Infertility is not for the faint of heart. Not only does a couple have to support each other with every new decision along the journey, but there can also be a lot of disappointment and heartbreak to overcome, especially when you’re two moms trying to start a family (and dealing with IVF during a pandemic).
To stay strong, Lucy and Amy turn often to each other, and try not to let IVF take over their lives. They also connect with their extensive Instagram community to share their challenges and triumphs, and in return offer support to others, so that no one dealing with infertility feels alone.
1) Can you briefly describe your infertility journey?
We started trying for a baby almost three years ago. We initially tried three cycles of medicated IUI, which were unsuccessful. We moved on to IVF. We couldn’t take seeing any more negative pregnancy tests! Our new clinic recommended we do IVF with ICSI as we were using frozen donor sperm, so that’s what we did. On our first cycle, Lucy shared her eggs with an unknown recipient. We kept half and donated half. This cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy and no frozen embryos. Our second cycle all went a bit wrong and again our hearts were broken with another chemical pregnancy and no frozen embryos.
We have ANXIETY! Pregnancy after loss is so scary. We over-analyze everything and are constantly worried that things are going to go wrong, but we have also been trying so hard to enjoy this pregnancy, which we are so thankful for.”
Our third cycle felt like everything was going just right. Due to previous early losses our consultant agreed to let us transfer two Day 5 blastocysts and we even had embryos to freeze!
We had an amazing strong positive pregnancy test. At around six weeks pregnant Lucy had some spotting so we got an early scan and was able to see our baby’s heartbeat! However, when we went back for our viability scan a week or so later, our baby’s heart had stopped and we had a miscarriage. We were devastated.
But…we’re happy to say that right now, Lucy is 11 weeks pregnant following a frozen embryo transfer in July! We transferred two Day 5 embryos, which turned into our one little miracle growing perfectly. (In April, a frozen embryo transfer was cancelled a week before the transfer due to Covid-19, so we feel incredibly lucky).
2) Congratulations on your pregnancy! How has your infertility journey affected your pregnancy so far?
We have ANXIETY! Pregnancy after loss is so scary. We over-analyze everything and are constantly worried that things are going to go wrong, but we have also been trying so hard to enjoy this pregnancy, which we are so thankful for. It has not been an easy few weeks with frequent spotting, a hospital admission, four scans, and many trips to the Early Pregnancy Unit. IVF PTSD is so real.
If anything, infertility has brought us even closer together. Now we know that we can get through anything and we feel very lucky to have each other.
3) How has your relationship with each other evolved through this experience?
Thankfully, we have always had a strong relationship. While going through infertility treatment and loss, communication is so important. We have taken time to deal with things ourselves, but also be there for each other. We talk openly about our feelings and concerns throughout our experiences. If anything, infertility has brought us even closer together. Now we know that we can get through anything and we feel very lucky to have each other.
4) What has been the most helpful advice you have received since starting fertility treatments?
The most important thing we’ve learned is to try not to let IVF consume our lives–to make time for ourselves, appreciate each other, and enjoy our time together–and do fun things that make us smile.
Another piece of advice would be the importance of talking, be it to a counselor, your partner, or the amazing people in the infertility community on Instagram. By talking about infertility, you realize that you are never alone in this, however much it may feel like it. People on Instagram have been an amazing support network for us and we have made some friends for life.
By talking about infertility, you realize that you are never alone in this, however much it may feel like it.
5) What misconceptions do you think people have about non-traditional/LGBTQ family building?
The most common misconception we have found is that people think it’ll be easy because you’re “just missing the sperm.” Even we held this misconception at the beginning! How wrong we were! Lesbian couples go into fertility treatment without having tried naturally. We had no idea when we started if we would have any fertility problems.
One of the most common comments we have received after failed cycles or losses is: “Why doesn’t Amy try?” The comment is unhelpful and hurtful. It’s important for people to remember that there is a lot of thought, feeling, and reason behind each decision when trying to start a family. It is not just as easy as someone else “having a go.”