‘Let’s have a baby’ I declared one evening to my unsuspecting husband when I got home from work. And so we did. We started trying straight away and I fell pregnant the next month with our beautiful little boy.
And so I had assumed that number two would be just as easy.
Dalton was five months old when I first started thinking about number two, (madness, I know!) but we decided to wait until he was a year before trying for another baby. First birthday (somewhat emotionally) celebrated, and so we started our journey that would take us over 2 years, cost well over £13,000 and bring endless hours of heartache to bring a sibling into the world for our treasured son.
After 6 months of trying, I did fall pregnant but I knew in my heart right from the start that something wasn’t right. I had no physical symptoms to suggest a miscarriage but needing to know once and for all that the sick feeling in my gut was sadly not down to morning sickness, we went for an early scan and were devastated to hear the news which confirmed my fears; that our baby had stopped growing at six weeks and it was only a matter of time before my body rejected it.
For anyone that has suffered the heartache of a miscarriage, (a staggering approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK), you know the emotional pain that we went through at that time. No matter what anyone says, you can’t help but feel devastated, especially whenever terms such as “I lost the baby” (which is such a ridiculous phrase – it’s not like I put it down somewhere and forgot where I put it) along with the pure physical fact that it is your body that is ‘rejecting’ it, seem to do nothing more than compound the pain. And for every woman that has ever gone through this truly heartbreaking and traumatic experience, my heart goes out to you. I am not sure the pain ever really goes away – I blow a goodnight kiss to my lost little one every night and will always feel there is one missing. But as women only know how to, I was determined to overcome defeat and I knew I had to keep trying.
Another six months passed by, and once again I listened to my instincts and insisted that the doctors undertake some basic tests even though I was being told to just be patient! When the results came back, we learnt that Dalton is truly our meant to be baby – against all the odds, and the chances of us conceiving a child without medical assistance were practically non-existent.
I don’t think I really stopped long enough to take it all in, if I had I am not sure I would have coped. I remember clearly the phone call giving me the ghastly statistics, thought for a minute or two ’are they saying I will never have another child?’, dismissed this idea almost immediately and got on the phone to the fertility clinic to book our first appointment.
The treatment itself is really not too bad. Even though you think you won’t be able to inject yourself, when push comes to shove you will. And whilst I was lucky (although I have to admit that hot flushes are the most bizarre and uncomfortable thing imaginable), the drugs did too me into a bit of an emotional monster! My poor husband got the brunt of it as I was always very conscious that life carried on as normal for Dalton, and so poor hubby got snapped at for no reason regularly, which he dealt with brilliantly – most of the time!
But I did really struggled with the guilt I put myself through. I had one, delicious and perfect little boy who I could not adore any more. I already had so much more than many people do. And yet I was putting my body and my family through this ordeal. Why wasn’t he enough for me? What was wrong with me? And even though I was confident that he wanted a sibling, and that my husband wanted another child, I also new that both my boys would have been completely content to keep things just as they were had I not been the one to keep pushing the issue.
Even though I new the odds were stacked against us, it never crossed my mind that the treatment would not work – after all we did have Dalton, and we therefore new that we could conceive a child together – we just needed a helping hand so to speak! When cycle one was unsuccessful, I was completely devastated but we picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves down and started treatment again as soon as I was physically able to do so. During cycle two, I developed suspected Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome and was forced to freeze my embryos. Another set back and more heartache. But following Frozen Embryo transfer, I got my BFP (big fat positive) and I now have the most beautiful 12 month old baby girl – Belle.
And I was right – Dalton is a brilliant big brother and insists on singing the Fireman Sam theme tune every evening to “his baby sister” just as he did when she was still in Mummy’s tummy.
So for all of you mums and mum-to-bes out there, I would urge you to listen to your instincts and never give up hope. Health professionals are a mind of amazing information and should of course be listened to for any advice you can procure, but ultimately, you know your body and your limits better than anyone. Only you know what you are willing to go through and only you will know that insatiable desire for a child which no matter how hard you try to ignore just can not be silenced – and so it shouldn’t. From one mum that has had quite a journey, I can promise you that every single tear is so, so worth it.
Sally Hall is co-founder of www.dorothyandtheodore.com and mum to Dalton, aged 4 and Belle aged 12 months.