Category Archives: Coping

Happy four weeks!

Today is the boys due date and marks four weeks since their birth. Wow time really does fly! The last few weeks have been both the toughest and the happiest weeks of my life. I’ve never had so little sleep, felt so inept, or cried so many tears, but at the same time I’ve been delighted at just how magical our little boys are and have revelled in the fact that these two little men have graced us with their presence. They say the first 6 weeks are the hardest, that things can only get better, and if that’s the case things are going to be great. I’m under no illusion that this parenting gig will be easy, I know there are going to be tough times ahead but I’m optimistic that if my hubby and I can survive these few weeks (albeit with a lot of help from friends and family) we can survive almost anything. I did say that about our infertility journey though also!

So there’s not too much to report on the blur of the last four weeks. The boys have gone from tiny premature infants to more traditional newborn babies, they’re in a reasonable routine of sleep-change-feed-sleep every three hours or so, although in the last couple of days have really craved (and received) a bit more social and activity time. We’ve been told by a couple of our medical monitors that activity time shouldn’t be happening for another couple of weeks but our boys are alert and actively seeking it out so screw what they should be doing, I’m going to give them what they need….and they’re loving it!

They spent a good 10 minutes hanging out with each other on their floor mat earlier today, and absolutely loved checking each other out and interacting with each other (something they haven’t been too keen on until now.) They’re also doing amazingly with their head/neck control and seeking/maintaining eye contact, and they love their cuddle time. No smiles just yet, other than the gassy grins that come after feeding but I’m hoping we’re not too far off that.

They’re also going from strength to strength on the weight front and having been monitored by NICU Homecare, our obstetrician’s midwife, and now Plunket, have been weighed and measured on a pretty regular basis. Bee began life with a weight of 2210g, a length of 46cm, and head circumference of 32cm. He’s now (as of two days ago) 2740g, 50.5cm,and 35cm. And Bumble is doing his best to catch up, initially 1980g, 45cm and 31cm, he’s now 2370g, 49.5cm and 34.5cm. I’m so proud of them.

There have been challenging nights (and the occasional day). Mostly occurring when Bee, who suffers a fair bit from an upset tummy (lots of gas that he just can’t release despite all our best efforts and/or medication) screams hysterically and will only settle (eventually) when laying tummy to tummy on my husband. This means no sleep for hubs from around 10pm until anywhere between 4 & 6am. It’s tough, both the lack of sleep and the fact you know he’s in pain and there’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s heartbreaking.

Those times are far outweighed by the good however – the snuggles, the milestones, the funny faces pulled, the times they surprise even themselves. Bumble had a wee grizzle last night. He’s always been our quiet one, even his cries are small and cute, and last night was no different until suddenly he let out one big yell amongst his little whimpering’s and gave himself such a fright he threw his hands up, looked shocked, and shut himself up. My in-laws and I got a fright as well but proceeded to burst into fits of laughter at Bumble’s reaction to his own cry. It seems a little cruel to laugh at a cry but with the fact that he was so shocked by it himself we just couldn’t help ourselves.

We’ve been inundated with both visitors and gifts – I swear the local courier driver must think we’re running some sort of strange mail operation here with the number of times he’s come to drop stuff off, it’s nearly a daily occurrence! Fitting in all the visitors has been a little tricky as, until this week, the boys haven’t spent that much time awake and get easily overtired if stimulated (even through being held or looked at) too much. You desperately want people to come and see them – both to show them off and for the adult company – and you know how badly people want to meet them, but then you have to weigh that up with over-stimulation and the pure logistics of fitting people into their three hour cycle. Hopefully with the increase in activity time now things will get easier on that front.

We’ve also been brave enough to venture out of the house, making our first journey with the boys (other than the trip home from the hospital) to the exciting venue of the pet store when they were just under three weeks old. Since then we’ve ventured up the road for lunch – a nice stroll with them in their stroller bassinets – and to the local community centre/library for Bee’s follow-up hearing test (he passed!) The initial journey was terrifying, and I was paranoid something would go wrong, but once we had that under our belt things got a lot easier. It’s been fantastic being able to get out of the house as I was going a little stir crazy holed up in here.

