Surely this one has to work. In my last post I told the story of our 2nd failed embryo replacement. The summer & autumn of 2010 for us felt like some of the worst times we had been through. Our hearts had been filled with so much sadness and loss that we needed a break. We dragged ourselves through Christmas and by this point Christmas for me had become a complete and utter drain. I started to hate it and it just became another reminder that the year had passed without us having a family or even being pregnant.
We entered 2011 with heavy hearts but we had some hope, a holiday to look forward to and then we would come back and get the remaining 2 embryos transferred. We also had a family holiday booked for later in 2011 and the original plan was to have the embryos transferred between the 2 holidays.
We went to Fuerteventura in February and we actually had a good time! It was a well needed rest after the house renovations the previous year and the 3 cycles of treatment that we had been through. We got back from holiday and I still didn’t feel ready to do it again. I just couldn’t. My cycles had taken a few months to sort themselves out after the last failure. We had a month where we thought we had done it on our own but that didn’t turn out to be the case and we took it as another set back. Infertility and getting pregnant was all consuming and looking back I can now see that it was slowly eating away at me. All I wanted to do was start treatment but for some reason I just couldn’t find the strength to do it.
I eventually mustered up the courage around May & called the clinic to say that we were ready to go again. We went on holiday in June. I was full of sadness because I knew had our last treatment worked then I would have been close to having our baby rather than trying to enjoy myself on holiday. I also knew I was going back to do it all again. There are now many points in the year where I think…if our x number cycle had worked we would have a child aged x by now. It usually goes as quickly as it comes, but still a shot of sadness runs through me each time it happens.
We got back from our second holiday of the year and I started the injections again to shut my system down, for it then to be built back up again when the clinic said that I was ready. The first injection on this cycle I couldn’t do. I stood in the bathroom, syringe full of liquid. I pinched the skin, placed the tip of the needle in the place it had to go, in readiness to pierce the skin, but I couldn’t do it. I stood for what seemed like forever. I didn’t want to do this, I never wanted this, this isn’t how it should be, why me, why us, what’s wrong with me…deep breathe and in the needle went. I pressed the plunger and the liquid released, I pulled the needle out, dropped it into the yellow sharps box and just let out a huge sigh of pure sadness. I was here again, this was it. It had to work this time, there was no way I could go through another fresh cycle of IVF and risk OHSS again. I couldn’t let C down again, I couldn’t give more sad news to our family.
This cycle we tried to just get on with life. Injecting in the bathroom at our friends wedding wasn’t ideal, but when you have to jab, you have to do it wherever you are. Weeks of injections later and the tablets were added. As the date for transfer got closer the stress levels at work seemed to ramp up a notch. I knew I had to work during this next two week wait because I had no annual leave left. Maybe that would be a good thing, the days would pass quicker and I couldn’t Google all the time.
We made it to the day of transfer. We only had 2 embryos left in the freezer and so there was a very real risk that we may not end up with any to transfer, this time we had no back up embryos. The call came, both had thawed successfully. We travelled to the clinic for our 1pm appointment, 4 other people also in the waiting room. Silence. No-one spoke. I was mid way down the list this time. I looked at those other women waiting for transfers and wondered if this time it would be our time. Why should it work for one of them and not us? This whole thing just sucked.
We were called, I lay on the couch, legs in stirrups, embryos brought in, catheter inserted, the white flash and they were back home, our precious embryos were where they should be. For the first time that year I was happy, my precious cargo was on board and we were hopefully going to have a family. Our spirits lifted and we both felt positive that it would be 3rd time lucky, it had to be.
The two week wait I spent at work but as it got closer to official test date the stress was building. Work became unbearable for me, it was all getting too much. I worked at home for the last few days of the two week wait. I waited for the bleeding to start as it had done the previous 2 cycles. Day 13 came, the day that I had started last time and the time before. The knicker checking became insane. It didn’t start on day 13. Whoa what was this, no bleeding on day 13, this was new, this was positive, this was all going ok. Day 14 came, no bleeding. Day 15 came, no bleeding. Holy shit, this could have actually worked. Chris and I turned our conversation to our future with a family. We worked out when they would be born, I even found a due date calculator on-line for those who have gone through IVF. This was all getting a bit real & a little bit exciting. Of course, we had been told when we started the process that not bleeding didn’t necessarily mean it had worked but this was different for us because I had previously known it had ended before official test date. The day before I was due to test and the house was stifling. It was lunchtime and I went for a walk. I wanted to clear my head and get some fresh air. I walked for about 20 minutes and then it hit me, period pain. Oh shit, this surely meant it was over. I got back to the house as quickly as I could, ran upstairs, no bleeding. Phew. The pains came and went during the evening. Of course, Dr Google said it could be a positive thing and many people had positives even with period type pains. I knew in my heart it wasn’t the case. Anyone who has been trying to conceive for a while becomes in tune with their body, I knew my cycle inside out and I knew for me this was the usual pre-cursor to the red witch showing her ugly self. It didn’t happen that night.
