Jodie's Story: Surviving IVF

Jodie opens her heart to share her raw and honest IVF story.

I started my journey overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty, constantly questioning if I had the strength required to survive. 

Following treatment, I still find myself searching for clarity, unable to determine if I really survived. Yes, I completed the physicality of treatment, but I am far from unscathed.

The emotional torment my mind experienced was an internal battle I hadn’t anticipated. I blamed myself for “failing” and struggled in search of the forgiveness required to feel peace.

There's an enlightening contradiction throughout the path to parenthood: while we all find our own ways and approach the journey in a way that feels unique to us, all of our universal feelings of isolation mean we're inextricably linked in solidarity.

My desperation to make sense of everything was exhausting. I overanalyzed every emotion and questioned whether what I felt was “correct” or “acceptable”. I wasted so much energy ensuring my emotional approach was the right one that I lost sight of the fact that there wasn’t such a thing. The only person judging my process was me, and if I was ever going to truly survive, I needed to give myself a break.

I'm still not fully accepting of my body’s failings. I am still tormented with pain and anger, often triggered by the most unexpected events.

What I have learned is that we are capable of so much and that our bodies fight for us daily - our armor in the battle of life.

Through naiveté and fear, I found it easier, almost automatic, to focus on the lacking ability of my body. Now, I'm more aware than ever of the rebellious strength and persistent tenacity my mind and body demonstrated throughout my journey. 

The unfairness of my body accommodating a redundant reproductive system only emphasized my failings, and I struggled to accept that I felt unable to perform, both as a woman and a wife.

Because I was diagnosed with two collapsed fallopian tubes, polycystic ovaries and failure to ovulate, IVF was our only option. I'd been on the contraceptive pill from a young age because of teenage acne, so while my diagnosis and symptoms weren't new, they'd been masked by medication.

The physicality of treatment was where I had expected to direct the majority of my strength. My fear of needles had overwhelmed me with trepidation and avoidance, which left me feeling unprepared and weak when the time came to actually face the daily injections. However, compared to the unexpected emotional battle, the needles seemed surprisingly inconsequential.

My relationship with my husband Steve, although tested, comforted me in a way that offered clarity in such a maelstrom of confusing emotions. I felt loved and un-judged. When I reflected on it, it was clear that Steve was kinder to me during this process than I had been to myself.

Our dynamic complicated our journey in ways I never expected: because my husband was already a parent, we were disqualified from funding from the NHS. I felt penalized and victimized purely because of my husband’s previous relationships. These unfair and discriminating restrictions provided additional obstacles.

The financial aspect of treatment was by far the heaviest, like a darkness impossible to see through, a burden of weight that I could never put down. No matter your strength, no matter your determination, you can’t beat that one.

My desperation was endless. My desire to be a parent was endless. My love for my husband was endless. But money runs out.

On the days I found strength in hope and allowed myself to drift peacefully into the potential of successful treatment, the reality of how much it cost and the nagging uneasiness of how much we were spending made me lose my calm and replaced it with fear, reminding me of the variety of emotions and just how quickly our minds can jolt back to the present circumstances.

An ugly reminder that no matter how hard I fight, I can't control the cost.

What happens when the money runs out?

All the strength I had gathered to withstand the grueling physicality, together with the hope I had allowed my mind to rest itself in, was completely abolished by the practicality of finance.

To fund treatment, we begged, we borrowed, we even sold our home. With the help of some very special friends and family, we managed to fund our first cycle.

During my journey, I noticed that there were many different sources of external support -emotional, physical, financial - but even asking for help and accessing support can feel overwhelming. Where do you turn? Which finance company do you borrow from? Which clinic do you use? Which support network do you reach out to?

Gaia has managed to compassionately bridge the gap. 

Many finance companies can offer you funds, but in such an impersonal, transactional style. Many support networks can offer information regarding clinics and success rates, but they can’t help you find the funds. 

Gaia does it all, and they do it in a way that they leave you feeling empowered and in control of your own journey, armed with the knowledge that you need to move forward, and more importantly, with the finances to comfortably access treatment at a fair cost.

The unfaltering impression and impact of Gaia is that they care. Your journey and your success really matter to them, and they are invested in ensuring you find the path that is right for you.

I wish I had been introduced to Gaia earlier in my journey. The relief they offer in lightening your emotional load allows you to focus on the most important aspect of treatment – YOU.

Gaia enables you to regain control of what can be the most unpredictable, stressful aspects of treatment. Gaia ensures that money never runs out.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by this process and all its unimaginable twists and turns. It’s easy to find fault and focus on failure, whether that be of mind or body. It’s easy to feel unsuccessful based solely on treatment results, all of which leave you questioning whether you will survive. 

What I have learned is that this, in and of itself, IS SURVIVING.

Written by
Jodie Nicholson
Jodie is the author of the bestseller “I(v)f Only!,” which chronicles her fertility treatment journey, and a writer for IVF Babble. She is an ambassador for Fertility Network UK and advocate for all things TTC, working to break down societal barriers around openly discussing mental health and fertility journeys. She is a proud mum.

How can Gaia help?

Whether you’re exploring fertility treatment for the first time or have been there before, Gaia is here to help you plan and pay for your IVF treatment.

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So far I am very happy with Gaia
So far I am very happy with Gaia, I am about to have my first try of IVF with them, I have found them extremely helpful and all the staff I have delt with have been so kind and friendly. I would recommend using Gaia.

Laura

Published 2 Oct 2023
Gaia makes the world a happier place
Gaia are so friendly, welcoming and kind! We were so so excited to hear about Gaia when we attended a open evening at Bourn Hall Wickford. It is the most amazing gift that Gaia can give to a person/persons, they put fertility treatment...

Mrs Sarah Prince

Published 17 sep 2023
Gaia is my family too!!!
I haven't started my treatment yet but till this point I'm very happy with Gaia family. I don't have words to express my gratitude and I'm sure with their help I will have my baby soon. The communication have been excell...

Gabriella

Published 8 jul 2023
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