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.

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Here We Go Again!

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Never would we have imagined that the journey to motherhood was going to be so long and painful. However once we knew the challenges we faced and that we would only be able to have a child using IVF we decided that after baby number 1 was born we wouldn’t wait too long to have baby number 2.

When we decided to try for a baby the first time we were full of naive excitement and total ignorance. We never thought we would be the ones who needed fertility treatment or lost a baby. The benefit of hindsight means that we are fully aware of the potential set backs that lay ahead. We know it may take a long time and it may be a bumpy ride so why wait when we know we want another child?

While I was pregnant with our little boy we decided that as soon as there was the chance to try again we would. We would save our frozen embryo for the future and, while I was relatively young, make some more embryos. That was the plan. That seemed like the most sensible idea. Once my body had returned to normal we thought we’d get going on IVF number 2. All of that was until our little bundle of joy arrived and turned our lives spectacularly upside down! So when the opportunity to try again came while our baby was still such hard work we took one look at each other and agreed that in no way were we ready to cope with two little monsters! We were exhausted and our little baby was a complete handful. In many ways he still is!

So when asked by friends and family when we would try again we quite honestly said next year. However we now have got to the point where we feel like (relatively) confident parents who have, to some degree, begun to resume normal life. We sleep pretty well and are enjoying our son so much that we now feel that its time to do it all over again! Are we mad?

Despite the craziness of our lives now, the stress of pregnancy and the ordeal of trying to conceive, absolutely nothing is better than the love I have for my son. I would feel so blessed to have another little one to join our family. Last time we shared it all with our close family and friends. We needed the support as we blindly went through IVF. This time we know what lies ahead, so unbeknownst to all our friends and family we have began the process! Today is day 4 of my shots and next week may be the egg collection. It’s mad. Totally mad and completely exciting!

McPregnant

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Another week and another celebrity couple to reveal that they have undergone IVF. McBusted star Harry Judd and his wife Izzy have publicised that the baby they are expecting in January is the result of IVF. Talking of their struggle to conceive and the heartache of a miscarriage from their first attempt at IVF last year they explained…

“You feel like you are never going to be the ones who get to say, ‘We are having a baby’. That is why we feel so blessed now,” 

“In an ideal world when you’re ready to start a family you hope you will conceive in the first few months of trying,” says Harry. “We were like, no, no we won’t need IVF, it won’t be us. IVF was like something you didn’t talk about. We thought it would be fine.”

“Every baby is a miracle but we do feel so very lucky,” says Izzy, 31, who was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in her twenties.

“I never wanted to stop believing that we would have a family,” says Izzy. “But you do feel like someone has pressed pause on your life and you can’t go anywhere.”

The couple lost count of the number of times people asked them if they wanted to have a family. “This was always so impossible to answer and felt like my heart was breaking every time,” says Izzy

If you are struggling to conceive this must echo how you feel, and if you are going through IVF at the moment I hope you are as successful as they have been.

31… eek!

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Today is my birthday! I feel very blessed to be spending it with my gorgeous little baby boy. A year ago I had just found out I was pregnant which certainly softened the blow of leaving my 20s behind and turning the dreaded 30. Despite my joy that the IVF had been successful I still never allowed myself to entertain the idea of actually having a baby a year later. It was just too hard to imagine after the ordeal we had faced.

So the fact that a year has passed and the stressful pregnancy has resulted in a beautiful baby is a dream come true. I feel so grateful that my prayers and wishes were answered.

I have more to be grateful for too. Firstly I have made amends and rebuilt my relationship with a very old and special friend whom I had fallen out with and secondly my lovely mummy has been given a clean bill of health. So this year as I celebrate with my husband by my side and my baby in my arms I will feel so contented and at peace.

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!

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.

Always Our Baby

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It has been 1 year since we lost our precious first baby. Bizarrely it feels like it was a long time ago and yesterday all at the same time. The traumatic experience of terminating the pregnancy (for medical reasons at 21 weeks) and the sadness that filled our lives was so heartbreaking that I cannot believe we survived it.

However a year on we are different people. We still carry the pain but it is not raw and crushing like it was. We still talk about what happened and we still are in disbelief about what we and our baby went through.

A year on and our life is different too. We are two weeks from expecting another baby. The experience of losing our first baby has made pregnancy a difficult time. But the hope of a new baby has helped us heal and restored our faith. This baby will never replace the baby we lost and there will always be a profound sense of loss for what could have been.

So today, like everyday, we think of you and the love that will always exist between us.

Fog of Grief

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Marina Fogle recently described her grief following the loss of her baby boy last summer. At 33 weeks, she suffered an acute placental abruption where her placenta detached from her uterus starving the baby of oxygen and causing a life-threatening haemorrhage.

