I was the toddler with the 'bubba' doll. The one with all the babies, the stroller, the milk bottles. I was the little girl who would hold the baby to my nipple, to feed him, in the innocent way I had learned.
I was the child with the knack of finding best friends, everywhere I went. I was the kid who on holidays, would instantly find a fast friend who would be the object of my attention for the entire duration of our stay.
I was the teenager who said no to drugs. I was the one who worried about consequences, constantly. I was the girl who always carried bandaids, and panadol, and seemed to lack the reckless abandon of those around me who would allow themselves to lose control of their faculties.
I was the girl at schoolies who held the hair back of a friend who had no tolerance to alcohol and no prior experience, rendering her completely void of any rational thinking, who tried to jump over a railing twenty stories up in the middle of Surfers Paradise.
I was, and still am, the 'Mother Hen'. My innate drive to care for others and ensure the comfort and safety of those around me is the integral drive that steered me towards motherhood.
I was also the teenager, doubled over in school with crippling, knee-faltering period pain. I was the girl who missed school because I couldn't get out of bed. I was the woman who believed it was normal, that this is what it takes to be a woman, that every female experiences this.
If it weren't for my mother taking me to see a specialist, I would have taken much longer to investigate, and diagnose the endometriosis growing like a weed in my womb. As it was, it took several years to progress to investigative surgery to diagnose the actual illness and a plethora of (some incompetent) Doctors to get me to where I am.
Fast forward past hundreds of scans (internal and external), the discovery of a bicornuate uterus, no less than seven (7) gynaecologists and four surgical operations along with another serious diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis is 2010, and I was considered to have 'unexplained' infertility.
As a woman born to be a mother, this diagnosis was crushing. My partners swimmers were exceptional, in fact he was told he could repopulate China on his single sperm sample alone, and the weight on my shoulders grew tiresome. We were given results from a fairly new Anti-Mullerian Hormone test (for information click here) stating I had the egg reserve count equivalent of a woman in her fifties, and were strongly encouraged to jump straight to IVF. After nine months of trying naturally, during periods where I would pass scarily-sized clots and would experience 'flooding' (here) whilst at work, rendering my clothes ruined 9and my dignity the same) followed by a month where I just didn't ovulate, it was decided we would do an Induced Ovulation/Modified IUI cycle (information here). This was essentially a trial to see whether or not my Dr could successfully transfer fertilized embryo's needed for IVF, into each uterus using the insemination tools. During this trial he decided to inject sperm at the same time, to decipher how easy it would be in the case of embryo's.
I was injected with a hormone to stimulate eggs, then release them, followed by the insemination. I was given progesterone suppositories to help the lining of the uterus be more favourable for implantation. At the time of egg release, I had one egg on each ovary, so was hoping one would receive the sperm deposit and get busy.
The next fourteen days were the longest, most confusing days of my life. The month prior to my modified cycle, I was late for my period, with sore boobs, convinced I was pregnant. To be told I hadn't even ovulated was so upsetting, so I held out little hope of our trial IUI working.
I remember breaking down the day before my blood test, after I filled my prescription for Clomex to begin my IVF cycle after this IUI. I was with my mother having coffee and I was equal parts angry and disheartened, had been having period pain for days and was extremely hormonal from all the injections. The cafe patron who brought me my cup of coffee suddenly appeared with a small cake, as she had seen me crying and decided I needed a little treat. It was such a small gesture but one filled with love and intention and it made me really appreciate the support I had, from my family and from strangers.
I had been to a very special wedding just four days post-insemination and broke down whilst talking to the bride who knew my procedure had just taken place and we shared some special words.
I came to the midwife for my blood test, and we both laughed at my stomach grumbling. I assured her I had eaten breakfast and was incredibly hungry again, and mentioned that I had a fainting spell the day before, probably from being so emotional. She gave me a funny look and said she would call me as soon as the blood test came in. I told her I was going to Stradbroke Island that afternoon and wasn't going to bother taking any more pessaries as I knew my period was coming. She advised me to go home, have a rest, and pop one up there just in case.
When I awoke, I had a missed call from Kris, my midwife. I called the office, and the receptionist asked me what I was expecting. I sighed, 'a negative...' and she replied, 'well, you're right...do you need any more pessaries?' to which I replied, 'but I don't need them do I, if I am going to get my period...' to which SHE replied; 'Nikki, you're pregnant!'
Cue much screaming, many tears and a postponing of our booked barge to Straddie to obtain some more pessaries, and it was done. I was pregnant.
I was PREGNANT.
BUT the joy didn't last long...click here to discover the next step of the journey: The Journey to Motherhood Part II