What if I’ve fucked everything up…?

So last time I wrote about the fact that I was taking Microgynon to help get rid of the cysts on my ovaries, and the idea was that I’d stop taking it, have a period/withdrawal bleed a few days after that, go for a scan and start another cycle.

But I haven’t. I stopped taking Microgynon nearly a week ago having taken it for about 5 weeks back to back and although I’ve had what’s euphemistically called “spotting” — the same sort of thing that I had for about a week before I stopped taking it — I haven’t had anything resembling a proper period. (I took Microgynon for seven years so I kind of thought I knew what to expect.) Which means I haven’t gone for a scan, and I’m not doing another cycle.

I’ve ruled out the infinitesimally slim possible that I might have actually been pregnant. (That emotional fuckwittery I mentioned in my last post? Yeah, it also involved some physical fuckwittery. And although I have utter faith in the contraceptive pill, the condom, and the state of my cycle, I thought it was worth checking. One pregnancy test later and I’m very definitively Not Pregnant.)

So I’m trying to convince myself that this is all fine and normal and it’ll happen, but of course I’m catastrophising at the same time and thinking that maybe this is it, maybe I’ve just overloaded my poor body with too many hormones and too many drugs and it’s just saying “Do you know what? I’m done, I can’t do this any more, I have nothing left to give.”

Which frankly is a bit how I’m feeling at the moment. And not just about IVF.

That tangled knot I was trying to be OK with didn’t get any less knotty. And I realised I couldn’t be OK with it. And the fallout from that has been, not to put too fine a point on it, devastating.

I’m full of self-loathing for allowing myself to end up in a situation I should have been able to see coming a mile off. I also feel like there’s something really self-destructive about being so emotionally overwrought at a time when I’m trying to get pregnant (after all it’s not as if this whole process isn’t emotionally taxing enough on its own) — which, in that brilliant way I have of over-analysing everything — makes me feel like I’m deliberately sabotaging my efforts to get pregnant because, because, because… I don’t know.

Maybe subconsciously I don’t think I’m worthy of being a mother? Because let’s be honest, I feel like I’m doing a pretty shitty job of living my own life right now. What on earth makes me think that I could be supporting someone else and guiding them?

By the time you get to 40, you kind of figure you should know what’s going on. You should have a clear view of how to live your life, of how to make good judgements on who you can rely on, of how to look after yourself, of how to not hurt the people you care about.

But at the moment I feel about as competent and emotionally capable as a four-year-old. I feel like I’m fucking everything up because I feel like I can’t do right for doing wrong. I want to make me my priority, because — without wishing to sound self-pitying here, nobody else is making me their priority right now — and someone has to look after me.

But I feel like I don’t know how to do that without hurting someone who is one of the last people on earth I’d ever want to hurt. I don’t know if being selfish because it’s an act of self-preservation justifies that behaviour, I just don’t know anything any more and, like I said, I just feel like I’m fucking everything up and I don’t know how to unfuck it.

 

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16 thoughts on “What if I’ve fucked everything up…?

  1. mhm, I’m not sure I understand all of that, it’s so tangly and knotty.
    Looking after yourself sounds important, and I’m a bit confused how that could hurt people you love… How would it sound if you allowed yourself to take a break till the New Year?
    I know that waiting for my period to start always made it a few days later by default. wasn’t there another kind of pill you could take just once to kickstart it? or was the whole idea to not do too many hormones because of the cysts?
    Do you know when you can ask the consultant you trust? how long do you have to wait?
    I’m so sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time.
    Take care, hugs from across the pond

    • Thank you – and yes, I realise in hindsight I probably wasn’t making much sense. I think that the conflict between self-care and hurting other people comes down to putting stuff in place that other people don’t necessarily understand – it’s about boundaries, and trying to create a protective bubble around myself that by definition shuts out people who don’t necessarily want to be shut out. It’s something that Cheryl Strayed wrote beautifully about in Tiny Beautiful Things.
      “Fucked-up people will try to tell you otherwise, but boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments, or betrayals. … Boundaries teach people how to treat you, and they teach you how to respect yourself.”
      As for the other stuff, I’m really not keen to throw more hormones at my body right now and I guess all I can do is wait it out. I’m guessing I’ll get my period at some point and then I’ll make an appointment for a scan and hopefully see the consultant I trust (or set up a call with her). The logical side of my brain knows that I will get my period at some point, the catastrophising side is basically assuming I’m menopausal…
      Thanks as ever for your support x

