Not one, not two, not three, not four but five…five lost and much wanted stars that I never got to meet. I write this personal post as writing often is a form of therapy for the soul. It’s partly a way for me to cope through this loss and not fall into a downward spiral. For those that know me well know that I am someone who loves to smile and laugh and help others. I’m very down to earth that’s just me. I’m by no means Super Woman but I do have a Wonder Woman mug and I love my family and being a mum. I do feel like I’ve recently acquired extra powers to help me get over losing my babies one by one. It can be a very lonely battle sometimes when I’m left to think things over. Fortunately I am able to get up and get on with my life and won’t let any sadness get in the way of me leading a good life. After all I have a little boy who by some miracle made it through the odds who still needs me to love him and care for him so that’s just what I do.
National Fertility Awareness Week is Monday 31st October to Sunday 6th November 2016 a movement started to raise awareness of the couples who struggle to become parents. Fertility issues are all too often misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s common for media attention to be focused on stereotypes but this is far from the real picture. The week provides a time for those with infertility to talk to their friends and families some may not know of the battles that are going on in the background. I’ve written about how Jay is my miracle rainbow baby, how I still to this day pinch myself that he exists. There are a lot of people we know who don’t actually know what we have been through emotional and financial to get to hold our son. His very name in Sanskrit mean Victorious which I think suits him well. I am proud being an older mum and although there are days I wish I had started a family earlier I know that every person has a different life story we don’t all meet our life partners in our teens or 20s, we don’t all face infertility but one in six UK couples do and one in four pregnancies end in loss. It’s a lottery.
I discovered surprisingly that I was pregnant with my first baby in February 2011 6 months into marriage, but Mr M and I didn’t have time to celebrate as I lost the baby at 6 weeks. I was then diagnosed with PCOS at Great Portland Street hospital in London and it was the first time I started to seek treatment as it was apparent that my journey to becoming a mother was going to be a tough one. Friends stopped telling me they were pregnant for fear of upsetting me but that was not what I wanted I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I would get asked a lot when Mark and I would be starting a family and not to leave it too late. I would struggle to answer that as I didn’t want to go into all of the medical issues. After two years of various treatments including injecting my stomach with medicine and taking Clomid I felt like giving up. I had attended countless appointments and tests which felt like a whole lot of effort and tried numerous alternate therapies like acupuncture and reflexology. I don’t like meddling with nature but I pursued my dream and eventually on a second cycle of Clomid in June 2013 I saw my positive pregnancy test lines at 2am one morning. I was incredibly happy and despite a difficult pregnancy gave birth to a healthy boy in March 2014.
Since September 2015 I have suffered four miscarriages the most recent being last month two weeks after my 40th birthday when I lost a baby at nine and half weeks. Following some intense cramping and spotting I went to A&E one Sunday afternoon but couldn’t be scanned as the department was closed. This added to my stress of not knowing what was happening inside. I tried to stay calm and not think the worst but deep down I knew I was about to go through it all over again. The following afternoon I was seen and scanned. I was devastated to hear those words again “I’m sorry but there isn’t a heartbeat anymore”. Little Jay was sitting next to me not knowing just how sad his mummy was as I wept in front of the nurse and took a moment to compose myself leaving the hospital feeling broken. I turned down the offer to stay in hospital overnight and was asked to hurry home soon after I had taken the medication to let things take their course. The physical pain was excruciating not to mention what I saw. I had to unravel all my plans return the baby names book back to the library throw away my notes with the names I’d selected, return maternity clothes I had bought in advance and cancel the pregnancy update Apps on my Iphone. The hard bit was breaking the news to my husband but through it all he has been fully supportive and caring. We were both quiet that evening, Mark made me dinner but I struggled to eat as I sat looking down with my tears falling into my plate, we couldn’t talk and sat numb with grief. It was I felt incredibly cruel especially after such a wonderful birthday. I have questioned my faith in God for the first time ever.
When I think about it incredibly I had managed to fall pregnant naturally all those times without any fertility treatment at 39 years of age and this amazes me as I had such a hard time trying to conceive before. All my test results have come back fine to indicate no health problems but of course this does not take the pain away of dashed dreams. I watched a video by the Miscarriage association which summed up how Mark and I felt. I’ve made a donation in the hope there will be more research into this area. It’s important to remember that men also suffer and the impact this can cause on relationships is immense. I read a blog post by Al from The Dad Network who wrote of his experience. My heart aches for all those that are going through the same thing.
I genuinely feel it’s important to talk about experiences and not suffer in silence. It’s a tough subject to navigate alone. I know that I am able to talk openly but for many people it’s not so easy. I guess we all cope with things differently. It’s the way of the World that you start seeing many pregnant women around you and there have been many pregnancy announcements from friends of mine which is of course lovely but I am not angry for I know that each baby is a gift and I appreciate just how precious life really is. The only time I felt anger was in the days following the miscarriage when I was upset at how my body had let me down yet again, it’s a feeling of failure and nothing can really change that. Even with my positive outlook on life I struggled those first few days especially the next morning waking up and realising there was no longer a baby in my tummy.
I am grateful to the friends and family who have helped me through the darkness I genuinely feel that by them being there for me checking in on me has helped me immensely. I wanted to share something that was sent to me by my beautiful thoughtful friend Nina. She sent me her favourite book The Alchemist all about following your dreams. I also received from her a box of items and a beautiful card which of course made me cry but made me appreciate that even when things don’t go to plan. You must still work on making yourself better.
Recurrent miscarriages and all the events that have followed are nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. If I hadn’t become a mother at this point in my life perhaps my view would be much different and my mental health would not be well. In the days following the recent event I played and laughed with my son and this was a really good for my mental health Jay has very much helped me cope with our loss. My son pointed at my tummy the other day and said baby in tummy. I told him there was no longer a baby and he looked at me confused. I didn’t cry. I am facing the reality and moving on.
If you’ve experienced infertility yourself to achieve the family you have now, you know how important it is to connect with other people who “get” infertility. National Fertility Awareness Week is the perfect time to think about how you can give back to and help those who are still going through what you’ve been lucky to get through. There are social media campaigns like #fertilityin5 using 5 words to describe how you feel. There is also The Hidden Face campaign which will use the hashtags #NFAWUK #HiddenFace all illuminating the emotions and the day to day actualities of struggling with fertility problems.
I hope that with Jay’s generation there will be a lot more treatments and help available to men and women so they don’t have to suffer loss like we have.
Although I do often say never say never I have made peace with my self and accepted that we will be happy as a family of three and I know that’s perfectly fine. I have moments when I think how could I love another baby as much as I love Jay but of course it’s possible. I will still think of all my due dates and 29th April 2017 will be added to the list. Such personal events have made me stronger rather than weaker. I believe in positive thinking and surrounding yourself with good energy. For women who have never experienced infertility, I hope they never do. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t take a moment right now during National Fertility Awareness Week to help raise awareness, spread the word, and make a difference for millions who want nothing more than to be a parent.
#NFAWUK #HiddenFace #fertilityin5
Thank you for reading my story.