#misCOURAGE 17/08/17 by Anonymous
Saturday 1st July 2017.
We sat in a local pub last night, enjoying a meal before our family evening at the cinema watching Despicable Me 3.
A young couple were sat opposite waiting for their friends to arrive.
Their friends arrived with a beautiful newborn baby. Our son couldn't help but marvel over how cute he was.
The conversation we then overheard wasn't about how lucky they felt but how long they'd wait for the next one. What shook me to the core then, was a conversation that followed "I couldn't have just an only child...I'll probably wait until this one is 5 years old and in school". And "it wouldn't be fair on them, they'd have no brothers and/or sisters around them when they're older and that's just selfish and wrong." Meanwhile I was crying inside at the thought of our 10 year old son, who was sat beside me and was listening to this. Little did they know, because people often take such things for granted, that I can't have any more children. Neither did they know that our son has begged since a small child and continues to beg for a brother or sister...and each time that conversation happens we try to be patient and sit we with him to explain that it will probably never happen. We talk through our own emotions and we dry his tears. I can't give my son what he wants more than anything.
I don't want sympathy.
What I want is for people to have empathy and compassion for those who don't have that luxury. Infertility is a significant issue and someone around you is probably suffering in silence - these comments are unnecessary and are unkind. These comments are selfish.
I want people to think before they comment as to why a couple married for a couple of years haven't started a family yet.
I want them to think about their flippant comments before they speak. There are women out there who can't have children and/or are suffering recurrent miscarriages and the trauma that comes with that is horrendous. And it's not only the women suffering, it's theirs husbands/partners who seem to go unsupported through it all.
When we decided to try for a baby we'd been married just over a year. I'd always suffered with heavy periods but I had been taking the pill for this and obviously for contraceptive reasons. The pill had masked the extent of the issue and I immediately began suffering really badly with endometriosis, to the point where my husband frequently found me on the bathroom floor, having fainted in pain. After about 4 years of trying to get pregnant without success, we paid private to get my endometriosis sorted. I had a laparoscopy in March 2005, then zoladex injections until July, when I had a laparotomy.
By some miracle, I was pregnant by the November. We took about four tests to confirm it.
I am truly blessed to have my son. My pregnancy was not without issues - I suffered a DVT at 20 weeks (which is common in pregnancy but dangerous nonetheless). I loved being pregnant.
Our baby was born with post urethral valves, a condition affecting his kidney, so was admitted to SCBU and had his first op at 5 days old. Another at 3 years old.
You'd never know - he is amazing. He is the most kind, caring and extremely loving child I've ever met. We are so proud of our little man and we are truly blessed to have him.
It took 4 years to persuade my husband to try for another because he had been the one to have to watch it all. We decided in 2010 that we would see what happened.
Nothing happened for 3 years long years...wondering if I felt different and hoping, for those hopes to be dashed month after month.
I suddenly found out I was expecting during the summer of 2013. It had been so long it came as a complete shock. I was due to start a new job in Sept having been out of work for a short time which was a stressful time. I kept my pregnancy between myself and my husband and carried on until my scan on Oct 8th 2013. We arrived all excited and waited in the waiting room with all the expectant parents.
The radiographer scanned me and asked "how many weeks do you think you are?"..."11 I said" looking on in concern and gripping my husband's hand. "The foetus isn't measuring the size we think it should be and we can't detect a heartbeat...go and take a urine test and we'll scan you again". Re-scanned - nothing. We were taken past all the other mothers waiting, I remember thinking "don't get hysterical all these other mothers don't need to be stressed out" and we were put in a tiny room and given a leaflet. A midwife came in and explained that I had suffered a missed miscarriage. That was it. Sent away to return a week later, just to check they hadn't got it wrong. That day we had to go and tell our parents that I was pregnant but wasn't anymore.
On Oct 15th it was confirmed.
Two dates that will be forever etched on my brain.
I was given a tablet that day and was sent home with meds to take a few days later. I was warned that there would be lots of blood loss, stomach cramps and to keep in contact with someone the day I took the final meds. I've never experienced nausea/pain like it.
Thank God we didn't tell our son because he is a sensitive, caring little boy who would've been in an awful state. Although I have wondered had he known, perhaps it would answer his questions as to why other women can have babies but his Mammy can't.
I shut myself away from my family and close friends after that. I should've gone to some sort of counselling but it wasn't offered to me. That is something I would strongly recommend to anyone in this situation and I believe midwives should receive more training in this. It's a regular occurrence for them to see and there's a danger that it's not treated as important due to lack of resources/stretched staff - the lack of compassion shown for me at the time was shocking. They also failed to inform my local midwife who phoned me a few weeks afterwards to see how my pregnancy was going and to book me in for a scan, so there's a lack of communication between services too.
It took me about 2 years of having good days and really bad days, all of which I kept hidden from those around me. Those I thought I could rely on weren't there for me (mainly because I wouldn't let them) but also because it was the whole "she'll get over it" attitude that upset me further. It does get easier with time but I'll never get over it - ever.
I'm always one to stay in touch or check up on someone even they try to stay away - and even when it's difficult circumstances, I always have empathy for those around me. That's what I needed. I didn't need people to get annoyed with me because I didn't seem interested in anything they were doing or was happening to them...it was very difficult during that period...I learnt to "act" normal. It was very difficult to think of anything else, let alone be concerned for others. People made assumptions (instead of asking me how I was or showing support for my situation) which weren't true or helpful, did not reflect what I thought at all and were really unkind and unnecessary.
I text a few close friends after it happened, and I can tell you life is a continuous learning curve...I've really learnt who my real friends are as a result. There are one or two close friends I've never told, and as time has gone on it's become harder to tell them).
I've also found friends who have been there through it all, who keep in contact with me constantly and I'll be forever grateful to them for being there for me.
I'm quite an empathetic person anyway. But life experiences like this change you as a person. As someone having gone through all this (and I'm not alone in this, there are many many others suffering the same), I find it difficult to sit and listen to people who have no time for their children or those who constantly whinge about their children, totally (and thankfully for them) unaware of how lucky they are. It's not their fault of course - I'm glad they've not had to suffer the heart ache. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.