My IVF Journey – Mind Meddling, a Last Resort & My Only Hope

I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. That’s when I realized I had to change things and change clinics.

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2 years into my TTC journey, I realized we had no other option than going down the IVF route. 12 rounds of ovulation induction and trying naturally hadn’t helped.
I remember walking into my first IVF clinic appointment feeling like an absolute failure.

Why can’t I just get pregnant by having a bottle of wine with hubby, like seemingly the rest of the world does it?
I felt a tremendous amount of sadness and a deep feeling of loss for having to do IVF.

But it was my last resort. I had nothing else to try and felt this would be my only chance.

I have to admit that I was quite naïve going into IVF. I didn’t do much research in the beginning; I thought the doctors and the clinic would ‘sort things out for me’. Ha, little did I know.
We chose a recommended clinic in London, and having just started a new job, just married and barely gotten over the jetlag from our honeymoon, I started my first round.
Fast-forward one month: I had my period and was completely and utterly shocked that this could even happen. I thought IVF would work? My husband even got nervous that we’d have twins when they put 2 eggs back in. Again, little did we know.

I seriously could not comprehend how going through all this effort, money, time, and energy spent – and still IVF wouldn’t work? This is how IVF can be a mindf*** (excuse my French, but I can’t describe it any other way). You do SO much. You give up SO much. You pour your heart and bank account and precious time and physical and mental energy into this. Your hopes are flying high and you start dreaming of your pregnancy outfits. I remember my sister even invited me to a celebratory fancy lunch after my egg transfer.

And then it DOESN’T work?
Why this round didn’t work out was made even worse by the lack of explanation. All I knew was that I wanted to try again – ASAP. (Did I mention I’m slightly Type A?) 2 months later, my 2nd cycle was cancelled because I only had 1 follicle. I was told it wasn’t worth pursuing just for 1 follicle. I believed them at the time, but am pretty upset about this in hindsight. Because only later did I find out that I had very low AMH and diminished ovarian reserve, so being a low responder I would never get more than 1, tops 2, follicles even under high stimulation.

I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. That’s when I realized I had to change things and change clinics.

The new clinic had a long wait list and did tons of tests before starting a cycle. So in the end I waited 10 long months before starting my 3rd cycle. The protocol was completely different. It was tailored to my condition, I was monitored every single day (whereas the previous clinic was closed on weekends, duh…does your body every take the weekends off?), I received a call with very specific instructions every single day. I jokingly said to my husband: The bootcamp clinic called again.
I’ll never forget bringing my medication in a cooler bag on a walk on a hot summer day because the clinic might call. And they did. I gave myself a shot behind a tree so that other people wouldn’t see me, ran back to the car, and raced to the clinic for a follicle scan.
It was relentless, it was stressful, it was brutal at times.
And again…and even more so this time, it was meddling with my mind in a severe way. I put my life on hold, didn’t travel, cancelled business trips and meetings, didn’t go out with friends, etc.

I started feeling resentful towards my husband because he didn’t come to my clinic appointments anymore because he said he was busy. I stopped telling him when the next appointment would be. Our communication suffered, but I was also trying to protect myself and him from more pain. I just wanted to soldier through this without hurting him more.

This cycle, I learned from the last two failed cycles….I managed my expectations.

Still, I was hoping deep down that all of this would pay off.

And it did!

I got pregnant on this 3rd cycle.

And then I miscarried at 8 weeks.

Another mindf***. I would have never thought that I could miscarry after IVF. It just didn’t compute in my brain. I’ve gotten so far…and now this?

A period of grieving and recovering began. I started traveling again and lived my life a little, but also tried a new fertility diet (This time no gluten, dairy or sugar…boring!).

But I wanted to get back on the IVF horse again as soon as possible.

So I did about 5 months later. It was my 4th round by now and I felt like a pro at this. I knew to keep my expectations low to not be too disappointed.

This quote resonated so much with me during this time: “Expect nothing, hope for everything.

The slightly amended protocol (immunotherapy this time, which means sitting by an IV drip for hours at a time each month), WORKED!

I got pregnant again. And this time, I stayed pregnant.

The anxiety of those first few weeks is not for the faint of heart.

But the miracle and love and endless gratitude that follows during pregnancy, childbirth, and those precious early weeks and months is all worth waiting for. Actually I just looked at my daughter yesterday, who is now almost 2 years old,  and got so emotional about how she came into this world and what a rollercoaster it has been.

IVF was my only hope to become a mom. And I am so glad I took this path, even though it wasn’t easy. But what is easy in life? Don’t they say good things take time?

Monika Friedman, 4-time IVF warrior, Fertility Coach, working mom and yoga & meditation teacher

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