I wanted to share my story of childlessness.
Having suffered from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) I knew that I would be more likely to have fertility issues and experience miscarriage. But despite this I was optimistic that eventually I would have the family I wanted.
My false confidence was bolstered by all the nurses and doctors I met through my PCOS appointments that gave me false hope and basically told me it would be fine. Unfortunately, when I did start trying to get pregnant after I got married at 32 it wasn’t fine. After over 2 years of doing everything I could to get pregnant. I finally did it!
Or so I thought.
The joy of finally seeing a positive pregnancy test was like euphoria. And once I got past 12 weeks we told everyone. I wanted to keep it quiet a bit longer but my husband and our families persuaded me it was fine. Nothing goes wrong after 12 weeks! So there I was with ‘my baby on board’ badge and finally allowing myself to believe I would actually become a mum. But then I started spotting at 15 weeks and after several visits to the hospital I was told it was fine and I needed to stop worrying and go home. But one night I woke up and felt lots of liquid coming out of me. I rushed to the loo but there was no blood. As I had been told to stop worrying I tried to ignore my fear and body and didn’t go to the hospital until the next day. Again the hospital dismissively told me it was an infection and discharge and I again should stop worrying! They made me listen to the heartbeat on the probe. Eventually they told me to wait in reception while they got my medication.
So there I was feeling crazy, but relieved as I sat there with other expectant mothers when another doctor came out and called me back in. She said that they needed to do an ultrasound before I go. I was confused and everything was a blur.
The next few seconds turned my world upside down. The scan showed my waters had broken and there was no amniotic fluid around my baby. My pregnancy was over… my baby was alive but had no chance to live. I waited in a side a room alone for about 2 hours until I could get hold of my husband who came rushing in as soon as he found out.
I was in hospital for 3 days and still my baby lived on inside me. At one stage they even scanned me and told me my baby had died naturally which was a relief because I didn’t want to terminate the pregnancy, but after a second they said; ‘I am so sorry. I made a mistake. The baby is still alive’.
The risk of infection and risk to my life was increasing as time went on so I was then told my pregnancy needed to be terminated. I will never forget having to take the medication to end the life in my body. I then had to go into labour and give birth to my developing little girl. At that point I thought my life was over.
I went back to work after a month and it was horrific trying to keep it together. But over months and with support I did manage to gradually begin the healing process and 2 years later we tried to conceive again, aware of the tick tock. This time I got pregnant more easily but lost this pregnancy at 8 weeks. By this stage I knew that was it. My husband and I had taken more than we could deal with.
Our TTC journey was over. The path to recovery is on-going. I have lost so many friends with kids. I have been called a nutter by my sister in law because I am ‘not over it yet’. I have had to support a member of my team at work do IVF, while inside dying, and watched colleague after colleague head off on maternity leave with all the ‘send offs’ that I can’t avoid because they are in the office.
But now, 7 years after my TTC journey started it has become a lot easier. For me the counselling has been invaluable but the biggest thing has been time. I know I will never get over my losses but I am living my life again happily. When at a French language evening class a fellow classmate recently described herself as courageous because she had given birth and has a son, I didn’t cry I just thought of my childless sisters and brothers and thought how courageous we are too in a child mad world.