Cheers, dear readers,
I want to stop for a moment to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this blog that has been brought to you by the wonderful folks at Conceive Hospital, and also for your kind and heartfelt comments. One of the many reasons we are writing this blog is to help reduce the stigma that surrounds those who have suffered from infertility. We hope that telling one couple’s tale will help increase awareness of this issue and spur a more open conversation. Sharing is truly caring…
And our story continues, as told by Cathy…
As we were about to embark on this journey with our local fertility clinic – a place that I previously never saw myself setting foot into – I was filled with wonder at how anybody else gets through this strange, uncomfortable experience. My feelings were a bit overwhelming: shame, determination, confusion, fear, anger, worry and on and on. I will say here as a wiser person: emotion management is a skill that must be learned, and we are normally not taught the proper way to handle our various emotions, particularly when they are coming at us in wave after wave, jumping from one to the next. We must learn on our own, as individuals, how to navigate these waters. And dealing with infertility is normally a couple’s problem. Each couple tends to learn to deal with it by themselves. It can feel very isolating – like no one else (certainly that we are close to) is going through the same thing. Almost all of our friends and family that wanted children in their 30s and 40s were having babies left and right with seemingly no issues (after writing this blog, we have later found out that a handful did conceive through IVF – but not before, as again, hardly anyone talks about it… Why not?… Shame? Privacy concerns? Pride? The “ewww” factor? Each couple has their personal reasons).
So it was time to get tested. For me, that meant a physical exam, blood tests, trying to find out if my lady parts were in working order or not, and what type of egg quality I had. The first round of tests went well! My uterus seemed perfectly fine – no obstructions, good size, in the right spot, nice lining, looked perfectly normal and able to carry a baby to term. Whew! Also, we had to get tested for STDs and that we were generally healthy and able to go through potential treatment. Again, gold stars! Wow, this is encouraging so far! We kept holding our breath. Next, it was time to check on my egg quality. I was nervous, as I was 40 years old. I scoured article after article, read as much as I could on the subject. Since it has been a number of years, I don’t remember what are optimal numbers and what are “uh-oh, that’s bad” numbers any longer – but I knew that this was critical data. I did little cheerleading dances for my eggs cheering them on! Come on, girls, you GOT THIS!
During this period, it is hard not to feel anxious and to relax, as every menstrual cycle counts. We weren’t getting any younger after all. Each month, another potential egg of my finite supply was lost. The month that I was to get my blood tests to determine egg quality and reserves, Eric happened to be assigned to a once-in-a-lifetime work trip to Sydney, Australia, and I could accompany him if I was able. Determined not to miss out on this great opportunity but equally determined not to lose a month of time, I consulted with my doctor, did the research, found an appropriate clinic in Sydney and booked the appointment to get checked out “down under” (get it?). We embarked on our trip to Sydney with hope in our hearts, trying to be positive and not let this infertility stuff get us down. HOPE was the word of the day.
The morning that I went to the clinic, I woke up too early, very nervous. I didn’t want to be late, so I got some coffee and breakfast on the go, and sat outside the clinic waiting for them to open. I thought how odd this experience was, as I munched on my breakfast (ironically, an egg sandwich). They opened and as I waited in the waiting room, I thought… “So THIS is what infertile people look like on the other side of the globe! Interesting. They don’t look depressed or stressed out. Chill out, Cathy. What are you afraid of?” The staff was incredibly sweet, and had those charming accents that put me at ease. The tests were done, and they promised they would send the results straight away to my clinic back in the US. All righty then! Take a deep breath, and wait… again.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. And I wish you the best on your journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic