IVF rollercoaster

My bedside cabinet is full of secret illicit things, things I have hidden away, out of sight but never really out of mind. Is it time to get them out and leave them lying around the house, not caring who sees them? My bedside cabinet is full of pregnancy books, technical ones, inspirational ones, funny ones. Collected over three long years in the hope that I would soon be reading them for ‘real’. Each bought with the same excitement and anticipation as each pregnancy test was taken. I hid them away for two reasons, the first being I didn’t want to have to inform excited visitors that no was not yet pregnant but mainly because the sight of them was too painful.

In the same way that seeing a bump or baby can be devastating while struggling to conceive the books had the same effect, taunting me with what I want so much but as yet have been unable to achieve. I feel that the most powerful exercise that I’ve shared on this blog is the following:

‘Yes please exercise’

The only reason bumps, babies or even books for that matter have the ability to upset us is that our thoughts are going something like this when we see them:

“Oh, I want that. I don’t think I’m going to have that.”

Then you get sad/angry/anxious because in your mind you are imagining your future and how it will play out if you don’t ever get to experience being pregnant or being a parent. It is always your thoughts and the images you create in your mind that upset you, not anything outside of you. So change your thinking and say:

“Yes please I want that!”

This shifts your feelings and makes life easier as it is almost impossible to avoid being ‘triggered’ by seeing children, families, bumps etc. Here’s an addition to that technique. Instead of focusing on what it would feel like if you don’t end up with the life that you want imagine how you will feel if you do get the life that you want, imagine yourself in the future with your child and revel in how wonderful you will feel. Superboost these good feelings by being grateful and saying “Thank you”, I like to intensify the feeling of gratitude by placing my hand over my heart. This is such a simple technique but one that has completely changed the way feel whenever faced with those things that in the past made me turn away. I am reminding myself of this constantly at the moment along with this fantastic quote from Alice Domar that I wholeheartedly agree with:

You will be happy again. Life will become joyful again. And somehow, someway, if you want to become a parent you will.

– Alice Domar

First part – tick. The second part – tick. Is it our time to move on to part three? Heal from every time I had a scan and they gave me a photo of ovarian cysts instead of a baby? Every time the pregnancy test showed 1 line instead of 2? Every time a late period, sore boobs and feeling nauseous turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking? Is this it? Can I start booking in hospital appointments, blood tests and scans from a much more exciting reason?

The IVF 2 week wait is often referred to as a rollercoaster ride of extreme highs and extreme lows, add in the queueing, extended waiting times, the nausea and the fact that you can quite possibly end up back exactly where you started and I think they have it spot on.

The eve of embryo transfer of my 4th ART cycle

Dear Infertility,

Is it time for us to say goodbye? I feel that I am ready now to let you go. I wanted to write and express my gratitude for all that you have taught me. My life would have been completely different without you in it and in the past that was all I could focus on. The negatives that you brought me. The pain, the hurt, the anxiety and the depression. The analysing, the questioning, the confusion. It is time now to let you go.

Gently and gradually I have come to see the positives emerging from our time together. I have learnt to be mindful, to truly appreciate the current moment for what it is. I have learnt to listen to my body, to pay attention to the whispers of life, to tune in to my intuition, my gut instincts. I have learnt to be patient with myself and others, but more importantly I have learnt to be patient with life. But it is time now to let you go.

I release you now, realising that for so long I was holding on to you, every time I questioned why, every moment spent fighting you, every thought of your demise in fact an invitation for you to stay. I had not learnt my lesson. They say that what you resist persists and I have stopped resisting you. At first it felt like you would consume me, bury me alive in the grief, and the more I struggled the more it hurt.

And then one day I let go, maybe I was tired of fighting, maybe my mindful practice had finally reached saturation point or maybe it was just my time. So I let you go, I no longer label myself with your name, I no longer define myself by your characteristics, I no longer plan my life around you. I let you go.

And as the days went by and the mist cleared I realised all the gifts that you have given me. By losing myself to you I have found myself and that feels exquisite.

So thank you Infertility for the dark days, the long night of the soul as it is known, thank you for my awakening. I cannot promise I will always feel like this, if you do not choose to leave, if you think I have more to learn then I cannot promise to be so gracious and I’m sure I will fight you again, but right now in this moment we can sit side-by-side and be peaceful.

I hope that it is time for us to say goodbye. I feel that I am ready now to let you go. I let you go.

       Yours no more Naomi

Photo Jordi Sanchez Teruel

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