To Tell or Not to Tell
The decision was never if we were going to try again, but when we were going to try. My body needed to recover from the birth of the twins. Hooked up to bag after bag after bag of blood in the days following really made me realise that my body wasn’t in a good condition. There was the check up with my obstetrician 6 weeks after the birth and she sent me back to my doctor with the results from all the post birth tests and postmortems. That appointment, I left in tears. She had put me back on the pill for at least three months to try help get things back to a regular pattern. I felt like I had gone back five years in time.
So when those three months were up I was back at the clinic picking up my needles and ready to give it another go. However this time was different. I decided not to tell anyone. I didn’t want to put my family and friends through the whole process again. I knew what it was like last time with the excitement and anticipation waiting the two weeks for the results and I thought if it didn’t work, I didn’t want them to hit with the bad news too and that I would just deal with it.
But this made it a much harder process. Last time my family knew, as did a quite a few friends and even my next door neighbour after I knocked on her door late one night asking her to stick a needle in me (she got to know me very quickly). So after injecting the needles this time, I couldn’t text and share stories on my needle adventures. I couldn’t tell them I locked myself in an audio cupboard at work and sat on the ground crying as my skin was like rubber and I struggled to get the needles in. Or that I left the function I was running and went and hid under a desk in an office and someone walked in wondering what was going on.
The process isn’t easy. It is bloody hard. You have to work out how to manage all your injections and how it will affect your work and personal life. Do you call in sick for two weeks to work as you know 9pm is the injection time each night and you need your husband to give you the needles? Or do you hide your medication in a lunch bag in the staff fridge, find a secluded area, toughen the hell up and tell yourself that you have to do the needles yourself this time? Then there were the scans to check on how all the needle jabbing was going. It isn’t easy to ask my boss three times in a week to have a day off or an extended lunch break or to start work later.
The egg collection day feeling was different. I started to dial my sister and my bestie many times to ask for a lift but decided to not to. Instead I took two trains early one Monday morning and made my own way to the hospital. I laid in bed for two hours prior to my procedure and the nervousness started to hit me. I had to walk into the theatre and looking around is when I really was trying not to freak out. There were 8 people in the room. I’d been in this same theatre nine months ago and I didn’t recall this feeling. There was a feeling of awkwardness knowing in only minutes I would be asleep and they would be all focused on me down below. They couldn’t put me to sleep quick enough.
When I woke up in recovery I asked how many eggs. They said 6. I started crying. The first time I got 11, four fertilized but only one made it to a healthy embryo, so no frozen ones. The fact that I only got 6 this time made me feel like I hadn’t worked hard enough. Hadn’t prepared myself well enough. That I hadn’t put the needles in the right spot. And like id been studying really hard for a test and only got a C.
The next few days were all about daily check ins with the scientist in the lab and talking about whether any of the 6 had fertilised. The good looking one was popped back inside me and the two week wait was on. There was also two other embryos that had fertilised that could possibly be kept and frozen. They said they were still in culture and they would monitor for a couple more days. Unfortunately I then got a call saying they were no good and couldn’t be frozen. That was shattering. It meant it all relied on the one they had put inside me. If that didn’t work there was no other option but to do all the needles and day procedure again.
It didn’t take two weeks for me to know it didn’t work. I knew. The blood test was done as a standard procedure and when the clinic called to say it was unsuccessful, I had already started to deal with it.
I hadn’t told my friends and family as I didn’t want them to have to feel this pain I was feeling too. I wanted them to be able to support me during this time and not be having to deal with the pain themselves after the month long process. But when the time came to tell them, I couldn’t. I couldn’t have their lives stop once again to deal with it all. So besides the couple family members and friends who have asked me in recent weeks, the rest will learn through this blog and hopefully understand.
For anyone about to go through an IVF journey I will definitely advise you to let a friend or family member know. This time round was so much different to previous times when I was able to talk to others about it. It shouldn’t be something you have to hide and if those you tell aren’t fully supportive of the process, then they don’t need to be in your life.
Whilst this process didn’t result in an actual loss of life, I feel it was a loss in an opportunity of life. I am not good at the grieving part. Having been through a lot of loss and heartbreak in my life, I’m just use to moving on. Putting up a wall, bottling it all up and getting on with life. I recently discussed with a friend that one day soon I will break. The flood gates will open and it will all come out. It is then that I will need my family to hand me a paddle…..