As I was planning my wedding back in 2014 I was floating along in my own little bubble of excitement and anticipation; of what our dream wedding would be like and then starting a family.
I could picture myself pregnant, and used to fantasise about what life would be like with a newborn, with a toddler, with a child. I couldn’t wait to start adding to our family.
We were married on August 1st 2014, on Daydream Island surrounded by our family who’d travelled from the uk and friends we had made here!
It was exactly the sort of wedding I wanted, small, intimate, relaxed. With the wedding done and a total success we then focused on the next stage, starting our family.
I threw myself into it, expecting it to be easy, a few months and I’d be pregnant, because that’s what happens, right? You get married and have a baby, you just expect it to come naturally. But for us it didn’t.
I had been on the pill for 12 years, my dr had said the year before to just stop taking it when we were ready, no need to come off early. For the first year of trying I had irregular periods, which made it extremely difficult to conceive. After a year of hoping my body would right itself I went to the drs and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I didn’t have the ‘typical’ PCOS symptoms, the facial hair, weight gain, hair loss, acne, I just had the cysts on my ovaries which were effecting my fertility.
Over the next year I had hospital appointments, was put on Clomid to help with ovulation but still it wasn’t happening for us. After my 3rd round the dr at the hospital told me if it didn’t happen this time I would have to look at IVF. I left the hospital that day and sobbed. (There were a few more factors as well which I won’t go into as it is too long winded) I couldn’t believe it was happening. I kept asking, why me? Why is my body letting me down? I had gone into this journey so naive, thinking it would happen straight away, and I wouldn’t be one of the ones to struggle, so so naive! The more negative pregnancy tests I got the more down, depressed and stressed out I got, which also had a knock on effect on trying to conceive.
I hit rock bottom at Xmas 2015. I was ashamed, hated myself, and the distance between me and my family in the UK felt enormous. I felt alone, I was surrounded by my husband, my friends, my workmates but still felt so alone because no one understood exactly how I felt or what I was dealing with; the thoughts I was fighting in my head!
What if it never happens for us? What will I do with my life? I have always seen children in my future. And the guilt! The guilt. I felt guilty that it was my fault we potentially couldn’t have a baby, I was letting my husband down! That hurt more than anything. Although he assured me we’d get through it and everything would be ok I just kept sliding down that slope! The negative thoughts. I was finding it harder to think positive.
After being told that IVF would be my only option I decided to take matters into my own hands. After doing a little research on the net I found myself a private obstetrician/gynaecologist, found a fertility psychologist, started exercising to release those happy hormones, and started taking my temp every day and plotting it on a graph using ‘Fertility Friend’ so that I could pin point when I ovulated thanks to the Clomid, and I started using ovulation tests.
I was with my new dr for 3 months and had 3 more rounds of Clomid. She said if I didn’t conceive on the 3rd (so 6 rounds all up) then I would have to have a break from the tablets and have my tubes checked.
I fell pregnant on my 6th and final attempt. Jubilant is an understatement! I still get goosebumps when I think back to that moment! It is one I will never forget, ever!
I was terrified of taking that test, I’d already had so many disappointments, I was 2 days late so I was a tiny bit hopeful, although I’d miscalculated in the past. After the negative tests I’d cry so hard it was like my whole body was crying, I have seriously never known pain like it! But this one was positive!!! We called mums, dads and sisters and they all cried happy tears for us.
I have never wanted something as much as I wanted this! It became an obsession almost, my whole life revolved around becoming pregnant! Because I had wanted it so bad for so long my anxiety spiked through my pregnancy, I wanted to do everything by the book I didn’t want to risk anything happening to this precious life growing inside me.
I remember feeling that first flutter, the first kicks and just bursting with happiness! I luckily had the perfect pregnancy, maybe it was just a normal pregnancy but because I appreciated and embraced everything, the good and the bad, it felt perfect.
I was so excited for the birth, not scared like I thought I’d be, months ago I honestly believed I would never get to experience child birth.I had a really rough labour and ended up having an emergency c-section, but again I took it all on the chin, appreciating everything!
The minute I saw my beautiful baby girl I thought my heart would burst with pride! I cried, I shook, I was hooked.
The first few months were a lot rougher than I had expected! Breastfeeding was a challenge as those pesky PCOS hormones can interfere with milk production, so it took a bit longer for my milk to come. I got shingles all across my right breast, under arm and across my back, so I had to feed from the left, express and throw from the right and make sure my baby didn’t come into contact with the blisters as that would end up with her in hospital with chicken pox at only 5 weeks old.
I have had mastitis twice, have been to the emergency room with her twice with high temps and a urinary tract infection, have felt the distance from my family in the uk like you wouldn’t believe and have heightened anxiety, but I believe my infertility struggle has helped me to put all of this into perspective. I feel so lucky to have a happy, healthy and easy going baby.
And even though we had a rough start with the breastfeeding we are now going strong at 5 and a half months. Being pregnant, going through labour and now breastfeeding my baby has given me back the love and respect I lost for my body while going through infertility.
I found it impossible to open up to anyone about how I was feeling, even my husband sometimes, because I felt nobody could 100% relate to how I felt. I felt ashamed that my body couldn’t do what it was intended to do, I was embarrassed, and got so upset by everyone constantly asking when we were going to have a baby, my heart broke a little more every time I heard that question.
There is such a stigma attached to infertility and everything related to it. I think it needs to be something that is discussed more openly, because I honestly think talking about it instead of hiding embarrassed and ashamed would have helped me.
Name: Kayleigh Hunter
Mama to: Elsie 5.5 months
Career, interests, hobbies and quirks: Worked in hospitality, now I’m a mumma! Love reading, and binge watching Netflix, I enjoy long walks and I’m obsessed with buying and collecting books, and I’m obsessed with Lush Cosmetics.
Five words to describe being a mama: Unconditional love, happiness, overwhelming responsibility 🙂
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