Making the decision to resume fertility treatment after years of disappointment and heartbreak is a difficult one.
It's a decision that requires strength, faith and hope.
Amy Maree, 37, and husband Scott, 38, have recently resumed fertility treatment after a much-needed break following another miscarriage.
"I had a break last year after the miscarriage in April," she tells 9Honey.?
From May to October the couple decided to stop fertility treatment. They spent time with family and friends, went on a holiday together to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary, and regrouped for what lay ahead.
She shared a photo on Instagram during that time, explaining she would soon give up alcohol and stay as healthy as possible ahead of resuming efforts to have a child.
It's been a difficult return to fertility treatment.
The egg retrieval stage of treatment hasn't been going well, with only a small number of eggs being retrieved and of those being fertilised, many not surviving long enough to be frozen or implanted.
"That hasn't happened before," she says.
That means a longer IVF cycle was then required, which involved a drug nasal spray which switches off her hormones and causes menopause, before being injected with hormones again.
This cycle wasn't any more successful than the others.
"We got six eggs, three fertilised," she says. "It didn't work any better. The egg they implanted didn't stick and the other eggs died."
Amy asked for a meeting with her fertility specialist because clearly something was going wrong.
She couldn't help but feel that following her previous miscarriage she was suffering residual effects.
A friend who has also undergone fertility treatment suggested she request a full hysteroscopy (a procedure used to examine the inside of the uterus).?
The procedure revealed that Amy's endometriosis was back.?
"So I went in overnight and it took an hour to get it all out," she says. "I wish I'd had this done a year ago. My doctor said sometimes you don't know it's back until you go in and look for it."
Amy wrote about the surgery on Instagram, wanting to show even the most difficult times during treatment.
The procedure happened four weeks ago, and Amy says she now feels "incredible".
"When the endo gets out of you, you have a new lease on life," she says. "I felt better within days. I don't see my doctor for another two weeks and then I have to get the all-clear before we start fertility treatment again.
"This could be what's been wrong all along," she says. "We feel super-confident now."
Amy has also been trying acupuncture for the past three months, and has given up alcohol and caffeine.
"I want to give it the best go possible," she says.
Since beginning her fertility treatment, Amy has always been struck by how lonely the experience can be, which is why she openly shares her journey on social media, much to the comfort of thousands of Australian women experiencing similar issues.
"I had no idea so many people were experiencing similar issues," she says. "Not everyone wants to talk publicly so we talk privately. I try to reply to every single person. There are a lot of people going through surgery or IVF."
Amy also receives a lot of unsolicited advice, such as being told to "relax" and it would "just happen".
"I had a double tube removal done in March 2017 after suffering an ectopic pregnancy," she explains. "Endometriosis had destroyed both tubes. I didn't feel attached to them and we were doing IVF anyway, so I told them to take them both out.
"Endo is so damaging," she says. "You don't want damaged parts of your body still in there. I'd rather they were out rather than being in and being toxic."
Some of the strangest advice Amy has received is to eat "fertility fries".
"Google it," she says. "People eat McDonald's fries or salty fries because people say the salt makes the egg stick. Then there was someone who said to eat pineapple every day, or five days after the transfer to eat five brazil nuts.
"My fertility specialist laughed at these and told me to do whatever I wanted to do because science decides what happens, not fries."
Although Amy feels better about the acupuncture, she's also started taking Chinese herbs.
"Everyone is super helpful and I'm really nice back, not matter how silly the advice," she says. "This person has taken the time out to message a stranger. People are being kind and trying to help."
Amy had watched her sister go through years of IVF before beginning her own fertility treatment, so she had an idea of what could be ahead of her. Her sister suffered from "unexplained infertility". She now has a 9-year-old daughter.
Amy understands that while she is happy to share her journey, others, like her sister, would prefer not to.
"If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine," she says. "If you do need to, then that's good because it's a conversation that needs to be opened up and we need to talk about it.
"Endometriosis affects so many people," she says. "It's a real thing and people are suffering in silence."
Endometriosis Australia?reports that one in 10 women suffers endometriosis, a potentially crippling condition where tissue in a woman's reproductive system becomes damaged, causing pain and infertility.
Amy and Scott are up to their fifth IVF cycle and have been through seven transfers, with most of her miscarriages occurring at six to eight weeks, the ectopic pregnancy happening at eight weeks.
The cost of fertility treatment has been crippling for the couple, so they switched to a bulk-billing clinic. Amy says they are "really happy with them".
"I have found a lot of people going through IVF reach out to me to say thank you for the insight and for sharing what I have been going through, because they have felt too scared to ask," she says, explaining why she feels it's important she continues to share her story.
"For people new to IVF, it can be hard for them to talk to just anyone," she says. "They are navigating a whole new world."
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