Category Archives: Infertility

A series of tiny, life-changing moments

Before you read this post, go back and read my last post. Go on, trust me.


That last post is, in retrospect, ironic. If you follow me on twitter you already know why. If you don’t, it’s because I’m pregnant. Somehow, on roughly CD 196, I got that “surprise post-IF baby” (well, pregnancy anyway, there’s still a long way to go for that take-home baby).

I’d been feeling pretty unwell for a week or two – exhausted, off my food, randomly queasy. And then one day I vomited in the garage because my car smelt funny when I opened the door to get in. That sort of behaviour did not seem normal… but it did seem familiar. It was a tiny, tiny moment that changed my life, because it made me consider a possibility I had, to that point, ignored.

It still took me a few days to test; pregnancy just seemed so damn unlikely. And to be honest, I guess I was scared (I honestly can’t tell you whether I was more scared of getting a positive or negative result, both were terrifying).

Eventually, I did test. My work involves exposure to radiation; not generally enough to be highly harmful to a foetus, but enough that my work practices would need to change significantly if I were pregnant. I was at work one morning, with a long day of radiation-exposure in front of me, and the need to test just became overwhelming. I felt too great a responsibility to this maybe-foetus to put it off any longer. Of course, I didn’t have a test with me, despite working in a hospital I couldn’t find one anywhere at work, and it wasn’t looking likely that I’d get a lunch break in order to duck out to the shops. In the end, my close work friend snuck out of work and bought me one. She was the first person I told, squeezed in a utility closet, not sure whether to laugh or cry and ultimately doing both. It was surreal. Another tiny, life-changing moment.

Pretty quickly, reality set in. I needed to tell H, and was unsure what sort of reception I’d get (he’d stated quite specifically several times over the preceding 6 months that another baby was not something he wanted right now). I needed to tell my work, an equally fraught and complex situation (again, if you follow me on twitter you have probably picked up that my workplace is not the most functional or supportive of environments, a story for a whole other post). I had no idea how many weeks I was and needed to arrange a doctor’s appointment and early ultrasound for dating purposes. I needed to choose a new obstetrician (again, another post, but I knew we weren’t going back to our previous OB). And I needed to do all this within about 12 hours, without yet having a chance to decided how I even felt about this situation.

Bottom line, I was ambivalent. I was surprised, anxious, excited, terrified, stressed, and joyful all at the same time. There were lots of issues to sort out and decisions to make (or at least worry about) before H and I could take time to relax and process this news. I was also angry. Despite what I implied in my last post, this was not the joyful surprise pregnancy I imagined and I felt angry at infertility for taking that experience away from me once again. While it’s true that we have achieved a second pregnancy without any treatments, without the multiple stressors of ART, the reality was that it wasn’t something we intended, and on CD 196 it wasn’t something that should have even been possible. I felt nervous about telling my husband, I felt more anxiety than happiness about this pregnancy. I felt like I couldn’t allow myself to be happy.

The good news is that now, at 13 weeks, it feel like a blessing. It is all the more wondrous for the manner in which it happened. We’re getting our second child (with pretty ideal child-spacing to boot) without even trying.

All the other issues (of which many remain) have faded into relative insignificance. We are so, so lucky.

Still freakin’ nervous.

But lucky.



Filed under Baby Making, Round 2, Infertility, Pregnancy

The Miserable Bitch

I had my 6-monthly follow up with my endocrinologist last month to monitor my pituitary adenoma. Luckily I had the whole day off work so I was able to rush into the city first thing to get my blood taken (I have to get it taken at the same lab each time), then spend the day exploring the city (by which I mean shopping) before my appointment in the afternoon.

The good news is that my blood levels are all in the normal range. My specialist is so happy that he doesn’t think I need an MRI next year and will step me down to yearly visits. Fewer doctor appointments? I’m on board with that! I still have to get my prolactin levels checked regularly and let him know if they go up again, or if I get pregnant (yeah, right).

