‘My IVF struggle has changed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.’

So… here I sit again typing, crying, red eyed, puffy eyes, bleary eyed and hardly able to control my emotions, but this is my only coping mechanism. My way of dealing with grief, dealing with stress, dealing with what may never be.

I am down to two embryos. Two precious, beautiful embryos. My babies.

On the 24th of July with a natural cycle we decided to implant another precious embryo. Natural cycle means no medications were used this time. It was after I had finished my menstrual cycle and ovulated. Five days later, they implant that precious baby into your uterus in the hope that it will stick and in nine months time you hold that baby.

So after days of more bloods (I feel like I’m giving to a vampire I’ve given that much blood lately) to see when I would surge and peak ovulate, you go back in to be implanted. It’s amazing that your bloods can tell so much about you. As above this happened on the 24th July at 3:30pm.

Watch: Fertility issues are more common than you think. (Post continues after video.)

After so much heartache over the past year I worked myself up again for another implant. I knew going into this transfer I had three frozen. So I elected one. Ten per cent of embryos don’t survive thawing but I was very lucky that they only needed to take one out of the freezer.

After looking at the embryo defrost, then watching it for a few hours to ensure that it was doing its job and creating more cells, it was decided it was a very strong AA embryo. Max and I were so happy; only one embryo needed defrosting therefore maximising our chances that two remained. On implantation we were told this should work. Everyone was so confident.

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Max and I left so happy, excited. ‘We will finally get our baby, finally go through the 9 months, finally be able to share such wonderful exciting news with everyone.’ Our family were again so excited, so confident. They ride this horrible journey with you. Every single step. Every single emotion; happiness, sadness, grief, the Unknown.

IVF is a numbers game, it’s a head case, it’s a journey full of the highest highs which can quickly turn to the lowest lows. You put your body through so much it’s brutal. You stress yourself to the point of being sick. You think you can’t go on anymore but deep down to achieve that dream you know you have to.

"IVF is a numbers game, it’s a head case, it’s a journey full of the highest highs which can quickly turn to the lowest lows." Image via iStock.

It wreaks absolute havoc on you emotionally, physically and mentally. My body is so stressed. I have the worst acne (I haven’t had since my teens), I’ve put on so much weight (the heaviest I’ve ever been) and I don’t remember in my whole 32 years feeling so sad, so lonely, so stressed.

It’s very easy to talk about it but no one really understands. The only people who do are those that have been there before. Those who have ridden the horrible journey of infertility. My life has changed. I solely focus on “trying to get pregnant” trying to achieve the dream that others are so fortunate to have already.

I don’t talk to friends much, I cry in my room most nights, it has changed me. I am not the Samantha I was before I embarked on this journey. I want her back! I want her back so bad! I hope I find her and soon.

I’ve found solace in starting a private Instagram page and finding beautiful fellow IVF warriors from around the world. They travel this road, they feel your pain, and know exactly how it feels.

I also have a very supportive woman I work with who has been down this road successfully. Without her it would be tougher. You're a star.

"I’ve found solace in starting a private Instagram page and finding beautiful fellow IVF warriors from around the world." Image via iStock.

I know people try to understand, try to support you, but it is so hard to explain to someone why you feel like a failure, why you can’t conceive naturally, the science of IVF. I am no expert but I certainly know more then I ever did. If I can’t find it in me to talk because I’m crying please don’t take offence, or if I get angry because of something said or asked please understand.

I am not me right now and this person doesn’t know how to cope, how to deal with IVF. The struggle is real, it’s depressing. I’m depressed.

IVF is often taken for granted. So many times I’ve heard- if you just relax it will happen, it will happen trust me, my friends did IVF then gave up and got pregnant naturally. I hate hearing this almost daily.

For us the struggle is very real. For almost four years we have unsuccessfully tried naturally, round one of IVF we failed and round two we are trying to beat but can’t. I know people are just trying to make you feel better but it doesn’t. It doesn’t make you feel better. In fact it hurts.

It hurts to walk into a shopping centre and see babies and pregnant women everywhere, it hurts every time someone shares the beautiful news with you that they are pregnant (you feel joy for them but it hurts. It’s not their fault you're in this boat.)

It hurts walking down the sanitary aisle of a store knowing you will need to purchase items from that section for the next month, you cry and cry and feel like everywhere you look, are, and dream it’s all about babies. Shops put discounts on baby items, ads on TV- it just constantly feels like your losing a battle and it’s being thrown in your face.

Friends and family are scared to tell you they are having a baby. Please never feel like this; I feel like a leper already. I feel like I’m in the minority not the majority. Please share your beautiful news with me. I am so happy for you all.

This time around I tried everything- diet change, acupuncture, eating pineapple (call me mad but pineapple helps with getting rid of toxins in the uterus), focusing on me, putting everything else second including work (I don’t know how I haven’t been fired yet), taking herbs and vitamins given to me to prevent miscarriage and help with fertility, EVERYTHING you name it I’ve tried it! I even bought a baby toy because I was told if I had a positive attitude it would work!

"I even bought a baby toy because I was told if I had a positive attitude it would work!" Image via iStock.

After implantation, the two week wait is the worst. It’s the part of the journey I absolutely hate. Not that there is a part I like. Your mind plays tricks with you. It makes you believe things that aren’t happening. You focus so much on your body that you forget what it was like before IVF, every rumble, grumble, cramp, twinge, noise you google, you can’t help it this is what your “new” life is like.

Every time you go to the toilet, you pray you don’t see red and it scares you to go to the toilet just in case you do. You wipe so hard just to make sure there is no blood that you almost make yourself bleed. It’s horrible.

On day 11, you go for bloods to see if you get a positive or negative. Most times you know. During the two week wait I spoke to my specialist almost daily.

