Fertility is a dirty word.
When I began to consider creating a blog, I scribbled down some ideas to see if I had enough ‘content’ or in my case, experiences, to share.
One of my most important ideas was fertility.
Fertility for me is a dirty word, it’s tainted, it’s loaded and it’s the Holy Grail.
Everyone has their own story about trying to conceive; for some it’s accidental or instant and for many others, it’s a long, hard road full of heartache and yearning.
My journey was not easy but it was not the hardest by far and I understand that; it’s important I acknowledge that before writing this blog post.
So before I start, I want to say to any couple trying to conceive their beautiful baby, I ache for you, I cry for you and I send you all the love in my heart.
This is my story and I am ready to share it.
When you are a female in your formative years you are taught, from a relatively young age, that if you have sex and forget your pill, if the condom breaks or if you even look at a male… you will get PREGNANT! This education instils a fear in you and for good reason – nobody wants to end up on 16 And Pregnant, even though the show is entertaining (don’t you roll your eyes at me, you know you love it).
Fast forward ten years where I was certain that once I stopped my contraception I would fall pregnant, instantly. HA! What an idiot.
When my husband and I decided it was the time to dispose of my birth control and start a family, we made plans for our life and they all revolved around a third family member joining us in 9-10 months’ time.
The first month my period arrived, I didn’t bat an eye.
The second month I decided it was time to Google, this is when I learnt about ovulation and when to have sex in order to conceive: what the signs were and how to time it, perfectly.
The third month I was still confident in my new ability to understand my body.
The fourth month.
The fifth month.
The six-month: I trotted off to the doctors, concerned that something was up; my GP ran full blood work and confirmed I was perfectly healthy and ready to conceive.
The seventh month was the first month I cried, I remember it so well as it was the first time that I started to feel like a piece of me had died, as if I wasn’t the woman I was supposed to be. It’s hard to explain but reproducing is part of our DNA and when I continued to fail, I felt like I was failing as a woman.
The eighth month.
The ninth month.
The tenth month.
The eleventh month…
ONE YEAR LATER.
One year on I was a shell of my former self; I became withdrawn and quite frankly a little depressed. I did crazy and spontaneous things to make myself feel better and my gorgeous husband supported me in every way just to see a smile on my face. I brought a horse… yep! I booked a trip to the US. I booked my Mum a trip to the US. I made many other ‘silly’ purchases to mask my feelings of inadequacy until one day I decided enough was enough.
It was the thirteenth month when I went back to my GP, she was also concerned that a woman of my age, in good health had not yet fallen pregnant and she ordered me to undergo an internal ultrasound.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced an internal ultrasound it is awful! Add to that the grumpy old duck who just pushed the camera, from side to side as hard as she could, until the inside of my uterus felt like it was coming out my arsehole and then threw me out of her office like a dirty used up tampon (too honest?).
Three days later the results were in… I don’t remember much from that appointment besides three things:
- You are missing a left ovary
- Your uterus is misshaped
- And, you appear to have a cancerous growth.
Cue lot of tears, panic, fear and the absolute certainty that not only was I barren but I was going to die too.
I decided this was the best time to ring my Mum, hysterical, and finally share with someone other, than my husband, what had been happening over the last year. I was inconsolable and lost on what to do next. Mum being a Mum took control and booked me an appointment the very next day with an OBGYN at Epworth Hospital (how good are Mums?).
The next day I met the late, Dr. Stan Toscanos. People always say that women fall in love with their obstetricians; well for Dr. Stan, I fell hard.
He took one look at my ultrasound results, ripped up the piece of paper and assured me that he didn’t believe any of it to be remotely accurate and he scheduled me for surgery, two days later as he wanted to see, for himself, what was going on and then he assured me he would fix it.
The surgery went well (… that’s a lie, it was awful but what did I expect?) Dr. Stan came to recovery and advised me that I did, in fact, have two healthy ovaries, that I had a slight misshape to my uterus but he’d fixed that and I did NOT have Cancer. I did, however, have severe Endometriosis, which he was able to remove from five locations in and around my uterus. (Endometriosis is a bitch… but that’s a totally different topic to cover later). Dr. Stan sent me on my way with clear instructions of no heavy lifting and no sex for four weeks but after that he was confident that I would be pregnant, within three months.
Four weeks later I was feeling great and I was not willing to wait anymore; my patience had run out. I called my husband home early from work and informed him it was time to get pregnant… poor guy.
The next month was the longest of my life, it was like time stopped. I had to ask my husband to remove all pregnancy tests from the house as I was too scared of the result they would bring. But the 28th day of my cycle arrived; I snuck out of bed early and into the bathroom, I peed on that test in silence and I didn’t move from the toilet seat until the result appeared.
I was pregnant.
There were no tears, no screaming, and no joyous jumping around. I simply walked into the bedroom and told my husband we were pregnant; we smiled, we hugged and I knew… this is when my life would really begin.