This photograph was taken exactly twelve months ago, a photograph in which my heart was breaking.
A year ago today it felt like my world was falling apart. We were coming to the end of our IVF two week wait and I had just started bleeding. In all honesty we had suspected for a few days it hadn’t worked as I hadn’t had a single pregnancy symptom but it still didn’t prepare me for it actually being over. It wasn’t until the next day that we had the official confirmation that our cycle had failed when the pregnancy test came back negative.
You always hear the success stories of IVF and although you know the odds are hugely stacked against you, you still hope you will be one of the lucky few that it works for. When you are going through it, it’s inconceivable to think of anything but a successful outcome.
The daily injections, the appointments, the egg harvesting and I won’t go into details of what you do with a progesterone pessary, you tell yourself it will all be worth it. The physical process of IVF is nothing compared to the emotional battering you will take along the way. I never realised before at how many points it can all go wrong.
There were a lot of tears on this day a year ago, a feeling that we would never be a family of four, that our little man would never be a big brother. It felt like the life I had pictured for myself was slipping through our fingers. I’m not sure that I could have gone through another cycle of IVF, I don’t think that I would have had the strength to cope with another fail.
Twelve months ago if someone had told me that a year later I would be sat here, six months pregnant, weeks away from meeting our second son I wouldn’t have believed them. When you have tried so long for a baby you start to feel that it will never be your turn. Every pregnancy announcement wounds you that little bit more and it’s something you become an expert at hiding.
I won’t ever forget the three years we spent trying for our second child. It was the toughest time in my life and often drove me and my husband apart, before bringing us back together. Despite the tears and heartache of those many, many months we both clung onto a little bit of hope that there would somehow be a happy ending.
If you are reading this and you are still in that place, I know it hurts, I know there are days when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry, and I know that you will slap a smile on your face and fend off the questions from well-meaning friends and family about whether or not it’s time for another. You will feel that life is bloody unfair, and feel frustration that your body can’t repeat what it has done before.
I would spend hours googling for secondary infertility success stories. I know for some people they hate to hear those tales of how a friend of friend tried for 10 years and when they eventually gave up trying a week later they were pregnant. I didn’t hate them, they gave me comfort. They gave me hope that miracles do happen and that we still had a chance for a second child. I longed to be one of those success stories.
In just under three months time, I’m hoping that I will be.