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On my way to the bathroom on the 28th of June, I remembered that it was 14 dpo.

Strangely, ovulation only happened on CD20 of this cycle, so it was actually already CD34. The ovulation date diagnosis was maybe a bit iffy, as it was based on characteristic ovulation pain and one ovulation prediction stick that had already expired in 2009.

So rewinding two weeks, back to CD20: I saw that LH surge on the OPK rather late in the evening on the 14th of June. So I walked over to DH, swaying my hips as seductively as I could manage at the time. I was actually quite exhausted and feeling very much not in the mood, as our gorgeous little girl was still happily doing stay-awake-training for parents at night, as had been the case for some time, actually. (And as is still the case, although we finally started countering this week with sleep training for little ones..)

Anyway, I mentioned to DH that there was a ‘target’ for him to shoot at. I said it was either that, or I was making up the target story to get ‘some’. Either way, he wasn’t going to get away! And as always, my awesome DH happily and grandly rose to the occasion. We rather hurriedly ‘made a plan’ not that long before midnight on the bunk bed in the nursery – as LO was asleep (for a change) in the cot in our romantic (hahaha – little joke here) bedroom.

So zooming back to 14 dpo: I went back into the bedroom and rummaged through my cupboard. Luckily I found an HPT that managed to escape the POAS-fest that followed after my previous BFP (at which time I was armed with enough fresh HPTs to test every woman in a small African country).

I went into the bathroom, did the deed and got back into bed to read my baby girl a story. I waved the HPT stick in DH’s direction and said that the test was of course negative, but he had to remember that we’d need patience due to my age, his age, my endo, our IF history, etc., etc., blah, blah..

DH took the stick from me, looked at it and became quiet. “Let me turn up the down lighters for you so you can have a closer look”, he said as he handed the stick back to me.

This time I looked. And there it was. Clear as day. A second line.

  • I survived two Computer Science exams at the end of May! Yay! What a huge relief. So it’s 29 down, 1 to go – then I’m done with this degree. Studying has never been more difficult and I find that I’m regretting every hour I have to spend in front of a textbook. (So much for the saying: You’ll never regret any studying you’ve done..)
  • A week ago, we spent 10 days in the Kruger Park – relaxing, soaking up the balmy, sunny weather, enjoying nature and life. ‘Babaliefie’ loved watching the animals and seemed especially impressed by the zebras. It was a wonderful holiday.
  • We visited my sister and brother-in-law while we were on holiday. Pregnancy turned my petite sis into a beach ball with limbs and is still making her vomit in the mornings – at 34 weeks. But she is looking amazingly radiant, excited and reluctant to complain. We can’t wait to meet this brand new little member of our family clan.
  • This month, we have started trying to conceive baby number 2. I’m scared to mention this, as I know that should it not happen for us, I might prefer pretending towards others that it’s because we’re not trying yet (yeah right! – as if I’d rather wait till I’m like 45..). I’m scared of those feelings of being a failure should another pregnancy elude me – and let’s face it, my chances of struggling (again) are excellent.
  • Getting ‘babaliefie’ to sleep remains an eternal struggle. I love the way she wakes up in the morning though. As soon as her eyes flutter open, her whole face lights up. Her excitement when she realizes that the long, boring night is over is too delightful. “Whoohoo! It’s time to play and do stuff again!”
  • Yesterday was the shortest day of the year (winter solstice). I’m always very aware of this date, as I’m such a summer person! Although the summer is still far away, at least the sun is now ‘moving’ in the right direction.

Today my thoughts keep skipping back to this day last year.

As I left the FS’s office a year ago, those monthly disappointments were suddenly no longer just bad luck. It was called IF. I could no longer make myself believe that nothing was wrong. The FS’s scan and (invasive) exam gave away the endometrioma and other nodules that were most likely severe endo.

I went home to pack my hospital bag as we had scheduled the lap two days later. (In the hope of avoiding another horrible episode of ovarian torsion.) Would my hope of someday holding our baby remain a dream? There was no way of knowing.

Today I wonder whether I would have reached this current happy space if I started popping babies the moment I first thought I felt ready? Or what would have happened if I could have peeked at the happy ending of the chapter rather than having had to battle through those fears and the feelings of failure and loss?

Would I have been as grateful for the little blessing growing, kicking and hiccupping in my tummy? Would I have appreciated my wonderful DH as much? Would I have been as amazed at the wonder and fragility of a tiny new life?

Or would I (like my mom, I guess) possibly have viewed pregnancy and childbearing as little more than divine punishment for Eve’s mistakes?

I believe that there are journeys and nightmares in this life that could never make sense to us while we’re on this earth. Yet today, as I look back, I know that things have worked together for good – for me, my DH and my little ‘meisiekind’. I have such a grateful and humble heart.

