Tag Archives: ttc

A message of hope – anonymous reader shares her story

 
 
 
I am 42 years. I was raised by a single mother – my mother – my best friend, my confidant, my everything. I didn’t have a very happy and stable childhood. I was forced at some stage in my pathetic life to live with my dad! It was an awful time of my life as I was abused as a kid – by the 2nd wife – she was a witch, she used to deliberately keep me home from school and hit me! so badly that I would bleed,  some of you may ask, how I remember this…I somehow remember this as though it had occurred yesterday! I WAS ONLY 7 YEARS OLD!!! Needless to say that my dad believed only what his wife told him!
Having managed to live through that with the help of Allah –  and as I kept running away from home, I eventually ended up living with my beloved mother.
Marriage and having babies – was not for me! having come from a broken home – I never ever wanted to hear about getting into a relationship with someone, let alone getting married! I never imagined I would meet someone and fall in love! I didn’t want this to happen to me…
 
And yip I fell in love with an amazing man! We got married – I was 23 years old. For 2 years thereafter, my mother in law drilled the thought in my head that having babies is totally not allowed… she said that we are too young! It was forbidden! After year 2 had passed, the  statement kept coming out of people’s mouths – “it’s time for a baby now”, you are married for 2 years already” bla bla bla … we kept laughing it off. Approximately 18 months had passed by now and hubby and I discussed that the time has come – we want a baby! We were married for 3 ½ years already!  By now I’ve been off the pill for 2 years already – as it had made me quite sick. So we figured there’d be no issue in conceiving! 6 months went on to 1 year, then 2 years, we figured this may be a serious concern now! I went for regular check-ups to the gynae, there was never an issue…so what could possibly be wrong?!
One eventful morning I woke up with an extremely heavy and painful period. Totally unbearable – I was in tears and could barely walk straight up. We visited the gynae, who couldn’t do much for me as I was on my period. She prescribed pain killers and suggested bed rest until the heavy period had subsided. I lived through that and visited her 10 days later. She booked me in for a laparoscope. The prognosis wasn’t great… I had a condition called Endometriosis…it sounded like an awful disease to me…she further confirmed that I had only one ovary, instead of two!  She had lasered away the endometriosis and apparently people who have one ovary manage to fall pregnant. So there was no issue. She started me on fertility pills, gave me the run-down of what to do and what not to do and to let her know what happens. I bought a home ovulation test, we would rush home during working hours to do the “big thing” when I was ovulating, we went on weekends away and holidays, laid with my legs up in the air for hours and had all sorts of massages done, went to a molana, drank holy water, changed our diet and lifestyle – but. Still. nothing.
2 years went by and nothing had happened. My gynae said we must give up and let it be…as I was not born to be a mother! I was devastated.. heartbroken beyond words. I cried and stopped eating for days, I went into a complete depression. I felt empty, worthless, useless – it was an indescribable pain! MY husband was the elder sibling in his family… it was quite apparent by now that his parents were concerned.  What if he leaves me! I will be a divorcee.. these were the scary thoughts going through my mind!  Everywhere we went that dreadful question popped up… “when is the baby coming, OMG – can’t you fall pregnant?, I know of someone who also can’t have kids, shame man! “ “ go and see a molana!” oh and my hubby was told by the male folk “ you are not scoring enough goals”!!!    This was what we were faced with! Close family were talking about us, gossiping about our situation. It was so weird because nobody had even know what our issues really were.  It was all assumption on their part! But they were right! Cousins and friends were having babies – some of them were even twins!
 
