It’s been a while

I’ve been wanting to write another blog post for a while. After all, it’s been a month since my last one. Problem is I’m not sure where to start, how the middle is going to work out and I’m definitely unsure of the ending. There’s an advert on TV at the moment, I can’t remember what for – internet or mobile phones or something – anyway, there’s a moment when a woman turns on a blender and the top isn’t on it and her smoothie goes all over her face. It always makes me giggle. Problem is, I’ve been worried that this blog post is going to end up a bit like that. A kind of uncapped explosion from my brain that ends up in a big mess all over my face. But without the comedy. Hmmm ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I’ve been sat staring at the screen for a while now since writing that first paragraph. I hoped that once I got started it would just flow. I was wrong. It’s not even that I’m feeling low or having a particularly bad time, I just have a whole heap of stuff in my head that I feel like I need to get out. But now I’ve come to get it out, I can’t quite verbalise any of it. Very frustrating ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Well, I’ve got to start with something so I’ll start with babies. I’ve now managed to get up close and personal with a baby. In fact, it was the same baby that I deliberately avoided during a friend’s hen weekend (see a previous blog post). That friend has since got married and, at the wedding, I managed baby cuddles. The first since IVF fail. It was fine. Well it was mainly fine. It was fine until someone said to my husband ‘watch out, you’ll be next’. That wasn’t fine. Still, I wonder how many times I have said something to someone without really thinking about whether or not it could stab through their heart like a knife. Do we really know anyone? Do we really know what could be a trigger? Of course not. It’s just one of those things. I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

I’ve also managed good friends of mine having a baby. I haven’t met said baby yet, but I am super happy for them. Genuinely. I can’t think of two more wonderful people to bring a child into this world. That does bring me onto a slightly different topic however (see, it’s flowing now). Friends. I feel like I’m slipping away from my friends. Not all of them obviously, but certainly those that are far away from where I live. Those that I have considered my closest friends for the last 12 years or so I just don’t see anymore. I feel like we have less and less in common although in reality there is just the one thing. Children. Wow. I didn’t realise how upset that is making me. Just writing that down is making me cry. Ok, time to move on to another topic.

My garden. I am completely and utterly in love with my new garden. Sorry, our new garden (it’s mine really, it came out of my head!) ๐Ÿ˜€ I love sitting in it, I love eating breakfast in it, I love doing yoga (badly) in it, I love watering the plants, I love watching the cat roll around on the paving and I love the dog curling up on the small section of luscious grass. Did I mention that I love our garden. It has become my solace. When I look out of the window at it, I smile. When I get back from work and walk down through it, I smile. It’s the tiniest of gardens but it’s ours and it’s beautiful.

Work. I’m currently covering someone’s maternity leave. Ironic? Maybe. Anyway, I love my job and I love where I work and the people I work with. I’m super lucky. I was working there for a year and a bit on supply before I got the maternity contract. I don’t want to go back to supply. I like being permanent. It’s nearly July. That leaves me with around 4 months of stability before things suddenly get out of control again. I’m worried. I’ve got used to having a stable income coming in. As much as I love working freelance, I also quite like the security of permanent. Part-time permanent would be my ideal situation but then I can’t choose. My husband is self-employed. Winter is never good for us work-wise. I feel like my future is a bit out of my hands at the moment which is just another thing rolling around my head.

Training. I’m back training. Ridiculously I have got myself into exactly the same situation. I now have only 6 weeks until my next triathlon. Training had to go on hold for two weeks as I slipped at work in the mine and gashed my shin really badly on a slate boulder. My leg then got infected and I was on antibiotics for a week and a half, unable to run and cycle and not allowed to get my leg wet (not great for swimming). Thankfully I have kick-started although my body is aching right now. Run on Tuesday morning (where I managed a couple of PBs no less), open water swim on Tuesday evening, yoga on Wednesday morning (this is where the aching has come from), a cycle to work and back yesterday (back nearly killed me as the wind was so strong) and a pool swim this morning. I’m feeling quite good but nowhere near ready yet.

Things are going to slip a little next week as well as I’m away working in Austria. I might be able to get a couple of runs in (I’m definitely packing my running shoes) but everything else might have to go on hold. Problem is the next triathlon, the Snowman, another classic from Always Aim High Events, is a real toughie. 1km swim in the lake, 70km bike ride around Snowdonia and 10k run up and down Moel Siabod (that’s a mountain for those of you that don’t know the area). It’s a beast.

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The Snowman Run (I think it might be a walk up, roll down for me…)

Right, that’s enough head mess for now. I’m knackered just talking about it all. Hopefully that means I’ll sleep like a brick. Luckily, I usually do ๐Ÿ˜‰

One down, two to go :)

So it’s fair to say that this year has been a mixed bag of emotions and stress and it’s only May. Still, life goes on and our childless future is becoming more bearable day by day (see previous blog posts if you have no idea what I’m talking about here). There are lots of things that have helped including planning for a big trip to India and Nepal in December, being busy with work and training for three triathlons!

