Anna, Aimee, Olly and little bump
My wife and I always knew we’d have to do the whole ‘make a baby’ thing differently, but we were up for the challenge. We thought it’d be pretty easy – I mean, we had two wombs between us, but it proved to be one of the hardest, most challenging things we have ever done.
Fertility treatment is not funded on the NHS in our area, so we had to find quite a bit of money to fund it ourselves. We re-mortgaged our house to ensure we had enough in the pot to cover everything - it wasn’t ideal, but when you want something so badly you do everything you can to make it happen right?
We chose a donor from the London sperm bank which was quite a surreal process (almost like online shopping, but sperm instead of shoes!) then got a treatment plan together with our chosen clinic who were amazing throughout.
I had my first IUI treatment in 2017, which unfortunately unfolded into 2 failed cycles of this. So I decided I needed to take a different approach. I took some time to reflect as of course we couldn’t afford to just keep attempting, and ask ourselves what were we missing?
Everyone tells you once you start trying falling pregnant is easy; we all spend the first stages of our lives trying NOT to fall pregnant, but then when it doesn’t work for you, you always question why that is.
For me, particularly, before we embarked on our next course of treatment- in which we changed from IUI to IVF- I wanted to make sure I was in the best possible position. IVF is a big process and isn’t to be taken lightly, and there is still that chance that it might not work. We knew we would be set on the best path for us medically for our circumstances and that of course is so important. But I just didn’t feel 100% ready to take it on.
I started looking into ways we could best prepare and found mentions of mental health having an influence on abilities to get pregnant. And that really hit home for me. My mind felt like it was at breaking point, I was so incredibly stressed at work, I was so devastated still about my failed treatments and felt truly at rock bottom. – I just felt that I couldn’t just buy the success.
So, I just decided to take a bit more control of things in my life.
I started to introduce meditation, focussed on positive mindset, I really got clear on how I felt and learned to process those emotions. I was really determined to get myself into a place where I felt ready to take on IVF.
It didn’t take too long before I started to feel the benefits of the changes I had made. I was feeling so much better, and going into my IVF treatment my initial test results improved. My AMH had increased which was amazing. I responded well to the drugs prescribed by the experts and had 7 eggs fertilised along with a fresh embryo transfer. All signs were much more positive this time round and I was successful in falling pregnant!
I felt like a completely different person compared to when I had the first rounds of IUI.
I went into the treatment and actually really enjoyed it. Even though it isn’t easy by any means and is invasive, I just had a completely different perspective this time round.
We welcomed our first son Olly into the world and we couldn’t have been happier.
It then came to a time when we decided that we would grow our family further and Aimee would be the one to have treatment. We of course wanted to ensure we approached treatment the same.
Again, as well as personal meds being given and clinically being on the right path. We wanted to feel ready to take this on together. I had a relatively easy pregnancy and birth, but Aimee has had a bit of a tougher experience. A cyst needed aspiration and a few more visits to the experts before being ready. We still got a great number of eggs (8) the extra visits were necessary and got us a good result! – We did then suffer a chemical pregnancy and miscarriage. Which of course can then cause a whole wave of new emotions to deal with, so again we took time to process this together. Aimee was fantastic and found positive in that she was able to get pregnant. Which isn’t always the case for everyone.
The eggs we had left over from the collection had been frozen, so we were moving into new territory of a frozen transfer. This can of course bring new questions and feel daunting. But Aimee’s body having some down time and us keeping a positive mindset, the frozen transfer was successful!
Aimee is 26 weeks pregnant now with our second child.
The main takeaways from our experience that we wanted to share is that, now we have been through it, we want to help others and to bring reassurance.
Whilst you are going through the journey, it can feel rubbish at times. You can start to question whether it ‘will ever happen for you, do you still want this, can you afford to try multiple rounds?’ and that its completely normal to feel those things. We understand the desperation and need for family and the overwhelming feelings that come with it. – Believe it can happen and that can be so powerful.
But we can say we have our family now and it is completely worth every single second.
Without CARE, my Wife and I would not have our Son and she would not be pregnant with our second child - for this we are eternally grateful - but there are always more couples out there struggling and we want to try and give them hope x
Read more about the links between stress and fertility in our blog: Does stress cause infertility?