To fight to become a mother whilst putting on a brave face to the rest of the world requires strength, determination, composure and guts. With today being International Women’s day, we wanted to share with you this incredible real life story from one of our readers who fought so damn hard.
My Story, by Suzie
Me and my husband decided shortly before my 30th birthday that we would start trying for a baby. I remember coming off the pill and feeling so nervous, naively we thought it would happen pretty much straight away, as it has for the majority of our friends. Unfortunately it didn’t, and month after month we were faced with disappointment. After 12 months I went to the doctors and was referred for numerous tests. I had internal scans, blood tests, another test where dye was passed through my Fallopian tubes to check for blockages. I remember the nurse saying she would see me in antenatal by Christmas ( 3 months later) as a lot of people became pregnant after being “ flushed out” in the test. 3,4,5 months went by and each month became harder and harder.
I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, meaning it was likely that eggs weren’t being released each cycle. Cruelly my period would quite often be late, leading to false hope and more disappointment. Even knowing i was irregular, there was still a faint glimmer there- what If?? My husband was also told his sperm count was a bit on the low side so it appeared both were conspiring together to stop our dream from happening.
I started to become a different person- withdrawn, angry, down
I didn’t want to go out with friends, I couldn’t face nights out. I began to get social anxiety where I would sit on the bed in tears not wanting to go anywhere, feeling ugly and useless. I sat in the bath crying at feeling such a failure, that my body couldn’t do it’s basic job. I piled on weight, partly through the hormone treatment, and not being on the pill meant the PCOS reigned, but also through comfort eating.
I would force myself to go to events, but wouldn’t relax or drink much and would leave early. I then began 8 months of clomid, a pill designed to increase egg production. This gave us new hope, I was excited to start but then we faced month after month of nothing happening.
Sex became forced and prescribed- every other day no matter what. We would be exhausted from work, life in general or just not feel like it, but would force ourselves through the motions. Some days we couldn’t even do this and I would be collapsed in tears. It was too much pressure and strain, and the added guilt- a young couple should enjoy regular sex surely, what was wrong with us?
We counted over 20 pregnancies of people we knew whilst we were trying. It seemed so simple for everyone else!
“Oh he just needs to look at me and I’m pregnant!” Or “we thought it would take ages, like 6 months but it happened in the first month!” It was heartbreaking to hear. As was “relax and it will happen” or “stop thinking about it, it’ll soon come along!”
I tried to fight becoming bitter- close friends were having babies all the time and I was genuinely happy for them, but a small voice inside always said why not me?
After 3 years of trying, tests, and clomid, we were finally referred for IVF. Another 6 months passed whilst we attended clinics, had repeat tests and attended meetings to discuss the process and medication before we began. I never imagined I would have IVF, it was very daunting so I attended a few counselling sessions which helped me get my head straight before starting. We booked a week in the sun to relax before beginning and I was accepted for a clinic trial for a “scratch” where a small chunk of my womb was removed as tests show somehow this seems to aid implantation of embryos. I had his the day before flying out to Ibiza.
The hospital was a good hour and a bit drive from home on a good day, almost three on a bad, and I needed to be there most days before 8am for bloods and scans. I was terrified of needles yet managed to inject myself twice daily for nearly three weeks.I kept telling myself I was making a baby! I made my husband sit with me each time. I felt a weird sense of needing him to be present like in “normal” conception! The hormones made me feel quite sick and moody but I battled through each day. Egg collection day came and I was terrified. However the anaesthetic knocked me straight out and I have no recollection of the procedure. I woke up in recovery mumbling about rubbish! We were told they retrieved 14 eggs and my husbands sperm sample although low was ok. Then began the seemingly endless days of waiting. Waiting to see if any eggs fertilised, then waiting to hear whether any made it to day 3, and then day 5. Waiting for those calls was torture. I was seeing the embryos as my babies already and felt a sense of protectiveness towards them. Luckily two made it so we had both transferred. It was magical seeing this happen on the screen. How many people can say they’ve seen the moment the embryo enters their womb! I then began the two week wait before taking pregnancy tests. I spent my birthday in pyjamas, with a takeaway. It felt like two years of waiting and was so hard wondering each day, trying to keep positive. I made it to day 11, I cracked when my husband was at work and sat in shock in the bathroom looking at the two lines.
I am now a month away from being 34, sitting looking at my five week old daughter
I still can’t believe it’s real and it’s actually happened. I won’t ever forget those dark days of trying to conceive and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person as I was before, but every day I count my blessings and thank science for the amazing miracles it can perform. IVF is wonderful, it’s given us our precious daughter and we will be forever indebted to the doctors and nurses, and the NHS, that made this happen. I am also proud of myself and my body, leaping over each hurdle as it came. Our daughter is a miracle and we won’t ever forget that.
Throughout IVF I kept an Instagram blog of each stage- find me at Diaryofanivfvirgin