Monday, 26 March 2012

What goes up...

...Must come down

I suppose I was doing a little bit too well. I'm having what could be classed as 'a shit time' (I believe that this is an actual medical term) at the moment and am struggling a bit to get back to a place where I feel ok about everything.

I'm wondering whether it's all fairly normal that DH and I are finding it tough to 'connect'. We've had such a weird relationship over the last four years that maybe now we're on a bit of a come-down - it's all been go go go and while once we were having lots (and lots) of sex at the perfect time and hoping for the next period not to arrive (please please please...Ah drat!), this then morphed into waiting to hear 'the next result' or have 'the next appointment' and now... Well, now it's all just stopped. We've had every result, we've been to every appointment. Now we wait. And think. And wait a bit more.

I think that my diet today (which has roughly consisted of: toast x 3 slices, chocolate bars x4, biscuits x2, McDonalds cheeseburger x1.5, tuna filled pitta x1, banana x1, crisps x1) is testament to my low mood. I do this every time; if I eat lots and get to feel physically bad then I've somewhere to 'put' the emotionally bad. Or something like that. I'm sure it's all textbook but it is truly pants.

I'm going to attempt to get back on track tomorrow and ignore the fact that I'm feeling invisible and unnattractive and not remotely sexy. I will make a massive effort to ignore my painfully low self-esteem (spotty, fat, not a real woman etc etc) and I will stop ignoring/avoiding my friends for fear that they may discover that I'm not as strong as I'm making out.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A whole room full a' normal...

So there we were, nervously inching our way into the auditorium and looking for seats (near the front. Oo not that near!), feeling as though everyone was sizing us up when all of a sudden it occured to me...

These people are just like us! And there's loads of them! And they are here in this room!


The Adoption Open Evening was last night. A very good friend of mine took charge of DS (I understand she fed him (good), played with him on the laptop (very good) and allowed him to jump up and down on her bed (oof! He won't wanna leave!)) while DH and I made our way to discover what our local Council has to offer in terms of Adoption services. It would appear quite a lot.
We were feeling apprehensive but (dare I say it?) excited too about the meeting as DH and I have made no secret of the fact that adoption does sit slightly better with us than using DE's to try and get me pregnant (and to term) so we felt a lot was riding on it. I think I can happily speak for both of us when I say that we were initially relieved that it didn't feel remotely like a 'sales pitch' and that by the end of the meeting, we felt that this could be, might be, you just never know, an ok option for us. Eek!

I was sat marvelling (as well as listening avidly to the speaker obviously) at the fact that every person in that room was just like DH and I; all wondering whether we could offer a home to a child that is already in this World. I'm not saying that they were all infertile (who knows?), but some had clearly been through unsuccessful IVF attempts and some were childless so there's an assumption that we have all felt the pain, in our very individual ways, of being unable to have a baby/more babies of our own. Without meaning to sound weird, it just felt really good being around them all; Not having to pretend to be or feel something that I didn't feel or want to be. I think I could've stood on my chair and told them all about me with the certainty that they would listen and geddit and then tell me all about them... I didn't stand on my chair and say anything you'll be relieved to hear (Hey - I might want them to give me a child at some point...) but it felt warm and comfortable and normal. I wonder if they'd find me strange if I rocked up for every meeting? :o)

Listening to other women talk about their IVF attempts also made me realise how far I have come in terms of my feelings towards my own infertility - that crashing grief only comes every now and again now instead of every day and though we may not be ready to move forward with anything right at this very minute, I now know without a shadow of a doubt that it will be fine. We will be fine. Actually, we will be fantastic! 'It may not be the path I would have chosen but it is the path I have' has kind of become my mantra.

They, quite rightly, have rules about applying to adopt in terms of infertility treatments - you have to wait a year until after your last attempt. We sit in a bit of a grey area here; we never had an attempt at IVF. After the Miscarriage last Autumn, we were resigned to the fact that it was probably not going to work for us and then my bloods, of course, ruled it out entirely. But we are now choosing our route in terms of DE's or Adoption or doing nothing so I'm not sure where we stand. We're going to take the next couple of months to think it through before we decide whether to 'register our interest' - the first step!
After you've registered, you receive a home visit from a social worker who decides whether you're ready to fill in an application. After that it's all systems go - they have to finish your assessment within eight months and then present their report to a panel who decide whether to approve you or not. Running alongside this is preparation days (3 of), CRB checks and the finding of 3 suitable references (hmmm...which of our friends like me the most??) so I imagine it to be a pretty intense time. Once approved at panel, you can be 'matched' with a child/children and this can take anywhere from 3 days up to 3 months or longer.
Phew. (See - I was listening while marvelling. I can multi-task...)

