Our reporter Emma Kemsley discusses the prospect of failure and how she will cope
I’m facing some big decisions – considering going forward with my last round of IVF and the knowledge that if it fails that’s it forever.
So many women have had to go through this moment of acceptance, and although in some ways it will be a relief after all the struggles I’ve been through, in others it’s going to be a huge adjustment that I must handle.
In preparation for the IVF, I had a hysteroscopy at the end of January, fully aware I would be putting myself at further risk of infection. Surgery is always daunting but with my body now becoming susceptible to infection, it’s upped the ante.
Thankfully I recovered well. Scar tissue was removed, and I feel better knowing my uterus has undergone a spring clean. I relish in the fact; that my uterus is now like an average woman’s. It’s officially boring.
Of course, my uterus is anything but boring. Lined with adenomyosis, a saline scan revealed a nodule had set up home, likely preventing an embryo from implanting. Ultimately it means I have wasted two top-grade blastocysts and thousands of pounds over the last 12 months. Deep down I knew something was wrong, and I wish I had spoken up.
You should learn from my mistake and always ask for further investigations.
A long-timer IVF-er
Bizarrely, I was unphased by the news. A long-timer IVF-er, I’ve become accustomed to the setbacks. I’ve developed a thick skin over the years. I soldiered on accepting that I needed a hysteroscopy.
I am fortunate my consultant kindly added me to his NHS surgery list, saving me a £6k bill – guilt perhaps?
However, while I patiently waited for my hysteroscopy to take place in January, my endometriosis had other ideas.
On 11 December, as my groggy husband declared he had a positive Covid test, I heaved into the toilet bowl. Questionable coloured vomit and ovarian pain I simply couldn’t get under control. I knew something was wrong.
Learning from my previous lesson in July 2020, I recognised the signs of infection. I threw a few essentials into a bag, kissed the dog goodbye and ran out of the house where my friend was waiting to take me to A&E. I left my poor Covid-riddled husband to fend for himself – am I possibly the worst wife ever? (Don’t feel too sorry for him, our amazing neighbours provided a daily doorstep delivery of gourmet meals).
At the hospital, I was ushered into an isolated room. Blood tests revealed a high level of infection, but thankfully IV morphine got my pain under control. I was admitted with an ovarian infection on my right ovary. As my only working ovary, I was worried.
Isolation continued in the gynae ward. I spent five days in a room hooked to an IV of antibiotics, sniffing fresh air through a crack in the window like a dog, alternating two pairs of knickers, poking at questionable-looking food, and racking up an insane amount of screen time. It wasn’t my finest hour.
However, I couldn’t be more grateful for the lovely nurse who went to M&S to buy me shampoo, sushi and a sandwich.
Non-Existent After Care
My complex endometriosis prevented the radiology team from draining the infection via local anaesthetic, which meant I would need surgery to resolve the issue.
On day five, I tested positive for Covid; thankfully I was asymptomatic. However, I was sent on my merry way and to date, I am yet to receive any further information about my infection, the cause, or a solution.
The NHS is wonderful in so many ways, but patients like me are falling through the cracks of non-existent after care. Infection symptoms disappeared and pain significantly eased. But I can’t help but wonder, as I lay in bed at night with my ovary twinging, what’s going on inside?
So where do I go from here?
What would you do if you were me?
I did manage to have a pregnancy before, but had to have a TFMR (termination for medical reasons) so I’m hopeful I can still get pregnant. Watch my interview with my husband James here
I have two embryos in the freezer. However, I’m not sure if I’m really ready to commit to another IVF just yet, my ninth. In my head, I have made peace with living a lovely child-free life and plans are in place.
One thing is for sure, I can go into this IVF confident and hopeful. My chances of success are as good as any.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt any sort of emotion around an IVF. I’ve been on the fertility ride for so long (six years to be exact), that I’ve almost forgotten why I am doing it. Crazy, I know. The seventh-month break since my last FET has given me time to reflect. Time to think about a new way of life.
Time to think about what I truly want.
…but what do I want, maybe a baby, maybe not?
Either way, my endometriosis will still be there, ever-present and incurable. That for me, maybe the biggest issue of all.
Since writing this column Emma Kemsley has sadly lost her mother Tina Morgan to cancer. Our column is dedicated to this wonderful lady who we were lucky enough to interview. She talked about coping with the highs and lows of being the parent of an endometriosis warrior. You can watch her interview here….