I never know where to start my story. I’ve only written it a hundred times! But each time I do it’s for a different purpose and it triggers a whole different set of emotions in me that I think I’ve already dealt with
I’ve battled my way through the IVF industry over a seven year period and made it through to the other side with my three gorgeous girls. Yet the floodgates never fail to open every time I revisit this chapter of my life. So when I sit down to write my story I like to try and give people hope, because ultimately hope is what we need to believe that we can get through it. And I did. Get through it. But the problem is I didn’t know if I would ever get through it at the time. And that is where a lot of people reading this will be. In limbo.
If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone struggling to conceive it would be to listen to your body. Listen to your gut. My instinct was there but I just wasn’t listening to it. Sadly I left it too late and endured years of terrible period pains until I heard a voice inside me say this isn’t right. Six months later I had both my fallopian tubes removed due to extensive endometriosis and so I was left infertile. The silver lining was that I was left with all the necessary ingredients (eggs and womb) just no transport (tubes) to conceive naturally.
Enter IVF. I went for it. It worked first time. Unbelievable
It wasn’t until I was trying to conceive my second child that I hit a real low. I went through two rounds unsuccessfully which might not sound like much but in reality that is one miscarriage, three embryo transfers, three negative pregnancy tests and a whole load of drugs and anaesthetics.
It is difficult to put into words just how testing it can be to dig up fresh energy after such repetitive failure that is absolute out of our hands. For our own sanity we knew we needed a finish line, and that meant going for one final round. I decided to give up work to dedicate everything I had to making it work for our final attempt. I had no choice but to invest everything I had into it. I did all the research, read all the books, heard all the podcasts, went to all the exhibition shows, support groups, ate all the right foods, took the acupuncture needles and the foot rubs. You name it, I did it.
Apparently, the most common problem we face while undergoing treatment is feeling a complete and utter loss of control over what is happening to us, so I decided that the only way I could regain some of that control was by taking charge of the bits that were still in my hands.
I was entirely at the mercy of the medical profession who I was implicitly trusting with my future in their hands
In real low moments I would remind myself that what else in the world could possibly be worth this much effort? Amazingly, our last round worked, and we conceived, and incredibly we had another embryo left that was apparently good enough for freezing. Against all the odds that little frosty came good and two years later she was defrosted and is now our very chilled out third daughter.
Someone asked me a really good question recently. Would I go through all the IVF again if I had a choice? Without a shadow of a doubt, yes. Firstly, if I ever wanted to be a mother it was my only option. Secondly, I am different now. I’m more resilient, moving away from the people pleaser I used to be, I am now able to say no to people with a smile on my face. I believe I’m a better, more empathetic, more grateful person. And I owe my family to modern medicine.
Since then I’ve set up a fertility support business, My Beehive, and I’ve campaigned to raise awareness and remove the stigma around infertility, notably with Fertility Network UK. I was the face of the Scream for IVF campaign to petition for IVF on the NHS, and I’ll pretty much take up any opportunity to talk about infertility on any platform. I am @ivfandproud on instagram where I post about pretty much anything to do with fertility, women, education and how to talk to young people about sex. It’s all part of the same story of tuning in to ourselves and listening to our bodies.
Being asked to be a babble fertility ambassador at the Fertility Show is an absolute honour. I am so proud of my journey, of how my family was made and I want to normalise this conversation with the aim of making others feel a little less alone.
To contact Saskia, visit her on Twitter at SaskiaBoujo, Instagram @ivfandproud or on Facebook by searching My Beehive.
She also has her own website My Beehive