The black dog that keeps on biting me

Churchill called his bouts of depression, the black dog . I think of it like a heavy oppressive cloud which descends and blocks out all the light. Everything turns dark and meaningless. Whichever metaphor you use to describe it, depression seems to dog my footsteps each month that I try and fail to get pregnant.

This past month, the cloud that descended hasn’t lifted. It was the month that my baby boy was due and as the date came and went, the cloud seemed to settle itself more permanently around me. This was also the month that I made the decision not to continue with fertility treatment. After the last failed attempt, I found that I couldn’t face another month of injections, scans, procedures, waiting, hoping, and then, nothing.

I’ve had it said to me that you will know when you are ready to make the decision to stop treatment. I’ve had two years of TTC and three miscarriages in that time and I thought perhaps this decision might bring with it some acceptance, an end to the turmoil each month. Instead I am left with an aching emptiness and overwhelming grief and sadness. I don’t feel any certainty either that I have made the right decision. But I do know that I can’t keep riding this rollercoaster of emotions each month, so it is time to step off the ride.

My husband doesn’t agree with any of this. He thinks I am making a mistake and that I will regret my decision. We can’t seem to talk about it anymore without it ending in an argument and tears, so we’ve stopped talking about it.  

I feel like such a  failure – a failure for the months I haven’t been able to conceive, a failure for not being able to carry my babies full-term, and now a failure for giving up on my fertility treatment.

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Wishing..and hoping..and dreaming…

And so it begins…the (almost) three-week wait..and I am not exactly renowned for my patience…

The IUI went well yesterday..not at all as stressful or difficult as I had feared, thanks to the very competent, informative and kind nurse who performed the procedure. I have always had more faith and trust in nurses than doctors and once again, this has been proved true. They are so much more approachable and empathetic. She was great at explaining what was happening step by step and she encouraged me all the way with “you are doing really well” words. I felt a little mild cramping but nothing particularly painful. It is uncomfortable but the wonderful nurse really helped me feel relaxed and in control.

DH was right beside me holding my hand and I felt like we were really doing this together. I felt we were very close and connected as we sat together -it felt surprisingly intimate, despite the sterile setting. Afterwards the nurse left the room for about 15 minutes, so we had that time to hold hands and put all our energies towards wishing the best outcome for the procedure.  I lay there feeling very emotional and doing a visualisation for conception. I felt a lot of emotions..excitement, anticipation, hope, joy, longing and gratitude for the procedure and for all the good wishes from friends..I am so grateful to those of you who may be reading this, who have shown me such great support over the past week – thank you!

After we left the clinic, we went for a drive and had some lunch in a lovely picturesque place by the sea. We stopped off at a beautiful old church and lit a candle as a symbol of hope and faith on our way home. Later that night, we did our own IUI – the natural way – so if this works, who can tell whether it will have been because of the procedure earlier in the day or our own lovemaking later that night. Not that it matters, as it really didn’t feel at all like I had feared..a clinical detached experience – I am just so grateful that science can offer hope in this way to couples who are experiencing difficulties conceiving.

And so now it begins…the wait…for either my period to come or if not, the pregnancy testing – I have to wait 18 days after the procedure before I can test. Eighteen days!!! Why, that’s almost three weeks…how will I last that long???

Implantation bleeding?

Ah the trials of TTC! So here I am once again obsessively trawling the web, chat forums, blogs, looking for anything I can find to help me determine what’s going on with my unpredictable reproductive system today.

Having returned last week from a much-needed vacation in the sun, where we took that old well-meaning  advice to heart..go have a holiday, relax and it will happen for you (!) I’ve been hoping against hope that we may have brought a permanent souvenir back with us. My period is due end of this week but this morning I started spotting. So is this the start of an early period or is it possibly implantation bleeding, which according to the material I’ve been reading can occur 6-12 days post ovulation?

Things are further complicated by the fact that I am due to start Gonal F (FSH stimulator) injections this cycle in preparation for IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) treatment. I had been meaning to update the blog with that information but then we went on holiday and I had some thinking to do about how I feel about taking this next step.

I have mixed feelings about it…initially I was excited as I felt at last someone expert is taking our fertility issues in hand. I felt as if a weight had been taken off our shoulders. I was really nervous beforehand, afraid they’d deliver some devastating news.. but all our tests were fine..except that my progesterone levels are low but they can work on that. I wasn’t expecting to start on treatment straight away but the consultant reccommended IUI for our next cycle.

Afterwards  I felt a little overwhelmed – I think I always hoped that we’d get pregnant without intervention, so I am just trying to adjust to this new step now. I am torn between excitement, relief, apprehension and fear. How will I cope with this new rollercoaster of fertility treatment which I know can take its toll on couples? And here I am once more waiting..to determine if this an early period or am I really pregnant?  Will I be starting fertility treatment this week or celebrating a pregnancy? Like I say…the trials of TTC!!!