As I sit here with a bigger tummy than I had a few months ago, I feel disbelief, deep gratitude and appreciation. Just a year ago, at this time, I was experiencing deep sadness and shame over another failed attempt at conception. Every month of failure gutted me, and I sank deeper into an abyss of despair. Infertility carries with it so many different emotions-anger, jealousy, guilt, and so much more. The secrecy around it can sometimes fuel intense shame and self-hatred. It is a complex emotional experience that many do not understand.
When I reached out to the Barbados Fertility Centre, I realised that I was not alone, and that meant so much to me. Nurse Beena and Nurse Carol communicated hope and compassion. I felt that they truly understood my struggle, and as Nurse Beena once told me, “We are making a targeted effort to help you.” I felt the commitment from the staff to make this happen. I did not feel like ‘any old patient’; I felt attended to and cared for. Every tear I shed was understood (I shed a lot of them) and every fear was respected. Every question was answered (I had a lot of these too).
I recognised that the Barbados Fertility Clinic was not only warm but extremely knowledgeable. My partner and I went through several tests, which convinced me that I was in the hands of thorough and competent experts. I was clear about the way forward.
When we got to Barbados for our IVF process, I was greeted with a warm hug from Nurse Deeantie who journeyed with me along the process, and boy did we have a journey!!! . Her empathy and patience were amazing. I was very anxious and she taught me a lesson that I would carry with me for the rest of my life. She said to me, “With this process, you must take it one day at a time.” Indeed, she was right! You need to take a deep breath and know that you cannot predict what will happen next. Nurse Deeantie is forever etched in my memory as the person who reminded me of the need to live in the moment. It’s a lesson I was aware of before but my journey with her solidified it! Dr. Corona also attempted to keep me calm and reassured me that things were progressing well.
After the eggs were retrieved and the fertilisation process was completed, every day, I would sit close to my phone to hear from the embryologist, Natalia. To this day, I say that Natalia is the best baby sitter I know. She made sure to call me on time, as she shared the good news about the progress of my embryos. She was honest about what may or may not happen, but I could sense her investment in the process.
On the day of my transfer, I engaged in pre and post acupuncture therapy which helped to relax me. But of course, nothing could compare to the laughter and lightheartedness provided during the procedure by Dr. Skinner, Lyn (medical assistant) and Emma (theatre nurse) (Emma is a riot…I just love her). Though they took the time to explain the procedure to me every step of the way, they provided comfort via their manner, disposition and comedy.
After my transfer, everyone hugged me and reminded me of all that I needed to do to keep healthy and calm. Cyrilene provided great motherly advice and told me that though it was the Christmas season, I was not to engage in any housework. I made sure to bid farewell to Leticia who reminded me during my first day in Barbados that I didn’t need to worry because all it takes is just one good embryo. However, in our case, we had at least two and are expecting twins later this year.
I remember saying to Tracy at the BFC’s Trinidad site that when you are battling with infertility, you feel like you are trying to get into a club that has no room for you. It’s a club of mothers who get to experience the movements of their babies and the joy of witnessing them grow. She told me, “Well now, you got in twice!”
Thanks BFC for my granting me access!
PS There are other kind people at BFC who showed me lots of warmth, but I can’t remember all their names. But I remember you!!!!!!!