When you find yourself parked on a dark street, with a Supermacs takeaway meal for one at 11pm on a Sunday night, you know you have a problem. But I didn’t know what else to do. I just packed an overnight bag, got in the car and drove away. Away from the pain.
Ironically I’m parked on a street next to a hospital with a huge maternity unit. And yet the reason I’m here at this hour of the night is because I’m not pregnant. This evening a plastic €10 Home pregnancy test confirmed my third failed IVF cycle and I had to get out of the misery of my bathroom and bedroom where I took the test that ultimately broke my heart.
I really thought I was pregnant. Despite the ridiculously low 30% chance we had of it working, I was not used to so many unusual sensations in my body, particularly in my reproductive organs and I got excited. Surely, one of the three excellent embryos that were transferred 10 days ago were strong enough to continue growing into a new life?
It’s at times like these you ask questions about how long they might have lived. Did they arrest and die the day of the transfer, the day after it or perhaps only yesterday? Maybe they were strong embryos but my body rejected them or didn’t provide the nutrients they needed to keep going.
I mean how can someone get pregnant from a one night stand when I can’t even get pregnant after three fertilised, healthy embryos are handpicked and delivered straight to my uterus? Who deals the ‘who gets a baby’ deck of cards because they keep forgetting my hand!
I don’t necessarily want to be a spokesperson for IVF because it’s a very painful circumstance in my life but this pain and suffering that I’m feeling right now cannot and should not be ignored. In just under two years, my heart has broken three times and each time, it has taken months to recover and to feel like looking ahead again. In less than two years, we’ve spent €26,000 on treatments and medication, most of it borrowed, some of it saved and I can’t show you anything for it except for six black and white pictures of the moment that six healthy embryos were carefully transferred back into my body over a period of 18 months.
Those pictures are stored in a pocket at the back of a colourful book that I’ve been writing to my future children. I mean, why not have a story written about you, before you even exist in this world? I thought it would be a keepsake, something my children would be excited to read and pass on to their children.
I’ve always tried to look at this situation with a glass half full attitude. In fact, I’ve written lots of positive pieces about the adventures IVF brings me on but there is only so much a person can stand before their mental health really starts to suffer. My pain never goes away, except for when I get the green light for a new cycle to begin and with that moment comes a whole world of hope. Hope that this time will work, that this time I’ll be counting down the days to my positive pregnancy test, my 12 week scan, my due date.
As I start to feel the cold and darkness of the night with my now cold meal for one, I know it’s probably time to go back home. Not sure where I thought I’d go with my chemical free moisturisers and clean undies but a part of me just needed to put some things in a bag and go. Because being at home means acknowledging my husbands heartache and pain. Being at home means using the bathroom in the house that reminds me of failed pregnancy tests. Being at home means having to decide what to do with all the medication I was given had I got pregnant. Being at home means lying down in the bed where I dreamed of a healthy baby growing inside me. Being at home means looking at the home that so badly needs a facelift but isn’t possible as we invest all our money in having a family first. A family that has so far cost us €26,000.
Other than tell this story, I don’t know what to do right now. In time we’ll get strong again and try again but in the meantime we will fall apart for a while. Everytime we fall apart, we lose a part of ourselves that we know we will never get back until we are holding a child in our arms. Maybe there is something that can be done to help. At the moment in Ireland there is nothing by means of support for couples like us. No counselling service, no grants, no conversations, NOTHING.
Maybe there is something someone can do to help. Because right now I’ve just about got enough energy to drive home and go to bed, shut my eyes and wish that this wasn’t happening to us again.