It isn’t often that you meet someone and instantly feel a bond. Our next guest blog contributor and I found each other across many miles. We have corresponded as pen pals for several years, but only met face to face a few months ago in a heavenly place called Bled, Slovenia. It was like meeting an old friend for the first time. Our shared six-foot height aside, she and I have seen eye to eye and heart to heart from the beginning. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t speak Slovenian, Klara speaks English (as well as Italian and German) with ease. She agreed to share her story in English. Here it is:
The last few years were really hard. We had 10 failed IVF treatments in five clinics in three countries. We had our hearts broken for a million times. We were so sad for all of our embies who didn’t have enough strength to live more than a few days.
We had the last treatment in autumn and it was the hardest because of all the increased drugs the doctors prescribed me. I had so many horrible side effects that I made a promise to myself: if the side effects go away I will never ever take any infertility drug again. Luckily, the side effects went away after two months, and I am sticking to the promise I made myself.
I know one may ask, why so many treatments?
The explanation is simple. For me, till now, it was always easier to endure all the physical pain compared to the pain I had to go through when I faced the decision to stop trying and to embrace a child free life. In my country (Slovenia) we have six IVF treatments completely free of charge. So, many women just jump from one treatment to another without even taking a break or thinking of the side effects that all the drugs can leave.
With the help of our computer I was playing with numbers a bit. Just a few days before Christmas we will celebrate 3,000 days since our wedding day. Our first 3,000 days were mainly sad. Of course, there were also lots of great things. The greatest was that I realized I married the love of my life; all the pain brought us even closer together. If we are lucky, another 15,000 days are waiting for us. So, we decided to start living a new, happy life. We lost, already, enough days being sad. We just don’t want to lose another day.
Christmas is coming, and for the first time in years I am actually looking forward to it. Our capital, Ljubljana, is already in Christmas lights. It is beautiful! And Winter solstice is nearing — when the night is the longest and the darkest. After it … the dark gets shorter and the day gets longer.
I like this symbolism a lot.
I began a list of all the positive things that my new decision brings. Some are important, some are small … but everything helps.
- I don’t have to save money for the next treatment. This December I enjoy spending money. For books on Book Depository. For movies with my husband. For enjoying delicious cakes in cozy coffee shops with my friends.
- I don’t have to save free days at work for future treatments. I have 10 days off from work around Christmas and New Year. For the first time since we married we are spending New Year’s Eve abroad. Can’t wait!
- They are downsizing in the company where I work. It will be clear within weeks if me and my coworkers will be made redundant or not. Coworkers with kids worry so much. But I do not. I am not responsible for anybody else so I can afford not to earn anything for a while. And I don’t mind finding another job even if far away from home. Being childfree gives me flexibility.
- It is our busy season at work now. My coworkers with kids are always so nervouse at four, the high time, when they leave the office and pick up their kids in kindergarden. I realized it is quite nice — always to be able to finish work without the pressure of time.
- We started to dream about our next holidays. Our favorites so far are: Malaysia; Japan; Australia; USA; Canada. We love traveling so much!
What was (or is) on your list of positive things for the period when you started a New Life? All ideas welcome! They will help me and the others who read Pamela’s blog. Lots of love from sLOVEnia, Klara
Editor’s note: I found Klara’s depiction of looking beyond the darkness inspiring. The idea that many thousands of days await us makes me all the more committed to living each day better than the last.
p.s. One of the other many things I learned from Klara — as her signature above demonstrates –is that Slovenia is the only country with the word “love” in it. If this beautiful “Ex-Yu” country is not on your list of destinations, it should be.
8 thoughts on “The Next 15,000 Days”
What a beautiful, touching story… I wish you all the best…
I have been visiting this site for many months, but have never left a comment. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience. In the world of IVF I am considered young (28). We have been trying for years. I knew it would be difficult, so we started early. I also made myself a similar promise of, “This would be the last time” this fall. I have stuck to my guns and have not attempted another treatment.
I am not in the positive outlook stage yet, but I hope to be there soon. Thank you for reminding me there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also married the love of my life and my best friend. We are thankful for each other everyday. You are right, it is time to focus on each other and on all the wonderful things in our lives.
Thank you again
My husband and I have decided that if we don’t have children (which we are not expecting to, after more than six years of marriage and trying to conceive for the same amount of time), we will retire early – something we couldn’t do if we had to save for kids’ college tuition after paying back our own student loan debt – and buy an old farmhouse in Normandy and start a bed and breakfast as our second careers. (We’re Americans, but eligible for EU citizenship.) Everyone we mention this to has already offered to visit, so we’ll hardly be lonely! Though we have somewhat different approaches toward our future, we both love this idea, and it’s something that would simply be out of reach if we had children. It’s nice to have something like “early retirement” to say about our future that produces jealous expressions on the faces of the people who are able to have children!
The main positives on our bucket list at the moment is that we are starting to volunteer for charities with causes which are dear to our hearts. We spent two hours packing groceries in a local supermarket last weekend for Friends of the animals. My husband is involved with junior achievement, which sends volunteers out to primary schools to promote extra curricular education. His project focused on showing eleven year olds fun and interesting applications of science. Our biggest volunteering commitment is with Chernobyl Lifeline Ireland. This charity works with helping the children living with the aftermath of the chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. One of their programs involves bringing children from areas of Belarus which are highly contaminated by radioactivity on respite and recuperation holidays to Ireland. We are hosting two seven year old girls this Christmas for ten days. We are hoping that this will help us open a new chapter in our lives while at the same time providing much needed Tlc to children in dire need. I would ask anyone who is childless not by choice to consider volunteering for one of the many Chernobyl Childrens’ Charities. You could make such a huge difference to a child’s health and longterm life expectancy while at the same time forging a lifelong bond with them.
Thanks for your wonderful post. I love the idea of looking forward to the days we have left – though I’m probably a bit older than you so I’m scared to calculate how many might be left, even if we’re lucky!! On my to-do list for the days that are left will now be “visit Slovenia” having recently dropped into Montenegro and Croatia. So I think you should add New Zealand to yours! ;-)
dear girls – thank you for all your kind words & new ideas!
dear Mali – New Zealand is already on our list for the next decade (we even bought LP guidebook already). Movies Lord of the rings were filmed there and now all Europeans want to visit it :)
And – Whenever you wish to come to Slovenia, just contact Pamela and she will give you my email. I would love to meet you! And also the others. I do have friends in my life, but I also like to meet new friends who went through the same thing. I like the feeling that I am not alone…