pregnancy

'At 43, after 13 rounds of IVF I'd given up hope. A holiday changed everything.'

Marnie struggled for years to become pregnant and her path to motherhood was anything but smooth.

“I met my partner Scott later in life and we were very conscious that we needed to start trying for a baby straight away.

“We began our first cycle of IVF after a year of trying and failing to fall naturally. I did a lot of research online around what I should be doing to be as fertile as possible and I began treating my body as if I was already pregnant.

Watch the trailer for Mamamia’s new podcast, Get Me Pregnant, where hosts Rachel Corbett and Leigh Campbell talk all things pregnancy and fertility. Post continues below.

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“I mostly gave up alcohol, I stopped eating certain foods, I started acupuncture and took every fertility herb and supplement available.”

After three years and seven failed rounds of IVF, Marnie made the difficult decision to quit her job and focus solely on getting pregnant.

“I was aware of my age and I was obsessed with wanting a baby. I decided over a period of six months to have a round of IVF every four weeks, without rest.

“My doctor and Scott were supportive and I survived by exercising and staying focussed, but it was isolating and utterly exhausting.

“Most of my friends had children by this point and the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced were awful. Friends would tell me they were pregnant at lunch and I would be happy for them, but I’d go and sit in the car afterwards and cry.”

Marnie eventually stopped telling people she was still doing IVF, when it all became too much.

“I constantly had to tell people it wasn’t working for us. It was too traumatic to watch their feelings of hope rise and fall like my own.

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“There was one very low point for me at my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I was due at the clinic that afternoon for an embryo transfer, when the nurse called me to say the embryo had not survived.

“I was devastated but had to keep smiling, but when I got home I wept for hours on the bathroom floor.”

Just before Christmas 2018 and after 13 failed rounds of IVF, months of injections and emotional turmoil, Marnie’s empathetic doctor suggested she stop to give her body a break.

Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia’s fertility podcast, Get Me Pregnant. Post continues below.

The couple were advised to look into egg donation, but Marnie wasn’t sure.

“We took a holiday over to the US and visited a clinic in Hawaii with a database of egg donors. It felt weird looking at the faces of these lovely young cheerleaders who needed money to put themselves through college, and I just couldn’t go through with it.

“By that stage, I had lost count of the hundreds of needles and hormone injections I had been through, the blood tests, the number of miscarriages and we just decided that enough was enough – my fertility journey was over.

“You can imagine how surprised I was to find out not long after our return to Australia that I was pregnant!”

Baby Charlotte was born in October 2019, giving Marnie and Scott’s fertility story a happy ending.

“We were over the moon and couldn’t believe that after everything we had been through, we conceived her naturally! We often joke we should have taken that holiday sooner. But what matters for us is that we have her with us now.”

Marnie’s challenging fertility journey has given her so much empathy for other women in the same situation and she feels passionately about sharing her story to help others.

“Trying and then failing to get pregnant for years is very isolating. I often think about the hopeful, yet sad faces of the women I met at the clinic and I know just how lucky I am to have our much-longed-for Charlotte.”

Are you struggling to conceive? Do you relate to Marnie’s story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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