Hello! Yes, it’s me, I’m still here, the blog still exists and I’m well and truly back into the swing of things. I have definitely neglected this blog over the last few months, but in all honesty, with the failure of ICSI round 2, COVID-19 and all the strange new normal things that have come with the lockdown (I mean, does anyone remember what it’s like to hug a person? Or how it feels to not have to queue for the supermarket?), I haven’t really known what to write about. The world is an unsettled place at the moment, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling a bit lost, out of place and anxious. I presume everybody is feeling out of sorts in one way or another. I haven’t seen my Grandma in 3 months; I think this is the longest I have gone without seeing her in almost 26 years. Even when I was at University in Leeds, I came back to Peterborough every Friday to stay the night with her. However, I know I’m not alone, and we are all having to adjust to a new way of living. As much as the world seems crazy right now, every day is one day closer to normality. We will get there in the end.

I have so much content lined up for you over the coming months that I am SO excited to be coming back to the blog. If you follow me on Instagram, you may well have seen that I have a new job. I start at the end of June and I am looking forward to it more than I can tell you. I’m going to work for a very well known, fantastic charity called Mencap (you can check out their website here) who do amazing work for people who are living with learning disabilities. For me, it means that my shift work is finally coming to an end (no more night shifts and 4am starts – yay!), and I will have what can only be described as a ‘normal’ routine. I will update you with a dedicated blog post in the coming weeks, but to say I am nervous is an understatement! Despite being nervous, the excitement (of sleep) outweighs it – especially knowing I will be predominantly working from home. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have their working day to include cuddles with Bruce the Labrador?! My life just got that bit better.
Bruce has never been allowed upstairs, mainly because when we had Teela we didn’t want her hair getting into the carpet even more than it did from our socks (she was a German Shepherd), but now I’m going to be working upstairs in my new home office (how fancy am I?), I have been trying to get him to break the rules and come upstairs. I want him to be able to come and sit with me, however, he outright refuses. I even tried to put a trail of biscuits up the stairs, but even that didn’t tempt him. Some Labrador he is! He took the first two and then ran into the kitchen. I think he associates upstairs with the bath, so I think I’m going to have to try really hard to associate upstairs with something good for him. I know he has no issues with stairs, but I think this might take some time! Mr Izzo isn’t overly keen on the idea of having the dog upstairs, so he finds it incredibly amusing when I spend half an hour trying, so it’s incredibly important that I manage to convince Bruce to come upstairs even if it is just so the smug look leaves my husband’s face. I cannot lose.

It dawned on me this week that it has been 12 months since I started this blog. I had dabbled with it on and off but just short of 12 months ago, I bit the bullet, bought the domain name and started my ramblings. At this point I had approximately 1.3k followers on Instagram and an infertility diagnosis that I wasn’t coping with. 12 months later, I’ve just hit 4.2k followers, I have a YouTube channel that I’ve spent 9 months getting to grips with (finally, I think I’ve got the swing of it!) and a sense of purpose. I wanted to make this post a bit of a reflection on this, as honestly, I can’t believe how much has happened in those 12 months.

Two rounds of IVF & ICSI have been gruelling and brutal. Both rounds have totally chipped away at me in one way or another, whether that is my emotional stability or my tolerance. Everything seems to have become that bit more heightened, I became that bit angrier and that bit more bitter. One day I would be okay, the next? I wanted to strangle everyone in my path. I suppose the rollercoaster of emotions that come with IVF are totally normal, and I have no doubt that every woman who has stabbed those awful little needles into her stomach has felt the same level of resentment when it fails. The heartbreak is one thing, the failure, the shattering of emotions another, but I feel like the level of ‘bitter’ goes from a slice of lemon to shoving an entire bag of slightly too sour lemons in your mouth at once. This blog, every single time I have felt that way, has helped me. It has been a release; it has let me write my emotions and write my thoughts without any judgement. Every time I post I feel a small tinge of doubt, embarrassment almost, as I know people I know in real life read them. The last thing I want is pity, and the first thing I want is to raise awareness, but there is still that element of vulnerability every time a post goes live. However, with pressing the ‘publish’ button comes a sense of release. For every post, every word, every emotion I pen onto the page, a slight weight is lifted. It is liberating, if truth be told, to tell my story and know that other people who don’t feel comfortable enough to tell theirs are gaining comfort from this blog. It is a gorgeous feeling knowing you have helped someone else, even if the only thing you are doing is giving them some kind of solidarity, knowing they are not the only ones dealing with the issue at hand.

I am excited for the next 12 months. I am now IVF free, by choice, for as long as I want to be. We have decided that it will be at least this time next year. It depends on a variety of factors, but to be honest, I feel relieved. The desperation for a child isn’t leaving me; the envy when I see a pregnant woman is still deep rooted inside me, I still go to bed and long to be a mother, but the desperation to enjoy my life, to be in my twenties and LIVE like I am in my twenties, seems to be the thing that is tugging me the most right now. If this never happens for us, I want to resign to it gracefully, I want to know my life isn’t over, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my fertile years feeling miserable. I don’t want to hit 35 and look 50, I don’t want to wake up one day, childless and approaching the menopause, wishing I had drank that bottle of wine, walked the streets of Barcelona with my friends instead of putting every single piece of my energy into IVF. The goal, of course, is for the IVF to work and I will keep trying until I cannot anymore, but I can’t pour from an empty cup. The more drained I feel, the more exhausted I am, the more I resent myself and my situation, and the less likely this is to work. My life has been on pause and I have this new pining to enjoy my life. I hate this saying as it’s so cliché, but I feel it’s the only way I can describe how I feel… I need to find myself again, find out who I am post ‘you can’t have children without thousands of pounds, a bugger load of drugs and a husband masturbating into a cup’ diagnosis. Already in the last few months I have felt myself grow; I have felt my confidence rise, my outlook become more positive and my temper cool. I have really started running (minus a current slight hiatus, thank you to my pained back) and I am well on my way to finally getting into shape.
I am looking forward to having a routine, to having a job that doesn’t entail the same level of stress, to get 8 hours of sleep every night, in my own bed at a normal hour. I am looking forward to having a social life, to creating content on my blog, to put my time, love and energy into this website, into my YouTube and do the things I simply enjoy. To stop giving a damn, and to spend some serious quality time with my husband and my dog; my family.

I adore this blog, I love writing, I love the process of creating something that is mine.
I can’t wait to see where I am this time next year.

Thank you so much to everyone for all the support.

Love, Amber xx

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