A Day in the Life

We are all set for IUI #5! I take my last Menopur and buserelin this morning, inject the Pregnyl at midnight, and then the insemination is booked for 2pm on Monday.

This month, I feel more relieved than excited. I’ve found superovulation to be a gruelling process. I don’t mind the injections per se – sticking a needle in myself no longer seems like a big deal – but the drugs are faffy to prepare and have to be taken at the same time every day. A typical day looks something like this:

No scan appointment (every other day)

06:00 – Wake up whether I like it or not, and wonder why on earth I opted for 9am injections “so I could have a lie-in”.

08:00 – Start worrying that I will inadvertently miss my injection slot, will have run out of needles, or the drugs will have frozen in the refrigerator.

09:00 – Evict cat from kitchen and close door. Realise other cat is still sat on windowsill. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eventually wipe down kitchen table, wash hands and set everything out. Worry that I will somehow cock up the injection process. Draw up buserelin and inject. Uh-oh, now it’s time for the Menopur. I’ve managed to cut myself snapping the top off the glass vial several times, and my fear is that it will completely shatter and I won’t have any solution for injection. OK, breathe. Make up Menopur with the scarily large pink needle, change needle and inject.

09:20 And relax! Or in other words, switch on the computer (also on the kitchen table, since we’re decorating my office) and start work.

Scan appointment

06:00 – Woken up by my alarm. Clearly, today is the day I would have had a lie-in.

08:00 – Arrive at clinic. Worry about where to do injections in an hour’s time, and again, wonder why on earth I decided on 9am. Scan shows my follicles are growing nicely (though I get scared when the sonographer starts with the smallest one, which wasn’t worthy of mention last time. For a moment, OH and I both think my follicles have shrunk). Nurse takes my blood – it’s been quite some time since I’ve had to lie down for a blood test, and I start to wonder whether I might be brave enough to watch.

09:00 – Do injections, either at the clinic (they let me use one of their rooms) or in OH’s office. Go for (placebo) coffee and breakfast.

10:00 – Fill prescription at hospital pharmacy, which is on the other side of town. I walk, so at least I’m getting plenty of exercise.

11:00 – Arrive home, realise I forgot to put my out-of-office on (oops), and attempt to cram a day’s work into a few hours.

16:00 – Ring clinic for blood test results. I really must ask what they’re testing for one of these days, because the ‘result’ they give me is usually something like, “Come back on Wednesday.” I’m working on the assumption that they’re checking my oestrogen and the levels are OK.

18:00 – I’m shattered, but my back is also killing me from working at the kitchen table, so I’d better get on with that third coat of paint.

A word to the wise: Don’t embark on a major decorating project at the same time as any fertility treatment that involves injections and close monitoring. I thought I was “getting on with my life outside TTC”, but I was wrong. What I’ve actually done is ensured there’s chaos in several areas of my life rather than just one.

Now, I must go – it’s almost time to wipe down the kitchen table and evict the cat.

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Spain and Beyond

Here are a few photos from our holiday in Spain:

I’m glad we went. It was hard getting it together enough to buy holiday clothes and pack, and I sometimes found it difficult being around so many people (OH’s family) while I was grieving, but it was also healing, being in such a beautiful place and with children. It was on the day of the second photo, meandering along the shore with my niece and feeling the waves lapping at my ankles, that I realised I was going to be all right. This is a broken world where I have lost two babies but it is also a beautiful world of sunsets and oceans and other children to love.

I sat and meditated on a sun lounger one night and I acknowledged that I don’t know what lies ahead of me. Maybe I will have a successful treatment and give birth to a healthy baby – I hope so, and at this point the odds are still in my favour. On the other hand, maybe I am medically infertile. Maybe I will have recurrent miscarriages, and maybe the next few years will be filled with grieving and loss. I realised that if that is my path, I will accept it, and I will do my best with what I’m given. For me, nothing other than a child of my own (conceived by me or OH or adopted) can fill my need to be a parent, but I can still use my infertility and bereavement to support others in the same boat, and my mothering instincts to be a fantastic auntie and godmother.

It feels as though I’ve come to a new place of acceptance. In May, when I realised my spotting might be implantation bleeding, I promised God everything I had if this was a viable pregnancy. I vowed I would give all the remaining money we have saved for fertility treatment to charity, even though we might need it for other expenses. And it turned out I was pregnant – but that still wasn’t enough for the tiny life inside me to survive. It will never be enough because I’m not being punished, and if I have the child I so desperately want, it won’t be a reward. It will just be what happens, happening.

Over the past nine months, I’ve read several books aimed at Christians who are infertile or bereaved, and I’ve seen two explanations for why bad things happen. One is the idea that this is all part of God’s plan and although we might not be able to understand why, it’s for the greater good. At first, I found this comforting, but it’s a double-edged sword: it implies that God is choosing to do this to me. Why would God single me out for so much pain, and shut his ears to my increasingly desperate prayers, yet look at the woman next door and immediately give her everything she wants? I can’t help feeling that a God who does that is cruel, and a God who is cruel isn’t God. And yes, you could argue that good things can come from adversity – I don’t think I would be getting on so well with my sister now if I hadn’t had the first miscarriage – but I’ll be honest: I would never, never, never, never have sacrificed my child to repair another relationship. No mother would.

The other explanation is that this world has been broken by sin, and therefore is a cruel and unfair place where tragedies happen to people who don’t deserve them. Miscarriages, therefore, are not necessarily God’s plan, but he can work with them. I came across this idea in What Was Lost by Elise Erikson Barrett, and at first it puzzled me, but I find myself increasingly drawn to it. I don’t know which theory is correct, if either, but I know this is the one that will allow me to maintain a relationship with God. I need God and I need to believe that God can work with adversity and bring good things out of shit circumstances, but I also need not to believe that he wanted me to lose my babies.

This is turning into a very heavy post, so I’ll finish with some good news. We’re starting superovulation on Thursday! Despite what I’ve written above, I have a good feeling about the treatment and I’m hopeful that the extra follicles (if we manage 2-3) will boost my chances of conceiving a baby with the right number of chromosomes.