From a young age I knew I wanted to be a mum. I wouldn’t say that I was ready for it then, I was too excited about the prospect of University and living ‘my best life’, but I knew that my goal was to become a wife and a mum. I had known my husband for years, and eventually we got together 6 years ago. He was already a friend of the family and so it didn’t seem odd or unfamiliar that after 2 year we were engaged and thinking about having children.
From a female point of view I had always thought or felt that something was ‘wrong’. I could feel it in my bones. And sure enough after trying for 18 months, we came to the conclusion that clearly something was stopping us. Eventually after 2 years the GP gave us the green light to have some investigations and so our IVF process began. The emotional, mental and physical strain that it put not only on us but our families was something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The fertility club, is a club that no one wants to be in, but that everyone TTC (trying to conceive) should become familiar with. It is through the wonder of social media, support groups and walking, that I have met some of the most incredible women and families. Some that I am sure I will have for life. If you follow me on social media, I’m sure you’ll see some of the many topics of conversation and of course the fabulous Rainbow Running Club that has provided a source of safety for me throughout this process.
We find ourselves exceptionally lucky to have made the cut. We know that so many women, couples and families have had their treatments taken from them and we can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like.
Our IVF journey, when I look back at it wasn’t particularly long. From visiting the GP to transfer of our embryo was around 18 months. We both had lots of investigations and after some scans, a HyCosy and a Laparoscopy, the consultants at UHCW discovered that I had Endometriosis and a blocked fallopian tube. I wasn’t shocked at all. I knew it. I had been listening to my body for a while and I knew that something wasn’t right. I had suffered with horrendous periods for as long as I could remember, would keel over in pain and spend days recovering from my monthly cycle.
Suddenly, everything made sense, there was a reason behind our failed attempts. My body wasn’t failing me, I was just going to need some support. And my goodness did Coventry CRM give us that. After what seemed like some of the longest months waiting for the process to start, we eventually started the down regulation process, pumping myself full of steroids that effectively put you in a pre-menopausal state, which subsequently led me to look like I was storing food in my cheeks like a hamster! Soon enough we started injecting and preparing my body and then we were ready. Ready to have our eggs collected, for the clinic to make our baby and for it to finally be ‘put back’ for me to do the rest!
Being pregnant in lockdown:
This is our first ever pregnancy. Never before had I pee’d on a stick and it been two stripes of blue! In a way it has meant that we’ve been even more protective and aware than ‘usual’, at least that’s what I anticipate has happened anyway. If you’ve struggled with fertility issues, you’ll know first- hand about the anxieties and the worries that come with trying for a baby and then keeping that baby safe. With lockdown thrown in, it really shakes things up and we certainly felt like we had to batten down the hatches!
I think for us the worst bit about lockdown and Covid-19 was the unknown. When we went for our first scan at the hospital and all of the midwives were re-training and clearing up to close the center.
It was awful. We’d heard on the news that all treatment was stopping but until we got to the clinic we didn’t realise how serious it was. We were hoping that this first scan was going to be full of excitement and smiles, but in fact it was full of questions, uncertainties and sadness for the staff that were being asked to retrain and put themselves on the frontline of this awful disease. We had so many questions. Could Covid-19 effect the baby? Should I stop working? Who was going to support us now? And unfortunately lots of the answers were, ‘we’re unsure yet’.
We decided at 6 weeks to tell our immediate families, and it’s lucky that we did as 2 days later lockdown was announced and we haven’t been able to see them since. That’s one of the biggest struggles that we’ve faced. When I dreamt of becoming pregnant I couldn’t wait to spend those first few secretive weeks with my mum and sister, talking all things pregnancy! Cravings, morning sickness, what I wanted to buy etc, etc! But I feel like that part of pregnancy has been stolen from me. I haven’t been able to have those chats or shop for things, I haven’t even been able to get a hug when I’ve felt really sick or anxious. Without a shadow of a doubt, as lockdown continues, I feel robbed of the first stages of my first ever pregnancy.
I knew that there was some uncertainty around the rules of scans and hospital visits so at 10 weeks we paid for a private scan at a clinic in Coventry. They were amazing and luckily my husband was allowed in. Seeing the baby for the first time in such detail was incredible. It was exactly how I’d dreamt it would be and my husband’s face was something else. I was so pleased we did this as sure enough, when we had our 12 week scan, he wasn’t allowed in. I was mortified. It felt so unnatural that he wasn’t with me. I knew it was for the safety of everyone but I was just in bits. I cried through most of the scan. Even though it was beautiful to see the baby, I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t experiencing this with him. The nurses were wonderfully supportive and on the Brightside we got lots of pictures and managed to visit a hospital in the safest way possible for the staff, ourselves and our baby.
My husband and I have always been glass half full people, we’ve always tried to be positive and focused on problem solving. I’m lucky; we are now pregnant and everything worked well for us; some people haven’t been so lucky. We are further now than we have ever been before, and for that I am eternally grateful.
We haven’t been able to see friends and family and that makes me incredibly sad, but, I have been kept safe, in the comfort of my home, with my darling husband and dog. We have received gorgeous gifts of flowers and chocolates and let’s be honest, having an excuse to nap midday, eat carbs when I want and chocolate until it comes out my ears because ‘the baby needs it’ is also a huge positive.
I have to keep reminding myself that this will be over. It will pass and although life may be a little different, it will still be life. We will still embrace it and problem solve and look on the Brightside.
Remember to keep getting out of the house for your daily exercise; walking the dog and the husband has been a godsend. Fresh air is underrated!
Take time to listen to what is going on in your head, even if it makes you cry. Curl up in bed, stick on a podcast/music/film whatever floats your boat and just be with yourself.
Enjoy your diet and make the most of the good and the bad foods! Eat the cake, drink the fizzy pop, but also make sure you’re getting your Vitamin C and nutrients as these all help in supporting a healthy body and mind.
However, please, please remember that it’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to feel robbed of your journey, scared, annoyed and let down. We are all trying to get to that end point, that final result and this damn pandemic is getting right in our way!
Holly is part of the Rainbow Running Club Team and arranges our Leamington Spa meet ups (when we can meet up in real life!) you can get in touch with her here.
Or via her instagram page hodoyoulikeyoureggs9