The bad news is that after more than six months of nearly-regular cycles during which I’m pretty sure I was ovulating, my body seems to have fallen back into it’s old PCOS ways. I’m on CD 84 with a complete absence of any hormonal signs or symptoms.  Welcome back to anovulatory world! I guess that means no surprise post-IF baby for me. While that’s probably a good thing because our lives are just too hectic at the moment to seriously contemplate adding to our family, it means that I once more have to give up all those dreams. You know the ones: being able to surprise H with the news of a pregnancy, not having to undergo fertility treatment for round two. Basically, it once more kills the dream of having a ‘normal’ experience of family building.

I can live with the disappointment since we’re not planning to conceive anytime soon, but I still think IF is a miserable bitch. And yes, I’ll say that to her face.


Filed under Baby Making, Round 2, Infertility, Ovulation, PCOS, Pituitary Adenoma

What’s in a Name?

I outed myself to a couple of friends at work today. Not in a big way – it was relevant to our conversation so I just threw into the dialogue that I’d had fertility treatments to conceive. I’m not particularly secretive about this, so it’s really no big deal. Except that it left me feeling uncomfortable.

The thing is, I always feel like a fraud when I use the word “infertile” to describe myself. I have a child, after all, so can I really be considered infertile?

But how else do I describe myself? Somehow calling myself infertile feels disrespectful to all those men and women still in the trenches, disrespectful to those who struggled much harder and longer than I did.

But it also feels disrespectful of me to ignore that part of my life. I mean, in a way I earned the right to use that word. I paid my dues in tears.
What word do you use to describe your IF status? Or, put another way, in your opinion what does it take for someone to be considered “infertile”?


Filed under Infertility

The Fear That Underpins it All

I’m getting clucky.  Really clucky.

And that can only be a bad thing because, for a number of reasons, there’s no way we are going to be trying to conceive any time soon.

And that makes me sad.  Sad in a way that reminds me so strongly of how I felt when we were trying to get pregnant the first time around.

When we were TTCing, I didn’t get angry.  Or jealous.  Or frustrated.  I know I’m in a vanishingly small minority among IFers, but I used to love seeing babies and pregnant bellies; I wanted to hear people’s stories about pregnancy, birth, and parenting.  It gave me hope; I think in a way it enabled me to live vicariously through other people’s experiences.  So no, I never felt angry or jealous.

But I did feel sad.  Sad down to the core of my being.  And I really don’t want to feel that again.

There are so many anxieties that fuel this sadness.  How on earth am I going to take time out of my very demanding, very inflexible career to have a baby?  How will we support two children if I do take time off?  When will my husband be ready to embrace the idea of having another child?  Worse yet, what if he never wants another?  When will there be time for the third child I already know I want?

And behind it all, there is the other.  That base fear that underpins it all.  What if there is no second child?  What if this time the treatments don’t work?  What if I wait too long?

What if I miss my chance?


Filed under Baby Making, Round 2, Fear, Infertility

Six Week Check-Up: A surprise and a chance encounter

At my 6 week check-up this week my O&G brought up the issue of contraception. His advice? Our chance of unassisted conception is so low that “if it was me, I wouldn’t bother with contraception”. Huh? Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t honestly planning on starting the pill, messing about with condoms, or considering any other method to avoid pregnancy other than the inevitable exhaustion that comes with a new baby. But I expected my doctor to tow the party line and advise me that we should use contraception anyway. I was pleased on the one hand, but I discovered that I’m still not entirely immune to the sting from a reminder of our infertility. To be honest I guess I still haven’t entirely given up the hope of one day being able to give H the news of a genuinely surprise pregnancy, rather than us both knowing weeks in advance the exact hour I’ll be peeing on a stick.

After my check-up I went to the post-office, carrying Will in a sling. Behind me stood a pleasant woman in a burka, who admired Will and told me how lucky I was. I recognised that edge in her voice and didn’t want to her feel like she was the only woman in the world to whom motherhood didn’t come easily. Before I could decide whether or not to allude to the circumstances of Will’s conception, this conservative-looking woman standing in the middle of a very busy post office told me that she was about to undergo her second round of IVF. Maybe she just needed to get it off her chest – I myself have suffered from a pathological need to share information about our struggle to conceive – or maybe she too sensed that we had something in common. In either case, it gave me the opening to say that the baby she was admiring had been conceived with the help of fertility treatments and to sincerely wish her luck at the conclusion of our conversation.

