This is a part of my life that I’m going to find really, really difficult to share with other people It can help people that may be going through the same thing and it may offer perspective for people who haven’t and that’s the only reason why… why I’m recording this So Will and I have been trying to conceive and start our family After about 12 months of getting help from our GP and nothing was really working for us we were referred to a Fertility Clinic to see a specialist.. and over the past 2 months we’ve been doing a lot of blood tests, ultrasounds and scans and we’ve just been told now that we’ve got a few factors affecting our fertility and time really isn’t on our side It turns out that I have Premature Ovarian Aging, so the age of my ovaries are a lot older than my biological age I know that I also have a history of Endometriosis and Will has a factor that’s affecting our fertility as well The doctor kind of said that his goal was to help us conceive without having to go through something invasive like IVF but it turns out that it’s really our best option now …and if we had waited another year or two then our chances could have really, really been slim It’s hard to feel like there’s not something wrong with you It’s hard to not feel lonely, like, you don’t have anyone to talk to about this And I don’t think anything in life really prepares you for the financial and emotional effect of something like this… because your whole life you’re kind of taught to avoid falling pregnant and it seems like something that happens so easily for people that nothing really prepares you for this This is our IVF Journey First Injection – Daily injections of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to boost the egg supply That’s at zero Now I have to turn it to 225 The fresh needle in here That’s what the needle looks like So last night I had my first injection and honestly, I thought I would be fine and I don’t know what happened …but last night I had all set up, Will was sitting on the couch next to me just on standby and I thought I had it handled Counted down to 10 and took out the needle and I realised that my dosage had not gone down back to zero So because I tried to get it over and done with and I didn’t really want to look at the needle I didn’t do it correctly and I had to remove the needle and give myself a second injection Put the second injection in, I looked at the counter this time, made sure that it went down to zero… and it actually took a little bit longer than I thought so I think in my head I kind of freaked out a bit as well like ‘oh my gosh, it’s taking a lot longer than I thought!’ When it finally got down to zero, I had to count another 10 seconds because the nurse said to keep it there for another 10 seconds when you’re done and as I was counting down to 10, I could feel my heart beating really fast I took the needle out, I looked down at my injection site and my vision was a blur and I kind of stood there woozy for a bit.. and I said to Will ‘Please come give me a cuddle!’ ‘I need a hug!’ And luckily he came over because I nearly fell over So I think I was about to faint and had a mini panic attack and nearly fainted but honestly, it sounds much more dreadful than it is the needle is actually fine I think it’s more of like a mental thing So I’ll see how I go for the next few days for injections and then hopefully my blood test and ultrasound will tell us what to do next and after that, I’ll be starting to do two injections per day but I’ll update you when we get to that point Second Injection: To prevent premature ovulation, the second injection is used with FSH to reduce the hormone that triggers ovulation So tonight I’m going to do my regular injection and start the second one as well that’s what the needle looks like

