Foot In Mouth Disease

Two posts in two days, who would have thunk it!

Someone recently pointed out this article to me, it has been published in a national newspaper here this week, and is a classic example why so many of these ridiculous myths in the fertility industry are perpetuated.  Instead of being the informative and useful piece that it could have been, it is filled with ridiculous quotes that would make even the most insensitive woman shudder.

The parts that truly beggar belief come from a woman who is a mental health professional, specialising in infertility counselling.  And they are these:

…the majority of her patients choose not to tell their children that they were conceived with a donor egg.

“It is simply because they cannot trace the donor, so that knowledge will not empower the child, there is nothing to be gained. It is a little white lie to protect the child. But they then choose to not tell anyone else about it either and really just forget about it.

Which really gives you a clear indication of where her advice lies on the matter.  Just a teeny weeny little in-authenticity for a child to start their life with and for it’s parents to “forget about”, until heaven forbid, somebody needs a bone marrow donor one day and discovers that their DNA doesn’t match their mother’s.  Or, you know, technology advances to the point that DNA databases become like Google.  Clearly, despite the fact that this is her industry, she hasn’t done much reading on the damage that it can do for a donor conceived adult to have this information hidden from them.

Then this pearler on egg donation vs adoption:

…Unlike adoption, it is not about being abandoned by someone, so it is not an issue of rejection.”

Anyone who has ever had contact with a birthmother knows that nothing could be further from the truth, they place their children with great love and with the hope of giving them a better life.  

It doesn’t come as a surprise of course, that this woman’s husband is also the clinic’s Fertility Specialist, and so any of her patients who consider opting for adoption represent a loss of income to her household.  Her appalling choice of words in such a public forum are a complete embarrassment to the industry.

The next quote is possibly slightly more innocent, but only because it originates from someone who is not in the industry and would not necessarily be expected to know better.  Either way, it would still be a scathing and painful thing for any adoptive mother or mother via surrogacy to hear:

“Going through all that, pregnancy and delivery, makes a person a mother, not genetics.

So anyone who thought that getting up 10 times in a night for a desperately ill child who they love so much they would die for entitles them to being called mother – sorry.  Not according to this lady.  Pregnancy and delivery, that’s all that counts.

I guess we all hear these stupid, biased and uneducated opinions around us all the time as infertiles.  But seeing it in a national newspaper takes it to a different level.

Gobsmacked.  That’s all.


Filed under Uncategorized

Egg Donors and Adoption

This week my DH and I finally agreed on an egg donor, and it was no small victory.  After initially being very unsure as to what to look for, I finally settled on the coffee test.  Someone suggested to me to find someone that I would enjoy having a cup of coffee with, and I really liked that idea, because I love the idea of connection.  Of course in this country egg donation is anonymous by law, and the way things stand, our possible potential child/ren will never be able to contact her under any circumstances, including mutual consent.  So the coffee date is unlikely to ever happen, but it’s not impossible.  DH on the other hand, was more interested in how the donor looked and so we needed to find someone that fit the bill on both counts.  Working out how someone looks from amateur and badly lit baby photos (it is illegal here for us to see an adult photo of her) is not easy.  And, there were some err… disagreements to put it lightly.  Since she is “representing” me genetically, I guess I felt that I had a bigger say over who we chose, and somehow got it into my head that my husband wasn’t really bothered about it – that was until I found my perfect donor and arrogantly said something to the effect of “look I found a donor, quickly see if you like her and we can book her”.  Fail.

Some door slamming and general nastiness ensued.  Of course, by this point, after looking at 350 million donor profiles and finally finding The One, I wasn’t going to let up very easily.  And of course, at that point any of the 350 million other donors was a better option to my husband than My One.  But we decided to persist.  We decided that we would look at donor profiles every night for the rest of our lives until we found one we both liked, if that’s what it took.  Once we got over ourselves, and I relinquished my obsession with The One, it actually started to go a lot more smoothly.  We eventually narrowed it down to four.  Two of them were not available until next year, and we decided on the remaining ones after consulting the agency (who can see adult photos of them and us) who advised us on which one looked the most like me.  Turns out after all that, it was the same One.  Happy Face.  We were asked to write her a letter, and luckily we have an adoption profile in our back pockets, so we managed to summarise that into 2 pages in about an hour.

