Category Archives: Holidays

¡Adiós San Diego! (written 5th February 2015)

Let the two week wait crazies begin! I’m trying not to think about it, to only to think positive thoughts, sending loving vibes to our little embies (hopefully) nestling deep inside me, but with a fair bit of cramping from yesterdays transfer, it’s hard not too contemplate what’s going on within my body. I’m not desperately seeking signs, over-analysing every little twinge or symptom my body experiences, it’s waaaaay too early for that, but I’m sure I won’t be far off.   It’s going to be a looooong two weeks.

Today’s our last day in San Diego and by lunchtime tomorrow we’ll be well on our way back to Los Angeles. I’m not looking forward to heading back, not back to LA and not back home to New Zealand. I’m loving San Diego, it suits me, and I’m loving the break from all stress that awaits me back home. I’m wishing we’d taken another week off and had a bit more of a holiday now that all the nerve-wracking IVF stuff is done and dusted, but the plan was (and still is) to try and save my leave in case we (I) need to come back here for another cycle soon.

Aside from the sunny warm winter here and chilled out atmosphere, I’m really going to miss hanging out with my friend L and her gorgeous wee cherub. L and I met through Twitter (neither of us can really remember how), becoming Facebook and email friends not long after, and finally getting to meet in person last week. It feels like I’ve known L forever, although in reality it can’t be any more than a couple of years as I’ve only been on Twitter that long. She’s one of those amazing people who could entertain you for hours, knows just what to say when (usually when you need it most), and is always there no matter what shit she’s dealing with herself. Thank you L for being such a great friend, for showing us around this beautiful city, letting us hang with your gorgeous family, and for just being you. You rock!

Despite not wanting to leave San Diego there are some parts of going home I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to seeing my fluffy wee fur-babies and having some snurgly munchkin cuddles – although I know at least one of them will be grumpy with me for being away so long and will make me earn back her affection. I can’t wait to see my friends and family, and sleep in my own bed. And on the plus side it’s still summer so I’ll hopefully be going back to sunshine and warmth.

So heading home’s not all bad, and I guess the stress of returning to work will help distract me throughout the two week wait. I’m going to miss San Diego but I’ll be back, hopefully on holiday with my own little cherubs in tow.

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This is it (written 27th January 2015)

After a few days in LA, hanging with my brother-in-law, we’re now in San Diego. I’m not big fan of LA as a city but it was nice chilling with my brother-in-law and seeing some of the nicer parts of the place. I was able to distract myself from our upcoming DEIVF with shopping, a theme park, and sightseeing, not to mention all the eating! It almost seemed like a holiday.

The holiday falters as we exit the city on the two and a quarter hour drive to San Diego and the reality of what we are about to undertake sinks in. Of course I’d thought about this a lot before, but this momentous step in our USA DEIVF journey, travelling to the city where our baby will hopefully be made, hits home like no other. I have a wee meltdown as we enter the city limits. I’m scared, excited, nervous, pleading. I’m not a religious person but I’ve prayed like the most religious person alive to every person, object, thing, or higher being that there could ever possibly be that this treatment works for us. I have so many butterflies I think I might be sick.

After a few minor hiccups with our accommodation (the Air BnB host gave us the wrong apartment – there’s a set of four of them – then the wifi wasn’t working) we settle in. I’m trying my hardest to think of this as a holiday with additional tasks, but it’s a pretty hard ask when those ‘additional tasks’ hold the key to one potential future.

10am the following day and we’re at the San Diego Fertility Clinic for my final bloods and ultrasound, and an appointment to chat through the rest of the process. It’s pretty cool to finally meet all the staff we’ve been dealing with via phone and email for the last few months. The nurse gives us a big hug, and the doc chats to us about the time he’s spent in New Zealand. It’s all very surreal.

