Sunday, February 19, 2017

February highs and lows

If I had to choose my least favourite month of the year I'd pick February without a doubt. It's normally around this time that I just get fed up with winter! Not much happens in February either and it tends to be cold, grey and dark. The good thing is that it's a short month. When March comes around there's St. Patrick's day to look forward to and the start of Spring. However, this February two of my good friends from Dublin came over and we all had the best time! Now that we have the house there is plenty of room for visitors especially since our green room is still empty. We enjoyed showing the girls around where we live, cooking for them and we also took a trip to Baden Baden for the day and went to the thermal pools there. On Saturday night we went to a mexican restaurant for good food, cocktails and then we went out dancing afterwards. More fun than I've had in awhile!

In fact I had a really good few weeks despite everything. The GerMann even commented recently that "there are advantages to not having children". Usually I would hate him saying something like that but this time I agreed. If having children isn't in the cards for us, I could see how we could still have a very nice life. I can't say I don't enjoy being able to be spontaneous, go out in the evenings when we want and plan a big holidays like our trip to Australia in April. Hubby and I have also been getting on very well lately. We're both grateful to have found each other as corny as that sounds! He makes me laugh and we just click really well. He wrote me a nice message in my Valentine's card this year along the lines of whatever happens he loves me so much and will always be there for me.... I'd also written something similar in my card to him, that I know I'll have a lovely future with him by my side no matter what. It's a different message to our previous year's cards where we wrote along the lines of, "I can't wait to start a family with you" back when we still had more faith that IVF would work.

The past while, I'd also been so focused on my goal of having a baby that I think I had forgotten that it wouldn't be all rainbows and unicorns! I've been reminded from conversations I had with my friends who have kids lately how hard and stressful it can be. I think in my head I'd built the idea of having our child to this amazing magical thing. Hearing stories from my friends about babies screaming all night long, sick kids, toddler tantrums and so on, reminded me that my life at the moment is nice, in it's own way. I'm not saying I still wouldn't want to have children, just that I took the rose tinted spectacles off and could see how IF it isn't in the cards for us, we'd still be happy (down the line, as obviously if it doesn't work out, I'll still be very disappointed at first.) Maybe you could say I've been starting to come to terms with things.


Mali from nokiddinginnz wrote about how hope can change over time for those struggling with infertility, and I guess you could say that's been happening to me. I'm still hoping that it might one day happen for us but I'm also becoming more realistic and facing the alternative. My path to mommyhood and differentshoresblog wrote about enjoying life without children, "because I don't have children" and how that can bring up complicated feelings. We don't want people to think we didn't/don't really want children hard enough because we are able to enjoy the time without them or that or that our lives are somehow "perfect" either because it hasn't been easy ending up on this path but at the same time it's nice to enjoy ourselves when we can. Life is really so short after all- It's good to try to make the most of things and be as happy as you can with the life you have. So yeah I'm going to enjoy that glass or two of wine and sleep in on the weekends then have a lazy breakfast making pancakes with hubby, and try to plan trips and holidays and be spontaneous when I can.

However, despite the really good few weeks where I felt happy and more like myself again (I feel like going through infertility has definitely made me more world weary in general. Less carefree and positive than I'd like to be...), I started feeling really down last weekend. I guess there had been a few "triggers". There's a girl from my old neighbourhood back home, a year younger than me who recently had her second baby, and she keeps sharing the adorable pics on facebook, practically giving a week by week account. We visited friends of ours who did their first IVF round the same time as our second round and now have lovely twin girls. And there's a work colleague who's walking around with her lovely pregnant bump at the moment. Happy for them all, sad for us.

There can also be a disconnect between me and my friends here. All my close friends have kids now and there are times when I just feel left out. And since I don't have children I'd like to make the most of the "advantages" and go out for dinner, drinks and dancing for instance. However the girls can only meet day time during certain windows around baby nap times, and then only at kid friendly cafes. Plus children often get sick so they need to cancel or postpone a lot. I do enjoy spending time with my friends' kids, I'd just like to have more adult only events too. Look the thing is, I totally get it, of course if you have kids your schedule is different and you may have to cancel or postpone, I'm just saying it can be hard for the childfree friend now and then.

