Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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How to induce your period..

Posted by Haisla Tuesday, 29 April 2014 2 comments

..is by blogging about how AF hasn't arrived yet and it's CD28 already, and yadda-yadda-yadda..

As soon as I'd hit publish on my previous post, I went to toilet, wiped and got blood-tinged discharge.

Bloody typical.

Although, at the same time, quite unusual. It seems like AF might be arriving without the usual compulsory spot-fest.

And I'm still not in pain really, so hurrah! Perhaps the large quantities of evening primrose oil that I've been ingesting have been doing something to my system.

In work related news, I managed to get quite a bit done today, perhaps partly thanks to the blood-tinged discharge. It very quickly wiped away any reveries of babies and pregnancy.

On with Clomid then, either today or tomorrow, depending on how things develop tonight.

In other good news, I finished the job application yesterday and sent it in. Fingers crossed.

Am really hoping that I'll at least get an interview. But we shall see, am trying not to pin my hopes on that job too much. Been there too many times, pinning my hopes on all sorts of things (like supposed pregnancies) and then getting said hopes squashed.

Off to do some bloggy reading now. Have found a few new blogs through Stirrup Queens Lost and Found and Connections Abound pages that I'll try to catch up on. I love finding new blogs! I think I may be mildly obsessed..

The ever-elusive AF

Posted by Haisla 0 comments

It's CD28 today and I am not spotting.

This is highly unusual, since I am the great serial spotter. I spot before my period, sometimes for days on end.

To be fair, last month I only spotted for two days, so maybe the trend is slowly passing.

All the same, this is most unlikely behaviour from my body, as I am also a girl of fairly shortish cycles (26 days has been the average in the past year).

All of the above has obviously left my mind racing.

Yes, I could be pregnant - we have been trying for well over two years now. But that's just it. We've been trying for two years and it's never happened before. Why would this cycle be any different?

I haven't relaxed; in fact I've been super-stressed. We didn't so much try, as have one measly attempt around ovulation time (and I'm pretty sure I did ovulate, as I've had the 'hots' for about two weeks now.  For someone who is always cold, progesterone makes a 'nice' change, by providing me with a mild temperature-like feel to accompany the TWW, charming).

Despite the stress, I'm pretty sure I ovulated roundabout CD14 or 15, so it's not like my ovulation was delayed, and hence the longer cycle. Perhaps all my lifestyle changes are now having a positive effect on the endo and my cycles are normalising?

One thing that could account for the lack of spotting is evening primrose oil. Holland and Barrett had a big sale again and I had a voucher left over from my birthday, which I spent on almost exclusively on evening primrose oil.

Since my periods were getting really quite bad, painful and bloody again, I read up  on my symptoms and was reminded that bad prostaglandins can be the culprit. One way to combat bad prostaglandins is to a) cut down on meat eating (I'm a vegetarian) b) cut down on bovine dairy intake (I predominantly consume goats' dairy products these days, so another box ticked) c) cut down on animal fats, period (I love my goat's dairy and need it for weight management, so that's a no-go) d) increase the intake of 'good' oils (e.g. evening primrose).

So I've been taking 2000mg of EP daily for about a month and a half now. So maybe that's what it is.

Also my Fertility Friend calendar confidently suggested this morning that AF will arrive tomorrow. Gee, thanks for having zero-confidence in my reproductive capability, you stupid app! Then again, I suppose it adds a needed dose of realism into my excitedly racing mind. It is, after all a computer programme generated to calculate all the info I've provided it with over the past months, with the view of offering helpful forecasts on what is likely to happen next.

I have no unusual symptoms (apart from the lack of spotting). Boobs are mildly sore, but they are like that during every TWW. I'm having some cramping, but again that's nothing new. I'm tired, but "hello, stress!"; irritable - tick. So nothing really worth talking about.

That's that AF-wise, then. I'll keep you posted, if / when AF arrives to update you on whether EP has had any effect on period pain, clotting and so forth. If AF hasn't shown up by tomorrow (and there is zero spotting still) I might POAS. I'm not big on POASing, as can't stand the disappointment. I prefer to wait for the blood.

