One of the most annoying things when you’re trying to conceive is other people’s [unhelpful] comments. The number one classic (which I’m sure you’ve all heard) is: “you two just need a holiday and it will happen…”. I often feel like responding with “well, I’d prefer it if my chopped up uterus didn’t take a holiday”… but, of course, instead I smile awkwardly.
After two and a half years of operations, doctor’s appointments, ultrasound scans, drugs up to my ears and thinking about WHEN I’m going to have a baby 99.9% of the time, day and night, it turns out that what I did need was a holiday – NOT TTC, but to get away from it all.
In fact, this is the first time since the early days of our relationship that H and I actively tried not to get pregnant (and it was rather fun too 😉). With Olaf and Sven (our two chromosomally normal embryos) chilling (literally!) in the Frozen Land (read about our PGS testing here), our consultant urged us not to get pregnant during our three months off before transfer (which should hopefully be in September). I have always thought: “wouldn’t it be romantic or ironic (in the Alanis Morissette sense) if I just fell pregnant naturally midst all this fertility chaos?”
Who am I kidding? H and I have never fallen pregnant naturally (the one and only time was through IUI) so this is really a romantic notion. I’ve now changed my tune: I want a little test-tube baby Jesus.
You might think this seems odd because wouldn’t you want to maximise chances and try to conceive during three long months? Alas, in my case, no. I am 38 and I know that only approx. 30% of my eggs are normal. This is based on both (a) the average for my age and (b) the results from the PGS-testing in July (2/6 embryos had the right number of chromosomes – read more here). For me to miscarry again would be a disaster with a big “D”. Not just because of the obvious heartache, but also because of the fear of having another D&C and Mr Asherman’s returning with a vengeance. (If you’re curious about Asherman’s Syndrome, I wrote about it here.)
I’ve always been pretty good at savouring the moment, getting excited about the little things and enjoying life but these past two and a half years have taken their toll and challenged me and my core. It’s been very scary at times when I’ve felt lost, when I haven’t enjoyed the little things or when I’ve wondered if I’ll ever feel excitement again. Will I ever be “me” again?
So, we packed our bags and went to Southern Italy for 16 days (and I realise we are very fortunate to be able to do so). While in Italy, I made a conscious effort to switch off. I wouldn’t punish myself if I found myself thinking about wanting a baby (because deep down that’s all I really want), but instead I’d really savour every little moment from drinking rosé on my bestie’s balcony in Naples, to swimming in The Med, to relaxing by the pool in Puglia, to beating my husband at Connect 4 (my favourite game!), to drinking Aperol spritzers with a view, to walking up mountains in 35 degree heat to jumping off a frickin’ huge cliff into the sea off the Amalfi Coast (note I am super scared of heights – see video on my IG).
Sitting back at my desk, I feel content. Not to be back at work, but because I was finally able to FEEL ALIVE AGAIN. I didn’t achieve it through mindfulness or therapy (although I know these have helped me in the past), I achieved it THROUGH DOING THINGS I LOVE. (And yes, high doses of Vit D help too.)
I finally have a smile back on my face, and I feel ready. Ready to receive Sven or Olaf. Bring on September.