"IVF really is that hard. To every woman out there fighting this battle, I salute you"
A reader wrote in anonymously, sharing her struggling with infertility and the physically and emotionally painful journey of IVF. But she shares her story hoping to remind women that they are not alone. "Be strong," she says, "I salute you."
A reader tells us about her infertility journey and how IVF treatment isn't as easy, simple and painless as you'd hope... (iStock)
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"I’m 28, I ovulate regularly, I menstruate like clockwork. Too much info, right? Too little to actually ensure I fall pregnant though. 

I made the decision to be become a mother last year already. Went to the gynae – what could go wrong? Well, apparently, plenty!

My gynae did some tests and picked up that something wasn’t as it should be. He sent me for a scan and found not only one, but TWO blocked Fallopian tubes. He suggested I did a laparoscopy to see if they could clear the tubes, to no success. The only two options left: IVF or tube implants. Neither of the two are covered by medical aid.

So I opted for the IVF. Chances should be higher, right?

I am not going to sugarcoat it. It really is as bad as it sounds.

The hormone injections were the first battle. Seeing as I have a fear of needles, it made it ten times worse. Two injections daily for 7 days. On day 7, I was so happy it was over, only to find out that progesterone injections were the order of the next 10 days. 

On the day of my egg retrieval I went alone. How bad could it be? I googled everything beforehand so I was prepared. Boy, was I wrong! Not only was it uncomfortable, but they nicked an artery causing me to bleed badly. I have never in my life fainted, yet that day I came very close. I was in immense pain and I wondered if everyone felt this way. 

On the day of my implant I was so excited. I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed and short of breath in the last few days. I just wrote it off to exhaustion from the emotional journey. Boy, was I wrong. 

During the scan before the implant, my doctor discovered I had a slight case of OHSS (ovulation hyperstimulation syndrome) which was the actual cause of my shortness of breath. Since it was only slight, we did the implant hoping for the best. It didn’t work and I wrote it off to the OHSS. In saying this I must add that I only had 4 embryos strong enough to freeze. 

I waited a good 6 months before trying again. I stopped drinking coffee, avoided smokers and tried eating healthier too. I spoke to a friend to be my support through this next try and I was ready. My doctor was so positive that it was going to work – everything was just right. He even gave me my scan after the implant, which I thankfully asked my friend to hold on to. I spent 2 days being painfully low key and did as little as possible. It had to have worked.

It didn’t. No need to sugarcoat it. It broke me. 

I now have one try left and I am petrified to even think of trying again. If this doesn’t work what do I do? Do I go through the excruciating pain of egg retrieval again? Do I adopt? When do I know when the right time is? Will I ever know? 

IVF is hard. Especially if you are a single person wanting to start your own family.

To every woman out there fighting this battle, I salute you. Be strong and know that there are other woman just like you, fighting their own battles."

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