My Journey to Motherhood Part 1
While I don't feel 100% comfortable about sharing my story here, I have been inspired by the openess of many women in my social media circle of late. They have talked openly about their struggles around conception, miscarriage, anxiety and post natal depression. Each story I have read has touched me in some way and helped me feel normal. I hope that sharing my story may help at least one other women feel normal or give them the strength to make some tough decisions.
My journey is a long one, so I don't plan to cover it all in one blog post. I will talk today about the first stage of the process for me and cover the rest off in another post., I can't even pinpoint when the journey started, I just remember having a conversation with a friend at some stage about what I would do if I reached age 40 and had not met the man of my dreams. I think it was at least 5 years between verbalising my plan and actually taking action. So after spending many years focusing on my career, travelling the world and not having met the right partner for me, I made an appointment to see a fertility specialist in Auckland (where I was living at the time) just before my 40th birthday.
At that first appointment I learnt two things that made me feel very anxious. The first being my chances of conceiving a child naturally were very low.. I was shown a chart that outlines how fertility rapidly declines from age 35 and combined with my low HCG levels I wasn't left feeling very confident. The second lesson was I had been suffering with symptoms for 20 years that sounded to the specialist like Endometriosis. I was scheduled for a Laprascopy and Hysteroscopy. The procedure went well, I was given the all clear from Endo and all my vital bits were still in working order, but it was the first time in this journey that I felt very alone. There is nothing worse than going into hospital in another country and not having any family to support you.
The next step in the process was to reach the top of the list for a sperm donor. In NZ there are not enough donors unfortunately, so I was told the waiting time for reaching the top of the list was 9 months. As time ticked by, I was starting to think that becoming a mother was not in my future. I started researching whether adoption was an option for me, but it seems that single women over the age of 40 are not prime candidates for adoption. 16 long months later, I finally got the call to say I had reached the top of the donor list. I was booked in to have some blood tests done and to read through the profiles of the donors available to me.
I was then presented with another medical hurdle and a couple of significant events. Firstly, my blood test results showed I was pre-diabetic, as in my blood glucose levels were higher than normal, but not high enough to reach the diagnosis threshold. I was told by the specialist they would not proceed with the insemination until I got my blood glucose levels down to normal. At best if I made drastic changes that would be around 3 months.. Then I was told my role was to be relocated to Beijing and asked if I would be willing to move there.. At the same time back home in Australia, my step father was suffering respiratory complications after a routine surgical procedure and had been placed into an induced coma. I only just made it back in time to say goodbye before the machine was turned off.
So despite the fact I was so close to reaching my goal of trying for a baby, I decided it was time to go home to Melbourne and be there for my Mum. I was lucky enough to secure a role with my company, but I was unsure how I was going to continue with the fertility treatment in Auckland while based in Melbourne. I wasn't sure if the waiting time for a donor would be as long back home as it was in NZ, but it was high on my list of things to look into after moving country, selling a house, buying a house, moving house, moving pets and starting a new job. Phew!