shaking it stings Okay, go sit down I’ll pack up I was managing everything fine up until this point The first injection actually doesn’t really hurt I think it’s more of a mental thing that you have to get used to and the second injection I thought would be the same …but the needle seems to be different It’s a bit thicker so it’s harder to do it and on top of that there’s like a bad stinging sensation that I get inside my stomach afterwards and I just have to lie down and it takes me a little while to recover But the next morning I wake up bloated and I realise when I try and do things like open a jar or lift something heavy that my stomach just feels like strained I guess everyone has different side effects and these are just mine Hopefully I manage the rest of the process okay Hi, it’s not about me Ooh, it’s done, it’s done, it’s done! Yay! So this is where I’ve had to do my injections around the lower belly area The first injections have been on this side and then the second injection I’ve saved it for this side The first injections have been fine, you can see from doing both I’ve been getting really bloated and then on this side here it gets red and raised after the injection as well it just feels really irritated feels stinging Trigger Shot contains ‘the pregnancy hormone’ hCG and is taken 36 hours before egg retrieval so that the eggs are matured for collection This is the Trigger Shot! My last injection before egg retrieval! Ooh it’s done! It’s done That one stings as well You think that’s enough? Yeah I don’t need to do it again? Well it says zero on it, I can see zero It’s done boo! Today’s Sunday right? I’m the Uber driver! It’s the morning of our Egg Retrieval Day! Remember bay 12 You’re gonna come pick me up here when I’m done The procedure wasn’t so bad I’ve just been resting at home now I feel a little bit bloated and crampy in the stomach so in terms of pain it didn’t really hurt I was under twilight anesthetic I just felt like a little bit drunk and dizzy Are you laughing or crying? I don’t know I… just.. one tear and there was a little bit of pressure where he was retrieving the eggs and probably like two instances during the process where there was a little bit of a pinch but it wasn’t too bad at all and before you know that it was over Now we just wait for the news Well, I’ve got excellent results for you today! You do? Yes, that is everything fertilised, full fertilisation Oh my gosh! Everything? Yes, everything So we did two eggs for ICSI were 100% fertilization for those two.. and the three eggs that were IVF were three out of three so we can’t do any better than that We did both ICSI and IVF ICSI is where a single sperm is injected into each egg to assist in fertilisation IVF is where the egg and the sperm is left to fertilise in the petri dish on their own that’s amazing! Oh my gosh, I’m so happy This is how many eggs have been fertilised Five? All five eggs have been fertilised! Another Trigger Shot! If I could choose I would do all the other ones in the morning so that I wouldn’t be counting down close to that time every night thinking ‘Ugh, it’s nearly time, it’s nearly time!’ So today is Day two and I can actually go on this portal to see the embryos So I have five embryos and each of them are here and I can keep track of them so I can actually click on an embryo and this is the photo and here’s the video so I can see how they’re developing Which is so crazy it’s actually really cool

Okay just calling with your latest update on your embryos okay? The two ICSI fertilised embryos are doing well at the six cell and ten cell stage Okay that’s good And then of the IVF ones, one of them is slow at the three cell stage but the others two are doing okay at the five cell stage I mean it is hard to say, we don’t expect all embryos to get to that blastocyst stage but I think having four which are on track I’d hope that at least one or two would get to that blastocyst stage I think it’s fairly sure that you’ll have a transfer but it might just be they’re not ready for freezing on Sunday and we might have to wait until Monday to see if they progress Okay, okay that sounds fine That’s good All right well best of luck! Thank you so much Embryo Transfer Day So my skin has just been so bad It’s been red and itchy and I think it’s just how I react to all the hormones that have built up… but oh well So our embryos have changed quite a bit since last time Are you excited? Making my way downtown! It’s our embryo transfer day in regards to the other embryos that you have, the other four, they haven’t really progressed much further from Day 3 So they’re all at the cell stages, so one of them is a three cell two is six cells and one’s eight cell That’s quite slow for Day 5 so the next check will be tomorrow We’ll still look at them tomorrow and see if they do develop further to be suitable for freezing or biopsy So we basically have the one embryo that’s looking good, which is going to be transferred today The other ones, we just don’t know yet Yeah I would say, because they haven’t changed very much from the last 2 days, for them to progress further by tomorrow I would say it’s quite unlikely But we still check and I’ve seen embryos sort of transform overnight and we’ll see how we’re doing Okay? Okay Dr Lok will be here soon Once he’s in we’ll do the transfer Okay I recognise embryo number two because of that little dot I couldn’t record during the procedure, but this is the embryo inside me here Fingers crossed! The ‘2 week wait’ begins The waiting period between the fertility treatment and pregnancy test The process was actually really fast, so the doctor came to see me and he took me to the operating theater, the embryologist showed me the embryo and I recognised it as embryo number 2 When i laid down, they put an ultrasound on my belly so I could actually see the embryo going in and the doctor was talking through everything as he was doing it It was pretty cool to see the embryo on the screen, it just looked like a bright star in a dark night so we’re hoping that that’s the miracle embryo! And now i just wait 2 weeks to do a pregnancy test and just pray that it is a baby and that implants and then it makes it to full term It’s only been a day but I’m already talking to my belly as if the baby is there and I already feel attached to it and I felt attached to the other embryos too So we had 5 embryos all together and the one that was transferred yesterday was embryo number 2 We just got a call from the Embryologist before and she said embryos 1, 3, 4, and 5 haven’t made it… so they’ve stopped developing which means that none of the other embryos will get to be frozen for another embryo transfer So if we needed to go through this again, then I just have to go through the whole process again of all the needles and the blood tests One more Trigger Shot! So in between the bananas and the coconut water, is our Ovidrel See that little red dot? My baby!

