Category Archives: Therapy

The ball is rolling…

We’ve just had our first counselling session and we’ve started the process towards DEIVF (donor egg IVF)!   I was pretty nervous going into the session, scared that we might not connect with the counsellor, anxious as to what they would say.  I guess I was also a bit worried that she might declare us unfit parents even though I know that a) that’s not at all what she’s there for, and b) we will be good parents, or at least no worse than anyone else.  Turned out I had nothing to be worried about.  The counsellor made us feel comfortable at once, and the 45 minutes session flew by in no time at all.  I feel like we covered so many topics I almost wish we’d recorded the session so that I could remember them all.

We talked about where we were at in the infertility process (she’d actually done her homework and knew why we were there!), how we’d dealt with our IVF failures, and how we felt about using donor eggs or pursuing adoption.  We mentioned we’d had two people offer to be our donors and she asked whether we were happy with them (of course we are – we’re so lucky!) or wanted to look for someone else (no thanks).  She asked what we would tell family and friends (most already know we’re looking at donor eggs), and what or whether we would tell our child (of course we will and from a very young age so that it is just a normal part of life instead of some great secret).  I came out of the session feeling like we were on the right track, that as a couple we’d already talked through most of the potential issues, and that our beliefs about disclosure were consistent with what’s currently considered best for the child.  I came out feeling good!

While I did come out of the session feeling like we were already doing the right things, she also highlighted some points to think about, such as the reaction of the donors family to the process and to the child should we be lucky enough to have one – would they be ok with accepting the child as that of a friend not a relation (e.g. not viewing the child as a grandchild)?  She also mentioned that some donors get quite upset if the process doesn’t work, feeling that by giving a couple a healthy egg, they’re giving that couple 100% chance of having a child.  While it would be nice if that were the case, life just doesn’t work like that and while the odds are slightly higher than normal IVF, the success rate for DEIVF in NZ is still just under 50%.

Another thing she mentioned was that she’d seen relationships between the donor and intended parents go bad (both with known and initially unknown donors).  A common theme for this was that the donor didn’t feel like they were appreciated enough, a tough thing for an intended parent to hear as, should we be lucky enough to have a child at the end of this, our donor will have literally changed our life.  How to show enough appreciation to the person who has made your dreams come true? How do you show this without it dominating lives or overly glorifying something you want your child to see as normal.  It’s hard, but we have a few ideas up our sleeve.

We talked through the pros and cons of donors, the basics of legal rights and donor/child registration, as well as some of the things she’d seen in her thirteen year experience at our clinic.  She told us about some helpful websites (and later sent through the links), and showed us some helpful books for telling your child (whoa whoa whoa! We need to get there first!).  She helped us to come to a decision about the best donor for us, and mentioned a few of the other steps in the process – another session with her, counselling for the donor, and counselling for both parties together if we want it (I like the idea of this as the dynamic is so different with someone facilitating, you talk through things you wouldn’t have thought of by yourself).

Lastly, she told us to go home and email the donor coordinator at the clinic to ask for a timetable of what needs to be done and when, and how much time we need to allow for the process and for our funding.  She gave us some handouts of things to think about with known donors, and an article about families created through donation (she also sent through a link to another article via email too – she rocks!).  And then it was done.  45 minutes just like that.  Off we went to digest all the information and to contact the coordinator.  The DEIVF process is in progress, and we’ve emailed the donor coordinator….now to chat to our potential donor, I hope she hasn’t changed her mind!

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WTF?!?

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

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

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

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

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

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


To inifinity and beyond…

Just over a week ago we had our fertility appointment to review our four Clomiphene cycles.  I was so stoked to be going as it was feeling like our progress had stalled and become stagnant, all the hope I’d felt in January had melted away.  I walked in there excited, ready for the announcement that it was time to move onto IUI (intra uterine insemination, the turkey baster).  We had some friends who had been very successful with IUI after endometriosis so I was sure this would work for us too.  Our doctor sat us down and walked us through the clomiphene cycles and how my body had reacted, he explained IUI and the probability of conceiving with that, then he drops the bomb, “so I think the next step for you guys is to move on to IVF”.   I’m sure my jaw hit the floor at that stage.  This is not at all what I was expecting, I was sure we were a good 6-12 months from thinking about that, seems my doc and my body thought otherwise.  I spent the next 15 minutes (felt like 15 years) trying my hardest not to cry while still focusing on what was being said.  I’m glad my hubby recorded the appointment on his phone because my mind was a million miles away.

