Not sure why we're surprised or upset or heartbroken or shocked or devastated? Once again I didn't even get to test day and once again I have had to endure a very heavy and painful period.
We were told at Embryo Transfer in no uncertain terms that we needed a miracle to get pregnant. I thought given our recent run of seriously rubbish life experiences that some good karma was due to come our way, and that we would get our January 2015 mini-me.
But it seems it's just not meant to be. Not now anyway.
I can feel myself becoming 'one of those women' who just keeps on having infertility treatment in a quest to become a mother and I don't want to be 'one of those women.' I just want to bonk and get pregnant - is that too much to ask? You ladies who get pregnant the traditional way really have no appreciation for just how lucky you are - for the miracle that has taken place in your womb. There's only a 20% chance of getting pregnant when two healthy people have sex on the right day of the woman's cycle. Eggs need to be in tip-top condition as do the swimmers - after all they have a marathon to swim to reach the egg. A lady's cervical mucus needs to be the right PH, it needs to be swimmer friendly, if not then there's little hope of even the fittest of swimmers reaching the egg in her fallopian tube. Even after conception the embryo still has five days to travel until it gets to the womb and then it has to burrow in, and then after all of that the lady's body needs to accept this foreign body that is trying to feed off her supplies. This is one reason why some women suffer from recurrent miscarriage - their body rejects the embryo, sees it as invading its space and then disposes of it normally in the first trimester. The point I'm trying to make is that we all just presume that we will be able to create mini-mes very easily but as I go to show - it's not always that easy. Every time a woman gives birth a miracle has taken place.
When do you stop with fertility treatment? When do you finally pack it all in and give up on achieving what we are put on this earth to do? I can't see myself ever giving up. I want a baby, I want to be pregnant, I want to get a 'baby-on-board' badge and scowl at commuters on the train home who won't give up their seat for my heavily pregnant belly. I want to moan about indigestion in the third trimester and worry about what my boobs will look like post baby. Unlike most western women I want to go through labour, I want a drug free birth, for my body to take over, to use the pain to help me bring my child into the world. I've imagined all of this and more. I know the names of my much longed for baby girl and boy, I've imagined what they'll look like with their brown hair and blue eyes like their mummy and daddy.
The saddest place in the world is a fertility clinic waiting room. It's full of people from various different backgrounds, some older, some stinking rich, some have flown in from another country and have an interpreter, some are same sex couples, some ladies are trying to become parents all by themselves, some couples are like my wonderful Hubster and I and have saved long and hard to be sat waiting in that room. But what unites every single person in that room is that they all want a child of their own and it reeks of desperation, loss and hope.
By the time a couple have arrived in that waiting room they have been through quite a tough journey; they have suffered loss and they are grief stricken. They are tired of a life congratulating friends and family as they get pregnant over and over again, tired of suppressing that green-eyed monster called jealousy every time a pregnancy announcement is made, tired of gathering reserves of strength every time they are invited to a baby shower/christening/first birthday party etc, tired of feeling guilty for being jealous, tired of being happy for someone else, tired of looking longingly at baby clothes, tired of being the odd one out, tired of the well meaning questions about when they are starting a family, tired of being asked 'why don't you just adopt?' A fertility clinic waiting room is full of grief for the babies that have never been, and you can hear the tick-tock of biological clocks getting louder and louder the longer you have the misfortune of waiting in that room.
So here's my plea to all of you who are in denial about your fertility and when to start a family.
Chaps: Did you know that most of your sperm is in fact abnormal? Did you know that if you have an abnormal sperm count of 75% you are perfectly normal? Did you know that because of all the crap we put into ourselves on a daily basis that the average sperm count for men has dropped quite significantly over recent years? Did you know that it might not be as easy as you think to get your wife/girlfriend pregnant? If you've been talking about having kids one day (but not just yet as life is just tooooo much fun right now) then have the difficult conversation - work out a strategy, talk about your fears with your lady, take a leap and embark on the biggest adventure of your life. What I'm urging you to do is to is to man-up and grow a pair of balls, get your swimmers tested and find out how they are shaping up. If they are swimming in circles and have two heads then you know that there are changes you need to make to your life to fix that, so when the time is right to have a baby hopefully you are ahead of the game. If your significant other wants babies now (and her age demands it) and you're not quite ready yet - what will you do if it takes years? Have you thought of the consequences? What will you do if you have left it too late? Have you thought about it?
My Hubster's swimmers are in great shape after dietary and lifestyle changes and taking oodles of supplements especially for male fertility, even after spending £7000 at one of the best fertility clinics in the UK we still didn't get pregnant. My message to all the men out there putting off starting a family as their life right now is so great: take control of your fertility and never presume that you'll be able to produce loads of offspring.
Chapettes: If you are are over 35, have a great job and have a packed social life and think 'ah - I'll have kids in a couple of years time,' or 'now's not quite the right time' or your fella just isn't keen on the idea of making babies 'just yet' PLEASE don't make the mistake I made. It took my body 18 months to start 'cycling' normally after coming off the pill - I thought I'd be pregnant within the year. I knew nothing about infertility. Getting pregnant is not as easy as you think, the longer you leave it, the harder it will be - take my word for it (or if you don't believe me go and sit in a fertility clinic waiting room and experience the despair for yourself).
I am fertile, I have a high AMH of 43 (very unusual for someone my age - the average is 15 - apparently I'm one of the lucky ones as I have a very decent ovarian reserve), and I have a follicle count of 28 on a natural cycle (that means I can make 28 follicles all by myself every month - without the aid of synthetic FSH injections). After four and a half years of trying and this includes two fresh IVF cycles and one frozen cycle I'm still not pregnant. I'm mourning the loss of 18 embryos. 18 potential babies. 18 mini-mes were made in our two fresh IVF cycles, 12 in our first, six in our second and not one of them attached, they all died either in-vitro, in my womb or they didn't survive being defrosted, despite all our love for them and desire to become parents - none of them survived and this breaks mine and my Hubster's hearts. I don't wish our pain on any of you so if you are over 35 and delaying starting a family for one reason or another please don't.
I hate to be the one to tell you this but after the age of 35 your eggs start to diminish, after the age of 37 your ovarian reserve drops off a cliff, after that the quality of your eggs will start to deteriorate quite dramatically. The ideal time to have a baby is in our twenties not in our thirties and forties - no wonder the fertility clinic waiting room is such a sad place, all those ladies know their time is running out and are desperate. Get off your contraception, let your body get back into it's grove and work out when in your cycle it's baby-making time or no jiggy allowed time, learn how your body works, get yourself checked out, find out what your ovarian reserve is, find out if you have adequate thyroid function and whether you ovulate every month? The longer you are on the pill/injection/coil etc the less time you have to fix any problems that you don't even know you have yet. My message to you is the same as the chaps: take control of your fertility and never presume that you'll be able to produce loads of offspring.
If I could speak to my younger self I'd tell her to start trying for a baby straight after she married the love of her life almost eight years ago. I thought by the age of 35 I'd have at least two children by now but I don't have any. There's a massive void in my life and I feel like I'm asking for the impossible - to get pregnant and have a baby.