The following quotes show the process of coping with the horrendous grief she faced. She says:

“Until that point I had had very little experience of profound sadness. Shocked to the point of numbness, I have since felt myriad emotions.”

“Crying, when it comes, is crucial, it’s a natural release. I frequently have a really good sob; it’s very physical: it is like feeling nauseous and knowing instinctively that you will feel better if you let yourself be sick. I believe that crying provides me with the release to expel my sadness so that I’m equipped to relish what is good in my life.”

“Grief is exhausting. You’ll find you need much more sleep than you used to. It can also affect your brain, your ability to remember things and to concentrate. This perplexed me so much that I worried for a time that my extreme blood loss had resulted in some brain damage. It was reassuring to know that it is normal and will slowly improve. I warned those around me that if I was forgetful, distracted or absent-minded, to forgive me.”

“This is a time to spoil yourself: book a holiday, get your hair done, lose yourself in a box set – and if you feel like eating ice-cream for breakfast, do it. It won’t make everything all right, but lots of little boosts will help you feel more human.”

“Don’t be afraid to talk about what has happened to you. At the beginning it was hard, but now I know that each time you talk about it, you will adjust a degree emotionally. You will never ”get over’’ your loss, but slowly you will come to terms with what is your new normal.”

“On August 24 my world shifted on its axis and I’m gradually accepting that, in one part of my life, I’m extraordinarily lucky, with a loving husband, Ben, two perfect children Ludo, and Iona, 3, and the most wonderful family and friends. But in another part, we’ve been catastrophically unlucky. No one could have predicted the sudden death of our son and the events that ensued; it was sheer bad luck. These two dichotomies don’t balance each other, creating a kind of ”OK’’ equilibrium; they coexist in their extreme forms.”

Wise words from a brave and courageous woman. Let’s hope there are happier times ahead for all those battling grief and loss.

A Happy Ending

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The model and actress, Jamie King, 35, went public about her own struggles conceiving her first child, and how she wishes the landscape was different for women. Jaime, who had five miscarriages, was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that affects female sex hormones and fertility. Therefore she needed help starting a family.

“I was hiding what I was going through for so long, and I hear about so many women going through what I went through. If I’m open about it, hopefully it won’t be so taboo to talk about it.”

Jaime went through five rounds of IVF and 26 rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) before she was finally given good news — she had conceived naturally with her husband Kyle Newman.

“When I got pregnant, it was the best thing in the whole world. I had never felt so grateful, happy and elated,” Jaime recalled.

After 26 hours of labor, Jaime gave birth to son James Knight in October 2013. Even though she had waited years for a child, she admitted she didn’t have that “angels singing moment” right after. The blonde beauty also said that motherhood was oftentimes hard, especially as she suffered from postpartum depression. It took some time, but now Jaime has found her balance and is loving every bit of motherhood. She hopes to expand her family even further one day but says:

“I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is I can’t control it, and I’m okay with that.”

Shine A Light

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The festive period is upon on us. With that comes excessive shopping, spending and indulgence. It made me want to do something for a cause close to our hearts.

We lost a much-loved, much-wanted baby this year who suffered from a debilitating medical condition. However many babies born with similar conditions have a different path in life. They face a brave life filled with ongoing medical challenges. In memory of our little one we decided to raise some money for those babies who will need support throughout childhood and adulthood.

Last night we brought our friends together for a Chanukah party where they gave so generously. It blew us away. We knew our friends were special but we are so grateful and appreciative for their kindness. I am thrilled that we can help others to lead as meaningful lives as possible. Chanukah is the festival of light and I hope we can shine some on some very special little ones.

Ben Fogle Speaks For The First Time

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TV star Ben Fogle has bravely spoken for the first time about the heartache of nearly losing his wife during the birth of his stillborn son. In August his wife Marina was within 20 minutes of death, as she struggled to give birth to their third child, a son who was stillborn at 32 weeks. The presenter admitted that the harrowing experience was a reminder of the fragility of life and has made him appreciate every moment with his young family – Ludo, four, and Iona, three. He described how the son he never had the pleasure of meeting inspires him and motivates him to ensure his children ‘enjoy every moment of their life’.

‘There’s a little boy we never got to know and if there’s anything we owe him in getting so close to having met him, and yet so far, it’s to live life even more for him,’

The father-of-two says that since the ordeal in August, not a day goes by when he doesn’t say ‘I love you’ to his family and says the experience taught him he to never take life for granted. The presenter says his philosophy is now to smile, be happy and to seize opportunity that he possibly can.