But until then, we'll carry on carrying on. I've started on my HRT (is 4 days not long enough to be feeling the benefits I ask myself - I'm a tad disappointed that I'm not entirely filled with vigour, energy and an insatiable sex drive (sorry, DH)) and I'm also necking 800mg calcium a day. Luckily, my GP was just as disturbed as I was by the 5% bone loss and has agreed to monitor the situation so I feel relieved there. My only annoyance/minor irritation is that I have to pay for my HRT. Tsk! Apparently since it's not a contraception or for the treatment of a life threatening illness (maybe not physically, I suppose...), I have to cough up. So, that's me for the next 14 years or so....

I'm hearing more and more positives about adoption the more we look into it but I think it's just nice to feel ok about having time to think everything through. I'm such an impatient person by nature that 'chillaxing' doesn't really hit my radar so this is good for me. Being forced to slooooow down, stop panicking and just 'be' is working really well.
As is drinking Gin with my friends...Oo Friday! Let's look forward to Friday...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sunny side up...

So... We've been to see our Consultant. We pay to see him privately for two reasons: 1. When we went down the NHS route we saw three different doctors (of varying status'), all of whom gave us entirely different information - one 'Research Fellow' recommended the removal of my fallopian tubes based entirely upon the fact that I've had two treated ectopics. No laparoscopy or other diagnostic examination was required for her to recommend a surgical procedure that would leave me entirely infertile - I would like to suggest to her that she do a tad more 'research'... and 2. Though not entirely easy to see quickly (he's very popular and even privately there's a 6 wk waiting list), he was the first doctor we immediately trusted implicitly who was 100% honest with us. Ultimately, it doesn't cost much more if everything is straight forward and you have the benefit of seeing the same person each time. Choose a Consultant wisely - we saw three before we hit on 'the one'...
I would like to mention that if we had seen this Consultant originally - at first diagnosis - we would have stood a much greater chance of success at IVF with my eggs; the Consultant at the time told us to 'go on holiday' and encouraged us not to bother. By the time we got to 'the one' a year later, my ovaries and hormone levels were so severely depleted, there was no chance of a successful IVF - but I'm not bitter :o)

Our choices, then, remain the same: an attempt at IVF with DE's either here or abroad or adoption. We were slightly miffed to discover that in the UK there is no such thing as a 'waiting list' really, you have to 'recruit one to get one'. In the UK, there is no anonymity anymore and this has prevented more women coming forward to donate their eggs so you need to advertise in the press or ask around friends and family (I have never desired a sister more than I do right now...) for someone under 35 with a normal BMI, no family history of severe/genetic illness to donate eggs into the system. They don't necessarily need to be given to you - once you have someone donate in your name, you get some eggs out. Simples.
If you go abroad - my clinic has sister clinics in Northern Cyprus and Washington, USA - there is an abundance of DE's available (you even get a glossy brochure from the Washington clinic detailing everything you would want to know about the donor, including the age her own children reached their 'milestones'....Only in America!). Donor's get paid for their trouble and it is entirely anonymous. You are usually guaranteed a certain number of eggs and the prices don't include travel or accommodation. So yes, the cost...I wish I could say that it's not about the money. It's not, obviously. About the money. But it kind of is when you consider the cost:
UK - circa 7.5K
N Cyprus - circa 1.5K for the UK side of things and 7,000 euros for the N Cyprus side
Washington - circa 1.5K for the UK side of things and $17,000 (!!!!!) for the USA side


But at least it's all feeling a bit more 'normal'. I've had some lovely supportive comments on my Blog and would love to hear from more of you. The whole DE situation doesn't terrify me nearly as much as it did and I feel much more open to it.

We also discussed my HRT. He was fairly nonchalant about the whole POF thing - reassured me that by going into menopause early, I don't have an increased risk of uterine/ovarian Cancer (phew) and recommended I start immediately on Cycloprogynova at the 2mg dose. I've been a bit bothered about all of this increased Osteoporosis risk too so I asked him about it and was very reassured to learn that I will have only lost 'about 5%' of bone in the last year! 5%!!! Is he kidding??? That must surely equate to most of my left foot! I was pretty mortified and yet he didn't bat an eyelid. Note to self: Google normal bone loss. And check that my shoes haven't suddenly become too big for my left foot.
So off to the GP I go...Where I shall of course be insisting on a bone density scan...

I am also ecstatic to report that my healthy eating plan has lost me 8lb so far and I have gone back to my Zumba classes - my mood has improved by a gazillion!!!

Onwards and Upwards - the adoption open evening is next week...