My name is Ana and I am infertile woman – there I’ve said it! I am infertile. For whatever reason, and we haven’t quite got a handle on what the problem is yet, no matter how hard I try I don’t make babies. Never did I think I would be sitting where I am today. When I was just a young girl in her twenties, my dreams of the future where full of beautiful daughters, wonderful sons and long summer days running together through a scent filled garden – oops, sorry, just made myself a bit queasy there – I was full of such naivety and arrogance. I can’t even say that my nightmares were filled with the fear of infertility or barrenness, they weren’t. To put it quite simply, the possibility that I wouldn’t get to choose when, where and how many children I would be blessed with didn’t exist. However, quite painfully, my current reality is not the idyllic scenes played out in the dreams of my youth but, in their place, are long, heart-breaking trips to infertility clinics to poked, prodded and pricked.
So, why start writing now? After all, I am not at the beginning of my infertility journey. Far from it, I am now two and a half years in. I’m deep in, very deeply in; you might even say that, if you felt like it, I’ve got stuck in the trenches. Although, the first six months I spent on the road to conception don’t really count as I was bouncing along, still blissfully unaware of the trouble that lay ahead, very contentedly. I was completely happy about my fertility status, although I was getting a bit weary of all the extra sex, and I would spend my waking-hours day-dreaming about my future babes, who were clearly going to be turning up very shortly. Hang on a minute; I’m digressing – slipping back into the memory of the happier me. Well, it’s so easy to do, isn’t it? To get back to the question I asked myself (honestly, this is going to be hopeless if I can’t answer even my own questions), I am writing now because I am staring down the barrel of a failed frozen embryo transfer, completed with my last two embryos, and I, quite frankly, need to talk.
Eight days ago I carted myself, along with my lovely husband, onto a train bound for London with as much enthusiasm and excitement as I think it is possible for any single person to bear. We nervously chatted and smiled together like two young lovers, complete with packed lunches, skipping school. We were off to get our embryos back! The two little blighters had been spending quite a while messing around in liquid nitrogen together. Don’t be too harsh on them, it wasn’t their fault; in between their creation and our reunion their siblings got to have the first go at developing into new-borns. So very sadly, their siblings failed on their mission, they won no prizes, and they didn’t manage to make it all the way to their first breath. The little babies’ hearts stopped beating 16 weeks and 5 days after their particular miracle of creation began. So, you see, the two little embryos we went to collect had been waiting in the wings for their chance to grow and we couldn’t have been happier to oblige. We were warned not to get too carried away, that there was a chance it would fail, that we should cushion our hearts against the almighty blow that could be dealt. But, perhaps unfortunately, but I am not sure anyone else would have done it differently, we didn’t listen to a single word. We believed, maybe foolishly but definitely whole heartedly, that in nine months we would be saying hello to our little balls of cells, clearly there would be many, many more cells than started out, in person. Now here I am, eight days since the transfer of our embryos into my unyielding uterus, and it doesn’t look like those chicks are going to be coming home to roost. We are down five of the best pregnancy tests money can buy, no point scrimping at the end, and not a single positive among them. The negative tests, along with increasingly uncomfortable period cramps, are screaming at me, loud and clear, that this ship has sailed. And, although she might not actually be singing just yet, that fat lady has finished her warm up, is facing the bright lights and heading on out to the stage.
So, to deal with the title of this post, – don’t you just hate it when you can’t figure out how the title relates to the post? – what lessons have been learnt? Well, I’ve discovered, albeit a little late in the game, that fertility shouldn’t be taken for granted. And, that no matter how hard you wish, or visualise, or pray, or even beg, sometimes the universe, or God if you prefer, just isn’t listening. And, finally, I suppose I’ve learnt, very begrudgingly, that even if you get knocked down again and again you just got to get up and get on…….dreams, apparently, don’t come easy or, now I think about it, cheap. So, onwards and upwards and here’s to looking forward to another fresh cycle.