I had the opportunity recently to share my fertility story over on a site called My F Word. The host, Selina has been through several years of fertility problems, and has a section where others can share their tales on her site. There’s a real mix of lives in there, I urge you to go and have a read if you are experiencing similar issues. For me personally, for a while now I’ve been wanting to get the last few years written down, for my own benefit but also for any other women out there experiencing secondary infertility, to hopefully see that you are not alone. Here is my post.
I have been sharing my fertility struggles for a while now over on Instagram and am always amazed by the love and support I get from women I’ve never met. I’ve had some wonderful messages of encouragement and sharing of stories, just from a post about what is happening with me. There is something incredibly powerful in this I think. A few months ago, after our failed frozen round I discovered there an actual (actual real life!) #TTC (trying to conceive) community on there, and after much searching and connecting with various people in similar situations, I came across Alice Rose.
I thought for a long while on how I could introduce Alice on here, because she doesn’t have a title as such, but she doesn’t really need one because just know that she is most definitely someone who is making waves on social media (namely Instagram) with her positive attitude covering the emotive topic of fertility problems and baby loss. Alice hosted an intimate event in London recently that I had the pleasure of going along to. Despite the intense summer heat (think a room full of women with humidity hair) Alice gave a brilliant talk about her life and how she found she wasn’t coping very well when she discovered that she couldn’t easily conceive or deal with the subsequent, ever stressful IVF treatment. She shared the tools she has, and is still using to help her cope day by day with these issues. I came away from her talk believing I could make some positive changes in my life. Her blog tag says, ‘I am on a mission to empower people during one of the hardest experiences in the world: a fertility struggle’, I caught up with her to find out a bit more about this mission of hers.
When my husband and I decided to try the IVF route, we always knew that we would need to fund it ourselves. Having had one natural daughter already, despite struggling with Secondary Infertility we were not (are not) eligible for any treatment on the NHS. We are lucky in that, we have been able to pay for ourselves to date, but having only had one fresh round and two other versions of IVF, our bill already nudges near £16,000 which is eye wateringly expensive. Anyone I know who has undergone IVF has either paid for it themselves or received it for free, but what about, and this is something I’d not really considered before, those who simply live in the wrong area, or who are denied treatment? What are they supposed to do?
What can you remember from your sex education at school? Do you remember anything specific? Can you remember any details? I have a vague recollection of being in a science lesson and the teacher trying to control a bunch of giggling girls, whilst talking about willies, lady bits and a baby in a tummy but this is about it. What I don’t recall however is really being taught periods, ovulation and fertility. Fast forward to now and I’m in a situation where I’ve had to become far more aware of what happens inside my body each month because my fertility is an issue. And this is something I’m only fully aware of in my (late) thirties. But what if this had been something I’d been aware of, from my teenage years onwards? Okay who knows what situation I’d be in now, but what if young girls were taught about fertility, alongside sex education from a young age, would that be a bad thing?
We’re ten months down the line from when we made the final decision to go for IVF and whilst I’m no expert on it, I know a heck of a lot more about the whole process, than back when we started. It’s been a real learning curve for me and my husband. There’s so much you’re not aware of before you take the plunge, despite probably the majority of us knowing friends or family who have had to have IVF. Pre treatment, I somewhat naively just though you went in to your clinic and they magically did something with your sperm and egg, and VOILA!! OK maybe not quite but, I didn’t know about the daily injections, or having to have a general anaesthetic so they can collect your eggs, and I definitely didn’t know about the emotional roller-coaster that it all turns out to be. It’s IVF but so much more to boot. A lot of which you don’t or won’t have considered beforehand. Obviously I’ve learnt a whole load more, but here are ten main things for you.