Disconnect

I’m actually a very good sleeper. I sleep a little like a brick, usually from the moment my head touches the pillow until my a few minutes into my sunrise clock coming on in the morning. I might wake up once during the night to pee, but I go straight back to sleep. That is, until I get my period. Then it’s all change. I’m fidgety. More fidgety than usual. I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m hot again. I itch. I itch everywhere. I’m uncomfortable. In every position. It absolutely sucks.

I used to suffer with insomnia a lot when I was younger. Night time was when my brain came to life. When every single problem, no matter how insignificant, came to the forefront of my consciousness. Where all my creativity ignited. It was exhausting, draining, hard to manage. And then I got diagnosed as a coeliac and went on a gluten-free diet and the insomnia stopped. I’m not suggesting for a minute that gluten causes insomnia but it was definitely diet related for me. Apart from when I have my period, obviously. Then it must be hormone related. Damn hormones.

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Anyway, as I’m up, at 3.45am, I might as well put my brain to use instead of just uncomfortably tossing and turning in my bed. There’s been a lot going on recently. I have separated from Elton. Most of you that know me, will know this already as it happened back at the beginning of December. It had been on the cards for a while, things just weren’t right. Unfortunately there has been a lot of grief in our marriage. Miscarriage, failed IVF, the realisation that a family is not what I will have, it’s all tied up with Elton. It’s not his fault but I can’t move on with him. I need to disconnect.

And that just momentarily brings me back to why I’m up at this unsociable hour. Why the fuck do I still get periods? I’ve gone through this before I know, but it still makes me so angry. Not that I’m desperate to go through the menopause but having a monthly reminder of what could have been is just like a sucker punch. Every fucking month. Anyway, I digress…

So, disconnection. It’s an interesting word for me as it has recently come up in my therapy sessions. One thing that I have had an issue with my whole life is feeling disconnected to things that I have done. This struck me most when I got back from nearly two years of travelling. Almost as soon as I got back I felt disconnected from the whole experience. I had memories and a bunch of photographs but, the only way I can describe it was, it felt like it had happened to someone else and I had just been told about it, rather than experiencing it for myself.

I have recently been through this experience again. For those of you that follow my other blog page, you will know that at the beginning of January I ran the equivalent of three marathons in three days as part of an ongoing challenge I have set myself this year. Now I haven’t run a marathon since 2011 and I have NEVER run three back to back. It was incredibly emotional, going through pain, joy, disappointment, happiness, pride, elation, relief and a whole host of other emotions yet almost immediately I felt completely disconnected from it. Like it had happened to someone else.

So this feeling of disconnection became the topic of conversation when I recently met with my therapist. And what an interesting conversation that became! I am adopted. I was removed from my mother after a few days and put in foster care and then adopted at the age of 10 weeks. Just a wee baby. I’ve never had any issues with this. My parents are amazing, loving and incredibly supportive and I have never wanted for anything. I have also met both my natural parents and their families and still have a close relationship with my natural father and my half-siblings. I’ve never felt that my adoption was a ‘trauma’ in my life. However…

The way my therapist described pregnancy is that mother and baby are one. Joined not just by the physical umbilical cord and subsequent breast feeding but in every other way as well. The first three months of a baby’s life are fundamental. The child develops into an individual but is grounded by this continued bond with their mother. Any child removed from their mother during this time is quite likely to go on to develop some issues in adult life – I’m not a psychologist so I’m not going to attempt to go into this any further, suffice to say, the way it was explained to me made sense.

So I went through a physical ‘trauma’ when I was just a couple of days old. I obviously don’t remember this but it has left a scar. I am disconnected. Disconnected from myself. I seek out relationships, activities, experiences, adventures that make me feel things but these feelings are short-lived. They are in the moment. My emotions feel very real, they feel very intense, but then they’re gone. Like they happened to someone else. In order to really ‘feel’ emotions, I need to reconnect to myself.

A dream that I have had many times throughout my life is that I can breathe underwater. How cool is that? I mean, sometimes, when I’m swimming, I actually question whether it’s true as the dreams have felt so real! I’ve always just thought this was a cool dream however, as my therapist pointed out, there is only one place in reality where you can actually breathe underwater. The womb. Boom. When he said this it was like a lightbulb moment. This is my safe space. This is my point of reconnect. These dreams are positive. I need to have more breathing underwater dreams. Slowly but surely I will reconnect with myself and then, maybe, I will be able to connect properly with everything and everyone else.

