Saturday, 26 December 2009


I had such a moment of clarity on Christmas Eve. I went to a Church Service, and I sat with my alternative family - my pseudo Mum & Dad, my pretend sister and her family. And I realised that, that moment will reflect the rest of my life. I may not share genetics with my future child/ren but they will be my family.

I have hope again, something that has been missing for a while. I have a future family. It may not happen in a traditional manner (although we bypassed traditional a while again), but we will have a family.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Wishes

I wish you joy,
I wish you hope,
I wish you peace,
Merry Christmas to all of you.

Yesterday I went to see my friend R. I sat and she baked and we chatted. We chatted about how much had changed in the past 12 months (for her as well as for me). She commented about how much more at peace I seem. And that what I wish for you all, peace.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Empathy skills for cabbages...

It's been a long week - filled with high and low moments... I've been thinking over this post since Monday. Today I'm making time to post it!

It's okay not to know what to say. 'Sorry to hear that' might not feel like a good thing to say, but at least you are acknowledging that there is an issue.

Sometimes it really is better to say nothing - words however well meant, can cause offence when someone isn't ready to hear them. A smile or a touch (or a hug virtual or otherwise) can say 'I'm thinking about you'.

Acknowledge that you can't possibly understand how the other person is feeling, because we can't live in someone else's head. Do, however, make sure that you try to understand that the person you are dealing with may be hurting, angry or upset, and therefore may not be entirely rational.

Realise that grief isn't something that is short term, and even when someone has a good day it doesn't mean that they are 'over it'. It will probably come back at some inappropriate moment.

If the person you are talking to wants to talk, listen to them. They want to talk, they probably don't need to hear your opinion, or what you would do in that situation.

Equally, if that person, that yesterday wanted to talk, doesn't today, accept that as their decision. Sometimes it is too hard to talk, sometimes it's better to not think about the things that cause the pain.

Let them know that you think they are doing okay. When you are living in pain (for whatever reason) it can be lonely. It's difficult to think straight, and sometimes self-belief and self-confidence go AWOL. Let them know that they are doing okay, because they might not know that.

Understand that you might not be the person they need to talk to at that time. Don't take it personally, just let them know that you are there, ready and waiting if they do need to talk to you at some other time.

Let them know that you care, in small ways or in big ways - it doesn't matter. But letting someone know that you care, that they matter is important for the other person.

I'm sure that there is more that I ought to add... in fact... if you have an empathy skill that you'd like to share, why don't you add it in the comments, for no other reason, but that you can.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Don't Miss the Boat

I've just found out about this little story, it's come from an adoption forum that I've started looking at. It says so much, I hope you enjoy it.

Don't Miss the Boat (author unknown)

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place, you've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you, you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait... and wait... and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax. You'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By BOAT!" you say. "Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible; traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Show-and-tell: The end of an era...

I've been sitting looking at the bits in this photo for days; I cleaned my fridge out earlier this week, and I knew that these were in there, but I had become blind to them. But it seems fitting to take a photo, before I dispose of them. The end of one chapter, the start of another.

The injectables that I haven't yet got rid off - 7 years of infertility, 7 IVF/ICSI cycles reduced to 2 preloaded syringes of Orgalutran, 1 Puregon pen with some Puregon still inside it and 2 needles and finally 1 ampule of Pregnyl (hCg trigger shot) that I didn't use. It's not very much to represent so much heart ache and so many tears.

And I know it's not a clear picture - but taking it reduced me to tears. Because even though I know that we are doing the right thing by moving on to adoption, I am still sad that I will never, ever get to be pregnant. One of those things that you take for granted growing up - that you will get pregnant and have children - won't ever come true for me. And I've had plenty of people tell me that pregnancy isn't so great - but I would have liked the opportunity to find that out for myself.

I will take them to the hospital next time I go, and ask them to dispose of them. Clearing the infertility drugs from my fridge seems like such a huge step for such a tiny job. But they will go and I will re-focus on the path in front of me.

Don't forget to visit Mel's to see who else is taking part in Show-And-Tell this week.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

shadows of darkness...

