My theme this year is IVF/ICSI, a process we’re starting at the moment and today it’s Z for Zilch.
I was hoping to end this series of challenge posts on a positive note, but unfortunately I struggled to find anything positive that started with a letter Z, even after a day of skimming through a dictionary. And so I went with Zilch because although you do want to stay positive during IVF treatment, it’s also important to be realistic.
When I went into our first, cancelled, attempt at IVF I was convinced that this was it for us. I was twenty-seven and that’s one of my lucky numbers, all of our tests came back positive for us, I responded well, it all looked good. Until it didn’t.
And that’s the way that things go with IVF treatment. You’re relying on the results of blood tests and scans and the way that your body responds to all of the drugs that are being pumped in your system. As I’ve mentioned before, your body can react in unpredictable ways and that can result in cycles being cancelled, leaving you with absolutely nothing. No eggs. No embryos. Zilch.
I was warned before we started treatment not to be surprised if treatment was cancelled, but I guess I’m not unlike lots of people who despite being warned of something, believe that it won’t happen to them. But it’s something you really, really should be prepared for. The fact of the matter is, it’s quite common but a cancelled cycle tells the medical team what doesn’t work, so they can work out what needs to be done next time to give you a better chance of success.
And remember that a cycle can end at almost any stage. If you have lots of good follicles then there’s a very strong chance that you’ll get at least one decent egg; but there’s always a chance you won’t get any, or that none will fertilise, or that no embryos will develop to stage where they can be returned to your uterus.
On the one hand, you don’t want to think too much about these things, because you don’t want them to happen to you. But by the same token, you don’t want to be too convinced that it’ll all work out just fine, because that might not happen either. It’s a rocky enough process to go through, what with the hormones and everything, without winding yourself up and bringing yourself down. I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to find a realistic middle ground to occupy; one where you’re prepared for disappointment whilst being cautiously optimistic.
If you know someone who is going through with treatment, be aware of this enormous mix of feelings that your friend or family member is going through. Lots of people assume that IVF treatment means that you’re guaranteed a baby at the end of the process; it’s so easy for people to hear ‘IVF’ and jump to ‘Ooh, that’ll be nice, you could have twins!’ while not realising that so many people don’t ever get anywhere near that stage.
Be aware of the fact that a person can go all the way through the process and still wind up empty handed. All you can do is hope. Don’t ever let your levels of hope be at zilch. You’re going to need a lot of it.
Thanks for visiting and sticking with me through this month’s challenge. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my posts, found them interesting, entertaining and perhaps a little educational. Perhaps you might want to come back to visit again in the future to hear a little bit more about the process when we get started in the coming months.