IVF and Me: My Journey to Fertility

It’s been 8 rounds of IVF, and in just a few weeks, I’ll be approaching my 9th.

Am I exhausted – yes. Do I feel like a chicken forever popping out eggs – definitely yes. But, am I used to being disappointed again and again after recurrent losses and failing implants – sadly yes.

Every miscarriage or implant failure gets me down – whether you are going through IVF or you are having issues falling pregnant, it just sucks. Infertility just fucking sucks.

Regular doctor’s appointments, changes in hormone medications, crying for no reason and trying to explain why you’re crying without sounding like a complete nut, these things happen, and they take their toll.

About 2 years ago when I first started our IVF journey I read an article online about another woman’s IVF experience. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later down the track, those words were invaluable. I’m no IVF expert, but the main ones that stuck with me were to surround yourself with supportive people, don’t play the blame game, trust your gut and practice self care.

I always knew I had an awesome tribe of both women and men around me, but really realised how lucky I was when I started embarking on this new path. We talk about my growing ‘follies’, my uterus lining, ultrasounds and countless needles in my podgy belly and there is never a grimace or sigh. Even from the lads. I’ve found that being honest and open about what I’m going through has brought up a lot of questions, and that people have been really interested and intrigued about the whole process. I totally get that talking openly about it is not for everyone, and that it’s a very private matter, but I must admit it’s really helped me this time around. I’ve found myself a ‘folly cheer squad’.

Blaming your partner, or yourself, is a very easy thing to do. My man is a bit older than me, so it would be easier to say that it may have been his swimmers that were letting us down. When we kicked off our IVF journey I was 26, and as the doctor said ‘it was the perfect time to have a baby’. But age doesn’t mean a thing. Fast forward almost 2 years, countless blood tests, biopsies and genetic testing and we’ve realised that my lady bits, or ‘oven’ as I like to call it, is very much the problem. Now, at 29, you’d never think you’d have a problem falling pregnant, but here we are. With a higher amount of natural killer cells, surgery for endometriosis and adenonyosis and some immune issues, I refer to my bits as the ‘killer vagina’ at times, as we think it may like to kill off the embryo we put in. Thanks vagina.

After 5 rounds of IVF at a clinic I won’t speak of, as well as 2 loads of eggs being taken, I now understand how important it is to TRUST YOUR GUT. It’s hard to compare an experience when you’ve never been through the process before, but if you feel like you know something’s not right, question it. I can’t stress enough that if you have questions, ask them. Don’t let people make you feel stupid – no question is a stupid question. I’ve now found a wonderful clinic and a doctor who is the perfect fit for us. Each visit I bring a list of questions, and whether they are stupid ‘googling European IVF methods at 2am questions’ or suggestions from my acupuncturist, she answers them with honesty and compassion – and most importantly, without making me feel like a complete idiot.

And lastly, self care. 5 years ago I would have rolled my eyes at someone preaching self care. But, here I am. The eye roller is preaching; how ironic. I always like to do fun, feel good stuff on the reg but it never used to be built into my routine. But when you’re taking over 14 tablets a day and feel like you’re menopausal at 28, sometimes you just need to love yourself. Everyone has different things that make them tick, and sometimes it’s the simple things that are the best. I find great pleasure sipping the perfect decaf coffee (yes, decaf!), going for long walks, blogging or just talking non-IVF-stuff with my friends. At home I diffuse essential oils, again a new thing for me but I’m now obsessed and it shakes the bad vibes. I’ve also been known to spend a small fortune on underwear, because let’s face it, sticking pessaries up your vag 3 times a day is the best way to take all sexiness away from your life. Bonds lace undies are the best solution, they’re comfortable, a higher cut to hide my estrogen patches and do good things for your ass. Double win. Find what you love and do it. Or, if it’s expensive, find a cheaper option; I’d love to fly to Bali every cycle but let’s be honest, this IVF biz is costly as hell. Most of all, love yourself. Because going through all this shit is going to make you one hell of a stronger woman.

Beginners Tips on IVF

• Find a doctor that you feel comfortable around.
• Ask your doctors and nurses questions- lots of them!
• Try and pre plan the financial side of things. It’s expensive and looking at the price of a cycle can be stressful enough, so speak to your clinic about payment and gap options.
• Get your head around medicare- speak with the nance department of your clinic, they are generally Medicare gurus.
• Surround yourself with supportive people- this is a full on time and you’ll need all the love you can get.
• Shop around- there are so many clinics around, so be sure to look at success rates, their doctors, prices and payment options.
• Reward yourself daily when going through treatment- I hate needles so after daily injections I did something special for me.

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