Megan was 35 years old when she first starting trying for a baby.
“I met my husband around the time I turned 34 and we got engaged really quickly, we got married when I was 35 but we started trying before then, I didn't mind being a pregnant bride.”
Like most others struggling to fall pregnant, they gave it a year until they considered fertility interventions. And although she knew she might have difficulties conceiving as her identical twin did, she says was still incredibly disappointed.
She was one of 30,000 Australian women that turn to IVF, each year. At first the couple were hopeful, but that feeling slowly changed.
“It was very frustrating and disappointing, obviously we were really hopeful but we got quite a lot of embryos, we got eight embryos,” she told Women’s Health.
“The first couple of times we were really excited and as time progressed and the pool of embryos was rapidly dwindling we got more and more anxious, I guess.”
The process began to take both a physical and mental toll on Megan.
“Mentally I was probably better at the start than the last couple of rounds but I’ve got a really good family support, obviously I’ve got a sister who’s been through it and I’ve got a wonderful husband and his family are really supportive and lovely as well.
“For me it was really the physical toll, I had a few people ask, I’d put on a lot of weight with the process just the continual rounds of IVF, and I would have people asking ‘oh you’re pregnant’ and people rubbing my tummy and I'm just freaking out, like how embarrassing.
“Not only am I infertile I have to deal with people accusing me of being pregnant when that’s the one thing I would be delighted to be.”
In a “last ditch effort”, the couple changed specialists, who suggested transferring two embryos together. Megan fell pregnant for the first time.
“It was really funny because my husband was working in Sydney at the time, just for a week. I was really, really nervous I didn’t want to do the test without him and yeah, I woke up one morning and it got the better of me, I can’t not check I hate not knowing so I did a test and I texted it to him and he was really excited but we said let’s not get excited until we have a few positive tests. So each day I’d do another one and then line kept getting stronger. And we were absolutely delighted, I think I texted him in the middle of this big important meeting and everybody was supposed to be really serious and he was trying not to get excited.”
They discovered they were pregnant with fraternal twins, but lost their little boy at 10 weeks.
“For the rest of my pregnancy I didn’t dare get excited in case it didn’t eventuate,” Megan said.
“As things got closer and closer and closer my mother kept saying to me ‘you’re going to want to sort that nursery out’ and I was like ah no, i’ve got plenty of time to sort that out. As chance would have it I went into labour at 37 weeks and the room wasn’t set up. I didn’t have plenty of time.”
It was undoubtedly worth it in the end.
“It was incredible it was just amazing and when I held her in my arms for the first time I just thought, i’ve been entrusted with such a an amazing gift and I don’t want to do anything to stuff it up.”
Megan and her husband want to give Audrey a little brother or sister, but there’s a few things she’d do differently this time around.
“This idea of having an app is an incredible way to do it, definitely I'd like to go again and try for another baby and I’d definitely use the app to support me through that difficult time to have that info at your fingertips.”
The app she’s talking about is the MiFertility Plan App – a free, Australian-designed calendar tool that features crucial reminders about the numerous appointments, tests and medicines involved in the IVF process.
“The amount of drugs and timings that you've got, then on top of that you’ve got vitamins you've got to take and all this sort of stuff. Then egg pick up and then egg transfer, keeping all that straight in your mind is absolutely, completely insane. And you’re going to work every day.
“Some days I would go and meet with the specialist, and my husband would come with me, and we’d both process the information completely differently and in the car on the way home we’d debrief and be like ‘we’ve got to take this, at this time and this at this time’ and then we’d disagree on when we’re supposed to do it, then I’d ring the nurse to clarify and she’d be like ‘ah you’re both wrong this is how you’re supposed to do it’."
She also suggests finding a way to take time out for yourself during the process.
"I think for me, watching my sister go through it, she experienced success with acupuncture in conjunction with IVF. I tried the acupuncture route and it didn’t really work, I didn’t experience that success. I then thought, well what am I going to do for me that’s good for my mental health so I ended up doing pilates, which was good for me in terms of exercise and also for my mental head space, it was really good for me to do that."
And although plenty of people will have advice, go with your gut.
"If you’re with a specialist that’s not resonating with you just change, ask around, so many women are going through it and you know, lots of people have advice but just use your own judgement to determine what’s best for you."