We stood at the top of Mount Etna and in each other’s arms, watching the sun go down, we tied a tiny piece of our hearts in a bow and said goodbye to our baby

Andrea and her husband Tim have suffered recurrent ectopic pregnancies over the past 5 years, and are still on the hopeful journey to finally having their rainbow baby.

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Andrea and her partner.

by Andrea Hoadley

March 2016

I have contemplated many times writing about our story and struggle for our baby and have been inspired recently by McFly’s band-member Harry Judd, who has talked about the birth of his daughter after they had a miscarriage and went through IVF. Infertility and miscarriage is not something you would normally read about in people’s posts on Facebook. I mean, really, who wants to read about that!? I don’t have a story of ‘this is what I went through but I have a baby now’. But I still wanted to share because I don’t know what the future holds for us, (me and my amazing husband). I want to tell my story before any happy ending, with the hope that this may help someone who is going through the same thing as us.

Tim and I started trying for a baby almost 5 years ago. The very first month of trying we got pregnant, I mean what are the chances of that? OMG we were so thrilled, we felt sick with excitement. It was the most magical feeling and as soon as you know you are pregnant you are a Mum and Dad. We were going to be parents. We were going to be awesome parents! But it was not to be and after just 7 weeks we lost our baby. The pain you feel is indescribable. A tiny piece of your heart is taken, never to be replaced. You want the pain, so you remember the tiny footprint that was left, never to be forgotten.

Tim and I held on to one another’s hand and looked to the future. Two months later, we were pregnant again. Super sperm and mega eggs . . . this was going to be it! But that excitement we felt that first time, was tainted, we were scared but we could not deny the butterflies we felt. The hope we felt; we were parents again. I have never really looked at loo paper so much! Was there a spot of blood? No. Six weeks of no, and then sadly, yes. Off to the hospital again for the internal scan, to be told there was nothing there. I had the HcG blood test and a follow up a few days later. You should start to see HcG levels coming down very quickly after a miscarriage. Mine were not. After a few days and another internal scan we got more news, it was an ectopic pregnancy.

The emotion you feel knowing you still have a teeny tiny baby growing inside you but that it could kill you and there is no way of saving it, is what I can only describe as devastating

We said goodbye to the parents we were going to be, and enjoyed the pain. We deserved it. We had failed again. The footprint on our hearts embedded forever. Never to be forgotten.

Christmas was coming up and I normally love Christmas, but I made a decision that although I would not be the same again, the person I was, the relationship we had, would of course be different, but not in a bad way. I decided, there and then, that what I had been through, what we were going through was obviously going to change us but it was not going to define the people we were. On Christmas Eve Tim got down on one knee and my rock, the love of my life proposed. I didn’t even say ‘yes’ I said “of course I’ll marry you!!’ and flung my arms around his neck. 

Our day was the most amazing day of our lives. We were getting married, but we were also pregnant! We had found out one day before our wedding day. We weren’t going to jinx it this time. We told one friend each but would surprise our parents when we got back from our honeymoon. However, while we were away, I had started ‘spotting’. Have you ever tired explaining to an Italian only speaking nurse you were scared that you were having an ectopic pregnancy? We were in A&E trying to remember GCSE science, drawing the female reproductive organs on a small piece of paper. It was a sick game of Pictionary!

After some bloods were taken we ended up getting taken to an English-speaking doctor who continued to repeat ‘No baby. No baby. No baby’. What else could Tim and I do? We looked at each other and started laughing. I think it was hysterical laughing but it was black comedy at its very best! We talked about the fact that we only get one honeymoon. We did not want to let it define our honeymoon. The next day we stood at the top of Mount Etna and in each other’s arms, watching the sun go down, we tied a tiny piece of our hearts in a bow and said good bye to our baby.

We made a pact that we would not tell anyone when we got home. Not straight away anyway. We told everyone about the amazing time we had

And we really had! Our love for each other was never stronger. Our motto became ‘me and you against the world’

We had been pregnant 3 times in one year. We would keep going. We were sure that it was just a matter of time for us.  However, we then started to struggle to get pregnant. I call it ‘the ovulation obsession’. I am task-focused at work. This was now my work. We had a goal. We had to maximise our chances. It was just a game of odds. An exhausting 15 months later we were pregnant again, but this time, we did not feel like we had a baby; we did not feel like we were parents. All we had was a little cluster of cells that might make a baby or they might not. I was sadder than ever. We felt that we were not giving this pregnancy, this baby, the recognition it deserved. And then we had failed again. Hearts broken. A tiny footprint. Never to be forgotten.

We have had more tests, bloods taken and internal scans then we care to mention. I had been to a specialist where they take little nugget samples of your womb. I was diagnosed with high level of ‘killer cells’ which basically try and protect my body by mistakenly thinking my baby cells are trying to hurt me and kill them. Another 13 months later, we were pregnant and I was given hormones and steroid tablets. Another 7 weeks later, I was once again bleeding. And just to keep us on our toes, we had another ectopic pregnancy. This time my fallopian tube was removed. I am just going to say ‘it was not pleasant’ (times a million).

In July 2015 we started IVF and we got ourselves two little beautiful looking embryos. One went ‘in’ the beginning of August. And after that did not work, the other went in the end of Nov. Needless to say we are not pregnant. We even had a ‘chemical pregnancy’ in-between. Which we aren’t even putting in to the head count.

Focusing on not letting it consume you is so tiring. We are tired.

As you can see it’s a bit of a long story. 5 years in the making. And at times it has been exhausting.We can totally see how it can complete ruin a relationship and split up marriages. But we have the most amazing families and friends who, at the very moment where you are not sure how much more you can take, show us the light.  I married my soul mate and best friend. We have been on the same page all the way through. Communication is so important and being able to share the crazy thoughts and being considerate to each other’s emotions. We are a team. Our broken hearts fit together like a jigsaw piece. Apart we are broken. Together we are whole.

But we are not beaten. Despite it all, we still hold on to hope. We are about to start a new cycle of IVF. My drugs box gets dropped off next week and we will try again. We owe it to each other. We owe it to our babies that left a footprint on our hearts, telling our story gives every one of them the acknowledgment in the world they deserve.

We do not know if we will be successful carrying our own baby. We do not know what the future holds but we now have two new mottos. ‘We have not come this far, to only come this far!’ and ‘there is no unhappy ending to this story.’ If it is just the two of us forever, it just will not be long enough.

We have shared our very personal story in honour of all the people still fighting the good fight despite everything. For the ones that could not go on anymore and had to let go of the dream, you are the bravest of all. For every baby no matter how small, who left the smallest of foot prints on this world. Never to be forgotten.

 

 

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Disclaimer

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

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