Tag Archives: Dealing with infertility

My 16-month old bundle of joy

My little bundle of joy is not so little anymore! Baby B is now 16-months old, looking more like a 2 year old! No- seriously, physically and mentally (touchwood) she’s doing great. She vocalises herself well, uses so many words and even tries repeating everything everyone says. She’s a quick learner and an admiral observer. She gets bored easily by doing the same things so I have to keep up with her by introducing new things to her all the time – be it the way we talk, the games we play, the toys we have or the books we read! Eric Carle is ‘easy peasy’ for her and she spots all animals from a macaw to a camel to a toucan to a giraffe! She challenges me as a mom on a whole new level.

Today, she decided to bite her own fingers for some reason. She thought it was funny at first and then bit harder realising what pain felt like. I honestly saw real fat painful tears and for some reason she continued to bite herself and cry. I had to watch her very closely and hold her hands down. When I offered my fingers to bite, she refused…and bit herself again! Funny girl 🙂

I was working today for half a day partly because I had work and partly because I have been so run down physically and mentally that I don’t think I am there for her a 100%. Baby B always notices I get blood draws every 48 hours not because she’s seen someone prick me with a needle but because she sees that little white medical tape on my arm, touches it gently every now and then and hums a little ‘ssss’ (like it hurts).

I love her to bits – its almost scary how much I love her.

Tonight, she didn’t fall asleep in my lap and didn’t cry when I left her in the crib in the room. But after a little while, she started calling out to me (just a few minutes after I got my blood test results and I was feeling down). I was in need of a hug…someone to tell me all was okay. And she kept calling out my “Mamma”. I usually don’t go in to grab her and she invariably falls back asleep in a few minutes. But today, I went in when she kept calling my name out for 10 minutes. I grabbed her, she hugged me. She hugged me nice and snug and tighter and tighter and gave me unwarranted kisses and hugged me again resting her head on my shoulder. Its almost like she knew – she knew I needed that hug. She loves me unconditionally and thats the best kind of love. This is the clean kind of love…so pure so real. DSC_0465

Quick update on our latest pregnancy:

I started on methotrexate and my beta HCG levels dropped yesterday to 371 (from 409) 48hours earlier. No more meds for now and blood draws will continue every 48hrs. We’re away on holiday …just a short city break in five days. I’m thinking this won’t be resolved by then but hoping it won’t interfere with our family time away.

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Having some ‘IVF free’ time

I have had some forced time away from IVF the last two weeks. Long story short, I had two cysts after two weeks after stopping stimulants and starting suppressants. Sorry – I know it might sound confusing but do look at our TTC timeline in case you’d like to know what’s going on.

I knew I would get harrowed and worry about the cysts shrinking all the time. In addition, taking two injections daily instead of one was a constant reminder of what was happening even if I tried to distract myself. Just around the time we found out about the cysts, it was my brother’s birthday. I had been avoiding meeting extended family thinking it would be laborious (just mentally!) But my grand-mom hadn’t been keeping too well for the past few weeks and I thought by having the whole family together for my brother’s birthday would be a good distraction for her and I arranged for a family brunch at our place two Sundays back.

Little did I know that this would turn out to be more of a distraction for me than my grand-mom! The headcount was roughly around 12 people – all family from my mom’s side of the family. Our Sunday brunch turned out to be an all day session of poker where everybody played but DH (he doesn’t play cards) and we sort of had to push everyone out past 9pm!

It was probably the first day (after many) that I didn’t think about IVF, I didn’t think about my failed pregnancies, I didn’t think about what if this doesn’t work, I didn’t think about what next in our plan of action, I didn’t think of my infertility and no one even mentioned anything remotely related to that (not that they know but DH and I have been married for over five years now so I’m guessing it has cropped up in their mind at some point in time).

My two maternal uncles who have a crazy sense of humour made us laugh through the day; my two aunts, my mom and I exchanged recipes and talked about house decor; my two cousin sisters and I had a good girlie catch up session; my brother and I caught up after a long time; it just felt great having dad around all day; speaking to my grand-mom reminded me of the simplicity and small pleasures in life and finally DH played wonderful host through the day and even made tea for everyone…something he hasn’t done in over a year since we moved out of London. Everything about that day made me smile.

Lesson to self – never underestimate the support you can get from family. It does not matter whether they are aware about your infertility.

All in all, I felt ‘lighter’. I got a glimpse of what I would be like if I didn’t carry the ‘burden of worries’ that are self-created and come along with dealing with infertility. I realised that “not being worried” or “not being anxious” or “not thinking about IVF and infertility” is not going to impact the outcome of our treatment. Then why would I not have more days like these?!? (no! not playing poker everyday but having at least some IVF free time.)

Of course, this is all easier said than done…but I guess it is the realisation that counts! 🙂

The ‘Ring Theory’

My dear sister forwarded me this very interesting article on ‘How not to say the wrong thing’ – a simple ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The article talks about medical etiquette and can easily be applied to infertility etiquette.

I am seriously considering sharing this with our core family (parents, in-laws, siblings and their spouses). Since my first ectopic pregnancy in 2010, I have had issues establishing boundaries with core family. It is a concept that our families (particularly DH’s family) doesn’t quite comprehend and while I do understand that they have their best interests at heart, I don’t find their unsolicited advice comforting, neither do the ‘sorry’ faces make me feel any better about our situation.

After multiple failed pregnancies, DH and I have learnt what to share and not to share with core family. The “advice” we receive now has come down drastically since we first conceived three years back, but we will still get the occasional one-off comment every now and then.

A very recent example of this was couple of months back, a little after our first cancelled IVF cycle. Our core family knows we are going through IVF and we’ve been sharing only as much information as we want with them. DH and I live with my in-laws (a commonality in Indian families), so they know how often we go to Dr. N though they don’t know what happens at the doctors and we don’t divulge in any details besides headline information like, “treatment started”, “treatment is not going as expected”, “treatment cancelled”. They don’t ask us more questions and we don’t share more information.

I thought all was going fine, until one day my father-in-law was livid about not ‘keeping them updated’. He didn’t like the fact that he didn’t know what’s going on with the treatment or us. He said, “You go everyday and you come back and we don’t know what the doctor is saying”. DH calmly retorted with “But you never asked us any questions.” The reason he might have been upset was something else altogether where our medical issues weren’t discussed together as a family and he was being kept out of the loop. For us, this was (and still is) a personal matter between DH and I. This wasn’t about him, it was about me and about us as a couple.

Going into IVF, DH and I both explained to our respective families that the IVF journey is not an easy one. It will be a long, drawn-out treatment, which will test our patience as individuals and a couple, drain us emotionally and me physically. Since I was getting the much-needed support from DH, I needed our families to support him. Everyone was in agreement when we spoke then, but I honestly don’t think they understand how difficult it is to deal with failed pregnancies or infertility and IVF treatment. Honestly, I don’t expect them to but at times, when I try to look at things from their perspective, I realise that all they want to do is help. My in-laws are very sweet and caring but coming from traditional backgrounds, understanding the ‘whys’ of infertility are probably beyond them (or even my Dad for that matter) and I try to not blame them for that. At the same time, it is my sincere hope that they understand that the best way they can be of help to us is by offering us comfort and DH the support he needs in order to deal with me.

So, coming back to the article. These were my favourite bits:

  • Listening is often more helpful than talking;
  • Offer comfort and support but don’t give advice;
  • Being supportive to the principal caregiver (in our case DH) may be the best thing one can do for the patient (in our case me thought I don’t like being called the patient!);
  • Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own;
  • Comfort in, dump out!