Getting a new look

So I am writing this blog from a hairdressing salon. I recently realized that I have really neglected myself from an aesthetic point of view and suddenly I am feeling very frumpy. This is a new feeling for me and I guess it is another side effect of the infertility journey… All my focus is on what is going on inside of me and I have had no energy for worrying about the outside. But suddenly I am sick and tired of feeling like this. I am only 35 for goodness sake and need to reclaim some of my former vibrancy.

So, today I am coloring out the greys that have crept in and I am going for a shorter, funkier look (which I hope to goodness I don’t regret… I am not traditionally very adventurous when it comes to my hair and I kind of pride myself on my hair which is nice and thick and long). When I get home, I will shave my legs and give myself a pedicure. Tonight my husband and I are going to the theatre and I will put on a nice dress and apply some make up. Small things, but it worries me how far removed from my former self I feel at times, and this aspect of ‘letting myself go’ is one of them.


A visit from my mom

I am very blessed to have a wonderful mother. She is one of the most selfless people I know, sometimes to her own detriment. She is also fabulous company and a great listener who gives wise and thoughtful feedback. We share a sense of humor and a love of a glass (or two) of wine in the evening. One of my favorite things in the world is to be able to come home and have a good chat with my mom over a glass of wine.

Four years ago my husband and I moved away from the area where I grew up and where my family live. Three years ago my mom, her partner and my adopted sister moved away too. My dad, my stepmother, my half brother, my sister and my niece remain in the town where I grew up. It is not easy for us to be scattered. We’re all pretty close and we really miss each other. With the birth of my niece in April it is especially hard to be far away as she grows up. My absolute favorite thing is to be surrounded by my family and whilst I am also blessed to have great in-laws who live close by, it is not quite the same as being close to my own immediate family.

But my mom is an absolute trooper. She has driven hours and hours and hours to spend time with my sister and me, and she has spent a fortune on airfare. Despite being so far away, she is always there for us when we need her the most. So it is that this week, on the back of our ‘Black Monday’, when our first IVF cycle was cancelled, my mom flew into town to come and spend some time with me and my husband.

It was exactly what the doctor ordered. We talked and laughed and cooked and drank wine and went for walks and shared numerous stories about our animals. She has been feeling so desperate for us to be out of this infertility hell that she has not really understood why we don’t just fast track to adoption. So we talked some more and she heard me and understood what it means to me to carry a child. She helped out with cooking and shopping despite not having a car and having to walk to and from the shops. She cuddled and petted my animals and my kitty especially loved having her granny to visit.

She mothered me and it was exactly what I needed. So thank you mom… You’re the best and I really hope to have the opportunity to have the kind of relationship with my kids, that I am fortunate enough to have with you!

(My mom and sister are the only ones who I have shared my blog with so my mom will read this….Mom, no pressure to comment😉).

Fur babies

During my time in the blog world I have seen a few questions and blogs from individuals concerning the relative merits/ demerits of a fur baby. From my perspective, the answer to the question: ‘should I fill the gap left by infertility with a fur baby?’, is a resounding, YES!!!!!

However, I must qualify. IF you are an animal person, and would give an animal a loving home regardless of your personal circumstances, then a fur baby will lovingly and selflessly, fill a gap in your life. If you would not normally adopt an animal but are feeling desperate for something, ANYTHING, to nurture…..consider working on your garden. A herb garden is a wonderful thing. Animals, especially dogs, require an enormous amount of love and attention which cannot be withheld once an actual human baby arrives. It is not fair to them to use them when you need them and then reject them once you don’t.

To illustrate a point, I attended a family children’s party a while ago where I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet a woman with 6 year old IVF twins (that is not the unfortunate part). She unashamedly told me the story of getting a puppy every time she had a failed IVF cycle resulting in two Labradors and four daschunds that were now a complete and utter nuisance to her. She was considering putting the Labradors to sleep, because it was ‘kinder to them’. Well needless to say, I hated her on sight.

My fur babies are my first children and will continue to be an important part of my family once we are blessed to have our own human babies. I love them so much and have been extremely comforted by their unconditional love, especially during some very dark places relating to our infertility. I would do it all over again and do not regret a minute of the time I have spent with these amazing furry creatures… Thanks guys. I know you will make excellent furry companions to our human children one day.

Karma babies and Destiny babies

In my post ‘on being a good girl and other things’ (not sure how to create a link, sorry), I told of how I had fired my very sweet, but very insensitive, homeopath. I had to cut her loose because her insensitivity was too much for me, but she did have a sweet side. One of the sweet things she did was to talk to me about the concept of karma babies and destiny babies.

