It gets better

Life can be painfully hard. I’ve written before about my struggles with mental illness and ADHD, losing people I love, bullying,  sickness, alopecia and autoimmune disorder, obesity and my physical health. I’ve even at times mentioned these concurrently, each overlapping and coinciding with one (or several) others. At my lowest point I was chin-deep in undiagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression, I was morbidly obese and unhealthy, my hair was falling out and I was being bullied at work. But that isn’t what I want to talk about today. I think we can all agree that at some point in their lives everyone will hit rock bottom.

What I want to talk about is how happy I am.

I don’t often go out of my way to discuss how wonderful my life is these days, not least because it’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of day-to-day living. I also don’t want to brag. Every day people go through struggles I can’t comprehend; talking about how fortunate I am for the things I have seems tacky somehow.

But here’s the real deal: I’m happy. I love my life. It is full of wonderful people and amazing experience. Yes, sometimes stuff sucks. Sometimes stuff is hard. Sometimes I cry. But I am happy. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

The point I am trying to make is that dejection, loneliness, misery, heartache… These things aren’t permanent. They’re transient. They come and go like waves on the ocean and, like my life now, can co-exist with happiness, prosperity, pride and success. I still have alopecia and ADHD. I still have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I. Still. Get. Sad. But there is light and hope and this is what I allow to define me.

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If you feel like you are in the dark, that there is nowhere to turn, that things will never improve then please speak to someone. A doctor, a friend, a family member, a compassionate stranger on the internet, Lifeline. Please ask for help. Asking for help is so hard it seems impossible but I promise you it is easier than carrying on alone. And it’s worth it. Always.

If you know someone who needs help please send this on. Ask them if they’re okay. Talk to them about Lifeline or seeking help. Listen to them. The suicide statistics in New Zealand are horrifying, especially among young people. If this post, or someone who reads this post, can help even one person then I have achieved everything I could hope for.

It will get better. It won’t always be this way. Kia kaha.



Guest Post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 5 – the results)

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It’s with an extremely heavy heart and through lots of tears that I write this final post. I got an email from the recipient couple this morning with devastating news. None of the embryos made it to day 6. We don’t know what went wrong but none of them are suitable to be implanted. I’m absolutely torn this morning and can’t stop crying. I knew meeting them would make this process more personal, and with that makes this bad news even harder to take. This was their last chance to have a child. I can’t imagine what it’s like for them at the moment.

Of course I have a few questions, mainly did I do anything wrong? Or could I have done anything differently? I also wonder about my chances of getting pregnant in the future if there is a something wrong with my eggs. I have a follow-up appointment next month with a doctor at the clinic so will be able to ask these questions. They also have a wonderful councillor I can talk to, and I will probably go back at some stage to talk all of this through.

This has been such a journey, but now with the worst possible outcome. I keep trying to tell myself that at least I gave them the chance. I have to hold on to that.

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@katiepie_nz is a paediatrics nurse, baker, knitter, friend and all around good person. You can follow her on Twitter or send me any questions or kind words you have for her (I will be sure to pass them on).

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Katie xx



Guest Post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 4 – The donation)

The actual egg donation took place on Monday morning. I had a time to be there, and my wonderful friend Nikki came with me to be my support person and hold my hand. I was a bit nervous, but everyone was so lovely!
I had to get changed, and got an IV line inserted in my arm.

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They took me through to the theatre to get started. The procedure was done under IV sedation which works a treat! I’ll spare you the gory details of how they actually collect the eggs, and I don’t really remember much of it. I swear it only took about 5 mins, but apparently took 20. That’s how well the sedation worked! The next thing I knew I was back in the little cubicle and it was all over.

I think I had a bit of a sleep and woke up feeling pretty good. The whole thing really didn’t seem that bad. After a cup of tea we were ready to head home just before lunch time.

The recipient couple were there as the eggs get inseminated the same day so he had to make his contribution. I saw them briefly afterwards which was lovely, they had more goodies for me too to show their appreciation.

I was a bit sore that afternoon, but it was easily treated with panadol and a heatpack and an afternoon on the couch.

12 eggs were collected in total, and 9 were suitable for insemination. They following day they were checked and 7 were looking good so far. Then they leave them for 5 days in an incubator and see what happens. Apparently they can expect anywhere from 1-3 embryos to be suitable for freezing and implanted later on.

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@katiepie_nz



Guest post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 3 – It begins)

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Day 1 of my period arrived. Injections start on day 2. So last night I had to take my injection to work (it needs to be given in the evening) and did my 1st injection in the staff bathroom. It felt very naughty! But I didn’t have time to think about it as I was so busy at work. No time to get nervous!

