Archive | January, 2011

Fuck You FSH

22 Jan

As if a level 14 FSH wasn’t bad enough! My recent day 3 FSH fertility testing of ovarian reserve came back 20.5. It is true that when I do something I usually take it to the extreme, so well done!

When I got the result, yes I wept. But I am over it now. There is simply no point in dwelling on it or getting trapped in a state of defeat.

So what’s all this FSH stuff about:

FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is synthesised and secreted by gonadotrophs of the anterior pituitary gland. It regulates the reproductive processes of the body and is the main hormone involved in producing mature eggs in the ovaries. FSH is released to get a follicle going at the beginning of every menstrual cycle.

FSH is the same hormone that is contained in the injectable gonadotropins which are used to produce multiple eggs for infertility treatment.

When a woman is running out of eggs the brain senses that there is low estrogen. This signals the pituitary to make more FSH in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries to produce a good follicle and estrogen hormone. The woman’s body never gives up trying to produce follicles and will continue to create FSH its whole life (this says something about the biological clock that clangs at a certain point in a woman’s life perhaps).Women in menopause have high FSH levels above 40. As women move toward menopause their baseline FSH levels will steadily increase.

Yep, this is meant to be FSH.

By measuring FSH on day 3 of the cycle an indication is gained as to how hard the body in working to get a follicle growing. Basically, the higher the FSH the lesser the quantity and quality of the eggs.

Some doctors also believe that as levels go above 9, a reduction in response to ovarian stimulating drugs is also seen.

With so much focus on my aging body (amount of and quality of eggs), I can’t help but recognize how young I feel in every other way. I’m fit, healthy and energetic. And truly, I could give 20 something girls a run for their money in many areas.

I’m also fun. Some might see it as immature which, is totally premeditated and on purpose. I mean who really wants to grow into a serious and boring middle age woman? Well, some women may, but I don’t.

Seriously, in many ways I have really just begun living my life. I’m now over most of the trappings and baggage from my childhood.

So fuck you FSH. You are just not pulling your weight and following suit! You are the loose screw in an otherwise well performing engine – okay, that is dramatic! My FSH isn’t going to lead to it all coming undone but it is fucking with the grand plan.

Many doctors don’t even bother to take FSH levels when starting IVF. My doctor is of this school of thought. The only reason that I had the test was that the nurse from the fertility clinic where I did my orientation advised me to do so and then advised me not to proceed if my FSH was over 13. She said it would be in my best interest to wait for the next cycle and see if my levels were lower then.

When I research this for myself I find no proven benefit in waiting for a menstrual cycle with a lower FSH level and then stimulating straight away for IVF. As in any other profession, all doctors are different and I just have to accept that.

When choosing a doctor many factors come into play. I chose my doctor for several very good reasons and I trust him. So I wait for him to return from holidays on 31st January and we will make the decision together.

Let’s face it, I only need one good egg. Well, I would like two really because I want to put two back (no, I am not scared of the prospect of twins).

Conclusion:

Don’t get caught up on the FSH trip like I have. There are many factors involved in reproduction. FSH is just one of them.

Support

15 Jan

I have recently joined a support group called Solo Mums by Choice (SMC) Australia. This is a community of women and their children who are at different stages of the conscious sole parent journey. While most members have chosen to use donors, others are looking at or have become mothers by adoption or other means. Currently there are about 400 active members.

I don’t know what took me so long – it is brilliant. There’s nothing like talking with and learning from women who have gone through or are currently facing the same challenges as yourself. The members of this group have been very welcoming and super supportive so far.

Today I met with one of the members for brunch. A real live woman embarking on a similar journey!

Choosing to be a single parent can be a lonely journey. There is always the gap of that ‘significant other’ and varying thoughts, feelings and doubts can play havoc with the solidity of your decision. Sharing experiences with other who can relate is so important and helps assure that most of these ups and down are natural and not out of the ordinary.

This new found support has led me to contemplate the other supports I have around me.

I moved to Sydney with my ex 6 years ago now so most of my long term friends and family are interstate. Fortunately, I do have some really lovely friends here who are immensely supportive and I am so grateful. And my ex is still a very good friend and very supportive too. I am very lucky. These people are my chosen family and I love them very much.

But the truth of the matter is – they have their own lives, own families and other friends. And like me, they are busy people. I love it when people (especially counselors) ask in a very concerned tone “Do you have enough support around you?” Of course they mean well but realistically the support declared by friends today may not exist tomorrow for a variety of reasons. This is life. And so many couples set off to have children together and by no direct choice of their own, they find themselves going it alone.

And there is the issue of asking for support! I’ve always come across as someone who can just cope and get things done for myself and that is mostly true. I also however find it hard to reach out and ask for help and often don’t like to burden people with my own issues or woes.

My darling ex used to ask all the time for me to be more vulnerable and let him help. It has been such a battle for me to do this. Fortunately, it is so much easier for me to be vulnerable these days but asking for and accepting help is still a challenge.  I love the quote from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves”. I agree and I definitely do not see pride, in this context, as a virtue.

I know how fortunate I am in that if I reach out and ask – there are lots of people in the world that love me and wouldn’t hesitate. Half the battle though is actually ‘knowing’ what kind of support to ask for. When going through IVF I have no idea what I will need. Distraction, a shoulder to cry on, company or pep talks!? I shall put the question to the SMC forum.

