of the lucky ones then why can’t we.

We’ve attended the initial 2-hour information session, as mentioned in a previous post, have submitted our applications (with police & medical checks), our referees have completed their feedback on us, and we have just received notification of, and enrolled in, the next two-day workshop.  In three and a half weeks time we’ll be attending day one (with day two the following weekend) and our adoption journey will continue.  I’ve already started thinking about creating our profile, working out what to include about ourselves, thinking of the photos we have that could go in it, though I know I’m jumping way ahead of myself.

It’s funny because although I know we’d be good parents, there’s still this little nagging fear that they won’t want us, that they won’t put us through to the next step.  I know it’s silly as I can’t think of anything in our natures or in our backgrounds that would exclude us from the adoption pool – we’re not abusive, we have loving families & friends, we’re well-educated, we have a wide variety of hobbies, our own home, financial stability, and a lot of love to give.  If anything, with the large variety of ways (including adoption) that our current family has been put together, we have added positives that make us well-rounded candidates for adoptive parents.  I guess because DEIVF and adoption are our last bastions of hope when it comes to having a family there’s a lot riding on both of them, which of course makes me worry…..and we all know how much of a contraceptive “worry” is for conception (ha! Perhaps more on that in a future post).

Although I have some idea of what to expect from the two-day workshop I’m still a little nervous about it.  A tiny part of this is my irrational fear of the audition process (that this isn’t) and not making it through, but I think a larger part is just me being shy.  I know when the day rolls around I’ll be completely fine about it and will participate and chat away with ease – after all, these people, while perhaps not in the same boat as us, are definitely floating in the same ocean.  It’s also exciting to be making progress in the adoption arena, to be taking active steps along multiple paths to becoming parents.  Bring it on, I’m more than ready for it.

So that’s the small update we have on the adoption front – two months in the making – this time next month we’ll hopefully have more to report and will, fingers crossed, be even closer to realising our dream of expanding our family.


Fuck you infertility

Easter/ANZAC Day break…..take 3 days off work and end up with 10 days off.  Bliss. It’s fantastic when public holidays fall just in the right place.  So we’ve taken the three days off and have headed to my in-laws holiday home on Great Barrier Island with my in-laws.  What?!?  With the in-laws you say?!?  Yes, and I’m pleased to report that, while things are not quite back to the way they used to be, we’re well on our way to being a cohesive family once again.  In fact, things have been really lovely.  There’s a small feeling of everyone being on their best behaviour but overall it’s been a nice relaxing break.

We’ve been out on the boat fishing (successfully), we sent the boys in snorkelling for crayfish (the NZ kind, similar to lobster), we’ve wandered along multiple beaches, explored rock pools, paddled in the waves, been out to collect shellfish (cockles, pipis, oysters and mussels) at low tide, had copious amounts of reading/relaxation time (hence the multiple blog posts)….and so far we’ve only been here 4 days.

I’ve been having a marvellous time but, as always, infertility and children are never far from my mind.  Despite the numerous enjoyable experiences we’ve had over the last few days, during nearly every one of them I’ve thought “I may never be able to teach our child this” or “I may never get to experience this with our child”.  Digging in the sand for cockles and pipis, their first snorkelling trip, learning to catch fish, frolicking in the waves, checking out various animals (like the cool little octopus we found) in rock pools.  I find it sad that, no matter how hard I try, infertility is taking even my happy moments away from me.  Or, maybe not taking them away but tarnishing them with a shadow of sadness, a grey cloud on a sunny day that momentarily blocks out the light.

I’ve also had the misfortune of choosing books that focus around kids when picking my holiday reading, particularly ones revolving around the mistreatment of kids or families.  It’s not at all on purpose or even conscious – I was given a Kindle loaded with books for my birthday and have been selecting books at random to read without investigating the book description.  Am I subconsciously drawn to covers or titles that highlight the deficit in my life or enflame my horror at the wrongs done to children?  I don’t think so as looking back at them now they give no indication of the drama within.  Perhaps it’s just bad luck….or not bad luck as the books were really good reads.  It’s extraneous anyway, my mind is never far from our childlessness regardless of what appears in front of me.

I think the lesson here is to try to focus on the good and accept that while this journey continues there will always be some aspect of sadness that colours each occasion.  We’ve packed a raft of different fun things into a short amount of time.  The weather has been fantastic even though the forecast was for thunderstorms.  We’ve dined to excess on fresh ocean delicacies.  And we’ve rebuilt the relationship with my husband’s parents (definitely one of the main highlights of this trip).  So regardless of infertility’s loaming shadow I’m determined to make the most of this holiday.  Fuck you infertility, this is me attempting to reclaim my life.

