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Grief for a person that has never existed

I’ve always been a high achiever.  If I want something I focus on it, go for it and get it and focusing enough on it has always given me a good life.  I’m a happy person and constantly positive, so I don’t really know why this has happened to me…us.  My husband and I met when I we were 30, so we were late bloomers, my life plan when I was younger was to get married at 27, kids at 28 and pop three out two years apart, just like mum did.

 

After about two years we decided to start trying for a baby, we were excited, it was fun.  After about 6 months we heard those IVF ads on the radio so went to a free seminar.  We started the process…..and we haven’t really stopped 4 years on and we are no closer to knowing why it’s not working.  Every test has been done on us, and it always comes back fine.  This really frustrates me as I’m a troubleshooter, I look at the problem and tackle it.

 

We tried IUI first, where you take a few pills, produce two to three eggs and they insert the sperm next to the eggs at the right time, and the magic is supposed to happen.  I then went in for a laporosopy, where they do keyhole surgery, pump your stomach up with gas, and have a look inside.  Nothing was found, but for the next few days it felt like someone had pulled my intestines out, squashed them around then shoved them back in.

 

We then did IVF, so I did the needles every day, and hubby being a big strong man announced he was scared of needles so I was on my own with injecting which I dealt with.  Every needle you injected is taking away all your hormones, so I was on an emotional rollercoaster crying all the time thinking the whole situation was hopeless.  Not to mention the close to $10K we had to drop after all the other costs felt like we may as well of just thrown out of a moving car and gotten the same result.

 

After all the injections you then get to know your local pathologist really well, going in nearly daily for blood tests and the internal ultrasounds.  Strip off and get on the bed with a cloth over you became a normal thing.  Finally the time was right to get those little eggs out, they were the right size and we had about 12 of them, I felt like I was walking around with a delicate bunch of grapes holding onto my insides, with the period pain like symptoms to boot.  I went into surgery, hubby came with me and he was excited to get dressed up in his surgery outfit and go into theatre, he said it was like he was on Greys Anatomy, so we took photos again to show our little cherub the process we went on to get them.  He said the Dr and Anaesthetist were talking a bit too much about what wine club they were in, their response was it’s when they are quiet that’s when he needs to worry. 

 

They write on your hand how many eggs they get out, we got 11.  Hubby at the same time then goes into a little 2m x 2m room that has a couch and some pornos that he refused to touch, then came back out to greet me.  I was groggy, but thought, this is all worth it.  The next two days I hobbled around at home with internal pain.  The clinic then rang us every few days to tell us how many had fertilised.  One they mistook as an egg which wasn’t so we had 10 little fighters on board, and 5 days for them to jump through the hurdles of fertilising.  Each day, we’d ring on speaker phone and be told all ten were still doing well and on track, which is unusual so lots of high fives between us.

 

Day 4 they don’t ring, because that’s the day they do lots of work so best not disturb our little cherubs, then day 5 we went in. The Dr then said that all but 1 didn’t make it through day 4, so we lost 9 on that day, this IVF better work with the one we have left.  I was still positive, we only needed 1 for it to work.  So on the bench again, but this was dee day.  They put the little fertilised embryo up on the big screen, we took photos of it, so we could show them when they turn into a little person what they started out as which is pretty cool.  It was then a waiting game of two weeks, with some cream that helped with it all that I had to use.

 

Two weeks was a long long wait.  After all the needles, the surgery, the pain, the money and the hopes and dreams came down to this moment.  Throughout the two weeks I’d get cramps, I’d get feelings of possibly yes, so on the day I had to go get my bloodtest I was sure it had worked.  They said they’d ring me when they had an answer.

 

2pm they called, hubby was on standby at work to come home depending on the news.  I will never forget that phone call.  She had no bounce in her voice, she confirmed it was me on the phone then said ‘I’m very sorry but it’s a negative’.  I had to ask her to repeat it.  I was in denial.  I was sure it had worked, I was getting all these weird feelings down there like it had, I’d told hubby I was sure it had.  I said, ‘are you sure?  Can you be wrong?’.  There was a pause then the nurse said ‘no….these tests are accurate’.  I was in shock, but thought it’s okay, I can deal with this.  Hubby rang me, I told him the news and he said he’d be straight home, I said it was fine and to stay at work but he insisted.  When he got home he raced up to me and just hugged me for a long time.  I was sure the nurse was wrong, how could I be getting all these feelings that are foreign to me?  Then my period came a few days later, that’s when I was sure the nurse was right.

 

We went back to the fertility specialist, we had talked before about him owning a 4 door porcshe which he parked in the visitors car park which is very expensive and wondered how much he made out of all of this.  He didn’t explain anything to us and we felt like a number and didn’t want to go through it again with this Doctor so we changed to a Doctor we heard was good at trouble shooting.