It was Friday, I had booked the day off, I did the test. I was shaking as I waited for the words to pop up, please say pregnant, please say pregnant, please say pregnant…NOT PREGNANT.
WHAT…how the hell could this be happening? How can this not have worked again? In my head I quickly relived the two week wait, what had I done to mean this wouldn’t work? Nothing that I could think of. I was filled with sadness. The tears flowed. And then it hit me…pure anger & rage. Anger at myself, anger at the clinic, anger at C, anger at everyone around because they got their babies and I had been through hell and still couldn’t get pregnant.
A red mist descended, I had to get out of this whole situation, I couldn’t be in this relationship anymore, I didn’t want this, not for me or C. Surely we were better off apart. I got out of the shower, tears in my eyes, stomping around and shouting. C had taken himself off to work so wasn’t in the house. The house was empty and silent and there I was yelling as loud as I could about how shit everything was, how we shouldn’t be together, how both of us deserved better and that I was leaving. C wasn’t even in the house so I don’t know who I was talking to. I grabbed the suitcase from under the bed and started to throw all of my clothes in it, ranting and raving. I had made my mind up, I was going. First case packed, then I grabbed the second one and started to fill that one too. I had no idea where I was going or really why? I wanted a baby, we wanted a family and it just kept failing, I kept failing, we kept failing. On my knees throwing clothes into that suitcase, I broke down uncontrollably. I sobbed and sobbed. Within half an hour, it was done. The mist started to lift, the tears slowly stopped. I had to unpack the cases, which I did over the course of the morning between tears and text messages from friends and family saying how sorry they were that it hadn’t worked.
I called the clinic and told them it had failed…AGAIN. She offered condolences and a counsellor. No I didn’t need a bloody counsellor, I would get over it. I would move on. In my mind, seeing a counsellor would only confirm what I thought about myself, that I was one complete and utter failure who was incapable of getting pregnant and having a child. I didn’t want to sit and listen to anyone else tell me that I probably wasn’t ever going to be a mum and that I needed to try to move on. The nurse said that because I had 3 failed cycles my file would be reviewed by the consultant before we could request treatment for our next fresh cycle and that they would write to us with what to do next. I put the phone down. What to do next? I didn’t want to do anything next, I wanted a hole in the ground to open up and swallow me. I wanted to get off this bloody awful fucked up rollercoaster they called infertility & IVF. I wanted a family with my husband, was that too much to ask?
How could I go through it again, the stimulation, the OHSS, the transfer & the two week wait when it seemed pretty obvious that we were destined to fail time after time. This was the pits.
2011 was turning out to be a shit as 2010…failure, hope gone, embryos perished and if we wanted to have a family we would have to start again. Start at the same point we had been at over 18 months ago.
The pregnancy announcements and new arrivals were now all around us. C coped much better with them than I did. I was just sad, sad for me & sad for us. My heart wanted something that we couldn’t have and I felt physically empty. An emptiness that nothing could fill no matter how hard we tried. Seeing others have their families just made that feeling worse and it was at this point in our journey that I really started to withdraw and struggle with things, with IVF, with infertility, with friendships, with family, well with everything really. I wasn’t living, I was just functioning with the tiniest speck of hope that one day I would feel whole again.
Our relationship had taken an absolute battering and we were struggling to know how to move forward. I spent a lot of time blaming C for us needing IVF in the first place, it was bad enough for him that he blamed himself, he didn’t need me also digging at him. I couldn’t help myself. I was upset and most of all I was angry. We didn’t ask anyone for help, we just tried to get on with it hoping that our relationship was strong enough to weather the shit storm called infertility.
It is has been difficult to write about this cycle and the impact that it had on us. I was sinking with each passing month and I should have sought help. My views on counselling that I talk about in this post are no longer my views. If you are reading this after a failed cycle or at a point in your story where you feel like there is no way forward, I would like to re-assure you that you do have a future. Although it feels like a long and lonely road that you are on, filled with sadness and anger, things can and will change. I wish I had asked for help at this point on our journey so that I could have dealt with things better, there are people out there who can help. Reach out for them and let them help you. You are not alone.