When I was growing up my plan was to be married by 27 and to have children in my early 30’s. Like a lot of girls, I spent my twenties trying not to get pregnant whilst waiting on Mr Right to come along. I would describe my immediate and extended family as one of the most fertile families I know. Growing up my Mum always warned my sisters and I that if we as much as looked at the male reproductive organ that we would get pregnant! To be fair to her I would say that held true for my younger sisters.
Mr Right did come along and we got married three years later. I was now 36 and we were going to have a honeymoon baby because I was a honeymoon baby and that’s how quick it was going to happen for me. I remember the disappointment clearly when my period arrived the first time after returning from honeymoon.
About 6 months later I really began to get concerned and went to my GP. I also began tracking my cycle on a spreadsheet and trawling the internet for the answers. I always had a regular cycle with no major issues, so I was quite shocked. The prodding and poking began, and it became apparent we had a combination of male and female infertility issues so a long challenging road ensued. Both of us had many a procedure both exploratory and corrective along with a barrage of appointments, blood tests and of course the painful waiting for test results.
I remember the day clearly, we got the worst news ever, 10th of August 2010. The bottom did fall out of my world that day and I physically felt myself just dropping with a broken heart as the Consultant explained everything. It was like one of those falling dreams, but I didn’t have the waking up mechanism to stop myself from falling deeper and deeper.
He explained that we would need to go down the route of assisted reproduction to conceive and we would most likely need to do IVF but we could try IUI if we wished (a significantly cheaper option but less chance of success) but there was no guarantees with any treatment…very comforting when you have just been given the worst news of your life. We were devastated. IUI seemed like the nearest thing to natural conception so we gave it a shot three times with no success. Next stop was IVF, I had been researching it and was truly bamboozled and scared with the information on the internet, the science, the statistics, the drugs, the cost, the clinics, and the stories.
Anyway, my dogged determination to succeed kicked in. It was a long relentless three year’s, with a lot of turbulence, emotional difficulties, a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks, dodgy hormone’s and guess what? Everyone else was pregnant (well it felt that way). I was truly happy for anyone who got pregnant easily because I would not wish infertility on anyone, it is horrific but my plea to the man above was just to keep me strong and when would it be my turn?
Trying to get pregnant consumed our lives and we made a lot of sacrifices on the way. Our story ended up having a fairy-tale ending and we were truly blessed in June 2013 when our twin daughters were born.
When I look back now I do think what would I have done differently? This is easy to do with hindsight, but on reflection I would have nurtured myself more, slowed down, talked more and not been as tough and anal about the sacrifices we made, strived for better balance. I would feel guilty over having a caffeinated cup of tea…seriously!?! and that is how bad it got – for those who know me I love my tea and giving it up was the hardest thing as it was something that comforted me. I would have done more things that brought relaxation and fun into my life.
It is only now I am truly understanding the impact of worry and stress on our bodies and on our reproductive systems. Prolonged stress is as bad, if not worse, than the impact of smoking or drinking alcohol but sadly there are no adverts out there telling us this.
Unfortunately, I was not aware of Fertility Coaching on my journey, but I believe it would have been of great value and support to me and my husband by easing the panic, stress, and obsession I had about being unable to have a family. It would have helped us navigate and contemplate our challenges with more perspective, clarity and support and it would have helped us to achieve better balance and control in our lives.