As I look back at IF from the ‘other side’, one immense sadness remains: knowledge and understanding (at least to some extent, since I’ve ‘only’ had to walk the ttc road for 18 months) of the pain of those who are still waiting..

Yesterday, I called the FS and he got that I was basically saying: “Clomid, now!”.

So I popped the first Femara pill yesterday evening and will be going for my 1st scan on Monday. After that (if nothing BFP-ish happens this month) we’ll give it a break till January.

I also said I want my AMH tested. The FS said it’s a good idea. He said he prefers to leave tests as late as possible, because, “a lot of people freak out once you start testing them as that makes them think there’s something wrong”. Well, not to worry – I’m sure the reason I’m not pregnant yet is because there is bloody well nothing wrong!!

So little sleep for me last night again, too many new things on my mind and I was feeling nauseous, possibly from the Femara? I got up to POAS anyway (on CD3) to pass the time and just to be 100% sure.. And so I could feel 100% crazy.

I’m relieved to feel we’re now going somewhere, although the day didn’t start out too brightly. I had a huge fight with DH – I think mostly about whether he would prefer kids and a happy me, or money. ART talks seem to often make us end up fighting about that one. *sigh*

Hopefully the day will pick up from here.

I’ve learnt many useful things through ‘Afrikaner Christelik Nasionale Onderwys’. (Unlike last year’s matrics, who can apparently barely read and write). Among the many things, we were taught discipline, to follow rules and that hard work could help you to achieve your dreams. Not the dream of having a baby though.

Juffrou Koekemoer took the girls aside in Standard 5 (the teacher who never smiled, wore pants or got married). She akwardly explained that that we shouldn’t fall pregnant as it would ruin our lives. So, we should never stare at a boy’s crotch or go into the boys toilets (you could obviously get it from a toilet seat). We should never wear tank tops or french kiss a boy (whatever that meant)..

By the time DH and I wanted a baby, all I’ve had was lessons on how NOT to get pregnant. I grew up in Bloemfontein, (as in BFN), so maybe you were better off and had some real sex ed?

So how about we share tips on BD (= Baby dancing, or timed sex)? I’ve learnt some embarrasingly simple basics only once we were already struggling for months.

Here goes:

BD Basics:

  • We all know about timing it in the fertile window, I’m sure. DH and I normally try to start between 3 and 5 days prior to ovulation.
  • Don’t use KY jelly. Or strawberry flavoured silicone gel. Or any type of lubricant, spit or concoction, unless it has been specially formulated to not kill sperm.
  • Lying down for at least 5 minutes after sex makes sense. Or for 20 minutes. (How long do you lie down? Or do you just go to sleep afterwards without cleaning up between your legs the way the heroine does in the movies??)
  • Don’t urinate immediately afterwards, or for about ?30 min. My GP told me to always urinate after sex to avoid UTIs. Great advice, but I later learnt not if you’re ttc.
  • The missionary position is an old favourite. If your uterus is retroverted like mine (pointing backwards – the gynae can tell you if it is), try it with the lady lying on her tummy or on all fours (doggie style).
  • Not strictly BD related, but don’t let DH sit on a heated blanket or work with a hot laptop too close to his nuts. Swimmers like being cool

More debatable, but the following could help:

  • Don’t do it standing up. No matter how high DH can squirt his stuff. Don’t do it with the lady on top. Don’t do it with both partners in the Lotus position. Work with gravity. The lady can put a pillow under her hips after sex to try and help those swimmers.
  • Men’s sperm counts apparently tend to be highest in the morning. So if your man’s sperm count is on the low side, it might not be a bad idea to BD in the morning (if you have time and feel like it).
  • Weekly sex generally improves women’s cycles and maybe makes her more fertile.
  • Daily sex improves the quality (motility and morphology) of men’s sperm, but lowers count. Don’t do it every day of the month cause you’ll kill your sex life or kill yourself. However, if your DH has a high count, you could do it every consecutive day for the 2 or 3 days before ovulation.
  • If the woman orgasms, it apparently helps. (My experience is that it doesn’t seem to help, but it is still very worth pursuing.)
  • Men apparently have a higher sperm count when they get it going after being very aroused, rather than just working to get it out. Again, it’s probably worth trying to arouse him anyway.
  • Bearing the two points above in mind, try your best to still enjoy BD and make it romantic. Shave your legs. Brush your teeth. Do whatever it takes to get the flame burning. The typical Afrikaner school of 1992 didn’t teach creativity, but it’s worth trying to learn it now! Google ‘gourmet sex’ for more.

I’m sure that somewhere in the world, at this very moment, a couple is having stand-up sex in a shower, using icy feel lubricant and a condom and she’s still going to fall pregnant. However, if have read up to here, it’s unfortunately unlikely to happen to you.