In other news, I am working from home today. Yay! Yesterday was another day from hell work-wise and I decided I needed a break. Luckily I've got a training package that needs to be completed by end of July and I've negotiated some working-from-home time to complete it, as it's proven impossible to do whilst in the office. Although I felt bad about not working with clients today, I also knew that if I was to try to push myself as much as I had to yesterday I would just end up sick, with nothing to give to no one. So hopefully I can get some legwork done today (purely metaphorically - I'll be sitting on my arse all day) re: client cases and also complete one module (minimum) of the training package.

I'm hoping for a productive day with minimum symptom spotting and pant-checking. Wish me luck!

To Apply or Not To Apply..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 26 April 2014 0 comments

I'm exhausted.

Work has caused me a few sleepless nights. I'm normally quite good at switching off when I get home and sustaining a fair work-life balance, but the past week has been wearing (and it's been a short week, thanks to the Bank Holiday, it really doesn't seem it).

I'm dealing with a really complex client case, which is looking pretty hopeless at the moment. It involves a lady with severe mobility issues, no recourse to public funds and the possibility of her being returned back onto the streets on Wednesday, after her stay at the current backpackers hostel comes to an end. She was referred to us by a hospital where she had been staying for 5 weeks, as they were about to discharge her onto the streets. We were able to put her up for a week, but the money is soon running out. There just aren't enough shelters for those who aren't entitled to benefits, even if their health is really poor. I normally love my job, but these impossible situations where my hands are tied and where I end up doing inhumane things (like having to tell a crippled lady that she needs to sleep on the streets until a bed becomes available) just leave me feeling haunted.. I'm just hoping and praying that something will turn up at the eleventh hour. At the moment, though, things aren't looking too good for her. I'm trying to prepare her for the potentially bad news and then have to go home into my own warm house and live with that at the back of my mind. No wonder I'm not sleeping.

People often say to me 'I don't know how you do the work you do', well, you know what I don't often know how I do it either. And increasingly (thanks to the way this government has been slashing health and social care budgets left, right and centre) I don't really want to do it. You set out to do good, to make some kind of a difference in the world (corny, perhaps, I know), but somewhere down the line the rules are changed and you end up in all sorts of ethically questionable situations, where you are actually unable to be of any help. Things are getting increasingly ugly and the poorest and the most vulnerable are being squeezed like I've never seen before (although I wasn't here when Maggie was in power, so perhaps things aren't that bad yet). It just feels like we are somehow returning back to the Victorian era. And the organisation I work for, should be able to do more, but can't for many and various, complicated reasons (which are often funding related).

Anyway, rant over.

But, those are the reasons why I am desperate (at least some days) to get out of my current job. It's just too hard. Not to mention the stress, the occasions when I have to deal with aggressive and violent client behaviour and the sheer physicality of the work, which make it wholly unsuitable for a pregnant lady (that is, should I ever get pregnant - perhaps it's the stress of the job that is keeping me from getting pregnant in the first place? It's the good old 'just relax' adage again, isn't it)..

So, great was my joy when I noticed that a vacancy had become available within the organisation; one that would be really interesting, far less stressful, a good match for my skills set and completely office based (no more running up and down stairs to respond to client enquiries, no more moving heavy furniture to set up for activities, and no more client aggression - hurrah!).

However, there are two things about this job that cause me some concern:

1) It would mean a salary cut of about £6,000 per annum. That one is no biggie in some ways because my salary is really quite good and I could probably afford it. I'd just have to be a bit less frivolous with my spending. However, with the potential private fertility treatments looming in the horizon perhaps I should be taking money matters a bit more seriously? Also if we were to ever buy a house (hmm, and perhaps pigs will learn to fly) a bit of extra moolah would be no bad thing..

Also 2) surely starting at a new job slap bang in the middle of fertility treatments is not the best of ideas? I know some of you ladies, whose blogs I read, have done it and I raise my hat to ya'll, but I just really struggle with the thought of it.

