“My husband Rob and I are childhood sweethearts. We grew up living a few doors down from each other. One day Rob came to my house and asked me if I would like to go on a bike ride. I, of course, said yes. From there, we dated, moved into our first home together at the age of 21 and 22 in 2012, married in 2014 and decided in early 2016 to start trying for a family.
We were so excited at the prospect of having a little baby around the house and that turning into two or possibly more children. The time now seemed right for us. We were both settled into our careers and had a lovely home to start a family in. Trying for a baby was the fun part. After a few months, without success, I was starting to feel anxious that it hadn’t just happened straight away. I felt like all I had heard at school was ‘don’t have sex as you will get pregnant.’ Easy right?
In early September 2016, we found out I was pregnant. It was an amazing feeling of excitement and joy. It had felt like we had been trying to get pregnant for ages, and it was finally here. We were going to a family wedding in America towards the end of September, so, even though we were only 5 weeks pregnant, we decided we would tell both our immediate families. Before getting pregnant, I was known to enjoy a drink at a party, and we thought it would be too hard to hide, especially as I was also experiencing sickness. Our families were over the moon for us, but also understood it was the early days. As Rob and I can both be worriers, we didn’t want to get too excited yet.
In the morning of 2nd October 2016, at 8 weeks pregnant, I started to have a small bleed. I contacted my doctors who asked me to go in for a check-up. Whilst there, I went through some questions about the bleeding and how I was feeling. I was sent home to rest and hopefully the bleeding would stop. As soon as I got home, I went to get out my car and felt a huge surge of blood. I rushed into the house and up to the bathroom. When I sat down on the toilet I had a large blood loss, so I called the doctors. They said to stay where I was and not to flush the toilet as they were sending an ambulance. When the ambulance staff arrived, it was 2 men and I must admit I felt a little self-conscious. They had to check the blood in the toilet and I felt so embarrassed. But I shouldn’t have. They were so lovely and caring that I immediately felt at ease. Due to the amount of blood loss, I had to be taken to hospital.
Rob works in musical theatre and was currently on tour, so wasn’t at home to come with me. I called him to update him on what was happening. I decided I didn’t want him to come back from work or tell any family to come with me just in case it was nothing. The last thing I wanted was someone there worrying or fussing over me making me feel even more stressed and upset. Once at the hospital, I had a pregnancy test which still showed I was pregnant. A wave of relief came over me until I was made aware that even after miscarriage, a positive pregnancy test can happen for another couple of days.
The bleeding became worse, so I was admitted to the Women’s Health Unit to await an in-depth assessment. The waiting was awful. A few hours later, I was seen by a gynecologist who took me into a room with a nurse and performed the assessment. She very quickly realized I was having a miscarriage, and the baby had become stuck in the neck of my womb, meaning she would need to perform a sweep to dislodge the baby. My heart sank, and I felt physically sick. It was actually happening. I was having a miscarriage.
We had to proceed with the sweep straight away so I lay back and breathed through the process. Afterwards the gynecologist asked if I would like to see the baby. She warned me that at 8 weeks, they are still incredibly small. When looking at the baby, I couldn’t believe how precious that little baby was. Then, anger came over me. As she was explaining about how small the baby was at this stage the gynecologist started to roll the baby between her fingers. To her, it may have been an undeveloped baby but to me that was my baby, however small they were. I couldn’t believe that she was treating our baby this way. With the shock and upset of everything going on, I said nothing to her. I am so disappointed in myself for not telling her how she made me feel.
But the worst feeling was still to come: having to tell my husband Rob I had a miscarriage. Rob had been in the middle of a theatre show when I had the sweep. As soon as he was out of the show, I asked him to call me. When he called, I told him I had a miscarriage. Hearing him cry was the hardest thing, as we were at opposite ends of the country, and I wasn’t able to give him a hug or have him to hug me. It was heartbreaking. He said something about coming home, but I didn’t want him to. There was nothing he could do, and I felt like his coming home would have made the situation all the more real and upsetting.
The next day I was discharged from the hospital. My parents came to collect me as I had come in by ambulance. Seeing their faces and hearing them tell me how sorry they were was so hard to hear. It suddenly became clear what had happened. The rest of the day I was so tired I just slept. 2 days after the miscarriage I went for an internal ultrasound so they could check that there were no traces of the baby left in the womb. I had to go to the maternity ward and sit there and wait while all the happy parents came out with their baby scans. I know I should have been happy for them, but I couldn’t overlook the hurt I was feeling and the anger I felt at having to sit there. It seemed incredibly insensitive to me.
A couple of months after the miscarriage, once my body had healed, we were allowed to start trying for a family again. Every month I got my period was hard. All I could think was that I should be 7 months pregnant, I should be having our baby this month, our baby should be 2 months old. During this time friends and family were getting pregnant, which was amazing for them, and we couldn’t have been happier. But all the while, it had been a reminder that we weren’t pregnant. You also end up hearing a lot of questions from people such as ‘when are you starting a family?’ or ‘why aren’t you pregnant yet?’ All the questions didn’t help.
