So What Now...?
PREVIOUSLY on the last episode of Style & Life by Susana – “Day 20: that phone call”:
Embryologist: “I’m sorry Susana, your embryo stopped growing. (Long and awkward pause) I’m so sorry for being the bearer of sad news.”
I hung up the call, took in a deep breath and just broke down into a flood of tears.
I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And unfortunately they were very loud piercing sobs that my work colleagues were able to hear me through the wall regardless that the door to the boardroom was shut closed.
FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY
Writing this is vulnerable and gut wrenching. Reliving all of the past memories, heartache and mental anguish I went through. Although I feel weak at times but I also feel stronger than ever. My fear is I don’t know how my truth will land for many of you and I hope towards the end, you will understand.
Since the last IVF cycle ended, it hasn’t been an easy road for me… mentally, physically and more so, emotionally. For so long I have steered far away as possible (if I was able to) from friends who have either fallen pregnant, just given birth or have children under the age of five. Please don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy for my friends but it’s so hard feeling like the odd one out – but I know that they are issues I need to sort out, and in time they.
Now why those ages specifically? I don’t know why exactly to be honest but perhaps because it doesn’t hurt as much if the kids are a little older. I know it doesn’t make much sense but God knows I’m trying hard to explain it here behind my screen on my laptop as I type this. It seems the younger the children are, the harder it hits closer to home for me. The baby I miscarried five years ago would have been five years old this September and I miss that little snowflake (I even wrote a song called, ‘Snowflake’ to express my grief) that lived inside my uterus for only two months. I was in love with those early stages of morning sickness and extreme weird cravings I had and I still to this day I feel a sense of loss about it.
Since 2012 up until early last year, going through so many freaking IVF cycles, my spirit and soul has been broken. I’m pathetically more emotional than ever before. Now I’ve always been a very sensitive emotional person but not to the point where even a stupid happy story on a television show or even giving my congratulations on a certain achievement to a work colleague (yes this happened to me recently), I completely choke up and tears start to fall down my face. I can’t even express myself anymore without having my throat tighten up and tears start to well up in my eyes. I feel so pathetic! It’s like I’ve lost all sense of control.
I use to be able to speak confidently in public as well too, to be completely honest – I secretly love having all eyes on me 😀 . Here’s an example: a while ago I asked by a friend to read a passage from the bible at her own wedding. It all started off so well but then something happened, and my own voice cracked, the nerves and emotions came out through every syllable of every word, I then burst into tears. I was stunned and shocked by this as it never ever happened to me before. Even my own husband asked me as I sat back down, ‘what happened up there?’ I hung my head down, shook my head and said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know’. Actually I do… it’s called IVF.
While IVF is an amazing thing that has it helped millions of couples around the world to achieve their dreams of having a baby of their own, but what is not spoken about but is yet swept underneath the rug is the emotional and mental turmoil pain that also causes to those other millions of couples that it doesn’t work for.
When my last cycle ended, my husband and I decided to take some time off to decide what we were going to do, as we had been doing an IVF cycle every two months for almost four years.
Can you imagine the amount of money that is spent on something that there is only a fifty fifty chance.
I mean, you do it no matter what because you want that family. I won’t go now into the nitty-gritty of what was actually spent on our IVF cycles in total but let me put it this way – you could buy at least three mustang cars with that. And that is no joke.
For the first couple of months, Troy and I didn’t talk about what the next step was going to be as we just wanted a complete break from IVF, where it wasn’t consuming and controlling every part of our lives.
We just wanted to breathe and lives our lives again and be normal, without worrying about where the next dollar was coming from to go towards another cycle and not have to worry about the exact timing of when injections, hormone patches and progesterone vaginal inserts had to be. We wanted to live stress free.
We had previously chatted to our IVF specialist about using a donor egg and even a close friend of mine rang me one day out of the blue to tell me that a couple she knew had two fertilised embryos in storage who no longer wanted their embryos but wanted to give it to us when they heard about our story.
