So the biggest problem with fertility treatment is when you get lucky and get pregnant you think its all over. You don’t think at the time that you, for whatever reason might want another kid at some point. It never dawned on you that, at the end of that unbelievably ball breaking, soul destroying, dignity robbing “journey”, you would have to start all over again!
There are certainly pros and cons to being in this situation.
Pro 1. You know what to expect (although, in all honesty, this could clearly make it onto both lists!)
When your a fresh faced and optimistic newbie to all of this, the “not knowing” is the most scary part. What’s going to happen, will it take a long time, will it work, will it hurt, the list is endless. When, like us, your doing all this for the second time round, there are very few surprises left. The biggest surprise is that they seemingly want to start from scratch, as if my long standing health condition will have somehow changed!
So we start again through gritted teeth, knowing exactly what each test is going to come back as and at the end we are going to new told the same bloody thing, “you need help to conceive”. Well not shit Sherlock, after 8 very long years we kinda guessed!
One of the first things they like to do is send the woman for an internal ultrasound. Now, over the years, Ive had more of these than I care to count. Never particularly pleasant but certainty bearable. Having said that, I was reminded not so long ago of my very first one which, if I’d never had more, I might have been left thinking was the worst thing that can happen to a woman.
I think I was only about 22/23 years old when I had my first one. I was young and had no clue what to expect. I remember turning up at the Radiology department to be met by a rather large, balding man who ushered me into this brightly lit room full of what looked like medieval torture equipment. He casually told me to remove all clothing from the waist down, cover myself with a sheet (I assumed the naked part and not my entire body like a Halloween ghost). On his return he brought with him a very nervous looking man who was introduced to me as his student/trainee. He asked if I minded if he performed the procedure as I assume he was at a stage of his training where he needed to practice on real people! Now far be it from me to deny a learning opportunity in a teaching hospital and I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous but despite the reservations I agreed. So this man, mustering up all of his university taught bedside manner, told me what position I needed to lay in and explained what he was about to do as he held this GIANT pole like instrument. This unfortunately is where it started to go wrong for the poor bloke! Now to give you the general idea, the scan needed to be focused on my womb and ovaries so you can imagine where this instrument needed to go. Now I would have thought that basic anatomy would be a sort of day 1 job for a radiologist. There aren’t many choices down there for where this probe needs to be inserted and the law of averages would surely dictate that he would eventually get it right. Sadly not! Needless to say he spent what felt like an eternity prodding and stumbling around, I couldn’t decide who was more embarrassed, him or me! Having clearly had enough the main man swooped in to the rescue. Well this guy was like a bull in a china shop to say the very lest. He shoved this probe so hard I thought it was going to come out of my mouth!
What you can also expect is a lot of waiting around. Waiting to be even invited in to the hospital for yet more tests, then when you finally do get that golden ticket through the post you turn up, on time (or if your anything like me, ridiculously early) for your eagerly awaited 5 minuets with a consultant. Now, I know how stretched the NHS is and I’m it’s number 1 fan but you would think that some basic time keeping would be in everyone’s best interests. I remember one particular occasion first time round where I’d been sat in the waiting room for well over 3 hours. Now there really is only so many times you can read two year old Woman’s Own and Take a Break before you start to feel your eyes bleed. Learning my lessons, I now take a book, packed lunch and a sleeping bag to any hospital appointment that means waiting for a consultant.
Con 1. They tell you the same old shit but in slightly different ways.
Now I know I’m no slim shady. Never have been and given I’m now in my mid thirties I possibly never will be. I am however plagued by a rather unpleasant, life long condition that unfortunately makes it far harder to loose weight and also causes my infertility. Sadly, every DR you see will ask you to loose weight before they will even consider doing anything else. It’s like natures sick joke that the same condition causes me to need fatality treatment and also prevents me from accessing it. Cheers Mother Nature, nice one!
Now if I thought that loosing weight was hard the first time round, it is nothing compared to the second. This time, not only do I have my usual fat but I also have a post baby helping. I had gone a little mental during pregnancy and had managed to put on an obscene amount of weight that seemed to cling to me like fat filled barnacles clinging to the under belly of an ocean liner. How I’m going to shift it is anyone’s guess but I think a carefully thought out plan of starving myself to within an inch of my life whilst simultaneously running a number of marathons dressed as Mr Blobby may just do the trick.
Con 2. Time is not on your side.
Now when we first started out we were obviously a lot younger, time has not been our friend when it comes to fertility. Now I always thought that starting a family in your mid twenties was sort of average. So imagine my shock when, at the ripe old age of 29 I was considered an ‘older mother’. Shit, years have now passed and I hardly dare ask what I’m going to be classed as now!
The window of “good age” for becoming a mother seems to be obscenely small. I liken it to Goldilocks where one is too small, one is too big and one is just right. Establishing that ‘just right’ age seems to be hard to determine. You seen to flow though being classed as a ‘young mum’ to being an ‘older mother’ at lightening speed so I really would love to meet one of these rare breeds that are classed as ‘normal’!
I often feel like I’m running around being chased by that annoying rabbit from Alice in wonderland with the giant pocket watch reminding me that time is a ticking, telling me that I’m late for a date, all be it not as late as the consultant mentioned above so maybe the rabbit is chasing the wrong person!
Pro 2. You are more prepared.
In all honesty and with joking aside, fertility treatment is harsh. The highs and lows are just so hard to take and to everyone out there who might be reading this who are going through this right now, I salute you. We are more prepared second time round. We do have a good idea what’s in store for us. We can try (although it is hard) to protect ourselves the best we can, knowing that the road will be long and not always straight forward. To all of you out there doing it for the first time please take some comfort in the fact that we are prepared to do it again so it really can’t be all that bad.