I never thought that I would have a problem falling pregnant. When I was younger I was terrified of missing my period and was very conscious of trying very hard not to.
When I was 26 I fell pregnant and it came as a big surprise. Having Emma and being a single mum was a loving, learning and trying time of my life. Then I met and married Linden when I was 40 and we wanted to have children together. 2 years of really ‘trying’ led us to explore some medical support and answers. First was the laparoscopy which proved that although I had a slight blockage in my left fallopian tube, there was no medical reason why I could not have a baby. So began the journey onto Clomid, Homeopathy, Chinese remedies, herbal remedies, acupuncture, Chiropractor treatments…. which led to IVF and then to donor egg IVF.
After 4 years of intense fertility treatments and many doctors later, I finally fell pregnant on my 6th and last round of IVF with Jaeda. It was the most wonderful day of my life when Dr Dhansay called to say “you won’t believe this – it is positive!” I was with my Mum and Linden was away on the farm – miles away. Suddenly all we had been through was gone – the pain, the tears, the anguish, the longing.
Jaeda was born by emergency caesarean (my plans for natural birth not working out even though the room next had a birthing pool and midwife waiting)- a healthy beautiful baby girl. This earth mother had learnt many lessons, been humbled, reduced to a tiny being in the magnitude of conception, pregnancy and birth and emerged a victor and goddess.
We found a new donor and we entered the arena once more. I was now 45 years old and aware that I was pushing a boundary with my age trying to fall pregnant again. Joshua took first time with the new round of IVF. I was actually taken a bit by surprise after my last experience of waiting four years. It was a tricky pregnancy and he was born again by emergency ceasar in March 2009.
My journey was not over as I sank into post natal depression that lasted a long time. Eventually after two years I came through the tunnel and feel stronger now because of my experiences. My relationship with Linden is powerful and loving. I am immensely aware of his love, nurturing, care, and support that I received during this time of trying to fall pregnant, feeling let down by my body, having to resort to donor eggs because ‘mine just weren’t good enough’, couldn’t breast feed because I was just too depressed to care, want to, guilt ridden because I didn’t…..
Now after 3 years I am including in my practice this imperative support to other couples and women that are embarking on the same journey. Knowing what I know now – if I had had this support during my very lonely time of feeling a failure – I am very aware that the process would have been very different. The outcomes may have been the same. However I would not have played roulette with my body taking so many different hormonal drugs, or withdrawn from myself and my support group feeling that they judged me and that I was an abject failure. I would definitely have been kinder to myself and my body. As I write this I remember with sadness how as each cycle ended with a negative result, after the tears came the resolution and determination – get the next period quickly so that I can start with the next process. My poor bottom was so bruised by injections that it did take months to recover!!
With my experience as a woman, therapist and as a fertility coach I am well equipped to support, challenge, guide and walk some of the way with you on your fertility journey and to yourself.
And here are some crazy things I did under the influence of the fertility drive:
Scheduling the laparoscopy for the day before I got married to Linden. I was so dopey from anaesthetic that I slept till half an hour before the Minister arrived and then was so bloated that had to wear a long blouse over my skirt as the zipper wouldn’t go up. Afterwards we all had cake in bed with my family.
Taking double the amount of Chinese remedies together trying to hurry up the process – I lost myself totally in that time. Definitely not recommended!! Please do not self medicate. It is not worth the effect on your body or emotions.
Absolutely no breaks between sessions and rounds of IVF – the drive was impulsive and all consuming. My body took a major beating and I did not allow myself time to grieve each loss. This accumulated over time and I think had a major impact on the post-natal depression.
I was not even aware of what Linden was going through at the time. I am so blessed to have this man in my life that held his own counsel and made allowances for what he needed because I sure as cats didn’t. Now in hindsight we have had a chance to really unpack this and get completion and clarity.
Avoiding my friends. Oh the silly things people say when faced by the grief of another that they feel uncomfortable with. And I was unable to tell them what I needed. So in the process they were shunned and I was isolated. Not a good combination for support.