Three Months Later

Here I am, three months after our failed IVF  cycle, alive, well, happy.

Today I got my period. The cramps ache a little, but not too badly; it’s just good to know that my body is getting back to normal after IVF.  I had three strange periods since the failed cycle: one following the transfer, then a fifty day menstrual cycle, and then two periods within fifteen days of each other. Apparently this is quite typical of anyone who was administered the Gonapeptyl downregulation injection.

These past months have been far from easy, but they’ve also been magical for us as a couple.

We’ve celebrated our love at Pride.

We’ve explored a new city together.

We’ve exchanged contracts on our new home (the first that we will own together).

I got a new job.

I turned down two further offers.

We have a new car.

We are planning how to spend our six week summer holiday.

Life is pretty great. I realise how lucky I am and I am full of hope for the future.

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Trust the Universe

How is it June already? The middle of June? I can barely believe that it’s been five months since we got started with our IVF process. I’m still not pregnant, but that’s okay. Kate’s brother and his wife (my brother and sister-in-law) are trying for another baby, and I’m totally okay with that. I’m thrilled for them. There are beautiful babies growing in wombs and entering this world each moment and our time will come soon enough. I have more patience than I thought. I’m ready to wait.

There were several things I wanted to write about. Firstly, our trip to New York. K and I flew to New York during half term (30th May – 5th June). It was perfect, a memorable trip in every way. I’m too tired after work to write in any appropriate detail about that right now, so I’ll reserve the details of that trip for another day.

In IVF related news, even though I didn’t grow any eggs for our fertility treatment, my menstrual cycle was throughly disturbed by the process. Whether it was the Gonapeptyl injection or the high levels of progesterone that manipulated my cycle, I’m not sure, but all I know is that going fifty days without a period is totally unheard of for me. The desperate part of us were hoping that I’d turn out to be pregnant after all. No. Definitely not pregnant. Two periods in the space of fifteen days proved that. I guess this is my body trying to regulate itself. Hopefully my cycle will resume its regularly scheduled programme after this.

I wonder if we’ll be ready to have a baby sooner than we thought. :O Maybe I don’t need to wait until next year for us to try again. Should I just follow my heart? Maybe sooner is fine? Even though we’re patient, I still want more than anything for us to hold our baby in our arms.

 

Decision Made

I met with my former employer and was formally offered the job. I accepted it. Decision made. Baby Sampson making is on hold. We won’t be having an embryo transfer next month. Ever since I took the job and it became official, everything has fallen emotionally into place. I don’t feel the need to rush our baby now. We’ve done the hard bit (the actual process of IVF and our first failure) and we can pick the rest up again in a few months’ time.

Of course I still desperately want our baby, but going back to work at my old job doesn’t seem like a boobie prize now. It actually feels like I’ve been given a beautiful gift from the universe. We’ll be in a much better position financially by the time our baby comes. We won’t be renting a property anymore, K and I will be able to save money and I’ll get maternity leave. It makes complete sense to wait.

I’m sure I’ll also be in a better position mentally with more responsibility in my life. I also intend to be in absolute peak physical condition by the time we try again. I’m upping my running mileage week by week and my diet is good at the moment. I’d like to switch to a fully vegetarian or vegan diet in the months leading up to conception.

It’s exciting to have a bit of space in my mind back. I’ve been so obsessed with the idea of creating our baby that I’ve put my life on hold during these recent months. Having a baby isn’t a race. I’m not a loser. Everything happens exactly when it’s meant to. I’m so grateful that I’ve been given the gift of time, the gift of wisdom, and the gift of just the right amount of freedom.

Our time to have a family will come.

 

Making a Choice

Over a few beverages on Friday night, my wife and I discussed our two options: career now or frozen embryo transfer / make a baby now. For a scientist, my wife makes an excellent salesperson. She’s always been very good at upselling, at making something perfectly average sound remarkable – she learned that from my mother-in-law – and while she wants our baby as much as I do (it’s FROM HER EGG, it’s her biological child), she’s a Virgo and practical logic is always going to make the most sense.

