Sharp Reality

Students had a needle at school recently. What a production!

I know they are young, I know it’s scary and I know there is the element of mass hysteria to consider. But seriously?

It is a tiny little jab. A minute piercing of the outer layers of skin. So much drama.

Not just from the girls either. There were both boys and girls sprawled out on mats with vomit bags and looking like they had just had a finger amputated, without anaesthetic.

Call me unsympathetic, but it was completely ridiculous.

I had to hold one girl’s hand as she literally was about to lose the plot. Thankfully the nurse was experienced and the whole thing was over before it began. She was audibly sobbing as she watched the nurse coming towards her, pulling away and ready to dive under the nearest desk in fear. She was absolutely terrified. Of one little needle!

I think my sympathy for this kind of thing has been completely ruined by going through cycle after cycle of IVF.

Becoming a human pincushion tends to do that.

Type one diabetics – now these guys have my sympathy. They have injections four or five times per day, sometimes more, for their whole lives. For most of us, it is unimaginable. I can only hazard a guess at how frustrated they must get, and how low their tolerance would be, for those who baulk at the prospect of one immunisation.

Even after five In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) cycles, I still feel I am one of the lucky ones. Yes I had tonnes of needles, but this was for a certain purpose at a certain stage in my life. It wasn’t fun, but it’s over now, and I navigated my way through it. It was a means to an end, and really just a part of the whole process. Needles were the least of it to be honest. If it was only the needles I had to contend with, it would have been a walk in the park… Give me needles over raging hormones, invasive procedures, Ovarian Hyperstimulation and the devastation of failed cycles, not to mention the cleaning out of your bank account for a procedure that ultimately has no guarantees.

My Instagram feed is filled with women going through this same IVF journey, and I don’t envy them one bit. Not for the needle side of things either – ask any of them and I know they would agree with me, I am sure, that the needles are the ‘easy’ part. I always comment when I see people who are experiencing grief at unsuccessful cycles, or worse, pregnancy success followed by the devastation of a loss. The stakes are so high with these pregnancies – more so, I believe, than regular ‘garden variety’ pregnancies – purely because the journey to reach this point has been fraught with so many more layers of difficulty. I enjoy being able to offer a kind word, or send a hug, even though I don’t know these people personally, because we are bonded by the set of circumstances we find ourselves in to conceive our families.

There are no ‘accidents’ brought on by ill-timed lovemaking sessions for same sex couples or single mothers by choice. There are no late night fumblings resulting in a little one. Every child brought into a same sex family has been meticulously planned, down to the finest of details. Cycles are scrutinised, donors are carefully selected and finances planned well in advance. When going through a clinic, we even have to undergo a compulsory counselling session to understand the impact of our choice to bring a child into the world. We have no choice but to jump through all these hoops. To have the full protection of the legal system when using a donor, we need to go through a clinic. The chances of successfully conceiving a child are MUCH higher using IVF than Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) for only fractionally more money. Enter IVF as the most viable option.

Yes, it is a highly invasive process to go through, but ultimately, so is having a child. What price do you place on being a mother, when this process guarantees you the best chance at achieving this? The emotional toll of unsuccessful cycles is so great, that I truly wish I had never bothered with IUI, and jumped straight in to IVF from the start. I would have saved myself immeasurable heartache. The joy of hindsight.

In considering all of this, it is not difficult to understand why I have such an issue with the melodrama of teenagers in getting an immunisation.

They are young, and lack the wisdom of life experience, so I will forgive them.

I am sure at their age, I thought getting a needle was a big deal too.

Oh how life changes.

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