IF and the City

I used to feel sad when I watched the episodes with Charlotte failing over and over again while trying to get pregnant. Little did I know that my own attempts would lead me on the same sad journey. We've now passed 4 years in the trenches. 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles = nothing. Time for something new - donor eggs. Success at last. Now for round 2.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Something in the water?

YAAYYY Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow, Christy Turlington and now Claudia Karvan (Aus actress) are all pregnant with their second babies – anyone else? How wonderful now they will all have perfect nuclear families on top of everything else in their fabulous lives.

I wish we could just get all the announcements out of the way in one go, so I can go back to reading magazines or newspapers as a means of escape, without having to confront my own IF yet again.

Right now you can’t leave your house without tripping over the maximum coverage of the wonderful fairytale of Princess Mary and Frederick – every magazine with the official ‘family’ photo on the cover. I mean Mary leaving the hospital to go home interrupted regular broadcasting on national tv! But everyone sucks it all up and wants more!. Aaaahhh aren’t they perfect? Isn’t it wonderful that she sat in the backseat of the car with her baby? Who cares? Just loved the way she referred to herself as 'one' (snicker!)

It’s filthy enough having to hear announcements from family and friends, but are we expected to be ecstatic at every celebrity pregnancy and birth as well?

The cult of celebrity is so extreme that these announcements have this hideous knock-on effect into our personal space. You can’t go out to dinner or even to work without being dragged into a conversation about the latest star’s pregnancy, whether they look good, do I think they’re having a boy or a girl aaaahhh! Why are these people so much a part of our own lives?

I’m not entirely convinced that my attitude is solely because of our IF. I mean is this what passes for interesting conversation now?

I just want a celebrity to get pregnant and tell everyone that they’ve been through hell to get there, and the only way they coped was by writing a blog and reading everyone else’s. Is it too far fetched to imagine that Brooke or Courtney (the only celebrities to be half-honest about IF) actually got on the internet and read forums and blogs?

I think because we’re going through IF I never publicly express what I really think.

There would be nothing more likely to give away my embittered state than letting the toxic and sarcastic remarks that I’m forever thinking accidentally slip out.

The fact that there are so many pregnant women at my work means that not a day goes past without conversation about babies. If I have to hear one more person say ‘oh there must be something in the water, so many of us are pregnant’! Yeah well guess what - I’ve been drinking my prescribed 1-2 litres of this f****** work-water every day for 3 years, and it’s done nothing for me!

Yep, that'd do it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Decision Made

Well it looks like the decision has been made for us.

I rang the hospital to find out about their Christmas closures. They shut for 2 weeks over the break and they have to plan all cycles leading up to and after Christmas with this in mind.

In turns out that October 30th is the cut off, anyone starting a period after that has to wait until next year.

So since we’ve already hit the Medicare Safety Net for the year we are better to take advantage now, rather than pay the full fees early next year.

The instruction pack is in the mail.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


We have to make a decision. Or maybe it's just me that has to.

D has seen his MS-CFG and gone over all his results with her, and updated her on our efforts with the anti-candida, organic, gluten-free, near-alcohol free, near-caffeine free diet.

All good.

She advised him that now since he has a cyst he now has to avoid nuts as well – cysts don’t like nuts.

He was also given the name of another Urologist who has had some success with a ‘binding’ kind of operation on varicoceles. Not that we’re to get our hopes up - since this is a grand total of 1 patient.

D’s options are pretty limited; it’ll be a choice of general or local anaesthetic. We still have 6 weeks before he gets to see the original Dr. Uro.

But… the thing is, for whatever it’s worth D’s morphology has improved to 1%, so the question is does that mean we may have better results if we go through another round of IVF? Given that all our other cycles have been with 0% morphology is the 1% just a standard deviation or is it real? MS-CFG seems to think that it’s promising, and also we had the good news that we didn’t have any significant ‘round head’ forms. Apparently these are the bad ones, round heads can’t penetrate eggs au naturale (guess they just bounce off the sides?) and also there is belief that they contain damaged DNA and don’t grow great embryos even with ICSI.

