Apologies in advance for the length of this blog! Once I start talking about my experience I cannot stop; I'm so passionate about helping people through their IVF journey, if I can.
We discovered that we were unable to conceive naturally, so we decided to embark down the IVF route. I had 9 rounds of IVF, one of which put me in hospital with a mild case of hyper stimulation. It was then I decided to do a bit of research on the internet, into implantation failure. In doing so I found a clinic in London that appeared to specialise in immune therapy (my immune system was too high), and so I went and arranged a telephone consultation.
The consultant was so positive that he could help that we decided we had to go for it. My husband and I were fast approaching 40 and this was going to be our last go, so we had to throw everything at it!
Our 10th round of IVF started. It comprised of lots of medication, infusions, and trips back and forth to London. We worked with the clinic in London alongside our clinic in Wales.
We had our embryos tested to determine the quality of them (there were 4 in total), and during the process 1 died, 2 were abnormal, and they couldn't get a reading on the 4th, so we decided to put it back because of all the immune therapy I had already had.
It was a tense time waiting to take the pregnancy test. I started bleeding around 1-2 days before I was due to do the test - great, another trip to the clinic to have yet more injections. However it was POSITIVE. 9 months, and many many injections and tablets later, my daughter was born.
A couple of years later we decided to use our last frozen embryo, using only some of the drugs that we had used on my daughters round, in the hope of giving her a sibling. A positive pregnancy test! Wow we couldn’t be this lucky, could we? You’ve guessed it, no we couldn’t. I lost my baby just short of 12 weeks. A week later, not only was I grieving, but I suffered a nearly fatal haemorrhage. Blue-lighted to the Resus area in one hospital; a few transfusions to get me stable enough, and then blue-lighted again to another hospital.
A few months later it was evident that I was not dealing with all of this very well as I started suffering from panic attacks, along with hyper vigilance. So I arranged to speak to a grief midwife who ended up being my life saviour. She advised that I needed PTSD therapy, which helped hugely. Eventually my meetings with her grew less as I started getting better, and my anxiety began to subside.
Sadly April last year the anxiety and panic attacks reared their head again. This triggered my IBS, and the anxiety and panics spiralled out of control. August 2019 was the last straw. I believe, looking back now, I had a break down. The attacks were effecting my bowel; I had constant diarrhoea and was totally convinced and worried I was dying. That weekend I lost half a stone.
The whole situation was now having an impact on my daughter. She actually asked me to stop crying as I was upsetting her. MY WAKE UP CALL! I, once again, needed help. I went to my GP, who carried out a load of tests and prescribed me medication to help with the anxiety and IBS. Tests came back, I was the picture of health, so it was my mind.
Once again I sought the help of a PTSD therapist, wondering after all this time, was I suffering again? And sure enough I was. Nearly dying with the haemorrhage triggered a real fear that I, and my family, would die and I wouldn’t be able to prevent it. Along with this was the fact that I associated the sound of diarrhoea with the blood loss I had with the haemorrhage. We tackled these feelings over a couple of sessions, and so far so good. I still wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks, but have learnt to work with them. They also seem to have weakened and thankfully don’t last as long!
The reason I started my blog is because the one piece of advice my consultant gave me was to speak to someone who has gone through IVF, because you really do not know what it is like unless you have been there.
I want to show people it is possible, but it’s tough. I want to be able to support people and provide advice, from my personal experience, and to breakdown the still existing taboo of needing help to conceive. If I can help just one person, I will have accomplished what I set out to do. If I help more, I would be ecstatic!