The tip of the iceberg

I had the meltdown of all meltdowns last week. I should have known after such a good week the week before that it would all come crashing down in a big heap. Starting with my birthday on the Monday I cried nearly every day….but Wednesday was the worst. I guess everything’s just hitting me hard at the moment. I’m 34, no longer “early thirties” as our ‘About Me’ section would suggest; my biological clock is ticking – not that that matters entirely because my eggs are already well-fucked; it just feels like time is running out and there’s nothing I can do to fix/help/stop anything.

This whole process just wears away at you bit by bit. I’ve been trying to do things that make me happy to improve my lot but then one of the things that make me happy is my friends, and being there for them and that can wear away at you too in a way.  It’s been a hard time for a lot of my friends lately and I a) don’t feel like I can do enough to help, and b) struggle to hold myself together enough to be of any use sometimes.  My boss once suggested that our emotional state is like a battery and the energy can be sapped by various things.  You can recharge your battery but it never really becomes fully charged again as long as the major drain on the battery still exists.  I can understand that but for me I visualise it a little differently.

I feel like we’re all giant 3-D jigsaw puzzles and I don’t have enough hands to hold all my pieces together.  Every time I reach out to try and help someone else hold their pieces in, another piece of my jigsaw falls out, which is fine as long as you have a break at some stage to pick up your fallen jigsaw pieces from the floor and put them back in their place.  It’s when there’s no time for this that you run into problems. Eventually your jigsaw becomes so unstable that it explodes – picture a standard jigsaw that you’re deconstructing to pack away into its box, you start to destroy the pieces from the outside and the pressure causes the inner pieces to explode, cascading down all over the table.  Anyone who has felt the joy at annihilating a jigsaw puzzle will know the effect I’m talking about.  So my jigsaw explodes and a meltdown ensues.

Unfortunately this time it wasn’t the best timing but you just don’t have control over these things…you can hold them off to a point but eventually there’s just no stopping it.  Generally I try to keep them to outside of work hours so as not to appear a complete fruit loop to my colleagues, hmmmm, no such luck this time.  I now not only appear to be a complete nut bar but, because the jigsaw pieces had collapsed enough to stop my brain from function properly, I couldn’t even explain to my boss what the issue was/is, so also appear to be an unsupportive selfish bitch as well.  That thought of course fuelled my meltdown even more as I try my hardest to be a supportive and caring person, and the thought that I’m the opposite makes me feel awful.  Needless to say my poor husband had a hard night trying to get me to talk through my hyperventilating and tears to calm me down, what a frickin mess.

I feel so stuck at the moment.  Stuck and confused and there are so many elements at play that I’m not sure I can even express them in any kind of coherent stream.  I feel like I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to sort out my body and brain and prepare myself for the future.  I feel like I shouldn’t be upset about our current situation but then I feel guilty when I do get upset.  I feel like I need to move on but also feel like I can’t until we’ve exhausted every possibility.  I feel like there’s no one I can talk to.

Stop.  Break these down.  One.  I feel like I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to sort out my body and brain and prepare myself for the future. Where does this come from?  Life feels so busy at the moment that I just don’t have the time to stop, to breathe, to focus on what I need to be doing to sort myself out.  We’ve been doing a lot of things to our house so I’ve spent most of my time at home busy doing things.  Work’s been busy so we’ve been staying later a fair bit.  I’ve also been trying to fit in other things such as acupuncture and the gym to get my body in shape but don’t feel like I have the time to do it.  I’ve been trying to schedule acupuncture outside of work hours (quite difficult sometimes with the hours my acupuncturist works) as I feel bad leaving work to go to my sessions and also feel I need to stay in the office – which leads onto my second point.

Two.  I feel like I shouldn’t be upset about our current situation but then I feel guilty when I do get upset.  This is a hard one to put into words so let’s start with how it feeds into needing to stay in the office.  I work closely with two other women and to be honest we’ve all been having a shit time recently – for different reasons.  It’s not compulsory but on the whole it’s better if there’s always one of us in the office throughout the day.  Now I know this doesn’t have to be me but because I don’t have kids and the other two do I feel like it’s more important that they have the flexibility to do what they need to do.  It’s not a matter of them making me feel that way or that they work less than I do because both of those statements are most definitely not true, it’s just that they have tangible/real/physical commitments (their children etc.) while mine is just imaginary, a wisp of future potential not yet realised.  Yes, I understand I impose this feeling on myself, but that doesn’t make it any less real.  I feel that I shouldn’t be upset or need time away from work for something that doesn’t, and possibly never will, exist when others are suffering just as much, if not more, over things that subsist in the real world.

