I had a chat on the sofa with Dad 100, asking him about our first IVF cycle. I wanted to capture his thoughts, to acknowledge the massive role he has played in IVF1. This blog is dedicated to all the amazing partners out there – thank you for the heavy lifting you do. x x x
How are you today?
Physically I’m still tired but as the day has gone on, I’m feeling better.
How long has the tiredness been going on?
Since you had the operation for the ectopic pregnancy, three weeks ago. At first, I put it down to having so little sleep on the night you had surgery. In the days afterwards, I thought I’d catch up – but I haven’t been able to shift it.
Why do you think that is?
I don’t really know. Maybe it’s a physical manifestation of sadness? The IVF process so far – it feels like a long time – and our first round has ended with a loss. There was also the stress and uncertainty after our embryo transfer, going backwards and forwards to hospital. Then having to make a quick decision about emergency surgery. It’s all caught up with me now.
We went to see The Quiet House play about a couple going through IVF – how did you find it?
I related to it completely. It was a mirror image of our story. The part that got to me was when they first started their injections. It reminded me of when we first started out and the huge hope we had. I was overcome with sadness.
What coping strategies are important for partners?
I guess it’s important not to bottle things up. I think that’s why I feel better today, because I’ve actually talked about it.
What do you need right now?
I need to rediscover things that make me feel happy, things I love.
What do you love?
I love you. I love spending time together, just hanging out. I love music and playing my guitar. Jamming along to records. I love good food and a glass of wine. I love being hopeful – and I am still hopeful we will have a family.
What would you say to other partners in our situation – when an IVF cycle hasn’t worked out?
Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t hide them.
Do you hide your feelings?
Definitely. I feel uncomfortable talking about what’s really going on. I have a natural response to my emotions to keep them inside – especially with difficult feelings. I tense up physically. There’s also societal conditioning that men aren’t supposed to admit to these feelings. I tell myself I should be able to brush them off and get on with my day. They showed that in The Quiet House play – how Dylan struggled to talk about his feelings.
So, now’s your chance to be really honest. How do you feel about losing our first pregnancy?
Primarily, I feel gutted for you – losing a fallopian tube. I feel sad that we’ve gone through so much and it didn’t work out. I was so sure it was going to be a success. When you had the operation, initially it was a relief after weeks of uncertainty. At that point, I just felt concerned for you. I wanted the operation to work and you to be well. When the immediate danger was over, that’s when the tiredness set in. It’s taken time to surface with me – like delayed grief.
What gives you hope?
We’ve been referred to a new hospital. There is a possibility we can continue our NHS treatment there. We’re also looking at private clinics. And our first round wasn’t a complete failure – at least one of our embryos tried to grow inside you, albeit in the wrong place.
How do you feel about starting IVF round 2?
It would be nice to have a longer break because it has been exhausting at times. But I accept time is of the essence. We need to crack on.
What about being a Dad? Do you still feel the same?
That hasn’t changed. To have a little person to think about – maybe even two – I would absolutely love that.
What have you learned in our first IVF round?
How much I love you. I wanted to be there every step of the way. The big thing was the night you had the operation. I prayed and prayed that the operation would be successful and there wouldn’t be any complications. When I came home to pack an overnight bag for you, I couldn’t wait to get back to the hospital. It was the middle of the night when I returned. There was nobody around. I had to find you. I went to the recovery area and I walked into intensive care – completely the wrong place! Luckily, that’s when I bumped into your surgeons. They told me you’d just come out of theatre. A nurse appeared and took me down. I had to wait for twenty minutes, so I ate a sandwich and a Mars bar – I hadn’t eaten for god knows how many hours – then the nurse came out and said I could see you. When I saw you, I realised how much I loved you. You looked so fragile, actually, coming round from the anaesthetic. I was very relieved you were there and you’d come through the operation.
Do you know how much I love you? You’re an amazing partner and friend in all this. Do I tell you that often enough?
You do. You tell me that you love me and you think I’ve been great throughout the cycle. It surprises me to hear that because I’ve just done what is necessary. I don’t think I’ve done anything that brilliant.
You have been brilliant – end of story! I love you very much.