So that’s generally how IVF works, however, we struggle with fertilisation and found we usually only got one blastocyst from the IVF process. It was during this fourth IVF attempt that we were stunned to be told on the phone, the day after harvesting 10 healthy eggs, that none of them had fertilised. None. We were devastated. After going through all that turmoil, not to mention the thousands of dollars spent to go through it, we are left with nothing. No hope of a baby at all this time. I was absolutely crushed. It was just before Christmas and I couldn’t bear to face everyone and relay what had happened. I didn’t want to talk about it, I just wanted to be left alone to wallow in my grief. A month later I felt an urgency to try again, so for the fifth time we tried IVF. This time we managed to get three eggs fertilised, although, we were told two of them seemed dodgy (I’m paraphrasing obviously). We ended up with one healthy blastocyst which was implanted. About five days later I started bleeding, quite heavily, and it lasted for two weeks. My doctor told me it was probably a miscarriage but as they had no positive pregnancy test (too early to test) he couldn’t say for certain.
Well after that I had had enough. I said to my husband I wanted a six month break from IVF, that I didn’t even want to talk about it. I wanted to get on with my life instead of constantly putting my life on hold while I waited to fall pregnant. I started reading again, voraciously, and filled my life up with things that I loved and enjoyed. It was a very enriching time and after a few months I started to think more positive thoughts and made a concerted effort to be more grateful for what ever blessings came into my life and to express that gratitude openly with others. After six months I said to my DH I wanted one more month before embarking on another journey of IVF.
To cut a long story short, we began our sixth IVF attempt and during the time I was taking the nasal spray drugs, I was puzzled to find my period was late and soon enough discovered to our utter amazement that I had fallen pregnant naturally. I never thought it would happen. We were very happy about it but cautiously so. When it’s an ordeal to fall pregnant it’s hard to enjoy the news completely when you’re worried about losing the baby and how long it would take to fall pregnant again.
This pregnancy proceeded smoothly and despite my hope for a VBAC, I ended up with a planned caesarean as my doctor didn’t want the risk an induction with caesarean scars. However, as my pancytopenia had managed to stay stable during this pregnancy I had the good fortune to be truly present at my daughter’s birth. I couldn’t care less how my babies came out, as long as I could be there I was happy.
This is my daughter & I when she was about 6 months old
But that’s not all folks.
We had always talked of a third baby but to be honest I had my doubts about whether to try again after experiencing the workload with two young children. We decided that we would not use IVF again and hoped that maybe we would fall pregnant naturally one day. Well that one day arrived sooner than we expected. After only half-heartedly trying for 10 months (our daughter was 18months by then) we discovered I was pregnant again. I was in shock and in denial for a good week. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do this but soon enough I got over my fears and started to enjoy the pregnancy. Although, a few weeks later, not having noticed a few minor warning signs (and with my husband now away on business in the US for a few weeks), I went to my doctor for my eight week check up and told him of some spotting and sharp pain I was having during the previous day or two. He performed an internal ultrasound and immediately I noticed there was no heartbeat on the screen. Going by the calculations on screen I could see my baby had died about 11 days earlier – I recalled it was the same day that my morning sickness had become significantly worse. I decided to wait for a miscarriage to happen but my doctor advised that as the dead tissue had been there for about 11 days it would be best to not wait for more than a few weeks. I proceeded to feel physically worse everyday and found it very challenging to deal with while looking after two young children. I couldn’t let myself feel the emotional pain yet. I was just trying to get through each day on my own. After waiting two weeks and with hubby now back home from the US I decided to go ahead with a D&C.
I ended up needing two D&Cs and these are another story in their own right. Unbeknownst to myself or my doctor I had a fibroid or vascular ‘thing’ (I know, I’m so technical) intruding into my uterus so each time the D&C was performed I was left with a new wound that took a very long time to heal. I bled heavily, everyday for about 11 weeks. I became very anaemic, very tired and struggled with my studies during the first few months of 2011. Once the bleeding stopped I quickly picked up again but the emotional pain was still there. I didn’t want to face getting pregnant for many months afterward, I even developed a real phobia of falling pregnant but by the new year that disappeared.
We still talked of a third baby but I couldn’t let myself feel that I really wanted one more. I couldn’t invest myself emotionally into the effort of trying to fall pregnant when I have to face month after month after of disappointment. I told my husband I was happy to test fate (that is, not using contraception) but that I would only give it a year to 18 months and then I would have to put a stop to testing fate and be happy to have two beautiful children and move on with my life.
Well, just prior to Christmas 2012 we discovered I was pregnant again and this time I felt more ready for it. However, I have found that being pregnant while looking after two young children and moving interstate makes the first trimester quite an ordeal. I have never been this exhausted in my life and I’ve not gained a pound since I became pregnant because eating has been difficult due to constant ‘all-day’ sickness, so goodness knows I’ll be giving birth to a skinny baby.
On top of that my Obstetrician has informed me that it’s highly likely I will have Placenta Accreta (where the placenta embeds too deeply into the uterine wall) in the last trimester and the ultrasound I had earlier this week showed that my placenta is in the worst place possible – right over all my scar tissue from two caesareans and two D&C wounds, as well as partially covering my cervix. However, as yet it hasn’t embedded itself into the uterus but he informed me that this is quite normal for half way through a pregnancy. But I will need to be monitored closely and hopefully by 28-32 weeks we will know for sure if I am dealing with Placenta Accreta or not. If so, I’ve been told I will have an army of specialists in the operating theatre for the caesarean as the bleeding is meant to be horrendous and I’m very likely to need multiple blood transfusions and possibly a hysterectomy, which sound bad but at least they are better than dying which is a possibility if you are unprepared for Placenta Accreta. But as we are as prepared as we can be, the chance of that is minimal now but due to my pancytopenia we still need to be very careful as uncontrollable bleeding is more likely for me.
This picture shows the variations of Placenta Accreta and how far they can embed themselves into the uterine wall. The worst, Percreta actually breaks through the uterine wall and can attach itself to other organs.
So it has been quite a journey to produce a family for us but I’ve been very fortunate that my husband is always supportive and I have many family and friends who have helped me along the way, whether it’s practical help or just willing to listen to the latest installment of our reproductive saga.
Thank you for listening. I hope this story has been either enlightening for you or even of some help if you’re experiencing similar problems yourself.