I think the closest I came to reconnect before was when I was pregnant. And that makes sense to me now. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so hard for me to get over my miscarriage. It wasn’t about losing the child, although that was a huge part of it, it was also about losing part of me. It was like a step backwards in the ongoing reconnect that has been my life.

Sorry, I think I might be rambling. It is 4.30 in the morning and I am tired. And my hormones are all over the place. Damn hormones. Still, this has all been a bit of revelation to me. Some of you may be thinking it all sounds a bit kooky, and I think I would too if you were telling me. But it resonates, it has ignited something inside me. It has raised something in my subconscious. I actually feel the head of the nail has been hit.

Time to go back to bed. Maybe I’ll dream I can breathe underwater. Maybe I’ll have a moment of reconnect. Maybe those moments of reconnect will become more frequent. I can live in hope.

Goodnight.

Just had to share

This evening, following a good workout at Crossfit and while enjoying a gin and tonic in the bath, I came across this article. For anyone in the same situation as me, i.e. involuntarily childless, it’s a good read. Actually, it’s a good read for anyone. Might make you think a little. Take some time to read it.

So that’s the summer over then?

Blimey. I mean where did it go? Oh to be a child again when summer actually meant something. Time off. Hanging out with friends. Indulging in some freedom. Not the case for us. I suppose it’s our own fault for planning a big trip away at Christmas. Summer meant work. And more work. Although I did manage to squeeze in an additional triathlon ๐Ÿ˜‚

It was great actually. It was a sprint tri in Llanrwst run by a local triathlon club (who I never knew existed but do now and have joined) called GOG Triathlon Club. GOG stands for Great Orme Goats – it’s based in Llandudno, home to the Great Orme and its goats ๐Ÿ˜€

Previously I have always been put off by sprint triathlons, purely because of the word ‘sprint’, but I thought I’d give it a go. It was great fun, very friendly and I even got my fastest average speed on the bike, managing to overtake 3 people in my wave. They did, of course, take me on the run but I can live with that.

Nice bit of bling ๐Ÿ˜

It’s now just 10 days until the Sandman Triathlon, the final one of the Always Aim High adventure series. I’m feeling good and hoping to beat last year’s time but I haven’t done that much specific training. I have, at least, managed to get out in the sea swimming a couple of times which is better than this time last year! Got freaked out by the jellies last time though ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

GOGs swimming in the sea ๐Ÿ˜€

Moving back to my health and hormones and stuff, I finally managed to pluck up the courage to see the doctor. He sent me for a full whack of blood tests and they all came back normal apart from a low iron count. Went back for a chat and saw a different lady who has put me on HRT. She said it sounds like I am premenopausal. Great. I knew but I was dreading having it confirmed, which I haven’t really as it’s all speculation. I suppose I’m no better off than I was before ๐Ÿ˜• Reading the common side effects of the medication was fun. I may even be worse off…

I haven’t started taking them yet. I’m scared to. I just keep looking at them and feeling a sense of utter sadness. It kind of signifies the end for me. An end to any slight chance that I still might of had of getting pregnant. Even though, realistically, the end has already been and gone with that line in the sand.

To that end it’s been a bit of a g&t month. I’ve been tasting some different gins but my favourite is still Opihr with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic and a slice of orange. Oh yeah ๐Ÿ˜€ The hubby has been good too and bought me some beautiful flowers. It must be difficult for him. I’m terrible at just cracking on with stuff and filing away my emotions. Don’t listen to my own advice at all.

Lovely roses and lilies – my favourite โค

Time to pause, time to choose

So here we are, four months on from finding out we’re not going to have children, probably ever. I’ll be honest, I’ve actually dealt with it a lot better than I thought I would, although that may be because I haven’t actually had that much time to think about it. Still, life does go on and on it has gone. So much so that it is now only 41 hours until my second triathlon of the year. Onto that later.

The biggest hurdle I am having to face right now is the fact I am very likely starting the menopause. This is not going down well with me. I am only 43. It wasn’t that long ago that the prospect of having children was still a reality. I don’t know for sure that I’m starting the menopause but there are a few pointers: night sweats and restless nights, very heavy and irregular periods, complete lack of sex drive (which of course doesn’t just affect me). I know I need to go and see the doctor but I’m petrified of having it confirmed. Surely I’m too young? According to the NHS, the average age in the UK for women to start the menopause is 51. I suppose it would confirm why we struggled to conceive.

