So I’m sitting here in the waiting room of our fertility specialist, checking everyone out. It’s funny, how after just a few months of coming here my feelings and attitude have changed. The first time we sat here, my knees were knocking (literally), my palms were sweaty and I couldn’t focus on anything else but staring at the door and waiting for this random Dr who I had all my hopes and dreams pinned on, to call my name. I don’t remember much from that initial appointment – apart from the list of tests and referrals he sent us home with.
Now I sit here, sipping on my iced latte, and perusing the other women who are sitting around me. I wonder how long they have all been trying? What stage they are up too on this journey. There’s a woman across from me whose body language says she is an old hand at this, that she has sat in that chair before, many times, each time hoping it’s better news than last time. The girl to my right keeps rubbing her hands on her shorts…Aha! A Newby! Welcome! I hope you get off this rollercoaster early and unscathed!
And then there’s me. Somewhere in the middle of these two ladies. Slightly nervous, even though it’s just a check-up (more on that later) and a little laid back knowing exactly how the process works.
Oh, and there is the uncomfortable, heavily pregnant woman who is also trying to control her crazy toddler into submission by shaking random things in his face and asking what he is feeling. He’s 2, he feels like crying and running around yelling ‘no’ at the same time. Obviously. She is looking at the 3 of us with a ‘Why? Is this what you really want? Take him. Please’. I think she’s just stopped in this waiting room to take a load off for a minute.
I guess everyone has their struggles.
My mum reminded me of this recently, that at some point in our lives everyone has a struggle or a challenge that no one else around them has dealt with. Something we can feel empathy and compassion towards but not fully understand the true feelings of that person when we haven’t been in their shoes. Don’t judge, unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes…Something we’ve all heard but for me personally haven’t really thought how true that is.
It’s hard to explain to family, or whoever your ‘team’ is, exactly how you feel. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s a fine line between, not wanting to talk about yourself all the time, not wanting to talk about it that particular day, not wanting to upset anyone by truly allowing them to know how terrifyingly scary this all is, and not wanting to say it out loud because then it’s real. Some days it’s easier than others, and you just have to find the best way of telling people, in a way that they can understand. Not everyone you have on your team will give you everything you need, that’s why I personally have a few people who know what’s going on, each support in a different way and overall I get what I need. You can’t expect one person to give you exactly what you need, especially when you don’t really know what that is yourself. That’s the beauty of building this ‘team’ I keep talking about.
For me, I have always struggled with letting people completely into my life, I like to keep people at arm’s length to a certain point and only let them as close as I want them to be, especially with my health. I like to have things under control. I’m a control freak. In most areas of my life (apart from the fact that I wear odd socks..on purpose)
For me, this all started about two and a half years ago, when I randomly collapsed at work. Out of nowhere, one Saturday afternoon. I ended up in an emergency with a flurry of scary words and questions being thrown at me.
“How long have you known you have Endometriosis?” Umm about 1.4 seconds
“You’ll most likely need surgery” umm what?!
“You have multiple cysts on your ovaries”… Is that normal? Oh, it’s not? Right, ok.
“Endometriosis causes infertility” Sorry? Say that again?
This was the first time I didn’t hesitate to call for help. My mum. (Sometimes, regardless how incredible your partner is, and mine is top notch, a girl just needs her Mum). Through sobs and snot running down my face, I told her that I needed her.
What do I do? Do I have the surgery? Do I get a second opinion? What happens if I can’t have children? Mum! Help me! So it was Mum to the rescue, she flew down (we live in different states) and stayed with me while I had the surgery to remove what they could of the Endo (that’s Jargon for Endometriosis and I’m using it mainly because my spell check is annoying the crap out of me each time I type it)
Ok, so the surgery was ok, post-op was painful and at the age of almost 30 asking your mum to shower you brings on a whole new bond. (Sorry about that tattoo you’ve just noticed Mum, promise I won’t have anymore. And yes Mum, I’ve kept this promise! On a side note, when your Mum tells you at 19 that you’ll regret that tattoo, believe her! It’s more painful and more expensive to have it removed)
Anyway, the new bond with my Mother. We’ve always been close, sometimes we talk 5 times a day on the phone. I guess at each stage in your life you need your Mum for different things. But this was a situation that felt bigger than anything I had experienced before. I needed my mum as if I was a little girl who really didn’t know how to look after herself. She bathed, fed and put me to bed. It was in these days that I saw her as more than ‘Mum’. She was my caregiver, my support person, and my friend. I now understand that the word ‘Mum’ encompasses so many different people, wrapped up in one person.