Our original CFG, who I still see, was very shocked at our results, or lack of, after all we were following her protocols to the letter (literally - A Tea, O Tea, P Tea [the most disgusting], and Y Tea for D]). I still buy her putrid teas for D, because I think that they do have some benefit – it’s just that she neglected other significant stuff. I hate to say it, but I’m thinking of jumping ship to another CFG too, but she is a bit of a ‘hope’ addiction and it’s a tough one to break.

Why am I hesitating about another cycle of IVF?

I don’t know, except that I think if there is anything to be gained from the change of diet and acupuncture (+ teas) we need a little time. MS-CFG believes that if there will be change it should be apparent within 6 weeks.

D and I have decided that we’ll only give IVF two more goes at the most, so I want to make sure when we cycle we’re in good shape.

I want our efforts now to have a significant impact on our next cycle. What with the DHEA I’m taking and all D’s efforts – I want our timing to be right.

I can’t bear the thought of going through another cycle and having exactly the same results.

Our results have always seemed to be great – up to a point. We’ve always had good numbers of eggs, usually had close to 100% fertilisation, but our embryos have never implanted, nor do we get any in the freezer.

I will fully accept that my egg quality is not up to scratch and that is the reason for our failures, if I can rule out absolutely that there’s any doubt about the quality of our sperm.

I mean if we were to take the big next step and look into donor eggs, I would want to be confident that we would be in a better position than we are now.

Whatever we do, we have to make a decision in the next day or so... now - eeney, meeney, miney mo ...

Ooops, forgot to mention, I changed my display name ... never really liked Ace (sounds like a smart-alec boy) I just put it in when setting up my blog because it was a nickname I was given once. From now on my display name will be ... Sparkle (smart-alec girl now)... just so you know when I make my calls.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Social Lepers!

One of D's old friends has just come home from working o/s for the last few years, and everyone was getting together for a big picnic/bbq yesterday - and it was a beautiful day.

We gave our usual 'unable to make it' line, since we can't bear to go along and be the only couple without babies. Actually not true, us and the single male friends.

It's really all my fault. You see I started finding some social situations very difficult after I'd had a miscarriage. Our pregnancy hadn't made the 12 week mark, so we hadn't told anyone, then because no one knew, who were we going to tell we'd miscarried - and why make such a fuss?

One of the first awful social encounters I had was within 2 weeks of having the D&C. We were out to dinner with a group of friends, one of the couples had a 6 month old baby girl at the time. In casual conversation we were talking about someone else who'd had a miscarriage and SA (mother) says 'well I just never knew what the big deal was with having a miscarriage, I mean in the early days it's just a bunch of cells, but now of course that I have a baby of my own, I'd just be devastated'.

Now, clearly this was not a comment made with malicious intent, it's was a really dumb stupid observation, and she wasn't to know what I'd just gone thru. But I felt horrible and thought horrible things about her and hated it.

As time has gone on I just can't stomach having to smile and nod all day at the big events, when the only topic of conversation seems to be the endlessly repeated birth stories and the never- ending whinging and complaining about parenthood/motherhood.

I don't know if this is a perculiar throw back to the early days in the colonies, when a social event meant all men would stand in one corner drinking beer and all women in the other talking babies or frocks.

I just find it easier staying away from the big gatherings and seeing people in smaller easier-to-handle groups.

At the moment at work there are 6 women on my floor pregnant, and in fact there seems to be about 50 pregnancies at my workplace, so it's not as if I can hide out from all these radiant women. On an everyday level I'm fine, in fact my colleague I sit right next to is 7 months pregnant and has had me feeling her kicking stomach!

It seems that when it comes to close friends I feel marginalised. Maybe because I've known lots of these people from when they were single or pre-baby, that it ends up hitting harder.

I'm just not sure how most people handle this?

I guess we could just start telling everyone what we've been going thru, but then that would mean constantly having to update everyone and sometimes D and I just can't stand talking about it.

