All in good time – A reader’s story

All in good time
Anonymous

As I opened my laptop I knew this post was going to be a teary one, tissues in hand I began.
Society has almost made it impossible to look at a female and not ask two questions; “Are you married? “If a positive response is received, the next question to follow is; “do you have kids?”
Whilst I cannot tell you how difficult it may be for some people to answer the first question, I can personally tell you what it feels like to have the second question posed to you when you are facing infertility issues.
Every single time in the last four years that I have had to answer the question, it felt like someone plunging a knife deep inside me. Smile and nod you say to yourself, while you attempt to hide the sadness you feel.
For the longest time I wished there was a way where people would understand the feeling. I realised that I am on a journey, my own journey! I cannot expect people who have never struggled with infertility to understand my journey. It is through this understanding that I have tried to deal with people in an extremely polite manner. Oh what a difficult journey this has been….
Through my post I hope to let other sisters who are struggling know you are not alone. I also seek to enlighten those who have never experienced infertility issues to what the journey has been like.
Being married young has had its challenges but I am eternally thankful to Allah for granting me a spouse that has held my hand through this journey. As with many marriages, our initial years were not focused on starting a family, however as time proceeded this became more significant. Yes, the pressure began mounting, family started asking questions but we took it in our stride.

A year after trying I visited my GP as I missed a period and was not pregnant. She put me on Femara however, she suggested I go and see a gynae. I was oblivious to infertility and made the appointment as part of the process, not realising the significance of it. A quick fix I thought, I mean I had never pictured myself as someone who would have fertility issues. I always dreamed of the way I would broach the topic of starting a family with my husband…this was definitely not part of that plan.
My gynae started me on fertility drugs for the next 6 months. Upon completion, with no positive results of a pregnancy it was suggested both my husband and I go for further testing. In my case this meant a laparoscopy to rule out cysts or endometriosis.  A laparoscopy meant time out from the office; yep I had to have the conversation with my Manager regarding our situation. As you can imagine this was indeed an awkward conversation, with a number of uncomfortable questions that followed. I have always been a private person and prefer to keep my private matters exactly that way…private. This process was already forcing me to push that boundary.
A laparoscopy later and I was told I had no issues that are affecting my fertility. It was suggested we begin IUI. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the acronym it is in essence artificial insemination. As we were nearing the December break we decided to give it a rest and kick off the IUI’s the following year – I scheduled my fertility specialist appointment accordingly.
Once again, being young and naïve one never knows what to expect in these appointments. Appointments seldom happen on scheduled times and you await your fate in a waiting room with other patients, sensing the same desperation to have a baby from everyone else.
My name was called and I was taken into a room and asked to fully undress from waist-down.  Being shy I was naturally uncomfortable, the only time I had to do this before was at the time of my laparoscopy and my initial gynae appointment. I responded to the nurse saying I have my period; she smiled and replied “you are going to have to get use to this.”
I cannot even explain to you how distraught I felt…having to lay there and be probed while you are on day 2 of your menstrual cycle, all feelings of shame being ripped away. The Dr entered and proceeded with the internal scan, having patients on a period was obviously something he was used to. Once I was clothed he explained the process to us as well as what to exppect. A fresh set of fertility drugs in hand I left and returned a few weeks later for my internal scans before the procedure.
The day of my procedure I was handed Dormicum by the nurses, this would help knock me out and relax me for the procedure. When it was time to begin you are allowed some time to undress before the procedure – sheets are left for you to cover yourself. Again uncomfortable, but at this point uncomfortable feelings seem to be the norm. Your legs are strapped up wide apart and again…you wait for the Dr.