It’s funny how relationships change, and as you grow older you become more like friends, but there are still times when you don’t need them as a friend, you need them as the Mum, as the grown up.
So back to the waiting room (I got a little sidetracked)…I sat and waited patiently while my new friend next to me kept wiping her clammy hands on her clothes. My name is called, in I go. A few pleasantries while I take off my shorts and undies, it’s weird how getting undressed and positioning yourself in those stirrups just becomes second nature (I mean buy me dinner and a drink first, or just a drink..am I right?)
Internal ultrasound to see how the injections are working, late last week I had one and it showed we needed to up the dose. It’s a fine line with FSH injections – we need to find out the dose my body responds to, you start at a low dose and increase from there. I asked why we can’t go up to the highest dose and his response was ‘well then you might fall pregnant with 8 babies and find yourself on the cover of New Idea’ point taken Doc. Last week I was starting to produce a small follicle, today, I have two lovely follicles on both ovaries that are similar size and could quite possibly ovulate at the same time, increasing our chance of twins. Twins? Two? Right, ok. We made the decision with the Dr before we started that twins would be amazing (for anyone with twins reading this, thinking Wow this girl has no idea! You’re right, I don’t, and I’ll be coming to you for advice!) but we wouldn’t want to risk my health or the health of future children by having more than a twin pregnancy. And today that became a real possibility. When I told my future baby Daddy his reply was ‘oh cool, one each’ (he has even less of an idea than me!)
So now we wait, keep injecting and have another scan later in the week. Although I am super happy that it’s all going along smoothly, I am also not getting my hopes up. As our Doctor explained, ovulating is the first steps in the multi-step process, which is fertility treatment. The drug I was on previous to this (Clomid) has left its mark with some side effects that my body needs time to recover from. So we wait.
Ahh yes, the dreaded daily injection. What a bitch! Now, it may not seem like a big deal, once a day, a tiny needle and all for a good cause, but its overwhelming and bloody scary! The first night I had to do it, I lined everything up, re-read the instructions, twice. Slowly put the injection pen together, double checked the ampoule of baby making liquid, and checked the expiry date. Then I put it all to the side and started my procrastination. I made dinner, I made lunch for the next day, I cut up fruit in case I wanted a juice the next morning, I wiped the benches, I fluffed the pillows on the lounge..until I looked up and was told by my partner ‘you can’t keep putting it off’ hmm spoken like someone who doesn’t have to put a needle into their own body.
And so I did it. It didn’t even hurt. Easy peasy. What is everyone complaining about on these forums I read?!
This is so great I thought, until the second night. I stabbed myself 4 times before I had the guts to keep in and press the button. Wow. This is not easy. This is what everyone is complaining about on these forums I read!
By night 3 and 4 I was a professional. A regular junkie. All done within 3.5 seconds a pat on the back and a bar of chocolate.
So now we are day 9 and so far so good. No nausea, no headaches, no hallucinations. Just a minor episode last night when ‘rational’ left my body and ‘pyscho’ entered and I waved the injection pen in the face of my manfriend yelling ‘do you want to be injected every day? Do you want me to do this to you? Come on, tell me where do you want it??’ Wow. Didn’t read that in the ‘side effects’ leaflet.
Like I said previously, blame it on the hormones. Always the hormones.
So that’s where we are at. Injections, hormones, and psychotic outbursts. Ahh the life of infertility, always fun! Let’s give a shout-out, to the partners who have to endure crazy needle waving girlfriends and pretend it’s “totally ok love, do you want some chocolate now?”
NB: Sorry to my partner for calling him the garlic to my bread in the previous blog…he was embarrassed (by me I think). You are the strawberry to my cream, the bun to my hotdog and the cheese to my macaroni. Choose one or stay with Garlic Bread. Your choice x
Heavy black heart