The Infertility Rollercoaster Ride

I have always loved babies. When I was 14 years old one of my mother’s friends had a baby boy, I can remember going to stay at their place one weekend just so I could hang out with him. He was the most beautiful baby! I thought I would have 2 or maybe 3 babies, It never occured to me that there was a possibility this may never happen. I had the opportunity to start a family with my first boyfriend, I have absolutely no regrets that I didnt.

On the morning of 6 November 2005 my husband & I woke at The Hilton after our amazing wedding day! Hubby said to me ‘So … what’s next?’, I said ‘breakfast!’, he said ‘no, I mean WHAT is next?’, I said ‘babies!!’, he said ‘let’s do it!’. We had no clue what the following 10 years would bring, thankfully we didn’t as I may well have jumped off that balcony right there and then, ha ha.

After a couple of years of trying we embarked on a journey with the fertility clinic. Some of the tests were awful, especially the ‘dye test’ to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. This was painful and hubby was there holding my hand, we hoped that there would be good news. All of our tests were normal, there was no explanation for our infertility. This meant we had to be trying for 5 years with no success before we would be eligible for publicly funded IVF. During the wait we tried IUI (insemination), I hate that word, it makes you feel like a cow! This was unsuccessful and dissapointing but we had a back up plan … IVF was coming.

Our first IVF treatment started, we were super excited! I got the hang of the daily injections very quickly and was not too phased by it. I also got used to the squillions of blood tests. The doctors said I had lots of eggs and my uterine lining was nice and thick so we went in for egg collection. It wasn’t too bad, I was sedated but remember it being painful … they insert a HUGE needle through the wall of your vagina to get to the ovaries!! They collected only 4 eggs, all 4 fertilised in a petri dish. After 3 days only 2 had ‘made it’ and they weren’t looking good either. They placed both in my uterus and hoped for the best. The two week wait is excruciating, I started bleeding before the pregnancy blood test was due. We were devastated. We had no embryos left for freezing, we would have to go through that whole process all over again. I didn’t feel I had the strength. Everywhere we looked there were pregnant women and babies, along with pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement.  Each a kick in the guts and a reminder of our failures.

It took years before we would be ready to start another round of IVF. The second round was extremely stressful. For this egg collection I was given a general anaesthetic in an effort to get more eggs. My left ovary hides behind my uterus, they managed to collect 3 from my right ovary and 1 from my left! The lovely nurse was convinced that this would be the one, so were we. Of the 4, 2 healthy embryos developed! We cried in the fertility clinic rooms when the embryologist delivered this news. One (we named it ‘lefty’) was placed in my uterus and the longest 2 week wait began. The clinic phoned to advise the 2nd one had stopped developing … my husband and I joked that lefty’s mate didnt make it ha ha. There was no bleeding this time, I developed pregnancy symptoms, we were home free! The pregnancy test came back as positive but we were advised not to get too excited as my HCG (pregnancy hormone) was low and we would have to wait another couple of days to see if it would rise. We were positive all would be well and were heartbroken when the clinic phoned to say I was not pregnant. We were in disbelief. That was it, I didnt ever want to do IVF again. It was too hard. I cried buckets.

Over the next few years this would be a huge contributing factor that spiralled me into the worst depression imaginable. I did not want to live if I could not have a baby. I didn’t think we would ever be happy or feel complete without the family we so desperately yearned for.

In my recovery from depression and anxiety I have reached a place of acceptance. I have realised we can be happy regardless. We are blessed with so many beautiful children in our lives. We are so very happy together, just the two of us and our fur babies!!

There is beauty everywhere, I am loving life so much. Sometimes I cry with happiness … my heart is full ❤.

Much love peeps, never give up. There is so much to live for.

Annie Fanny xxx

My Dad

My dad was the most beautiful human being I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I’m not just saying that because he’s gone, it’s the absolute truth. Perhaps I am a little biased because I loved him so much. Having him taken from me was the worst thing that ever happened to me. The pain is indescribable. However I am grateful to have had such an amazing father even if only for a short while. He ensured his children knew they were special and loved, he was super proud of us.

I have so many wonderful memories of him and my childhood. We didn’t have much money but we had soooo much fun, so many good times. Summer day trips to the beach feature alot in my memories. Usually just Dad, myself and my brothers as mum worked in retail and worked on Saturdays. Our favourite spot was Long Bay, I can remember driving in the red Vauxhall Viva through the gates to Long Bay and my brothers telling me to get out there as the sign said ‘no dogs allowed’ ha ha very funny!!

We would swim, play cricket on the sand and have lunch. Dad loved a cuppa and would make tea on his little gas canister. My brothers and I would ask while sucking ice blocks, how can you drink hot tea on such a hot day?! My youngest brother was only little and scared of the waves, Dad would hold him in his arms and as each wave passed he would say ‘That was just a titch’ and laugh to show my bro that waves weren’t that scary.

