HOW THE IVF JOURNEY BREAKS YOUR HEART
You may recall in August of last year (2017) that I wrote a piece about how much the baby making journey sucks (click here to read it)?
Flash forward to March 7th (2018) and I’m here to say that that I’m still on the journey and it still does suck.
Rather then re-hash everything I spoke about in the previous piece I’ll cut straight to the point in telling you that our first IVF cycle was unsuccessful and it’s ripped my fucking heart out.
Why share this with you?
Because I believe in honesty, openness, transparency, REAL TALK and I believe opening up conversations and topics such as these removes the shame, secrecy and guilt. I refuse to shy away from my experience with fertility and IVF because maybe you (or someone you know) might need some support right now or to simply know you’re not alone.
The struggle is real.
I know for me personally that this process has been the most emotionally and physically taxing thing I’ve ever been through, not to mention the impact it has on my partner (who despite how hard this has been remains completely incredible, supportive, strong and emotionally available in a time where I’m sure most people would just want to shut off…like I at times want to).
So, what exactly happened to get me writing this tonight (over a glass of wine)? Let’s take a few steps back and I’ll tell you about the process.
A few months ago I began what was a month of hormone injections (28-30 in total if I remember correctly) to stimulate my ovaries in the hopes of producing multiple eggs. We wanted as many eggs possible to ensure we could fertilise (in the hopes of freezing) and then freeze them for when we were ready to do insemination.
After a month of crazy high/low moments brought on by these hormones (it was a mind fuck of a month and that’s putting it lightly) I was finally going in to have my eggs extracted (I know there’s an actual word for this procedure but it’s escaping my mind right now). I ended up having 8 healthy eggs taken out of which 5 fertilised.
Out of the 5 who fertilised, 2 of them died.
I was gutted. I’d read so many stories of women having 20 eggs, with 16 fertilising. I felt like I’d underachieved and like my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. I felt as if the month of two injections a day plus the acupuncture and treating my body like a fucking goddess was doing absolutely nothing.
In short: I felt like a failure.
So out of the 8 eggs I ended up with 3 (of which had to be frozen because a fresh transfer was off the cards for me to due my ovaries being over stimulated courtesy of the month-from-hell hormones.)
So, another few weeks went by and I continued with my Chinese herbs (which are fucking RANK), my acupuncture, my stretching and everything else that I could do to make our IVF frozen transfer (ice ice baby) stick.
Cue transfer time and we go in for an internal ultrasound of my uterus to which my Dr says ‘looks great, nice and mucousy!’ (strangest compliment ever). I was so ready for it because let’s be honest, I’ve been on this journey for what feels like 10 years so I couldn’t get my legs in the stirrups quick enough.
Want to know something cool? When they do the transfer you actually see the embryo go inside you (via ultra-sound) and it glows. It fucking glows. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. It was incredible to witness but it also makes your heart get even deeper in and more attached. You look at this screen and think…
Right there is my future baby.
Which is why I guess it then hurts so much when you go to the toilet (today) and discover your period’s here.
Because then you realise that no, in that initial moment when you were looking at the screen thinking that was your future baby glowing inside of you…it wasn’t. It didn’t work. It hasn’t happened.
You’re right back here again and it just fucking hurts.
So, I share this with you because it’s true. It’s happening. It’s real and it’s raw.
It’s my life.
To my fellow ladies and couples on the IVF journey, tonight I’m holding a cheers to you.
For moving forward and persevering in what are trying circumstances.
For being able to watch those around you get pregnant and still celebrate and join in on their happiness with genuine excitement.
For being able to support the Mummas and families in your life with all the love in your heart whilst holding on to the knowledge that your time will come…
Just not today.