One cou­ple’s IVF diary

For months we have fol­lowed Vic­to­ria and David Pr­ever as they un­der­went a course of fer­til­ity treat­ment. This week, Vic­to­ria re­veals the re­sults of the first round — and her com­plex emo­tional re­ac­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

It’s over. I didn’t make it to the end of my twoweek wait. I know it’s a bit dra­matic, but I’m tear­ful as I type. All that hope and ex­cite­ment is gone and we’re in mis­er­able shock. My tummy cramps weren’t our tiny em­bryos mak­ing them­selves at home, they were my body pre­par­ing to ex­pel them. Now they’re gone and all I have is a ridicu­lous ul­tra­sound pic­ture of a cloud of liq­uid.

Look away of you’d rather not read the gory de­tails. On Mon­day, I started spot­ting — which means bleed­ing a lit­tle. I wasn’t too wor­ried as, hav­ing trawled the in­ter­net for preg­nancy symp­toms, I knew this could hap­pen. I called Dr Big Hair (our spe­cial­ist) on his mo­bile to ask if I should be wor­ried. He was con­fi­dent this was “im­plan­ta­tion bleed­ing” and sug­gested I do a test the next day. Our hopes were raised a lit­tle.

Later, my lovely acupunc­tur­ist lis­tened, passed tis­sues and held my hand as I shared my fears. She is one of my big­gest rocks at the mo­ment. I went on­line. I’m not sure how any­one sur­vived IVF be­fore the in­ter­net. I have a net­work of bud­dies go­ing through this and a host of web­site no­tice­boards packed with in­for­ma­tion and other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences. With­out those, I’d go mad.

On Mon­day night, David and I ar­gued. He wouldn’t (or couldn’t) en­ter­tain my fears and in­sisted I stay pos­i­tive. I needed a “there, there” hug and not tough love. I hardly slept.

With­out be­ing too graphic, on Tues­day, while David was still at work, the spot­ting turned to flood­ing. I called the doc­tor and the clinic — des­per­ate for them to make it bet­ter. Could I take any­thing? Do any­thing? Stop do­ing some­thing? They were kind, but hon­est. It was all over.

Dr Big Hair checked if I was alone — was there some­one who could be with me? I rang my mother to let her know and for a bit of mummy sym­pa­thy. She has been pretty up­set by this and I some­times won­der if I should pro­tect her and keep more to my­self.

When David came home, he held me while I cried. I had work to do and wanted to keep go­ing, but he in­sisted we go out for a walk and a cup of tea. We sat, shell-shocked, in a lo­cal café. In the last few weeks, this has taken over our lives. In­jec­tions, pes­saries, scans and clinic ap­point­ments have filled our ev­ery day. Now that’s all gone.

My cop­ing mech­a­nism is dis­trac­tion. I get on with life, so I went to work Tues­day night. With swollen red eyes, I chat­ted and smiled with the pupils in my cook­ing class. I felt a bit bet­ter for tak­ing my mind off the mis­ery, but when David came and picked me up, it rolled back in, like a dark cloud. One of my in­ter­net bud­dies — an­other first-timer — wrote in her blog of her pos­i­tive preg­nancy test. Why her? Why not me? Teach­ing and run­ning cook­ing team-build­ing ses­sions have kept me go­ing this week. No time to mull things over.

We’ve slith­ered all the way down the big­gest snake back to square one. Now I un­der­stand why peo­ple say IVF is dif­fi­cult. It’s not the phys­i­cal treat­ment that’s hard. It’s not pleas­ant, but it’s bear­able and you cope with it as a means to an end. More than an end, the most happy end­ing I can think of.

What’s re­ally, re­ally hard is the ex­pec­ta­tion that this gives you and the hope you in­vest in it. You have to hope it will work, but the pain of fail­ure is un­bear­able.

We’re go­ing back to see Dr Big Hair to find his view. I’m sure he’ll tell us it’s just one of those things. Only na­ture can de­cide who gets to hang on to their em­bryos and who ends their twoweek wait in a moun­tain of sod­den tis­sues. Still, I want to find out what next. When can we try again? I’m not beaten… yet. Vic­to­ria Pr­ever is a chef and cook­ing coach. Her hus­band David hosts the break­fast show on 102.2 Smooth FM in Lon­don

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