Sisters I wish to tell you, there is nothing more degrading than being tied in stirrups and having another person probing your private regions, while having your husband by your side. I cried…not from the procedure but from being left with no shame.
You are asked to do a pregnancy test 2 weeks later and call in with your results. 2 weeks later I called in and let the nurse know my results, they were negative. We were absolutely heartbroken. I did another 2 IUI’s, testing at the end of 2 weeks for procedure sake even though deep down I knew it was not positive. At this pointy Clearblue pregnancy tests and ovulation kits had found its way to my monthly shopping list.
I wish to point out while this was an extremely important time in my life, this wasn’t shared by my doctor where I was treated as just a number – each time needing to remind him why I was there. At times he requested to see me, and when I met with him he often would ask”how can I help you today?” Well I don’t know? Maybe you should tell me? None the less as time went on I learnt to take it less personally.
The Dr informed us the next procedure would be an IVF; this was much more expensive however it would up our chance of success to 45%. We decided to wait a few months before doing the treatment as I was emotionally drained and wanted a break from the fertility drugs.
4 months later we were ready to begin the IVF process. Without going into all the details we met with the doctor, went through the necessary scans and again a new set of medications was issued. These medications send you on an absolute emotional rollercoaster; at times had to stop myself from having emotional outbursts. The medications included injections; thankfully my husband was brave enough to give these to me. These injections were incredibly sore and stung like crazy – “all part of the process we said to each other”. In summary the medications are intended to make you produce more eggs than normal and force you to ovulate at the correct time. By the time I was nearing time for egg retrieval my pants could not close, that’s how bloated and uncomfortable it was.
We entered the IVF procedure confident and excited as can be, we believed this was it and the child we wanted would be planted inside my belly in no time. All previous negative feelings regarding the Dr’s and procedures were forgotten. This baby would begin with a clean slate.
The procedure was successful and due to the quality of the eggs that Dr recommended only putting 2 in as the chance of success was very high. We had to wait 2 weeks before testing.
I had never spent as much time on google as I had that week. I viewed every forum on IVF success rates, symptoms associated with success and how to calculate your due date. I knew every acronym on the forums from HPT, BFN, 2WW to BFN. I felt every symptom I was supposed to be feeling, did everything I was supposed to and I was confident. “I wonder if it will be twins? What will we call them? How will we manage?” These were all thoughts that ran though my head. My husband was equally excited and confident; there was no doubt in both our minds. Few people at work and extremely close family and friends knew we had done the IVF and we were in their duas / prayers.
The 2 week wait was awful, each day longer than the next, until eventually the day arrived. I did a blood test as early as possible before heading into the office.  The laboratory would send my results to the clinic and I would hear from them. The anticipation was killing me; eventually my cell rang at around 13h00. The minute I answered I heard the sadness in the nurse voice, I immediately knew it was negative and she confirmed my worst fears.

I cannot explain the feelings that passed through me; I called my husband and let him know. We agreed to meet at home. Shortly after cutting the call, every emotion I felt came out in the most heartfelt cry I have ever felt.  I left the office and cried my eyes out on the 30km journey back home, I begged Allah to stop letting me feel this way and give me strength to deal and accept his decisions. I have never cried as much as I cried on the way home, something inside of me broke – every piece of hope that I had ever had. My husband I both tried to be strong for each other, each of us knowing what we felt that day. In each passing day it got better, until we were able to talk about something else besides “what next?”
A few months later I was healed and ready to do my next IVF with my remaining eggs. The medications were changed but the process and emotions attached to it remained the same. As I sat in the procedure room, I vowed that should this not be successful I would not put myself through this for another year. I did the second one accompanied by acupuncture, duas and a good diet – I wanted to do every thing in my power to be able to say I had tried my best. The procedure was unsuccessful, but we were stronger and able to deal with it much better. Thank you my Allah for giving us the strength.

Has it been difficult? Yes it has. Ramadaan has helped me heal and accept what Allah has set out for us. I have come to realise that yes doctors are a means, but they cannot change your fate, only Allah can. Thoughts cross my mind all the time, will I ever be called “mom”, will I ever have a family, what will happen to me when my parents leave this world and my siblings continue their lives with their own family, who will I have?  I am on a continuos journey of hope, yet reminding myself that my life will only be as Allah wills. I have tried every dua, herb, super food and alternative healing suggested to me and I can happily say I am done. I have full acceptance  that Allah knows and he does what is best for each of us.

I at times dread attending family functions, I cant remember when last I WASN’T asked about the family I need to start planning or offered possible solutions as to how to fix my problem. At times I feel like any progress I have made healing is ripped away when these questions arise. Can I not for a day be myself and enjoy a family function or day out without being reminded about my inability to have a family? I am now at a point where I have people greeting me and a second later saying you are in my duas – yet they don’t know my journey. I keep reminding myself that people are only trying to help and don’t know any better. I truly value those that know I am struggling but choose not to ask me about it. I know in my heart that I am in their duas and that is all that matters.
To my sisters who are unintentionally asking others about starting their families. Please don’t. If a person feels comfortable and close enough to you to share their journey with you, they will. I understand the intention is good and if you really have to do it, raise it in a sensitive manner. Every one of these individuals are trying to come to terms with their own situation and accept. Yes you may only ask them about it once, but if everyone asks them about it, it is a continuos reminder.