Since then I’ve been through a whole raft of emotions.  At first I was really shocked (we’d gone from Clomiphene to IVF, surely we’ve missed a few steps), then I accepted the fact that this was next for us, I got excited (something might actually eventuate from this), then scared and worried (this is the last step before adoption – what if nothing happens), now I’ve reached the stage where I’m just bitter.  Bitter that ‘normal’ people don’t have to go through this.  Bitter at the insane amount of money this is costing us that ‘normal’ people don’t even have to think about.  I look around at our house and can’t help but think of what else this money could be buying.  I see our lounge suite and dining chairs that are falling to pieces, the cheap leather at the end of its 7 year life-span, bubbling and peeling away to the lining beneath.  I see the wardrobes and cupboards that the money could have paid for, our lack of storage made so glaringly obvious by the crap piled everywhere, and my desperate attempts to clean up which involve moving stuff from one pile to another.  I see our pantry door that needs fixing, our kitchen that needs plastering and painting, the fraying towels in the linen cupboard and the holes in the sheets;  the struggle to find suitable work clothes that aren’t too faded, stained or holey; and the car that will need replacing soon.

Don’t get me wrong, I know we’re in a much better position than so many other people.  We do have good jobs and a decent place to live, and I consider us so SO lucky that we are able to pay for this treatment privately (with a little help from my mum) rather than wait another two years for funding.  But on the other hand this is completely wiping us out, not only financially but physically and emotionally as well.  So far everyone I’ve told of our impending IVF has been really excited for us.  It’s so nice to have such supportive people surrounding us but at the same time it feels so surreal to me as I don’t feel that way about it myself.  I have moments of excitement but those moments are equalled if not eclipsed by the stress and worry of it not working and the strain of funding this ourselves.  I guess when it’s not happening to you it’s easy to see the positive, you don’t have the years of infertility hanging over your head, the unexpected bills causing more strain than they normally would, or the feeling that you need to warn people in case the hormones turn you into a crazy person.  Perhaps part of my problem is that it just doesn’t feel real yet.  Maybe if I’d just receive our consent forms in the mail or if we could just have our ‘details’ meeting I might be more excited that this could actually work for us.  The two and a half weeks between my last appointment and my IVF one seem like years.

I’ve been trying to keep busy to pass the time between appointments but it seems everywhere I turn there are reminders of my stupid infertility – at work, the supermarket, football.  I went to a comedy show with my mum and what seemed like the entire pregnant population of this city.  The show spent the majority of its time talking about changes in society…..how lucky women of today were because, thanks to birth control, they could choose when to have children.  I just wanted to yell at her, “it’s not that fucking easy.  Might have been easy for you but there are some of us out here who don’t get to choose anything!”….”Any new mums in the audience?”  FUCK OFF! 

I took myself to a counsellor appointment at my fertility clinic thinking that it may help me cope with all this shit but no, turned out to be a complete waste of time and money.  She told me to keep busy, yep tried that, doesn’t help.  To seek out supportive people, yep, already doing that – thanks family, friends, and twitter.  To write things down, yep, I blog.  The counsellor just couldn’t get her head around blogging or twitter:

“No, just write things down for yourself – there’s a difference between writing for yourself and writing for other people”,

“Yes there is, but I write the blog for me, not for anyone else.  If other people read it that’s fine but I write it for me”

“But if you write things down in a journal you can write whatever you want – you can swear or anything”

Hmmmm, see above, does it LOOK like I have a problem swearing on my blog?  I’ve written about my sex life on here, does it seem like I am restricted in what I write?  Needless to say that $145 was not money well spent (cue more bitterness).  In fact it added to the stress this month rather than reduce it.  Surely there’s got to be a decent counsellor out there to talk to?  Maybe not, I’ll just blog.  With a week to go before our ‘details’ appointment, there may be a few more posts written.  It does depend on my emotions though.  Hopefully by the time our appointment rolls around I’ll have worked through this bitter stage and be excited again.


