“The rollercoaster of expectations and loss is not something you can prepare yourself for…”
I always knew I was going to be a Mum.
I had always loved kids and was comfortable with babies & children of all ages. I had always thought I would have a large family. When I was 30, my long-term relationship ended, however, I was not worried. I did wonder how my dream of becoming a mum might come to life.
To make it a little tricker, I started dating women, so I was then committed to the idea of IVF.
When I reached the age of 37, I attended a birth of one my close friends, and having not found a partner at this stage, I decided I would start IVF on my own. My friend had been through a gruelling 4 years of IVF before her son was born, so I knew I might have a big journey ahead.
I decided to go with a Xytex sperm donation from the USA – this gave me a full report & photos, and an essay from the donor which I thought was important for my child. I was offered donations from a few friends, but it did not feel right for me.
I started with IUI – then a week later I met my now partner! This certainly threw things in the air for both of us – signing over my embryos to her was our equivalent to marriage when we were unable to actually marry in those days.
I ended up having 3 IUI cycles and then 16 rounds of IVF. I think I had 7 egg collections over the course of 3.5 years. I was getting plenty of eggs and plenty of embryos each time, but they just didn’t seem to stick! But round 18 was the lucky one, and our daughter arrived healthy, content and an extremely happy little one now.
Obstacles come in many forms during an IVF journey. Scheduling: it becomes an emotional rollercoaster and managing expectations can impacts your health.
I found the number of appointments and the unpredictable nature of managing an IVF cycle really challenging with my busy corporate life. The round trip for morning blood tests and scans and then off to work was about a 3 hour journey. The injections did not seem to bother me as much as other women, but the nausea that came with some was unbearable.
The rollercoaster of expectations and loss is not something you can prepare yourself for, though. It is the toughest part of the journey and is often experienced quietly.
I did choose to tell my family, friends and a few select colleagues. This helped with the practical side of competing schedules and provision of emotional support, but made it tough when we were not having any success. I found telling friends and family that we weren’t successful sometimes harder than hearing it myself.
The greatest challenge was the loss of so many early pregnancies, so many dreams, so much pressure on my body and heart. I felt like I was in a boxing ring going round after round, but somehow, I just kept getting up and going again in the blind faith it would be worth it in the long run.
The support I received was bountiful – my partner was my rock, whilst also going through her own disappointment and the stress of watching me go through it. My family were there every step of the way and quite a few friends, as many had also gone through the process.
If I could give anyone advice when they start on their Fertility Journey, please surround yourself with optimistic supportive people and be kind to yourself.