Reviewing my missed opportunity

A little while ago I wrote about a missed opportunity where I chose to go to sleep, rather than try and make a baby with my husband when I realized that there was a miraculous possibility that I was ovulating. I sat with this decision for quite a while, as it surprised me… I will/ have done absolutely everything to have a child, so why on earth would I give up on an opportunity like that? It seemed a bit crazy to me.

On reflection, I realized that there were perhaps several reasons why I made that choice (even though I was unaware of them at the time). Firstly, it would mean that if it worked, I would be newly pregnant at my sisters wedding, which was this past weekend in my hometown. Whilst for some this might seem like no big deal, for me, being newly pregnant has been fraught with excruciating anxiety and a lot of medical monitoring. So, traveling to and moreover, enjoying my sisters wedding, would have been very difficult. In many ways I have become so weary of the multiple ways in which infertility has caused my life to ‘pause’ or be in limbo and when it came to my sisters wedding, I simply wanted to move forward and enjoy it. Secondly, I realized that I was simply not emotionally ready to deal with a tww, especially one where I would have no optimism or hope that it would actually work. The last two years of two week waits have really taken it out of me, and I feel like I can only go into another one when circumstances, or in our case, eggs, are different.

So I realized that my decision was not actually as crazy as it may have seemed at first and that I am absolutely ready for egg donation. I also realized that I have no desire to try anymore with my own eggs. In fact, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I feel slightly traumatized at the thought of trying again with my own eggs. I don’t want to anymore. And so I didn’t, I rolled over and went to sleep when I could have tried to make a baby. And I’m ok with that. Our donor goes for screening next week and I’m getting excited.


Consent: Not actually that complicated

Absolutely hilarious and completely true!

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?


It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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First world problems

I’ve written before about the particular experience of dealing with infertility whilst living in a third world context…. These issues are not enormously different to dealing with infertility elsewhere in the world, but there is a stark contrast between the lives of them (the poor) and us (the not poor), that hits you in the face at times (or often, depending on your sensitivity), and forces you to appreciate what you have, even when you don’t have what your heart most desires.

In South Africa, most middle class people have a domestic worker because the rate of unemployment is so high that people are prepared to work for a pittance and so most middle class people can afford help. Awful but true. My husband and I have a lady who comes to our house three times a week and goes to my mother in law on the inbetween days. She’s been with us for about two and a half years now and although she sometimes infuriates me (for example, she decided the carpet would be a good place to rest the hot iron), I am very appreciative of the work she does and the many ways in which she makes my life easier.

I am also deeply aware of the stark contrast between her life and mine. It cannot be easy to come into my lovely four bedroom home, which only houses two adults, a dog and a cat, when she can only afford to pay the rent for one room, which she shares with other people. It cannot be easy to see my fridge full of healthy food when she exists on a staple diet of cheap carbs. It must burn her inside to wash and iron my lovely clothes when she has probably never owned a brand new piece of clothing in her life. Many white people in South Africa will never fully appreciate the hardship that black people in general, but black women in particular, have experienced in the past and still do experience today. Anyway, I am starting to ramble.

