My husband Neil and I started our parenting journey the traditional way really. Got married and then all systems go! I was already 30 and we kind of knew it might take a while given my history:
• Lost an ovary at age 18 when ovarian cysts ‘ate’ it up (technical term hehe).
• Family history of early menopause – mum was 39 and grandma 36. As I’m writing this, I’m 38 and have been several months without a period now (longest stretch to date) and sweating up a gross storm, aka - hot flashes.
• Screwed up hormone levels (unquantified when we started trying, but I just knew…).
Fast forward the obligatory 12 months with no luck whatsoever and we found ourselves in the IVF specialist’s consulting room looking for answers. My GP had referred us to the ‘best in town’ so we were ready to follow her to baby land.
The clean out
In readiness to undertake IVF or any other form of assisted fertility, I had to undergo several tests. Neil also had tests done on his swimmers, but apart from a minor issue, he was A-OK.
Besides blood tests galore, I underwent an exploratory ultrasound revealing a large ‘water cyst’ growing off the end of my fallopian tube where my ovary used to be when I was 18. God knows how long it had been growing or whether it was the first. Apparently they can grow, then disperse, then grow again. I also had some endometriosis (when part of your lining grows outside your uterus) as well as a bunch of smaller cysts, adhesions and a fibroid. Hmmm, great.
So I had the ‘clean out’ operation at the end of 2010 so we could start IVF without obstruction.
February 2011 marked our first go at IVF. Now I need to state here that EVERY LADY’S IVF JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT so please don’t take this as gospel – it’s just what I had to do for my individual IVF needs.
So began the daily drug regime and the dreaded needles. The needle part was the scariest for me as I’m one of those that has to look away whenever I get an injection, let alone administer the damn thing myself! Luckily Neil brought his A-game and did the first few days for me until I grew some balls (not a side effect of the drugs) and just did it myself. It’s a tiny little needle anyway, in a kind of epi-pen situation, so nothing too bad at all.
Once the drugs had helped me grow some follicles, I was finally ready to be harvested. No, I’m not a field of wheat – it’s when the follicles are large enough in size and you go in under a general anaesthetic and they harvest as many eggs as possible. Then Neil’s boys are paired with my eggs in a dish. Science, science, science and hopefully you’ve got a bunch of viable embryos to choose from, ready to implant back in your uterus.
You know how I mentioned earlier how I knew my hormones were shot? Well I was right as I only produced 3 eggs with only 1 actually fertilising. I say only 3 as a friend of mine was undergoing her own IVF journey, but with different issues to me she was producing numbers as high as 18! It was soooo hard to try and not compare (you only need 1 good one, right?), but you still can’t help but feel a bit defeated. Anyway, without time to dwell on it, we were back in the hospital for the embryo implantation after just 2 days of fertilising and we just then had to sit and wait.
It didn’t take!
I’m a smart, educated and rational woman, downplayed any expectations of getting pregnant on the first go, but the tears came and the thoughts of never having children arrived in the back of mind and decided to stay there for some time. It felt like a massive mountain in front of us.
Try, try AGAIN!
We decided to climb that mountain and tried again straight away in March 2011. Slightly different drug schedule, similar results, no baby. The only positive this time around was we managed to get more than one egg fertilized so we were able to freeze one for safe keeping.
We used our frozen embryo for our third go in June 2011. My memory gets a little hazy around this time. Wrapped up in emotions, trying to downplay them and relax as much as possible, I trudged from appointment to appointment just going through the motions. I’d even found this acupuncturist that especially worked with IVF ladies to help ‘get things working’. $75 bucks a pop, my mind was in a bad place and eventually I pissed off the acupuncture lady with my mood. She gave me attitude back so bye, bye lady. What a croc of poo! #shestillgetstome #willneverrecommendher
When I got the positive pregnancy test I didn’t believe it. I did the movie thing and did another 2 tests. All positive - OMG! We were so happy. We decided obviously not to tell anyone just yet as it was still earlier than when you find out getting pregnant naturally.
For the next few days I was almost scared to move. I took it easy. But then – spotting. We called a nurse friend for some guidance, but I was already in a teary mess. By the end of the week the miscarriage was confirmed.
Six months later
It’d been 12 months since we began the IVF journey, 2 years since we started trying. Not that long in the scheme of things. We’d put the miscarriage behind us and just swept the IVF thing under the rug. Took a break. Neil and I would chat about the whole thing now and again and by Christmas our mindset had changed and both of us were content if Mother Nature wrote the story with just the two of us in it.
But it felt unfinished. Probably because we’d shut the door on it before dealing with the miscarriage. We decided one last try for trying’s sake, but we had rules. We didn’t care if it didn’t work (I really mean that), it was definitely our last go and if there were TWO good embryos, both of them were going in. We were prepared to have twins if both embryos happened to implant, but with our run of no luck I can’t say that was ever really a concern.
Our other rule was to ramp up the drugs and for our specialist to give me the full whammy of what she thought might do the trick. When you’re out of pocket about $3,000 with each try, we meant business and didn’t want the specialist to leave anything to chance.
We were once again cautiously excited when we got the positive pregnancy test. That entire first trimester, I don’t think I even believed it. I thought I’ll believe it when I see a baby. The first trimester I had progesterone pessaries 2-3 times a day just to keep boosting my hormones so the embryos would stay stuck. And they did.
After all that, a relatively uneventful twin pregnancy resulted in Matthew and Stephen being born completely healthy in September 2012.
Instant family, complete.
I’m a qualified CPA but I’ve been a stay-at-home mum since the twins were born. I also gave birth to my sportswear brand, TRU ATHLETIC. I try and still play decent netball and enjoy trying to keep strong and fit. Love my footy and watching other sports.
Children: Twin boys, Matthew & Stephen. They’re 5 years old.
Motherhood in 5 words: Do whatever works for ME!
Fav family-friendly place: ikea
Coffee order: Cappuccino, one sugar
Biz: TRU ATHLETIC
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