Finding hope in my scars…

To fertility and beyond… I’m part of the 12 % married woman who struggles with infertility. There, I said it!

For years I struggled with this all by myself, so ashamed, so humiliated, and the day I opened up my mouth, and said something about it, I realized that I’m not alone. There’s millions of women like me, and they’re stories are pretty much the same. So if you struggle with infertility, please don’t hold it in, talk, find support and solutions. I’m here if you need a friend with working ears who has had every hormone injection possible, has been poked by infertility doctors in different countries, and last but not least have her hopes raised and smashed every 4 weeks.

I’m all zoned out on my bed from pain killers and agonising tummy pain after my hysteroscopy, and removal of endometriosis. I’m staring at all the scars on my belly… and not only the scars on surface, but the scars deep inside. Trying to be super exited about this next step, but cannot help getting also a bit nervous. For crying out loud, half a decade of trying to conceive, failed IVF’s, IUI’s, etc. I should be a pro by now not letting it get to me.

But I guess I’m like a good old deep fried Camembert, all gangsta outside, but silky smooth inside…

It doesn’t seem to get easier. It gets harder, time is running out… And I’m finding myself thinking “how much more?”. How much longer until we get to hold our little one in our arms? How many “Congratulations on your baby” -cards must I send while limboing between excitement and jealousy? Its our turn to be on receiving side of these words…

I know that I’m not alone with this problem, the hospitals are filled with women like me, looking for answers, living their lives trapped in an emotional rollercoaster ,feeling inadequate, broken, guilty, scared and jealous. Covered in scars…

The scars on my belly, they are my battle field with infertility… Every time I have a failed IVF or I get my period it’s like getting cut from an injury, I “bleed”, I scream, I cry… Nothing else exist, but the pain. But I have my loved ones around me to put a “bandaid” on it, to stop me from “bleeding”. And eventually a scab forms above the injury, this strong exterior to protect the more sensitive self underneath.

Somedays I’m filled with hope and I can deal with the “wound being touched” by comments and questions, but on worse days, all it needs is news of unplanned pregnancies by friends to rip the scab off. As the new skin under the scab strengthens, it becomes less sensitive, and life gets back to normal. But the scar always remain, amongst the other scars, it’s there to remind me of my journey. We learn to live with them, we learn to accept them. And we cannot endlessly keep hiding them away with make up, they’re part of us, part of the the way we look. And even though our scars are different, they have one thing is common… No matter how they look, or how much they hurt, the pain will eventually go away… that’s the beauty with scars.

At this very moment while I’m looking at my post-surgery scars, I see strength! I don’t see ugly wounds of misfortune nor failure around my belly, but I see the determination of going all the way for something that matters the world to me, I see dedication, love, willpower and passion. I see the structure of my character, I see my story…

The road of infertility is hard, but like any other road, you gotta keep moving forward, you must not lose the sight of destination because of the obstacles. There will always be unexpected suffering and disappointments, but you need to remember that you are in charge of your happiness and how you react to any of these challenges. You must not let these struggles affect your kindness, compassion and love toward yourself nor your partner.

Yours sincerely

Diana

Finding miracles amongst the struggle

 


Today I’m not gonna write about something delightful, like unicorns eating cotton candy or surfing mermaids. Instead I’m going to write about sadness and how to rise back on your feet, when life has knocked you down.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” – Kahlil Gibran

I have been to hell and back during the past months and someone smart once said that writing about your struggles helps. So I’m gonna open an ice-cream tub and pour my heart out….

We all have these seasons in life, when nothing goes right and we tend to hit the rock bottom. Well my past months have been falling down to rock bottom, but my rock bottom has been filled with sharp glass and hungry alligators…

So I’ll just start with a little update. Me and my husband have been trying to start a family for past four years, so there has been a fair bit of heartache once a month, there has been treatments by modern medical science, about five different world famous alternative healers, some “witches”, tibetan monks, stones, oils, needles, etc.

You name it, I’ve done it…

It has been a struggle that I don’t go a day without thinking about.

I’ve had so many failed treatments, IUI’s IVF’s,  hardcore medication, surgeries and more medication.

So basically I have been the punching bag of the universe, literally. It’s hard to believe that I’m not, after you read this.