First of all, I would not be allowed to take time off (apart from holidays negotiated during the interview and you all know how 'negotiable' IVF treatment timings are) during the probationary period, which is three months. If I  was to get the job (and that's a big 'if'), I would start in early August (I have to give three month's notice as a manager), which with the summer holidays and the slovenliness of the NHS is too tight a schedule to squeeze in an IVF cycle before changing jobs.

And then the next time I  would be entitled to take time off again would be sometime in November. And by then, ugh, I would be much nearer to being 36 and in the position again of having to disclose to another line manager our reproductive challenges and try to negotiate some time off for fert. treatments. And who's to say that the new line manager would be as sympathetic to my plight as my current one is? So dream (pregnancy-friendlier) job = potentially postponing fertility treatments. How's that for a mind-fuck?

The other option of course would be to spill the beans at the interview and try to negotiate some ad hoc time off from the word go, but seriously, who in their right minds would hire someone going through fertility treatments, especially since people generally seem to think that IVF automatically guarantees a take home baby?

Perhaps I should stop fretting and just trust that if this is meant to be it's meant to be. It is just such an appealing opportunity, and yet, with so many buts.. I think I will just try to write up a killer application, send it off and then cross any bridges if and when they become crossable.

Anyone else tried changing jobs in the midst of fertility treatments? How did you play it? Did you bring it up at interview, or later, or at all? No judgement either way, just interested to hear how it all went down.

The problem with this job in relation to the location of our fertility clinic is that there is no way that I could arrange sneaky treatments around work hours. I would need to take time off. And I think I would rather be honest about it than try to fabricate some lies (I am a terrible liar, I always go stark red and get caught especially if the lie really matters). Anyway, I would appreciate any thoughts or even assvice.

The funny thing is that I am probably fretting for nothing - I have applied for a few of jobs in the past months and have never heard anything back. I know what the job market's like at the moment and that there will be about a million applicants each more qualified than the other. Anyway, thanks for reading my lengthy ramblings tonight,  I better go off now and finish that dreaded application..

Oh, oh and did I forget to mention that the interview date would probably coincide with IUI#2? Yeah, there's that little thing, too..

IUI #2 Is A Go-Go

Posted by Haisla Thursday, 24 April 2014 0 comments

So, I finally managed to speak to Nurse Nelly today (which was just as well, since I was planning to visit the Clinic today to speak to someone face-to-face) when she, to my shock, actually returned my call(s).

It was very sweet of her, and she is very sweet, when finally available. NHS really has such laid-back attitude to these fertility treatments, that sometimes they seem to be practically horizontal.

I raised my concerns re: Clomid (mainly the weird eye symptoms) and after checking with the Doc she gave me go-ahead for round two. I decided not to bring up the other concerns, as my understanding is, that I will have a consult with the doctor after IUI #2 to discuss the way ahead, so I decided to bring up concerns 2, 3, and 4 then.

Now I just need to wait for AF to start, which should happen on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday latest.

I had a brief moment of panic again, though, when Nelly mentioned that should CD11 (which is the day I last had the IUI done) fall on the Bank Holiday Monday (6th May) this cycle, too, would need to be cancelled ("No pigging way!!!", said I in my head). Fortunately when I checked my diary that scenario looks highly unlikely, unless AF decides to arrive super-early, i.e. tomorrow. That would be CD24 and my cycles have never been that short. So I'm banking on my cycle being the normal length, which for me is between 26  and 27 days. No spotting yet, but that too should start in due course. I am trying really hard to keep my hopes within a minus scale this time, as I'm so sick of being disappointed.

On happier news, I cycled, not quite to work, but to the station for the first time today.

