IVF

Positive pants, pineapples and the colour orange

IVF is stressful, time consuming and expensive. I thought I’d create a blog about what your friends going through IVF might need.

Just be a friend; we need a kind listening ear, some sympathy and someone willing to put up with our erratic moods. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the boys too (or the partner not taking the drugs) – it’s a really stressful time for both parties; and they’ll be regular ‘headfuck’ moments, hormonal outbursts, negativity and tears!

Do a little research; be a great friend by finding out a little more. Are they having IVF or ICSI – find out what these mean. Ask her about her drug schedule. Research IVF apps and support groups. Find out about her clinic and latest IVF news.

Be present; does she need a friend to attend appointments with? Help with her injections? A weekly pizza night? Don’t avoid her- that’s literally the worst thing- when someone knows you’re going through a shitty time and they disappear! Being avoided sucks, reduced phone calls, awkward silences- just talk, be there, be interested.

Things not to say!!!!

You just need to relax/have lots of sex/go on holiday!

People don’t turn to IVF if they have not tried everything else; prior to this decision they’ve probably been peeing on sticks and taking temperatures daily, having sex constantly in all manner of positions and taking weird concoctions and supplements.

Some reasons for infertility mean you physically cannot get pregnant the ‘normal’ way- if the man has abnormal semen analysis, or the women has blocked or removed tubes, then it simply cannot happen the ‘normal’ way. Implying a holiday may regrow their Fallopian tubes is just ridiculous ignorance.

Get a dog/adopt/sponsor a child

…er no Susan!!! Let’s face it one of the reasons we are on this earth is to procreate, many of us are naturally maternal and all we’ve ever wanted is a family.

We know there are other options of ‘parenthood’ or family- but we’ve chosen to try IVF, please respect that choice.

Social media- moaning about your kids/announcing a pregnancy/ doing an April fools joke positive pregnancy test or scan.

Oh my Facebook and insta can suck when you’re trying to conceive or are going through IVF! Pregnancy announcements, scan pics and bump updates seem to be everywhere. I can cope with these and be happy for others but…….. pregnancy test jokes!!!! just no

‘Great! You’re pregnant! Now you can relax’

If only. You are so used to feeling incapable of being pregnant you’re paranoid something awful is going to happen. Each cramp, spot of blood or disappearing symptom gives you a feeling of doom. I really never felt confident

Gift list.

A journal/diary, such as

Ivf diary

Ivf journal

2ww cards

Two week wait positivity cards

Lucky socks These are pretty awesome

Anything Pineapple themed; including pineapple! It’s believed the bromeline in pineapple (Especially the core!) can help blood flow to the uterus.

Anything Unicorn themed Unicorn stickers I used these in my IVF journal

Book of positivity Positivity quotes

Fertility bracelet Lulus gifts has loads of fab ones

Chocolate; hormones means chocolate is always appreciated!!

Water bottle

Nuts; Brazil nuts contain selenium which is supposed to be great for the endometrial lining. Chuck a small bag in her IVF hamper.

Alternative therapies- I had acupuncture and others I know had reiki; anything relaxing can only help.

Life of a Mum

Bad days…..

Where to begin…… and that’s the thing I think; it’s so very hard to explain to someone that hasn’t experienced it.

Constant uncontrollable worry, mind working overdrive, daydreaming, overthinking, panic, doubt, anger, annoyance………. just wanting to hide away.

Sometimes there’s a clear reason why it happens; an argument, a bad day at work, a particular stroppy toddler, or just me judging or critiquing myself too harshly.

My anxiety feels as if everyone in the world is waiting for me to trip up, so that they can laugh at me; it makes me second guess my every move or decision. I therefore overthink everything; I critique myself so heavily- and also I take others comments to heart, a simple statement from them I manage to turn into a criticism.

Imagine…….

You are walking down the stairs carrying a pile of washing, your foot slips- the feeling of being about to fall! That’s the feeling……. the breath grabbing, heart pounding, ‘oh shit’ feeling…..the feeling over and over, and over. For no real reason; I can be having a good day and then it comes.

Throat tightening….

Heart pounding…..

Hot and sweaty…..

Can’t breathe……

It’s bloody awful.

And then there’s the fears and horrid thoughts….

This began when Dorothea was tiny; I used to worry that something horrible would happen in the night. Often I woke- convinced she was tangled in the bedcovers, or that she’d fallen off the bed, I’d rolled on her etc. Etc.

So many nights I‘d wake hot and panicked; stretch out to told her and be convinced; even if just for a moment, that she was cold- the poor child would generally grumble under Mummies prods- but I would sign relief and try and settle to sleep once again.

This has been happening more and more recently……

That same feeling of dread; suddenly waking and thinking something horrid has happened to her. Or other feelings of dread; being woken to a message or call of bad news, having irrational fear of weird things (cranes, driving under train bridges, overtaking lorries…)

And I’m so flipping tired!!!!

No not tired; it’s fatigue- it’s a tiredness that sleep won’t resolve. Not that I can sleep- although I’d love to (I’d take a week straight)- when I do sleep I have the funkiest dreams ever! And when I don’t sleep I visit the kitchen and eat custard and drink lemonade.

I feel exhausted; tired of thinking, tired of feeling nervous, tired or being ‘on alert’ and tired of that feeling of impending doom. Being able to rest would be a real treat.

All this seems to be driven by my thoughts, anxieties and self critique; but then there’s the very real physical symptoms!

– regular headaches; always behind one eye, they make me take myself off to bed.

– racing heart/palpitations/chest tightness

– throat tightness and difficulty breathing or talking

– flushing/overheating/sweating

– hormonal imbalance; disappearing and then heavy periods, mood swings, loss of libido

– bladder issues; peeing more with increased urgency

( I’m a nurse so I get that although these are actually very real physical symptoms- they are very stronger linked to my mental health).

I feel lost; unappreciated, silly, foolish- I take comments and criticism too harshly. Somedays I feel I’m useless at everything; others I can see my talents and strengths and have confidence.

But it’s how to take control?????

– I know I’m not everything I sometimes judge myself to be

– I know I have skills, knowledge, gifts and areas of expertise

– I know I’m appreciated, loved, cared for, trusted and wanted

– I know I’m kind, honest, genuine, social and loving

But how can I be all that…….. how can I be everything I know I can be, at my best…… when right now I feel at my worst?

For now I need time…..

time to rest

– time to be selfish and prioritise me

– time to think AND time not to think

– time for family and friends

– time to make decisions

– time for fresh air and exercise

– time for talking, for listening, and for being quiet

– time to make the right decisions for me