Why didn't Jane Austin write a book about a married IF sister, then we'd have a ready made social framework to follow and a few handy witticims!

This blatantly obvious segue way is to mention the new Pride & Prejudice! I bolted out to see the advance screenings because Colin Firth or not, there was a new Darcy to meet. Interesting, my 'party' were all more concerned with Lizzie or Keira Knightly and the fact that we thought she was going to irritate us for the entire movie with her special 'Keira' giggle, but managed to rein it in.

Better go, I'm joining the next hand of whist!

Friday, October 21, 2005

What's a Varicocele?

Every step we’ve taken on this infertility path has been another step out of the light and into the darkness. Every test, procedure, our miscarriage, every failed ivf cycle has caused yet another light bulb to pop from above and die. Leaving us now arms out front flailing around making sure we don’t fall deep into the darkness, our remaining candles slowly burning down to the wick.

It seems that a light bulb may just have been replaced and we find some extra illumination.

D’s ultrasound results have come back and it turns out that he does in fact have a small varicocele (2.2cm) and a cyst (4cm). He has only had a phone consultation with the Dr., who told him it was ‘nothing to get excited about’, now he’s gone off on holiday and made an appointment with D to see him in 6 weeks.

This is nothing to get excited about? Actually, it’s the only break-through we’ve ever had in nearly 3 years of infertility.

There’s a funny phenomenon that’s happened to us, and I’m sure we’re not the only ones, that has us waiting thru every test and getting to the point where we actually want something to be wrong and found. Getting told that everything’s okay is all very well, but after a while it’s just frustrating and it just gets tired being made to feel that there’s nothing wrong EXCEPT that probably that you just have crap eggs.

It is possible that fixing this isn’t going to be the big cure (we couldn’t be that lucky), but finding and fixing it now could save D lots of grief long term … horrible things can happen to men who are left untreated …

This is a something that should have been found more than 2 years ago, it makes me want to scream, but since gynaecology is only concerned with women and their age, they neglect to advise men to have these tests. Oh yeah, and of course, ICSI fixes everything anyway. Boohoo!

How on earth could we be expected to wait 6 weeks for a consultation and not do anything in the meantime? I cannot believe the lightening speed with which I have been whipped in and out of hospital for all the various tests I’ve had and yet it’s good enough for D to wait 6 weeks for a consultation? What a joke.

Of course we’ve taken the report and faxed it immediately to our MF-CFG and we’ll await her advice on our best course of action. D will see her properly next Wednesday and I’m hoping she might call in the meantime.

So now we love her more. D has been sceptical of complementary therapists, but now totally respects her thoroughness.

She told D that lots of men have low-level infections that are never detected.

My quick google on this seems to indicate that treatments can vary from antibiotics to Clomid(!) and micro-surgery.

I love how the week can start one way and end another.

PS pronounced vari-co-cell (I didn't know)!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Grey Skies

Clearly a post a day is too much for me, I just couldn’t meet my own challenge. Alot can happen in a couple of days though.

My friend F has had her op. and it seems to have gone well… in a hell-on-earth kind of way. She was told she came extremely close to having a hysterectomy, the fibroid was so big and embedded so deep. She has also been told that it looks like she has endometriosis and that she should have a laparoscopy in a couple of weeks, but right now she’s not interested. She was given an anti-nausea injection that gave her a panic attack, and when she asked about it they said it wouldn’t be that. Next day, the nausea is back and she’s given the injection again and the panic-attack came back (it was stemotil I think). She said the only thing that got her through it was knowing that it had lasted 3 hours the day before. All in all it’s been pretty hideous experience. Oh yeah, and the Gynae ward is so full she’s been parked in Respiratory!

D had a new SA done and unfortunately it doesn’t look as if his morphology has improved. He was told it is 1%, previously it has been 0%. Numbers, motility etc. all good, but morphology is shite, which is how I feel. More than 6 months on CFG’s putrid teas and any improvement is negligible.

The clinic have faxed thru the results to me and the good news seems to be in the count, it has increased 500%, which is great, so why can’t they be fit, healthy and normal forms!

