Infertility

November 2019

Dear future babies,

Well it’s been 8 months since I last wrote, and what can I say, a lot has happened. It’s been a year of highs and lows.

In my last letter in March, we were gearing up to start a new cycle with the aim to transfer our last two embryos in May. Unfortunately history repeated itself and when we got to our baseline scan, my lining had once again not responded to the drugs . I remember that was one of the lowest points of the past 4 and a half years. Before my concerns were getting pregnant and staying pregnant, but after that, I had a whole new set of challenges to face which meant I couldn’t even get to the point of embryo transfer. I worried that our journey would be over and we’d never be able to get to that point again despite having two frozen embryos patiently waiting for us. At that moment I truly felt broken.

Our clinic messed us around with a plan moving forward and that was the turning point for us, we’d lost faith in them and we made the difficult decision to pay for an initial consultation with a new clinic. Luckily we were seen quickly and from the first appointment, well actually from the first phone call, I knew that despite the costs the new clinic was the fresh start we needed. Our consultant was great, we felt listened to and supported and like all 3 of us were on the same page, at last.

After that things moved pretty quickly, I was put on a hormone treatment plan to try and thin my lining, we moved our two embryos from Salisbury to London (that was a fun day live tracking you whizzing down the M3), we went for a private scan in London and before long we were planning our next transfer.

I instantly felt at ease at the new clinic, it was smaller but that meant it was more personal, the nurses remembered me and were warm and welcoming. Before long we were given the go ahead to start the next phase of our cycle, my lining had finally thinned enough to start the drugs which would now help build my lining back up. I remember lying on the bed having the scan, heart pounding at the thought that it would be another cancelled cycle, I was thrilled to bits when we were finally able to move on to the next stage, from the moment we moved to our new clinic it was one small victory after another. I tried not to get too carried away and only focused on the next steps of treatment, and we celebrated every milestone that would hopefully bring us one step closer to you.

I responded well to the drugs and when I had my first monitoring scan they were surprised to see I was already ready for transfer, we booked it for the following week. For our embryo transfer we had to travel up to the Lister in London, it was scary going to somewhere brand new for such an important procedure, I would love to say it was amazing, but compared to our small intimate clinic it felt busy and rushed. We had eventually decided just to transfer one embryo, our 3AB which very nearly didn’t even get frozen. Back in 2017, when we got our initial report after our fresh cycle we were told only 2 embryos had made the cut, but I got another call about an hour later to say one last embryo our little 3AB had all of a sudden had caught up and looked great. I like to think that this embryo was very determined to be our baby. On the day it thawed beautifully, was transferred and before long we were back on the train home. We nick-named it Emma the embryo.

I took two weeks off after transfer, the two week wait never gets any easier, even when it is only 9 days! I tried to stick to my mantra of celebrating every small victory. This time the clinic was a lot more thorough, checking my hormone levels regularly and making adjustments to my medication when needed. I was on a different medication this time, an expensive one! It meant two injections a day along side the other drugs I was taking.

I tried to make plans for each day, and I remember going for walks in the sunshine, listening to mindfulness tracks and just willing it to work. I was terrified of course, I was scared of getting getting our first negative but I was also scared of another positive which would only last a few days.

Official test day came, I’d cried the night before as I have done each cycle, it’s so overwhelming. You want to stay in the lovely bubble of not knowing and with all the possibilities still available but you also just want to know. I tested at about 5.30am and quickly a faint line appeared. I think both your dad and I were numb to it. We were happy of course, but to us a second line had only ever meant heartache. The line was lighter than our previous cycle, but I had to remind myself that didn’t mean anything. We drove to the clinic for a blood test and then decided to have some breakfast. We wouldn’t know the levels until the next day, and really they don’t mean anything on their own, we needed to wait another 48 hours for the second one to tell us if things were moving in the right direction.

I did a lot of googling in those days between blood tests, as well as more tests, each time my heart was in my mouth as I waited expecting to see the line getting lighter which luckily it didn’t. The second blood test came back and it had doubled, it still didn’t really help with my anxieties. The next few days were the hardest, knowing that’s when I started bleeding last cycle, knowing it could all be over before it even started, but as the days went past and the lines on the tests kept getting darker I started to hope this could be it, I didn’t dare believe it. We booked a private scan when I was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant, we knew we might not see much but I hoped we’d be lucky enough to see a heartbeat.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous waiting to be called in for the scan, we had a lovely sonographer who understood our apprehension. She turned the screens off in case it was bad news, we didn’t have to see, after only a few seconds she said ‘it’s good news, there’s a heartbeat’ The best words I’ve ever heard in my life. I was in shock and cried happy tears. She quickly turned the screens on and there we saw you for the first time, a teeny tiny dot with a beautiful flickering heart. You were even measuring 2 days ahead, so advanced. The scan was the day before your dad’s birthday and it truly was the best present ever. We were still cautious, we knew there was still such a long way to go but this was a huge milestone.

We went away that night for your dad’s birthday, and it was amazing just the two of us and our little secret. The next day we had a BBQ at Grandma’s house, Jade and Brian were there with Arthur and it was so hard keeping it a secret from Grandma, but I knew I wanted to wait a little bit longer.

Not long after that the nausea and sickness started, I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t think I would get ‘morning sickness’ which actually was more like evening sickness. I didn’t mind though, it made me feel terrible but I knew it was a good sign that our little embryo was thriving and growing bigger and stronger.

We had another scan at 8 weeks, I’d had a lot of cramping and pain and then felt very faint at work so I was seen at the EPU in Bournemouth, again it was nerve wracking waiting to be called in for the scan, but yet again there you were and completely perfect. We booked a private scan for 9 weeks and decided that if everything looked ok we would tell both sets of grandparents. Luckily it did, you all of a sudden had arm and leg buds and we saw your little bum wiggling. Telling your grandparents the news was once of the best experiences, after so much heartbreak and bad news, it felt surreal to be sharing good news. It did leave me feeling scared and vulnerable, that maybe I’d jinxed it by being too happy or excited. We managed to capture both moments on camera which was so so special. Of course Grandma started getting knitting patterns out for us to look for and was raring to get started on your wardrobe!

We booked one final private scan at 11 weeks before our NHS 12 scan, it was the day before I was due to go up and see Auntie Lucy, and again I was hoping all would be ok so I could finally tell her the news face to face. The scan was amazing and you finally started looking like a proper little baby, we got a video of your wiggling around, it was surreal.

I’m now sat here at 17 weeks and it still doesn’t feel like this is real life, we’ve been so used to having bad news and for the dream of being pregnant to be so unattainable that I can’t get my head around the fact there’s a real life baby (you) in there. I am definitely starting to look a lot more round so something is definitely happening . I’m hoping once I start feeling you kicking it will seem real but possibly it won’t even then, until you are safely in my arms.

I think because pregnancy has always been the goal, I’ve never really daydreamed further than that, it’s actually quite terrifying the thought of having to not only give birth but keep a tiny human alive! Having said that I’m so excited to meet you already, we aren’t going to find out if you’re a boy or a girl and we don’t care as long as you’re healthy. I can’t wait to hold you for the first time and get to know you, and be able to see what you look like.

You continue to surprise me everyday, my little embryo who nearly didn’t make the freeze, who was waiting patiently in the freeze since December 2017, who traveled 85 miles at -193C to your new home, who survived the thaw, who is just so determined to be our baby. I hope you continue to grow big and strong, I’m doing everything I can to keep you safe. Dad and I can’t wait to meet you, You are so loved already.

With love always,

Mum xxx

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