Recently we arranged to meet up for lunch and I ended up having to wait half an hour on my own as the others were late. Once everyone eventually arrived we had a really nice afternoon. One of the girls commented to me later though that she was glad it was me who had to wait the half hour and not her or one of the others as they wouldn't have been able to wait that long with the kids. I know she didn't mean anything bad by it but my immediate thought was "Right, because as a person without children my time is therefore less valuable". If any of my friends with kids read this, I want to stress that I love you all, I'm just trying to give an example how it can be hard when you're at different life stages to your friends.

When I was feeling down those few days I did have a nice Skype with my sister which helped (she said I could be experiencing "friend withdrawal" after the fun visit!) and hubby noticed something was off and suggested I tell him everything that was bothering me (it wasn't only related to our problems building a family though that was probably the main thing upsetting me at that moment..). I ended up having a good cry. Getting it all out and having his support helped and I felt a whole lot better afterwards, and lighter even!

I actually have a lot more friends back in Dublin without kids so in some ways if I were still living there, not having kids wouldn't bother me as much. I've booked a trip back to Dublin by myself for a few days the end of this month. I had some extra leave I'd carried over from last year which I have to use up by end of March so I figured why not go back for a long weekend. I can try to meet up with some of the friends I didn't get a chance to meet up with over Christmas and just spend time with family. We're going to go out for afternoon tea as well at some point which is one of my favourite things to do. I've even considering having a section on my blog where i review all the best places to go for afternoon tea in Dublin, haha! Full of photos of cakes and scones of course.


I was chatting to one of my best friends here who had a baby after her third round of IVF and she totally gets some of the things I've been feeling lately. It's the not knowing the outcome which is really hard! If I already knew that we won't be able to have our own biological children, then I would be able to start coming to terms with that and accepting it. However since I don't know yet, I'm still living in this limbo land with the hope that it might work, therefore I keep imaging a different future for us. I was also telling her about x,y,z I read about recently wondering whether this or that might be the problem why it hasn't work for us. (For instance, should I get my blocked tube clipped/removed/dye put through it again, or should I get a sample from my uterus in case there's an inflammation and I need antibiotics...etc etc) and she said she remembers being the same way.

It's frustrating not knowing IF it will happen and the exact reason of why it hasn't happened so far (no doctor can really tell you why, there are just so many unknowns in the land of fertility! It's a wonder people manage to have children at all considering the amount of things that need to go right in order for it to happen!). The IVF cycle that worked for that friend was the one she did with the new clinic we are getting a consultation at in March. We just sent off all our paperwork including a very detailed eight page questionnaire last week. Our plan is still to wait and see what they advise us and then we'll be able to come up with an action plan.

In the meantime though, I can say I've mainly been making the most of our childfree life, and that can only be a good thing!

30 comments:

  1. So gladly hear that you are doing ok. That's the attitude I've been following. Make the most of your life....whatever happens...As it's the only one you have. Sending hugs XXX

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    1. Thanks. Yeah that's it exactly. You only get one life so it makes sense to try to make the most of it and be happy when you can. Hugs back, I'm crossing my fingers for your FET! xx

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  2. It is so, so hard to live in that limbo. I loved this for its truth: "It's the not knowing the outcome which is really hard!" I agree, if you could see in a crystal ball what the outcome was going to be, either acceptance or buckling down would be better than the constant uncertainty. Your valentine cards struck a chord with me...we've seen our messages change over time for birthdays and things, from "I'm excited for what our future will bring!" to "I'm sorry it's been so hard, thanks for being so great during all this heartache" to "I love our life" and just not mentioning the forever long struggle anymore. In a way it's sad, and in another way it points at that acceptance which is so hard to achieve. I hear you on plans with friends with kids, too -- so many schedules, so many opportunities for things to get messed up if a child gets sick or something shifts. I get it, but it does hurt sometimes to be the person with all the flexibility I didn't want. Great post, I'm glad you're finding hope but also acceptance, and ways to enjoy this life you have right now, despite the heartache of not having what should be so much easier to achieve. Thinking of you!

