I'm a young infertile. That is, youngish. I'm not as young as I used to be, and I'm not as young as some. I have crows' feet, it's true. But unless I'm terribly unlucky, I still have a good decade left in my reproductive organs. So - young.

Want to know what I'd do if you walked up and told me to be thankful for that?

Well, I'd grit my teeth, and I'd smile a brittle little smile. And then I'd put you on my grudge list. Because it's really irritating to be told that. It's irritating because it seems to ignore the fact that, old or young, there's no guarantee. It's irritating because age isn't the only, or even the primary reason most of us move on. We move on because we can't keep going - emotionally, financially or rationally... and on the odd occasion, physically. If anything the older couple has greater emotional and financial stamina than the younger couple. And rationally - well, we'll both reach our "99% of couples your age should have conceived by now so you should move on" point sooner or later, and getting to that 99% mark sooner because I'm young won't make it easier if I'm left in that unfortunate 1%. It's irritating because when it comes to infertility being young doesn't count for everything. Not nearly as much as people like to dismissively suggest.

So I'll smile my brittle smile and if I'm feeling sarcastic I'll remark in a scathing tone that we should thank God for eensy, teensy, tiny, miniscule, "quick Bob bring the really really powerful and expensive electron microscope", more infinitessimal than any particle as yet discovered by science, very small mercies.

And then I'll go home and I will. Sincerely. With all my heart. Because, you see, it counts for something.

It means the luxury of taking a break, if we want. It means moving to plan B at our own pace, without the distracting sound of that loudly ticking clock. It means hope for new discoveries, new treatments, new technology, new solutions. It means choice, options, opportunities. I remember this sometimes, and I'm thankful for our youth.

I'm exactly as thankful as I should be.

Summing Up

After reading through all the comments, I felt like making a concise summary of my now clarified viewpoint:

Saying, "Oh well, you're still young," is like saying a) don't worry - the problem can be solved given enough time (can it?) and b) it could be worse (thanks for that). One of a long list of things you can say to dismiss or diminish the experience of being infertile.

(In addition, in some cases it also implies that infertility is a wholly female issue, with no relevance given to the age of the father.)

Since this has come up again, I'll add this. I'm supposed to start screening for breast cancer in 2007. This is because of a family history. Now, I may not get it at all, or I may not get it for years, but I'm nearly at the age where I have to start screening and it's giving me a bit of a ticking clock sensation. I think it's making me slightly more sensitive to being told "well at least you're still young" or, in other words, "never mind it could be worse". That said, I think I'm in basic agreement with Thalya.

Today was Mr Bea's birthday. Upon getting out of bed, I changed into my candy-pink, frilly G-str.ing and matching, half-cup, push-up bra, hidden coyly beneath an off-white, see-through, bum-length top, with the ties down the front left half-tied in what I judged to be a carelessly inviting manner. After breakfasting and unwrapping the gifts, I lounged back on the couch and gave a stretch filled with innocent suggestion. "So, birthday boy," I purred. "What do you want to do now?"

"Well, it's raining - not really the weather for going outside," replied Mr Bea. "I thought maybe the National History Museum."

(Later he claimed that because I am already at the limit of human desirability just pottering around doing the housework in my tracky-dacks, putting on lingerie and acting all sexy makes little change in his eyes.)

But that wasn't my only source of disappointment. You see this past week, as my good deed, I have been keeping an eye out for those boxes they have on counters at shops, supermarkets and cafes - the ones that collect what little change customers might casually drop into them for donation to some charity. I only found one. I think it was for the elderly. I know there are just as many in Singapore as anywhere else, and I can only assume I've spent the week shopping at places with low expectations of their customers. I think I'm going to have to continue looking out for them to make it worthwhile. Less of a good deed than I was hoping for the last of the year, but perhaps it's best just to let 2006 fizzle out quietly, so we can get on with the next thing. Which, as it turns out and as the title today suggests, is pretty similar to the thing we were doing before.

I'm having internet troubles again, this time because of the earthquake in Taiwan. I can't comment at the moment, in fact I'm not sure if this will post. Email is still getting through, but it's all very slow. Anyway. It's not that I'm not thinking of you.