She very much sold to me the strengths of our old work place and reminded me of the sense of worth I feel as a person while earning good, salaried money. She reminded me about how good it feels to know where you’re going each day. She reminded me how I like feeling part of something, part of a team.

We left the pub with a decision in mind.

But then… the morning after i thought we had made our decision, this popped up in my Facebook memories:

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Maybe going back there isn’t the right choice. I’d much rather grow our baby. I thought our decision was made, that I would do the sensible thing and get a proper job and get maternity leave, but now I’m really not so sure.

I don’t want to waste embryos by doing a transfer at the wrong time. If the Universe doesn’t think May is the right time, then it might not let the pregnancy work again. But maybe it’s worth taking the risk because something magical could happen?

Some of the friends (can you be friends if you’ve never met? I like to think so) I’ve made through Instagram are very far along in their pregnancies and are positively blooming. IT’S JUST BEAUTIFUL.

I love seeing snippets of their pregnancies and fantasising about when it’s our turn too.

When Is The Right Time to Have Children?

Since the universe threw me that curve ball earlier in the week, my appetite has diminished (except for biscuits) and I’m exercising like a mad woman, trying to clear my mind. I still remain torn between my two pathways: a job and what my heart wants.

Is there a right time to have children?

This is the question I have asked myself over and over again. Being a lesbian and actively attempting to conceive a child through IVF means that it is possible to plan for that child to be born at exactly the perfect moment in one’s lifetime. If IVF had 100% success rates 100% of the time. Which is doesn’t. Our case proving that point.

I thought that the right time to have our first baby was now. Or in a few long months from now when it would be born. We first tried to conceive a child back in November. That was the right time too.  March was the right time. May was going to be the next right time, since our doctor told us that April wasn’t the right time; we needed to let my menstrual cycle run its natural course for a month, unmedicated.

May felt like the right time for us to try to make a baby again. I was sure of it. I’m still sure of it. Why not in May? I’m healthier than ever. I can easily run 3 miles again. I’ve lost a few pounds. My muscles are stronger. We’re eating healthily. Why not May? We agreed on May. That’s what we said. We discussed it fully. One of will often whisper to the other in the middle of the night, “We’re still doing the FET in May, aren’t we?” and the other would whisper “Yes!” back because we had reached that decision together.

Now there is a chance that May isn’t the right time because of the job offer. I should be pleased about it, about being valued, about being wanted. I find myself resentful. It’s poor timing for me. It suits them fine because they’re a staff member down and no one else applied. Would it suit them fine if I took the job in May, started the job in September, and left to go Maternity leave in January? I don’t think it would. I really can’t afford to burn that bridge though. They are my only decent employment reference.

I need to make the right decision here. I just don’t know what that right decision is yet.

 

 

The Road Not Taken

My life’s journey has taken me on a wild ride these past few months and never has Frost’s poem seemed more relevant. I first came across Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ in the Year 8 war poetry unit I taught earlier this year. It’s a beautiful poem and though I know its intended meaning, I like all the differing interpretations that can be read from it.

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“Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less travelled by
and that has made all the difference.”

There is a diverging pathway before me in my own life. I can see two distinct path ways ahead and I’m undecided about which path to take: career or family.

Kate came home last night and told me that the deputy head at her school had come to speak to her. He asked what I’m doing at the moment as there are two positions available in the English department. [Interjection: K and I met at this school nearly four years ago] I worked there previously for three years but left when we moved to Bournemouth. I never thought they’d want to employ me again. The science department rehired Kate when they heard we were moving back to London. The idea of going back there feels like a gift from the Universe. I know and love that work place.

It sounds like the obvious path way to choose, right? Not so.

If I take a job at the school (not that one has been officially offered yet), it means that baby making will have to be put on hold, as I’d feel obligated to work at the school for an entire year before leaving to go on maternity leave.

Prior to this potential job offer, we had planned to do our first FET this May, beginning progesterone once my period arrives at the end of April, but that would mean going on maternity leave in December or January 2017, after only being at the school for a few months. Could I do that? Yes I could, in theory, but is it professional? Not really.

Our embabies would be fine in the freezer until December or January, but do I want to wait?

