Diamonds in the Rough

It has taken me a while to come to terms with IVF 1.  I am finally in an okay place about that.  I have realised that I actually grieved my early miscarriage and had all the accompanying emotions.  First, sadness.  Then Anger.  Disbelief followed that. And finally, acceptance.  I still feel a pang every now and then.  That is to be expected. 

In the meantime, there have been two pregnancy announcements in my family.  Both unplanned (obviously), one a bit of a shock.  After those two pregnancies were announced so soon after my biochemical pregnancy, I felt like I was being flung into a nightmare from which there was no escape.  Like some kind of horror movie where I am not allowed to cover my eyes in the scary parts. Just as you find courage when facing fears you never thought you could face, I discovered a strength in me that I never knew I had, and have been able to overcome those feelings. Feelings like hurt, jealousy, anger, resentment and pure despair.  It’s no-one else’s fault that I feel these things:  they only serve to highlight feelings that were there all along. 

We, those of us battling fertility problems, can’t afford to be weak, and to give up.  We have to be tenacious, to keep trying despite ourselves, and always hope.  My friend made a comment to me a few days ago that I have changed from all of this.  She was mourning the “old” me.  I was a bit hurt by this comment, but later realised that she was partly right.  Only, the old me is alive and well.  The old me is still here, but with many new facets, like a rough stone that has been cut and polished.  The value of that stone is much greater once it becomes a diamond.  But don’t forget where that diamond came from.  We are all diamonds, shaped by our tragedies, misfortunes and our will to keep going.  We are still the same stones, but we have been transformed, our diamond cutter’s name: Infertility.

I am proud of who I am and the things I have become.  I may not always be cheerful and carefree, but I am still me.  I may not always jump with glee at the news of someone else’s pregnancy, but deep down I still wish them well, and feel happy for them to experience all the things that I long for.  I may cry, but out of those tears comes empathy, and determination that I never had before. I  love more deeply, cry harder, have a profound appreciation, and my heart has grown to accommodate all of those I have met along the way.  I don’t wish infertility on my worst enemy, but wish that they knew some of the unlikely gifts that it has given to me.

Clouds Gathering Again…

Well, I thought I would have the obligatory one or two days of sadness, and then everything would be peachy after that. Unfortunately, it has not happened that way.

I have been feeling miserable this whole week. I think I know why. Doing the IUI’s was okay, because, well, if one failed, I would just do another. I mean, surely it would work within 3? Isn’t that the statistic? Then 3 IUI’s came and went, and still nothing. I am just so sick and tired of being disappointed. I would do another IUI before IVF, except that if it failed again, they would have to be standing by with a straight jacket. (“They” being the people with the straight jackets, of course.) It would be straight to the nuthouse for me. Do not pass begin, do not collect $200.

I am ashamed to say that at the beginning of this very short but very exhausting IUI journey, I was actually feeling a bit smug. I felt really bad for all the other sorry souls out there that were on IUI 6 or IVF 3. It would never happen that way with me. I would be PG within my 3 designated IUI’s. My doctor said so, and I believed. Why should I doubt?
After each failure, I began to feel a little more cynical, but kept thinking “it’s not over yet”. Well, now it feels “over”.
I guess being at the IVF crossroads makes it so much more real for me, and for the first time I am feeling really, really, INFERTILE.

INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INF
ERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERTILE.INFERT
ILE.

If you say it enough times out loud it starts to sound like a foreign language. What is it? What does it mean? Why me? What if IVF #1 doesn’t work? So many questions, and no answers.

Then there’s the financial aspect of IVF. With South Africa being a developing country, they have much bigger medical fish to fry than poor Mands that can’t have a baby. So there is no financial assistance for those of us here wanting to do treatments. I managed the IUI’s, as they weren’t too bad. It just meant that we had to cut back here and there. IVF is a whole other ballgame. It is approximately R30 000 ($4300) without ICSI or extra meds. We don’t have that amount of money stashed under the mattress, so we will have to take out a loan.

On top of all this, SIL (the lovely dutch girl) is probably going to be having her baby soon. I feel badly for her as she is suffering with high blood pressure brought on by the pregnancy. Of course, I am happy for her and my baby brother, who will be embarking on this great adventure called parenthood. It couldn’t happen to two nicer people. At the same time, I feel panicked. I am not ready for another baby in the family. I have been fine with her pregnancy all along, but it is really striking home now, it’s feeling a lot more real than ever before. It won’t be just a pregnancy anymore, it will be a real, live, little person. I feel so very empty.

So I guess you could say that the break is not going too well so far. Stay tuned.

Prayer

I was wandering through the blogs recently and decided to check up on Sarah – infamous for her iPod Shuffle game. (Sarah, if you’re reading this: please enable feeds on your blog so I can keep up to date with your posts! Thanks darl!) To my utter amazement and joy she did an HPT and got 2 lines! That is wonderful news. Please go over there and wish her well.

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On a much sadder note, Tertia Albertyn had the following post yesterday. (She recently found out that she was pregnant – naturally):

“It’s over. The baby hasn’t grown. No heartbeat. Evacuation of the uterus on Thursday.
I feel numb.”

I am so deeply saddened by this. Tertia has been my motivation in doing IF treatment, and I regard her very highly for all she has been through. Although she has her twins, this is a cold, cruel reminder of the infertility that she endured for so long. Just when you think that “Happily Ever After” has finally set in, something like this crashes down on her.
I am thinking of her and Marko and praying for strength for both of them to pull through this. She was talking about prayer in one of her earlier posts, about the purpose of prayer.
This is what I think: When you are so low that you can’t sink any lower, prayer is a means of comfort. It is a means of offering up your troubles to a Higher Being, so that you may take rest. When there is no where left to turn, prayer offers solace. It is in the quiet moments of prayer and reflection that we draw strength, and often find the answers within ourselves.
I usually find the most fulfillment, however, when praying for others. I believe that, often without realising it, we elevate ourselves by doing this. It is the act of putting another’s needs above your own. When we choose to ignore our own problems for a minute and acknowledge someone else’s, great power lies therein.

That’s what I believe.

I know what you’re thinking…

Not another infertility blog!!! Too bad, I need to say it, and being the painfully non-confrontational type, I have decided (instead) to BLOG it.
This is my secret garden: my thoughts, hopes, fears, disappointments, and just about everything else that I usually discuss with myself in the shower, or when I can’t get to sleep at night. As some of you may already know, I have been struggling to fall pregnant for longer than I care to mention, so that will probably be on the hotlist of things I talk to myself about. Brace yourself.