I’ve debated for a while putting my story/journey out there. I’ve wondered if people would even bother reading it, but I’ve seen a few posts lately where people are going through similar things and thought ‘fuck it’, you never know; my poorly worded rambles might actually help someone! You’d better get comfy, cause it’s gonna be a long one…
As most people who’ve followed me for a while (or actually know me IRL) will know, my story starts with Lewis. One of the most annoying but wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Myself and Lewis were together about a year and a half when we decided to embark on what would be the most heart-wrenching and emotionally draining journey of my life. As a sufferer of PCOS I always knew I’d possibly have trouble becoming pregnant, but after ‘not being careful’ and nothing happening we decided to get some help.
My doctor referred us to the Complete Fertility Centre in Southampton to begin what would be test after test. Blood tests, sperm counts, scans, HyCoSy (don’t even ask – this sucked!), more blood tests, more scans… you get the picture. After every procedure and inconclusive scan/test our hearts sunk a little more. You don’t realise how much you want something until you can’t have it, it’s like grieving for something that never was.
We were eventually told after 18 long gruelling months that it was extremely unlikely I would ever conceive naturally as my body just didn’t work that way. Our only option was IVF. I felt like my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces, I never thought this would be my only chance at becoming a mum.
We went away to discuss options, as at this point you only got 3 attempts at IVF on the NHS, and the success rates weren’t great. What if we started and couldn’t stop? There would always be ‘maybe next time’. How would we afford it? We’re we just setting ourselves up to fail? You hear lots of stories of couples bankrupting themselves trying for a baby through IVF.
While researching all these depressing statistics on IVF treatment, I’d heard of a drug called clomid that was often given to women with PCOS to force their bodies to ovulate, with some good outcomes. We spoke to our consultant and while he wasn’t hopeful, he agreed to prescribe it for a month and book us in for more tests to see if it worked.
The day after we picked up the tablets I was at a BBQ with my work friends, I was designated driver as I was a keen slimming worlder and couldn’t be wasting my syns on alcohol! When dropping some very drunk work friends home about 11pm I called Lewis to let him know what time I’d be home. He didn’t answer so I assumed he would be asleep. A few minutes later I got a call back from Rob, a Hampshire Constabulary Police Officer. There had been an accident involving Lewis’s motorbike and another car, They were waiting outside my house and he needed to come and talk to me. I begged them to just tell me Lew was okay, he said he couldn’t do that. For what seemed like hours and hours I waited for them at my friends house, praying to a god I didn’t believe in that he would be okay, he was just a bit battered and bruised and they would take me to see him in hospital.
Lewis was killed on his motorbike that evening. And to think I thought my heart broke at the words ‘IVF’. 1st August 2015 was the worst day of my life.
I can’t even begin to explain to you what it feels like to lose someone you think you’ll spend the rest of your life with at the age of 24. What it feels like to see your best friend in a mortuary. What it feels like to plan a funeral for someone so full of life. I couldn’t have got through those few months without Lewis’s brother Geoff, he was my absolute rock.
I didn’t really give our fertility journey much of a thought after that. If you’ve been through similar you’ll know it’s such a personal thing, I vowed never to embark on it again, it was just for us, Lewis and I, I couldn’t share it.
Fast forward through the next 2 years which saw me progressing well in my career, buying my own flat, moving to a new city (albeit the next one over) and generally putting on a brave face, a fake smile and ‘coping’ with life on my own, but still living in the literal shadow of Portsdown Hill where my world had collapsed.
I was in the middle of buying a new house in September 2017, which I didn’t particularly love and wasn’t going particularly smoothly, when I realised I had no ties to the area I was living in, my parents had moved to France a few years before the accident, my mums side of the family all lived in Scotland, where I spent a lot of time for work. My friends and Lewis’s family would still be my friends and MY family regardless of location. Although I had thousands of good memories down south, I also had hundreds of awful ones, why was I struggling to stay somewhere that made me sad?
I decided to take the plunge and move up to Scotland. Start again. Me, the cat and the dog. I needed this to become my old self again.
Shortly after, Phil became a part of my life, we worked together and talked a lot before I moved here, but quickly realised we had more than just a friendship. I always assumed no one else would compare to Lewis, everyone else would always come second best, but not Phil, Phil wasn’t second best, he was my second chance. Second chance at being happy, second chance at sharing my life with someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally.
In January 2018, after 3 weeks of being convinced I was on deaths door, I googled my horrible symptoms and was shocked with the results! Now we all know google likes to tell us most symptoms point to pregnancy but the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. As far as I was concerned I couldn’t get pregnant, so there was no need to be careful. But low and behold, the faintest line appeared on a pregnancy test the next morning. A few more tests confirmed it; I was pregnant! We went for an early scan and saw a little rice-sized, turtle-looking life. I couldn’t believe it. The sonographer said she could see that I had a Subseptate Uterus which made the chances of carrying to term slimmer, but not impossible. She was surprised this hadn’t ever been picked up previously by the consultants and said it was potentially the cause of my so called infertility.
I had “morning” sickness every day for 4 months, but feeling my little baby start to kick and wriggle around was the most amazing thing. I was so worried he would stop moving one day due to my rubbish anatomy but he didn’t! He got stronger and stronger and My ‘high risk’ pregnancy was completely straightforward and text book.
However what wasn’t straightforward or textbook was that I didn’t expect to look in the mirror and hate what I saw. I had no ‘pregnancy glow’, my hair wasn’t ‘long and shiny’, I wasn’t ‘radiating’ in the slightest. I didn’t buy any proper maternity clothes except a few pairs of leggings, instead I chose to cover my bump with baggy jumpers and Phil’s XXL T-shirts. I refused to have my picture taken and didn’t really leave the house unless I had to. I loved my baby but loathed my changing body, but you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to not feel the way you’re supposed to feel, it’s okay not to enjoy being a pregnant goddess and just feel like a fucking whale the whole time. You’ll still love that little baby when he arrives with every fibre of your being and he will start to fill any holes left in your heart.
I planned a homebirth, as hospitals aren’t my favourite place in the world, and my anxiety reached an all time high when in them. I bought the hypnobirthing books, downloaded the apps, ordered a pool. In my head I thought I could breeze through labour and just breathe baby out. HA!
After 67 hours total labouring at home, with 5 hours of pushing, my amazingly tired midwives decided enough was enough, this baby was not coming out unaided. I was taken to hospital by ambulance. It was the most horrendous journey, I was still contracting and my body was trying to push and I’m convinced we got an ambulance with zero suspension!
40 minutes after arriving in hospital with the help of a hormone drip, some stirrups and a toe curling episiotomy, our little miracle baby arrived, absolutely disgustingly gunky! I didn’t get my homebirth, but I got my little baby, and that’s all that mattered.
As I sit here writing this Brodie is snoozing away next to me, farting in his sleep. I still can’t believe Phil and I made him, I still can’t believe he is mine. Watching Phil be a father to our son makes my heart swell with pride. I still can’t believe that after all the heartache of the past 5 years I am truly happy. I never did find my old self again, but I’ve found my new self, and she’s alright.