This article on Leanne’s story of her journey with fertility problems discusses her experience of infertility treatment.

 Welcome to the fertility section of Kiwi Families. If you have clicked here, you are probably in the middle of the same journey as many of us. The fertility journey is such an emotional roller-coaster and sharing your troubles can help us all. Please do share your stories in the chat room, as the information you have will no doubt help someone about to begin each stage of treatment and help answer the many questions.

We are all in very different stages of treatment. I am considered a “newie” in treatment stages (although at the three year mark it doesn’t feel like it!). In an effort to share as many different sides of the fertility experience, Leanne has offered to share her experiences, which have been very different from my own, and no doubt your experiences. Hopefully hearing different stories will comfort you in the knowledge you are definitely not alone! Take care of yourself and your partner at whatever stage you are at – and best of luck!

“Our fertility journey started the day we decided to start our own wee family, four years ago. “Seems like yesterday”. Like most couples, you think that there will be no problems and that nature will take its course and you will be pregnant soon. After a year we were staring to consider that maybe these things take a bit longer – I had been pregnant before so didn’t really stop to think that we would have a problem. Another year on and it was time to see that doctor. Now I was getting worried, I was 38, time was running out and I thought that it was perhaps hubby’s problem. I think somewhere deep inside I hoped it was his problem and not mine. That would make me feel better if it was, but how would he feel.

We were referred to the Fertility Clinic in Hamilton. It was discovered in a matter of what felt like seconds, but was in actual fact 10 minutes or so, that my tubes were damaged due to an infection earlier on in life and I would need to have them removed before starting treatment. More paper work and the waiting game started with the Public Health system. They responded so much quicker than I thought they would and I was in and out of hospital minus my tubes and mending within a few months. I grieved at not having my tubes as that was it for me – the only way to get pregnant now was IVF.

I now look back and wish we had just taken our time and not felt that we had to have the surgery without first trying other options. Maybe removing just the most damaged tube to see if the other one was okay first. So I grieved, I probably drank a bit much wine here and there and cried bucket loads of tears at the loss of what I see as my woman-hood. Thank goodness for my hubby – he was my rock, talked to me and said it would be alright.

It was so exciting going into the first lot of IVF, but was also very scary as the unknown is always daunting. We had the mindset that this time will work and we will have heaps of eggs and lots of embryos to freeze – and if it doesn’t work we will have enough time to qualify for another publicly funded treatment before I turn 40.

Hubby was the nurse, I the patient. There was no way I could inject myself once a day, never mind the 2 or 3 jabs required daily. For the first injection, I went into a state of shock, I saw the needle and burst into tears and jumped off the bed. That one over, it got easier, as did the thought of what lay ahead…

I had 4 eggs, which produced 2 embryos. We opted for one to put back in and the other one they would keep in the lab to monitor. This one didn’t make the grade to freeze so everything hinged on the wee embie inside me. I was so careful, over careful and had every symptom you could have for being pregnant – I was so excited. The blood test day came and we waited for what felt like an eternity, but the result was NEGATIVE. I cried and cried, I had a headache and just couldn’t pull myself together. A nice hot bath, some panadol and utter exhaustion from all the treatment, the waiting and the results kicked in and I slept for 12 hours solid.

Never one to be down for too long, we decided to wait until after New Years to start the next round, I was 40 now. We knew what was ahead of us, so there were no dramas and we went into auto pilot. Things took longer this time and the treatment was a lot different as well. I had a total of 4 scans and every time things weren’t looking good, the Gonal F dose was put up and on pickup we had only 4, then 3, then 2 eggs, so we had the 2 embies put back.

We plodded on through the days; I didn’t hold any hope this time. One of the doctors had said to me that because of my age the eggs are not good quality and that is why I didn’t have much success. Talk about shot down.

In my circle of friends I have 5 who conceived after turning 40 and hubby’s mum was 40 when he was conceived. I had hoped that I could too. But it was not to be, and another NEGATIVE test resulted. We thought we would just wait another few days and take a pregnancy test ourselves as they could be wrong. Unfortunately they were right… we were not pregnant.

We have learnt so much about ourselves through this journey. The whole conception process has blown us away, oh how ignorant we were. We have met some lovely people throughout this journey, our support group here in Tauranga is amazing and I can’t wait to be an honorary aunt to a fantastic couple who have succeeded with IVF. It gives me so much hope in the whole process. It does work, and that is what gives us the faith to try again.

So now we are contemplating paying for one treatment ourselves. We are researching every avenue and every treatment option. I am very, very scared that it will end in more disappointment, but we feel we need to give this one more go before we accept that it was never going to be”.

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