Paula’s story of weight loss and determination
Wow how much our lives have changed since we first made contact with Care Manchester in March 2017. It is still hard to believe how far we have come in our journey and we hope that by sharing our story it will give others hope and belief.
“My advice to you all, believe in your dream and take every chance possible to make that come true.”
Mark and I first met in August 2010 and within a few months we knew that our lives had already changed forever. It was clear that we were soulmates and both dreamed of the perfect wedding and starting a family. However, as always, life gets in the way and it wasn’t the right time for us to start thinking of a family.
In 2013 Mark proposed and we decided that now was the time to try to achieve our dream. Each month I bought a pregnancy test in the hope that 2 lines would appear and each time my period was late, I would read into all my symptoms and convince myself that we were finally pregnant, however this never happened and each month we grieved a little more. We finally married in May 2015 and after many months, I plucked up the courage to speak to my GP to ask for investigations. Hearing the news that my age and weight were the factors preventing us achieving our dream was heart breaking. I certainly couldn’t alter my age but I could do something about my weight
In January 2016, I stepped through the doors of my local Slimming World group and set myself a target of losing 9 stone! At the same time we were referred to the fertility clinic at our local hospital, the consultant again advised that I needed to lose the weight and he could only prescribe treatment when I had lost 6 stone. Seeing my determination he agreed to see me 6 months later although he was doubtful that I would have achieved this at that point.
In July 2016, I walked into the appointment just short of 6 stone lighter and to our delight he agreed to prescribe me Clomid, on the promise that I continued on my weight loss journey. We finally had a bit of hope and left the hospital on cloud 9 – could this now be our time? Each month we focused on ovulation tests, fertility acupuncture and pregnancy tests but each month brought heartache and negativity. Finally after 7 months the consultant broke the news that there was no further treatment available on the NHS. After all our hard work it seemed our dream was over, the tears flowed and all we could see were new born babies and pregnant ladies. Life was really not fair.
As we left the clinic we spotted a leaflet for the fertility show in Manchester in March 2017 – who even knew such a thing existed. We decided we had nothing else to lose and it was worth a visit. That turned out to be the best decision we ever made. At first we were overwhelmed with all the information available but as we arrived at the Care information stand, we were immediately welcomed and put at ease. After talking to a patient liaison co-ordinator, we were pointed in the direction of Mark Sedler. Finally a doctor who listened and gave us hope whilst explaining all the options and statistics.
We then decided that our only chance to now be a family, would be handed over to the Care family and go private. We had our initial consultation with Dr Jolly Joy who advised me to continue with the weight loss in addition to tests and scans to work out the best treatment to give us a fighting chance. It was through these tests that they discovered I had a polyp in my uterus that needed to be removed before treatment could commence, I couldn’t believe that now there was something else in my way. Would I ever be a mum?
The tests showed that due to my age my egg reserves were low and would not be of good quality, and we were advised that an egg donor and ICSI would give us the best chance. It took me a while to get my head around the fact that my only chance of being a mum was to use someone else’s egg, would I even feel like a mum? We took advantage of the counselling service at Care and decided that we needed to do everything possible to have our family, if we didn’t try there would always be regrets. In September 2017, my polyp was successfully removed and in November 2017 I finally reached my target of 9 stone weight loss. All we had to do now was wait to be matched with an egg donor. In January 2018 that call finally came, we had a match and the next part of our journey began. Through every test, injection, weight loss, and medication our focus was on achieving our dream and keeping the belief.
In April 2018, we finally had the news that there was 1 embryo that had made it to day 5 and was ready for transfer, would we be that lucky that the 1 embryo would stick and I would finally see the 2 pink lines that I had dreamed of. All this time I kept the belief, I knew I now had 2 weeks to wait. I joined the Care forums to get support from others as well as listening to the Zita West meditation daily, focussing my mind on the end result and visualising that positive test result.
I remember test day so clearly waking at 5am knowing I needed to do the test but also not wanting to. Until I got the official result I could keep believing I was pregnant, but knowing this wasn’t possible, Mark and I headed to the bathroom to do the same test we had done every month for the last 5 years. To our absolute amazement this time there were 2 lines, could it be true? Was it just my visualisation that was tricking me into seeing something that wasn’t there? We eventually did 3 tests and yes it was true we were finally pregnant!! I could then make the call to Careto break the news although I did have to wait another 3 hours until they opened whilst grinning and shedding many a tear.
Seeing the heartbeat on that 6 week scan was a feeling I can’t explain, we were both in tears, finding it hard to believe and not wanting to take our eyes of that screen. Now all I had to do was keep our baby safe for the next 9 months. Care discharged us back to the NHS for antenatal care, this was a scary moment, we had been so well looked after and nurtured through the whole process could we do it alone?
The answer to that is yes! I am writing our journey whilst my daughter sleeps next to me in her Moses basket aged 5 weeks. Would we go through it all again? Definitely. We have since been back to Care Manchester to introduce our daughter to the Care family and thank all the experienced staff for everything they did to enable us to achieve our dream. I will be going back to Slimming World to introduce her to my support group there as I embark on losing the pregnancy weight gain.
My advice to you all, believe in your dream and take every chance possible to make that come true.