“So when are you going to have another one?” I was asked this morning at the park by a frequaintaince – you know, one of those mum pals you really like and that you see fairly often at the park, but who isn’t really part of your social circle.
I nearly choked on my achingly-dull non-caffeinated beverage but dodged the question with the agility of a glib ninja and proffered a suitably sardonic aside. Timing is everything I thought to myself as I fought back a flood of tears that I wasn’t prepared to shed publicly. There was no way she could have known that it had been less than an hour since I’d been to “The Blood Shop”, as Devilboy has dubbed Casa Conception, for “official” confirmation of our sixth failed round of pin-the-embryo-on-the-uterus. The period that arrived yesterday was evidence enough for me, but The Blood Shop likes to rub a little salt in the wounds in by insisting you go in and give blood so they can call you to tell you the bad news again – and you can wallow in the disappointment twice!
“How are we going to have another one?” would seem to be a more appropriate question, and one that I simply don’t have an answer to. When a single round of IVF delivered us our darling Devilboy we thought that we’d finally found the answer to our infertility crisis and our problems were over. We figured that, despite our initial difficulties, given that IVF worked once, it would work again. We figured wrong! Wrong times six.
Six failed transfers is very bad.
Really. Very. Fucking. Bad.
While we have one frosty left on ice, and we may consider one more medicated cycle if the little ice cube doesn’t decide to give us a break and hang about, the odds are that we won’t be able to have another child. And we still don’t know why. There isn’t a single reason any medical person can give us as to why we aren’t already enormously pregnant. And that really sucks. They are calling it “secondary infertility” for want of an actual badge to pin on us. I mean what do you even call “secondary infertility” when you were infertile the first time too? “Secondary Primary Infertility?” Or perhaps “You’re uterus is an arid wasteland, tough luck bitch!”
Doesn’t really matter what you want to call it, it’s fucked.
This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have a large family. And notwithstanding that it’s been obvious that “large” has had to be considerably revised as each year of infertility passed, the plan was most definitely NOT to have an only child. And silly me, I didn’t think to make a back-up plan – because lots of snot-faced kids squealing and running wildly amok was all I ever really wanted.
We are in constant turmoil, torn between joy for the child we have and despair for the ones we don’t, in a lonely limbo world between childless and bigger families. It’s kind of like no longer being an accepted member of the world of the infertile but not belonging to the world of the fabulously fecund either. We’re envied by one group and envious of the other, and understandably, neither can get how we feel.
So, do we keep trying? More to-ing and fro-ing of daily blood tests, pock-marked junkie arms, invasive and unpleasant procedures and hideous hormone twisting medications whilst juggling work, and more importantly, being attentive parents to Devilboy? Or, do we just give up and turn into withered bitter (more so than we already are) old cronies, collect dozens of stray smelly cats and scare the local children?
Under sufferance, I tried the counselling services they throw in “for free” as part of the eight million dollar fee at Casa Conception, to see if they had any answers. It would seem not. For all the nodding and benevolent smiling bestowed upon me by the counseller, unless she can has a spare baby she can throw my way, her services aren’t going to help too much. There is nothing she can say that will make it not happening OK. That is, had she actually said anything at all. Colour me crazy, but benign nodding doesn’t really help heal my wounded psyche.
While life with the beautiful Devilboy gives us so much joy, the bitter irony is that because of him, we can’t escape the world of children. Our life revolves around them. Shops, childcare, friends, parks and playgrounds, they are all a hive of buzzing kids, their ever pregnant mothers, and their hundred million tiny siblings. And as luck would have it, I’ve become the go-to-girl for parenting advice and articles for a bunch of magazines. Thanks world – love your sense of humour!!
With no back-up plan and desperate for more Devilboys and/or girls, we have no choice but to cross our fingers and stay on this medicated merry-go-round for a while longer. So I better prepare my poor beleaguered veins for more merry times at The Blood Shop.
Self-pitying post-IVF moaning complete.