This is the first thing they should tell you when you start fertility investigations! They should warn you that by the time they are through with you, you will have been poked, prodded, cut into, pumped full of drugs and that’s just the start of it.
You will be seen by countless professionals who, if your anything like me (slightly overweight and not very fit) will tell you that all your problems are down to that. They will constantly tell you you need to be a bit thinner or eat a little healthier. There’s no mention that I have a life long condition that they discovered in my teens when I was the perfect BMI!
I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It’s a nasty bugger of a condition that for me, effects all aspects of my life. It causes a range of symptoms from the embarrassing excessive body and facial hair and a receding hair line. It causes me to be insulin resistant which causes weight gain. It is well known for causing depression and most importantly for me, it stops me from having a regular cycle which means getting pregnant is very difficult. I was told from an early age that I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally.
My husband and I got married in 2009 and we started trying straight away. Over a four year period I had a very long string of unpleasant and intrusive tests and procedures. I was on so much medication I swear I rattled! I had surgery where, amongst many other things they “drilled” my ovaries. Trust me that is about as pleasant as it sounds! I remember thinking, on one of the countless occasions where I was laid, half naked with two men poking and prodding, these instruments they use must have been designed by a man! I’m sure they are unnecessarily large and scary looking!
I had starved myself half to death to get to the “perfect weight” and I finally got the ‘all clear’ to start my first cycle of ovulation induction. That’s right, all of the above was the lead up to just getting started!
Next followed 5 gruelling cycles of ovulation induction where you pump your body full of hormones and get drained of half your blood volume to check it’s working! Sadly, every month was the same, it’s not worked, we need to up the dose. So each month got crazier than the next, getting pumped up higher and higher on drugs and having to come down with a bump every month when the little blue line wouldn’t appear in the stupid little window.
How was this even fair, I’d done everything I’d been asked to do. Wasn’t it my turn? We knew from the start we only had 6 chances. So after cycle number 5 had finished I waited anxiously to do the test. They day came round eventually and I sat there waiting for the 2 minutes to be up. As I looked down my heart sank, still no bloody stupid line in that bloody stupid window. I was, in all honesty, distraught. I just couldn’t believe it wasn’t working.
We had booked a holiday to Portugal which couldn’t have come at a better time. We agreed to get away and start again on our return. Over that week I became increasingly tired and just felt a bit off. I hardly dared to dream after all this time but could it be? Could I actually be pregnant?
We agreed to wait until we got home to test again which I did stick to, just! That was the first thing I did when I got home. I didn’t really believe that it could possibly be but as that little window, which had always been my enemy, started to light up blue, I became hysterical! It was positive! I started screaming for my husband to come. I ordered him to get his arse round to the chemist on the counter to get the most expensive pregnancy test there was, the ones with the little digital screen. Any women in my position will tell you that when you do as many pregnancy tests as we do, you buy the cheep shitty ones from a pound shop! I’d be bankrupt otherwise!
Sure enough, I took a test with the fancy pants digital kit and the result was the same (surprisingly!). We were pregnant! After 4 long years and with little dignity left, I was going to have a baby.
Let me tell you, if you think you have your dignity robbed during fertility treatment, pregnancy will send you over an edge! However that’s a whole other story.