Saturday, 25 August 2012

A confession

So dear readers, it's probably time I shared a secret with you. And just so you know, it wasn't like I wasn't sharing on purpose. I just didn't think it was relevant...until now.

This is rather personal information to be sharing but I've never really enjoyed sex. It has always been a painful experience for me and other than my husband, I've never been with a guy that's been that good at it. I've had numerous tests, seen a pelvic floor specialist and even had a laparoscopy to see if the pain was being caused by endimetriosis. All turned out to be negative, not particularly enjoyable experiences and enormously frustrating.

My GP then sent me to a gynaecologist who diagnosed me with vulvodynia. Basically it's a condition that causes pain without there being any visible findings as to why. She prescribed a drug to help with the pain so I guess you could say it was almost the female equivalent of Viagra!

This lessened the pain but didn't completely kill it off. But combined with a healthy shot of lubricant, my husband and I enjoyed a significantly improved sex life-much to his enjoyment. This was short lived however as I had to stop using the drug when I came off the pill. It was ok while we still used lubricant but once you start trying for kids, the good old KY jelly needs to be put away. It can interfere with the mobility of the sperm so it's a no no when trying to conceive. That left us in no mans land!

After some Internet research, we discovered a "sperm friendly" lubricant called Maybe Baby gel. At $20 a packet, with 6 shots in it, it's the most expensive lubricant on the market. But when one is scared of sex, has vulvodynia and is trying to conceive a child, one does not have much choice.  Let me be really clear about the pain I'm talking about if I don't use it. Sex feels like someone is taking a cheese grater and grating my insides. There is no doing it for the team. There is no lying back and thinking of the Queen. There is no sucking it up. Such extreme agony doesn't allow any of it.

So today, we found ourselves with our last dose. We've only just started this round of trying and have another few attempts so the thought of no more lubricant sent me into a mild panic attack. After visiting 2 pharmacies, I was concerned we were in trouble. It took us a while to track it down last time and we couldn't go back to where we had got it from.

I managed to find it online and could have ordered it, but it would have taken a few days to come. That was a few days I didn't have. Instead, I went down to the chemist warehouse and luckily they had it. Crisis averted and on the bright side, handy to know it's just around the corner for next time.

It makes me think though, this baby making process is expensive business. Between the cost of conception vitamins for me, happy sperm pills for my husband, special lubricant and pregnancy kits, it's all starting to add up. This is of course before any potential fertility treatments are thrown into the mix. I read one woman's conception blog and she spent $35,000 to become pregnant. That was a few ivf attempts and other measures, not to mention embryo storage, but it makes me question if we would be prepared to spend that much. That's a bridge to be crossed.

I'm trying not to become one of those women who can't empathesise with other women going through this journey. I don't want my first response to be oh boo hoo, things aren't working for you but at least you don't have to be drugged up or lubed to the max just to have sex in the first place! No, that wouldn't be helpful. But, what I would like to achieve by sharing this story, is for women to realise that while they are finding the journey frustrating, annoying and sometimes demoralising, it could always be so much worse!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A step forward

After a lot of soul searching, I've decided to take a new approach. It's funny how a change of scenery can bring some clarity to one's mind. I went and spent a few days with my aunt who always helps me find the way when I fall off my path. A few discussions we had made me realise that I'm going to cause myself a lot of pain if I can't find a way to be peaceful about this.

I reminded myself that so many things have come into my life due to patience. There was nothing I could have done to make them come into my life any faster than what they did. I realise that the universe has demonstrated to me, time and time again, that I'm always on the right path and my challenge is to stand back and let it unfold as it will.

I realise that this seems philosophical and I know that many people would think it was hippy crap but I guess it comes down to how you perceive what happens to you in life. The way I make sense of my life is by putting faith in the higher meaning of the universe.

So with my new positive frame of mind, I've decided being proactive is the best way to embrace patience. I decided to start back at yoga for some stress release and relaxation. If it can keep me calm then it will be good for the baby making process but at the least will just help to keep me centred.

I also got myself an ipad, which doesn't seem terribly relevant but it allows you to download apps. If I'm honest, one of the main reasons I got it was for the apps. I downloaded an app called lady timer which tracks your period cycles and when you're ovulating. It also allows you to track physical symptoms, note when you've had sex and make another notes. I figure this well help identify my most fertile times and act as a good guide of my cycle if it turns out I need medical assistance later down the track.

So, today is a good day. I expect a low to hit another time but for the moment, I am focused on being positive and doing what I can to remain so. As my next fertile time approaches, I remain positive it might be third time lucky!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

An angry day

The calmness of my previous post didn't last long. I'm angry today. Not just a little annoyed. I'm down right pissed off.

Today I hate my body. Today I am so mad that it has failed me. Today I feel so hard done by that I was denied a chance to make a baby. Today I feel like a failure.

My rational mind says to me Fiona, it's still early days. There's still a long way to go on this road. All is not lost. But when I am reminded that at my age, there is only a 10 percent chance of falling pregnant each month, it's not something that buoys ones' confidence.

My rational mind knows that this violent response has been bought on by the fact my period is nearly upon me. However, this month, it acts as nothing more than a reminder that my body went into shut down. This is reinforced by the fact I've been in pain for five days now. Here I was thinking I was managing my stress and it seems the opposite is true.

