During our last cycle, I wrote. Not publically, but I still needed to write. I needed to dump all the thoughts, anxieties and what ifs somewhere.
Whilst we are still contemplating our moves forward on our journey of bringing home a living baby, I thought I’d share the unedited inner workings of my mind – going through fertility treatment after stillbirth. I thought I’d share just to give some insight in to the anxieties that it can bring, with the hope that it may make someone feel a tad more normal.
We have taken the decision to start treatment again, and it’s pretty fucking scary. I’m trying not to register with what it all means, in that we could become pregnant, because that seems too easy, and life just isn’t going to be that kind to us is it?
Both outcomes feel really surreal and scary to me. It can go something like this
- Transfer one embryo, become pregnant
- Transfer one embryo, don’t become pregnant
- One embryo fails to thaw, transfer the last embryo – become pregnant, don’t become pregnant
- Both embryos fail to thaw
I’m terrified of loosing both. Of just going backwards on the first attempt since Leo. That would be worst case. We’ve already had worst case. So it seems natural to stay at that level right?
Loosing both the embryos would means loosing another part of Leo. They were all together for five days. And I know, I’m not crazy, I appreciate the were just cells then, but those cells became Leo so those cells that we still have have potential to become Leo’s sibling, and that’s quite magical.
It doesn’t remove all options if we loose them, but it’s going to fucking suck big time. We would have to start a fresh cycle of IVF which just seems exhausting. There’s no question, I would do it as soon as I was able to, but urgh, I’d be taking a massive deep breath beforehand. And, well, does anyone fancy giving us £7,000 – I might be able to give a few hundred pounds worth of change?
I hate the idea of borrowing for treatment. I know it’s not like this but my head can’t loose the concept that it’s like someone else is buying my baby, and would give them a small sense of ownership over it. Which, in the two scenarios of how treatment can go is pretty shitty either way. Either, bullseye, baby – but they paid for it. Something doesn’t sit right about that with me. Or no pregnancy, or pregnancy but baby dies – great, I’ve wasted someone else’s money on another dead baby.
So, I’m quite happy with the situation of credit. But my own credit. We haven’t had to go there yet. We can afford two cycles of frozen. For the nosey, that’s £1300 a cycle. Luckily we saved some of my pay before maternity leave to help us out this year, and The Wife had started saving for a house deposit, but we keep spending it on treatment. After all, who needs a house without a family to put in it? We have so far spent a healthy house deposit on fertility treatment. Urgh. Could be worse I suppose. We could have started out on credit and be a house deposit in debt. So far, all cash, thankfully. That’s two commitment bonuses, a tour of Afghanistan and shit loads of saving for you.
So, we did our first injection this morning. Was a bit more complex than last time but it was okay. Now we have done the first bit I feel a bit more settled and happy to just go with the motions and see how this whole things plays out. So far everyone who phones from the clinic is sickly nice, almost American nice. And I just want to say to them “can you stop being so nice to be, I’m doing this because my baby died, fuck off” but I guess nice people are better than the alternative.
We haven’t told anyone we are doing treatment, except my mum and sister. We only told them because we are going on holiday tomorrow and staying with them and I think it would be way too stressful to try and do it all in secret. If the injections were like the last ones, it probably wouldn’t be so bad. But we’d also have had to keep them in the fridge, and I’ve already played the game of “hide the drugs behind the ketchup” twice now, and it’s sometimes just more stressful that it’s worth!
We haven’t not told anyone because we don’t want to. It’s more because we don’t know what we want to do, so I think we are going with a casual approach and see how we go and feel. I really don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, and I feel enough pressure to try and repair this wrong already. Equally, I can’t stand that “is she isn’t she” elephant in the room business, nor could I handle requests for daily updates – treatment isn’t really something there are updates on…
I’m not blogging this one, at all. Mainly because we haven’t told anyone and I don’t think family would appreciate to hear about it on a tweet, but even if we did tell them, people from my work read my blog – and I don’t want that out there until I know the outcome of if it all. But I do know that I need to write, I need to get the thoughts out of my head, and I also want to journal it all.
