a long time coming

hands - B & me

I haven’t shared this on my blog before and not even some of my friends and family know but getting pregnant was not easy for us. Bailey took three and half years to conceive. It was a tearful, stressful and unhappy time. I don’t find it easy to talk about with just anyone and I went back and forth as to whether to share it here at all. Being so open about something so personal leaves me feeling rather exposed, hence my hesitation. I’m not even sure if people want to hear about a difficult time in my life. I have come to realise though that my blog is just as much for me and what I feel I need to talk about, as what I think others want to hear. I am leaving my comfort zone and sharing this because in the long run I think it will help me. By telling you all, here and now, I am making sure I cannot make the same mistakes again and fall in to the same traps when it comes to second time around – if we are lucky enough that there is a second time around. I also want this blog post to be a little bit of hope for anyone who is currently trying and finding it difficult. It would have made a big difference to me, just to read about a positive outcome whilst we were in the midst of trying.

So here it is… full and frank… our story…

My husband and I did everything in the ‘right’ order and waited till it was the ‘right’ time to become pregnant; we got married, bought a house, did all the major building work. I think in the back of my mind I had wanted a baby for a few years but it just didn’t seem practical, so we waited, assuming that I would get pregnant in about 6 months. Everyone around me seemed to be getting pregnant very easily, and even unplanned babies were popping up.

The word ‘trying’ is an odd word because it implies that you are doing something proactive – which you may be – there is a lot of advice and information out there on things to do to help you conceive. Ovulation kits, taking your temperature… you get the idea. When it comes down to it though, there is a large part of the process, which is out of your hands. You do not have control over it.

To begin with, we weren’t ‘trying’, it was more what we were not doing – using contraception – that I thought would get us pregnant. We were very relaxed about the whole thing, and just went about our ‘business’ (stop giggling at the back), as normal. After maybe 9 months of ‘not trying’, I decided that some help might be a good idea, and bought some ovulation test. Man, are they expensive! They also added pressure… YOU MUST DO IT AT THIS TIME! They made me feel more stressed about the situation, so we only did this for a month before we went back to ‘not trying’.

Months became a year. A year became a year and a half. Eventually we thought it best to have some tests to see if there were any problems. You might think that this would be a reassuring process… it wasn’t for us. My local GP is not a fertility expert and would often look in books and online for information. I had all sorts of hormone levels checked, and they were all normal.

I didn’t handle it well at the time, and hardly told anyone what I was going through. I didn’t want anyone holding their breath and asking me questions. I felt like a bit of me was broken, even though any tests I had done were normal. This was partly because I used to be a yoga teacher and I felt like people had this image of me being a picture of health but yet I couldn’t get pregnant. Looking back I was embarrassed and so so sad about it all, it was just difficult to open up about it. I also knew that feeling sorry for ourselves and dwelling on our lack of a family was not going to help us get one. In hindsight though shutting down a whole section of myself, pretending I was alright, when I wasn’t was as equally unhelpful. I put everything else on hold whilst we were trying, and put off getting on with other aspects of my life, other ambitions and goals. This was not a good idea. People always say you have to forget about it, but that is easier said then done, particularly when you get physical symptoms that remind you that you may or may not be pregnant.

I could write for days about how heartbreaking it is to try for a baby, and month after month feel the heavy ache of disappointment. I am not alone in this, and since going through this experience I have realised how many couples struggle to have a family.

More months passed, and then came my husband’s tests. I am not going to be too graphic here, suffice to say that my husband had to take a sample in.

It was just before christmas, and there had been a lot of snow. We had to walk to the hospital to deliver it, and were worried about the sample getting too cold. We put the little pot in a sock, and then in a pocket inside my husbands coat to keep it nice and warm.

The results were not good. They were about as bad as they could have been. Confusingly there was also a note on top of the results that the doctor didn’t understand. Someone had handwritten that the temperature of the sample was far hotter than it should have been.

If in our efforts to keep the sample warm we may have in fact cooked it! That would explain the bad results – the test would be void. The only thing to do was to repeat the test, but we would have to wait for the result and wouldn’t get them till after christmas.

Painfully we spent that whole christmas wondering if it would ever be possible for us to make a baby together. I knew if the first set of test results were accurate that it would not be physically possible. Suddenly I was confronted with the possibility that the baby I so desperately wanted might not have any of my husbands DNA. They wouldn’t have his blue blue eyes, his kind spirit or his grounded calm character. I wanted our baby to be bits of me and bits of him, and it was heartbreaking to think that this might never happen.

Two nail bitting weeks later and thankfully the second results were much better and we got put on a waiting list to see a fertility expert. Three years ago, on my birthday, we got a letter to say that currently they were not accepting any more clients due to government funding – happy birthday me. At this point I knew there was no way we could afford to have any treatment privately, so we just had to forget about it – as difficult as that was – and get on with life!

3 and half months later and we were pregnant. After three and half years of trying we had got pregnant naturally.

The month I took a pregnancy test and it was positive I was in shock. I had to take a second digital test that would actually spell out the word ‘p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t’! Then there could be no mistake.

9 and bit months later we were finally able to hold our baby in our arms. We were ever so ready for her to come and that first cuddle had been a long time coming, and boy was it good.

Bailey newborn

 

 

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  • Alison Mates

    Beautifully written, & very brave xxx

    Alison Sent from my iPhone

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  • emilyquinton

    Beautiful and brave. Thank you for sharing. I hope it helped you to write it and I know it will help people to read it.
    I think we all need to learn to talk more about pregnancy stuff, so that people feel supported and that they can talk about what they are going through. So, thank you for being brave about your story. I just know it will give so many other couples some hope and understanding.
    Big, big hugs xxx

    • Thanks Emily for your kind comment. Yes I do feel better having written it all down… I feel lighter, like I was holding onto something that I have now been able to let go of. You are right about talking more about pregnancy and conception stuff. Hearing other peoples stories can only help. Xx

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, Melanie. So beautifully written and expressed. Me and my partner are going through exactly the same thing at the moment and I, like you, can not explain the utter heartbreak and heavy, horrible disappointment that comes every month. I really like what you said about not putting things on hold – I think I’ve finally broken through that barrier and started to achieve more and that is really helping. Thank you so much for the hope and Bailey is just beautiful xxx

    • Thank you Katy. Glad it might have helped you. You are doing the right thing by throwing yourself into other aspects of your life… well done for that as it is so hard to do. Hope you have good friends you can talk to when you need it…. I wish I had shared it with more people at the time, as I could have really done with the support. Lots of love to you and your partner. xxxx

  • Thankyou for sharing Melanie, a beautiful and honest account of your experience which I’m sure will be a comfort to other couples in the same position. I was fortunate enough to become pregnant relatively quickly first time round however when I felt I was ready to start trying for baby number two, it didn’t happen straight away, as the months went on I wonder whether it was going to happen for us. Even though I was incredibly lucky to already have a child, I can recall the emotions I felt at the possibility of not being able to have another baby. My hubby and I talked about how fortunate we were to have our beautiful son and if we couldnt have another then we were still the luckiest people in the world. I guess it was a kind of ‘letting go’……of course the following month I discovered I was pregnant. Lots of love to you and your family – hope to see you around, Shirley x

  • Emily

    I love you, my BiL and my gorgeous gorgeous niece so much. Hugs & kisses xxxx