The Invisible Battle of Infertility
I stared at a small bottle of Buserelin nasal spray knowing this was it. This was the beginning.
The beginning of a new chapter of my life filled with sadness and feelings of inadequacy and anger that my body couldn’t do the one thing that as women we are designed to do.
A new chapter of distancing myself from those around me who were already blessed with beautiful bouncing babies had just begun. What was I getting myself in to?
We’d had the tests which were all clear, and we’d tried everything imaginable – from swallowing 36 plastic capsules filled with Chinese herbs every day, to weekly acupuncture, to 5 rounds of clomid, to going on a luxury holiday to Mexico, and of course we tried the ageold method of ‘just relaxing’.
After 3 long years of putting on a brave face, Luke and I were finally starting our first cycle of IVF, beginning with down regulation of my reproductive system.
The first spray of Buserelin signified my surrender. I had battled in silence for 3 years, ashamed of how my body had failed me, hoping and praying that we weren’t going to be contributing to the national infertility statistics. But the time had come to accept that our dreams of having a family lay in the hands of the experts, along with more hope and more praying. We told no one other than our immediate family, we declined social invites and we shut ourselves away from anyone who didn’t know about the gigantic mountain that we were about to climb.
The weeks that followed consisted of various different types of medication that had to be strategically administered at specific times in order to achieve the optimum response from my body. It was humanly impossible to think of anything else other than my next spray, my next injection or my next ultrasound scan. My normal life stopped, my IVF life took hold, and anything in between paled in significance.
On 10th September 2016, I did my final injection. This was referred to as ‘the booster’, the concept of which frightened the living daylights out of me. The booster injection was our final hurdle, in terms of medication at least. This happened to coincide with a friend’s wedding day, so during the speeches Luke and I snuck out to the car where our precious injection lay safely on ice, took one final selfie to commemorate the occasion, and in it went. Our work was now done and the rest was down to Mother Nature.
Exactly 36 hours later, my eggs were extracted from my ovaries and on the same day were introduced to a few million of Luke’s best swimmers. They were left to get jiggy in a petri dish, while we could do nothing but wait. Fortunately, Luke’s little guys and my eggs seemed to know what they were doing (at last!), and by the end of the week, we were blessed with 6 A-grade blastocysts, all filled with a potential life.
On Saturday 17th September 2016, I arrived at the IVF clinic early in the morning with an empty uterus, knowing I would be leaving with the most precious cargo inside it. The embryo transfer was one of the most magical and emotional experiences of my life. We watched on a screen as our tiny little embryo was carefully placed inside me, both of us deathly silent and in awe of what was happening.
The whole process was very quick, and within 15 minutes we were stood in the carpark with tears streaming down our faces, knowing that we’d done it. Despite the outcome, the storm was over, and we had conquered our Everest. The feeling of pure elation was overwhelming, and we quietly drove home with our extra passenger safely snuggled inside me.
Just 10 days later, there it was. That little blue plus sign that we’d longed for for 3 years, and with every thought and emotion running through my mind, I kept asking myself – ‘how am I this lucky?’ A question that I still ask myself.
To any fellow infertility warriors that are still fighting, never give up. Your miracle baby is out there waiting for you. Stay strong, stay focused and remember that courage doesn’t always roar…sometimes courage is simply having the drive to try again tomorrow.
I look at my little boy every day, and thank my lucky stars that he found me. He was put on this earth for a reason, and he saved me from falling into darkness. The pain from the invisible battle of infertility left my body the minute my son was earth side, and at that moment it felt like I had been born again.