Kate and Tom's Story
Now the spot in my chest which used to throb with pain is the place my baby girl falls asleep and my heart is at peace. Our little miracle.
Kate, Tom and Daisy
Our baby came when baby decided it was time, when baby was truly ready to arrive. Our journey may not have happened how we imagined, or planned, but it’s one of the most -at times- heartbreaking but beautiful things that made us stronger.
Around 5 years ago, we started “trying but not trying” I presumed, naively it would happen straight away. We’re both young, really healthy and take care of ourselves - we don’t drink, always have lots of fruit and veggies and exercise too. It felt like we blinked and people we knew were pregnant. I was jealous of the couples who didn’t have to try so hard. We started to take pre-natal vitamins and smoothies. For some reason I thought this would help and a pregnancy would magically happen. I read every single review on vitamins and prenatal vitamins that said “trying for one month and it happened!” I held on to every bit of hope from reading reviews to be hurt when it didn’t. I was a couple of days late so excitedly I took a test, for it to be negative. The testing for me was the hard bit, it always stung a little.
I’d already been aware of ovulation dates, I’m very in-tune with my cycle. I can’t tell you the amount of ovulation test strips I bought! Willing for the smiley face, finally getting it and then there being pressure on the timings. Then I starting measuring my basal body temperature as well as the ovulation strips which just added a lot of extra pressure. I needed to remember to do it before waking up after an amount of time lying down / asleep so it was my true rested temperature. Even though I thought we were trying everything we could, it wasn’t happening. Each month my period would start. The dreaded “relax it will happen when you relax” was said multiple times and then there were comments like “when you have a baby…” that hurt. When a baby was all we desperately wanted. People aren’t aware unless you tell them but fertility and infertility is sensitive and personal. I didn’t want to tell anyone.
There were some months where I was late and I’d again, be excited think of the ways I would tell my partner but the negative test always followed. I don’t know how he supported me as well as he did. How he held me as I cried, when I was at my lowest longing for 2 lines. He supported me in a way I’ll never be able to express, and I will be forever grateful. Even though he was going through it too, he was always there to lift me up. I think people are very quick to forget that partners go through the journey too. They hold you up, they hear tears from the bathroom and hold it together and still manage to help us believe “there’s always next month” but they have the heartbreak and disappointment too. Infertility made us stronger.
On 4th August 2020, when we first started looking into fertility clinics, I planted a seed which grew into the most beautiful sunflower. I read and re-read The Secret and The Magic - I’m a big believer in manifestation.
One of my best friends was out shopping, she had done me a little care package - she painted a watercolour picture of us and then wanted to get a book to go with it. She was looking for a book which was “me”. There was a pastel coloured book called Dare to Dream. She then turned the book over and read the blurb, it was dare to dream by Izzy Judd and her story of her fertility journey. How crazy is that? It was a sign.
From reading the book, I followed Izzy on social media and came across another lady who has become a lovely, wonderful friend of mine. She was also going through her fertility journey too. Having someone go through similar experiences and have them to talk to helped me more than I can say. You have your friends but then to have someone who understands as they're going through it too. It was like therapy we kept each other going with voice notes, messages and encouragement. She is also trained in hypnobirthing and reiki and at times of need sent me reiki to help with anxiety.
I began having fertility reflexology and reiki regularly and bought countless crystals which I charged by the moonlight. I do believe that reflexology and Reiki helped me and can help so many others, it’s a treat, kept me calm and rested and helps with anxiety. Initially we had a consultation at another fertility clinic, however when I spoke to my doctor I was advised that the clinic wasn’t in our CCG so had been advised to choose between another 3 clinics so I called each of the options I was given. I’m a very sensitive and anxious person, words are important to me. When I rang Care and spoke to the receptionist and the lady who booked our appointments, she was so caring she listened to me. Listened to my worries and tears and I knew that Care was the right fertility clinic for us. It sounds so cliche but I felt like she cared, like Care “cared”.
I was booked in quickly (given there was COVID I was worried this would have an impact on our important appointments and treatment) We both had blood tests and Tom did a sperm sample test which all came back healthy. I had scans, and I was advised I have a T shaped uterus, introverted Articulated uterus and while this doesn’t mean I couldn’t get pregnant “naturally” it could have been having an impact. When I was told I held it together but was so upset, why was it this shape? Had i done something wrong? Why was it happening? I didn’t understand, I felt angry at myself and as if I was less of a woman. There are so many people who conceive naturally and really quickly. I’d always had heavy and painful periods was this why? I felt like faulty goods. I had quite a good level of fertility when I had the scan, so again I didn’t really understand why it wasn’t happening.
I had a consultation with Anthea, she was so sweet, kind and caring. She listened to me and I felt valued. When discussing the results of tests and speaking about treatment going forward, everything was explained in detail and we were able to ask as many questions we may have had. I never felt like any of my questions were stupid, they were always answered respectfully.
