Infertility diagnosis

I’d wanted to be a mum since my early twenties, pretty much as soon as I realised, I’d fallen in love with my now husband. I would dream about giving birth, the baby being placed in my arms. I’d see myself looking down at my baby, the look of pure elation on my face. I would feel the rush of love for my baby. Watch myself feeding the baby, cuddling him (it was always a him in my dreams), the absolute love of my life. It was awful waking up and realising it wasn’t real.

I had always imagined being a mum who would always listen to their child, help and support them no matter what. I wanted to be the complete opposite of how my mother had been with me. I would hug them, tell them how important they were, tell them every day how much I loved them. No child of mine would ever feel alone, unloved or unwanted. I would never want my child to suffer in silence or be anything like me.

After a year of trying for a baby I started to worry it would never happen. Due to the irregular periods, it was difficult to know when I was due to menstruate. I lost count of the times I stared at a negative pregnancy test, each one pulling at my heart, the mental angst so strong it physically hurt. It’s hard enough to be a woman and have a menstrual cycle, but when you are desperate to conceive, each time your period starts you go through an emotional rollercoaster. I was always someone who was emotional at “that time of the month”, but now I would sob for a couple of days. With every month that past my desperation grew.

Go away and lose weight

My periods became very irregular, I would often go several months without a period, then I would bleed for several weeks. My periods became very painful and heavy, when I say heavy, I mean ridiculously heavy, as in I had to take a change of clothes out with me and sit on black bin bags in my car.

I was referred to gynaecology at my local hospital. I explained the issues I was experiencing with heavy and irregular periods and how painful my periods had become. I was basically told I was over-weight; go away and lose weight and I may well conceive. How rude! I have many words I would like to use to explain how this consultant made me feel and to describe him, but they would not be the most pleasant of words – use your imagination.

As a result, I left the hospital in tears, defeated and with the lowest self-esteem. It’s all because I am fat, so my fault I cannot conceive.

What annoys me the most about the gynaecologists I have encountered over the years, is the fact they have all been men. I mean they have no idea how rubbish it is having periods that are “normal”, how an earth can they understand what is like when you have problems with your periods?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

A couple of years later I began to have horrendous PMT. I would wake up normal, go to work and at some point, during the day would evolve into an angry, upset monster. I would have overwhelming urge to hurt myself or others. I’d have a strong desire to kill myself, which made the doctors conclude I was depressed, yet as soon as my period started, I returned to my normal self. When you have a label of depression, it is hard to shrug it off, to get people to listen to you and take you seriously.

Eventually we paid to see a specialist at a fertility clinic. He did some tests including a scan and advised that I have PCOS. My ovaries had in excess of 40 cysts in each and I would need surgery to remove them.

A couple of years later I began to have horrendous PMT. I would wake up normal, go to work and at some point, during the day would evolve into an angry, upset monster. I would have overwhelming urge to hurt myself or others. I’d have a strong desire to kill myself, which made the doctors conclude I was depressed, yet as soon as my period started, I returned to my normal self. When you have a label of depression, it is hard to shrug it off, to get people to listen to you and take you seriously.

Eventually we paid to see a specialist at a fertility clinic. He did some tests including a scan and advised that I have PCOS. My ovaries had in excess of 40 cysts in each and I would need surgery to remove them.

I would never carry a baby

The surgery was carried out by the same consultant in an NHS hospital a couple of months later.

The consultant was rather blasé, as he sat me down and explained that due to the PCOS and polyps in my fallopian tubes I would never conceive naturally. My husband also had fertility issues and so IVF wasn’t an option. He explained that our only option would be Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which given out test results he predicted we would have a 5% chance. I was amazed how simple he made it sound, only 5% chance so we would probably need 5 – 6 attempts at £6000 per attempt. No mention of the phycological impact on me, at each failed attempt. But that would never actually happen, I didn’t have the money to have one attempt and the odds were far too low for my liking.

I struggled to come to terms with the news it was highly unlikely I would become a mum. I took a few months off work, shut myself away from the world, rarely left the house. Once I returned to work, thing didn’t get easier. I would notice mums with their young children everywhere I went – supermarkets were the worst. A few my colleagues were pregnant, and I hated the fact they would try not to talk about the pregnancy around me. Could feel their awkwardness as they told me they were expecting, whilst I told them how please I was for them. And I was, just so upset for myself at the same time.

Follow up appointments

I would see the consultant every few months at the hospital, to monitor and manage the symptoms of PCOS. Every appointment brought me great sorrow, because my clinic was next to the ultrasound clinic. I would always be kept waiting for at least an hour or two, to see the consultant. I would sit and watch expectant mums being called and leaving a short while later with the envelope containing the scans.

Only people in the same situation as I, can possibly understand how it feels. People who have children or don’t want children have no idea the pain and longing you experience when you cannot achieve the most natural thing and became a mother.

Treatment

Over the years I have received many treatments, mainly for the severe PMT. All of them distressing as it would bring home the fact my becoming a mum would never happen. I had months of Zoladex injections, which puts you in a medically induced menopause which could potentially result in the menopause – this was in my mid-thirties! Each month I would attend the hospital for the injection in my stomach. One day I was sat listening to two women who were there because their coil had moved. They chatted freely about not wanting more kids. I sat listening, swallowing back the tears, what they didn’t want, I wanted desperately.

After the Zoladex it was inserting a Merina coil, again hard as frequently used for contraception. One hospital tried to fit the coil, but failed miserably, stating my womb was too small and tilted. It is hard to separate the physical and mental health; they were both impacted in equal measure.

I think one of the hardest and cruelest blows, was when I was told if I had already had children, I would be offered a hysterectomy, but because I haven’t, they would not be able to do it because of my age.

It doesn’t get easier

As time goes on, I cry less, I’m able to hold a baby without having a meltdown and people don’t worry when they tell me they are pregnant – mainly because my friends are all to old now. So, time does help, but the pain has never completely left me, it is just deeper and duller and affects me less often. Then I got to the age where all my friends started to become grandmothers and I went through all the things I would miss out on as a grandmother. It was the same pain of not being a mother all over again.  I had a period of approx. 2 years where this affected me. I appear to be moving past this phase at long last.

I feel like there is a gaping hole in my life, one that can never be filled. I will never truly get over it and I will never feel like I am a real woman because fundamentally how can I be?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.