From TTC to IVF

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My journey to conceiving our  3 kids was relatively straightforward, I don’t under estimate how lucky that makes me. Even ‘trying’ for 4 or 5 months was stressful, I can only imagine how emotional and all consuming a longer journey must be.

Here Chloe Bryne shines a light on the shift from TTC to going down the line of IVF:


  • I’m Chloë. Since finally becoming a mum I have really felt the need to talk about stuff. Stuff that affects me now, stuff that has affected me in the past couple of years, the same sort of ‘stuff’ that affects thousands of other women just like me who want to be mums, or have just become mums.

  • I now have a beautiful, twenty month old son (Buddy), but like everyone, I went on a journey to get to where I am.

  • I’ve felt a bit alone at times with what I’ve gone through over the last four years, and it would have been nice to hear/read a voice I really identified with.

  • I know IVF and trying to conceive are not only a tricky subject for those going through it, but also for those around them who don’t know what is ‘OK’ to ask/not ask.

  • Here is my list, maybe you’ll identify with it, or perhaps it will help you understand what your friend/relative might be going through.

  • Despite saying it may take a while, you assume deep down that you are going to get pregnant STRAIGHT away when you stop using contraception.

  • You really will think you have every pregnancy symptom going for the first couple of months of trying.

  • You will spend a lot of money on ovulation sticks and the right, ahem, ‘lube’, and your partner will initially think all this sex is bloody fantastic. Until it gets to the point where you are both just into getting it over and done with ASAP

  • You will gradually become more confused, upset and disillusioned with each period each month.

  • You’ll spend a long time wondering what the hell you are doing wrong.

  • You get to a point where you would actually be more surprised if you WERE pregnant each month than not.

  • You will wonder how people who do everything they ‘shouldn’t’  be doing manage to get pregnant, when you are doing it all by the book and can’t.

  • You will smile through gritted teeth when yet again someone tells you they ‘only did it once’ and got pregnant, and you might have to take yourself into the loo and have a little frustrated cry when yet another friend announces she is pregnant.

  • You will hate yourself for becoming one of those women who has to take herself to the loo and cry when she hears someone is pregnant!

  • You will start to feel bizarrely shocked every time you hear of someone getting preggers.

  • You will do a lot of pretending that you’re ‘not sure if you definitely want kids just yet’ to people when they ask you when you’re going to have a baby.

  • You’ll feel guilty about all those times you asked someone when they were going to have a baby, before babies were remotely on your radar.

  • Your partner will probably take some convincing that ‘something’s not right’, and it will be up to you to make that first doctors appointment, because you know deep down that something should have happened by now.

  • When the GP tells you your tests results have come back abnormal and you will need help to have a baby, you will absolutely REEL from the shock of that diagnosis, despite knowing in your heart of hearts that this was always going to be the outcome of that GP visit.

  • You won’t know whether to keep it a massive, terrible secret that you as a couple are ‘infertile’, or shout it from the rooftops because THANK GOD THERE IS ACTUALLY A REASON FOR THIS AND I’M NOT JUST BEING PARANOID.

  • You will feel a strange sense of relief that you have an answer and confirmation from a Health Professional that there actually is something medically wrong.img_4780

  • Gradually you will start to come around to the idea that you need help, and start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. You will start researching everything you can on fertility treatment and it will help you feel, to some extent, like you are regaining some sort of control over your body, fertility and future.

  • People will start to work out that you are probably having issues, and will either dance around the subject, ask you outright, or not mention it at all, and you won’t be able to decide which of these reactions you prefer.

  • In my experience, talking about it helped me get over the initial ‘shame’ of becoming an ‘infertile couple’, a label I desperately did not want to have. Coming to terms with being one of those couples by telling my friends and family, and speaking about it, really helped me shake off the negativity I had towards needing help, and was the beginning of my positive attitude towards fertility treatment.

  • Some people won’t tell you when they are pregnant and you’ll have to hear it through the grapevine, and rather than being happy for them you’ll just obsess over whether they purposefully kept it from you because YOU can’t have babies.

  • Whoever you are, whatever your fertility issue, however open minded and fatalistic you are about things, however many cycles you have to go through, infertility and IVF is hard. It’s hard on you as a woman physically, it’s hard on you mentally, and it’s hard on the partner supporting you through it.

  • That said, with every new experience comes new knowledge. Knowledge of your awesome body and reproductive system (who knew that your fallopian tubes aren’t actually attached to your ovaries! They look like they are in all the diagrams!?), knowledge of how mentally and physically strong you are when you need to be, and a new understanding of what it is to support one another in a relationship.

