When we started this journey nearly 8 years ago, we never imagined it would be so long, so hard or so heartbreaking.
I remember for the 1st 6 months or so it was fun and just meant having more sex. Then it became all about timing and not so fun anymore. Even through the investigations i never really thought there would be an issue with either of us.
Clomid would be the answer. Its a horrid medication that made me feel so hormonal and under the weather but it would work. After 6 months, with no monitoring, it was IVF time. I now know it was prescribed just to allow us to jump a hurdle and get on the IVF pathway.
IVF is a game changer. It affecrs every part of your life. It takes over. You dont stop trying naturally despite knowing there is a 0.01% chance itll happen for you. So the mechanical sex on top of the stress of waiting for the ivf appointments, whilst also trying every fad diet and old wives tale is really fun. Not. Then you deal with the people who say ‘relax, itll happen’ or ‘its just not your time yet’ and have to be polite and smile rather than bitch slapping them, because we do live in a civilised society after all and it wouldnt be proper.
When you finally get going, 6 months after the original appointment where you found out you both have fertility issues, despite being told everything was ok during the investigations, you, as the woman, are pumped full of hormones, whilst your partner can only watch on in disbelief as you get angry in a second or complain how swollen you are inside.
After egg collection youre told your number, the number of eggs they artificially pulled out of you and you live or die by this number. Only then to realise you are fairly unwell, cant stand or walk and throwing up everywhere. Youve developed OHSS, a life threatening illness only IVF ladies can get. What a club to be in. But you battle through it, not wanting to admit to how poorly you are lest it delay the cycle because in just over 2 weeks you will be pregnant.
The daily updates see those precious numbers dwindle, 23 collected, 13 fertilised, what happened to the other 10 bastard eggs i pumped myself full of drugs for? Eh?? But youre assured its ok and normal. By day 5 after collection there are 3 left in the running. 3. 20 have failed. Meaning we have failed. 1 is put back despute the environment (my uterus) not being ideal and you are sent away to manage for 17 days with no contact.
You analyse everything, every sneeze, every hiccup, noticing you tan faster than normal. This has to be it. I will be pregnant. Until you bleed bang on the day you were due on. 5 pissing days before test day. It failed. I failed. My body failed.
Luckily the other 2 embryos were frozen so you have 2 more chances. But the wait for treatment is horrendous. Youre told 3 months but its actually 6 before they can fit you in. This time you have to down regulate your body, put it through the menopause. 5 long weeks of injections, tablets, headaches, mood swings, and hot sweats. Only to be told your uterine lining is too thin and they are cancelling the cycle. I failed. Again. I cried for 8 hours that day.
6 months later and you do it all again. Same result. But no tears this time. Failure is becoming the norm now. Instead you are just angry at the whole proccess, at yourself. At the world.
You watch your friends have their babies, it breaks your heart everytime but you are over joyed for them and devestated its not you. You still hope at this point though.
The powers that be discuss your case, amongst themselves, not with you. They decide to try a non medicated cycle. You agree to anything. 17 days of early morning blood tests and finally ovulation is detected. But your lining is only 5mm. They want to cancel. You beg your nurse to put your case forward to the powers that be in the afternoon briefing, explaining youd rather have a chance than nothing at all. That your mental health is suffering and its either transfer MY embryo or a stint in the Priory.
They agree but warn you repeatdly you are wasting a chance. But it works. Then there is The Story of Milo (see 3rd ever blog)
After a loss like that, all you want is to be pregnant again. Your body aches for what has been snatched from it. We tried naturally again whilst we waited for our turn to try with our last frozen embryo. Youre meant to be your most fertile after a loss. But youre not that lucky. Of course youre not.
6 months and we try again. Same as before. It worked before it can work again. But it doesnt. And you are left with nothing but a wait to confirm when you can start the whole damn proccess again.
But i cant wait. I need to be pregnant now. You investigate clinics abroad. Something you never dreamt of doing or needing to do. And you find that one clinic that feels right. You just know its the clinic for you. Personal loans, flights, accomodation, drugs all sorted in 6 weeks or less. Its so different and daunting but this is your chance. You get there and within minutes know you made the right decision. It doesnt matter that you cant eat or drink as your body is having some sort of weird reaction to something (turns out boling the water doesnt kill the bugs but you wont figure that out for a long time yet) you know this is the clinic that will get you pregnant.