I will probably never see this woman again, but I will always wonder if she achieved her dream.


Filed under Doctors, Infertility

A Timely Reminder

Since the Wee Man was born, I have already felt some of the fear and pain associated with infertility seeping out of me. Now that we have our precious boy safe and sound, I can feel more confident that when we decide to get back on the TTC wagon we will once again be successful. In IF terms, we had a pretty easy ride the first time along – we were successful with only our second medicated cycle. It’s no guarantee of course, but I know that with a little help my body can conceive and carry a child, and that’s reassuring. (My body doesn’t seem to know how to deliver a child, but that’s a story for another post!)

In the early hours of this morning though, I had a reminder of just how sad and scared I felt back at the beginning of this pregnancy. When I started bleeding a few days after our positive pregnancy test, my husband was at a work training course. I called him in tears, and he was understandably upset. We both thought our dream was over.

This training course was a pretty big deal for H. He had waited a long time to get a place on it, and it was a compulsory step in order to move his career in the direction he desired. H confided in two of the instructors, who gave him some wonderful support and advice and promptly sent him home to me, reassuring H that his absence would be ‘unofficial’ and would not affect the completion of the course.

In the early hours of this morning as I lay in bed in the heat, trying to fall back to sleep after feeding my beautiful little fellow, I checked my emails on my phone. H had forwarded me two emails – replies from the two instructors to an email H had sent them letting them know that Will had arrived safely.

It brought tears to my eyes. Firstly for the kindness they showed H at that difficult time, and for how genuinely pleased they are for us now. Secondly because in reading what H wrote to them in his thank you I was reminded of just how awful those few days were. My big tough man who rarely gets sad had described himself as ‘heartbroken’.

And now, as I hear my babe waking from his morning nap, I am reminded of just how lucky we are.

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Filed under Family, Fear, Infertility, Love

Pregnancy after Infertility

 Sometimes being pregnant is a scary thing. It is always wonderful and exciting, but sometimes at the same time it is completely terrifying. Not because I’m nervous about delivery, or caring for a newborn (although I’m sure those fears will come in due time) but because when you’re infertile you learn to expect the worst. You learn to expect negative pregnancy tests, cancelled cycles, delays and disappointments. That mind-set doesn’t just disappear in a puff of smoke once you’re pregnant.

I’m relieved that the tension-fraught first trimester is over. I spent 3 months knowing, just knowing, that it could all end at any moment. I didn’t let it destroy my pleasure in the experience, but if I’m honest there were moments in which I was simply paralysed by the fear. An afternoon not as plagued by nausea as usual had me obsessing over all my pregnancy symptoms trying to figure out if something was going wrong. When I started spotting a few days after my positive test I remember sitting on the toilet sobbing my heart out, begging for this baby that I already loved so much to stay put safely inside me. And, thankfully, it did.

I still check my underwear for blood every time I go to the toilet. I think that is a habit which will be forever ingrained in my being. I still have moments when the not knowing bothers me. I think we’d all like to have a personalised reality-tv show about our bodies so we could know exactly what was happening at every moment of every day. Now, at more than 15 weeks’ pregnant, I can talk about the pregnancy without feeling like I’m jinxing it. Now I can make plans and have dreams about the future.

But some events make all that fear come racing back. I do not know a word to describe the combination of anticipation and terror that I felt before our all-important 12 week scan. And it is becoming clear that this will be a continuing theme. I can cruise through most of my days and ignore that fear. But the closer I get to an ultrasound or a doctor’s appointment the more nervous I become. And as I approach our 16 week check-up, fewer than 24 hours away, I just can’t ignore the possibility that the doctor might find something wrong. I know that the bulk of the appointment will be taken up by mundane activities like being weighed (a bit scary in itself), having my blood pressure measured, and peeing in a cup; I know that the chances of something catastrophic happening at this stage are low. But a low chance isn’t no chance, and I just don’t think I’ll be able to relax until after the appointment tomorrow morning.

So… here’s hoping that a day of housework can distract me from my anxiety… and I’ll update you all tomorrow.


Filed under Fear, Infertility, Photos, Pregnancy