My IVF Journey

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Every one around me was falling pregnant. It felt like some of my family and friends only had to look at each other and BOOM! They were pregnant. We had been trying for 18 months and suffered two miscarriages. It wasn’t as easy for us.

We finally decided to go to the doctor to find out what was going on. After speaking to her we decided it was best that we went and saw a specialist. After a few months wait, the day had finally arrived! We had a few blood tests to see what was going on and a scan. I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This explains the irregular period, acne, excessive hair growth and difficulty in falling pregnant.

Then it was off to the next test, hysterosalpingogram. I was a little nervous because my specialist had told me to drink whiskey before hand to help relax me, as it wasn’t a comfortable procedure. They insert dye into you through your vagina, it is a little painful (not as painful as labour!). Specifically for me it was to see if I had blocked fallopian tubes. Got the results, no blockages, that’s a positive!

Back to the specialist, what are our options? We decided to do an IUI (Intrauterine insemination) first, which was unsuccessful. An IUI is when they place washed, prepared sperm into your uterus that is near to your egg, at the time of ovulation. It didn’t worry me, as the percentage for this working isn’t very high. The next step, IVF.

IVF is exhausting. Emotionally, physically and financially. There were internal scans, constant blood tests, injections, tablets and pessaries. I was bruised, bloated, moody, irritable, stressed and tired.  I was still working and trying to juggle life. It was exhausting.

During the time that I started the process, I only told a few people. I was embarrassed. I’m a Naturopath, I should be able to help myself fall pregnant.  I help other people do it, so why cant I? One of my friends actually turned to me and said “Oh well, you got to do, what your got to do”, in my head I thought wow, you obviously have no idea what its like to do IVF. After this, I stopped talking about it. I found it really difficult to talk about and only spoke to three people, my husband, my sister and one of my friends who was going through IVF at the time as well.

Before you know it, its egg collection day. Thank god they put me under for this! The one thing I really disliked was that my specialist made me sing a song before taking the eggs out, it was ridiculous! It was his tradition so you just rolled with it. When I woke up from egg collection, I would always look to see what number was written on my arm. This was our specialist’s way of telling us how many eggs they collected. I was sore after egg collection, which is not surprising because they do stick a needle into your ovaries, multiple times.

I continued to take medication, injecting into my stomach and using pessaries in preparation for the embryo transfer day. 'Drink more whiskey before coming in for your embryo transfer’ I was told, it will help you relax. They also gave me some Valium to help with that too!

The days go past and you are wondering if you are pregnant. Finally the morning of the blood test, the minutes go so slowly. You phone multiple times, only to be told, ‘I’m sorry the results are not back yet.’ Only to phone half an hour later and be told the same thing. Then when they finally say, ‘yes let me get them,’ your heart starts racing, you hold your breath and then you hear, ‘I’m sorry you’re not pregnant.’ The tears flow and the blame starts. What is wrong with me? Every time I heard those words my heart broke.

The next day I would phone the clinic and make an appointment for the next month to start the process again. If the finances allowed, we just kept going.

I never got to ring and find out over the phone if I was pregnant. The two times I have fallen pregnant from IVF was off fresh cycles, frozen never worked for us. Both of those successful cycles I got Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, I looked 6 months pregnant from all the fluid that had built up in my stomach. I was vomiting, nauseous and ended back in hospital I was so sick. As my specialist would say, ‘there is a pretty good chance you are pregnant!’ He was right both times!

The decision to do IVF was not made lightly and there is no guarantee it will work.  If I could change one thing about my experience, I would talk to more people about it. It is an emotional rollercoaster and having that support would of made the world of difference to me. I would of spoken to the nurses and counselors that were made available to me as well. For some reason I didn’t feel like I needed to, but looking back now, I did.  There were days that I cried alone because I thought the whole world was against me and it was just never going to happen for us. It did eventually happen for us and I am forever grateful I have two beautiful kids. 

When you are doing IVF, it can feel very lonely at times. No matter how exhausted you are some days, know that you are not alone. Xx

Pam Hird