30-odd years ago the first “test-tube” baby was born. Over the ensuing years many thousands of babies have been gifted to couples who may otherwise have remained childless.
Science and innovation gave us our first child. Anyone who has been through the IVF process knows just how miraculous a pregnancy is – let alone one that was conceived outside the body.
We had been trying for a while to get a little sibling for our three-year-old. Again we had no luck. Unfortunately you only get one round of IVF on the taxpayer, so until we got the offer from some very, very kind relatives, it didn’t look like we would be adding to our little family (a “round” of IVF won’t give you much change from $15,000).
We had our first meetings with the specialist towards the end of last year and during the school holidays we spent some of our time in Christchurch getting the necessary things together. Visits were made, hormones were taken, eggs were harvested and combined with sperm, bundles of cells resulted.
This time, unlike last, we had over 10 eggs harvested – every one of them a possible little person. From these eggs however, just one viable embryo made it through to the stage of being strong enough to implant. In an effort to get my wife’s body back to the right hormone levels for implantation, the 5-day-old bundle was put on ice for a couple of months.
At the end of March we returned to the clinic to have our wee embryo implanted.
The thing about IVF, and if you’ve been through you will know, it is utterly unlike becoming “with child” in the usual way. If, as we did, you have been going to a range of appointments over a number of months, it’s very hard to keep what you are doing on the downlow. When you get pregnant the usual way people don’t often tell until the 12 week period when the know things are mostly ok. Sometimes that doesn’t quite work because there are those people out there that have some kind of all seeing sixth sense about pregnancy and can pick it by looking at a woman.
When you are doing IVF you don’t have the luxury of waiting. Once things get implanted, the wait is on and everybody knows. When they see you, they will ask you how it’s all going.
The main follow-up appointment following implantation is the blood test to confirm pregnancy. Ours was last Monday. It came back negative.
Out of 14 eggs, one fertilised to the point it could be implanted, and that wee embryo didn’t make it.
I’ve been sitting here for five minutes or so trying to think of words to adequately express what this has left me feeling. I’m staring at the screen with a definite sense of hollowness. You can’t help thinking about what might have been.
I just wanted to give thanks to my beautiful wife who has worked so very hard to bring another little person into our family.
I love you utterly with all my heart.
If you are wondering why this post is called IVF5, you can read about our last IVF journey (1-4) here.
This is our wee embryo.