My hubby and I have also managed a couple of lunches out by ourselves, thanks to my Mum babysitting. The first passed quickly in a buzz of nervousness at leaving the boys, and the second was a bit of a blur in our sleep-deprived state, but they’ve been awesome. It’s been fabulous to be able to have some ‘couple time’ so early on. Mum’s also stayed over a few nights and helped us out with the evil night-time and early morning feeds…thanks so much Mum!

My in-laws have also been amazing, coming over one to two times a week to make us dinner and take over the midnight or 1am feed using expressed milk so that my husband and I can get a decent amount of sleep in a stretch. I can’t put into words how much this helps and how much it means to us.

On top of that we’ve had other family members and friends come round with groceries, send food and gifts, help with feeds or with watching the boys while we sleep. We’re just so incredibly lucky to know the awesome people we do and to have such a massive amount of support through this time.

So that’s been the first four weeks. The boys have graduated from both NICU and midwife care and are now solely monitored by Plunket, we’re managing enough sleep to get by, and we’re rejoicing in everything our boys have to offer…except for maybe those all-nighter screams! Happy four week ‘birthday’ Bumble and Bee!



Another long wait (written 4th March 2015)

The longest wait is nearly over, it’s scan day tomorrow, a day I thought would never arrive. I haven’t blogged much as 1) I’ve not been sleeping properly and have been really tired, and 2) I can’t concentrate for very long, so stringing more than a few sentences together has been really challenging.

My clinic here in NZ have been really supportive, not only putting up with my panicked email (spotting) but also scheduling me in for weekly blood tests to reassure me that my HCG is steadily climbing. At our first (sneaky) beta my HCG comes in at 369…our favourite nurse bets me that we’re having twins (eek). By our official test date on Monday the 16th that number has jumped to 1733. We’re sitting in the 75th percentile, things are looking good.

Of course, having the mind of an infertile, I’m analysing every little twinge my body throws my way. Nervous that this could all go wrong, excited that it could all go right. In the week between the 1733 result and our next beta, I don’t notice too much out of the ordinary. I’m still cramping a bit, which I’ve done pretty much since transfer. They feel pretty much like period pains although there are some slightly lighter pangs, and almost a burn-like feeling sometimes as well. The only other thing of note this week is that my nipples are all tingly. Not really sore, they’re more itchy, like tiny ripples of the most minor electric shock you could imagine. I’m feeling tired too but I put that down to the lack of sleep as I wake up nearly every night worrying.

Finally the 23rd arrives and it’s time for our third blood test. I’m super nervous again but luckily don’t have to wait as long this time (I think our favourite nurse is being nice again and bumping us up the call schedule). The result comes in around lunchtime and again it’s looking good at 22279. I’ve printed a graph off the internet and plot my last three results along it. It follows the curve perfectly, still sitting in the 75th percentile. Phew. Only a week and a half til scan, I can do this!

Over the next week my symptoms come and go, making me feel either somewhat hopeful or plunging me into a fit of panic that everything’s over. I’m still cramping, still tired and not sleeping, my boobs still tingle but I also get a bit more general breast pain which I hope means they’re being to grow (I’m an A cup at best, say no more). I have a couple of days where I have bouts of nausea and dizziness but again these are easily written off to lack of sleep as I often feel this way when I’m not sleeping. It’s not until the end of the week that I begin to feel something might actually be happening inside me. By Thursday/Friday I’m starting to have food aversions and have almost totally lost my appetite. I have to basically force-feed myself as I know I need to eat.

For someone who eats pretty much anything and loves a good meal, it’s so weird to suddenly feel ill at the thought/sight/smell of food I would normally crave. It starts with water. I’m not a huge water drinker but I have the odd glass throughout the day and absolutely love green tea or a hot water with lemon. Overnight water becomes abhorrent. I can’t stand the sight of it, and the thought of drinking it in any form (hot, cold, tea, even juice!) disgusts me! I worry as to what I am going to drink to stay hydrated, until my husband suggests chocolate milk. I used to love chocolate milk as a child but as an adult rarely drink it, and hardly ever manage a full glass/bottle when I do indulge. Until now. It is now the best thing in the world and I consume 2 litres of chocolate milk (standard milk & Nesquik) over the following two days.

