Hope vs Statistics My IVF Journey
Hope and statistics, the balance of these two things was a daily struggle for 9 years whilst I tried and failed to get pregnant and stay pregnant. The constant imaginings of twinges, cramps, constant knicker checking, the knowledge of my ‘cycle’ became an understandable obsession. As did trying to ‘fix’ myself, acupuncture, lose weight, herbal teas, herbal medicines, massage, different positions, legs up in the air with a pillow under my bum in the vain hope that a bit of help with direction might encourage the sperm to meet egg. Our sex life revolved around dates, temperatures, clinic appointments, various procedures and poking around, and the odd tantrum (from me obv)
We tried rounds after rounds of clomid, medical intervention in the form of IUI (interntrauterine insemination) and finally after I said I never would IVF. Making a baby was my life for 9 years, now at aged 40, having qualified as a performance coach and NLP practitioner just over a year ago, I am skilled in asking great questions, and so during those 9 years what did I learn? I learnt that I am stubborn, persistent, and when a goal is clear and everything is aligned the successful outcome is inevitable. I learnt that you can waste a LOT of time comparing yourself to others, being swayed by what worked for them (this goes for eye cream, workouts and getting your child to sleep btw) ultimately what worked was when I shifted the focus inwardly and focused on being the best version of me, healthy body and healthy mind.
I believe this played a pivotal role in the success of our last IVF round which resulted in the gorgeous Albie now aged 4 ¾. Is there anything I would have done differently? Made time for my relationship, just me and just me date nights, talking about something other than the latest fertility news and the consistency of my discharge. I would have made time to relax and look after myself, introduced mindfulness into my life and applied the same efforts to nourish me during my pregnancy too. Let go of unrealistic expectations and daydreams of taking ‘baking classes’ whilst on maternity leave, spending days in the spa whilst pregnant (I used to look longingly at the descriptive ‘pregnancy spa days’ whilst trying to get pregnant) Focused on the good stuff that I had right then and there and not worried about the future. What would I tell my younger self about this period of my life? Stop doing shit that doesn’t matter! Leave all the fertility forums, stop goggling and concentrate on YOU.
I was meant to be a mother, I knew this from a young age, (plus my name is Mary!) so one way or another I knew I was going to have a baby. I just didn’t realize what I would have to let go of in the process. Pregnancy was a tough deal, we had 2 eggs that fertilized and both implanted, but unfortunately one was lost at around 9 weeks. The constant knicker watching didn’t stop even when I started to feel Albie move inside me, I lived with a constant fear that it was too good to be true, that something awful was about to happen. Subsequently my body and mind suffered, I was in and out of hospital on stronger and stronger blood pressure control medicine, and feeling worse and worse as the pregnancy went on. At around 24 weeks I was admitted to hospital after a doctor recorded my BP at 200/120 and that was the start of my bed rest. I wasn’t allowed up or out for the rest of my pregnancy. I had a home BP monitor and when it went above a certain range I had to go straight to hospital. Albie was nearly delivered early, then my BP would come down, and I would go home to more trashy TV, and trying to relax, whilst eating flapjacks. This was our life for the next 10 weeks, my whole family on call for the latest drama, we got to know the nurses on the maternity ward really well, and I ended up feeling more comfortable in a hospital bed than my own.
Albie was delivered by planned C-section on 13th December 2011. The procedure was long (I had a massive placenta apparently and I can still feel the surgeon with knee on the bed trying to get it all out) but Albie was born screaming (a sound that I had longed to hear) accept it felt like I was in an episode of Maternity Diaries, nothing felt real.
Post Natal Depression was mentioned during the 10 days we spent in hospital but I had to wait a long 6 weeks till the doctor finally diagnosed it and the long journey of recovery began.
The worst question I would be asked is ‘how are you?’ I still hate it now, I find it really hard to answer, I think because for a very long time I had no idea how I felt! Everything was new and scary and having never prepared for anything other than getting through from a positive pregnancy test to a live birth, looking after an actual baby was plain weird. Everything else in my life suffered whilst my attention from ‘fertility googling’ went to ‘PND googling’ and how to get better NOW. I didn’t want to hear that it took time, I didn’t want to hear that I was affecting my babies future emotional health because of my illness, I didn’t want to hear my husbands voice asking for some time for us, I didn’t want to see or reply to texts, phone calls, emails from worried friends and family and at times I didn’t want to hear the baby crying because I didn’t know how to answer any of them.