2 Years On

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It was two years ago today that we lost our first baby. Our little angel. When I think of that horrendous time it feels like it happened in another lifetime. Because even though it shook us to our core and changed us forever it also feels incredibly distant now. It’s amazing what the human spirit is capable of. In just two years our life is unrecognisable. We have climbed out of that dark hole and are in an entirely different place. That is not to say that we don’t still think about that pregnancy, baby, loss, emptiness – we do – but it is now a world away from where we are now.

I remember being told the diagnosis and making the worst decision of our lives. Worst, not because we regret it, but because it broke our hearts to do so. I remember the hospital, the delivery and coming home feeling everything was broken. I remember waking the next day and then remembering what had happened – what was lost – and feeling like things would never be okay again.

And while we wish more than anything that things could have been different we are okay. Better than okay. We have a baby who is the centre of our world. He is not a replacement. He is our second child. He healed us and made us feel like the luckiest parents in the world. To say we adore him is an understatement. He is a new chapter.

One day we will tell him about his big brother. We will tell him how I carried him in my tummy for 5 months. We will tell him that we loved him too and that we were desperate to meet him. We will tell him that he is a part of our family too.

Brain Overload

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So much has been going on. Gahhhhh. Our embryo was transferred on Saturday. It was an uncomfortable but bearable procedure. But now my mind is swirling with possibilities, daydreams, hopes, fears… the works!

The good news was that the embryo was really good quality and received a high grading. It was already starting to hatch and the embryologist was very pleased with it. However that doesn’t mean it will work so isn’t particularly reassuring. The bad news is that none of the other embryos were worth freezing which means this is our only shot from this cycle. I’m really disappointed about this as I had hoped we would have a few to freeze so that we had a few chances. Now the pressure is really on. It had all been so promising when we collected 18 eggs but turns out this cycle wasn’t wasn’t very successful.

I keep having to stop myself from thinking about the outcome. Could I be pregnant? After the previous two embryo transfers I remember being certain that I wasn’t pregnant. I felt totally normal. I don’t know what will happen and I will have to wait another week until we return to the clinic to find out the outcome. All I know is that if this doesn’t work I will be gutted. I would absolutely love to have another little one. But at least I am fortunate to have a beautiful baby already. His lovely face will cheer me up and make me feel incredibly blessed if things don’t go how I hope.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

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If you are going through the grueling process of trying to get pregnant and it just isn’t going to plan don’t beat yourself up about it. It isn’t your fault. You are not to blame. Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.

The Definition of Love

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Recently a mother who has undergone IVF posted a picture of her beautiful baby girl lying asleep in the middle of hundred of syringes. Why? To illustrate the physical and emotional turmoil experienced by people who go through IVF. The child’s mother finally succeeded in becoming pregnant after more than a year-and-a-half of cycles.

It was shared more than 3,000 times as parents around the globe have opened up about their stories of trying to conceive a baby biologically related to them.

The baby’s mother told couples trying to conceive to “hang in there”.

“The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll, I waited a long time for a husband to come. And then by that time it was difficult to get pregnant.”

What a poignant image of a gorgeous miracle baby.

7 Month Miracle

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I apologise for having disappeared in the last few weeks. We went on a lovely family holiday to Miami and just enjoyed spending time in the sunshine with our little miracle. The munchkin is over 7 months now. Totally mad how the time has flown. How did that happen? I usually refrain from writing about my little boy as I would hate for it to come across as smug and bragging when so many of my readers are desperate to have a baby. However I also hope that it may be encouraging to hear that IVF can and does work. The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was conceived in a dish at a Cambridgeshire fertility clinic 37 years ago and five million babies around the world have been born through IVF since. Don’t lose faith. Lots has been going on in the IVF world lately – you can find out the latest here in the next few weeks. And, as always, GOOD LUCK.

Does having an IVF baby change your parenting?

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For most of my adult life I was a laid back, stress-free kind of person. Honest! So it is quite bizarre to me that as a mother I am more of a worrier than I ever could have imagined.

My pregnancy neurosis (following our previous pregnancy loss) evolved into a less stressful but equally real anxiety surrounding the well-being of our little boy. Now admittedly that is largely down to the fact that my son is a terrible feeder who would happily exist solely on air! Perhaps if he had a greater appetite I would stress less. However it doesn’t take a genius to realise that given our history and the fact that my son is the product of IVF, I view him as even more miraculous and special than perhaps I otherwise would. I wonder how many other women feel that their parenting is influenced by their route to motherhood. Do the challenges faced in conception impact on the way we view our IVF babies?

Most couples with an infertility problem wait for a long time and undergo lengthy procedures before they finally get their much-desired baby. In recent years, several studies have been published comparing the parent–child relationship and the child’s psychosocial development in families with children conceived by IVF and families with naturally conceived children. The results are not conclusive, and most of the measures in the studies revealed no significant differences in the quality of the parent–child relationship between IVF families and families with naturally conceived children. However in my experience I certainly feel both that little bit more blessed and scared that I have my gorgeous baby.

Unless the IVF has nothing to do with it. My dad is totally neurotic and over-protective so I could just take after him!

Three Visits

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We have just returned from our first family holiday to Israel. As we walked down the beach with our baby in his pram I couldn’t help thinking back to the last two visits I made to Israel.

The previous one was in October, I was 20 weeks pregnant and while I was incredibly grateful to be pregnant I was also extremely anxious about the outcome of my pregnancy. As I looked out across the sea I thought to myself ‘I hope I have a baby on my next visit’.

The trip prior to that was last March two weeks after the loss of our baby and it was a bleak and miserable time. I was unsure what the future held, when I may be pregnant again and how I would cope with the heartbreaking loss.

What struck me was how different life was on each of the three visits and how quickly and dramatically things can change. You may feel like things are not progressing on your journey to parenthood, or you may have had a loss that seems crippling. This time next year things may be very different.

No Laughing Matter

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Last week I happened to catch an interview on This Morning with TV presenter Julia Bradbury. She talked about her grueling IVF experience which happily resulted in the birth of her twins. She discussed the disappointment and failures she experienced during the five cycles she undertook and the added obstacle of her age (44).

Most fascinating was her reference to an Israeli study about the importance of remaining positive during embryo transfer. The research found that women who were made to laugh during IVF by bringing clowns into the surgery were statistically more likely to conceive than those who weren’t entertained.

This is not the first I have heard of this. My husband excitedly regaled this to me following our embryo transfer, during which, for reasons unknown to me, I got the giggles. Proper tear inducing giggles. I was laughing so much my husband had to turn away from me in an effort to stop the laughter. Perhaps it was nerves, or embarrassment at having my legs wide open, but that laughter clearly didn’t hurt as the outcome was a positive pregnancy. So have some jokes at the ready!

The Greatest Gift

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I can’t believe I am writing these words but… last week, on Thursday 12th March, our beautiful baby boy was born!

The labour was horrendously long and difficult, but also totally, completely and utterly worth it. We are now on cloud 9, blessed with the most precious, perfect little man I could have imagined.

I share this with you in the hope that you will recognise that despite the many hurdles, challenges and heartbreaks you can encounter on the road to motherhood there can be a happy ending that exceeds all your wildest dreams. We have had an emotional journey through infertility, ivf, pregnancy loss, grief, fear and anxiety. Thankfully the storm has passed and the sun is now shining brightly. I really hope you will be as blessed as we are now and that you will not let the set backs, failures and the disappointments stop you from having the baby you desire.