Next come veges. I am a vege nut and am constantly pestering my husband to include more vegetables in our dinners. Roast vege salad you say? Mmmmmm, yes please…..that is until now. It starts with just a few, no eggplant, no kumara (sweet potato) then wham! It’s nearly all veges I can’t stand. The smell of them cooking, bleurgh. I can’t even handle looking at them on the counter as I eat my breakfast and have to turn away. It’s so strange (even reading the word ‘veges’ as I read over this makes me want to puke).

Various other foods, in fact most other foods lose their appeal and I find myself living off chocolate milk and bread over the weekend. If anything I feel like sweet food which, although would have summed me up perfectly as a child, is almost the opposite of what I am normally like as an adult, preferring savoury food to anything sweet.

The next thing to increase is the nausea. It comes in waves, generally hitting worst when I first wake up and easing a little after I have breakfast. By Monday morning I have to get my husband to make me toast in bed before I get up as I feel so queasy. It comes and goes throughout the day, easing more if I nibble frequently and less if I stick to the main meals only. I feel constantly full despite not eating a huge amount and start to keep a bread roll or hot cross bun next to the bed at night to allow me to graze throughout the wee small hours. I find this helps a lot with the early-morning nausea. I haven’t vomited (yet) but have felt quite close to it at times.

All these symptoms are helping to keep the anxiety at bay a bit but nonetheless I have another beta on the Monday morning (2nd March). I miss the call from the clinic by a measly one ring and wait another hour and a half for them to call back. The tone in the nurse voice has me worried and it feels like a long wait (in reality it’s about 20 seconds) before telling me it’s all ok. I’m up to 81755, still sitting in the perfect curve on my graph.

Another couple of days of nausea and struggling to find things to eat and drink, and that brings us to now. Scan day tomorrow. In the last two weeks I’ve lost half a centimetre around my waist, my belly has remained the same size, and I’ve gained 2cm in the bust (woohoo!). In the five and a half weeks since we left for San Diego I’ve lost 4kgs (I suspect mostly muscle mass from giving up weights at the gym) but have gained back about half a kilo over the last few days. I’m absolutely terrified that it will all come to an end tomorrow, unbelievably nervous that we won’t see anything on the scan. I’m trying not to think about that too much though, the signs are looking good, I just hope they’re not largely in my head.

Radio Bumble (AKA My life in tunes – part 2)

It’s time I wrote another post about the music seeing me through this journey. I’m still churning through some of the tunes from my last music post but now I’ve got a few more pulling me through, lifting me up or making me cry, that release of pent up energy that one needs every so often. So what’s been added to the list now?

Well, I’ve been listening to a LOT of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I’ve been a Nick Cave fan since I was a teenager, I’d say coming on 20 years this year. We’d bought tickets to his gig in Auckland in December but ended up missing the concert due to our unexpected trip to the Bahamas. It would have been the first proper time I’d seen him, not counting 5-10 minutes at the Big Day Out somewhere around 1996, so I was a bit gutted we weren’t going, still it was the Bahamas! Anyway, since then my love of his tunes has been reinvigorated and I’ve been working my way through my old favourites as well as some newer ones that I’d never really listened to much before. And man did some of them seem so suddenly fitting for the shit we’ve been going through. I won’t go through them all, that could take hours, so here are the top three helping me along.

  1. Hallelujah. Mostly for the last little bit sung by Kate & Anna McGarrigle. “The tears are welling in my eyes again, I need twenty big buckets to catch them in, twenty pretty girls to carry them down, twenty deep holes to bury them in”. Pretty self-explanatory really, I’ve cried nearly every day for the last two weeks. What can I say, infertility is a bitch.
  2. O, Children. This is one of the songs I’d listened to a little before but not nearly as much as some of the other tracks. For some reason I kind of went off Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a little around the time of this album, just a phase of my life, so never really paid as much attention as I could have. There are a few parts of this track that connect with me at the moment, even though the song has absolutely nothing to do with what we’re going through right now. “O Children, lift up your voice”, me wishing our potential children would ‘lift up their voice’ and appear for us, gracing our ears with their voices in reality. “Hey little train! Wait for me! I once was blind but now I see, have you left a seat for me? Is that such a stretch of the imagination?” That moment when you really know you want to have kids, wondering if I’ll ever join that not-so-exclusive-but-hard-for-me-to-get-into club of being a parent, is there a spot left in it for me? “I’m hanging in there don’t you see, in this process of elimination” Again, reasonably self-explanatory, what more can I say.
  3. Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for. This is the major one. We listened to this track (and the rest of the ‘Best of’ album) almost continuously during our three months in Italy as we only had about 4 albums with us at the time, and this was well before the days of smartphones and Spotify. So it’s always reminded us of happy times in Europe but now, listening to the lyrics again, I realise how fitting it is to our current road. As I listen to this I envisage our bubba and hope like hell that they are moving closer to us and will (figuratively) arrive on our doorstep soon.

