We’re expecting to start with our GIFT this week.
I’m excited at the possibility that this treatment offers us. What if it’s the one that works? I’m scared of the heartbreak this treatment can also offer us. What if it’s not the one? I just cannot bear to think of having a negative outcome for the fifth time.
I remember when we first started trying to have a baby, well more when we first started seeking treatment cos it was obvious that nothing was happening “naturally”, I remember sitting in the waiting room at a fertility clinic talking to some of the girls who were brave enough to do so and hearing some of their stories. I remember hearing stories of great hope “my first IUI worked and I’m now here for my second child”, “I got pregnant first time with a timed cycle”, “I’m now pregnant after only a few cycles”.
But I also heard a lot of stories that struck complete and utter fear in my heart. “I’ve been told I’ll never have my own child, my eggs are vrot”, “I’m busy with my third/fourth/fifth/sixth/seventh/eighth/ninth IVF”, “I’ve been trying for number one for 10 years with no success”, “I’ve had several miscarriages and no one can tell me why”.
Stories of hope and stories of fear and hurt and pain, I’ve heard many of both in the last six years. But I remember my young nieve self sitting there in those early days and it shames me to admit that I used to go home and pray to God that I would not end up being one of *those* women. The ones who had to endure years and years of this nonsense, the ones who had to do IVF after IVF after IVF.
And now six years later I’m facing big ART treatment number five. After having gone through many a headstand after sex, many a timed cycle, many an AI and many an IUI, Chinese remedies, acupuncture, reflexology, light therapies, reiki and so on and so forth. The list of what we’ve tried in order to have ttc succes is endless.
I AM one of *those* women.
At times I don’t know how that makes me feel. To know that I’ve become the very thing I prayed to God I would not be.
The fear of being one of *those* women does not stay within the walls of one’s clinic though. The fear clings to you as you walk out and real life friends feel the fear as well. They look at you with pity in their eyes and avoid talking about their own children and pregnancies for fear that by being around you; they might also become one of *those* women. They think it’s better to hide a pregnancy from you, they think it’s easier for you to handle if they only tell you about their pregnancies when they are 5 – 6 months into them and they cannot hide them any longer. They tell you that they just could not bear to break your heart cos they have what you desire. They pity you and actually say things like “I think of how we could have been like you and it scares me to death”. It’s those actions and words that break your heart, not the fact that they have life blossoming in their bellies. (Yes it still stings to hear a pregnancy announcement but for the record, having been on this road for six years means that I’m not going to go all banshi on your ass. Suprisingly enough I can control my emotions, mostly cos they’ve been dulled and severed, but they are controlled.)
In many ways the last six years have taught me more than I could ever have imagined. They have taught me empathy, strength, compassion, patience (admittedly not very well). They’ve taught me about a community that embraces those who belong to it tightly in good times and even tighter in tough times. They’ve taught me that I am loved in more ways than I ever knew. They’ve taught me that whilst things have often been tough for us and infertility has been the cause of many a fight about sex and money, that I’ve been given the best partner I could ever hope for to go through this with.
I see the way the other girls at the clinic look at me now. The newbies who’ve come to recognise my face cos I always seem to be around every few months. They avoid me cos I am now what they fear. I am the proof that their dreams may not quite work out the way they think they may.
I know that without a shadow of a doubt that I am well and truly one of *those* women. And today I am proud of being this woman.