Benefits of waiting:

  • A job, period.
  • A job at a place I loved.
  • Not going completely insane during the 2WW as have work to occupy mind.
  • Money (Not that I don’t have money now… but like, an income, rather than living on savings).
  • Some form of maternity pay.
  • Working in the same place as K again (even though we never see each other)
  • More time with K as a couple, rather than mothers.

Benefits of not waiting:

  • Making Baby Sampson sooner.
  • Maybe meeting Baby Sampson by March 2017, rather than October/November/December 2017 or even into 2018. :’|

It won’t hurt to wait a while longer. We’ve only been married eight months. We’ll have more time together, time to spend with our dogs, energy and funds to travel. We’ve got time on our side now that we have K’s embryos frozen,

My heart wants a child and doesn’t really care. I want our baby[ies] now. I want to be pregnant. I want to be a mother. I’m sure we’ll reach a decision soon enough.

 

The Universe Has Plans For Me.

I’m a great believer in fate. Most of the time. Maybe it’s not quite fate that I believe in because I’m not sure that EVERYTHING in my life is pre-determined. I believe in the idea that things happen for a reason and that when the right time arrives, eventually, everything falls into place.

Everything hasn’t fallen into place, yet. We’re not pregnant with baby Sampson. We aren’t as close to becoming mummies as I’d like us to be, but other things are happening that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for our IVF cycle failing.

Like, our relationship. Our marriage. We’ve only been married a little over six months and we’re madly in love. We’ve been madly in love since the moment we were introduced, since the first time we really saw each other, despite working together and attending meetings together for over a year. We are still, all these years on, getting to know each other. We’re learning how we feel when we fall. We’re learning how to handle failure and struggle together. This is strengthening our marriage. We’ve got through this, and okay, it’s far from the end of the world. This isn’t grief, this isn’t death (and that scares me the most), but it is a tough thing to come to terms with and it hasn’t broken us.

The failed IVF cycle was our relationship’s lowest low to date and we got through it and we’re stronger. We’re better for it. I’m healthier and I can finally say I’m happier. We’re having so much fun together. We’re appreciating each other and our dogs. We’re making time for regular dates. We explore; we’re visit new places; we have exciting plans to look forward to like a mini break to somewhere in the UK, as well as our trip to the east coast of America.

I’m glad I didn’t have a complete melt down when I found out I wasn’t pregnant. It was touch and go for a little while, but I couldn’t stay blue for long. When K looks at me through her gold flecked tiger eyes, she makes me feel like anything is possible. We’ll try again, soon, and it’ll be our turn. For now, we’re making beautiful memories, just the four of us.

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The most exciting news is that we are buying a house. We wouldn’t have found this house if we hadn’t failed our cycle of IVF. It all happened because K booked us a get away to Eastbourne (because it has the cleanest air in the UK) to cheer us up after my test was negative. I asked if my mum and brother wanted to meet us for coffee in Westerham (their fav spot) on the day we were heading to the coast, because we can drive through W to get to E. After coffee, we drove through a little town  and fell in love. If we hadn’t met them for coffee, we would not have driven through that little town.

K googled some houses in the area and came across a new development of homes that’ll be ready in the summer (when our tenancy is up). We contacted the estate agent and it turned out that there were two houses remaining in the development. We were able to reserve one of them. Subject to contracts etc, we will soon be the proud owners of three-bedroom town house in the garden of England.

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Ours is the one in the middle. The rest of the building work is hidden behind a fence.

Life Goes On

It’s funny how life goes on after a huge disappointment. We both simply slipped back into the peaceful routine of our beautiful life. I guess it just wasn’t time yet for us to have a baby and I’ve accepted that it’s going to take longer than we first thought.

Our Follow-Up Consultation:

We arranged a telephone consultation with our fertility doctor for the day after our OTD back on the 31st March. The nurses were very sympathetic during our communications with them, as we let them know of our unsuccessful transfer. They were not overly sympathetic, mind you; I’ve heard of clinic reactions being completely over the top… like reacting as you would to the news of a loved one’s death, you know? A negative pregnancy test is sad, but it doesn’t require any theatrics or any sort of gasping emotional sentiment. The simple ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ we received from our clinic was a perfect response.

