The (Continuing) Burden of Infertility

These past few days, I have been an absolute slave to my hormones… Or what I am hoping are my hormones, and not that beasty depression starting to creep back up on me.

I’ve also been unfortunate enough to be completely floored by a nasty viral infection (not man-flu, like a PROPER viral infection) that has left me feeling incredibly sorry for myself. My husband has been busy at work with the elections looming this Thursday and so I have been left to fend for myself in my pit, with nothing to distract me from my own worst enemy – my mind.

My thoughts are completely dominated by the prospect of something going wrong with this precious pregnancy, and every twinge or bit of discharge sends me running to the toilet in a panic for the good old “knicker check”. This past week, I’ve paid for a private scan. All is fine, and as it should be, and this calms me for a few days, until the old doubts start to creep back up on me.

Sometimes I don’t know if getting scans is a pathological behaviour that is feeding the worry, and whether I should be denying myself of it, or whether anything that makes me feel better is a good thing. There are divided opinions amongst my friends and family – the IVFers being completely supportive and understanding, and the “I took a sniff of his armpit and magically got pregnant” lot telling me that I need to chill out.

I am completely aware that I am physically and mentally draining myself, but I don’t know how to make it stop. I’ve done another old favourite, which is my statistic-checking (a foetal heart on US at 8 weeks reduces miscarriage risk from 25% to 2% – I like that one), but Dr Google also throws horrible anecdotes of missed miscarriages a few days following a normal US, and this, along with stories of patients/friends, is enough to send me spiralling back down to the pit of misery.

My mother-in-law keeps telling me that I “need to get rid of my doctor head, and put my mummy head on”. The next time she says that, I may actually lose it.

DO YOU THINK I DON’T WANT TO?! TELL ME HOW AND I WILL!!

I am very grateful to have had such fantastic support throughout the IVF, and for those who have followed me through the thick and thin over the past 3 years, I was overjoyed to be able to tell them that I’d finally got there. There are those (some of my family members, mostly) who hopped on the IVF bus right at the end, and got a privileged seat in the testing-day-arena back on the 2nd April.

These are people who have known I was pregnant since day 1 (i.e. at 4 weeks, vs the 12 weeks, when most couple start to breathe a little easily, and have had the time to work through any worries and anxieties. And lets face it, when YOU’RE starting to finally accept that you’re pregnant, and are READY to share the news). I feel like I’ve lost the privacy of my 4-to-12-week slot to these people, who don’t understand how I’m feeling and just do this whole, “but you’re pregnant now, so it’s fine”

AAAAGH, FUCK OFF!

I know that most of you must be thinking that I’m losing my mind. I feel like that most of the time, too.

I think a lot of this catastrophic, negative thinking has followed me from childhood. My single father was in and out of hospital from when I was very young. I constantly feared losing him and being left alone. I had spells in and out of care when he was poorly, and it was a glimpse of the life I may have to lead if I was orphaned.

I met my wonderful husband when I was 16 years old, and was left estranged when my dad discovered our relationship. My dad died a year later, without any opportunity to reconcile.

My wedding day was the single happiest day of my life, and I thought life was finally on my side, until we started trying to conceive!!

I know life isn’t always fun and games. And I know that I have some incredibly positive and wonderful things in mine. I guess I just need to start believing that life isn’t there to screw me over at every turn.

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The Fear (Part 2)

Today was the day that, 27 years ago, my mother’s life support was withdrawn on the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospital. This was following a post-partum haemorrhage a few weeks prior, hours after delivering me into the world. My 56 year old father was left widowed and thrown into the deep end of fatherhood like no father ever knew it.

To rub the salt in the wounds, this day coincides with the Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi – the birth of the Sikh faith, and as prominent in the calendar as Easter or Christmas. Although not religious at all myself, I can only imagine the pain of a devout Sikh/Christian/Hindu/Jew/etc to forever associate a bereavement with, what should be, such a joyous occasion in your community.

The past week or so, I have swung between the extremes of sheer excitement at the prospect of being a mum before the year is up, and utter panic at the endless possibilities of what could go wrong between now and then. I am feeling the latter more acutely than ever today, for obvious reasons.

Since getting those magical two lines, that hope that I would suddenly happily launch myself into the world of “baby” has not been forthcoming. Although I “tolerate” (that is not quite the word I’m looking for) the bumps a little more readily, I am wishing the weeks away so that, in Darwinian fashion, my jelly bean would have a chance of making it in this world should anything happen to me. “The bumps” are at that point, where they can happily talk cots, prams and names. I, at 6 weeks today, still have a very long time to go.

It’s all very catastrophic, ruminatory thinking, that’s certainly not being helped by all the pesky hormones. But I don’t know how to make it go away!

My scan is due a week on Wednesday – maybe seeing a viable little bean will inject me with some confidence that this pregnancy WILL be fine.

I went on a spa day with my mother-in-law last week. The girl who was doing my nails announced that she was 10 weeks’ pregnant with her second. I asked her if the worry ever goes away, and she answered with, “I don’t worry about anything. Cos most of the time, whatever you’re worrying about NEVER happens”.

So very true. It must be so nice to be living in that head.