When I saw Mary was looking for some input into the Love Kiddo Blog - Parenthood, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I’m passionate about sharing our journey of infertility to raise awareness about it and help remove the stigma.
When my trying to conceive (TTC) journey began, infertility affected 1 in 8.
5 years on and it’s 1 in 6.
Yet the awareness around it doesn’t seem to have grown at all.
Everything we learn about family planning in school is geared around prevention which left me woefully unprepared for when I stopped preventing and it didn’t happen.
My husband & I started trying in 2018 and after 6 months I was a little concerned as I was having quite severe ovary pain and sought help for suspected endometriosis. Following a laparoscopy, nothing was found. This was reassuring but it didn’t explain why it wasn’t happening for us (or what the pain was - I still don’t have an answer for that but I don’t suffer as badly now).
We conceded that 6 months wasn’t that long and to just keep trying. This went on for 2 years (GPs require you to have been trying for 2 years before they will do a referral for testing). In 2020 we contacted the GP again in hopes of some testing. We had some bloods (me) and a semen analysis (my husband) which all came back okay. A combination of that and Covid meant that nothing was followed up (it’s understandable but no less frustrating looking back).
In 2021 we had to start from scratch as our tests were then out of date. After more bloods, a swab, an inspection of my fallopian tubes and another semen analysis for my husband we finally got referred for IVF.
In November 2021 we went for our first IVF consult. Several things were stressed to us as part of that - that IVF is a ‘big undertaking’ and it was ‘not to be taken lightly’. This became clear after the 3 hours of videos, quizzes and consent forms we had to complete to move forward with treatment.
We had to have some tough conversations about who could use who’s ‘samples’ if the other person died, if we would donate unusable samples for training/testing, how long we might store samples/embryos.
It’s a lot to think about - especially before you even start the process.
I started the contraceptive pill in December 2021 to help regulate my cycle, I had my first injection in January 2022; down regulation drugs followed by stims, followed by the trigger injection, an egg retrieval and then 5 days later an embryo transfer.
Nothing anyone can say can prepare you for how you will feel, physically, mentally and emotionally.
You can’t know how you’ll respond to the drugs. I had terrible headaches, was very spaced out, wobbly and extremely tired. The more injections, the more bruised, sore and tender my skin became (even with alternating the injection sites).
You’re back and forth to the clinic for scans every few days.
IT’S. A. LOT.
Made harder by the fact that it’s such a private thing. I found my support online - Instagram was full of TTC accounts that made me feel less alone. The reality was that no one I knew was going through the same thing (because we don’t talk about fertility - it’s just kinda assumed - want a baby? - ok, have one - but it’s not always that simple).
I started documenting my own journey @3.5tofour. Looking back, I wished I’d been more vulnerable and shared more of what I was going through but I did what I could at the time.
On 14th February 2022 we had our fresh embryo transfer which would become our baby, Logan.
The 9 months carrying him were the most wonderful, magical but anxiety filled months of my life. The most precious and long awaited cargo I would ever carry, and I could not be more grateful to our clinic, my fellow TTC sisters, IVF warriors and the community I found that helped me to my miracle baby boy.
Logan joined us in October 2022 and since then I have made it my mission to speak about infertility and IVF as much as I can, to family, to friends and to strangers.
1 in 6 are experiencing infertility and there’s a good chance they’re doing it feeling lonely, unsupported and misunderstood.
I don’t want anyone going through infertility struggles to feel like that.
I am 1 in 6 and my DMs are always open.