Another side to this second point primarily comes from other people’s reactions to us doing donor egg IVF.  Everyone is so excited for us, and thrilled that we’re taking the next step, which is fantastic and trust me, I’m super excited too.  There’s just this conflict of emotion within me that is really frickin hard to deal with sometimes.  On one hand I’m thrilled to able to progress in our journey, and am absolutely stoked that we have someone so willing to help us, but on the other hand I’m still trying to grieve the loss of a genetic child and deal with the guilt of it being my defective body that has cost us so much time, money, and most prominently, heartache.  I am the reason for my husband’s suffering, for my mother’s lack of a local grandchild, for every dysfunctional infertility-related thing that’s happened to us over the last three years.  It’s all my fault.  It’s a hard thing to work through and just when I feel like I’ve made some progress, that I’m starting to accept that this is just the way things are, everything falls to pieces again.  I feel like this is a time I should be filled with hope so I find myself riddled with guilt when I’m sad about how things have come to be.

Three.  I feel like I need to move on but also feel like I can’t until we’ve exhausted every possibility.  The need to move on stems from the conflict in point two I think.  Mentally I need to push forward, to take my life back and not have to think about infertility any more.  The trouble with this is that I know I will forever live with guilt and regret if we were to quit without pursuing every angle.  Is a life of remorse worth living for the sake of a short term relief from my anguish?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps in time I would come to accept our decision, come to ignore the regret, but I know I’m not one to let things like that go easily – why is it much easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself? – and there would always be that nagging doubt of “what if”.  No, I need to be brave and propel myself forward through my current set of emotions until we’ve tried everything we possibly can to realise our dream.

Four.  I feel like there’s no one I can talk to.  It’s been so long now that I feel like I’m a broken record forever skipping back and repeating the same couple of bars.  I know people care about us and about our situation but I no longer feel I can talk about it freely without people being absolutely sick of hearing about it.  I guess in a way this feeds back into point two – people think we should be happy that things are progressing and don’t really understand how I can be upset.  Perhaps I’m not being fair, perhaps it’s more that people are happy about the way things are developing and if they concentrate on that happiness then I will be happy too.  This is true to a point, I love that people are thrilled for us and it does make me happy, it just also results in me feeling like I can’t talk to anyone about my internal conflict as that makes me ungrateful or uncomprehendable.  I don’t want to burden my friends and family with my sadness and guilt.  I can’t lean on my Twitter friends because I can’t even face Twitter at the moment with all its babies and success stories – don’t get me wrong, I’m truly happy for all those success stories and other peoples happiness, it’s just with where my head is at at the moment I can’t help but think we will never be one of them, and that makes me sad…..and I feel like I’ve got my fill of sad at the moment I can’t possibly fit any more (cue more guilt at not being there to support others again).  I suppose I should really go and talk to our counsellor but while she was great when talking through DEIVF, I find I can never get the words out when talking about myself.  I always seem to be in a good state on the few days I have been to talk with someone, and it’s much harder to get to the bottom of the issues when everything feels fine.

So I’m back to feeling stuck.  Stuck waiting for DEIVF to progress, stuck waiting for myself to work through my emotions, stuck on a dream that has the propensity not to exist, stuck in the groove of my broken record spinning round playing the same old tune.

There’s nothing like crying on your birthday

So here we are, my 34th birthday and three years ‘trying to conceive’.  By everyone else’s standards I should be pregnant with, or just had my second child, but it seems we’re still stuck in time trying for our first.  So how do I feel about it?  To be honest I’m really not sure.  I had thought I would be a devastated bawling wreck at this point but I kind of just feel nothing.  Not numb exactly but perhaps resigned to the fact that this is our lot.  Maybe it’s just that I’ve had a good week, a week where I’ve been happy and felt like a normal person.  Not an entirely ecstatic week by any stretch of the imagination but just a normal plain old ordinary week of ups and downs and ‘normality’.   And it feels good.

I think perhaps I’m truly starting to accept that my body is not capable of performing miracles, that there’s not going to be a surprise month where my body actually manages to produce a decent quality egg; and that we’re going to have to rely on someone else for our little miracle.  It’s a hard thing to accept but I think I’m nearly there, the train left my station long ago (if it was ever there at all), and I’m finally fine with that.

So it’s my birthday.  I had a lovely day at my favourite spa yesterday with my mum and some girlfriends – hot stone massages, a swim in the sunshine, followed by lunch and cocktails poolside.  Absolute bliss.  The day concluded with a fabulous dinner out with my in-laws and I’m pleased to say things are much much better on that front.  All in all a fantastic day….which is just as well because today, my actual birthday, has been a bit lack-lustre.  Fair enough, my birthday will more than likely always be bittersweet from now on – if you haven’t started thinking about kids yet a word of advice, don’t start trying on your birthday.

