Infertility: how it really feels

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The inalienable truth is that the miracle of birth is more of a miracle for some than others. And there really are so many more ‘others’ than you might think.

Sitting in the pristine offices of the Vitalab, I’ve seen so many, many women sitting there. Women who feel inadequate because their bodies won’t do what they’re supposedly built for; women pumped full of mind- and body-altering hormones; women who every month that the AI (Artifical Insemination)/IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)/AO (Assisted Ovulation) doesn’t work experience a crushing disappointment that cuts so deeply. I am one of these women.

Here I am on the cusp of more fertility treatment. And I’m terrified. My previous bout last year resulted in a pregnancy which I miscarried. Prior to that, fertility treatment resulted in the birth of my now very healthy 2 ½ -year-old daughter. Yet, having The Treatment still chills me to the core. Of course, there may very well be women out there, who don’t find it as challenging as me. I sure don’t know any, though.

Trying the natural way

After I got married in 2005, although I was aware of my PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), I decided to try to conceive naturally. In a nutshell, PCOS, the most common cause of infertility, results in erratic ovulation or no ovulation at all. 

For women with a regular cycle, the chance to procreate comes around once a month but with PCOS, well, you just never know. Even if by fluke, you manage to conceive naturally, your chances of miscarriage are higher.

For me, hand in hand with PCOS comes an underactive thyroid and insulin resistance which I take chronic medication for. Eventually, I did conceive on my own after completely changing my stressful lifestyle. It took a year and when I miscarried at 8 weeks, I was devastated. That’s when I decided, to go to the fertility lab. 

The hardest hit areas of your life on treatment are your relationship, your body and your hormones. Hormones govern moods and emotions, so try and imagine dealing with PMS X 10 (all the time!) and then the disappointment of a negative pregnancy test. Sometimes, it’s just unbearable.

 In fact, after 7 failed cycles of treatment, I felt so depressed that I couldn’t function. Hearing about a friend’s pregnancy threw me into a bout of despair so deep that I couldn’t cope. So, for the first time in my life, I went on anti-depressants and my husband took me on a month’s holiday to Japan and Thailand. Two months after our return, I went back on treatment and fell pregnant.
 
During treatment, I also had acupuncture, reflexology, and SCIO feedback machine and went for metaphysical counseling and conventional therapy when needed. It was all-consuming. Trying to have a baby takes a fortune of mental and physical energy, not to mention time and financial resources.

The journey, one of the hardest in my life, if not the hardest, was, in retrospect, necessary. It forced me to deal with all the underlying emotional issues affecting my fertility. I believe that stress levels, physical health and emotional wellbeing are crucial in being able to conceive a child and sustain a pregnancy.

All in all, despite the cost of fertility treatment and the impact on all areas of your life, I’d rather be under the care of the docs at the fertility lab than going it alone again. After all, it worked for me once. But, make no mistake; it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Share your experience of fertility treatment below, or email your story to chatback@parent24.com

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
 

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