I wrote this diary entry a while back before We had spoken about this cycle publicly:
Where do I start. I’m writing this in the train to work (who also have no clue we are doing another IVF cycle), one week away from starting meds.
I’m not quite sure why so far I’ve decided to keep this cycle to ourselves. A mixed bag I guess. And I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted to tell people…but something stops me. Nothing better than a list sometimes is there? In no articular order, here we go:
1. Fear of judgement. Being what, 7? Cycles in now, the judgey comments started after cycle 3. Not many, but enough to hurt. It seems society accepts IVF may take up to three cycles. After that some people want to write you off with comments like “wouldn’t adoption be easier”. “Maybe it’s just not meant to be”. But by cycle 7 it’s “hey hun, ever thought about just getting a surrogate” and “When will you stop? You don’t want to get old and bitter”
As I write this I’m a bit unsure about sharing it. 99% of people are kind and understanding but I worry that others get these comments and it makes them hide their journeys away. It’s quite rare to see someone share their journey this many cycles in without it being anonymous and I think there is a reason for that. The sad facts are overall IVF only has 29% chance of working for anyone (according to UK stats), in the healthiest of circumstances. Yet the pressure is put on after 3 times? Not really fair is it. A healthy fertile couple can take up to a year to get pregnant without worrying. That’s 12 times they get a chance. But if you need medical help you should stop at 3 or you will become bitter? I have never come across an “old bitter” IVFer who’s had more than 3 tries. I’ve only come across incredibly empathetic, strong, caring, thoughtful warrior women who gave it their best and stopped when it felt right for them or got their miracle. Because you can only stop when it feels right for you not someone else.
We had said if it didn’t work last time it would be our last. We were at peace with that. No bitterness about it. We felt we had given it our best and were ready to move on. Not that it wouldn’t have been hard to do so but it felt the right time.
Then we created a baby for a short time. The first time we had ever seen two pink lines. From that moment we knew that this was possible. We knew the medical protocol had been closer than ever to the one that worked for us. It renewed our hope. Gave us a taste of what could be so it makes sense for us to continue. Deciding cycle by cycle when it feels right and when it doesn’t
2. Loss. I have no regrets for sharing our pregnancy so early. Kind of impossible not to when you share a cycle, but also the immense support from you all got me through. It helped me see I wasn’t (sadly) the only one and there was light through this. But at the same time it’s hard to share. Hard to worry that sharing may be a trigger for someone else. Hard feeling other people’s hopes rise and risk them falling because if you. I never what to cause anyone hurt but I worry that this might
We don’t want to worry friends or family. They have been there for us through every try. Supportive, hopeful, thoughtful. I’m not sure I can keep asking that of them.
3. Work: I have always been an advocate with being open with your workplace if you can. Maybe I have been lucky as the two companies I have been under during IVF have been amazing but…I do worry about whether I have always been given the same opportunities when they know I am going through fertility treatment or when they know I hope to be off on maternity leave one day. Normally an employer wouldn’t know you are even planning a baby until things are well under way. It’s also nice to have a space in the day at work where there is no IVF chat. To get your head down into work. Be something other than an IVFer. Not always possible on the days you are trying to sneak pills and injections quietly or need to call 5 clinics to track down a spare appointment for a can, but on the days I can, it’s nice to give my brain a break.
4. It’s not all sad reasons. Doing it quietly might be like a little adventure for us. Something just for the two of us, much like making a baby usually is! This would be the first cycle where we haven’t told anyone. Our first cycle was before social media. Close friends and family knew but that does feel very different.
5. This cycle is mixed with feelings of loss. Not in a way that I feel it’s too soon. I feel quite at peace with what happened last time. But there will always be feelings of loss even if we did this cycle in 2 years time. I need the headspace to process that and that’s tricky when you are trying to put your feelings into words online.
So there’s the whys I guess. I’m not sure they totally make sense to me. I just have this instinct to keep things quiet right now but I’m open to changing my mind too. I’m going to film bits and keep writing this diary to share one day. It still helps me to get my feelings out on paper and to film the journey to one day show Josh and hopefully his sibling. Being creative in some way is my outlet. It helps me process and make sense of it all while feeling at least it might resonate with someone and help