  2. Completely understand your predicament. But as you’ve said, your poor body has been through a lot this year, and it might just take a while to get back to normal (for want of a better word). I had a cancelled cycle earlier this year where after a week of stimulation injections my body just didn’t respond, and I had to wait until my next period to try again. Well I usually have a cycle of around 28 days, but this time it took 41 days before I got my period! I too was freaking out, and given I’m already in perimenopause, I was convinced I’d left it too late and my ovaries had given up. I tried to calm the fuck down (not easy for a highly anxious person) as much as possible, and my period arrived in it’s own sweet time. Again, a reminder we can’t control these things, no matter how much we would like to. So hopefully your body is doing the same, and it will just take time for your own hormones to start doing their own thing again. Crossing fingers for you.

    Also with you on feeling like giving up when it all seems to be going badly. BUT you’re doing this for a reason, and that is you want a baby. Which is a pretty strong reason not to give up, and to keep on going. As hard as it is right now. You’ve come this far and that shows what a strong person you are, even if it’s deep down. And how you’re willing to do anything to try to get to that end goal. That’s courageous and something many of us admire. It certainly gives me strength to keep going with this process.

    I think you need to try not to be so hard on yourself. You’ve been through so much over the last few years, physically, mentally and emotionally, so of course you’re struggling with figuring things out. And unfortunately I think that tangled knots sometimes stay tangled, and there is no easy way to be okay with it. Being in your own bubble is okay, and it’s your way of protecting yourself and concentrating your energy on something really important to you. Especially when going through a situation like this alone. The hard part is yes, sometimes an innocent person can get hurt no matter how hard you try to stop that from happening. I personally think being selfish in an act of self preservation such as this one is justifiable. It’s not what you’d normally do, and something you would avoid if you could, but given your situation, there might not be another way. Hope that makes sense 🙂

    I hope things are starting to become a bit less messy for you now. My current dilemma is how many eggs to freeze (14 frozen now). At what point do you stop. Four cycles (one unsuccessful) and I think I’m done. But I’m an over-thinker like you, and I keep wondering if I should do one more, given it’s finally working and my body is responding. Yes, it’s another huge sum of money and another 6 weeks of life being on hold so not ideal, but I’m the kind of crazy person that will keep doing this at all costs if it means a better chance later. So confused.

    xx

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment so thoughtfully and positively – much appreciated. As for your current dilemma, have you thought about freezing embryos with donor sperm? I might be biased because of my own current situation, but if you’d consider using your eggs on your own in the future, then getting an idea now of whether they might fertilise successfully will give you more security for the future… I did three cycles, ended up with 14 eggs and only one viable embryo from those. It’s impossible to say if I’d tried to create embryos with those eggs back then whether it would have been different, but at least it might have given me an indicator of the quality of my eggs… V happy to discuss privately if you want to — send me a message via the Contact Me page x

  3. If you need to be selfish then so be it. I think better to admit to yourself whats happening and try to be honest with the other person involved, to the extent you can so that you can both know where you stand and move on. We all have our moments of self loathing but I think you need to accept it is what it is and move on putting your energies going forward into you.

    I finally had some good news, 3rd ERA came back as receptive so after 6 months of feeling like I was going nowhere I now feel like I have positive information to help me move forward with a second transfer! I’m also keeping fingers crossed your good news on your front, with a period to arrive soon.

    Also, I will add that I think your advice to AJ about freezing embryos is very sound. I think relying on egg freezing alone is quite risky unless you are in your 20s (when you have better chances to produce many and v good quality) and even then theres no guarantees. Its a really hard process that those eggs go through to be thawed and then fertilised and then after that try to survive to become blastocysts. Best to overcome a few extra hurdles now than in a few years.