D made an appointment for us to go back next week and see the sperm doctor, he is trialling something called Tahitian noni juice. He said there have been lots of studies done recently on the benefits to women’s fertility and he’s studying the effects on men.

D will get to speak to his new MS-CFG on Thursday, and she will determine his treatment program. She tells me that our story is not unusual, she’s seen lots of couples that are unaware that their ‘unexplained’ infertility is actually a morphology problem and she says that it’s not surprising that ivf/icsi doesn’t work – morphology should be improved prior to going on a cycle.

Funnily enough I find this heartening, our version of this sorry infertility story isn’t unusual. Now all I want is the recipe for fixing it.

So here's D and I, smack bang in the middle of the great debate - all fertility doctors say that ICSI fixes everything, even spaz heads contain all the necessary dna, whereas the complementary therapists (and our sperm doctor) believe the spaz head can damage the dna and result in embryos that don't implant.

We’ve already started the anti-candida diet. D is being very good, he’s not even drinking beer. We’ve switched to soya milk, brown rice, and organic meat. D is now having non-wheat muesli for breakfast – with goats yoghurt. The nutritionist told D that it’s best if we try and do this during the week, and on the weekend go a little easier on ourselves.

D is this minute off to have an ultrasound to rule out varicocele and any other low level infections. Deep breath, let’s see how this goes.

The beautiful early summer weather we were experiencing last week has disappeared and been replaced with grey skies. Also that huge weight I’ve been carrying around just got heavier, so much so I have had excrutiating shoulder pain and a stiff neck for the last 24 hours.

It feels like I’m asking for the earth, but I just want something to be easy for us, I want our hard work to have a result.

Friday, October 14, 2005


My post today is about best friend F. She has to go into hospital for an operation called an Abdominal Myomectomy, so all my thoughts are with her. At 1pm she has to go in and first have herself measured for a stocking suit that she has to wear afterwards (it’s the new black).

Look it up on the internet if you want, she told me to – and she said to make sure to look at the find pictures … holy alien-exploding-out-of-stomach …

Ahh that’s nothing I said in an empathetic under-estimation, you should see the pictures of what I’ve been thru …

F is a great friend, and is one of the few people I talk to about what D and I are going thru, we’re fertility confidantes.

She’s a little older than me (41) and wants to have a baby too. Her story is not unusual, she was single and had thought children weren’t going to happen and then met her partner. They have been together a couple of years now and would like to build a family.

F had been diagnosed with the fibroid a couple of years earlier, but maybe because she was single no one suggested an operation or any other treatment – because she was told that fibroids shrink when you reach menopause, now there’s something to look forward to.

I’m trying to help F as much as I can – since I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge in all this these days – I can only think of how much I learned online from other’s women’s experiences and pass it on. The main thing I keep trying to emphasis to F is not to amble on this path – but run like you’ve got the devil on your tail!

Poor F had to have an HSG (like most of us), but for her having a tilted pelvis as well as the fibroid made it a very bad experience, the technician even wrote that it was a technically difficult procedure and wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of the patient. YAY for women in general and F in particular.

The main downside for F is that she has to go on the pill for 6 months following the op, apparently it takes that long for everything internally to heal. I’ve advised F that at the 3 month mark she should start taking DHEA, so by the time they can start trying she’ll have her eggs super-charged!

So for F, the healing gods have been instructed to hover very close to the inner west of Sydney today and to include a couple of angels in the envoy.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

DHEA Anyone?

Travel time to and from work has long been great thinking time for me, today as I walked thru the big tunnel at the train station I realised that I had a few posts to make, but they all needed to be made one by one. So I have set myself the ambitious task of a daily post from today thru to Sunday - yikes 4 posts!

I haven't been blogging much about what I'm up to fertility wise, and that's because it's in abit of a holding pattern due to D getting some updated results.

