Infertility and Islam

This is for my Muslim sisters. I spotted this post about infertility in Islam on Facebook by Imam Omar Suleiman. I spent many years feeling punished and that as a woman it was my fault. That was until I read that a child is a wordly gift. It was then I realised it was instead a test for both of us and I started to accept that we may never have a child. That it may never be written for us. I guess in a way that was my ultimate submission to Allah’s will. I stopped being angry with Him and I just prayed that He would give me the strength to deal with it with grace.

InshaAllah I hope the post lightens the burden on your heart.  The part about adoption might make you think ‘why do people always suggest it as a replacement?’ but I think Omar Suleiman is just raising awareness that adoption can be an option in Islam. There are some interesting questions in the comments section too.

Facebook  post by Omar Suleiman
  

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Posted in Religion + Spiritual

REVIEW – Ovusense Real Time Fertility Monitor – Part Two

I haven’t been able to post in a while but I think honest reviews are really important in a world where everyone is trying to make money from infertility and our desperation to get two pink lines. Companies sometimes sell hope and it doesn’t come cheap! That’s why I’m sharing this to raise awareness. Afterall It’s always good to look at positives and the negatives of a product before investing so much.

Mama, Eden & Me

Before I start this review, let me be honest about it. I’ve agonised over this review. I have wondered whether to post it. I have given it plenty of thought. However, the conclusion I have come to is that I’m not about to doubt my integrity as a blogger by posting a review that is not true. So, here goes!

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IVF 2: What happened after I fell silent..

This is going to be a triggering post which mentions that hated and yet rejoiced word beginning with P. If you’re unable to cope with reading about that right now then please do protect yourself and skip this post. I’m writing about this because in a way my blog needs closure and I also need writing as therapy.

The last time I wrote about IVF 2 I was going through beta hell and I was suffering from severe cramps. I was pretty much at my lowest. Dr Oracle moved my scan forward and the outcome was that we saw a small gestational sac (measuring behind) but the most beautiful angelic looking yolk. I was told not to get my hopes up, the sac might have been in the right place but it wasn’t the correct size. Yet, all I could do was fixate my memory on the halo that was now sitting in my womb. At that point every part of me traveled inwards, an invisible shield shot up around me and all I could do was pray to stop me from falling apart. I decided to stop writing and talking about it due to a number of reasons:

1. Going quiet is my way of dealing with stress and anxiety. If I don’t focus on it and avoid talking about it constantly then I can use the energy to focus on other areas of my life and it stops me from falling into depression.

2. My closest friends here were suffering awful cycles and outcomes. As my pregnancy showed signs of progression, I didn’t want to bombard their WordPress and Twitter feeds with pregnancy talk. It also never seemed the right time to say ‘Hey guess what? I’m pregnant but nervous as hell.’ After thinking about it, I decided that until I felt confident in the pregnancy there was little point mentioning it. It’s funny how the milestone of viability kept moving – 8-9wks, 12wks, 20wks, 24wks, 28wks.. it was only around 24wks that I finally told my real life circle and even then I still felt as if the rug might be pulled from under me at any time. I just didn’t want to count my chicken before he hatched (the same way I didn’t want to get excited about egg numbers during IVF).

I said to my IF buddy BB that it was my turn to be strong for her and other friends. I may have been going crazy from anxiety but it was still a positive and progressing pregnancy. I think Turtle summed it up nicely when she wrote:

fertility-doll-pregnancy-infertility-quote

I wrote this back in May:

You see… I remember the rawness of the pain, the feeling of doors closing and being left behind.
I remember how it’s so easy to fall into the wrong side of the statistic and so hard to be on the right side.
I remember how tough it is to get yourself out of bed after a failed IVF cycle.
I remember how my bruises were reminders of a battle I lost.
I remember worrying about how to finance another round and watching the pressure it puts on a marriage.
I remember putting on a mask to survive and wondering how you can feel so dead when you’re so alive.
I remember how much effort it takes to get yourself back on track.
I remember the pain in my partner’s eyes.
I remember how each baby post I read made me feel helpless. How each bump picture seemed liked an unachievable dream.
I remember and that’s why I didn’t write. The timing wasn’t right to be writing about a pregnancy – even if the journey is far from perfect. I don’t know whether this pregnancy is here to stay but I do know that this blog isn’t for me to write about pregnancy or raising a child.

So those of you I went quiet on… forgive me. I did it because you were suffering at the time and it just didn’t feel right announcing it while you were in pain. The great thing is that so many of you have now moved on with successful pregnancies.

3. Women who were cycling at the same time as me with promising betas started to experience losses. I was conscious of their pain and the possibility that I was going to join them very soon.

These are some snippets I wrote during Spring 2014:

I’m really scared that this baby will stop growing. I can’t even bring myself to write because I don’t feel secure. I tell myself that I won’t get attached but I already am so in awe of what I saw. Even if it’s just flesh and bone.

