Mums Takeover: Vicki and her IVF Story
Infertility was something that happened to other people, or so I thought. I never thought in a million years that it would happen to me. At the age of 29 I finally felt ready to become a mum and I thought once we were ready to start a family we would stop contraception and we would get pregnant first try. That didn't happen. The months of trying turned into years and with each period that arrived so did the tears and heartache. Everyone around me seemed to be pregnant or talking about babies. Innocent passing comments of "your clock is ticking" or "when are you going to start a family?" just added to the already stressful circumstances. I shrugged off the comments but inside it hurt so much, I ached to be a mum.
It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to make a doctor’s appointment but after trying everything in the book, improved diet and lifestyle, ovulation tests, propping myself up with pillows after the deed, you name it, we tried it, I knew something wasn't right and I was terrified something was wrong with me.
We were referred by the GP to the hospital where we both had the initial tests. Mine consisted of blood tests, ultrasound scans and x rays. These tests were pretty invasive but after a while you learn to just breathe through them and try to zone out. My test results showed that I had fibroids and a bicornuate uterus which could of contributed to but wasn't a definitive reason for our infertility. I had suffered with horrendously painful periods all my life which I just thought were normal but I finally had an answer as to why. After all the tests and consultations we were told we qualified for three rounds of IVF on the NHS and were put on the waiting list to begin our treatment.
I didn't know anything about IVF. I’d heard bits and pieces here and there but I had no idea what was involved. Whilst waiting for our treatment start date I did some research and read everything I could about what was involved, other people’s experiences etc and then the panic set in. What if it didn't work? What if something awful happened to me during the treatment? All I knew is we had to try.
Our first appointment with the consultant gynaecologist came through a few months later and we sat and went through all our test results and he told us what the plan for our treatment would be. Everything was explained in a way we completely understood and all our questions were answered thoroughly. Everyone involved in our treatment from the specialists to the nurses were amazing. They were so supportive through the whole process.
I was so anxious about the whole thing especially the injections you have to give yourself. I must admit when the nurse was going through the procedure with me I asked her to show me a few times just to be sure I had it right. Doing the first injection was so nerve racking, I just couldn't stop my hands from shaking but I managed it, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be and after a couple of times you do get used to it.
The egg collection was the part that made me the most anxious but the procedure was quick and a nurse stayed with me the whole time to make sure I was ok. During the egg collection it was discovered that I also had endometriosis which is notoriously difficult to diagnose but also could have contributed to the infertility.
5 days after the egg collection we returned for our embryo transfer and after 2 weeks of waiting and wondering we discovered that our IVF cycle had been successful and I was pregnant! I couldn't believe it! I will never forget seeing the words PREGNANT on the pregnancy test.
A couple of weeks later we went for our first ultrasound scan and there was our baby up there on the screen with a tiny beating heart. I had an amazing pregnancy, no sickness or weird cravings, I was on a complete high the whole time. I felt the best I'd felt in years.
At 34 weeks pregnant I was at home washing, ironing and neatly folding all my baby clothes thinking I had loads of time left to prepare for baby’s arrival when my waters broke completely out of the blue. I’d had no warning signs that anything was about to happen.
I phoned the hospital and they asked me to come in just to check me over. I had a scan and was monitored to check baby was ok, was given antibiotics and drugs to help baby’s lungs, of which I had to have 2 doses 12 hours apart in case I went into full blown labour and baby was born early. I was told I’d be kept in hospital to 48 hours and send home if nothing happened.
I laid in the ward all afternoon and evening trying to relax, I’d had no pain at all and baby was still wriggling around. Another doctor came to examine me around about midnight and told me I was dilating so was given drugs to try and stop or at least slow any progression down. That didn’t work! An hour later the contractions had started, I was in full blown labour and was taken down to the maternity ward.
I’d gone from 3cm to 8cm dilated within an hour! Things were progressing extremely fast! As I was only 34 weeks pregnant I hadn’t yet done my birth plan, not that it would have made any difference.
I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I’ve ever seen a couple of hours later using only gas and air. After all the horror stories you hear about labour and birth I can honestly say apart from worrying if our baby was going to be alright, I enjoyed every second of it and would do it again in a heartbeat. The moment you lay eyes on your baby for the first time is the most magical feeling you will ever feel!
I only got to cuddle her for a couple of minutes before she was whisked away to neonatal for help with her underdeveloped lungs. We spent 12 days in there were she received the very best care. We couldn’t thank the doctors and nurses enough for everything they did for her.
Now she’s grown into the most beautiful, funny, tantrum throwing toddler and I feel so lucky every day to be her Mum.
For anyone who is struggling to conceive but is too scared to seek help, please make an appointment with your doctor. IVF is exhausting, it’s certainly not easy. This is just a little insight into my experience, everyone's IVF story is different and sadly there isn't always a positive outcome but if you don't try you'll never know.
It’s the best thing I ever did!