What shocked me most when we first consulted a fertility doctor was how full the waiting room was. It was bitter-sweet because it brought home the reality of just how many people are struggling, but I also felt comfort in all that company.
You never think you’re going to land up in those rooms and no one can ever prepare you for the news that having a baby is going to be harder for you. Just how much harder no-one can tell you.
I have a bountiful egg reserve but I’m in my late 30s, so although there are plenty, most are not viable. We also have issues with sperm due to surgery my husband had to have when he was a toddler. So we got the double whammy.
We’ve done two rounds of ICSI and both have failed. In between all of that I had a laparoscopy for endometriosis, I developed large ovarian cysts for the first time in my life (caused by the artificial hormones) and I randomly had to have my appendix whipped out. This has all been in a year and three months. My body feels battered and exhausted.
It is soul destroying, this process, and I want it to end. The thought of another fertility drug coming near me makes me shudder. The drug protocol is HARDCORE. Not only the injections and egg retrieval but all the estrogen, progesterone and cortisone you have to pile in and up you to prep for embryo transfer. For me, it felt like my mind turned to mush, that my ovaries were about to explode and my digestive system just packed in. And yes, I know this is our choice and I am grateful that this science is available but it is beyond anything I have ever had to deal with and I have never felt more depleted and defeated.
I too cry by myself so that I don’t upset my husband. I have so much rage and hurt in my heart that I’m either completely numb or “acting out”. I don’t know where to turn or who to talk to because this process has been endless and no one knows what to say anymore.
I no longer go to baby showers and I fall apart when friends tell me they’re pregnant or having their babies. And one of the worst parts is that when these babies are born I want nothing to do with my friends or their newborns. So yeah, this process destroys who you were and leaves you with nothing but sadness, jealousy and anger.
There are obviously moments of reprieve when you feel light, relatively normal and sane again. I hang onto those moments for as long as I can.
- Also read: "The guilt and anger, the praying and hoping... it's soul destroying" – a reader shares her struggle with infertility
People say stupid things too. Not intentionally of course but thoughtless nonetheless. At one point if one more person told me to relax, go on a detox or book a dirty weekend away with my husband I thought I might punch them. First, I and we have done all those things and second, when friends or family gave that advice all I heard was “you’re not doing enough so this is your fault”.
Also, I completely disagree with “everything happens for a reason”. That’s the biggest load of trite out there. When people say that it feels like they’re saying that I have to learn and be punished.
I’m a well-rounded, emphatic and compassionate woman who has had a fair shake in terms of loss and grief. There is no reason why we have to endure this just like there is no reason why my friend had to have countless miscarriages before she conceived, why my brother got crushed by a drunk driver or why my friend’s baby boy had a freak accident that left him severely brain damaged. Sure this stuff makes you stronger and you learn from it but there is no Divine reason why it has to happen so stop staying that.
- Also read: Mind your own womb!
Anyway, I could ramble on for pages and pages but I’ll end here.
This “journey” is brutal and isolating. And people should ask what it is that you need rather than just rush in to help or fix. We obviously know hearts are in the right place but honestly, all we want to hear is, “This really sucks and I am so sorry you have to go through it”.
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- A letter to the children I’ll never have
- Male infertility, an open letter: "I had to make my peace with it but it hurts"
- Everything you need to know about fertility treatment