“Smile through your tears, be strong even through your fears“
It’s been 3 months and not a day goes by that I don’t think of our loss, some days I’m spiralling into a dark hole and others i’m optimistic for our future, I know we have other options and everyone keeps telling me to wait, to let my body and mind heal, in all honesty I want to try almost immediately, as if to make up for our loss.
I’m not a PCOS sufferer or a miscarriage sufferer, I am a survivor, a warrior. It’s only recently that we have moved house that I came across the file of my precious notes in the loft, packed amongst other memories and trinkets of our journey together, holiday photos, old cinema tickets, tacky key rings we’d gathered, it’s all part of me, on paper or in my mind, on photo or in my heart, it’s there and it’s buried deep within. But I want more memories, I want a bible of memorabilia, the whole shebang!
“After reviewing your notes we feel we should refer you for further treatment.. Have you heard of IVF?’ – Mr.Harris.
Of course we had heard of it! It’s for people over 50 that want more children, right?
‘Not exactly, it’s for people like you, people who struggle to conceive naturally and still struggle with a little medicated guidance. IVF is a more monitored and controlled treatment allowing us to take control and dictate the outcome as best we can’
My head is spinning, I’m 26. Surely this can’t be right, there must be something else we can do before this? It sounds so serious, but I know deep down my consultant knows best, he knows my body better than I do, he knows my desire, but he also knows my fear, and he gingerly broaches the subject of the procedure.. Including anaesthetic.
Not a chance. No way. Hell will freeze over before you sedate me. I’d rather be wearing them slippers on my wedding day than this! The walls I usually describe as familiar suddenly feel cruel, the world seems cruel, I am bitter and scared,petrified. I am upset that the only way of conceiving our child was through Mr.F producing a sample into a sterile cup, and someone to help medically produce my eggs to be frozen and reunited at a later date.
You’re probably wondering what is wrong with me, it’s only a sedation, and honestly I can’t even tell you why I feel this way, it’s been a long standing fear of mine that I’ve never had to tackle face on, I’ve never had to confront my nemesis. I’m silent all the way home from the appointment and Mr.F knows it,he also knows there no way of reassuring me, I’m adamant I can’t do it. I throw the large information file we had been given into ‘the bill drawer’ ( You may of denied ever owning ‘comfort pants’ in my last blog but I know you have this drawer!)
I text everyone ‘it’s over‘
My dream of becoming a mother is over once and for all, the battle has defeated me and I’m tired, I’m tired of trying, I’m tired of pushing for the next option, i’m tired of disappointment and failure, and I’m exhausted of being prodded and poked every other day. God bless the internet because Google became my best friend, if anyone could see my search history they would be concerned!
- ‘Can you die during Sedation’
- ‘What does General anaesthetic (GA) feel like?’
- ‘What if I never wake up from GA?’
- ‘Does GA make your heart race?’
- ‘How long does the effect of GA take to ease’
- ‘How many people have died during GA’
- ‘Can you overdose on anaesthetic’
- ‘What happens to my body if I die during a GA?’
Thankyou Google for never judging – a true friend at its finest, always there to give me the answers I need, and turning a blind eye to the chocolates I scoffed and the tears I cried whilst questioning you, and of course you never judged the lack of matching Pj’s or the ‘just got out of bed’ look I sported oh so many times upon our late night redenvouz but the more I researched the more it became apparent I was slowly reasoning with the devil, I was coming round to the idea, the desire to become a mother was beating it, slowly , but surely.
Everyone knew my fears, there was no point asking for advice, I would only retort with statistics and bad experiences i’d researched, as if convincing them that it was a bad thing to do, as always I needed to convince myself first. It was only until I briefly mentioned it to a friend of Mr.F’s who’s a anaesthetist, when the idea dawned on me, she would become my counsellor! and she would provide me with a crash course in all I needed to know, I was offered counselling via my clinic which we attended but I felt ashamed to admit my fears, I was scared of being judged, I didn’t want to show my weakness as if somehow not being strong enough was going to hinder my chances, I didn’t return as I wasn’t being totally open to the idea, I would rather confide in the comfort of my own front room where no one would be taking notes
We sat and talked, mainly she talked and I listened, it was a cold early winter evening but my body was shivering from the nerves, even talking about it sent me crazy but it worked, I knew I had to book in for IVF before I changed my mind, the date was set and that was it, no going back..