I  had completely overdressed for the weather (I had at least three layers on in true winter-style; I really haven't quite come to believe it's spring yet) and was sweating like a pig. Not a very dignified start to the day. I may need to bring a change of clothes with me to work, so that I can be all fragrant and lovely rather than a crumpled mess, when I finally get there. Overall I was pretty pleased with myself and only had to resort to using the pavement a few times, when the traffic got really menacing. I'm hoping that as I ride more, my confidence levels will grow and I will feel less intimidated by the cars (even though a lot of them drive right by the side of the cycle lane, and sometime even on it!! Grrr! As a non-driver I find it really hard to sympathise with such behaviour. I may change my tune, yet, once I'm behind the wheel myself).

I even got a nice big smile from a fellow ("real") cyclist who was dressed in his cool cycle gear. I'm pretty sure it was a genuine smile, rather than one of pity, even though I do look like a total geek when on the road. My husband, in his infinite wisdom, has encouraged me to look as nerdy as possible whilst cycling, as it apparently frightens the drivers to give you more space, since they'll think you're a hazardous non-pro (which sadly is true in my case). Since Husby works for the emergency services and has quite a lot of experience of witnessing road traffic accidents and the aftermath, I take his words to heart. So I wear my yellow tabard, my ginormous white cycling helmet and a pair of unattractive reflective bands strapped around my ankles. I have decided that if it'll save my life I shall have no pride when riding a bicycle.

I can't believe I used to cycle all through my childhood, and so fearlessly, too. Then again, my home country has far less traffic than the UK and is far more geared up to cyclists. Come on, Mr Johnson, take a leaf out of the Scandinavian's book!

So that's that here in Endoland - learning how to ride again whilst waiting for CD1.

What Have I Been Up To?

Posted by Haisla Monday, 21 April 2014 0 comments

When it comes to TTC, the answer is sadly, not much.

I think I ovulated on Tuesday (or Wednesday) and we managed to BD once(!) on Tuesday evening (I know, once; this is how lethargic we've got in the traditional baby making department). To be fair we were both working till late on most nights last week and to be honest mid-week BD sessions are these days a bit of a chore. I'm much more likely to be in the mood come the weekend, but unfortunately my cycles are so bloody (heh) regular, that ovulation always hits on the Tues, Weds mark. This time we didn't even get a chance to BD the weekend before, so I have very low hopes for this cycle.

I am still to speak to Nurse Nelly, as the past week has been incredibly busy at work, and due to the clinic's opening hours these phone calls always have to be conducted at work. The only place with any kind of mobile telephone reception at work is right by the front door or outside, neither of which are greatly conducive for privacy. Therefore, I normally try to sneak in before anyone else in the morning and make these telephone calls in the empty reception area (I work in a really small day centre, with only three paid staff, so this is normally fairly easily accomplished, the exception being last week) right by the front door.

So this coming week my challenge is to get Nurse Nelly on the phone (this entails leaving numerous messages on her answer phone and starting to sound like an ever increasingly desperate lunatic in the process) to discuss my Clomid concerns with her.

However, my counterbalancing concern is that Nelly may want to cancel this coming IUI cycle, too, and our treatment plan will get delayed further. I am just so sick of waiting. But having read some threads on this topic, it seems that it's a good idea to talk to the nurse. Perhaps they'll put me on Femara instead or something. We shall see.

In other news, I bought myself a bicycle this weekend!!!

My trusty steed (and yes, that is our garden gnome, living in the corridor until we get a garden flat some day).

I'm so in love.

For a while now I've been sick of sitting on the bus in the rush hour traffic every morning and nearly missing my train. The journey from home to the train station, that in normal (non-rush hour) circumstances should take approx. 10-15 minutes has started taking closer to 30. Now, in my book that is just not on. And as much as I fear getting into the traffic on my little bike (and the stereotype of people driving like maniacs in London - and outskirts - is sadly true), I am also excited to be a bit more independent of the TfL (Transport for London, for the non-Londoners). Again, I much love and am grateful for TfL, apart from the indecent prices; it's more the traffic jams that I detest.

So we took our bikes on a bit of a spin this weekend. We cycled all the way to Twickenham and back, had fish and chips by the river and the following day we cycled from home to the nearest train station, just so that I could get a sense of the route. It seemed safe enough and for relatively large stretches I can either ride on the pavement (shared use) or on a cycle lane.