We started journaling the first time we tried IUI. We wrote a bit each in this beautiful journal we bought on the way to London. We failed. We stopped writing. It was too painful to read back the hope and have the reality. Now though, I’ve really cherished having a log of things and seeing the changes, whether good or bad. So I will write, and I’ll probably publish at a later date, if I ever get pregnant and into a place where I feel I can tell people!
On a side, I’m typing this on Pages on my iPad, which is where I started writing, and it’s taken me back to the very early days when I’d cling to it, and just type and try and keep up with all the thoughts going round in my head.
So, one more injection in the morning and that’s the injections done with. I’ve felt fine on the meds, I think. Except over the weekend I started getting a bad throat and cough, and now today I’m wiped – really fluey and nauseous. Not sure if it’s the drugs or not but the nausea most likely is. It’s one of the rare side effects so that seems fitting to be in a small statistic… The nausea and the actual vomit I just threw up is frustrating – it’s too similar to being pregnant and messes with your head and I haven’t even had transfer yet! I know the wait before the pregnancy test I’m likely to have pregnancy symptoms because I’ll be on progesterone and oestrogen. Before I didn’t bother me too much because I knew it was the drugs and I don’t think I experienced much. But now I’ve been pregnant before so I’ll most likely recognise a lot more symptoms and no doubt it will mess with my head!
Had a scan this morning to check all is okay before moving on to the next phase of treatment – all was fine. But we saw our nurse who performed transfer with Leo, and she’s just so nice – she has been involved in all treatment cycles. She greeted us with smiles and a “round two then?” comment. She didn’t know. So we told her all about Leo and everything that happened, and showed her some photos. We like her, a lot, and she’s part of his journey so it didn’t bother us that she didn’t know – I just hope she doesn’t feel bad about it. I’m sure if it happens throughout pregnancy, we’d feel different, but this time – it didn’t bother us.
We are missing Leo so much right now, he just feel likes a weight in my heart. A physical feeling of heaviness. All those terms we use “I have a heavy heart today” – it’s not just a romantic flowerly description, it is actually what it physically feels like. I wonder what the biology of that is.
We aren’t really engaging with the fact that we are doing treatment and having stopped the injections, it’s easier to forget and not connect with it. We are just taking each step as it comes and not worrying about the eventual steps afterwards. Once we’ve done transfer, I’m sure it’ll feel very different – we will have to pretend to be pregnant for two weeks which will be hard, but I’m going to look at it as we have the chance to bring a sibling home for a little while, and hopefully they’ll wanna stay.
A transfer day is set. Tuesday. I’m still not really engaging with the actual concept of it. I’m quite looking forward to ‘bringing someone home again’ to stay, for as long as they can stay. I’m just so unmotivated at the moment, I have no idea why really other than I always seem to do it around cycle time – it’s essentially like I’m in limbo. I’m waiting. Waiting to find out if I’m going to be pregnant, with the hope that “there’s no point starting the washing up, because in three weeks time you’ll be pregnant” – I have no clue why that means today doesn’t have to have anything in it, but it just does. I just want to get to that point. The limbo is infuriating. It always is. So much boils down to the outcome. Do we need to save more money? Am I going back to work? Can we go on holiday? Will I be drinking at this event? Can I sign up for another run? Shall I bother getting back into fitness now I seemingly just stopped for no reason? Urgh. This is one time that time can go quickly please.
We are having one embryo transferred. If the first one doesn’t thaw and survive, then we defrost the next straight away. If that doesn’t thaw, we are down to zero embryos and back to a fresh cycle. A fresh cycle that we can’t afford. That we have to wait a few months before starting. And that is a lot more hard work physically. I don’t want to be naive and think that the first embryo will thaw fine, we will get pregnant, and we will stay pregnant, and that we will bring home a living baby. That’s far too many things to happen right in one go without hiccup. Honestly, how on earth do people manage to always get the good results at every hurdle. I don’t want to worry about the concept of actually being pregnant, because we have to get pregnant first.. But this is a massive hurdle and literally the smallest one.