After the miscarriage in October 2016 until the summer of 2018, we didn’t have any luck in getting pregnant again. Feeling hopeless, we decided to go for fertility testing. The tests were intense and lengthy. It seemed liked there were so many tests to go through before we could get any results. After what felt like an incredibly long time, but was more likely just a couple of months, all our test results were back. We got called in to see our specialist at the hospital to discuss our results. They had all come back clear, showing there were no issues with either of us. Although this was amazing, it didn’t answer our question: why weren’t we pregnant yet?
Feeling hopeless, I was surprised at what came next. Our specialist then said that as we were classed as unexplained infertility, he had decided that if we wanted to, he would refer us for IVF treatment straight away. In shock, I was silent for the rest of the appointment. When we got in the car to leave, Rob asked me if everything was OK as I was so quiet. At that point I just burst in to tears. I was so happy to have been given this opportunity. I just couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have this chance. I had been expecting that once he had said everything was fine, we would have been told there was nothing they could do to help.
Once home, I was so eager to get started at researching IVF clinics and information. We had been given several different fertility facilities to choose from. But once I started researching I realized just how low IVF success rates were. At the time of our treatment the success rate was 29%. But at this moment, I decided that the success rates were low, but there was still the 29% who were successful, and I needed to think on the positive side. After a lot of research, we chose our treatment facility. We went for a consultation and a few more tests and were told we were good to start treatment. I went for an injection training appointment, which I found rather daunting.
In January 2019, we started our IVF treatment. On a certain day after my period, I had to start with the hormone injections. The idea of injecting myself was scary. But if it meant we had a chance at having a baby, it was completely worth it. There is so much involved with IVF, and we were going for appointments daily at some stages. I kept having scans of my ovaries to ensure they weren’t becoming to enlarged. It was terrifying going in every time, as at any stage, the IVF cycle could have failed. Each appointment was filled with anticipation but such a relief when all was OK. It was a case of just get to the next appointment. Don’t think about the ‘what if it doesn’t work?’
After a certain number of injections, I had an injection to release my eggs. The next day we went in for my egg retrieval and Rob to provide his sample. They retrieved an amazing 13 eggs which later that day they used a process called ICSI to put Robs sperm and my eggs together. Over the next few days we received updates on how they were developing. 11 became embryos, 7 matured and 4 were suitable for use. This was incredible, and we were overjoyed. If it didn’t work the first time we had more chances.
Egg transfer day came around very quickly. Laying on the hospital trolley I was filled with excitement at what was about to happen. Watching the embryo being transferred into my uterus was fantastic and the best thing Rob and I have ever seen on a screen. We were both amazed at how fantastic it is that this is possible. Now, another worry came over me. I didn’t want to do anything just in case it affected the embryo taking. It may seem silly, but I was worried to go to the bathroom, just in case the embryo fell out. Not possible, I know, but these things went through my head anyway. The next two weeks were horrible. After visiting the treatment facility so much, we were suddenly left alone for two weeks until we were able to take a pregnancy test. Safe to say that 2 weeks took ages to come around.
The day of our pregnancy test I felt like a child on Christmas day wanting to wake up early just to see what Santa brought. I took the test and after the couple of minutes waiting, I looked at the result. Two faint blue lines appeared. We were pregnant. At first, I couldn’t believe it. I had to do more tests over the next few days to be sure. But it had worked. WE WERE PREGNANT!!!
Seeing our baby at the 7-week check-up scan was incredible. The little baby on the screen was so precious, but I couldn’t help feel worried about another miscarriage. We were so close to the same week we had lost our first baby. I just kept reminding myself that this would be different. We passed 8 weeks and at the 12 weeks scan there was our baby growing so incredibly well. The 20-week scan showed a healthy baby. We had decided not to know the baby’s sex and have it as a surprise for the birth. I couldn’t wait until the birth to see our baby again, so we arranged a 3-D scan at 32 weeks.
Our due date came, and went but our baby was far too comfortable. We were advised I needed to be induced. At 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning in October 2019, I started having contractions. There were times during the labor when our baby’s heart rate dropped. Consultants and midwives came and went. It was scary not knowing exactly what was going on, but Rob was amazing at keeping me in a positive frame of mind. I could do this. On the Friday at 10:45 p.m., our baby girl was born. Holding her, Rob and I just cried. She was here, she was safe, and she was healthy.
The next few days passed in a blur of snippets of sleep, constant feeds, diaper changes, and family visits. Our families and friends were so happy for us, knowing the wait and heartache we had been through to get to her. Imogen was just gorgeous. Simply perfect in every way.
Watching her grow and develop is fantastic. She is getting bigger every day. Feeling so proud when she learnt to roll over. All the cuddles when her first tooth came through. Seeing her sit on her own or splashing in her bath. Sometimes I just get so excited, I feel like my heart is going to burst. We can’t wait to watch her getting bigger, but we also don’t want the time to go too fast. We have now started our weaning journey, and it has rekindled my passion for cooking and baking. Imogen loves eating solid food and enjoys a huge variety. Every day I get to see her big smile and I am so thankful Imogen is in our lives.
Our journey makes us stronger.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah Parsons of Hampshire, England. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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