The journey to make a family is different for everyone, so to show the amazing diversity, brave women, men and couples are sharing in this new series “My Hope Squad Stories”.
Together, we need to change how others view the diversity in making families. To let them know it’s something beautiful, and if they are looking at their own options, they are’t alone. The Hope Squad have got their back.
Today’s true story is by Nicola. A heart breaking, beautiful story with a happy ending. Wishing Nicola all the luck in the world…
We were married in Aug 2015 and knew that we wanted a family as soon as possible (we had been in a relationship for 10 years at that point) so as soon as we could we decided to try for a baby.
“It quickly became an all-consuming journey for me”
of ovulation tests, conception vitamins/minerals and diet changes in a desperate attempt to start our family.
Previous to this as a young adult my husband had a torsion testicle (age 17) but we thought nothing of this however, after trying for a baby for 9 months he decided to go to the GP and get his sperm sample checked. The doctor then asked him to come into the surgery to discuss the results. I went along to the appointment, as I had a feeling it couldn’t be good news….that evening we were told that my husband’s sperm count was 3million (the normal for a man is between 70-100million per ejaculation).
“I felt like my world fell apart”
The GP however was lovely and very optimistic about the future for us, offering to put our names forward to for the NHS IVF programme…..and so the journey began.
We were lucky enough to get to the top of the IVF waiting list by Sept 2016 (the day I got the letter I actually cried…it felt like we might actually get a chance of fulfilling our dreams).
Cycle 1 actually began in Dec 2016 (I should add we are very lucky and live in an area where you get three funded cycles). I can remember the first injection like it was yesterday…my husband injected me and blood ran down my stomach, I knew this would be a hard process. During this cycle we were only able to achieve 5 follicles and ended up collecting 6 eggs….2 then managed to be fertilised (not great numbers as you can see). We then had our embryo transferred on day 5 followed by the dreaded two week wait. The day arrived and when had the blood test and the phone call which told us we were borderline pregnant (what the heck does that mean!!). They said the numbers were low but were confident we were pregnant…we were over the moon! I then went back for a repeat blood test to check that the numbers were multiplying as they should be and they went on a yo yo journey, sometimes they were up and sometimes they were down.
This cycle unfortunately ended in a miscarriage at 7 weeks…
“the darkest time of my whole journey”
The second cycle for us then began in April 2017, again the numbers for this weren’t great. We managed to collect 5 eggs and fertilise 3. The difference in this cycle, was that when it came to embryo transfer day, we had two embryos which couldn’t be split (but weren’t as good quality as cycle 1 for whatever reason). We then decided two put both back in the
“hope that this time our dreams would come true”
Prior to test day I had started to bleed a little, but people kept reassuring me that it was an implantation bleed….in my heart I knew different. We then got the phone call to tell us that this cycle had failed. Another hope had been squashed.
Prior to Cycle 3 we decided to have a break for a few months, go on holiday and get away from the needles and hospital appointments for some time. We then started cycle three in Oct 2017. We knew this time that something had to change, so we met with the consultant and asked the have stronger stimulation drugs and also opted for the endometrial scratch,.
“We were willing to try anything”
Alongside this, both myself and my husband also attended acupuncture sessions, which I felt really helped. When the day of egg collection came, we were able to collect 12 eggs (an amazing leap from cycle 1 and 2) and fertilise 9. Transfer day was another matter entirely having had so many eggs to fertilise we were sure that we might get an embryo to freeze, but this wasn’t the case. On transfer day the lovely embryologist came to meet us and told us only one of those embryos was suitable to transfer. I felt crushed…I cried but kept telling myself that it would only take one.
Results day arrived in the usual manner and I hadn’t felt any different throughout the dreaded two week wait, so didn’t expect a different result. Now our hospital usually ring after the blood test at around lunchtime but we got a call 15mins after returning home at 9.30am. I was so scared I couldn’t answer the phone, but we got the news we had finally been waiting for. We had our baby with a HCG level of 420 (well above the hospital cut off of 150). Words cannot describe how we felt about the whole process I was an emotional wreck, and then the nerve kick in and you worry about them all the way along. The 6 week scan, 8 week scan, were all such nervous but wonderful experiences. We have now passed the 20 week scan and have found out we are having a boy.
“Would I change our journey if I could?”
I don’t think I would, because I would never have realised how much I wanted to be a mam, and how special our journey has been. I just hope that you are all able to get the happy ending we did.
Advice for a fertility friend:
“Don’t give up…don’t let people tell you it might not be for you or it may not happen. Keep trying, remain strong and don’t take no for an answer”
All my love to you all xxxx
If you’d like a little extra support with issues brought up here, there’s a fab list here