Monday 25 September 2017

Infertility and Me: Part One

Where do you start telling people life hasn’t been too swell for the last couple of years? That you didn't want to push anyone away but that keeping your head down and getting on with it felt like the only way to survive? Well I am going to give it a bit of a try, take off the filter and share a bit of #lifelately. We have done a lot of healing following a very rocky two or three years so I wanted to put it all down in the blog over the next week. Prepare for the rollercoaster that is.... infertility.

Quite a long time ago now (well over 3 years … come to think of it!) I decided to take a break from the contraceptive pill, but after 8 or so months I realised my periods were just not making the return I was expecting. It took a lot of appointments and referrals but eventually myself and Ally wound up facing the idea that if we wanted to have children that this was now a massive issue and we were referred to join the process of attempting “assisted conception”. It was a big shock, and a decision we were not necessarily planning on thinking about at that stage, but we had no choice given the length of the processes involved .So 2.5 years ago we found ourselves plonked in a waiting room at the conception unit at  Glasgow Royal with no idea what all was about to lie ahead….

So many elements of this process have been really difficult to navigate and deal with. A strong possibility on why my hormones were so damaged was me losing weight over the last few years, my body it would seem detested the changes and stopped performing non-essential functions which was super hard to take. I had no choice but to rest my body, give up my strength training and my daily walking to and from work, and take a huge rest and allow my weight to increase to attempt to balance the hormones needed. This was so tough and made me feel just not ‘myself’, I hated not getting to do the exercise I loved and resented my body shape slowly changing but I knew I had little choice. It is pretty horrific to have people constantly staring at your middle and speculating if you are actually pregnant due to your weight…. Urgh just thinking about it is pretty painful as the added kick is the drugs that you take in fertility bloat you up like no-ones business, which produces a delightful baby like shape! The weight, as expected, has gone straight to my lower abdomen which it turns out the body does to protect the reproductive organs which I guess in some way is at least fascinating, but it has been tough not knowing for sure whether it will every fully repair. it can take years for Amenorrhea ( period loss)  to correct itself and we didn't have years to wait given the treatment waiting lists.

The other crappy side to it all has been the having to hide away and relax and avoid all stress when I’ve been in treatment phases. Some of the medication you have to take ties you to a bed for certain periods of time as it kicks in so you can’t really do much at night time or take it on the move (basically as it requires being actually ‘inserted’). You are also in the hospital for 7.30 4 times a week and trying to then race to work on time so it goes unnoticed. It is super stressful and really cuts you off from normal day to day life. More than once I had such excited pals and colleagues pull me aside at work to share the amazing and beautiful news that they were pregnant, such wonderful moments but so hard to carry on the day trying to hide your red face. Especially when I’ve just been told another round of treatment has failed that morning and are then straight into trying to do the proper ‘enthusiastic for babies’ performance my pals deserved.

Before kicking off with the initial process that is offered to patients through the NHS I had a fun 3 months of various fairly invasive ( and one  was actually super painful!) procedures to check there were  no other medical issues that would get in our way.In that time Ally had to also undergo a full sperm analysis which turned out more nerve wracking than we thought- although as he will proudly tell you, we needn’t have worried as he had a champion sample.

All other aspects being well we were offered the 3 cycles of stimulated (meaning with injections) IUI treatment  you are entitled to on the NHS before joining a longer IVF waiting list. We agreed and went ahead with very little support on what it all entails and boy were we in for a shock…

**To be continued tomorrow, if you have been here yourself or know anyone who has that wants to chat then feel free to pass this on or get in touch on Twitter, instagram or Email.**

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