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I have always wanted children and although my partner is a lot older than me and already had two sons, he was open to the idea of having more children. After two years of trying unsuccessfully we decided to look into IVF.

We went to speak to our GP about it and were referred for the usual tests. All our results came back normal, unfortunately they were unable to offer us any treatment due to my partner having children. We decided to start looking into private IVF and hoped that it would be the answer to our prayers.

CREATE Fertility Birmingham were the best rated clinic near us so we went along to an open evening. To be completely honest we were sold right away. We both found it really helpful and the clinic was really easy for us to get to.

Shortly after the open evening we booked our Initial Appointment and started treatment with my next cycle. The first half of the treatment where I had to take medication and go in for regular scans was quite difficult physically, however we managed to get 13 eggs and ended up with 10 high quality embryos from our cycle. We thought this was a brilliant result and I believed that 'this is it!’.

I then had a fresh embryo transfer where one of the embryos was transferred into my womb but sadly it didn’t implant. This was so heartbreaking.

We went back to the clinic for our follow up appointment to discuss our next steps and decided to go forward with a frozen embryo transfer a few months later. Once again, the day before I was due to take my pregnancy test I started bleeding. The pregnancy test came back negative and we were heartbroken once more.

We were offered another follow up appointment however neither of us were in the headspace for it. We needed some time off to recover and heal.

Six months later we were ready to try one more time. We went back to CREATE and started another frozen embryo transfer cycle. This time the plan was to transfer two embryos during the procedure instead of one and I also opted to have an endometrial scratch prior to the procedure. I’m not sure if these factors made any difference,

The story of how we found out is actually quite funny. I took the pregnancy test on my own, but hadn’t actually read the instructions properly. I saw one strong line and another faint one and chucked it straight in the bin. I was looking for two strong lines and so I thought the test was negative. I was distraught and thought to myself ‘I can’t do this anymore. I am done.’ My partner then came up to see how I was getting on and I told him that the test came back negative again and that we were never going to be able to have a child together. I was really upset. This is when he took the test out of the bin, looked at it and seemed stunned. He quickly took out the instruction and showed me that a faint second line still meant the test was positive - ‘Lois, you’re pregnant!’ he exclaimed. I honestly just couldn’t believe it.

For the next few weeks I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I felt excited and happy but overwhelmed at the same time. My family knew that we were going through IVF, but we weren’t ready to tell anyone just yet so I spent Christmas pretending I was drinking when in fact I wasn’t. The truth is that I wanted this baby so badly, I was terrified that something bad might happen. Once we started telling people after 10 weeks, it all started to feel a lot more real and I allowed myself to feel more excited.

I went on to have a pretty straight forward pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy little boy. When I finally held him in my arms, everything felt okay. It had all been worth it.

Looking back on our journey, I have to admit it hasn’t been easy. In the time that we were trying 5 of my close friends had babies. Of course, I was happy for them and it was a beautiful thing to be a part of, but it was also a constant reminder of what I couldn’t do. I often felt like a failure. The negative outcomes were also really tough to process. In retrospect, I should have accepted professional help. I did join a support group on Facebook which was amazing and made me feel a bit more normal, but I do wish I had done some counselling after the negative outcomes. My only advice to anyone else who might be thinking of starting IVF or is going through treatment at the moment is to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel overwhelmed, try to speak to people about it. There is nothing worse than feeling alone.

The team at CREATE were fantastic and made such a difficult journey as easy as they possibly could. They made me feel like a human and the treatment didn’t feel as unnatural as I had expected it to be due to them being so caring and lovely. I will always be grateful and thankful we found CREATE.

IVF is the best, but hardest, thing I have ever done. Nowadays, I am actually really grateful for my journey and I truly believe that it’s made me appreciate what I have a lot more. Having him here with us makes everything worthwhile.