During my googling I found another clinic, this time not in our area. I can’t explain but I just felt drawn to it. At the same time my husband said his parents had offered us the money if we wanted to go again. Did we? Could I put myself through it again physically and emotionally?
I will never forgot the words of one counsellor who said ‘don’t look back with regrets. You have a window of opportunity. What will you regret more – ‘trying and it not working or not trying?’ I knew the answer of course I would regret not trying and I needed to be able to say to my daughter, we did everything we could. So decision made we were going again – third time lucky, right!
We travelled to the clinic and straight away I got a good vibe from it and really liked the doctor, who was going to use a different combination of drugs, increase my progesterone and try adding something new into the mix, using calcium after collection to help fertilisation. I felt positive again as things were being done a different way this time.
The second time was all just the same as the first but this time it felt fresh and new. I felt hopeful again. It was actually quite nice going to a clinic out of our area. We would get the train and make a day of it and go shopping or for lunch. Again I decided not to find out numbers at egg collection but my husband reassured me that all went well and it was better than our second attempt. This was all I knew.
We got to day 5 transfer this time
I still didn’t know numbers and to this day I don’t, I felt more positive though, over the years I had built a brick wall around myself in the hope to stop myself getting hurt so never fully believed it would work but I liked the feeling that things were different this time.
One week after transfer and no bleed, had it worked or was there just no bleed as I was on more progesterone. I now started to feel a little hopeful. We were due to take our pregnancy test on the Monday but we were at a wedding on the Saturday so I did one before I allowed myself to drink.
This was it, a big fat positive!
Wow we had waited for this moment for sooooo long. Why did I not feel the excitement I had imagined. I felt in disbelief, numb. Monday came and I did another test and it still said positive. I rang the clinic who booked me in for our scan, it was a week later than they wanted due to work commitments so was at 8 weeks rather than 7. Those few weeks were weird to say the least, I wanted to feel excited but still had this black cloud hanging over me waiting for the but. I also didn’t feel pregnant.
Scan day arrived and we travelled to the clinic with mixed feelings. By this point I had convinced myself something wasn’t right, I’m not sure if I actually believed that or if I was just trying to protect myself. My husband and I went into the scan room, I can’t even describe how we both felt, so wanting our dreams to finally be a reality but equally very guarded.
The sonographer went quiet and started to talk us through the scan and her words, ‘we should see’ straight away my heart sank, I knew what she meant. She then got to the foetus and said this is where the heartbeat should be. My husband held my hand tight but I felt numb, she then went to get somebody else to confirm. There was no heartbeat, the foetus had stopped growing at around week 6. The rest of the appointment and journey home I was very matter of fact about it all and didn’t cry, I was telling myself I knew it hadn’t worked anyway, look at my journey so far, I don’t get my happy ever after.
It took almost 2 weeks to start bleeding
I think that is when I started my grieving, especially passing the foetus was hard as I was not prepared for what I saw. I still went to work and pretended to be strong when around others and took it out on my husband when we were at home. I felt I now had even more reason to hate my body, I had failed as a Mam as wasn’t able to provide a safe environment for my baby. I know now this is not the case and these were all irrational thoughts but at they time they were very real thoughts.
My husband tried to stay positive throughout and said we still have two frozen embryos, it isn’t over. But I felt it was, frozen embryos weren’t going to work if fresh ones didn’t but I couldn’t leave them in the freezer, I had to try them. 6 years had passed since the start of our journey, I was now almost 37 and didn’t want to leave things much longer.
After speaking to our doctor we decided to start the frozen cycle in January 2020
He said he would put both back in if we wanted but he would recommend one. After discussing it we decided just one was best. So in February 2020 the embryologist picked an embryo to put back in, both were equal in quality. The drive down to the clinic was filled with negative thoughts, what if we get there and they tell me the embryo hasn’t made the thawing process? But it had and all was OK, embryo transferred and the two week wait started – again! The frozen cycle was a lot less invasive but I was on all sorts of medication to try and make it work, blood thinning injections, steroids to help implantation as well as the regular drugs. I entered this cycle with no hope or expectations, I felt I was just going through the motions as I couldn’t leave the embryos in the freezer.
During our two week wait I kept myself busy by throwing myself into work, something I had used as a distraction over our journey, and news of Covid was starting to circulate.
