Catch 22 – career or baby?

I’m sure there is some old adage about only wanting a change when change isn’t an option, but I’m not much of a scholar so I have no idea what it is. However, this is the situation that I find myself in. From a rational perspective, I appreciate that I am very lucky. Times are hard and unemployment is high so I’m fortunate to have a well paid job, working with some great people and doing something I enjoy. But recently I’ve stopped enjoying my job and instead have started to feel trapped. Each day as I walk to work (yes, I am even lucky enough to work within walking distance of my house) I find myself working through the options in my head for getting out and progressing my career somewhere else. I’m sure that if I thought leaving was a viable option, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to want to go somewhere else. But now that there are barriers to leaving (most of which are probably self imposed – I did say I wasn’t thinking rationally) I dream of getting a new job almost every day.

So why don’t I just leave?? Because I want to have a baby. I’ve worked for my current employer for years. I’ve been there whilst colleagues have gone on maternity leave, come back to work after the baby and gone on maternity leave again. I’ve covered projects, picked up work at the last minute for mothers who have to leave to pick up children or care for poorly babies, worked late when others have left to do the nursery run and I have been happy to do all of it. I feel as if I’ve been spending years making deposits into the office goodwill bank on the understanding that when I have a baby, I’ll be able to cash them in and colleagues will happily cover for me when I have midwife appointments or child care issues. To leave now would be like walking away from the table without cashing in my chips. I know if I got a new job my employer would still be required to let me go to antenatal appointments etc but at my current place I think people would be genuinely happy for me, not just complying with the law. After so long in one place, starting a new job would be hard regardless of the circumstances and I can’t help but feel that it would be even harder if I were to announce to a pregnancy to a new employer and colleagues within months of arriving.

In addition to the goodwill, there are also the financial considerations, my current employer pays enhanced maternity pay which I would be unlikely to be eligible for at a new firm without having completed a period of service before getting pregnant.

Finally, there is the question of what job I would do if I left. I’ve always believed that if you try to have it all in every part of your life, ultimately you are going to fail (or at least be constantly stressed). Instead, I identified what elements I felt would give me the biggest sense of fulfilment and decided that I would be prepared to have a good (but not world class) career if it meant that I could also be a mum that did the school run and didn’t miss a sports day. Oh yes, I had it all worked out and I have been actively pursuing my goal for years. A good but manageable, job – check. Great husband – check. House close to work, schools and nursery – check. Baby – ah, a problem, repeat miscarriages and time spent trying to conceive mean that the final ‘check’ on my perfect life list has not been very forthcoming. I guess it’s true that the universe hates a planner!

I not ready to give up on my dream of being a mum (not for a long time) but if it’s not going to happen then I don’t want just an ok job. If I don’t need to make the career/motherhood compromise then I’m damn well going to be a fantastic, first rate, top of my industry career woman. The problem is, I feel like by waiting to achieve plan A, I’m losing valuable opportunities to achieve great things with plan B. So this is my catch 22, do I quit my safe but unchallenging job and focus on climbing the career ladder as quickly as possible (realising that the risk of future miscarriages and fertility treatments may make shining in a new job particularly difficult, if not impossible) or do I have faith that a successful pregnancy is just around the corner and I will be able to achieve my plan A even if it took a little longer than hoped? And the big question is, would I even want to get a new job if my current difficulties with having a baby hadn’t made me feel like it wasn’t an option?

Pumpkins and positive OPKs

After taking advice from some other bloggers, I decided to start using OPKs this cycle and today (CD 12) I got a positive result. This was good timing as the boy and I finally both had a weekend off work together. I have to admit that although I had read about how use the tests, I wasn’t actually sure what a positive result meant. I’m still not entirely sure I understand how it works but I’m hoping that if the boy and I have sex a few times over the next few days, we’ll have our timing right – Please let me know if its possible to be any more specific regarding timing when using OPKs.

We also carved our pumpkins today in anticipation of Halloween this Thursday and so I thought I would submit mine into BarrenBetty and Fertility Doll’s completion (see my pervious post for more details) although I’m not entirely sure that I’m eligible to enter being from the ‘other side of the pond’ but I’m hoping that my lack of pumpkin carving talent will make up for my geographical location! Happy Halloween everyone.

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Pumpkin competition

Pumpkin fun!

BarrenBetty and Fertility Doll are running an IF pumpkin carving competition. I’m always looking for a distraction from trying to conceive so I thought I’d have a go. Before I post my pumpkin, I thought I should reblog their post so you can join in too if you fancy a bit of pumpkin carving fun.

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Ok, so me and Fertility Doll were chatting about periods and infertility and smashing in doors and stuff when all of a sudden Fertility Doll said:

FD: What are you doing for Halloween? Are you carving a pumpkin?

BB: No. I’m not doing anything. I’m going to close my curtains, switch all the lights off and pretend I’m not home like I normally do.

