So…a blog. Didn’t see this coming.

unnamedFor those who don’t have a clue who I am, my name is Keeley and I am a 39 year old Producer, who lives in East London (/ Essex border) with her gorgeous husband, aka Dwighty.

Some people know about our journey, others don’t but probably suspect/ assume, so I decided to have a go at writing this blog.  Not only to help me work through this strange, confusing, and hopefully exciting period in our lives, but also in the hope that by sharing my experiences I might help someone else feel something, something that resonates with them in some way, hopefully. There are people out there going through stuff good and bad, and it’s good to know that we aren’t all going mad and feeling all these things. Right?!

I know it can be a very sensitive subject, and a private one, but personally I’ve found it so much more liberating being completely open about our situation. One, I’m too old for people not to ask the bloody question, ” so how many kids do you have?”, or to completely avoid it as they assume (rightly or wrongly) something must be wrong for it to  have been so long and not have any, when we are very open about wanting the little blighters! Two, it saves a hell of a lot of exhausting lying about our alcohol intake and refusing social invitations, when we would always clearly go to anything and everything!  It just makes it all easier. The whole thing is stressful enough without lying to everyone you give a shit about.
There are a lot of amazing women writing about being a mum and all that that entails, from the challenge of life itself changing, to the much needed glass of vino, (I mean who doesn’t need that, kids or no kids!). But as I was searching around, there didn’t seem to be many writing or sharing about actually trying to be a mum in the first place. So here we go…
This is my first ever blog (it’s quite scary!),  and I’m still getting to grips with it all (ha technically that is, sorry I know they are supposed to be pretty straightforward!), but the aim is to share past and current experiences, not only of fertility treatment but the rest of life that goes with it. Don’t worry it won’t be all serious stuff, hopefully some light hearted humour will help!

Hopefully someone, somewhere, might find something in it for them. If not… haha, it’s going to be like therapy for me 🙂

K x

Limboland.

LIMBOimage

No, not the homeland of the 60s dance sensation, but one of the most frustrating places to visit whilst going through fertility treatment, made even more so as it’s a somewhere you visit often! I’ve got a bloody loyalty card to the place.

This is where we have been for the last few weeks, which I guess explains the slight radio silence… unusual for me!

After suffering the disappointment, we rode the wave of positivity and moving on, enjoying spending time with friends and family, partaking in some fine wine and just trying to get back to some sort of “normal”.

HAHA and then reality came crashing in! A couple of weeks after the “call”, meltdown occurred:)

I guess it was pretty expected, but it wasn’t expected from me. I think one of the most difficult aspects of this whole journey is time. It’s impossible to manage, impossible to predict and a nightmare to try and negotiate.

I think suddenly the realisation that we had to go through all of this again, and that we have no idea how long this might go on for was overwhelming, and consequently made me feel sort of directionless. On top of this, we still had to wait for our follow up debrief appointment with the clinic, and this happened about 10 days ago (three weeks after the “call”), which again felt like an eternity. I think that the wait was just driving me mad, as at that point there was no plan. I had no sense of what was coming next or when, and that is just really hard.

After planning for so long, it’s hard to not have a plan, especially for someone like me whose whole job used to basically be making a plan!

Alongside this was the fact that we really had no idea what they would say at that follow up appointment, I mean we thought we had an idea, but you never know!

And… we were kind of right on both counts. They too had been hopeful that this round would have worked, for all the same reasons that we did, and there is still no explanation as to why it didn’t. I think this is what some don’t really realise about IVF, and indeed is hard even when you do, that when that embryo goes back in there is nothing “medically” that they can do to ensure success. Nature has to takeover, as you would of course want it to, but it’s hard to accept that you can control (to an extent), everything up to that point, and then you just can’t! And that there is no way of tracking what happens to that little embryo on it’s 10-14 day journey to implantation or not. However, what was discussed was investigating other “possibilities” for the reasons for it not working, which was music to our ears. It was so lovely to hear that they didn’t just want to take our money and go again in blind hope, but they are continually searching for reasons as to why it isn’t happening and one of these might be a genetic chromosome defect. One explanation is that perhaps mine or Dwighty’s chromsomes might be “translocating” (oh yes), and therefore throwing off the balance of those chromosomes and consequently creating a genetic defect whereby the embryo becomes “unviable”. Yeah I know right???!! This is basically a blood test, although they can also perform this test on embryos before they are transferred, but there are more risks involved as they are having to “disturb” the embryo to get the genetic information which they like to avoid, so it makes sense.