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    1. Yes it would be so much easier if we could just know what the outcome will be wouldn't it! It is a bit sad how the valentine's messages have changed for us both over the years to reflect the struggles of what's been going on. But it's great we have such supportive partners. Yeah let's try to make the most of this time whatever ends up happening... Hoping your arm will get better soon! :)

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  3. As I was reading the first few paragraphs, I wanted so much to tell you about Different Shore's blog's latest post and was so pleased to see you'd already found it! It had me thinking too about the present benefits of childlessness and made me determined to enjoy it while it lasts. I figure all my friends tell me that for a reason, and not just to be cruel haha.

    I'm so glad you seem to have reached a place of peace regardless of the outcome for children . I agree, life is indeed too short.

    Someday, though, I trust that you and I will be posting about these childless/child-free days with a tinge of nostalgia (but the screaming babies will be pretty great too). :)

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    1. Yea there are definitely some benefits to this life and we may as well make the most of it! Oh yes, I'm also hoping that next year we'll both have our screaming babies, haha!

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  4. I completely understand everything you were saying. It is hard to hang out with friends, because everyone has kids! You are nicer than I regarding the comment on your friends being late. 30 mins late? I would have left and done something else. I can't imagine how mad I would have been if someone implied my time wasn't as valuable because I didn't have kids.
    I agree that being in limbo is so hard, but I think that every time a round of IVF doesn't work it does prompt these moments of trying to adjust to childless living.
    I am glad that you find that you appreciate your marriage and how living childfree could still be fulfilling. I think sometimes those can be the hardest things to see.
    Bad days are bound to happen even if you are able to see the good in the situation. Chin up love. Hopefully you will soon figure out the future.

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    1. It was also partially my fault as I'd turned up early which ended up making the wait even longer. It was frustrating for sure but doesn't happen every time we meet thankfully! I'll maybe try aiming to be a little late myself in future or at least reserve a table so I could sit down and have a drink. Thanks for your message and support! I'm hoping things will all become clearer soon

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  5. It's good that you're able to appreciate all the parts of your life right now. I know what you mean about the lazy pancake breakfasts with the hubby. I enjoy those too!!

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    1. haha yeah it's so fun to make pancakes together and have a lazy breakfast at the weekends! I've got my fingers crossed for you for the next few weeks :)

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  6. I hate the limbo. My only infertile friend recently had a baby. After six years of trying, she naturally conceived and had their miracle daughter. I'm happy for her, yet somehow sad for myself.

    More and more it gets lonely seeing everyone having kids and feeling left out as you said.

    It gets hard to meet friends who are parents if you don't have one. If I had a kid we could meet under the guise of "play dates" for the kids.

    There is also another side I've noticed. It feels like if you are not a mother yourself, somehow my friends who are don't... how do I put this... It's hard to explain, but I feel like mothers somehow don't trust people who've never had children to know what to do around them.

    I find that silly. I'm much older than my younger brother and I learned to change diapers and handle a baby. My parents often put me on babysitting duty.

    However, I get this feeling among my friends who are mothers that "since I've never had a kid" I can't handle children. They'll leave teenagers to babysit their kids, but then they look at women over a certain age who are without kids as "incapable of dealing with children".

    I feel like once a woman gets over a certain age and doesn't have kids their is this assumption almost of "you must not like kids or want to be around them".

    I don't know if you've ever come across that feeling.