So, that’s where we are.  In fact it’s been almost too easy so far.  I feel, well, a little guilty to be honest.  With the adoption process I felt nearly called to it.  Like my whole life’s purpose was about to culminate in this miraculous process that would make the suffering of my infertility worth it.  It was going to make sense, and everything I had been through would be justified by the moment of The Phone Call.  I actually wanted adoption before I knew I was infertile, I spoke about it to my friends often.  And I still want adoption.  Recently I’ve been questioning exactly why.

Adoption is definitely more socially acceptable than egg donation.  Adoption is seen as an act of charity, of rescue, and of selflessness.  And to some degree, adoption is seen as the duty of the infertile.  In truth however, adoption is an act of parenthood.  Yes, it is selfless in as much as parenthood is selfless.  And yes, an adopted child in some circumstances is being rescued from a life of abject poverty, although not always.  But no, adoption is not the duty of the infertile woman any more than it is the duty of the fertile woman.  For many years, I realised, I had been carrying on my shoulders a guilty sadness about the 2 million adoptable South African children who needed a loving home.  I felt like I could make a difference by adopting, but there was always a gap between my idea of parenting and my idea of “rescuing” one of those children.  The gap, I’m ashamed to say, was and still is, race.

In my mind, I have no problem “rescuing” a child of another race.  But in the same mind, I the only picture I have of actual parenting, is of a child of the same race.  When I ask myself why, the answer I get is very simply that it’s easy.  With a child of the same race, we wouldn’t have adoption pasted all over our family everywhere we went.  We could just exist.  We wouldn’t have to face unwanted questions and stares at inopportune moments from complete strangers.  And I frequently wonder what it is about me, that makes me want to live under the radar like that instead of standing up for a little child’s life.  There’s an answer to that too.  I’ve had enough.  I’ve fought like a dog for the past 7 years to become a parent and it’s time for things to become easy.  I want easy, and I want simple and I want parenthood.

And that is what this donor process is.  We are the ones doing the choosing, no more sitting and waiting for someone to take pity on our painstakingly created 18 month old adoption profile.  There’s nothing else mixed up in this for me, no need to rescue, no need to make a difference.  I want to be a mom without also having to fix the problems created by an inequitable society.  And I won’t be ashamed of it, and I won’t make excuses for it, and I won’t pretend that I did anything other than an egg donor cycle.  


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Our Almost Adoption

It’s hard to believe that it’s been six months since I wrote here.  This blog was my lifeline for a long time, and being able to express what was going on for me in this space was always such a relief!

Some of my IF friends already know about this, because I have written about it elsewhere.  I chose not to write here for reasons of protecting the privacy of this somewhat fragile situation.  But now I feel it’s safe to share what happened, because it is now well and truly over.

In January this year, I got a call from a very dear friend, herself an adoptive mother, and someone who is just always thinking of how she can help others.  She had heard through a friend of hers of a woman who wanted to place her unborn baby for adoption.  I can’t tell too much of that woman’s story, because I feel I still have a duty to protect her privacy, although I can say that she was in a dire situation.  I think that everyone who considers adoption is.  I love this description of it: the burning building test.

We phoned her with our hearts pounding in our throats, and she sounded really kind.  That was my first and lasting impression of her.  We arranged to meet for lunch, which I had assumed would just be a first introduction, but she brought her mother along, and it turned out to be the most intense grilling interview of my life.  In all fairness, we were discussing the future of her baby, so it should have been.  By the end of the lunch, the decision had been made.  We were to be the parents of this tiny little 17 week old fetus.  For us, the decision was a little premature, we weren’t comfortable, and we also weren’t entirely convinced.  Even if we had been, it’s unlikely that we would have been quite as over the moon as they seemed to be expecting.  You don’t remove 6 years of infertility like an old jacket and start leaping around with joy.  I would imagine that it’s something that peels off a little more gradually like a cloak of thorns, a process that might require a little love, patience and disinfectant along the way.

