I know the end may seem like an odd place to begin. Well it's not quite the end yet, but this will be our seventh and final round of IVF... and the weird thing is, perhaps you already know this particular ending - the internet has a strange way of bending time like that. How marvellous to think that you, dear internet time traveller extraordinaire, already hold the knowledge of the outcome of this most intimate detail of my life that currently teeters in front of me. Oh please, let it be a happy ending! Wouldn't that be nice?
I meant to start this process earlier. The writing, I mean. I couldn't find anything online that I could even remotely relate to when I started IVF all those years ago. It was either too sciencey and confusing and cold or too dramatic and sad. I meant to reach out to you and hold your hand. Or perhaps to reach out to you so we could hold each other's hands through this. And now here I am at the end of the journey, looking back, and wondering at the twists and turns, the highs and lows, and the losses. And not having written a smidge down for you. I'm sorry. I'll try to make it up to you.
Each IVF or ART (assisted reproductive technology) journey starts with loss. No-one wants to conceive by having a team of people to prod, poke and otherwise invade you while simultaneously raiding your wallet (although maybe you're into that... no judgement!). And yet we are really so lucky when you think about it. Lucky to be living in a time when we can even contemplate becoming parents thanks to some really cool and ground-breaking scientists... when even a few short decades ago you would have been lucky to get a shrug and pat from the doctor and have been told to throw yourself into your knitting or something.
So this will be our final round of IVF. It's our last frozen embryo and I'm 42 so the door has to close at some point. Spoiler alert: I'm luckier than most - we have a miracle offspring from Round 5 (more on that later). I'm sure I'd feel differently and a lot less comfortable about closing that door if we didn't have a child, but there is still an undercurrent of terror for this round that I haven't had in any other rounds, because we always had another chance behind it.
Here's to lucky number 7!