Belinda and Simon's Story
From time to time I will bring you a story from one of our members. This one comes from member Belinda and she shares her journey with so much grace and beauty. She and her husband went through so much to have their son and she has been kind and brave enough to share it with us. Here she is in her own words.
"If you had asked me when I was 20 where I would be when I turned 40 years old, I would of proudly said married with 2 kids (a boy and a girl). If you would of said I bet you when you turn 40 you would have an 18 month old, I would of laughed and so would of my husband.
Our journey to start a family began about 11 years ago. We were newly married and decided to start actively trying. After about 12 months of trying we moved to Dubai. We went to see a doctor who checked me out and said there was nothing wrong (however did not test my husband) so just keep trying and come back in 12 months if we weren't pregnant. I will add that IVF runs on my side of the family so I was aware that there may have been some issues and it was something we were prepared for. I also knew that we would have to push to start the process as it may take a few rounds to be successful as my parents went through many rounds before they had my brother.
After 12 months still not pregnant so we went to a gynecologist who again said there was nothing wrong and we should just keep trying. She monitored my ovulation and ensured I was ovulating each month. Guess what? After 4 months of this we still weren't pregnant. My husband and I were quite frustrated and decided it was time to speak to an IVF specialist.
I made an appointment with a Dr that had been recommended and off we went to see our options. We did so many tests and he came back with a few issues which may have been causing us to not fall pregnant naturally. He discovered there were issues on both sides. I had a few cyst that needed to be sorted and my husband had low mobility. We both started medication to help our chances. The Dr recommended we go straight to ICSI to increase our chances. My husband and I agreed and we started our treatment. I remember starting the injections and getting scanned every other day and just hoping that it would all work out. After all, IVF is expensive and we are paying to get pregnant! I will fast forward to the time to find out if we were pregnant or not. I went in the morning, took a pregnancy test and it was positive. The Dr said not to get too excited yet as with all the chemicals in my body it could be a false reading. I was so excited and didn't really listen to that. I took the blood test to confirm the pregnancy so I did have to wait a few hours to find out if the pregnancy test was accurate. Finally the call came, he confirmed that I was in fact pregnant. Tears started rolling down my cheeks, I couldn't believe that after our first try we got pregnant. The Dr did say that it didn't look like a strong pregnancy so he would like to me to take some steroids to help. After about 2/3 weeks, we went in for our first scan. We saw our little baby and heard the heartbeat. The nurse wasn't too forthcoming with her scans but I could tell she wasn't happy with what she was hearing and seeing. The Dr was called and he came in to break the news to us which was that the heart beat wasn't very strong and that this pregnancy would end in a miscarriage. I was to come back in 2 days for another scan. Unfortunately my husband was unable to come to the next appointment so off I went by myself hoping that the scan was wrong that our little baby was still growing. This pregnancy did end in a miscarriage. We were both left heartbroken. How could this happen? it was the best sperm and best eggs...
It took about 2 years to save up enough money to have another round of IVF and for us to be in the right head space. During the 2 years we found out that I have an auto immune disease called ITP (low platelets). This could of possibly explain why I did have a miscarriage or why we were not able to fall pregnant naturally. I was seeking medical advice and being treated for my ITP. We went to the same Dr and told him of our new discovery and he said that it may of been a reason but not likely. We started round 2 of IVF and from day 1 nothing felt right. Everything was hurting and my body just wasn't responding like the first round. I did just put it down to being a couple of years older and forgetting what the first round was really like. It came closer to egg retrieval and I remember saying to my husband that this just doesn't feel right, I don't feel right, something is wrong. The Dr examined me and gave me the green light to retrieve the eggs. So we followed his advice and we proceeded. I remember when I came to it and was being told how many follicles they were able to retrieved, I just didn't care as I was in so much pain that all I could do was cry. Once we left the clinic I was hunched over and my husband was basically carrying me into the car and into bed. The Drs called and said that we were good for a day 3 transfer so to come back in 3 days. I didn't leave the bed for those 3 days as I was still in so much pain. Looking back we should have never proceeded to the embryo transfer. However, we were caught up in the possibility of this one working out that we went ahead. Needless to say this didn't work. After the transfer, I was back in the Drs clinic with a bladder infection, my platelets had dropped to a critically low range and I was already bleeding.
