THE IVF DIARIES & WAITING FOR A RAINBOW

THE IVF DIARIES & WAITING FOR A RAINBOW

SARAH JANE YOUNG, RAINBOW BABY, IVF, MAKING BABIES, PCOS, STILLBIRTH, STILLBORN, SHEISSARAHJANE, ANGEL MUMMY, MUMMY BLOGGER

THE IVF DIARIES & WAITING FOR A RAINBOW >

CHAPTER ONE : F*$% YOU, IVF!

“If you ever wonder if I miss you, the answer is always. Some days it’s fierce, but over time, it’s become gentler, like a constant melody, your name pouring through my mind – on repeat. Your memory the undercurrent of my days” – Scribbles & Crumbs


So, me giving the double bird (half naked) is not something you would usually see on my blog, but there’s a first time for everything right? What you do see a lot of on my blog is me oversharing, and here I go again.

It’s been eleven months without Charlotte and while I definitely haven’t ‘accepted’ what happened (and I don’t know that I ever will/can), our ‘new normal’ is becoming a little easier to live with as each day passes. You do learn to smile again, but it’s different. You do learn to laugh again, but it’s different. You do learn to have hope again, but the lows and the set-backs hit harder and harder each time. Some days at the very moment you wake, you are already tired. Tired of everything. You have moments of extreme jealously, bitterness and anger, but you also have the sweetest moments as you experience a new perspective. You see beauty and magic where others don’t, and your BS care factor for #firstworldproblems and anything in-between lessens dramatically. Today I wanted to give you all a small insight into the IVF world, because it’s not easy and it’s an incredibly unnatural way to approach pregnancy.

Not everything happens for a reason, but life happens and shit happens, and all of it becomes > OUR STORY. 

SARAH JANE YOUNG, RAINBOW BABY, IVF, MAKING BABIES, PCOS, STILLBIRTH, STILLBORN, SHEISSARAHJANE, ANGEL MUMMY, MUMMY BLOGGER

*DISCLAIMER: MUSCLES ARE A WIP – I HAVEN’T TRAINED PROPERLY FOR 14 MONTHS… BUT, F*$% YOU, IVF!


A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE IVF WORLD:

While I can only comment on my/our experience (which includes my medical history and it-sues), it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done – after Charlotte of course, but the pain of losing a child compares to nothing. So, welcome to > CHAPTER ONE : F*$% YOU, IVF!

Initially I may have felt some embarrassment about now being on an IVF program to fall pregnant, but that’s not the right word. I struggle to find the right word. It took me back to the first time I found out I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I didn’t even really know what it was, but I knew it would be harder for us to fall pregnant than a ‘normal’ person. I remember crying and crying, it struck at some deep, dark place that I didn’t even know existed until that moment – maybe MY ANIMALISTIC AND MATERNAL INSTINCTS TO BEAR CHILDREN. Would we ever fall pregnant? Would I be ok with not having children? Would I be able to give my husband the babies he so desperately wanted? It went on and on. The same with IVF and the same RE the embarrassment – for lack of a better word (I still can’t think of one!). Embarrassment in myself, embarrassed that I wasn’t ‘woman enough’, embarrassed that I could not ‘give my husband a child’ (*I say that in a very psychotherapy-esque way, it’s not that literal JFYI), embarrassment that the rest of the world (seemingly) was falling pregnant just by looking at their partner and here I am – BARREN & GRIEVING. Oh, the head noise and a lot of darkness. 

SO, HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?

As far as I know, everyone (the female) will go through a ‘stimulation cycle’ to begin with. Everyone’s medication varies depending on their medical requirements, and this begins on day three of your period. The medication is administered by an injection subcutaneously (aka, not into a vein!), each day to the stomach. On day eight (usually) you will be scanned by your fertility specialist. This is to see how your follicles are growing and to monitor/estimate how many eggs you may get at your egg collection/pick-up. Soon after, you begin an additional medication which STOPS you from actually ovulating – so two injections each day into the tummy. The collection/pick-up is usually performed around the time of ovulation (normally day 14 ish), but obviously this varies and it can be much later than day 14 (exhibit A – I’m on day 20 right now!). The number of scans that follow will vary from patient to patient – I had three the first time and six this time. When they decide the follicles are ready to go, you are given a very specific time for your ‘trigger injection’. This sends a message to the ovaries to start the ovulation process. Alas, you don’t actually ovulate! The doctors swoop in there (and up there!) and take them out just in time! During the pick-up you are put to sleep and usually spend about 1 – 1.5 hours in recovery. Immediately after they either pour the sperm over your eggs (which is what IVF is), or there are alternative methods they can use to try and fertilise them. You will know within 24 hours how many have fertilised (we only got 3/17 last time which was devastating). This is where a lot of the IVF doctors vary, but where I am we have to wait until you get an embryo at day five (some will transfer at day three). None of our three even made it to day four last time. At day five they can do a ‘fresh transfer’ and put it straight back in (unlikely if you have PCOS though), freeze the embryo or do the genetic testing. We will be testing any and all embryos we get and the results for these tests take anywhere between 10-14 days, so you have to wait until the next cycle to put them back (transfer). If this doesn’t work, you usually have to take a month off and start all over again… 