It was decided the best route of treatment for us was a course of IVF with ICSI. Once we had given the go ahead and we had the CCG funding in place it was back to Care for some bloods where I got to meet Anthea in person.
She passed me tissues for my tears when I had my face-to-face appointments and I never once felt rushed out. When it came to medication, we were informed that there were videos available to watch but Anthea also showed me really clearly at my appointment what I should be doing. I’m petrified of needles, she put me at ease and was so hopeful. She went through the protocol with me in detail so I knew what was happening on which day.
The medication/ injections were delivered really professionally, and within the time scales given.
We officially began treatment on 31st October 2020. The day of our first injection! I remember feeling apprehensive also relieved, we were doing something to help us get what we wanted.
I was so nervous the first day of injections, there were so many things going round in my mind. I couldn’t give myself the injection, Tom did it for me and I’m so grateful for all the demos from Anthea.
When we first did it, we weren’t sure it had worked, so we had a couple of phone calls to Care who kindly talked us through it and we got it done. One tip I would give is, to get a mini ice pack and put it on the area you’ll be injecting!
The day after our first injection, I looked to the sky and I remember seeing what looked like a cloud shaped as a baby and an umbilical cord, was this our sign?
We followed the protocol to the tee, then it was time for scans and bloods to see how the eggs were maturing. I had my injections about 5 days longer so that a couple of the eggs could be the best size / maturity.
11/11/2020 – my scan showed 21 eggs were of the optimal size. I was told early on that if there was over 17 eggs collected I wouldn’t be able to have the transfer the same month because I would have been at a greater risk of OHSS. This upset me, but I was strong knowing it was for my safety.
I was instructed to take my final buserelin injection and 36 hours later, came egg collection. I was so so worried I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel. The nurses were amazing I think they could sense I was nervous and kept talking to me, checking on me and when I got teary they listened. I was taken down to theatre, and Tom gave a sample too while I was having the procedure done.
I was under general anaesthetic so don’t remember anything apart from coming round and a brew, biscuits and toast! I remember when I came round I felt fine, just a little sore. The doctor who did the procedure came to see me to tell me how many eggs were collected, I had 17 collected so I was able to have transfer the same month. Home to recover, and I advise to keep on top of your painkillers and a hot water bottle handy!
16/11/2020 - was transfer day but I was finding it hard to be positive with the effects of progesterone (Utrogestan) after collection. I cried to my mum I felt so low. I remember checking the Care forum to see if anyone else had this effect, but to no avail. After transfer was complete, I was advised I could carry on as normal but I had a few days rest. IVF is such an emotional rollercoaster.
2 weeks later on 30/11/2020 was the day I was advised to take our pregnancy test. On forums I had seen some ladies had tested early, I couldn’t I couldn’t bare the thought. I thought if I tested early and had a negative test I wouldn’t be able to do the test on the date advised and wouldn’t believe it if it was true. I felt sick with worry, could I really have gone through all the ups and downs and it really work?! Tom went to work and I didn’t tell him when I was taking the test, I wanted- if this was it- to be able to give him a surprise. I did the test and went back to bed and set my alarm. I wasn’t feeling very positive to be honest. I held my breath for those two minutes which felt like an absolute lifetime. I went back to the bathroom and couldn’t believe it… there were 2 lines, they weren’t faint they were really strong lines. I rang Care who gave a huge congratulations and booked me in for a scan.
I just knew I couldn’t say the words “I’m pregnant”. So to tell Tom I left a card under our Christmas tree which read “Roses are red, violets are blue, inside me beats 2 hearts for you” - He read it a few times and he said “are you?! Has it worked!?” Then I burst into tears. It had worked! The pain, the tears, it was all worth it. Little did he know or anyone know the card had been made for years and stored away ready for our time.
15/12/2020 - I had my first scan to see our baby. “There’s a good strong heartbeat”. The heartbeat was magical, the little speck, it was a moment I’ll never forget. My due date was worked out and what made even more special I’m was my due date was my grandmas birthday 4th August 2021 and exactly a year after looking into fertility clinics. I was discharged from Care and my following appointments were NHS. We waited for our 12 week appointment to announce our our greatest adventure was about to begin. I made a video of our journey which I treasure and it’s how we let our nearest and dearest know.
Pregnancy is something I’m in awe of it’s a truly beautiful stage of life, it’s a miracle. The first time I felt flutters, kicks, hearing the heartbeat, seeing my bump grow I adored protecting and growing our little one but never fully allowed myself to accept our pregnancy was real. I had bad morning sickness and a bad taste in my mouth until about 20 weeks, strong mints really helped me! I loved going to scans but that’s not to say that each night before an appointment I didn’t worry and not sleep. I didn’t fully accept and believe we was pregnant, I worried quite a lot because I couldn’t believe it was happening… I still cant believe it. I don’t think until baby was here I truly believe it, still i stare at our baby and can’t believe our luck. Even then I was in shock, we decided not to find out the gender we wanted a surprise.