P.S.: Disclaimer:
If none of the above-mentioned tips work for you, then please don’t blame me. Remember, there’s no crying, cooing, cutesy evidence proving that I know what I’m talking about.

But know that you’re not alone, for these tips have not (yet?) worked for me either and it might all be rubbish. Hmm, maybe I should just put on a tank top, go into the boys toilets and sit down on one of the seats..

I think about this often, as every IF probably do.

I’ve always loved kids, taught Sunday school to 6-year olds for years and became a paediatric occupational therapist – mostly because I figured it was the most valuable course a prospective mother could take at university. As an oldest sister with 4 siblings, I helped raised and totally adored my 2 little brothers – I was an awestruck 6-year old at the time of the birth of the oldest of the 2.

If things went according to plan (as it does for many non-IFs), I’d have been married and raising a truck load of kids before I knew it.

But working with kids as OT in the UK was traumatic. Disabled kids, retarded kids, dying kids, inherited diseases wiping out all kids in a lovely family.. Playing with the kids was great and I considered myself very lucky for getting paid to do this. But, it also got boring to every day watch kids struggle with the most simple tasks. It’s not very intellectually stimulating.

Furthermore, Prince Charming took his time. By 27, I made a career change (into IT) and could now to keep food on my table in sunny SA. Next thing I knew, I was a single career woman going places while many of friends were looking after terribly obnoxious LOs!

I know the following:

  • If I could choose, I’d rather not have kids than watch a disabled kiddie struggle through a possibly short and painful life. But we don’t get to choose.
  • Hearing my mother complain about pregnancy and childbirth for most of my young life, I’ve always been absolutely terrified of that experience. I wish I could have kids without going through that crap.
  • I’ve always hated AF and all the cramping and would have liked a hysterectomy at 15 if only I could somehow still have had my own genetic kids despite that.
  • I still absolutely love playing with kids and adore my little nephews.

I’ve only qualified as ‘IF’ in July and instantly plunged into major depression. How unfair! I’ve spent most of my life wishing, planning and preparing for this!

However, having carefully considered all, I’ve decided not to miss the joy that can be found today! Remember, there is no guarantee that we’d be happy once we have those kiddies.

So yes: I still want to have kids and I’ll mourn over IF my whole life if I never have kids. But, maybe being 35 years young(!) in our modern society, being healthy, having a wonderful DH and a fantastic luxurious life (by many standards) is actually as good as it gets?

So cruel. I’m usually 29/30 days and tried not to become excited this cycle as I had a BFN on CD30 – but on CD34 I woke up with visions of a baby due on my mother’s birthday next May. Then AF had to ruin it. 😦

I went away for a couple of days without taking a HPT with – I thought it would help me to not stress about IF or BFNs for a few days. This might have worked if AF came by CD33.

Oh well, at least I’ve fattened up a bit, BMI is now hovering between 16.5 and 17.

So DH and I are starting to look forward to the next ‘hump fest’ as he calls it – gotta at least love those! 😉

A woman once told me that having kids was the very last thing she wanted as, “from the moment they come screaming into your world, they do nothing but inconvenience you and turn your life upside down”.

Those times I really lose hope, I think of these words and I actually find a bit of comfort thinking that having kids is not guaranteed to bring anyone more happiness than they had beforehand.

I’m really just saying this as it tends to give me a bit of perspective – the full truth is that if I never get to take a baby home, I’m sure I’ll mourn this till the day I die.

I hate to admit that lately I can’t snap out of being a constant cry baby. I have slept very little in the past month, lost a worrisome amount of weight (actually dropped my BMI below 16) and worst of all, can’t seem to stop crying. All of a sudden, the weight of the world is totally wearing me down and I’m wondering whether I’d even cope with having a kid.

Fortunately I have a job where I sit in an office all day doing IT stuff, so it will thankfully take a bit of time before my co-workers figure out I’ve possibly lost all my marbles. My poor husband must unfortunately know this by now following several erratic outbursts over nonsense.

Sure, I’m still reeling from the formal diagnosis of IF and severe endo (only 4 weeks ago). I’m still cramping a lot after the extensive lap, which is not conducive to a good night’s sleep or a healthy appetite. Besides, maybe it’s nothing a BFP might not cure?

Yet I have a horrible family history of severe depression, so I can’t afford too much nonchalance.

If anti-depressants are no option while you’re ttc, I don’t want to mention any of this to my FS – or preferably anyone, actually. I’m too embarrassed and am used to being much more together than this. Maybe more thoughts of ponies and rainbows, a few 30 minutes walks per week and (hope I’m this lucky) some restful sleep will do the trick?


August 2020