If this is the case then this isn’t good news for us, as it means that treatment we are currently following (IVF) would be futile, and although it is very rare for this to be the case, it’s still a possibility. SO… we are currently having our bloods screened for this very scenario, another process that takes 4-6 weeks, so just in time for Christmas! Will either be a great or a shit Christmas present! Super!

If they come back negative, then at least this is another thing we can rule out as being the reason we haven’t fallen pregnant again, which is great, and gives us hope to keep going! I will then have my immunes tested again, to see how my friendly Cytokines are behaving, and if they are all good, we could go again from January, which is exciting (along with the usual trepidation). If it’s positive… we have to completely reassess. We aren’t going there yet.

For now we are keeping everything crossed that this is just a formality, and that the IVF train will be back in full motion in the New Year…Bring it!

So the positivity is back, because there is a plan, and who doesn’t love a plan!?!

K x

 

Managing disappointment… again

 

e622989cdf59b950e6703d86452ce1fe--keep-going-so-true

I’m not usually one for posting motivational quotes but I found this and it definitely resonated with me. I also just found it really tricky to find an image to go with this post…HAHA no formula or filter for Instagram for this:)

One of the most exhausting aspects of this wonderful process is picking yourself up after a setback. This is where we find ourselves again…unfortunately over the weekend we had our pregnancy test and got that dreaded phone call to tell us “we are sorry but the result is negative”.

As I answered the phone, whilst pondering over a pair of trainers in New Balance on Oxford St, the world fell silent as I heard those very painful words. I closed my eyes and shook my head, as Dwighty looked on helpless and tried to get rid of a slightly shocked shop assistant (poor girl!). We made a quick exit and just stood and hugged each other outside, as the rest of the Saturday shoppers went about their business, oblivious to what we were going through. It’s always a surreal ten minutes straight after “the call”, you are processing the information and working out how you feel, but equally you go a bit numb and it’s very difficult to make any decisions. Luckily we have a pretty standard strategy (having had to deal with this a few times!), which is wander around town, often partake in a glass of something, find some gorgeous bites to eat and then find somewhere else until we feel we should go home (more often that not after too many glasses, which was certainly the case this time). Might not be the right answer, and isn’t everyone’s way of dealing with things, but it’s ours. Fact – I have not missed hangovers!!

As we are gluttons for punishment, you’d think that getting bad news is something we are used to, and it’s true to an extent that we are conditioned to it, and have learnt how to manage this, but it’s still shit. Mostly because, although we never get ahead of ourselves as we know how cruel this friend of ours is, we just thought this was our time. I genuinely felt like this time was different, it felt more calm, more positive (mentally and scientifically) and for f*cks sake it’s our bloody turn!

But the reality is, IVF is a cruel bastard, and it wasn’t our time…YET! As we wandered the streets of London, we chatted a lot about how we felt. Obviously we are incredibly sad, but also in a way we are already prepared for the next phase. This isn’t supposed to sound harsh, and some people might be dubious in that it is recommended that you “grieve” and accept it before you move on. But I honestly feel like now I’m just some sort of social / medical experiment, and that this is my lot in life, to keep going and keep going and not give up. I mean at least it gives me something else to write about, right?! The thought of having to go through this again is exhausting yet also exciting, because it gives us hope.

We won’t really know what the next steps are until we have our “debrief” consultation in a couple of weeks, but we kind of know what to expect ie “it’s a numbers game, keep going” (at least that’s the hope!). But I know we will take whatever advice they give us and know it’s what’s best for us, and not be stubborn about “just making this work”, and ensure that we are ready.

