Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What inspired me to start this business?
I spent pretty much my whole entire adolescence trying NOT to get pregnant. Then BAM. The tables turn and you’re faced with the horrible fear that it might never happen.
I’d spent countless years on the pill, used condoms most of the time (yes, there were a few slip ups) and taken a whole bunch of pregnancy tests. Then we do a massive 360, and we are caught in the rat race that is baby making.
Funny how as soon as we begin merely thinking about starting a family, all our friends announce they are pregnant, everyone on the bus is pregnant forcing us to give up our seat and everyone on the tube is wearing a Baby on Board badge, again, forcing us to give up our seat.
Today I am infertile. And wait for it. I actually have something to blame for my infertility. As women we are told by our families, friends, society as a whole that it is the norm to feel unbearable amounts of pain every month for a period (pardon the pun) of a week or so. We are surrounded by women around us who, like us, complain about the pain, suffer from the moods swings and the roller coaster of emotions, who we can’t talk to when they’re “on”, listen to endless “rag week” jokes, etc. Boring. But sad, right? It’s become normal.
I recall being in absolute agony the first two days of my period for the best part of ten years if not more. Nurofen. Feminax. Standard. The whole box per period. Easily. So when I came to be diagnosed with endometriosis in my early 30s, and the doctor asked me, didn’t I realise the pain wasn’t normal. Nope. Sorry. I didn’t.
The pain I was suffering from was caused by endometriosis that had caused blood clots on my ovaries and an irreversible infection in both my fallopian tubes. They were apparently like big fat sausages. My gynaecologist woke me up after a routine laparoscopy and told me there and then sitting on the end of my hospital bed, that there was no chance I would ever conceive naturally.
Anyone who has ever been told they have a problem with conceiving naturally will remember forever how, where, when they were told. That moment will be etched in their memory forever. They will be able to tell you everything about that moment, as they dreaded it their whole lives, and it is confirmed a reality. That moment is unbelievably odd. And empty. I can’t reproduce. What good am I?
2 months later I was back in surgery having both tubes removed to stop any infection spreading to my womb, compromising any potential pregnancy through IVF. The clinic would not start any treatment unless I did so.
I distinctly remember feeling such a mix of emotions at that time. I was so eager to start treatment, but also felt real grief for this part of my body that I had to say goodbye to. And it would be so final. I was at that point entirely reliant upon IVF if ever wanted to start a family. What if it never worked? What would I do? Adopt? Could I love another child? Those thoughts were endless.
Those mind games, thinking the worst, every woman will be familiar with that. The feeling of an unknown future, what does it hold, will I ever be a mother, hold a baby… The word infertile, it’s so ugly too. Well that was that, I was infertile. Hello, I’m infertile.
Around me there are people who are infertile too, sometimes inexplicably, and infertile on many different levels. Infertile biologically as me, but also after miscarriage and stillbirth.Their minds, as mine was, are filled with questions that are all unanswered. I never let myself forget that feeling of absolute emptiness. The constant mental torture. This is what has driven me, at the very core, to start My Beehive.
I want to speak about infertility. I want to take the paper bags off our heads and come out and show support. In numbers we will feel stronger. Surely.
To date I have been through 3 rounds of IVF. I have put my heart and soul and every part of my physical and emotional self into the treatment. I’ve read all the books, been on all the sites, joined the TTC (Trying to conceive) community on every forum. It is the most overwhelming experience I have ever been through. I have had 4 general anaesthetics to date and countless other invasive procedures including injecting myself every night for months, dosing myself with up to 30 times the natural amount of hormone in one cycle, spent stupid amounts of money on IVF diet books, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, you name it. I’ve done it.
I found the experience medically astounding. We can make babies outside our bodies. Wow.
I cannot fault any of the medics, nurses, counsellors, embryologists, surgeons, secretaries I met who helped me along the way. Each and every one of them do their jobs perfectly, and at the clinic I went to anyway, they create a real genuine sense of wanting it so much to work for you.
But sadly, and here is my point really, I felt there was a real lack of support for anything other than the science bit. I am not taking anything away from all those mentioned above, they all did exactly their job. But as a whole package, for an individual undergoing such a process, it certainly doesn’t cover all my and my partner’s needs. The information given really is minimal. For instance, you’re going to inject yourself for a long time with large amounts of drugs which is a very daunting process. But there is barely a leaflet to speak of. I needed to know everything and I wanted it written down!! How to mix up the drugs, how to open the glass tubes, how you mustn’t close the sharps bin, at what angle to inject, how long to keep the needle in for, do I grab some fat or just inject any old way, what if it bleeds…! So we end up turning to Google for all the answers which creates even more confusion.
My Beehive really wants to help people who are undergoing IVF. We want to give you all that information. Clearly.
Couples or individuals who are undergoing fertility treatment aren’t doing it flippantly or mindlessly. They are trying to have a baby, to start a family, and that desire, that need, is a burning heart wrenching one that is all consuming. Let’s try to cut it up into manageable chunks, regain some control and take charge of what is happening to our minds. We can’t control the physical, but let’s get informed so we know what is happening to us. Let’s not lose focus. Let’s get excited about follicle growth, let’s encourage our ovaries to produce, and let’s visualise those embryos dividing. Let’s get informed, let’s try to…enjoy it?!
This is the process of MAKING BABIES. That in itself, is pretty amazing, isn’t it?