It’s a really hard time for us right now.
We were so grateful and excited to start our 2nd round of IVF last month. I was on a slightly lower dose of medications – the discomfort was lower, the process was easier, and we were blessed to get a good number of eggs again. As usual, we had our typical drop-off, but still had embryos to work with.
Then everything started to crack a little. Despite feeling confident we would be lucky this time, the pregnancies started to happen en masse again. In my infertility group, in my RL friend groups. 2nd children were planned and conceived.
Just like that.
Oh how I envy those with the luxury of being able to plan. Of choosing a time of year that will be convenient for them.
* * *
Almost everyone we know going through treatment is finding success. That magic fix of IVF that they needed? Bam, worked like a charm. First or second embryo transfers, there were the two lines. The positive blood tests. The excited announcements. IVF worked! Like it’s supposed to.
It felt like everyone else was finding it so much easier. And despite our usual: good embryos, awesome lining, responding to everything like a champ? No luck. Embryos just won’t stick. Four in so far, and none want to stay. My transfers are difficult, but the odds surely should eventually be in our favour. Everyone in our team is confused, and my brain is just:
This is all we want. We’re ready. We’re trying so hard.
It’s so emotionally exhausting and physically draining. I don’t want to be a negative statistic. Every day I wonder how many cycles we can do it without it just irreversibly changing me.
But then again, I can’t ever stop. I can’t bear the thought of giving up – something has to work sometime, right? We have these frozen transfers, then we try another stim cycle/egg collection, and whatever transfers come from that?
Do we pay privately again? Bankrupt ourselves? Borrow money?
Go on the adoption waiting list for the next however many years? (NZ has a tiny number every year).
Try and adopt internationally, for thousands more?
Get an embryo donor? A surrogate?
None of these options feel good right now. None of them feel right, right now.
But the one thing I can’t see myself ever coping with is being childless. I don’t think I could just “get used to” being a couple without kids. Learning to enjoy life without our own family. It’s just not on the cards for me. I don’t want that to be my normal, because it probably will never feel normal.
It’s hard not to feel utterly defeated and that treatment won’t work for us. If we can’t figure out why, then what do we do? Try more transfers and hope it’s a numbers game? Feel like we’re running in circles without a result? It feels futile and heartbreaking and wrong. And so. damn. unfair.
I’m so tired of it.
I’m so scared that it’ll never be us.
We keep being told we’re so young, but we’re 3+ years in and I’ll soon be 34. Yes, we have time, but how much time? How many more years do I mess with my body to try and get just one baby?
* * *
And then the advertising began. I don’t know if it’s my age group or who I follow or what, but instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… all they serve me are Clearblue test ads, baby lotion ads, nappy ads, and the worst? An ad for my own fertility clinic.
I want to throw my phone in a lake and go live in the woods.
My current plan is a social media hiatus, which I started yesterday. It’s actually kind of refreshing not to be checking and reading obsessively all day. I find myself opening my phone to look and then realising I’ve moved all the apps, and putting it down. Maybe I’ll start actually reading books again.
So for now, I don’t know.
What do I write about?
We are still failing.
I don’t know what else to do.
But hopefully soon I’ll not feel so broken, and be ready to try again. Right now, no thank you. I am off the hormones, I am off the restrictions, I am off thinking about it constantly.
I’m trying to enjoy life as it comes. I’m trying to focus on work, and losing some treatment weight, and thinking about everything except my empty uterus.
I’m trying to breathe.
I so relate to this. Just when it all goes badly is when others around you seem to fall pregnant with a sneeze. I also had to take a social media hiatus and a bit of a hibernation from some friends. You just have to do what’s right for you.