A few days ago I felt fine about it. I was looking forward to getting my period as a fresh start. I felt confident that I was managing my stress and was really positive that it would be third time lucky. Now, I am racked with fear that this month will be the same as the last - my body will go into meltdown and I'll have no idea when I'm ovulating. That makes the process of trying to fall pregnant rather difficult.

I think the greatest cause of my frustration and anger is the realisation that this is the first time in my life where I can't just go out and make something happen for myself. In the past, I have always considered myself to be the master of fate. If I wanted something, I went out there and got it. If I had a dream, I worked hard to achieve it. I'm not afraid of hard work and have unlimited perseverance. This situation is different as there is nothing I can do to change the outcome. I'll either fall pregnant or I won't.

I can do the right things - not eat too much or drink alcohol, limit caffeine and do exercise. I can do all those things to give myself the best chance at falling pregnant and I am doing those things. What I find difficult to do is make room for the fact that this is all out of my control.

My rational mind knows this isn't helpful. My rational mind knows that I need to let it all go if I'm to create a welcoming home for a egg to fertilise itself. My rational mind knows that I need to find a way to make peace with the process and embrace patience. But my irrational mind doesn't give a damn about all of that. Today, my irrational mind is just going to be pissed off. We'll see if the rational side wins tomorrow!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A peaceful thought

As I walked home from work yesterday, an interesting thought suddenly popped into my head - life will be ok, and I will be ok if I don't have a baby.

It was such a calming and peaceful thought it bought a smile to my face. I had been contemplating my life for the whole day after hearing a friend's brother-in-law had passed away from a heart attack at just 29 years old.

It made me realise the fragility of life and how we waste so many of the precious few minutes we have on this world. We spend so much of our time in bitterness, anger, worry and sadness. We spend so much time in the past, and worrying about the future, that it leaves very little of us to be in the present.

What I realised is how very lucky I was to meet my husband. And if I get to spend the rest of my life cuddling him, laughing at his jokes and holding his hand, I'll be a very lucky woman. If there is no baby in between us, holding our hands, I'll still be a very lucky woman.

Instead of focusing so much on the things I don't have, and worrying about whether I will have them or not, I find it a much more peaceful thought to focus on the things I do have. Instead of living in the future, I will live in the now. I decided that when my stress or anxiety rears its head, I need to remember that life, in this moment, is perfect.

I know it sounds guru swarmi, or "hippy and new-age" as my husband would say, but I've made the decision to constantly ask myself if what I am doing, in the moment, makes my heart sing. If it doesn't, I need to change what I am doing.

I'm hoping, that by repeating this to myself, I can calm myself, and my body down, so I can create the kind of loving and peaceful environment a baby would like to live. Either way, I am at least creating an environment in which I would like to live so it's win win all round!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A set back

Our second attempt at baby making as been an utter failure. A complete write-off. There's simply no other way to describe it. As I've mentioned, I've been under enormous stress over the past few weeks with the possibility of loosing my job looming over me. I have suffered every day for a month.

My constant ailments have included thunderbolt headaches, burning pains down my arms, pains behind my eyes, sore breasts, sore muscles and nausea. The nausea was particularly cruel as I spent the day wondering if it was morning sickness. It wasn't. But it gave me a nasty introduction as to what morning sickness will be like.

As a result, my body went into shut down. I thought I had been clever, telling my husband we needed to have sex earlier than I had previously calculated so we had sperm in place at the moment of ovulation. That was all fine and good but a few days later there were still no signs of ovulating. No, I didn't ovulate until 10 days later and it was so stealth, there was no warning signs and the moment was gone.

I went through a mixed bag of emotions about that. I was saddened as it was an opportunity lost. But I was also realistic as I knew my body was not capable of conceiving a child, let alone providing a good home for it. That's what it came down to - my body was not a warm, welcoming and loving home. It was a wasteland of pain and adrenaline.

I needed to address the situation so I didn't loose another chance. I'm ok if we do everything we can and it doesn't work. But I am not ok by my body rebelling against me and giving me no hope at all. I went to the Relaxation Centre and did a course on reducing stress. I bought a meditation CD and started doing 10 minutes of meditation every afternoon. But the biggest decision I made was going off alcohol. I finally decided I had to do everything I could to give myself the best chance of falling pregnant.

I've been on this plan for a week now and my symptoms seem to be subsiding. I still have the odd headache but I'm managing it better. I was also buoyed by catching up with my friend Chris today. She was visiting from down south and it was lovely to have a proper girly chat. Especially as she told me she was pregnant and moving back to Brisbane.

I was so excited as she's pregnant with her third child. After originally being told she would never have children, she now is going to welcome her third. I felt so excited that it happened so easily for her. She's only two years younger than me so it made me feel better - there's still hope for me!

I came home with dreams of being fat and pregnant together, having our own little play group and sitting down sipping coffees as we look over our sleeping cherubs in their prams. It would be perfect to go through this with someone else. My other friend Christie is about to give birth to her first child in a few weeks. So it's exciting that I have some friends to HOPEFULLY be able to share this magical experience with. Fingers crossed it's third time lucky!  


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