Just a girl from Dublin, Ireland, living in southern Germany with my German husband blogging about my experiences.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Juggling act and living in limbo
Ask any couple going through infertility treatments and they will be able to tell you all about the many ways that it interferes with their lives. Whether it's dealing with the hormones and side effects, managing all the appointments, experiencing the emotional rollercoaster, giving up alcohol/caffeine/whatever, having to miss out on things to save money or not being able to plan much in advance, it becomes really difficult to juggle your life! I've a good friend who regrets how much her and her husband's lives were put on hold during all the time they were going through treatment. They barely went on any holidays together, certainly not flying anywhere so she didn't see her family who live abroad for years. I have always made an effort to try to still live my life as much as I can while going through all this. We postponed our second IVF cycle for instance so we could enjoy Christmas last year without the stress of it all and then later we postponed again so I could go on a family holiday and then for a wedding in Ireland at Easter. It was really nice at the time to take the break from it all and feel like myself again. Not to mention enjoying wine since I'd cut alcohol completely in the months leading up to and during IVF.
It hasn't been easy juggling it all though and I find it can be stressful trying to find a balance. Having to fit appointments around my job means sometimes having to get up crazy early followed by long waits at the doctor and then still having an eight plus hour day in the office. It meant not being able to take off as much time as I might have liked after my first IVF egg collection due to the stress of a work deadline which ended up being the same week! We have had holidays we would have liked to go on but didn't since we knew we would be going through treatment and needed to save money instead. We've had to cancel social events with friends on several occasions too. For instance a dinner and wine tasting that you had to buy tickets in advance for when I thought I might be pregnant by then. There was also a German festival event that was taking place during the IVF two week wait when according to my doctor I should avoid crowds to not risk picking up an infection so we stayed at home instead.
Other bloggers have commented that going through infertility feels like living in limbo land and I can relate to that! I don't belong with single friends who are out partying at the weekends because when you are trying to get pregnant you are supposed to quit alcohol and live super healthy. But I don't fit in with friends who are mothers either and when they all chat about their kids nonstop and plan play dates, I feel left out. Friends who are childfree by choice can be fun to hang out with, though it's still rare to find couples who don't want kids, and they generally can't relate to the lengths you are prepared to put yourself through to try to build a family. Other friends going through infertility are great as they totally get it. If they get pregnant though, of course you are delighted for them but it can leave you feeling left behind once again.
It's so difficult trying to plan anything. I mentioned that we have lots of things coming up over the next year such as weddings of family members and good friends. I would love to attend as much as possible but I'm nervous to book any flights until we know when we can begin treatment for the natural killer cells, how long it will take, and when we will be able to start IVF again. I'd love to go to Ireland over Christmas time but if I do manage to get an IVF transfer done by then, would it be crazy to fly in potentially early pregnancy? One friend said recently that me getting pregnant is the most important thing and I shouldn't think about any flights or trips. Another friend also told me if I were to fly and then had a miscarriage I would regret it! So are my priorities all wrong? Am I crazy to be trying to find some way to go ahead with IVF in November/December and still fly to Dublin at Christmas? If I were to get pregnant and I thought that it would be at risk then of course I would give up a holiday in Ireland. But I'm just wondering whether it would be possible to have both? Another option might be postponing treatment several more months but then I worry about doing that since the older I get the less likely IVF is to work!
So should I continue trying to find a way to still live, travel, enjoy my life around treatments, or is it now time to focus 100% on making having a baby our number one goal? At this stage we're only a few months off from having been trying for three whole years. It's a long time! I suppose all we can do is wait for the phone call with the doctor and then we'll be better able to decide whether we would be able to do the treatment and still fit in a trip to Ireland at Christmas. According to what I've read online the intralipid infusion therapy against natural killer cells would start the month before you do IVF and involves an IV infusion for about two hours. It should be done every two weeks up until the 12th or 24th pregnancy week. I'm already wondering how I would be able to juggle the extra doctor's appointments with my job. Finding a balance between fertility treatment and my life isn't going to be so easy the next few weeks and months but I'm leaning towards doing the treatment for high NK cells in case it's the answer, giving IVF round three our best shot as much we we can and everything else will just have to take second place.