Long before discovering blogs I was a regular infertility forum lurker, I still go back to my favourites almost daily. One of the great discoveries I made was about the wonders currently being seen with women who take dhea. In fact, the story is great, it started with a lady in US wanting to bank embryos for later use, who did some internet research and discovered dhea and started taking it without her doctors' knowledge. Each IVF cycle she went thru she produced more and more eggs - until she was producing around 25 - did I mention she was 43!

Once she'd come clean the clinic started it's own investigations and research, see link http://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/premature_ovaries.html

It's astounding stuff, almost too breathtaking to believe.

One thing I've noticed is that this is talked about on forums, but not currently by bloggers.

After our last ivf failure and my subsequent follow up with the miserable doctor, I got what is fondly referred to as 'the speech'. Basically my eggs are crap, and I should lobby one of my sisters to hand some eggs over.

Well it seems that this could be entirely false if our CFG and MS-CFG are to be believed, they think that D's boys could be the party poopers, so we're currently in the midst of getting some more tests (blog update hopefully after the weekend).

But, so as to keep up my end of the bargain, and because my mother would most likely sue me if I go near any of my sisters [egg cap-in-hand], I've explored these magic beans abit more.

In Australia the dhea recommended (micronised - not homeopathic), is a banned substance - because a bunch of athletes have been caught using it to enhance performance. You can get it but you need a prescription. That said I had no problem getting the prescription from a doctor - research in hand, and getting it filled. Incidentally my doctor said alot of his patients that ask for this - want to take it for anti-aging purposes!

Tomorrow marks the 7th week I have been taking it, the recommendation is that it takes 3-4 months to have maximum impact (to do with how long an egg takes to develop).

Seven weeks ago I walked into CFG's office with the same research and asked her if she had heard of it, she had, but didn't realise the current research being done. Incidentally it will not become statistically relevant until they have around 1000 cases. They update the website frequently, but the latest exciting thing being found is the number of spontaneous pregnancies occuring - women taking the drug waiting to cycle. As I said to D - this is a centre that makes it's money off ivf - so spontaneous pregnancy is not in their interest.

Last week CFG told me she had a new patient, 36, who had been thru 6 rounds of ivf with no result and her dr (from the big fertility house) had told her she had crap eggs and should find a donor. Same same but different different. Naturally devastated she probably did some research and tried to get a prescription for dhea. When she she handed over what the dr. had given her, the chemist he said the dosage was so small it wasn't worth taking (incidentally it was a third of what is being recommended).

So I want to add this topic into my blog in case anyone is getting the same spiel, and will blog my own results as they happen.

Just for the record, so far I have experienced no side effects (some report acne), except perhaps a slight feeling of indigestion some days.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gourmet Delights!

Yesterday the weekly food liftout from the daily newspaper had a feature story on foodie blogs.

Wow what a great world!

I was tempted away from the IF blogs to the food bloggers and couldn't stop reading. They have so much fun, wining and dining and writing about it, and some of the most exquisite photos (food porn I think that is).

The queen blog is called 'chez pim' - a thai-born lady called Pim who lives in San Franciso, and who travels around London, Europe and her own neck of the woods eating in the fancy-ist dining rooms. She even met her boyfriend after reviewing his restaurant. I noticed on her blog that she has listed all the feature stories written on her around the world and all the blog awards, who knew they existed.

But there were so many others ... the local blogs are always going to be the best - since they're reviewing restaurants in your own neighbourhood.

I got that feeling that I love and hate in equal parts - a carefree feeling when I stop thinking about infertility and just browse for fun. It gives me this kind of longing that I wish I could just unburden this problem and live my life indulging in the fun stuff like so many other people. A good reminder for me to make sure I don't narrow my life down too much.

One thing I noticed and told D was that there are usually lots more comments on the infertility blogs. Guess that's the difference when there exists a shared need to write rather than just a shared interest.

Wouldn't it be fun to see some fertility blogs start to get similar acclaim?

Monday, October 10, 2005

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Poor Baby Jane Hudson never had it easy.

When she married, her and her husband decided that they would try to have a baby straight away. They had been together for a few years, and their wedding was long overdue, but it was a beautiful day for both of them.