So today was triathlon number one. The Slateman Triathlon in Snowdonia. It’s organised by Always Aim High Events and is one of the toughest out there with a 1000m swim in Llyn Padarn (that’s a lake for those that don’t speak Welsh), followed by a 51km bike ride over the Llanberis Pass and through the Ogwen Valley and an 11.5km run up through Dinorwig Quarry (not for the faint hearted…). Because of the IVF treatment happening through February and March and then me having a nasty virus, my training was limited to around five weeks. Not ideal.

It’s been a tough five weeks where I have felt both not ready and completely ready at various times. I was mainly terrified of the swim as this was my nemesis in the triathlon I did last year and I was definitely not looking forward to the run – way too much uphill ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Training intensified over the last couple of weeks, especially with swimming, when I could fit it in around work.

The weekend started well with my mum and dad coming up to stay and us having a ‘garden opening’ BBQ on Saturday evening with a couple of close friends. Of course, in true North Wales style, it rained, although the sun did come out eventually ๐Ÿ™‚ The garden has been an ongoing project for a few months and was finally finished on Wednesday so it seemed right to open it officially! Mum and I also had the task of completing some gin tasting for a friend who is starting up their own distillery locally, Dinorwig Distillery. Possibly not the best thing to do the night before a big event but hey ho ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning I was up at 6:15am, fixing my race tattoo, filling up drink bottles, having breakfast and finishing my bag packing. Then, at 7am, it was off to Llanberis to get the closest free parking space I did. It was raining and the wind was blowing. Not a great start. By about 8am the rain had stopped which was fab. I bumped into a friend and her boyfriend (he was also taking part) and then the hubby and mum and dad turned up around 8:45.

I was in the 4th wave of swimmers and started at 9:15am. I had a strategy and that was to stay out wide so as not to get kicked by any other swimmers. The water was chilly but seemed warmer than on training days. Perhaps everyone was peeing… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ The buzzer sounded and we were off. The first buoy seemed a really long way off but I managed to get into a rhythm and cracked on. I actually felt pretty strong. The first buoy came and I took it wide so as to avoid the crush on the corner. Then it was on to the second. Again I took it wide and then it was the home straight. We were into wind at this point and I did take on a few mouthfuls of water but it was all ok and I had a feeling I had done a reasonable time.

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Battling against the wind on the home straight

Out of the water and off to transition. The difficult task of removing my wetsuit was upon me. I had prepped with baby oil but it still stuck a bit. I eventually managed to get it off, get my socks and bike shoes on with the rest of my kit and set off. My feet were completely numb but otherwise I felt ok. Out of Llanberis and up the Pass was straight into a headwind. It was hard work but eventually the top came and then the long downhill to Capel Curig, with a tailwind, was there to be enjoyed. It’s a bike route I’m familiar with – it’s my ’round the block’ ride – so I was happy and felt good on the bike. On Wednesday I had got new wheels, much lighter than my old ones, and my bike was running well. I felt fast.

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The new wheels and the new garden!

Managed to complete the ride in just over two hours which I was pretty pleased with, especially with the wind and then it was the bit I’d been dreading, the run. Having done the run a couple of weeks previously, I knew it was going to take me about 1 1/2 hours. And it did. This is mainly because there was no way I was running most of it. To be honest, it was a hard enough task walking up some of the hills!! The ups were steep, the downs were technical and the flats were few and far between. Not really my type of run. Still, I managed to keep going despite feeling like my legs were going to give way most of the way round. I made it across the finish line in 4 hours, 9 mins and 33 seconds. I’m pretty chuffed with that, especially after only 5 weeks of training and a cycle of failed IVF. Actually I take that back, I’m not pretty chuffed, I’m super chuffed and very proud of myself.

My mum and dad bought me a super duper Dryrobeย to congratulate me and my lovely husband took me out to dinner to have a well-deserved pint of Crabbies and a delicious gluten-free pizza at our favourite pub, the Tyn-y-Coed ๐Ÿ˜€

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Ice cold pint of Crabbies with Moel Siabod in the background

All in all a great weekend. Now it’s time for a week of relative rest (I still have to work) before training re-starts for my next triathlon in July!!!

Slateman imminentย 

So those of you that read my blog will know that my life plan B for this year is competing in 3 triathlons. The first one is in 12 days. Well 11 really, as it’s now nearly Wednesday. 

I’m not ready for it, physically or psychologically, but I’ll do it anyway. That’s because I’m a stubborn bitch. I’ll be in agony because I haven’t trained enough (the IVF is mainly responsible for this) and my back is currently playing up (I have a long history of lower back problems) but I’ll get round. I can’t not do it. It’s my life plan B. That’s what you do when plan A fails. You go with plan B.

