Tuesday, 13 February 2007

My IVF History

I guess it's a reflection of my perception of motherhood, that when people ask 'do you have children?' I answer 'no', even though I have 3 step-children. If I ever do fall pregnant, everyone will be shocked because I have always acted so nonchalant about having my own. Behind the cool exterior is a world of pain [last 3 words said in a loud echoey voice a la Richard Stubbs on Melbourne 774 radio].

I first knew that there was a problem around 1994, when I first actively tried to get pregnant. Gave up for a few years then tried again around 1997-99, still no luck and husband-number-one was not interested in finding out why. Got divorced, and everyone said things like 'well at least you didn't have children' or 'you didn't fall because he wasn't the right man for you', both very comforting.....

Met my soulmate, husband-number-two, around 2002 and started trying immediately. In 2003 we went and had all the lovely fertility tests. Now I'm sure the main purpose of these tests is to desensitise you for the IVF process, I mean there is no room for modesty once you're on that road. Lets start with the hysterosalpingogram [where they push a catheter through the cervix into the uterus and spray dye up into the fallopian tubes, if the cervix thing didn't hurt the dye trying to make its way out of the body sure did]. Or the lovely 'dildo cam' - I have lost count how many times I have enjoyed that piece of equipment. And yeah ok, there's nothing glam about spitting into a jar in a room full of old K-Mart bra catalogues either - but at least no one was watching him. Anyhoo, nothing wrong, try another 12 months.

In 2005, we endured three GIFT procedures, all negative outcomes. On the first one my got-something-to-prove ovaries reacted strongly to the drugs that stimulate multiple egg growth and produced 24 of the slimy suckers. Great, except that left me with Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. With GIFT they stimulate the ovaries the same as IVF, but instead of fertilising them into embryos in a lab, they just slosh a couple of the eggs and the sperm together and put them back into a fallopian tube to work it out on their own. Sounds simple but apparently this takes several hours, requires three incisions and a abdominal cavity full of gas which hurts like hell on the way out [preferred route seems to be the shoulder?!]

If anyone tries to tell you that GIFT is less invasive than IVF - do not believe them! IVF egg collection was a relief, no incisions, no gas, no pain.... yea. Still no baby, but a diagnosis of sorts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome [PCOS]. It means that cycsts on my rebellious ovaries muck up my body's natural hormonal messages and prevent me from ovulating normally, I think, but don't quote me. My Dr keeps going on about how the new medication must be helping my irregular periods, facial hair and obesity - none of which I suffer from?!

We did our first full IVF stimulated cycle last year, a Frozen Embryo Transfer in January and are on to our 2nd stim cycle [at Aus$3,700 a pop, we hope we won't need another].

Introduction to the evil stepmonster

I think that my step-children are joking when they call me evil. But then people have called me deluded before.

Most of the time I am really very nice to them. I just shrug when they won't eat my food because "it's not the same as Mum's", and I very politely suggest they wait until the time comes when they tell me "Mum says I can finish school at the end of Year 9" (aged 15 for non-aussies). I bite my tongue when the evil stepmonster wants to yell obscenities about what an un-medicated psychopathic banshee of questionable intelligence their mother is, and if they don't eat their dinner it will be forced into them during the night!

At night I dream of all the things the evil stepmonster would do and say if she could only get away with it. My husband [a kind-hearted soul whom I adore and could not live without] loves those little buggers to death and doesn't like to rock the boat with the ex-wife [because she is a PSYCHO and takes it out on the kids!]. So if I was evil all the time, despite what he says, I would lose the battle. But evil will not be completely silenced.

Someone once told me that if you are thinking of opening a Bed & Breakfast, you should first invite your most annoying and demanding relative to stay for a month and try waiting on them hand and foot whilst smiling sweetly and pointing out the areas many tourist attractions. One might also wish to try a test like this before embarking on the role of step-parent. It would go something like this; find an angry child who shows an obvious dislike to you [teenagers would be especially good for this purpose] and lock yourself in a confined space with them for a week.

But seriously, I adore them, I do, but I could wring their scrawny necks and most of the time I like that they don't live with us full time. On the other hand the less time they are with us the more time they have to spend with the screaming banshee that is biologically their mother [and as thus far more superior in species to that of their father in the eyes of the Australian Family Court - but lets not go there just yet].