IVF is already a daunting, stressful and emotionally-draining process. But with the coronavirus we had a whole new added stress and uncertainty of whether we will ever get pregnant because treatment had been postponed indefinitely.
I completely supported the government on lockdown but hand on my heart I was also really disappointed for selfish reasons. I had to keep reminding myself of others in much worse situations, and then I just had to carry on.
On the 23rd of March coronavirus pandemic spread, life started to change for us all – and my mental health went down hill.
What was happening around me was difficult to process and being stuck indoors with Alex constantly put pressure on my relationship. My health anxiety and fear of my sister or father dying was playing havoc on my sleep. I suffer with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to my mum passing away in a tragic way when I was in my early twenties and my massive phobia is fear of people leaving me who I love very much. I was an absolute mess, I was so sad I couldn’t see my family and I was over thinking of the reality of never being able to fulfil my one dream to be called mummy and put my baby/babies to sleep.
During the years of treatment, Ive had one ectopic that resulted in removing my Fallopian tube, and four miscarriages. All my cycles resulted in a positive pregnancy test but I never have past the second trimester. I can’t explain the joy you go through when you get that positive test result, you go through such hard treatment and all your hard work is paid off with a positive pregnancy test, a door finally opens and you officially start planning the next chapter of your life, baby names, new car, what pram to buy, what clothes, moving home, then someone says “I’m so sorry we can’t find a heart beat and shuts the door. Having had so much grief in my life, each pregnancy just makes me relive that pain. Every miscarriage is like mourning and every time I felt like I couldn’t carry on but somehow I found inner strength and just had to pull up my big girl knickers and wake up to face another day.
Even though Alex was also grieving I never really felt like he understood my pain. Partly because I was the one that was operated on, I had a baby growing inside me, I had to self inject two-three times a day, I had my baby taken out of my body and I still felt pregnant for several weeks to months after baby had gone. Then I had the IVF weight gain and would try and focus on being body confident again (which isn’t important to most, but for me I hated myself for both not being able to be a “real woman” in my eyes and also for not feeling attractive).
With every storm comes a rainbow...
Fertility clinics opened up again after the 11th May. I thought this was amazing great news. Unfortunately my heart was broken again because for women like me it wasn’t.
The fertility regulatory body the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) paused fertility treatment for women who needed additional medication to suppress their immune system and I am one of them. My conditions include high natural killer cells and Antiphospholipid syndrome which is a blood clotting condition. I need medication that will lower my immune system. My emotions were all over the place and I’m not ashamed to say that my mental health took such a low. It’s a slippery slope when you have had mental health in the past and I’ve come so far on this battle of both infertility and recovering from a 15 year battle with a eating disorder and depression. I knew the signs of my mental health so I reached out and I’m happy to say that my clinic Harley Street Fertility Clinic supported patients like me. https://hsfc.org.uk
Calls to the charity’s counselling helpline over the pandemic increased by 50%, psychologists were warning that the coronavirus shutdown was having a “devastating” impact on the mental health of IVF patients and putting a big strain on the marriages/relationships of infertile couples.
The worst pain was hearing people around me complain about how irritating it is to be around their children in lockdown, how it was so hard that school/nursery was closed. I can’t deny my inner thoughts of pain, resentment and hidden depressions.
I finally found a light at the end of the tunnel!!! On my birthday I received an amazing email from my clinic, a personal message from my fertility doctor who told me that treatment can start for women like me! They have put extreme safety measures in place and asked me if Wednesday 26th August was a good time to book a video conference chat to discuss moving forward!
I’m so overwhelmed with happiness, I’m excited and scared at the same time. Excited to be getting the right treatment but so scared the same thing will happen to me again. I’m strong but each time I have to deal with grief a part of me also dies.
My next step is to focus on positive affirmations, I’m human and lock down caused me to start smoking, I now have my vape pen which I will be stopping in the next week and then it’s focusing on one coffee a day as my naughty treat, loving myself, listening to positive affirmations, walking in the park and focusing on a healthy fat balanced diet to regulate my hormones correctly ( I will talk all about this in my next few blogs)
I’m so excited to start writing regularly again and can’t wait to write about what my next steps are on this journey to baby Reid.
All stock images are from shop https://www.ivfchasingdreams.com/shop
abe in excited to have new IVF related items coming whilst I blog my heart out for 2020 ❤️
Sending love and light and magic baby dust to you all.