I had a routine midwife appointment on Thursday 22nd July. I was told I was slightly engaged as my bump had dropped and there was a slight gap between my bump and breast bone. After my appointment I went to visit my mum and nieces, the weather was hot so didn’t stay too long, when I got home I had a nap and noticed some blood. I googled and spoke to a professional who said it was a “show” I’d also heard and read that labour can be 2 weeks after this so didn’t really think much of it.
My boyfriend was on nights on the 22nd, I remember messaging him at 3 am saying I was uncomfortable and I couldn’t cool down. I didn’t think it was labour. I tried cold flannels, fans, ice water but nothing was helping so had a really disturbed sleep, I had my relaxations on repeat. He got home the morning of the 23rd at 06:45 and I had very little sleep at this point I was uncomfortable in bed no matter which way I lay. I wanted to try and take my mind off it as I know there are “practice surges” so didn’t really believe this was it! I took 2 paracetamol and drank lots of water. I had a shower and washed my hair, drying it was a struggle and then decided to tint my eyebrows (as you do!) I think focusing on doing something helped me, I began to time surges just in case this was it… a few times it had said to go to the hospital but I didn’t believe it, with this being my first baby. My waters didn’t break like I thought they would either.
It got to 11am, the surges were getting stronger and I also felt quite sick. By this point my timings kept advising to go to hospital. Tom came upstairs with a cold bucket of water for my feet and had said we should speak to the hospital (at my midwife appointment they had said to ring triage before going to hospital) Tom kept me calm he told me to keep breathing and do everything we had been practicing. Supporting and encouraging me all the way. We eventually got through and the lady advised to make our way to the hospital and she would let triage know.
We travelled to hospital, I kept my eyes closed as soon as I got in the car. We had the air con on and off as I was switching between hot and cold. Tom held my hand, kept telling me to breathe deep. We arrived at the hospital at around 1:30-2 pm, we parked at the multi-story car park which was a walk to the hospital and I believe also helped bring my labour on, I had surges as I was walking but Tom kept encouraging me. As I was walking I did feel like something was happening. The walk felt like it would never end!
I was told to wait on the blue chairs and somebody would come and see me. I was now so uncomfortable and couldn’t sit, standing wasn’t much better either. I went to the toilet and I don’t know how I got off, Tom said if I was any longer he was going to come and get me out!
We waited a little longer and I started to cry as I was quite uncomfortable, two midwives walked over to me and took me to be examined. I had decided in my “birth plan” that I wasn’t going to be examined, as I thought it would set me back, but when I got to hospital I needed to know what was happening… where I was told “you have no cervix, you’re fully dilated we will be meeting your baby today!” I was in shock and still didn’t believe it was labour!
Then on Friday 23rd July 2021 our lives changed in the most magical way, forever. At 5.02 pm, our darling daughter was born and our world became so much sweeter & more amazing in every way.
Tom cut the cord, and had skin to skin. It was a moment I’ll never forget and felt like time stood still, I’m finally a mummy, we’re parents and a family to a perfectly healthy, wonderful, amazing, beautiful baby girl! Welcome to the world Daisy Everly 💕
She’s filled our hearts with an extraordinary love and filled a gap in my heart which was needed more than she will ever know, my everything. I dreamed of this moment she’s here and all of my hopes, dreams, prayers and wishes come true.
Seeing Tom as a daddy is priceless, I always knew he’d be amazing, seeing him with our little girl there aren’t words that can describe it. Parenthood is indescribable, I feel so lucky, so blessed and so so grateful. She really is the best thing to ever happen to me, to us. Our little family 🤍 I’m crying as I type this. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, the feeling and experience are unforgettable to me, to us.
The little girl who’s name has so much meaning, Daisy - the female version of David (her great grandad) and the Daisy is called the Mary’s rose symbolic of grace and purity (Mary being her great grandma) unfortunately she won’t get to meet… and of course Care Manchester is on Daisy bank road. We couldn’t not! Dinky, dainty and innocent - she literally is everything, our little miracle.
Now the spot in my chest which used to throb with pain is the place my baby girl falls asleep and my heart is at peace. Our little miracle.
There are some things I couldn’t have done without - Tom, my amazing mum, and closest family and friends, hypnobirthing, reflexology, amazing midwives and of course Care. I will never, ever be able to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart I’m beyond thankful.
5 years later… Made with a little bit of science, help of reflexology and a whole lot of love. “Even miracles take a little time” 🤍 Keep going, there is hope. Sending love & light to all.