Get set…

My period started yesterday, woohoo! I never dreamt I would experience a day when I’d be so excited about such things but there you have it! We were meant to go to the clinic on day two for a scan and blood tests, but that is today and they are not open on a Sunday. I phoned them yesterday and they said day three would be fine, so my husband and I will be setting of bright and early tomorrow morning to get there at 7. I really hope everything looks fine and that we can get this show on the road!

I picked up my medication yesterday and it is pretty impressive/ overwhelming. I’m going to have to take it with me tomorrow to get instructions cause at this point I have no idea what to do with it all! Here it is, in all it’s glory…



Oh, I have to share this little anecdote, just because it made me chuckle at how life can be so ridiculously ironic at times.

So, I also see adults as well as children… The majority of my practice is children but I see adults as well just because it is sometimes nice to have a break from play therapy. I am a clinical psychologist and am especially interested in clinical disorders. On my website I explain this and give a list of clinical disorders that I treat, one of which is phobias. So last night, my last client of the day was a young woman who came across as extremely nervous and shy. She talked around in circles for a time before telling me that she has a phobia. After blushing and laughing and telling me how silly she feels, and me reassuring her that anything she is feeling is ok and that I am not here to judge her, she finally comes out with it. She has a fear of….. Pregnancy.

I am not traditionally very religious but if there is a god, he sure does have a sense of humor!

On your marks….

So, the countdown has begun and we are soon to get off the starting block and join the IVF race. As with all races, I am both nervous and excited. I have finished my birth control pills and now await my period so that I can go for blood tests on day two. I have already ordered my medication as I mentioned in a previous post. The medication is as follows:

Menopur 75 iu amps x 15
Gonal f 75 iu amps x 25
Cetrotide 0.25 mg amps x 5
Ciproflaxacin 500mgs 10 tablets
Fluconazole 150 mg cap

I have absolutely no idea what kind of protocol this is… It could be reasonably standard, it could be highly aggressive or very conservative, it might make me feel dreadful or I might hardly notice it. I am clueless. Any feedback from you guys would be hugely appreciated… I’d love to know what to expect in terms of side effects! Thank you in advance!

On being a good girl and other things

All my life I have been a good girl. I really, really hate disappointing people and I am also pretty sensitively attuned to how other people are feeling and what they need. As a result I tend to adjust myself to the needs of others. Whilst this makes for harmony in relationships and is especially good in my work life, it isn’t always good for me and I tend to put my needs last.

I haven’t always been as aware of this as I should/ could have been. My struggle with infertility has forced me to confront so many things about myself. It really has been a journey and although it has been a painful one, I have learnt a lot about myself and my relationships along the way. I am actually extremely grateful for this aspect of infertility and can only trust that this will do me, and my future children, good… A more authentic, grounded mother can only be a positive thing after all.

So one of the things I am working on at the moment is putting my needs first rather than last, EVEN if it results in a bit of conflict. This is a really hard concept for me as I have traditionally been a peacemaker. It is also having a ripple effect in some of my relationships and I am having to learn to tolerate some of the discomfort caused by not always meeting the needs of others. Scary stuff and a work in progress.

As an example, I recently fired my very sweet, but very insensitive, homeopath. She came highly recommended, specialized in infertility, and I decided to go to her in preparation for IVF. She recommended very strict dietary changes for both myself and my husband, homeopathic meds for the both of us and acupuncture for me. She also asked me to wait four months to do IVF in order to give my body a chance to make stronger, healthier eggs. I was so committed to the process intellectually but emotionally I just couldn’t stick to it 100%. I was in the midst of a four month long pity party (I know, I fetched it… More on that another day) and I could follow most, but not all, of her dietary recommendations. I cut out sugar, wheat and caffeine but remained in a pretty steady relationship with wine. Anyway, I did take all her meds and I did go to acupuncture. On my second appointment with her I realized she was pregnant. And things instantly became tricky. She would talk a lot about herself and her pregnancy and I would listen and smile and nod. Then one day she asked how I was and I mistakenly answered honestly, saying I felt very sad and not in a good place… And she said….’but why????’, as if my reaction was somehow strange or unusual. At a loss for words I tried very ineptly to explain myself. She thought she understood me and started comparing my fear of never being able to conceive and my longing for a child, with her fear of childbirth. It was at this moment that I knew I would never be going back to her. I finally got it together to tell her that with all due respect, if fear of labour was my only problem I would be over the moon and that she really couldn’t compare our situations. I then cancelled all my future appointments with her. How freaking insensitive is that??!! My old self would have given her a free counseling session but my new self actually managed to communicate that I was not happy with her response to me. I was a little sorry to upset her but I also felt that it might cause her some introspection and growth. In the same week I fired my Chinese doctor for being too smooth and creepy and I stopped all personal training sessions because I couldn’t be pushed to go physically harder anymore. I realized I needed the gentleness of yoga and walking my dog and assistance from people who understand MY needs in this journey, rather than being caught up in their own. It felt great.

