This post is part three in an extraordinary series of four posts which outlines our beautiful guest writer Nicole’s IVF journey. If you haven’t read the first two emotive posts, then you can do so here and here. We hope that you continue to join us as we explore in-depth what she went through both physically and emotionally from the start to the finish of this process, and we truly hope that her story can give you some hope and help on your own journey.
Recovery from my surgery was rough. Having the fluid from the ruptured cysts drained and yet again more endometriosis removed.
I was knocked down with infections, which needed some pretty strong antibiotics to treat. And naturally, because I didn’t already have enough to deal with, I was one of the “lucky” few people who wound up with a reaction to the treatment. My reaction was ending up with a degree of deafness in my right ear. See, “lucky” right?
Please forgive me if I ignore you sometimes, or stare at you blankly when you talk to me, but I probably didn’t hear you. At all.
My husband will tell you that this drives him absolutely bonkers. I am forever saying, “Huh”, “What?”, or “Really I didn’t hear you, what did you say”?!? Although on a positive note, it means that I can’t really hear him complaining about it, so…BONUS!
After surgery, I also went into urinary retention (I couldn’t pee).
I am a nurse, and nurses ROCK, however I had been stuck with a crappy one after my surgery, who mis-managed me post operatively. She cleverly (not-so-cleverly) decided that she knew best and decided she didn’t want to listen to any of my symptoms, the consequences of which led to the urinary retention.
Can you imagine what that feels like, to not be able to pee, but still needing to go??
To say that my surgeon was annoyed would be a massive under-statement, and I could hear a few choice words being flung at her in the corridors that day. I ended up being discharged home, but with a catheter, which needed to remain for two weeks.
I remember the day I got home from hospital clearly. We had already planned to celebrate the AFL Grand Final day at our house, and even though I was struggling and tired, I agreed for it to go ahead. I needed a bit of distraction to keep my mind off things anyway…
But I ended up just feeling humiliated.
There I was trying to have conversations with friends and family, all the while holding a bag filled with my pee. People would joke about it, but I just wanted to hide. Hmmm…maybe this party wasn’t such a great idea after all?? But I got through it. I had to.
A few rocky weeks passed before I could meet with my specialist.
I was on a rollercoaster of ups and downs during that time, and once again I found myself crying a lot, and continuously wondering “why me”? But I was actually starting to feel better both physically and emotionally. My recovery from the endometriosis surgery meant that I could finally begin focusing on the next part of my journey – on my upcoming IVF treatment.
The day finally came when we met with our wonderful specialist, along with his amazing nurses and the staff at Monash IVF. We were given a run down on what to expect, as well as the in’s and out of IVF. It was actually quite surprising for both my husband and I to note that the whole IVF process was fairly fast. It was roughly only 4 week turnaround from the first injection!
However, before we could start the journey we had to participate in a couple’s therapy session which is a requirement to participating in the IVF process. This was done to ensure we understood the stressors that IVF could put on our relationship, both emotionally and financially, and could deal with it accordingly.
We were also required to get a police check. Who would ever think they would need to be “checked” out prior to being “allowed” to have a baby??!!
Once that process was completed and approved, we were able to finally start our IVF journey. Well, nearly. Suddenly new questions were running around our heads on a continuous loop. How were we ever going to be able to afford this? Take out a loan? Work 3 jobs? That overwhelming feeling came rushing back, along with the tears.
How were we ever going to make this work?
I called my parents to fill them in on how our appointment went, and what we needed to do from there. I didn’t even have to ask. They knew we could not afford the type of money we needed, so they offered to help us.
I can’t even begin to put into words just how amazing these people are. There aren’t enough in the English language to express just how grateful we are for them, and much love we feel for them. They (along with my husband’s parents) had already given so much emotional support to myself and my husband, and yet now they were also selflessly offering to pay for our treatment to give us the chance of becoming parents. I think every day about how lucky are we to have them.
After I asked “are you sure” for the billionth time, my parents finally convinced us to let them help, and we could not have been more grateful. I began to smile. It felt like I hadn’t smiled in so long. I hadn’t had a reason to. But now there was a reason to smile, and to hope. Let’s do this, let’s have a baby!
On August 15th 2014 at 6am, it all began.
I stood there in my kitchen with my injection in my hand, breaking out in a nervous sweat.
I have told my patients so many times in the past that it doesn’t hurt a bit. To just do it quickly and get it over and done with. Looking back, I’m surprised they hadn’t told me to get stuffed!
Because there is nothing more daunting than having to stick a sharp object like a needle into your own body.
The needles were so fine that they didn’t really hurt, just a bit of a sting, and I knew this, but it still didn’t make the whole process any easier.
As the days went on my belly was becoming increasingly swollen and bruised, which were common side effects. Then it was time to increase my dose and begin having two separate injections daily.
I was over it. I was sore, tired and emotional. I can’t describe it in any way other than it sucked. It sucked a lot.
However my contact nurse was amazing throughout the process. Over phone calls and through emails she provided us with so much emotional support. She understood that roller coaster of emotions that I was on. Somehow she made me feel a little bit more ‘normal’ even when I thought I was completely losing the plot, and no longer able to cope.
After nearly two weeks of injecting every morning, we went and had an ultrasound to see how I was responding to the treatment. Finally some positive news!
We were given the go ahead to have my eggs retrieved.
I nervously awaited the phone call from my nurse to have one last injection, called the trigger injection, and this has to be taken at the exact time you are told. The aim of these injections is to stimulate the follicles in hope they produce some eggs. I felt some relief when the call finally came, but there was still a long way to go.
I was admitted into the Day Procedures Unit at the Epworth hospital in Hawthorn, to get my little eggies retrieved. My husband went off to the ‘men’s’ area and dropped off his own sample, before returning alongside my mum, to support me and to help calm my nerves.
Before I knew it I was waking up in recovery. It was over already! The procedure was very quick which surprised me. And I was expecting to be in a lot of pain afterwards, but it was nothing a heat pack and a couple of Panadol couldn’t fix. Now it was time for the scientists to get to work and for us to wait in hope of receiving some good news!
Then finally the news came. We had five fertilised eggs! FIVE!
A few hadn’t made it after the retrieval, but I didn’t care. I still had 5 potential chances of having a baby, and whilst I didn’t want to get my hopes up, I was so happy and so relieved. It was the best news that I had received in such a long time.
I was booked in for one of those eggs to be transferred back into my uterus, which was to be in 5 days’ time.
My husband was unable to come to the transfer due to work commitments, so my lovely sister-in-law came with me for support and held my hand as we watched on the screen my little embryo being put back into my uterus. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, and I will never forget it.
Now, we just had to hope that my little embryo would stick. The waiting game then began… It would be two weeks until we found out if we were successful or not.
It was the longest two weeks of my life.
We hope you join us as we continue to follow Nicole and her journey through this series of posts regarding IVF.
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