The dreaded question…..
The question most of us ask without thinking. We ask because we are generally excited for that person. We ask with no malice. But that one question… It can make your heart sink to the bottom of your stomach and feel like someone has squeezed all the air out of your lungs. “Soooo when are you guys having kids”?
I am the first to admit that yes I am guilty of in the past asking this dreaded question. We all just presume that if you’re in a happy relationship/marriage that having kids is the next natural progression in life. It’s not like someone is going to ask “so are you fertile or infertile”? Are you going to have kids definitely rolls off the tongue a lot easier!
This was the question I was asked day in and day out. From patients at work, to co-workers, friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time, our friends family… Well you get the point. It felt like everywhere I went, everyone wanted to know.
My hubby is 8.5 years older then me. So the majority of those in our friendship group already had a baby/babies, and everyone would often joke about how we won’t know what’s hit us when we have kids.
It will be apparently the end to our life! No more nights out. Everything has to be planned weeks in advance for the possibility of it ever happening. The jokes went on and on…
My heart was hurting and at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but the old ‘fake it till you make it’ act was the only way to get me through at times. After a while, I began to joke (fake it) to make it easier too.
I would pretend I had no maternal instincts about me, and would prefer my spontaneous drunken nights out with the hubby and stuffing my face with maccas on Sunday arvo to help cure the hangover than “having no life”.
Little did people know, that “no life” they were complaining about, was the life I had wanted for years.
When I look back at it now, I feel like I should of known a long time ago that something wasn’t right. From buckling over in pain, and what I thought was the norm for when “Aunt Flo” visited each month, to the extreme bloating (maybe people actually thought I was pregnant), and finally to the painful sex. I should have known.
I remember going away for a weekend with some girlfriends (the last few baby-less friends). It was a weekend full of drinking, eating, dancing and a little more drinking. On the car ride home that extreme abdominal pain began, that sharp digging pain. I put my brave face on and we continued the 2 hour car ride home. By the time I got home I was in the faetal position, and no amount of pain killers were working.
My hubby took one look at me and took me straight to emergency.
Within the hour I was being prepped for surgery for what they thought was appendicitis. When I woke I had some registrar tell me that my appendix was fine but I should probably see a gynaecologist because ‘something’ isn’t quite right. Gee, thanks for the awesome bed side manor reg, but what the f*#k do you mean? And that was LITERALLY what he left me with! To say that my brain went into over drive is an understatement.
Weeks went by and I had recovered from surgery, but still in considerable amount of abdominal pain. I couldn’t exercise, I could barely work, and I was a mess both physically and emotionally.
I finally got into a gynaecologist who insisted on doing more surgery as my scans were all showing abnormalities.
I had stage 4 endometriosis. The silent disease.
My uterus and bowel were joined together, which formed a small pouch where fluid was pooling and causing me to bloat. The endometriosis went right through my vagina to my rectum and had scarred the majority of my lady bits. It had even spread as far as my diaphragm and liver. I didn’t even know this was possible!
Because of the extensive damage, we were referred off to a reproductive doctor for testing. Hubby went off and had his fun into a cup. He didn’t complain once about this test, what a real trooper (insert sarcasm here). The results came back, and his swimmers were 100%, so quite naturally we high fived over this!
Then it was my turn, and I had every blood test and scan under the sun taken. The results came in. I remember this day so clearly. Hubby decided not to come that day and I was fine with that because seriously what could be that bad? I’m strong and felt like I could deal with anything.
The receptionist was a dear friend of mine and she gave me that look. That look of ‘I’m here if you need a hug kind of look’. I sat next to my doctor, and all I heard was 1% of conceiving naturally and IVF. The rest was a blur. I flew out of the doctors office and avoided all eye contact with my friend behind the counter, I knew if we looked at each other the water works would start. She knew that too.
I got to my car and tried to call hubby. I tried what felt like a million times. I knew he would be with clients, but I kept trying anyway. He didn’t answer. I tried my mum. She didn’t answer. I started crying, which turned into bawling.
Here I was, sitting in my little beep beep Barina on Collins street Melbourne, bawling my eyes out with construction workers watching every tear fall. I got to Hoddle street and felt like I couldn’t breathe.
Who at 25 years of age gets told they would need IVF???!
The anger started to roll in. I needed to talk to someone. I called my brother, one of my best mates and he was able to calm me and of course was able to get me laughing. We joked about all the bloody money I wasted on the pill over the years because sometimes, no matter how shit things are, you just need to laugh.
Although I knew it was going to be tough, he helped me see that it wasn’t over. The journey to begin our family was only just beginning. It was going to be physically, emotionally and financially tough, but we were going to do it. And I desperately hoped that things would work out, and that one day soon I would be able to hold a baby of my own in my arms.
So, that dreaded question again.
Now, I am very aware of that question. I do not ask it. I do not think it. I do not have the right to know the answer, unless you want to tell me. You never know what is happening behind closed doors, and how a simple innocuous question can affect a person, so I will not pry. But I will tell you to have hope. Your time may come and I hope it does. I will be here for you, however you need me. The whole way. Till the very end.
* This blog was originally published on the Ellyn Shepherd Blog. Head over to www.ellynshepherd.com.au to check out all her amazingness!!