Secondary infertility is a rocky path. You long to be part of the community you once were whilst you were childless, but there is a fine line of where do you fit in. You can relate to all the mum type posts but also carry the pain that only those “without children” endure.
It’s been a hell of a ride just to jump back on the IVF rollercoaster, and sometimes you’re terrified you’re being judged for the decision. The most overused line I’ve heard whilst attempting number 2 is, “Be grateful you have Madden.” It’s such an unnecessary comment to make.
When I decided to start trying 12 months after my son was born, I was totally naive. I had the “my body has done it once before” attitude and I was not in tune or prepared for the emotions that would follow. I had 8 embryos in the freezer, a whole football team right? Not exactly. My first transfer postpartum, failed. Highest graded embryo that was hatching failed me. A big fat negative. Okay so $3000 down the drain and 7 embryos left, numbers are still in my favour right? So the next round I did acupuncture religiously, I wore socks to bed, kept my uterus warm, ate pineapple and maccas chips, drank pomegranate juice. If someone had said it helped them, I tried it. I also transferred TWO perfectly graded 5 day embryos.
The dreaded 2 week wait was again staring me in the face and I began the agonising wait to see if I was pregnant. I became hypersensitive to every little twinge in my body. It’s kind of like an out of body experience because your anxiety is on Mars somewhere, and you’re constantly dealing with irrational thoughts in your head. I’ll admit I’m a pee on a stick addict and so when I started testing and got the faintest of faint, needed-to-squint-the-right-way kind of line, I jumped around my bathroom like a crazy lady, and no-one around me could even see what I was seeing! The days went by and that little line progressed darker, couldn’t believe it you beauty! My little embryo/s had made it, and I started calculating when my first scan would be, sharing my excitement in secret with the TTC community. Was it the acupuncture or maccas chips? Who knows, who cares – I’m pregnant.
Next on the checking box because really that’s all it is with IVF, praying you make it to the next stage is the beta blood test, to identify how much HCG your body is producing. Waiting for that call is triggering and terrifying within itself. This is where the story goes south. I received the call in the afternoon, “Hi Steph – firstly congratulations you’re pregnant but…..” That ‘but’ is where my heart sank. No-one says but if it’s good news. “But your numbers are low so we’ll have to retest in two days.” Excuse my language but “fuck”. You’re now at an all time low wondering if the pregnancy will even be viable. My son Madden is playing at my feet smiling and blissfully unaware at how happy he makes his mama but also how crushed his mama is right now.
So you’re in limbo for a few days. The next blood test reveals the numbers have tripled! I began to celebrate again. Then 5 days later I started spotting and I just knew that this pregnancy was doomed. I called the clinic again, and they ask for urgent bloods, my fertility specialist assures me not to worry. My concerns are confirmed by my doctor, and she delivers the news, “I’m sorry Steph, you’ve lost this pregnancy, and now we sit and wait for you to miscarry naturally. My heart shatters for you.” I didn’t know what to say so I just said, “Well, this sucks” and hung up. My heart is hurting, but my son needs his mama to play with him right now so I push it to the back of my mind.
That night when he went to sleep, I ugly cried in the shower so hard, emotions and tears I had never felt before. It was soul destroying, not only had I lost another $3000 but my baby, my precious baby. I felt like a failure, like I couldn’t keep my baby safe for the small amount of time I had them. Walking around knowing my baby wasn’t viable inside me is the most messed up scenario. The day I started bleeding I felt a little more at peace. I could grieve and heal to move forward.
It’s been 3 weeks now since I miscarried and I have a whole new appreciation to anyone who has been through this journey, it sucks! I’m a single mum by choice and not having the support around me via immediate family was probably the hardest. I felt so lonely, and turned to the social media TTC community to pull me out of the dark hole I was in. If someone you know loses their baby, wrap them up and love them through the experience because it is the hardest thing they are going through, and it hurts a great deal.
I’m now chasing my rainbow, waiting for the clearer skies after the dark clouds. One day at a time. I have never wanted my period to come so badly! Remember people trying for baby number 2 have it no less hard than those trying for number 1. It’s just a different set of circumstances that carry the same amount of frustrations and hurdles.
Empathy is key, be kind always.