Tuesday, 17 June 2014

F is for Failure

Let's be honest, since I started over with this new blog I still haven't been overly present. Sure, I've thrown out a few posts - but nothing particularly substantial. Why?

I think, in truth, it's because I've been putting off writing the post that needs to be written. I know I need to get it out to enable me to move past it, but the process of doing just that is going to feel like yet another huge kick in the gut. Maybe I'm ready to face that now.

Those of you that have known me for a while will be aware that Boy and I spent March and April of this year caught up in the whirlwind that is an IVF cycle. Many of you also know by now that it was unsuccessful. What you probably don't know is just how much that broke me.

Before we started IVF, I tried to maintain a realistic, but carefully optimistic, approach. I hoped with everything I had that we would be lucky and it would work for us, but I was painfully aware that the statistics said there was a bigger chance that that wouldn't be the case. Approximately 70% of IVF cycles are unsuccessful, and as everyone I knew personally that had been through IVF had succeeded first time, I was terrified that we would be that couple who failed.

As the process went on, I allowed myself to feel more hopeful. I was responding excellently to the drugs, and when egg collection came around they managed to extract 17 eggs. 17! The next day, the embryologist called me and said 14 had fertilised - which was far better than we could have ever imagined. At this point, I really started believing that it just might work for us. Other couples we knew that had been through it had far less eggs and far less embryos than we did, and they succeeded. Why wouldn't we?

Even when we got to the day of transfer, and the embryologist had her pick of 6 blastocysts to return to my uterus, the numbers seemed to be working in our favour. Obviously we still needed a dash of good luck, but everything was looking so promising.

Imagine my sheer terror when, six days later, I found myself bleeding. Not much, and not for very long, but that was the moment hope left me. From then, it was just a waiting game. Of course I went home and did a test, and course when it was negative I tried to tell myself that it was still too early anyway, but deep down I knew. Our perfect little embryo hadn't implanted, and wouldn't be growing into a baby.

On the morning of Official Test Day, I did a ClearBlue Digital test at home before going into clinic for the blood test. I wanted to know for sure while the two of us were together; I didn't want to find out by phone call when I was alone. Not surprisingly, that test result contained those two awful words. Not pregnant.

Cruelly, that day was also the anniversary of my dad's funeral.

When you want something so badly, and all the way through the signs have been great, and then you fall at the last hurdle, you have all kinds of thoughts and questions. Why didn't it work? What did I do wrong? Why don't I get to be a mother? Will we ever have our own family? When will my heart stop breaking? When is enough enough? Why can't I give my husband the baby he deserves? Would he be better off with someone else? How will we get through this? Haven't we suffered enough already? What is the point of all this if the end result is the same? Is it worth it?

Seven weeks have passed since that day, and though I'm not bursting into tears every half hour now, I am still grieving the loss of our perfect little embryo. For most people who suffer an early loss like that naturally, they would probably never know they were carrying the possibility of a new life. I did, I knew. I saw it on screen. I watched as the nurse returned it to me through a catheter. What would seem, to those people who went through it naturally, like a simple late period, held so much more significance to me. I knew that somewhere along the way, the hopes and dreams of our baby were being lost too.

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  1. Oh Jenni, it is hard to find the words to reply to this. Suffice to say, you don't need to justify feeling upset right now. Any woman would feel the same way, I am sure. It is so hard to hope for something for so long and to not be able to have it. To begin to love something. All I can do is send my love, hugs and support to you right now as well as hopes for better times in the future.

  2. There are truly no words for how terribly sorry I am for this. I have you in my prayers that somehow, something works out and you get the family that you deserve.


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