Tag Archives: meditation

My top tips for life after IVF

*Ok, it’s early days for me, and of course it’s not just the end of IVF, but the end of the road for me in terms of having my own child (miracles notwithstanding*).

So these are working for me, for now. Kind of. This week has been hard though, I’ve not been sleeping well, I’m getting up super early, and I went back to work. Ugh. Generally feeling very sorry for myself. I was fine in the week or so before, but the pain has returned, and it’s taken a new shape.

Of course everyone’s different so please feel free to comment on what works for you in similar shitty, unhappy and generally lonely circumstances – in fact, please do comment, I need all the ideas I can get!

  • Do stuff. Make an effort not to sit at home and wallow in your sadness. By getting out and about you remember that life’s pretty good actually. Your friends are there to entertain you and accompany you on excursions to see and do things – going to the art gallery, seeing music, going to the cinema, going to a market or a festival. I know it’s not going to erase your pain, but it will lessen it for a while.
  • When sadness hits though, don’t ignore it. Honour it, go into it, feel whatever feelings, think whatever thoughts come up. Sometimes they may not even be (seemingly) connected to your loss, but they are.
  • Think about volunteering. It could be with disadvantaged children, or a political or ecological cause you are passionate about. Helping other people is really satisfying. The Dalai Lama says “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”, “the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes”. To put this into action, I have just applied for the Big Sister program through the YWCA, where you mentor a young girl . And you know, I know this will be good for whichever young girl is put in my charge, but it will also be just as satisfying – maybe more so – for me.
  • I’m looking into permanent fostering, with a view to adoption in the future. I thought  adoption in Australia was impossible for me, and it is if I wanted to adopt a baby or small child that was deliberately put up for adoption.  Because there aren’t any in this country, and intercountry adoption costs up to $40,000 and can take up to eight years, which is fricking ridiculous. But fostering a child seems to be a way that can work, and also saves a child from harm. There are issues, which I’ll cover in a later post, but they are not insurmountable.
  • Read. Whatever you like really, but uplifting, inspirational books or articles that give you ideas for living well. Think Deepak Chopra, or well-written fiction that connects you to amazing stories – “we read to know we are not alone” as C.S. Lewis (apparently) said. At least he did in that really sad movie I saw years ago (Shadowlands). I’m currently reading “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan and just finished Jeffery Eugenides’ “The Marriage Plot”, both engaging, beautifully written and thought provoking. Or read my friend Fanny Blake’s book “What Women Want” which is a really fun read (shameless plug!).
  • Meditate. Ok, I admit I am not even doing this one. It’s hard to establish the habit, then if you’re really tired (I am) you’re likely to nod off, and if you’re really sad (I am) you’re likely to just sit there and sob. Still, it’s key. Really. Listen to me trying to cajole myself into stepping away from the keyboard and sitting. The best thing to do is find a guided meditation CD, or log onto the Chopra Centre’s website – they have a 21 day meditation challenge they run often which is a good way to start/restart.
  • Do yoga. I know I bang on about it, but it’s about stilling your mind, connecting with your body – which you might think has betrayed you, but it hasn’t, finding a sense of connection with stillness.

Good luck, and let me know of any other ideas.

*I mean, I might actually meet a real, live MAN, have actual SEX, and fall pregnant naturally. Wow, what a concept. I’m not ruling it out, but on the empirical data I have accumulated so far in my life… but things can change in an instant, so I’m not ruling anything out.

*I *think* the photo is from Garance Dore, hope i’m crediting that correctly.

Cover of "A Visit from the Goon Squad"

Cover of A Visit from the Goon Squad

Enhanced by Zemanta

(My edition looks nothing like this)
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under ART, childless, yoga

Go the acupuncture

I’ve been having twice-weekly acupuncture treatments at a specialised IVF acupuncture clinic, and let me tell you, the difference I feel between this cycle and the last one is amazing.

Last time – lethargy, night sweats, thumping headaches every second day when I started Gonal-f, puffiness, achy joints, a revolting period, and just general not-feeling-greatness.

This time – perfectly normal. Really – perfectly normal. And I’m also on a higher dose of the Gonal-f – 600 units, which I think is a LOT. Ok, so I did have some night sweats in the first week, but I think even they have stopped. (I had continued to get the night sweats even last month – between cycles when I was not on any drugs – so not getting them now is great, especially since it’s about 35 degrees today, and hot at night.)

Let’s hope that it has the same positive effect on the final result…ie a big fat BABY. Actually not too big, I still have to carry it around for nine months, then get it out.