To my sisters struggling, I keep you in my duas. Your relationship with your spouse will be tested in a number of ways, be there for each other and make dua to Allah to make your bond stronger. Focus on the positives Allah has bestowed to you and continue making dua to him for only dua can change a situation. Your value of life isn’t based on you being a mother. Maybe Allah would love for us to add value to the world in another way for he knows best. This world is only temporary and therefore this test is only temporary. Never be rude to anyone asking you about you not having a child – treat them with kindness and if need be let them down gently. I am confident you will have your happy ending with or without a baby!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “All in good time – A reader’s story”

  1. This could have been written by me. Been through it all. All the questions, all the looks u get from family and aunties asking if u trying. I was also the last to find out when girls in my family were expecting because they didn’t want to hurt me. Going for baby showers were torture. It was eleven years of anger, bitterness, sadness, and all those emotions that come.with infertility. After six years of being married and once we had saved enough for ivf we tried it. And it didn’t work. We had so much hope and it was shattered. I was broken after that. With dua and turning to Allah I accepted the fact that I might never be a mother but ill definitely try to be the best aunt I can be to my nieces and nephews.
    The year I turned 30 I got a call from my aunt whos a social worker. She told me to think about it and put my name down on the adoption list. We spoke about it and as a couple decided to try icsi ( a lil more specialized form of ivf). This time, being older and wiser we went in without any expectations. We didn’t tell anyone we were going for it either. The first time we went It wasn’t just our disappointment, but our parents as well. This time I had to do like a million blood tests, laparoscopy, uterine scratch and a whole lot of other things.
    Alhamdulillah as the writer says, all in good time, after eleven years of infertility we were blessed with a perfect, beautiful baby girl. May Allah always guide and protect her.
    May Allah help and heal all those who are going through this.

    Like

  2. Dear sisters
    THIS specific struggle we face, although common in terms of statistics, is so isolating and makes one feel lonely. I understand this post 110%, in fact I could have wrote it myself. Baby showers, news of pregnancies and happy families are such a torture. All I wish and ask is for sisters, mothers, friends and family members out there to censor themselves and be more compassionate with us. Instead of asking when or if we lucky yet, it is much more appreciated if the topic is not brought up or mentioned at all. Please respect us as we grieve and accept/ come to terms with our fate. Every mention of this topic is heartbreaking and digs at a healed scab only to make a deeper wound. Yes, we pray to Allah to grant it to us if it is meant for us or to help us accept HIS will if it is not.

    Like

  3. i for one feel the greater public especially family members and close friends need to stop with the look of pity or sorrow . yes you feel pain somehow remotely and yes it’s all in Allahs hands BUT surely you can’t expect a woman to just sit back and not try a single thing . Allah has surely given these medical professionals the knowledge to do what they are doing ? i have had 4 fresh IVF cycles and 4 frozen transfers. 3 miscarriages later and i too have accepted that it is all in Allahs hands and my last miscarriage hit this sentiment the hardest . i went to a fancy clinic , had an over accomplished and confident doctor ,paid double the costs than previous clinic ,kept only the ‘best’ possible embryos,experienced high cell count after the 2 week wait and 9 weeks later no heart beat . i had all the symptoms and still i was shown that it is not i who controls it but He and Alhamdulillah i feel like somewhat of a warrior today . my husband – wow he’s the greatest blessing in my life and i owe it to him to be stronger each day for he too shares in the heartache with me . I share my journey with anyone who asks but believe you me there are still those who know and insist on their ignorant and misinformed comments . the purpose of sharing is to rid the IVF and infertility of its taboo status especially around muslims . Yes i appreciate being in your duaas and thoughts and your suggestions but as this writer as said , surely those struggling for very long time have heard it all and tried it all. it is truly only our Allah that can change the course if he chooses and it makes us no less of a woman not to bear kids . the mums who assume that we don’t know how to take care of a kid or worry that we making nazr- please step on the brakes . the mum to be who worries around my feelings – i notice and appreciate that too but in actual fact the need to single out my emotional well being makes it worse for me . i’m not a baby monster who’s going to burst at the seams at the sights of kids – yes it tugs at me – but the joy for you is much more . i could write endlessly on the topic and come across in many ways but yes i felt the need to write the above because the post brought up these emotions .
    Jazakallah to all the sisters sharing their stories . i am entering my 5th FET- i leave it in my Allahs hands . Keep me in your duaas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your comment. You are amazing at 4 the amount of ivfs πŸ™ˆ i myself am totally afraid of injections, putting my body through that and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it. When i finally plucked up the courage to say I’ll try once only, the dr says to wait, give him time to start at the beginning and i must pick up weight πŸ™ˆ everything you say is on point ❀️

