An update

So my period arrived yesterday….exactly 21 days since my last period. 21 days?! What’s going on? Officially my shortest ever cycle. Does this count as an AF PB?

I’m usually 27 days, nice and predictable. Could this be related to the IVF? Hopefully I’ll revert back to normal next month. I don’t like it – makes me think of the M word (Menopause! Menopause! MENOPAUSE! ).

Anyway, I know I need to get a grip. In other news, I am officially still not pregnant despite hopeful fornication around ovulation this month. In addition to that, we need to get retested for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis (hey, a new disease!) before our trip to the Madrid donor egg clinic next month. Imagine if, all this time, rampant syphilis has been to blame for our infertility. That would definitely be one for the Wandsworth Guardian (local newspaper).

DH also needs to find out his blood type. I’m B positive, in case you were wondering (I discovered this only recently). Apparently this makes me artistic, sensitive and prone to colds, according to one crackpot website I browsed. Sadly it didn’t mention that it may also makes me prone to pregnancy.

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Plan B(aby)

I’m feeling better this week. Dare I say (cautiously) optimistic, (quietly) hopeful and even (a bit) excited? It’s time for plan B.

Farewell own egg IVF, you cruel mistress. Hello donor egg IVF, you beguiling temptress.

After 5 miserable rounds of IVF we have decided to try something different. Well, ‘decided to try’ is a bit coy; we HAVE to try something different. We have two options at this stage – donor eggs or adoption. I want to be pregnant. I want the morning sickness, swollen ankles and stretch marks. I want to give birth. I want to be one of those people who post annoying bump photos on Facebook (no I don’t). I want a baby which is genetically half ours, and will hopefully get my husband’s smile, eyes, killer bod and BBQ skills. Maybe I’m a bit selfish but I would love to experience motherhood and birth in the ‘traditional’ manner. We are both keen on the idea of adoption and that will certainly be plan C, but I think donor eggs are the way forward for now. If it doesn’t work out then at least we’ll know that we did everything possible to make pregnancy a reality. I know adoption could work for us, but I’m just not ready for that yet.

So – we’re off to Madrid! There are lots of highly regarded clinics in Spain and no waiting lists for donors. It’s cheaper than the UK. Our hospital consultant in London has given us his blessing and recommended a couple of clinics. I’ll be able to have scans with him in London and just fly to Madrid twice – once for the initial consultation in September, and then later on for the egg transfer. I won’t need to do any injections or rely on my creaky old ovaries. I just need to make sure that my womb is ready to receive 1-2 nice embryos courtesy of our young, fertile donor and husband’s sperm.

That’s the weird part I suppose. No getting around it – after our first meeting the clinic will match us with a donor who is blue eyed, blond’ish, slim and about my height. They’ll check that she is healthy and of sound mind. We’ll never find out who she is or see a photograph. We just need to rely on the clinic to do their part (and this is where the wonderful world of internet reviews come in….Madrid is a good place for blue eyed donors as there are plenty of international students from Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and other blonde countries).

Anyway, I’m less concerned about physiological factors. I firmly believe that if we’re lucky enough to get pregnant the baby will be ‘mine’, hair colour or otherwise. The study of epigenetics has shown that much more goes into ‘building a baby’ than DNA. Our (imaginary, at this stage) baby will be loved and cared for, and we’ll tell her/him about the helpful donor when he/she is old enough to understand. I think that’s all that really matters. Who knows if we’ll make it that far? We just want to give it our best try.

Our first appointment will be on 21st September. In the meantime I remain (cautiously) optimistic, (quietly) hopeful and even (a bit) excited.

A Forest

Well, it has been a funny old week. I have had a Cure earworm for the last 5 days (earworm…where a song sticks in your head and won’t get out). It’s ‘A Forest’, which seems pretty apt at the moment. Not because I’m camping, or because I’m an 80s goth, but because of my current frame of mind:

I don’t really know what to do with myself. The last 18 months have been reassuringly organised. I’ve either been planning an IVF cycle or doing an IVF cycle. Now…I’m not, because I’m not doing any more IVF cycles, ever again. 

I’ve been crying rather a lot. Not in a dramatic fashion next to the coffee machine, but quietly and spontaneously, on my walk home, whilst listening to ‘Desert Island Discs’ or when I hug my husband. There’s a beautiful Christopher Wren church near my office where I go sometimes – I sit in an empty pew, close my eyes and enjoy the smell of polished wood and old Bibles. I talk to everyone in my head – family members here and departed, the ‘inner me’, God, although I feel strange doing that, like an imposter – and it just helps me feel better somehow. I went in there a few days ago for a quiet sob. The Vicar came over for a chat and I explained what has been going on. He’s a lovely man. It felt good to spill the beans to someone who knows nothing about infertility treatment. Maybe I needed that.

I do worry that I might have some sort of screaming meltdown at any moment. I’m doing fine on the outside – getting on with work, smiling, planning a family visit – but every now and again I’m gripped by the realisation that I AM NOT GOING TO GET PREGNANT WITH OUR OWN BABY. Our 5 cycles of IVF were a complete bust. I’m acting like a ‘normal person’ but on the inside I feel like I’m barely holding it together. What do people do in these situations? Quietly sob? Talk to a Vicar? Write a blog and get on with their lives? That’s what I’m doing. I think that’s probably the traditional British approach (perhaps minus the blog and the Vicar).

I’m also aware of the fact that I need to get a grip and remember there are people in far worse situations than me. I could be a disabled beggar in Kinshasa. I could be living in a makeshift refugee camp in Calais. I could be single and desperate for a baby. At least I’m halfway there.

So, what next? Well, I’m a hardcore organiser. I cannot relax. I must have spreadsheets. I am compelled to ‘do’. So it’s only natural that I’ve already started the quest for Plan B. More on that in the next post. For now, please enjoy the Cure.