An old school friend of mine got in touch recently; she’d been reading the blog regularly, and had wondered whether she could write a post about her struggles with fertility and conceiving. I said “yes, of course!”, and I’m very happy to announce that, as I’m scheduling this post, Josie gave birth to a healthy, and incredibly beautiful, little girl on Saturday night – I wish her and her Husband the very best of luck with everything – Motherhood is crazy but it rocks!
It was an exciting day when my husband suggested we try for a baby; I think most of us don’t even give our fertility a second thought until this point. After 7 months nothing had happened, and then I was a little later than normal. I did a test but it was negative. I think in my heart I knew this was the truth, but I was absolutely gutted. At the same time we found out some friends of ours were expecting a baby. It was a kick in the teeth.
My periods became less regular and soon, stopped all together. It would be 20 weeks before I came on again. During this time I told myself I didn’t care, but actually I was slipping into denial and depression. I refused to do anything about it and it was only when my friend told me I should see a doctor that I realised I had been kidding myself. My doctor arranged for me to have some blood tests. These showed I wasn’t ovulating without any explanation so she referred us both to the hospital.
We had never expected it to be this hard. I decided to speak to my mum. She was amazing, explaining she and my dad had trouble conceiving; they had tried for 18 months before getting pregnant with me. She told me it would happen though and to stick it out. For the first time, I felt like it would eventually happen.
A few weeks later we found out another couple we knew were pregnant. My friend was amazing, telling me very sensitively and being honest with me. I still found it hard though. Every time I felt down my husband noticed a change in me. He always made sure I was honest with him about how I was feeling, and never stopped telling me that whatever happened the most important thing was that we had each other. He was a rock.
A couple of months later we learnt that our closest friends were also expecting. Feeling disheartened that it kept happening so easily for everyone else, I got home that day and our fertility referral letter had arrived. I called the hospital, only to be told that we had to wait another 6 weeks for an information pack. This was my lowest point. I was sick of waiting, being given false hope. I couldn’t stop crying and even my husband couldn’t calm me down. All I could hear were voices in my head telling me I was useless if I couldn’t do the most natural thing a woman is built for.
We decided to speak out more about what we were going through. This really helped my frame of mind and I started to get better mentally. It was only at this point that I realised how low I had been. To be able to look back and realise this, it was encouraging to know I had seen the worst and even if we never managed to have children, I might be able to accept it.
Finally, after nearly 9 weeks, our information pack arrived and we had our appointment. They explained that they suspected I had polycystic ovaries. A couple of months later I had a scan of my ovaries and the nurse confirmed this. It sounds mad but we were over the moon to finally have some answers, and I felt a lot better about things knowing this was something they could help with.
I had become quite regular in recent months, but my periods stopped again. This was really frustrating as it would hold up some of the other tests the hospital wanted to run, delaying our next appointment when we were hoping to start treatment. A lack of periods wasn’t unusual for me but I could never rule out pregnancy. It was improbable but not impossible, so I had to do another test. I decided to get it over and done with. Two very bold lines appeared immediately. I couldn’t believe it! It was incredible news and we had never been so happy. We always thought we’d need help, but getting answers had made us relax and I had finally accepted how I was, humble that it had made me who I am today.
I may not have dealt with my fertility problems in the best way, but everyone deals with things differently. Although it was the hardest thing I have ever endured there are people who try far longer than we had to and still never manage to have children. We are some of the lucky ones but remain under no illusions that we’re out of the woods. Whatever life throws at us now though, we will be able to deal with together, better and stronger.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Josie.