Nothing worth having comes easy.

I am struggling today. 

I feel emotionally drawn, like butter spread too thin over bread. Whether the blame lies with the medication, or the heaviness of this entire process I’m not sure. 

The limit to my exercise at the moment is a moderate walking or a swim. I’m struggling with this, more than I anticipated. I relish the clarity I gain from a tough workout, I find mindfulness through sweat. 

I’ve been sick. Waves of nausea have washed over me all week, I’ve been unable to keep down a lot of my meals and I’ve been very tired. In 2 days we collect new meds, and I’m feeling nervous when I think about how my body will respond to these. 

I’m also finding it hard to talk to people about how I’m feeling, I don’t find opening up to people an easy process generally. Will talking to friends about how sick I’ve been, make the sickness any easier to handle? I don’t think it will..

The fear of failure weighs on on me.. after 3 and a half years of defeat, positive thinking is a hard beast to yield too. 

Another night.

His eyes are softly closed; his steady breathing rises his chest, I can feel it gently heaving in the dark. The sound of the ceiling fan whirs above our heads as I gently kiss his forehead and leave the room. Leaving his bedroom door slightly ajar, to let in a little light. 

I walk softly up the hallway to our kitchen, on top of the fridge i pull down a packet of pills and a bright yellow plastic container. I open the fridge, snap a syringe from the pack and grab my other packet of pills and sit them on the bench. 

The water rushing from the tap breaks the silence, as I fill up a glass and a take a deep breath. 

The two pills are swallowed together, I’ve never been very good with pills but these are small and round and fall easily down my throat.

I carefully remove the syringe from the packet, and pop off the cap. My hand shakes as I pinch a generous amount skin on my stomach. Another deep breath. And again. Breathe. 

The syringe end feels cold against my skin. One last breath as i insert the needle into my body, I countdown from 10 as I use my thumb to push the plunger down, to distract myself from the sting. 

The syringe is removed, the stinging continues for 5minutes or so. I glance down and sigh in relief, no bruise. The syringe is placed into the bright yellow container, and tucked away from curious minds & curiouser fingers. 

Another night done .

Ignorance is bliss

It had never occurred to me that couples who fall unassisted with their first child can experience difficulty conceiving subsequent children.

It is rarely discussed, and casts a wide shadow over those it affects. Many couples quietly struggle with their grief and frustrations as they long for a child to add to or complete their families.

The guilt I feel can be overwhelming, I berate myself that my beautiful son is not enough. I despise the twinge of jealousy & sadness a pregnancy announcement elicits and the desperation I feel when friends complain about their multiple children or tell me I’m so clever for stopping at one. How I wished they understood what I would give for more noise in my house, the night feeds or the tiffs between siblings in the back seat of the car.

School pick up is a particular painful time of my day. Watching other mum’s cuddle their babies and wait for their school age children is difficult for me, I feel desperately isolated from everything I want but can’t have.

The frustration i feel regarding my body is something else entirely. I feel like my body has betrayed me, failed me. Unable to fulfill my primary purpose, I have failed as a woman. The shame that i feel is intense and deeply perverse.

The strain on relationships is profound. Even the most committed partner can be worn down by the sadness, desperation and obsession infertility manifests. It can be hard to truly open up, as responses can range from well meaning, “You just need to relax more! It will happen” to mildly intrusive “How often does it happen? Have you tried lying with your legs in the air after you’ve finished?” to downright offensive “Isn’t one enough?”.

I know plenty of couples who are happy with their one child, I’m almost envious of that resolve. My partner and I had always envisionaged a large family together, messy and all things wonderful. The pain in intensified by my son’s yearning for a sibling. We are constantly involved, always playing with him but we will never be a playmate.

I have spent more money on pregnancy tests than I would wish to admit. The faintest physical signs can evoke hope that maybe this month might be different. If I’m honest, most months follow a similar pattern; healthy eating, regular exercise, abstaining from alcohol (just in case) and then after the negative test or the arrival of Aunt Flow, days of glutinous junk and alcohol as I wallow in self pity.

IVF is our resolve to face this head on, to hold onto hope and each other. To take on this beast, to be brave.

 

My Story

I vividly remember the moment I discovered I was pregnant with my son. I was on the pill, my boyfriend worked a FIFO job and I bought a cheap pregnancy test from a chemist. I realised I was going to be a mum in a Sydney Airport bathroom. I was 23, so young but i was in a loving, stable relationship, had a mostly uneventful pregnancy and have a beautiful almost 5year old.

The problem with falling so easily and unexpectantly, is that you are completely ignorant to the reality that 1 in 6 couples face. Infertility.

In routine blood tests, dr’s discovered a serious clotting condition, Factor V Leiden and a hormone disorder, PCOS. My now fiancé and I have tried for 3.5yrs to conceive and have been unable to fall. The irony of it all is deafening.

Last year, after seeing a fertility specialist we tried clomid. It was unsuccessful. Our doctor was very optimistic and unwillingly provided me with a false sense of hope, which was crushed by less then ideal ovulation. It was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. After 3months, my weary soul needed a break.

Perhaps, we thought. We should be grateful for our beautiful boy and appreciate that we are only meant to have one child, our miracle.

That was until our boy wrote his Christmas list one gentle Sunday morning. “A baby” he whispered quietly. “Can I please have a brother or sister?” My heart tore into tiny pieces, an unimaginable pain. And it was this moment that drove us back to the fertility specialist, and onto IVF. Our apparent, best chance.

It is difficult, as it’s exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Desperately I wish to tell all my friends that we’re travelling this lonely road, and yet..  the fear of failure is isolating, and I wish to shield us from prying eyes and painful questions.

So, we persist. We attempt to control our fear, and contain our optimism. Taking one day at a time, hand in hand. Together.