No doubt you’ve done 7 million tests already, but when I suffered repeat losses I went and explored other things that my IVF doctor didn’t really believe in. So I had a bunch of tests with a haematologist that looked into auto immune issues and also blood clotting issues. It turned out that my issue was most likely to be relating to my body strangling the embryos of blood flow so I took Clexane injections (anti coagulation) throughout my entire pregnancy. My IVF doctor completely didn’t believe in it, especially the super high dose I was on, but then they checked my placenta after birth and it showed had I not taken this measure then the pregnancy wouldn’t have continued. So if you have the energy to do further tests I highly recommend it. xx
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Thanks so much for your comment. After the first 3 failed I was tested for a whole range of clotting and immune issues, and we were both tested with karyotyping to see if we had anything missing chromosomally or even just had incompatibility in a weird way with our chromosome mapping. Everything came back clear/good. I do think that with already having hashimoto’s/thyroid issues that I’m more predisposed to immune issues but our specialist isn’t worried. He is the Medical Director/leading doctor at our clinic, so I have to trust him at the moment. I’m going to ask when we see him if there is any further testing we need to do. We’re trying to schedule a hysteroscopy/cervical dilatation too. Thank you! ❤
Aaaah ok. So you’ve been pretty thorough already. Did you take any blood thinners, steroids or intralipids as part of the most recent transfer? I also have a thyroid issue but that’s usually easy to control.
My Dr said there was no reason to say any of those things would be of any use to me without evidence and my mother has a history of blood thinners affecting her negatively so we’ve always been conservative there. With every test coming back okay they’re reluctant to just throw extra drugs at me, though they did think steroids could be an option. I asked about intralipids but NK cells indicators would have come up in one of my tests apparently? It’s quite rare here.
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It’s quite rare generally but I took the view for me that no one knew what was wrong so I took them all. Most regular doctors do not believe in either steroids or intralipids so for me I had to fight for them. But even so I think it was the Clexane that did it for me. If you’re not even getting implantation success I’d think about the steroids at least but of course I don’t know anything about you and I’m not a dr so you must do what is right for you. 😘😘
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Hope it’s ok to jump in to this thread, I think we have the same doctor & when I talked about NK cells he wasn’t really in to them, but I don’t think he did any testing either. I got a second opinion from the Auckland branch and the doctor suggested adding intralipids in to our protocol, which we did, though no success (for a bunch of other reasons). So hard to know what else to try, especially when information from other countries is so different to what they follow in NZ.
Thanks for coming in to comment! I have friends in the US who have tried intralipids also to no success. I don’t really think there’s enough research behind it yet and while some US doctors really push it, it’s hard to get the treatment. I think we’re within the limitations of the NZ system and I do trust my team here, so I’m going to follow through and do what they advise, and then we’ll go from there. It’s so hard to get deep into research and panic but I’m trying not to go there right now! Thanks again for weighing in x
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I’m sorry – it really and truly sucks.
Addressing the social media ads — I do all my fertility/pregnancy related browsing on a private browser. And I don’t click anything from FB. And I periodically clear out my google ads preferences (http://www.google.com/ads/preferences). It has helped cut down on the baby-related ads that Im in no mood to see.
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Thanks this is good advice! I do most of my SM on my phone but I may start doing this instead.
I understand your feels, & am so sorry you’re having this sucky experience too. Unfortunately I have no amazing things to say to help lessen the feels – we reached the facing childless stage, and it sucked so much we ended up deciding to try overseas treatment after a year of unsuccessfully trying to accept childlessness, so I don’t even know how one does deal with it 😢 only thing I can recommend is a good counsellor/psychologist (if you want a recommendation for someone in wgtn let me know), I wish I’d started seeing mine sooner.
Hope you can catch your breath, and you get your happy ending soon xo
I have an amazing counsellor but thank you!
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Keep your head up love, you’re not alone in all of this xoxo
Thank you ❤
Thank you for being so candid and up front with your pain. I just stumbled on your site and was very sorry to read about your story. I know that this is a difficult time.You most likely already know this but, If you have Hashimoto’s or a precursor condition (i.e. increased thyroid antibodies, etc.), you may want to consider decreasing the amount of inflammatory foods in your diet (i.e. wheat, dairy) and consider mindfulness meditation. Please do not give up hope. I had my daughter at 41. Best wishes to you on this journey.