Dealing with loss, fertility issues, IVF and miscarriage

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    • #28708

      Hey All,

      My first post.

      Can’t promise this will be very entertaining, but I think its really important to share my experiences. If nothing else, so that others going through similar know they are not alone.

      Recently I lost my father to cancer, 5 days before my wedding. And then three months later I lost my brother suddenly to a heart attack. Both of these losses have been incredibly difficult to deal with. As well the grief, I underwent a barrage of tests to make sure I wasn’t going to die suddenly of an undetected genetic disease like my brother, and through this process I discovered a testicular varicocele which meant my chance of conceiving naturally was very low.

      I’ve always wanted children, but as I’m now the only man in the family, I feel that having a child is now far more significant to carry the family line forward. Not something I ever anticipated I’d feel and it does create pressure for me.

      The last three years have been very difficult to handle. Mum has been in pieces, my sister has gone through divorce, the honeymoon period of our marriage has endured two losses. Alongside the tedious and uncompassionate process of probate, I’ve changed jobs, been cleared of any genetic condition that may cause sudden death and had an operation to try to improve my fertility.

      As part of the process of conceiving, we were told that IVF is the only likely way for us to have a child. It’s a lot more intrusive than commonly perceived. Egg collection is a full on procedure with general anaesthetic and leaves your partner in pain for a few days. The process of implantation is sterile and binary. It’s so at odds with the romantic ideal of a nice meal and a little too much wine before bed. Someone leans through a hatch after all the doctors have left post-proceedure to say ‘transfer complete – good luck’ and that’s how you are left hoping it all went to plan.
      She has to take so many drugs, inject herself daily, and stuff pills in various orifices. she has massive mood swings. It takes a great toll on the female body, and is emotionally very tough for both partners.

      When you have sex, it’s enjoyable and you’re left with a 50/50 feeling. Maybe this time worked, maybe it didn’t. It’s less pressure. I’ve been there. Before IVF we were trying for two years. With IVF you know a fertilized egg has been implanted, its not like normal sex. You worry and wonder all the time. It should work right? So has it? It’s emotionally always there. And you only get three goes.

      The first cycle failed. Didn’t implant. Nothing.

      Four month wait for the second cycle.
      It implanted. Six weeks in we have a scan. I see the little dot on the screen that will become our child. It has a heartbeat. It’s living. It’s an incredible feeling.
      But it’s a little small so they want to do another scan in two weeks.
      My wife is really worried, so we book another scan privately a week later.

      Yesterday we had that scan. It’s gone. No heartbeat. Just stopped growing and that’s it.

      Now, I want to share that I feel very sad. It’s a loss. I won’t say I’m grieving exactly, certainly not in the same way I grieved for my brother or father, but this definitely feels awful and very much feels like loss.

      I’m lucky that I have a really open dialogue with my wife. That I can be sad with her and feel low without having to pretend to be the ‘rock’. Honestly, I’ve been forced down that path by my many breakdowns due to the double losses I’ve recently gone through. She’s seen me at my most desperately low times. I’m not the ‘rock’. Neither is she.

      It’s so important that we share how we feel, and I want to encourage anyone who is going through miscarriage or loss of nay kind to talk to someone. I also think it’s really important that we don’t try to live up to this ‘rock’ image forced upon men. We’re not stoic emotionless rocks. We’re people, and we all have feelings. It’s ok to talk and let stuff out. So be sad if you feel sad, and talk to friends and family about how you feel. You really will feel better if you share and talk it though rather than bottling it up.

      And if you’re still not ready to share right away, there’s loads of books and podcasts out there. Just don’t choose to go this road alone.

    • #28868

      Firstly, sorry for all your loss.
      Thank you so much for being so honest, there is so much great advice in there, which has obviously come about from so much heartbreak.

      I can’t agree enough with the need to share how we feel and I would add that it’s ok to feel whatever we feel. I can’t say I have had to go through half that you have, but I know when I have had my own dark times that just allowing myself to feel crap has been so important, it’s only then that we can work on what is making us feel like that. All the time we try and hide any particular emotion we can’t get to the root of the issue.

      You will be ok, but it won’t be easy, but it really sounds like you have the right tools to get through this.

      Thanks again for sharing and remember this is a great place for a rant as well if you need somewhere else to vent.

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