The ultrasound goes well, 8mm lining which is good, and I can now say I’ve dated dildocam internationally. A quick blood draw before we head into a little consultation room to get bombarded with information. Our donor was seen earlier that morning and has between 35 and 40 follicles which should result in somewhere between 24 and 32 eggs, fantastic! It’s likely egg collection will be Thursday but they’ll confirm later in the day. We get handed a bag of drugs and told all about when to take them. My hubby gets warned about progesterone and how I will probably think it’s the end of the world sometime just before my test date, and how he needs to be supportive through that. Then we’re done and it’s time to go. Roll on the progesterone fun!

We spend the rest of the day cruising around, on a high, stocking up the house with food etc. I can’t help but look at the baby section in Walmart despite that being waaaaay ahead of where we’re at. I don’t care. For once I feel good about something related to IVF and I’m going to make the most of it!

 


First boarding call (written 23rd January 2015)

We’re currently sitting in the airline lounge. Sitting in the airline lounge awaiting our flight to San Diego. OMFG we’re actually doing this. We’re on our way! This week has been one big whirlwind of stress, work, and socialising. Barely a moment to stop and think, or pack. Work has been flat out and we’ve been out just about every night spending time with friends and family before we head off on what we both desperately hope will be a life-changing trip. My hormones are amped up and I’m teetering on a knife-edge between sanity and bawling wreck.

Despite the hectic week, there’s been good news. The first report from our clinic tells us that our donor is all good to go to start her drugs, and that her baseline scan (before she starts injecting stims) shows 20 follicles. WOW! Even on our best cycle we only had 8, and that was AFTER stims. They anticipate getting approximately 70-80% of the follicle number in mature eggs, so we’re off to a good start.

My baseline scan is good too (despite having just got my period 30 minutes before the scan, DISGUSTING! Thanks Body!), nothing happening in my ovaries and a good lining measurement for baseline. I start my Progynova (estradiol valerate/estrogen) and away we go. My next scan a week later is a go-er too, and the departure gates are open for us to go to San Diego. With just one more scan and blood test to go when we get there I’m hopeful that my side of the treatment should go to plan.

The next update on our donor brings even more good news. My heart is beating so fast as I read the email from the clinic. With our track record I’m sure that after the “Hi, hope you’re well. As you know your egg donor was seen today for her first ultrasound and blood work…” they’re going to tell us she’s not responding, and call the cycle off. It’s about this time in all our other cycles that we’ve started to receive bad news so it’s hard not to automatically proceed down that track. But no, the news is good, great even. Our donor is now showing 30 follicles. Thirty! 3.0. I can’t get over it and, sitting at my work desk in front of my computer, I am so close to tears I can hardly talk. The girls I work with tell me to breathe and I manage to squeeze out “I can’t, if I breathe I’ll cry.” I’m in total shock. 30 is more than we have ever hoped for. I only pray the news rolling in continues to be so good.

There have been other good moments this week as well. We’ve started telling our friends about the trip and why we’re going. Rather than broadcast it to the world I decided to just tell people as they asked or as I chatted to them and thought they should know.

I started with one of the girls at work who was asking about the necklace we’ve bought our donor, and her reaction was amazing, possibly the best reaction we’ve had. She was soooo excited! Next I told some close friends I was out to dinner with, their response was similar and they ended up shouting not only a bottle of champagne but dinner as well – “we’re celebrating!” I have to say I was a little seedy the next day! A couple more work friends are told and finally another close friend who texts not long before we leave for the airport. “Would love to catch up with you for dinner but it will need to be in a few weeks as we’re off to San Diego in 3 hours” I reply. Again her reaction was fantastic. It’s just so wonderful having such fabulous friends and family who are so supportive of us and follow us on our journey. It truly warms my heart and I love you all.

So here we are sitting at the airport waiting for our plane. My emotions are jumping from nervous to excited to ill to feeling chilled-out about our ‘holiday’, and back again. But as much as I want this to be a holiday as well I can’t help but wish we were at the point where we already knew the outcome.


Universal wishes (written 5th December 2014)

We’re in LA. It’s not the Bahamas (where we’ve been for the last week for work) but we’ve had a good time. Yesterday was my brother-in-laws birthday and we decided to take him to Universal Studios to celebrate. A fun-filled day of riding the rides and taking the tours followed by dinner at a delicious vegan place (not somewhere we normally have chosen but it was great!) and a few drinks at various bars. It was a really nice day, and good to catch up with him after nearly a year. To top it all off we arrive back at the hotel to an email from San Diego Fertility Center. We have our cycle dates!