The consultation with our doctor happened on 1st April. New beginnings being discussed on the first of the month, I liked that. Our doctor is great. We were lucky to get an appointment when we did. She was booked up for two weeks after that. She’s completely unemotional and responds with autistic data and logic. She’s a scientist and a highly skilled medical professional; she is not our friend. She’s not a warm person, though she tries hard to be pleasant. She does her job brilliantly, she’s knowledgable, assertive, commanding and we think she’s sexy A.F (as fuck, not Aunt Flo).

We didn’t expect any answers from her in terms of why it didn’t work, but what we did get from her was a real sense that she had considered our case from an individual perspective before giving us our options for next time.

So… it’s been a while since we spoke with her but I’ll try to remember what we spoke about.

She glossed over the failed cycle, said it was unfortunate, but that as there is only a 50% chance of success (due to K’s age, the fact that it’s intrapartner etc), we shouldn’t be worried yet. She told us about the grades of our embryos. I can’t remember the exactly quality. One is top quality. One is a very good quality.  The last one is not so good, but our doctor said that she still has patients become pregnant with this quality of embryo.

Next time we could transfer two embryos if we liked. She repeated the risk of multiple births, but would be prepared to transfer two as transferring just one had failed us last time. I still remain glad that we only transferred the one last time. Part of me is wondering, though, whether our destiny is twins and perhaps it didn’t work last time because we were going against fate, putting only one embryo in. We’ll see.

The doctor asked whether I would be prepared to be sedated for the frozen embryo transfer, given that I found the procedure so uncomfortable last time. I agreed that this would be an excellent idea and she noted that on our file.  I asked whether my being so stressed during the previous E.T could have affected the procedure’s outcome. She said there was not enough data to say. She didn’t say no, though, which makes me think that perhaps there is some truth in this.

My meds will be the same for next time. I could have an endo scratch if the frozen embryo transfer doesn’t work. She said they generally don’t do endometrial scratches until a couple of failed cycles have occurred. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Overall:

3 frozen embryos (1 excellent quality, one good quality, one poor quality)
I’ll be sedated for the next cycle.
We’ll potentially transfer two embryos.
I could have an endo scratch before the FET, or wait to see if the next cycle fails, and do that as a next step.

Oh and I need to have one natural cycle, med-free, before we can try again. ^_^ I just need to call the clinic on the first day of my period and then we can begin. I doubt we’ll be ready then. We’ll wait as long as we need to.

Seeing Red.

The First Bleed After a Failed IVF Cycle.

I got my period yesterday, the first since the start of our failed cycle. It has been, without doubt, the most unpleasant period of my womanhood: the heaviest bleed, punctuated with the most painful cramping. Nothing like a little salt in the wounds of failure.

K and I went to the gym on the morning I got my period. Exercise is rumoured to have pain relieving properties. I experienced no such benefits. I did, however, find myself bent double over a toilet, emptying the contents of my insides. That doesn’t usually happen on a regular month. I suppose I have progesterone to blame for that.

I normally run for at least half an hour on the treadmill, but couldn’t even manage three minutes on the machine yesterday. Instead, I pedalled half heartedly on the exercise bike for the remainder of our gym session.

Today I am fine and clearly over the worst. I wonder if this was a little sign from mother nature…  think menstruating is tough? You’d better prepare yourself properly for pregnancy.

In a way, I’m glad the universe has granted me a little more time. I have to make sure my body and mind are strong enough for this. Maybe I wasn’t ready to carry a child.

April 1st: New Beginnings

Happy April. The sun’s rays are beaming into my lounge and little Bear is basking.

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I’ve just completed Joe Wick’s Cardio HIIT Work Out 1. It only took fifteen minutes, but has left me sweaty and satisfied. High knees, burpees, and mountain climbers before 9am is a big ask of me, but it feels good to be challenging my body and getting in shape.

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We have a telephone consultation with our doctor at the fertility clinic this afternoon, following our failed IVF cycle. I’m excited to hear her thoughts and discuss our options for the future.