It took another 2 years before I could face another round. During this time, I did go speak to a professional which helped a lot. I was putting so much pressure on myself and my husband and I am sure we started blaming each other. I knew I needed to speak to someone when my closest friends were too scared to tell me they were pregnant as they knew how hard we were trying and how much we wanted. I think that started to really hurt me more, knowing my friends didn't want to tell me as they didn't want to upset me.
To help, we changed to another clinic with a different Dr. We instantly fell in love with our new Dr, she listened and spoke with my Hematologist to see what treatment plan we would do to ensure I stayed healthy enough to proceed. We started again and this round felt again so different. I felt good, my husband felt good, egg retrieval went well, embryo transfer went well, and we just knew this was our time to fall pregnant and become parents. You can imagine the heart break we felt when the nurse called to tell us that this round didn't work. Our Dr wanted us to come in to discuss it with us. We did go back and discuss and there was no explanation to why it didn't work. To be honest, I am not sure who was more upset, us or our Dr. I think we started to expect that maybe we weren't meant to fall pregnant. The Dr suggested a few different test to make sure everything was OK. Of course we said yes, we were willing to try anything to find out why we were not falling pregnant. We were constantly told there is no reason why IVF shouldn't work!
We decided to take a break as I was tired of putting chemicals into my body and I wanted to regain some of life back. I was always a fit and healthy person but since starting this IVF journey I lost that a little and blamed all the medication to why I wasn't going to the gym, or cancelling on my team sports. I got back into a team sport that I loved and was training to make the team to compete at a world championship level. It was exactly what I needed. It took my mind and pressure of our quest to be parents. I was in contact with my Dr and told her our plans and she was very supportive but did warn us that age was starting to play a factor. We both were 38.
During the training, I started getting acupuncture and started taking some Chinese medicine to cleanse and prepare my body and mind. I always knew that after the world championship we would go back and have another round. I can't say what it was about this round but this round felt so different to all the other rounds. I didn't put any pressure on myself. I continued going to the gym and working out and continued with acupuncture. The egg collection day came we retrieved the lowest number we had ever retrieved but the early indication was that they were of the highest grade. I got a call each day for an update of our little embryo's and by day 2 only 2 had survived but were of the highest possible grade. Our Dr suggested we come in day 3 for the embryo transfer. Off we went and we decided to put both in. It was a long 2 weeks to wait for the phone call to see if we were pregnant. I remember during that time preparing myself for the bad news but I was trying so hard to stay positive. Finally the day had come to go into the clinic and get the blood test. In I went and as they always do, wish me luck and tell me the Dr will call you when the test comes back. The phone rung about 1:30 and it was the Dr that called. I remember thinking, here we go, she has called to tell me the bad news yet again. To my utter surprise the words 'congratulations, you are pregnant' came out of her mouth. I think we both started crying out of pure joy. I was shaking and tried to call my husband and I couldn't even say the words to him. l couldn't believe it. After all these years of failing, I had prepared myself for another failed cycle. I knew we had fallen pregnant before so we weren't out of the woods and able to tell anyone just yet. We had always been very open to our friends and family about our IVF cycles but this one we decided we weren't tell anyone not even our parents. We went in for a scan and everything looked good, we heard a strong heart beat and our baby was growing well. We did wait till around the 3 months mark before telling our parents just be sure. It was sad when we got to the 3 months as we had to say goodbye to our IVF Dr and clinic to start with a regular gynecologist as the clinic felt like my second home. It was also a very exciting time as we never got this far and we could start to tell people.
February 1st 2017, our beautiful son, Jacob was born and we both couldn't be happier and proud. He has brought us so much joy, laughter and certainly tears as we had and still don't know what we are doing. We are loving our new roles as parents and are so proud of ourselves for never giving up even when it was tough. We have learnt so much about each other through this process and are so thankful for our IVF Dr who we will keep in touch with.
Thank you for reading our journey and I know there are so many stories to share out there."
Belinda and Simon