Here's to hoping that this will increase my activity levels somewhat, since I've been ever so lazy in the exercise department of late. Even yoga has seemed like too much hard work, and my trusty Yolanda Pettinato's Simple Yoga DVD has been gathering dust on the bookcase. At least cycling in the fresh air and springtime sunshine was a fun way to exercise, and something I hope we can keep up as a hobby. I love the idea of mini-daytime adventures with a picnic on weekends and Hubby seems excited about this prospect, too.

And so for once, I made a decision to purchase something without thinking, "oh, what if I get pregnant". Because quite frankly, I can't see that being on the cards very soon (yes, I know, ever the pessimist - or a cautious realist, as I prefer). And even if I did get pregnant  soon, I'm aware that ladies do cycle even whilst pregnant, providing that they have no complications (in fact I have one friend who cycled all the way through her pregnancy in Central London). I just reckoned that I needed to live a little and this was the perfect purchase for that.

So, apart from not being pregnant, life is good at the moment. I'm just waiting to board the full-on TTC train again and for the madness to continue. Watch this space.

4 Reasons Why I'm Not So Sure About Clomid..

Posted by Haisla Sunday, 6 April 2014 0 comments

Let me preface this post by saying that I am really, really excited that we have finally reached the stage of accessing some fertility treatments. However, since our last IUI in Feb-March I have grown increasingly concerned with regard to climid. Perhaps this is all just unwarranted anxiety, perhaps not, but I thought if I shared my concerns here, perhaps I could gain a bit of perspective.. So here goes: four reasons why I'm not so sure about clomid:

1) I've experinced some of the worst period bleed since my first clomid cycle in Feb-March. The period directly following the clomid cycle was a walk in the park, but this latest one - oh me gosh, a veritable blood fest. I was literally bleeding through pads in 30 mins and clotting like there was no tomorrow. Which follows directly into point..

2) Is my endo coming back with a vengeance, thanks to clomid? I've read somewhere (I think even the clomid leaflet attests to this) that clomid is not recommended for those with endo. I may be wrong and hope I am, but can't stop wondering whether all this faffing about with clomid might be decreasing my chances of a succesful IVF (whenever we reach that elusive point in time). Also my endo pains and accompanying symptoms (IBS) seem to have worsen somewhat since.

3) My Mum died of ovarian cancer three years ago at the age of 63. Whilst I know it doesn't automatically mean that I have inherited that gene from her (and in fact I'm pretty sure she went through genetic testing, which came back negative) I also am not super keen on putting myself on meds that increase the likelihood of ovarian cancer occurring later on in my life. If I do manage to get pregnant through these treatments, I would like to be able to see my children grow up. Obviously I don't know whether IVF treatments / meds will have any lesser likelihood of causing ovarian cancer than clomid. But at least IVF has greater likelihood of getting me pregnant and therefore I'd rather skip straight to that (if NHS agrees with me, which I unfortunately doubt) than expose myself to more clomid cycles if I can help it..

4) I got the funny fluttering effects in my peripheral vision when on clomid and when I had my latest eye test (a couple of weeks ago), a concerned optician had to do some extra check-ups to ensure that all was well with my eyes.. Stupidly I didn't think of the connection whilst at the optician's consultation, but only afterwards and answered 'no' to when he asked whether I'd experienced any double vision or other unusual eye symptoms. When I then re-read the pamhlet that came with the clomid package, it says to "stop taking clomid and see a doctor straight away if you notice any of the following serious side effects [...] blurring of vision or spots or flashes in front of the eyes. These symptoms usually get better but in some cases they may be permanent. Your doctor may send you for an eye examination." How did I miss that!!?? I am now almost convinced (in a hypochondriac sort of way) that I have permanently damaged my eyes!!

So because of these concerns I will try to ring Nurse Nelly (I promise you that is not hear real name, hut the best rendition I could think of) and share my worries. I'm sure they'll say it's all okay and make me go through IUI #2 which I am crazily still quite looking forward to, cause that's just how contrary I am these days..