“I’ve felt you coming girl, as you drew near

I knew you’d find me, cause I longed you here

Are you my destiny? Is this how you’ll appear?

Wrapped in a coat with tears in your eyes?

Well take that coat babe, and throw it on the floor

Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?


As you’ve been moving, surely toward me

My soul has comforted and assured me

That in time my heart it will reward me

And that all will be revealed

So I’ve sat and I’ve watched an ice-age thaw

Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?


Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built

Out of longing great wonders have been willed

They’re only little tears, darling, let them spill

And lay your head upon my shoulder

Outside my window the world has gone to war

Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?


O we will know… Won’t we?

The stars will explode in the sky

But they don’t… Do they?

Stars have their moment and then they die


There’s a man who spoke wonders though I’ve never met him

He said, “He who seeks finds and who knocks will be let in”

I think of you in motion and just how close you are getting

And how every little thing anticipates you

All down my veins my heart-strings call

Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?”


But it’s not all Nick Cave, there are other songs keeping me going too.

First there’s Peking Duk’s Take Me Over. Purely for the line “Dream no more and leave it all behind.” Preparing myself, as we rapidly run out of ‘next steps’ and near the end of our journey, to face a life without kids. Question is, will I be able to give up my dream and leave it all behind? At this stage I don’t see how, but I may have to face that reality and I need to start thinking about what my life will look like should that be the case.

Then there’s As I Call Out Your Name by The Howlers. Not really for any particular lyrics other than perhaps “The tears roll down my face, I’m thinking it’s all in vain” and “Cause it’s better than the pain I feel without you.” This song more reminds me what a wonderful family I have and how lucky I am to have such caring, supportive people around me. That probably won’t make much sense to most of you were you to listen to the track but if I told you it was both written and sung by my cousin that might help in understanding why it makes me feel this way.

And All of Me by John Legend. My hubby gives me shit every time I listen to this song, and yes, I know it’s soppy (which is generally not my kind of music) but it makes me think how wonderful my hubby is and how, even though this battle with infertility has been a horrible, heartbreaking and soul destroying fight, it’s actually made our relationship so much stronger, something I am truly grateful for. I wasn’t going to post all the lyrics here other than the couple that I first fixated on (“Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too. The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood” and “Even when I lose I’m winning” – we’ve certainly done enough ‘losing’ in the last four years) but reading through the lyrics there are so many in there that seem fitting (“Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts. Risking it all though it’s hard” and “My head’s underwater but I’m breathing fine”) I figured I should just put the entire lot in.

“What would I do without your smart mouth

Drawing me in, and you kicking me out

You got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down

What’s going on in that beautiful mind

I’m on your magical mystery ride

And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright


My head’s underwater

But I’m breathing fine

You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind


‘Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you, oh


How many times do I have to tell you

Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too

The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood

You’re my downfall, you’re my muse

My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues

I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing in my head for you




Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts

Risking it all though it’s hard




I give you all of me

And you give me all, of you.”


And with all those full-song lyrics this has become quite a long post so I think it’s time to sign off. Tune in next time folks for another edition of Radio Bumble.


Links to all these tracks:


‘O, Children’:

‘Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for’:

‘Take me over’:

‘As I call out your name’:!original-music

‘All of me’:



New year, new you? (written 4th January 2015)

It’s the New Year and now I can actually say our cycle occurs this month. THIS MONTH! Oh my gosh. Far from feeling excited, I think the closer we get to D-day the more nervous and sick I feel. We are spending a house deposit on getting to the States for this treatment. What if our donor doesn’t produce any good eggs, what if my husband’s holiday lifestyle over the last month affects the quality of our embryos, what if I haven’t done enough to get my body in good condition for this, what if our embryos don’t last the distance, what if it just doesn’t work. Yes, the torture of the “what if’s” is kicking in and despite my best attempts to ignore them and ‘live in the moment’, they can’t help but creep on into my thoughts, making me either cry or want to puke.

