In 2008, we started trying for children. I was so excited about becoming a mom, that I actually started baby shopping that very first month. I look back on those moments and shudder, if only I had known what lay ahead.
After a year, an infertile friend of mine recommended we seek help. I was reluctant, I believed my problem was related to the grief I was experiencing over losing my dad. Eventually though, we went to see a fertility specialist. Initial tests seemed to show that all was fine with us, and so we went home and carried on trying.
Life planning, experiences and expectations, came to a halt, when the results of what I thought would never be possible, became evident and positive. After several tests and, to my dismay, I was diagnosed with a very rare condition of Varicocele vein which affects only 15 in 100 men. I was told, the worst and most unbearable news, was the “fact” that this will steal my chance of becoming a parent and father.
I met Dr Volschenk in January 2017, after: 2 fertility specialists, 3 x IUI’s, 3 x IVFs and 3 miscarriages and 3 years of trying. I was at the point that I had convinced myself I was just not meant to carry my own child. But before completely residing to this fact and looking into alternative options such as surrogacy, we decided to go for one more opinion – I knew deep down that there was something being missed. Despite being told time and again there was nothing wrong, throughout our many treatments over the last year and a half.
Twenty-seven. That’s how many times I had heard that my blood test result was negative. I had lost count of the times I did not see two pink lines on home tests.
I had never been pregnant yet after seven years of trying to conceive, countless doctors’ appointments, two surgeries, five failed IUIs, and one failed IVF cycle, I still believed I would give birth to a child one day.
My story begins 8 years ago. For the longest time I have worked with and been surrounded by children, as an au pair both in London and in Johannesburg. They have always been like tiny friends to me, and I’ve thought for the longest time that with all this “training” I will be the most natural mother.
A few weeks before my husband and I got married I kickstarted contraception (yup, that way round), in preparation for a kid-free couple of years. I was 27, he was 30 and we had known each other for just over a year. The concept of children seemed fun but also futuristic. We hadn’t decided if we wanted 2 or 10, but that was future Mike and Ange’s decision… right then our world involved, sleeping in, hanging onto each other up escalators for our weekly sushi and movie night, learning to cook meals, testing those meals on friends, going to church, building our careers, killing our mortgage, hiding ‘SHMILY’ notes (See How Much I Love You), quietly gloating at how happy we made each other and planning some galavants around the globe. You could say that we were really enjoying our ever-so-slightly self indulgent cocoon.
“I’m going to tell you something that is going to blow your mind”. I now know what it means to be haunted by something. Whenever I hear the words “blow your mind” I think back to that day in Dr V’s office.
After we got married at 24, we decided to wait a while before starting a family. We were still young and wanted to travel. If only we knew how precious those years on the biological clock were. Eventually at 27 we decided we might be ready but weren’t in any rush. I was very naïve and gullible.
After trying to conceive for 5 years and 6 failed ivf’s, with a miscarriage at 8 weeks, we were on the last round of IVF that we could afford. The next step would be adoption, we had already made contact with a Social Worker. Then I saw a post on Facebook about a Fertility Astrologist who could help predict when would be the best time to do an IVF cycle. At that stage of desperation we would have tried anything, so we met with Nicky Smut-Allsop over Skype. She gave us the dates to try our final ivf cycle – the following April. We gave birth to our triplets in that same December.
Saskia – IFAASA Director
My Infertility Journey started back when I was just 27 years old.
My husband and I tried to conceive for 7 years. Early on in our trying, we were diagnosed with Male Factor Infertility and later on it was discovered that I have a low ovarian reserve.
We were so naïve during our first cycle in 2007. We were so sure that it would work and we would be pregnant, that we weren’t at all emotionally prepared, to deal with a negative outcome.
Leandra – IFAASA Director
Life is not waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.
My IVF journey taught me to dance, scream, swear, cry and punch things in the rain, with thunder and lightning crashing all around, but the storm did pass and I ended up with 2 beautiful rainbow babies.
Meggan – IFAASA Director
We waited for 7 years before we decided to have a family, it wasn’t a decision we came to lightly. I had never known anyone that struggled to conceive and who spoke openly about it so it came as quite a shock that it was not happening as fast as it should have. And at the same time I was of the age that all my friends were building families and it was common topic of discussion ‘how quickly I conceived’. To this day I still don’t understand why this needs to be compared and discussed.
Our ‘baby making’ journey stared in 2010. I’ve done my own research, as we planned on having a ‘honeymoon baby. Months of ‘not pregnant’ very soon turned into an emotional roller coaster.
After a year, we consulted the GynecologistS in Nelspruit. Each had their own theory. Numerous timed cycles & failed IUI’S. Our hopes were replaced by heartache & this stared to affect our marriage.
A Journey of Emotions & Pain all rolled up in one….My Infertility Rollercoaster…continues…
I am 1 in 6 ladies to have this horrible heart wrenching condition!
Another year has passed by no baby, 7 years of painful tears, dreaming of conceiving my little miracle, dreaming of becoming a mom, clinging onto hope, every second of the day!
These last few years have been horrific, which seems like a lifetime, thinking every year, hey I will conceive really soon, most probably the next month or the next, eventually months went by and here I am in a new year, still hoping tho, never giving up.
I am the adoptive mother of Sam (not his real name) – the most beautiful little boy in the world!! I have travelled the infertility road as well as the adoption road and I know it is one of the hardest things anyone can go through – AND that it is particularly difficult for a woman to go through.
After we were married, we decided that we would start trying for children early on as neither of us were getting any younger and we wanted to grow with our children. I had never been one for counting days of my cycle and was none the wiser that I had been having very irregular cycles for quite some time, after about 6 months I decided to start keeping track of my cycles which is when I started to realize that there was a problem here, some cycles were 30 days and some 60 and no regular pattern whatsoever.