I just wonder whether I’m going to be writing about birth or miscarriage.

I decided I’d write when I feel secure on whatever the reality and outcome. Since the last post, my anxiety has been through the roof and I’m not even sure how I’m still functioning and moving.

But my low betas of 37, 111, 297 have led to the birth of my son on 8 January. He arrived two weeks early and was delivered via a category 1 c-section. He’s still in hospital as he’s tiny and needs some help with feeding. That’s another story that I won’t be sharing on this blog. If/when I get time to I might open a new blog but first I’d like to update this blog with posts about hypnotherapy, nutrition and all the small things that helped me survive 2014’s IVF cycle.

Fertility Doll will stay focused on infertility – that I can promise to those stuck in the trenches. I invested a ridiculous amount in alternative therapies so I when I’m healed and in a routine I want to pass on that knowledge.

All I can say is a huge thank you to all of you who supported me and interacted with this blog over the last couple of years. You’ve been my sanctuary.

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Posted in Infertility, pregnancy

Welcoming 2015

Someone wise once said to me “The past is over. Clear your emotional landscape. Fill the future with new memories – aspirations and dreams.”

Happy New Year all x

Dear 2014,

You’ve been one hell of a year. Thank you for all that you’ve taught me. I never knew my inner strength until now.

I sail into a time of uncertainty – everything will be new and there’s much to work at still but you’ve given me the tools to do so. For that I’m grateful.

Dear 2015,

All I can ask is that if I wander, you do not leave me lost. Please be good to me.

Yours,

M x

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Posted in Infertility, Quotes

Last Christmas – a note to those grieving

Recently there have been quite a few ladies on Twitter facing failed fertility treatments and losses. We all know it’s a really tough time of year to be going through this. When my cycle failed late last November I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff staring down at an endless sea of depression. I mourned and spent a month indulging – shopping, eating whatever I wanted and generally comforting myself. I think most of us have been there.

Then one night I let all the negative energy out on one bizarre project.. rearranging the house and letting Christmas seep into the house again. At that point I realised that I needed to be in control again. That rearranging the furniture was my way of renewing things and taking control. Reflecting back on the time, I think it was actually a good thing that my husband was abroad for work because I had to rely on myself to lift my head above the water again. There’s truth in having to find the strength in ourselves.

We don’t know what will lead to a successful cycle – we can only try. A cycle for me is a renewed chance. So I decided to target the things I could do to put me in a better position for the next cycle while we saved up.

I wrote down things that I felt I needed help on:

– Nutrition because I was worried about my eggs. I kept blaming myself for the lousy 3 cell and 5 cell Day 3 embryos.
– Depression and belief in it ever working
– Circulation and exercise for endorphins as I felt so out of shape
– Reconnecting with my partner and getting my life back a bit

This led me to

1. Seeing a nutritionist and getting a seriously comprehensive plan for 5 months
2. Seeing a hypnotherapist who pointed out that belief wasn’t the issue but always expecting and preparing for the worst was. What happens if I allow myself to think that things could actually work out in the future?
3. Pilates
4. Tango

Doing all of this helped to distract me – to heal me before I was hit with cycle 2 and the challenges thereafter. I felt so much stronger and capable from it.

I guess I’m saying.. grieve and mourn because you need to but when you’re ready and feeling angry.. then pull on that strength in you to get you above the water too. Make a plan – whether it’s infertility related or not. You may not feel like it now but you’re stronger than you realise. A tigress.

Here’s to 2015 truly being your year

x

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Posted in Infertility

Sperm donor seeks you | A fertility gift

A Fertility Gift

By: Tess Murphy

One Man’s Story on why he decided to become a sperm donor

Since I've been blogging I've watched women seek egg donors but I've never witnessed a sperm donor seeking a female or a 
couple to assist on their journey. That's why when this came through to my inbox I felt that I needed to share it. I am in no way 
affiliated to this but I'm curious and hopeful that this could lead to a woman or couple having their dream of becoming parents 
come true. You might read it and want to know more about the donor's motive, you might think it's too good to be true or you 
might find that you're interested. In any case, the guest author Tess Murphy has left her details to answer your questions or feel 
free to post them below- M, Fertility Doll 

When I was hired to manage a project that could positively change a woman’s life, I couldn’t wait to start sharing the opportunity. At first, I was confronted with a lot of skepticism, and I soon realized that the reality of life is to question when something seems too good to be true. So I decided to write a bit about why this project exists.