Not long before Christmas we received our official treatment plan. At that stage I could still get excited about everything and it truly felt as if these three pieces of paper made everything real. On the fifth of January (which is now tomorrow!) I inject myself with a long-lasting Lucrin (Lupron) injection to help sync my cycle, followed by blood-work and ultrasounds on the 12th and 20th here in New Zealand. On the 13th of January I start Progynova to build my uterine lining and on the 23rd we hop on a plane to the USA. I have a final blood test and ultrasound scheduled in San Diego on the 27th and we can expect egg collection from our donor to occur somewhere between the 27th and 30th of January, with embryo transfer happening somewhere between the 2nd and 5th of February. The 5th of February is our wedding anniversary which for some strange reason is the only thing making me feel good about this cycle.

It’s difficult after so much disappointment over the last four years to believe that something could work. I remember thinking the same before our last donor cycle, which despite showing so much promise was unsuccessful, only fuelling my mental fire that nothing will ever work for us. I know I need to change my thinking, and I’m trying hard, but it really is challenging to believe I’ll ever be pregnant. The thought that one day I could be actually freaks me out a bit now. After being so ready for it four years ago, I’ve spent so long in the infertility trenches that the thought of being pregnant is an alien concept to me. I can’t even begin to imagine my reaction were we to get a positive test result. It almost seems like it would be a bittersweet moment and that makes me sad. Then there’s the pregnancy itself, am I still ready for it? I can’t even imagine watching my body change, slowly coming to realise the being within. It seems totally unreal.

Ok, so the above was written a few days ago and now I can officially say I’m really not coping. I’m hoping like hell it’s just a bad week because if I have to feel like this for another month or so I may actually go insane. Facebook today is packed full of pregnant people complaining about their pregnancies and I actually want to break something. Yes it’s hot, I understand, but honestly be a little grateful for what you have. I know I’m overly sensitive at the moment but it just strikes me that some people get things a little too easily sometimes and they don’t truly appreciate all that they do have. I won’t lie, I myself have fallen into this category. I often have to make myself take a step back and look at everything we’ve accomplished and everything we have. But do other people do the same? I can think of a few who should!

Making matters worse is the fact that we’ve opted to try and keep this cycle more of a secret so there’s not even anyone I can really talk to. I can’t chat with my friends as we’re hoping like hell for a surprise for them in the not to distant future. I can’t post on Twitter as some of my IRL (in real life) friends follow me on there. I can’t even talk to my hubby as, being the everlasting optimist, I’m not sure he entirely gets where my head is at. Only a week into January and already I’m crying nearly every day. I’m seriously questioning whether I can keep this up for another year. Let’s hope this cycle works and I won’t have to, but I can’t help but feel I’ve written that before.


Down the aisle

11:44am: We’re down in the South Island at what I’ve affectionately titled “The Wedding of the Year”. An easy title to give it turns out as it’s the ONLY wedding we have on this year. The setting is amazing! Nestled amongst the epic mountains that only the South Island can provide, next to the stunningly blue Lake Ohau, in a rugged but fantastic lodge generally occupied in the winter by snow bunnies and in the summer (now) by various tourists and Contiki groups. It’s epic. I’ve been quite anxious about this wedding. Despite looking forward to it and to the weekend away necessitated by it, I can’t help but worry that it will be a repeat of the last wedding we attended just over a year ago.

You may recall it as I wrote about it here on Waiting for Bumble. It was a disaster and I still to this day feel unbelievably guilty about how things played out. For those who don’t know about it, I basically had a complete meltdown just after the ceremony. It was only a few weeks after our second failed IVF cycle (a cycle that, being a ­­reflector I hadn’t yet dealt with emotionally) and the day after the end of our holiday (post-holiday blues). I turned up at the house we were sharing with two other couples to find that not one but both of the girls in those relationships were pregnant. One I knew about, one I didn’t. Total slap in the face. Add into that the other 30 or so people at the wedding who were either pregnant or had young children, and it was a recipe for disaster.

