I remember growing up thinking I would be a young mom, married with a white picket fence, three children, two dogs, and live happily ever after. But as I got older, other dreams took center stage. I worked overseas, started my own businesses, got an education, and traveled. The years went by, and then I finally found “the one.” I fell for Stephen and found big love. It was time for my dreams of a family to come back into focus.
Never in a million years did I think that we would need IVF to grow our family.
My partner and I have been trying to conceive for the past 12 months. After a few months of using ovulation kits to track my cycle, scrolling through the Flow app, and taking pregnancy test after pregnancy test, those two little blue lines appeared. I couldn't believe my eyes. I ran to Steve and said 'Look! Look!.’ Just to be sure, I raced to the pharmacy and bought another test but this time a digital one. Again, it was positive.
The excitement I got in my belly was indescribable. Something we had wished for forever had finally come true. We both went to work that night, and all I could think about was my little baby growing inside of me and of the baby names we had picked out already.
However, sadly, a few days later I got my period and miscarried at 4 weeks, also known as a chemical pregnancy. We knew this was very common and tried to stay positive, but in my heart, I just knew something wasn't right.
I'm lucky enough to have the most incredible partner I could ever have wished for, and when I turned to Stephen and said "I think something is wrong. I want to go get tested at an IVF clinic for peace of mind" his response was, "Babe we can do whatever you like. If that's what you want to do, let’s do it.”
We had our first consultation with our fertility clinic and both had blood tests done on the same day. The next week, we went in to review our results with the doctor. I felt okay walking into the clinic, but as we sat down and the doctor started talking I could feel my eyes filling up with tears and my palms getting sweaty. I just knew in my gut that something wasn't right.
Stephen’s swimmers were perfectly fine, but my egg count was another story. For my age, my doctor said my egg reserve is that of someone who is in their 40's. I was completely heartbroken.
In the meantime, in between appointments and blood tests, we tried naturally again and to our surprise, we got pregnant for a second time. Those two blue lines appeared, but this time was different. We weren’t excited; we were scared of another loss. We proceeded to have a blood test done, and my HCG level came back at 7. The pregnancy wasn’t viable, and we had lost another baby.
After that, my fertility clinic scheduled me for a Laparoscopy, Hysteroscopy, and D&C. The doctor found some scarring and polyps and removed them, and we were finally ready to start IVF cycle number 1. At first, the injections scared me, but now I look back at how far I’ve come and realize how strong this process has made me.
During our first IVF cycle, we retrieved 10 eggs, 9 fertilized, and 7 made it to freeze. We transferred the best-looking embryo five days later and the dreaded two-week wait began. I had no symptoms like I previously had from getting pregnant naturally, and I just knew it hadn’t worked. Unfortunately, the embryo didn’t even implant.
After allowing ourselves to grieve for a very short period of time, we began our second frozen embryo transfer cycle. I had a poor response to the medication and my lining only got to 7.4mm, so my fertility clinic decided to cancel that cycle and not waste any of our frozen embryos.
It took about six weeks for my period to arrive so we could start FET cycle number three, so you can imagine how excited I was when it finally showed up. It was like Christmas had come early!
We tackled that cycle a bit more head-on, adding more meds which got my lining to a beautiful 7.9mm. It was the perfect environment for a transfer, but to my absolute heartbreak, my clinic scanned me too late and I had already ovulated. My transfer was canceled again.
My doctor was extremely angry and apologetic that the clinic had caused our cycle to be canceled, but that had been the last straw for us. They offered to bulk bill our next cycle "out of goodwill,” but still wanted us to pay for the one they ruined. We couldn't believe the lack of 'duty of care,' especially from a top private clinic here in Melbourne. Without hesitation, we made the decision to change clinics, and so far it has been a huge relief.
Already, since switching to my new clinic, I have had an endo scratch procedure done and found out I have a high level of NK cells. My former fertility clinic didn't believe in this procedure, so you can imagine how confident I'm feeling now after switching clinics and a more thorough investigation has been done.
I started frozen embryo transfer cycle #4 last week, and so far everything is going as well as it can be. I haven't had any side effects from the medications besides some slight headaches, and I also prepared my body differently for this cycle, so I am feeling more optimistic.
Every Monday, I get acupuncture done to help with blood flow. I do daily HIIT training, I started a meal plan, and I have lost weight. I’m feeling the best I have in any of my previous cycles so far and I no longer work the night shift, so I’m sleeping better at night. I think your health and mindset play a massive part in this journey, so when I realized some changes needed to be made, I made them.
So where are we now? Tomorrow I go for my first scan to see how my lining is doing, and from there we will assess my protocol for moving forward. I know this is still only the beginning, and I don’t know how our story will end, but what I do know is this: while IVF is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining, we will continue to fight for what we want and will do everything in our power to make our dreams a reality.