And to anyone who may now be concerned about their clomid use, please know that these are deeply personal worries and linked both to my diagnosis, experiences and personal history. So I hope I haven't put anyone off, since I am aware that clomid can be super helpful for some people and has led to numerous pregnancies. I'm just not sure it's the drug for me.

Endo Pain

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 5 April 2014 0 comments

Pre-warning: this post is full of TMI material that some people may find too personal to be shared on a blog, so proceed with caution if you get grossed out by frank talk about sex..

Period pain, I am sure, is something that most endo sufferers are familiar with. Since my op, I have noticed reduced levels of period pain, to the point where I can actually manage without pain meds (most of the time). I used to have to load myself up with pain meds in my youth and am pretty angry that no one ever suggested to me that I might be suffering from symptoms of endo. It was just always brushed off as 'normal', but apparently, now that I have done my reading on the matter, period pain is not 'natural' or 'normal' at all and there are women out there who can carry on with their daily lives almost unaffected during their period, because it just isn't that painful. It's great to know with hind-sight that I wasn't just a wimp or exaggerator, but that my pain was worse than the norm..

But, as said, the pain is not so bad anymore, which is great news and I am hoping that thanks to the surgery and the endo diet (that I am almost, sort of, mostly following), I can keep it that way. I am a little worried that all this Clomid I am taking for the IUIs might be making my endo grow back with a vengeance, since my most recent period has been a real blood fest (but more on that in a different post).

Pain during sex - another warning sign that I should have taken more notice of was the fact that I experienced pain during sex regularly. In the first instance I thought it was because I was still quite unexperienced when I met hubby and thought that things were just a little 'tight down there' and that I would 'expand' more with practice. But as the pains kept on persisting I was sort of hoping that something else might be wrong to explain it all. I did mainly put it down (and here I expose my ignorance) to me being quite small and hubby being quite large (in all sorts of ways) and thought that we might just be a bit 'incompatible' in terms of the parts that needed to fit together.

Little did I know back then that the vag can actually expand to quite a number of inches in lenght when aroused, so that although hubs may be large, he's not ginormous and therefore I should be able to accommodate him quite happily and without any accomppanying pain. I also somehow thought that I was exaggerating the pain again and that perhaps discomfort during sex is just one of those things that women experience all the time, but don't talk about.. I mean it's not exactly something that I've brought up in conversation with friends. I think there is some level of shame attached - like there must be something wrong with me to not be able to completely enjoy sex like normal people do. So there were a lot of confused and complicated feelings in the mix for me and because it was just also so 'normal' for me, it became something I didn't think about too much. It just was what it was.

But then I had my lap and sex after the op was a revelation - no pain. Nada. I cried. I don't think I'd realised how much sex and the expectation of pain had become intertwined in my brain and how normalised the pain had become. Anyone reading this, please do get yourselves checked up, if sex is painful for you (especially deep penetration, even when you are fully aroused). Pain during sex is not normal, nor should it ever be accepted as such!

The pain has since come back gradually and I don't think it'll necessarily ever go away. Some times it's better, other times it's worse, there doesn't seem to always be any rhyme or reason. However, during ovulation my pelvic region appears to be particularly pain-prone, which obviously adds insult to injury and makes baby making even more of a challenge.

And hubby being the sensitive soul (thank goodness) that he is, finds it really difficult to continue thrusting (which he obviously needs to do in order to come), if he can tell that I'm in pain, so this is how it normally goes:

Things start off nice and pleasurable, and we have a bit of a good ride together (and Hubs is no '60 second wonder' more of a 'two hour stamina stallion'), but then after a while (and normally a few position changes later) I start experiencing some pain. By changing positions I can normally stave it off for a while, but then there does come a point when I just start thinking 'please come, please come, please come'. By this time hubs has normally noticed that I am in pain, which has killed his mood somewhat, so he finds it  even more difficult to finish off (as if there wasn't already enough pressure on him to get his little guys introduced to Miss Egg).

