Saturday, 17 May 2014

Our Story

So, the long and short of it was that we needed fertility treatment. 

Firstly we embarked on IUI (inter-uterine insemination). We did 8 rounds of IUI in total, most of which were back-to-back, over the course of a year. 12 exhausting, draining, emotional, expensive, stressful months when every one of our treatments failed. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we had to move on to IVF.

Like most people I had my own perception of IVF and to be honest I was absolutely dreading it. All you really hear about is how many cycles couples have had to do in order to get pregnant, so to say I was skeptical about our first is an understatement. 

I started a programme of drugs to firstly halt my own natural cycle, and then to stimulate my ovaries to produce as many follicles as possible, each one potentially containing an egg. I had an ultrasound scan every other day to check how many follicles were growing and measure how big they were. When they were nearly ready to pop I went in to the clinic to have the eggs removed. Or so I thought...

What had actually happened was that I had reacted early to the final injection that I had taken the night before, causing the follicles to pop before I got to the clinic. I was sedated for the egg collection so I didn't know anything about what was going on, but was told afterwards that the consultant started the procedure and the 20 or so follicles I'd had the day before had ruptured and were empty.

That could have meant abandoning the whole cycle, but luckily our consultant was able to alter the procedure and after a lot of looking around he found 7 follicles that were still intact, each containing an egg. 3 days later 3 of the eggs had fertilised and become embryos. We decided to have 2 embryos implanted and freeze the remaining 1. Then we waited 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test.

The morning of the test I woke in a foul mood. I'd had some bleeding from around day 9 after the embryos were put back, so I really had no hope whatsoever that the treatment had worked. I grumpily did the test and left it on top of the toilet, not even wanting to look at the result. As I was brushing my teeth my husband came in to the bathroom and glanced at the test. In the mirror I saw his eyes widen in disbelief and I knew I was pregnant.

5 anxious weeks later we had our first scan and saw 2 tiny flickering heartbeats. Crazy.

So you know the rest of this story; I had twins and started writing a blog to myself. The end? Not quite...

For me there was always a feeling that the journey was unfinished. I often thought about the embryo in the freezer and so 3 years after the initial treatment we decided that we would investigate putting it back. We were told that the chances of success with an FET (frozen embryo transfer) were less than a fresh IVF cycle, but that as our embryo was good quality it was worth a shot. Once again I started taking drugs to halt my cycle and booked in to have the embryo transferred. We got a call that morning to say that it had defrosted successfully and all was looking good. The transfer was very straight forward and overall the experience was a great deal less stressful than the last time. Then we waited 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test.

It's funny, but this time I knew that it had worked. I remember sitting on the sofa thinking "well, clearly I'm pregnant", but I've no idea what gave me that idea. This time when I took the test and climbed back into bed I barely needed to look at it before I passed it to my husband and we both started giggling. 

5 weeks later (and a sleepless night) we were more than a little relieved to see just the one tiny heartbeat flickering. In all honesty if it had been twins again I would have been devastated!

So, there you go: one (nearly disastrous) cycle of IVF, 3 embryos and 3 babies who are sort-of-triplets, born 3 years apart.


  1. Wow, it sounds like a roller coaster of emotions but ended in 3 babies, what a fantastic outcome. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Mrs R

    Just catching up on your latest musings which I have read with pleasure and amusement as always. Reading your latest post gives me a perfect picture of how content and complete you obviously feel with your family. I am also so happy and pleased to hear of such a positive fertility story.

    It's your confidence in talking about your fertility journey that has really struck me this time.

    I don't know what it is about fertility treatment and multiples for me but the topic and experience has always seemed to put me on the defensive.

    Our story: we had IUI. Once. It worked.

    I knew this would be my only pregnancy so

    1) I was really, really, really hoping I'd be having twins (two VERY obvious blobs at the 6 week ultrasound: yip, yip, yippeeee!!!) and

    2) I really, really, really wanted to savour every pregnancy moment (including morning sickness hell)

    When it came to 'fessing up' about how I came to be carrying more than one, I've never been one for subterfuge. At work, I was completely open about having had IUI (intra uterine insemination). It also helped me to be firm about putting my health first with my boss:

    it hadn't been easy to reach the point of pregnancy for us
    twins meant a higher risk pregnancy
    there was no way on earth I would be putting my one and only pregnancy at risk for the sake of work

    But after a while, I did begin to question just how open I ought to be. After the initial congratulations, and before my honest explanations kicked in, I began to question some people's motives for wanting to know whether twins ran in the family.

    Honestly? I felt like people were actually wanting to make a personal judgement about whether we had 'cheated' at having twins by having had fertility treatment!!??? As if parents who had conceived twins naturally were somehow more superior to those who had had some level of assistance.

    I confess that I was once so incensed, so insulted, so irritated by the question of the natural/assisted conception of my twins that I actually experimented with lying about it and brazenly denied I'd had any assistance at all. Eeeeek!

    I hate lying.

    But on this occasion I was just so gauled by the personal and intrusive implication of the question. I hated being in the position where I had to confirm or deny natural/assisted conception.

    Getting pregnant seems so straight forward until you realise it's just not happening for you. It's bad enough that you're dealing with all sorts of inner turmoil about your ability to reproduce without having to deal with other people's preconceptions too. Some people can just be so blinking RUDE!

    When I think about myself as the mother of two beautiful little girls the first thing I think is 'lucky, lucky, lucky'. I still often gaze with grateful wonderment at these two funny little rascals who have come into our lives and I never, ever forget how precious a gift conception is.

    We are lucky to have what we have, however it came about.

  3. Hi, I have just read through all your blogs whilst being signed off in early pregnancy for nausea and bleeding - it has been enlightening, as I am a little overwhelmed by how we will cope. At 8 weeks pregnant, I have already been asked by 2 A&E staff if it was natural or IVF - I guess there will be a lot more of that to come!!

    Well done for such a down to earth, helpful enlightening way of putting across some of the difficulties you face and how you have overcome them :-)

    1. Hi Laura, wow - you've read EVERYTHING??! You deserve a medal just for that! I hope your pregnancy continues drama-free. If you'd like to message me about anything (bearing in mind that I'm completely NOT an expert) let me know and I'll email you.

      Mrs R x

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