My bumpy road to IVF

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It’s been a while since I wrote and this is because things have been a bit tough recently… I warn you, this post contains a few swear words.

As we get ready for IVF this summer, we’ve been hit with serious illness in my family (which may or may not bring some delay in our treatment) and our dear Billy was also diagnosed with kidney disease a few weeks back. For those of you who work with us online, I would like to apologise for my absence and lack of conversations and support at the moment and also thank you for continuing to support me regardless. I’m still making Cuties as I can and programming posts online to maintain some continuity and an online presence with the business. Dotty is still here too but only posting in the morning for now.

So, Shaun and I are both on a diet and I am doing a lot of exercise to get myself in the best shape possible. So far I’ve lost 8lb in 4 weeks, I’m mainly walking and have been very lucky to make friends with my next door neighbour who is my daily walking companion. Not only is she helping me get out of the house and getting a few kilometres done in the day, she is also fantastic company, she’s positive, interesting, kind, caring and VERY funny.
She leaves treats outside my front door, including (small) chocolate bunnies, healthy soup and she has been known to leave a bottle of wine too! Given the recent stress and little support from my old friends, Nadine has been a life saver, a true angel.

Shaun has been my evening walking companion and on a couple of occasions I have actually walked alone in the evenings. It might not sound like a lot, but for a recluse like me who can be quite anxious outside and alone, it’s a very big deal. I have made myself a “kick IVF’s ass” playlist on my phone including a few Pink tracks which helps me block out the outside noise and I’ve been known to walk up to 10km a day.

Again, for most people it’s probably nothing but for me it’s more than I have ever done, my inflammations are in full flow and it’s hard to walk first thing in the morning from the swelling, but I am pushing myself to be the best I have ever been and to give myself the best chance at IVF. I am also on week four of giving up smoking and have no intentions of going back to it, yay to me as this has been the hardest thing for me to do at such a stressful time in my life.

Business has been a little slow recently but according to my online sources, it’s happening pretty much everywhere so I’m not giving up hope yet and hopefully, there are more families needed more Cuties out there and they will soon return.

Monday was a particularly bad day, in terms of infertility. Don’t get me wrong, the last four weeks have been a nightmare. My father spent time in intensive care and I didn’t sleep for a few days, he is still in hospital not in the best of shape and things haven’t quite settled yet so a trip to France may still be on the cards before we start IVF. Also, knowing that my Billy now has an incurable illness which may or may not stabilise has been a worry, my best pal, I can’t imagine not having him in my way all day long, so I won’t.

The bad time in terms of infertility started a few days ago. I noticed a comment on a post on Facebook about infertility. Someone was once again questioning why people like me don’t adopt and flippantly also suggested that we could perhaps just love a dog…

Whether the person meant it in a “nice way” or whether she was “simply asking” is irrelevant, it was a crap comment. As I have said before I’m not big on “fertility groups” at all, I find them mostly depressing and not particularly helpful so although I joined this one sometime ago, it’s pretty much been muted and I’ve ignored most of it.

When I first joined, I made a few suggestions in the group such as perhaps including crafts or other hobbies into the group as a way of being a bit more positive and less focused on the negative effects of IVF. Other than the owner and a couple of existing friends replying to me I was pretty much ignored. At the time, I contacted the owner and suggested that perhaps as I was still in the process of “TTC” (trying to conceive) this wasn’t the place for me. I was told with not uncertainty that the group was for everyone struggling with infertility issues and that my input was valuable and wanted. I thought, fair enough but I still refrained from using the group as it felt pointless since I was getting no real interaction. I speak to my friends privately and I like it this way, why put your (already difficult) feelings into a public platform if you’re going to be blanked?

For those of you who read me, I have mentioned before that one of my struggles with infertility is that I have found it hard to know where I “fit” in society. I don’t fit in with mothers, and now it seems I don’t fit in with infertile people either… So going back to the comments (adoption and dog) it made me a little agitated and so I decided to reply.

I must say that all the replies to the comment were very “gentile” and seemed to be “pussy footing” around the person, “you’re not really an idiot, you just don’t know and don’t worry, we still like you”… It’s not rocket science love!

Apparently, we’re there to “educate the ignorant” as it was put to me and not antagonise. Well, I actually felt antagonised by the comment but apparently I can’t say that. Me being me I replied something like: I don’t care if someone is asking, when I don’t know about a subject, I informed myself before making flippant comments and also, I reminded the person that just because some parents can’t bring themselves to raise their children and I can’t have children doesn’t mean that the responsibility falls on me and nor should I feel guilty about it!

So, that made me quite mad as the host strongly disagreed with me and I was pretty much shot down (in a group supposed to be safe and there to support people like me but anyway). I also got a personal message to say it wasn’t anything against me, blah blah blah, but it was pretty obvious that the reply was meant for me. So, I thought, never mind, move on, it’s stupid and it really doesn’t matter. My friends support me and it’s all I need.

So much for the TTC sisterhood… my ass!

Anyway, fast-forward to the weekend and I received a message from one of my favourite ladies on Twitter, Beverley.

Bev is from Cohort4 Women, a group of women who have come together to support each other. Essentially, this group is for victims of domestic violence but the more I look at their website and read about their work, the more I realise that actually, it’s about women supporting each other. Whether they come from abusive past, whether they are lonely and isolated, difficulties with substance abuse and mental health issues. It’s all about sticking together. They don’t discriminate against people who can’t have children and they are about inclusion. Forgive me if I do not articulate properly and do Cohort4 Women the justice they deserve but you get the gist.

