You have occupied a space in my life for 7 long years. Many of those years have felt like an endless revolving door of appointments, injections, blood tests, EPU’s, transfers and surgeries. Oh to add up the number of hours I have sat in the waiting rooms of IVF clinics! And at times you have taken over my life completely rendering everything else secondary.
My journey with you has brought me to some of the lowest points in my life but also the highest and rewarded me with the most incredible gift of a daughter. I have become acquainted with a bewildering array of language and acronyms; POAS, pessary, dildo cam, trilaminar lining, AMH, ICSI, ED, PGD …. and some terms I would have preferred not to have made their acquaintance like MC, D&C and Asherman’s Syndrome.
But from these experiences you have also shown me the depths of my own strength and resilience, introduced me to some incredible fellow travellers on this road who have become life long friends and opened my heart to be so much more grateful for what I do have. So I bid you a bittersweet farewell as the last embryo has now been transferred and my journey is complete. Whatever the outcome of this final cycle I am grateful for the technology of IVF, that I live in an era where I am able to access a wide range of fertility treatments and have the resources to do so.
A few words from my experience that may be useful for others.
If you become a long termer, take care of yourself. Yes, yes everyone says it! But it really is crucial to your survival in this crappy game of snakes and ladders. IVF can become all-consuming and it often impacts your relationships with friends, family, your partner, colleagues and your view of yourself. Take regular breaks for your own sanity. Even though it is hard to wait, back to back cycles will eventually break you and finding a space to breathe again, feel a little bit like yourself and gather your strength for the next hurdle will probably give you the stamina to persevere. Perseverance and an open mind about treatment options is often the key to success for many of the long termers I have known but we all come to the end of our limits, and only you know when enough is enough. And that also takes incredible courage.
Research, research, research! Know your stuff, ask questions of your FS, treating team, Embryologist. Understand why a certain treatment/drug is being used and by all means ask other hubbers. There is an incredibly array of knowledge and support here and this forum was my lifeline at times. Most importantly if something does not feel right listen to your instincts. You know your body best and my journey was most definitely prolonged because I followed advice for too long that I knew instinctually wasn’t right.
Finally, if you have success through IVF it doesn’t make parenting more enjoyable or any easier to bear the really tough moments of motherhood. In fact I think it can increase the pressure on you (from well meaning others and from yourself) to feel you have to ‘cherish every moment with your miracle’ when really some of the moments are hard, mundane and awful. But they are also beautiful, amazing and rewarding and anyone who has had to overcome obstacles and fight to bring a life into the world will likely have a greater appreciation for those moments when they do come.
Wishing lots of luck, love and strength to all!