Where did my innocence go?

Before the hubster and I started the long journey to trying to have a child, we married thinking that we would never have children. Our lives would be full with our fur-kid. I started up a pet care business and life was full with scuba diving, travel and step-children.

Then one day, the hubster proposed. I am talking about full-on getting down on one knee and proposed that I be the mother of his children. He had done his research and was confident we could still have children despite his vasectomy. I need only to look into the hubster’s eyes for me to say yes and I was suddenly filled of dreams and hope for a life with our children.

These dreams became more of a reality when we eventually spoke to a fertility specialist who stated we should have no problems conceiving. A TESA and IFV combined with ICSI would be all that would be required. So in November 2007 the hubster and I started the process of trying to have children – the scientific way. It was a failure. We did not even have enough quality embryo’s to transfer. Not one to give up, we attempted again in March 2008 with only two embryo’s suitable for transfer on Day 3, though with quite a bit of fragmentation. That too was a failure.

At our review, we were told that the only way we could ever conceive a child would be to have donor sperm. We were not ready for this just yet, and therefore changed clinic and our treatment protocol. In July 2008, I sunk into major depression and was hospitalised for two weeks after attempting suicide unsuccessfully. In October 2008 I separated from the hubster and focussed on falling pregnant the natural way. The only problem with my plan is that EVERY man I met had a vasectomy!!

The hubster begged for us to get together again. I was still in love with him, but in love with the idea of having children more. He promised that we would do whatever it takes to try for children and in February 2009 we were reunited. In April 2009 the hubster and I attempted our third IVF with the exact same results as the first two attempts. We sat down together and agreed that if we were to have children, then we needed to consider donor sperm. The hubster said he already had two of his own children and would be happy to raise a child which wasn’t of his genes.

In April 2010, the hubster and I attempted our fourth round of IVF with donor sperm. The results were exactly the same as our first three rounds. After all the tears, I decided to let go of our plans to have children and started living a different type of life. I explored my sexuality more with both women and men, I drank obsessively, I partied. No matter what I did however, I could not replace the feelings of wanting to be a mother.

In September 2010 I again had a major depressive episode, but it would swing between high highs in the morning and low lows by the afternoon. I took out a prescription of antidepressants, but by November I was back in hospital. I had had a major reaction to the antidepressants and my psychiatrist diagnosed me with what my parents had always suspected – bipolar disorder. I didn’t attempt suicide this time, but was cutting myself in order to stop the pain in my head.

In June 2011, I broke down to the hubster and told him I knew I hadn’t been much of a wife and wanted to be a better person. I put aside all the drinking, all the exploring my sexuality and started living a life I was finally proud of. In November 2011, I asked the hubster if he would allow us to attempt one more try of IVF. He said yes and by December I was back seeing our fertility specialist and making plans for an April 2012 attempt. This time, the focus was improving my egg quality. There was a very small improvement to embryo quality – but the end result was the same. I was not pregnant. Now I am facing the biggest dilemma I have ever faced. Do I give up? Those words have never even entered my vocabulary before. My family and loved ones are on edge. They are all waiting to see how I will react to this news. The truth is, I am no different to June 2011. I am now properly medicated for my misdiagnosed bipolar disorder – bringing about much harmony in my mind and in my life.

Part of me has died throughout this whole process. I never imagined that I would be the kind of person obsessed with ovulation charts, basal temperature, follicle counts, egg quality, DHEA, Human Growth Hormone, Gonal F, egg collection, Pregnyl, Prednisolone, diets, acupuncture, fish oil, pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy tests. And even more, agreeing to donor sperm.

I have always imagined telling the husband that we were pregnant and seeing the delight on his face. It terrifies me that I may have to let this dream go and forever be slightly envious of every woman with child. That I must always turn the leaflets of baby items over without a glance for fear of bringing up the turmoil that seeing these items brings. That I will never be happy to go to a baby shower.

When is enough enough? Have we reached that point yet? God, give me strength.