The donor, let’s call him J, went through every parent’s worst nightmare when he lost a child. Instead of letting this trauma envelope him in grief, he decided to use this experience to change his life for the better. He started a company, got married and moved forward. But J believes that to fully move on from the trauma, he needs to know that there is a child out there of his who is happy and fulfilled. While he is not ready to raise a child of his own, the knowledge of this child will help him to feel “free of pain and move beyond the hurt” so he can give the best of himself to those who care about him. So what did J do to solve this? He reflected, meditated and gathered resources. Through the assistance of a law firm and fertility center, he created this gift, and decided to become a sperm donor.

J’s gift goes beyond “the gift of life;” in addition to being a woman’s sperm donor he would like to fund her fertility treatments and a trust fund for the child. J didn’t want to be just any donor: he wanted to help out a woman who has never been able to have a child, for either personal or financial reasons. J believes everyone who wants a family, deserves one. He wants the woman who accepts this type of support to be adventurous to take such a gift, responsible enough to raise a child, and empathetic enough to understand his journey. Other than that, he really just wants a woman who wants to be a mother, whether she is married, single or in a partnership. As he explains in his letter of intent: “I’d like to be able to meet the child some time, so that he can know something about me, but in that case, it would be completely up to you and your child to cultivate a relationship with me. All I ask is that the child be loved, supported and encouraged to be an individual, hopefully like her/his mom.”

I’ve taken on this project because I really believe in the donor’s cause and the ability of this gift to positively impact someone’s life. We are still looking for the right woman to embark on this life changing journey, and I am hopeful that this blog post will bring her to me. To apply for this gift, or to ask any questions, feel free to email me, Tess Murphy, at fertilitysf@gmail.com. I am also available by Skype for further questions at tessmurphy3.

Download the application form

About the Author: Tess Murphy lived in Melbourne, Australia for a year and wrote for Melbourne 3000 Magazine. After returning to the United States and interning for several nonprofits she was hired as a consultant for an IVF project through AdoptSF law firm. Her extensive international travel and work experience have led her to have a passion in international development and women’s rights.

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Posted in Infertility

IVF #2: Silent insanity

Last night I spent most of my time awake and clutching my stomach. I’m getting pains whenever I need to pee. The cramps are cruel. Throbbing like AF. I cried just before I left for work because I feel unable to cope with all of this right now. It’s like the end is creeping up on me.

The cramps made me turn back half way to work, there was no way that on the commute home I’d be able to stand and hold a bag. I’m now sitting at home feeling depressed and I can’t face my work.

In the middle of the night I tested on a Clear Blue digital, my hcg should at the very least be 2000 by now which should trigger 3+. It showed 2-3.

I can’t cope, so I called the doctor and asked him to move my scan to tomorrow morning instead of Thursday. I really want to be positive but I don’t have a good feeling about this.

Even if a pregnancy isn’t viable, it’s so hard to say goodbye when you’ve spent over 6 years working for it.

Just😦

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IVF #2: Beta Hell. Update.

I’m sorry I haven’t replied to comments on the last couple of posts or responded on Twitter. I haven’t been functioning like a normal human being. I’ve avoided talking about this BFP because I always thought I’d stop blogging with a BFP. I’m too conscious of what it feels like to be on the other side. However, I just about got out of the cold waters of infertility, only to find myself on a carnivorous island. The odds say I’ll be in the water again very soon, so I figured I’d write to let you all know what’s going on.

I never thought with my first ever BFP, I’d be sitting here waiting on an ectopic or miscarriage. Yes, I am glass half empty but it’s my way of protecting myself. I’ve thanked God everyday for the gift of pregnancy (the dent has gotten deeper on my prayer mat) but I haven’t celebrated. Every day I talk to this little being to tell it I love it, every night I read it Ayatul Kursi (protection prayer) – even if it’s unable to stay around long. I welcome it.

My fertile friends try to get me to be positive. They send me charts to show that low numbers are acceptable. Pretty big variation right? They say the doubling matters more than the number but there’s a study that shows numbers matter too. Quote “The median HCG concentration was 126 IU/l in viable pregnancies and 31 IU/l in non-viable pregnancies (P < 0.0001).” If you start with a number below 100 on 17dpo, it doesn’t bode well. Super Man tells me off by saying ‘It’s only one study!’

HCG levels in pregnancy

Of course there are the miracle stories (Jazmin left one on my last post – thank you!!) but there seem to be so few out on Google. Fertile Thoughts tweeted one earlier too.
Fertility Doll - Fertile Thoughts - Low Beta

I’d rather be realistic. The stories where numbers seem to catch up, still led to bad outcomes – blighted ovum or miscarriage around 8-9 weeks. I’m not sure if it’s related. I’ve also learned that ICSI betas can be slightly lower and that some women still had doubling betas with ectopics. Yet, at the same time you can have a high beta and it can still go wrong. Oh I don’t know!!! If I wasn’t mad before I officially am now.

