Tommy's guest blog, 24/05/2019, by Emily
Six years ago I started trying for a baby. I was sent for tests and it came back I wasn't ovulating. I was referred to the fertility clinic and after more tests it was found I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. I had a laparoscopy which included ovarian drilling and removing the endometrium followed by 7 months of clomid with no success.
I was told that IVF would be my only option and in August 2016 began my first cycle. After the injections, scans, egg collection and transfers I had the longest 2 weeks to wait to test - and there it was my positive, everything I'd dreamed of. I was booked in for a scan at 6 weeks. We went with so much hope but all they could see was a sac, maybe it's to early they said, we'll re-scan you in 2 weeks.
Another long 2 weeks until I was re-scanned, this time our world came crashing down as our worst fears were confirmed - we'd had a missed miscarriage. I chose to have medical management and went into hospital that weekend.
I quickly decided I wanted to try treatment again and went on to have 2 unsuccessful frozen embryo transfers.
August 2017, a whole year on and another fresh cycle, loads more injections, scans, another egg collection and another embryo transferred. The 2 week wait began again and there it was another positive, so much stronger this time surely this had to be it?
I was booked in for a scan at 8 weeks and there it was a beautiful heartbeat flickering away at me. This time felt different I had more sickness and I felt more tired.
Until suddenly it all stopped and I knew the worst had happened. I told my husband our baby had died, I just knew it, call it mother's intuition.
We booked a private scan and I told my husband to prepare for the worst - how's that even possible, as if you can do that? We sat in the private clinic surrounded by scan photos and couples full of joy. When it was our turn I lay on the table and the sonographer told me I was just worried because of all we'd been through.
Then she began the scan, her face said it all, that face we'd seen before. My heart crumbled and I couldn't catch my breath as I heard those familiar words 'I'm sorry there is no heartbeat'. I clung to my husbands hand, I needed to leave, I needed to get home, to a place of safety.
We then had to have it confirmed at our local hospital, another scan and once again I chose medical management. This time it didn't work. Another week at home wondering if I would start bleeding, I never did and the following weekend came and another chance of medical management but once again nothing happened, my body couldn't keep my baby alive but neither would it let them go. Two and half weeks I carried around my dead baby before going for a D&C.
Emotionally and physically I was exhausted, everyone around me was having babies, the life I was so desperate for. I avoided pregnant people, baby showers, I lost friends and cut off family as I couldn't cope with the heartache. My husband said it was my choice but maybe we should try one more time, this time my consultant suggested a natural frozen transfer, no injections. I thought what's to lose, it won't work anyway.
August 2018 it felt like history was repeating itself, another positive, a strong positive. The morning sickness kicked in early and I went for a scan at 6+2 and there was my baby's heartbeat. I continued to have scans every other week throughout the first 12 weeks and continued to see my baby grow and their heart continue to beat.
My anxiety reached a whole new high, I couldn't let myself believe I would get to bring a baby home, every physical pain I enjoyed I clung to that as a good sign.
I became a person I barley recognised and soon realised for my own mental health I needed to be honest about how I was feeling, never be afraid to speak out.
My husband and Mum have always been a massive support but I was also well supported by a bereavement and pregnancy loss midwife who I now consider a friend, she understood my anxiety and never tried to make me feel like I was wrong for how I felt.
On the 21st April after a failed induction I welcomed my beautiful baby boy into the world via c section. I can finally say every inch of heartache has been worth it, I feel complete. I will never forget the journey I've been on and one day will tell my baby boy just how special he is. I truly believe, now before than ever, you don't get the rainbow without a little rain.
This Sunday, 5 May, is International Day of the Midwife, a day in which we shine the spotlight on some of the special individuals who make up the fabric of Tommy's.
Owen, co-author of parenting blog 'Love amongst the stars' opens up about navigating the emotions he felt after the loss of his son Kaspar.
Here at Tommy's we are fortunate to have a number of supporters who go above and beyond to help us continue our lifesaving research. One of these such individuals is Fran and this is her story.
Lewis writes about his journey and why he chooses to run for #TeamTommys.
There are times when it all feels like too much, but at those times I think of my daughter, who was such a fighter, and suddenly everything seems more manageable again.
"I truly feel without the support of the EPU and the peace of mind given to us through the Tommy's study we would not be where we are today."
Little Anderson was born under the care of the Tommy's Early Miscarriage Research Centre at London Imperial.