This triathlon that I’m doing on Sunday 21st May is called The Slateman. It’s run by a company called Always Aim High based here in North Wales and it’s a toughie. 1000m swim in Llyn (that’s lake in Welsh) Padarn, a 51km bike ride with over 500m of ascent and an 11km run with over 300m of ascent. And I’m not great at hills ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

On Sunday I had a bit of a trial run. My boss came out and rode the bike route with me and then I ran the run. Actually I’m lying. I walked quite a lot of the run and ran some of it. Meant I could take some photos ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the top of the zigzags looking back at Crib Goch
Some of the downhill is quite pleasant through the woods

Anyway, I survived. I managed the bike and the run. My legs were hurting after and I had to sleep with a hot water bottle between my knees to stop my adductors cramping but this morning I managed a 4.5km run and this afternoon I swam 1200m in Llyn Geirionydd so maybe I am ready. Bring it on ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŠ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿƒ

Moving on? Maybe not.

Wow. Got a lot of stuff whizzing round my head right now. Triggers everywhere. Photographs of close friends getting together with all their kids, reminders of friends that are pregnant, going to a hen weekend with a friend and her 7 week old baby. It’s impossible to keep away from it. But I haven’t quite worked out how to deal with it yet. Jealousy is evil. It eats you up. It makes you angry. It makes you hurtful. It makes you hardnosed.

My friend with the 7 week old baby probably won’t read this as she doesn’t do social media. But anyway, I apologise. I’m sorry for completely ignoring your son last weekend on the hen do. And today, at Parkrun. It was all I could do. Acknowledging him would have tipped me over. I didn’t want to look at him and I certainly didn’t want to hold him. Hearing him cry made me break inside. And then I had to deal with all the other people cooing over him. I had to walk away from them too. I must have come across as a right bitch. Maybe I am. The drinking helped. And the fudge. And the hot tub. It’s been a while since I got that drunk and boy did I enjoy it. Well, until the next day anyway.

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I know, I should probably speak to someone about it. Get help. But most of the time I actually feel fine. I’m pretty busy. I am ‘training’ although I’m not sure how well that is going… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ It’s just when it rises up and chins me that I feel it. Hard to get away from it then I suppose. Seeing a picture of all my uni friends together on the beach with their kids just triggered me this evening. They’re all looking so perfect, so happy, with their little families. Sorry guys if you’re reading this. I don’t mean to be mean. It’s just my coping mechanism. Pass the gin.

Tomorrow I’ll be over it. I’ll be thinking about the 5 kilos I’ve put on in the last month or so and how I need to get my arse in gear on the bike, even though the forecast is rain. I’ve been shopping for ‘stuff’. Shopping makes me feel better. Also, if I spend money on ‘stuff’ it motivates me to use it. So, this week’s shopping was a new GPS running/ cycling/ swimming computer watch thingemy-bob. It’s a Suunto. It’s cool. I used it today on my second run. Yeah, I said second – I’m in training, didn’t I say? I also joined British Triathlon (because it makes me feel like an athlete – hahahahaha!) and subscribed to 220 Triathlon magazine (mainly because I get a free tri-suit as part of my subscription). I have also ordered some new swimming goggles and a thermal swim cap as the water in the lake is frickin’ freezing! Brrrrr.

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So my new strategy is, if anyone puts a baby in my face (or even a photo of a baby) I shall either run to my bottle of Opihr Gin or throw myself in the lake. Don’t worry, I’ll swim, I’m not about to finish myself off just yet.

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Getting out of here

I can’t believe, in the last few days, how many people I’ve heard moan about the responsibility of having children. ‘You can’t leave the house in less than half an hour with kids’; ‘I fell asleep in the afternoon which would have been fine had I not had to pick my daughter up from school’; ‘Sometimes it’s just nice to leave the kids at home, isn’t it?’; ‘We can’t afford to do anything now we’ve got kids’. These are just a few of the comments I have heard on the radio, in the shops, at the hairdressers. It’s true. I completely accept that having kids is a responsibility. But you know what, I wouldn’t have minded. Having a dog is a responsibility and I seem to have coped with that ok. Anyway, because we don’t have kids and I have very generous parents who have offered to dogsit for a whole month (I kid you not!) then we are planning a big trip. Why not? Everyone keeps telling me I should make the most of not having children. So fuck it. We’re off.

