We all know too well that trying to conceive isn’t at any point smooth or straight forward. It can be full of so many ups and downs
Donna talks openly here about her journey and how she also used a myLotus fertility monitor to help her conceive.
So, tell me about your story?
We were trying for about 2 years before finally becoming pregnant. I had previously been treated for fibroids which were giving me really heavy periods. Whilst I knew I had several fibroids, they thought the one I had growing inside the uterine cavity was the culprit for causing the heavy bleeding and would almost certainly cause issues with trying to get pregnant, so I had this fibroid removed through a hysteroscopy.
What is a hysteroscopy?
It’s where they put a camera into the cervix and resect the fibroid. It’s done under general anaesthetic, but just as a day case.
Having had the fibroid removed we started trying, but nothing was happening. At this point I went to see a different consultant who had been recommended to me. I had another scan and blood tests and having discussed the results with him, we agreed to have the surgery to remove the other fibroids, which by this point were again giving me heavy periods and causing issues in being able to get pregnant. They were all removed through key hole surgery, in fact 6 fibroids were taken out with the largest being 9 cm!
Were you in pain?
I wasn’t in pain, I did get some period type aches, but nothing bad. It was more the heaviness of my periods! I could be sitting in a meeting and after 45 minutes I would be panicking that I had flooded through the super Tampax and super towel I was wearing. That was really worrying.
So, what happened after surgery?
It was interesting afterwards when they showed me the before and after pics of my uterus and I could see the fibroids bulging against my fallopian tubes. It was amazing to see how disfigured they were and the realisation of ‘well nothing was going to get through there’.
It was a shame that I had waited so long to get the fibroids removed, but at least they were now gone and we were hopeful that our chances of falling pregnant were now much higher.
The recovery time was three months for my uterus to heal before we could start trying again, so we used that time to get the ball rolling with the NHS for fertility treatment just in case we needed it.
I was so conscious of NHS waiting lists and that I was 39 years old too. After a few months of trying with no luck, just before the first fertility appointment came through. I had had some blood tests and a scan and we were waiting to go back and see the doctor for the results, but before we did I found out I was pregnant on Christmas day! Seeing those two lines at 5am on Christmas morning was the best gift ever!
Unfortunately, I had a bleed in February and sadly we miscarried at 9.5 weeks. We were beyond devastated.
We had also started seeing a nutritionist who specialises in fertility before finding out that we were pregnant. She was wonderful and her approach is to treat the couple focussing on both egg and sperm health, which isn’t always the focus. As I recovered from the miscarriage both emotionally and physically, our nutritionist suggested dietary tips as well as some supplements to help rebalance my hormones and promote healing.
What did you do next?
It was at this point that the nutritionist suggested I tried using a fertility monitor and suggested myLotus after I had been telling her that I had never had a positive ovulation test. In fact in our years of trying I had tried several different brands.
While we waited a couple of cycles before trying again, I started using the monitor to understand what was happening. To my surprise myLotus was identifying the LH surge and showing an exact number, so I could see the LH rise and fall. This helped us to understand exactly when the window was open – and we fell pregnant again in June, 4 months after the miscarriage.
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant again?
I couldn’t quite believe that we were. The month before, I had been convinced I was pregnant because I was experiencing some early symptoms. But I wasn’t. That affected me really quite badly and so found it hard to believe I was now actually pregnant.
Then the following month, when my partner looked at the result and came in the bedroom to tell me it was positive (I do the test and he looks at it first, that was always the way!) I was so shocked. I knew this wasn’t something he would joke about (that would be grounds for divorce surely!!) but I just couldn’t believe that it was true!
Once it sank in, so did the nerves. I was just so worried that we would miscarry again that at first I didn’t allow myself to connect with the baby.
We had an early scan at 6 weeks and saw the heartbeat, but I was still worried. A few days later I had some cramps and spotting and both of us were so on edge. We dialled 111 as it happened in the evening and they made us an emergency appointment with an out of hours GP. This meant a scan couldn’t be done, which really was the only thing that was going to put our minds at ease.
Due to the out of hours facilities there was little the doctor could do to really offer us the reassurance we needed. Having told him about our previous miscarriage he said, ‘Yes, missed miscarriages do happen, and mostly people find out about them at their 12 week scan’ (#whatnottosay campaign). He also said that bleeding is normal in pregnancy and so not to worry. I later found out that bleeding in pregnancy is very common, but it’s not ‘normal’. I continued to worry through the night and in the morning when I still had some spotting, we went off to the EPU to be checked. Incredibly everything was fine and the heartbeat was still there. We both almost collapsed crying with such huge relief.
A few days later a crazy hunger kicked in, followed by nausea, followed by tiredness. I was feeling pretty awful but welcomed the symptoms as I hadn’t experienced them the first time around and it was almost a comfort. Toast became my best friend!
Had you been quite open with your friends and family?
My good friends yes.
They knew we were trying, but I didn’t really open up to how it was making me feel and how hard I had been finding it. I remember there was a night out with the girls where I got home and burst into tears. It all just felt like too much trying to pretend that I’m fine when each month’s negative result was getting harder and harder to take. I talked to my partner about it and he encouraged me to look for other people in a similar place to me, and listen to podcasts etc. I found a brilliant podcast, BFN, and started following people on Instagram. While I’ve never posted about our own journey, hearing about other people was really comforting. It really helped me to find the words to share with my partner how I was really feeling.
Did TTC impact your relationship?
My partner is amazing, he is my rock and is so supportive. Our sessions with the nutritionist helped us to feel like this really is something we are doing together. It was important for him to know that we both have a part to play in looking after our health and wellbeing to be in the best place to conceive. Trying is hard, it dictates your sex life and kills the spontaneity! It’s hard because the window only opens once a month, and a month can feel like a really long time. The whole experience however has brought us closer together and strengthened our relationship.
We’ve experience highs and lows that we hadn’t previously and throughout we’ve been there to support each other.
Have you had fibroids that were preventing you from getting pregnant? Have you used a fertility monitor? We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media @ivfbabble