Here We Go Again

So I haven’t mentioned this yet, but the HSG test did have a side effect after all: my period. A week early. Only a little over 3 weeks from the previous one.

For some, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal, but for me, it’s a nightmare because of the crippling pain / missed time off work. And this one was bad. Bad in a way I won’t even go into, but it was three days of utter agony and was physically and mentally exhausting.

But anyway, onwards and upwards – we are onto a new month of trying. I thought I’d feel excited but to be honest I just feel a bit defeated by it all at the moment. I’m still waiting for the HSG results and have been tormenting myself with what they might show. Despite a laparoscopy five years ago which said no endometriosis, I’m convinced I must have something like that, because what else could be causing this type of pain? Pain that causes black outs and prevents me from being able to think in a coherent way cannot be normal can it? But to diagnose this I would need another laparoscopy – last time I took a long time to recover and I just don’t feel that I can through another. And it’s more time off work again. I guess I’ll worry about that if and when it becomes a possibility.

So yes, trying to muster up some enthusiasm for this month, but to be honest, after almost a year and a half of absolutely nothing it really doesn’t feel like pregnancy is even a possibility. I see pictures of people’s positive pregnancy tests, with the two lines peeping out, and  can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to see those two little life changers staring back at me. I’ve only ever been a one line kind of girl.

Last month was my month off, and it was interesting because despite knowing that there was absolutely no chance of pregnancy, I still had “symptoms”. Of course the sore breasts, but also weird stabbing pains, nausea and bleeding gums. What I hope this has shown me is that obviously these “symptoms” do not automatically mean that I am pregnant, sometimes they are just part of my monthly cycle. So I’m hoping this month I can ignore a lot of these feelings and therefore feel a little more sane as we move onto a brand new month on the TTC treadmill.

SC x

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“No sex this month – do you understand?”

So, a break from everything from me this month: it’s been the month of the HSG test. And just to explain my title there – at our initial appointment we were warned, not once, not twice, but THREE times by our nurse that we were not, under any circumstance to have sex before this test. I mean yes it was obviously very important that we didn’t – but come on, we don’t need telling three times. And nor do I need it written down in bold AND underlined on my information letter. Thank you but I can see the warning just fine in normal font.

So anyway, the HSG test. I was nervous. I promised myself I wouldn’t Google horror stories. But of course I did. I might as well have googled the actual words “Google horror stories”. I really don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t stay away from ridiculous Google searches which are never going to do me any good whatsoever!

The test itself wasn’t great, but not as bad as I”d worked up in my head. Having the speculum inserted was far more painful than the dye being pumped through, which I’d read was meant to be the worst part. I suffer from horrendously painful periods and this wasn’t anymore painful than those. What I was disappointed about though was that I wasn’t able to watch the dye going through my tubes on the screen, like I’ve read some women have been able to. I have to wait two weeks and then phone up to make an appointment to get the results.

I”m worried what it will show. Blocked tubes? Fibroids, cysts? A weird shaped uterus? Part of me wants everything to be all clear, but part of me wants there to be something wrong, something to explain the pain I go through every month, and something to explain why after 15 months we are still not pregnant. For now, I have to be patient and wait. Oh dear. Not my strong point.

And, since my HSG test was after ovulation, we really haven’t been able to try this month. And this forced break has done me the world of good. I’ve had a lovely month feeling like myself again. No living my life around my cycle and when I might be ovulating and whether I should be drinking etc. It’s almost like a little holiday, away from the “trying to get pregnant” person I seem to have become. The only problem is, we didn’t try because we were forced to have a break this month (quite literally, see title of this blog and remember the bold and underlined scary letter), but I”m not sure I would be able to take a break if there wasn’t a real reason to. The temptation of trying when I know I”m ovulating would be too much and I expect I would give in – but hey, another six months of this and maybe I will go on another little break and enjoy being just me again for a bit.

So for now, it’s all about the patience. Oh good.

