Rabbi laa tad’arnee fardaw-wa-anta khayrul waaritheen
“Oh my Lord, do not leave me alone (childless), though You are the best of inheritors”. (Verse 89, Surah Anbiya)
Rabbi habli mil-ladunka dhurriyatan tayyibah. Innaka Samee-ud-dua
“Oh Lord, bestow on my a goodly offspring from You. Verily, you are the hearer of prayer”. (Verse 38, Surah Al Imran)
9 months since I consciously worked on TTC and my reproductive health. After Feb I started working out with RushTush – I became a Glow Girl! In the months following that until July, I saw such great results. The sets of body weight, kettlebell and strength exercises are not for sissies, and I loved every second, even when I was just about to throw up. I focused my energy on dropping the weight I needed to be a healthy BMI (and help resolve the PCOS).
In that same period, work became a chore and since I am usually one who loves my job, I was very unhappy. And then I was salvaging a marriage.
All of that meant that blogging was furthest from my mind. Fast forward to October…
1 month, 1 week ago on 14 October 2014 I got my first ever BFP. I had just taken the test to rule out pregnancy since I was feeling “funny” and hadn’t had a period in more than 50 days (my average cycle lasts a cool 40 days).
1 month ago I had a miscarriage and ERPC.
Posted in TTC
Tagged gym, miscarriage, pcos
I’ve been contemplating this topic for a while from different perspectives. As a woman, a Muslim and hijabi (someone who follows a modest way of life in dress and demeanor), a professional, wife, graduate, daughter, public servant, and so on, I occupy many roles in society.
Many of our roles or identities as women are made all the more challenging because of criticism by other women who one would expect to be empathetic at the very least. I’ve seen this in faith and have in fact been on the receiving end of criticism… “Your colours are too bright”, “Muslim women shouldn’t wear makeup”, “What’s the point in covering your head if you’re wearing trousers” and other inanities detract from the fact that this life of modesty and how to express it is my own personal choice based on my relationship with God, nobody else.
In our world of IF, there’s a similar kind of unfair critique that Jay over at The 2 Week Wait faced. I had seen this phenomenon elsewhere online and still find it so confusing. I understand the sadness, but not the bitterness. Why would one direct one’s anger at someone who’s been through the same pain as you? Of course it’s misdirected – the frustration is obvious, we all know it, but I guess we all react in different ways. I wish it wasn’t in this manner though.
And nevermind all that, once you’ve managed to survive the bitter IF backlash and had your baby, there’s birth shaming.
This is a difficult topic to write. I wonder if it pisses off the TTC veterans, hope not. I think about how flippant it could sound to those of you who’ve been down so many difficult roads ending in BFNs, MCs and other tragedies – “trying without trying” sounds… trite and thoughtless.
But I have thought about it a lot. How our circumstances were never quite right to really give it a go. Whether we really wanted to acknowledge the problem and so put a label on it.
He who must not be named
We carried on “not trying, not preventing”. I think it is/was easier to go through the past 5 years with the idea that “something” was in the way – work or school or money. So that’s simply what I mean. It is borne out of fear, a cop out, a kaart.
Most of us TTCers have had the uncomfortable questions and well-meaning (but ill-informed and insensitive) advice. In communities where big families are the norm and personal boundaries are often blurry and porous, it’s a lot more challenging because it’s virtually expected for couples to start a family after the first year – case in point, the Muslim community in Cape Town.
And what irritates me is the “expert”… all sorts of advice on how I should change my diet/lifestyle/natural remedies/medication/BD position and in no time I’ll be pregnant.
In my experience, the people asking the questions are more often than not those who have no business knowing. My close family and friends rarely ask because they know what they need to know, and understand that I will share what I want when I want.
What kinds of challenging conversations are you faced with in your community when it comes to TTC?
On instruction from my ObGyn, the wonderful Dr. Basson at Christian Barnard Hospital, The Hub needs to do a SA so that we can determine the plan forward.
I’ve told you about the Hub’s reluctance… it’s taken him nearly a year to agree to the test. I’ve taken the initiative since I know he’s got his misgivings about the timing,
Two weeks ago I emailed Milnerton’s Pathcare lab to ask about the procedure of collecting the container and forms required. I got a detailed response back from Sister Bergh quite quickly on what to do and expect – great service. I just need to confirm the costs now but for some reason I have the about of <R600 in mind, so need to double check with the lab.