Mind wipes and stabby bits, a foray into natural medicine part 2

And now we come to the next chapter in our dabble into alternative medicine.  On one of my visits to the naturopath it’s revealed that I’ve been having some difficulties with my in-laws.  Perhaps the stress of this could be contributing to our troubles with conceiving Bumble.  Hmmmm, not sure on that I’m thinking but I suppose it’s a possibility.  My naturopath suggests talking to someone about it and recommends a hypnotherapist to visit.  After a bit of internal debate I decide to give it a go.  What a mistake that turned out to be!  The hour that I spent there was one of the most awkward of my life.  It started off ok, some casual chats about what was going on and the problems we were facing, the therapist made some valid points about what I needed to do, and reinforced some beliefs around why I thought things had blown up the way they had.  That was all fine.  It was the second half of the session where things became odd.  I got the feeling the therapist wasn’t used to having someone relatively sane sitting in her chair and was frustrated that we hadn’t come very far since the beginning of the session.  She demanded to know why I had come and what I wanted out of the session…um, 1) shouldn’t you have asked that at the beginning of the session and 2) I’ve already told you…a way to move forward with my in-laws and some tips to chilling out about the whole thing so it doesn’t interfere with conception.  In the end I came out of the session with a couple of tips on how to relax, and the belief that the in-law situation wasn’t causing me enough stress to impact on Bumble-making (essentially what I went in with).  I know people who have used hypnotherapy with great success to stop smoking or lose weight.  It seems that either this therapist was particularly useless, or my issue just wasn’t something that could be helped in this way.  Oh well, at least I gave it a shot…better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do, right?

In a different session, prompted by my hyperhidrosis, my naturopath suggests another option for me could be acupuncture and that she’s had some other clients who have found this really helps.  There was an acupuncturist onsite at my naturopath’s so I stored it away in my mind to give that ago in a month, after our next payday.  The day before payday, while out at a friend’s farewell dinner, another friend pulls me aside and mentions that she has been seeing a good acupuncturist and thinks it could help with our quest.  I phone the following day and have an appointment for the same night.  I’m a little nervous going into this one, my last experiment with the hypnotherapist had proved a disaster, and this next one involved needles.  I’m not a needle-phobe by any means and am quite happy to watch while my blood is taken or IV’s inserted but I guess not truly knowing what to expect I was a little apprehensive, and once again, sceptical.

I needn’t have worried.  The acupuncturist was the loveliest person and after a short chat about my medical history and lifestyle she gave me an introductory session of acupuncture.  Using the smallest, least invasive needles she targeted various points around my body, first the back then the front. I’m now going 2-3 times per week and have been for the last 10 months.  There are varying thoughts on the success of acupuncture but on the whole it seems overly positive.  Even many in different fields of Western/conventional medicine are opening their minds to the idea that acupuncture can work, and more & more studies are being carried out to explain, in Westernised terms, acupunctures success.

In last ten months I’ve become a seasoned professional at acupuncture and have progressed to stronger needles.  While most of the time they don’t hurt there is one needling point just below my belly button that is frequently painful.  My poor acupuncturist often apologises when she has to insert that one!  Sessions before ovulation are definitely the worst as the stronger needles are used, but post ovulation it’s quite nice as there’s no discomfort and I get to chill out for an hour – though my acupuncturist despairs that I don’t sleep during this time…I’m always too busy thinking!  Being the thinker that I am has caused me to wonder if I’m doing the right thing as again it’s not cheap, and like everything else I can’t guarantee its effectiveness.  I definitely feel good after my sessions, though a sceptic would say perhaps that’s just the relaxing for an hour.  Although much of the time the effects of acupuncture are subtle, there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve been in agony (with pre-menstrual type cramps – only worse) a few hours after my session…so I figure it must be doing something.

Naturopathy, therapy, acupuncture…it IS a lot.  I wouldn’t recommend the therapy (although another type would be fine I’m sure!), the naturopathy I could take or leave, and the acupuncture I’d definitely recommend (as long as you’re not scared of needles that is).  I think perhaps my husband might get his way after all and I’ll give up the naturopathy but not the acupuncture….but only time will tell.


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