IVF or In Vitro Fertilisation can be a long, costly and difficult journey for a couple, and success rate is not guaranteed. Mother, Bel Messer tells her journey in IVF: A Mother’s Story.
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Infertility is debilitating. It is all consuming. It can be hard. In fact, quite possibly it was the most difficult time in my entire life to date. Trying to be joyful at baby shower’s, your best friend’s baby’s birth, the woman in the checkout in front of you enjoying her child for just being a child – all of these times can be really hard.
- An astounding 1 in 5 woman suffer infertility.
- IVF costs. A lot.
- The lucky ones who have the means to afford IVF, are struggling with a constant internal dialogue of pro’s and con’s, what if’s and maybe just one more go’s.
- IVF success rate is ~1 in 3, but varies according to age and other factors.
- There is no age in particular that a woman trying to conceive a baby should go and see a specialist. If they have been actively trying for 12 months or more, then that may be the perfect time.
- There is a blood test your specialist can run that determines the egg stores remaining in your ovaries. A great first step. This test revealed to us the time frame we had for a possible natural pregnancy.
- IVF is most definitely not for the weak – a strong will and thick skin are an absolute requirement.
I already had two children with my husband and was only 30 when we became infertile. When the time came that we wanted another baby desperately we saw the most fabulous fertility doctor. He ran the blood test on me and I was saddened and quite shocked by the news that I, at 30 had the egg stores of a 45 year old woman.
As most people are aware, we as women are born with the eggs we will have for our entire lives, we don’t reproduce them, and so we realised then just how lucky we were to have had children at an early age.
My Rollercoaster Journey Starts
My doc started us with timed intercourse with egg stimulation. Then we moved to artificial insemination with egg stimulation. After further testing, we found that my eggs were unable to travel from my ovaries to my womb. This was the reason I couldn’t become pregnant on my own. I’d had an ectopic pregnancy also and my right fallopian tube removed. The left tube was damaged beyond repair.
My friends didn’t understand, they weren’t able to support me the way they wanted to – it wasn’t that they didn’t try, it was most probably due to the mental state I was in during the exercise. I was unable to be the person I used to be. I was changed throughout. I put a hold on contact with most of my friends – I learned to whom I could and couldn’t speak, based on their reactions.
I didn’t want to hear things like, “at least you have two children” or “can’t you be happy with the family you’ve got?”
The hormones sent me crazy and caused bloating. I was injecting and swallowing pills at all times of the day.
My husband supported me tremendously. He hurt when I hurt. He was sad when I was sad. He built me up and was my rock. My girls too, they at 9 and 4 were getting used to a new mental cased mother. A mother that was always in some kind of pain (the drugs did not agree with me at all) I remember sitting at swimming lessons watching my daughters class and feeling like I was poisoned. I lived with this month after month. Thank god not year after year.
It took 4 rounds, with 1 miscarriage and one ectopic pregnancy, to become pregnant with my son. I was lucky enough to harvest 21 eggs with 17 becoming fertilised. We used half IVF and half isci (direct injection of sperm into egg) the pregnancy was most welcome to me.
However, my husband couldn’t rejoice until we were particularly safe in our pregnancy… you see, he was the one who had to pick me up every time we lost the baby, or the embryo’s didn’t take.
We put 2 eggs back in every time, our rationale being that we would much prefer the elation of a twin pregnancy than only putting one back and it not taking.
Luckily for us, my adorable son as an embryo stuck and he grew into the amazing little human being that he is.
His father, big sisters and I appreciate him daily. My youngest still says to me “I can’t believe he is here – I still can’t believe it”.It fills me with joy to see our family complete. Without him. It wouldn’t be.
This is the downside of IVF. When do you stop? When the money runs out? When your will is spent?
Trust me when I say that when going through IVF, it’s difficult to take or hear negativity from those around you, even from those who love you and those who you know only want the best for you.
Thank God I have my son, because I fear that I would still be on that IVF rollercoaster now trying for my third darling baby.
Bel Messer is a Mother of 3. She and her friend Rosie, are authors of a book ” I am Extra Special. An IVF Story”, which is aimed at children aged 4-10 years and explains how they were conceived using IVF. It is a beautifully illustrated story book dedicated to all the “Extra Special” babies of IVF.
Recommended reading: Ready and Waiting for Another Baby
Have you experienced IVF? Share your thoughts in the comments below