When Mr.H helped me to register my blog domain last Autumn he mentioned that “people are going to want to hear about what you’ve gone through”. I felt apprehensive about writing about our IVF journey. It still felt like a personal and precious experience.
At the time we went through our fertility/infertility stuff, I was super-private about our situation. Nowadays, I’m super-open about it all. I guess I want to talk about how we found IVF in the hope it helps others who are thinking about it, trying it for the first time, who feel curious about it or who have close ones going through IVF.
I now understand that sharing your experiences in real-time with people who know you well and those who don’t, opens up a world of support you may not expect. If you need to wait longer to share stuff, that’s ok too.
So it’s time for me to share our complete IVF journey on Lucky Things blog. It’s a roller coaster of a journey spanning about five years. It’s just too long to capture in one post, so try to take a look at the other posts if you can. I hope you stay with me on this written journey as I describe our emotional travels to finally meet our Big Munch and our Baby Munch…
Looking after a baby for the first time…
Since studying at uni, I was given one of the best opportunities ever…to be an aunty. My cousin lived with us since I was ten years old. She was like my big sister. One December she gave birth to a beautiful scrunched up baby who we nicknamed Gigi. I remember rushing down to the hospital in Surrey to meet my new nephew a few hours after the birth. It was incredible. I was so honoured to be part of his life from day one.
My cousin went back to work quickly and so I ended up looking after nephew Gigi on my free days (a lot). I somehow started to learn how to look after a baby! Looking after nephew Gigi as a baby is something I will never ever forget. We hung out loads together in his early years. A few years later his very cute and cheeky little sister T arrived and I had a new sidekick. I was and still am so lucky to be their aunty. I can’t believe how they’ve grown up into caring and cool human beings.
Hearing about IVF for the first time…
In my twenties and my early thirties, I didn’t come across IVF much. The first time I really heard about IVF was when a colleague at work was going through it. That must have been about 10 years ago now. I remember not understanding much about it at the time. I’d heard IVF mentioned on TV but that was about it. I didn’t know her well enough to ask her about what she needed to do. I just hoped that she would have a baby real soon. She needed time off work and she wanted to work part-time to help with her hospital visits. Then I realised how much time and energy someone had to invest in IVF (let alone the money if you don’t get funding).
Fancy having children?…
I remember how happy my Mum was when I started dating Mr.H in my mid-twenties. She said “You know if you want to have children now that’s ok, you don’t have to be married”. This was a pretty radical attitude for a modern Asian mum. Obviously my Mum was bursting to become a grandma or “Nanee” as we call it in the Mauritian side of the family.
A few years after dating Mr.H, he came home from hanging out with his mates (one of whom was a newish daddy). Mr H suggested “Maybe we should try for a baby”. I quickly responded “But we’re not married yet!” Looking back, I was being my sensible, do things the right way, everything has an order self. My name actually means ‘good principles’ and ‘well-behaved’ 😉 so maybe that was influencing my sudden response. We had plans to travel to South America and maybe India. We couldn’t think about kids yet. I remember that conversation so vividly as Mr.H had encouraged my imagination about our future to grow.
I liked the idea of us having kids one day though. Mr.H was the first guy I imagined having a little family with (well, maybe apart from Keanu Reeves when I was about 12 and I was way too young to be thinking about being a mummy!)
Time to be a mummy, now please…
I definitely felt ready to be a mummy after we got married. Only a few of our friends or family our age had kids at the time. We were still enjoying our travels and trips to Berlin and New York. We went to Devon a lot as that’s where my in-law crew lived. I started to notice families more, especially in Berlin and Devon for some reason. Every time we visited Devon I imagined bringing our own kids there one day. Maybe because my niece and nephew twins grew up in that part of the world. Berlin looked so much fun with a baby as it’s super family-friendly out there.
I’d start to notice more and more people becoming pregnant. It was a regular thing, especially at work where I’d help people work out their maternity leave arrangements. My work basically followed their pregnancies from announcing the good news to counting down the weeks until their maternity leave. I felt surrounded by bumps.
Becoming pregnant looked so easy. You’d never really hear about how long people took to get pregnant. You certainly didn’t hear about their struggles or any infertility worries. You’d only hear them announcing their news.