I've got this notion in my head where the 2006 section of this blog won't be complete unless I go back and fill in the blank that was the stim cycle we kicked off in January. I got OHSS. I thought I might tell you about it.

Then I wrote this long piece of self-indulgent drivel describing everything I can remember from the first moment I felt my ovaries twitch until the day of EPU, and it was kind of huge already before I even started on the bulk of the story, plus it was, like, months ago so who would be interested now?

Then it occurred to me that I was interested and it is, after all, my bloody blog, and besides what if someone drops by one day wanting to know something about OHSS and there's nothing here?

In the end I wrote this.

Risk, Reponse, Pain, Morphine,
Eating and Sleeping,
Raving, Relief, Forgetting

FS decided that, on balance, it would be best to go ahead with EPU and cancel ET, but that's not the only way we could have handled it. Some clinicians would have cancelled altogether, prior to trigger. Others would have been gung-ho enough to go full steam ahead. I remember the sense of relief I felt when I realised I didn't have to agree with his approach. I could set a lower level of risk. Ultimately it was in my hands. After due consideration I concurred, however, based on the high likelihood that whatever happened, I would recover.

When I decided to take the risk, I promised myself I would not hesitate to get attention if needed. On the evening of the second day post EPU - the day I would have had my transfer - I unilaterally decided to go to the emergency ward at the local hospital. This was because I'd started vomiting. I handed FS's after-hours number to the young doctor who came to see me and asked her to call him to discuss my treatment, which she did. I was admitted.

After EPU I woke up feeling less painful than I had for the past week of stims. Two days later the pain was worse than ever. A week post EPU I was lying in hospital during my morning examination, when the doctor asked me where it hurt. I said, "Everywhere," and he laughed and told me this was not possible. Over the next hour or two I played a little game with myself called, "Does My X Hurt?" I started with obvious things: does my pelvic cavity hurt? Yes, of course. Does my chest hurt? Absolutely. (By this time I was on intranasal oxygen as I was having trouble breathing.) Then I moved outwards: does my right forearm hurt? Pinky finger? Scalp? I made a list of parts that didn't hurt. It was surprisingly short, and excluded many bits which had no logical claim to pain. I wondered if my sensors were simply so overloaded I had lost the ability to distinguish where my pain was coming from. It seemed plausible.

At first I took morphine, and at first it worked. But as time wore on it became less effective. At the height of my illness, it took only the merest edge off my pain. But I started refusing doses before then, for this reason: it messed with my sense of time. After a dose I might close my eyes and try to rest. What seemed like an hour would go by and I would open them again to find only a couple of minutes had passed. I found I had to make a choice between enduring only 95% of the pain I would otherwise feel, but for a length of time which was subjectively four to ten times longer, or gritting my teeth and enduring 100% of the pain, but in real time. I kept changing my mind.

Eating and Sleeping
I couldn't. In truth, this started within the first week of stims, but it worsened until about a week post EPU. On my third day in hospital a nurse counselled me to force down a cup of milo - the most substantial thing I'd ingested since my arrival - because I was having a hypoglycaemic meltdown. It was good advice. I learnt that forcing myself to eat when I believed I couldn't was not only possible, but would make me feel better. It also helped me catch forty-five minutes of long-overdue sleep. I slept only about two hours a day, in two or three snatches, for the best part of a week. Mostly this was down to restlessness, pain and discomfort, although a week post EPU a night nurse spent some time pleading with me to get some rest, and I confided that my breathing difficulties were making me afraid to sleep. I was literally afraid I wouldn't wake up again. From this I gained the hope I needed to make it through - it struck me that things weren't so bad I wanted to die.

I told everyone everything without inhibition or regard. My sister (who visited me faithfully every night) gleefully rung me for several weeks after my discharge asking me if I remembered this part of our conversation, and sniggering and gloating when I admitted I did not. At one point I even showed her - up close and personal - my indwelling urinary catheter. She has reliable witnesses to back her story. This was a fascinating experience. It made me understand, for the first time, that the unforgivable things our mother said to us during her cancer treatment weren't merely the angry outbursts of a woman pushed to her limit. They were actual ravings, mad ramblings of which she genuinely has no recollection, and for which she can't be held responsible. I didn't understand this before.