{ THIS ONE IS FOR YOU IVF! BUT, I STILL LOVE YOU & WANT BABIES! }

Of course there’s so much more involved, but it’s all too complicated for anyone who hasn’t been through it. At every stage of the IVF process there is WAITING. Waiting for your period, waiting for your first scan and all the subsequent scans, waiting to see how many fertilise, waiting to see how many make it to day three and then day five, then maybe waiting for the results of the genetic screening to come back. You then have to wait for your next period, then you wait for ovulation and then you wait eleven days after that to see if you are pregnant. Yep, IT’S A MIND F*$%, and then some. For us, it’s stress, pain and disappointment added to the grief we are already experiencing. It’s exhausting. I put on 6kg in Sep and I’m tired. I’m hopeful, but I am terrified. I will not stop until we get our baby, but the process breaks you down, it really does. Keeping in mind I had also been on ovulation induction therapy for seven months prior. Ahhhhhhh… COME ON UNIVERSE, PLS. COME THE F*$% ON.

SARAH JANE YOUNG, IVF, IVF JOURNEY, PREGNANCY AFTER LOSS SUPPORT, STILLBIRTH, CHARLOTTE ROSE YOUNG, MUMMY BLOGGER, MELBOURNE MUMMY BLOGGER

{ YOURS TRULY AT MY FIRST EGG PICK-UP, BEFORE & AFTER PROCEDURE }

WHERE I’M AT:

I am feeling relatively positive-ISH about my pick-up tomorrow (not really, but kind of), but my head and my heart are already raising the questions of WHAT IF THIS DOESN’T WORK, AGAIN?. There are so, so many hurdles throughout the process and it dictates your entire life. It can also become very paralysing and seriously affects your moods. Last time I was literally on the couch doubled over in pain for nearly 10 days, and I looked about eight months pregnant from the bloating (mild OHS – aka Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome). They ended up sending me into the ED a few days after due to the pain, and then it was just a waiting game. I am dreading the same reaction tomorrow, but praying with the new medication I’ve been on it’s not as bad. I am DESPERATE to be pregnant at her one year anniversary (which is actually almost impossible), and already worrying about how I will cope if we are not. It makes no sense, but I’m blaming the drugs for this! We also know what can go wrong and how easily your entire world can be turned upside-down in a second. ANYWAY, here’s to rainbow babies and lots of fairy dust over the next six days. Oh, and F*$% YOU, IVF! You will not break me this time!

{ MY LITTLE ROSE PETAL’S TINY TOES… CHARLOTTE ROSE – BORN 11TH JAN 2017 }

SUPPORT {AFTER LOSS & FOR IVF }:

Each to their own like EVERYTHING IN LIFE, but here’s what works for me. I am still regularly seeing the psychologist I saw a week after we lost Charlotte. She is incredible and I truly don’t know what I would do without her. She specialises in antenatal and postnatal psychology (inc. pregnancy loss, stillbirth, infertility, IVF etc.), and we work beautifully together personality-wise. I am someone who needs warmth and a genuine passion/concern for my situation, but also someone who will challenge me and push me where I need it. She does all of this and then some. While I have a very supportive husband, a few friends who I check-in with regularly who have been/going through IVF, as well as @thelanguageofloss private group I created for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth and neo-natal death, it’s imperative that I can be in a completely SAFE PLACE to share anything and everything without judgement. If this isn’t an option financially, organisations like Bears of Hope and SANDS offer over the phone counselling, as well as local group events. I have connected with so many other mums who have experienced this type of loss, each with their own story and perspective. Three in particular have really touched me – their strength, their raw honesty, their positivity, but most of all (like me), we all share the deepest love possible for our darling angel babies. They are all worth a follow whether you’ve experienced loss or not, as they are the definitions of #INSPO. 

Laura from Link & Luna { aka @link_and_luna }

Pheobe Swanson { aka @_thebakerswife__ who also operates @remembering_jimmy }

Stevie { aka @elliottsstardust }

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