It’s almost 6 weeks since we had our negative result from our first cycle of IVF. It’s been a strange time. For a start, there’s no immediate explanation as to why things didn’t work. You’re expected to go back and get on with your lives as if nothing has happened. People don’t know what to say to you and the things they do say are well meaning, but annoying platitudes that just made me angry or upset. “Keep positive” “It wasn’t meant to be this time” “It will happen when it’s supposed to” “Maybe it will happen naturally now”.
Initially after the test, I really tried to be positive and throw myself into researching how to make the next cycle work. I felt like I couldn’t wait to get into it. Then the bleeding started. The pain was awful and the bleed was extremely heavy; similar to my miscarriage bleed, which makes sense as you’ve had all that medication to thicken the endometrium. As I bled, it felt more real and was a very grim realisation that we’d failed. I’d failed. My body had let me down again. I was angry and upset and felt the world was such an unfair and cruel place. We tried to get out and do some things when I felt a bit better, but it felt like every couple we saw had a newborn and every woman my age had a pregnancy bump. Even on the IVF and infertility social media sites that had been so helpful, it felt like everyone was getting a positive result. Positive pregnancy tests and scan pictures were making me feel bitter and broken. Why didn’t it work for us? I felt I had to get away from everything IVF/Pregnancy related, or I’d go insane.
The follow-up appointment was made for 29 June, which seemed like a long way away. During that time, I threw myself into my work, worked on loosing my IVF weight and pulled away from fertility related issues. Over the weeks I started to feel very numb and negative towards the whole process. I felt like I didn’t want to put myself and our relationship through this again. Especially when it felt like it had such a little chance of working. I just knew I had very few eggs and that the ones I had were obviously useless!
My next period came and was very painful and very heavy again. It was a little late and as usual, I spent a few moments getting my hopes up that we’d had a natural miracle. I did a test to put myself out of my misery, getting the usual single line on the test stick, I’ve become so accustomed too. The disappointment never goes away, nor the heaviness in the heart that is another failed month.
Follow-up was today. I was and wasn’t looking forward to it. We were seeing the clinical lead at Bourn Hall, Dr Verwoed, so I knew he’d give us the best plan for the next cycle. But in my heart, I was dreading going through it all again. But at the same time, I wanted to know what happened. I had my little book with plenty of questions!
Driving into Bourn Hall felt different today, as we drove up the long driveway, I didn’t feel the hope or excitement I had on our previous visits. I felt a sense of dread. I was really worried they were going to suggest Donor eggs, which is something we’ve never wanted to do.
We’d met Dr Verwoed briefly before at an open day. He answered every question I had and put us at ease really well. There wasn’t anything wrong with my eggs. They’d just not fused very well with Tom’s sperm. I hadn’t had many full size follicles either. This time we’d have ICSI (introcytoplasmic sperm injection) which would hopefully improve our fertilisation rate and also up my dosage of stimulation medication to hopefully get a few more eggs.
Much like Nic the last few weeks have been tough. I too have felt very numb and down. It really is hard to stay positive after a failed round of IVF. I felt totally drained and empty. For me the only way I could cope was to immerse myself into photography. I have lost count of the number of rolls of film I have shot. I have even started developing my own black and white negatives to fill the time that I am not out taking photos. Whenever I feel down I turn to creative projects, I used to go straight to playing my guitar but when I tried that I just got frustrated that I was so out of practice. I know that I have been boring Nic and all my colleagues at work with endless talk about cameras but it was the only way I could cope. Whenever we talked about the IVF all I could think was that I didn’t want to go through it again because it was pointless. I couldn’t get myself out of the negativity and I just wanted to get the whole thing over and move on. The thing that I think I find the hardest was being in limbo with no real understanding of why it didn’t work or a plan to take it forward. I was hoping that the consultation would answer those questions and give us some hope. Talking to Dr Verwoed was really nice but at the same time very straight talking. He answered all of Nic’s questions in great detail and went through all the options that we can change and improve on this time round. I think it would have helped us a lot to have had the consultation earlier than now but like everything with IVF you just have to wait and see.
We feel a lot more positive now and we will be going again in mid-august. We have around 6 weeks to get ourselves nice and healthy again and in the best shape possible for our next round. Bring on the supplements! We’re back in the game.
Thanks for reading,
Tom and Nic