Again, I praise that man. He is my superhero. He has so many patients to look after let alone a young family of his own that he has to go home too and to know if I had any question I would ask and within an hour he would respond. I can never thank him enough. He rides the journey with you and I’m sure gets very frustrated by it all but still ensures and proves he will never give up on us as a couple and our journey.

I’m pretty sure he will read this, so to my specialist, you know who you are… THANK YOU for never giving up on me, for always being there, for showing me that there are caring people who work in this industry, for supporting me, and for always believing that one day Max and I will make great parents. You are one of a kind and I feel so blessed to have you as my doctor and friend.

Watch Jessica Rowe speak to Mamamia about her IVF journey. (Post continues after video.)

Day two post transfer, I was cramping quite bad. I was told to go to the clinic to take nifedipine- this is a pill that drops your blood pressure quickly so I had to be monitored but it also helps with the cramping.

As you can imagine, in IVF it’s a foreign object going into your body, something that didn’t get there the natural way. I think my body was rejecting it and trying to push it into my Fallopian tube. The tablet I took over two days was to ensure this didn’t happen. All was back to normal… I was travelling along nicely. Mum would text every day asking how I felt, my response was “pregnant." It’s worked, it’s really worked.

As I said above, your happiness is quickly taken away from you. In an instant you can’t understand why. Why us? What have we done so wrong?

I woke one morning feeling different. I knew again it was over. You always know what your gut tries to tell you. It’s an instinct we all have.

My gut was saying, "it’s over, Samantha." I still wasn’t bleeding but I knew my chance was gone. I had got so emotionally worked up that my doctor and nurse decided to put me out of my misery by letting me have my bloods a day early.

So off we go for bloods. Praying to the fertility Gods, praying to anyone that will listen. It’s all out of your hands.

I’m normally a control freak in life so having this journey out of my control causes me so much anxiety so much stress. But… I have the highest faith that we have chosen the right man, the right person to achieve our dream.

"I’m normally a control freak in life so having this journey out of my control causes me so much anxiety so much stress." Image via iStock.

Waiting for the phone call is so hard… Max walked and walked, I did washing, listened to music thinking of ways to tell my family and friends who know that it’s worked.

Every song I listened to was like it was telling me something, sending me a sign. I kept replaying in my head how I would tell my parents they are going to be grandparents, how I would tell my sister she will be an auntie, how I would tell Max… So many thoughts go through your mind. Thoughts of how I would tell them it didn’t happen… AGAIN…

When the phone doesn’t ring straight away you think how hard it must be for my nurse to see my bloods and see a BIG FAT NEGATIVE next to your HCG. How hard it must be for them to tell people daily that your dream is not yet achievable. So many people ride this journey. Family, friends, specialists and your nurse.

My beautiful nurse phoned. I could tell straight away. She was so sad. I knew it hadn’t worked. I knew our dream was again over. Our goal so far out of reach.

I just cried and cried. You cry so much you hyperventilate, I’ve been crying like that ever since.

Again, we have not beaten IVF. It is beating us.

Max is the most amazing man. He is so optimistic. He has struggled through life, he has had high highs and very low lows, but still kept going. That’s always been his attitude. I admire him so much for this and hope that I to can be like him and that our precious baby, if we are lucky to have one, will take this trait from its father.

Listen to Mary Coustas speak to Mia Freedman about her IVF experience, here

Max and I have cried so much, we have spent so much. IVF is not cheap.. What we have spent on this we could have been around the world more than once staying in luxurious places, we could have put a deposit on a house. But never once has this man complained.

I love you, Maxy. We have so much we are yet to achieve but how can we with this anchor that won’t budge! It tests your relationship. It surely has tested ours.

Two frozen embabies remain. Two broken people left standing.

The next step on our journey is an operation to see what is wrong with me. Why I can’t carry a baby..

Again, am I ready?

I wasn’t last time but kept going.

This time I don’t think I’m ready. I am so sad. So lonely. Feeling so defeated. I look in the mirror and hate what I see.

I hate my body, I hate my face and I hate that this is the journey I need to travel on to get a baby. Is it hereditary? Thank goodness NO!

I would hate my sister to go through this. I would hate anyone to go through it. I just hate it! If it were a real person I would have punched it hard by now. Never let it in my life.

I hate this girl. The caring, happy, silly girl I always was is gone. Sadness is the new me. I hate sadness! I just hate the new me! The depressed me!

Life goes on, no one stops for you. It’s so hard to go about day to day life while hiding behind a smile, hiding behind a persona you aren’t. Trying to get out of bed is hard. Everything is hard.

Grief comes in so many different forms. Everyone experiences grief, stress and life’s challenges so differently. I’ve always grown up as the “strong” one in my family. Strong I was.

This has kicked me in the gut, punched me in the face and knocked me down. I got up before and kept fighting but that fight has left my body. I have no fight left.

I just want to hug my Mum and Dad and Sister and Great Aunty. I miss them so so much. I want to hug my friends and never let go. I know they won’t fully understand my grief but just having them there is enough. It hurts so much I can’t do that, I have to live my life like I’m OK. I have to go to work and pretend to be happy. I have to live like nothing is wrong.

Max is my rock. Hugs me when I need it, listens to me cry and feels so helpless, cries with me, rides this infertility journey with such hope only to be let down. Thank you Max for everything. I am so blessed to have you. So honoured to be your wife.

If we never have a child, I am so lucky I have him. Our life is almost complete with our baby Pinot, but there is a hole missing. A piece to the puzzle.

Today I cry and cry. Tomorrow I go on.

The journey to our dream continues…

This post first appeared on Team Delmege - Stronger Together. 

If this has post raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Feature Image via iStock. 

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