This is six days now since the embryo transfer and honestly during this waiting period minutes feel like hours and days feel like months and I’m just counting down the days until we can go back to the clinic so I can get a blood test and figure out whether or not the embryo has successfully implanted and I’m pregnant So in the meantime, I’m just talking to the embryo and giving him or her like well wishes and hoping that they’re settling in I’m trying to not spend every single other moment thinking about it and Googling my symptoms because that’s really not going to do me any good I just need to spend some time with family doing things that make me happy and yeah I think that’s what I’m going to do which is probably why I haven’t really picked up my camera to say anything the past few days I just need to get out of that frame of mind and stay positive and fingers crossed! 2 days later I don’t know… do I want to say it? Or do I want to just keep hoping? This morning I woke up and I wasn’t feeling well I’m very tired and grumpy and just now I went to the toilet and I think I have my period So it means that it didn’t work I’ve just dropped Will off at work and I know I should be calling the clinic now to let them know that I think we’ve lost the embryo but its kind of all hit me at once right now just how hard this is to deal with and just how lonely I feel right now there’s a lot of things that are triggering me, making me need to hold back my tears Just opening the fridge this morning to make my breakfast and seeing all the boxes of all the injections that I’ve had to do and having to go to the shops to buy sanitary products waking up to text messages from friends just asking me how I am and I don’t want to reply I have meetings today and I’ve already cancelled because I don’t want to be there I’m finding it time to keep up appearances with people when not a lot of people know what’s going on and at the same time, I don’t feel like I have anyone that understands when I do tell them what’s going on I only know one person that has been through this Panko’s helping a lot I really, really love my friends I love my girlfriends but nobody has been through this and it’s just really hard to talk about and as much as they try and be supportive and help by saying things like ‘Oh don’t worry, you’re young, you have plenty of time’… in my instance, with my condition, Premature Ovarian Aging, time really, really isn’t on my side so my biological age really has nothing to do with it I don’t really know what I expect like friends or anyone to say to make it better I kind of feel right now like nothing makes things better and just saying it out loud is hard But I think it helps this is a part of my life that I’m going to find really, really difficult to share with

other people.. but I do think that when you share moments of vulnerability like this that it can help people that may be going through the same thing and it may offer perspective for people who haven’t and that’s the only reason why why I’m recording this but it’s really, really, really hard I can’t believe that it’s been a year since we’ve started trying to have a family and a lot of people go through so much, so much worse and go through the process much longer than we have and I just can’t imagine the strength that it takes to go through that because this is only our first cycle and I’m really struggling through it before I dropped Will off, he asked me how I’m feeling today and I really don’t want him to see me this hurt I know he’s my husband and I should be able to share everything but I don’t want him to feel the pain that I am and I’ve only told my really close friends what I’m going through it and some of them were really excited for me at the beginning of this process when I told them that I was seeing a specialist and we were finally going to go through IVF and they were really happy for me and their reaction was ‘I’m so excited!’ and for some reason for those really excited and supportive friends, I find it harder to tell them.. because it feels like an even bigger disappointment to tell someone who’s excited for you, that there’s no happy ending Something that’s really difficult for me right now is that I haven’t actually told my parents yet because I feel like they’re going to be really stressed and worried for me and I don’t want them to be but I just really want to see them… and hug them To anyone that has ever struggled with infertility, our hearts go out to you To those that have been successful, we hope to be as lucky as you one day too

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