That night, we started getting some freaky sms’s.  You wouldn’t have been entirely delusional in reading these sms’s and thinking that perhaps we were being asked to provide a laptop computer, and who knows, maybe some cash and a cell phone.  But at the same time, it was clear that the potential BM was freaking out substantially, and that was understandable.  Like I said, her situation was dire, and she’d recently been through a fair amount of trauma.  Adding the concept of handing her child over to complete strangers clearly wasn’t helping her emotional well-being.  I felt as if I needed to be strong, calm and comforting.  But see, the potential BM wasn’t the only one freaking out.  The intensity of the day had landed me with a migraine that was scared of nothing, and I just wasn’t feeling ready to step into the fairy godmother role of solving everyone’s problems.  Because I’m not a fairy godmother.  I might have spent the entire day trying to portray the perfection of our lives, our finances, our home and our parenting ideals, but truth be told, I’m just a gal whose ovaries aren’t playing along and at some point along the line as a parent, I’ll probably fuck up a little here or there.  I simply don’t have all the answers, and I was wary of pretending that I do and setting a precedent in that direction.

In the following week, our social worker met with her.  Our social worker has been in the business a while and I reckon she could spot the uncertainty from a mile away.  She wasn’t convinced either way, but together we decided to take the next step and arrange a fetal assessment scan (there had been no medical care up until this point).  We knew the risks and decided to view it as a charitable gift for the time being.  The scan was possibly one of the most hectic days of my life.  I had signed up for a diploma which cost the same as an IVF (the currency of the infertile woman – how much is this beautiful couch/overseas holiday in IVF’s?) and I was suffering from severe Imposter Syndrome.  Google it.  Basically I had managed to convince myself that despite having a degree with a major in some seriously tough mathematical subjects, I was for sure the only person doing this course that should not be there, and that the course administrator had made a mistake in admitting me.  It was the first day of the diploma, and I was going to have to sneak out half way through to go to the only appointment the fetal assessment clinic could give us in the next three weeks.  I had to sneak out and go and hold the hand of a woman who was very possibly carrying a child that we might become the parents of, a child who we were going to see on a TV screen.  An actual scan.  The kind that infertile women dream about in the same way other people dream about winning the lottery.  Not surprisingly, when the very first thing we had to do on the diploma that morning was a personality test to see which we had the highest traits of, dominance, influence, steadiness or compliance – mine came back as basically being the most ridiculously insecure person alive (after I had to throw away the first test because I filled it in wrong).

That afternoon we went home with those scan printout things.  The kind that people stick on their fridges.  And Facebook pages.  It had gone well, BM had been just as nervous as us, and like I said, she was really kind and she and I got on quite well, so we were able to laugh about it.  I held her hand and the three of us stared at that screen with equal disbelief.  That night we got an sms from her mother, congratulating us on the gender of the baby.  The next day, the stream of sms’s that we had exchanged a few times a day with the BM over the last three weeks, suddenly fell silent.

We were unsure on what to do, was she just taking some time out?  We wanted to give her some space.  And then I did something, that well, I’m not terribly proud of.  I Facebook stalked her.  Her profile, the birthfather’s profile and the profiles of his entire family were wide open to the world.  Wide.  Wide.  Open.  And hers was covered in scan photos, of a baby who had a name and whose birth she was really looking forward to.

It would have been nice to hear from her directly that she had changed her mind, that’s all.  From our perspective we were not completely surprised, but we were completely gutted.  Much more than we had expected to be, it seems that protecting yourself with logic doesn’t work any better in a situation like this than it does in a failed IVF.  I literally felt like my heart had fallen like a stone onto the floor.  Again.

Eventually, as  usual, we did get over it, and we realised reluctantly that there were some upsides to the whole thing .  First of all, it was a change in theme from a failed IVF.  Much cheaper (one lunch, one scan and some prenatal vitamins).  And there was an actual baby involved, which somehow seemed to be a step up from 43 severely damaged and completely hopeless embryos.  I don’t know, but there was a human element to it that we never experienced in IVF.  I can’t say we walked away from it with a song in our hearts exactly, and in fact DH is fairly angry about it.  But sometimes I think there is just a specific amount of suffering that we have to go through before we can be parents, and maybe we’ve just crossed one more off that list and stepped a little closer.  Please God let that list be getting shorter.  Please God.

