baby

'At 41, an egg donor is our last hope for a baby. And now, it might never happen.'

I have been stuck before.

Plenty of times.

In the usual places. Elevators or behind doors that won’t open. I was even that kid with their head stuck between the staircase bannister, forever immortalised in a Polaroid photo in the back of a photo drawer.

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I have been stuck in awkward conversations, going-nowhere-relationships, and at the end of a long line at the post office. I have also felt stuck in a hospital room watching someone I loved deeply, take their final breath.

Never before though, have I been so stuck and so desperate to not be.

COVID-19 has got me too and it is has knocked me. A sucker punch.

I have no actual symptoms, and I am not testing positive. But it has me.

Stuck.

The virus should be causing a minor annoyance, stopping me from getting a haircut, or meeting friends for drinks or heading into the office right now. But it is doing something so much crueller and so unfair. I don’t know where to go or what to do.

You see, it is stopping me from getting on a plane right now.

A plane I desperately need to get on, one I should have been on a week ago.

I needed to be in Malaysia right now, to have one of four frozen embryos transferred to my endometrium lining. A lining that up until a week ago was perfectly pink, thick and ready to have an embryo transferred to it. For it to stick. For it to grow into a foetus, and then…

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Our baby.

This is not a case of simply, ‘just wait it out and be patient’.

I have spent the past 10 years being patient, more than anyone could imagine.

I am done being patient, and brave and strong.

I am now at the end of my tether and desperation and fear are currently winning out.

I just want my embryos and I am quite terrified this is the end of the line for us.

Borders have shut down, as has my hope.

So here we are. Stuck.

I have known I want to be a mum since I could hold a doll. If anyone in our family was going to be a mum it was me, without a doubt. I put it above all other daydreams as a kid.

A tribe of kids and the white picket fence. I knew I wanted that. My husband and I both do. We ache for it. But I am now 41 and time is almost up.

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Image: Supplied.

Cafes and shops have closed down, as has my hope.

So here we are. Stuck.

Amongst all the toilet paper fights, and memes and Tik Toks, I sit here and I cannot believe this is where we now are.

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6893kms away from my potential for a family. Unable to leave our house let alone the country.

Stuck.

Only two weeks ago I was almost cocky with my assurances to my family. "Oh we are 100 per cent going, we will be fine."

Face masks and gloves. In and out. It all seemed so easy, everyone else was overreacting. They had to be, because my egg donated embryos were finally within my reach.

I felt so positive that this was ‘go time’, because we had actually attempted this all in January. It got cancelled though, two days before the procedure. I was up so high, and then it came crashing down. Again.

As I lay on my back with five different Malaysian specialists and nurses hovering over me in a bustling island hospital. I was informed my endometrium was not behaving as they wanted it to. Not sticky enough.

They could do nothing but hold me as I wept.

It felt like the end of the world then, but we grieved for a few days and then got back up. Again.

We got really good at doing this over the years. We died little deaths at every setback that we have had on our fertility ‘journey’, but we always got back up again, somehow still smiling.

I guess we had to. It was our new norm.

We were stuck.

We were okay with that though, because we were still so hopeful.

After 10 years of assisted conception, including five cycles of IVF, three miscarriages, one ectopic pregnancy (resulting in a fallopian tube completely removed) and after the gut-wrenching realisation, that IVF was not happening for us and time was running out at 40 years old; we researched Egg Donor programs and realised this was the next scary but exciting step for us.

So more drugs, more side effects but worth it to get our family. Finally.

It didn’t come without hard decisions and difficult conversation… sacrifices. I had to give up on my dream of my child being biologically mine. No mini-me running around one day. They will be (only biologically) half my husbands and half a supermodel beauty from the Ukraine. That in itself is another mental block to become unstuck from.

And so a new chapter in our story of becoming parents unfolded and hope grew.

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This would be it, I was actually going to get everything I ever wanted. My chances of a successful pregnancy jumped from 7 percent to 70 percent as soon as we signed away $30k, and so did my confidence.

I was up. Again.

And then coronavirus hit.

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The day Malaysia closed their borders, I fell in a heap and I haven’t really gotten back up again.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison placed a travel ban on us all, even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it still broke me completely.

I can only imagine what other couples are going through right now; the same torture as we are, taking this all day by day too frightened to think about how long this will go on for.

My age isn’t stopping while the world freezes, my worry lines on my face a constant reminder.

I have been stuck before, but this time the stakes are a lot higher.

There are so many stories like mine, where this new world that we find ourselves in, will impact us for the rest of our lives, changing the course for so many.

As much as I hated my cycle drugs, hormones pumping through my body causing chronic illness. I would give anything to be on them right now, steps away from having my embryos within reach.

All I can hope is every single person takes this lockdown so seriously. The quicker everyone stops moving the quicker COVID-19 stops moving.

The quicker I become,

Unstuck.

I knew we had a battle on our hands but never throughout it all, did I ever think it would be a global pandemic that stopped us in our tracks. Certainly not one that sounds like it would be a lot friendlier and more fun with a dash of lime.

Feature image: Supplied.

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It's okay to feel this way, but it's also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus - How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.

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