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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Toll

Last year, one of my bosses told me that she is going through IVF.  She told me because she knew that she would have to duck off to appointments etc but little did she know that I had a very intimate knowledge of what she is going through.  They had just done their first fresh cycle and were waiting on the results.  She was very enthusiastic, she was sure that they would be successful on their first go and that she would be pregnant and going on maternity leave soon.  In my mind, I admired her enthusiasm and hope, it had been a lifetime since I had felt that way during a cycle but I also feared for her.  I had felt that cycle positivity myself too but changed over significantly over the years until I approached each new cycle with a mixture of fear and hope but I didn’t say anything because I hoped against hope that she would be one of the lucky ones that got pregnant straight away.

Fast forward to today and we were discussing her latest transfer failure.  Since that first fresh cycle, they have had 3 more frozen transfers pretty much back to back and unfortunately, they have all failed.  My heart hurt for her as I realised the change in her from when they started.  She had all the main hallmarks of an IVF battler – withdrawing from friends, anger over what was happening, not wanting to go to baby showers, feeling guilty over jealous feelings, bewilderment that this is their lot.  For my part, I also felt a bit of survivor guilt.  I am proud of how we persisted and got to where we are now, hopefully completing our family soon but I have been in her shoes and I know that they are hard to wear.  I felt terrible that my enormous belly was showing her that I was at the end of the journey and she has still yet to experience any success.

We discussed how very few people know how to deal with the situation in a constructive, supportive way – most people resort to platitudes ‘it will happen when it is meant to’, ‘think positive, it will all work out’, ‘you just need to relax’ etc, etc.  She told me that someone had said that she needed to buy some sexy new lingerie and that will help – seriously, that is a new one that I just had to share, my goodness, can you be any dumber!??!?!?  I also realised that it doesn’t stop once you have had a baby, people will then start to say things like, ‘I heard this story about so and so who had a baby via IVF and then found out that she was pregnant naturally’ and the worst part of people saying that was that I really wanted to believe it.  Now I have also realised that people still want to say stuff ‘it wasn’t really that bad, after all you have your family now, you are a big success story’.  Yes, I absolutely feel lucky but JourneyMan and I were talking the other day and we realised that we had spent the last 6 years of our lives to get here, our finances have suffered significantly, many parts of our lives have been put on hold and the emotional and physical toll has been great.  I feel very lucky to have our family but I think I also want a little acknowledgement that we also contributed significantly to making our own luck.  We thought outside of the square and did things that many others are not willing to do.  I feel proud of us and I suppose that is the real acknowledgment that I need.


  1. This is a great post! I think it is fair to acknowledge that you are near completing your family because of luck, and making your own luck, and sacrafice, and hard work! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh lordy, yes! Sometimes you'd just want to scream at people - so tired of being expected to feel so much more happy than those ordinary folk that just have sex for a couple of months to have a baby. Yes, I am delighted to have our son - and like you, I feel incredibly proud that we kept going - but when I think of the time, money, energy and emotion expended to get there, it still makes me sad at times.