Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Four years minus nine months, cont.

(I didn't finish it before the babies are born. I will no longer set myself unrealistic deadlines. Here are parts 1 and 2)

And so we start trying. Not right away, we give it six months. Six months to get our lives in order, to contemplate parenthood. Six months to finish art school and sell the flat that is perfect for two but absolutely not big enough for three. Six months to talk about how we will raise our child, dream about the adventures that we're going to have, research how much our baby will cost us financially and have a blazing row outside the pet shop about what we will call it. Our dreams are so vivid that they feel real, tangible, and every night we fall asleep with our hands resting on my belly. We are ready. We are sure. We are going to have a baby very soon. .

But we don't. Six months later we have finished art school, sold the flat, bought a new one with a Baby Room and a park on the doorstep, started a business that we hope will support the new family we are making, and nothing. We had been told that those first three months of trying after treatment for the endometriosis are crucial, as with every month that passes my body will get more damaged and our chances ever smaller.

By the end of those three months I am sinking.

I start playing games with myself; If I do/eat/think/don't do x,y,z then this will definitely be the month I get pregnant. Desperate, chaotic games with no rules.

In Spring of 2007, aged 22, my consultant tells me I'm not releasing eggs any more. He tells me to go on a drug that stimulates egg release and it will all be fine. Actually, he tells Nye that if I go on the drug it will all be fine. As if I'm an animal Nye has taken to the vet. But I'm in no state to start taking a drug that ups the chances of multiple pregnancy and is likely to make the endometriosis worse. I'm in no state for anything. I ache with anger, loss and disbelief. I cry every day. I stop talking and I take to getting up an hour after we go to bed to stare at the computer screen in the dark, hoping that it might show me an answer. We have stopped trying. There isn't any point.

Meanwhile the pain is worsening. As well as the burning, clawing, screeching period pains there is a continuous twisting, tugging ache throughout my pelvis. A reminder with every move I make that I'm unlikely to ever get pregnant. The endometriosis has spread to my bowels and I pass out when I go to the loo. Cysts grow on my ovaries then pop, spraying blood over my organs like hot oil from a frying pan. With each month that passes I spend a week in bed and another in a haze of exhaustion. I spend a third tortured with hormonal highs and lows and on that fourth blessed week I'm able to function, catching up on a life missed. I look forward to that week all month.

I need to see the doctor again but the thought of another appointment with The Vet sends me into a tailspin and without question my new GP refers me to Dr G, a different gynaecologist at the same hospital. He books me in for another operation to 'see what's going on in there' with the view to us recommencing trying to conceive after everything has been 'tidied up.' We leave our appointment with glimmers of hope stirring inside us, we have finally met a doctor who inspires confidence.

In January of 2008 I come round alone in a hospital bed. There is a new scar on my stomach. Two of the previous three have been reopened. I notice that they now form a cross with my injured womb at its centre. Curtains pulled around me, to block the eyes if not the ears of the other women on the ward, I am told that my tubes are blocked and my ovaries are decaying like overripe fruit left in the sun. “If you ever want to have children” I am told, in a halfway place between sedation and awareness, “then you will need to have IVF. The waiting list is two years.” And with the quiet swish of the curtain that was that.

*photo by Pacocamino