The concept that one faces when having to speak about your life’s experiences can be extremely scary; yet having had to face the knowledge that you’ll never biologically be able to have children of your own is both heart breaking and painful. As a woman you go through life in stages or at least I did. I knew as a little girl that I wanted to fall in love with a man that would sweap me off my feet, that I would have this fairy tale wedding and that we would have a family where we would be happy and nothing in my little mind could change that.
Hello! I’m Lara. I’m a busy toddler, who loves watching Barney, playing with water, and reading books. But the story of how I came into the world is a bit different to most other kids’ stories … You see, my parents are 1 in 6…
Knowledge and a deep commitment to each other can allow you to be closer to your partner, instead of allowing infertility to push you apart.
Over the last 12 years I have found myself repeatedly making excuses and comforting others because of how my infertility affects them.
By Chantal Jacobs
I am 1 in 6 but I am even rarer than that. I’m here to tell you that despite all your best wishes and hard work – treatment sometimes just doesn’t work.
We have been TTC for 8 years, I started at 29. We have done 6 or 7 IUI’s. 7 ICSI’s and 2 PICSI’s. I’ve done endometrial scratching and everything I could to maximise the chances of success. All of that pain and heart break resulted in our seeing two lines once and ended in a protracted early miscarriage of twins, one by one, we saw a scan and a heartbeat and then it stopped. Just like that.
My first IVF was 16 years ago. A life time ago. And yet it feels like yesterday. 16 years and three children later, I will never forget what it was like to be in the trenches of infertility.
Today I am a mother of three children. A few years ago I was terrified I would never be a mother. It still seems surreal. A question I am often asked is “was it worth it?” Was it worth going through five years of infertility, nine IVFs, several pregnancy losses and hundreds of thousands of rands in order to have my children? The answer is both yes and no. Was it worth all the miscarriages and the tragic death of my first born son Ben at 10 days old due to pre-term labour? Most definitely not. Are my living children worth all I went through? Most definitely yes. I would do it all again, a million times over in order to have the children I have. I suppose what people are asking is whether motherhood is what I hoped it would be. It is all that, and more.
By Angela Kelleher – IFAASA Director
In 2011, following a couple of years of trying to conceive naturally and four attempts at IUI, I finally walked through the door to a Fertility Clinic. I remember the sense of dread I felt and how overwhelmed I was to see others in the waiting room – was infertility this common? I had no idea of the statistics (one in six), and had never investigated infertility and was completely innocent to what was ahead of me. And I remember that day having the most comprehensive consultation I ever received in my life. I walked out of there feeling a hundred times better and knew exactly what the future held in terms of tests and investigations.
I never thought it would happen to us. I never thought we would be the 1 in 6. All I have ever wanted to do is be a mommy. And now we find ourselves on our fourth cycle with our fertility clinic.
I cannot begin to explain the emotional rollercoaster which is fertility. It never seems to end. It’s like going through the five stages of grief each month. If receiving consistent “no’s” or “sorry not this time” or “negatives” isn’t difficult enough to deal with, there is the added trauma of being surrounded by pregnant women and babies everywhere you go.
Since a little girl, all I wanted to be was a Mommy. One would think falling pregnant is the most natural experience to happen to a woman, so I thought, never did I once think I would be the one crying behind closed doors, putting a front up at the next baby shower, or diverting the famous question asked by many “So, when are you having a baby?” My husband and I have been trying to fight this battle for 4 years.
By Christelle Oosthuizen
Funny how, as woman and since a young age you think how you will look pregnant and how many kids you would love to have. And you definately think getting pregnant is the easiest thing to do.
Never in my right mind have I had the slightest blink of a thought that to get pregnant, will take forever and will nearly ruin my life and change me forever…
I am 27 years old and married for four years this year. I have always wanted to be a mother so naturally when I got married it was one of the first things my husband and I decided to do. We first bought the house and the car because we wanted to have space for all the lovely baby things and the right car because we planned all these family trips we would take together so we needed a car with space for all the baby luggage. On our one year wedding anniversary we official started trying for a baby.
By Maritza Smith Meiring
09/02/2014 – I recently got my operation date. To realize we will never have our own baby, even after giving hope in 2009 after my big operation. I can’t help but to mourn, grieving like someone very , very close to me has died. It’s like a big loss , loss NOT being like a broken bone which will heal with little showing on the surface , more like an amputation – a visible, constant reminder complete with phantom pain from the lost limb. It is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. The closer to the time of the opp, the more painful it is, but the results of the pain (amputation) will always be with me. I even get morning sickness, night frights of having twins, bloody, screaming and constantly crying twins….
By Mylene Janse van Rensburg
At 18 I was a very busy matriculant at the height of my final year! Just came back from America with a few medals for competing in the International Championships of performing arts! I was ready to finish my last year! Then I met Georg, wasn’t really in to him because a few years back he was friends with my step brother and that alone gave me a red light! After a few weeks I started seeing that this guy Georg is actually very different from the idea I had as a junior in high school! Gosh I was in love!! We went to my matric fairwell, I was in the clouds with this very hot 22 year old boy at my side! So my final year at school ended and I was very much excited about my new journey starting the next year!
By Bronwyn Le Roux
Our journey started 5 years ago. We got engaged and decided that I would go off birth control. So we could have a honeymoon baby. Sadly that never happened.
However I always knew deep down that something was wrong. I started seeing a great Dr at Louis Leipoldt. He thought I might have Endo and therefore was refered to a Endo specialist at Louis Leipolt. I underwent my first Lap in 2014 they found I had stage 1 endo. After my recovery we started ovulation induction.
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