When I decided to have a baby with my partner I was young, fit and healthy. I really thought I’d be pregnant within a couple of months. How naïve I was!!
I came off the pill and wasn’t too concerned when I didn’t get pregnant straight away. I had heard that the hormones from the pill can take up to three months to leave your system, so just put it down to that. When I still didn’t get the positive pregnancy test after three months, I started to get frustrated. My partner already had a son, so chances were there was nothing wrong with him. I was very fit and healthy at the time and only in my early twenties, in theory getting pregnant should be easy. As the months rolled by I started to get more and more stressed out and upset. Everyone around me seemed to be announcing their pregnancies on Facebook, it felt like there was a new scan picture on my newsfeed every day. Most of their pregnancies were unplanned and to me, at the time, it seemed really unfair!
Eventually, after trying unsuccessfully for over a year we went to the doctors, who ran some tests on us both. It turned out I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had never heard of it before, but after a small amount of research I discovered that due to irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate, it can make it more difficult (in some cases impossible) to get pregnant naturally. I was devastated. I had become obsessed with getting pregnant and was completely fixated on it. I spent hours trawling the internet looking for advice. Every month, about a week before I thought I was due on my period, I would start taking pregnancy tests. Ironically, due to the PCOS, my cycle was all over the place so I never knew when that would be. I spent a fortune on ovulation tests every month, only to discover I rarely ovulated and if I did it was very randomly. I started to think I was never going to have the baby I had always dreamt of and I was devastated.
Thankfully the mighty NHS came through for me. I was referred to a specialist who decided that my best, first option was a laparoscopy to check my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked and then a course of Clomid. They said the chances of me getting pregnant naturally before this were slim to none so to stop stressing myself out about it. Finally, I felt like I had been given a bit of hope. I stopped stressing about everything so much and started to relax. I was due to go for the laparoscopy in the January, on the 16th December I was elated to discover I was pregnant, naturally!
I had stupidly continued searching online about PCOS and pregnancy and discovered that, due to the hormonal irregularities, the rate of miscarriage is higher for women with the syndrome. I spent the first 4 months absolutely petrified that I was going to lose the baby. I had a horrible pain in my abdomen and was sent for numerous early scans which were always horribly nerve wracking. However, all was fine and eventually, 42 weeks later I gave birth to my first beautiful baby!
When we decided to try again, we prepared ourselves for the fact that it wouldn’t be plain sailing. I was ready for the wait this time, however after 8 months of trying naturally I fell pregnant! I was ecstatic, despite the morning sickness and tiredness! However, when I was around 8 weeks, all of that stopped. I had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right and I was so worried but was constantly reassured that if I hadn’t had any bleeding then, chances were, all was fine. When I went for my 12 week scan I was devastated to find out I’d had what is classed as a “missed miscarriage”. This is where the foetus has stopped growing and the heart has stopped beating but you haven’t actually had the miscarriage yet. It was my sons 3rd birthday the following day and his birthday party the day after. The hospital were amazing and offered to take me into hospital the next day for an op to remove the foetus, but I point blank refused to miss my son’s birthday. As I arrived at the party my miscarriage started, I lasted throughout the party then went to hospital. They were fairly confident it would all pass naturally, but sadly it didn’t, and I ended up having to go in a couple of days later for the op. The following few weeks were horrific. I really struggled with it, as I’m sure everyone does. I got infection after infection and it just seemed to go on forever.
In the end I picked myself up and forced myself to get on with things for my little boy’s sake. We went back to the doctor’s a few months later and asked for help. They sent me into hospital in the April for ovarian drilling. This sounds much more brutal than it actually is. Essentially, it involves lasering parts of the ovaries to induce ovulation. Whilst they were doing the op they discovered that my uterus was being tilted by scar tissue from the previous c section I’d had so they cut that away too. That was on April 22nd. I didn’t expect anything to happen for a few months after that so didn’t even think about it. On June 1st we were at a wedding and I decided just to take a quick pregnancy test in a very posh portaloo before embarking on a day of debauchery. I was absolutely shocked to get a positive result back! Whilst I was completely over the moon, I was obviously still nervous about the coming weeks after what had happened last time.
When I was 10 weeks I started bleeding quite badly and was told it was likely another miscarriage. I went to the early pregnancy unit and had a scan. By chance the lovely ladies working that day were the ones who looked after me when I found out about my miscarriage. Knowing my history and because of the amount of blood I was losing, they told me to prepare for the worst. I think we were all amazed when the sonographer hovered over a heartbeat going like the clappers! There was no explanation for the bleeding, but it continued for the next couple of weeks. A few months later I gave birth to another beautiful boy by planned c section, which was much more chilled out and easier to recover from!!
I have never tried for another baby and to be honest, I’m not sure I could cope with the stress from it again. However, to anyone reading this who has been struggling to conceive, please, please go and seek help. My story is mild in comparison to many, and I dread to think what some of you have been through, but when I was at my lowest I found that reading positive stories really helped me, so I hope my own experience can offer you some hope. My advice to you is to keep pushing with your doctor to see a specialist and don’t be afraid to ask for some intervention if you think you need it. Also, I don’t handle stress well at all and I’m sure that was probably part of my problem as it was always when I was least expecting it that I got pregnant. So, take some me time, relax and we all have our fingers crossed for you.