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    1. Yea I've definitely noticed people seeming to assume I don't like kids because I don't have any myself, which makes me a bit sad as that isn't the reason at all. When as many as one in six couples experience infertility these days, why are people still so slow to think that that could be the issue? That's amazing for your friend who conceived after six years! I hear stories like that all the time and I just wish something like that would happen to me. My best infertile friend had a baby too after her third IVF which she did a few months before me. We'd hoped to be pregnant at the same time and have our babies together so it's been very disappointing it hasn't worked out that way! Definitely get that left behind feeling a lot.

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    2. Yes - I totally relate to the "left behind feeling."

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  7. Enjoying time without kids intentionally is one of the best things my husband and I did after our 3rd failed IVF. We focused on home renovations, we slept in, went out to eat, and I definitely enjoyed my wine. It was really nice to reconnect as just a married couple and not just accept the place we were in but make the most of it. Of course the feelings of sadness sneak through our desires to create a family don't just disappear because your happy and having fun but I'm glad you were able to have a good cry and feel supported by your husband that can be so therapeutic. Fingers crossed that your new clinic is wonderful and has some news ideas or protocols for you to try. I feel like our new clinic has made all the difference to us we went from a very holistic immune approach to a more scientific approach and so far it's been a positive change for us. Enjoy your holiday with your family!

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    1. Yea I agree it's really good to reconnect as a married couple since you can lose sight of each other when going through all the infertility treatments and heartbreak. And even though the pain is still there at times, it's still nice to have fun together and just live your life again. I'm so glad that going to a new clinic with a different approach helped you. Your story gives me hope :)

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  8. I am glad you are intentionally making a point to enjoy child free life. It can be hard to do in the midst of IVF.Your hubby sounds so sweet as well! I am glad you are able to spend lazy days together :

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    1. Yeah he can be very sweet and supportive which helps! Trying to make the most of this time. Thanks for dropping by!

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  9. Hi, Dubs: I'm going to be jumping around in this comment, so here it goes: I could have written this post but you articulate it much better than I can at this point in time. Firstly, I like how you call your hubby GerMann. :) I live in a state where I did not grow up and my husband and I do not have a lot of friends. Most people our age have kids. There is one couple six years older than us that are trying and we don't see them often (I do work with my friend, so I see her everyday), because of work and school schedules. So my husband and I spend our weekends alone in our apartment. Or we go to our parents' houses. I'm sorry your friends were dismissive of your time. It's like an infertility survivor blogger said (Infertile Phoenix?) - I'm paraphrasing - people who have had no issues with fertility see the world a lot different than we do. Is there a support group you can join in Germany, such as RESOLVE? RESOLVE meets every two months here and it's not enough. I feel you about the "triggers.” I also feel you about considering procedures before IVF. A year and a few months ago, I contemplated if I should get another lap. Now, a year later and two failed IVFs under our belt, I’m definitely getting another lap. I applaud your great attitude about your temporary situation. The same infertility survivor blogger I note above said that infertility made some relationships stronger but most relationships significantly faded. I paraphrase, of course. My experience is that my relationships faded but my marriage with my husband has gotten much stronger and relationship with God of course. We are more patient with each other. We joke more often. We say “thank you." So it sounds like this sojourn is bringing you both together. Enjoy your trip back home!

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    1. Yea it can be hard not having more friends here who understand what we are going through. It sounds like it's the same for you. I don't know of any infertility support group here unfortunately. I've joined quite a few facebook IVF groups and some of those can be helpful but of course it's not the same as meeting people in real life. Yeah I think going through this has made our marriage stronger, even though we aren't always on the same page! Let's hope we both reach, 'destination baby' sooner rather than later! :)

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    2. I found three people in the state I live in who can relate. One is a childless infertility survivor, one has resolved two decades ago, and another one is experiencing secondary infertility. My friend T (and coworker) who has been trying for decades looks at it differently than I do. She's not as raw as me at this point in time. I was there for her, at work, when she found out her single thawed embryo didn't make it. It was that experience that drew us together. I can't wait until it happens for her, because she will have such a powerful testimony. And I will write about her testimony on my blog. Yeah, I quit FB three years ago because it was too painful. I'm praying for us, hard. Sorry if this is coming across as very forward: Let me know if you want to connect via FaceTime, Skype, text, or email. Marixsa and I have corresponding through email. Too bad she doesn't live in the same state as me. :( Email me at delayedbutnotdeniedblog@gmail.com. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who gets it. But if you don't want to, I understand. Again, sorry if this came across as very forward and I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I look forward to hear from you if you want to reach out to me. But if you don't want to, that's cool, too, and I won't take it personally.

