Today Martha Brook has launched the Personalised IVF Journal. This is a very personal product to me and something I have wanted to develop for a while. So, in this week’s blog, I wanted to share a bit about my IVF story and how the IVF Journal came about.
A history of fertility struggles and endometriosis
In 2015 after 18 years of an agonisingly painful period, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. It was only when struggling to fall pregnant four years after marriage, was the monthly torture taken seriously, and I was referred for investigative surgery.
Endometriosis is where endometrial tissue (tissue similar to the lining of the uterus) grows outside the uterus. It turned out I was riddled with it. Inflammatory endometrial tissue filled my abdomen and wrapped around my bowel, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix. Despite removing as much of the tissue as possible, the gynaecologist told us I’d never be able to have children naturally.
My IVF story
So, in 2016 I embarked on what has since been seven emotionally, physically and financially draining rounds of IVF. Each cycle has been one of the hardest and loneliest things I’ve ever done. It’s impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t been through it how all-consuming and draining it is. I felt alienated from friends and family who were easily having children and had no concept of the heartache of fertility failure.
With every cycle, you take hundreds of injections in your stomach and legs, hormone pills, and pessaries. Many hours are spent in the IVF clinic having internal scans (imagine smear tests every few days), blood tests and other procedures. Whilst you are at your most hormonal and in pain, you cling to hope, only to have it dashed in the most heartbreaking way.
We were beyond lucky that our first round of IVF brought us our miracle daughter Hermione. But having a second child has not been so easy. Five rounds later, and after four miscarriages, I had to have more investigative surgery last summer and was at one of my lowest-ever points. We decided to have one last roll of the dice and fell pregnant with an embryo that went in three days after my Dad passed away. Unbelievably, despite having touch-and-go moments, it has clung on, and I am now six months pregnant, as you might have seen if you follow us on Instagram!
Why an IVF Journal?
I know all too well the rollercoaster of feelings that come with IVF. One thing that enormously helped me was writing things down. Both to remember what I needed to do when (which injection again?!) and process all the emotions. So, I wanted to create this IVF Journal to help others going through IVF themselves. It is designed to be there every step of the way, on the days when you feel strong and when it might feel harder.
Our IVF Journal is filled with helpful content for all the different IVF stages, as well as little extras to help you look after yourself. Including self-care elements was super important to me. We’ve designed it to work for someone going through IVF alone or with a partner. We really have thought of everything inside!
I am so proud of this journal and excited to think it will serve as a source of support and encouragement for others throughout their own IVF journey. If it helps even one person feel less alone, this has all been worth it.
Thank you so much for reading, and you can find out more about our Personalised IVF Journal here.