My husband and I started trying for another baby when our now five-year-old turned one. We had no issues conceiving her so assumed we wouldn’t again.
I believe that things started to go wrong a few months later when I caught a viral sick bug, then had a completely out of character mid-cycle bleed, followed by bright pink spotting. I’d had pink spotting with Olivia so did a pregnancy test, which came back positive. Our happiness was short lived however as three weeks later I had a really heavy period, which probably meant that I’d had a chemical pregnancy.
From here on in I started experiencing problems with my monthly cycle. It became very erratic, coming either really early or really late, I also started to get intense pains just before it arrived along with heightened pregnancy symptoms. It was a really stressful time as I just didn’t know what was going on. I went to my GP and got referred for fertility tests. Worryingly my AMH came back low and an underactive thyroid materialised out of nowhere (this can happen after having a baby apparently) but nothing else flagged up. We saw an NHS Fertility Consultant who was useless and told us to, ‘go away and have more sex’. We then paid to see a private consultant who put me on a course of Clomid which didn’t do anything bar send me a little loopy. By now I’d started to get twitchy about my age (I was 38) so once I finished the course of Clomid my husband and I started the (self-funded) IVF ball rolling.
We saw an NHS Fertility Consultant a few weeks later who was useless and told us to, ‘go away and have more sex’
Nothing prepared us for the ridiculousness that is IVF. It’s like a cruel game show (think Takeshi’s Castle meets Hunger Games). It’s emotionally draining and you’re constantly being thrown curve balls. We did our first round with a huge amount of hope but I didn’t respond well to the drugs so our clinic made a call to cancel the cycle. They recommended we try IUI which we did, but that didn’t work. We took some time out then tried again a few months later. This time my Consultant upped my drug dose and my body did what it should. I had a really good feeling about this round. Out of 5 eggs collected we were left with two and out of those two, they put one back in and they froze one. The two-week wait was horrendous but I felt the right tweaks and pains and it worked, I was pregnant.
We were elated. We started to plan ahead, you can’t stop yourself even if you want to be cautious. I had an encouraging 6-week scan and I felt hideously sick, we were on the right track, however suddenly in week 9 my sickness stopped. I had a 10-week scan booked with a private clinic which happened to fall the day before we flew on holiday. I went alone and sadly found out I’d had a missed miscarriage. I was devastated. It was a horrendous day. I truly felt like another Emma, in another realm somewhere left the clinic that day clutching her scan photo. We made the decision to still fly on holiday and when we returned, I had an ERPC operation. It was an incredibly sad time for my husband and I. This all happened just before Christmas and by the end of February 2018 we ploughed ahead with another round.
Nothing prepared us for the ridiculousness that is IVF. It’s like a cruel game show (think Takeshi’s Castle meets Hunger Games)
Having done one full fresh round, we naively assumed this would be similar. But instead of being a short process, I had to take drugs for a month and a half shutting down my reproductive system and putting it through the menopause before I got to the embryo transfer stage. What happened was, I lost sight of the end game. The drugs made me miserable and sick, and to be honest I hadn’t recovered from my miscarriage, something I now realise. Despite all this everything proceeded as it should and our embryo defrosted perfectly. Again, all the signs were good. On the day of testing we got a positive result from our clinics test and had a glorious few days of inner excitement however a week later I knew it hadn’t worked. I just didn’t feel pregnant. We did another test which confirmed our fears, another chemical pregnancy. It was such a cruel blow.
After this we put everything on pause. I realised that I needed counselling to help me deal with the grief I felt from my miscarriage and we took the time out to focus on us as a family of three. With the space away from treatment, we recognised that we rushed headlong into IVF when we should’ve left it as a last resort, rather than the quick-fix I saw it as – which it most definitely is not! We’ve recently headed down a different path treatment wise, as for a long time now I’ve been certain that something is wrong with me that wasn’t showing up on the generic fertility tests. We’re seeing a specialist who looks into Natural Killer Cells and Immune issues and low and behold a few things have flagged up for me. This has given us renewed hope and we both feel positive about where we are now heading.
This is the funny thing about Secondary Infertility because I feel the guilt of having my daughter yet wanting another… desperate to complete our family and eternally frustrated that I can’t
I am aware we are incredibly lucky as we have one child already, this is the funny thing about Secondary Infertility because I feel the guilt of having my daughter yet wanting another. Is that selfish of me? I am desperate to complete our family and eternally frustrated that I can’t, for whatever reason that may be. One thing that keeps me going however is that small glimmer of hope and I (we) will keep trying while that remains
“One thing that keeps me going… is that small glimmer of hope and I (we) will keep trying while that remains”