Monday, August 31, 2009

Not gone away yet.

Throughout the month of August I seem to have been struck down with blogger's block. The truth of it really was that I was beginning to get a pain in my face from all this infertility shite. The clomid and hcg shots were making me more and more exhausted and depressed. We went away for a romantic weekend to Killarney in the middle of the month and AF arrived two days early. That put paid to the romance I can tell you! We still made the best we could out of the weekend, but it was still a downer.

We signed up for counselling a couple of months back, after the false alarm debacle, and I have to say it did help us to get our heads around where we are with this whole journey and what we want to do next. We came to the conclusion that since I am now on my thirteenth consecutive round of clomid and facing into my seventeenth round of hcg shots, it's time for a break. So we went back to the clinic last week and I pretty much threw a hissy fit at the doctor and said (no, sobbed!) that I had had enough. So the plan of action is this: after this cycle, if there's nothing happening, I am going to take a break from meds for at least two months. Then I am going to try another fertility drug, femara. If that doesn't work after a few months, then we are going back to our GP for a referral to a mainstream fertility clinic, with the view to doing IUI.

One piece of possible good news is regards our health insurance. John's employers pay our policy for us, and recently they changed insurance provider. It turns out that the new provider is going to allow a contribution of EUR 1,000 for one course of fertility treatment, either IUI, IVF or ICSI. given that IVF costs approx EUR5,000 per cycle in Ireland that is not a huge contribution, but as they say, it's better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish. AS far as I know, IUI costs around EUR1,000, so that would cover one round of treatment. It's good to know it's there in any case.

So we'll see what happens with this cycle, and after that I am going drug free for a while. I feel as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Clomid is nasty stuff and I really don't think anyone should be on it for more than six months. It's just too damn hard on the system. At this stage I am really beginning to wonder if this will ever happen for us, and the idea of it never happening seems far too hard to contemplate.

I have wanted to be a Mum ever since I was twenty years old, when I used to help my mother with minding my oldest nephew. When I was 21 I met my first husband, and I was sure back then that I would be a mother in my late twenties. However, the time never seemed right. I wanted to be married before we had kids, I suppose you could put that down to a traditionalist Catholic upbringing. Then when we did get married, I was 27 at the time, we were renting a tiny flat and were stoney broke trying to save the money for a house deposit. I was in a low paid job and the time just didn't seem right. I started my exams, which was a four year part time course, so the goal posts of starting a family were pushed out for another few years. The plan was to get the exams in the bag by the time I was 31 or 32 and then it was baby time. Every time I felt the tug of maternal instincts I just pushed them out of my mind. We would do it when the time was right, that's what I kept telling myself.

Unfortunately, baby time came around a little early for my then husband, earlier than it came around for me. He started an affair less than two years into our marriage, I actually think it wasn't his first one, and after a number of months of very strange behavior on his part I confronted him and he admitted his guilt. I left shortly afterward, and around that time he and his 22 year old girlfriend conceived their son. It was a very hard kick in the stomach for me. Like now, every time I walked down the street I seemed to see pregnant women. I was like they were creeping up through the cracks in the pavement. Cute babies everywhere. Work colleagues having babies and bringing them into the office to show off. Me fast approaching thirty and further away than ever from motherhood.

I was lucky to meet John soon after my first marriage ended. As a friend of mine said, I met a good guy before I had the chance to grow bitter. It took me a long time to get over the heartbreak, plus I had to wait four years before I could file for divorce, so we both knew that marriage and babies weren't on the cards for us for a few years. All the while we attended weddings of friends and family, and watched many of them start and complete their families while we just sat in limbo. All the time I just kept telling myself it will happen when the time is right. I remember going to visit my sister in hospital when her third child was born. It was two days after John's sister's funeral. As I took my new niece in my arms, a combination of emotions hit me at once. First of all it was the joy of seeing a new life, the grief that I had just witnessed the death and burial of a beautiful vivacious 36 year old woman, and the sheer anguish of "am I ever going to hold my own baby?".

I have felt that anguish, that yearning so many times since then. When at long last the time felt right, my body didn't seem to concur with my mind. Sometimes I feel like it's saying "tough shit, you had your chances, you should have just taken them". Nowadays I go visiting friends who are ten years younger than me, bringing gifts for their newborns. Some of them have already completed their families. Everywhere we go we see couples with babies. Every shopping mall, street, park, restaurant they are there, the happy families. John still smiles and says "that will be us, just you wait and see". I just shrug my shoulders and say "maybe".