It has also finally opened our hearts to something that we never really considered before, something that I never felt drawn to.  Donor eggs.  I so badly wanted that miracle adoption, the one where the birth mother and I became fabulous mates and everyone lived happily ever after.  The one where we got to give a baby a better chance at life and so the world would be a slightly better place (how arrogant is that).  But I learned some things along the way here too.  Money doesn’t make a better parent.  Maybe that child would have had a better chance of attending university in our household than it does now (it was born two weeks ago).  But it (sorry I can’t mention the gender) definitely is not lacking in love.  My prayers that the right thing would happen, have been answered, no matter how much heartache it brought us.


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A Book Review

I’m going to attempt a book review today, on a book I read last week called “The Silent Sorority“.  Bear with me, because I have never done a book review before and the only English I studied was the compulsory stuff at highschool.  So in all likelihood, I’ll be breaking all the How To Do a Book Review rules.

I’m also going to mix it up a little, because last week I saw the movie of a book I read a while back, called “The Life of Pi”, which is a kind of symbolic book and lots of people online and elsewhere have gotten their knickers in a knot trying to work out “what it means”.  Spoiler alert – if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and still mean to do it, please don’t read any further (but then do come back here afterwards and let me know your thoughts).

This is my take on The Life of Pi.  The book is about finding God.  Pi (whose name is based on an irrational and infinite number), tries out a number of different religions.  Then in a catastrophic event (a shipwreck) he loses everything and everyone.  That’s a fairly common theme when it comes to finding God – people who either purposefully go into some kind of seclusion in order to get closer to God, or those who had no intention of finding God but through losing everything, they eventually do.  Pi is left on a life raft, (eventually after a few other animals on the liferaft die), with a tiger.  I believe that the tiger represents his own inner demons, and for 227 days he is alone with these inner demons of his.  After a short interlude on a seemingly perfect island, (which to me represents life’s distractions, they’re never quite as perfect as they initially appear), Pi and the tiger are back out at sea.  At the end, they are truly stripped of everything, food, water and hope and both are preparing to die.  At this point the tiger has his head in Pi’s lap, at this moment when he is so stripped bare of everything, he and his inner demons are united and at peace.  Yin meets Yang.  And suddenly, there it is…. the shore.

So now back to The Silent Sorority.  This book is about infertility, but it’s a book with a difference.  This is the one without the happy ending.  It’s refreshingly free of miracles, refreshing because, for thousands, probably millions of infertiles out there, that’s how it ends.  Nothing happens.  The author tries out a number of different fertility treatments.  Then, in somewhat less of a catastrophic event than a shipwreck, she slowly starts to deal with losing everything she ever thought she was and was going to be, and everyone she thought she had a connection to, who now have no other topic of conversation around her, than that of children.  In the mother-centric world we live in, the author is kind of like Pi, alone on a liferaft and left to deal with her own inner struggle.  One of the distractions that she used, is one that made me chuckle out loud, because I felt like she was outing me (I’m doing the exact same thing)!  She did something that would seem completely crazy to a fertile woman, she started to take the birth control pill to make her periods go away.  After 10 years and 120 menstrual cycles, with her chances at 1 in 120 (well actually 0 in 120), it made perfect sense to her (and to me), to make those devastating monthly reminders go away.  The seemingly perfect island.  And then, in the end, when her inner torment is at it’s worst, well there it is, the shore.  She starts to find a way of existing and being in a world that accepts only parenthood as a meaningful purpose in life.

Society truly loves a miracle, we are brought up to believe that there is a way out of anything.  Cancer?  Think positively.  You must be eating something wrong, here, read this book about someone who miraculously recovered.  Infertility?  Well I had a friend who couldn’t conceive for months and then she ate pineapple and fell pregnant.  Have you tried pineapple?  Marital problems?  Well you know, everyone should find their soulmate, the perfect guy, leave this useless relationship and find your prince charming, he’s out there, I promise.  Paralysed?  I know someone who learned to walk again, here, I’ll give you her number.