When I met the couple we exchanged contact details but in the few weeks that had passed we hadn’t contacted each other. I knew they would probably be waiting for me to make the first contact. So I took the opportunity on day 1 to email them. Not surprisingly I received a wonderful excited email back. They get updates from the clinic too about how things are going but its nice to share with them also. I have a mixture of excitement, anticipation and nervousness going on and its nice to share that with them.

I started injections one morning later. Now its injections twice a day. I’ve been getting a headache, felt nauseated the other night, and my skin looks awful. I also think I can feel my ovaries. But hopefully this means things are going the way they should be, and I should find out tomorrow morning!

A few days later I had my first scan and blood test to see how things are coming along. And apparently everything is going like it should. The doctor doing my scan missed the part about me being a donor, and asked me something about doing a fresh or frozen embryo transfer. I must have looked horrified. NOPE! I really really don’t want them back thanks! But we had a laugh about it and everything went well with the scan. I had to get a quick blood test done too and pick up some more injections. I’m now continuing with the same injections twice a day until my next scan and blood test on Saturday morning.

The final days: Today was my last scan and blood test. It turns out my ovaries are the size of oranges which explains the pressure and uncomfortable feeling I’ve got. But it means everything is going well. I then had to wait for a phone call to give me instructions about taking my trigger injections (to trigger ovulation 36 hours before harvesting). I got my call in the afternoon. Harvest day will be Monday morning at 10am. Which means an injection at 10pm Saturday night. I also got my instructions for Monday morning, what time to take Panadol and when to arrive. I already had dinner plans for a friend’s birthday Saturday night so knew I would have to inject myself while I was out! So for the first (and only) time in my life I drew up drugs and injected myself in the bathroom of a bar. I could have gone home earlier but my friends said I should stay! I’m kinda glad I did now because it makes for a great story!

The following morning, I had to have a blood test. 9am on a Sunday. It feels too early. But I’m sitting in a waiting room full of people (there’s been no one in the waiting room the other times I’ve been here) and I can’t help but wonder about the other couples stories. There’s a couple looking nervous, another couple with a young child, what looks like a mum and daughter. I wonder if they are thinking the same thing about me? It feels like a sad place. But one of hope also. It’s nice to see kids in a fertility clinic.

Tomorrow is the big day, I’m starting to get nervous. Or maybe the medication made me nauseated…..

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@katiepie_NZ



Guest Post: My decision to donate my eggs (Part 2 – The Right Couple)

Just a few days after that I was given another profile to have a look at. Instantly after reading it something just felt right. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. You know that feeling when something just feels right? I had that feeling, and it hasn’t changed.

They were contacted after I said yes, and were surprised and very excited and didn’t hesitate either. I mean, I sound pretty great on paper right? And it was the kind of reaction I would have expected. Hey, this woman wants to give you her eggs, she’s young, healthy and a nice person. What do you say to that when you’ve been trying to have a baby for over 6 years? Heck yes!

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So after an appointment with my GP for some swabs, a script and more bood tests I was ready for my next appointment with the clinic. Everything up until now been annonymous, but I had the option of meeting the couple if we both wanted to. For a number of reasons I did want to meet them and like the idea of having contact with them in the future.

The day I met them I had an appointment with the counsellor first before they joined us. I was very nervous, but figured not as nervous as they would be. I had a brief moment of panic too, what if I didn’t like them? What do I do then? But all of that disappeared when they walked in the room, with a huge gift basket for me. I was completely overwhelmed! It was wonderful to meet them. I was able to hear more about their story, what got them to this point (6 years of trying to have a baby, including 3 failed IVF apptempts), and why they needed an egg donor. That feeling I mentioned before about something just being right? I still had that feeling when I met them, but stronger. I was excited to help this lovely couple.

I briefly had to see the clinic nurse for a drug teach. Basically how to inject myself. It didn’t take long! After years of injecting other people the hardest thing would be sticking the needle into myself.

Then we were all set to go. It was just a matter of waiting until my period in July. The way things work is I had to start a course of injections once my period started. More waiting! After all this time I was just pretty keen to get going and get things started.

Through all this I’ve told friends at various stages. Some times its come up in conversation, or others I’ve wanted people to talk to. Everyone along the way has been so supportive and very encouraging. I mentioned it to my Mum back in January when I was in the early stages, but hadn’t mentioned it again to my parents. I was most nervous about telling my Dad. I had no idea what he would say or what his reaction would be. So I told my brother first! That went really well. Then I phoned my parents. I’m glad I waited until I had met the couple, as I was able to give more specifics and answer questions. My Dad’s reaction? “Oh well that’s nice, typical of you to help people out isn’t it? Good on ya, Right, I gotta go have a shower.” So much for being nervous! I’m very thankful to have my parents support, and also the support of wonderful friends and work colleagues. No matter what happens in the next couple of weeks I know they will be there for me.

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@katiepie_nz