Anxiety · Change · Counselling · Experience · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · Self Acceptance

Anxiety Strikes!

I’d say I’ve always been an anxious person & I used to feel real bouts of anxiety, but mainly over social situations. As time has gone on I’d say my anxieties have evolved into more small but constant worries, especially since our battle with infertility.

Over the past two weeks I’d say this constant niggle is getting worse & I know exactly why, it’s because I’ve got something big coming up, but people who see me in my day-to-day life won’t know that. They’ll probably see me fussing over something small or, if they look closely, using compulsive repetition to regain some degree of control in my life. I’m also finding that smaller problems feel like mountains because my stress threshold is very low right now.

The funny thing is, I’m 100% aware of what I’m doing & how I’m feeling, but that doesn’t mean I can stop it. However, next week I have an appointment with my counsellor & I’m hoping to get some more tips on how to manage my symptoms of anxiety.

Life is tough right now, I’ve got a lot of weight on my shoulders that I could do without, but I’m learning that small changes now will help alleviate the pressure in the future & the smaller problems I encounter will become more manageable.

I’ve always felt a natural instinct to fight my feelings of anxiety, but lately I’ve learnt that you have to let them pass. So in my eyes I need to work on solutions to the problems I’m worrying about in order to prevent the symptoms I encounter rather than just focusing on those & adding to the weight on my shoulders… because essentially I end up worrying about how much I’m worrying!

xx Gem xx

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Anxiety · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · Love · miscarriage · PCOS · ttc

Am I ready?

So, 6 months ago we embarked upon the next stage of our journey… the IUI. I remember being so excited yet nervous, but I jumped in with both feet first & I like to think I smashed the process with massive positivity fists!

When we miscarried our baby I didn’t even want to think about trying again. I wanted that baby, my first baby… nothing else would ever compare, but they say time is a great healer & in most part it is.

I’ll never get over what happened, so when I spoke to my counsellor she said “stop trying to get over this, you just need to move forward”. Getting over something feels, to me, that I should be forgetting it whereas moving forward feels different… so here we are, mid-September & patiently waiting for my next cycle to start so we can do the whole thing all over again. But the big question is…

…am I ready?

The answer to that is a hazy one. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% ready, I still mourn the loss of our baby, but I know I must try… I owe it to our little one not to give up, I owe it to my husband & most of all I owe it to myself.

xx Gem xx

Change · Clomid · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · Self Acceptance · ttc

Babies Here, Babies There, Babies Everywhere!

It’s one of those things… like when a friend says they’re getting a new car which you’ve never heard of before, so they show you and suddenly you start seeing them everywhere. Parked on the street. Passing you on the road. Pulling up next to you in the supermarket. To me, and a vast majority of women trying to conceive, that’s exactly what it’s like with babies.

At first it was ok, sometimes frustrating to see other people having what I wanted, but I told myself that my time would come soon. That lasted a little while until the desperation started to kick in and along came the bitterness towards others with a family, pregnant women and new Mums pushing their little bundles of joy around the park in a brand new shiny pram. I just felt so alone. Every pregnancy announcement on social media was met with a huff and a rolling of the eyes. I started to avoid friends with children or those who were expecting one. I felt it was a dark time for me.

I feel I must point out though that never once did I wish that these people around me didn’t have what they have… it was purely envy over what they had, and a reminder of what I didn’t.

The cherry on top of the cake was when my best friend got pregnant. It suddenly felt so close to home, this wasn’t just someone I knew, this was my BEST FRIEND. This was having to go through her pregnancy with her. This was having to come to terms with the fact that she was getting what I wanted and so far my attitude towards people with this was bitter… and I couldn’t afford to have bitterness between myself and one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I cranked up the frequency of my counselling sessions and searched desperately for a way to drag myself out of this dark place. I had to use avoidance to start with. It pained me, but it was necessary. I then realised I had good days and bad days. There were days where I would want to soak up every ounce of pregnancy happiness, no matter that it wasn’t me experiencing it physically, then I had other days where I felt if anyone mentioned the word ‘pregnant’ to me I might just punch them in the face. It wasn’t a pretty time for me and I felt it was a very ugly version of myself.

THEN…

… about a month before my best friend was due, she went on maternity leave. We started to see a little more of each other on my days off and whilst out walking one day it hit me like a tonne of bricks – my best friend is having a baby that I get to cuddle, that I get to play with, that I get to laugh and joke and fall in love with. I even feel a bit teary now writing this, but that moment for me was an absolute game changer and has been my saving grace in how I now cope with infertility. Yes I have a deep desire for my own children, but in the meantime I get to explore and learn more about them and also have some extra time to mentally prepare myself for what the next chapter will bring… because there WILL be a next chapter, it may not come about in the way we would like, but we will have our family one day.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to pull myself out of that dark place and nuzzle myself deep into a positive state of mind. It sounds silly, but some days I feel so full of positive energy that I could physically explode. It’s kind of a bizarre state to be in, but I’m telling myself after being so negative for so long that I deserve a positivity overdose… it can’t hurt right?! I wish I had the recipe of my revelation to share with you all, to help those struggling with infertility cope with watching others experiencing your dreams, but I’m afraid I don’t. Whether it was the counselling or just that I simply couldn’t contain any more negativity, I have no idea… but I am so thankful to have found the strength to keep pushing forward, to keep my head in the game and to welcome any new challenges with a smile and determination.