What it boils down to is this – a type of survivor mentality.  In our minds we feel like we will never die, as long as we know the solution, as long as somewhere in the back of our minds we have a formula to survive.  It will never be us in the tsunami, because we would have been the ones who found a tree to hold onto.  And as long as we hold on to the belief that it will never be us, then really, we are immortal.  Everything is possible, and we drive and push ourselves onwards to make sure we get our hands on our “everything”.

The only real freedom though, is the one that Pi found as he surrendered his entire being to God, in the moment of his life when there was no water, no food, no hope – and the tiger’s head was in his lap.  He was facing and acknowledging his mortality, his deepest darkest fear.  Looking it in the eye and being at peace with it.

Sometimes, that’s what it takes.


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DH has been working really hard lately (his normal working hours at the moment are 14 hours a day but most days he’s working longer than that).  So we’ve been living in a bit of a crisis mode, just surviving (on top of that our beloved Pinky has gone on leave, and so we count a good day as one where we aren’t serious potential candidates for one of those “Buried Alive By Our Belongings” reality shows).  Once he finds his feet, hopefully we will find a way forward that affords us a bit more normality.

Last night, we switched off the TV and had some one on one conversation, which hasn’t happened for a while since we’ve both been so exhausted.  And he asked me how I felt about doing a donor cycle!  Well, to say it came as a surprise is the understatement of the year.  He wasn’t keen on our last IVF at all, the deal was I would make it happen in every sense and he would donate the sp.erm (I was fine with this, I was the one who needed the closure not him).  After that, when I went into “what if” mode (you know, the bargaining stage of IVF grief where you tell yourself that you just need a different protocol/doctor/uterus/bank balance), he asked me gently if we could just stop talking about fertility treatment, like take a three month fertility discussion sabbatical.  My first thought at the time was, oh my word, what on earth will we talk about?  But I got over it, and found some other subject matter.  Like getting a life.

As I said before, getting a life has actually been quite an interesting subject to explore.  I’m busy signing up for a Business Analyst course and considering making quite a serious career change.  I find the concept actually really exciting, and the time I used to spend obsessively searching for the perfect IVF protocol, I have been using to look at job websites.  In London.  (That’s the first time I’ve said that out loud).  Because people without children can throw themselves into their careers, and they can immigrate at the drop of a hat without worrying about schools or whether their children will get enough outside play time because the weather is so hideous.  I’ve been looking at very real possibilities in my life, things that are actually physically achievable, and honestly the prospect is so very exciting.

On the other hand, at this point, if I had to choose between throwing myself under a bus and doing another fertility treatment, I would choose the former.  The thought makes my stomach turn, and tears spring into my eyes.

But there are two of us in this marriage, and I’m the one with the infertile body.  This isn’t a choice to throw myself back in the trenches for the sake of a baby (because I now have no doubt we will still walk away without one), but for the sake of my marriage.  DH would never make me do it if he knew how much I dread it, but hearing him say last night that he really wants to be a daddy, shot an arrow into my still so fragile broken heart.  You know it’s really bad when the first thought that comes into your mind is that if you got a divorce, DH would be free to find someone who can conceive, he can be the brilliant daddy he deserves to be, to a very blessed little baby.  And for me, the hell would finally be over.  I could move on, I could deal with my heartbreak and be free of the responsibility for his.  At least one of us would get to experience being a parent.  DH does not like this kind of talk (understandably, we’ve fought damn hard for our marriage through this nightmare) and he tells me that it’s our infertility, not mine.  That’s very sweet, but it simply isn’t true.  The only thing that makes my infertility ours is the marriage, and the kindness in his heart.

At this point there will be no donor cycle, unless someone can put me in an induced coma for the duration of the cycle and wake me up when it’s over!  Since that’s not a service that they offer at this stage at my fertility clinic, I am going to have to find a different way to deal with my marital guilt for now.  Will keep you updated on what I come up with!