That’s the exceptional beauty of SMC. The forum is full of women who understand completely what you are going through. It really isn’t necessary to over explain things as there is bound to be someone who has faced the same issue before you.

And it’s nice to be part of a caring community.

If you are thinking about becoming a single mother by choice, check it out. I shouldn’t have waited so long myself.

absolving abortions past

9 Jan

I have been procrastinating writing this entry for some time now. Partly because I haven’t wanted to focus on past negative occurrences and also because I still feel sad when I talk about it. I do however need to let go of this past event completely in order to make space for what is to come.

When I was 22 I had an abortion. Although I have forgiven myself and come to terms with why it happened (though that did take a long time), I still feel some loss at times. And that is not only because of the situation I find myself in now.

I think that I held on to the guilt for so long because I didn’t actually want to terminate.

My partner at the time already had a daughter from a previous relationship and actually, we weren’t that suited to each other anyway. He was pretty arrogant and liked to tell me what to do. I was very head strong and didn’t like that at all, so we often butted heads.

He was dead against me going through with the pregnancy. I actually see his point – there really was no chance that we were going to be a happy family unit and he didn’t want another child to another woman he wasn’t going to stay with.

I on the other hand really wanted to go through with it anyway. At the time I had a lot of experience with children. You could say children were my life. I had previously been working in a childcare centre, had left to complete my education degree at uni and was nannying for 5 kids.

I knew I was pregnant very early on. All the tests indicated otherwise but I was right. It was like I had a deep connection with the pregnancy (or is that what I told myself to punish myself more for having the termination).

In the end, I gave in to the pressure he was putting on me to terminate.

The whole experience was soul destroying. I cried on the way to the clinic. They had to knock me out completely because I was so distraught  (it is a wonder they actually performed the procedure). I woke up crying and cried for weeks after.

Suprisingly I got back together with this guy for a while but I never really forgave him. I think I somehow wanted something good to come out of the relationship but of course, we were doomed.

This regret and grief lived inside me for 15 odd years, until I confronted it again recently. I went a holistic counselor/healer about 18 months ago and without mentioning a word she picked I was still grieving from a past termination. She told me that I still felt guilty about my choice and that I was still holding on to this lost child. She was right and infact I still shed a tear for her (I believe this child was a girl).

The healer believed that holding onto the loss wasn’t allowing any space for the child my recent ex and I were trying to conceive. We did an exercise to help me let go of her once and for all. We used the flame of a lit candle as the soul of the child we named Katie. I spoke to Katie about how I felt, why I terminated the pregnancy and why I needed to release her and make room for another child. The flame was then extinguished and I allowed myself to grieve fully for her.

And so I have cleared space to accept another child, with love, into my body and into my life.

Though many woman have come to terms and feel very comfortable with their decision to terminate a pregnancy – very few find it easy. Research indicates that 93% of women regret their abortions and many suffer from post-traumatic stress and shame. This shame oftens stands in the way of seeking help to get through the emotional turmoil. In my opinion, anti-abortion activists have a lot to answer for here.

Regardless how I feel about my own termination, it still gets my back up when anti-abortion zealots rant on about abortion being murder of what I believe to be ‘presentient’ beings. It is a choice that most women do not want to make and it is not something they take lightly. But a choice it is and a choice it should be. Outlawing it just moves it to dangerous underground practices in any case.

I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason though and that Katie has a life somewhere else now. I also know that I made the only decision I could at the time. And had I not terminated I most likely would have not traveled the world, I would not have met the extraordinary people I have, I may not have carved the solid career I have and I may not have broken away from toxic environments that were necessary. I know the child to come is meant to be here and I welcome them with open arms.

All is how it is meant to be.

res·o·lu·tion – firmness of purpose.

5 Jan

The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes a long way back.

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

Late March actually is a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planted. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Romans continued to observe the New Year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun. (source: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-History-of-New-Years-Resolutions&id=245213)

I’ve personally never really been big on new year celebrations. In my opinion it is loaded with high expectations followed by an anticlimax (unless you are completely intoxicated and can’t remember anyway). I know, bah humbug.

I am however, very excited about this year, whether the real new year starts in January, February or March. Some believe that 2011 is just as important as 2012 because it will bring about the start of events that will cause the great spiritual shift in 2012. (2012 has been the talk of the town since, well, the beginning of the Mayan calendar! Some believe it is the world end. I believe it is simply the end of the Mayan calendar which signifies the end of one cycle and the beginning of another).  I feel this is true (or at least I really hope so).

So in effect 2011 is the year to go for what you really want in your soul, break free from the chains of commercialism and get back to one’s true self. YIPPEE!

I ordinarily don’t ‘do’ new year resolutions but this year I am.

1. Welcome a baby into my life;

2. Giver serious attention to a new career pathway and love I have – documentary film making;

3. Love for love’s sake with no expectation;

4. Practice yoga and meditation regularly to bring myself back to a sate of peace;

5. Write, write and write.

I am really really excited about what the year holds for me. I am resolute on what I want. And I am proud to have chosen to become a single mother by choice – it feels right, it feels moral and I can’t wait! 🙂

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman