Dealing with infertility while living down under

Here’s a confession for you….

I have never had acupuncture. Not once. Never. Not planning to either.

Now before I get bombarded with stories about how AMAZING it is, and how I TOTALLY got pregnant using acupuncture, can I just say that I am well aware of the German protocol.

I know it involved 160 women only, who had to have good embryo quality. (well that’s me out)

I also know that the 80 who didn’t receive acupuncture, didn’t receive sham acupuncture either.

Further trials involving more women and eliminating the placebo effect seem to be inconclusive. No one can say for sure. Which for me means that I would be spending money, time and hope on something that might work as well as standing on your head after sex.

I don’t do that either.

Today I had another woman more or less berate me for not giving acupuncture a go. It seems I was letting the infertility team down by not trying absolutely everything.

I know there’s a massive industry in acupuncture for infertility, but then again there’s a massive industry in miracle weight loss cures too. Just because it’s big and powerful doesn’t mean it works. It seems to me to be a bit foolish to pin your hopes/cash on something just because other people tell you to.

However, if anyone’s got hold of recent medical grade trials that prove acupuncture would work for me, I’d be more than happy to join the queue at my local clinic…

…while holding my coffee.

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so you know that story that EVERYONE tells you: “oh well my friend had a friend/cousin/sister and she tried for 7/11/17 years, and she had 23/36/108 procedures and then the second they stopped trying and gave up and went on holiday to Bali/Florida/Italy they got pregnant! Bammo!”

well I ACTUALLY have a friend like that. Yes, they do exist.

Way back around IVF number 2, this friend of mine was also undergoing IVF with no success. She was trying everything. Acupuncture, weird diets, weird supplements, everything. And nothing worked. So we sat round swapping needle punctures and complaining how easy it was for everyone else and how unfair it was for us.

Anyway, she suddenly got pregnant. No IVF, no nothing. It just happened. And I found I didn’t have a friend anymore. She had moved on to the Mummy side of things, and wanted to talk about breast feeding and prams and sleepless nights. And now my problems got a kind of “oh poor you…(thank god it isn’t me)” sympathy instead of “poor US.”

and to be honest, I didn’t want to see her. I couldn’t look at her getting bigger each month without feeling upset. Classic four year old behaviour. Why her? Why not me? ME ME ME?

So two years on, she has a lovely one year old, who I have seen a couple of times and made coo coo noises at, as you do.

Then 2 days ago, out of the blue, on Facebook (of course): “I’m pregnant again, Yay!”  No IVF necessary. All natural.

and I am so, so….. upset???… jealous???

Actually I think I’m angry. Really, really angry. Which is pitiful, and shameful. I should be a bigger person than that. I should be happy for her. I should be grateful for all that is good in my life. But I’m not.

I can’t even bring myself to write her a congratulations message. Because I don’t mean it.

What terrible things TTC does to us. What awful people we turn into. Thank goodness for the IF community where you can let it all out and know that you won’t get judged.

On a brighter note, it has finally stopped raining in Sydney and I made it to the beach this week. Also I bought some new fish for my aquarium and they’re all still alive.

So I guess the final good: bad score this week would be 2:1. Onwards and upwards.




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… sorry!… have been a bit neglectful blog wise the last couple of weeks. I’ve been overseas and without net access (which is a killer – you suddenly realise how much you rely on it. I actually had to dig out a telephone directory to find a restaurant number.) So apologies.

As you may have gathered from my past few posts, I have only just moved to Sydney and am trying to settle in. The main issue occupying everyone’s thoughts here at the moment is the weather. It’s poured rain for 4 months. Which would be acceptable except it’s mid summer. When we first moved here I went to the garden centre and bought heaps of drought tolerant plants. You can imagine what they look like at the moment. I should have planted irises.

The other thing occupying my time is job hunting. As most of you know, if you don’t have kids there’s not a whole heap to keep you busy at home so I am keen to get working as soon as possible. It’s proving to be more problematic than I thought but I am plugging away, hopeful that something will turn up soon.  In the meantime I have discovered that I am quite good at baking. Although making large chocolate cakes when there’s only you and your husband to eat them is a recipe for disaster (pun totally intended).

Of course the sensible thing to do would be to acknowledge that this period of not working would be a great time to start another round of IVF. I should really make a few phone calls and see what options are out there…..maybe after I make that batch of muffins….

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Punch in the stomach

That’s always where I feel it; not having a baby. Right in the stomach. It sort of clenches up and I feel ill. It would make a great diet tip really – impossible to eat when feeling like that.

I never know when it’s going to strike. Of course I get it at all the normal times:

Look in the mail and there’s the baby shower invite from your friend who is the same age as you, but onto her third ( Her 3rd!!! Somehow I can forgive the first and second, but you’ve got pregnant THREE times!?? when I can’t manage ONE??)

The adorable couple having a coffee while coo cooing at their adorable baby dressed up as a panda/butterfly/superhero…

The facebook updates of all those baby moments. What’s that? Little Jimmy was so cute and says he wants a baby sister, so you’ve decided to just go ahead and make one! Yay for you!

But you know what; you can prepare for all of that. You don’t click on their facebook page; you avoid cafes near children’s playgrounds.

I have become the world expert at avoiding baby showers. I used to mumble “ummmm, not really sure…mmmm something else on….” Now I just say flat out: ” Sorry, I don’t do baby showers.” Now don’t get me wrong. If it was my sister, or my best best friend I would go. Let’s face it though, on most of these occasions you don’t even know the MTB that well. The thing that makes me laugh (sort of) is everyone is very understanding ; “oh of course, showers must be hard for you…” when in actual fact, at least 50% of the reason for not going is I hate baby showers. Always have. Even before this TTC mess. So hah! I’m getting one over on the pregnant people!