Some things I’ve learnt this time round (and had to remind myself of from before):

  • Having a “calm” frame of mind and the “space” to be able to commit to the process has been invaluable. Even if sometimes you feel like your brain will explode.
  • That you have to put faith in the process, even when it doesn’t work out, you just have to be aware of the odds and play them.
  • Trying to divorce emotion from the facts, however desperate we are for it to work and cold it sounds, is really the best way to get through this.
  • To want to scream at the unfairness of it all, is ok and really important. Anger, frustration and sadness will all play their part, but you get to judge how much attention they get.
  • That more and more I believe that, “every woman who goes through IVF is freaking WARRIOR!” (I can thank my cousin for finding that gem!)
  • We have to keep remembering that this is a learning process and we have to take the things that went well and add to them, that the more they know about both of us and the way we react to treatment, the more we can inform the next round.
  • Don’t dwell on the “what ifs”, it will drive you bloody mad.
  • It’s really easy to beat yourself up, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve apologised to Dwighty. Because whatever you know the truth to be, that it is not your fault, it doesn’t stop you thinking it.
  • Oh and Dwighty’s legend status continues…

Be good to yourself, enjoy the things you love doing, and just get ready… ding ding back in for another round!

It’s our anniversary this week, so for the first time in a couple of years, we are actually able to celebrate and spoil ourselves! (Rather then being under anaesthetic!). So we are taking ourselves away for a country break, donning the walking shoes and Barbours (in true “city” style) to do some good yomping, eat good food, sit by cosy fires and remind ourselves that we are pretty awesome!

 

K x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other halves…

10570378_10152834685736232_4901906009255597293_n

You might be the one injecting yourself left, right and centre, but these guys are the ones who put up with us; who offer us their unwavering support and more often than not pick us up when we aren’t feeling like the superhero we feel we need to be. This doesn’t have to be a husband, wife, or partner, just someone who is going through this journey with you. And I hope you do have someone, it’s really important to have strong emotional support during this fun game of fertility roulette!

I actually think that sometimes it is more difficult for the partner than it is for you. Bear with me… but you are in control of your schedule, your injections (for the most part). You are the “patient”, and the focus of every appointment and phone call, and it can be a very singular role. It’s hard not to become a little self -obsessed by your own gripes, bruises, headaches and nausea! BUT, and I think this is really important, the “other half” should never be forgotten.

They can’t take the injection for you, but they wish they could.

They don’t understand truly how you feel, but they wish they did.

They want everything to work as much as you do, but there is nothing they can do to make that a guarantee, but they wish they could.

I think that sense of helplessness can be quite overwhelming at times. I mean I feel it, so it makes even more sense that they should too.

If we are honest, and it’s hard to admit, it’s really hard to feel like this isn’t just happening to you “the patient”, because that is exactly who it is happening to. It’s easy for people to say “yeah here for whatever you need”, “anything I can do”, and the reality is there is nothing physically that anyone can do for you, they can’t take that injection (ie the pain), or have that tenth scan. However, what they can do and what is even more important, is just be there for you, understand that you feel like crap, or equally ride the wave of a really good day of hormone induced hilarity.

I can only speak from my experience, which is obviously with my husband, and I can honestly say I couldn’t do this without him! I mean, obviously I couldn’t biologically,  but you know what I mean. I’m a lucky lucky lady, in that Dwighty is a general all round legend in most situations, and this has proved no different. I know it kills him when I cry after a particularly shitty injection, but he will always just hold me and tell me how brave I am. He puts up with me saying how tired I am (even when he’s the one who has been at work all day!), or moaning about how bloated and fat I feel, by just listening to me rant and reassuring me that it’s all normal… or just making me a cup of tea (decaf obvs!). And don’t get me wrong, I love being looked after, but I have to remember that he is going through this too.

Dwighty really wants to be a dad, and the fact is that he will make the most incredible dad, and I want that to start as soon as possible. But as the male in this process, the feeling of helpessness in certain parts of the process, I can only imagine. Aside from making sure your “boys” are in tip- top condition (and this is super important believe me, it’s not all the woman’s body that contributes to this process working!), what else can you do? Dwighty went along with my health kick recipes, my ban on “refined sugar”, protein with every meal, a fascinating array of quinoa variations and broccoli rice, alongside my militant approach to alcohol (although the odd IPA or shandy did creep in but hey we are all human!). But, he did it because he knew that ultimately it was the best thing for both of us, physically and mentally, and also because doing it together was really important. You are in this together, and any elements that can make you feel closer to each other as part of the process is, in my opinion, really important.