What’s the deal with acupuncture?

  • Apparently in clinical trials acupuncture has been shown to be quite effective not only for reducing side effects, but also to increasing the chance of success – so I can say empirically it has worked for the side effects for me.
  • They recommend you go for a treatment on the day of embryo transfer as it can help implantation – last time I went for acupuncture a few days AFTER transfer (and not to a specialised IVF clinic) so this time, I’m more prepared.
  • It prepares the uterine lining by improving blood flow and improves hormone levels. Last time my period was, in a word, yuck. This time, I’ve hardly noticed it. Awesome.
  • Apparently it can help women who have a history of infertility or miscarriage (can’t vouch for this one as I have no experience).

So I would highly recommend anyone going through IVF to seek out an acupuncture clinic that specialises in IVF. Apart from anything else, it’s really relaxing, which is crucial in this process.

And I’ve got a week and a half off work now, so I’m relaaxxxed…………. just need the timing to go my way – ie, day in hospital for egg collection next Monday, a couple of days to recover, then back to work Thursday with no-one any the wiser. (Though I may have to take the Thursday off the put the embryos back in… but you know, c’est la vie).

Right, now I’m going to meditate on lots of healthy eggs, and a healthy, happy, fat baby.

x

3 Comments

Filed under IVF, side effects, Uncategorized

Limbo … part the second

Life. On. Hold. That’s what this feels like.

As I said before, this time around, the breathless excitement has gone and now I’m (kind of) just getting on with life. Like, on Saturday night I had a whole bottle of wine out at dinner. Actually a bit more because the owner gave us a complementary glass of dessert wine at the end. So delicious. A whole bottle though! It doesn’t take long to re-establish old habits. I felt a wee bit guilty the next day but my body didn’t seem to protest too much – it hasn’t forgotten how to metabolise that much booze! And it was nice to have that month “off” in between not getting pregnant and starting again.

But still, limbo. I want to move. But I can’t think about that yet as all my financial and mental and physical resources are tied up in this effort. I want to buy a new car. Ditto. I need some new work clothes, but will there be any point in buying size 10s, when I might need expanda-clothes?

And now I’m waiting for my period to start. It’s late. Bloody hormones.

W-A-I-T-I-N-G.

I started Lucrin again a week ago, going back to the clinic for a blood test and scan on Wednesday. Having acupuncture twice a week at a specialised acupuncture for IVF clinic. More money. And waiting.

Think I need to meditate.

2 Comments

Filed under IVF

How low can you go …

… before you do the LIMBO rock?

This week I’ve vacillated between:

Oh my god, I’m so excited I’m going to have a baby … to

I’m pretty sure I am … to

I really hope I am… to

FUCK I hope I’m not … to

What the hell was I thinking, I’m 46 years old (birthday was on Sunday, thanks for the birthday wishes…) and I’m going to have to work for the REST OF MY LIFE and will never have any free time again and I’ll never be able to afford to buy a property and I’ll be the oldest mother on the school pick up and how am I going to do this by myself and, and, and…

So this week can’t go fast enough.

I need to know! I’m in limbo and it’s a weird place to be – all plans for the future – even as close as the weekend – have two paths that stretch out into the misty distance. One that involves a baby, one that involves going back to my “old” life. And to be honest, both have their appeal.

Perhaps that sounds strange – after all, I have thought a lot about this, hoped and dreamed about this, planned this, paid a lot to get here. But I think it’s normal – any kind of life change brings fear, and there is no greater life change than having a baby, whatever your situation. You can’t really get your head around the reality of it – the abstract is fine, but the reality? It’s scary.

And there’s no point in reading all the “two-week wait” sites, working out which symptoms I may or may not be feeling – I AM feeling some pregnancy symptoms but that’s because I am injecting myself with hcG – the pregnancy hormone. So I’m just left with the wait.

Oh and I’m beginning to feel almost healthy again after the trauma of the past 2 weeks. Yesterday I even had wine. Three glasses! Well, the thing is, no less than four girlfriends have confided that before they knew they were pregnant they had had a couple of benders – completely mullered. And as one of their doctors said, if it’s going to stick, it’s going to stick. And I figure by now, it’s either stuck or it hasn’t.

What day is it?

Every limbo boy and girl, all around the limbo world…

Yoga, I think, is the order of the day. At least I’ll be flexible enough to get under that limbo pole, no matter how low it goes. And meditation, to let go of attachment to the outcome.