A week post EPU they punched a paracentesis tube through my abdominal wall under local anaesthetic and drained off a small proportion of the fluid. The first breath I took afterwards felt so much easier I disintegrated into loud, racking, uncontrollable sobs of relief which brought enquiring hospital staff from nearby rooms and went on for a good ten minutes whilst the radiography nurse hugged me and passed me tissues. Twenty-four hours later I started having the curious sensation that I was deflating, like a balloon, and sure enough next morning's weigh-in confirmed that my weight had finally plateaued. During my hospital stay it had shot up by 25%. Fuck. That's a lot. When Mr Bea came to visit me the day after that, I noticed how much less tired he looked, and so did everyone else.

A few days after discharge I was lying in bed at home, enjoying, for the first time in almost exactly a month, the sensation of being able to lie on my side. Already I could feel myself losing touch with the physical reality of the illness I'd had. This speed of forgetting took my breath away. I told Mr Bea then I would do it again, if necessary. He looked startled, and hugged me tight, muttering platitudes about bridges, and crossing them. The final lesson was this: temporary physical pain is nothing to be afraid of. Only the permanent repercussions of our actions or inactions are important. The other day I looked, but I couldn't find my paracentesis scar.

P.S. I have a big backlog of blogs to read today. Sheesh - it was only a weekend off! Take care - I'll get through them slowly.

Christmas. I guess it had to happen. And don't get me wrong, I'm glad it did, I'm just sorry not everything we wanted to happen "by Christmas" has, and yet it's here anyway, ready or not.

And... now I'm over it. Because I made some good decisions about Christmas this time around. I stopped treatment back in, what - end September? I let my "if it hasn't happened by Christmas" deadline go, laughing all the while at my naivety. I moved country - a measure which may be a little extreme for those who just want to make a quick getaway after the pudding. And there's one more thing.

In my family, we always had The Main Christmas Tree at my grandparents' place. It was where everyone gathered on Christmas morning to perform a little ceremony we called, imaginatively enough, "Christmas Tree" - basically a morning tea and the official exchange of gifts. The Christmas tree at my parents' house was a size down, and various other relatives who lived on their own or in pairs had little trees, just big enough for one or two.

This is our eighth Christmas together since we got married. And true to tradition we have always had a little desktop tree, just big enough for one or two. We were planning to upgrade, you know, as soon as we "started our family". Now I could bang on and on here about the definition of family, arbitrarily self-enforced hierarchies and the necessary re-examination of traditions over time, or I could just show you this:

And if you don't feel you can have a Merry Christmas, then at least let me wish you a happier new year.

Other bloggers who are trying to enjoy Christmas despite infertility (and in some cases succeeding, to a greater or at least more drunken extent): Josie, Kir, Miss E, Katie, and Beagle.

This is going to be a downer post, considering the time of year. But heck, you hang out in the infertility blogosphere, one more won't hurt your Christmas spirit.

It's about this. Libya and the sentence it passed down this week on those health workers from Bulgaria. Now, I'm no expert or analyst, just someone who reads the popular press from time to time, but it reeks. Did someone say confessions extracted under torture? Are we sure this is a fair trial? And they're giving a which penalty?

You can insert a whole lot of back-porch, coffee-wine-and-cigarettes style political discussion here, because I'm just going to say this: yesterday, after a long lapse, I rejoined Amnesty International.

Human rights are important. If they were protected more often, we wouldn't need so many good deeds.

This kind of fits under good deeds. I'm sure you've all heard by now about Meri-Ann, Thalia, and The Smarshys, and have probably even been around to offer your condolences. But Manuela wants to know who gives those messages of support to non-bloggers in times of similar trial? Too often, it's not real-life friends and family, which leaves... no-one very much. So Manuela's asked for a few words of solace that she can pass on to a real-life friend. If you're minded to, head around there. If you want.

It's not the last time I'll mention the International Infertility Film Festival on this blog, but I am going to return you to your regularly scheduled program.

I know it's report card day, but I'll get to that later.