For the past five months I’ve been through two IVF treatments and one FET treatment. Back in my home country, Estonia, where I was born. Yeah, it has been fun time! The first one started out just fine. I followed the program, loyally, stabbing myself daily with needles straight into my belly daily, as we IVF patients do… eggs were growing, everything looked good, My husband flew over from Australia, where we currently live, to do his bit in a cup, and then started the waiting game, two weeks of praying, chanting and hoping it will work out.. As my husband had to fly back to work, I stayed in Estonia with my mom, visiting every temple, church and monastery we could, begging for a good luck. When the phone call from the hospital finally came, with, yet again, devastating news: ” Sorry, the results are negative”… My  heart exploded into millions of pieces, like so many times before, I couldn’t breath and my mom was just holding me, like the times before, when I have had these horrible news…

Well, no can do… It was time to clue the heart back together, they got seven eggs out, used three, so I still had four embryos in the freezer waiting for the next ovulation to happen and that’s just less than couple of weeks away. It will work this time!

So I started to get all excited for the  FET procedure (frozen embryo transfer). Only couple of days to go… I shot the final progesterone injections to my belly and I was full of willpower and determination …But then I receive an email…. an email!?! Not a phone call, but an email, saying, “We deeply apologise, but there seems to be a problem, we cannot locate your embryos.” Well, ain’t that nice, it’s not like they’re teenagers on a spring holiday, what the hell do you mean, you cannot locate my embryos?! Did you try the bar next door? Did you look under the bed? I don’t get it…

At the end, the hospital game up with a reply, “maybe we didn’t get so many…” Well, I definitely paid them to freeze my four embryos, and I had all the documents to prove it, and two days ago they still had them..? After contacting all the top doctors and lawyers, they advised me to give up the fight, as there has never been a single person in this country, that has won a fight against the government hospital.

I was finished, I was over it and I didn’t have an inch of faith left in my body. But then my husband called and surprised me  with the best news. He had decided that we are going to take the IVF treatment in the most greatest private hospital, the leading fertility hospital in pretty much all of Scandinavia… This place logically charged about four times as much as the government hospital, but you know, what the hell, it’s just money, we can always slap another dept on top of our all exciting IVF depts! And this place is the best, everybody kept telling me, if it’s ever gonna happen, it will happen in this magical marble floored, crystal chandeliered palace, where the gold-plated storks sing on your bedside when you’re giving birth.

Bring it on! I was psyched, yet again! I started the treatments by myself, as my husband had to stay at work back in Australia. But about two weeks into treatments, he flew over to get his part done, froze the sperm for my eggs, and flew back to work. Note. flights 5000 aussie dollars for couple of days in Estonia… But, that’s what we had to do. We went all out  on this russian roulette!

After hundreds of different injections, meds, tens of  hours of bus trips to the hospital, finally arrived the morning of the first operation day. The eggs were coming out! Then they would be fertilized with my husbands sperm, grown in lab for couple of days and popped back in as embryos.

This time I had to go to hospital all by myself. Usually my mom would join me on these delightful road trips, but this time she couldn’t get any time off from work. She has been my biggest cornerstone, amongst my husband, when it comes to overcome these treatments. So there I was… lying on my fancy-pancy luxurious private hospital room, with the pink walls, in a lotus position, chanting my mantra ” Everything will be fine”. Knock on the door interrupted my nervous meditation, and enters my doctor, also known as the head of this fancy clinic. He nervously browses through my hospital papers, and announces: “There might be a problem..” All I could think of was, “WTF! Why, Universe, Why?!”,  I thought that maybe the operation is going to be late and I’m going to have to spend the night at the hospital. But he continued, “I really don’t know how this is possible, but seems like we have lost your husband’s sperm…”. “lost my husbands sperm?”, I screamed. At this point millions of thoughts went through my head, what if they have used my husband’s sperm to accidentally fertilize some other ladies eggs? What am I going to tell everyone? what? what? what? At this point I felt like someone had punched me to my face and then thrown me off the cliff into a cockroach nest! I used every single estonian curse word that I had learnt from my not-so-well-behaved-sailor-grandfather! I cried and cried till I was dehydrated.  I yelled and screamed for two hours straight, while my husband did exactly the same on the phone all the way from Australia. All I can remember from that moment was the doctors vein on his forehead pumping ridiculously fast.