Anyway, back to my point. The hard times to deal with are when the grief – because I guess that’s what it is- sneaks up on you unexpectedly. I have been reduced to tears in a greeting card shop of all places. Why? Because I suddenly noticed that the cards are set out in the order you’re expected to need them.

Congratulations on your engagement!

You’re getting married today!

Happy Anniversary to an adorable couple!

and then It’s a girl! or It’s a boy! or It’s twins!!

Even the greeting card industry was rubbing my nose in it. I have to admit that I might have been off my head on IVF drugs that day, but the emotion was still valid. I then had to try and pretend I had something in my eye while buying a Happy Birthday Darling card off the nice shopowner.

Probably the worst was when I was having coffee with my husband and caught him gazing wistfully out the window at a little kid wandering past. This was right after one of our IVF failures. That one still hurts.


Happy Birthday….

English: A variety of my different breeds of c...

Charles Dickens!

His 200th birthday today. I always quite liked Great Expectations although I think Estella could have done with a kick in the shins.

Anyway, I woke up early this morning to the sound of my neighbour’s chickens – for some reason keeping chickens is now very popular in Sydney – so I thought I’d write a post clarifying where I’m at in my “IF journey” ( I can’t believe I just wrote that. That phrase is henceforth banned from this blog).

Our 4th IVF failed last year, for exactly the same reason as the previous 3: my eggs fertilised ok, but then went mushy. We used different protocols each time (and two different doctors), but achieved the same result. It got so I knew to expect the call from the technician on Day 3 telling me none of my eggs were viable. (That was a fun day at work!)

So that leaves 2 choices: egg donation or adoption, or choice 2.5: keep trying with the IVF now I’m in a different city, and hope they can come up with something different.

I am having a very hard time getting my head round adoption. I know there are many, many people out there for whom it has been a wonderful experience, but I don’t think I’m one of them.

So is it back to IVF? Do I JustKeepTrying? or do we take the other (scary) option and say that’s that: no children.

The thing with infertility is I feel like I’m on a train. Everyone starts at station A and wants to get to station B(aby). Some women just go from one to the other, no problem, express route. Others have the slow train that makes stops along the way. IUIs, IVF, adoption, and then finally they arrive.

I think the problem for me, is how do you know when it’s time to get off the train? To say OK, I am never going to get there. Because the whole IF industry is based on getting you that baby. And I don’t know about you ladies out there, but I have never had a doctor say to me; you know what, maybe you need to go away and think about being child free. Oh no; they say things like well it’s been a disaster so far, but you could now try this injection, or this supplement, or eating certain foods, or meditating, or giving up other foods. I know if I go to the doctor here in Sydney that they’ll say “Of COURSE we can try something!” and then the whole damn train journey will start again, accompanied by passengers Hope, Despair and Bloatedness. (have you had enough of this metaphor yet?)

So that’s where I am: weighing up trying again and all that that entails vs saying Enough. Is anyone out there making similar decisions? At least I know you all understand where I’m coming from. One of the most hurtful comments I ever got  was from someone I thought was a good friend, who suggested I try IVF. (don’t you love it when people suggest IVF like they’ve invented it and it’s bound to be something you’ve never heard of? )

“Actually we’ve had 3 rounds of IVF.” I replied.

“That’s nothing!” she said, ” My sister in law had FIVE goes before she got pregnant!”

There you go. My lack of baby is clearly my own fault. If only I’d tried a bit harder.

Making decisions about infertility treatments is brutal enough, without dealing with stupids. No wonder we need internet friends!



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February 6th

February 6th. Two events today.

It’s Superbowl Monday for us viewers in Australia. After following the sport when we lived in the US, I try to watch it each year.

I actually saw quite a bit of the game this morning… although it’s just not the same without chicken wings! Also we don’t get any of the ads in our coverage which is half the point really. Great finish. Well done Giants. They’re not my first team to support (Go Pack Go!) but just thinking about their name always makes me smile after seeing the film Madagascar:

Where are you giants from? 

We’re from New York. 

 All hail the New York Giants! 


Not sure whether I was impressed by the half time show. But I guess you can’t ask a 50-something to leap around AND sing without a backing track.I thought Kelly Clarkson sounded great. She’s clearly at a much healthier weight than she has been recently so good on her!

Feb 6th is also Waitangi Day in New Zealand. It’s not really celebrated as such, but I hope any NZers out there enjoyed their public holiday.

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Ten years…

The skyline of the Sydney central business dis... 

Welcome to my blog!

About ten years ago (end of 2001 as far as I can remember) I went to the doctor. We’d been trying – or at least not, not trying, for a year and the result was zilch, nada, nothing. So thinking to myself “well, I’m only 27 but a checkup can’t hurt’ I headed to the doctor, unwittingly setting myself on a path of meds, injections, countless doctors, countless procedures in 2 different countries, IUIs, IVFs, hours and hours of reading magazines in waiting rooms while staring at photos of other people’s babies, thousands and thousands of dollars (I really wish I’d kept complete track) and a familiarity with hospital procedures that I wish I didn’t have. On the plus side, you can now stick a needle in my arm and I pretty much don’t notice. I have also lost any sense that having your legs over your head with 3 other people in the room is an unusual situation.

After IVF number 4 failed, I’m taking a break and trying to feel my way through what to do next. Do I “just keep trying”, as so many “helpful” people have suggested? or throw in the towel (ovulation kit?)?

I am currently living in Australia and enjoying chilling out this summer, despite all the rain!