1 year ago today we published our blog for the first time and opened our infertility struggles up to the world. It was something we thought long and hard about before we did it and as soon as I pressed that publish button the panic started to set in. Would people understand? Would people judge me for not being able to have a child? Would there be anyone we knew who was going through a similar battle that we could share our struggles with? It was a huge thing for us to do and came with a lot of worry and nerves. Infertility is still very much a taboo subject despite countless women bravely opening up the discussion of infertility in the media in the last couple of years, and it was a very private area of our lives which previously we had only spoken about with our nearest and dearest. My other big worry was that people just wouldn’t get the seriousness of IVF and what we were about to embark on. It’s one of those things, you don’t really know the full extent of something until you’ve been through it, but when I told one friend we were starting IVF she actually congratulated me as she assumed that meant I would be pregnant soon. Whilst we didn’t want to blow things out of proportion, we wanted our friends and family to understand the hard days that were to come and how much support we would need.
And of course, we needn’t have worried. Despite a couple of instances like the one above, our friends and family were hugely understanding, supportive and really there for us throughout everything, and for that we are so grateful. We also found people who had been through their own infertility struggles and shared their stories with us, and it was such a relief to know we weren’t the only ones in this position. In fact we were quite surprised how many people we knew who had in their own way struggled to conceive. I felt really honoured that women would message me and open up about something so personal; it really meant a lot.
The big question everyone wants to know is what are our plans now. After our first IVF cycle failed we more or less jumped straight back in and started cycle 2. I think that if cycle 2 had just been another failure we probably would have done the same thing again, taken a month off then started on cycle 3. However, with everything we went through with the miscarriage it hasn’t been so easy this time round to think about starting again. There are many times I drive myself crazy thinking about what could have been if I hadn’t miscarried. I would be 7 months pregnant now and our lives would be totally different; excitedly waiting for the baby we had dreamed of for so long. Instead, here we are, nowhere near pregnant and unsure how to move forward. Doing another round of IVF isn’t as easy as people might think. It’s not even just all the time it takes up or how much it messes with your body. For us, it’s the hurt you experience. We are both so scared of once again feeling that awful pain and heartbreak we felt when we knew our baby was gone and wasn’t coming back. I know that miscarriages are so common, not just in IVF patients, but 1 in 4 normal pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, I still blame myself. Even the word itself implies I did something wrong. Did I somehow not carry my baby the correct way that I ended up mis – carrying it?
Anyone who has been through IVF will tell you all you do is worry from start to finish. Will I respond to the drugs? Will I have enough eggs? How many will fertilise? How many will be of good quality? How many will make it to day 3 or day 5? How many should we implant back in? All you dream of is seeing those 2 little lines on the test at the end of the 2 week wait. I naively thought this is where the worry would end. How wrong could I be? If we did another cycle, we now have a whole load of new worries to add to the existing ones. Not only would I worry about miscarrying again, but in our second cycle I was still testing as pregnant 2 weeks after our scan had showed our baby had gone. Obviously everything that followed showed that he was obviously hiding inside my body somewhere, but my new fear now is that we do another cycle and I test positive but how would I know if it was real? The only way we would believe it would be when we saw a baby on the screen, but that involves a lot of waiting, and in the meantime we would drive ourselves mad.
Of course there is a chance that everything could go to plan and we could end up with our biggest dream, and if that was the case all of the struggles would have been more than worth it. But can we put our hearts on the line and take that risk again? Or should we just give up now and get on with living the rest of our life? At the moment, we really don’t know.
For now though I would just like to say a massive thank you again to everyone who has been there for us, old friends and the lovely new ones I have met through this blog. I really don’t think we could have gone through last year without you.