In April my daughter will be four years old. Her birthday will mark not just those four years since she arrived, but also the anniversary of the date my husband and I knew absolutely that our IVF treatment had been a resounding success because the result was staring right back at us.
We had our treatment at The Hewitt Centre during July and August 2011 but our transition from a couple who assumed they would have children easily to a couple who realised just how horrendous the experience of infertility is began in late 2008.
We were recently married and we decided to 'see what happens' with trying for a baby. It was only when we did enter that zone that we realised how much we wanted children and it became our focus.
I know people who arrive at IVF will do so from a number of backgrounds. Some will be unable to conceive naturally due to infertility, others may be in a relationship where natural conception isn’t an option. But however you arrive there, IVF is an incredibly intense and emotionally sensitive process.
We didn’t start out thinking we would need to have IVF treatment. The first medical appointments came because my periods never returned after stopping the contraceptive pill. This may be familiar to some readers. I assumed it was because of the pill being so ingrained into my system. Easily fixable and we would be on our way.
Except, we weren’t. We were very far from being on our way. The first GP appointment set in motion a chain of appointments and interventions over the next three years; some harmless enough, some very invasive. I became used to being prodded and examined. We both became used to spending a lot of time visiting consultants and receiving bad news about our fertility prospects. We developed a habit of comfort-buying whenever we had more bad news or when we heard somebody else’s good news that they were going to have a baby. Usual purchases revolved around takeaways, movies or chocolates, but on one particularly difficult occasion, when we were nearing our treatment and we visited a friend’s new baby, we came away and bought a new TV.
Though we had our IVF treatment at Liverpool Women's Hospital, that was our 'last stop' in our testing and treatment journey. We moved up through the ranks of clinics from our local clinical, through to a small local hospital, and then our major town hospital, and finally Liverpool. One thing we both noticed immediately was that at LWH, the consultants and technicians worked fast. We had grown accustomed to attending our appointments at the previous hospitals, having tests, and then waiting 2-3 months to get to see the consultants again. It felt like we were always waiting, never finding anything else out, and always having more and more tests.
At LWH, all of our tests were completed quickly and our next major appointment with them was to find out all of our results and what would happen next. Even though we were still not being told good news, we felt relieved that finally something was happening. And being told we had a place on the waiting list to actually have IVF treatment was amazing and the first time we felt positive and optimistic.
We joined the waiting list in late 2010 and by the summer of the following year, we had our dates. We were now, officially, on our way.
Read the next post in the series: The Process, Part Two