One of the very hardest aspects of infertility for me, is understanding WHY. Why me? Why her? Why now? I don’t only wonder this in relation to myself, but also on behalf of others. Why does the lovely and thoughtful, My Perfect Breakdown, have to suffer more pain and loss after the unthinkable loss of her mother and sister? Why does the poverty stricken mother of four (mentioned in my post about being infertile in a third world country), fall pregnant with her fifth baby when she can’t even take care of herself? Why? Why? Why?

I am so awestruck by the unwavering faith shown by some of the bloggers I follow, the amazing Elisha at Waiting for baby bird, being a prime example. Sadly, I don’t share that unwavering faith, and I have felt so lost and so confused at times.

And so… Here goes… A naive but sweet attempt at answering the question, ‘why’. I’m not sure I buy into this story completely, but I hold onto it when I am feeling despairing.

Karma babies are those babies who come into their mothers lives for a reason. They are sent to teach or to heal or to facilitate change of some sort. Maybe the mother of five needed this last baby to finally start taking care of herself and to empower herself by taking charge of her body.

Destiny babies are spirits that have already chosen their mothers, those spirits with a great destiny to fulfil, but who are waiting for the right conditions to be born. Because they chose their mothers and attached themselves to their mothers, their mothers have yearned for them since the moment they were chosen. Although I have never miscarried a child, according to this line of thought, each miscarried child is the same spirit trying to come through, rather than a different baby lost each time.

I am not normally given to sentimental or esoteric thoughts like these, but it gives me some comfort to think about my little destiny baby out there, waiting for just the right moment to come home to me and fulfil his/ her destiny. I hope it comforts you too.

Ps. Obviously, there are tons of holes in this theory and if you don’t like it, or it offends you, please simply ignore it!

DHEA and donor eggs

So Monday was a really bad day. I had to wait 3 hours to see the nurse after the doctor told me he was canceling our cycle, during which time I popped to the bathroom several times to have a cry. My husband and I assumed it would be a routine appointment and so it was the first appointment he did not come to and it was really awful being there on my own. He was wonderful though and told his work that there was a crisis at home and he needed to work from home for the day, so by the time I got home he was already there. He is a full blown workaholic, so this was an awesome gesture from him and I really felt like a priority. Our families were wonderful too and we both felt very loved and cared for. We spent the day talking and sleeping and eventually took our dog for a nice walk… Our puppy thought Christmas had come early to have both of us home all day and on top of that to have both of us take him for a walk on a school day… At least someone in our household had a good day!

Anyway, by yesterday morning it was time to pick ourselves up and start moving forward again. I have decided to start taking DHEA. I have read a lot about it but there is some controversy regarding it’s efficacy, and in South Africa there is a problem with it’s registration and so it is hard to source. However, I am fortunate to live in Johannesburg where you can get almost anything and so I now have two months worth of DHEA in my bedside table. I figure we have nothing to lose by trying.

I have also thought more about donor eggs. Although my husband doesn’t like me talking about it too much as he feels I should focus on being optimistic about our next cycle, it helps me to know that there are options after our next, ‘end of the road’ cycle. The truth is, we have not received good news in two years, and so my optimism around falling pregnant myself is starting to wane.

So my thoughts are as follows….I said in a previous post that I know we will be ok, whatever happens, and I still know this to be true. The big picture is all good. The problem is in the detail. Whilst I can project to the bigger picture of my husband and I with our donor egg babies, and know we will be 100% happy, it is the journey to getting there that troubles me. I guess I am inpatient now. If we have to use donor eggs, great, let’s do it. Let’s do it tomorrow and then in nine months time I’ll have a beautiful baby. Right? Wrong. It’s not that simple dammit. There’s so much waiting to be done before we can get there and even then, there is a 50% success rate per cycle and so there are no guarantees. Our doctor fully believes we should try the estrogen priming cycle at least once to see if we get a good response and to ensure that we have no regrets before moving on to donor eggs. And I agree with him intellectually. But emotionally, I am so tired of disappointment and I just want something, anything, to work.

Also, the one thing that makes me feel funny about donor eggs is the thought of the donor egg and my husbands sperm coming together in the lab to create an embryo. It’s odd, cause I have no problem with the embryo being implanted and growing inside of me (in fact I am so enormously grateful that we have this option and that there are wonderful, generous, beautiful women who are willing to donate their eggs), but the image of that moment when they meet in the lab and fuse…. It feels so intimate and, well, it makes me feel left out, and a bit sorry for myself… Strange hey?!