Meanwhile, remember this series of posts about infertility coping strategies? Add this from Nica. Affirmations in the form of questions. What can I do to improve my chances? What has gone right so far? Etc etc - it just might work.

In cycle news, I've just worked out where this veritable blogging frenzy is coming from. I'm ovulating. Shortly you will notice a sharp decline into a more relaxing slothfulness, punctuated I'm sure by the usual end-of-cycle breakdown between January 4th and 7th. Just so you can't say you weren't warned.

But I just created a website for the film festival. It's here. I thought it might be more practical that way.

I've adjusted the cut-and-paste html so it links back to the "official" site, but for all the (wonderful!) people who've already put their poster up, don't stress - the FAQ I posted yesterday is staying where it is, and will contain a link to the site anyway, so no biggie.

For everyone else, check the FAQ for instructions on how to spread the word, and make sure to subscribe to the festival news!

Mel from Stirrup Queens has suggested a challenge be laid down "a la Stephen Colbert's green screen challenge".

So! Who wants to join in? The challenge is to create a short film about infertility and/or pregnancy loss, upload it onto the internet somehow (I used Youtube) and let me know where it is. I will link all entries here (although, of course, everyone will be quite free to link as much as they like as well). I'm going to set the festival date as... let me see... March 31st 2007. We'll watch, we'll enjoy, we'll laugh and cry, it'll be a day to remember.

So that's March 31st, 2007 - mark it in your diaries.

Now, you can make a short film in any way you want, from video, to hand-drawn stills with soundtrack (or even without), to archival footage (naturally used in such a way as to not break any copyright laws, even if you do choose to record it directly from your TV screen using a hand-held camera). But in case you want to do as I've done and use a computer game, here's a quick how-to.

I first heard about this technique through Modern Millie who told us about Decorgal's Standing Alone short on pregnancy loss (2006 release) *Warning* - short depicts near-term pregnancy/baby loss. Standing Alone was made using Sims2, but by following links to Machinima.com I discovered a whole range of computer games could be used this way, and I was struck with a sudden desire to piss about and see what I could do. After some research I decided The Movies would give me the most flexibility and control, and when I saw the game on special just before moving over, it seemed like it was meant to be.

The rest is history. Actually, the rest, as of this point in time, is a tiny short called "A Seasonal Reminder" but let's not split hairs.

Decorgal has a great FAQ all about making shorts using Sims2, and if you want to use The Movies, there's a pretty good in-game tutorial. There's also a forum somewhere, though I can't seem to find it at the moment, but mostly you can work it out by fiddling around and using the help menu. If you want to use other games, well, I can't give you any specific help but someone out there can. My biggest tip is don't try to script the movie first. It won't work. Play the game, build your sets, create your stars, gather your costumes, familiarise yourself with the available action sequences. Then get a basic storyline together, and write the script as you're doing the voiceover at the end. A few sound effects and you're done. It's pretty straightforward really.

Jules just alerted me to this free online taster, in which you can create a sort of online cartoon strip. (If it moves, it counts as a film, far as I'm concerned.)

I've been asked if you need to buy the computer game in order to use it like this, and you do (except if you're using the free online taster that Jules found, see paragraph above).

So March 31st guys - how about it? I reckon a few films is all we need! So who wants to do one?

Did someone say infertility film festival?

(Special thanks to Mr Bea for voicing "Ken".)

**Director's Notes**
For those who asked, this was made using a computer game called "The Movies". It basically involved playing the game at max cheats in order to manipulate the sets, costumes and action sequences I wanted to use into being (which was a major pain in the arse). The actual script was done last, and the "come to mamma" line is courtesy of Mr Bea.

This is the least altruistic report card so far. But, as previously discussed, I maintain that a good deed is a good deed, whatever the motive. This week's motive was Christmas shopping.

Every year we ask each other what we'd like for Christmas, and seldom can anyone come up with a reply. So every year we make a luke-warm guess or, in my somewhat more practical family, chalk up a gift IOU to be filled when the giver or receiver actually can think of something, and it's never quite satisfying. Because I love giving. But not for the sake of exchanging unecessary tat so we can all appreciate "the thought". So this year, we decided to go whole hog with the charity gifts.