That completely blew us away… two embryos that would be given to us! I have to say this came out of left field for me and seriously whacked me on the side of the head, giving me whip lash but also mixed in with euphoria then turning into the biggest and most enduring migraine ever. It was at that moment, I fell back down into my tunnel of darkness.
I cracked under the emotional anguish at this possibility as I had just slowly started to (sort of) ‘heal’ a few months after ending the last cycle, coming to the realisation of not being able to have my own children.
I fell deeper and darker into my cycle of anxiety thoughts, blaming myself for our failures, feelings of depression and complete utter confusion and mind fuck games swirled around inside of my head 24/7. In the end I decided I couldn’t go through with it all over again just in case, you know – ground hogs day (!!) …that neither one of those embryos didn’t take to my uterus.
Yes I know, I know, I know there’s also a chance that it could work out for us and that we would finally become pregnant. But honestly, the fear was that extreme, that palpable that all I kept thinking about was how my NKC (natural killer cells) would affect all of those chances again and to go through feeling like a failure, that my body is rejecting this God given miracle that I can’t do what a woman is supposed to do (creating a child inside of me), just killed me.
Our lives for the past four years has been devoted to do everything possible and imaginable underneath the sun so we could have that baby we desperately longed for.
But we came to the most hardest and painful decision that any couple has to decide, that since my eggs were so much older from when I first started, and there was only a 0.001% of maybe falling pregnant that we were now going to live our lives together as a childless but yet devoted and loving couple along with our two gorgeous fur babies, Tiago and Miguel.
After four long difficult years, our baby journey has come to an end.
I don’t want anyone thinking I really don’t want a child just because I turned down the opportunity of a donor egg or fertilised embryos. It’s not that simple.
To the outside world it seems like the most easiest decision to make and it would appear I shouldn’t even have to think about it if I truly wanted a baby.
I don’t mean to sound harsh when I say this but unless you have walked in my shoes (or any infertility challenged couples shoes) struggling with infertility and experiencing constant repetitive failures – its a fucked up journey for anyone to go through.
The desperation, the extreme unbearable heartache pain and the tsunami of tears I have cried (and still cry to this day)… it’s just not that simple.
I will forever have a part of me that will always feel like a failure to my husband and still believe he should leave me for a younger woman who could give him the baby he deserves (he would make an unbelievable father), to carry on his bloodline. Those thoughts, those feelings – a part of them will always live inside of me but I’m trying, slowly moving away from those thoughts… baby steps (pun unintended).
Troy and I are still praying for that so called ‘miracle’ that everyone talks about once a couple stops IVF and goes about living their lives again, but I’m not expecting miracles to happen because honestly and truthfully – they do happen but not for everyone.
What is meant to be, will be. But what I do know is that living in the now is that I’m enjoying sex again (now that’s another story but to make it very brief, I avoided it because I felt so incredibly ashamed of my body for it not responding the way it should) with my husband. Who knows if a baby will happen for us but I’m not going to allow it to consume my entire life again.
Life is so short and I missed so much of it when IVF became my only reason for existence. I was like a horse with its side blinkers on – couldn’t see anything else around me but only what presented in front of me.
Would I do it all over again? Fuck yeah I would! But knowing all that I’ve learnt along the way, there’s so much I would now demand for it to be done upfront so things aren’t dragged on and false hopes are given, time and time again.
Whilst this is the end of my journey but it won’t be the end of me talking about IVF. I have a-lot more to talk about and share with women (or couples) who are just about to start or are on their way in their IVF journey.
I will share things that you as the patient have the right to know and demand to be done and cut through all of the bullshit. And even though I wasn’t successful in my baby journey, there are tips I want to pass on to help those who are searching for every little bit of information on Google, to save you the time.
It will all be here on my blog so that you can refer back to it time and time again, and/or maybe that you can pass onto your sister, cousin, aunty, best friend or even your work colleague who is going undergoing IVF.
Thank you for reading my story and for being a part of my journey xoxo.