By Torey, 38
I have written this with my unicorn pen. What’s the significance of a unicorn? Well, they believe in miracles.
I think that sums me up; for the four years we have been trying for a baby I feel I have remained positive. My life hasn’t focussed on the negative pregnancy tests, I refuse to let it. I focused on how I can live life to the full, with the hope that if I was happy with the cards I had been dealt a baby would show up eventually.
We have enjoyed amazing holidays and had those honest conversations of ‘what if’, ‘would I be enough’. I can honestly say I was happy but maybe not complete.
Our IVF journey started in December 2018, we had unexplained infertility. Although friends and family knew IVF was imminent, we agreed that we would keep the fact that it had started to ourselves, we didn’t want the pressure of the questions that would inevitably come, we wanted this bit to be just about us.
The process was fine, I had few side effects but we got through hosting Christmas for my family and New Year for our friends without any issues, although being unable to drink was difficult to conceal. I was able to tell people I was cutting back because my treatment was due to start at some point soon.
Two faint blue lines
Some weeks later we got to the ‘delightful’ two-week wait. Nine days after transfer, I set my alarm for 6am. I took the test – and there it was – a second very faint blue line. I got James to double check I wasn’t seeing things, we held it up to the light but there it was quite clear – just not as bold as I’d have liked. We said very little to each other apart that morning and James went off to work.
We agreed to tell our mums and swear them to secrecy. My mum cried, of course, before I reminded her that it was very early days and actually it might be unlikely that we would get to the seven-week scan or that there would be a heartbeat. Mum reminded me that if nothing else we had got pregnant and regardless of what happened next at least we knew that was possible for us.
At about four or five weeks my sickness started, James eyes lit-up but I stopped him in his tracks. I blamed everything – my reflux, the richness of food, eating too much it didn’t mean what we hoped it meant – that things were going as they should be. In the meantime, every week without fail I’d send him the same text message ‘can you pick up a test on your way home?’ and every week the blue or red lines appeared next to each other bolder and bolder each time.
12 week scan
We made it to the seven-week scan and there was a fast beating heart and a little shape in the midst of my belly, the start of our baby. We agreed to tell the rest of our family, dads and siblings with the rationalisation that if something happened, now we would confide in them. The weeks moved on and my sickness continued. We booked a private scan at 12 weeks which showed a very clear image of a baby and for the first time we heard the heartbeat.
We could finally tell our close friends, at that stage realisation hit that it wasn’t just us that had been on our journey our friends were very emotional and delighted for us. I had been waiting for that 12-week scan for what seemed like forever and I genuinely thought that it would give me some reassurance that this was actually a reality for us. I was pregnant and we were going to have that family we had longed for, but I still struggled to admit it. People would ask if I felt pregnant and I would brush it off and make a joke about eating too much cake. Had I felt the baby move? I had no idea – it was probably wind.
I had a scare at 16 weeks when my elderly pony collapsed on me in the stable. I honestly thought the journey was ending for us but again there was that heartbeat strong and clear. My belly is growing and I feel clear, strong movements regularly. I am 24 weeks so you could say well into this journey. I still won’t give us permission to buy anything and I want to wait a few more weeks to do the nursery.
Some friends still don’t know I’m pregnant, I have no posts on social media and I am mindful not to give anything away after all I have friends who struggled with IVF far more than I did and others that I know can’t have children at all – they don’t want to see my joy do they?
Pregnancy anxiety is real
It may well be that this will be the one and only time I am pregnant and I so want to enjoy it, but I have this immense fear that the minute I let myself I will jinx it and this dream, this amazing bit of luck we have had will end. On the other side of the coin I am so annoyed with myself that we have wanted this for so long, so many people don’t get as lucky as we have and yet I can’t enjoy it or celebrate it. I think I prepared myself so much for the negative test I now have no idea how to deal with the fact that our dreams look like they are coming true.
I keep thinking maybe just one post, one subtle announcement might be the start or one baby grow just something to break this feeling and then I tell myself next week I will do it next week. James keeps reminding me that I will need to buy something eventually – how else will we get the baby home from the hospital and I am trying I really am. I just never expected that I wouldn’t be able to completely appreciate or embrace what should be the best time for us, but of course I keep telling my ever growing baby belly that the little person in there is so wanted and that it isn’t about them it is about me.
When I look back at all the advice and guidance we had been given before embarking on IVF, I think I got so conditioned to thinking how rare a success story was, I now have no idea how to deal with that.
Do you feel the same way as Torey? Are you anxious about your IVF pregnancy and not sure how to feel? We’d like to hear from you, email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org