We chose this site, because they offered a range of gift packages to suit every taste and budget, promised to send all our money to the nominated charity, and checked out nicely on a google search of independant sources. We decided to personalise our gifts by matching the receiver carefully with a particular cause, and agreed that if we knew of the perfect non-charity gift for someone, we'd get that too. My mother, for example, is getting to help a women's cancer screening program in Guatemala, because she's a cancer-surviving woman, and also a studio portrait of myself and sisters in a handsome frame, which I hope to replace with a more likeable photo before too long.

We debated over a present for SIL's family. In the end he won and we bought a gift from the same charity to send a child to school, because she's planning to finish her degree someday and become a teacher. In return he agreed not to purchase this book for our nephew.

Also, for the first time I wished our clinic gave embryo pictures. Because I was seized with a sudden (though not, I think, morbid) desire to include Christmas photos of the ten little embryos who tried so hard this year, especially the three who "almost" made it.

I can't remember how old I was when someone first asked me if I wanted to have children. I think five. Many girls my age answered with squeals, or giggles, or vehement and wide-eyed head-shaking, and continued to do so until well into their twenties, but not me. I always shrugged matter-of-factly and said, "Yeah, one day." Even then, I never considered childlessness an option.

I was in my late teens when the feeling first came. The feeling that "one day" should be "now". I mentioned it to Mr Bea, who looked alarmed, but he needn't have worried because the feeling lasted less than twenty-four hours and it was more than a year before it returned. And when it did it lasted only a day or two. Then a week. Gradually these little sputters of maternal instinct became a whirring engine, a driving force, just waiting for someone to let go of the brake. I was expecting to take off on a road that would last me the rest of my life. I guess you could say we got stuck in traffic.

Then last week it happened. I was eating a sultana scone with a generous slab of butter when I looked up to find a new feeling had arrived. The feeling we two were complete. That our family started and ended - here. And it was ok.

It's gone again now. Who knows when it's coming back? But I wondered if this is how things change - with a feeling that lasts a few hours, then a day or a week, until gradually the great maternal engine sputters out again and we leave it by the side of the road, in favour of some other journey.

In cycle news: I've just spoken to FS about our next cycle, which is FET#5. He's away over Christmas until the 15th of January, which is right on the border, but probably just a little too late, to front up for a January transfer. So we've agreed February. The protocol will be an OI/FSH cycle with injections starting on day eight, but with a few adjustments to dosage to try and improve the quality of the luteal phase.

I was flicking through the online excerpt of The Infertility Cure last week after it was recommended to me by gracie (who didn't leave a contact/url - but thanks gracie!), when I read that the average couple goes through seven cycles of ART before they conceive or give up. Seven. That number keeps coming up.

  • Mananabanana conceived on their seventh (and last) cycle.
  • A woman at one of my transfers said she was on her sixth (and second last) transfer.
  • A message board discussion (at Essential Baby) some months ago indicated a wide consensus that seven transfers was enough.
  • Let's not even start on biblical sevens.

"How many cycles have we done?" Mr Bea asked.

"Well, that depends how you divide it up," I answered. "Because it's only been four transfers and you can't really count..."

"How many ART cycles?"


It's interesting. As a species, we seem to have an inbuilt quit-point. You can imagine how it went, back in the prehistoric days. Two cavemen have heard a rumour you can make fire by banging two rocks together. "Here," says one, handing the other two clods of earth. "Try it. Huh. Ok, try again. No? Try again - it must be true, I heard it from a friend of a friend of mine. And again. Again. Again. One more time. Tell you what - why don't we try flint?"

We've invented this myth of human progress as based on persistence, determination, perseverance in the face of great odds. But the real story of human progress is one of giving up. Without that, we're just apes in a cave, banging clods of earth together, getting nowhere as we watch them crumble apart.

More thoughts on quitting by our Stirrup Queen and Serenity.

Disclaimer - average means, of course, that some people will do more and some people will do less. I'm sure no-one's taking me literally here, but I thought I'd mention it. We're all faced with different circumstances - diagnosis, response to treatment, external factors... I just saw the number seven come up a surprising number of times in all sorts of different situations and it got me wondering whether there was some sort of evolutionary principle involved. I was not, in any way, trying to say that doing more or less than seven cycles is wrong, not least because our individual decisions on where to draw the ART line are based on a complex array of factors and what I would still like to think of as a sophisticated knowledge of human biology. My main point is that quitting is an essential part of the success story of the human species. Ok, I think we're all clear.