The tears started rolling down my face about 10 mins after the ceremony ended and I just couldn’t stop them. My hubby and I walked away to the other end of the venue to find some space away from the babies so I could try and compose myself, and they just followed us. It felt like intentional torture although I know those people had no idea of the pain I was suffering and what I was trying to escape. Needless to say I couldn’t get it under control, things only got worse, and I ended up walking back to our accommodation in uncontrollable heartbroken sobs before packing my belongings and driving the hour home alone. I missed the reception. An empty space sat awaiting me at a table and I was nowhere to be seen. So unbelievably rude and something I feel no end of guilt about, but I keep trying to remind myself it was better that than have been creating a scene by bawling for hours in the middle of what was supposed to be a happy occasion.

So I’ve been trying my best to prepare myself for this one. I’ve been pep-talking myself on a daily basis, reminding myself of what will be surrounding me, and trying to build my emotional armour ready for the big day. To add a bit of extra pressure, many of the guests at this wedding are the same as those who attended last year’s debacle. I’m going to have to be mighty strong to avoid a repeat of last year.

So far I’m holding up ok. We’ve been here 24 hours and the onslaught of babies and baby talk has been relentless. It’s like swimming in the ocean a little way out of your depth and having wave upon wave crash over your head trying to suck you down. You gasp as you come up for air, steadying yourself, but never quite recovering before the next wave hits. But I’m doing ok. A small moment last night where I thought I might drown but I managed to haul myself back to the surface with the help of my life-raft of a husband. I can do this, WE can do this.

The wedding is this afternoon, party tonight, brunch tomorrow morning then it’s done. We’ll see how we go. I do love hanging out with these guys so hopefully that’s enough to pull me through. Stay tuned.

1:32pm: Ouch it gets worse. One of the girls in our group is pregnant and the nickname for the 13 week old foetus growing inside her? Bumble Bee. Could life get any more cruel?

2:30pm: Starting to get ready. I can hear all the kids playing in the games room next door.

Approx 9:15pm: I’m doing ok. There are a fair few mentions of kids (the bride and groom have a ten-month old) and quite a few comments on ‘Bumble Bee’ but I’m coping. I can totally do this.

Approx 12:15am: One of the bridesmaids pops over to introduce herself, despite having met her the night before. She’s a little drunk. We exchange names and she asks if M is my husband. Then comes the dreaded question, “Do you have kids?” I’m ready for it, “No” I say and smile. I think we’re done but no, she launches into a tirade. “Oh that is the absolute best time, I mean it’s great having kids, I have a two year old, but that stage you’re at now is just awesome. There’s just the two of you and you can enjoy each other’s company and it’s just great, you make the most of it”. It went on, but you get the gist. I nod and smile and try to terminate the conversation. I may come across as a bit rude but it’s all I can do not too lose it. I know she means well and for any normal person that would probably be a lovely thing to say but for an infertile who’s spent two days bombarded with baby talk and four years trying to have kids, it’s less than ideal. She leaves and I spend the next half hour clenching my teeth so hard my jaw hurts and digging my fingernails into my hands to try and distract my mind from the mental torment, frantically clutching at my insides in an effort not to fall to pieces. I make it, just.

1:24am: I’ve done it, WE’VE done it. My life-raft of a husband has pulled me through. The dance floor is slowly clearing out and it’s a respectable hour to head to bed. Thank goodness cause I’m exhausted. A gorgeous wedding, an AMAZING wedding, but one filled with more than it’s fair share of emotional triggers for this lil infertile.

Babies & Bahamas

I’m in the Bahamas! I can’t believe I’m actually here. Despite meeting a fair few Kiwi’s while I’ve been here (all but one are involved with the Vertical Blue free-diving tournament that we’re here for), it seems like a place so far away from home and somewhere generally off the itinerary of most New Zealanders. It’s certainly not somewhere I would have thought to head. But I’m here and I’ve never felt more grateful for a trip. A holiday is just what I need right now.

I’m not saying it’s all been smooth-sailing, the trials and tribulations of infertility don’t leave when you cross the border, but it has been nice. The island we’re currently on reminds me a lot of an island back home where we spend a great deal of time over summer. Relaxed, rustic, rural. Somewhere where it’s easy to unwind. I only wish we were here longer.