I found out today another friend is pregnant. Apparently she has had a tough time and has been through the IVF process to get this far. I’m super happy for her. For them both. It’s hard not to feel jealous though. And a bit angry. Not at them, just at life in general. “It’s not fair” is all that is going round my head right now. And that’s true. Life’s not fair. It’s what I tell the young people I work with all the time. But I have a choice. I have a choice to accept it and move on, or not. And I choose moving on, even if sometimes it’s super hard and heart breaking.

Now I’m writing this I can’t stop crying. Ridiculous really as I had a stand-off with a young person the other day who was crying and crying. It started off real and then became purely for attention. I told her that crying was a voluntary process and that she had a choice, a choice to stop crying and get on with the activity or a choice to carry on and get herself into a state. She stopped. I’ve stopped. I digress.

Just looking back at what I’ve written I realise I’ve written a lot about choice. I’m a bit of a follower of William Glasser’s Choice Theoryย which I read about when I was working as a youth worker. I firmly believe that we set the path of our lives according to the choices we make. For example, I can choose to get angry about the tourists driving around Snowdonia at 40mph or I can choose to not get stressed and leave a little longer for my journey into work in the morning. Likewise, I can choose to get really defeated about the amount of litter around or I can make a positive difference and pick it up. These are smaller choices, granted, but it applies to the big things too. I can choose to wallow in self-pity, wondering ‘why me, why me?’ when it comes to not having children, or I can focus my thoughts on the other things in life that give me joy. Beautiful landscapes, sunsets, rainbows, cuddling up to my husband on the sofa, swimming in the rain, feeling like flying when I’m descending a long hill on my bike, getting to the top of a mountain after a hard slog, gin, watching the waves on the beach, sunrise, running with my dog, cake, the complete exhaustion after a good workout, the sound of the river in full flow, morning cuddles with the cat… I could go on. In the words of Trainspotting, I choose life.

I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s not. I’m not saying I won’t ever have times where it gets me down. Today has just proved that not to be the case. But I will cope. I will survive. I will achieve. I will be the best I can be.

Anyway, I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that it was 41 hours to my next triathlon. It’s now 40 1/2 hours ๐Ÿ™‚ I am quite nervous about this one. The weather forecast is looking a bit pants.

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Looking lovely for Sunday, not ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The swim will be manageable as the lake is shallow and warm. In fact, I’m hoping wetsuits won’t be compulsory so I don’t have to try and get out of it in transition (I’m rubbish!!). British Triathlon rules state that the water must be over 14 degrees for wetsuits to become optional. I reckon the lake is warmer than that, the problem is the amount of rain we have had over the last few days as it might have cooled.

The bike ride is 70km around Snowdonia. with 1,132m of ascent. I don’t mind hills so much on the bike (although I’m better at going down than up) but if it’s wet and windy this is going to be horrendous. And then, to top it all off, the 9km run is an ascent and descent of Moel Siabod (featured image on this post) with 696m of ascent ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

So why do I do these things? I’m not really sure is the answer to that. I enjoy being pushed physically. I enjoy a challenge. I like the sense of achievement for finishing. I want to improve and get stronger and fitter and healthier. I enjoy being part of something. I’m competitive. It’s outside. There’s lots of reasons although today, looking out of the window, I’m not so sure… ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Sunday I took part in the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon. I didn’t run the marathon, I ran the 10k. Elton was in the marathon but unfortunately he tore his hamstring at about 7km into the race and had to quit. This was really hard for him. His blog about it is here. I went into the race thinking that I would just treat it as a training run for this weekend. I didn’t want to kill myself the week before the triathlon. It was a super hilly route! I was actually really pleased to complete it in 1:18:33. Not bad when I definitely could have run it faster ๐Ÿ™‚

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All ready to go on the Snowdonia Trail Marathon 10k race ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also got a new addiction. I’ve started Crossfit. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this video. I’m right at the beginning of my Crossfit journey but it’s great. There’s definitely a real sense of community, no preening and looking in the mirror, just people of all shapes and sizes, working out, getting strong and challenging themselves. It’s fab!! I go to the Crossfit Place on Anglesey.