  • There is always someone to talk to, take advantage of the counselling that should be available alongside your treatment, go online and find people going through the same thing, talk to your friends and let them ask you questions about it all, they’ll be fascinated by the details and talking will help your brain process everything.

  • I remember hysterically laughing with one of my best friends in the car about my husband getting seriously confused in the consultant’s office, and thinking he was going to have to inject my vaginal wall every night during treatment…! (injections go in your tummy every night, I did them myself, the consultant removes the eggs through your vaginal wall at egg collection – he got a few thousand wires crossed bless him).

  • Above all, talk to the person you’re going through it with. Every single fertility journey is different and regardless of the outcome, only the two of you will ever share this exact one. I used to repeat myself constantly to my husband, mulling things over, questioning things out loud, he was fantastic and let me talk it out whenever I needed to.

  • If you have a successful outcome and become pregnant, you may feel like because you tried so hard for this baby and went through so much to get pregnant, you’re not allowed to complain about all the usual things women complain about during pregnancy. You  might feel like you should just be grateful you are pregnant and keep quiet.

  • Some people might actually tell you this..!

  • The same applies to having a newborn, ‘but this is what you wanted…’

  • You may suffer from major anxiety in pregnancy because you literally cannot believe you are actually pregnant and surely this is all just a mad dream and it’s all going to come crashing down around you at any point.

  • But you will get through it, together, and with the support of your friends and family. You’ll be surprised how many people confide that they too are struggling to conceive, or going through fertility treatment, or that their baby was a result of fertility treatment. Or that they had treatment that sadly failed (like us on our first round of IVF).

  • So many of us are going through such similar things in life and it’s such a shame that we feel ashamed, or embarrassed to share it with each other sometimes. The old saying goes that a problem shared is a problem halved, and it really can feel like that when you finally speak out.

  • And, as I have recently discovered, writing your feelings and thoughts down in list format is extremely cathartic and therapeutic…!

I wish anyone going through anything similar to this the very best of luck. The above is just my own personal experience, we all have our own individual journeys, but if it helps anyone in any way or makes you feel less alone, mission completed x

 

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6 thoughts on “From TTC to IVF

  1. This made me smile, it was like ticking off a check list of everything i’ve Been through in the last 2 years. Thank you. Having gone through 2 rounds of IVF after along struggle and now unfortunately miscarriage, your description of the process and difficulties is spot on. Before undergoing IVF I knew nothing about it, I thought having babies was going to be easy. I still think people need to be educated and infertility needs to be discussed more.

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  2. Hi darling buds of Kent, this is a great personal account. I also went through my own struggle to have our first born. I desperately wanted to be a mum and tried everything, include two rounds of ivf. You’re right it’s so important to talk about your emotions and confide in a counsellor or someone that has no judgement or fear for you. After conceiving I felt the need to give back to other mummies-to-be which is why I have trained to become an intuitive fertility coach. I now offer emotional and intuitive support for those TTC.

    Please say Hi 👋 to Dave from me, we went to uni together. I was in the girls house! Perhaps, we could get all our darling buds together one day? Jo x

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  3. This is such an accurate reflection of how I/we felt on our 6 year “ journey » (1 abandoned cycle,1 miscarriage, 2 failed cycles and eventually twins-now 2.5 years, and a FET-now 3 weeks). I was lucky enough to meet a group of girls through a support group at our local IVF clinic who have been my absolute rocks and lifesavers. It is such a stressful journey and only others going through it can truly understand, but being open with my friends really helped too as it took away the stress of having to pretend all was fine, and meant people were a bit more sensitive when sharing their pregnancy news.

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  4. I have a close friend who’s trying to get pregnant at 39 and is struggling. Do you have any advice what I can do to support her and what I should avoid at all costs?

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story Chloe, this resonated with me so much. We were trying for nearly two years and every announcement of friends/colleagues was deeply painful to hear at the time. I was also ashamed of my body not working and the stigma around infertility that I didn’t tell many friends. I felt stupid ever mentioning it to the few I did tell when things didn’t go to plan but their support really got me though the dark days. The ‘trying’ and disappointment every month really took its toll emotionally. I have been so lucky to get pregnant in the lead up to my ivf appointment so I can only imagine how hard ivf was to go through.

    Your honesty will help so many people so thank you for putting yourself out there. X

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  6. I can relate to a lot of what you said, it’s a rough ride and effected some friendships at some points as friends were not able to say the right things (some not all) and I can understand it’s not easy to grasp the procedure – one comment after my egg collection from my manager was “so are you pregnant now then?” It still surprises me that we are lucky enough to be 16 weeks pregnant from 3yr ttc and one round of IVF. I have a job to realise that there will be a baby after this, even telling people seems weird! Thanks so much for writing this. X

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