After a few months of trying Baby Jane decided that she better get to the doctor and have some preliminary tests taken to check that everything was okay. The dr. took all the usually blood tests and swabs and gave some advice on the best times of the month to try and that sort of thing and sent her away and said to try for the next 3 months and if nothing happened to come back. Also her husband was to have his boys checked out before that time if need be.

Anyhoo, time went on and unfortunately there was no luck with pregnancy, so she had to go back to the doctor, having convinced her husband to get his test. Well the doctor says, your husband's has a low to average count, so we'll have to whip you into hospital ... you have private cover ... great, and we'll do some mandatory laparoscopy type tests under general anaesthetic then we'll know if there's anything amiss.

Baby Jane was very nervous because she'd never been to hospital before, but it all went well. While she was recovering the nurse told her the doctor wanted her to call him. Panic stricken she called, 'well we couldn't get any dye into your tubes, but don't panic he said, the uterus often cramps and everything else is fine, and there's another test we can do'. So two weeks later when she had her stitches out, she had the famous HSG test. Well the dye went in on one side and the other side started cramping again. So, it's all good the doctor said, go away and try again. So she went away again and nothing happened, 'well I can either send you to an ivf doctor or you can try clomid' the doctor said. I'll try clomid Baby Jane said in a panic, I don't want ivf!. So thermometer in hand she started with clomid.

Ohh la la, incredibly in two months she found herself pregnant. She couldn't believe it, she felt so lucky and scared. She went back to the doctor and had her beta blood test, then the pregnancy was really confirmed and an ultra sound was booked to check everything was in the right place. Two days before the ultrasound she started bleeding very lightly and raced straight to the doctor. It's probably just placenta attaching, just take it easy. Phew she thought until two days later she started bleeding again. This time a blood test was taken and she was told she was having a threatened abortion and had to go to hospital the next day for a d&c. 'At least you know you can get pregnant' the doctor said, yes there is that she thought. Though it didn't stop her crying when she came around from the anaesthetic and was told it was all over ...

In all this time the only people she told about what she was going thru was her mother and Blanche her sister. Blanche was quite annoyed at first because she was planning her wedding and wanted undivided attention. She couldn't understand why her wedding wasn't a priority for Baby Jane, she was one of the bridesmaids after all - and weren't their $500 dresses beautiful?

Blanche was pregnant by the time Baby Jane had her miscarriage and it was really quite inconvenient to her. 'Well at least if you don't have children you'll live a wealthy life', was one great pearl of wisdom from her. 'Maybe you should think about adoption' was another she generously offered a couple of weeks later. 'I just want you to share in my joy' she told Baby Jane one day. Sometimes Baby Jane found herself very upset, especially when Blanche threw her ultra sound pics at her and talked non-stop about the pregnancy. Oh well at least I know I can get pregnant she'd tell herself.

Time went on and then she found herself seeing a specialist and after more time trying and then her and her husband found themselves heading down the ivf route. Everything was new to her and her husband and they were very hopeful. They'd decided that they'd embark on this journey without more helpful advise from Blanche, because she really had her own pregnancy to worry about. Blanche thought that was stupid and became very hostile. 'I don't know why Baby Jane makes such a fuss, lots of women have miscarriages, I myself once had a 2 week late period' she complained to their mother 'so did I' their mother confided back.

Baby Jane started to feel as if she was being judged a little harshly, but told herself that she had to stick to her priorities.They started the treatment and came to the day that they had to pay for their treatment, so rang thru to the clinic to give their credit card details ... what's your surname the clerk asked 'Hudson' Baby Jane said, because she hadn't changed her name since being married. 'Oh here we are ... Blanche' .... silence ... gulp ... 'nooo she said it's Baby Jane Hudson not Blanche'.

Baby Jane and her husband were amazed, Blanche had been thru fertility treatment and had never discussed this - amongst all the advice she'd doled out - she'd never mentioned that she too had had fertility problems... she told us she got pregnant before they'd started trying ...