We had many family holidays around NZ, either camping or staying in NZ Post holiday homes who Dad worked for. Favourite spots were Taupo and Kai Iwi Lakes. Dad did not like his job much and every Friday without fail we would hear the words ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ We loved Friday nights, staying up late with Dad to watch Married with Children and laughing our asses off! Dad had a wicked sense of humour, another favourite was The Comedy Club, my brothers and I still use Con the fruit shop mans line ‘coupla days, doesn’t madda!’ Dad enjoyed my impersonation of Kylie Mole too. I can remember being disappointed when my teacher at intermediate school didn’t tick the sense of humour box on my report card. Dad wrote in the parents comments ‘Annie has a fantastic sense of humour’😊. Dads all time favourite was Billy T James and we shared the same surname!

My Dad was cool! I remember him picking my brothers and I up from school one day and my eldest brother was nowhere to be seen. Dad took my little brother & myself to his classroom. We found the teacher holding the whole class back, Dad said ‘what’s going on? The teacher said ‘he’s on detention’ Dad said ‘no he’s not, come on Matt’ ha ha you didn’t mess with our Dad!

Dad worked extremely hard and was the union representative. He was well liked and respected by his colleagues. I can remember one of them turning up at our house after he died with wads of cash, collected for us from the NZ Post employees.

Dad was a very intelligent man and taught us so much. He took a keen interest in politics, we went everywhere with Dad including the voting booth. I can remember his excitement! I also remember him laughing hard at his favorite, David Langeys line ‘I can smell the uranium on your breath’.

Dad was a Type 1 diabetic from age 14, he hated it and didn’t manage it well. This was just the norm for my brothers and I, we knew when to give him a spoonful of jam, we could see it in his eyes. Once at restaurant when the meal was late he slipped under the table! Dad was terrified he may pass this awful illness onto to his kids and took us for regular blood tests. Thankfully we never did, this would have broken his huge heart. He dreaded getting old as at the Diabetic clinic he would see those who had gone blind or lost limbs. He injected too much insulin, this was how he died. Whether he did it on purpose or not is questionable, it does not matter. He was 39 years old when he died, forever young my beautiful Dad. When I close my eyes and think of him I can see his face, hear his laugh and feel his love. He is always with me.

The photo below is me on my 13th birthday just one month after Dad passed. It says it all really, not impressed!! The pain inside that wee soul was huge, I had no clue what to do with that pain. It would manifest itself in the following years as depression and anxiety and be compounded by a five year long physically, mentally and emotionally abusive relationship with the first male after Dad that walked into my life and showed me love and affection. I have absolutely no regrets, this taught me so much about myself, others and life. It also made me incredibly STRONG.

Peace, love and light to you all.

Annie Fanny xx

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Fear

It is a terrible thing to live with fear. I have lived with fear most of my life. I was scared of so many things:

I was scared to be my true self

I was scared that I wasn’t good enough

I was scared that I was a bad person

I was scared of myself but most of all I was scared of death.

This fear started when my dad passed away suddenly at 12 years of age. When my mother told myself and my brothers that he was gone, I begged her to tell me it wasn’t true, I was thinking … What?? This doesn’t happen to us … this doesn’t happen to me! This happens to strangers, people I don’t know.

After dad’s passing I developed a fear that Mum would be next, if she was 5 minutes late home I would be hysterical. The realisation that I was not immune to death was terrifying. I became afraid of my own death too. I’m grateful for this fear as when I was so very sick without this fear I may not be here. I no longer fear death, my own or others … there is incredible beauty in death, it is part of life, it will come to each and every one of us. It is one thing you can be sure of, not one of us is making it out alive and that’s ok.

Replacing fear with love has been the hardest thing ever but sooo worth it and the freedom that comes with this and in truly not caring what others think of you is freakin amaze balls!!!!! You never know when your time is up. Don’t take life too seriously my friends, live it up – laugh, cry, sing, dance and be kind.

Annie Fanny xx

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Never underestimate the power in a few kind words

Terrible terrrible things happen to people everyday, it breaks my heart and makes me sad but I also know that the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive is stronger than this. I have beaten myself up for having depression when there are people out there suffering far worse than myself. I no longer do this … depression is very real, regardless of your circumstances.

Never underestimate the power in a few kind words. These words came back to me time and time again in moments of hopelessness & desperation. I have so many people to thank, so many I am grateful for:

My dear late Dad who I talked to and asked for his help to get me through this. To be continued …

My dear husband who said ‘it may not feel like it but you are getting better, you have colour in your face today and I can see the sparkle returning to your eye’ He held me and never let go. The jokes we shared at my expense were sick but hilarious and profoundly healing.