Filed under Fertililty, grief

Thoughts About Moving On and Redefining Our Future

It’s been months since I’ve blogged or read other blogs, I kind of feel like I’m cheating somehow by writing and not actually participating in the community.  I guess the reason for it is because there is no-one left in my blog community who is still childless, I am surrounded only by women who are much braver than I, women who could see this thing through to it’s happy ending.

It’s not so much that we are out of options, there are still options for us at the fertility clinic/casino and at the adoption agency.  The fertility clinic/casino options involve us putting a lot more money on the table, and in return the croupier is kindly going to up the odds for us.  The adoption agency options involve us being a little less specific about what we want.  And we could do all those things, we could very simply find a way, that’s how we’ve tackled the last 6 years.  And still… we could be here in 6 years time, same place, same feeling.

At first adoption felt so different, it was really a different kind of hope.  But you know, it’s just a somewhat different kind of casino in many ways, and the pain is the same.  I found a beautiful and very honest portrait of adoption online a few days ago, and there was one story that brought tears to my eyes.  As adoption stories usually do of course.  But this is not a happy ending story, this is about the cold, hard reality of people who haven’t had their miracle.  This is the story you never usually hear, the not-so-feel-good story that can’t ever make the headlines.  It has to be one of the bravest stories I’ve ever heard in my life, I recommend you give it a read.

And there are many of those kinds of stories in this community, the stories that just finally fall silent.  Bloggers who stop writing because there is no progress report to give when you stop planning your trips to the casinos.

As jaded as I sound right now, we still haven’t come to any hard and fast conclusions.  Where we are at is simply that we are not putting our money away for fertility treatment or adoption anymore.  Last week we had a joint fortieth birthday party, and I have to say it was a novel experience, putting down some cash and actually having a positive experience and happy memory to look back on!  It’s something that has almost started to feel wrong to me, like everything we do has just become about hope.  And that’s why I was so determined to have a great party and break the thought pattern a little.  There was no need for hope, we organised it, invited lots of amazing people who we love to have around us, and enjoyed ourselves.  It was a predictable outcome.

I’m looking for that now a little more.  We haven’t closed the door on the adoption just yet, and as a result of course, there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by when we don’t hope we will get that “you’ve won the jackpot” phonecall.  But I’m starting to lurk in different online communities too.  I’ve found an amazing community of women who have managed to build lives for themselves after infertility – without children.  They even have Christmas parties together!  I guess you could say I’m just starting look at option Number Three as an actual option as opposed to completely out of the question.  The most appealing aspect of that option is just simply the absence of that four letter word – hope.  It’s replaced by reality and facts, and a way forward.


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Another Sneaky IVF

Whew, it’s been a while.  I went from posting that I never wanted a pregnancy anymore, to dashing off for another IVF.

I didn’t actually have a change of heart at all, honestly if somebody came to me the day before the IVF and told me I could choose between a pregnancy of a child that is genetically mine and an adoption placement, I have no hesitation in answering that I would go for the adoption 100 times over before anything else.  It’s just that, well, adoption ain’t happening either.  I had to do SOMETHING, and so I put myself back in the trenches.

I needed this IVF.  I needed it to fail completely and wholeheartedly, the same way the other two did.  I needed to put every last dream of having a little mini me and DH, fully to rest so that I could let go and move on.  It started out the usual way, I was out of the starting gate like a 30 year old, stimming like nobody’s business on an extremely low dosage.  After the usual million hours of research and decision-making process, FS and I had settled on an FSH only protocol, which can improve egg quality in ladies like myself who produce eggs like wild maniacs.  Lots of follicles, it’s always fun for me that first week.  I get to dream a little, I get to fantasise that there is no reason why this wouldn’t work.  But this time I knew consciously that I was fantasising, I never once truly got my hopes up.  16 eggs retrieved, 9 fertilised.  Every single last one of them fucked.  Excuse my french for a moment if you will.  But there ain’t a better way to describe it.