I remember being on the bus and my friend called me. She told me that she was expecting. I was shocked as we were only at their wedding a few months ago. I was literally speechless to the point I sadly couldn’t express my happiness and excitement for my friend. She sensed something and couldn’t understand why I responded that way. Obviously she felt upset about how I reacted to the news. She didn’t know I started to crave having a bump of my own although we had been only trying for a few months. I have always felt sorry and regretful for my lack of energy and excitement about her news.
As I’d buy baby gifts for my friends and family, I would think about buying something for my own baby one day. It had to happen to us too. Why wouldn’t it as it seemed to be the next phase. At family gatherings, relatives old and young would joke “aren’t you going to have a baby now?” “why don’t you want babies yet?” or “you should be thinking about having children now you’re married”. If only they knew…
The months went on and a sadness followed every time I knew I wasn’t pregnant. I’m sure a lot of women know or remember this feeling. I would stay positive, thinking “no worries, it will be next month”. It didn’t happen the next month and I needed some distractions. I’ve always been a fan of shopping (you can probably guess from Lucky Things Instagram). I soothed my unhappy days with a retail treat, a day out with Mr.H or a supper with friends. Seeing my friends reminded me about who I was and there was still lots to enjoy in life. That’s one of the things I love about friendships. They secretly guessed we were trying but never asked about it.
It’s funny as I always assumed having a baby would be the next thing on the list after getting married. Just get on with it and tick it off! It would be easy. After a year of trying, we both had a feeling something couldn’t be right. This was unsettling but we knew we had to look into things. So we were brave and decided to confront the unknown.
At a birthday gathering, a friend of a friend told me about her own fertility worries. She was pregnant with their first baby and she hadn’t had an easy ride. She was so open about her story. She encouraged me to think about having fertility tests anyway so I’d know either way if something was up. I’ll always few grateful for that conversation as it was the first time I spoke to someone about their journey. She didn’t know me well but maybe she could just see that I really wanted to have a baby.
A few weeks later, I remember seeing an advert for ovarian cancer in a magazine and they mentioned bloated tummies as a symptom. I started to worry as I’d always felt and look bloated. People even gave up their seats for me on the tube as I must have looked slightly pregnant. I started to wonder if ovarian cancer was the problem. It wasn’t. But if it wasn’t for that article, we may have not started to look into things properly. We spoke to our lovely GP and she agreed we should start the fertility tests. She warned me that it wasn’t a pleasant process to go through.
We went through the fertility tests via the NHS. The test started off with a series of scans. After one of our first appointments, in the car going home, we received a call from the hospital asking us to go straight back as something looked odd on my scan. They thought I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t know how to feel in that moment. I was terrified something would happen to me as I knew ectopic pregnancies were dangerous things but then it also gave me a glimmer of hope that I could actually get pregnant. I could be pregnant. I might be having a baby one day. My body can have children after all. They did a pregnancy test and said they’d be in touch about the results. Time went slow when we reached home. Later that evening the doctor called to confirm that I wasn’t pregnant and it was a false alarm.
I then had to go for the HSG test. I’m not going into detail about this one as it impacts people differently. A friend happened to be going for the same test and she was fine during the procedure. This was an important test as it soon revealed that something was wrong with my body and that discovery was probably reducing my chances of becoming pregnant. We stopped trying for months as we knew the risk of ectopic pregnancy was high. I suddenly became extremely frightened about becoming pregnant in case something would happen to me.
So, about one year on since our wedding day, Mr.H and I found out that something was up and we were about to embark on a journey we hadn’t quite planned for.
A few tears have appeared whilst writing part 1 of our IVF journey. Maybe because writing it down has reminded me of the details and what we have been through over the years. It’s been good writing about our journey so I hope you’ll follow the other chapters. You can read part 2 of our IVF story here. as well as part 3 and part 4.….thanks so so much for reading, it really means a lot.
Talya from Motherhood The Real Deal has also asked me to write something which should be out in the coming months. All of this amazing interest and blog support from my followers have encouraged me to feature our journey in more detail on Lucky Things.
Enjoy Lucky Things