Our Journey to Pregnancy

 

On my previous blog post I introduced you all to our little miracle rainbow baby Erica. After I published the blog I had a few people contacted me to ask about our journey, how long it took us to conceive Erica and what happened along the way. One person in particular who asked is studying Embryology at University, we were fortunate enough that we never had to go through with IVF however, it was booked for us to start the process in June 2017 and we found out we were pregnant in January 2017!

Anyway, I best start from the beginning, like most young girls in their late teens/early 20’s I was on the contraceptive pill. I’d never had any issues on the pill so when Jay and I decided to try for a baby we went along to the Doctor just to discuss how long it would roughly take for all the hormones to clear out my system. We were advised that because I always (most of the time) took my one week break when using the pill that it shouldn’t really be any longer than a couple of months. A couple of months isn’t that long so away we go and well, you know…!!

The first month your full of excitement, you wonder if your pregnant, I mean how hard can it be. Well I can tell you it can be pretty darn hard for some people to get pregnant. It can be a long road full of hospital trips, blood tests, needles and drugs. Little did we know in those first few months when your giddy with excitement that that was indeed the road we were on.

6 months passed and we were beginning to wonder what was going on. I was tracking my cycle on a fertility app and counting down the days until we could take a test. After 9 months, we decided to go back to see the Dr, who advised us that if we got to the one year mark he would refer me for some tests.

I underwent a series of ultrasound scans and blood tests at the local hospital just after the one year mark, they pretty much checked all of my insides! Everything came back clear but there was one thing they couldn’t tell on an ultrasound screen which then took another 6 months to get tested for, and this is a test that determines if you have blocked fallopian tubes. We wouldn’t be referred for this test for a while yet.

Next up was Jay, apparently nothing was wrong me, we should have been pregnant a long time ago so Jay was to get tested just to make sure he wasn’t ‘firing blanks’ as he likes to put it! I’ll always remember the day he had to take his sample to the hospital laboratory, the letter stated he had two options, option one was to do the sample at the hospital at his scheduled appointment time, that they wold provide a room and ‘material’ to help get the sample (i can imagine the set up, cold white uninviting walls, a rogue painting on the wall and some magazines with sticky pages!) and option two was to do the sample at home and then get it into the lab within 30 minutes! Jay went with the latter! I’ll never forget sitting in an important work meeting watching my phone as the messages flashed up about how he was struggling to get a parking space and he had 5 minutes of his 30 minute time scale left!

A few weeks passed and we went into the hospital to meet with a Doctor who had now been assigned to us to help us on this journey. We were advised that Jay had above average numbers and mobility (something that he, like any man would be proud of!) and that was not the reason why we couldn’t have a baby.

At this point, it’s well over a year and I felt defeated. We had kept this whole journey a secret, we told no one what we were going through and it was rough. We were newly married and had to deal with this huge issue, something that is supposed to be so natural  was so so hard.

This is an extract from a blog I wrote in the midst of this hard time. I’ll maybe publish the full thing one day.

 

This is our journey.
Its taking lots of vitamins, its changing your lifestyle, your eating habits, keeping your feet warm, eating pineapples, drinking pomegranate juice, eating more green vegetables than is humanly possible, wearing a wrap to keep your uterus warm, its reading new blogs and trying these new ideas. Its having acupuncture and other alternative therapies.
This is my life.
And for those who seek medical help, its months of waiting for appointments, its swabs and needles, scans and internals, its procedures and drugs, sometimes surgeries, its staying positive even in the darkest days.
This is infertility.
Its having your dreams and desires since a little girl put on hold. Its lots of tears. Its lots of pain. Its heartache. Its trying to support one another. Its waiting and wishing.
This truly is infertility.

 

On the day we found out that Jay’s swimmers were champions in their own right we got to discuss the next step with the Dr. We discussed using a drug called Clomid, we discussed Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and a few other options but the Dr said our best chances of conception were by going straight for Into Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), so he booked us in there and then for June 1st 2017. I can’t quite remember my feelings at this point but I know it was a mixture of happy, devastation and worry. I was happy because I felt we had a goal, like we had made some sort of progress, it was only a few months away and we could do a few things before June rolled around. I felt devastated because my body was broken and no one knew how to fix it, I was devastated as a wife and felt like a disappointment, would Jay have married me if he knew I couldn’t have his children naturally? And I was worried for what was ahead, needles and pessaries and steroids, all those hormones and drugs to prepare my body for a so called natural thing. The Dr did say there was one last thing that he wanted to try, Hysterosalpingogram  (HSG for short) which is a test for tubal infertility. This test would involve blue dye being inserted through my uterine cavity to see if the fallopion tubes are open. The problem with this test is that if the fallopion tubes are blocked in any way then the pressure at which the dye is inserted is enough to flush them out therefore possibly resulting in a successful pregnancy.

We went ahead with the HSG, if we were going straight to IVF what harm could this do, I would need to get used to invasive procedures .

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Here we are just before the HSG, got to keep smiling right?!

 

The procedure itself wasn’t too bad, a bit of cramping with the catheter but overall it was fine. I was more worried about walking to the car as I had visions of blue dye running down my legs, crazy I know!

After the procedure I was to rest for the day but could go back to normal work the following day. Later that month I done a pregnancy test and there staring back at me were two perfect little pink lines. I was pregnant. I was overjoyed, excited and worried all at the same time. Jay was at work and I had work to go to, I kept the test in my bag and looked at it at every opportunity to make sure those two lines hadn’t faded, that I hadn’t been dreaming. I popped to a shop later that day to buy another few tests, you know just to make sure and I picked up a tiny pair of baby booties to give to Jay when he got in from work. I put them in a bag and then handed the bag to him trying not to burst with excitement. When he glanced in the bag and pulled out the test I saw his eyes well up and he said ” No way, your pregnant?”, getting up off the couch we hugged each other in a state of disbelief and excitement. That whole week we just kept talking about this little baby, who would he/she look like, would he/she have hair, whose eyes would it have. The conversations went on for hours. We were so so happy.

