I’ve never been one for a blog, and yet, here I am, writing a blog. It’s not actually my first blog as I did do a bit of a travel blog many moons ago. Still, it’s my first serious blog so bear with me if it’s not fluid. I’m sure I’ll get better.
I have decided to write this as I’m about to go through what many women go through and yet, it doesn’t seem to be openly discussed. IVF. In vitro fertilisation. I’m not sure why we don’t talk about it. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of it all. Maybe it’s because it means laying bare our inadequacies, our inability to produce a child. Surely that’s what women are meant to do? Have children? Maybe it’s just a lack of understanding. Even as I’m writing this I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it all. The last few years have been a rollercoaster of emotions. Being told I can’t have children, then being told I might be able to have children, then getting pregnant, then having a miscarriage, then not being able to get pregnant again, then being told I qualify for IVF, then being told I’m too late, then being told they can just squeeze me in. As I said, it’s been a rollercoaster. And I’m sure my journey has been fairly easy compared to some.
I think the strangest thing for me is the lack of discussion. It’s funny how women are actively encouraged not to tell anyone about a pregnancy until 3 months. This is because there is a high risk of miscarriage within the first term. So does that mean that we are not allowed to get excited, not allowed to share our joy with those we love? But this also means we can’t share our grief when things don’t go the way we planned. Grief is personal, yes, but a problem shared and all that. How do you tell someone you had a miscarriage if you didn’t even tell them you were pregnant? It’s like we’re not allowed to share. We have to go through the ordeal by ourselves. Ok, so maybe with a couple of other people – husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, etc. but my family is wider than that. My friends are my family. Talking about these things is cathartic. It helps us to heal.
Anyway, I digress, I’m not here to talk about miscarriage, I want to talk about IVF. Before I got signed up I can honestly say I had no idea what it was all about. I imagined men in white coats shaking things around in test tubes and didn’t really think any further than that. Reality hit when the box of medication turned up on my doorstep. Sorry, I say medication… what I actually mean is needles. A massive box of needles. Despite the fact I start injecting myself tomorrow morning, I am still not completely sure what I am injecting myself with. My primitive understanding is that it is some sort of hormone suppressor. I have to stop my body doing what it wants to do, i.e. ovulate, so that in a week’s time I can start injecting myself with another drug to induce ovulation, but on a grand scale. I think that’s pretty much the gist of it.
My body is going to start to change shape, my hormones are going to be all over the place, logistically I have to travel backwards and forwards between North Wales and Shrewsbury for scans and blood tests and somehow, I have to carry on as normal because the world does not stop just because I am going through IVF. And then, at the end of it all, I might not even get pregnant. In fact, if you look at the statistics for a 43 year old, I’m pretty damn unlikely to get pregnant.
So why go through it all in the first place? I can’t not, surely. I consider myself to be a fairly pragmatic person. I’ve accepted that it’s a long shot, but it’s a shot nonetheless. If we get pregnant, we deal with that. If we don’t, we deal with that. Life goes on.
Anyway, I’m not writing this because I want your luck or your prayers (that’s not really my thing) but because talking about it is my way of dealing with it. Being open, being honest, engaging in conversation and sharing my journey is my way of facing the unknown.
8 hours until injection number 1.