An IVF Journey: Day 2 – From bad to worse

Further tests showed that Si had oligospermia, a very low sperm count. The Owens were therefore referred for NHS-funded IVF treatment at Bourn Hall clinic in Colchester, a short drive away from home.

With the severity of Si’s condition, it was necessary for him to undergo a procedure called surgical sperm retrieval (SSR). This is where surgeons retrieve immature sperm from the testes which is then frozen and stored for future treatment.

Si underwent an initial SSR under local anaesthetic in February 2012; after disappointing results, he had a second SSR that June, in hospital under general anaesthetic, where surgeons were able to go deeper. The couple’s IVF treatment commenced soon afterwards.

Here, Claire continues her story…

Day 2: From bad to worse

So that’s definitely it. It’s official. Our IVF cycle didn’t work.

I’m feeling a bit numb, and waiting for the floodgates to open.

I knew that seeing a negative test wouldn’t immediately make me cry, because I’ve already done so much of that this week. I’m sure the tears will come later, but for now I just feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.

The first thing I did when I saw one line instead of a cross on the stick (which didn’t even have the decency to take three minutes to emerge) was look in the mirror and say out loud, “what a waste of f***ing time”.

That’s how it feels at the moment. When IVF doesn’t work, you wonder why you bothered. Five weeks of injections, countless uncomfortable and invasive scans, the pain of egg collection and the false hope of embryo transfer – all for nothing. Will it even be worth doing it a second or third time, or will I just end up feeling like this again and again?

My lovely husband, Si
My lovely husband, Si

My feelings will probably change but right now I just don’t know if I can put myself through it again. I am absolutely gutted. I actually feel almost as bad as I did when we first got our sperm news. It feels like there’s another unbearably long road ahead of us and the thought of travelling down it for another year is a prospect too horrible to contemplate. Because who’s to say that there will be a baby on the way at the end of it? Maybe we’ll be in exactly the same position we’re in now, with nothing more than a few battle scars to show for it. I just don’t know if I can do it.

My only hope is that I don’t feel as bad as this if it fails for a second or even third time – it’s pretty damn hard-core and I’m not sure I’d have the strength to go through it again. I suppose that strength will build back up over time? God I hope so.

I promised my lovely husband (who has been brilliant at stopping me falling off the cliff) that I would make a list of things to be positive about, to try and remove myself from the sadness.

So here goes:

  1. We’re much closer as a result of going through this
  2. We can plan a big holiday now
  3. We can concentrate on getting fit after becoming really lazy
  4. We’ve still got our health
  5. We’ve got more time to save money
  6. We get two more free goes so there is still hope
  7. I know what to expect now which will make it easier
  8. I’m still relatively young so the odds are on my side
  9. I’ve been really well supported by some fabulous friends
  10. I’ve also made some fantastic new friends as a result of going through this process.

So ten positive points. This list isn’t a magic wand, but it does help to put things in perspective a bit. I suppose I need to shift my emphasis from what I haven’t got to what I do have, then hopefully I can start to put myself back together again.

Bloody hard though, isn’t it?

Claire’s IVF journey continues see related posts below.

More information

Claire Owen kindly agreed to share her journey to parenthood as part of National Fertility Awareness Week, to help others know they are not alone in their struggle to conceive and give hope to those who think IVF will never work for them.

If you are experiencing fertility problems or know of someone who is and would like some advice please ring Bourn Hall’s central patient enquiries number – 01954 717 210.

To find out more about National Fertility Awareness Week see their website.

Also if you’ve been inspired by reading Claire’s story and would like to share your own Bourn Hall experience then please do get in touch.

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