It’s just too poetic isn’t it. I just feel like a sitting duck waiting for the next load of shit. It’s seems to natural cause of things for people to have miscarriages after stilllbirth at the moment. Which is wonderful. Oh, I just want it to work in our favour for once. I want Leo back, but that’s never going to happen. If I can’t have him, I’d have his sister or brother.
Tomorrow, it’s egg transfer. I feel so nervous – tomorrow is the first of the unknowns of this journey being answered. Will our embryos survive thawing? I’ve always anticipated a subsequent phase of grief should either of them fail to thaw. With them, holds so much potential, that if it disappears at the fist hurdle, it’s like chance and opportunities are being robbed from us all over again. I just want something to be successful.
For the next two weeks, we are going to be in pretend pregnant mode, which I’m really struggling to get my head around. It’s not that I’m reluctant to start watching my caffeine intake and all of that. I’d do it all again, with gratitude. It’s just, I want to pretend and I don’t want it to get taken away from us again. It’s like some cruel joke. As if, someone gave us a newborn to look after and then took them away again.
I feel like I’m going to be really emotional tomorrow during transfer. I feel like I need to rebalance that day and dedicated the rest of the 23 hours to Leo. It’s like I’m cheating on him. I know there’s nothing wrong with us moving forward and doing this, certainly nothing wrong in principle. It’s just feels like he had my whole heart, and I’m preparing to give some of it away to someone else – even someone who is just a figment of my imagination, just a potential, an opportunity. But that’s always been the struggle of fertility treatment. You have potentials in your grasp the whole time, but you aren’t given the opportunity to let them flourish. I don’t know if I can give another potential child away. I so wish someone could tell me.
I know they are only five little cells, but they are our five little cells. Leo was only five little cells to begin which, and look what he has become. Even in his death, he is phenomenal. I don’t want to mother a memory, a legacy. I want to mother a child, and I just so need and want something to go right. To stop the what ifs, and just know where we are in this journey. From tomorrow, we will know the first aspect. Do we have embryos? I’m terrified both will fail. I know that they reckon that’s statistically pretty rare, but this is us.
Please look after us. Please look after those two bundles of five little cells. You started with them, you know what they can become. Please give them that opportunity. Please protect them, let them thaw without fail. Please help the nurses and doctors who are looking after us tomorrow, please make sure that they know how much we love you and love our two little embryos. I promise to look after them too, to protect them, love them, believe in them, and honour them. They are part of you, they are linked to you and I will never forget that. I miss you so much right now and i am sorry if we are moving forward too fast, it doesn’t mean anything about our love for you, that will always remain so strong and with so much longing.
You will be with us tomorrow, and you will be part of this day, I promise.
Love you, always,
So yesterday we had transfer. We were so nervous just before we left but we kept ourselves Leo busy in the morning to help. We sat, for almost 45 minutes in the waiting room which was pretty much emotional torture. The nerves, the memories, the fear. When we finally got called in the embryologist told us that the first embryo defrosted fine and I just cried with relief. It was like sitting and waiting to hear if your potential child had died up until then, so it was just amazing that it was okay. I was so shocked. Convinced we have the shittest luck. Transfer was fine, I managed to stay calm which was surprising. It’s hard going through all the dos and don’t, and next steps because it just feels so ridiculous that we are doing this again. But we are. And that’s okay.
We went and visited Leo for the afternoon, which was really nice. We read to him and gave his grass a trim and a tidy. It felt like the obvious thing to do. We test on the 18th. I was really concerned it was going to be the 17th. I didn’t really want to confirm that we’d failed exactly five months after Leo was born… It just doesn’t feel right.
I feel fine, it nice, a relief, it’s nice to have our little embryo with us. What will be, will be. We just have to get through the next week and a bit and go from there.
In case you haven’t followed our journey, Leo sent us a Robin and we found out that we were pregnant the day after his five month anniversary. Sadly, our Robin couldnt stay.