Despite being the middle of winter, the temperatures have been between 23 & 27 degrees Celsius (73.5 & 80 Fahrenheit) and, other than the warm storm passing through today, it’s largely been sunny. The water is so warm you could stay in it all day (the locals say it’s cold, but to me it’s like a warm water day in NZ), and with all the tagging along I’m doing I’m being well entertained and learning things without feeling like I’m working.

To be honest, I’ve largely managed to ignore my infertility. We’ve seen heaps of babies on our various flights and instead of the pangs of jealousy and hurt I normally feel, I’ve actually smiled, and been happy for the parents. Our second flight from LA to New York was the only time the pain hit hard. I was tired so of course that makes it more difficult to keep a handle on the negative feelings, harder to stay positive, and I’m separated from my husband by the price of our tickets (him in business class, myself in economy). Across the aisle in the plane sits a couple around my age, struggling to find the best way to secure their infant’s capsule to the airplane seat. Oh how desperately I wanted to be in their place! I bit my lip and turned away, distracting myself with a movie and trying not to think about it.

Other than that there have only been a handful of times that I’ve been reminded of our infertility and felt sad on this trip (I think about our infertility all the time so it’s only the reaction to it that I can control). Once was on the beach today, sunbathing before the storm hit. I’m lying in the sun enjoying the surroundings, I’ve watched some diving both from in and out of the water, and am trying to relax, when onto the beach walks a lady with a newborn wrapped tightly against her front, protected from the wind. PANG. I force myself to keep looking, to deal with the emotions and work through the pain. Lucky for me it eases quickly and I can get on with my day.

Until the next pang hits as I check my Twitter feed over afternoon coffee. A Twitter friend has just learned that the donor route is the only way she is likely to have a child and her grief, oh so fresh, drags up my own grief from all those months ago being told the same thing. Despite being completely fine with a donor egg child (should we be lucky enough to have one), and knowing that they will feel like my own child no matter what, the grief at not being able to have your own genetic child never really goes away, and hovers just below the surface ready to pounce on you again and again. The good news is that it definitely gets easier to deal with, easier to manage, to control and to banish back to the depths of your psyche. I can only hope that one day it will be gone completely.

The only other time was a little harder to deal with and took a little longer to work through. We arrive on the island and are introduced to the crew my husband is working with. The girl running the show looks really familiar and it bugs my husband and I for a large part of the day until my hubs thinks he knows who she is and asks her. Yep, it turns out, in the small-world-only-in-New-Zealand way that this girl is the good friend of an old friend, and we actually all used to hang out a bit way back in our early twenties, clubbing, dinner parties, total small-world stuff.

Anyway, early in the evening she mentions she has a young daughter and that this trip is her first time away from her. I know it’s hard for her, being so far away, but I can’t help but feel jealous of that difficulty, knowing that she has a gorgeous child to head home to. Still, I cope and I empathise. Then she casually mentions that the other girl we used to hang out with also has a child, roughly the same age. I have to clench my jaw and fight back the tears. It hurts.

I’ve often wondered if something I’ve done in my past somehow contributed to our infertility, although on the whole I don’t think that’s the case, but hearing that these two have both had children helps to confirm that for me. I haven’t done anything worse than any other people I know in fact, if anything, I was probably a little more well-behaved than many. Luckily it’s near the end of the night and I soon escape back to our room to deal with my emotions in a more private setting.

It’s difficult to explain, especially to fertile people, the pain that even the simplest event or statement can cause. Things that should be all happiness and joy can turn sour in your mouth, can evoke a sadness so deep that you struggle to behave like a normal human being. I often wish that, just for a second, I could transpose my thoughts and feelings onto a big screen to show other people just how hard infertility is to deal with. To illustrate how excruciatingly painful it can be to make that “congratulations” passing my lips heartfelt and genuine (it always is, it’s just hard to make others believe that through the layers of hurt). To illuminate the emotions behind my sadness-tinged smile, an “I’m so happy for you, but so sad for us”, as I meet your gaze across the room. I know that that won’t ease my pain but at least I would seem like less of a freak to those looking on, a hope that there might be a glimmer of understanding that would allow me to progress through my emotional rollercoaster faster.