2 Comments

Filed under IVF, pregnant over 40, two week wait

This week I have mostly been eating…

I take it back, the injections are starting to hurt. My belly has tiny pin pricks on either side of my belly button and is starting to look a little bruised, similar to what I imagine a junkie’s would look like if they  ran out of veins and had to resort to their belly. Sorry, yucky analogy.

They started to hurt last week when my period started and I assumed it was just my pain threshold lowering as it does during my period. I learnt long ago that having a bikini wax at that time of the month is not a good idea. Ouchy! My belly is also really fat – don’t know of this is from the hormones or just because I have been eating lots (lots) of fertility-enhancing foods, such as:

Adzuki beans (ask anyone who practises TCM or acupressure, adzuki beans are a universal panacea)

Sweet potato (low GI, high fibre, yummy and according to the book I am reading, guaranteed to get you pregnant. Well, not by sweet potato alone, but you know what I mean)

Wakame (full of iodione)

Quinoa (strengthens the kidneys in TCM, key to fertility and libido – this last sadly unneeded)

Walnuts (full of B6 which balances hormones)

Beetroot (yummy + boost kidney function)

Asparagus (aphrodisiac – again, sadly unneeded right now 😦 but apparently revitalises reproductive organs. It also flushes the system so should deal with my very puffy ankles – from the Lucrin?? Makes the pee very smelly though)

Sprouts (the equation is:  living food + attempting to create a living thing = baby)

Bananas (Phallic…?! craved them this weekend but they’ll send me broke with the price in Oz right now – $12 a kilo!! Made of gold clearly)

Anything green.

No coffee. Minimal tea.

One glass of wine per week (siiiigh. This is my dosage – the doctor said “three while I’m trying but not together”. Did she mean three in total for the whole time, or three per week?). Hmmm…

All in all I think I’m doing pretty well with eating well. Luckily I’m not a junk food person and like nothing better than a plate full of green vegies. I usually like to wash it down with a a bottle of red, but hey, it’s a minor inconvenience. Anyway, part of this process is about change, so maybe that means changing my drinking habits.

There had to be side effects didn’t there?

So now that I find the injections starting to hurt, I have to do two a day. I started the Gonal-f yesterday and have had a doozy of a headache all day today. I called the clinic this afternoon and asked if I could take pain killers because it didn’t ease all day and I was getting annoyed with it, I never get headaches. The nurse said I could take Panadol only – not Nurofen. I’m glad I asked. I would have either martyred myself through it  or caved and taken a Nurofen, so now I know – Nurofen no-no.

Other side effects experienced so far apart from the splitting headache:

Night sweats – hello menopause! For the first week I just thought I was hot because of the hot water bottle, but it’s the hormones stupid!

A period lasting an entire 7 days and counting. Bored with this now! So on top of the cost of the treatment, I have to pay for extra tampons. phlaaghg.

Cankles. Attractive.

Twitching in the vicinity of my ovaries. I suppose this is a good sign – my diagnosis.

Aforementioned fat belly. Side effect of drugs, not overeating.

A total lack interest in work. Oh – that’s probably just me and my general aversion to work, and the fact that I have more interesting things to read than financial analysis (surely not I hear you cry!).

Belief

I’ve been doing a beautiful 21-day “meditation challenge” through the Chopra Centre and yesterday’s meditation focused on the creator, which obviously really spoke to me.

Belief is so important to achieving your goals. The meditation reminded me that I set my goals, and I am the creator of my world, my reality. The theme of the 21 days is to continually ask the question, “Who am I?” – the eternal question on the spiritual path. So they have been asking – or encouraging us to ask ourselves – “Who am I?”. I have just sat with this question, without bothering to intellectualise it or mentally or cognitively answer it. Yesterday though a few descriptions of myself passed through my mind – daughter, sister, friend, editor, colleague, blogger, lover (whose?). Mother.

Mother.

It’s just there, in me. I am a mother. I didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t what I thought I should think, I didn’t force it out. It just came. I am a mother. In about 10 months time.

Ooh – and just  quick post script. I just did day 8 of the meditation and this beautiful passage from the Upanishads was quoted, which is so apt for my journey – and all our journeys.

“You are your deepest driving desire.
As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed, so is your destiny.”

So our desires can actually be our destiny, if we flow it through our will and our actions, our attention and personal commitment.

So I have the desire, and I have taken the action (the deed), and now my destiny awaits. mmm. Juicy stuff.

2 Comments

Filed under ART, IVF, pregnant over 40