Remember this post from less than a month ago? Well, I'm glad I wrote that down, because it's nice to be reminded I can get things done, now we're trying to move in at the other end.

I need to buy stuff, but I don't know where to shop. I need help with things, but I don't know who to call. I try to arrange things, but my messages disappear without response and my efforts feel empty and useless, without weight or consequence. Often, I can smooth my path with cash, but decide to endure petty frustrations so our money can be saved for IVF and calming treats, like icecream sandwiches which are made, ok, by hacking off a slab of icecream with a cleaver and putting it between two slices of bread. Yummy. In case this sounds whack, don't worry - icecream comes in such flavours as peanut butter, creamed corn and bean - all perfectly normal sandwich ingredients.

So there I was, eating a black-sesame-seed-flavoured icecream sandwich and thinking about tossing it all in and going back to the flat to nap on our single - sorry "twin" - airmattress* in order to free it up so Mr Bea can have a turn by himself for a few hours overnight (hardworking breadwinner that he is), when I was approached by one of the many, many tin-waving volunteers of Singapore, this time collecting for HOME.

HOME is the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics. They provide training, financial and legal aid, and support for low-paid and unskilled migrants. For the people who can't smooth their paths with cash, or calm themselves with icecream treats, or even gain access to basic housing or medical care in a country whose systems are as mystifyingly foreign to them as they are to me. For those whose language problems extend beyond the misuse of the word "twin"**. For those who are facing the same problems I am, but magnified a hundred times over by poverty and lack of choice.

How could I not? I gave them some cash. I hope it helps someone sleep better tonight.

*We bought a queen-sized bed second-hand last week. But we've had trouble getting it delivered. Two delivery drivers and a self-drive option have fallen through. Meanwhile, I went to buy an airmattress, and ended up with a "twin" which is actually a single and has become something of a running joke. Just as well it isn't, as I was assured, big enough for two people because the only pump I could find to blow it up with is an itty bitty bicycle pump. It took me nearly three hours to get it inflated. (I had to stop every now and then to recoup my strength and attention span.)

Fingers crossed for driver number three (delivery option number four) this Sunday. Looking forward to a proper night's sleep, and the end of our nine-day bed-buying epic. Next item: chairs. Stay tuned.

**And yes, it has been pointed out to me that "twin" is singular, and that twins, in real life, are ordinary-sized people. It's a SINGLE bloody air mattress. That's what it is. That's what it should be called.

My mother always maintained that if you weren't doing a good deed out of the kindness of your heart, you weren't really doing a good deed. I turned this thought over in my mind for some years and decided to disagree. A good deed is a good deed. Surely it doesn't matter if you're doing it selflessly, or in anticipation of praise, or through fear of reprisal. The end result is the same - the deed gets done. Say thankyou and go home.

And the pragmatic (ie greater) part of me still feels the same. But the romantic (ie atrophied) part of me has always been on her side. So the pedantic (ie overused) part of me has resolved the argument thus: you have good deeds, and then you have good people. Good deeds are done for any number of reasons, but only doing them selflessly makes you a good person.

I have pledged to do fifty good deeds. I'm doing them because I need to feel like my life is worthwhile. Because I need something to feel proud of; through which to gain back some self-esteem. Because I need to fill in my time, and build a social network. Because I need, I need, I need. Me.

So the deeds get done, and you know, I think that's the main thing - let's not forget it - but I don't think it makes me a good person, and frankly I get a little uncomfortable when you say so (sweet as that is). Then again, I need to keep writing the report cards in order to stay motivated and committed to the task. So.

The next Thursday Report Card is coming up. Please tell me stories about similar charities in your area, and how you/your cousin/neighbour/whoever worked for them. Please tell me stories about that guy you knew/knew of who once benefitted from a similar deed. Tell me about related good deeds, or unrelated good deeds, or even better deeds. Or tell me if you think it's not so much a good deed as a complicated, double-edged deed with both benefits and drawbacks and did I ever think of that? But don't tell me I'm a good person. Because the kindness of my heart is not what's at the heart of my kindness. Thanks.