My domestic worker is in fact Zimbabwean. She has the pleasure of having Robert Mugabe as her president and she and her family are therefore desperately, desperately, poor. She has five children, the youngest of which is 16. None of them are working. She is the sole bread winner for her entire family. To put it into perspective, I earn in one HOUR what it takes her an entire WEEK to earn. 6 months ago one of her sons had a baby. Last week he had another baby… With a different mother. More mouths to feed, more hungry bellies. More pressure on my domestic worker to produce everything from nothing. Zimbabweans are entitled to seek asylum in South Africa and are able to obtain a visa which allows them to work and study here. When she first came to work for us I took a copy of this visa, so I know she had it. In December she asked for a month off to go back to Zimbabwe, renew her passport and renew her visa. She came back two weeks early which we were surprised by, but her explanation… That there was no food at home… Seemed reasonable. It turns out that actually there was a problem getting her passport renewed and she had to leave early to take advantage of an opportunity to pay an enormous bribe to get back to South Africa. How do I know this? Because she was arrested last week whilst walking to work and stayed in jail for a week, phoning and crying and screaming for us to help her. And there was nothing we could do. We were told that we shouldn’t be employing her as she didn’t have her papers and we could be arrested and fined. We were advised to distance ourselves from her. So we sent money and food through a friend of hers and tried to ease her suffering in that way. She managed to get released after a week (I believe she paid another bribe but she denies this). And now she has no money left, no food, and no job because we can’t hire her back until she has her papers sorted out… But she can’t afford her papers because all her money has gone on bribing corrupt officials to allow her to do what she was legitimately supposed to be allowed to do in the first place.

And the worst and most ironic part is that despite my big house and seeming wealth, I have no money to help her as we have spent every last cent on trying to have a baby. I WILL help her, because I absolutely cannot watch her suffer, but I don’t actually have the money… I will draw it out of my credit card and pay it off when I can. And I know if I tried to explain this to her she would never believe me. How can it be possible that I can live in a big house, have someone clean my house, have lovely clothes and a full fridge and yet have no extra money?? As I said, I would never even try to explain it to her as she would simply think I was making it up. But it is true and the answer is simple… We have literally spent our entire savings on trying to have a baby and so although we can afford our day to day lives, we do not have savings for unexpected expenses. And yet because we have different incomes and different financial investments, we still afford a good quality of life…We’re lucky and I am very, very grateful.

A missed opportunity???

Thanks guys for all the support on my last post. I have calmed down and gained perspective and will be replying to you each individually tomorrow… I have been battling poor battery life and bad signal on my cell phone which has prohibited me from doing this earlier. Next Saturday I get to switch cell phones and more importantly, service providers, and I expect that my communication life will improve dramatically. But , I digress.

So, this morning I got my period. I knew it was coming, all the tell tale signs were there and I even told my husband yesterday that I felt pre menstrual. The confusing things is that I haven’t had a 28 day cycle in, let’s say, four and a half years. Nothing even approaching normal even on meds. Those who have followed me will know that I have never even had a positive ovulation test, even monitoring temps and cervical mucus. I have never had egg white cervical mucus (ewcm for the newbies). Two weeks ago I had ewcm but because I had never had it, and we were committing to egg donation, I dismissed it, thinking I was wrong. Instead of pinning my husband to the bed posts, I ignored it and went to sleep.

Now I am regretting that move (lack of move), BIG TIME. What if I was meant to be one of those miracle stories… We all know them… My cousins second cousins best friend was about to have IVF and… know what I mean, we’ve all heard them! My first, normal, natural and potentially healthy cycle in nearly five years and I may have missed it because I was too lazy… Boohoo!!!!

A meltdown and renewed gratitude for my family

So today I am unashamedly going to use this blog to process something work/ relationship related that I really need to work through… and fast. It intersects with my experience of infertility. Some background:

I started working in a Psychology Centre as a Psychologist in 2010. In 2011, the owner, who was 40 and single, decided to have a baby through donor sperm and fell pregnant on her first go… yay for her. Anyway, because she had this real baby, her work baby started to become very neglected and things went from bad to worse until finally, in 2013, she sold the practice to myself and a colleague. My colleague has a VERY wealthy father and so bought 90% of the practice, I bought 10%. However, we operated as 50/50 partners and I was happy to do this as I felt it was important that the centre work well, efficiently, and in a way that was consistent with my values when it came to ethics and professionalism. Through a lot of work, we achieved this. When we took over, we hired a new, young, educational psychologist who was dynamic and excited and had energy that perhaps we had run out of. She was great. 

