by Cara Jackson
Neil and I got married in 2010 and planned to enjoy married life for a couple of years before trying to start a family. We got to the two year mark and started trying. Two years later we were still trying and friends urged us to go to the doctors for help.
So we went and the tests revealed three issues with me that would have an impact on my fertility and ability to carry a baby to term. Neil was without problems. Two of my issues, PCOS and uterine polyps and abnormalities have now been resolved. The third issue is a bit more complicated. I have a balanced translocation of chromosomes 13 and 15.
This means, simply, that 3 out of 4 embryos that my eggs would form would result in miscarriage or stillbirth.
After a year of trying various fertility treatments our fertility doctor handed us an information sheet about IVF like he was giving us a cure for the common cold.
After much thought and prayer we decided to go ahead. Due to my genetic issues we were eligible for IVF with PGD which is genetic testing. This means they would only implant embryos that would have the right genetic material to not miscarry.
I found I had developed a fear of miscarriage and this testing helped to allay that fear. So our treatment started and we had quite a bumpy ride. I reacted badly to the stimulation medication and ended up in hospital. However, we ended up with 4 embryos that came back from the tests as suitable to transfer. They were frozen. By October 2015 we were ready for our first transfer. I came home with an embryo in my uterus full of excitement for what might lie ahead. Sadly two weeks later we found ourselves staring at a negative pregnancy test in my parents bathroom. It hadn't worked.
After an emotional few weeks we were able to try again. This time we were more cautious but were over the moon when, after 4 years of infertility, we saw our first ever positive pregnancy test at the beginning of December! As it was an IVF pregnancy we were booked for an early scan at 8 weeks. This happened to be the day before new year's eve. We viewed it as positive, we'd start the new year with the best news possible! So I was finally pregnant.
As the conception was aided I had to take hormones seven times a day. Due to that and my naturally rising hormones I got really bad morning sickness. However, as I'd had some bleeding around six weeks I took the sickness as a good sign. So when the nurse scanning me at eight weeks stopped smiling we were suddenly worried again. She said the baby was small and she couldn't detect a foetal heartbeat. We were told it might just be hiding and to come in for another scan a week later.
Sadly that scan confirmed our baby died at six weeks and a week later I was in hospital having a surgically managed miscarriage.
All miscarriages are tragically sad but this felt cruel.
After all we had been through to get pregnant to have it taken away was so hard to deal with. After all this embryo has the right genetic material, it wasn't supposed to miscarry. I did IVF to help allay my fear of miscarriage and here I was dealing with miscarriage.
A week or so after my surgery we had a small ceremony, just the two of us, where we said some words and let a start shaped helium balloon go off into the sky. It felt good to be able to say goodbye in a tangible way. Now were about 2 months on and starting to heal. We have 2 more embryos frozen and we'll try again later in the year.
I write a blog about my journey with infertility and loss and find it so helpful to think through my writing. I always thought I'd share my story further than my blog when we finally had our baby but after being inspired by reading other #misCOURAGE stories I feel it's right to share mine now.
Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer