Why can some people seem to fall pregnant in an instant? How do people manage to fall pregnant in consecutive years? What's with having 4 under 4? 3 "surprise" pregnancies! Why did my baby die after everything we went through to have them? These are all statements and questions that women share on the journey.
I am fortunate that I have two healthy living children that I am eternally grateful to be able to hold in my arms and watch them grow. I also have three waiting for me in heaven, including Ava.
I have been told the words "I'm sorry there is no heartbeat, your baby stopped growing weeks ago", I have been shattered hearing that my fertility has been reduced even further due to damage caused by an ectopic pregnancy. I have held my tiny baby Ava Grace in my arms and then had to let her go.
I have also been on the path of infertility.
Infertility - It's another word alongside miscarriage/stillbirth/early induction that can at times provoke an uncomfortable silence but more often that not, well meaning but utterly devasting comments that hurt to the core.
My husbands brothers cousins friend had to do IVF and they had triplets!
Go on a holiday, that worked for me!
You obviously aren't meant to have more children
Why would you want another, you already have a pigeon pair (well they forget about Ava)
More kids cost more, think yourself lucky
Quit while your ahead
Don't roll the dice
You might end up with another baby who has something wrong
What if you miscarry again
You know another baby won't replace her
Do you wish you didn't use a favourite name for her and saved it for another?
The older you get the more risks there are that your baby will have something wrong with it
The age gap will be way too big
Are you the only one in your family that has issues falling pregnant?
Doesn't your twin sister have 3 healthy children?
You'll have a spoilt child since you will have two kids at school and another at home
I didn't think you would want another after losing babies
I wouldn't try again if it happened to me
Can the medications your on (for infertility) cause your baby to have birth defects? Was the medication you took to fall with Ava the reason for her birth defects?
The list goes on and on and these are just some of the things people have said to me.
Some of it is well meaning and I know they say it because they don't know what to say but I can tell you now telling someone to relax and then it will happen is a ridiculous thing to say to someone who has both physical and hormonal reasons for infertility.
I have only ever had one natural conception where no intervention was needed and that was more than 8 years ago, so I think it's quite reasonable to assume that 8 years later that a naturally occurring pregnancy would have to be in the miracle category!
I have completed 17 rounds of ovulation induction which is a type of assisted conception using medication. I have done 1 full IVF cycle and 1 frozen embryo transfer. I have swallowed pills, I have given myself countless needles - at one point 3 a day, I have hundreds of blood tests to the point of now having blown veins and scars which are visible on my arms. I have endured multiple surgeries and invasive tests. I know way to much gynaecological and fertility language that only doctors and nurses should know. I understand hormone levels and what it all means. I know the disappointment of cancelled cycle after cancelled cycle and just wanting to have a chance!
I am incredibly grateful to modern medicine and living in a country where I have access to safe and affordable treatments. A few generations ago my story would have been very different. These days specialists can do wonderful things to manipulate hormones and bypass physical issues that may be working against you.
Infertility in itself is a lonely, soul destroying, joy crushing journey. Infertility after loss just adds another layer to your grief. I have come across way too many women who have conceived their miracle after years and years of infertility only to lose their baby in an instant. Every month that you aren't pregnant after loss just reminds you of what you have lost and who isn't here with you now. You live trying to reconcile with yourself just how much you wanted the baby who isn't here with you now, but also how desperate you are to be pregnant again and growing a life inside of you. You are fully aware that another baby is not at all a replacement. You just don't want your story to end the way that is has. Trying to conceive after loss is incredibly scary. You have to leave yourself open to possibly exposing yourself to incredible pain once again. You have to push the fear to the side to make way for a tiny speck of hope. You have to believe that through the pain and tears that it will be worth it because that's the only thing that picks you up to try again the next month.
Ella was worth it.
Oliver was worth it.
Ava was worth it.
Hopefully this journey we have walked the last few years will end with holding a living baby that gets to come home and use their siblings things that have been packed away for some time now. I hope my kids get to greet a sibling that will let out a cry, not one that is silent. There are sadly many families who are parents to children they can't hold. There are also many families who go through the loss of fertility and the dream of having the family they dreamed about.
This is just part of my story, it's not the start and it's not yet the end...