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
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