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IVF …. do you tell people you had it, or do you smile & pretend its all “natural”?

So girls, I have a question for you? Or those of you who’ve had IVF treatment or suffered years of infertility treatment, which include dozens of Doctors, in every shape & size, taking a peek inside your vagina (undignified, even if you do arrive stoned and giggling).  When you finally fell pregnant, did you then tell people it was “all natural bla bla” (like J. Lo) or do you fess up and be honest (like Julia Roberts with her twins), saying it was because you had fertility treatment?

The reason I ask is that I got told, politely of course, by a family member, not to tell people I had IVF when asked if Twins run in my family (actually, Triplets naturally do).  “Why?” I asked innocently. “Because they don’t really need to know, if they don’t know you that well”.  Well, I have a couple of issues that caught in my throat over this particular discussion.

I spent nearly TWO years trying everything to fall pregnant. I mean, bloody hell, I saw Princess Diana’s nutritionist on Harley Street as someone said he helped them.  If someone told me to sleep with a wooden penis under my pillow as it would pass on good vibes (or is that a vibrator?!), I would have done it to speed the mind-blowing, heart rendering process up.  That kind of strain is horrible on any relationship, but when you spend soooo many years trying not to get knocked up, it kinda feels like a cruel bull-shit joke, when you want to, and yet, cant.

Especially when EVERYONE and their dog (ok, it felt like everyone) was falling pregnant around me and those really annoying ones who had JUST got married, well they were pregnant right away (bastards).  We had TWO years of different treatments until the Doctors said “its unexplained”.

I’m sorry, but, WHAT THE FUCK DOES “UNEXPLAINED” MEAN???!  I need hard-core facts, not “ooh sorry, you fall into that 20% group of people who just don’t know why they can’t fall pregnant”.  FUCK OFF!!!  You’re a bloody Doctor.  You’re really telling me that you can’t get me pregnant any quicker?!  Yeh right.  It’s all about money.  I was told to change my diet, no sugar (no fucking alcohol or drugs, the bastards), try Clomid first, then Metformin, Progesterone (orally or anal…joyous both ways), smiley annoying faces on ovulation sticks, then I got the expensive machine from Boots to make sure it really worked with an extra big smile and temperature valve, then injections to make you ovulate, the test with dye through your tubes to make sure there are no blockages, IUI (absolutely pointless and fucking expensive if you ask me), and then finally when all else failed and screaming at my husband to “pound away as I’m ovulating!!” didn’t work, we did IVF.

Now, I dreaded IVF, but I have to admit, it was fine.  I used THE most amazing clinic in London (The London Women’s Clinic on Harley Street) and they were fabulous from the minute I got there.  I was pregnant within a month.

WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T I GO THERE AT THE BEGINNING?!?!   Ok, so the Captain had to chase me around our house with a needle every night to administer various drugs … and considering he’s terrified of needles ie, before a jab for Hep B he infamously said, “Dr, I have a fobia of needles, can I have a Valium first!?”, I was a little worried.  He had to give me 3 injections daily, FOR NINETY MOTHER FUCKING HARDCORE BASTARD DAYS.  NINETY DAYS.  During the period before this, he was due to go on a boys weekend to Spain and on announcing this, I threw, yes threw, an ashtray at his head (it was when we were still allowed to smoke spliff).  Yes, that’s right.  I’m a determined gal.  I wanted babies and then, boom,  allllll those injections (which involved freezing my arse and then warming various body parts to get maximum effect), TWO arrived!  What can I say?  I’m an overachiever… plus The Captain has a fab sperm count, which massively helps his ego (& his daily attempt to frame his count results).

So, you see, when someone says “Don’t mention IVF”, like its you or your Hubby that’s a failure, I don’t see it that way.  I wear it with a badge of honour, as I know how hard that time was, and I also know that we have helped lots of friends who have been, and are, going through the same thing because of it.

Why hide it?!   I didn’t have fucking herpes, although at times, we would probably have preferred that so we could treat it! I’m annoyed that anyone tells me “not to mention it“, like that makes me, or The Captain… well, “less perfect”.  It’s life!!   When you get older, it gets harder to conceive and not just that.  Its like I’ve got my own version of war medals for all the shit I went through to get to where I am now…. and I feel proud of myself, every single time I look at my gorgeous, screaming, moaning, laughing, now walking (& teething… WOT?!), Twins.  I did ALL of that work, and put my own body through all of that (yes, The Captain was great & wonderful too) because I wanted to love these babies that much.

In my personal opinion, and of course, it’s just mine, the IVF generation need to stand proud, and say it loud!!  There is no shame in IVF.

IVF Medication…dated Feb 2010

When I started taking Clomid 2 years ago, I did what turned out to be a 6 month course (the most you can do is 9 months although more than 3 is not recommended).  This drug can only be described (although some have said it didn’t affect them at all which I’m amazed by…and a little jealous) as “crazy juice”.

