How did we get here?

Conversations would become awkward when I talked about my fertility journey. I want people to know but I don’t wish to make people feel uncomfortable.

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October 2016

by Lyndsey

My husband and I are really strong, recently I have realised how much we are in love with each other beyond any sort of love I thought we would have. And how caring he is, making me realise how wonderful he will be as a father. This puts more pressure on myself though because we have to do this baby making thing to achieve my dream, to make him a father.
 
After our last frozen embryo transfer did not ‘stick’ I decided I needed more support. Not just from my husband and my fertility coach but from other women. So I went to a fertility group. I found the group through social media and thought perhaps talking to people who were going through the same thing would make things easier to talk about. How wrong I was. The evening was really terrible for me. Everyone finds their support in different ways this was not the way I find support. We went around the circle and talked about our journey. I had been on my journey for the longest time, however these women seemed more angry and sorry to say desperate than I was. I left the meeting with a headache that lasted until then next evening. I was stressed beyond belief to think maybe I had not done enough research or changed enough in my life. I had serious guilt, anxiety and unanswered questions. I realised that trying to seek help from others on the same journey was not the way forward for me. I was trying to plug a round hole with a square peg.
 
I became very upset that I could not find friendships. I had moved from the UK left my close friends who I know would’ve supported me through this and in their own way do support me as best they can from 6000 miles away. I then moved from Hong Kong to Singapore. I had made friends in HK, close friends but in Singapore our main aim was to save money and have a baby. So I stopped drinking, I did not feel like going out and making small talk because conversations would become awkward when I talked about my fertility journey. I want people to know but I don’t wish to make people feel uncomfortable and I feel like a ‘Debbie Downer’ because it seems to be all others wish to ask me about, there is more to me than infertility but it was taking over my personality. I also found socialising very difficult when on medication because of the side effects.

One day I left home for work, I was walking through the car park and suddenly thought ‘oh no I’ve forgotten my glasses, I won’t be able to see today’ within seconds I realised I have never worn glasses and have very good vision but for a split moment I honestly thought I wore glasses. Another day I was at work and drawing and writing things with children in my class, I thought to myself why is my handwriting so messy? Then realised I had been drawing and writing with my left hand, I have always been right handed. Trying to hold conversations when you cannot gather your thoughts properly is extremely taxing. So I would excuse myself from social situations to save energy.
 
Without the joy of pregnancy to focus on, life can seem very empty, which exacerbates pain within. Making you feel tired and unwilling to enjoy the company of others. Being unable to conceive naturally was a harsh prospect to deal with. Although after around two years I had come to terms with that. However not being able to hold onto a pregnancy or conceive through IVF made me feel more inadequate than I have ever felt in my entire life, failure shot through me like a bullet from a gun. I felt like failure was running through my veins. When your self-esteem is so low there is nothing you can do to make yourself socialise, meet friends or build friendships with people. It’s almost impossible to do because you don’t believe you’re worthy of someone else’s time.
 
So I started to pray more, I downloaded a bible verse app and tried hard to take time out of each day to spend with my God and answer questions. I started to find peace. I started to feel at ease with decisions and I eventually had a conversation with God about how I would feel at ease if my husband and I were a childless couple. I knew I would try everything in my power to have successful frozen embryo transfers with the blastocysts we had left in the freezer but I would not go through another round of IVF egg retrieval. I became comfortable with my own company. I became at peace with who I was and confident in what I wished to achieve in life. I made big decisions about my career and that I would continue to develop my career rather than focus solely on fertility. Infertility reminded me the importance of nourishing my mind. That my mind was a lifeline to keep myself above water and the only way I could nourish my mind was to love myself ‘warts and all’.
 
Infertility has taught me many things, a happy heart and mind being incredibly important. Another aspect is to be an advocate for mine and my husband’s health. We educated each other on what to stop putting into our bodies. Where toxins came from and how to prevent toxins being put into our bodies. We exercised together which gave me focus and helped me to nourish my mind at the same time and learn to appreciate how strong my body could be. It has provided us with the opportunity to educate ourselves and I like to think I educate others about their fertility too. It’s not something that should be taken for granted and the huge message is there is no ‘right time’ to have a baby. If you’re in a strong loving relationship then start exploring your options for baby making.
 
I would not wish infertility upon my worst enemy; I do however with the many gifts and insights this journey has provided me with thank God that I have suffered with this disease. I never thought I might say that. If you had asked me that this time last year I would never have thanked God for this. However this journey has taught me so much it has made me so very strong and I believe I will help others with my knowledge and understanding and that’s my aim in life to help others. I would never have welcomed this painful journey into our lives, but I can wholeheartedly recognise that is has positively shaped the couple that we are today and is responsible for many blessings that have shown up in our lives and for this and so much more, I am beyond grateful.
 
Now I wish to share that my husband and I are expecting our first child in December 2016. We are beyond excited with a hint of anxiety and a splash of apprehension. It’s still a long road for us however it’s a path so many people can recognise and we do not feel like aliens wondering the streets of normality. As soon as people find you’re pregnant they rally around. I’ve never felt so popular! You have friends and things in common with people you hardly spoke to before. It has been a harsh relisation of how lonely the infertility journey is, and makes me more determined to support those with infertility. As the ‘being pregnant’ gang is rather large but the ‘trying to conceive without success’ gang is a small minority.
 
At times I do feel like an imposter in an exclusive club. Any moment I feel like someone will find out that I’m not really as similar to them as they thought or that I’m going to be rejected from the group because nothing is certain during pregnancy. I listen to conversations from people who are pregnant and I don’t understand their fears, they have been on different paths, they have different pasts that have molded their emotions and anxieties – most of which people do understand but these feelings are so widely different to mine. I try to fit in but at the same time know I’m not the same. Like people that become millionaires through the lottery, they have not done anything to earn their fortune but they are still in the millionaires club so conversations about how you gained your fortune may make them feel uncomfortable.  
 
I sit and listen to stories how people conceived, how they realised they were ovulating so decided to have sex. That they thought they would come off contraception and just give it a go and got pregnant straight away. What amazing, truly beautiful stories, but I cannot relate to them. When people share photos or stories of their positive pregnancy tests, I hate those stupid white sticks and hope I never have to buy or wee on one ever again in my life they are evil in my opinion, these stories are truly wonderful and I hope I never stop hearing them however our story is different. I need to find or write a book about conception because when I was thinking back to the ‘Body Book’ that I read as a child about how babies are conceived it’s not a book I can share with our child. That is not how our child was made but it makes it no less wonderful or no less of a miracle. I remember when I was younger my parents told me of the holiday where I was conceived in a caravan along with their best friends son (our birthdays are days apart). My story to my child will be how our Doctor inseminated me in a sterile clinic in Singapore with Daddy watching on a screen in another room. Maybe a little less fun or glamourous but still it’s our story. In life everyone walks a path of their own, what I have come to realise is there is no-one that can support you better than yourself and that positive mental attitude really is important. 

You can read Debbie's blog about her fertility journey here.

Go to the full list of stories.

Disclaimer

Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer

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