Sorry for the disjointed blog post and for leaving it so long in between posts. Some of you may be thinking that I’m trying to throw myself into too much fitness ‘stuff’ in order to stop falling down the rabbit hole of post-IVF-fail depression. Maybe I am. But it’s working ๐Ÿ˜€

39 hours to go…

Still waiting…

It’s really hard not to think about it. Has it worked? Has it failed? It’s impossible to tell either way until test day and that’s not until Monday. Four days away. That seems like an age. At least I’m past the half way point I suppose. And I’m working the weekend which will keep me distracted. Hopefully. Still, it’s driving me mad. I keep thinking I’m about to get my period. I don’t know why. There are no indications that it is about to happen. But then my palms start itching again. It’s only the progesterone I’m taking but it reminds me of when I was pregnant before.

In my mind I have to think that it’s failed. That’s the safe thing to do. That way there’ll be less disappointment. Won’t there? But what if? Can I let myself think about the what if? I seem to veer from one to the other in a matter of minutes. The fact that I’m still ill with this damn cough isn’t helping. I’m desperate for Night Nurse but I can’t take it, just in case. Tell you what, if it’s negative on Monday then I am getting pissed and washing it all down with a big glug of Night Nurse. At least I’ll have a good night’s sleep, something that’s definitely been lacking in the last 7 days.

What if it’s positive? What then? I haven’t really thought past this stage. I suppose I shouldn’t really as I’ll only be disappointed but is it not a good idea to prepare? I have a very active job. What will I be able to do? More to the point, what won’t I be able to do?

I think I have worked out that I’m not very good at waiting. Waiting sucks. Especially when it involves massive life-changing decisions like this. Grrrr.

The waiting game

The weekend was tricky for me. I’m not used to not coping but Saturday I definitely wasn’t coping (my blog post probably hinted at that). Thankfully I think I’ve passed that, for now. Well, the self deprecation anyway, not the illness. I was worried that I had overdone it, that I was ill and it was my fault. That my body was going to be trying to fight the illness so much that it wouldn’t be focusing on bringing life to my embryos. A very good friend of mine put it in perspective for me. Maybe the whole reason I was ill was because my body was too busy focusing on the embryos it didn’t have time to deal with a silly little virus.

And a virus is what it is. I have had two visits to the doctor since Saturday morning and have been given a ventolin inhaler to use alongside my normal inhaler and some steroids, both to try and ease my cough as I have had a total of about 5 hours sleep in the last two nights. I’m shattered ๐Ÿ˜ฆ There is nothing I can do about my coldsore, it will go away on its own. I just have to put up with it and probably stop fiddling with it… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

My parents have been visiting yesterday and today and we had takeaway curry last night and went to the garden centre today to look at flowers and pots to put in my currently being built garden. We bought some lavender to plant round the bottom of my apple tree (see previous blog on the M word) and it smells divine.ย That was a nice distraction ๐Ÿ™‚ Now they’ve gone and I’ve got to get my head back into work mode. I’m back in tomorrow, although potentially not working directly with the kids as my cough is still pretty bad. At least the weather is looking to improve this week so I shouldn’t be getting a soaking like I did on Friday. Still, this is North Wales and unpredictable weather is the norm here.

There is another couple going through the IVF process a few days ahead of me who I have been following intently through their blogs. It is looking like bad news for them this time and I feel terribly for them. Reading their blogs brought me to tears. Because our timelines are so close together it is difficult not to feel involved, even though I don’t know them and they live the other side of the country. She is ten years younger than me. Her odds are much higher than mine, more like 4 in 10 (mine are 1 in 15). She has the possibility of going again with two frozen embryos. This is our only chance. It’s hard not to think doom and gloom. I have another whole week to wait before I can do my test. Seven days. Well six and a half now as I have to do it first thing in the morning.

I don’t feel pregnant but then this cold definitely has a hold of me and doesn’t really allow me time to feel anything else. I have sore boobs but that would be normal if I was about to get my period. My palms are itchy as they were when I was pregnant before but that’s just the progesterone I’m taking. I’m peeing all the time but that’s hardly surprising when I’m having to sip water all the time to keep my cough at bay. My moods are up and down but then my body has been under huge stress for the last few weeks and I’m taking hormones.

And so we wait.