Sherry and I met at university, fell in love and got married. We couldn’t wait to be parents! Being a mother has always been my greatest dream. I’d found my soulmate, we were happy, settled and ready to create a little one of us!
We started trying for a baby in early 2015.
When nothing happened, we turned to over-the-counter remedies. Slowly the dream of holding a baby turned into a nightmare of abbreviations while TTC (trying to conceive). There were ovulation predictor kits (OPK) to try, constant basal body temperature (BBT) to measure and chart and lots of POAS (peeing on a stick). We tried softcups, Preseed, supplements and fertility diets. The pregnancy tests still showed just one lonely line. We moved on to fertility drugs like Clomid and Femara but still no joy.
I later found out I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which was the reason my periods were so irregular. I was never sure if or when I would ovulate so I woke up at 6am every day to test my BBT. When someone asked me what day it was, I was more likely to say ‘cycle day 12’ than ‘Tuesday’. I was devastated if I missed a cycle, especially as mine would sometimes be 40-50 days long compared to the average of 28 days.
Normally in life the harder you try, the better the outcome. But with conception, no matter what we tried, I always got the same negative result. I was devastated every time I got my period. I felt I had failed, like we were being punished. I felt embarrassed, ashamed and so lonely. To know that our love wasn’t enough to create a child hurt so much.
Sherry lost his paternal grandparents and father in a car crash in India when he was just nine years old. He longed to be a father so he could have that father/son bond that he’d missed out on. His family was obliterated in an instant and now infertility seemed an additional cruelty – why should he suffer more heartache?
Every day we were reminded of what we were missing. Seeing other women with their hands resting on their pregnancy bumps. Seeing babies and toddlers in the supermarket aisles. Spending time with the children of friends. I longed to push my own baby in a pram; to shop in the baby section of stores, rather than run past them, aching inside.
People who knew that we were struggling to conceive told us to ‘just relax and it will happen’. This made me feel like it was my fault, that I was the reason it wasn’t working.
In the end it all became too much. I couldn’t bear to see all the happy baby and family pictures everyone was posting, so I deactivated my social media accounts. I gave my excuses for missing friends’ baby showers and children’ birthday parties.
But then I connected with a group of online women who were also struggling with infertility and in amongst all the hopelessness of it, I started to feel inspired by their IVF pregnancies.
In April 2018 I booked a consultation at Care Fertility Birmingham. I was convinced that it wouldn’t work first time, so we took out a funding package with the clinic which enabled us to have two full rounds of IVF (ICSI) with all transfers paid for (fresh and frozen). That took away the pressure a little. Sherry, however, was certain it would work first time. He did every injection for me and we had a little ritual each night where we’d pray to his dad and our grandparents.
We felt excited and proactive, the closest we’d been to having a baby in a long, long time. It was the heat of the summer and England were doing great in the World Cup which was a welcome distraction.
My egg collection was on Friday 13th July – unlucky for some but not us! We had four successful blastocysts. One was to become George, while three are currently in the freezer.
Three days post-transfer I felt… different. Something seemed to be happening. I felt hopeful but then fearful that I was getting ahead of myself and would be disappointed, again.
On the fourth day I couldn’t wait any longer. I snuck off to the bathroom with a pregnancy test and watched the line appear. I shouted Sherry’s name so loudly that he came running towards me, thinking I’d seen a spider.
I told him I was pregnant and we cried, hugged and cried some more. We tested again every day and watched that pregnancy line get darker. We knew we had a strong bean in there! Each milestone and each scan made us even more hopeful that we’d one day take a baby home.
My pregnancy was blissful. I had no morning sickness, no aches and pains and no complications. I was also the happiest I’d been in years. I couldn’t believe it was finally happening to me: I was sharing bump and scan photos and I couldn’t wait to meet him. I was reassured by every kick he did, and found the whole experience magical and beautiful. I am so thankful and grateful that I got to experience it all.
The years of waiting had one benefit - I knew exactly what car seat, crib and pushchair to buy for George, as I’d had so much time to read and research the options. Two days after he was born, I was out walking him in his pushchair, staring at his little face in disbelief at his existence.
It’s been the most amazing month or so. We are so proud of him and still can’t believe we made this perfect little human, with a little helping hand from science.
I’m so proud of Sherry, too. He’s been my rock. He’s the reason I kept going and didn’t give up. On days where I couldn’t get out of bed because I was broken he would look after me, feed me and just hold me while I cried. Infertility brought us closer together which I’m thankful for as I know it can also break marriages.
Seeing the love in Sherry’s eyes fills my heart. Their little bond is already so cute – George copies him when Sherry sticks his tongue out. Sherry is the most kind, gentle and attentive father and does everything he can and more to make sure George and I are happy and well looked after.
My mum, being a midwife, was a constant source of information and support. It was so reassuring having her on my side. I just love hearing her singing her made up songs to George, because they always make me smile.
George is perfect and I can’t imagine our life without him now. I would do it all again and more just to have the honour of being his mummy. He is everything we dreamed of and more. Our miracle baby. Our perfect boy.
If you’re struggling with infertility like we were, I hope you take comfort in our story. I hope it inspires you to be proactive. Seek that medical opinion if it has been a long time. Yes, it’s daunting but I promise you it will be the best money you ever spend. It will all be worth it in the end, and if it’s not, then it’s not the end. But remember: you’re not alone.