IVF Babble

Jo Bright shares the darkness of her unexplained infertility and how dreams can come true

So, here we are, starting all over again. Who knows what will happen but this time is different.

So far I’m OK. What I mean by ‘OK’ is that 2 years ago I really wasn’t in a good place and I’m not sure how I got there.

Our unexplained infertility journey began in January 2014 when I was prescribed the non-steroidal fertility medicine, ‘clomid’.

I took this for 6 months and it was a horrible time. I felt completely lost in my life, emotional, angry, and sad and looking back I think I was probably horrible to be around.

I have a wonderful, supportive husband, family and close friends and yet I still felt completely alone and lost. I started to hate my job which I’d loved for 16 years. I felt stressed and anxious daily and unable to identify whether the clomid was making me feel this way or was it just life! Or the fact we couldn’t get pregnant. I left my job and started IVF.

Looking back I get a little angry, not sure who with, but that we should never have been allowed to go through the IVF process.

The realisation now that I was in such a bad way that there was no chance in hell IVF would work for us. I was probably the lowest I’ve been in my life, a car crash waiting to happen, but still we went ahead, and of course it didn’t work!

I sometimes put pen to paper and here is an extract of how I felt during my fertility journey . . .

April 2016 – when we started IVF for the first time we had a mixture of feelings. We felt excited, hopeful, scared and nervous.

Even though I thought I was the ‘bonkers’ one during the process I still clearly remember being told over and over again, “oh don’t worry”, “stay calm”, “don’t stress”, “try this”, “do it that way”, ARE THEY BLOODY KIDDING?!?! And that wasn’t even the doctors!

Everyone around us had become this expert of unexplained infertility and IVF.

I couldn’t even speak about the process without breaking down in tears or becoming angry with someone. I’d tell my husband not to hug me or put his arm around me especially in the hospital in fear of losing it and making me worse. He is so gentle and caring and didn’t know what to do to help me. I couldn’t even think about his feelings as mine were destroying me day by day.

Looking back now a part I regret was telling everyone. I know this can help some people but for me, everyone knowing and asking so many questions was too much. I didn’t like how they wanted to know every single gory detail. I was a story to them, a weekly discussion and it took away a special part of me, that if IVF had worked I had always wanted to say, “Surprise, we are pregnant”. That had gone!

Our clinic was nice and clean. The staff were all professional, efficient and caring. After returning home from our appointments and when alone I would have this overwhelming feeling of loneliness and would just cry and cry. I’ll never forget reading a poster in the waiting room at the clinic, it read, “The only thing that is more painful than giving birth is not having a baby”. This made me so sad. I just couldn’t take any more. Why are these posters here? I was already pinching myself and trying so hard to relax and keep it together. Did other people feel this way? Everyone else seemed so calm and relaxed so what was wrong with me. The familiar feeling of a lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes were here again. I’d tell myself to get a grip and stop being so pathetic.

Waking and having discussions at silly times in the night became quite normal for us. I’d start to think maybe I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or maybe they had missed something else. Maybe my back ache was something sinister and the cause for not getting pregnant. During this conversation my husband disagreed, yawned and shared that tonight he had been to space! He was of course referring to his dream, we laughed, and I shared that I was going to write a book.

I often wonder how he is so strong, is it a ‘man’ thing or is he hiding emotions trying to be the strong one. Every day I would say to myself that it’s going to be ok, I’m not going to let this ruin our lives. Every week I would have just one day which I called my ‘bad’ day. No one knew, no one needed to know and one day out of seven was ok, right?

Third time lucky?

After two failed attempts at IVF we decided to live life. To just pray for a miracle and live day to day with no medical appointments, no worry, just the two of us living with the attitude that what will be will be!

Life became ‘normal’ again. I felt happy and free. Over the year I changed. I started yoga, exercising more and eating a healthy nutritional diet. I started to support the idea that being kind to yourself, feeling positive, happy and thankful can have an impact on your life.

I started a gratitude jar, I scribbled down something good that happened or something that I was happy about, and this helped me to focus on the little things in life. Whether you believe in positive thinking or not this has helped me change the way I feel and how I’m living my life today.

Feeling positive encouraged me to try IVF again, hopefully third time lucky I thought. I was positive, strong, excited and very happy. This time was different. I was different. This time I felt ready and we didn’t share it with family and friends. It felt exciting, it was our secret.

August 2016 and dreams can come true.

Well, it’s been a while since I last sat down and wrote and now our lives have changed so much.  I sit here writing with my baby fluttering inside me. After having our 5 month scan not only do I feel it’s a miracle that I’m pregnant but I also can’t believe how fast this journey is going.

Over the last few months I have experienced such joy and happiness that I didn’t know existed and I’ve recently felt like I’m living in my own bubble of love for our baby. It’s certainly fair to say that we have been on our own difficult, heart wrenching journey and I will never take this miracle for granted.

My pregnancy is more than I have imagined. The changes I have experienced over the last few months have been incredible, exciting and strange. I know each pregnant lady feels different and I can only share my feelings and what is happening to me.

My bizarre, dreadful morning sickness that hung around until 16 weeks consisted of not only struggling to eat but certain nail varnish colours would bring on the nausea. Followed by the extra mouth saliva which was produced each morning making me want to gag even more. I had trouble drinking from certain mugs and cups and would have to reach for the Christmas ones to be able to consume fluids.

On a positive note I do believe I have moments of wit, shared with my husband and who has concluded I have become slightly funnier. I’m sure he doesn’t think this will continue. With all the up and downs, laughter and tears and raging hormones I can see how life can suddenly change direction. When you think all hope has gone and you have reached the end, a little miracle can present itself and you see a new path ahead which is worth travelling along. Never stop dreaming, learning and moving on.

On Christmas day 2016, our beautiful baby girl was born. She was our miracle which changed our life forever!

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