I also think god bless them… do you know how embarrassing it is to provide “a specimen” and then come out of a fairly uninspiring room (!), to a waiting room full of people, who all clearly know what you’ve just done?… I mean, come on that’s excruciating! A slight dip of the head and take your seat. I’m under anathaestic when I’m having my “bits” collected, blissfully unaware, but there is something so cold about that little pot and that brown paper bag! …Although you do have to laugh about it!

The one thing I think/ know that Dwighty wishes, is that he could just “fix” this. He is amazing at “fixing” things, whatever that might be; my inadequacy at general household technical maintenance, or him helping friends through tough times. Dwighty always knows exactly the right thing to say and do, but this isn’t something he can fix on his own. And I think that’s hard for anyone, but come on, especially for blokes. But we are in it together and it is a partnership, and has only made me love him more (sorry I know I know, but it’s true). This doesn’t always happen and can often really drive couples apart, which is so sad, but I can see why it’s possible. It’s brutal, unforgiving and more often than not a bit soul destroying.

It’s exhausting being the “strong one”, trust me I’ve been “that friend” for most of my life! And if you are really good at it, it is easy to forget that there are still a myriad of emotions and thoughts running through their heads that they don’t want to vocalise, because they don’t want to put any more pressure on you (that you already feel).

Just don’t forget to ask “how are you?”. It’s a really simple question but one that isn’t asked enough sometimes.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, that by no stretch of the imagination is this a walk in the park, but it is also not just about you (the woman, the patient), if you have someone else in your life that is on this journey too.

Be aware, be kind and talk!

…Oh, also obviously buy ridiculous things, cry without reason (you know what I mean) and demand you are the centre of the universe always… but just remember they should be able to do that too!

K xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping occupied…

Colouringbook
Those who have been through this process will know that the “two week wait” is a complete head f**k.
It’s all about trying to “not think” about what might happen, keep busy, but not too busy (cos that’s not good for you either).
Rest, but don’t rest too much.
Still going for blood tests, but that’s weirdly therapeutic and feels normal.
Keep injecting, and pretend that these ones don’t hurt like a bugger! They really do, along with the fact that your derriere swells slightly, and you feel like you’ve had implants… an area I need no help with! Oh and it makes sleeping a little uncomfortable; I’ve had to adjust my TV watching slump and even my walk is a slightly more gingerly stroll, rather than my purposeful “shopping” power walk.
I’ve decided the best strategy (for me), is active mornings, and chilled afternoons. I even succumbed to a little nap yesterday (unheard of for me)! Rather nice though!
So one of my “tools” this week, aside from some great reading (currently reading The Power by Naomi Alderman, which is fab), is a small amount of retail therapy (I am me after all) and some “mindful” colouring! hey why not!? I love colouring, and am chuffed it is now socially acceptable for adults 🙂
and on we go… come on little dudes.
K x

IVF SURVIVAL KIT

IVFSURVIVALKIT

I thought this might be useful for anyone about to start off on this journey. Be warned, there can be a LOT of waiting around, so it’s best to be prepared:)
1. WATER – you will be told this day after day after day, but you have to drink shed loads of water (2-3 litres per day – I actually end up drinking more because the drugs make me really thirsty), so I always carry a casual litre around with me! Hydrated eggs are happy eggs!
2. MILK – this doesn’t go for every clinic, but my clinic also tell you to drink 1 litre of Milk per day. I tend to try and get one pint down in the morning and another in the evening, but as a previous post has illustrated, a good old plastic carton is often found on my person.
3. COOL BAG – you don’t have to have this, although it does say to keep meds cool (I didn’t before, I just had them in a container in my bag), BUT I have to say this has been really useful this time round. Not only does it keep your meds at a good temperature, but is an organised way of keeping everything in one place. I restock mine daily with what is needed for that day, particularly during WEEK 1 of treatment.
4. Syringes/ Needles/ Vial openers – tonnes of them on your person at all times. Although I have never had to do say more than three injections in one go, it’s always good to keep more than you need so you are never caught short!
5. NOTEBOOK + PENS – best piece of advice ever. Whenever my clinic call, they say “do you have a piece of paper and a pen?”… well YES I DO, at all times! it’s really important to write everything down, not only so it’s clear in your head, but as a reference looking back. I also use mine to write down questions that I want to ask ahead of a scan or a consultation, it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed or that you are asking something silly, so it’s good to have a prompt.
6. KINDLE/ TABLET/ READING MATERIAL – godsend! Ensure enough material is downloaded already (prepare for lack of WIFI in clinics) so you can keep your mind occupied.
7. HEADPHONES – attach to the above;)
8. SNACKS – the guideline for diet is basically high protein, snacking little and often if you can. My go to is a healthy supple of almonds and the odd protein bar. Some days you do really feel hungrier than others, and some days you don’t feel like eating at all, but you really must.
9. EXTRA VITAMINS – this is a bit obvious, but important nonetheless. This will vary person to person, as each of us have our own needs, but clearly FOLIC ACID is a must. During my last cycle, my VIT D levels were a little low so iv’e been taking them ever since and seem to be doing the trick (I suggest more holidays is the answer, but hey I’ll take it where I can get it).
10. A SENSE OF HUMOUR AND A SMILE – you can’t pretend that this isn’t a stressful, emotional, slightly exhausting and trying process, BUT you do have to try and relax and take it in your stride. Easier said then done, I know, but finding the humour where you can and smiling, not just at others but for yourself, I would say are pretty damn important.