Baby Jane has kept this little secret from the family. But it changed things for her, she feels less like a victim now and she has found support elsewhere. She discovered a whole world of women on the internet who are prepared to talk about their experiences, no matter how painful they are.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

There's an assumption in life that your family sticks with you through thick and think, but how many families survive infertility intact?

Part of my disbelief and pain in dealing with our infertility stems from the fact that I come from what is considered a large family - I'm one of five (4 gals, 1 bro) D, on the other hand, comes from a small family - he's the one and only.

The next step is that I'm the only one of five that doesn't have children. D, of course is the only one of one not to have children. He's an only child due to unexplained ferility that his parents went thru....

Early on in our journey we conceived 'spontaneously' as they say, but unfortunately miscarried at 8 weeks. Miscarriage is a painful enough experience to go thru, but how much harder do you think it was with two sisters pregnant at the same time?! Excruciatingly painful ...

Only my mother and one of my (pregnant) sisters even knew that I'd been pregnant and miscarried, and that's the way it'll stay I thought. The one that did - S - is unfortunately an extremely selfish person and had no concept of empathy, she thought I would be 'sharing in her joy' ... and maybe she thought I could just switch off my own life to do that?

It's hard to know if I was just self-indulgent or not, but at one point D said to me that I had to figure out a way to deal with things because he was worried about me getting too depressed - and even if that meant taking a step back from my family for a while, well that's just what we would have to do, because our priority had to be to make sure that however things turned out for us,I was going to be able to be happy ... okay I agreed. So one night I explained to S that D and I had decided that I needed to take a step back from the family to ensure my sanity - and as I explained it must be difficult for her at times, not wanting to say the wrong thing around me. Oh right, so what does that mean? Well we'll catch up from time to time, we'll figure it out, but I just needed some time out ... Oh o-kay.

Well she didn't understand, and thought I was just being selfish and abandoning her and her needs. Phone calls became strained and hostile and when we did catch up - we talked about her pregnancy for most of the time, and I would go home crying and asking D why would she say such horrible things to me like 'well you're not pregnant' when I'd tell her what my doctor's advise had been. Yep, she was the pregna-zilla from hell.

Things really took a turn for the worse when we weren't informed of the birth of their baby.

D and I decided that we would just carry on as if it was the most normal thing in the world and left congratulatory messages and sent flowers. We still never heard a word.

It's now been more than a year, and we have now had no contact at all. They also moved to live in France for a year, so that makes it easier.

The funny thing is, that now we don't care. We're still dealing with infertility, it's still our main priority, and we now realise we're so much happier without having to negotiate through this always problematic relationship. Naturally this became the big talking point of the family for a while, especially since no one (except my parents) have any idea what sparked the big feud in the first place.

Working out who you are comfortable talking about your infertility with is just one of the many difficulties that you have to work out. With us, we told both parents what we were going thru, and that we'd decided we'd keep everything private from everyone else. I don't believe my mother has honoured this, but my reasons still hold true and I don't discuss what we're going thru with anyone in the family. I now don't talk to her about what we're going thru and she doesn't ask.

My mother just doesn't understand what the problems could be. She's old skool - 'it's all her fault' or 'it's all his fault' - she doesn't get the 'it's a couple's problem' modern-type thinking.

Because we're now surer than ever that our problems are male factor, I'm even more steadfast in my views. I couldn't bear to have my mother telling everyone in my family that 'it's all D's fault' I think it'd be a relief for her, because then she wouldn't need to feel any guilt that her daughter is defective.

While going thru the ivf cycles, a couple of times I've seen women with their mothers waiting with them to get their blood tests and ultra sounds, and even going with them for the transfers. I often feel envious of these women because while their mother's may drive them crazy by wanting to be around and help, I can't imagine feeling that support. I've even read forums where mothers have logged on while their daughter's are cycling.

Yet again I tell myself that this is all good stuff. When D and I become parents we will have all this experience of life that would never otherwise have.

Imagine, I sometimes think to myself, if we'd never experienced infertility - would we have never appreciated when life is delivered to you on a platter?