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  10. I've also been thinking a lot more lately about how raising kids is not all rainbows and unicorns - I love how you put that! To be honest it took until about age 44 for me to genuinely appreciate that mothers can be very depressed about the situation they've found themselves in; before that I was very much "Well yeah, but at the end of the day they have their kids, however hard it is". Something shifted when I started to feel less vulnerable about my own situation, and I honestly wouldn't want some of the truly difficult scenarios that some parents I know are going through. That said, I still experience triggers - just something stupid like reading an interview in the Sunday Times magazine and the person says "The best thing I ever did was having my children, it changed my life for the better etc etc..."; this can set me off feeling a bit insecure for the day. But it's more a nagging distraction than something painful. I second those that say that your relationship with your husband can get stronger and stronger - mine is better than it has ever been. But the situation could still go either way for you, I am sure, and it's a really positive thing for all eventualities that you and your hub have a kind, respectful relationship.
    I look forward to your future posts about afternoon tea in Dublin, Dubs! My fave place used to be the Winding Staircase cafe upstairs, until it became a restaurant a few years ago. Now I just adore Butlers and I have my loyalty card - best flat white in Ireland.

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    1. Oh I never got to try the winding staircase cafe unfortunately. Butlers is great though, I agree. I think that it can be very easy to overly glamourize parenthood as this perfect thing while forgetting how hard it can be (and not for everyone by the sounds of that article you shared a few weeks ago). Yes to triggers. I just saw today some celebrity saying he didn't know real happiness until the birth of his daughter. Things like that are hard to hear!

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  11. Yes! I know exactly how you're feeling in "limbo land." It is the absolute worst place to be in. After IVF fails so many times, you begin to wonder if you will ever have children. And then the possible future is constantly playing out in your head: life without children, life if you decide to adopt, life if the next round actually works, life if you decide to use donor eggs/sperm or a surrogate, etc. I was never happy nor did I feel like myself with the future being so unknown. I cried daily in the shower and sometimes just cried myself to sleep. I didn't want to get out of bed some days. It is the absolute worst and something others with children can't possibly understand.

    For what it's worth, I think you're doing exceptionally well. Enjoying life in the moment is probably the best kind of medicine. I'm glad you're seeking another opinion with a different doctor and hope that he has a new and different plan for you. I think about you often. Keep having those cocktails and lazy mornings. You deserve it!

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    1. Yes that's it exactly. It's so hard not knowing such a huge part of your future! Not to mention stressful second guessing everything you do and wondering what the best way forward is. Thanks so much for your support! :)

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  12. It's definitely your choice. Follow your heart as most people would say. Finding closure is nice. I support you

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    1. Thanks! Whatever we decide we need to feel supported and not pressurized into pursuing more treatment once we are ready to stop. But right now my heart is saying to give it another try!

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  13. This sounds very healthy, Dubliner! I am glad you were able to enjoy most of the time, and I completely understand why you didn't during the rest of it.

    Being surrounded by friends with kids while you are still in limbo land is hard. As you say, the schedules are completely different which sometimes makes it nearly impossible to meet or have a grown-up conversation with them when/if you meet. I have some very good friends with kids whom I only meet very rarely. It takes so much effort from both sides, and I guess we all get tired sometimes.

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend back home with your friends and look forward to your afternoon tea pictures ;-).

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    1. Yea I've noticed that once friends have kids they generally far less time to meet up so you need to plan things weeks in advance. I had a lovely trip back home, thanks! I'll share some picture soon :)

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