    Regards,

    Liz

    • Thanks Alice and Liz for your advice! So great that you got some good news at last, Liz 🙂

      Freezing embryos is very sensible and is much more likely to result in success, which is what my specialist has advised. The issue I have is there is a shortage of sperm donors in my country and the waiting list is 12 – 18 months (there’s an increased number of single women starting the process and the number of donors has not kept up). I had my name added to the list a few months ago, but that still means a big wait until another attempt at freezing. Importing donor sperm from an overseas bank is not legal here due to requirements around payment for donation (not allowed) and the anonymity aspect (here a donor must register their details so they are able to be contacted once the child reaches the age of 18, which obviously discourages a lot of men from donating though considers the needs of the child). And a personal donor is not something I’m comfortable with.

      So my only option to consider now is to freeze as many eggs as possible and hope that with a large enough number, there will be at least one that is of good enough quality to form an embryo. Though today I feel like my life has been on hold due to this process for long enough, and I may just park things for now. Seeing my specialist to go through things again in a couple of weeks, so we shall see.

  4. AJ, if I may give you one more piece of advice I would say before you spend more money on the egg freezing save it for when you get news of moving up the donor list although I’m not so sure of your age, I think you have done a few cycles now with your eggs it might be wise to put that extra money towards some frozen embryos? I also think that some women on that wait list may actually end up coming off it if they have a change of heart or pursue other avenues so it might be worth every couple of months checking in to see how long more you have to wait? I can’t believe in this day and age that the law prohibits ordering sperm from other countries. Another option would be to go to a clinic overseas for the sperm with a fresh round. I know Spain, Greece and Czech Republic are very popular options for people to get overseas treatment and also cost wise cheaper than other countries. Just another option.

  5. That’s really good advice, thank you, Liz. I’m in two minds partly because of my age and that by the time I make it to the top of the list, even with moving more quickly up the list, I’ll be 37 or 38, and I have already had difficulty getting my body to respond to the stimulation drugs to get a response so far. The other reason is I’m still trying to get my head around even needing to go down the road of donor sperm and it’s implications. I guess I foolishly didn’t even think it would be necessary and that I’d be with a partner I could have a child with by now.

    Considering going overseas is another good option, though again I think there are some issues with the legality of coming back into the country (frozen embryos from donor eggs (and I think sperm too) are not allowed to be brought back in – related to something called valuable consideration in the Act here. It’s not helpful at all for me and yes, in this day and age there should be a way to obtain sperm from an overseas bank.

    Thanks for all the helpful advice. xx

    • AJ, where are you based? Am sure you’ve investigated all options, but here in the UK the donor’s name must be held by a government agency so that any child can contact them when they’re 18, and unlike in the US, donors are only paid expenses (35 GBP) as legally payment is not allowed here either, so I wonder if importing from the UK might be a possibility? Anyway, hoping for the best for you (and totally get the desire to take a break from it all) and do shout if you want any more info on sperm banks in the UK etc etc X

      • I’m in NZ (where you would think there would be more options available). This topic was in the media recently and fertility clinics are looking into ways of legally importing sperm whilst still complying with the HART Act (recent article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/pregnancy/conception/97088228/fertility-doctor-says-overseas-sperm-could-help-desperate-kiwi-parents)

        I’ve decided to have a break and let my body recover after what has been a tough year. Two weeks after egg retrieval and I am finally starting to feel a bit more like myself. The bloating is going and I’m feeling a lot less emotional. I spoke with my specialist this week and you and Liz are quite right, and it would be better to save money to attempt to freeze embryos with donor sperm when I get to the top of that list, rather than freezing more eggs at this stage, even if I will be a bit older. So that is my new plan. Quite relieved I can now have a quiet relaxing Christmas and no longer need to plan my life around injections and blood tests.

