Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Infertility is for life, not just for Christmas

I am in the clearly enviable position of being a mother to 2 beautiful girls.

One of them didn't even require a herd of highly paid medical professionals. Well, not at the start, anyway.

So, isn't it strange how those few years of infertility out of my nearly 41 years on this earth are the ones I define myself by.

It comes out at me daily, still, from many quarters...when people comment about how close together I had my children, and nudge, nudge, wink, wink - have you realised what caused it now?! Er, well, actually THAT didn't cause it. Or not in any lasting sense. THAT bore no relation to the conception of our first child. We weren't even present for that conception. It happened about 40 miles away from our house, DH was at work and I think I was at home soothing large, throbbing ovaries.

Or in an idle conversation with workmates over lunch, when others talk of planning babies. Yes, we planned....and planned, and planned our little selves silly. But in terms of timing - Hell no! I mean, we didn't start the IVF thinking 'hmmmm...if we start on this date, the due date will be .... and that'll be lovely, in between ours and Christmas'. No thoughts like that whatsoever. I mean, we didn't actually expect it to work, or stay around if it did. So there wasn't even a ghost of thinking due dates. Even if that had been in our minds, anyone who's done IVF knows that there are so many hurdles before you get to the whole embryo/womb/2 weeks of madness part that even if you did go in with some vague notion of picking a starsign, you couldn't guarantee even being in with a chance of hitting it.

And little baby number 2 - planning?! after that little wrinkle, tear and angst inducing ride? Pardon me, but no, I didn't think of protection - would you?! I must admit to bizarrely feeling like some careless teen, going to ante-natal appointments with a burgeoning bump and a teeny just starting to crawl.

During one of these conversations I stepped outside myself, and was astounded at how far I have come. I honestly never imagined it would be possible to have these gossipy, lighthearted chats about what MY kids are doing. My kids, the ones I had genuinely got to the stage of not daring to hope for any longer.

I remember dreading going into work, hearing about yet another new pregnancy. Especially if it came bang on top of another failed month. I dreaded old friends or relatives phoning and would know instantly that they had 'news' for me. My mum had to gently break the news that my bro's girlfriend was 'whooops' pregnant with number 2, my DH spoke to his sister, and even the muffling effect of the words 'when is it due' in Russian were still another little knife into my heart.

And now I am in that 'other' gang. The one I was so, so desperate to join. And you know, I still feel so much empathy for those still wading through that swamp of hope/disappointment/hope/longing/frustration/hope...it keeps cropping up, doesn't it? that 'hope' thing. I really believe that's the human spirit. It makes infertility all the harder sometimes though, because the hope is what you have to crash down from every time it doesn't work.

This blog is for anyone who's been there or is still there. Be gentle to yourselves, it is hard enough without beating yourself with the stick that hits you from outside daily.


Sassy said...

That's a really sweet post. You're right we do need to take care of ourselves.

KeepinUnity said...

Bunny u bad girl ,i shed a tear reading that!!!!yesterday doug,yes doug tryed to palm me off babysitting for his mates kids that i hardly know n ive only met the mum 2twice! i obviously sed noooo!!he hasnt mentioned it since,tg.i can deal with my lot,but i cnat wen folk try n force others kids on me,ive done my share of babysittin over the years,ty very much lol n u know some of my friends r becoming grandparents,this i hav to admitt i find difficult.xoxox

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post Nic, it makes perfect sense and you are SO right! We do need to take care of ourselves...

I am SO glad that you are on the other side btw that way when I finally get there I can touch you for advise *wink*!!

Ronda's Rants said...

You are so wonderful! I think we are the given things in this life and if we are lucky they change us for the better...My first child was easy..an oops...I was so young and while married just barely. Then when I was ready...I couldn't get pregnant while all my friends were and I was so envious. Then I did get pregnant and lost it and I just was beyond dispair. I finally did have two more children as well as other miscarriages...but I will never forget those years of sadness and I do so understand those who long and my heart just aches for them! Indeed, just be very good to yourselves...and never lose hope!

Nic said...

Sassy - thanks for coming over, I really mean those words, and truly empathise with anyone battling this battle

Keep - my hon, sorry I made you cry, that wasn't my intention. It might sound silly, but there's some days I still don't believe it, and yesterday was one of them.

Sam - I am counting the days and minutes with you girl, you are on my mind a lot.

Ronda - my constant reader :-) Your journey sounds heart-rending, but you've been blessed with a wonderful family, and I love reading about you and yours.

RM said...

Hey Miss Nic! Just home from my trip today, and catching up with you. I loved this post... I often wish I was the girl who got pregnant in the first month and never saw this side of things. But honestly, life has typically never been that easy for me, so I wasn't surprised when our losses began. But I do hope I heal up someday...

On another topic, I tagged you over on my blog! xox