Our emotional pregnancy journey

Lauren, 33, from Essex, and her husband Victor, 33, struggled to conceive and endured a miscarriage and pre-eclampsia before they had their beautiful daughter Cherry.

We knew we wanted a family, so 6 months after we married in 2014 I came off contraceptives and we started trying. But, 18 months later, we’d not fallen pregnant.

I began tracking my cycle using my body temperature as measurement. then, six months later, I finally went to my GP who referred us to a fertility specialist. 

At my first appointment they took a blood test and that’s when I found out I had a tumour on my brain. It was just the size of a pea, and non-cancerous, which was a relief. However, the consultant explained it was on my pituitary gland which controls hormones and lactation.

This meant the tumour could actually be tricking my body into thinking I was already pregnant.

Trying to get pregnant – the start of the journey

I also had a hysteroscopy where they squirted dye into my fallopian tubes to check for blockages. It showed that I was ovulating fine and my egg count was what it should be.

Victor’s sperm count also came back fine so there seemed to be no reason it wasn’t happening for us.

I started using Clearblue sticks to work out when I was ovulating. Although my cycle was every 28 days, my ovulation times were different every month so I was really worried we were missing our window.  

I’d tried various apps but they kept giving me different optimum dates so the ovulation sticks really were the most accurate thing for me to use and they helped a lot.

I carried on using them until a couple of months later when the consultant started me on Clomid which brings on ovulation. I took a tablet for five days to stimulate my ovaries and release the egg. Once the doctor checked that it had worked, they were able to tell us exactly when to go home and ‘practice’!

A miscarriage

We had five rounds of Clomid treatment before we fell pregnant. It was New Year’s Day 2017 when I found out and we were so excited. But just six weeks later a scan showed a sac but no heartbeat. I was devastated.

Victor was so strong for me but a few weeks later, just as I was beginning to feel a little more hopeful, he began to struggle with it all mentally. I think he’d been bottling it all up: my brain tumour, our fertility struggles and the miscarriage, then it suddenly just hit him at once.

We decided to leave it a little while before trying again. Our amazing fertility doctor said he’d like my hormone levels to get back to normal first so we waited three months before we started again in March 2018.

IVF and weight loss

We met with our consultant to discuss a plan of action and he suggested we start thinking about IVF. I think he immediately saw the panic in my face. I knew our local hospitals didn’t fund it, so it would cost us around £8,000 each time, which would be a financial struggle. 

He also told me that I’d need to lose 3 stone in weight before we started on IVF. That plus the money worries, left me feeling like our chances to have a family were just dwindling away.

I joined Slimming World in August and, within two months, Victor and I both lost 2.5 stones. I was completely focused because I knew that, if I didn’t lose the weight I couldn’t have IVF.

We were both eating healthier and I really believe that helped us conceive because our bodies were in a better place.

I’d also been taking liquid vitamin D along with pregnancy vitamins and Victor was taking vitamins too.

A positive test!

Our next appointment with the consultant was due on October 22. Three weeks before that on the 7, it was a stormy day. I knew my period was a day late but hadn’t told Victor, I just couldn’t get his hopes up. But, at 5am, I couldn’t wait. I did a test and it was positive.

This pregnancy felt different straight away, I felt different. I was scared after the miscarriage, but I just knew it was going to be our time.

I had my first scan on December 19 and everything was fine. I wore a ‘Bump’s First Christmas’ top to work on Christmas Jumper day as my way of letting everyone know our happy news.

On the Monday before our little girl arrived, they found out I had pre-eclampsia so they kept me in hospital and tried to start labour with a drip and pessaries but it was Thursday night before I went into full labour.

By 10am on the Friday morning I was crying for an epidural. Then our baby’s heart stopped so, in the end, she arrived by emergency c-section.

It was horribly traumatic but I was reassured that our fertility doctor was delivering her. By chance he was the consultant on call that day. Just knowing he was there helped so much, and he’s been amazing from the start. We've stayed in touch with him. We can’t thank him enough.

Emotional support

It’s been an emotional journey for us. One of the hardest things was that, as close as I am to my mum, I couldn’t talk to her about it because I didn’t want her to worry.

I did have one friend who miscarried around the same time as me and she was my rock, being able to talk to each other, share how we felt was such a comfort. I don’t know how we’d have got through without each other.

She now has a son six months older than our beautiful daughter Cherry.