IVF is tricky, the whole experience is mentally draining, it’s expensive and it pushes you to breaking point. There are so many companies who put out stories and figures to appeal to people so desperate for a child. I’m not saying these stories aren’t true, or the figures aren’t correct but figures can be displayed in many different ways, omitting certain numbers, which would lead a person to believe something is better than it is.
On paper I’m a success story, my second round of IVF worked, that’s a fact and will be recorded as such on one set of data. Yes there are birth success rates which you can look at, but if you look at IVF figures which resulted in pregnancy then I’m in that group. What may not be mentioned is that I miscarried, that I found this out at my 12 week scan.
Again this is my personal view and I’m not trying to be negative, I appreciate some people may not see it this way. I read so many stories of people giving up their lives on the quest for a child, it’s made me really think about when/ if people ever say enough is enough.
I would have a child one day… right?
I grew up playing ‘families’ with the girl next door, we had a garage next to each other and we would spend hours in the garage with our fantasy family, popping to each other’s houses, taking our dolls for a stroll in our pram. The thought of never having a child of course didn’t occur to me at that age. It was a given, I would one day be a mum and have a real family.
Then as you get old, the fairytale fades and you realise things wouldn’t quite go the way you planned…
Even throughout our first round of IVF I had the goal set (egg fertilization), it didn’t even occur to me that we wouldn’t have any eggs fertilize, the thought never crossed my mind. So when we were told we had one egg fertilize it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Then to the second round, my goal posts moved, now it was to get pregnant as I would be on the home stretch, never did it occur to me that our baby wouldn’t survive. I remember so vividly being in the waiting room before our scan, the excitement and anticipation. I could not have prepared for what happened next.
That’s a term that’s been so relevant to IVF, it’s something that was / is repeated to me by so many people. I am not saying I think it’s a bad thing to say, of course it’s so important. What is the point of any of this if you are not positive?
It’s just for me positive thinking will only get you so far and can sometimes (I believe) cause you to ignores the facts, even science/logical thinking and may set a false hope.
Of course when we were going through IVF we were positive, we had to be because there is no other choice, there is no point to any of it without positive thinking but there are times for it and times when it’s best to accept what’s really going on.
When enough is enough?
When do you accept that your own statistics mean you won’t ever have a biological child with your partner? Maybe this is something you can never accept, I’m still struggling with this hugely.
Do you keep trying and trying, spending thousands and thousands. Give up your life for a child. Humans are, after all, built to reproduce. For some perhaps there isn’t ever a cut off? If you look you’ll always be able to find stories of ‘5th, 6th, 7th rounds of IVF with no end date in sight.
My husband and I lost ourselves last year to a large extent, days, weeks, planned round injections, the whole process was mentally draining. I didn’t want to go out with friends, the hormones, the mood swings, I can honestly say we lost the people we were (something we could only see once we stopped).
Our cut off
Our cut off for trying with both my eggs and my husband’s sperm was our second round.
So many reasons. My husband has been married before and had already been years dealing with infertility (they believed the issues were with his wife). So after years of struggling they stopped trying and he spent years accepting he will never have his own children and he had a vasectomy. He married for life so never expected his marriage to end- another example of life not going the way you think. Then once we were together he had a vasectomy reversal, again we were positive, we were told his chances were strong. This failed which I didn’t expect. So he’d already been through two operations resulting in pain he still deals with today.
He didn’t want IVF but he did it for me, he’s an incredibly unselfish man. So with IVF came another operation for him, again. And our first round failed which was tough but we always said we’d give it another go just to make sure it wasn’t a once off, even though if we were being honest, the signs were there to say that biologically there was an issue.
So we did another round, thankfully there was enough sperm left over from our first round so no more operations for him. The second round though worked and we were pregnant. Amazingly we had made it. But of course this wasn’t to last and for me, it was the cruelest outcome to have come so far down the line and have it end in the way it did.
That was it, we did what we agreed and we stopped, I’m not saying it was easy, it involved many conversations over a long period of time, prior to IVF and after.
It was my husband’s last chance of having a biological child, something he has said to me more than once since our miscarriage. I know he is heartbroken. I wear a ring to remember our baby, but my husband carries the weight of multiple miscarriage’s on his shoulders, long before I was around and I know it will stay with him forever.
A lot of people say we should get more tests, my husband should have got more tests. But no he doesn’t. He doesn’t have to do any of that, we don’t. He’s been through so much, far more than I can contemplate or anyone else outside of him can. He’s spent years trying to have a child, he’s spent a fortune and given up so much of his life. He went through with IVF, twice, for me because he didn’t want to stop me from having a baby even after everything he’s been through.
It makes me angry to my heart that my husband will never father a biological child, he is a wonderful man, completely one of a kind and I would do anything to have his traits in a child. But that’s the way it is. It would be foolish to continue, not only that I couldn’t do it to him. He’s already done and given so much, we could spend the rest of our life chasing something that will clearly never be what we want.
Or we could accept the facts, not something I’m sure we’ll ever be able to do but we still try to move forward together. I don’t know our next steps but I know we deserve a life that isn’t spent chasing something that won’t ever happen (and to have spent thousands and years of heartache to go with it). I hope one day we will both be parents, but it won’t be biologically together.
I also am starting to realize we don’t always get what we want. I literally have no idea what our next step will be, I run the options through my head multiple times a day and I fall short each time.
What I do know is I want a great life with my husband, full of fun and adventures. Full of holiday and unsensible decisions (which we are great at).