Well, eventually I settled down, and so did that doctors disturbing vein. The sperm was gone, there was nothing we could do about it. My heart was completely broken, as I was still sobbing my eyes out, while transferred into the operation room… to collect my perfectly developed eggs, and freeze them. Coming out of the anesthesia, the first thing I did, was cried. The “full-of-faith, post-operation” momentum had turned into hopelessness, fear and fury.

So one might be right to wonder, if the whole universe is working against her, when doctor apologises for errors in my treatment, that never have been done during his career. Or in a separate case, hospital apologising for unforgettable mistakes, that only happen once in a lifetime. I’d say unforgivable, but I’m a firm believer in forgiveness.

So what makes me so special to universe,that it constantly yearns to conspire against me or shower me in these disappointments?

My mum keeps telling me that these things keep happening to me cause I’m so strong. Universe wouldn’t put a weak person into situations like mine. But it doesn’t seem fair. Do I really deserve all these horrible experiences, just because I’m strong enough to handle the pain?

I’m usually the happiest person ever. I love life. I’m overly sentimental, passionate and blown away about everything. Seriously, like I mean everything. Every sunset is the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen, and every ice-cream is the best ice cream I ever eaten. And if there is something that I don’t like, I’ll say “hmmm, well this is a little different” and carry on.

And I have been trying to be so positive during this past months, because that’s who I am. Even when it’s been so hard, I’ve pulled a smile and pretend everything is ok. I guess it’s my survival mechanism. But today,  my smile was wiped away, with a mental slap.


Later when I left the hospital, I kept running into the kindest persons. And somehow every one of those strangers brought out the best of me and made me notice how amazing life really is. A taxi driver who pulled me into the conversation about how stunning our country is, even though it’s struggling in financial crises. A lost tourist, who was so happy and relieved when I directed her on a right path and told her about all the cool things to do in our city.

All of this made me realise, that even when I’ve just faced the worst news, there is so much beauty, and even there’s no guarantee that life works out as I hope it would, there’s still reasons to smile and be happy. I just need to keep my eyes on that sunshine that arrives after the storm.

It’s so easy to confuse the path with the destination, so I need to trust that this struggle is part of a bigger process. I must trust that no matter how hopeless things seem, as long as I’m strong and push forward, I will make it and I will get what I want.

Later on the day, I started to wonder… Maybe the universe isn’t punishing me, but merely trying to tell me something. I still have the most my husband, awesome family, wonderful friends, beautiful home, exciting travels, adventures and a job that I love. Sun is still shining and flowers are still blooming.

I do have the best support network a girl can ask for. And it’s so import to have people who care and run to comfort you, when you’re waving that flare down at your rock bottom.

I’ve been so buried into my troubles, that I’ve actually forgotten how incredibly lucky I am.


I’m starting to realize that I’m not that special. Because the universe isn’t trying to get me, it’s trying to get all of us. Everybody struggles and I have an entire floor of patients at the hospital to prove me that. Maybe the universe is just trying to make us exceptionally strong? Maybe we are just purifying from bad karma, getting the stuff out, to find the ultimate bliss?

I don’t know, but there is a lesson in this terrifying day. Shit happens… to me and to everybody else, but also really amazing things happen.

So maybe I should change my perspective from “why these horrible things happen to me?” to “what else could have happened, yet didn’t?”.

Maybe I should be thankful instead, or perhaps “thankful” is bit early to say, but not as disappointed?

So yeah, my ice-cream tub is empty, and the bed is calling. And thankfully tomorrow is a new day!!!  If you struggle with stuff too, than I hope you found some motivation in my story. If you like to leave a comment and share how you’ve found a silver lining in your difficulties, please do. We all need some inspiration.

Struggling with infertility is torture, and it’s much more tortures if you struggle alone, so talk, share and find support groups. There is millions of us struggling with the same problem, but everyone’s too scared to mention anything. When I started to tell people more openly about my worries with this matter, I noticed that there was seven other girls in my life that struggled with exact same problem. And six of them have had a IVF baby since. So there’s hope for all of us.

Stay positive and focus on the good! Peace out!

Namaste
Diana

Dia-Yoga