We're technically moved in, insofar as we're sleeping in our new flat (albeit badly on a single - sorry "twin" - airmattress, yes, both together, I know, I'll explain later) but can't yet eat there (cook there, to speak more stricly - later, I promise). I'm about halfway caught up with your blogs. It'll all happen.

My luteal phase was thirteen days. Which is... ok I guess. Actually, thirteen days is fine. Good, even. Also, my cycle was a normal length - 35 days. Which is fine. Except.


My temperature dipped dramatically at 10dpo. That night I started spotting lightly. Days 11, 12 and 13po saw bright red spotting for the first half of the day. And cramps! It was one step shy of "light menses". I checked back through my notes from this year. My spotting has started at 9-10dpo every cycle I know the ovulation date for. Not as dramatically when I've had the help of progesterone, but nonetheless. At 9-10dpo. And I know a lot of people experience spotting and I know it's not impossible to get pregnant on one of these cycles, except.


The chemical pregnancies. Three of. And I know there are other reasons for a chemical, and it could still be the quality of eggs gained from an OHSS cycle, or one of "those things" and I know prior to IVF I had two completely normal luteal phases, with maybe the teensiest bit of brown spotting at 13 and 14dpo so maybe this is all just a drug-induced fuck-up that will sort itself out much like the luteal phases of breast feeding women who've said they were fine once baby was weaned, except.


Those AIH cycles were atypical for me - shorter, by several days, and with much more obvious signs of ovulation than usual. What if this is my normal cycle? What if I only get two or three good ones in a normal year? I also know that even a ten day luteal phase is considered fine by many, and that implantation will mostly have happened by then, and that even if it is on the short side it's treatable except.


We have been treating it - with OI (FSH) and LP support and it hasn't solved the problem, and don't they say frozen embryos are sometimes a little slower? And what's the deal with my progesterone levels being normal - in fact, great - during my luteal phase even whilst the spotting is going on? Normal progesterone levels and an abnormal response of the lining? How do you fix that? And I know we're still young and if we keep throwing shit at the wall someday something will stick and maybe it'll be cycle six, or sixteen, or even twenty-three but fuck it we can't even conceive without IVF and I don't know if I want to keep going that long and I'm not sure it's worth it and I'm starting to feel like I could do something else with my life and still feel it was all worthwhile and maybe we'd even be happy and maybe people would come to respect that and maybe I'd come to see this whole exercise as nothing more than blind worshipping at the false idol of parenthood and not something I ever had a good reason to pursue because some days I forget why we're here and I wonder what's keeping us going except.


I think I should try one more time.

It's my post-lap cycle. Bound to be screwy, right? And the others - they were post-progesterone-support cycles. Bound to be screwy, right? Right? I mean, it's all still under control. Isn't it? And we haven't exhausted FS's list of FET protocols. One of those will probably work fine. Right? And if we don't try everything we'll regret it one day, right? Won't we?

I asked Mr Bea how many cycles he thought was "reasonable". He said he thought any number of cycles was reasonable. So I asked him, with some irritation, how many he thought we would do, before giving up. He blinked. He said we've only been doing IVF for a year. Only a year.

He said at four to six transfers a year he doesn't think it's logical to give up and move on until we've got three or four years under our belt. But he understands I might want to stop sooner. And he's happy for now to say let's use up our frosties and do a second fresh cycle then see where we're at.

I'm tired. Because apparently when I said I'd take a few months off to see if my body would reset without the drugs, what I secretly meant was I wanted to take the rest of the year off and go back in January, confident that half our problems were solved, and we were simply looking for the "right" embryo. But it's going to take longer than that, if it happens at all, and if the next FET doesn't work, we - what? Take another several cycles off so my body can reset so we can do another FET that doesn't work and then take another break of several cycles...? How many years would we go on for at two to three transfers a year? "Logically" speaking?

I'm losing faith. I feel like pursuing something else - something I can have faith in - except.


Not quite yet.

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