 

K x

A little more brutal than I remember…

 

unnamed1

 

I’ve realised that perhaps IVF is a little like people say childbirth is ie you forget what it was actually like, so that you do it again! I thought the photo was apt, as although I’ve always wanted to buy something from @Muthahood, I always felt a bit like a fraud, because I’m not actually a mum yet. But I’ve realised that all the women and couples going through IVF epitomise exactly what this sweatshirt says, and everyone needs a positive slogan in their life

To give this some sort of context, I thought I would give a little run down on what I’ve been pouring into my body to help mini Dwighty along, and how it makes you feel.

The first week of the treatment/ cycle that I am on, which is called a FLARE/ Natural cycle, is pretty straightforward, as these things go. It means I didn’t have to take any drugs prior to the first day of my cycle. Often some people have to down regulate first which means suppressing your natural cycle, so that the drugs can then takeover and determine when your cycle begins.

So for the last week or so I have been on a lovely cocktail mix of the following, everyday more or less:

  • Fostimon – which is a form of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • Merional – is also used as part of the hormone treatment for stimulating ovaries. (FSH & LH)
  • Cetrotide – is a synthetic form of a natural hormone that blocks ovulation. This prevents a premature surge of LH (Luteinising Hormone – which is the hormone that ultimately results in the release of the egg from the ovary) and allows the follicles to develop fully. This is the one that they seem to believe you have to take at 5am!
  • Aspirin – thins the blood and this can help in improving the blood flow to the lining of the uterus, which may help improve the chances of implantation.
  • Clexane – also helps to thin your blood and works by stopping blood clots forming and improving blood flow to the uterus and lining, and in turn helping with implantation. Anything sounds good!
  • Levothyroxine – another little gem to help the whole process and my immunes. Thyroxine controls how much energy your body uses.
  • Dexamethasone – is a steroid and an effective way of treating inflammation in the body and this also may improve implantation. I’ll take that thankyou!
  • Cheeky course of antibiotics after my cyst aspiration, which gave me some lovely side effects, that don’t need to be elaborated upon!

 

Straightforward does still mean: Cetrotide injection 5am; tablets in the morning before I leave the house; 7.30am Blood Test; Fostimon/ Merional injections when they “call” after my bloods have been screened (which can often be straight away, I was in the loo in John Lewis the other day!), and Clexane 12 hours after my aspirin.

You have to carry your medication around with you all the time, hence my “walking pharmacy” analogy, mine is in a fetching Thermos cool bag. The best advice I was ever given is to carry a notebook around with you as well, so you can note down all the instructions correctly, as often there is more than one and the information can be a bit overwhelming/ confusing. Even when you do though, you still doubt yourself as to whether you have taken the right drugs at the right time, or forgotten one completely! You go into automatic pilot, which is good in many ways so you don’t think about it all too much, but it doesn’t help your sense of self-questioning at any moment of the day.

