Our track marks are located on our stomachs, not our arms. Our highs consist of the promise of large follicles, the potential of a new cycle, the excitement of been given the go ahead with an IUI or IVF. Our lows consist of a single line on a pregnancy test, unwelcome PMS symptoms and being surprised by other couples’ pregnancy announcements.
Infertility treatment is like a drug addiction. We take multiple drugs to find the perfect fix. We try the craziest combinations of drugs and cheaper alternatives like pineapple core, pomegranate juice, expensive vitamin regimes, intense fitness programs and homeopathic/Eastern medicine to increase our chances of getting the ultimate high – pregnancy. But the hangover leaves us bloated, depressed and with a dull ache in the region between the heart and the uterus.
Infertility treatment is like a gambling addiction. We keep on pulling the lever of the slot machine, knowing that our chances are near to impossible. The little wins we get along the way keep our hope just alive enough, to crawl on the floor, back to the black jack table where we bet our life’s savings in one final wave of optimism. We lose it all, we get up, dust ourselves off, cover our swollen eyes with makeup, rummage for coins and return to the bright lights of the fertility clinic, the beeps and music of the sonar and X-ray machines encouraging us to spin the wheel just once more.
Infertility treatment is like an adrenaline addiction. The rollercoaster is slowly creaking up the tracks, the fear is numbing and then… ovulation takes place and the adrenaline rush is absolutely exhilarating. It reminds you of how brave you are, what it feels like to be alive. Then two weeks pass during which you’re edgy, irritable, emotional and paranoid. You need to get out, DO something! Drive a race car, swing from a bridge, go for a scan… You develop severe FOMO and the only thing you can talk or think about is which procedure you’re trying next, which countries you’ll travel to, to adopt foreign babies and what the topic of your next video blog about infertility will be.
Infertility treatment can consume us and place our life in permanent limbo. We lose friends and family, our confidence, our will, our sanity, our husbands. I now understand that women go for 12 IVFs. I’m already planning how I will improve my next cycle. Friday is the day of our pregnancy test but I honestly don’t think our first IUI was successful. I have full blown PMS symptoms and have mistakenly confused these symptoms for pregnancy symptoms before. I recognise these symptoms of withdrawal and remind myself to draw a line, a deadline. Two more IUIs, 1 IVF. We have until the end of the year. Then life will have to go on. I have to stop before I become another jaded junkie, with a tick in my eye; an alcoholic with an unquenchable thirst or a Diva on painkillers.
But then again, maybe I’ll just give it one more go… I can stop whenever I want to. I promise.