FD: Why am I not surprised?

BB: Because you are an all-knowing magical being what knows everything?

FD: Correct. Anyways, maybe you should carve a pumpkin. It might be fun, and maybe it will distract you from smashing up doors?

BB: Yeah, okay. LETS MAKE IT A COMPETITION I CAN WIN.

FD: Umm, okay. I thought it’d just be fun though?

BB: YOU CAN’T HAVE FUN WITHOUT RULES.

FD: Okay, I’ll have a look on pinterest for ideas.

BB: Cheat.

FD: For goodness sake woman, you…

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In awe of my husband

We’re back on the baby making train again. After feeling convinced that the stars had all aligned to enable us to conceive a romantic holiday baby, it was a crushing blow for both me and the boy when we got a BFN. He’s usually very philosophical about these things but last week he seemed really gutted that we hadn’t been successful. We definitely had a few days of feeling sorry for ourselves. Anyway, AF came and went and we rallied and are ready to try again this month.

This constant cycle of determination and confidence, followed by disappointment and self doubt, is really hard to cope with. It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster and I for one am finding it is having a negative impact on my libido. I’ve never been particularly rampant, generally feeling satisfied if we’ve made love a couple of times a week and that is when things are going well. If I’m tired, stressed or emotional it’s basically game over for my sex drive. Which is difficult when all I’ve felt for ages is a mixture of tired, stressed and emotional.

I want to enjoy sex with my husband and for it to be initiated by one (or both) of us feeling horny. Instead, I look at my Fertility Friend at the start of my cycle, calculate my likely fertile days and give the boy a list of the likely days on which he’s going to get lucky (I don’t think he feels that lucky!). And he performs, every time. He is fantastic, making me feel sexy and loved and not like its planned or mechanical. And I am terrible. I get negative at the mere thought of having sex when I’m not in the mood and rather than keeping it to myself, I tell him how I’m feeling! The poor, poor boy. I don’t know how he manages it. I know that I’ve got to change and start being more passionate about our love making, even if its fake, as I can’t expect him to keep having sex with the grumpy old woman who doesn’t even bother to pretend to be interested. I’m determined that this month I’m going to banish the negative thoughts (or at least keep them to myself) and I’m going to make my husband feel more important. I love him more than ever and I’m in total awe of him and what he has to do for us to make a baby. If having a child was dependent on me having an orgasm when I’m not in the mood for sex, we’d have our names down on an adoption register already!!

So this is really happening

The last couple of days have felt quite surreal in terms of the disconnect between different areas of my life. Work is currently insanely busy. I’m working on a big project which is soon to be finalised and I’m also being asked to pick up a lot of smaller (but urgent) matters. It’s quite exciting but ridiculously tiring with early starts, late finishes and weekend working.

Outside of work I’m trying to be a fun loving wife for my husband and not talk endlessly about work. As I’ve written about before, he is at a bit of a crossroads in terms of work and is not feeling challenged or fulfilled by his current job so I’m keen not to make too much of an issue of my work situation as I’m sure he’d swap given the choice.

I’m also trying (although sometimes failing) to keep in contact with friends, to help my sister with planning her wedding and to support my mum with her cancer treatment. Im trying hard not to let other things in my current day to day life distance me from what’s happening in their lives. Ultimately they are whats important to me in the long term.

And alongside both of these things I feel like I’m now becoming someone who is struggling with pregnancy loss/fertility issues. I know this might sound strange as this has been going on for a little while but despite blogging for months I’ve generally felt like a bit of an outsider to the whole RPL/IF community. But over the last few days the boy and I have been having some challenging conversations trying to work out how we are actually going to fit in having sex around our work and social commitments (I never thought I would be diarising sex!). Also, yesterday I took an hour out of my working afternoon to have an internal scan of my uterus to check for retained products. Thankfully it was clear but on my drive back to the office it hit me that whilst it felt like a perfectly normal thing to be doing (I’ve had a fair few internal scans now ) it wasn’t exactly the type of thing which the average person did on their lunch break!

Then today whilst at an important day long client meeting I had to excuse myself to wee on an OPK. Again probably not that typical unless you having been trying to conceive for a while.

I think these things have made me realise that this really is happening. I don’t feel badly about it particularly I just didn’t expect to get to this situation. I can’t help thinking that in each element of my life the people involved would shocked if they knew about what was going on in the other parts but I think that compartmentalising everything helps me to keep each part under control. And more importantly each one puts the others into perspective!

Bored, bored, bored

Agggh, I am so bored I could scream. We’ve only been back from holiday for a week and already it feels like endless weeks of nothingness are stretching out before me. I am completely stuck in a funk. I want to do something in order to feel less bored and yet there is nothing I actually want to do, hence why I am still sitting in bed at 10.30am complaining about being bored, despite having been awake since 6.30am.