A bit of a mood killer that is and often ends in both of us sore and sick and tired and unable to actually cross the finish line. I mean, only in TTC sex does this ever even become an issue - in the past we managed, because I was just able to help hubby finish off by hand if needed, and everyone was happy - not so when TCC'ing. Every session's sucess is measured by whether or not sperm reached fallopian tubes. How twisted is that!?

We've become somewhat better at working around this, trying different positions, different angles, different depths of penetration, brining in toys etc. It's work in progress, and we are hopefully getting there. But there are still times when we just have to give up the ghost and if it's ovulation time, that really smarts. Just the thought of having to forgo the chance of conceiving is awful, but is it really worth putting us both in an even worse mood and actually making sex an unpleasant event that both of us will dread? I don't think so (although at the time I am often the one to insist that we carry on). I think the only thing that will make this problem truly go away is pregnancy or the decision to stop TTCing. And at the moment we are just not there yet. Or maybe we will give up trying at some point and just wait for the fertility treatments (because let me tell you the last IUI did take the pressure off almightily and helped us actually enjoy sex again).

It just angers me that this awful disease has the power to rob us of pain free and pleasurable sex. I am so envious of people who won't even understand what pain during sex means or don't have to wonder whether sex will yet again end in tears. The two just shouldn't mix (unless your into S&M) and yet that is the reality of our sex life and something we need to work around.

One thing I found when researching painful intercourse was this contraption:

ComeClose - a cushioned 'spacer'


Come close... Has anyone tried it? It's meant to reduce the pain of collision dyspareunia that is caused by deep penetration (that can be caused by conditions such as endometriosis). I'm contemplating on buying one but at £24.99 (+ £5.00 for delivery) it's quite dear.. But then again, pain-free sex surely is priceless..?

I had a lovely birthday, I really did. Baby or no baby, I decided to enjoy my day. It was nothing grand, just a bit of chilling with the hubby, pancakes for breakfast, a nice meal in a restaurant, a lovely film at the local cinema (Wes Andersen's The Grand Budapest Hotel, I warmly recommend to anyone who liked The Royal Tenenbaums), cards, flowers and birthday wishes via text, just the way I like it.

And then to top it all, I got this:

(Please excuse the Lidl bag and other junk - this room is our work in progress)

I'd seen this little rug a few years back in the window of a local carpet shop (in different turquoise colour) and had loved it. Then it disappeared before I got a chance to enquire about it, so I started a hunt on the internet, but these little gems seemed to be hard to come by. But my darling hubby had made a mental note and hunted one down for me for my birthday, only to find out that the ebay seller had sent him the wrong colour. Hubby was heart broken and feared I wouldn't like it, but it was the last one in stock. Well, turns out I love it all the same. It doesn't quite match the colour scheme of where I'd planned it would go (near the front door), but it fits perfectly in what we call our 'baby room' and brightens it up a lot, making it look a lot more like a baby room and much less like the junk yards that it's become, housing all our unwanted furniture etc. Obviously we'll be buggered if we end up having a baby boy, or we'll just have a baby boy who will learn to love his pinks and russian dolls. Surely that's acceptable at this day and age..?

Anyway, that rug really brightens my day every time I see it and gives me a little bit more hope that one day the baby room will actually contain a real baby.

Overall, I've been feeling much happier and lighter of late. I think the approaching spring has had something to do with it; the increase in light and warmer weather. I did find this past winter particularly depressing and difficult and funnily enough I got into a real slump as soon as we were faced with starting the infertility treatments in Feb. It's funny how something that you have waited for so long can actually make you feel more scared and depressed. I think it just made me face the fact that we were nearing the end of the road, which was leading us closer to the possibility of finding out that we will never be able to have our own biological children.

I'm still not completely okay with that possibility, I mean, who would at this stage (and don't get me wrong, adoption is still very much on the cards if fertility treatments don't work, once we're done with mourning and working through all the heartache), but we had a really good, honest and much needed chat about it all with hubby (during my worst bout of PMS, may I add - go us!), which left me feeling much better about it, much clearer about my feelings, fears and hesitations.

