Last week we introduced you to Cain Newton, who has been blogging about his fertility journey with wife, Mrs N. Here is the second part of their story, but is there a happy ending?
The seven-week scan
We had a seven-week scan booked and on the day we were both positive (clearly a few reserved nerves though) and we walked into the clinic.
Unfortunately, the scan showed a miscarriage, the look on Mrs N’s face will stay with me forever. Distraught would probably just about sum it up. Our world had been turned upside down. I have never felt so empty in my life but I just had to make sure I supported her.
After being told of the next steps it became clear that this was not an easy process to remove the empty sac. Back to hospital and the miscarriage with a number of complication, we will leave that chapter there, it hurts like hell just reliving those moments.
Back to the IVF clinic we went to discuss next steps
We went in feeling down, I had spent the last few weeks supporting Mrs N and doing the best to raise her hopes, but deep down she needed to know what the next steps were. We had decided to give IVF another go but this time, with one frozen embryo, this journey seemed a lot less medication without injections. It was all about just making sure the right drugs were being taken at the right time.
We both felt positive throughout this round of IVF, I mean it will just happen won’t it?
We did the pregnancy test done but bad news again – were felt destined not to have children. It was these thoughts that started to flood our minds and back to the clinic we went. We almost became immune to feeling down, we were used to the disappointment and the only thing that kept us going was one day we knew we would be parents, but how? We were not sure, but had started to discuss adoption and surrogacy. I was against the idea of adoption because I wanted my own flesh and blood running around and was attracted to a surrogate as a potential option, although not really considering how Mrs N would feel about it – ultimately she would not be carrying our baby.
We decided after the second failed attempt we would have a six-month break, we both needed it. We were both mentally and physically drained. I took some time away from work to recharge my batteries and we said we would enjoy Mr’s N birthday and fully indulge at Christmas. When I first met her, Mrs N used to be so excited about Christmas. I really did not enjoy Christmas, no tree or decorations at home (Mr Scrooge really) but she had rubbed off on me and it was always an exciting time, but this year and the previous year felt like there was something missing – we had imagined that we would have kids at Christmas and what it would be like.
We arranged to see the clinic at the start of December to understand the next steps (we had also starting looking into whether attending another clinic would help us). I was spoke to a colleague at mine who was going through the same thing as us and him and his wife had tried different clinics to no avail – every clinic will say they will make it happen but ultimately its pot luck (if he reads this I wish him the best of luck as he is still on the journey), so after some research we had decided to stay with the clinic we were at. Christmas came and went and before we knew it, it was January 2018 and we were off again, one frozen embryo, drugs, embryo transfer, wait two weeks, fail. Yes, that’s right it failed again, it felt like we were the unluckiest people in the world and this story was becoming repetitive.
Mentally and physically drained
I was at breaking point, and I couldn’t comprehend why this was happening to us. Not only was this disappointing to us, it was disappointing to tell our friends and family that we had failed again. I started to confide further to my colleague about how I felt, I knew I could offload all my thoughts and mental pressure that I found myself under – it helped massively.
Gentlemen – one of my biggest learnings from this experience is to talk – don’t bottle anything up, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Mrs N and I decided to take a holiday to get away from it all and talk about what we would do next, and this helped. We both agreed that we would give this one final go and then that would be it, if we failed we would then look into other options. In my head the adoption journey seemed like the best bet by this point. I had come round to the idea that maybe we had been put on this earth to provide a home and guidance for children that needed adopting. Ultimately from my perspective the thought of Mrs N going through the failure and pain over and over again was too unfair and the pressure she was putting herself through mentally and physically was taking its toll, her health was so important. She is my rock.
So back to the clinic we went (knowing this was the final time) and there was a different feeling. This time in our heads, if it didn’t work we knew we had a plan and this was a refreshing feeling. We sat with the consultant and he made it clear that he could not understand why, when looking at all medical evidence, it was not working. Clearly, we wanted answers but we came to the conclusion that is was purely bad luck. He had done a lot of research on us, looked at evidence and ultimately decided the best course of action was to go through another fresh cycle.
Prior to the meeting Mrs N wanted to go for another fresh cycle and go for two embryos to transfer, so it was good that the consultant was in agreement. We left the meeting feeling optimistic and the journey started again.