Anyway, I was all geared up for a nice relaxing day, I had lunch booked in with my dad, and had planned to see my mum in the evening but other than that was content to laze around home and relax.  Which all would have been fine except my husband somehow managed to get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning and has been quiet and sullen all day.  In fact, the only time I think he smiled was when he wanted my opinion on his latest project for work – yeah, thanks, I’d love to talk work on my birthday especially when I’ve taken time off, and I’m so glad that’s the only thing that’s going to make you happy today. Honestly, I don’t know why he bothered to take the day off in the first place, I would’ve been perfectly happy to potter around on my own today.  Luckily for me lunch with my dad and step-mum was great, as was coffee with one of my best friends afterwards, and I’m sure seeing my mum, sister, and step-dad tonight will brighten the day some more.

I’m hoping it will because right now I’m feeling a bit miserable.  Maybe it’s a near-subconscious sadness about Bumble, maybe I’m not quite as ready for acceptance as I thought, maybe it’s all the baby and pregnancy announcements dotted through my Facebook birthday messages, or maybe it’s nothing to do with any of that and it’s just the way the day’s panned out.  Whatever it is I’ve gone and done it again – a post that initially started as one of hope and acceptance has turned into a negative whine but hey, there’s nothing like crying on your birthday is there.

To live vicariously through others

It’s amazing how much infertility changes you.  It affects your sociability, your confidence, your happiness, nearly every aspect of your life. I’ve begun to think that perhaps we’re just not meant to be parents.  Since my friends started having kids I’ve been truly appreciating things that childless people take for granted – the sleep-ins, dinners out at the drop of a hat – thinking one day soon it will be our turn and we won’t be able to do this any more.  Well, it’s feeling more and more likely that “one day” will never come so I’ve started conditioning my brain that this could be a permanent thing, and have started looking for the things in life that become possible through being childless.  I’m not giving up on the hunt for Bumble, more preparing myself with an alternative should Bumble never eventuate.

I’ve also begun to wonder if I could actually be a decent parent should we be lucky enough for Bumble to appear.  I used to have great plans of what I would do if I had children but now they’ve all been swallowed up by this wave of sterility.  I can’t remember any of them.  It’s as though I’ve woken from a dream with only vague memories of what was, knowing that there was once something good there but now there is only haze.  I’m hoping that, should Bumble ever make an appearance, all those good intentions will come flooding back.  I think they will.  I’ve noticed as I’ve started to reintroduce myself to the world of the living, that things I thought lost have really just been hidden.  The more time I spend around kids, the more it ‘comes back to me’.  I remember why I loved being a nanny, why I love kids, and why we were doing all this in the first place.

Perhaps we should be seeing kids more not less.  Offer up the ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ duties of babysitting, and see our friends’ children more often (I’d like to do the same for my sister and her girls but she lives too far away).  We babysat for some friends last weekend and it was fantastic!  Admittedly the two boys were shattered from a pretty full-on and energetic day, but they were just so much fun to look after, play with, and pop into bed.  Even the simple act of getting ready for bed left me feeling warm inside.  The coaxing on of jarmies for a wee lad determined not to put them on, the brushing of teeth, the bedtime stories.  There’s something so nice about even the routine things of parenting and the fact that, even though they’re not our own, we can bond with the kids almost as if they were.  To be fair, we love our friends like family so their kids naturally feel like our own flesh and blood.  Does that sound too creepy?  Hopefully not.  I’ve known many of my friends for more than 20 years (two thirds of my life) so they should feel like family right?!  It’s scary to think about it but I’ve known the mum of the two we looked after since I was 10 years old – that’s nearly quarter of a century that we’ve been in each other’s lives.

To further my reintegration plan and help with the acceptance that this could be my life for good, we made the bold move to attend a combined first and third birthday party today.  Where in previous years I would leave hollow and in tears, this time I was ready.  As mentioned above, I’ve been preparing myself for the childless life. I’m tired of missing out on seeing my friends, and watching their children grow, of missing out on their lives.  I’m not saying it was easy, and I stayed just less than an hour, but at least I made the effort. The hardest part is no longer the children, I’ve accepted that we may have missed the boat on that, it’s the fact that I can’t join in on conversations – how is an infertile supposed to join in on tips for toilet training, or teething, or mobility.  Needless to say, there wasn’t much I could contribute, so I headed off.  And I won’t lie, I did have a cry on the way home but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it’s been in the past, and the tears weren’t all for us and Bumble.

So here’s to other people’s children, accepting our lot, and rejoining life again, regardless of the fact that we may need to live vicariously through others.


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