Some many people have come up to say to me, Oh you are so brave! You are so strong! My little heart swells with pride for a bit and then it comes back down to earth with a loud thud. Because really, if I want to be truthful with myself, I am NOT BRAVE at all.
I didn’t choose to go on this infertility journey, I never asked to be part of a fertility challenged couple. I didn’t put my hand up and say “I’ll do this for the good of everyman!” (More like screw everyman, just get that sperm into the egg already) I didn’t put on my armour and went about it in a swashbuckling way. I didn’t charge headlong into this without fear.
It was more of a whirlwind affair, me and infertility. Unfortunately, as with many illicit relationships and one night stands, there are consequences. One moment I was told our chances of conceiving naturally are very low, the next a packet of little white pills (Clomid, nothing illegal) was shoved into my hands and I was told to ingest them faithfully. Had a fat needle plunged into my arm 12 days later and then tadah! I was sprawled across the uncomfortable bed, meeting the speculum for the very first time and feeling the catheter make its way up Madam Hoochie.
I didn’t have time to think about it, I just went with the flow. I didn’t have time to dwell on how unpleasant the state of affairs was, I didn’t have time to decide if our bank account could sustain this chain of events.
More importantly, I didn’t mourn our ability to procreate the natural way.
And guess what? You can’t mourn! Because tick tock tick tock the clock is reminding you every second along the way that you are getting older! Your eggs are getting older! The sperm cannot survive on their own for more than an hour! Rush! Rush! Rush! IUI #1! #2! Heck, #7!
Evolution is a bitch. And most definitely male.
I’m not brave. I whimpered when Mr Thick stuck the needle into my tummy even though my poor doctor reassured me a million times beforehand that it wasn’t going to hurt. (It didn’t.) I cringed during each and every IUI even though everybody else said that it felt like nothing but a mere pap smear. (Everybody = forummers = liars). I yelped when that stupid injection was stuck into my bare ass. (It HURTS! Also, I have no ass.) I cried when I was told that it was time to move on to the I, the V and the F (No shit.)
Look, there are many women who have gone through a lot, lot worse than I have. Five, six, nine IVFs and still going strong. And they probably don’t complain as much as I do. What can I say? I studied Theatre Studies and Drama for my A’Levels and, mind you, scored a stinkin’ A for it (though I highly suspect many of my illustrious peers couldn’t believe my grade, I was really terrible at it).
I’ve accepted that this – the jabs and the scans and the meds – is my reality. And it’s not bravery that allows me to do so. It’s fear – the fear of a childfree future. And the older I get, the closer that reality gets.
And so I persevere.