IVF is a wonderful thing that does help so many people, however, it can be a very draining process and doesn’t work for everyone.
Becca contacted us at IVF babble and wanted to share her story, which had us all in tears when we read through it. But we felt it so important to include her story and to give a rounded view of how hard both IVF and trying to conceive naturally can be.
Our aim with IVF babble has always been based on giving everyone the facts, your options and empowering you with the knowledge to make decisions with clarity.
This is something that we didn’t have when we went through fertility treatment and we feel is imperative.
Becca was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at a young age and from the moment of knowing this, she focussed on IVF as her ‘hope for a child’.
We thank her so much for being so brave and so kind to write her heartfelt story and we send her so much love.
Here’s Becca’s story . . .
I wish I could tell you that what I am about to write here is one of those miracle stories, the ones where you see how much people have suffered, and then they stop trying, reduce the stress levels in their life and then fall pregnant naturally.
Or the ones who on their very last cycle of IVF get their BFP, the ones that, when you are trying, give you hope … that you could be one of those people, that one day you will get your miracle.
These stories are amazing, they pretty much got me through treatment, reading them and hoping that I was one of those people, and that it would happen, when we least expected it.
I used to think I wouldn’t have minded all the trauma we had been through if we got to be one of those couples, but we’re not – and sometimes, it doesn’t work out like that.
While these miracle stories are amazing, and so uplifting when you are in the middle of yet another cycle, it’s hard to think that, in reality, sometimes for whatever reason people aren’t always that ‘lucky’. Its even harder to understand that it can work out okay in a different way, and life moves on … well, this side of the story is mine, and I want to share my ‘post IVF’ story with you, one where we didn’t get our miracle, but life went on anyway.
When you’re buried in the depths of an IVF cycle, I think I speak for most couples when I say it is everything.
It is your shot at getting that little bundle that you want more than anything and so we put everything we have into it, to give yourself the best chance I guess. We were no different.
At that point, life without IVF seemed a million miles away, it was something I couldn’t even think about, a strange but scary world, one that was totally unknown. When I was there I couldn’t imagine coming out the other side of that journey without a child, it seemed almost comical, even when we had failure after failure. I couldn’t believe that it really wouldn’t happen, because it had to, it was the plan, it was the way it was meant to be, but the universe had different ideas.
We had always said, we will have our NHS funded cycles and see where we are at. I was young when I got my premature ovarian failure (POF) diagnosis and because of that I managed to get on the waiting list at a relatively young age.
This meant that we would still be young enough that if the treatment was unsuccessful we could make a new plan (I am ALL about plans, painfully so, I am afraid to say)
Our first cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy, and it was at that point we realised just how quickly a cycle can be over. We said that if we had the money when our NHS cycles ran out that we wouldn’t rule out the idea of paying for treatment. But, being younger, I always knew that was unlikely due to financial reasons. A couple of months on, we had our second cycle, after much deliberation from the clinic, (there was a mix up with our results!). They told us it hadn’t worked and to come off the hormones, we cried we shouted, we made a new plan, but unbelievably they rung us the next day to say that there had been a mistake, actually I was pregnant! (seriously messed our head up)
I was so angry I could have gone out and drank that night, or any amount of things that I would have feared would be detrimental to the baby, least to say the fact I hadn’t taken my hormones that night.
Unfortunately, at the three month scan, the baby measured very small and I was told to come off my hormones (for sure this time). I then went on to have a mentally and physically excruciating miscarriage. I can safely say it was the most terrifying and heartbreaking thing that ever happened to me. The experience I had at the hospital was anything but ideal! I was actually put into a glorified storage cupboard with a bed in because no rooms were available and that didn’t help my mental state and I was in hospital for days.
Even typing it down now, over a year later, my stomach is doing flips and I can feel my heart beating faster in my chest.
Just thinking about it is awful even now, it took us a long time to heal, to enjoy life like we did before, although I am not even sure I have ever gone back to the person I was before that day. The day I lost our baby a part of me went with them and I am not sure I will ever get it back!
After that we had another cycle, but most of that was spent terrified the same would happen again, hoping that we either got pregnant and went full term or we didn’t at all, praying that we wouldn’t have a repeat of the last cycle, because we both knew it could break us – not our relationship in particular, but as people. Everyone has their limit of what they can deal with, and that was ours and it was petrifying!
The last cycle ended in a BFN and honestly, we were just happy that we weren’t going to have the same thing repeat itself
Ultimately we were devastated that this was it, the end of our journey and we both said we couldn’t go through it again, at least no time soon.
We needed to heal, physically, emotionally and financially. In every way possible, and we needed to remember who we were, separately and as a couple!
Life was hard to begin with, there was a gaping hole where IVF used to be, it was odd, and I felt like I didn’t have much to talk about with friends and family. It was as if the most important part of my life was over now, so what could I possibly have to talk about?
But we decided to face life head on. We don’t have children, but we are very driven people and we really wanted to make the most of what life has thrown at us. So we set up our own business, we moved house and we filled our life with as many things that make us as happy as possible!
The gap that IVF – and our yearning to have children – left was huge for me. I felt like I wasn’t ready to just sweep it under the carpet and not talk about my infertility. It helped shape me as a person and I don’t resent it for that at all.
So I took all that effort and put it into writing a blog, about IVF, infertility and life after. I am not ashamed, I am not afraid of it. I want to share my story to help people get the support that they deserve, the support I was never offered.
Unfortunately, my ‘post IVF and world has seen a re-appearance of bad eating habits! I tend not to eat much, I used to be anorexic and I am always hanging on the edge of a dangerous ridge when it comes to my weight. It’s something I need to work on, but I think it has a direct correlation to the lack of control I feel I have over my body, but that is an article for another day!
But what I really want to say is this …
I know that when it is happening, it is so hard, it’s painful in every way possible, but things get better. I am not going to say things work out, everyone has a different view of what ‘working out’ is! But there are ways to find your way through this, and there are some great support networks out there.
I wanted to write this, not to scare people into thinking things never work out, or to belittle the people who have these amazing success stories. But sometimes, looking back I feel bad for people reading those stories, and there is a huge lack of people telling stories from my perspective. I think it’s important for people to see it from this side too, and that yes, it would be amazing if it had worked out, but it might not and although that isn’t what you hoped for, and this journey didn’t end the way you hoped, life can work out okay, it can be positive again.
Becca has been so honest and it must have been so very hard to write this article. We can only thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
For those experiencing premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency, the UK’s Daisy Network is a wonderful charity set up to offer support to anyone diagnosed with this.
We would also like to highlight that there is incredible support out there through organisations such as the UK’s Fertility Network and USA’s Resolve who can also guide you through the maze of fertility and discuss your options.
Potential options can also be found on our ‘Your Journey‘ page and should you feel you would like more information, please do get in touch with any one of our Experts who are waiting to hear from you and guide you as best they can. To learn more click here
For those unsure why they are not conceiving, but are considering IVF, please do read through this article and please download our free IVF pre treatment checklist, which we cannot emphasise the importance of enough.
If you would like to share your experience with us, we would love to hear from you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org