And here is why I needed this IVF so badly.  On the day I saw the photos of those embryos, I knew something I had been in denial about before.  I’ve had 43 eggs retrieved, with three extremely different protocols, and never even once a single normal day three embryo.  They are so fragmented that you can’t even count the cells (and they always were but I somehow managed to convince myself this was happening to everyone and not just me).  We still got 2 pre-blastocysts, but I knew it was time to put the fantasy to bed.  It was sad and it was hard, but on a level I could finally let go.

I did question it a bit (because I must always UNDERSTAND everything), FS told me that he’s seen it before even in very young women.  I had a really long CT scan procedure during my ICU stint, over two and a half hours from what I can see from the x-rays.  It was an angiogram procedure to embolize a vessel, and the procedure saved my life, so believe me, I’m grateful that it happened.  But the radiation I was exposed to may just have fried my eggs a little.  FS was reluctant to comment, he said he wasn’t sure what it was but SOMETHING has damaged my eggs.  His next suggestion is donor eggs, but the thought of another failure just makes my heart stop beating and the breath catch in my throat.  Sure, I probably have a much higher chance of it working, but now we’ve established my eggs are useless, who can guarantee that the old uterus is in working order?  Because it sure hasn’t shown any signs of it up to now.

We are reaching the end of a very long marathon.  I’m the straggler at the end, crawling to the finish, desperate for this to be over.  I’m so incredibly tired and broken, it’s a marathon that I never want to run again. We’ve decided give it until the end of the year for an adoption placement to come through.  But then I so desperately want to move on, that the thought of a child free life has finally started to feel a tiny bit peaceful and relaxing.  I’m starting to see a little light in that tunnel, only a sliver mind you.  But it’s there.  Anything is better than this.


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Some Things Still Make Me Sad About Infertility

I’ve realised that I’ve truly come to a space of acceptance about never producing a child from my body, it’s been a long road, but I am at peace.  I know this because given the choice right now, I would choose adoption over pregnancy.  Yes, you read that correctly, if someone gave me the choice, I would rather adopt than bear a child who is biologically related to me.  It just feels like a choice that is meant to be and I actually don’t have any other words for it than that.

But there is something that I am still struggling with terribly, and that is other people’s determination for me to be the miracle infertility poster child, the one who fell pregnant, the one that urban legends are made of.  Not anyone near me, my family and friends are thrilled and excited, I’m talking about people in the distant periphery.  But there are many of them, and often you come into a group of people you don’t know or barely know, and before you know it, there it is again, that complete and utter refusal to accept someone else’s infertility diagnosis as the truth.  The determination for you to simply accept that it’s your fear, and not your adhesions/missing fallopian tube/premature ovarian failure/azoospermia/endometriosis that are the reason for your consistently empty uterus.  The doctors, very simply, have made a mistake.

Now I’m actually extremely open to other people’s point of view, and I’m just clear that that is what it is, their point of view.  They are entitled to it.  Actually, I could probably have a very enjoyable conversation with a senile person who was telling me the grass is purple, I wouldn’t try to change their opinion on it.  I love that everyone sees the world differently and I don’t believe that anyone is ever wrong.

But conversations on fertility, well, they border on political.  It’s close to people’s hearts, their opinions on the subject are more than just opinions, they are crucial points that the listener absolutely must be convinced of.  The listener’s opinion must change for the conversation to be successful.  It cannot end before then.

And those conversations, they border on bizarre.  If I was for instance, a breast cancer survivor, would they be telling me that it wasn’t really breast cancer?  That my mastectomy had come about as a mistake on the doctor’s behalf?  That it was my fear that caused me to imagine a diagnosis by a doctor to be correct?

For the most part, I am able to navigate the conversational landmines of life quite well, but this one still floors me, and I will not capitulate.  I will not require someone to accept into their belief system that some people will just never, ever “fall” pregnant, despite the stats to back up the fact that more than 9 out of 10 infertile women will remain infertile without medical assistance.  But I will not smile gracefully as they force feed me my inevitable future “accidental” pregnancy.  I just. can’t. do. it.  I respect your understanding of the world, respect mine.