They do too. And its wonderful. And despite many hiccups, the baby is healthy and for 9 days you feel nothing but bliss. This is our time. This is our baby. But out of nowhere, the baby is gone. Eerily timed so that you lose that baby 54 weeks after losing the 1st baby, at the same number of weeks gestation.
And it breaks you. Mentally its too much. You try to get on, try to be normal, try to be ok. But youre not. Not at all. You know you cant face trying again anytime soon and you think by having that year out, by going to creamfields, to disneyland paris and to Australia, you are healing, body and mind. Until your mind craps out on you the week before Australia and you have another breakdown. Except you dont know you are having it until its pointed out by a colleague. How embarrassing.
Being on the other side of the world with your bestie and hubby does the trick. You reconnect with your hubby and realise you are not alone. That anxiety monster just told you you were. You drink everyday with your bestie who oozes positivity, and it rubs off. You can do this. You are ready to try again.
So you fly out to that fab clinic that gave you that healthy baby knowing this is it. Until your hormones dont play ball and you cant transfer. You mope for 2 days. Not anticipating a freeze all cycle but you bounce back, have a holiday and feel pretty smug you have 7 to feeeze. But you need to keep going. You are back in the ivf mindset after 14 months off and you struggled through stimulation this time. So much so you dont ever want to stim again.
So you fly out again the folliwing month, leaving hubby at home and taking Mum instead. Another villa, another hire car, another week out of work. The meds make you poorly but you carry on. You keep up the PMA. They transfer 4 of the 7 and you fly home the next day. Already pretty sure it hasnt worked. You just dont have ‘the feeling’ but you try to get through the 2 week wait with positivity until you test the day before bloods and see the whitest of white test staring back at you.
And you give up. Its all over. You had your 2 chances and it didnt work out. Youve used up all your luck. You wont be a mummy to your biological children. The hope after 8 cycles over 4 years has run out. If the amazing clinic you put all your faith in cant do it, no one can.
But they, the clinic, offer you a life line and youd be stupid not take it. It means stimming again which you REALLY dont want to do. So you decide if youre going to do it, youre throwing everything at it. You borrow money from parents to pay for this last shot, to ‘kitchen sink’ it. You dont believe itll work. Youre doing it to say you tried everything, so you walk away knowing you gave it your best shot. Time has taught you that life isnt fair and now you are ready to accept that. You do it for hubby, you do it for the potential grandparents but deep down you know its game over.
So you fly out for the 3rd time in 4 months. You know this town you stay in like the back of your hand now, sat nav no longer required. And you go to the appointments and be your cheery self and you meet the other patients and tell them it will work and that they have chosen the best clinic ever. Because they have, they dont need to know that i have used up all my luck, that my body has failed me, that ill never be a Mummy.
And you go through the motions and you have the transfer, even realising its been your best cycle yet and the numbers didnt dwindle too much and that you made 6 healthy embryos, 4 of which are inside you making you a bit crampy. But you dare not dream.
And you come home and you have ‘the feeling’ but the doubts creep in and you are so so scared to get your hopes up. But eventually you crack. You test earlier than ever before, and there they are, 2 pink lines. It actually bloody worked. It was worth the £20k you spent over those 4 months just to see those 2 pink lines.
Then you realise you have to actually get past 21 weeks gestation this time and that doesnt seem possible. You spend the 1st 12 weeks numb, especially when you start bleeding in week 10, but at your 12 week scan you fall in love with that baby on the screen. You continue to bleed and be in and out of EPU almost weekly so you spend the next couple of weeks petrified youll lose that baby you now love.
And then the bleeding stops suddenly, but you cant relax as youre now counting down to that fateful 21st week. You increase your counselling sessions to deal with the anxiety but you dare not hope for the best. And you have your anomaly scan and baby is perfect, like the last one. So you still dont hope. And then its week 21 and you are strangely calm. Something feels different this time. You cant explain it but you make it to week 22. And then week 24, youve a viable baby on board for the 1st time ever. And you are elated but cautious. Then you hit 26 weeks, 27, its a miracle.
Today im 28 weeks. Thats the 3rd trimester. 12 weeks until term. Hes a real chance of surving now. And im over the moon and cant quite believe we made it.
And i nearly gave up, i nearly didnt have the cycle that created this precious life inside of me. I was so hurt, so broken, i didnt think it’d happen for me.
Love, Little Miss PMA xxx