It's strange to think that this time last year I had just had my last fresh ICSI cycle and returned to work with yet another negative. It's strange to think about that passing of time, which in some respects seems such a long time, but equally has passed in the blink of an eye.

It's come back to me today, because I've been running around so busy for the past few weeks, and then today, although I should have been busy preparing for next year, I was distracted and not getting on. And I was thinking back to last year at this time, the fact that I'd returned to work before I was ready to cope, and that I although there were some good things that happened (giving up my responsibility was the best decision I made in all that pain), it was an awful time.

I've been looking back today for a couple of reasons; one I was discussing camera's with a colleague and friend at work, and knew that I had some pictures on my blog that demonstrated what I wanted to show her, so logged in. Which obviously started a conversation about the blog, which I said was my way of coping and that not many people who actually know me (IRL) are allowed to read it. Hopefully because I explained it was infertility this and infertility that she won't go looking for it and if she does I don't think she'll find it anyway. She's not that sort of person - and if she ever should find the blog and reads this, I hope she'll tell me, or at least not tell anyone else.

The second reason was because I was sat with a good friend of mine who is pregnant for a second time chatting. And we were talking about our old deputy who used to be such a comfort to both of us (her first baby is a clomid & met baby) who I saw recently and whilst I was chatting he admitted that the reason he understood so well was that his daughter was going through the same thing.

All of which (coupled with the hormones) has made me more melancholy than I wanted to be. And I can't help but reflect on the hope that I had then, and the fact that I am working to accept that I will never have our genetic child. We will push on, but I think I have to accept that every so often there will be a shadow of darkness. That whilst I am doing ok (well even) on a day to day basis - that sometimes it will all be a little too much, that there will be times when I need to sit and cry for what might have been.

But I shall look forward, a holiday followed by the gentle movement forwards on our adoption journey hopefully.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Tentatively stepping forward

I wonder if sometime in the future whether Wednesday 17th June 2009 will be forgotten or whether it is a date that M and I will remember forever.

We went to the local adoption agency information evening (we went before in Nov) and had a good long chat to adoptive parents who have been through the process. We also had a good talk to a social worker (SW), and came away with a registration form to fill in. Not to think about filling in, but to actually fill in.

We talked through the process with the SW and M got to understand more about the process - I've already done quite a bit of research. But we also got to ask questions and have an informal talk. The SW filled in a basic form, who we are, why we want to adopt, what sort of child/children we want to adopt, and what experience we have of children.

We've both always imagined having 2 children - I don't think we would have 3 because I am a middle child of 3, and I have severe middle child tendencies that it has taken me years to come to terms with. But we talked about adopting a sibling group (or should that be pair). We talked about learning difficulties - to which I said it would depend on the child and situation. And we talked about 'not babies'.

We went to the pub on the way home, to sit and reflect. And M said perhaps we should consider adopting a 3 or 4 year old, because we aren't getting 'our' baby, and this won't replace 'our' baby, but we will build our family. And the more I turn the thought over in my head, the more it makes sense. I don't know if I can explain it any better than 'it feels right' to be talking about adopting a child not a baby.

Friday, 12 June 2009

More talk...

I did have that conversation with the deputy last week. But I bottled it... and then I thought and realised that I needed to speak again, but wrote down what I needed to say. I printed it out and went to see him as soon as I arrived in school... he wasn't in his office, or the other twice that I tried before school. As I was teaching for the rest of the day I decided to leave it until another day and put the paper in my desk drawer.

During my third lesson I came across the piece of paper, and as I had a good friend in the classroom (as a support teacher) and I knew it would make her laugh I showed it to her. She read it, and then went to the door... 'I'll just take it down to him now'. Which made me cough and splutter, but in the end agreed it was probably easiest.

So she went, and give it to him, which made him worry, because he thought he'd done something wrong. She reassured him and said 'no, it was just that I needed to explain some things a little more'. And gave him my list, and then strolled back to my classroom.

