Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a mum. When it came time to make that decision to start trying I had no idea what was before me. I thought it would be simple and my excitement, hope and belief in falling was never in doubt. Everyone else does it right? All my friends had no problems so why should I? How wrong I was.
After many failed attempts at falling naturally in my first and second marriages, countless natural therapies, trying old wives tales, eating a special diet and so on and so on, we finally decided it was time for medical intervention. After tests we were told that we would need to do IVF. I was devastated, petrified and in shock. The thing that I still can not get my head around today is that there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to fall pregnant. Unknown infertility they said. I do suffer from endometriosis but that was burnt away and we were told it does not stop anyone from falling pregnant.
So moving forward we started our IVF journey which in itself was an absolute emotional and physical rollercoaster. Ten IVF cycles, various different drugs and types of cycles. No pregnancy for the first 8 rounds. Once I had turned 38 they started putting two embryos in instead of one to up our chances of at least one taking. Every cycle I would only get about 5 eggs and not all of those survived.
On our 9th cycle we got the phone call we had been waiting for saying, “You’re pregnant!”. Oh to hear those words. We were ecstatic! We cried, we laughed, we jumped up and down we hugged. I can still feel the rush of all those feelings now.
I loved being pregnant, I loved the feeling of being pregnant, the feeling of the baby inside of me, the feeling of wanting to protect and nurture already there. Even the feeling of nausea because it told me our baby was real and I was really pregnant and that I was really feeling all these feelings. I loved that I needed to keep running to the toilet and wanting to eat everything. I loved touching my stomach and talking to our baby. I loved reading at what stage our baby was at and how big he/she was and that he/she already had his/her little hairs on his/her arms and his/her organs and that he/she was depending on me and my body to take care of him/her.
Then anxiety kicks in. Hoping our baby will survive and we will make it to the point of holding our baby in our arms. IVF pregnancies have a higher risk of miscarriage. Stay positive but at the same time be realistic and be prepared. No stay positive. Mind games back and forth in my head.
It’s Friday. My mum and I head out to look at baby stuff. I am 2 months pregnant but I just want to look. I won’t buy anything until I am over 3 months. I can’t wait. I am too excited about this baby and it has been years of waiting to experience these moments. I go to the bathroom while we are out and there is spotting. I am worried but try not to show it. A little spotting can be normal. I go home, ring my gynaecologist and I am reassured it is fine and it may not mean anything. I am told to rest.
That night I go to the bathroom before bed and this time it is not good. I ask my husband to ring an ambulance. I am taken to emergency and my cervix is checked which is all fine. Because it is the weekend I can not have an ultrasound to check the baby but the cervix is a good sign and I am told that it is all ok. I already have an ultrasound booked in Monday morning with my gynecologist. This was to be the first time I will see my baby on the screen. So I have to wait all weekend, not knowing what is happening and hanging onto hope that our baby is still alive. Excruciating!
Monday morning. Laying on the bed in the doctor’s office waiting to see if I will see my baby for the first time. My husband is not with me because he couldn’t be but my mum is. The doctor starts and I have hope. It seems like an eternity and then the words, “I’m so sorry but there is nothing there.” Tears fall from my eyes. Tears fall from my mother’s eyes. The doctor is gentle in voice and gently rests his hand on my arm saying again, “I’m sorry”.
We leave and I have to go and have a blood test. I can not stop crying and my heart is heavy, broken, I can’t breathe, I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. How can the universe be so cruel? We are good people. We have done all those cycles, we loved our baby, our baby was alive, inside of me, I could feel him or her. There may have been two. Have I just lost two babies or one? I will never know. How can our baby or babies just be gone? This does not make sense. My head is spinning and I am in shock. I stare, glazed eyes, crying. I am home now. Curled up in bed. Sobbing. Holding my stomach. My husband is crying. He is brave and rings who needs to be told.
Following the miscarriage I am desperate to get our baby back. To get that feeling of being pregnant back and the feeling of having a baby inside of me. We wait a month and do another IVF cycle. It does not work. I am exhausted, I am now deeply depressed, I have very high anxiety levels and feel like I can not function. I keep looking for answers. There are none. We have run out of money so no more IVF cycles.
I move forward the best I can. I go back to work but it is a daily struggle. I see pregnancy, babies and mums everywhere. I have friends and family members falling pregnant. I eventually start to think about how I can use all these built up motherly, nurturing instincts bubbling up inside of me. I decide months down the track to study my Certificate III in childcare. I then end up getting a traineeship in an early learning centre. I do not know if this will make me or break me.
I go into the babies room the first day and I am trying hard to hold it together. By the time I get home I am thinking, “What have I done?” I walk in the door and burst into tears. I am strong and go back the next day. And the next, and the next. It gets better and I Iove working with the children. I am then bullied by the director. I stay to finish my study and then Ieave a very toxic environment even though I loved working with the children and it is completely healing and therapeutic for me. I become a nanny.
During this time my dad offers us the money to have one more try at IVF. If this does not work then it will have to be accepted that this is just not going to happen for us. It does not work.
We look into surrogacy and adoption. These do not pan out for us. Foster care is looked into but we decide it is not for us.
My husband suggests I do Family Day Care from home. I look into this and I now run a successful Family Day Care business. I am a stay at home kind of mum, educating, loving and caring for others children and I am getting what I need. It will never replace being a biological mum and I will never get over my miscarriage but I have gotten to a point where I am accepting of the situation and I have found a way to use my mothering instincts.
I also now run a social group for women without children after finding social situations so isolating especially when you are the only one without children. I thought, “There has to be other women out there that I can make friends with in the same situation”. I would have been happy with one but I now have many beautiful and inspiring women in my life and a group where I feel like I belong. I am now 49 years old. I am happy and content but I still have days where I cry, I still feel the pain, the loss the heartbreak and I know that I am not alone. I hope this helps anyone who is struggling and I hope it inspires you also