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Dear Dubliner, it's so hard... the sensible part of me wants to say concentrate 100% on it, but you know my feelings on the auld limbo! I can understand your friend saying you should prioritise and forget about trips and flights etc but that is easy to say, has she been in the same boat? People might think three years isn't a long time, but when it includes IVF it's a lifetime: I totally get the way you feel. But to be honest I also get the feeling that doing round three with the intralipid infusion therapy represents to you your last best shot, in your mind, so I think you're right in leaning towards doing it. It all depends also on the chances of success: I gave up because mine were less that 10%. You can always base it on that, if you have that info. If you do do it, you won't ever be left wondering if you were wrong to give it up. Remember that it all feels so bloody overwhelming when you're looking ahead at it (how will I cope with work? trips? family visits? etc) but it's never as bad when you're actually doing it, I found. You'll find a way to balance things without it being too severe. Just hang in there and don't be too hard on yourself (everything in moderation, etc; it's easy to get into that mindset of everything you drink/put in your mouth is poison! I honestly don't believe that); I think it'll all pan out OK when you actually start it.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your message. Actually no, the friend who suggested I forget about holidays etc hasn't gone through it so probably doesn't really understand how difficult it can be trying to still feel normal and live your life in between all the treatments and doctor's appointments! Yes round three could be my last shot at IVF as I think I am reaching my limit so I am inclined to give it all I can. I would like to get off this infertility rollercoaster soon. Unfortunately I don't know what my actual odds are. My last two IVF rounds weren't great as I seemed to be a poor responder but next time we would try a different protocol which may help.Delete
I can only sympathise because I never had to go through the process myself, but I have a few friends who had. Luckily for them they were close to family and friends, so there was no travel issues. To be honest, I don't know what the answer is, only you know. Maybe you're just thinking too much and it's overwhelming(I do that all the time!!). Could your family come and visit instead? At least you'll still have support during the Christmas season...ReplyDelete
I definitely do overthink things and worry about some things that can work out ok in the end! Yea I think going through IVF away from my family is more difficult but then on the other hand it's also a lot more affordable here compared to Ireland. I remind myself though that living abroad there are always going to be weddings and big events that I'll have to miss.Delete
I am pretty sure that Dani over at The Great Pudding Club Hunt posted a while back on an analysis of data showing that people who flew during their first trimester had a decreased risk of miscarriage, or at least there was no evidence of increased risks (depending on how critically you interpret the data).... All of which to say-- there is no right or wrong here. Do what is best for you.ReplyDelete
I'll try to look up what she wrote about it, thanks. Yes I guess there is no "right" answer really so we'll just try to plan what suits us best and try to work around thatDelete
Oh, I get this so much. It is so hard not to weigh out all the possibilities when you're in the middle of everything. (I still do in the middle of the adoption process, and that has zero to do with my actual body...) Logically you know so much is out of your control, but it's impossible not to try to grab on to things, to think on statistics and risks and what-ifs. I was never really able to live in the moment during IVF, so I have no amazing advice to give, other than that it really is true that if things don't work out it's impossible not to look for that thing that could have been different, and even if you know it's not really the German Festival or whatever, our minds have such a creepy ability to make us feel responsible for things so mysterious and uncontrollable, even with IVF. I would ask your doctor about flying to Ireland for the holidays. If they say it's fine, do it...but if you're not comfortable, go with your gut. THree years is an eternity. Limbo is no fun...I am hoping you don't have to stay there too long! Thinking of you as you head into your next opportunity!ReplyDelete
Thank you! The three years just feels so long now, and I hate the living in limbo aspect, trying to enjoy my life but still do whatever I can to try to have a baby. I remember that I really wanted to go to that German festival but then I was thinking if I were to catch some bug at it, then of course I wouldn't forgive myself for prioritising a silly event over our potential future child, but at the same time, you want to do some normal and fun things. SighDelete
I agree, infertility is definitely like you're in limbo. I hope you find the perfect balance for your family. If you are only planning on doing one more IVF cycle, then it might be best to pursue that 100%. At least I know in my mind I would want to make the best effort for my last real chance, because I wouldn't want to have any regrets. Good luck to you!!ReplyDelete
Thanks! That's the way I'm inclined to think about it. If this could be our last chance at IVF then I want to try everything so that I won't have regrets afterwards.Delete
I have been thinking about this recently. My sister has just announced that she's getting married at the end of August next year so if I get pregnant this cycle or next I'll either have a very tiny baby or be too pregnant to fly. I considered stopping trying for the next three months, but have decided I can't let my life revolve around other people's events. Besides, the chances of me getting pregnant on my own are very low at this point and I can't even get a referral until mid-November so it will probably end up being irrelevant anyway... and if I don't try I'll always wonder whether this would have been the one cycle that my body actually decided to sort itself out!ReplyDelete
We have ended up having to postpone IVFs and treatment due to various things and sometimes I think maybe it would have been better if we'd gone ahead since so much time seems to constantly be going by (and decreasing my chances). But then on the other hand I enjoyed those holidays that we postponed for and have nice memories from them. I think you're right to keep trying because you would wonder otherwise. If you do manage to get pregnant then you can just figure everything else out and probably nothing else will seem as important then anyway! Sorry you're having trouble getting pregnant too. It sucks. Hope you will have a nice helpful doctor if you get a referral who'll be able to help!Delete