I ran away in January. To a place that I didn’t associate with trying and not succeeding. Somewhere I drank wine and stopped worrying about whether I was eating enough vegetables. (I wasn’t.) Somewhere I stopped caring if food was packaged in plastic (it was), or whether the tomatoes were organic (they weren’t). Somewhere my life wasn’t measured out in blood tests and supplements and scans and injections. Where I rudelyContinue reading
…And I thought I’d give you an update. Quite a long one. It’s not very Christmassy, sorry. There are no babies in mangers. Quite the opposite, in fact. But something happened yesterday that made me want to write again, so here I am.
I’m not going to pretend it’s all hearts and flowers. Enmeshing two lives is never straightforward. Especially when you’re not 25 any more. And to be fair, it’s not me that has taken the brunt of the upheaval. I’m still living in the same house that I’ve been living in for nearly 15 years, surrounded by my friends.
He’s the one who turned his life upside down. Continue reading
It’s been a while (August, last year, I can’t believe it’s been that long.)
I feel like you’re entitled to an update. (Thank you to those of you who emailed to ask how I was.) But the news is that there is no real news. At least no news about eggs, or IVF, or pregnancy. I’ve taken a break. Sorry, we’ve taken a break.
That pronoun has taken a bit of getting used to. That realisation that it’s not just me dealing with this big stuff on my own any more. Because that’s the news. The good news. He’s still here, we’re still here, and it’s great. And almost impossible to write about.
Partly because I’m never going to be someone who does public gushing about a relationship, even on anonymous blog. In my real life, I am not the type to post on social media about “this one”, “my bae”, “my fave” or similar (fortunately neither is he.)
But I’m also surprisingly superstitious. I guess I fear that feeling comfortable in a relationship, that publicly declaring that you’re in a good, healthy, happy relationship is hubris that will be punished by some unspecified higher power. But it’s good, we’re committed, we’re making long-term, life plans. Which sounds dull and pension-like and diminishes our relationship. It’s really not. It’s exciting, it’s genuine fulfilment of dreams stuff, stuff that has put a massive smile on my face. But I told you, I’m not good at writing about this stuff, so let’s just leave it at that.
And, of course, part of those long-term plans are about wanting a child together. And about the many ways in which we could do this. And this is where I find it difficult to know how much I should share. This isn’t just my story any more, these aren’t just my decisions.
I suppose what I can tell you is that, realistically, IVF is probably on the horizon. And that that slightly fills me with horror. And resignation. And exhaustion. Because this isn’t a couple going into IVF, both wide-eyed and full of hope that it’s going to be the answer. This is someone who’s basically spent the last five years going through egg freezing and IVF and it not working and, as a result is a bit jaded by the whole thing.
Someone who knows what the statistics were five years ago and knows what they are today. (And finds that pretty crushing if she thinks about it too much.) Someone who once talked about how using donor eggs might be an option if she were in a relationship, and is now trying to get her head around whether she’d be jealous of her partner for having a biological relationship to their child if she didn’t. (If you don’t already read Sophie Beresiner’s column in The Times on a Saturday, you really should — she writes beautifully about this stuff.) Someone who made a very good argument for doing IVF alone, who is now contemplating doing it with a partner. (A partner, it should be said, who is not wide-eyed or ignorant of the statistics.)
And I think this is something that I’ve written about before. Nobody has a perfect life. Having a partner or a child doesn’t mean you don’t have any problems, you just have different problems. And I guess I think I’d done a pretty good job of reconciling the problems that went with being single and wanting a child, and what would happen if I did have one, or didn’t have one, and now I’ve got a whole other set of issues to contend with, that aren’t necessarily better or worse, harder or easier, they’re just different.
So, for example, instead of wondering, as I did when I was deciding to try to have a child on my own, whether I would be enough, whether I’d always feel I’d shortchanged my hypothetical future child, given her a second-best life, I’m wondering if we end up not being able to have children together, whether I will be enough. Whether I’ve shortchanged someone who, because he chose to be with me (rather than someone younger and more fertile) has a second-best life, without children, that isn’t the one he wanted.
He knows all of this, we have had these conversations. I think it’s going to be fine. I hope it’s going to be fine, whatever happens. But, as ever, with IVF and fertility and all that stuff, it’s the fact that it all seems so random, and unfathomable, and uncontrollable. The fact that if you’re someone who likes planning, you can’t plan ANYTHING. Which is why, of course, we’re planning a skiing trip to Japan next year — surely spending a fortune on a long-haul holiday that involves non-pregnancy friendly activities and loads of sushi is guaranteed to get me pregnant, courtesy of that non-specific higher power, right? And if it doesn’t, well at least we’ll be skiing in Japan and eating sushi…
If you’re here because you read my piece in the Daily Mail today, hello! Thanks for coming to visit. If you’re here because you’ve been following and got notified that there was a new post, welcome back.
I hope you’ve all been having lovely summers. I have. I’ve mostly been living my life as if Continue reading
If we’re looking for silver linings — which let’s be honest, we are, because otherwise it’s all one great big shitty grey cloud — phoning the clinic and telling them I was bleeding made them suggest I came in for an earlier blood test. So rather than spending the weekend knowing in my heart of hearts I wasn’t pregnant but having to wait for a blood test on the Monday to confirm it, I had the blood test on the Friday, Continue reading
And although I sort of thought I knew that it wasn’t going to happen this time, somehow it’s worse to get what seems like a period just six days after the transfer. I know, I know, I always said that nothing means anything and you can, it seems, still get your period and be pregnant. But this hasn’t happened before, and while obviously there’s a fraction of a sliver of me that thinks that might be a positive thing, most of me thinks that, as the clinic nurse told me, “it’s probably your body expelling the lining because it doesn’t need it.” Continue reading
Because I told him. And he was about as amazing about it as I could have hoped he might be. And now writing about all this feels a bit weird, because I’m not just writing about me and something that affects me. I know I’m anonymous, and by extension so is he, but it feels like I don’t have the right to talk about how he reacted in any detail. It’s not just my story any more. Continue reading
I know we all try to manage our own expectations but I think it was the point when I was writing about embryo grading that I convinced myself that I wasn’t pregnant. It just seemed so hugely, utterly improbable when I was writing it down in black and white. And I know the odds mean nothing if you’re the one it happens to but still…
I’d already decided that I was going to do a home pregnancy test before the blood test. Continue reading
I’m sure it can’t just be me that thinks like this, but I do so often think about the lives I could have been living if luck or decisions had gone another way. If the morning after pill hadn’t worked when I was 19… If I’d gone on to marry S… If I’d got pregnant with my first IVF cycle – all these parallel lives that I’m not living, but so nearly did.
And I’ve never had such an acute sense of that as I do right now. Because (and I said this wasn’t going to be a dating blog, and it’s not, but this is kind of relevant to all the pregnancy stuff) I’ve met someone. Continue reading
Or, as anyone who’s ever had to wait to find out if they’re pregnant will know: the best way to basically stop time. Two weeks? TWO WEEKS? It’s bloody interminable. And they say the best thing to do is distract yourself. So I did. I went skiing.
I know, I know, but chill the fuck out. I didn’t do anything hardcore, but this was a trip that had been in the diary for months. It was a group trip for a friend’s birthday that was going to include a load of kids and non-skiers and so I knew I could pootle around. I looked into all the advice — eat as you would if you were pregnant, avoid saunas, hot tubs, lifting heavy stuff, and anything that’s going to count as hardcore exercise. Continue reading