I had a dream, a beautiful, perfect image of the life and family that I was going to have. My husband and I had been together since we were 19, blessed with wonderful family and friends, great jobs which we loved and brought financial stability, and had recently celebrated a grand and beautiful white wedding on the enchanting Amalfi Coast. We had bought our very first home together, had a 6-year-old pet goldfish, were madly in love and so very excited for the next chapter in our lives – babies!
We would sit for hours, eagerly discussing names that we loved and how we envisaged raising our children. We talked of values that would be instilled in our precious babies, spoke of how they would be encouraged outdoors, like during our own childhoods, rather than embracing this new and frightful video game culture that society has borne today. We were full of awe-inspiring enthusiasm for being the best parents that we could ever imagine. Life was perfect. We were going to have it all.
We did not imagine that our lives for the next 8 years, at the very least, would be swarming with sadness, overflowing with stress and anxiety, and plagued with brutal jealousy on seeing every pregnant friend or family member evolve into blissful parenthood. We did not imagine that our pursuit of having children would dominate our every waking hour. We did not imagine that our perfect bubble would burst wide open, and we did not imagine that our dream would turn into a nightmare….
Eight years on from that perfect wedding day, I began typing a story that does not yet have an ending, a happy or a sad one. However, for the first time in those 8 long years, I feel ready to tell my story. I feel strong enough to talk about what has happened to us and strong enough to say that whatever our ending may be, I am ok with it. Living with our tireless desperation for parenthood for all these years has made us feel trapped and helpless, and there have been times where I believed that I would never be happy. When I began writing, I felt a desperate need for something other than IVF. I needed a purpose other than my desperation for a baby, and I needed to inject some fun back into our lives, be us again rather than feeling constantly defined by our fertility struggles. Our lives used to be full of music, fun and excitement. I used to be career driven and focused. I needed to get it all back.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel traumatised by our fertility journey and I don’t think that will ever change, even if I am finally blessed with my longed for family. Infertility leaves a real mark on your life, like the dents in my living room carpet when I finally moved the cross trainer, leant from a friend that I never used… People, even those closest to us, can never truly understand the pain, anxiety and heart-breaking devastation that dealing with infertility brings.
However, and believe this or not, I wouldn’t change a thing about our journey. This brutal journey has shaped me into becoming a woman who I am proud of. I am strong, I am empathetic, I have a deeper understanding of life and the curve balls that it can throw at you, and I am ready to help others in similar situations. In fact, I am more than just ready; I am desperately ready. I truly believe that this is my calling in life. I was put on this earth to go to hell and back and whilst there, pick up enough knowledge and experience to bring back and share with the world.
So, my name is Emma and I am 36 years old. I live in South Wales with my husband Lyn and as already mentioned, we have been trying to conceive since 2009. To date, we have undergone 4 fresh rounds of ICSI, 3 Frozen Embryo Transfers, 3 miscarriages and a clinic change. What was expected to be a relatively easy and most definitely a fun process to conceive a child, turned into a fertility nightmare of doctors waiting rooms, intrusive tests, a lot of money and a whole lot of pain and heartbreak.
However, along the way, I have learnt a huge amount about the IVF process and most importantly, about myself!! Through a huge amount of research and a lot of hard work, I managed to increase our fertilisation rates from a poor 20% in some cycles, to a whopping 75-90% in others.
So, this blog is going to have multiple purposes. It’s going to tell you all about me and Lyn, about our journey, our thoughts and feelings along the way, and how infertility has strengthened our marriage in ways that I could never have imagined. It will hopefully highlight how we have coped with infertility, IVF and miscarriage, and show you that you are not alone in this. We get it. We are it.
I would also like to share what I have learnt along the way. I want to tell you how I went from approximately 10 eggs collected each cycle, with poor fertilisation rates, to a whopping 26 eggs with 22 mature enough for ICSI, 16 of which fertilised and an incredible 12 top quality blastocysts to freeze. I want to share with you, my knowledge and experience of how I did that, and hopefully, how you can do the same.
You can expect to see blog posts about me and my feelings, how I dealt with stress, information about supplements, the diet that I followed in my best cycle, some of the recipes that I designed as a result, and much more….
I truly hope that you find it useful.
Please note that I am not a medical professional, I am merely a woman who has been through a lot and learnt a fair amount along the way. What worked for me, may not necessarily work for you, so please, always consult your Doctor first!!