Test day arrived, I can honestly say I had no emotions just numbness, like a machine
Anyway we got that positive result again but this time neither of us could feel excitement after what happened last time, we just held our breath and I don’t know what happened in those coming weeks until scan day, they were a blur. By the time scan day arrived Covid was in the news more and more and becoming more of a concern. We drove to the scan and didn’t stop at a single services, we were focusing our thoughts on that rather than the results of the scan.
The clinic checked our temperatures on arrival and we tried not to touch anything! We went in for the scan and the sonographer was a lovely bubbly lady who didn’t seem to understand why we weren’t excited. We briefly explained and she quickly got started, as soon as she started she said ‘here is the heartbeat’ – whatttttt this was really happening after everything, there was a heartbeat and everything seemed fine.
I didn’t know how to feel, relieved, nervous, excited, a million different emotions ran through me at that time
She printed us off tons of photos and was so happy for us. Then time to speak to the doctor, Covid was still so new and they didn’t know much about it but what he did know was the steroid drugs were surpressing my immune system and this wasn’t good in relation to Covid so he recommended I start to wean off them. But I was only 7 weeks pregnant and was meant to be on them for 12! He said it may increase my risk of miscarriage but equally pregnancy was healthy and established.
I put the scan photos in my bag and didn’t look at them. I couldn’t let myself start to believe this was happening or get attached to something that probably wouldn’t last. When we got home I put the photos in a draw and refused to talk or engage in any thoughts about pregnancy as I started to wean off the steroids.
3 days later, ironically Mother’s Day, I went to the toilet and there it was blood, fresh red blood. Here we go again I thought, my body letting me down again!
Again I didn’t cry as I had told myself this would happen. I called my doctors on the Monday who asked me to come in and they sent me for a scan to confirm what we thought was happening. 2 days later my husband and I turned up at our local hospital for our scan, we’d been here before and were going through the motions. The bleed never got heavier but equally never subsided.
The sonographer was lovely and very sympathetic to us. She started to scan me and my husband held my hand. She instantly turned the screen around and said there is the heartbeat! Pardon me! What! I was miscarrying surely? Apparently not!
Baby was still there and seemed healthy, she didn’t know why I was bleeding
We left feeling spaced out, what had just happened? We were convinced we were losing it! During this time our private clinic were in constant contact and were a great support, after a week of still bleeding they suggested going for another scan. I could go there but things were starting to shut down with Covid so they suggested going to my local hospital again if I could. I rang and they weren’t keen on seeing me as they were limiting appointments but they agreed. This time my husband was not allowed to come with me so he sat in the car outside. The feeling of having to walk in and lie on the bed on my own was awful and very daunting. Who was going to squeeze my hand if it was bad news? Again, the sonographer was very understanding and started to scan me, it was still there and growing, I lay and for the first time at any appointment I cried! Maybe this was real this time and was happening to me at last.
Over the coming weeks the bleeding stopped and I started to feel pregnant, shattered and couldn’t stand smells.
My 12 week scan date came and again my husband couldn’t attend with me so waited in the car. All was well and I felt now I could actually start to believe this was happening and let myself feel happy, a feeling I had struggled to genuinely feel for myself for years. I know this sounds exceptionally selfish when I already had a child and believe me I was beyond grateful to her and she got me through this as I had to put on my game face and act like all was OK for her.
Our journey has thrown emotions and experiences I didn’t know existed
Writing this now I can’t believe I went through all of this and I feel I went through most of it in a fog, emotionless and with a massive brick wall all around me, only really letting my daughter in.
My pregnancy was not plain sailing and Covid added into the mix, making me more anxious the whole time. But I cannot believe how lucky I am to sit here today with a healthy, happy, smiley 6 month old little boy. Something I had convinced myself would never happen to me again. I may be shattered and exhausted as he is a little sleep thief but every single day I look at him and feel a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. Maybe things do happen for a reason and at the time we can’t always see the reason, he has entered our world and his timing has been perfect for us.
He is my daily reminder to follow your heart and never give up on your dreams and like I was once told ‘don’t look back with regrets or missed opportunities’.
Honestly if I can get through all I have, anybody can! Sending love to you all.
Thank you so much to Laura for sharing her incredible journey with us. If you would like to share your story, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org