Hubby didn’t tell a soul. I only told my mum, who has kept it a top secret. We both agreed that if Allah doesn’t want to give us a child – that’s what is meant to be and we will accept it. We ignored peoples remarks and ugly thoughts. UNTIL – I received what was considered to be the worst news ever to me. My older sister – 9 years my senior, who had already had 3 kids – WAS PREGNANT. She was very upset because “ she didn’t want another child at this stage in her life”!!! I loved her kids with all my heart and soul. BUT OMG – how can this be!? This is not happening – I was devastated. I was not jealous, I didn’t hate her.  But why?! I asked Allah – why He could not have implanted that embryo in my body! I WANT ONE CHILD – JUST ONE CHILD – YA ALLAH! PLEASE HELP ME!! – I cried day in and day out – questioning ALLAH. I wondered if Allah heard me! I was embarrassed!
 My hubby was strong and comforted me all the time. We eventually seeked the assistance of a fertility gynae. Hubby was not very happy. But he did it for me. The tests were devastating for him – the questions made him very uncomfortable – but the true gentleman that he is – he answered them very diligently. I went into hospital for another  procedure, started on various medications and supplements and the DR eventually decided we would start off with artificial insemination! I was so positive and excited. The day arrived when my period was due… I waited in anticipation! My period was late. I was super excited. Even though I was told not to – I did a home pregnancy test! IT WAS POSITIVE. I contacted the gynae immediately. Went in for the bloods, it was positive, however one week later- I started bleeding. Apparently my body was unable to further produce the HCG hormone ( or something like that)!!! I died a million deaths! By now I was numb – totally lost! I loved kids. I was always the one who baby sat everybody else’s kids. I loved little baby girls! I couldn’t move pass this! Why me, why me? my siblings had 4 kids each!


 
After my hospitalisation – we went in for a check-up and this time the doc suggested the IVF procedure. Hubby said if this doesn’t work – its game over. NO. MORE. TRYING.! I agreed wholeheartedly. It was an awful few months. What an agony! So many tests and procures and injections! It all sounded easy when they explained it to us but was so very taxing on our relationship, taking time off from work.  Crying in between, and major depression!  And throughout this – we only confided in each other. As for me – I still had my best friend, my beloved mother.. my pillar of strength. She made dua – gave me tons of encouragement and hope and many duas to read. 4 embryos were transferred! It was apparently normal for our age and situation! We laughed at the fact that we could end up with 4 babies. We cried in between too, that we may end up having none!  It was an emotional roller coaster! The day arrived when according to my personal period diary – a period was due. I didn’t think much about it – as I was 2 days away from the pregnancy blood tests. Subconsciously  I fretted over the fact that I could just start bleeding!  but thankfully nothing happened! Omg – I can’t believe this! 2 weeks went by and still no bleeding. No home pregnancy test this time either! However I felt different… I can’t explain but I was calm and content… just different! People commented that I looked different too. I went in for my blood tests and with the help of the Almighty Allah – I WAS PREGNANT! We obviously did not tell anyone, I told my mum! The doctor suggested that we don’t tell anyone either until our tests are repeated.  I could not believe it… all the injections and tests and scans were finally over! Sadly only one embryo stuck. But that was the one that I kept making dua for. So I didn’t freak out!
 