This is MY life I am living, I do not want to spend it in a cloud of bad vibes and to look back one day to find I have regrets.

Clomid · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · ttc

Third Time Not So Lucky

Our third round of Clomid failed. We were so sure this month was our month. We did everything right, everything was perfectly timed and plenty of it too! I had a follicle tracking scan on day 12 of my cycle which showed a nice juicy follicle measuring 25mm, with another at 15mm and would you believe another at 11mm… my body really responds to this tiny little pill! I was ready to pop and with an imminent weekend away with Hubs we had no doubt that this was our month.

Well, what a load of shit that was.

I am writing to you on day two of a very painful, heavy and clot-filled period. At this moment in time I couldn’t feel any more low, depressed and exhausted. Three months of constant hormone alterations have worn me down. I worked so hard for months and months to get myself into a better mental state; I paid privately for counselling, I made sure I used positive exercises to lift me up and I roped in Hubs to identify times when I was struggling and get me back to the counsellor for a top up session. I was in a great place both physically and mentally… then came Clomid.

Hand on heart, I completely underestimated the power of this tiny tablet. I thought that taking the lowest dose for five days would be a breeze. I had the belief that because it was only 50mg, the lowest dose I was offered, it couldn’t possibly give me all of the side effects that countless women have coined as giving you the ‘Clomid crazies’. Well, the truth is that my body responded to the medication, so no matter what dose I was taking, I was getting those side effects. The hot flushes I could deal with, the thirst was no problem, even the odd mood swing was manageable… but after a while they started to become tough. My reactions to things became heightened… I wasn’t just sad, I was depressed; I wasn’t just happy, I was ecstatic; I wasn’t just angry, I was furious; and I wasn’t just tired, I was exhausted.

I still am.

I feel like I have lost myself right now, but I do see a tiny little glimmer of the true Gemma coming back through. I don’t know where she’s been or how long she’ll take to come back, but as soon as that period started something inside me shifted. The version of me I’ve been lately has been the one I used to be. I couldn’t handle my emotions and struggled through for years, so to come back to this place has been bloody scary. Of course, it’s not just this, it’s the fact that it’s still not working. Why aren’t we getting pregnant? I want to run to my doctor and stamp my feet, I want to scream at her and order her to make this work. Life isn’t like that of course, but this is JUST. NOT. FAIR. I toggle between anger and sadness over it, two very exhausting states of mind to be in.

Anyway, this month we’re having a Clomid break, timed perfectly not only for my own sanity but also to enable me to have a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This is where a dye is flushed through your fallopian tubes to see if they’re clear and possibly help clear them if partially blocked. I have done some research and am fully aware that a lot of women continue to take Clomid during this time, but I think after speaking to my Consultant at the Fertility Clinic about the way I am feeling, she felt it was time for a break. We have a follow up appointment next month where we will discuss the results and talk about the next step…

…you see there is always a next step.

Anxiety · Change · Clomid · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS

Blog Blog Blog

Someone brought my blog to my attention the other day… I really wanted to make a go of it, but just after I renewed my subscription a friend told me they didn’t think a blog would suit me. I stupidly took it to heart and stopped. Flash forward 6 months and finding myself faced with lots of ups and downs in life I’ve decided to dust off my keyboard and give it another bash. Who knows what will come of it… but even if no one reads it, I always find that writing things down proves to be a useful outlet for me.

Bringing you up to speed on what’s going on in my life right now… I am currently in the middle of my first round of fertility treatment. It sounds scary, but it’s only tablets. Clomifene (Clomid) to be specific. I want to do a post all about it, but for the moment I thought best not to start with such intensity.

I’ve always tried to keep my desire to have children on the back burner, it makes those negative tests slightly easier to deal with, but now we’re receiving help from the Fertility Clinic I feel I am able to let my hopes run wild… well, ish. It is extremely difficult to struggle with infertility. I sometimes feel I am such a ‘newb’ when it comes down to it as there are so many women out there going through way more than I am, but at the end of the day we all have our individual journeys. I can be such a pain in the bum when it comes to comparing myself to others, I always make myself feel inferior and that in itself doesn’t do anything for my self esteem. I started to notice a while back that I was becoming quite mentally ugly when it came to pregnancy… hear me out: can anyone relate to scrolling through facebook, seeing a pregnancy announcement and rolling your eyes? Or how about unfollowing people you like on social media because they’ve become pregnant and you can’t handle it? And here’s maybe the biggest one of all… not being able to be around your friends because seeing them happy with their babies makes it feel like someone has stabbed you in the heart with a rusty spike?

That is not the type of person I would ever aspire to be… but I already was. It crept upon me without notice and one day I took a long look in the mirror and decided enough was enough. I signed myself up for some counselling sessions and over several months I worked through my issues. Now, if you’re considering doing this and haven’t yet found the courage to, please let me give you that nudge to go for it… don’t expect immediate results, it takes time to form a bond with someone, but just giving 100% focus on myself for an hour every few weeks really did me the world of good. I have learnt to associate positivity with pregnancy. I choose to see each pregnancy announcement as another iron-clad piece of proof that I can remain to hope that this will happen for me. After several months of counselling I was ‘set free’ and if I choose to, which I have on a few occasions already, I just arrange a ‘top up’ session. Easy peasy! In fact, I have a session in the morning!

That’s probably enough rambling on for now, but if you’re keen to follow how my Clomid cycle is going, please head on over to my Instagram page.