      Like

      1. be patient and strong . injections aren’t actually half bad . it’s the discomfort that comes after wards with the swelling/bloated feeling . i expanded so badly i couldn’t go to work for 2 days before egg retrieval each time we did it . it’s truly made me wiser and stronger and i really feel the more we talk of it , the more informed others will be . i pray Allah gives you all that is good .

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I was in a similar situation but not as severe. The one thing I think we all have in common is that you don’t even really contemplate the idea of infertility when you start planning a family in your head. Yes you know it happens but it never seems to hit home.
    After being married for two years we were ready to start trying. In my head I gave it a few months, I mean I had a regular cycle, no gynae related issues and I was young. How naieve. 7 months later and nothing. We were going on umrah, the perfect time to make those extra special days. Two months later I was pregnant and on my birthday. I was ecstatic. Then the cramping started. The spotting. The heartbreak. I was only 6 weeks and this was my first miscarriage but not my last. In one year I managed to fall pregnant 4 times and lose each one. Some were around 8 weeks, some as long as 10, some short as 5. Each one hurt more than the next. I was pumped full of hormones and drugs each time to help me carry to term but to no avail. I misscarried naturally, some had to be removed in theatre. I was numb. Angry. My friends and colleagues were all falling pregnant. Some even had the due dates I would have had. I stopped all the gynae appointments. All the drugs. The hormones. Our next step was the more invasive part and I wasn’t ready for that nor my body or my heart. I needed to heal and find my faith again. I needed to put my trust in Allah swt again.
    I would just cry in sujood. Tahajud became my source of comfort. And then one day in the same year mind you I fell pregnant for the 5th time. I had no hope left. I just prayed. I needed to accept Allahs will regardless and show sabr in all decisions. We began the usual weekly appointments, the hormones. The blood tests. Every ultrasound I couldn’t look at the screen no matter how much my gynae and husband encouraged me. 6 weeks turned to 8, then 11. I was bleeding again. 11 weeks and so close to being out of the first trimester. So cruel. I stayed patient. I knew this time I would not break. Allah knows best. But 11 weeks turned into 13 and then to 16 weeks. My baby was a possibility. A viable one. One with a ruh from our Creator. I allowed myself to feel attached to the little one growing inside me. My struggle wasn’t over though. Allah had chosen to test me further and I went into preterm labour almost dying and losing the baby. Alhamdullilah through his mercy we made it through. I’m blessed with the most beautiful baby boy. I know how blessed I am. I know that feeling of despair. I know how easy it is to give up. To actually hand your heart and hope and faith to Allah swt is how it should be. To trust in him completely is our ultimate test. To know that you might not be a mother but that’s what your Creator chose for you. And to still be content, happy and grateful with your life. That is not giving up but passing your test with flying colours. There are no words for women and men btw struggling to conceive only Duas.

    Like

    1. True .. Allah knows best. .when in the right time..
      Alhamdullilah after 8 years of marriage we were finally blessed .. with a beautiful baby Boy..
      He is so special .
      A baby given to us by my sister in law . What a brave lady she is
      To bless our home with so much of happiness
      To make a baby just for us and completing our family.
      May Allah reward her and her husband n kids for the huge sacrifice .
      Don’t give up hope ..
      With dua’s anything is possible .
      Allah has accepted our dua
      And soon yours will be accepted at the right time inshallah. Have faith in Allah .

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s