Usually at this time of year, I blog about Christmas at the hospital, sharing anecdotes and making the best of yet another non-stop marathon of taking care of others during the holiday season.
Well this year in quite the turn of fate, I find myself not working because of the need to take care of myself.
Because against all odds, I’m not really just taking care of myself. Because I am not exactly by myself. I am seven months pregnant with a foetus who I think is destined to become a kickboxer. 
I have had to stop working because it was getting too stressful and apart from that, it is flu season so I have to watch it more than ever. My last day was about two weeks ago and it was so bitter sweet. Because apart from the fact that I absolutely love my job, I was ridden with guilt at abandoning my brigade. I have no doubt that they are just fine without me. But I haven’t stopped working since I was 16 years old so it feels very strange.

  

There’s a part of my heart which always felt I was destined to become a nurse, that my purpose in life was to serve others. When I found out that it was going to be very difficult to nearly impossible for me to ever conceive a child, that destiny simply became all the more clear. That was that, this was the most important part of my life since I started studying for my BSc back in 2002 and I vowed to do it to the best of my ability for many years to come. I figured I was not given children for a reason: in order to be unburdened to help others as much as I could. 
After two failed ivf cycles, I was done. Enough. I could not put my life and dreams on pause anymore for something that will probably never happen. And year 2018 was all about being the best I could be: no fertility treatments, no doctors, no waiting and hoping. The fertility clinic called me and asked if I wanted to try again.
NO. They asked if there was a problem. No. There wasn’t. I was just done. 

And I hung up.
And I began to rediscover the person I was before I ever opened the fertility files. Before egg counts and blood tests and procedures and injections took over my life. 
I experienced and achieved some amazing things. I began training for the half marathon and on the 25th February 2018 I crossed the finish line in just under 3 hours, which is pretty great for a non-athlete. In March I presented a paper at the Commonwealth Nursing Conference at the Royal College of Physicians in London. I became a charge nurse which is quite something at the age of thirty-three. My baby sister got married and we had a whale of a time at her wedding. I put on a show with my theatre group which was fun but poignant. I joined an intense boxing and exercise program and became stronger and lost a decent amount of weight, weight which I had gained during ivf treatments due to being pumped with steroids. My husband and I reconnected, as if we were honeymooners all over again.
It was great. I felt great. And for the first time in a long time, I was really happy.
Then I had my annual smear test where I told my doctor in no uncertain terms that I was not interested in any more fertility treatments. He basically told me that he respects that, but there is a clinic in Valencia, highly specialized and that I should at least book a consultation. A consultation is not something invasive. Think about it.
So I left his office with my head spinning. Because I was done. I was happy. After discussions with my better half we decided to go for a consultation. It was not expensive and we didn’t have to commit to anything. And Valencia was a lot of fun. 
At the clinic everyone was professional, relaxed and friendly. The consultant was really great too and very experienced. He looked through my extensive collection of test results and procedure reports, looked me squarely in the eye and said:
‘I don’t see why I can’t help you.’
So we got home and it was serious decision time. And my husband told me that it was my body that goes through hell and back during ivf, so he would support any decision, be it yay or nay. 
‘I don’t see why I can’t help you.’
Those words just stuck in my brain. And that doctor’s genuine, kind eyes.
Do you remember how in the Little Mermaid, the Disney movie, when Ariel signs over her voice, she closes her eyes, grabs the pen and hastily signs? That’s exactly how I felt when I sent the clinic the email saying, yes I’m interested in giving it my final go.

  
And to cut a long story short…
It worked.

It bloody worked.
In my utter disbelief, I peed on at least 5 different test sticks and took my Hcg blood levels four times. 
I am actually with child. And that fateful day 8 weeks later when we saw the heartbeat it all became clear. I stared speechless at the screen. Come what may, at that moment, I was a mother. 
And now 7 months down the line, I look like a small planet and my belly wriggles with a tiny but very alive thing inside there. I hope and pray that nothing goes wrong and that in two months time we will meet this precious gift that we have been given. 
My plea to anyone out there who is reading this post today: I talk freely about my experiences with infertility and ivf because the subject is way too taboo for reasons I absolutely don’t understand. Seeking help for a problem is not something bad or to be ashamed of. If I can help anyone going through this in anyway, I will do my best to do so. Just reach out and don’t be afraid. When it comes to fertility problems, it feels so isolating and you constantly think ‘why me?’. Well, I AM you. And there are THOUSANDS of US. So you are not alone. Ever. And believe me on this one: everyone going through this wishes only good things for others on this journey. That’s a promise.
So what can I say? 2018, you have been pretty darn marvelous. And as for me, well, I usually find self-praise a little unattractive, but screw it: I was incredibly brave. 
And fortune favors the brave.

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