Reboot V2D1

Since trying to conceive I have put on 10kg’s. This is a lot for anyone but for someone as short as me it is A LOT. I have never been particularly body conscious and have always felt pretty comfortable in my own skin, but recently I have started getting really bad Loser Syndrome. Part of this is the weight gain, but part of it is also feeling like a loser for not being able to do the most basic of things, reproduce. I know this is irrational and unhealthy. If someone else told me that this is how they were feeling, I would say don’t be ridiculous! That you can’t blame yourself for something that is completely out of your control….I’d encourage them to be gentle on themselves and to treat themselves as they would a beloved family member rather than the devil next door….but my psyche is a sneaky bitch at times and there is no end to how self-damning I can be.

So, I have decided to take some action and to try and claim back one of the things I have some element of control over…my weight. At the same time I am doing a detox to try and be as healthy as possible for our first round of IVF. I should probably have started sooner, but my pity party was in full swing and I just couldn’t. From today then, I am doing what is known as a paleo reboot…. also known as Whole 30. Essentially it is 30 days with no sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy or legumes. I have done it once before and lasted 21 days. I felt great and lost some weight and so am hoping for good results again. Because this is my second version, it is known as V2, and day 1 is D1…hence V2D1 in reboot shorthand… see, we aren’ t the only ones with fancy acronyms! As an added bonus I’m also trying to play a little trick on my pysche by giving it something else to obsess about in the lead up to IVF, hahaha… who’s the sneaky bitch now psyche my old frenemy!

First round of IVF medication ordered

I placed the order for our first ever round of IVF medication yesterday. It feels like a milestone event worth documenting. I might even put it in the calendar and mark the anniversary on an annual basis! In South Africa, infertility is not covered by medical aid at all and so we have to pay for everything ourselves. My husband and I are very fortunate to earn reasonably well and so we can afford to do this as we have been saving for a while now but shew, it is frightening. The cost of the medication is R14 000. To put that into perspective, the average South African monthly income is R8 000. The total cost of the entire procedure is R52 000. If we get to take a baby home as a result of this then the expense will be absolutely, completely, 100% worth it. But I am terrified that we won’t and that it will literally just go down the toilet.

Sometimes I fantasize about what we would do with the money we’ve saved if we miraculously fell pregnant naturally (like everyone else seems to do… I know this isn’t true but it really feels that way sometimes!). The fantasy list includes:

An overseas holiday
A new dining room table
New curtains for the living room
New outside furniture

And that’s about it! How lucky am I that the list is so short?? It means I have much of what I want and need. Except children… And so thank god we have the money for IVF and egg donation of we ever have to go there…. Because all of the above are meaningless for me without a family to share them with.

On a completely unrelated note, I feel a little guilty for celebrating my gorgeous dog and not mentioning my lovely kitty. Here she is… Isn’t she sweet? Her lovely warm purriness has been a huge comfort in sad times.


Message in a dream

Last night I dreamt that I was found guilty of murder and given a life sentence. The legal system was deeply flawed and the whole court case was a complete joke. I knew that I was innocent but as much as I tried to prove myself and to argue my case, it didn’t help and I was jailed. In jail I raged. I cried and screamed and grieved. I said I would rather die than live out my days stuck in this prison. Eventually I decided to escape. My husband and I fled to Italy and sought refuge there. It was wonderful. The liberation was intoxicating and we spent hours on a gondola with the wind blowing through our hair drinking in the beauty of the world outside my prison.

I love dreams. I am always amazed at how creative our psyches are in our sleeping state. Yesterday I wrote of feeling completely stuck, feeling desperate and not wanting to live like this indefinitely, feeling the unfairness of the whole deal. And then poof… That dream. What interests me is that my psyche offered me a resolution, a means of escape in the form of my husband. My husband is Italian and it is therefore symbolically relevant that we escaped to Italy. Although my husband also suffers a lot of the feelings I do related to our infertility, his Catholic faith is very important to him and he therefore has faith that even if we don’t understand why this is happening to us, god does and god has a plan for us. This helps him to not feel as despairing as I do and it gives him a lot of hope. On the other hand I have never been religious in a mainstream sense although I am spiritual (but that’s a conversation for another day). The bottom line is that I think my dream was telling me to have more faith, even if I have to lean on my husbands faith for now. Thank you psyche, I will try my best. So today I am going to stop moping and take my beautiful dog for a walk in the sun whilst being grateful that my flexible job allows me to do this.