Our cycle has been cancelled. My lining is not growing and so the doctor explained that there are follicles but that they are not retrieving eggs. Anyone else had this experience? He puts it down to the DOR. He has stopped this cycle and is recommending that I start the pill again immediately. The protocol he has suggested is what he calls ‘the end of the line’ protocol and is known as the Estrogen Priming Protocol founded by Geoffrey Sher…. Anyone familiar with this?

Six follicles

Two on the right and four on the left. My husband is optimistic and is relieved that there are more than three and therefore enough to go ahead with the cycle. I’m pretty disappointed. For some reason, perhaps I was in denial about my DOR diagnosis, I was hoping for more. How many of those six will be retrieved? How many will fertilize? The chances seem slim and my optimism is fading.

The doctor really battled to find my left ovary… Apparently it was hiding behind my bowel… After much pushing on my stomach and moving of the magic wand he finally found it… Thank goodness, as it is outperforming Mis Righty and so offered a glimmer of hope. Back on Monday for another scan after a weekend of menopur. Hopefully Miss Lefty will reveal herself in all her splendor.

*update*. We met with the nurse who did a lot to reassure me that 6 follicles is ok and at the moment my lining is growing and that all is good. She was very sweet and encouraging and whether or not she’s right, I’ll take it. I realized that although I really am fine if we move onto donor eggs, it is very hard to go through all the expense and effort of an ivf cycle and to feel early on that there is no hope. So, I’m over my disappointment and am trying to send lots of positive juju and vibes to those six little follicles… Grow babies grow!

I think I’m ready… Whatever the outcome.

Shew, this has been a challenging week. I have felt so incredibly tired all day long and then unable to sleep at night. This morning at 4am I received the only benefit of insomnia… An unexpected early morning cuddle with my husband. He realized I was awake and reached for me. It was so comforting. As I lay there in his arms, I allowed my mind to wander for the very first time in a long, long time, imagining what our home would be like with children in it. I imagined being awake at the same time in the morning but to breast feed a hungry child. I imagined toddlers tugging at my legs while I cook and eating together at our table as a family. I imagined the colorful and beautiful chaos that will enter our rather orderly and quiet house. It was the first time in a long time that I have imagined CHILDREN, rather than a pregnancy. And it made me miss my family, and especially the children in my family, a lot.

And it also connected me with a conversation my husband and I have had recently. We spoke about not doing ivf with my own eggs more than twice. I know to some this might be giving up early but it feels like the right decision for us. Of course, this could change with time and experience and I might cling to the hope of my own genetic children when I least expect it. But for now, I know that I could love any child as my own. I know this because I have been enormously blessed by having an adoptive sister who I adore. I have never loved her in correlation to our genetic bond, but have loved her absolutely and entirely since the day she arrived in our family (I’ll provide more context at a later stage). So I know with all of my being that my love for a child who has my husband’s genes and who grew in my belly, would be total and absolute.

And I need to move on from this infertile time of my life. I feel like there is so much more waiting for us around the corner and either it will be with our own, joint, genetic children or it will be with my husbands. Either way, they will be adored and we can move into the next phase of our lives….which we are so ready for.

And this is what I have to remind myself of whenever I feel afraid of Saturdays appointment, where we will find out whether or not I have a viable shot at ivf. We will be parents and we will be ok, regardless of the outcome.

Side effects include rapid weight gain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and acne


Oh, and OHSS…. And that’s just the ones that stuck in my (fuzzy), brain! I almost wish I hadn’t fished out the pamphlet and read the side effects but after feeling unusually tired yesterday and today I felt I needed to educate myself. Ladies, this could be terrible! Not to mention that the pamphlet applies to one vial, or a standard dosage, of gonal f, and I am take FIVE vials a day.

I was also warned not to take any other medication as we do not want anything thinning my lining. I usually take a mild, natural sleeping remedy but am too scared to take that so am now writing this late at night, husband snoring at my side, brain ticking away…. Whilst feeling exhausted…. Arghhhh!!!

Sorry for the vent ladies, will try some positivity on for size tomorrow morning… If I get some sleep…


It is official, we have started our first IVF cycle. We had a scan and blood tests this morning and everything was fine. The nurse gave me my first gonal f injection and showed me how to administer the rest at home. Our instructions were to drink lots of water, be positive and try not to kill my husband. We go back on Saturday for our first scan to see how the follicles are doing. With the diagnosis of DOR our doc has said he won’t proceed if there are less than three follicles, so Saturday is a big milestone for us. I think it’s going to be a long week!