Ok, so we’re not going until December, but that doesn’t mean I can’t plan. Anyway, we’ve got rather a lot of saving to do which means rather a lot of work to fit in. Hey ho, keeps me busy. So, I hear you ask, where are you going to go? Well, we’re kind of between destinations at the moment. I really want to go to Northern India and Nepal (and maybe Tibet if we can get in) but the hubby is tending towards South America. Now I LOVE South America. In fact, it’s probably my favourite place in the world (so far). But I’ve been there before. Granted, I haven’t been everywhere, that would take some doing, but I’ve been to a lot of it. Now I wouldn’t not go there just for that reason, as I’ve said, I love the place but I’d really like to go somewhere that’s new for us both.

The reason Elton is thinking South America is that I am a seasoned traveller but he is not. I think he’s a bit fearful of India and Nepal, being so different to home. But surely that’s the point? Grab the bull by the horns is what I say. Throw yourself in at the deep end is what my mind is shouting. You only get one life, LIVE IT! I’m sure I could come up with some more metaphors and cliches if I tried… ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to Nepal and India, it’s just that he’s nervous. Personally I think it will be easier travelling. Most people will speak English in comparison to South America where, if you don’t speak Spanish, it can be a problem in some places – I do speak Spanish though… anyway, Nepal and India. I’m a coeliac and a vegetarian. India is the PERFECT place for me to eat!! ๐Ÿ˜€ South America on the other hand does not do vegetarian that well and eating on the hop is much harder.

So, I think the best thing to do is go out and buy a travel guide for India and Nepal and then get him to read it. Also, WordPress friends, Facebook friends, Twitter friends… if you have been travelling in India and Nepal, can you please give us some useful tips? Negative information is also useful, I want this contest to be a fair one. Well, fair-ish ๐Ÿ˜‰

Searching for my mojo

I’ve changed the name of this blog. I want to be able to write about other stuff too so this seemed more appropriate ๐Ÿ™‚

Just got back from a lovely weekend away, spending time with family, eating good food and drinking a fair amount of alcohol (in comparison to the last few months anyway). Now I’ve realised I have just under 7 weeks until my first triathlon of the year and I’m struggling to find motivation. I think the fact that it is still 2 weeks until Easter and I have already eaten more than my body weight in mini eggs and creme eggs, is not helping. I feel like I’m dragging a sack of potatoes around and am actually worried I might sink like a stone if I attempt to go swimming.

My bikes have been gathering dust (I haven’t even used the turbo) and, although I have been for a few runs, my fell shoes have not seen daylight since last year. I have an immense task ahead of me. I’m also slightly concerned that my awesome training partner is about to have an operation on her hip rendering her incapable of being my training partner for a while. Certainly up to my first triathlon.

Good grief. How selfish does that sound?! Obviously I hope her operation is a huge success and she is back doing what she loves doing as soon as possible but, in the meantime, I’m in need of some new motivation. I’m really rubbish at getting out by myself. I’ll go for a short run with the dog but I need to be upping my game big time!

Perhaps I need to take out a personal ad…๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿƒ

The IVF hangoverย 

So it’s now Thursday and I suppose things have settled down a bit and got back to normal. The cough has finally said its goodbyes and yes, the gin and the Nightnurse certainly played their part in that. I’m back to hauling canoes and children about at work and I’ve had two long hot baths. 

Training has re-started with two runs: one lovely one around Cwm Idwal in the sunshine on Tuesday morning (see main picture) and one in the absolute pissing rain in Capel Curig yesterday afternoon. So things are moving on. Except they’re not.

Today I have been bleeding. Heavily. Sorry fellas but it’s period talk. It has been so heavy that I have been incredibly dizzy and have actually lost balance twice. It has stirred up a whole heap of (possibly bottled up) emotions. I’m sad. I’m incredibly, almost overwhelmingly, sad. I can’t really describe it any other way. 

I’m also tired. Despite sleeping better these last few days than I have in months, I’m knackered. 

This is what I am calling the IVF hangover. Too many hormones. Too many emotions. Too much stress. Too much strain on my body. Too much rain over the last few days! It has all led to today. I’m hoping that, like a hangover, it will pass. I’ve said before, I’m not good at not coping. But tomorrow is another day. Hopefully the sun will shine.

Line in the sand

It was the news we were expecting. We’re not pregnant. I knew. It doesn’t make it any less sad but we’ve been down this road before and now we are at the end of it. The end of the road, the end of our journey, a line in the sand.

The last couple of years have been an up and down of emotions and the last few weeks have been a condensed version of this. We knew our chances were slim but we had to try. Now it’s time to move on.

I’m sure I have more crying to do but right now I feel a bit numb. But I also feel like I need focus. Luckily I prepared for this. In 8 weeks time I have my first triathlon of the year. I have some serious training to do (after the gin I will be drinking tonight). Time to get back in shape and on with the year ahead.

We are devastated, of course. We both wanted a child to complete our little family, but we will survive. We are strong. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this IVF journey. It has been so helpful to me to be able to talk about it.

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.