29 June 2010

Hope & Disappointment

The Nine Arches
Click photo for a larger view.

This bench sits not far from my home on the very edge of our small town. Every time I walk past, I can’t help but smile and wonder about the optimistic soul who placed it there. The bench sits with its back to the road and overlooks a local landmark, the Nine Arches. I can imagine the planner, envisioning locals and visitors sitting on this bench and looking out over this iconic local landscape. But despite our best effort and plans, our hopes are not always borne out. For passersby the bench calls out with promises of beautiful vistas, but once you sit down and take a moment to look, the landmark suddenly becomes bitter and tired. Those gorgeous architectural aches are marred with graffiti and neglect, the stains of urban living. What looked so inviting at first glance becomes uncomfortable reminder that life isn’t always picturesque.

For me, we’ve been on a cycle of hope and disappointment for over a year now as we try for a baby. Due to my long term health conditions, we always knew that caring for a child would be difficult, but we were also told that my kidney stones would make any pregnancy high risk. So in the year before my wedding we tried to get my kidney stones treated. Clerical errors meant that my appointments were delayed several months, but finally after two years I was declared stone free.

While we’d been waiting for the doctors, we’d started preparing. I stopped my Depo injections after the wedding so they’d have plenty of time to clear my system. We took Basal Temperature readings for months so we’d know when to try. I had pre-pregnancy blood tests done to make sure nothing was wrong. I filled myself with iron tablets and pre-natal vitamins, so I’d be in the best health. We read books and websites, optimistically planning for when we received the all clear...

Growing up when I was young, we were told virtually anything could get you pregnant. Sperm was some insidious fluid that got everywhere, much like the germs on anti-bacterial adverts. I suppose it kept us safe, but also terrified. No one really mentioned that things could change. Now, when I actually want to get pregnant, nothing works. Each month I cross my fingers and hope for good news, and every month I crash back to earth with disappointment. It took us two years of patience and hope to get to the point where we could even try to realise our dreams, and after a year of failure it’s hard to decide what to do next.

Obviously if things don’t work this month we’ll make an appointment with the doctor, but I have a difficult relationship with doctors at the best of times. Being ill with invisible disorders for which there are no clinical tests, always leaves the doctor in doubt. And while I appreciate IVF is a wonderful thing for some people, it just isn’t for us. I’ve read the common advice “relax” and “stop trying so hard”, but I don’t know how to. In the three years we’ve been planning and waiting four babies have been born in our extended family, amongst my friends the number is nearly three times that. My life’s been put on hold for years, with the hope that we could eventually have a family. Now I wonder if I have to let that dream go.

Right now we are in the hopeful stage again, trying desperately not to count the days till July 8th. If anyone has some luck they can spare, I could sure use some right now.

Written for this weeks Writing Workshop and Gallery. The theme was Emotions