I wasn’t sure of my desire to become a parent until my gynecologist told me I have sterility issues. I was married for 2 years (and 8 years in love with my husband) when diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. As I am a conflicted person, I decided becoming a mother was the most important thing in my life. It is funny how when something is out of reach, you want it at all costs and with any doubts.
And our journey began
For 4 years, I was on medication to boost and monitor my ovaries. Romantism has quickly disappeared and sex has begun to be targeted and effective. Not the best way to take care of your love life.
Each month my heart broke. I gained a lot of weight and lost confidence. Then I gave up.
My husband and I took some holidays abroad, I celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by my friends and found some other way to be happy, mainly at work. I even lost some weight.
Then we decided to take an appointment to a specialist to benefit from the medically assisted procreation.
Against all odds, I fell pregnant. Naturally.
I kept saying my son Mr A was my personal miracle. And still believe it.
Second baby, first MAP
Then, we decided to have another baby. It took another 4 years to succeed. Since being 35, statistics weren’t helping.
This time we used the MAP. I really didn’t like it. I disliked the shots. It made me nervous, angry. It wasn’t easy to schedule the monitoring appointments with my work.
The nurses kept going at home so we decided to explain to Mr A what was happening. He was 3 ½ so we made things simple for him. We explained Mum was broken and doctors were helping to fix me. We explained I was going to receive a little baby seed and I would need to take care of it.
We were blessed that it worked at the first attempt. It was unbelievable. The pregnancy wasn’t an easy one since I had a placental abruption but the baby held on and I had Little H, my very special and unique little boy.
Third baby, secondary infertility is back
Then at 36, we tried again to have another baby. Doctors said at 37 years old, I won’t have any chances so we were working against the clock.
I had 2 unsuccessful artificial insemination attempts. The miracle didn’t happen this time. I gained weight again and I didn’t deal very well with all the hormone shots. When it didn’t work, I felt so empty and distressed my husband asked me to take a break for a couple of months before trying again, 3 more times. And it didn’t work either.
I seriously doubted about the happy ending of this journey.
We decided to go for an IVF whereas I always said I didn’t want it. I was too afraid of the treatment. But I went for it anyway. I was 37. I was about to lose my job and Little H was already showing very worrying signs.
This time, we chose not to tell Mr A. We did all the shots outside the house. I did all the treatments and it was awful.
I’ve done (almost) all the secondary effects. That’s how I began to suffer from hands arthrosis. I was quite ill but the hospital didn’t care. All they cared for was my statistical chance of success.
My experience at Strasbourg CMCO or the inhumanity of the statistics
I went for an ovarian puncture. It was not as painful nor scary as I thought. But I was so exhausted they had a lot of difficulties waking me up.
The worst was after the puncture. I was ill again, but I had no number to call and at the CMCO no one seemed to care. They were happy as they were able to work with 13 eggs.
3 days later they called me to ask me to wait 3 more days as so far, only 7 embryos worked. They seemed annoyed. We waited. On my husband’s birthday, we were about to leave the house to go to the hospital and have the embryos implanted when the CMCO called me. They told me something went wrong, they won’t be able to implant the embryo and I’d have to wait tomorrow for the laboratory to call.
On Sunday, the lab technician called me to explain that he had to freeze the only two remaining embryos as they won’t be able to implant them this month. It was too late for my uterus to receive the embryo. He took some time to explain to me the procedure and that’s all. I was devastated. My husband too.
3 days later, we learned Little H was officially disabled and we had to find some structure to build a diagnostic. It was just before Christmas.
Alone to face the failure
From the CMCO, no one called. The gynecologist who was supposed to treat me never called too. The psychiatrist who is supposed to help parents neither.
We were left alone, not knowing what to do for weeks, for months. We were just a file number. We knew our two embryos were sleeping somewhere in the hospital tanks and we didn’t know what to do.
Then the Covid 19 pandemia happened and all the world froze too. We were focused on Little H diagnosis and it was hard enough.
We decided to try to contact the hospital to know how to proceed. The funny thing is they were angry with us for not telling them Little H had an issue, especially the famous gynecologist who didn’t care for us before that.
They wanted us to resume the procedure but our geneticist asked us to wait for the full Little H genetic results to be sure of the risk for the baby. I have to say it was not the CMCO geneticist who took care of us to wait for the result but only the generalist hospital one.
Needless to say in the meantime my husband and I had so many discussions about this pregnancy. So many doubts.
18 months later, the embryo implant happened
Then, in March, the genetic results cleared us to go on with our choice. So we went for it.
I called back the CMCO to ask them to put us back on the list. We were lucky as we had no delay (I believe it was a happy mistake) We could receive the embryo implant as soon as my hormonal cycle was ready.
So I resumed all my hormonal treatments and was ill. Again nobody cares.
I was alone for the embryo transfer as my husband was in the parking lot with the boys who couldn’t enter the hospital because of Covid19 restrictions.
For once, the nurses and doctor were kind to me. They were a little shocked about my journey and tried to make some apologies.
And it worked. The miracle happened for the third time. When I realized I was pregnant I called the CMCO to ask them what to do. They coldly told me to see with my usual gynecologist but to not forget to send them the file for their statistics. And that’s all. All they wanted from me was the statistics to show how performant they are.
So I didn’t send them the files. As I’m just a file number for them I decided not to help them with their numbers. I’m expecting a baby, who is a human being and I don’t want his/her story to resume to numbers.
The inhumanity of the infertility treatments
I’d like to say I’m the only one to have suffered from the inhumanity of the IVF process in the CMCO but I’m not. In France, law is very strict on the MPA and these kinds of hospitals are monopolistic. If you want a baby you have to go there. You have no other choices. And the only thing these hospitals have to show are statistics. There is no other KPI, not on the secondary effects, not on parent’s welfare. Nothing else than success or failure. That’s all.
I usually don’t quote the place where I go in my blog. But this time, I want if parents are looking for testimonies about this hospital, they can find me and know they are not alone in this journey. And they have to be strong enough to face the system and go on with their dream.
For 12 years, despite all the odds, we still wanted to believe we would be able to have a family and welcome a new member. And we were lucky enough for that to happen 3 times.
And we are very grateful for that as we have plenty of friends who are still struggling with their health, the hospital process, the law to see their dreams come true.
Sometimes, hope is hard. But it’s still there. Don’t give up. If needed, I’m there.