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].