 

We had to start all over again with new referrals and the same tests.  We did a longer cycle, which means you wait two months before they extract the eggs, slowing eating all our savings, the money we had planning for our big overseas holiday had now completely gone.  The injections were going too well and I produced 30 eggs.  I was away for work in a hotel room, feeling bloated all day as I was at risk of overstimulated ovaries, the nurses kept saying just keep drinking water, it was really important.  I felt like I was the marshmallow man out of ghost busters.  Why is it that overstimulated ovaries makes you look like you are 9 months pregnant, who’s sick joke is that?  They had me on emergency watch, alone in the hotel room with instructions on when to call from an ambulance and what hospital to go to.  I got through the night, and picked up where I left off the next day at work, sleep deprived and sore.

 

This time around we didn’t go completely under for the egg collection, it was a twilight thing where you just feel out of it.  The only way I can explain it is that feeling of being really drunk and merry just before the room starts spinning minus the hangover afterwards - highly recommended! They got 20 eggs, and 11 fertilised.  One was put in and again disappointment.

 

We have since used another 4 frozen eggs and we are no closer to getting an answer as to why this isn’t working, and a hell of a lot poorer, well we were pregnant for a few days during one of them, apparently that’s called a ‘chemical’ pregnancy.  Nobody seems to know what is wrong, we’ve been really open about our journey as we believed the support from our friends and family is important, but they stop asking after a while, I think they just don’t know what to say anymore.  The last couple we’ve been really private about our journey as we are just over talking about it, and people telling us don’t worry it will work.

 

We have heard all the sayings, and I now just grit my teeth and smile and agree, as they start saying it I could just about finish their sentence, hubby said he’s going to smack the next person in the mouth that says one of these common one liners, so if you know someone on IVF please don’t say any of these to them:

·         I have a friend that tried and as soon as they gave up it worked

·         If you just relax it will work (we tried that with a few camping holidays, and even pulled our wedding forward a year to get our mind off it and go on a honeymoon)

·         Go on a holiday (we tried that)

·         Try acupuncture (we tried that)

·         Go on a diet (I’m not overweight, we’ve tried every healthy diet under the sun and went to a naturopath for 2 years to no avail)

·         Just adopt (there were only 6 babies adopted in our state last year outside of relatives, and I'm not ready to give up on my dream yet)

Being in our mid 30s everyone we know either has babies or is pregnant.  People we know have gone through IVF and the first time it works, and they tell us they know how it feels.  No they don’t, it worked for you.

 

We are not allowed to have an opinion about raising children, or breastfeeding because we don’t have children.  Random people at work tell me I better hurry up and have children because I’m running out of time.  Excuse me thank you for pointing out the obvious, I just tell them we only got married a year ago so there’s no rush, they then reply with there is as I’m getting old.

 

I thought it must be my womb that is the problem, so I started looking for a surrogate.  I asked all my friends who had already had children, with the criteria of needs to be young enough to be able to get pregnant, had all their children in case something goes wrong and had an easy pregnancy, which rounded it down somewhat but nobody was saying yes, I thought I’d say yes in a heartbeat if a friend asked me, am I really that different to other people?  Thankfully we found a friend who said yes, we are not at the testing stages yet, as I then went back to my Dr after all the hard work who said that she’d prefer me to try an egg donor first.  I don’t want to do an egg donor, you always dream of a baby that looks like you, has your mannerisms and is a mini you.  I’d prefer surrogacy than an egg donor, and with not knowing what is wrong it’s a big gamble whatever we decide.

 

We’ve looked at surrogacy overseas, but that’s around $75K and six figures if you want to do it in the US.  I’ve gone onto the surrogacy sites in Australia, but you are competing for someone to pick you with a large number of others, as we are all are entitled to a baby as the other.  I don’t know how those surrogate mums on the forums pick.

 

This is the biggest test of patience in my life, it’s the challenging on my relationship with the ups and downs we go on.  There is no longer a ‘comfortable’ financial position, when we get spare cash we give it another go, sure that this time it will work.

 

I’ve got to the stage now where I’m contemplating a life without children.  It’s easier to accept defeat than hold out hope for years on end.  When I go to friends places and their children are being terrors, I’m thankful that I don’t have that burden.  It’s the only way I can look at it now to try and help me get on with things.  I still go to friends baby showers, but there’s a lot of strength behind the scenes to turn up on the front door with a smile on your face, don’t get me wrong I’m happy for them, but you try to avoid all things baby going through this, it’s too emotional.  When a friend rings to tells us they are pregnant, or someone announces it through facebook we are happy for them, but when is it going to be our turn?  We are good people, we’d make awesome parents, what message or lesson are we supposed to learn from this?  What is the universe  trying to tell us?

 

There’s no chin up and keep going, it’s just keep going.  We will give it another few years, I’m thinking we will throw the towel in when we’ve spend $100K, making the fertility industry a little richer and us a lot poorer emotionally, financially and physically; in the meantime I’m silently grieving a little person that has never existed.

 

Sarah-Jane


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