By this point I had become superstitious so prior to the treatment starting, I wanted to only see two nurses. These nurses were both awesome and the clinic happily obliged, I didn’t want us to see a certain nurse (nothing personal – it was just she gave us bad news the first time) and I wore my lucky boxer shorts every time we had an appointment. ‘Come on’, I thought, ‘lets do this Team N’.
I was concerned at the start of this final cycle because I was not there for the initial drug consultation and first set of injections.
I was out of the country, but as she does, Mrs N battled through herself. The injections went ok and, before we knew it, we had egg collection.
Fertilisation, embryo transfer and Mrs N was back at home resting
After a week Mrs N was getting tired, she was also craving cheese and the old lunchbox classic from the 90’s Salt and Vinegar Squares. Excitement was an understatement, her tiredness got worse and worse, and this was a continuous pattern over the final week of the dreaded two-week wait.
The night before the day of the test came and to say I was clockwatching is an understatement. We couldn’t wait any longer so we did the test at 4am – and it was positive. The feeling was pure elation, but at the same time – I couldn’t believe it, after all the bad luck we have had surely it hasn’t worked? Well it had.
Just like how I cannot forget Mrs N’s face when we had the terrible miscarriage news, I could not forget her face when I told her it was positive. Mrs N phoned the clinic and gave them the good news, I went into work on cloud nine while quite delirious.
We went out to celebrate that night and decided we would tell her parents on the way home. We arrived bouncing and left deflated – it wasn’t what was said but more what was not said. To say it upset my wife would be an understatement. I was angry about it for weeks and wanted to say something but felt that my wife’s wishes came first so I left it.
Clearly they have their reasons for the way they reacted and there are always two sides to every story. In hindsight, they have also been on a tough journey to have a grandchild and perhaps the lack of celebration was a form of protection for both us and them.
The eight-week scan arrived and I remember sitting in the clinic’s waiting room with Mrs N just squeezing my hand. The anxiety was crucifying and I couldn’t think of anything else. We went into the room and once Mrs N had laid down, I closed my eyes and heard that there were two heartbeats, “You’re having twins.” I cried and had a smile bigger than a Cheshire cat.
We walked out bouncing to the car, I rang my dad to tell him – it was his birthday and to tell him he was having twins I believe he had to pull over from driving and cry. My dad is not an overly emotional person so for that to happen to him I knew it touched him very much – I knew how much this actually meant to him. We told very close friends and they were delighted but decided holding off telling a lot of other people until 12 weeks – it’s quite a hard thing to do because all friends you know are going through it but the superstitious side of us both made sure we didn’t. At about ten weeks Mrs N instinct told her something was wrong and we decided to have a private scan – which proved that Mrs N instinct was correct – we had lost one of the babies. It was very hard to take but the positive was that we still had a healthy one growing inside.
The home straight
We had the 12-week scan and all went fine – due date confirmed as February. The baby was wriggling around and we’re so delighted and although we can still see the remains of our lost baby it shows us what we have been through. Mrs N was overjoyed – all the pain that we had experienced over the last few years seems so long ago now, we have even started to talk about potential names, our friends are trying to get rid of baby toys, gadgets, clothes – you name it. We are waiting until the New Year before doing anything – we don’t want to jump too soon, or are we just being over cautious now.
Mrs N is now 18 weeks and struggles daily with anxiety and worry but she is absolutely starting to be the person I met 11 years ago and she deserves all the happiness in the world. I try to ensure that I am there for her, trying to keep her mind occupied with other things but I worry about her and the baby all the time – as we hit each milestone it is another hurdle passed. All I can do is re-assure her and take her mind off things.
I hope every couple, male about to start this journey or going through the journey find this useful and is something they can relate to, in summary, the only thing you can do is to support your partner but ensure that you are speaking to people as well – it’s good to talk and don’t be ashamed.
We have our 20-week scan at the start of October – wish us luck, we still feel like we need it.
Keep the Faith and love to the IVF community.
Thank you so much to Cain for his wonderful honesty and inspirational story. Huge congratulations to Cain and Mrs N too. If you have a story that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org