What became clear during that chat was that there is a part of me that does not want to adopt, really doesn't. There are fears about 'what if I don't like the child or manage to bond with him/her' (I know, any adoption agencies, please look away now, because these are just fears that I need to talk through!), what if the child's difficult background (e.g. neglect and / or abuse) will manifest in behaviours that are really challenging to deal with, is that the kind of family life that I want? (I've mentioned this before, I work in the social care field, and I love it, but would I want that to sort of 'bleed into' my family life, which I consider my sanctuary from the chaotic and often very dysfunctional scenarios that I am faced with daily.)

And would I want to 'share' my children with the biological parents and grandparents? I've read a bit about open adoptions and the benefits that this more modern approach has on children, but there is a part of me that just screams 'no'. And maybe that is just a childish and selfish part of me, that hasn't quite learnt to share yet, that will just have to get over it. But I am quite a private person (yeah, I know, this blog kind of flies at the face of it, although I am trying to remain as anonymous as I can) and I choose my friends and those who I allow into my life quite carefully. And to have to open up that circle to people I don't know, people who have not been able to look after their children and then extend a welcome to them, too.. I fear I might not be able to do that..

It's funny because just this week in a small group that I attend monthly, we discussed the idea of mercy and I found the concept quite hard to grasp in the modern age (like, I can totally get the 'have mercy on me' cries of indebted people in the first century, for example, but nowadays - how would mercy manifest itself, was my question), but perhaps this would be one of those instance where mercy would be required, when 'sharing' children through open adoption (although the word mercy still leaves me feeling a bit, "oh, yes, I'll have mercy on you because I'm much better than you" - perhaps the mercy has to be mutual from both sides). But anyway, I just don't know if I'm there yet. I don't know if I'm big enough to not judge people who have had to give their children up for adoption for one reason or another and not feel bitter on behalf of my adopted child, etc. etc. Perhaps these issues are much more difficult to deal with in the abstract than they will be when it's real and when there are actually real people involved?

Or maybe it will be harder. I mean how do you deal with potential jealousies and potential pettiness? What if the people involved just aren't very nice, what if I don't entrust them to have access to 'my' child? What if the parent relationships (between biological and adoptive parents) go all wrong..? I don't know. I suppose these are the questions to discuss with adoption agencies. Or if anyone reading has any real life experiences, please chip in, because I just really don't have a clue..

I guess what I am trying to say is that when people say 'just adopt', they haven't got the foggiest on what is actually involved and at stake when it comes to the messiness of real-life adoptions (or maybe it is always neat and rosy-smelling, although I think not). And I just don't know whether I am ready or right for it. 

And yet this potential future looms large before me; a future that will not (in many ways) be of my own choosing, but just sort of thrust upon us. And yet the thought of a life without children is even more harrowing. I just wish I knew which future (the biological or the adopted) I should be preparing for. So I guess what I am trying to do, is to prepare myself a bit for both without getting myself too tied up in knots.. (yeah, not doing so well with that here..)

So there we go, I've managed to get myself all misty eyed again. But I guess that's what this blog was always meant to be about, a space for myself for honest reflection. Like a therapist's room without the therapist, or perhaps all you readers are my therapists of sort. I will entrust you with my feelings and have faith that you will have empathy for me. Because I don't think these feelings and thoughts make me a bad person, just human grappling with some pretty big issues. And if my grappling will help someone else in their grappling, then the better.

But as for now, I am aiming for happiness.

I cannot live my life, this precious and fairly fleeting life, feeling miserable just because I don't have everything I would like right now. So I leave you, dear readers, with this little poem that I found a few years back hanging up in my MIL's staircase, which I still love (the poem, not my MIL's staircase) to this day:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, 
even the dull and ignorant; for they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and 
disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
 But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life
 keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
 it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(© Max Ehrmann 1927)