Damian and I have always wanted children and so when we married in June 2014 we had already started trying for a family. We were both 34 and as each month passed we became experts on the different ways of monitoring ovulation, timing sex and tried just about every complementary therapy and alternative health product that made even a passing claim to boosting fertility. The morning beep of the thermometer served as a daily reminder that we weren’t getting anywhere and after six months we went to a private clinic for a fertility MOT.
A scan had showed a polyp in my womb that I would need surgery to remove, but all the other results were optimistic. The plan was to have the surgery and then have six more months of trying naturally.
The months passed without even a whiff of a line on a pregnancy test and soon we were back at the clinic to start fertility treatment. The initial phase of IVF seemed bonkers. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that they sent you all these injections and drugs to your home and then that they let you loose with needles to administer them yourself. Being an absolute wimp when it comes to needles, Damian became my fertility meds administrator and every morning he would jab me with all the different drugs I needed to stimulate the egg growth.
We were back and forth to the hospital as they monitored my progress and then finally we were ready for egg collection. As I was wheeled off to the theatre to have the eggs removed, Damian was taken off to perform elsewhere, thankfully boarding school had prepared him well for this moment! We were told that they had removed 30 healthy eggs and that because there were so many they were going to have to freeze all the eggs and then transfer them in a couple of months once my body had recovered. I was heartbroken. We had built up to and prepared for this moment and now everything was on hold.
We returned home and when the painkillers wore off I started to feel awful. I was in so much pain that I could barely walk. I needed help even to get out of bed and was at times screaming in agony. Having not had IVF before I just assumed that this was part of it and so didn’t want to make a fuss, but when we returned for our follow up a few days later the doctor told me that I was seriously ill with ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) which required urgent treatment. For the next few days I was in and out of hospital as they monitored me carefully. While all this was going on I became more maths obsessed than Carol Vorderman. Constantly doing ‘fertility calculations’ in your head while waiting for the clinic to update us on how many eggs had fertilised and how many were good enough to be frozen. In our case, out of 30 eggs, 20 had fertilised and we were left with eight embryos which were frozen.
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