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

50 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Cara..these babies are so lucky, they must be so loved.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for continuing to share this with us. How horrible for you to have to go through all this, but it's wonderful to know that you now have two babies.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are a phenomenal writer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This touches the hearts of so many women... your babies are so lucky and so loved, so inspiring for so many poeple, I know it is to me. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. you are a brilliantly stunning writer...this is such a beautiful, sad and hopeful story...lucky babies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know this story only too well, and its never an easy one to tell. Here in New Zealand endometriosis is finally becoming more talked about and it makes me happy to know that as a result many women won't have to go through hell alone or judged, the way I did and the way you have. I'm 26 weeks pregnant (finally!) and every day is such a blessing. It raises a certain awareness and appreciation about the fragility of health and life that many people don't get to experience. You are very strong, know that there are many women out there who share your story and its always inspiring!

    Thank you.
    (from the other side of the world)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Peony, my heart swells to know you have beautiful girls.

    I have no words for your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh my... I also have four scars that make a cross over me. That was 8 years ago... I have never been given an explanation of the possibilities of having children. I was considered to be too young at the time to be worried about such things (I was 21). But not a day goes by where it doesn't cross my mind.

    Your babies must be the most cherished in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so glad this story ends with two beautiful baby girls. They could not ask for a more courageous, lovely, and talented mama. x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my goodness, the more you write, the more I am convinced your daughters are absolute miracles.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh goodness... and now I am crying on the bus to work....

    Thank you for sharing your story. These stories need to be told so other women can know they are not alone.

    My love goes out to you and your beautiful family! Xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh my dear... I don't really know what to say other than I'm so glad this story has a happy ending x

    ReplyDelete
  14. SPOILER ALERT!!! (She has twins.)

    ReplyDelete
  15. How brave of you to share. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't think I could handle reading this if you were writing it as the build up to an "I'm pregnant" announcement. Knowing the ending makes it bearable. But since you & Nye didn't know the ending at the time...my dear friend, you are amazing for making it through all this. Absolutely amazing. xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  17. Augh. Honey. I admire your honesty, this is so heart-wrenching to read and I am so so sorry that you had to go through this. I am glad I know the end to the story, not that it in any way minimizes how awful these years must have been for you. You are an amazing writer, and an amazing woman.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I can't put into words how happy I am that you got your babies.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yes. Thank you.
    These issues surrounding fertility and pregnancy and the pain of it all are not talked about enough and almost never with such amazing words.

    ReplyDelete
  21. thank you for sharing there is hope. and i'm smiling at your happy ending - a beautiful set of gifts for this trauma.

    i didn't have the same happy ending but i'm fine now. i can so relate.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you again for sharing - and with such compelling writing, too! Your story serves as such an important reminder not to take life and health for granted. And it makes me all the more happy for you about those beautiful babies!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm a new reader, and didn't know about this until I followed the links to your first two pieces at the beginning of this post.

    Your story is exactly - EXACTLY - like mine. Nothing like getting told when you're 19 years old that if you want to have kids you'd better get started right away.

    It's been 9 years (and 1 surgery and 6 months of menopause-causing hormone therapy and taking the pill every day to avoid ever having a period) since then. My husband and I have started trying, thus far with no luck. I'm terrified we are in for the long haul.

    Your story is giving me hope today that there is a light (x2, perhaps?) at the end of the tunnel. I am so glad of your happy ending - no, your happy beginning! Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I just found your blog.. i told my daughter the name of your blog and she loved it.. they use the word peonies in the book pinkalicious!

    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. As Kristy said, I couldn't bear to read this if I didn't know the outcome. And I have absolutely no comprehension of how you bore it at the time. My heart goes out to the four of you. x

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh, I can't even imagine. I'm so glad you have your beautiful twins and I hope the doctors have managed to do something to help you as well, so that you aren't spending 3/4 of your time incapacitated.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It must feel abit surreal to finally have your two babies (especially two!). Your blog makes me laugh, and posts like this one...well they are pretty important, for you I'm sure, but also for us who follow you - congrats to you both for making it through. Together, all 4 of you!

    ReplyDelete
  28. well said, and shared bravely.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad your story has a happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Your story is so very touching. Congratulations on having survived all of that to be able to tell the tale and bring two beautiful little ones into your lives.

    ReplyDelete
  31. thank you for sharing. it makes me mad at your doctors, that they couldn't do more to ease your suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  32. appreciating your honesty about something so painful.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Such a happy ending! Or should I say beginning? It took me six years of near insanity but boy was it worth the needles, the drugs, the money, the stubbornness.

    And people around me fixated on the money we were spending, the same people who bought cars or jewelry and felt that now, that was worthwhile... funny.
    And boy has this made me and my marriage stronger. More than the obvious will come out of all this pain, you'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow. You are amazing. You're babies are so lucky to have you both.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Woah. Wasn't expecting to be sobbing into my tuna sandwich *quite* so violently. Thank goodness I know there's a happy ending, otherwise my lunch would be completely sodden.

    Agree wholeheartedly with comment No. 4

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you for being brave enough to write, tears have flowed every time I read it. You have given anyone who reads your post such understanding into what is such a cruel condition. I hope that a medical lecturer has read it so that they can share it with their students. It is so good to know and that you and Nye have your happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  37. It pierces my heart, this. Your story, your words. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Whoa. I'm sort of glad you're writing this after the girls are here, brave one.

    ReplyDelete
  39. A lover of your blog, your photos and your writing. And now you're enviable courage and honesty too!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I loved this post beyond reason. I wish I had known back then and sent you a million virtual hugs. I feel for Peonies and N of back then, and I'm so happy that this story has the happy ending we now know (colic excepted, of course, but this will soon sort itself out).

    Amazingly told, as well. I heart you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh, to go through all of this so young. Not fair. Happy ending though!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Cannot imagine how painful the journey was until you got to the happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  43. so sad and beautiful. love to you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. As if you photographs are not touching enough your words move me and bring tears. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thankyou so much for writing this Peonies! I am right in the middle of a similar experience (no happy endings yet, but Im still hoping), and I cannot express how much it helps to read these posts. I have been following your blog for years now and have always loved your writing and perspective, so to discover that you have had experiences similar to what is such a painful and tumultuous journey for me is incredibly heart warming (in a crazy kind of way!) - Again - THANKYOU for sharing so beautifully what I know is so difficult - and congratulations on your adorable babies!!.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I've just stumbled across your gorgeous blog, and ARGH, FINALLY a story that doesn't go: "so we started trying, and lo and behold, the next month we were pregnant! ta da!" (though of course I wish it were that easy for you). I was diagnosed late last year with PCOS, and told I couldn't conceive naturally, which was utterly devastating. I had NO idea such a thing could happen to me, mainly because you just don't hear people talk about having fertility problems. Particularly not if they're young, fit and otherwise healthy. I felt so incredibly angry and cheated.
    I steeled myself for many many months of fertility treatment, but I was lucky. I was diagnosed very quickly, sent straight to a good specialist, had plenty of tests, put on Clomid and fell pregnant on my second round (saw my baby's heartbeat for the first time yesterday hurrah hurrah hurrah). So I can't complain, it didn't take 4 years, and I'm so sorry it did for you.
    So thank you for your honesty and for sharing this journey. Instead of feeling cheated I feel lucky. And I'm just thrilled you have 2 beautiful girls. About to trawl through your blog now, fun!
    (sorry, essay)

    ReplyDelete

play nice.