We were fortunate to win the IVF Babble competition last year and received a free round of IVF at IVF-Spain Alicante. My husband’s name was selected at random out of 6,000 entrants!
It was late Sunday evening and he read out an email he received informing us he was a winner. The disbelief on his face was evident, we even questioned if the email was correct! Was it really possible to win a free round of IVF? Surely not! We couldn’t possibly be that fortunate.
Before the win
Only twelve weeks before the competition win I had sat on the bathroom floor sobbing as I clutched another negative pregnancy test, after a large bleed that afternoon. Our second funded NHS treatment had failed, and our funding had run out, if we were to try again we would need to fund it ourselves. We knew this was not financially possible, our journey to become parents had come to an end.
If you are a women who has held a fertilised egg in your womb you are a mother, the loss of eggs at any point is painful. We felt fragile, vulnerable and disempowered. At this stage I was busy taking deep breaths, silencing those irrational thoughts, trying my best to calm a constant racing heart and telling myself I would be ok. I was very low in mood and disconnected.
I did find connection through the Instagram infertility community, these women gave me the courage to keep strong, taught me how to face and endure the uncertainty, and more importantly not to believe everything I’m thinking as my thoughts are definitely not facts.
It became reality
After speaking to Sara – founder of IVF Babble the next day, reality kicked in, we really had won a free round of IVF. We started to feel a mixture of excitement and nerves, and couldn’t wait for IVF-Spain to contact us. Six weeks later we attended our first consultation at the clinic, and we arrived at the clinic with so much hope and excitement as well as nerves.
IVF-Spain were thrilled to be helping us fulfil our dream of becoming parents. The team put us at ease the moment we walked through the door, we felt so lucky to be in their care for our next round of ICSI. Dr Alvarez explained how our infertility was a combination of decline in egg quality due to my age and sperm morphology. She informed us both factors could be improved through nutrition, change in lifestyle and medication. We came back to the UK confident this round of treatment could work for us.
It was now time to re-set, re-adjust, re-start and re-focus. We knew we needed faith, trust and an awesome embryologist. It was going to take a whole team to make our dream come true.
The most frustrating part of IVF is it is out of our control. I did over time find things I could control such as, when I asked for help, how I speak to myself, the boundaries I set, who I gain support from, caring for my body, mind and spirit. These were my responsibilities. I feel strength also comes with knowing you are not alone, and I truly believe social support is the most powerful protection against the overwhelming feelings that cause stress. I created my Instagram account to stay afloat, seek compassion, empathy and kindness. We are stronger together!
On the 18th November we had seven blastocysts cryopreserved in total, and transfer day would be 14th December 2018. We planned for a fresh transfer, but ovarian hyper stimulation occurred and we changed our plan to frozen embryo transfer.
We must admit we were a little nervous receiving our treatment abroad as our Spanish was very poor. IVF-Spain was fantastic, all their staff spoke very good English, we were embarrassed we hadn’t learnt more Spanish. We were assigned a patient care co-ordinator called Mari, she was our main point of contact. While back in England that communication did not stop, emails provided quick responses, and no question was a silly question.
As we all know too well the two week wait is truly excruciating! I wanted all those birthday candles and shooting star wishes to do their job and come true for us. My husband is amazing, he always makes me laugh just when I need it the most! As Laura Ingalls Wider quotes “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.”
Best Christmas gift ever
On Christmas Eve we found out I was pregnant. The minute the call come in to say that my HCG levels confirmed that I was pregnant our whole world changed. Best Christmas present ever!
Alissia was born in August.
You enter these competitions never thinking you’ll win, but to give you hope that there is a very slim chance you could.