#misCOURAGE story, 21/04/2017, by Lou
I didn't meet my husband until just before my 29th birthday. The next few years were a whirlwind of engagement, wedding planning, house buying and renovations.
We had just started to sit back and think about trying for a family in the spring of 2014 when I received the devastating news that after years of trying not to get pregnant, I was now going through premature ovarian failure (early menopause).
The hormone imbalances, hot flushes and delays in being referred for consultant review, made the next few months an emotional rollercoaster with the added agony of pregnancy announcements all around!
After celebrating a friends wedding abroad in September 2014, I muddled through the next few weeks with what felt like a never ending hangover and that awful bloated feeling when your period is due (the worst feeling for someone who has been told that are postmenopausal at the age of 31!)
After numerous nudges from close friends who knew our situation, I finally gave in and did a pregnancy test just to shut them up.
Imagine the shock when the elusive little lines appeared!! Surely this wasn't possible?
A call to the GP and a hasty appointment with a private sonographer revealed that indeed it was and I was already 8 weeks along............with twins!
I don't think I could even begin to explain the joy and elation that not only us but also our family who were supporting us through our diagnosis, felt at this moment.
At 10 weeks I had a terrifying few days where I started to bleed quite heavily but scans revealed all seemed ok and it gradually started to subside.
We sailed through our twelve week check and our 20 week scan was booked in for early in the new year.........and what a year 2015 would be!
We announced our amazing news, starting researching what we would need and wondered how on earth we were going to cope with two precious babies at once?
The 21st December 2014 started like all others and I went into work already cradling a sizeable bump at 18 weeks. A few hours in and I started to feel quite uncomfortable.
After about 20 minutes and having tried various different positions to alleviate my significant discomfort, I headed to the loo hoping that maybe the babies were bouncing on my bladder but terrified that the pain was too much for this.
It was there, alone in the toilet cubicle that I felt an unmistakeable *pop* and a gush of fluid. After an horrific 45 minute journey to hospital, a scan only confirmed what I was dreading that my waters had broken and a few hours later my worst nightmare began with regular tightenings and pain.
The pained expressions on the faces of the doctors examining me said it all and I was quickly transferred to the labour and delivery ward.
14 hours of what I can only describe as hell later, I was told it was time and gave birth to two perfectly formed but far too tiny, beautiful sleeping angels, Theo and Lucas. It was the 22nd December 2014.
We were given time to hold them and the Chaplain came to bless them.
We left the next day with an envelope containing hand and footprints and photographs that one day I may be able to look at..........but leaving our precious angels behind.
Christmas 2014 was a bit of blur that really I would rather forget completely but unfortunately will never leave me as those days are imprinted in my mind and still give me vivid nightmares to this day.
The year that followed quite honestly is a bit of a blur of emotions ranging from tears to rage.
Further delays in consultant appointments and no explanation for what had happened, other than it was 'because it was twins' only exacerbated this, along with the dreaded pregnancy announcements from friends which you feel you have to put a brave face on for.
Counselling and eventually anti-depressants eventually started to ease the daily depression that plagued me.
At times it was also far too easy to be self-absorbed and forget that my wonderfully supportive husband had also experienced this terrible loss but somehow he managed to stay strong and hold me up during the times I both mentally and physically fell down with grief.
We had finally started to research the possibilities of donor egg IVF when the niggling feelings of hangover started to present themselves.
The 31st December 2015 was certainly one to remember for us when the telltale lines miraculously appeared again. How was this possible? My hormones suggested I wasn't just peri-menopausal but postmenopausal?!!
I'd like to say that the next 9 months were the most joyous of my life but in reality I suffered with depression and severe anxiety that I'm not sure I would have survived without my ever understanding husband holding my hand.
Cue numerous trips to A&E with unexplained pressure probably caused by panic attacks more than anything, not believing the consultant when she told me my cervix was long and closed (a good thing for someone whose waters have previously ruptured at 18 weeks) and raiding our bank account to pay for private scans at regular intervals just to confirm that nothing had changed.
I thought that going back to work after the miscarriage was bad enough but having to go through pregnancy again in the same office, using the same toilets where my nightmare began was, at times, unbearable.
Finally I was 32 weeks along and I cautiously allowed us to start buying things, although in reality I don't think I was mentally prepared at all.
11 days before my due date severe back pain took me to the maternity ward where my waters decided to rupture. I would love to say that I was calm and excited but in actual fact, all I could do was panic, hyperventilate, cry and demand an epidural.
The next day we welcomed a beautiful rainbow boy, Elliott. Unusual spelling with two 'L's and two 'T's, a friend later pointed out and asked if it was for the obvious reason? We looked at her in confusion.......'in memory of Theo and Lucas?' she asked?
I only wish I had thought of this myself but can only thank her for the lovely way to think of our beautiful rainbow's name.
The last 7 months have been a complete rollercoaster of emotions, with the hormones of being a new mum but also the constant reminder that I would never get to do this with my beautiful angels.
I'm not afraid to say that at times I have suffered with a degree of postnatal depression probably due to the post miscarriage depression and severe anxiety but we are blessed with a beautiful and lively miracle that I am thankful for everyday, particularly as my endocrinology consultant called over Christmas and asked me to confirm that I have a baby boy as he is scratching his head as to how this is possible.
The past few years have been difficult not only for me but also for my husband and the family and friends that supported us, and to whom I cannot thank enough.
To a degree we were forced to be quite open about our experience but in hindsight I found talking about it with friends really helped me deal with the loss and move forward.
We were given a very bleak prognosis with our fertility journey but both our angels and our rainbow are evidence in my mind that sometimes miracles can happen and that you should never give up hope, however hard the journey may be.
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