My pregnancy and birth was not great. I was quite ill during my pregnancy. I was as hospitalised several times – had a condition called placenta previa resulting in IUGR(intra uterine growth restriction), high BP, my body could not produce sufficient amniotic fluid, so I couldn’t  feel much movement from baby, which resulted in me going to the hospital at odd times off the day and night for a fetal monitor to be placed on my tummy to just hear my sweet baby boys heart beat! I bled at 3 months pregnant, but with the Almighty’s help – my pregnancy continued, with major bedrest!
Due to my high risk pregnancy – check-ups were done every 2 weeks and as baby stopped growing we bailed out at 31 weeks, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy weighing in 1.2kgs. He wasn’t breathing at birth and had an apgar score of 1, 5 and 8. Sadly he became quite ill when he was 2 days old – resulting in him being hospitalised for 2 months! He is my special angel today!  He is 13 years old now… it’s been a tough journey and believe me when I tell you – don’t expect anyone to understand your journey, especially if they’ve never had to walk your path! People are nasty and the ugly stigma attached to infertility and disability respectively is pathetic!!! You would expect that people are supposed to love and care for you during this process and be more sympathetic … but the malicious talks that goes surrounding an individual’s infertility is nasty! Trust nobody but Allah, depend on nobody but Allah, expect from nobody but Allah! This is what I’ve learnt through my journey.
I HAVE MY ONE CHILD… THAT ONE CHILD THAT I’VE ASKED FOR, WAS GIVEN TO ME… I EXPECTED IT TO HAPPEN IN MY TIME. IT HAPPENED WHEN ALLAH FELT THE TIME IS RIGHT.
Infertility is an emotional roller coaster and we are told to be calm and positive during this journey, one only knows the feeling when you are walking that path. They say everything happens for a reason… the hardest thing about this, is waiting for that reason to come along!
I now walk a different path – a mother to a special needs child and in our community today – people see this as a plague…looking at the child as though he is an alien. If only they know that Jannat is guaranteed to these beautiful Angels. J
Ps- sadly my beloved mother passed away when my son was 5 years old. May Allah grant our all our deceased mothers Jannatul Firdous. Aameen.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The journey through infertility – A reader’s story

The below is a readers very emotional, raw piece.

Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving. This is approximately 3.5 million people in the UK.
I’m sure after you read that you took it as fact (which it is), why is it then when a couple experience infertility, their emotions are immediately discounted?
I myself am part of the 3.5million.My husband and I have been for every test and appointment to try to understand why I am not falling pregnant. I have been probed and poked, each test coming back without any issues. We fall under the frustrating category, unexplained infertility.
It has been six long, hard, painful, gut wrenching, vomit inducing years of trying for a baby.
When we started trying for a baby in my heart and mind I was ready .If someone asked me whether we were trying for a kid and I responded yes I was met with, “you are too young”. After a year of trying I went to the doctor seeking help. I received the necessary tests but each time I was reminded I’m still very young.


Strange though, each month when my heart broke because I did not fall pregnant I was not young enough to feel the pain that cut through my heart.
Fast forward a few years, exactly six in fact and we have today. I’m still not pregnant and have started my tests and check-ups all over again .Once again hoping for the best. I’m still met with the response, you are still young. I feel like saying “How about you go through this for 6 years. Let’s see how f$$$ing young and fresh you feel afterwards”. Instead I smile and say, “That’s true”.
This is a chronicle of a few individuals I have met along my journey trying to conceive.
Nobody thinks falling pregnant will be difficult. It’s just part of the process of life. Go to school, go to university and get a degree. Get married, buy a house and car, have kids.
You don’t second guess it, it’s a given.
But just like other things in life it’s not always that black and white.


The problem is with every other aspect in life we have some idea on how to deal with it because someone we know has been through it .The sad reality is no one talks about infertility! It’s spoken about behind closed doors, in hushed tones.
So just a recap, I can’t fall pregnant, I desperately want a baby. So being the driven person I am I dig deep and do everything in my power to make this pregnancy happen!
That includes regular sex, eating the correct foods and investing each month in the correct vitamins. I’ve tried acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, reflexology, wet cupping, visiting a magician, praying and drinking herbal teas from different countries. I do a cleanse, recover from the cleanse, pray, keep my legs up after sex for exactly 20 minutes without moving, drink more tea, eat lots of honey, dates, soak in hot baths and just try my best to stay calm.
I’m so f$$$$ calm I should be floating!


