Hold the vision, trust the process

Happy New Year! Hard to believe we’re almost in February already…

I’ve been trying to take it easy over the last few months, and not put to much emphasis on what is and what may (or may not) be. As 2016 came to a close, it was a little difficult to accept that this would, once again, not be our year to become parents. Of course, you know by April each year whether you’re going to have the chance to delivery a baby and become a mum that year, or not, but for the rest of the year there is at least the hope of starting that journey, of falling pregnant and preparing for what the next year will bring.

After the first round of Clomid with trigger injection was unsuccessful, we repeated the process again the next cycle. Things looked good at the day 12 scan, with two follicles maturing nicely, but this time I had to wait a day to do the trigger injection – which meant doing it myself, at home. Giving myself a stern talking to and several firm flicks in the abdomen to dull the pain of the impending needle seemed to do the trick – again, it wasn’t really so bad in the end. Mixing the ingredients without spilling anything was actually the hardest part!

That cycle we also added progesterone to the mix – one dose each day for the second half of my cycle. Alas, no luck again. The progesterone threw out my next cycle a bit, but we’d decided to have a medicine-free December anyway, and just enjoy Christmas and the family time without having to worry about medication and trying to organise a scan around the holidays. I then decided to give my body another month to find its feet, so January has been med-free as well. Only one chiropractic session and one acupuncture treatment – and both practitioners said I was doing well. My acupuncturist actually said my body is “humming”. So obviously the slow, gentle time-out from it all has been worth it.

Things always feel lighter and easier at the start of the new year though – anything seems possible; all is fresh and new. I’m mindful that this feeling may not last on its own – it will need to be cultivated and supported through the many adventures and misadventures ahead. But I’ve been engaging with a few new resources the past couple of months, and trying to stay tuned in to where my mind and body are at, and support them by making gentle tweaks to my diet, exercise and day-to-day schedule as needed. I’ve also been trying to make time for the creative things I enjoy – knitting or crochet, playing the piano, doing jigsaws and such. Hopefully all these things will help keep me centred and grounded for the next stage of the process, which I know may be IVF, and getting ourselves acquainted with the adoption process.

As I said to my sister recently, IVF and adoption are never things you would plan for yourself, but I’ve come to accept that one or both of these may come up along our path, and I know that however it works out will be wonderful. I’m much more open to different possibilities than I was when we started on this journey almost two-and-a-half years ago, which is a marvel in itself. I know that whatever happens there will be things that are difficult to process, and things that will be physically difficult to bear, but we’ve already faced things like that before, and we figured it out – we’ll be ok. As my chiropractor once told me: Hold the vision, trust the process.


It ain’t all that bad

Day four of my first round of Clomid and happily I haven’t experienced any weird side effects, save for a couple of small bouts of nausea and a few tiny pains around my ovaries. But I am starting on a low dose, and it’s only been a couple of days – so it would perhaps be a little strange if I’d felt anything stronger.

It seems silly that this should be a relief; most people probably go into this sort of thing optimistically. I, to mangle the wit of Dennis Cometti, unfortunately tend to do the opposite and go in a bit misty-optically. Earlier this week, while enjoying the late-afternoon sun streaming through the waiting room windows at the acupuncturist, it occurred to me how much weight I’ve put on the moment of starting every kind intervention. Each new procedure or specialist has some how felt like another small failure of my femaleness. First I was upset at needing to see a doctor at all. Then a specialist. Then having tests – I felt ashamed to be sitting in the waiting room at Melbourne IVF before a simple blood test. Then surgery. Then having to go back to the specialist. Starting natural therapies – even though I genuinely enjoy and feel wonderful for having them. Then, starting the medication. Not to mention the start of every new period, and seeing friends or acquaintances fall pregnant or give birth during this time.

As each of these moments has arrived, I’ve felt another small failure. Even anticipating these moments I have felt shame and loss. Yet it occurred to me this week that I’ve been giving these moments far more significance than they deserve. By labelling them as “unnatural” and “intervention” I’ve made these tools “bad” and myself “broken” by association. Really, each of these is just a tiny addition or adjustment to my life, not some great cross to bear. There is much to be grateful for about modern medicine when you think about it. And yet I have chosen – subconsciously of course – to feel shame, a failure, less womanly. It’s interesting to think about how much of our identity as women (and even men) is wrapped up in our fertility, how society places such emphasis our ability and/or desire to reproduce. But that’s a topic for another day.

Right now I can focus on being more mindful of the attitudes I have towards this whole journey, and make conscious choices about the beliefs I hold within me. Those things are within my control.

Because ultimately, adding a tiny pill to my daily routine a couple of days each month ain’t all that bad.