By now it was the middle of winter and I have these oddly fond memories of standing shivering,and bottomless in our living room in front of the fire to keep warm,Mr.F sat at knee height armed with injections and pills, firstly the fragmin (to thin my blood due to risk of clots) into my lower abdomen, it was during these times I was grateful for a ‘little’ extra flesh in that area because they hurt,they stung with until the last air bubble expelled but the tears in my eyes stung more, I’d throw myself into the sofa in a ball and wait for the next jab into my thigh, we bonded over injections, we grew closer, we was on the journey together & behind closed doors it was our little routine, it smarted and ached and by the end of the protocol I was peppered with ugly black bruises all over my stomach and thighs, but all for a good cause because I was ready for my egg collection date, and the monitoring and prodding made the 3 week build up fly by.
Im panicking now, it was the night before the collection, I had my day bad packed (minus the ghastly slippers!) and my stomach was constantly doing somersaults, I’m told to arrive at Care Fertility Manchester deodorant and fragrance free, nail varnish was a big no-no & strictly nil by mouth, luckily I was due to go down to theatre early morning & I don’t think my nerves would of allowed breakfast. A work colleague had offered to drive us the usually 20 minute journey to Care fertility UK & save us the hassle and stress, but we hadn’t accounted for the rush hour traffic, or road diversions (I knew that if I hadn’t packed the slippers something would go go wrong!) we arrived an hour late, I’m bleary eyed from having a restless sleep and from crying through the frustration of being late, and no amount of make up is going to save my grace, we sign into reception and have our photos taken for our identity cards. I’d love to show you the photo of that very morning, it captured the mood to a tee, my face was pale, withdrawn, and in all honestly I look like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards ready to be sectioned.. Maybe,just maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to show you the photo!
My first impressions where fantastic, a clean and welcoming place with genuine friendly smiles, soft paint colours on the wall, I was blessed to be offered treatment within the NHS at this place, No sooner had i been sat in my own private room with a comfy bed when I was being taken through my observations, as soon as the nurse walked through the door I howled, and I mean howled, a full on mental breakdown just one notch below kicking and screaming level, i’d only just managed to calm down when there was a knock on the door, our surgeon, a friendly looking approachable soul, and the tears came flooding again. How would I ever do this? I wasn’t strong enough mentally nor emotionally to do this but I knew I would regret it, I had to be an adult and face my fears.
Mr.F didn’t have a clue what to do, as reassuring as he was, his words fell on deaf ears, I felt so trapped and so alone, and vulnerable in my open backed gown, why should it be the woman that does all this? All the male has to contribute is by flicking through the magazines in the ‘room’, I walked down the corridor leaning on the nurses for support as my legs buckled beneath me, almost like the final walk to death row with my dignity, confidence and the tails of my gown all flailing behind me , I hear the words;
‘Ok Mr.F your room is to the left, you and your wife will be reunited in 20 minutes after the procedure’.
I had automatically presumed Mr.F would be sat by my side in theatre holding my hand and watching as they retrieve the eggs I’d grown, I was told it would be mild sedation, I would be relaxed but a little woozy but fully responsive, looking back I think they may have heard my screams beforehand and had called in for extra emergency supplies because before I knew it I was being wheeled back into my suite with a HUGE grin on my face.. And an ever so loudly announcement that I LOVED the whole experience and I was planning on having a breast enlargement and butt implants next, Mr.F and the nurses laughed in polite unison, a unspoken code of ‘This woman is crazy!’
And that was that, within 10 minutes I was sat upright on the bed, gossiping away whilst devouring a tuna sandwich off the free lunch menu & a small slice of cake for my efforts. No pain, no tears, nothing but a huge grin & a big thumbs up!
It seems strange having no after pain, every female is different but I feel incredibly blessed that I didn’t feel a thing, almost surreal that someone had done the procedure and there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.. Quite scary to think actually.
Now I have to wait to see how many eggs they had retrieved and how many where viable, shit! , amongst my self praising I’d forgotten about that last hurdle!
It’s the run up to christmas, festivities are high, the winter has set and I’m on a countdown to presents and a baby, I have to remind myself that this is not a competition and I am only running against my own expectations.
So now it’s time to catch breath, slow the pace and refocus my energy towards that end goal. I remind myself of what is important to me – myself, my sanity, my relationship, my family and my friends. The finish line is there in front of me, I’m just running a little further behind than I had expected.