So, here’s some big news if you didn’t already see it over on my Instagram page: Wayne and I recently found out that we are going to become parents for the first time later on this year which is the BEST NEWS EVER!
After a very up and down struggle of trying to conceive followed by a lot of peeing on a stick (me), general disbelief (both of us) and a blood test (me again) it was confirmed. And we still can’t really believe it.
Even when I look at our scan picture above taken at 13-and-a-half weeks, I struggle to accept that our baby is wiggling its way around and growing in my belly. But he/she is and it blows me away.
It seems to be an unwritten rule, though, that if you’re trying for a baby you can only tell the world about it when you’re successful and you pass the all-important 12-week mark. But what about those people who are trying month after month to conceive with no success? Or those who have fertility problems and lose a bit more hope each time they turn over a new page on the calendar?
That was us and it was tough. So I wanted to share our story and hopefully give hope to other couples who are struggling to find that magic baby dust.
Trying is so very ‘trying’
Trying to conceive and getting nowhere is tough and something a couple probably won’t share with the world while it’s happening due to various reasons. I can only speak from my own personal experience and difficulties in getting pregnant and I know mine and Wayne’s experiences won’t be the same as everyone else’s.
Happily for us, by some miracle we found out we had been lucky only a couple of weeks before we were to start IVF treatment.
But during the time we were trying it was hard on us both. The hope every month that we might have done it, then the crushing realisation when my monthly visitor showed up, sometimes a few days late to really get us going. The cowbag.
In the end, due to my age (mid to late 30s) we went to see our doctor pretty early on. She ordered a battery of tests and in the end it turned out that it was me that wasn’t working – I wasn’t ovulating – so I started on several rounds of fertility drug Clomid, which in effect tricks your body into releasing an egg during your monthly cycle.
Being the one with the ‘problem’ is pretty shit. For starters, you are upset because you’re not working and you might not be able to have a baby. But there’s also the upset for the other person along with a whole load of guilt. I knew it wasn’t just stopping me from having a baby, it was stopping Wayne too, through no fault of his own. He always reassured me that it wasn’t my fault either, but I hated seeing how it affected him and felt so powerless.
As our treatment progressed, blood tests showed the lower doses of the medication didn’t work for me at all, but despite my right arm starting to resemble a pin cushion we gave it one last try at the highest dose possible to see if it would work. At the same time we had been privately referred to an IVF clinic – with my age as a factor we really didn’t want to have to go on an NHS waiting list for two more years in order to get our free go.
Stop the bloody clocks
One of the worst things we found about trying to get pregnant was the time. With everything working on a monthly cycle there was so much waiting each time we knew we hadn’t been successful. Another month is a long time when you’re trying for a baby and you feel like your fertility is slipping through your fingers every time the calendar flicks to a new page.
I wasn’t holding much hope that the Clomid would work for me at its highest dose, especially as our consultant at the clinic had told us I would need the maximum amount of much stronger IVF drugs to stimulate my eggs. Oh lovely. But somehow the tablets came up with the goods, proved by yet another blood test later that month. Amazing! Finally a breakthrough!
Sadly we didn’t get pregnant that month but we were happy. We had gone from a 0% chance of getting pregnant to a 25% chance the next month, if the tablets did the trick again. That’s the same odds as perfectly healthy and fertile couples. It took us nearly a year to get to that stage but I was glad we got checked out by the doctor when we did. The NHS guidelines say to wait a year of not getting pregnant before seeking medical help, but if you’re older and trying I would urge you to get checked out asap. Fertility is a sod and can prove annoyingly elusive just when you want it the most.
To cut a long story short, the next month we hit the egg meets sperm jackpot and we couldn’t believe it. We found out just two weeks before our last meeting at the IVF clinic before beginning treatment that we were pregnant – so lucky and we couldn’t be happier. After such an emotional ride we had done it. All we needed to do now was to keep our fingers crossed that baby would make the 12-week mark and we could tell the world.
But while we waited for those weeks to pass it got me thinking about other couples in the same situation. We told a couple of friends and our families about what we were going through but even then I think they found it hard to totally understand what it felt like. The powerless feeling of wanting something so much but it seemingly always remaining out of reach.
Talking about fertility problems is such a personal thing and I can understand why most people choose to keep it private while they are trying to conceive. But if you have an idea that a couple might be trying and struggling, cut them a bit of slack and be there for them if they need it. I never really wanted to talk about the ins and outs of our struggle to get pregnant while we were going through it as I felt it piled on the pressure but Wayne felt better by talking to other people about it.
Every couple is different but I think it’s time to break down the taboo of trying for a baby, even if that just means being a bit more understanding to those that are. As the funny thing is, the more we have talked about it, the more people we have found who have been in exactly the same boat as us. It turns out that fertility problems are a lot more common than we would ever have thought.
I realise this has been a mammoth post so I will leave it there, but if you’re trying for a baby and finding it hard then please know you’re not alone and there are so many people who have been through/are going through the same. I hope that in some way this post has helped a bit.
Lots of babydust,