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Episode 328

Rachel

In episode 328 Rachel talks in depth about her ten rounds of IVF over seven years. She discloses the emotional toll of 15 embryo transfers, the challenge of seeing friends and family members fall pregnant with ease, and the simultaneous joy and fear of growing and birthing her miracle baby, Sigrid. Seventeen months after giving birth, Rachel admits that she still cries when she thinks about that day when she finally met her daughter.

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Rachel was 33 when she decided to start trying for a baby. Her GP suggested if she didn’t fall pregnant after eight months, she should seek guidance from a fertility specialist. One of her close friends had gone through IVF and advised Rachel to not get complacent.

“I had my AMH tested and it was quite high which indicated PCOS. My husband’s semen was analysed and there were antibodies but at that stage it was just unexplained infertility. I was really disappointed that there were going to be challenges, especially because we were fit, active, healthy people.

“There was nothing to suggest that IUI wouldn’t work but then my friend advised us to go straight to IVF. We did two rounds of IUI before we decided to move straight on to IVF. Being a nurse helped in relation to the medication but nothing really phased me; I had the knowledge of how the medication worked.

“We were able to financially fund back to back cycles; I’ve done 10 IVF cycles over ten years. We had a bad cycle in early 2020 when we didn’t get anything to freeze or transfer. At that point I knew I just needed to be a mum, I even put my name on an egg donor list. We looked into adoption, too, but I wanted the baby to have the genetics of at least one of us.

“I went to a hypnotist and it was a game changer for me; I went to see her a lot during my last cycle. IVF is definitely tough for you mentally but you really lean on your partner, friends and family. When you know someone who has gone through it, it really makes a difference. I never went to a baby shower, I didn’t even want one myself because I felt hypocritical because I’d never been to anyone else’s. IVF affected friendships and my relationship with family members who had three children in the space of time I was trying to conceive. I think I struggled more with people being pregnant, rather than after the baby was born.

“I had three early miscarriages during the seven years. I was 39 when I conceived Sigrid. I was up to about 15 embryo transfers by that stage and I think I just knew that I was pregnant. I remember having the first scan and I was just so nervous; I also knew what to look for. I had a scan every week for the whole pregnancy just about. I went to a private obstetrician from 10 weeks and I had a scan every week for my peace of mind. I enjoyed my pregnancy but I was on edge 24/7, especially at the start.

“It was a textbook pregnancy; everything went really well. We did the NIPT at 10 weeks and that’s when we discovered we were having a girl. It was always going to have a caesarean because I couldn’t have any unknowns. I just needed her to be out, and the birth needed to be organised.

“I scheduled my caesarean for the Monday but my waters broke on the Friday. They gushed out and I thought I was bleeding and I went into absolute panic. I called 000 and they arrived quickly and drove me straight to the hospital.  I went into theatre as soon as I got there and Sigrid was born soon after. My obstetrician noticed that the placenta had started abrupting…it was so lucky that everything turned out like it did.

“When I was in the ambulance I knew that all I needed was my obstetrician and I really calmed down when I saw her. Sigrid screamed straight away and it was the best scream I’ve ever heard. I can’t really describe that moment. We still have moments, my husband and I, it feels like someone has given her to us. We still can’t believe she’s here and that she’s ours.”

Topics Discussed

One caesarean birth, Unexplained infertility, IUI, Miscarriage, IVF

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