IVF treatment is largely female-centric. For several months the woman has to take oral medication, inject herself daily (twice daily for one stage) and be generally poked, prodded and scanned. Not the most pleasant of experiences at a time when some major internal chemistry is going on.
All the man can do is be supportive and try not to aggravate or get in the way of his partner (any male reading this will know that is almost completely impossible at the best of times).
Have I stated yet just how much I love my wife for going through this with me? Throughout this whole process she has been so strong, brave and positive, especially when it came to things like self-injections. I hate needles.
Timing is very important and certain things have to be done at certain times. Everything is monitored and regulated. When you get the call that you have to be in Wellington the next day for a scan or egg collection, then you HAVE to be there.
That is what happened to us. My wife went for a routine test on a Friday and we got a call that afternoon that we had to be in Wellington on Saturday morning for a scan and possibly the business-end of proceedings. Cue a 400km evening sprint.
The next day revealed that things were on track and we would have another scan on Monday and work from there. We ended up spending almost a week in Wellington (there are a phenomenal number things you can do for free or next to nothing there, by the way), culminating in the collection of the eggs my wife’s treatment had generated and a sample from yours truly with more than enough swimmers to fertilize the eggs.
We returned home the next day and got a call to say that almost all of the eggs (there were well over a dozen – no pun intended) had fertilised (YAY!) That may sound like a very positive result, but as each day passes, the number of eggs that successfully fertilize reduces by roughly half to a third.
We would be looking at hopefully transferring one of these eggs back into where it belonged the following Monday.
A few days later, we were in Wellington again to have our fertilized egg transferred back into more natural surroundings – a much easier and gentler procedure than removing them and we drove home the same day. Now it was a case of sitting and waiting.
The test to see if everything worked is 14 days from the date of transplant. Waiting is the worst part of anything. Your mind plays through every possible option (and a few impossible ones, just to keep you awake at night) elation, despair, uncertainty, will it, won’t it? After managing to put it to the back of our minds for the most part for 14 days, my wife went for her pregnancy test in the morning and I arrived home from work that afternoon to wait with her to find out the results. I felt literally sick with anticipation.
We were sitting on the couch when the phone went. My wife answered it, but held the phone so I could hear it too. The test results were in and…..
WE WERE PREGNANT!!!
All that time, all the pills, the injections, the sharp bits in tender areas, the hugs, the tears, thousands of kilometres and similar amounts in travel expenses suddenly evaporated in comparison. From odds of zero to a very definite one, something that had seemed heartbreakingly impossible two years earlier had been turned on its head and was now very much a reality.
As I write this we are seven months into our pregnancy. Everything is about numbers once again: two months / 8 weeks / 56 days remain until we have an actual baby of our own. Someone to look after, love, guide, care for and worry about for the rest of our lives. If anything, it’s scarier than the process we went through to get here. Scans, midwife visits and antenatal classes all help establish things and inform us, but you can’t help but feel that once baby arrives everything will go out the window.
It’s been a massive roller coaster of a ride and the ride is about to get even wilder and longer. Fortunately we have a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends around us. It will be very interesting to see where the next stage takes us. Doubtlessly you will read about it here.