In my desperation to have another baby, we have traipsed from consultant to consultant, plodding along the fertility conveyor belt. Despite having had a pretty straight forward and easy pregnancy with my daughter it has seemed that my body simply doesn’t want that to happen again, thank you very much. Shutters down, closed for business. My last post back in October 2019 on this topic, talked positively of seeing a new consultant, but admitted that I was finding treatment hard with the drug side-effects (I was about eight months in at this point) And in amongst all this, I knew in the back of my mind that should we not be successful that I wanted to do a final round of IVF. I was adamant that this was our plan. In my head, another go at IVF meant we’d magically be given twins. I know. idiot. However COVID hit and forced us to take a break from it all and dare I say that this actually turned out to be an incredibly positive thing.
There’s been a distinct lack of posts on here this past year (anyone noticed?!) with only six written to date. I’ve been feeling a bit indifferent and detached from writing, as much as I enjoy it, and I’ve felt less and less need to write on here. It filled a space for me before, I had lots of free time before Olivia started school, it gave me something to do while she was at nursery, napping during the day or if I just wanted to ignore her (!) It gave me some purpose and a chance to use my brain (tiny Homer Simpson brain that is). And also, with our fertility problems, it helped writing everything down, I found writing very cathartic. But now I work two days a week my time is taken up with lots of other things and the few times I’ve sat down to write, nothing has come. And also, if I’m completely honest, I’m a bit bloody bored of writing about my fertility nonsense. Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of it.
During the last four years, something I’ve never been 100% certain of is whether or not I’m actually ovulating. We started trying for a second baby back in 2015 and I duly bought and used ovulation sticks, given that they worked literally like a dream when we conceived Olivia. However second time round I found them to be increasingly unreliable. I seemed to get conflicting information from them – either nothing each month or several peak days. This meant I’d start using them really early to try and catch the right day, which ultimately meant spending loads of money. I stopped using them after a year and aside from a scan with a private consultant in November 2016 which showed I had ovulated at the time, bar this one confirmation I had no idea what was going on in there every month (hellooooo, anything?!) Because of this and because I simply wasn’t getting pregnant, I felt I could do with some help in this department, so towards the end of last year I found myself looking at devices I could buy that would help me pinpoint ovulation.
For some reason, when things weren’t working as easily as we had hoped in trying for a second baby, I always had it in my head that we would try IVF. But I’ve no idea why this thought was in there? Why did I think this? Perhaps because I know a lot of people who have had it and it’s worked, perhaps because I follow lots of people on Social Media who have been through it. Maybe that’s the reason it was already implanted in my mind. Definitely one thing I was considering it was because of my age – there is something akin to doom when you are a woman nudging 40 in the fertility world, think flashing klaxons going off, warning of your ovaries about to shut down. Ultimately however if I am honest, deep down, I thought IVF was the answer to our problems. I thought it was going to be the easy route to getting what we wanted.
There were two Social Media campaigns run recently that I got involved with, miscarriage awareness week and fertility week. I had a look through all the posts linked with the relevant hashtags and read many honest and open stories. Stories from women who are desperate for a child, who have various problems that prevent them from having one naturally and whose only option is assisted help. Afterwards I had a bit of a lightbulb moment (well for me it’s more like someone slowly turning a switch on and off, repeatedly, for a long time) I realised that in hindsight we bowled headlong into IVF when we didn’t need to. There is nothing wrong with my husband or I per se. We easily conceived our first child we just frustratingly can’t conceive a second. We have unexplained secondary infertility. My point being that I realised we didn’t have to have IVF – we chose to have it. Now that I know what a stress and strain IVF is, I think (we both think) I wish we had waited before going down that route. There were perhaps other avenues we could have explored before IVF. Hindsight eh. Off the back of this lightbulb ping I was pondering about what I wish I could rewind the clock for and go back and tell myself. Here are six things that I wish had been on my radar four years ago.