During the period I took this medication, I felt I had no control over any of my actions both emotional and physical.  My vision was one thing I hadn’t banked on losing from time to time – blurry vision, my Husband explained to me (being the diligent and involved partner ducking the flying kitchen plates) is one of the side affects.  I would be sat at my desk in work, typing away then suddenly I would feel like I’ve been staring at strobe lighting for about 15 minutes.  I can look directly ahead but both the line above and below my vision is blurry and moving (like when you’re reading in a car, or when you look directly into an Albinos eyes…not that it’s happened but I’m imagining….no offence to anyone out there reading this).  Anyhow, this constant and sudden vision impairment would make me feel nauseous and sick.  I had to leave my desk and wander out the office on those occasions for air.  Sometimes I’d just sit in the work loo.  Clearly not the nicest place but always the most peaceful when you work in sales….in fact I’m sure others nap in there after a heavy night on the Class A’s & wine.

SIDE EFFECTS YOU NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR:-

  • Emotional outbursts (no reason why. The toothpaste would run out and I would cry and cry and cry….. and cry), then I’d lay on the bed and cry some more.  All perfectly normal apparently.
  • Your partner will not be able to do anything right, and yet, you will be convinced they are trying to irritate you and wind you up. Convinced like you’ve never been of anything else before.  You may want a separation in the height of an argument, you may tell him he doesn’t understand (which lets face it, he probably doesn’t!), but this is all part and parcel of the Clomid being pumped into your body.
  • Feeling nauseous and sometimes (ok that’s a lie, all the time) very very very hormonal.  You have no control over this.  Dont fight it.  Just understand your body is being put through its paces and needs to adjust to this new chemical in your body.
  • Spots, pimples, zits….they all arrived on my face like I was 13 again (I started puberty very young…lucky me).

SIDE EFFECTS YOUR PARTNER NEEDS TO WATCH OUT FOR & PREPARATION:-

  • Do not argue with your partner during clomid.  You will not win!  Although they are being sooo irrational and unbelievably insane sometimes, you must understand, this is not really the person you used to have sex with (I mean normal sex before a calendar & little “O’s” (for ovulation days) appeared to rule your life.  They are not broken and will be back to normal, once they stop the medication.  Your partner is still in there somewhere.  Those mad, crazy moments, will pass, I promise.
  • On the brief mention of sex, I have to say….things will eventually go back to normal. One day…. once you conceive, or adopt, or decide against both.  We know you are not “sex machines” who can turn it off and on like a tap. that said, it’s the least you can do considering all the prodding and poking that your partner/wife/girlfriend has to endure. Yes, so it’s a little humiliating being led into a stark clinical white room the size of a broom cupboard to quickly spank off and provide a tiny amount of sperm in what appears to be a very large cup….but suck it up and do it. At least you get some nice magazines to look at without any guilt (although having a Nurse stood outside the door, alongside your wife whose wondering what you’re thinking about, while you have a quick wank, probably doesn’t help).
  • Run or go for a jog when you sense an attack coming on.
  • Be on hand to offer cuddles and be quick enough to duck flying objects.
  • You’ll be fine!!! Even though you may feel everything is about your wife/partner as they are the ones going through it all.  We have not forgotten you.  We are just absorbed in the whole process and don’t mean to forget your needs.

NB. This post was written before Itchy & Scratchy were born. I was on fertility drugs (as well as attempting anything and everything) for nearly 2 years before the twins were born.  Joy.

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IVF…. 2009

Having spent the last 2 years trying to conceive, I decied to set up a blog, more for my own sanity and self-preservation, as well as wanting to help others in the same predicament as us.  My poor friends, work colleagues, family and not to mention, my partner, have all been embrolied in this tireless fruitless journey of highs (IUI that I was convinced would work) and lows (when it didn’t).  This site will hopefully lay to rest any concerns, doubts or thoughts you may have.  Those moments alone when you convince yourself you are ok.  Or the days you just can’t understand why this is happening to you and your prayers dont seem to be answered (this is someone who only used to pray when they wanted good grades in their University exams!!)

When the Dr’s told us that my partner and I had “unexplained infertility”, then patted us on the backs and told us to keep trying for another 6 months, we had no idea what that phrase meant and how potentially devastating it could be to our lives.  You don’t quite grasp the level of stress this sort of thing puts on you as a person, or as a couple.  Not to mention to constant talking about it with your friends and family (poor them!).  The amount of times people must have cringed and had to bear listening to me talking about my cycle….I dread to think!

If you can’t laugh (as well as cry!) during the whole process (and it is a seriously emotional & physical one), then you’re not releasing your real emotions during the time you are trying to conceive.

Over the years, I have looked at and googled hundreds of sites for information on “unexplained infertility” and Polysistic  as this is where my condition apparently lay.  Some sites pointed me to self-help blogs, others were chat rooms for infertile women like myself, needing reassurance, guidance, explanations.

I also searched for the best Doctors to go to, the highest success rates of clinics, and self-medicated (which one Dr told me off for!) with Vitamins B6, cyclogest (from a friend), nutrition advice, what to eat, not eat, wear, dont wear, drink, dont drink.  The list is endless and yet none of the things I did, nor the time, energy and money spent, gave us the goal we were searching for.  To become parents.

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