So, these ladies have been by my side pretty much from the start and quite a few Cuties have made their way to their group and lent a hand during their craft workshops.

I open the message and Beverly announces to me that they have made a promotional video for their group and that they have included the Cuties in there. I was truly honoured and humbled; I really don’t think I deserve to be part of it but it seemed they did.

I clicked on the link to their website and the film started, well by the end of it I was in tears, not because of the Cuties (even though that was cute) but because of the inspiring nature of the people in the film. The tears in their eyes when they talk about how the group helps them, I felt sad for being so far away from them that I can’t pop in there too and take part in their activities, feel their love. It’s a beautiful short film which you can find on my website in the Cuties’ albums with a link to their website. So, after a few tears, it made me think about the whole infertility group again.

Why do I need to be part of that (although Shaun has told me to leave it a few times before), do I need a constant reminder of the pain I feel? Do I need to read the endless heart wrenching posts every time it’s mother’s day somewhere in the world? No, all I need right now is to feel supported, included and loved, whether I have a child or not, whether you have a child or not.

Yes, I still have a chance but my chances are very VERY low, will I have more than one go, it’s very doubtful, and what will happen to me after, I have no idea. But one thing I do know is that I do not want to become bitter, I don’t want to become angry and hateful of everyone who has a child, I don’t want to become ugly.

I don’t want to read about infertility every day, I want to have a laugh with my friends, I don’t want to “group-dwell”, I do enough dwelling of my own and I don’t want a constant reminder of my pain. My pain is here, it’s been here six years and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Let’s fast-forward to Monday morning. I wake up to a message from the “infertility group” a personal message to only a handful of people, me being the only one who is still TTC (trying to conceive) the only one with a tiny glimmer of hope.

The message was reiterating my initial thoughts when I joined the group and the following question was asked. Should we include people who are still trying to conceive… WTF?! (pardon my French)

The message went on, if we do and that’s a HUGE IF, should we set guidelines about what is acceptable inside the group.

Some of the things that are not acceptable for your information: any mention of fertility treatment, any questions about medication during fertility treatment and as for announcing a positive pregnancy tests, it’s a big no no too.

I’m still pissed thinking about it now. How bloody rude, how discriminatory and most of all, why wouldn’t anyone who has gone through this trauma themselves not be happy if one of us finally got a positive result?

The only way I could understand this was a bit like; you have an incurable disease so someone opens a group, support, chat, information, etc., suddenly you get cured and immediately you’re out of the group! Is that the kind of friendship these groups talk about, shallow and only safe whilst you feel as shit as they do?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very aware of how painful pregnancy announcements are and trust me, if I was lucky enough to get my dream, I won’t be parading it online. I will keep it for people who want to know, I am quite a private person and not the type to put my private life on Facebook. The reason I don’t like seeing baby photos on FB isn’t all down to infertility, it’s mostly down to all the perverts who have access to FB.

However, I felt so rejected by these women who claim to know how I feel and yet can be so mean towards me because there is still a tiny possibility that I might just get my goal. It made me very angry.

I remember, a few months ago, a lady just like me had IVF, I was so excited for her and I really wanted her to succeed, so much so that when she didn’t, I cried. I cried my heart out, I would not wish infertility on my worst enemy. Not only it’s a bitch that cripples me day and night, it’s also mostly ignored by the general public. Nadine, (my fabulous neighbour) said to me Monday, why don’t they have organisations like they do for Cancer or other illnesses who raise awareness and collect money for people like you so you get help with IVF. Yes, why…? Because as we know, infertility is a lucrative business that’s why.

That night I said to Shaun, as awful as it must be to know that you have reached the end of the road, at least you have an answer. In my situation, and I have said it before, I am in frigging limbo! Between heaven and hell.

Do you know, I really don’t want to go to the clinic? Why, because what if it goes wrong, no more money and then what? I am scared like I have never been scared before and yet these women, the ones who know how I feel, the ones who have been there, are alienating me, discriminating against me and if you think about it, deep down, they clearly want me to fail, they don’t want people to succeed. I’ve renamed them the mean girls.

So, you can stick your group and your moaning, you daily blogs and your “advocacy” you don’t speak for me and you have no idea how I feel. I will stay with the real people, fertile, infertile, women, men, the human beings, the non-bitter who are by my side to help save me no matter what, the ones who actually want me to succeed. The people who try to understand even if they have children, the people who although they can’t empathise, sympathise, the good people. I’ve left the group and unfriended!

My eyes have been well and truly opened.

Sunday was six years since I miscarried, the only time I’ve ever experienced pregnancy, I still remember it like it was yesterday, I remember the pain of losing my baby, the hospital, the crap doctors and the despair. I still have the sealed envelope with the positive test inside and the letter I wrote to the child I will never meet, I have the scar engraved in my heart forever and it will never heal.

I may never be a mum and who knows what will happen to me if that happens, I’ll probably be sectioned for a while, I’ll probably still have the suicidal thoughts that don’t ever really leave me because it’s easier than the pain, I don’t know what will happen to my business, my relationship, my life, but I do know one thing, I will never be like them.

If you are reading this and are part of “the group”, don’t bother commenting as you will be censored just as I have been in your group, this is my blog, for my supporters, my freedom of speech, my safe place. Life is tough enough right now, so as my dad would say, if you have nothing good to say, shut up!

I will keep making people smile with my Cuties and take in the love I get in return.

Thank you for reading and for supporting me as always, a big thank you to Bev and the women at Cohort4 for making me an “honorary member” and thank you to my usual gaggle, you know who you are ;)