        I hope you are feeling a bit better now and things are not as tangled as they were. xx

  6. Hello,
    I found your blog by trying to research egg-freezing, as you mentioned, there is literally no information about it. My reasons for wanting my eggs frozen are very different to all the examples I have seen on the internet, including yours. -Although this post about cysts is something that may be similar between us. I suffer with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which I know a lot of women suffer from too. I am 21, and I have been taking the combined contraceptive pill since I was 13. -I know right, this has bound to have fucked me up at some point in the long run. I have recently stopped taking that, as I tried so many different types I finally started suffering quite dangerous and potentially life changing side-effects, which made me go on to try the implant. I’ve been using this for a few months, but as I should’ve seen coming, resulted in the exact same pattern and experience as if I were using nothing at all with my condition.

    Being on all of these types of medication, with all of their side effects including depressive thoughts, weight gain etc, I wonder if I even know who I am sometimes, and that all of this has just been a depressed part of me. After being at what I would describe as my lowest, I confided in my grandmother (who is always right, literally about everything), where she advised me on egg freezing. And then I could finally have my ovaries removed and never had to deal with mood swings or any of the other emotionally draining things I have been dealing with for the most part of my life. I read your article and I felt so much better about things, although the cost is extremely daunting, and something I’m going to have to think about and try and work out seeing as I am living with my parents still. I know this is something I am going to have to talk through with a doctor to see what is possible for me, and what I can do for the future.

    I used to dream of having children, and literally still do. I used to joke with my mum that I’d raise my own Von Trap family, and we’d all sing and dance together. The thought of never being able to have my own baby makes me feel even worse about myself, and question whether I ever could be a real woman, which again I know is stupid, and a concept I have put into my own head with the idea that women are made to reproduce. I am terrified of if I did do this, it would never work and I’d have erased any chance of ever having a baby, egg freezing or no egg freezing. It would be very difficult to conceive with my condition regardless, as my cycles are extremely irregular. I’m trying to weigh up whether this would be a good thing to do, as I have slim chances anyway, but I really just don’t know.

    You have given me a lot of hope in terms of egg freezing and finding other ways. Your blog has been so helpful, as literally no one ever discusses things like this outside of a doctor’s surgery. For that, thank you. I hope things are getting better for you, and you feel better about things.

    • Hi there, sorry to hear about the tough time that you have been having. PCOS sounds like a horrible illness and can affect many different people in many different ways. I’m sure you have investigated all the various alternatives available to you alongside hormone treatment (which is what I understand both the pill and the implant are).
      I don’t know whether egg freezing would be appropriate for you and your condition, or whether removing your ovaries entirely would solve the problems you’ve had to deal with, but it might well be worth discussing both the egg freezing and the ovary removal with a gynaecologist.
      Totally understand how hard it is to think about not having children if that’s something you’ve always wanted, and especially given the way that society frames the role of women, and you’re right to be wary of the idea that egg freezing should not be relied upon (as evidenced by my experience).
      I wouldn’t rush into anything though — it may feel tempting to rush into something that feels like a solution, but you have time. I wonder whether you might benefit from some form of counselling with a therapist who is trained in fertility issues who might be able to help with some of the issues that you mention, and help you think your way through things a bit more clearly. Private counselling isn’t a cheap option, but it’s cheaper than egg-freezing, and a hell of a lot cheaper than making irreversible decisions that you later regret.
      Good luck with everything and feel free to email me if you ever want to chat, AM x

      • Thank you so much for your advice. I think all of these ideas need to be discussed, but you have helped me realise there is definitely a light at the end of the horrible tunnel. I talk about children literally all the time! I know I am young, and definitely in no position to ever have a child (no man in sight lol) as I still live at home and my life still isn’t together, but you are right I have time.

        Even though this is a few comments, reading your blogs and other comments have really helped me, I don’t feel as though I am so alone in these situations, even though our problems are very different. You seem like a very honest and lovely person! I will continue to read your blog posts to get to know your story a little better. I truly hope all the best for you. ZJB x

  7. Pingback: (That last post might have been a bit dramatic…) | Egged On

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