Ps, I have to mention I genuinely think I am an intelligent, confident woman. I try daily to be a good person until I’m met with assholes and every bit of my education and moral values leave me.
I meet people who say shit like “no baby yet? Hurry up!” Believe it or not this was said to me by someone who struggled to conceive herself. The idiotic comment was a bit much for me, my response was I’m not trying!” .Even though I had been trying for 4 years at that point.
A common comment that’s made when you fight the shame and actually open up that you are struggling for a baby is that so & so tried for 10 years or 19 years etc. My heart goes out to those women and I feel their love and happiness after waiting patiently all those years!
This comment is meant as a comfort, to not give up. It’s almost never said from a place of evil. But the result is catastrophic for the person on the receiving end.
It’s a sort of emotional avalanche.
It starts with embarrassment. You feel so embarrassed for having thinking it’s safe to speak about your infertility.
It moves on to shame, shame that you feel hurt when you have only gone through it for 6 years and can only be considered a true veteran in 4 years. Oh yes, this is part of my 5 year, long term goals.
Then you find yourself trying to validate your pain amidst the embarrassment and shame because deep within you, you know what you are feeling is genuine. You are not making up this pain .You are not trying to get someone’s attention or pity.
It ends with a wave of nausea and regret. Nausea from pushing your emotions deep into a temporary abyss, only to be released the next time someone announces their pregnancy.
The feelings of regret arise because you forgot the last time you were honest you were met with the same response by someone else and you promised yourself you would not open up to anyone again. Ever.
I have a group of people I speak to about my fertility journey .Including my husband this group is 4 people! I love them and trust them and feel comfortable speaking to them about it. If anyone else asks me about it I do my best to respond in a polite way because it’s usually coming from a good place.
I’ve been asked “How are things with the baby planning? You don’t mention it at all so I don’t know whether it’s a no go topic .If you don’t want to talk about it that’s ok”
A genuine question from a friend and I respond the best I can .Uncomfortable but fine. I can do this. Then she shows me her true intentions “So you have not given up?”
Say what! Repeat the f$$$!
No I have not f$$$ing given up.
Even if I want to give up I desperately want to love a child of my own and push on through. No I have not f$$$ing given up!
Instead I reply “it’s not in my control and if it’s meant to be it will happen and if not then that’s what’s meant to be”.
By the end of that short conversation I am heartbroken and exhausted.
I respond the only way I don’t how, like a sneaky bi$$$h “I’m enjoying my life in the meantime”.
I know this will shut her up because she does not want to hear about my travels, my spa days and other treats. She wants confirmation my life is empty and soul crushing. Sorry to disappoint.
Do you see me showing off about it! Do I make you feel my life is better than yours? No, because it’s not. Every person is on their own beautiful journey. The route may simply be different for each individual.
You don’t see me asking you “are you not taking a long haul holiday somewhere this year?” “Are you not buying a flashier car?”
Do I ask you the rude, inappropriate questions? No! Because it’s none of my f$$$ing business!
Each person is struggling! It’s so easy to be bad, to be lazy, and to be mean. Yet each day we wake up, pray, go to work, smile at the assholes that make us sad and genuinely try to be the best we can be.
We do not need a nudge to make things harder than they already are.


So these are just a few of the most ridiculous situations a person without a child is put through. Trust me there’s so many other conversations that will make you gasp but this is enough for today.
I wrote it because I was devastated that I was not pregnant this month and instead of the usual pain I felt fury. Fury that my pain is real but people think they have the right to discount it! Newsflash, you don’t!
Infertility is just another test in life, as is losing someone you love, losing a job, a marriage breaking up. Each situation has a different level of pain depending on the circumstances but the common factor is pain.
This blog would not be complete without a mention of the unsung heroes, the ones with the best hugs, the hearts of gold, the tear absorbers& snot wipers. Our husbands. They are usually navigating this journey without any guidance. Most men, especially in my culture don’t even speak about this with each other .Yet their “Daddy” instinct to protect kicks in and they do their best to protect us from the Baddies. I pray for them from the bottom of my heart. I pray for their success and joy.
Remember this the next time your instinct to be an asshole kicks in, babies are a gift from God. We have no control over it. God gives to whom he wills, when he wills. Stop making those who are on that journey have to answer for God’s plan.
We are normal human beings, living fulfilling lives, doing our best while being tested in a different way than you.
You have a choice, whether to be a comfort or another test in a person’s life. Choose wisely. Don’t be a d$$k!

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!