Well here’s a post I never thought I’d be writing when I saw those two positive pregnancy test lines almost two years ago…. A post about infertility. Secondary infertility to be exact, something I’d never even heard of until fairly recently. I am honoured to be writing this guest post for Amber, a woman who is cut from the same cloth as me; strong, positive and dealing with hurdles she never signed up for when she decided to become a mum… just like me.
However, my story is a little different to a lot of you who will be reading this because I’ve already been through a full term, healthy pregnancy which gave me my gorgeous little boy, Billy. I was trying to conceive Billy for around eight months, which felt like an eternity but I now realise I was extremely fortunate to conceive so quickly and naturally.
But that is where my good fortune ends unfortunately. Billy was stillborn at full term, following a healthy, textbook pregnancy. I went into Labour expecting to bring my baby home only to be given the devastating news that he no longer had a heartbeat. The devastation and life changing nature of hearing this news, is something that will never leave me. I have to live with the death of my child forever and I will always be a bereaved mother now. Yet I am still so grateful that I got to be a mother at all, even though I had him for such a short time.
As we began to try and piece our shattered lives back together following Billy’s death, one thing we were both certain about was that we wanted to have more children and as soon as possible. We had all of this love to give our child, we had the nursery completed, his tiny little newborn clothes all washed and put away (cool AF clothes too, he was gonna be the best dressed in the North West! I am a Manchester girl, so he would probably have resembled Liam Gallagher, but hopefully without the ego!). And here we were, parents with empty arms but very full hearts. We needed to be parents to a living child now, we were on that path, almost at the final destination, and then suddenly it was all over.
It really is true that once you have met your baby something inside you clicks; that lightbulb moment, feeling that motherly instinct and an overwhelming love for your child that knows no bounds just kicks in. In my case this was also met with a devastation and heartbreak like nothing I could ever have imagined. Losing your baby at full term when you thought you were on the home stretch stirs up all kinds of emotions, you feel like a stranger in your own life, a life that has become a total paradox, going from the best, most exciting time of your life to the absolute worst.
But as so many people were quick to insensitively point out… “at least we knew we could get pregnant now”…. Well here is a little newsflash for you folks…. Turns out, secondary infertility is extremely common in the baby loss community – thank you universe, that seems fair! No one really knows why, but my guess would be (and I am no doctor but this is just my own little theory) that the stress, grief and overwhelming NEED to fall pregnant again just messes up your system entirely and the shock is all just too much for you body to bear for some people.
I had a C section to deliver Billy as he was in the breech position. Due to this we were told it would be best to wait 12 months before trying to conceive again. I managed to negotiate 6 months with my consultant and then ignored her advice entirely and we began trying again almost immediately…. Rebel. But it has been futile up to now.
I don’t need to tell anyone reading this post via Amber’s blog the devastation of failing to fall pregnant every month as you all know how this feels. For me, it opened up my grief for Billy every single month and for the first 6 months I would just lie in bed crying, cuddling his teddies until my period finally passed. Grief and PMT are an absolute ball bag of a combination! I hated the world and I wanted to get off. But after a few months I began to pull myself together and told myself that these feelings were just evil Aunt Flo playing mind games with me. Don’t give into the witch and prove her wrong. She is vile isn’t she, aunt bloody Flo.
We’ve been trying to conceive for around 12 months now and have both endured invasive fertility tests…most of you will have been through the same and have also left your dignity at the door! All of the tests have come back clear and okay, which in some ways is great news. I know so many of you will have a reason for your infertility and have been told that your only option, if there is an option at all, will be IVF. But for me it is also extremely frustrating to be unable to conceive a second time around when there is no known reason for this. Everything should be hunkey dorey…. We have all of the correct plumbing, swimmers and all of the other magic bits we need but it simply isn’t happening for us. And no one knows why.
We shouldn’t even be here, I should have my son with me and he should be waddling around taking his first steps now and laughing at his incredibly silly mommy who can’t stop dancing around trying to make him laugh (my dancing is terrible BTW so I wouldn’t hold it against him for laughing at me). Trying to conceive should be the last thing on my mind, but because of the loss of my baby the desperation to be pregnant again consumes most of my thoughts.
I’m in my late 30s now and am trying to face the reality that children just might not be in our path, not to a living child anyway. I will always be a mother though, to the most perfect, beautiful little boy and for that I am so grateful.
I hope you all find happiness and get your happy endings. Whether that includes children or not, I believe there is still so much to keep smiling and being strong for. I don’t know why this has to happen to so many couples, couples who would give a child the most wonderful life. It really isn’t fair at all. But you’re not alone, you’re not broken, you’re not to blame and you are a warrior. However far into this journey you are, keep going, stay positive and keep the faith. We’ve got this.
Thank you so much for reading.