Today I popped by the Pathcare lab at Milnerton Mediclinic to collect a sterile container and SA form. An administrator Priscilla was on hand to answer my questions and she was so helpful and patient in answering my concerns around time to analyse. Several Fertilicare forum ladies have advised me to conduct SA via a FS instead of Pathcare because of the time frame in which Pathcare tests – any unnecessary delays would affect the accuracy of the test results as sp erm cells die off quite quickly. However, with The Hub’s misgivings, I don’t want to pressurise him. At this state, it’s all about figuring out what our situation is so that we can determine the TTC plan.
- The technicians at the Milnerton lab start the processing and a courier collects all samples every half hour for delivery to the primary lab facility in N1 City (a suburb about 8.6km from the lab) where complete analysis is done. I asked whether we should go to N1 City Pathcare instead and according to Priscilla, that shouldn’t make too much of a difference since it still needs to be processed at the primary lab.
Here’s a list of instructions I was given by Pathcare:
- Abstain from BD/”other activity” for a period of not shorter than 3 days or longer than a week
- No lubrication may be used
- Collect entire sample by “self-help” directly into sterile container (i.e. no condom, BD, saliva etc) and important to use the container they provide to prevent contamination
- It must arrive at the lab within 30-40 minutes of it being produced and before 10am on a Saturday or 16.00hrs during the week
- Plan your logistics if your DH isn’t providing the sample in the lab’s offices; and also check your lab’s opening hours
- Milnerton Pathcare: 07.30 hrs till 18.00hrs weekdays and 07.30hrs till 13.00hrs on Saturdays.
- Sample must be kept body temperature. Sister Priscilla advised me to keep the container next to my skin down my shirt (yes, between “the girls”)
- One can pay for the test when bringing in the sample
- The results will be sent directly to your Doctor
- The test takes 3 – 4 workdays to complete
The form asks the following questions (so important to note in the lead up to SA):
- Number of days abstinence
- Date and time sample was produced
- Was any part of the sample lost in production?
- List of recent illnesses or fevers in the last 3 months
- List of names of all medicines used in the last 3 months
I’ll report back on Pathcare Milnerton’s service in receiving the sample, and providing feedback. For abbreviations e.g. SA, see here for a selection of glossaries.
These are a few of the resources I rely on for practical information.
- Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa
- Good for SA resources, clinics, medical aid info
- Understand what to expect from FS, what the tests mean and so on
- Fantastic support forum
- Loads of general IF and SA specific information
- Useful for reviews of doctors, facilities, treatments
- Fertility Friend
- Widely used across the globe
- General IF information
- Charting and ovulation calculators
- There’s also a series of email lessons for charting your way to conception
If you have any other recommendations, feel free to share in the Comments.
For a large part of the past couple of years I’ve been a silent member of this online community. Lurking on forums, never really engaging or participating out of fear of putting a label to it all.
I often have an online glossary open as I browse the forums, trying to make sense of this new lexicon.
I still reference this list on fantastic local site Fertilicare and this dictionary at Fertility Friend since my first and last panic-ridden-hopeful-most-real-feeling-heart-breaking 2WW early last year.
Why are they so long?! When did that become a “thing”? I really just want to get to the content, but then there are all these montages of happiness and weddings and fur babies and sweeping orchestras. And then I feel sad because the couple is usually SO cute; and why can’t they replicate their cuteness; and emotions; and feelings etc.
Having said that… I really enjoy following a few vloggers:
- One of my faves, Connie K, who produces and films her vids quite well. She also does lifestyle posts which is a welcome buffer when the emotions are too raw. Otherwise I end up getting lost in things like Angela Anaconda or my fave band to detach from the FEELINGS
- Aussie Tina at TTC to the BFP
- Carisa who has made me cry more than once. Be warned, she talks a lot.
- Sweet Alexis who I’m cheering on too
From time to time I’d visit the success story vlogs because really, sometimes I just need to have that motivation/assurance/HOPE.
- Bubbly Edith who bore twinnies
- The Devon Roberts family
- Crystal who kept it real here
Relating to some of the emotions and thought processes, and cheering on other TTCers who I really don’t know makes this a unique struggle for me. I admire those who are bold enough to share the very intimate, private, and sometimes embarrassing details with those of us who can’t find the camaraderie and support among our friends or family.
The TTC community shouldn’t be about who’s got more scars or badges of honour – it’s heartbreaking, plain and simple, and we need to be there to grieve the losses, celebrate the victories and sometimes just laugh through the tears.