Then just as we started to let the news sink in and settle it was whipped from beneath our feet when I started to bleed. We called the Dr, it was early days that I was just to cope at home, that unless the pain became unbearable then I could go to the hospital. The Dr spoke about how it could be implantation bleeding but I knew, I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy for us. It hadn’t been easy so far so why would it all of a sudden change. I coped, we coped,  this whole journey was full of pain so far , I knew we would get through it.

Later that following month a close friend of ours announced she was expecting baby number 2, I was delighted for her, completely over the moon but if anyone reading this has also struggled with fertility then they will also know the devastation and slight jealousy that comes along with any pregnancy announcement that you see or hear of, no matter how close you are or aren’t for that matter to that person. I think I found it hard due to the fact that our babies would have been only weeks apart in age.

Christmas time was always hard, it was now our second Christmas with no baby when we desperately wanted one. So we told my parents of the struggles we had been having, of course they were upset for us and told us they would support us no matter what happened but they were also slightly annoyed we had kept it a secret for so long! I cried, they cried and Jay remained a man! He never cries, like never, I think I’ve seen him cry like 4 times in 7 years and most of them were over Alfie (the dog) as he’s so accident prone!

We brought in the New Year with lots of bubbles and made the decision to put our house on the market and make a move to a bigger house before we went ahead with IVF, not that it was guaranteed to work but positive mental attitude and all that!

Our old house went onto the market and sold within 3 weeks, we decided to move further out from the city and more into the countryside but still with good transport links for Jay’s work and found a house that was recently converted from a Public Institute into a 5 bed home with lots of space, high ceilings and big rooms, our offer was accepted and the move was on!

In January we took my mum and dad out for a meal, we ate delicious food, drank lovely wines and had a good laugh. Little did I know I was pregnant, it wasn’t until the following week that I decided to do a test. I’d stop tracking ovulation etc as I had come to terms with the fact that we would be starting IVF, I was so focused on moving house and creating a nice home for a possible new baby in the months to come that it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could be pregnant.

Those two little pink lines flashed up before my eyes. I didn’t dare believe it was true and put the test in the bin immediately. I walked downstairs and tried to get on with my day, it must have only been 5 minutes and I was pulling the test back out the bin. How could this be? I didn’t dare let myself believe it never mind get excited about it. Jay came home from work and I still didn’t tell him, I’d convinced myself that I would take another test in the morning and see what it said, by bedtime I couldn’t hold it in anymore. We were putting clean sheets into the bed when I just blurted it out. “Lets wait and see what the test says tomorrow, don’t get excited”. I’m pretty sure I slept about 2 hours that night, I let Jay go to work before I took the test, if it was negative I didn’t want him to see my upset, again.

This time I took a Clearblue Digital Test where it tells you how many weeks along you are. Those few minutes waiting were torture.

‘Pregnant, 2-3 weeks’ flashed up on the screen. I took a photo of it and text it to Jay.

I don’t remember his reply but I know it was one of excitement! I’d expected the test to say 1-2 weeks pregnant not 2-3! I took a cheap test every day that week until it had been 7 days and I took another digital, I had to make sure the weeks were still going up, 3+ weeks it read! This baby just might be here to stay, so far so good!

I booked an early reassurance scan for when I thought I would be about 7 weeks, turns out I was 8 weeks and a few days. Heres a photo of the little kidney bean!

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I was petrified for the next few weeks, taking a test every single day to make sure those two lines didn’t fade or go away. We had a holiday booked with some friends when I was only 10 weeks along, I was so worried about flying so early on but I need not have worried, we booked another private scan for when we got back just to make sure he/she was still ok!

In Iceland we made this announcement photo so share with family and friends.

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Writing this blog is giving me all the feels! It’s so strange to think back to ever being pregnant, I feel like Erica has been here forever. She’s such a wee gem and my love for her is fierce!

So there we have it, a long hard 2 years but we made it, together!

I’ll add some photos below of scans and bump updates.

For anyone reading this who is struggling to get pregnant, hang in there. It’s the toughest, hardest most emotional thing you’ll possibly ever go through but so so worth it.

I’ve already had a request for a labour and delivery blog! I’ll write that soon!

 

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First Test!

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If you’ve ever been on this journey you know what its like testing all the time!

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Progress !

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Another picture from the black beach in Iceland.

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8 weeks, 9 weeks and 12 weeks in.

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I took my mum for a Mothers Day afternoon Tea, Jay called ahead and had this done to my plate – what a cutie!

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Gender announcement cupcakes that we shared with family! When you cut them open they were pink inside!

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The girl who made these no longer makes cakes, they were so delicious!

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17 weeks we found out it was a little girl!

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18 week bump and getting big! She was a big baby when born!

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20 week scan!

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Look at Alfie sunning himself!

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Bumping along in the summer!

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On holiday at 27 weeks!

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Hitting the third trimester at 28 weeks while on holiday!

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4D scan at 29 weeks!

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My baby shower at 33 weeks thrown by my beautiful friends Rebekah and Lisa!

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Alfie showing his sister some love – he doesn’t go near her now!!

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Washing some clothes before packing the hospital bag!

Such a long blog, it was a long 2 years! Hope you enjoyed and can go away with some hope/positivity or questions for your own Dr!

If your anything like me, you’ll want to read as many stories on infertility as possible, for a completely different journey check out Beccas blog ‘My journey through Infertility’  .

Till next time,

 

Jen

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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