Struggling to Conceive
As my boys reach that magical age of 5 I often find myself looking at them wistfully and remembering just how much I wished for them every night in my dreams. They really are the most incredible gift we’ve ever been given – and one I will never take for granted.
My husband and I have been married for 15 years and from the get go we knew we wanted a family. It was a natural progression. I remember the first pregnancy test I took like it was yesterday. We had been travelling around Europe and we were staying at a relatives’ house. My period was half a day late so I must be pregnant! Upon doing the test I was elated to see 2 lines! I ran screaming from the bathroom holding the test in my hand. We all jumped up and down like screaming banshees. Until a cousin said “Let me see the test.”
“Sure” I proudly replied “look, 2 lines!”
“Where?” she said.
I grabbed the test out of her hands. There it was. One line. Where did the other line go? And right there began the battle for that elusive second line. I was 24.
(No, I didn’t imagine that second line. After reading the instructions on the kit it clearly stated that 2 lines will appear instantly and one will fade if you’re not pregnant. The world’s cruellest pregnancy test!)
From that day on, no matter how hard we tried, how relaxed we were, how much we didn’t think about it- it was no use. That second line was still eluding us. And as is always the case – when you’re trying to fall pregnant and everyone else around you is. It was like everywhere I turned I’d bump into baby bellies and prams.
When a friend would tell me over coffee that they’re pregnant I would break into a sweat and mumble something like “Oh, is that the time? I really must go home and clip my toenails.” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be around anything to do with babies. In fact I convinced myself I didn’t even want a baby! Except there was a secret stash of baby clothes in my cupboard that said otherwise.
I became obsessive. My poor husband would get frantic calls at work with me screaming “Where are you? Hurry up! I’m ovulating!!”
He would describe me as that woman from Alien that wanted to conceive as quickly as possible. He was spot on.
There was no other option. We had to try IVF. Our clinical diagnosis for not being able to conceive was ‘unexplained infertility’. Not good enough- I needed an explanation. I saw acupuncturists, psychics, and naturopaths – heck I even went to see a Brazilian baby doctor. In fact I went to see her many times- she would take me into a dark room and put some crazy laser lights on and tell me that she could see many children around me. (I was a school teacher). She even prescribed some weird jumping herbs that I had to mix with a shot of vodka each night. I didn’t trust myself with the herbs, as they cost $600 a jar – so my poor sister was relegated to being my fertility bartender each night. Did they help? Not with conceiving, but I’ve never felt so energetic in all my life. I still wonder if those ‘herbs’ were legal.
Any woman who has been down the IVF path knows that it’s a secret society. Early morning appointments before work. Blood tests. Injections. Drugs. Counselling. Phone calls. Mood swings. And hope. Hope is really all that we have that keeps us trying month after month. Each month I would feel a tingling in my stomach, tender breasts, nausea – everything that would indicate that this time would be different. And then with one visit to the toilet all our dreams would come crashing down. Then off we’d go again – month and after month after month…
Before I knew it I was in my 30’s and still not a mother. By this stage I had changed IVF doctors and had fallen pregnant. We were due to have our first scan at 10 weeks. We were so excited that we could hardly get to the doctors fast enough. Looking back now – everything felt like a blur, like a bad dream. All I remember are the words… “no hearbeat.”
No heartbeat. No heartbeat. My husband had to make the calls to all our friends and family that were waiting for some news. No heartbeat. That was all.
When something like that happens you convince yourself it’s your fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked up that heavy box. Wasn’t I resting enough? Did I forget my medication? Did I forget my vitamins? What? What did I do wrong this time?
But just like every other time, we picked ourselves up and tried again and again and again.
Six months later we were pregnant. We were due for our first scan again and I was so nervous I could hardly breathe. All I kept saying over and over in my head was heartbeat…heartbeat. And then I heard those words that make me cry everytime I think about them. “Chrystal, look there’s 2 heartbeats. You’re having twins”. 2 heartbeats…2 heartbeats…that’s all I remember…2 heartbeats!
So 5 years later those 2 heartbeats have given us more joy and happiness than I ever thought possible. They have given me faith and belief that dreams really do come true.
Mother of twins, loving wife and vintage tragic.
A child of the 80s who loves pop culture, Danish design and vegemite toast with honey.
Loves fashion, reading autobiographies and has a knack for turning trash to treasure.
Chrystal’s honest reflections are an insight into her colourful and at times crazy world.
You can follow her blog at chrystalovevintage.wordpress.com.