Next Thursday I go for a scan. That’s when it’ll be big enough to detect (beta levels are usually between 1000-2000 when they can see something) and I’ll know my fate. In the meantime, Dr Oracle won’t let me have any more blood tests. We’ve done three. He’s pretty good at managing my expectations and hope levels. He didn’t forget to flag ‘The levels are still low for where we’d like to see them.’ So I’m sitting here fretting over my hcg levels falling without me knowing.

I’ve started to get light cramps – a stretching sensation. I wonder if the progesterone is the only thing sustaining this pregnancy. I’ve also been feeling a dull ache around my right side – near the ovary – and that worries me too (ectopic). My acupuncturist tries to reassure me by saying ‘You’re a creaky ship, adjusting to this.’

At first the tears were from a feeling of loss, now it’s fear.. fear that I’m really going to go through a miscarriage or ectopic. Fear for myself and my ability to cope with this. I feel like a time bomb. It’s funny to think if I didn’t have a beta, I’d be blissfully ignorant and hopeful now. I keep telling myself this..

Fertility Doll - Maktub

Maktub. It is written. Whatever is written will happen and I don’t have any control of it. Whatever the outcome, there’s a lesson in this pregnancy. I plan to get it engraved on a bangle as a reminder to help me get through this.

The crazy thing is that in 3 weeks, it’ll be my 10th wedding anniversary. That in 2 weeks my baby niece is due. Watch me fall apart splendidly.

All I can say is..

Dear Rainbow, Please stay and be healthy.

Ps It’s time I take a break from posting and deal with this. I won’t be on Twitter either. I’ll be back once I’m ready. Thanks to you all for the prayers, good vibes, unicorn armies and fairies. I’ll be deploying my unicorn army for each of you. x

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Posted in Infertility, IVF

IVF #2: Faint rainbow

I’ve been a bit quiet about the results today because last night I saw a glimmer of hope with a faint positive and a definite digital positive.

However, my fears were confirmed. The faintness wasn’t because I’ve been drinking loads of water, it’s because my HCG is at a lousy 37.

At 11dp5dt, I’m barely pregnant and I really don’t have a good feeling about this. Even Dr Oracle sounded sad and said he’d expect numbers in 100s right now.

I’m tired and grieving. I’m incredibly sad. So I think I’m going to log off and just have a real good cry.

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IVF #2: two week wait, baby showers + no symptoms

I love you guys for rooting for me. I’ve been struggling to transform that energy into my own and the truth is that I can’t function. The only thing I can do is obsessively Google symptoms and hide my face in a pillow whilst shouting ‘This hasn’t worked.’ I spent my entire Saturday horizontal on the sofa. Since transfer I’ve been in a constant state of anxiety. The hypnotherapist I saw said that I tend to prepare for worst case scenario and stress myself out while I do. Maybe that’s what I’m doing by feeling this way about this two week wait. Preparing to fail so it doesn’t hurt so much.. except it always hurts as much.

I’ve tried distracting myself – Game of Thrones, puzzles, walks, friends and shopping but there’s no escaping it. I feel like I’m slowly slipping into despair as the dreaded test date is approaching. (Yeah I wasn’t going to mention it, to stop me from obsessing but it appears I’m capable of doing that myself.)

Insanely I went to my sister’s trendy baby shower in the heart of Soho today. Within the first hour, someone asked me if I was pregnant. Apparently peppermint tea and frequent loo runs = pregnancy. My bladder hasn’t been the same since egg retrieval. It’s painful if I hold pee so I’m constantly going.I was told horror stories about child birth. One lost her clit.. ouch.

On my second run to the loo, my sister followed and asked me if I was okay. Then it all came out ‘I don’t think I’m pregnant, why aren’t I feeling anything? There’s no spotting or cramps.. or anything. I just feel fake pregnant with my stupid progesterone boobs and now I have sari fat too coz I can’t stop eating!’

She comforted me and I felt awful for being such a negative nancy at her baby shower. I couldn’t help it though, afterall I was surrounded by fertiles. I tried to make conversation but preferred to be hidden in a plate of food. Whenever someone asks me what I’m up to these days, I really don’t know what to say. ‘I’m focusing on IVF’ would be the honest answer. I don’t exactly have the type of work I can show off or talk about. Next time I’ll probably talk about my cats.

I know that out for every BFP with symptoms IVF story, there’s a BFP without symptoms IVF story. I’m scared of not seeing two pink lines when I test later this week because I’m scared of falling apart again. How do we keep pushing on? How do we keep doing this?

All I can say is…

Fuck this shit, I'm going to Narnia

(That means back to work where I can focus my energy on scowling)

Ps My OTD is Friday. You can expect to find me here over the weekend.. crying on my keyboard. I just hope they’re tears of joy for once.

 

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Posted in Infertility, IVF

Oh, what a power is motherhood, possessing
A potent spell. All women alike
Fight fiercely for a child.

~ Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis, c. 405 B.C.

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