I'm not one of those lucky people who never had to deal with grief. I'm also not one of those really unlucky people who had to deal with more grief than I can take. I've had a couple of instances of real, earth-shattering, heartbreaking, soul-destroying type sorrow, and the failure of our first IVF cycle most definitely falls into that category.
Going into that cycle, I was well aware of the stats: only 1 in 3 IVF cycles is successful. I know a handful of women who had gone through IVF before me, and every single one of them succeeded first time. In the back of my mind, I couldn't let go of the fact that because of the statistics, the odds were probably against us. Still, I tried to remain positive and optimistic... and the fact that my body responded so well to the drugs made me feel even more hopeful.
I had 17 eggs collected, and the next day we were informed that 14 of them had fertilised. We found out later that all 17 had initially fertilised, but the other 3 hadn't survived the night. This was far beyond our expectations, and we were so unbelievably happy. A couple of days later, we were told that we still had a really good number of embryos, and the embryologist was happy for us to wait until day 5 for transfer of our best-looking blastocyst. Everything was looking absolutely amazing.
Six days after 5 day transfer, I noticed I was bleeding. Not much, but enough to cause me to totally lose it right then and right there. Thankfully it was a Friday afternoon, so after I rang Boy in floods of tears I told my work colleagues I needed to go home. They never questioned it; I was obviously very upset so they just let me go.
That weekend, I tried to cling on to hope but I knew deep down what the outcome would be. I took a pregnancy test on the Saturday, and although I told myself the result could have been negative because it was just too early, all hope had left me. My official test date was the Monday, so I took another test at home on the morning before heading to the clinic for a blood test; it was, not surprisingly, negative.
I broke down once we got into the consulting room with the nurse. The emotions of it all were just too much, especially combined with the date - it was the anniversary of my dad's funeral, to top it all off. I had intended to go into work, but instead Boy took me home.
I went into work on the Tuesday morning, and my boss took me off to one side for a chat and said that I was obviously devastated and that if I needed to, I should take some time off to heal emotionally and mentally. I cannot even put into words how grateful I was for his support at that time -I truly was an emotional mess and he was quite right that I needed to grieve for what we'd lost. I spent the rest of that week at home, alternating between sleeping and crying. It was a couple of days before I felt able to communicate with anyone other than Boy.
As luck would have it, we had the week after that booked off as annual leave, so that gave me a bit more time to come to terms with what had happened. This included visiting my best friend and her beautiful little family for 5 nights, which was the perfect tonic at that point. Sometimes a girl just needs her best mate! Her daughters provided a lot of comedy, and her baby son was an excellent mix of cuddles and comedy of his own kind.
By the time I went back to work, two weeks after our negative result was confirmed, I felt much stronger - the time out was essential to the healing process for me, and although I was still obviously beyond disappointed, I was feeling a bit more ready to face the prospect of doing it all again.