Welcome to the second in my series on Mothers After Infertility or Loss. If you missed the first, you can read Eleanor’s story of loss here. Today I’d like to introduce to you Sam, who also lives up here in Joburg, and whom I’ve been privileged to bump into at our blog meetups.
I’m an ex Natal girl turned proud Joburger. I work for a toy distribution company which has its perks – my kids are never short of new toys to play with… I also love that I work in an industry that is constantly changing and where we need to stay in tune with what’s hot and trending – just for little people 😉
I love reading (before I was blessed with kids I would devour book after book after book, in fact I would often read up to three books concurrently) and I am now an “intermediate” (can no longer call myself a newbie runner) runner who is looking to start training for a marathon! (Yes I am nuts!!) I am also trying to get back to filling up my creative tank; I used to paint ceramics and do pottery and mosaics which I think I need to find time for again.
Thirteen and a half years ago my housemate got me into running. Cliff’s running partner tried to pick her up at a race one day and they arranged to have a whole group of people get together for drinks one night at Rhapsodys in Rivonia. At the time I was working in the hotel trade and I joined everyone well after midnight when my shift ended and as the only sober person in the place I was not very impressed with my man who told all the girls that in order to have impressive boobs all they had to do was “suck your tummy in and push your boobies out”… I remember saying “you’re an asshole!” but thinking to myself “what a pity cos you’re so hot”
A week later we all met for drinks again and we got chatting and I was happy to find out he was not an asshole after all. Two dates later I called my mom and told her that I was going to end up married to this man. I just knew that I had met “the one”.
Two and a half years later we were married. It’s been eleven years of marriage so far and whilst there are times we want to murder each other, I can’t imagine doing life with anyone else.
I have a page dedicated to our infertility history which details our treatments and outcomes step by step for anyone who is interested in the details.
The long and the short of it is that we started “trying” as soon as we got married as I had never had regular periods and thought we may battle slightly to have kids.
I just didn’t know the battle would take us on a journey spanning seven years, several invasive tests, six laparoscopic surgeries, several timed intercourse cycles, post coital tests, sperm analysis after sperm analysis, finding the strength to inject myself countless times both in the tummy and bum, fighting, crying, demanding that Cliff divorce me and find a wife who is not broken and having to deal with so many disappointments before we finally had success.
– Seven years, Seven IVF’s.
-Five absolute negative cycles one of which happened right after my father died.
-One chemical pregnancy which was the biggest mind f*ck of all.
-One amazing viable pregnancy that ended in a live birth of my precious Kade who made me a mommy and finally created “The Young family”.
What a ride it has been!
Kade (whose name means Defender of the Faith) is our little miracle boy who just turned four. He is a funny, delightful little soul who still allows mom to kiss him in public, but who loves wrestling and imagining that he is his favourite super hero. He’s also a sensitive soul who finds some minor things quite devastating. He is absolutely my favourite son.
Gemma (whose name means Jewel/Shiny one) is my little miracle and “freebie” gift from God. She was conceived naturally (imagine that, sex got me pregnant! Twice!) shortly after I had gone through a D&C after I miscarried another naturally conceived baby (whilst on holiday *cringe* we all know how much we hated hearing “just go on holiday and relax”). She is a very stubborn but highly entertaining individual who has absolutely NO fear! She gives me grey hairs and wrinkles. She is absolutely my favourite daughter.
How has infertility affected your parenting?
Whilst I don’t think I love my children more than anyone who didn’t battle to fall pregnant I do think that I may appreciate them differently. I think I am more tolerant of the hard/challenging times because for so many years I could not be sure if I would ever experience them.
I also tend to helicopter parent at times and totally spoil them. Rotten. My bad… #sorrynotsorry
How do you find it affecting your life, even now?
Infertility never leaves you and depending on one’s journey the scars can run very deep.
Whilst I have “crossed over” to the other side, there are times that my experiences come to the fore. Having my children has healed me in so many ways, the deep bitterness I had during the thick of our journey is gone but when I hear people joking about conceiving at the drop of a hat or offering to give their kids to others cos they are driving them mad I find myself looking at the group of people trying to spot the person who is feeling like I so often felt… I am so much more cognisant of listening to the unsaid in a group setting. I try listen for the excuses we used when asked if we had kids or when we were going to have any, stuff like “oh we’re just enjoying being married for now” or “oh we’ll see” or “uuum, we’re not sure” etc.
I have good friends who are in the trenches still waiting for their own miracles to happen and it’s hard for me to balance trying to give them the support I know they need by offering hope with my own experiences whilst not rubbing their faces in the fact that I’ve got what they so desperately desire. I’m very sensitive to not hurt people who are in that dark place that I used to be stuck in because I can acutely remember how awful it felt.
Don’t waste time with a gynae who dabbles in fertility treatment. I wasted two years with a gynae before I went to a proper fertility specialist and even then wasted another year before I ended up at the right fertility clinic. Gynae’s are specialists in treating patients for pregnancy and delivering babies. They are NOT fertility specialists! FERTILITY SPECIALISTS SPECIALISE IN GETTING ONE PREGNANT. See one sooner rather than later. I cannot stress this enough.
Take infertility/your case one step at a time. Get the proper testing done. Don’t be too hasty in wanting to jump into IVF. Often times one can have a small issue that can be simply treated. Sometimes you will need to explore options that you never considered or even knew existed. Be open to everything that your fertility specialist brings to the table. DO NOT LIMIT YOUR MIRACLE!
Too often you are going to blame yourself. Blame your body. Hate yourself. Hate your body. You will feel this way especially if your road is a long one, but honestly? It is not your fault. Try being good to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. This is not easy advice to follow but if you can get it right even part of the time, it will make your journey a lot easier.