Some time passes and my partners third child was turning 2 and was less dependent than she had been in the past, and her marriage was in a very bad place. I was starting fertility treatment quite seriously….I think I had my first IUI around this time. Long story short, she and the new educational psychologist became best buddies and started partying together rather seriously, even going on holiday together.  I was in a very different place and preferred to come home to my husband…still do. About the middle of last year, coinciding with my first cancelled IVF cycle and a very dark space emotionally for me, I started realising that although I was maintaining my client load (with a LOT of effort), I was not being a very good business partner as a result of low energy levels and mental and emotional preoccupation. As a result, I suggested that we ask this youngster if she would like to buy some shares in the business and take on more responsibility in order to help my parnter, which she did. Happy days.

In November last year, in the midst of my last IVF and subsequent miscarriage, my partner found a piece of property that she fell in love with and decided this would be an amazing opportunity to open a SECOND centre. Her father offered to buy the property and we would then run another practice as an extension to our existing practice. I expressed my reservations about my own ability to ‘nurture’ another ‘baby’ at this point, but my two partners were very gung ho and so we went for it. I will be completely honest and say that I have had very little involvement in the setting up of the new practice. I have participated in the interviews of some of the new staff, but that is about it (Oh, and I have put in a large sum of money for set up costs…. no small achievement for my husband and I, who have to work for every cent we earn and who have as yet undefined costs of falling pregnant).

But, there has been building resentment from my partner and it has come to a head in the last couple of weeks. It started with me opening a new practice from my home in January. I live in a big city and am frequently stuck in terrible traffic to get home. I am not a big town girl, I grew up in a small town, and I find this soul destroying. It’s also something I do not want for my kids – I see too many children professionally who are neglected by career-oriented, high flying parents and I DO NOT want this for my children. I simply did not grow up in a value system where money, or career, was more important than people and I am so grateful for this. My ultimate dream is that I have a small practice from home and that I keep my financial interest in the Centre but do not actually practice from there, because it is too far away (and no, we cannot move closer – my husband already drives 140km in the other direction and I will not ask him to do more). I have been very transparent about this and have voiced it for over a year now.

In January, finally off IVF meds, I got the energy to actually buy the furniture, set the room up and start advertising my practice WHILST making it very clear that I would continue practicing at the Centre for at least the next year. Well, lets say that I opened up a can of worms which culminated in a meeting with my partner today.

So basically, she feels hurt. Very hurt. Very, very extremely, hurt. She feels that I have let her down, left her on her own, have neglected by responsibilities, have make excuses for neglecting my responsibilities and have shown zero interest in the business (she neglects to consider the fact that I am the highest earner and MAINTAINED this despite the fact that my soul was literally breaking).

I never wrote about it, but in April last year I totally messed up in terms of meeting up with my best friend. I went to my home town for the birth of my niece, just after my last IUI had failed and we were facing IVF…. I was supposed to meet up with my best friend but in the chaos of everything, trying to be there for my sister who was a single (and first time) mom, and all my terribly mixed up feelings and basically just trying to keep my head above water, I let her down… I totally own it…I was a shit friend. But it was the first time in about 20 years and there were extenuating circumstances. Anyway, she was offish for a couple of moths until I asked if we were OK and she said no and I explained and now we are all good. But seriously!

Excuse my language but what the fuck do people want? I am SOOOOOOO over friends right now. I feel like the only people I can trust are my husband and family and truthfully, I don’t give a shit right now about how these other people are feeling. I am angry, resentful and sick and tired of demanding people who claim they understand and are supportive but actually, are only interested in themselves. And that’s it. I guess this was a vent and there really is no other point. I weigh 15 kg’s more than I did when I started this journey, I don’t even look like myself anymore and I feel like so much else has changed and I don’t think it will ever go back to ‘normal’. I thank god for my beautiful family who try SO hard to understand where I am coming from, and for my amazing husband who greeted me today with a bear hug and allowed me to have a big cry with no words. But friends? I might just be done with them.