Respect the years of research, the thousands of Rands in medical fees, the rivers of tears, the millions of moments of wondering how it could be different.  Respect the long and painful journey down an endless road, that no woman thinks they themselves will ever have to take.  Respect the hard earned peace that you eventually come to, one way or another.  And pray young woman, pray.  Get on your knees every night until they are raw, and pray that you will be spared this.


Filed under Fertililty

Perfect Moment Monday

I need to write a PMM because given half a chance I will probably spew a whole lot more anger, at the moment everything is making me angry.

So here goes.  Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.

A strange thing has started happening to me since we started our adoption process.  It started a few weeks ago, we went to meet some friends on the beach and I went to greet my friend’s sister.  She was holding her little boy, he’s about one.  The moment he laid eyes on me, he stretched out his arms for me to pick him up.  I doubt very much he knew who I was, and everyone including myself laughed in surprise.  He then sat on my lap where he fell asleep for about an hour!  It was the most bizarre, heart warming experience.

On Saturday, it happened to me again, we were walking on the promenade in Seapoint, my mom, DH and I.  A little guy was crawling around people’s legs with his mom in tow.  He looked up and spotted me from about four meters away and made a beeline for me.  I picked him up and he snuggled right into my arms, placing his head on my shoulder.  I chatted to his mom for a bit, and she tried to take him back, but he started screaming.  So I carried on holding him for a bit longer, he really was very reluctant to leave.

I don’t believe so much that I’m terribly appealing to babies, I actually believe that they can sense something and it’s their way of comforting me.  They are giving, not receiving love in that moment, and it’s a reminder to me that these little ones are far more clever than we know.

In December, my sister gave me her manual breastpump.  Just for the hell of it, I started pumping to see what would happen, and was amazed that right from day one, I started producing a tiny bit of clear fluid (we’re talking like a drop).  I wasn’t so great at doing it on a daily basis, but the fluid slowly started to change colour and become slightly opaque.  On the night after the little boy fell asleep in my arms, I actually produced a stream of whitish droplets.  It was the most incredible feeling that one tiny part of my built in baby sustaining equipment works.

The novelty has since worn off, after all it could still be years before our adoption goes through and the anticipation is already driving me batshit crazy as it is.  Maybe when this funk lifts a little, I’ll go and see a lactation consultant.  Then again, maybe I won’t!


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It Has to be Said

Everyone is so tired of hearing about the Athlete with Violent Tendencies.  But I’m so angry about his bail being granted that I feel I should point out a few things about it (and hopefully once I’ve got it out I’ll get some sleep again).

I grew up in a home with firearms.  My father died in a gun battle with intruders.  And still, not for one tiny little iota of a moment, do I buy this man’s version of the story.

My father would never in a million years have fired a single shot without knowing one hundred percent for sure where each of his family members (including the dog) were.  Even once he was one hundred percent certain of everyone’s whereabouts, he would never have fired through a closed bathroom door.  A closed kitchen door, maybe.  But a closed bathroom door, in the middle of the night?  Never.

The girl was fully dressed, at 3 am, not in her night clothes.  He removed the gun from the holster, and then left the holster on the bed.  You try, in the dark tonight, to sit next to your bed, place an item on the bed and not notice whether your partner is/isn’t in that bed.

He shot her in cold blood during a temper tantrum, sobbed his eyes out in court with remorse and that silly judge fell for it.

On the one hand, I dearly wish I could be one of those zennish, non-judgemental, politically correct people.  Leave it to the justice system to resolve, after all, what do I know.  But this one is a little close to home for me and it’s left my blood boiling with anger.

We live in a country that is overwhelmed with violence, and instead of allowing an Athlete with Violent Tendencies to use this as an excuse, we should see it for what it is.  It’s the reason he did it.  Because he could.  Because there is only a 7% conviction rate for murder in South Africa and his chances of getting away with it were and still are good.

Isn’t it so ironic, the icon that he is, once united us as a nation in joy for possibility, and now divides us so sharply?

OK.  Off my soap box.  Back to the usual subject matter and may even attempt a Perfect Moment Monday tomorrow!


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