IVF Miracle Mum
MY IVF JOURNEY
How long did you start trying for a baby before you started your IVF Journey?
We tried to conceive for about 4 years before starting IVF. The first 2 years we were very casual in our approach, we had a 'if it happens then it happens' approach. But when it didn't happen, we then took it more seriously, tracking ovulation and taking vitamins. After a year of this with no luck we went to our GP. I had to have blood tests which revealed I wasn't ovulating. And my partner Rich had his sperm tested which revealed he had a low sperm count. In order to rule out things like PCOS I had more tests which all showed that nothing was wrong. So it's unclear as to why I don't ovulate.
Can you list the medications you used to help with your IVF process? Did you have any side effects?
I took Norethisterone which controlled my cycle in the lead up to IVF, then Buserelin, and finally Bemfola, which stimulated egg production. I found that the main side effects were tiredness with these drugs, and occasionally headaches. I had a general 'unwell' sort of feeling which was up and down throughout.
How painful was it providing yourself with the various injections?
The first time I had to inject myself was painful, but only for a moment. I think it was the anticipation and anxiety of the pain rather than the pain itself, if that makes sense. After that first time, it was really painless.
How many IVF cycles did you have before your bundle of joy William arrived? How were you able to save money for this or was it funded by the NHS?
We did two cycles in all, we got lucky the second time around! Our first cycle was NHS funded. But the second we were really unable to fund ourselves, so our clinic suggested trying an 'egg sharing' scheme. Someone who needed to use donor eggs would help to pay for most of my cycle, and I would donate half of my collected eggs to them.
Can you describe the emotions you felt throughout the whole journey?
Not to sound too cliched, but it really is a roller coaster! Especially the first time, when so much of it is unknown. It was such a scary and daunting process, I was terrified alot of the time. I also felt alot of pressure as it seemed like our one and only chance as we were entitled to just the one NHS funded cycle.
What adjustments did you make with your diet and lifestyle? What recommendations would you advise for others working towards this journey?
I had to lose about two stone prior to starting the process anyway, as my BMI had to be under 30. So my diet had improved somewhat and I felt healthier. I also cut out drinking alcohol completely, and just tried to be healthier in general by drinking more water and getting some exercise. I also religiously took conception vitamins.
What physical changes did you experience? How were you able to cope with this?
I didn't really experience any physical changes, I had some very minor bloating when taking the Bemfola injections but that was all.
You had a neat technique called Ice, Draw, Pinch and Go. How did you find this technique and how did this benefit you?
I asked for tips regarding my first injection and someone said to ice the skin first. So I tried it and it definitely helped. I would place an ice pack on my tummy for a minute or so, then draw up the medicine into the needle, then pinch the area i wanted to insert the needle and then go for it! This made it part of a daily routine which helped normalise it to some extent.
Can you explain egg collection?
Egg collection is a procedure in which they collect the eggs that the IVF drugs have been stimulating to grow. I had a local anaesthetic, so the whole procedure was quite a blur!
How did you prepare for this?
I prepared by just trying to stay calm. The procedure itself didn't worry me, I knew I was in good hands, but the thing I did worry over was, would we get enough eggs?
How many eggs were fertilised and how many were used?
Luckily our first cycle retrieved 12 eggs, which I was delighted with. Out of those 8 fertilised. But after 5 days only 2 remained that were still going, and as they both were not the best, we and the doctors decided to transfer both to increase our chances.
What were your emotions when you realised you weren’t pregnant after the first cycle and it was confirmed a chemical pregnancy?
It was total devastation to be honest. We cried and cried. It felt so unfair. That was a very sad time for both of us. I felt like a failure, like I could or should have done something differently.
How did you prepare for cycle 2?
I continued to lose more weight, and be as healthy as possible.
How did you find out about egg recipients and can you explain what it is?
On the second cycle I shared my eggs with another person. This made the cycle much cheaper for us, and obviously helped the other person by donating eggs for them to use. The whole process was exactly the same as before, except my Bemfola injections (to stimulate egg growth) were a higher dose to increase the amount of eggs. Luckily on this cycle we retrieved 15 eggs! So we were able to keep 8, and the recipient got 7.
Congratulations on a successful cycle. Throughout your pregnancy were you ever worried? How did you overcome these worries? I was worried for much of the beginning of pregnancy. Especially before the first scan at 8 weeks. But I suffered with very bad sickness until about 16 weeks, which although it was an awful thing to go through, made me know I was definitely still pregnant! What delivery plan was devised during pregnancy? Did you require an early delivery? I was determined to have a water birth, after reading up on it it seemed to be a wonderful way to give birth. It was unsure if i would be able to have one as the baby was growing on the big side! But at my last scan it was deemed safe to go ahead. I ended up going into labour 2 days before my due date. How was your delivery? What were your emotions when you delivered your newborn baby? It was very traumatic and awful to be honest. I started off in a birthing centre rather than the hospital, as i had visited it and loved the calm peaceful atmosphere, and use of the pools to give birth in. Which was fine to begin with, it was as calm and peaceful as i had hoped! But then the midwife broke my waters and all hell broke loose. The contractions came thick and fast, more painful than i can put into words. I tried the pool for a while, but then the midwife checked and i was bleeding too much. So they ended up calling an ambulance to transfer me to hospital instead. By this point there was no break in between contractions, just constant, agonising pain. I had gas and air, but that did little to help. I ended up breaking it even, biting off the mouthpiece - I have no recollection of this! In the end after a few hours, I finally gave birth to my baby boy. He was truly a miracle!
TOP TIPS & ADVICE
What advice and tips would you give to women going through this process? What can they do to make the process smoother? Tell people about it, your family or friends. I can't imagine keeping it all secret. You need support going through this. And really just take care of yourself, self care really goes a long way. I also found the infertility community on Instagram to be so incredibly helpful and supportive.
LuLu's Gifts: linktr.ee/lulusgifts