The second week is always a little more “hanging around”… still 5am injection, 7.30 blood test, but then also a scan…then wait for blood results, take medication and usually have a repeat blood test and repeat scan, and then get the call with your medication! Along with the drugs from last week that continue, this week has also involved:

  • IVIG infusion (and a side of Benadryl for any side effects) – this is basically concentrated human immunoglobulin, which I guess when you think about it, is sort of bizarre…but is believed to be very beneficial for those with immune issues in subfertility/ pregnancy and reduces natural killer cells. It takes about 2.5hrs for the infusion and although you desperately just want to have a good kip, it’s a time to get stuck into a good book or have a chat with the person next to you who is also hooked up!
  • Oh and of course THE TRIGGER injection (this time it was Gonasi) – once the follicles get to a particular size, this then stimulates the final maturation and ovulation of the eggs, and eggs are then collected 34 to 37 hours later.

 

This time round the drugs have definitely taken more effect than I remember from previous rounds, so it’s just as well I’m not at bloody work, as not sure how I would function! But then I know that before, half my energy came from pure adrenaline, which is pretty much how I managed to do my job half the time! (and the love of course;))

Fortunately for Dwighty there haven’t been any meltdowns or tears, just a lot of “I’m so tired”… it’s been a big one though, particularly in the last four/ five days, essentially as soon as those pesky 5am injections started and the alarm goes off at 4.50, and you want to cry a little inside. My new bedtime is around 9pm!

I’ve felt nauseous this time too, and light headed. Maybe I did before??? These are really common side effects, along with feeling bloated (massive tick, struggling to fit into my jeans!), headaches (tick), and general lower abdominal niggling as your ovaries basically inflate (tick)! Although, as ever, I’m pretty lucky I think, in that none of my side effects have been too severe or made me feel very very unwell.

It’s funny I guess that when you are trying naturally, you don’t then launch into a conversation with friends about the details: how many times you had sex that week, what stage of ovulation you are at, or what consistency your cervical mucus might be! Yet with IVF, the minutiae of detail that you know about your body, what stage it is currently at and how it is reacting, is quite extraordinary. Sometimes I often feel it’s quite good in that it distracts from what is actually going on… the science creates a smoke screen for the fact that you are literally preparing your body to create and then accept a cluster of little cells, that will ultimately become your baby (all things being well). BONKERS! It still amazes me how this works, and how incredible it actually is.

So the next stage is a bit of a head f*ck. We’ve triggered… which means we are back tomorrow to collect the eggs and get the little blighters fertilised! (Dwighty enter stage left;)). I think for me this is one of the hardest parts, when you wait for the call from the embryologist to let you know if any eggs have fertilised and how they are doing! What if they haven’t? What if they have, but aren’t good enough? If they are, how many? What grade are they? Honestly it makes your head spin. You are then called every 24hrs with a progress update and an indication of when you are then going to transfer any embryos back in! I have to admit to becoming slightly numb at this juncture, as there is literally nothing you can do to affect the outcome. Science and nature completely take over at this point, and as the old saying goes “what will be, will be”. I think that that is something I have definitely had to come to terms with so far, and get others to understand. The fact that this isn’t a given, that there is no guarantee, and we are playing a very unfair game of Russian roulette…but that’s exactly what it is.

By the way this isn’t suppose to try and illicit any sympathy, it’s more just to explain what is actually involved in the process for those that might not be aware (well at my clinic anyway, and mine is extreme, and every treatment is different and very personal both to the person and to the clinic involved). I think it’s really hard to understand if you haven’t been through it, and that’s not a slight on anyone as I wish we didn’t have to, but I think it really is important for there to be an awareness around the commitment and the level of “stuff” that is going on, whilst you are trying to “relax” and “not think about it too much”! And to hopefully explain why, it’s sometimes hard to keep this all to yourself and still continue living your “normal life”. This process doesn’t equate to normal, but it becomes your own sort of normal.

Fingers crossed!

 

X

 

 

Fancy a drink…

Just a bit!

IMG_4567

 

Even though the end game is clearly the best incentive ever at the moment to being tee total, it doesn’t make it necessarily any easier. Our social lives in part have always revolved around finding the next fantastic restaurant or bar, enjoying great food and the drinks that go with it (who doesn’t love a tasting menu with some fabulous wine pairings?!?). So I think when you make a conscious decision to curb the yearnings for a lovely pinot noir or a pint of IPA, you tend to remove yourselves from social situations, ie remove the temptation, or at least we do. It makes us sound ridiculously dependent, and that’s not it at all, because actually not drinking is bloody marvellous, but it does make you rethink how you behave in those situations or indeed how you want to feel.

