Infertility is a cruel journey

Woman standing on beach looking out to sea

After five years, 3 rounds of fertility treatment and endless needles and tests we finally got those two magic lines on the stick.

I will never forget that moment lying on the table when the radiographer said, "I've just got to go and get a second opinion." I knew then what was going to come next. It was heart-wrenching explaining to my husband that we were not going to get good news. Even at only 14 weeks, gestation a mother's intuition can kick in - I just knew. After two previous early scans, this was not the news we were expecting to hear on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Walking out of the room and I looked at all the waiting, happy expectant faces and just wanted that to be me.

Infertility is a cruel journey. The questions about, "When are you going to have your own baby?" come thick and fast when you work with small children. Kind, thoughtful people who tell you that you would make, "a really good mum" don't realise that once again this week your period has arrived bang on time.

 The numerous injections cause bruises on your body and you spend your spare time cruising internet forums for women who are TTC (trying to conceive) looking for little rays of hope and reading about the successes of others and sending 'baby dust' to others hoping that this time their embryo will stick.

Two children, later I don't talk much about this time in my life anymore but it's still there, though it's not so raw anymore. 

Infertility can be lonely and it can be all-consuming. Women struggling with infertility have their own language. We trawl the internet reading up on what we should be eating and how much water we need to drink. What vitamins and supplements can help and once you get to the stage where you are undergoing fertility treatment what every little niggle or twinge means.

I was one of the lucky ones. After our loss, we went on to have IVF. More injections, numerous trips to the hospital, you are no longer modest about dropping your pants for an internal scan - which used to happen several times a week on my way to work and don't even get me started on the mood swings. I actually found that I coped better when going through treatment as a practical person at least I felt like I was doing something.

There are some incredibly generous people out there too. Egg donors, surrogates, sperm donors (and I have a few funny stories about that). We had all our treatment in London at one of the big hospitals that specialise in fertility and I was privileged to meet some of these wonderful people and hear their stories. It's the stories that make you stronger and help you to go on. Some give you hope and some put what you are going through into perspective. Even with everything, we went through I was one of the lucky ones.

One embryo - that was all we had. One chance for it to work.

Our rainbow baby is now six. And I still marvel at how amazing it is that she is here.

Everybody's stories are different but in many, ways they are the same. The feelings of failure and being let down by your own body. The grief of the losses and the overwhelming joy of success. When you have been through infertility and or the loss of a baby, the innocence of pregnancy is gone. Every twinge, cramp, or trip to the toilet you expect something to go wrong. I was a nervous wreck for days before every scan for both my children. I never truly believed that it would happen until that baby was placed safely in my arms.

While it was a few years ago now I am always happy to answer any questions or talk about what we went through. A supportive family and amazing friends helped us along every step of the way and while infertility can put a strain on a relationship, and it did at times, in many ways it brought us closer together. 

If you are going through infertility lean on each other. Talk to others and draw your support crew around you. Sometimes people will say the wrong things and that's ok - remember they are just trying to help. It is better than they say something than to ignore what you are going through. You need them and they will be happy to help. 

And if you need someone to talk to I am always here!


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