As if IVF isn’t stressful enough, try doing IVF during a global pandemic! Honestly, I just haven’t had time to write anything resembling a diary for this round, but I thought I’d try and capture some thoughts.
I knew last weekend that COVID-19 was closing in on us. I was desperate to get to cycle day 1, given that once I was there it would be less likely that my cycle would be cancelled. My period was of course late! Which isn’t unexpected, last time I had a natural cycle after my IVF rounds it was late too. I had a close call when on Sunday our Premier announced that he would be moving to close non-essential services, fearing a full lock down, I thought my cycle was done. The next morning, I awoke to the news that ‘non-essential services’ was social businesses like bars, cafes and restaurants. My cycle was on. Finally, after a false start Monday, my period arrived on Tuesday. I was so relieved. I booked in my scan and bloods. I started my Decapeptyl on Wednesday morning and then by lunchtime I was plunged into the unknown again. The government announced that elective surgeries would be cancelled to save on Personal Protective Equipment in preparation for the peak of the medical emergency. Which I 100% understand. I was a nurse. I want for our medical staff to have everything they need and more. But the ups and downs of yes, no, yes, no was a lot to manage. I called my clinic on Wednesday and was told to keep going with my cycle and that the doctors were meeting later that evening and we’d be told on Thursday morning whether or not cycles would be cancelled. Wednesday night I started on my Gonal F. Friday afternoon rolled around and still no word. I eventually called my nurse who reassured me that my cycle was continuing. The relief was palpable. Not to mention that by cycle day 4, I was a wreck of hormones. I know that at anytime I could face the end of this cycle again. I’m just feeling so incredibly grateful that I have been allowed to continue – and so incredibly sad for all the women who have had their cycles cancelled.
This cycle is a flare cycle. It was recommended after my 3rd cycle with poor outcomes (my only decent cycle, with 7 eggs retrieved, was my first cycle in August). My last cycle was a down regulation cycle, but I did not respond with a low number of follicles and very low estrogen on day 9 of stims. The idea of a flare cycle is that the Decapeptyl, when given from day two when I also start stimming, should boost my bodies own natural follicle stimulating hormone to hopefully give me more follicles. I’ve also changed my follicle stimulating hormone protocol. I’ve always been on a combination of Gonal-F and Menopur, split between morning and evening. This time I’m on Gonal-F 450 at night – it’s a lot of Gonal-F. The side effects have hit early this cycle. The first dose of Gonal- F left me nauseated about 15 minutes after the shot, which carried on for the next 24 hours. I’ve had a pretty constant headache and the fatigue is extreme from very early on. I’m hoping that this means this protocol is doing what it needs to do. Last cycle I remember driving to my scan on day 9 wondering if it had worked because I wasn’t exhausted yet. So, while I don’t feel great, I am happy to have side effects to reassure me at this time.
I also decided this cycle to post about it online from the start. The community of TTC women online is the most supportive, wonderful community. They also just understand how you feel. It’s not that I have any bad feelings or feel unsupported by my friends and family, but doing this alone is difficult. Ordinarily you’re sharing the highs and lows with someone who is as invested as you are. But doing it alone, although I know I have ‘support’, it just isn’t the same because it’s not their journey and my friends and families own journey (families, jobs, ups and downs) is their priority. And it’s hard for people to understand the level of emotion you feel while jacked up on hormones while dealing with all of this, unless you’ve been there. I may delay pregnancy announcements to tell family and close friends, but for now I’m sharing in real time my ups and downs of this IVF cycle. It’s really nice to also have a few women cycling with me at the same time. There has been more than a few ‘what is your clinic doing’ messages back and forth.
Faith in my Journey
Despite all the uncertainly, I do feel a peace. I have felt God so strongly throughout. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be – whatever the outcome. Last Sunday, I was watching two of my very best friends lead worship in a streamed ‘socially distanced’ service. The song they sang was ‘It is Well’ by Bethel. I wrote a post about this song and it’s influence on my journey back in December 2018. What I left out of that post (because I had not shared about my miscarriage yet) was that when I was sitting at my friend and mentors funeral, listening to this song, his final message to trust in God’s plan for my life, it was just 4 days after my D&C. It was 4 days since my relationship ended. Everything I wanted for my life, every plan, every dream I held close was gone. I had very little hope. I had nothing; I could not see how I would ever reach those dreams again. Emptiness and pain were overwhelming. I could not see anything else but my grief. As I heard these words again last Sunday, I felt God’s gentle love around me reminding me of the promises he made in those darkest moments. ‘And far be it from me to not believe. Even when my eyes can’t see. And this mountain that’s in front of me. Will be thrown into the midst of the sea’. Even at my lowest I still had faith; it was small – man was it challenged – but these words were God’s promise to me. This song is my anchor through this IVF cycle. Living under this constant cloud of my cycle ending I just keep finding myself singing ‘So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name’… not consciously, it’s like my heart is singing.
I shared a few weeks ago about how I was seeing butterflies. I have been seeing a little white butterfly multiple times a day for over a month. So much so that I looked up the significance of butterflies. This is what I found;
- They symbolise ability to go through change gracefully and with lightness
- They speak to transformation
- They signify the earthy becoming spiritual
- They represent vibrant joy, creativity, rebirth, change, potential and the ability to experience wonder
- The butterfly may emerge in your life to remind you that everything is going to be ok and to trust in the process.
On Friday when I was waiting to hear about my cycle, while working from home, I must’ve seen a little white butterfly 40 times. Each time bringing with in the reminder ‘everything will be ok’. I’m so grateful for these messages of love and hope during this journey.