egg retrieval

A few weeks ago we had our 3rd round of IVF and in a relentless attempt to finally make this ‘the one’ my husband and I did everything imaginable, and then some. Over the past 6 months my calendar was blocked full of appointments with fertility doctors, acupuncture, therapy, meditation, hypnotherapy, fertility friendly fitness classes like yoga and pilates, and even energy healing. I wrote and repeated daily positive affirmations and I saw a psychic who was adamant it would all work out, filling me with the hope I had lost.

There were fertility detoxes, trillions of supplements and a complete diet overhaul removing all possible detrimental substances and replacing them with a truck load of organic healthy super food goodness to help improve egg and sperm quality. I took months of hormone balancing pills including progesterone and oestrogen before I even started the stimulation injections and we forked out for mega pricey extras like human growth hormone and ‘co-culture’ a new lab technique to help grow the embryos. I felt healthier than an organic veg smoothie with an extra shot of wheat grass and I was ready to procreate.

With all of this preparation, conditioning and support I managed to pretty much convince myself that this time it would work. Not because I had my head in the clouds but because I believe in the value of genuine optimism so I worked hard to eradicate every ounce of negativity and every feeling of heart-ache from previous failures. I was in the best shape, with a glowing outlook and I really truly believed it was going to be 3rd time lucky for us. I hadn’t revised, prepared and studied for anything as much in my life. If only we could now take an exam and be rewarded with an A grade baby for all the hard work we’d done.

We finally made it to the big day, ‘egg retrieval’ on March 31st and it was a success, they took 9 eggs, 5 were mature and all 5 fertilized. The sperm analysis showed a dramatic improvement on all levels but the big one for us was morphology (also the hardest one to improve) which went from just 3% to 15% – this is practically unheard of. After 3 days, two of the embryos were perfect in quality so we agreed to transfer those beauties and freeze the rest if they grew to blastocyst (around 100 cells in size -the optimum stage for freezing). We were thrilled that all our efforts seemed to be paying off, finally the past 6 months of living like monks was starting to show.

egg retrieval process

The 2 week wait was as difficult as always and the extra task of 2 days bed rest was frustrating and tense. I felt emotional and anxious so made sure I did extra sessions of calming Zita West visualizations and meditation to counter this. Two days later a call came which shook our foundation of positivity for the first time, it was the embryologist to report that the other 3 embryos stopped growing so we now had none to freeze. Initially we thought ok there’s the back up plan gone and wondered if this meant that the overall quality of the entire batch wasn’t so good? This blow felt like the stakes were raised but my internal friend ‘Miss Positivity’ piped up and reminded me it’s ok, we only need 1 to work and the strongest 2 are where they need to be, inside me.

During the wait I tried to keep my mind distracted and even had a trip back home to London to look forward to but really the next 2 weeks were just one huge build up until the day I could start doing early tests (approx. 10 days after egg retrieval/conception) and no amount of fun or distraction could help ease it. We were told it’s a risk to do home tests because the hCG in your blood (what the test looks for to show pregnancy) can hang around in your system from the trigger injection giving an inaccurate reading, so to wait until the official blood test – mine was scheduled for the 16th April. But there’s no way in hell I could wait that long.

On the 12th day I woke up extra early ready to pee on that stick. I’d been having some sensations that I recognized from our first positive pregnancy last year so I felt there could be a chance. I patiently waited the full 3 minutes and when I looked all that faced me was one lonely pink line clearly telling me I was ‘not pregnant’ and no matter what light I put it under, how long I stared or at what angle I looked there was no second faint line of hope.

I felt sick at the realization and although that voice of optimism was trying to tell me ‘it’s still early’ I knew in my heart this was the end. I had 4 more long days before the blood test so that meant at least 3 more early tests to increasingly confirm I was not pregnant. I also had to keep taking my meds until the blood test which made my stomach turn because all I felt was what’s the point? But hey we may be that 1% miracle… Miss Positivity was now starting to annoy me.

I must have done around 7 more tests (different brands and at different times of the day – just in case) and they all confirmed my worst fears. By the 16th I was resenting the gross progesterone suppository I had to take ‘just in case’, the oestrogen tablet ‘just in case’ and the final nail in the coffin – the hCG blood test ‘just in bloody case’. All I wanted was a large glass of wine for breakfast but I had to wait until the end of the day to get the 100 % confirmation that we were definitely, definitely, definitely not pregnant. It felt like an extra twist of the knife, it wasn’t enough to have 8 negative tests, we had get it in writing too that yet again we were not having a baby.

By the time the confirmation email came through every ounce of hope had fully drained from my body and all I was left with was the question – what now?  I so wanted us to have the happy ending, I wanted the psychic to be right, and we tried so hard to achieve it, but all we were left with was nothing. Maybe we tried too hard?

I poured myself that large glass of wine and wondered how on earth I could go through all of that again? How can I ever ‘believe’ it is possible when every time I do all I get in return is the opposite. Do I really want a biological child enough to keep going through all the stress, sadness and pain? And if I do how can we afford to keep paying for all of this?

Right now, I feel drained and tired of feeling like a failed IVF machine, all I want is joy and balance back in my life so I need to work out how to climb out of this pit of doubt and start believing there is a reason that all of this happened and that it will work out in the end. The only thing I’m positive about now is that nothing is certain so it’s time to start enjoying the life that I have instead of putting it on hold in an attempt to change it. And if that means getting blind drunk to catch up on 6 months of being on the wagon, then that is what I must do.

ivf protocol

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