SC x

Q: How are you? A: I’ve got my period

So I’ve noticed that I talk about my period too much. When it shows up, I cannot resist telling my poor unsuspecting friends and family every single month. When we first started trying I arguably did a silly thing and told a lot of people. I was excited: M and I have been together since 2001 and so it was fun to spreading the news. I really wish I hadn’t now.

But, as time has passed, I realise that I have this compulsive need to announce to people that my period has arrived, and to let them know that once again I am not pregnant. I don’t like the idea that they might be wondering if I am, and now I’m in the habit of talking about it each month, I can’t really stop! I don’t even really want the possibility of me being pregnant to cross their minds as it feels like an additional layer of disappointment that is out of my control.

I don’t know anyone else that rambles on about their periods as much as I do. I guess because they are such a big part of my life (I have debilitating period pain), but I do hear myself sometimes and realise that it’s not the easiest thing for someone to respond to.  I’m due my period this weekend (see I’m telling the world now, I just can’t help myself) but I am going to try and challenge myself this month not to talk about it to my long suffering friends and family!

SC x

Inspiration

I’ve had a little break from the blog, M and I went to Amsterdam for a lovely break – more of that in another post I think: lots of time to think things over and figure out some stuff.

One thing that I’ve been feeling for a while now is a little bit useless. As a woman it sometimes seems as though one of the fundamental functions of my body should be to conceive.  I mean that’s why my I have a uterus and ovaries right? That’s why I have those delightful periods every month along with a few hormonal hiccups to boot. It makes me guilty that I can’t give M the baby that he is so desperate to have, and to be honest I’ve been feeling a little bit like I’m broken.

Do you know what has helped me change my frame of mind about this? Joining the blogging world and understanding how many strong and amazing women there are out there. It’s made me realise that being able to conceive is not the definition of womanhood: we are so much more than that. There are women out there who are a lot further down the infertility route than I am (14 months of trying), but their courage, resilience and sense of humour during such difficult times has amazed me. Month after month we women pick ourselves up again, getting ourselves in the right head space to start all over again for the next month. The strength to do this, time and time again should never be underestimated.

To me, this strength is the ultimate definition of being a woman.

SC x

28 Days Later

It seems my life is ruled sometimes by the 28 days of my cycle. I don’t want to live my life from month to month, but as soon as I get my period, I find myself waiting for the window of ovulation so we can try again. And then of course I’m in the two week wait, before my period arrives again. When I do get my period, it hits me hard because:

1) I’m not pregnant. Again.

2) The pain is horrendous – I consider it a good month if I don’t collapse and black out, or vomit from the pain

3) Whatever I have planned, be it going to work or seeing friends, has to be cancelled, as I can barely leave my bed let alone the house. When it’s work that I miss I spend the whole day worrying and feeling helpless

And so to deal with this trauma, I’ve decided that each month when my period comes (which of course it does, every time), I get a little treat.  It’s not always possible to buy myself something every month, so I have to get creative, but I always decide what I’m going to get before I get my period so I have something to look forward to. So for example, a few months ago I decided that if I got my period then I would go and get my hair dyed really really blonde, just for a change as much as anything else. So I had a few miserable days but it helped knowing that I had something that was going to make me feel good: it’s almost an incentive to keep me going sometimes. Other months I have treated myself to a whole night of pampering (something I love but never make the time for), or I’ve bought a lovely bubble bath. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but just something to acknowledge that I’ve been through a time.

I think the point of this post is that when you are trying to conceive and it’s not happening then it’s hard. It’s exhausting and it feels like a battle that might never be won. It’s draining and sometimes the only answer is to have a really good cry. So we should take the time to be kind to ourselves, to accept that this is not an easy time and perhaps acknowledge that we are stronger and braver than perhaps we give ourselves credit for.

