Infertility · IVF · TTC

July 2018

Dear future babies,

This week was Louise Brown’s 40th birthday. She was the first baby ever born through IVF. Reading all the articles and seeing videos of her talk at the Science Museum event was just incredible. It makes me feel so emotional to the point I had tears in my eyes at work because I’m just so grateful to Louise, to her lovely mum Lesley and to the 3 IVF pioneers; Robert Edwards, Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy, who so rarely gets the recognition she deserves.

These people put their life’s work into developing the science we are so familiar with today, and it was only 40 years ago, it just blows my mind. Their passion for what they believed in has allowed us and so many others, a chance at having a biological child. We don’t know yet if it will ever work for us but you can sure as hell bet we will give it our best shot.

Louise’s mum had blocked tubes just like I did, I can’t imagine ever being brave enough to essentially be a guinea pig for this new and controversial treatment. Since then millions of babies have been born and of course, these days no one bats an eyelid when you mention IVF so there was never hesitation for us to try it. But back in the 70s I am so humbled by the bravery Lesley showed in the face of everything just to have the chance to have her baby. And here I am crying again….

Since my last letter we had our follow up appointment with our consultant on 12th July. Since then it feels like a small weight has been lifted, I think I really didn’t know what to expect from the appointment, beforehand I was worried they would just said ‘bad luck, these things happen, let’s try again but not change anything’, I had no basis for those thoughts, but that was my main concern. What actually happened was a really open and frank discussion about what our next steps should be. Going over what happened again was an emotional experience and our consultant was very sorry to hear about the second chemical. He wants to get to the bottom of why it happened as much as we do. Initial blood tests showed no anomalies, although they will need to be repeated again at the end of August. We discussed a lot of other potential tests and worries we had. One test that we are going to consider is something called uterine natural killer cells. Everyone has them but some people have a higher number of these killer cells which could attack an implanting embryo. We would have to go up to Coventry to have a biopsy and consultation with the team up there. We would also have to pay, so we have to decide whether it’s worth having that peace of mind even if it’s just to rule something else out. Part of me thinks are we going to do it just to feel like we are doing something? I’ve always wondered if i have an immune issue in light of our family history of autoimmune disease but who knows. Maybe it has just been bad luck.

We disucused some other tests and theories that our consultant is going to look into further. For now though, we were just happy to be taken seriously. I think that made our minds up to stay at Salisbury, at least for our next transfer and take it from there. We do love our doctor and respect his opinions and his experience. It’s hard to know how far to take it with the tests and investigations, there’s only so much we can do or afford, but we have to put our trust in the experts.

Our appointment was exactly a year to the day since my surgery last year to remove my tubes. It’s strange to look back at the past year, I don’t think I ever thought we’d still be here a year later. At the time it feel like both a new beginning and an end. It’s frustrating to feel like we aren’t much further forward, although I’m so grateful for our two Frosties who are my main focus.

For now, the only downside is we don’t have a plan in place for our next transfer, it’s hard but I’m feeling ok about that at the moment. We have dad’s birthday next month to look forward to, followed by our holiday in September. I want to focus on getting back to being healthy (although 2 months on from our last cycle and I’ve not lost a single pound!!)

We’ve had unseasonably good weather here recently, weeks and weeks of sunshine which is so rare.  Maybe that’s contributed to my good mood and left me feeling a bit more relaxed about things. In all honesty I can’t see us doing another transfer before the end of the year at the earliest but I would love to be pleasantly surprised. In a way I am hoping the tests will flag something up so we know what we’re dealing with but at the same time I’m not sure if that’s better or worse. I’ve been so focused on not losing our next pregnancy but potentially our next transfer won’t be successful and we won’t even get that far. Statistically I think there’s only ever about 30% chance of IVF working and the odds have been in our favour the last twice. We’ll also be moving towards our ‘lower quality’ embryos which doesn’t really matter as if they didn’t have potential to be a baby they wouldn’t have been frozen but that does creep into the back of my mind.

All I know is that the next few months are going to be tough, I hate feeling in limbo and I know they’ll be times when I struggle. There are good and bad days. One of the good days was yesterday when we had an Instagram meet up in Portsmouth. I always leave our get togethers with a full heart and feeling positive, there’s something so special about a group of people all with variations of the same journey coming together.

Our journey to you has already been such a long one, I have to have faith that it will all make sense once we finally meet you and I am choosing to believe that the next cycle will be the one where we bring you home. Sometimes a song will come and make me cry because the lyrics will make me think of you, sometimes I feel so scared at the thought of going through it all again and it still not working. Sometimes I find myself wondering if it’ll ever happen for us. I think back to the evening I got my last positive test and how happy we were even if we didn’t quite believe it was real at the time. I have had moments of complete jealousy and bitterness which makes me feel like such a horrible human but it’s something I can’t turn off. The last few months have been hard but please know how much we love you and that we are trying to be as patient as possible in our wait for you.

Love, Mum xx

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