As much as I love rollercoasters, this is one ride I’d rather get off. Much like the life of a thrill-seeker repeating their thrill, the pain of each infertility reminder does ease with repeat exposure, but it’s always there in some way, holiday or not.




Making lemonade

What to write. I’ve started so many blog posts over the last few weeks and have got about as far as a paragraph before giving up. It just feels like such a repetitive cycle going round and round in my head I don’t really know what to say. For the first couple of weeks after our BFN I felt fine, well not fine I guess but accepting, a negative result is something we’re so used to now so yet another, using someone else’s eggs, didn’t seem much different. I guess looking back I was kind of in shock. Not shock in that we were surprised at the result but more a general numbness that shielded me from the disappointment of another failed cycle.

They say you work through SARAH with things like this. Shock, Anger, Rejection, Acceptance, Healing.  Shock, tick! Then two weeks in, Anger. All of a sudden I’m pissed off at the world. I want to scream at everything and every pregnant person I see. I yell “fuck off” reasonably loudly, and multiple times, when yet more work pregnancy notifications come through (luckily in a closed room with a small group of friends, not to the general populous – I know it’s my jealousy and anger triggering those comments and is not anyone else’s fault or concern). I can’t walk past a baby shop, or pick up a flier without feeling hurt and mad.  It consumes me. The world is totally unfair.

I can’t say I’ve really experienced Rejection, unless you count wanting to reject our fertility clinic for not doing enough or trying enough to get us pregnant, but I think that’s more anger again. I’m now at Acceptance with the odd tinge of anger.   The world is still unfair but I’m dealing with it. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to Healing, is it possible to heal from this? I can imagine the pain lessening but never to the point of saying I’m healed. Even a superficial cut can leave a scar and this feels more than superficial. Is a scar considered healed? I guess, but with a constant reminder of the hurt suffered do you ever fully recover?

The one good thing about all this anger and eventual acceptance is that it spurs you on to focus on a next step, anything to dull the ache and give you something positive to focus on. Our problem this time has been trying to work out what that next step is. We’ve begun looking into treatment in the USA, at various different clinics (Sher Institute, San Diego Fertility Center, Shady Grove), and they’re all so different it’s hard to know what to do. It’s a lot, and I mean A LOT, of money to spend but then their success rates (due largely to being able to use younger donors, stimulate more, and implant multiple embryos) are much higher. At first I thought we’d nearly have enough money in our savings and with our work bonus to cover the treatment but on further investigation, and with the current exchange rate working against us, it looks like it will be a fair few more months of saving, or taking another loan out against our house, if we were to proceed down this track.

We’ve also considered trying again here in NZ as our lovely donor has offered to go another round. With any luck they could change the protocol and enable her body to react more productively with the stimulation drugs but it does make me nervous that we could invest so heavily emotionally and physically (both her and us) in this and come away with the same result. After three abysmal cycles it’s hard to fathom that our clinic could manage to pull off a successful treatment. That’s unjustified I know as they execute successful treatments all the time, it just feels a bit hopeless in our case and feels like the closer we get to “untreatable” the less interested in us they become.

I know part of it is just me being disappointed at the results achieved thus far but from where I sit now it truly feels like our clinic don’t think outside the square enough when it comes to the trickier cases. They’re reluctant to try anything different, are restricted by insane NZ laws (obviously written by some idiotic bureaucrat who has never had any experience with infertility), and seem to play to the odds that the majority of people they treat will eventually become pregnant using the same old method. Add into that the drawn out timelines (for example, the nine months it took us to get to our last donor cycle, or having to wait 6-7 weeks for a WTF appointment) and I’ll be lucky if I finish treatment before menopause. I’m just not sure I can afford to wait that long before looking elsewhere. I feel awful in writing this as all the staff there are absolutely lovely, I just feel like the way we do things here is a bit backward, and for all the publicity about age-related infertility the NZ system doesn’t seem in any great rush to get things moving. It’s so frustrating.

Hmmm, perhaps I’m still more angry than I thought but I guess it’s hard not to be when essentially our only options (other than pursuing adoption – a whole other can of worms) are to wait what seems an eternity for another NZ donor egg cycle, which has a high probability in ending the same way as the last; or to mortgage ourselves to the hilt to attempt donor treatment overseas. I guess sometimes life just hands you lemons, but I’m trying my hardest to make lemonade.


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