After 8 years of IVF (numerous laparoscopic surgeries, egg collections and embryo transfers) we are beyond privileged to have had 3 children: 2 in our arms and 1 in our hearts. Sadly our story of infertility sees no end in sight and, we don’t have a rainbow baby on the way, to complete our family.
I know this community feels the toll of fertility treatment all too well. We’re currently in the muddy trenches of the IVF industry while the months roll on like the dark clouds of a storm. If it’s an IVF nightmare, we’ve had it: endless administration, clunky online portals, doubling of effort, stressful mistakes, retelling your upsetting story and being triggered because it’s always different staff, no support in grief or after a traumatic event, never ending bill shock, and hidden costs. They literally harrass you with text messages; to the point it overall reminds me of dealing with Centrelink (Australians will relate).
We lost our third at 9 weeks, named Jewel, due February 2023. Miscarrying my third baby in the first trimester was, and still is, intense trauma, shame, and loss. Both physical and mental sides were so intense. It’s as if we were in a car accident and I didn’t save my child’s life or body.
We were told it would be a heavy period, which for someone with endometriosis, this sounds like normal. However I ended up with clots that spewed onto the bathroom floor. Rushed to the Emergency Department, trained in accidents and injury, doctors were fumbling to prepare me. I held what I thought was placenta tissue (a hard lemon shape) in my hands and without being provided a pan or any understanding as to what to look for, I cried and flushed it. Now, I will never forgive myself for flushing our baby when they could have rested, in the garden near their siblings at home.
I blame myself for all of it, in a mirriad of (totally implausible) ways where “I failed”; not reading and self-educating enough, caffiene, hot showers, broken sleep, stress at work, the full moon etc. The blame evolves through different ruminations all the time, but I can’t be bothered with the willpower of keeping my thoughts in check right now!
We have two beautiful living children who epitomise hope and joy and the reasons why we continue on this horrible and expensive path of IVF treatment, instead of family holidays and spending money on anything inessential. A collision of overwhelming love, gratitude, grief, and exhaustion catches me throughout the day, every day. I can’t concentrate in the moment properly as I am caught in my own thoughts, and crying sad tears and happy tears in the car is a daily thing (why always the car?).
I’m a different person who doesn’t even recognise the girl of my past that lived innocently before all of this. My former self had no idea that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that so many women around me have gone through it quietly. I have tried to talk to family and friends, but it is proving a deeply uncomfortable thing for people to navigate. I openly told everyone at work, and I know they know, but the conversation is always diverted, as quickly and politely as possible. When they saw our sad news on instagram, one friend said he didn’t contact us, because he knew we would be getting inundated with support. We weren’t.
I appreciate you for reading this far.
I know there is a lot to unpack. I think the main message is that my story happens to countless women not just around the world, but all around us every single day. When we share these stories, it highlights the huge amount of work being done and still needed. To advocate for women in their fertility and pregnancy journeys, in what is a perplexing world that mostly doesn’t want to talk about it, or wants to profit from it. I am so grateful for the work of Journey for Jasmine and Project Finding Her Rainbow in bringing a platform for people to share and break down the stigma. If I ever have a rainbow daughter, I would never want her to feel this alone.
Find out more about Project Finding Your Rainbow.
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