Ironically, our first and only pregnancy to date, we think was fuelled by a weekend of Pinxtos and fine wine in San Sebastian, but I know, and indeed consultants the breadth of London have told us, that low alcohol intake is mandatory (which equates to zero for me, due to astonishing lack of willpower!) Which is pretty annoying when everyone you know basically got pregnant the night they went on their biggest bender of the year… that’s what everyone says… just relax, have a drink, don’t worry too much about it. But I do, and so why risk it. I also think because I know, or at least I’m told, that elements of my natural killer cells can be high, then my rational thought is, why put more “alien” things in my body for my body to fight, if it’s already trying to fight to keep this little thing viable (ugh that’s an ugly word, but one that is used a lot in fertility!).

I know we should all probably be those people who can enjoy a good social occasion without the need for alcohol, but unlike the current generation of 18+yr olds who eschew a pint for an hour in the gym, that’s just how my peer group grew up, and we had a bloody good time doing it. However, as my friends and I enter our early 40s, it’s become more apparent to me that that’s exactly what people need these days. Maybe it’s because we don’t see our friends as much as we did when we were all out every weekend. Perhaps it’s because what everyone feels like they need, actually more like deserve, is a nice couple of glasses to wash away the week, or to remove themselves from the argument ensuing between their 6yr and 4yr olds. I definitely know that stress plays a part and makes these decisions easier for all of us, plus the fact that having a few drinks is really good fun! By the way, I’m not saying it’s the answer by any stretch of the imagination; there are things that definitely do NOT need addressing through alcohol or dependency of any description, but we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t say it feels like it helps now and again! What’s been really interesting is that a lot of my friends, who would always usually turn to a glass or five to decompress from stressful situations, have realised that actually it just serves to fuel whatever current anxiety is top of the list, rather than making them feel better. Clearly that is a symptom of alcohol, but one that is a little hard to admit, let alone accept!:)

Mine is less a need, than I just really enjoy a glass or two (in the loosest sense), always have done! I love the taste of a glass of fine white wine, or a scrumptious G&T, and all their variations and current pretentions. We also all know it gives us a little more confidence or a sense of ease, and that’s ok in my books, but as they say all in moderation.
However, it is curious to admit that at the moment, it’s just really hard being the non- drinking ones in a crowd. Friends and I, and indeed Dwighty and I, have always enjoyed debriefing over some G&Ts or a few beers in the pub, or putting the world to rights over dinner in the company of a sumptuous red. It used to be, right or wrong, the way that I decompressed after a long week in advertising (and usually mid week too!). I always knew that the right thing to do after a long week would be to have a relaxing weekend, but inevitably that relaxation centred around a night out with friends, and a Sunday roast in the pub with a couple of bottles of red! I’m not saying this is true of everybody, I just think that most of my peer group, friends and family would say the same.

I think what I’m learning at the moment, is that you still have to put yourself out there, sober in a land of merriness, and the more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you feel. Weekends have become markedly longer, and active! Long walks in the forest on a Saturday or Sunday morning, have taken the place of watching Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch for hours on end with a hangover, and we bloody love it. Don’t get me wrong, 10pm I’m out of that pub. As the rest of the party descend into slightly more than tipsy, my patience levels start to reduce slightly, and as we all know a boozy conversation operates on a different plane to most.

Some might say, well wait till your pregnant and then you’ll know what missing a drink feels like. But to be honest, then I’ll be pregnant and the last thing I will care about is a drink, as it will be the thing we’ve always wanted, and the reason we have put our “good living” on hold. Hey, not going to lie and say I won’t really be looking forward to some bubbles at the end of it!

Reading this back, makes me sound like some obsessed lush! Haha back in the day I probably was, not obsessed, but definitely a lush (in a good way), but I make no apologies for that. However, I know having changed our lifestyle, it has definitely contributed positively to the process we are in, and that I am pretty confident about.

As they say, the rollercoaster of fertility drives you to different emotions, and ironically when something doesn’t go your way, all you want to do is have a bloody great big drink! 🙂

 

x