My dear mother in law who put her life on hold to come and stay with my husband & I to support us through this living nightmare. She was prepared to try anything no matter what the cost, one of the things we tried was colour therapy. This was so healing, mostly because we laughed so much. To be continued …

My dear father in law who was prepared to mortgage the family home if I needed to go somewhere for treatment. He ensured I was never left alone.

My dear mother and stepfather whos door was always open. My mother told me there was a light and love inside me that was stronger than depression … she was right.

My dear friend who hugged me with her huge, beautiful pregnant belly and told me I could do this when I told her I couldn’t. She also told me she loved me and that NOTHING would ever change that. P.S the baby is here now and has also helped in my healing, especially in regards to my fertility struggles. To be continued …

Another dear friend who cried with me, told me she loved me and didn’t want to leave my side.

Another dear friend who told me I was fucking strong and I could survive this. Her sense of humour was also profoundly healing.

Another dear friend who lives overseas but kept in contact and told me she loved me.

My dear auntie who told me I had genes from the women in our family and that I was strong. She was also right.

Another dear auntie who came to see me and bought bananas as my potassium levels were low and could have been contributing to my heart palpitations.

My dear auntie and cousin who live overseas and sent me the most beautiful card. They were visiting at the time and I couldn’t see them. I was just too sick.

My dear big bro, sis in law & nieces who live far away but kept in regular contact and told me they loved me and would always be there for me.

My dear lil bro who despite his own struggles also kept in regular contact and sent me cute and funny messages on fb in a bid to cheer me up.

My dear sis in law (husbands sister) who’s door was also always open and was prepared to take time off work to be with me if need be.

My husbands dear cousins who baked muffins and bought them over to let us know they cared.

My amazing Psychologist who has shared this journey with me and has been a very important person in my life since age 19. She broke the ‘rules’ hugged me, told me she loved me and was available by mob 24/7.

My dear boss who believed in me and held my job open and was also available by mob 24/7. My dear colleagues who also believed in me, missed me and wanted me to come back but wanted me well first.

My amazing french Psychiatrist (best ever) who’s holistic approach was hugely helpful. I was treated as a person and included in every decision, including medication. He told me we had many weapons against depression. (‘Avoir le cafard’, the title of my first blog post was inspired by him and my auntie and her love of Paris, France and all things French!)

The wonderful people at my local mental health centre who ran the most amazing course called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (aka Mindfulness). This course helped me to strip away the bullshit, reconnect with my values and re-evaluate what I was doing in my life and why I was doing it. The beautiful peeps who did this course with me who helped me more than they know.

The lady at the shoe shop who had no idea what I was going through and was genuinely so kind. She reminded me that EVERY personal connection has meaning.

My dear kitten who helped to heal me, she is so beautiful and helped me to live in the moment. To be continued…

You see, I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by such beautiful people. I realise not everybody has this. In saying that, ultimately I had to help myself. I had to learn to fight alone. No body else could do it for me. It took a heck of a lot of hard work & determination with very little energy to go on. Nothing will ever be as hard as that for me.

Much love to you all. Peace, light and love.

Annie Fanny

 

Avoir le cafard

I lost my precious Dad to ‘suspected suicide’, I was 12 years old, he was 39 years old …. an age I am rapidly approaching! Over the years I have had many bouts of depression & anxiety, my first episode at age 19 and my most recent almost killing me.

Above a diary entry from February this year … I clearly remember writing this. Sitting in my lounge with some loved ones, they had no idea what I was writing. I was embarrassed to admit I felt this way, I also did not want to worry them anymore than they already were. I had a roof over my head, food on the table & a husband, family and friends who loved me dearly. What the fuck was wrong with me?? I beat myself up further for being such an ungrateful bitch. Mental illness does not discriminatate. So surrounded by loved ones yet feeling more alone than I have ever felt in my life I wrote. This night was one of many I counted my zopis and googled how many it would take. Lots of things stopped me, amoung them were:

  • Not having the balls to go through with it
  • Fear of surviving and being more  fucked in the head than I already was
  • Not wanting to hurt my loved ones
  • There was a dim light inside me, a whispering voice telling me to keep going even though I so badly wanted to give up

I had the realisation that my loved ones could stand beside me but they could not fix me. I was forced to face my demons and fight the hardest battle ever.

Some days I got through by knocking myself out with Lorazepam and Zopis at night. Everytime I woke, I was hit with the crippling anxiety and black depression. I hadn’t even got out of bed and I wanted to give up.

I cried while forcing smoothies down my throat, I cried while showering, I cried while walking arm in arm around the block with loved ones. Exercise is the best thing for depression isn’t it? I cried while chain smoking, which is also fun when you have a tremor!

I looked forward to popping a pill & going to sleep to escape the pain & terror … even if only for a short while.

I cried while my dear husband drove me to endless appointments with my Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist & GP.

#raisingawareness#suicideprevention#noshame#nevergiveup#onelove