One cou­ple’s IVF diary

Vic­to­ria and David Pr­ever want chil­dren, but na­ture is prov­ing unco-oper­a­tive. So the cou­ple have em­barked on a course of fer­til­ity treat­ment. This week, Vic­to­ria dares to hope as a pos­si­ble preg­nancy gets a step nearer

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES/ -

We’re al­most there. To­day — five months af­ter hear­ing we wouldn‘t be able to have chil­dren with­out med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion, 17 weeks af­ter first see­ing our spe­cial­ist, the charm­ing and very kind Dr “Big Hair”, and 35 days af­ter the first hor­monal “sniff” — two fer­tilised em­bryos are to be re­turned to my uterus. Two mi­cro­scopic bun­dles of our com­bined cells, which we des­per­ately hope will stay and thrive inside me.

My emo­tions are mixed. I am one of life’s pes­simists. Good news is al­ways a pleas­ant sur­prise. My hus­band, the op­ti­mist, knows — and re­minds me daily — that we must be­lieve this is go­ing to work. The mind is a pow­er­ful tool in our fight for fer­til­ity.

This morn­ing, while I shower and dress, I’m al­ready bat­tling the neg­a­tive voice in my head. Like that grem­lin in those ra­dio ad­verts for lit­er­acy classes, the voice is re­peat­ing: “This isn’t go­ing to work, this isn’t go­ing to work.”

I try to think pos­i­tively. At my pre-trans­fer acupuncture ses­sion — with tiny nee­dles in my head (yes, my head!), legs and arms, I re­peat to my­self that this is go­ing to hap­pen, our em­bryos are go­ing to im­plant and grow into our ba­bies. And just in case that doesn’t work, I’m wear­ing the (now lucky) socks I wore for the suc­cess­ful egg har­vest. I’m also tak­ing a sports watch — the last birth­day gift to me from my late fa­ther. He died less than three years ago and I’ve dreamed about him more of­ten lately. Will this watch mean he’s look­ing out us to­day?

David drives us to the clinic. This trans­fer pro­ce­dure must be car­ried out with my blad­der full, so I’m swig­ging from a bot­tle of min­eral wa­ter. Ad­vised to drink plenty dur­ing the treat­ment, I con­sume two litres a day any­way.

Af­ter our fre­quent vis­its to the clinic and the odd tantrum, we’re well known to the re­cep­tion­ist — who we sus­pect is a JC reader. We are all smiles and ex­cite­ment. This might be our last wait in this too-familiar room.

Dr Big Hair ar­rives — late as usual — and we’re taken up­stairs and ush­ered into a treat­ment room. I’m al­ready strip­ping off when they tell us to sit down. The jovial “end-of-term” at­mos­phere sud­denly turns into some­thing more for­mal. Fa­tima the em­bry­ol­o­gist (in green scrubs and car­ry­ing a clip­board) comes in and con­firms our full names and dates of birth. Sat­is­fied we’re the right re­cip­i­ents, she re­wards us with the news that we have three first-class em­bryos.

Flanked by Dr Big Hair and the nurse, she asks how many we want trans­ferred. The max­i­mum is two. Dr Big Hair ex­plains the po­ten­tial risk of twins if two are im­planted. David and I look at each other. Sur­pris­ingly, we haven’t dis­cussed that. I ask if our chances would be re­duced if we opt for just one. They would be. Then there’s no choice — two it is. The third will be frozen for fu­ture use. Does our fam­ily al­ready ex­ist in three test tubes?

They close a cur­tain. I strip off and settle my­self on the stir­rup bed. On goes the search light, the ul­tra­sound jelly and the ul­tra­sound ma­chine. My uterus ap­pears on the screen. I chit-chat with the lovely nurse, David sits silently con­cen­trat­ing while Dr Big Hair guides the catheter in. A sec­ond em­bry­ol­o­gist brings in our em­bryos and asks us to re­peat our names and dates of birth.

The pro­ce­dure is over in a mat­ter of min­utes. The em­bryos are so tiny, they’re in­vis­i­ble — all we can see via the ul­tra­sound ma­chine is the so­lu­tion they’re in. We leave, clutch­ing an ul­tra­sound im­age of the cloud of fluid in my uterus. Al­ready the cluck­ing Jewish mother, I am made by David to wait while he fetches the car. He doesn’t want me walk­ing too far and he’s al­ready fret­ting about twins.

Our ba­bies might al­ready be be­gin­ning to im­plant inside me, but it’s too much to imag­ine that I could be preg­nant in two weeks’ time. Our lev­els of hope are at their high­est so far.

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