I complain about work taking up so much of my life and yet as soon as it gets to the weekend I find myself hoping that the time goes quickly so that it is Monday again as the days go much quicker during the working week. I feel as though I can make plans to catch up with friends, go to the cinema or out for dinner with the boy. Even just go out for a run. But ultimately what’s the point? If I meet up with friends or go out with the boy we’ll either have food or alcohol which will invariable involve spending money that we don’t need to spend and consuming unnecessary calories which I will then chastise myself for later. Even going out for a run seems pointless. Twice already this year I have signed up for a running event only to have to cancel due to pregnancy or recent miscarriage. Getting back into running after a break is hard and as I hope I’ll be getting pregnant again, and as a result taking another break, what is the point starting again?? Essentially everything seems pointless as ultimately there is only one thing I want, a successful pregnancy, and I even when I’m doing something else that I enjoy (such as going out for dinner with a friend), the moment that is over (and probably during if there is a break in conversation for more than a few seconds) I’m back to thinking about babies and pregnancy and loss. I’m stuck and I have no idea how to get out of this black hole of boredom.

I watched a film yesterday (Stuck in Love) and the lead character said something that really resonated with me:

“I never enjoy anything. I’m always waiting for whatever’s next. I think everyone’s like that. Living life in fast forward. Never stopping to enjoy the moment. Too busy trying to rush through everything so we can get on with what we are really supposed to be doing with our lives. I get these flashes of brilliant clarity where for a second I stop and I think “Wait, this is it, this is my life. I better slow down and enjoy it because one day we’re all going to end up in the ground and that’ll be it, we’ll be gone”

This is exactly how I’m feeling at the moment, but I don’t know what to do to change it. It’s sad to think about it but its true that at the moment I feel like I never really enjoy anything, not really. I have times where I feel happy(ish), I definitely don’t spend my days in floods of tears or feeling as if I want to end it all. Just generally I feel pretty ‘meh’, just dull. Not happy or sad but a little anxious and most of all bored!

I am bored of the waiting. Bored, bored, bored. When I’m not at work and busy I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like we are stuck in limbo. Two miscarriages down means that we aren’t eligible for any tests to find out if there is a cause. And only three months since my last D&C means that we are at least three months away from being able to get any help with conceiving for a third time. In fact it is probably more like 9 months away as in the UK we are generally required to try to conceive for at least a year before any tests will be done.

I was really hoping that writing this post would help my rationalise my thoughts and come to a conclusion or at least an approach for dealing with the rest of the day but I’m none the wiser. Instead I feel like I have just had a massive rant that no one is going to want to read as it will add nothing of value to their lives at all, not even a giggle as I’m all out of humour today. At least its getting closer to midday. By the time I’ve finished this and walked the dogs it will almost be time for the boy to get back from work and for me to cook lunch. If I can find something to entertain me for the afternoon it will then be Monday and I’ve a busy week at work so the days should trot by pretty fast and I’ll be one week further along. Further along what I have no idea but at least I won’t be in this moment where all I want to do is stamp my feet like a petulant child shouting “I’m soooo bored!”

 

 

 

No longer just a Friday

Today is Friday. My sister’s birthday. The first day of my three day weekend. But today is not just those things. Today is also cycle day 3. And I hate that I know that.

When we first started trying to conceive I always thought I’d fall pretty quickly. One thing I was always confident about was that I was a going to have a family. I’m not particularly pretty and I certainly don’t have a model body but I’ve always thought I look like a mum. I’m relatively tall, the ideal weight for my height according to the BMI charts and I have wide child bearing hips and a large rib cage. There’s plenty of room to grow a baby! On top of that I’ve always been regular, clockwork regular. I could tell you went AF was going to arrive, almost to the hour! All of this had me convinced that I would get knocked up on the first attempt. In fact when I was younger I was worried about getting near a boyfriend after they had ejaculated for fear that their sperm would somehow leap into my body and get me pregnant! All that seems so ridiculous now. I know it’s important to teach the importance of safe sex but bring made to believe that pregnancy happened so easily has definitely made my struggle to conceive (and maintain) a pregnancy harder to deal with.

Before my first pregnancy we didn’t time our intercourse and I barely had an understanding of how a fertility cycle worked. Now I can’t keep it out of my head. Even though I don’t want to think about it, I am aware everyday of where I am in my cycle. I know how many days it is until AF will finish. When my fertile window will start. When I expect to ovulate. I am way more conscious of my cervical mucus than I would ever want to be and after I ovulate one of my first thoughts each morning will be how many days there are left of the two week wait and how many days until I could take a pregnancy test and get a fairly accurate result.

I would say I long for the day when I can say that it’s ‘just Friday’ but that would be a lie. At the moment what I long for the most is to be counting days for a different reason. I want to be able to say ‘I’m 12 weeks 4 days’ (for example) and for my baby to be progressing well.