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Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Last week I had a session with a counsellor provided through the local council for new parents. This week, JourneyMan joined me. It has been quite illuminating though tonight I am quite sad.

I have been exploring the reasons why I have been crying so often recently - I knew that there was a reason underneath and it seems we are pretty close to finding out why. Last week we talked about how to handle when strangers ask about who JBB looks like without lying and also about how I may not have fully grieved not having my own biological children. I thought that I had so it did not completely ring true for me. We did talk about how I have a coping mechanism that is probably harming my ability to get past things at the moment. Anytime I even think of something 'bad' about being a mother - ie. sleep deprivation, worry etc I immediately have to think 'But I am absolutely grateful to be a mother'. It has become quite a compulsion and she said that she thought that it was harming my ability to move past these small issues. The other thing that I realised was that I am constantly on edge for JourneyMan to say 'well you wanted to be a mother, you just have to deal with it'. Of course, thankfully when I voiced this concern to JourneyMan, he allayed my fears and I felt quite relieved.

Today the counsellor asked us to talk about our failed IVF cycles because she thought that the source of my getting upset had it roots from this time. I am going to explore it a bit more on here because I think that I have finally uncovered where the issue is. We talked about the first cycle.

So, how did we start IVF in the first place? As JourneyMan had had a vasectomy, we thought that he would simply be able to get it reversed and pouf, pregnant! JourneyMan went to see the GP and got a referral to a specialist - this was even before we were married. We both went to see the specialist and when we were checking in with the receptionist, she said 'we always put fertility treatments in the name of the female'. I was floored at this point and looked questioningly at JourneyMan - he shrugged. We filled out the forms and went and sat in the waiting room - 'fertility - are we at the right place?' we whispered to each other - we were very confused, were we there for JourneyMan to have a vasectomy reversal, what the hell did fertility have to do with it? Oh how naive we were!!

The appointment was very strange - he said that JourneyMan could have a vasectomy reversal and we would wait approximately 6-12 months for the chance of getting pregnant or we could got with an IVF cycle straight away doing a needle biopsy on JourneyMan and use ICSI. I remember discussing it on the way home in the car and JourneyMan's initial reaction was that he didn't want to conceive a child via IVF because of the stigma attached, I didn't mind that but it was the waiting that bothered me the most. After having the tests and speaking to the specialist again and many long discussions, we decided that we would pursue IVF. By this time we had gotten married, had our honeymoon and a few months to consider all of our options. When we decided on IVF, we had to jump through all of the hoops until we were finally ready to actually start the cycle.

The whole process was strange. The counselling that was mandatory was a joke, it didn't deal with any of the issues but was just more of a 'check this box and sign off that you understand' type of situation. I devoured every piece of information that I could but I still felt like I was in a foreign country and couldn't speak the language - it was confusing as hell. I look back at the person that I was at the beginning of that cycle and barely recognise her - she was an optimist, she was a positive thinker, she thought that things always turned out for the best, she believed in herself, she had survived some stuff in her life but was courageous and faced up to challenges.

I approached the cycle with supreme optimism. There was a scary moment when the pur.egon pen did not work correctly and I panicked and called the specialist. It was weird doing the injections but I was not unused to them considering I had to have Clex.ane injections when I went overseas. I was sure that I would be one of the lucky ones that got pregnant on the first go, after all, I was a positive thinker and did everything that was asked of me.

When the call came to cancel the cycle, I was in the car park at work. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I asked them to repeat the news at least a couple of times. I felt lost, devastated, confused, hurt. I didn't know what to do with myself. I called JourneyMan and his main response was that we could try again. I feel that I changed on that day. I felt like my soul had been slapped, hard. It was so unexpected. I searched for meaning, I tried to think of what I had done wrong, I looked everywhere for a reason.

The next cycle started around 6 weeks after the last one. Christmas and New Year happened in between, with me of course dreaming that the following Christmas I would have a baby in my arms. I had convinced myself that the first cycle was just a trial run, they just had not found the right drug dosage - everything would be fine the next go. I approached the next cycle with a lot less positivity. I was cautious and once again disappointed to find out that I only had 3 follicles. We still went to egg pick up and JourneyMan had the needle biopsy. The hospital is a bit like a battery hen farm - you could see all of the couples who were also getting their eggs farmed, most of us, hopeful and trying to recover from the procedure. The doctor came to see JourneyMan and I and told us that they retrieved no eggs. Once again, I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, I felt unworthy, I felt like I wasn't a proper woman.

I had never cried like I did on that day (though I have done so since). I howled like an animal, I felt like my soul was torn. I can't remember that day without crying, in fact I am crying now - the hurt is still there. I think that those two cycles altered who I am.

Fast forward to now. I think that the reason that I am afraid of people commenting on JBB not looking like me is not because I don't want to explain that he is a donor egg baby but because there is still some feeling that I am not worthy of being his mother, that I don't deserve it because I am not a proper woman. My Dad constantly comments that JBB is a 'little miracle' and he certainly is but I noticed that whenever he said that, I would get annoyed. I think mainly because I feel like I don't deserve this beautiful miracle.

This has been hard to write but I am doing so in hopes that it will help me heal. Needless to say, I am going to continue the counselling - I need to heal these IVF shaped holes in my heart.


  1. Of course you deserve this miracle. Our ovaries are not what makes us women or mothers. We are worthy women just because we are. We are mothers because of our determination, the wonders of modern medicine, and the blessing of women who have donated cells to us. My one year old is currently sick for the first time with more than a cold. I earned my mommy badge once again when she puked all over me Sunday night. Not spit up, but a great big mess all over both of us. We clean the poo and puke, we dry the tears, we will clean and bandage the skinned knees someday. So our beautiful children don't look like us. We are their mothers.

  2. I'm so happy for you that you're starting to get to the root of that pain. Counselling rocks!
    I hope you can feel worthy of being JBBs mom with all your heart in the near future, because you are. You so are. You're the reason he exists.

    Lots of love!

  3. I have been seeing a shrink for over a year now and I still have days (like yesterday) where I have one of those realization moments that strikes you to your core. Its like you are coming face to face with the thing you have been trying so hard to suppress.

    I often wonder if I am the person I think I am, or if I am the person everyone else sees. Having realizations on the shrink's couch feels like that to me. Does that make sense? I feel like I am finally coming to terms with how the rest of the world sees me. Like I have quit pulling the wool over my own eyes. Sometimes it is hard to come to those realizations and sometimes it is freeing. Sometimes it feels freeing initially, and then you realize you have opened a whole new can of worms.

    Gads I hope this comment makes sense to you. lol!

    What I am saying is that I know how you feel. My fertility is a constant source of inner contention. I don't think this is anything that will ever go away. It leaves us so scarred and bitter. No matter how many times you have the scars revised, they are still there. We just have to learn to live with them the best we can.

    I really love CP's last comment. You are the reason your son exists. What a great way of putting it.

  4. *hug*

    You so deserve JBB :) I hope counseling helps you come to terms with what is making you sad.

  5. You love and care for JBB - that is what matters.
    The counselling sounds helpful. I'm glad you found it.