SC x

Just Relax And It Will Happen

Anyone who has been trying to conceive without success has probably been given this advice.  But how many women who have been branded with the infertile label are generally feeling relaxed about it?! Most of us have been prodded and poked to within an inch of our lives. We follow weird diets (“pineapple anyone?”) and we take a million supplements a day (“mmm fish oil, yes please”). We google our symptoms (“my little toe hurts could I be pregnant”?), and we worry about never having a family of our own. We work hard at our relationships during the stressful times and sometimes take it out on those we love the most. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be hopeful, that perhaps this is the month after all, and then we deal with the disappointment that follows. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for relaxation to me.

Because what people forget is what time can do to a person. We all started trying to conceive in a good place. We were relaxed and we were hopeful, but until you personally go through it, until you experience the disappointment month after month, it’s hard to explain how waiting for something that just isn’t happening can simply wear you down sometimes.

As for me, I do not currently use ovulation sticks, or take my temperature, so I wouldn’t say that was anything I could physically change to relax more:  I really think that if it was as simple as just “relaxing” then something would have happened by now. Whilst obsessively googling ways to get pregnant, I often come across the phrase “we just stopped trying and it happened for us”. It’s great that for some people that works, but I just can’t see that ever working for us….I have a very good idea of when I”m ovulating, and so I know when we should be trying, so why would we not try around the very time I know we should be? I cannot pretend I have forgotten where I am in my cycle, I’m too far into the “trying to conceive” game to be successful at forgetting this information. And how is not having sex at the right time really going to help?

Hmm this post has become a bit of a rant – just about to start another month of TTC and not feeling it today – better file this one under “negativity”, and of course “patience” 🙂

SC x

Acupuncture and Moxi What?!

So my husband and I have been trying to conceive for 13 months. We’ve had no luck. Last year I tried reflexology –  I’d heard positive stories and thought it sounded like a fancy foot massage so had no problem with giving it a go. The sessions were relaxing and I definitely benefited from them, but come the end of 2014 and still not a hint of pregnancy, I decided to try something new: acupuncture.

Acupuncture was not necessarily an easy choice for me, I have a bit of a fear of needles and did not really understand how it all worked, but I reached the point where I was willing to try anything, so off I went.

I was so nervous during my first session, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that my husband “M” had to come with me and hold my hand. The first hour was brilliant though as my practitioner took a huge amount of time getting to know me and my situation. It was therapeutic and rather lovely to have someone’s full attention for such a long time. She studied my tongue which is said to reflect my overall health and also took my pulse (again, not something I like, I hate anyone touching my wrists, something to do with the prominent veins showing).

Once I was lying on the table, I got worked up again and M had to stroke my forehead to calm me down. Despite my somewhat crazy behaviour (or normal for me) my practitioner was very understanding and gave me a lot of reassurance. During my first session I only had one needle in each toe and one in each hand. I managed to lay still for 20 minutes which for me was a mini triumph in itself.

As far as I understand from my practitioner, I have a stagnant blood problem and my womb is “cold” which is not ideal for conception. Acupuncture is used to gently encourage the movement of energy back around my body (I’m sure it’s more technical than this, but this is how I interpreted it). I suppose it does help to explain my painful periods, and since noone else can tell me what’s going on, I’m open to this idea for now!

I came away feeling proud that I had faced the needle fear, and confident that this was going to help me in my quest to get pregnant. I guess only time will tell.

I’ve now had three treatments. The second treatment didn’t go so well as I came over faint (of course I did) and a sugary drink had to be rushed into the room before I keeled over (all in my head). But the most recent treatment was much better. As well as the needles, I had something called “moxibustion”. I’d never heard of it, but essentially it’s a Chinese herb which looks like a cigar and is lit and held over the acupuncture points to warm them. It was warming and relaxing, and I could feel a strange pressure in my stomach. I liked the strange feeling, as it helped me to believe that something “different” was going on.

I”ve been given the moxi sticks to use at home. I used the first one last night. It feels strange waving a red hot poker stick above my stomach, I suspect if I stopped and questioned it too much I would wonder how I got to this point… but for now I”m going with it, for as long as I don’t drop the thing onto my stomach and severely burn myself then there can be no harm in trying….right??

SC x

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