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 why it was already implanted in my mind. Definitely one reason I’m sure 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 that 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.
Infertility has frustratingly defined how I have felt over the last three years. It’s something you can’t really control and that’s quite hard to accept. You can eat well, exercise, take supplements or medication if you have something specifically wrong with you but you can’t physically control whether or not you get pregnant, it’s down to science. It’s completely out of your hands and at times I’ve felt incredibly helpless about it all. Couple this with IVF stress and a miscarriage and it’s all been a bit much, but recently there has been a shift, something has happened and I feel like I’ve turned a bit of a corner. I feel like some of the old me has returned. I feel like I’ve taken back some control and it’s like a small weight has been lifted.
In the last three years, I’ve found myself seeing and wishing on all the signs possible. Be it a clear blue sky, a shooting star (yep, I’ve seen one in this time), a lone floating dandelion seed, a perfect shaped cloud, I’ve seen and I’ve wished on them all, and yet, I still find myself stuck in an eternal groundhog cycle. The same pattern of roller-coaster emotions every month. I get my period, I despair, then I have hope during the fertile window, then there’s the horrendous two week wait, then I get pains, signals, signs, I wish, I am pessimistic but I hope and then, as always, my period comes. This on repeat for the last three years.
It’s been a while since I wrote a post about what was happening fertility wise (or not as the case may be) I’ve not really felt like sharing every step of this journey, 1, because that would be rather boring and 2, because it’s hard enough dealing with it day by day, as well as writing it all down. It becomes a bit all consuming, the ever disappointing cycle so it’s good to not constantly be putting fingers to keyboard, writing about it as well. My last post back in April was about my husband and I having made the decision to start IVF. A lot has happened since then, lots of clinic appointments and so, so many injections. I’ve made a diary of sorts, talking about everything to date. This isn’t my usual post, it’s a little more erratic but hopefully conveys the crazy few weeks I’ve had.