AF (Aunt Flo) should be due in a few days or a week. I am on day 27 and usually my cycles are about 29-30 days. It's strange because for 19 cycles now I've wanted AF to stay away, to have a positive pregnancy test. Now I can't wait for it to get here because that means that I'm on a countdown to IVF starting. The treatment will start on my next period start date. I'll go for a blood test on day 3-4 and then start the drugs on day 5. So I'm waiting for it to arrive. So until then we are eating lots of fruits and vegetables, are not drinking alcohol (well I haven't since before Christmas anyway) and I'm spending lots of time taking it easy and relaxing.
I have had to drop out of the show that I was going to be in. The show will inevitably be really tiring and a lot of hard work and it is happening at the start of the treatment cycle. It was a really hard decision to make but a necessary one and everyone was really supportive. I would like to still be involved in the show, maybe helping out backstage a few nights. I've also started to relax and sleep as much as I can. Last night I had a long, pampering bath whilst I listed to the Zita West IVF relaxation CD.
After the initial high of finding out that the IVF was fast forwarded there was a subsequent low, a panic that it wouldn't work. I became scared that, as our chance, our hope, was coming quicker, that the possible failure of it was also looming. Really, we are closer than ever before to becoming parents. But if the treatment fails then it will feel like we are further away. I do need to remember that there is only a 36% chance of it working. But I also have to believe that we are going to be in that 36%. That the reason that we haven't conceived yet is because sperm can't reach egg and that the ICSI will eliminate that barrier. So if the barrier's gone then there should be no problem in the rest. I know it's not that simple but that's the thought that keeps me going. We have no reason to believe that my body and eggs are nothing but healthy and fertile and apparently, as I've read in some sources, that and age are the biggest determining factor in IVF success. And I certainly don't have a problem in the age stakes! The 36% success is for all IVF cycles under the age of 35. In my opinion (but what would I really know!) there is a huge difference in a woman's fertility between 27 and 35 so that would mean that our chances are increased. The 36% also is for all causes of infertility and sperm problems are the ones that are supposedly easy to treat (i.e because you bring sperm to egg). I know I'm talking myself INTO believing we have a greater success rate but it's how I work to feel positive. And, who knows, some of it may be true.
Despite all this, and the technicalities of it, normal life resumes. However, I do think about ICSI at least once every ten minutes on a normal day. Probably more than that. At the weekend we went to stay with family. Our lovely sister-in-law is about 6 months pregnant (I say about, I don't know in terms of weeks or anything and I couldn't bring myself to ask). We are so happy for them but it was so hard being there this weekend. They were great and baby-talk was kept to an absolute minimum but it still was so hard. Hearing them talk nappies and Mothercare when we were almost out of earshot cuts us to the core.
I heard M talk to his brother about IVF. I can't believe that he is having to talk to his brother about such intimate matters. It's not that I don't want him to, I am thankful that he has finally talked to someone other than me, it's just the fact that he has to talk about it at all. No one should have to go through this. It made me realise just how much he knows about the whole process, about the menstrual cycle, about the drugs, about embryos, about me. How many of your Other Halves would know what a blastocyst is? Ask them! But my other half does. He knows it's a five-day old embryo that, if implanted, gives us more like a 50-60% chance of the treatment working. He knows that if we wait to see if the embryos turn into blastocysts then none of them might reach that stage at all and we may go home empty-handied, or empty-bellied. Even if they do get implanted it still might fail.
We do feel positive a lot of the time. We talk about Stanley and Lucy a lot still, every day. It keeps our dream alive. But what gets me is that so few understand what we are going through. Don't get me wrong, people are sympathetic but I honestly do not think that anyone has the remotest idea of what this is like unless you've lived it yourself. Here's an example of what Monday morning was like:
Wake up. Think about IVF. Think about IVF. Go in the shower. Think about IVF. Look down at my flat stomach. Will it to get bigger and be covered in stretch marks. Get out of the shower. Think about IVF while drying my hair in what will be Stanley and Lucy's nursery. Start planning it in my head. Stop myself because it might jinx it. Chastise myself for being so stupid. Chastise myself for thinking negatively. Try to think it will work. Repeat "it will work it will work" in my head over and over. Have a niggling doubt that it won't and feel that the magic positive thinking has then been undone. Think about the success rates and that we have a good chance. Think about the people I know who it hasn't worked for. Put make up on and get dressed. See my husband and think what an amazing daddy he would be. Talk to my husband who is crying and suffering from severe anxiety, not sure if he can get out of the front door, never mind to work. Think about how he should be on medication for this but he won't because of the impending IVF and the effects on his sperm. Think about how all this is affecting him. Want him to go on drugs so that he's better. Don't want him to go on drugs because it may affect his sperm. Look at the side of my bed and see how the space is made for a crib/moses basket. Go through the whole thinking positive/negative debate in my head again. Get in the car. See my next door neighbour's car still on the drive and feel jealous that she's just started maternity leave and is about to have a baby. Wish it was me. Head to work (think about it in the car). Think about it every time I see a baby/small child/pram/nursery school. Get to work. Get asked by a 13 year old what I got for Mother's Day. Say "I didn't get anything". Get asked what I got my mum. Say "I didn't. I don't have a mum". Feel shit that I've had to say that, as if it's denying she ever existed. Tears pricking my eyes. See a colleague who's returned from maternity leave. Give her a 'welcome back' present of chocolates, wine and relaxation goodies. Wonder if I'll ever have to experience coming back to work after maternity. Arrange a meeting with work to discuss possible IVF absences. Think about how much I'm going to be off and how stressful it will be setting work/not being in school/having teacher guilt. Think about the fact that I may be off that much only for it to fail. Think about the fact I'm going to have to tell people our most intimate details including when my period starts really. Think about the fact that it might not work. Chastise myself for thinking of failure. Imagine how I would tell people it's not worked. Imagine telling people it's worked. Think about next Mother's day wondering what it? Think about all those people that have what we want. Hear about another pregnancy. My heart breaks. I wonder if it will ever mend. If I will ever forget this pain if we have a child. Colleague says "why don't you adopt?". Can't contemplate that. Yet. Wonder if we will have to adopt. How long would that take? Would I ever experience pregnancy? Think about what the Mother-in-law said about us "rushing into having children". Get angry because after 18 months and impending IVF we are not rushing into anything. In fact most certainly thought about it more than anyone else ever has (unless they too are infertile). Think about that word. "INFERTILE". Think about people who have not contacted us despite knowing what we are going through (knowing, not empathising). Wonder why they don't bother to get in touch. Think about what they said about not knowing what to say. Think that's a poor excuse. Think that they're probably too busy with their babies/children. Think that it wouldn't take a lot to say "how's it going?" "thinking of you". Remember that not everyone is like me. Not everyone has the skill of empathy. It depresses me. Feel bad for thinking such things. They can't help it, can they? Get to teach period 1. It's only 8:45 and I've been up 90 minutes.
That is a realistic example of 90 minutes of my life. It's probably not detailed ENOUGH. Really.