Confession one: My partner has fertility issues. This means that although we have a phalocentric issue all treatments are gynocentric.
In basic English, although the issue lies with him the only way to overcome it is to go through IVF, or take a really yukky drug (prednisolone) that has side effects that are worse then the prospect of no kids and only increases our chances to 1 in 4 from 0.25%.
IVF means hormones, mood swings, weight gain, bloating, constipation, needles, invasive treatments, internal ultra sounds, blood tests, pessaries, scopes, scans, anaesthesia, harvesting of eggs, your body being a puppet for others to manipulate, screwed up sex drive, sore breasts, abdominal cramping, drugs and vitamin tablets.
First they shut you down, so a chemical menopause. I know this as my wonderfuly gorgeous sister is going through "the change" and we compared notes.
Then they fire you up... think onset of puberty is bad? HUH! At least thats gradual.
If the firing process is successful they can harvest your eggs. They tell this through ultrasound. So your bloated, hormonal, ovulating and some person is poking around in areas that are tender and feeling abused. This is the fun stage. This is when they give you a "Green light, injection on this date, harvest on this" or a "Nope, migt as well use the injection and go at it like bunnies and be hopeful." The injection releases the eggs.
If they can harvest it's done not dissimilarly to a biopsy. It was about this time that I realised that women become "Clucky" during IVF because they are feeling a close bond to battery chickens. (Confined by a regime, not in a cage, and feed hormones.)
My favourite part though all of this is the lovely running commentary on your body.
"You need to lose weight."
"Your left ovary keeps moving, we can't count the eggs."
It's camera shy, OK?
"You won't experience the side effects you had with the [birth control] pill on this regime."
Two months of hormonal cow from hell later we get told there is another option. At least this time I was merely depressed. The pill/ birth control injections have turned me into a paranoid schizophrenic in the past (I became convinced I was being chemically poisoned by a former partner who was just trying to feed me.)
And the advice from those around us on how to conceive:
"Maybe your doing it wrong."
"You just need to relax."
"Eat more fruits with seeds."
"Don't eat meat. The hormones they pump in are causing your problems."
"Eat more red meat."
"Don't have hot baths."
"Don't have cold showers"
The pregnant women surrounding us:
"Oh, you just need to stay positive. My gynacologists sisters aunt in law had IVF and she has twins now."
"Oh, we didn't want to mention to you we're pregnant again in case it upset you." (Yes, in 9 months after watching you gain weight, avoid us, and be embarassed everytime you can't that would be the time to present a baby and tell us about the pregnancy. )
We are amongst some of the luckier ones but it feels like every step forward equals one step back. For example: Discover hormones stopping and starting screw with my system severely: be unable to harvest.
Alternative method "Boost cycle" to grow eggs: We can harvest: All 4 become embryoes. Implant 1st one: nope, period in a week. Implant next two after them being frozen, discard forth as it stagnates. PREGNANT! First ultra sound: heart beat almost non existent.
I have some medical training. I know what the heart rate needs to be.
Meanwhile all our family knows, mum in law to be has bought out childrens section of Myers and given it to me at Christmas (I burst in to tears and lost it completely. When you're spotting and everyone tells you your going to be fine a present like that at less then 8 weeks does not help.)
So we call prospective grandparents and ask them to let others know. Talking to a brother the other week I asked him if he'd been told, and he said no, he was waiting to hear the gender of the baby.
And seriously that's the worst bit off it all. It's not the unexpected internal ultrasounds that flashed me back to having been raped. It's not all the well meaning but seriously misguided advice and "chin ups" from people, or them tip toeing around you about their own pregnancy.... it's the losing of hope.
It's the foetus dying and you not knowing why. It's sitting in a bath full of blood as your partner tries to clean you up putting aside his own guilt (over his infertility) and grief to try and get you through the state of shock you are in. It's still blaming yourself 9 months later, going ove everything in your mind as to what you did to cause it... worked in hot environment, worked to hard, didn't sleep properly, stressed the miscarriage on, didn't eat properly, aromatherapy oils, cat trays, ate something you shouldn't of... and the list continues.
We go back next week to try again. Never know, maybe someone else out their will read this, see their own situation mirrored and know they are not alone in this. I just hope that person has a person beside them as wonderfully beautiful as my Boi.