Isolated, afraid, lonely, guilty - these are feelings I know well from first-hand experience...
My name is Amy, I am 34 years old and I live in a small town just outside of Invercargill. I am really excited to have joined Fertility NZ as one of the Group Facilitators of the Invercargill Support Group. My desire to be a facilitator of such a group was very much born from my own struggles with fertility and the journey I have been on.
As a fit, happy, healthy 28-year-old I came off the contraceptive pill and thought within a few months my partner and I would be on our way to starting our family. Months went by, those months turned into a year, that year into two and the baby I longed for was nowhere on the horizon. I went to my GP who was proactive about the situation and sent me and my partner for some tests as well as referring me to a private gynaecologist. The tests came back normal for both of us, so I was referred for a laparoscopy. After the surgery I was told that I had a blocked tube and was referred to a fertility clinic. It felt like at least we were making progress.
At my first appointment with the fertility clinic the Doctor looked at everything sent through to him and could not tell why I had been told I had a blocked tube. To this day I still do not know whether I have said blocked tube! Somewhere between the surgery and this appointment I had also stopped having regular periods, something which I had never had trouble with before. We tried monitored rounds of clomiphene but unfortunately had no luck. We were told we would need IVF and put on the public waiting list. I remember after being told this I didn’t really pay attention as the Doctor explained the process as I couldn’t believe this was happening to me, and never thought we would need to go that far to have a baby.
Unfortunately, we were caught up in a change of the fertility clinic being run by the District Health Board to a privatised organisation. This further extended the already tedious wait and five years had quickly rolled around. I had become a former shell of myself. I found getting out of bed difficult, I avoided seeing my friends, I threw my energy into working out at the gym in an almost obsessive unhealthy manner and I cried a lot! Recognising I was potentially suffering from depression I saw my GP who was again proactive and sent me for counselling. Taking the step and attending counselling was by far one of the wisest decision I made in my fertility journey.
We had our first round of IVF in September 2016. I didn’t know anyone who had been through the process and I wasn’t on any online forums, so I was going in almost blind. When I wasn’t responding to the drugs and was told my round might be cancelled my heart broke. I didn’t know this was even a possibility! Thankfully with an increase in dose we made it to egg collection where they collected four eggs. Not a great number but our amazing Doctor kept repeating it just takes one. And one egg was all that fertilised. I had a day two transfer which I did not know at the time was a bit unusual. That day two transfer is now my beautiful smiley 8-month-old son.
I always vowed if I got through to the other side of the journey I wanted to help others who were struggling with fertility. My partner was so supportive and positive, but he didn’t understand. My friends didn’t understand. My family were fantastic, but they didn’t understand either. How could they if they hadn’t been through it. On this journey we need people who understand but I had no one to turn too.
I met Aimee in our antenatal class and I wish more than anything we had meet many months earlier. There was no support group in our area at the time and I reached out to my fertility clinic but due to confidentiality they were unable to give me the details of anyone near me going through treatment. I wonder now how different things might have been had I just had that network of a support group.
Aimee and I had talked about restarting up the Invercargill Support Group late last year. After our conversation, Aimee was in contact with Fertility NZ almost immediately, she has this great quality of not messing around at getting things done. We have a lovely group of members who are so supportive, understanding and helpful with each other. It’s great to be a part of and we want to reach out to as many people as we can. Our monthly catch ups are informal, safe and confidential. If you are in the Southland area, please do not struggle alone. Reach out to us - we would love to hear from you.
Join the below free webinar for guidance and coping mechanisms during your journey. Just click on our Events page at 10am on Saturday 29th, for the link!