I feel excited and nervous and sick all at the same time. Excited that it’s actually happening, but absolutely terrified that it won’t work and we will run out of next steps. I email the girls at work to make sure I can take the time off and we lock it in. I’m not sure what or when to tell everyone else. We were hoping to keep this cycle a bit more of a secret this time round but it seems near impossible to hide the fact that we’ll not only be away for two weeks, but won’t even be in the country.

I also feel bad keeping people in the dark as our friends and family are invested in this nearly as much as we are. I would love it to be a big surprise for them, for this cycle to work and to be able to announce to them all that we’re pregnant in that same “SURPRISE!” way that normal fertile people do. On the other hand, I worry that they’ll be offended that we’ve kept things from them. My family especially as they’ve always had our back, been amazingly supportive and I know how desperately they want this. What do I do? Do I tell them or not?

We have some friends wedding the week before we leave for San Diego and, as much as I’d love to be there to see them tie the knot, I was kind of hoping our cycle would be at the same time as their wedding as then we’d have an obvious excuse to be away from home for a while. The only other thing I can think of is a summer holiday but the fact that we may have to get American SIM cards for our phones and won’t be able to answer calls/texts on our normal numbers may raise suspicion.

It’s a hard call but I think the answer is to tell our family but keep it a surprise for our friends. We have to tell at least my Dad and step-mum as we need to ask them if they’ll housesit and look after our cats for us while we’re away. And I can’t tell one part of my family and not the others. So family it is and friends will have a surprise. Hopefully.   Hopefully in a couple of month’s time we’ll be able to surprise them with some good news.

 


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.


Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas. Possibly the worst time of the year for infertiles. Certainly around here it’s a very child-centric time. For weeks now the conversations at work have revolved around the presents the kids are getting and what everyone is doing with the kids these holidays. Everywhere you look is a reminder of the one thing you don’t have yet desire so desperately. I wish I could say I was a bigger person and could let it all wash over me, but I can’t. This year especially it’s really getting to me. Perhaps it’s because we’re ever closer to having to give up our dream of a child, as failing donor egg IVF the only option is adoption, and to be honest adopting here is rarer than winning the lottery.

It’s awful feeling sad through what should be a happy time. It’s not like I’m having a bad Christmas outside of missing a child. My family are hanging out together, it’s sunny and warm, we’ve got good food and drinks, we’re having fun. There’s just this hole in my heart and an ache in my tummy of something missing. Had everything gone to plan we’d have a two (nearly three) year old now. Heck, even if our first IVF had worked we’d have a near one year old. It hurts.

There are posts all over Facebook of happy family holidays, kids making sandcastles, running around the beach, opening their stockings and other Christmas presents, and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll be able to ever do the same. Even on our walk today there was a sign outside someone’s house announcing the birth of their child. Oh yeah, and my cousin announces he’s going to be a grandfather, his 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Fuck. My. Life. And Merry Christmas.

I haven no idea why people think Christmas is a great time to announce pregnancies. Even if I was fertile I think I’d feel this way, Christmas is already a time of excitement and celebration, why get all the thrill out of the way at once, to drown the pregnancy in the standard buzz of Christmas. If it were me I’d want to spread the hype out over the year, to celebrate Christmas then create a new buzz a month or two down the track. There’s not enough excitement in adult life as it is (not like when you’re a kid and the world is an exhilarating and mysterious place), doesn’t it make sense to extend what excitement there is as much as possible?

Hopefully one day we’ll have a Christmas where we’re creating excitement for our own kids, planning treats and watching their joy as they open their presents. Hopefully this won’t always be a time tinged with sadness and longing, but as we edge ever closer to a childless life, it’s hard to believe that will ever be the case. So we struggle through another Christmas, slap on a smile, hide the tears, and try our best to have a good time. A life split in two and put on hold, living in hope of one day mending our bruised and broken hearts.


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.

 

 

 


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