My Fertility Story
Having a baby is one of those things you just assume will happen but in reality, lots of us have problems conceiving. In honour of National Fertility Week, COO Nic bravely shares her story….
I have always known I wanted to be a mum. It’s one of those things in life you just assume will happen and you take it for granted.
You spend your teen years and your twenties trying your hardest not to get pregnant. It’s a bore as every type of contraception either makes you feel uncomfortable or affects your mood but you’re desperate not to have a baby too soon so you do what you need to do.
Then, when the time comes that you are ready to take that next step into adulthood by making a baby of your own, you assume it will happen straight away – month one!
When it doesn’t, you find yourself shocked. And when it still doesn’t happen, you start to panic.
A few years ago, I decided it was time. I had the house, the long-term partner, the good job – I was ready.
And we tried.
And we tried some more.
But nothing happened. We became more and more disheartened. It seemed that most of my friends were all falling getting pregnant by just looking at their other halves. I took a strange sense of comfort in other friends being not so lucky and having similar issues to myself.
My partner at the time had a little girl already, so we automatically assumed the issue was with me. We eventually went to the doctors and had some tests. They were not pleasant for either of us.
There were blood samples and urine samples for both of us then numerous invasive tests for me. One of these tests is called an internal invasion (like a smear test but much more uncomfortable), which checks your ovaries and follicles. Another test injects dye into your uterus to check for blockages. It made my insides feel like they were exploding. The ‘sometimes you feel pain, sometimes you don’t’ comment from the nurse seemed insane, what sort of superwoman wouldn’t feel that?!
When the results came back, everything turned out to be fine for me. But my partner had a low sperm count. We were told about some things we could do to improve things, but otherwise just to keep trying. They said it might never happen at all.
I was so sad that it might not happen for us.
It took its’ toll on our relationship. It didn’t feel like my partner was sympathetic to the situation and didn’t fully comprehend how the prospect of not being a parent made me feel. He was already Dad to a lovely little girl. He just didn’t get it.
It all felt very unjust and I was heartbroken.
Exploring other options
We looked into IVF but there received another blow. We knew there was some support offered by the NHS but we weren’t sure what. Are you ever until you find yourself in that situation? It turned out that, as my partner had a child already, we weren’t eligible for any free treatment.
We would have to pay in full for each round of treatment needed. This can be upwards of £3000. Having just bought a house, we didn’t have that sort of money or the means of borrowing any further.
This worsened the gap between us even more. We were experiencing different emotional reactions to the circumstances we found ourselves in and what should have felt like a problem for us both, actually just seemed to be a problem for me. I felt victimised for being ruled out of IVF treatment on the NHS even after taking on another persons child as my own. Actually that had just made me want a baby of my own even more.
It all just seemed so unfair.
Eventually, the strain on our relationship became too much to bear. We parted ways. I lost my relationship with his little girl and the prospect of having my own baby any time in my thirties seemed highly unlikely.
Having a baby with a partner I loved seemed like an increasingly risky bet. I knew that I could create a loving home as a single parent. Lots of parents become single anyway, so it didn’t feel that different to me.
I looked into doing it on my own but deep down, I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. The only thing I have ever been certain of is that I wanted a family. That meant Mum, Dad and baby to me.
But not everyone meets someone they want to have a child with, and if they do, you can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to a baby or that they will want to.
And if you don’t meet someone, what do you do? Just give up? I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t think I should have to.
In the end, fate intervened – as it tends to do.
I met a wonderful person last year who has made me very happy. He proposed whilst we were on a skiing holiday earlier this year. We’ve been together for 15 months now, and we are ready to start trying for a family.
Never give up
This time around I’m going into it with the full awareness that it will take time, and may not be easy.
But I also know that if it doesn’t work out for us naturally, there are options, and I know how to approach these options having been through it before.
I also know not to give up hope.
One friend of mine tried to conceive for 14 years then was told she could not have children naturally. She went though IVF treatment and had a lovely baby boy. A year later she fell pregnant naturally the first time she had sex again after giving birth. Protection was not something she had considered after 14 years of trying to no avail! Now she has a boy and a girl less than a year apart!
If those two don’t give us hope, I don’t know what will!
For now, my partner and I have our hands full raising our beloved fur baby Lena, who will hopefully have a human baby sister or brother in the not so distant future.
If you’re having trouble trying for a baby, Fertility Network UK have lots of brilliant resources and support options as well as people to talk to. We wish you all the luck in the world x