Friday, 2 March 2012

Living in the shadows

I saw this poster on Pinterest the other day and I thought, "Gee, how many times have I used that excuse in the past 18 months?"  I haven't personally written a post in about three or four weeks about what's been happening because I don't like to focus on the negative, or bombard people with my sadness.  I find it's really hard to talk to other infertiles about how I'm struggling, because I know that they have their own sad story, their own bad days, weeks, months...  So I have delayed writing about what's been happening, but I am now at a point where I need to debrief, and I know some of you are genuinely interested in where we are at, no matter the circumstances.

Our first IUI cycle was everything it was supposed to be; the injections were scary at first, but we got used to them, I got braver and stopped flinching every single time, Hubby took over on days we were home together, and at the end of seven days, we had three big, fat, glorious follicles.  Hubby's sample was off-the-charts great, and our doc was excited about our chances.  Everything seemed to be going to plan.  

We got to the end of the first week of the waiting period with no cramps, no spotting, big, sore boobs and a real sense of hope.  10 days past, still looking good.  We started feeling really confident.  We had three follicles, surely we'd have a great shot at this working first time around.  I woke super early on day 12 post ovulation to what we affectionately like to call a 'fanny blowout'.  You know, those days on your period where your flow is so darn heavy, and you feel like your whole body could split down the middle from the monster cramps.  Obviously 12 days is so close, and yet still so far away from the end of the wait.

We've lost good cycles before.  We've been so convinced something is working, only to be disappointed before, too.  But this time it felt 100% more personal, more devastating, harder to reconcile.  If we couldn't fertilize three eggs, how would we ever get pregnant?  I have learned over the past 18 months to wait until Hubby is out of the house before I have my big cry.  My big cry is usually loud, uncontrollable sobbing, with lots of face scrunching, bed punching and a LOT of swearing.  I don't wait til he's gone because I'm vain and I don't want him to see my snot face.  I wait til he's gone so that he doesn't see and hear how much this really tears me up inside.  I literally feel, at the end of a failed cycle, like a part of me rips down the middle.  The emotional pain is accompanied by the physical pain of cramping and bleeding, in an all-encompassing body blow.  

Hubby, on the other hand, expresses his sadness and disappointment with a verbal outburst of hilarious profanities. But this time it was different.  For only the third time in our relationship, I saw him cry.  Things had become so low in our home, that even my man of steel couldn't hold it in anymore.  There were no words to make it better, no hopeful little comments about the next cycle being better, absolutely nothing, that could make us feel better.  

Cycle two feels like it came and went so quickly, and without much fuss.  By the end of injection week I was feeling a bit better about the whole situation.  I was ready for the folli scan, and ready to get onto the next IUI transfer.  But the scan left us just as disappointed.  Instead of more big, fat follies, we had one tiny one.  We were sent home for more injections and the wait for it to grow.  Secondary scanning showed our folli at 2cm and ready to pop - thank goodness.  We went ahead with the IUI.  Hubby called this cycle 'the little egg that could'.  

Over the next seven days we spoke about not getting our hopes up, not getting ahead of ourselves, and hopefully preventing the giant let down if it didn't take.  That wasn't too hard to do as both our work schedules had us working opposite shifts.  I was away in the evening, he was away in the morning.  We saw each other for about an hour a day, late at night, and only spoke briefly about if I had any symptoms.  At about days six and seven post IUI, I got quite sick.  I was hugely lethargic, nauseated to the point of vomiting (which I can't usually do), and crazy dizzy.  On a whim on day eight I decided to pee on a pregnancy test, 'just in case'.  It was POSITIVE!  Of course, I freaked out!  I screaming into Hubby, who looked at me like I was a crazy person, then took the test from my hand.  With a slight smile he quickly told me not to get too excited.  I knew he was right.  But there it was, a beautiful, if not extremely faint, second line.  Four days later, I started bleeding.  My doc says it probably was a very late release from the hcg in the trigger shot, or a false positive.  He said not to read too much into it, and that it was probably too early to pick up natural hcg levels anyway. 

So here we are!!  This is us today.  I have restarted my shots, and we rescan in a week.  And cross our fingers again.  I feel better already having got that lot off my chest.  I woke today, 'fanny blowout' in process, unable to sleep, and in a FOUL mood.  I am trying to keep busy in order to prevent that overwhelming urge to punch something, scream, cry and spin into a panic attack.  This cycle failure brings with it two underlying milestones: we are now 18 months into our baby struggle, and as it is now March, our chances of having a baby before yet another Christmas, are becoming slimmer by the day.  (Even just writing it down brings my pulse up to a frantic 100 beats a minute, I can feel the sweat form across my forehead and I want to curl up into a ball.)

Realistically, we have decided that we have low expectations of this third, and final, IUI cycle.  Sadly, we now live in a reality where expecting to fail is easier to cope with, than expecting to be successful.  Sarcastically, Hubby's coined a new favourite catchphrase: "Aim for the ground, it's easier to hit!"  And you know what they say about things said sarcasm!  

How did we get here?  When did the skies become so grey?  When did hope become so difficult to maintain?  When did we stop saying "We can't wait" and start saying "Let's just get through this"?  When will we stop living in the shadow of what's already happened and start living for the possibility of what may come?  



  1. I know how hard it is to stay positive and the hormones surging don't help either! I am really hoping that this is it for you! Praying fervently!

  2. I've been where you are and I'm sorry this has been so hard. I'm not sure why we can't just get pregnant the way we are supposed to. The way others do.
    I will keep some hope for you even when you have trouble finding it yourself.
    Thinking of you.

  3. Ofcourse I wish there was anything I could say to soften the blow of your last two IUI's and the sadness and frustration that you are feeling. As I read your post I am right back there with you remembering how painful and lost we felt going through that stuff. I am just so glad you shared and got it out- if you keep it inside too long it is pure venom. I will be thinking of you during this next cycle. Know that you are not alone, hold each other tight and try hard not to put everything into 1 cycle (which is sooooo hard to do)- it gives you hope that your time may just be right around the corner. Hugs.

  4. IF sucks. It's not fair, and its not fun. I'm sorry that you are dealing with this. It's hard not to get your hopes up, but without hope you wouldnt be able to continue on. Hang in there, big hugs coming your way.