IVF – The first attempt

To say I didn’t know a single thing about IVF going into the process is a complete understatement. I turned up at the clinic with a lot of questions and a huge amount of optimism. I’m a naturally optimistic person and you hear of successful ivf stories all the time. I left with a huge bag of needles and medication and felt completely overwhelmed by what the process entailed.

The process

When you need to produce eggs for collection they call this The Long Protocol. The process begins by having an evening injection every night to clear the lining in your uterus and effectively put your body through an artificial menopause.  Everybody experiences different side effects but during this phase (called down regging) which lasts for 2 weeks I experienced high emotions and the equivalent of pre menstrual irritation and sensitivity times a billion. There was nothing my husband, family or work colleagues could do right and I genuinely wondered whether I would ever feel my normal self again. You have a period during the two weeks too which I think creates the perfect storm for your hormones.

You have an internal scan and once the clinic are happy that your lining is non existent they begin you on part two of the process called STIMS. STIMS is the exact opposite of down regging. You now have two injections to take every evening but this time the effect on your body is that of your ovaries exploding with follicles left,right and centre! Again side effects are different for everybody but I had headaches and the sensation that my lower abdomen was being weighed down by something extremely heavy.

Once the clinic are happy that your ovaries are ENORMOUS they then present you with the trigger shot that needs to be kept in the fridge and applied at a certain time the next day. You then get the appointment for your egg collection. This really wasn’t that bad, you are sedated but kept awake and the procedure isn’t too long (approx 20 minutes). The doctor takes all the eggs that are developing in your huge follicles. Your partner has to provide his contribution and then you are sent home to wait. You get a call the next day with how many eggs have successfully fertilised and how many embryos you have. You then get a call every day for the next 4 days telling you how many embryos are progressing and you feel so protective of them and just wiling them to do well. You then get the appointment for the fresh transfer. We had 1 fresh and 3 embryos that were good enough to freeze. The transfer is uncomfortable because you have a full bladder but again isn’t too bad. You then go home and rest for the day. I had to go to the toilet straight after and got into a panic that I had pee’ed the embryo out (I hadn’t :)) You then have two weeks to wait. The hardest part in my opinion as everybody advises not to think about it, obsess or stress but it’s counterintuitive to how you feel and the natural emotions you are feeling. My advice would be to look on forums and blogs as it will give you comfort that you aren’t the only one going through this process and try and focus on other things(again easier said than done) x

I had a positive on my first but that ended in a chemical pregnancy, negative on my second, a positive on my third but ended in a miscarriage at 7 weeks and then a negative with my fourth. So that was my first cycle. Not the outcome I wanted but I learnt a lot along the way about the process and also about myself. I had a break for 4 months and have now just started my second cycle.



IVF – The missing piece

The back story

At the age of 31 I decided the time was right to complete the jigsaw puzzle of my life and to have a baby. My husband was 36 and had wanted a baby for a number of years. I felt that the time hadn’t been right previously – My career had just started and we didn’t have the finiancial security or I felt the maturity to have something become the centre of our worlds.We had gotten married a couple of years before and had settled into married life quite easily. I have a great family in my parents and brother and my husband’s family are just as lovely and supportive in everything that we do. Life had been pretty easy for us up to this point.

We started trying in the summer of 2014 and I naively thought we would be pregnant by Christmas. Why wouldn’t we be? All my close friends were having babies and the process all seemed so easy and natural. Christmas came and went and every month I had the disappointment of Mother Nature letting me know that we hadn’t been successful on that occasion. This went on for a whole year. I became obsessed – I never thought I would but I did. I purchased every ovulation kit available and added every app to my phone that guaranteed to increase our chances of having a baby but still nothing.

We finally went to the doctors and had numerous tests to try and determine the problem. The call back to the doctors delivered the hard news that we wouldn’t be able to conceive a baby naturally. It was really difficult to process but I’m not a person to dwell on negative thoughts or to feel sorry for myself I needed to know the next steps. The next steps involved doing all the same tests again to put forward an application to be added to the waiting list for IVF which was two years long!

Life carried on as normal for a year, I tried not to think about babies or pregnancy but it’s amazing how when not trying to think about a subject it appears in everything you see or do. My friends and work colleagues seemed more fertile than ever before, I seemed to be attending baby showers and sending congratulations cards every month.

Then a year earlier than planned in the November of 2016 we got a call to say that we had an appointment with the IVF clinic. Our IVF journey had begun…