The next time I saw the deputy it was whilst I was chatting to some pupils about their work, which he needed to know was sorted. So my first conversation after 'the list' was mundane and went something like 'C... has finished all her science'. The next one occured after school whilst I was chatting to friend who'd stolen the list and given it to him. I asked if it was okay, he said yes - and not to forget his door is always open... (yes - but he's not always there!)

So my list...

It was pointed out to me that I might have left out a few important points when I spoke to you...

1. I don’t expect sympathy ever – I do need sympathy sometimes, but I will always speak to the people who know how to support me best
2. I can deal with my life, in my way – it might not be the best way but it’s the only way I can cope.
3. I can be incredibly self-centred and want allowances to be made when things are tougher than normal.
4. I am angry about the situation and sometimes that anger is immense
5. My self-confidence has taken beating
6. I’m honest enough to admit to jealousy
7. The past 6 years of treatment have been beyond horrid and the time before treatment was not much better.
8. I have 3 different issues that make me infertile; the worst of these problems at the moment is causing me a lot of pain – and consequently when I spoke to the consultant last week I agreed to have hormone treatment for the next 6 months.
9. The 2nd of those issues means I that I don’t do well with too many hormones – and by not well I may randomly end up in tears or raging.
10. I am a mess 90% of the time when I am not teaching – it’s why I mope around unless I am feeling particularly motivated.
11. It is not in my plans to be a ‘career teacher’. I love teaching and I don't want to leave my classroom to be a manager anytime soon.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

I know but do you?

I know I’m difficult to deal with. I know that my infertility has changed me beyond anything I could have imagined. I know that I come across as angry and bitter. I know I don’t smile like I used to. I know that I push my friends away because I can’t help myself.


Do you know that sometimes it would be good to hear ‘it’s okay’ when I’ve cried?

Do you know that sometimes it would be nice to hear ‘I care about you and think you’re doing okay’ when it feels like the world is against me?

Do you know that even when you don't want to hurt me by asking how I am doing, it would be good to hear 'how are you'? Because sometimes this feels incredibly lonely.

Do you know that sometimes a simple smile would make me feel like you appreciate my pain?

Do you know that sometimes in the blackest minutes a hand reached out in friendship is all that’s needed?

Do you know that I don’t want to constantly think about my problems, and sometimes dealing with other people’s, lessens the pain?

Do you know that just because some days I can’t laugh, I still need laughter around me?

Do you know just because I’m scared that my life won’t work out how I planned it, I am not incapable of dealing with my friend’s lives? That it hurts more when I am left out?

Do you know that sometimes sitting and crying with someone can bring about smiles and laughter?

Do you know that ignoring the problem, doesn’t make it go away and that I’d feel better if you’d acknowledge it – even if that is all you can do?

Do you know that the biggest thing that I’ve learnt on this journey are that the friends who stick around come rain and shine, are the ones that are worth fighting for?

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Listening but...

Sometimes people listen – but don’t actually hear. I was discussing with a fellow infertile (for which you can read also failed IVFer) at work last week about some rubbish that was going on in my head. We got round to discussing our holiday plans for the summer and how M & I could afford a proper holiday for the first time in years because there was no IVF this year! She said that the previous day they’d been discussing babies in the staff room at lunchtime (and you wonder why I avoid the place), as a colleague had brought her baby girl in.

One of the younger Maths teachers commented that ‘so-and-so (who happens to be a friend of mine who’s been to my school on supply) spent £12,000 on having her babies’.

‘Yes’ agreed my fellow infertile, ‘but at least she’s got two babies for her £12,000. I spent that and got nothing.’

‘I would never, ever spend that much on trying for a baby. I would live without first.’ Came the response. If I’d been there I might have been tempted to say – that you don’t know what you’ll do until you have to take those decisions.

I wish I could really educate people about what being infertile is about. Not just the financial aspect but the physical and emotional side of it. I have some amazing friends who have walked this path along side me and know a lot of it. But even they don’t see the whole picture. The nights of crying, the way it saps you of energy, confidence, and most importantly hope. But to educate people I’d have to be a little braver about shouting out about it – it’s still after all this time hidden from a lot of people – mostly because they have no need to know!