You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here lately. If you read this post last year, you will know that Jules and I have been struggling to conceive for the last four years. Last August, after our fourth round of IVF had failed, I made a wish on the tree above that our two remaining embryos that were frozen that same day would one day become a baby. I can not quite believe that I am writing this – I am still in complete shock and none of it feels real – but nearly a year later my wish has come true and I am so pleased to be able to tell you that I am 13 weeks pregnant.
I really want to share this with you because the love and support so many of you showed me after I wrote my last post about how much I was struggling with our IVF journey helped me more than you will ever know and I hope that by writing about my experience it may help others. I gave myself permission to have a break from IVF after that, looked after myself, had some fun, reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen for months, in some cases years, because I had been hiding away throughout the treatment. We enjoyed ourselves for the first time in a long time and not every dinner at a restaurant ended with me in tears after the discussion strayed to IVF. We spent eight months with not a single hospital appointment, no discussion of treatment but we began that break with some intensive IVF counselling. It was a gruelling process but we came out the other side feeling so much more positive and with a far greater understanding of each others feelings and anxieties. We agreed with each other that our next round of IVF using our two frozen embryos, that we planned to do when I felt ready, would be our last.
By April this year I felt like a different person. I felt like I had reclaimed my life and could be so much more present than I had been for the last few years. The break did us both the world of good (even though Jules is still annoyed that I made him makeover our kitchen and living room in that time – ha!). I was ready to start our final round of IVF and the whole process felt so different to the previous four rounds of treatment. Firstly, it was our first frozen embryo round so it was far less invasive and involved very few visits to the hospital. Physically, it was so much easier on my body as they didn’t have to stimulate my ovaries to produce loads of eggs; not being pumped full of strong hormones made it far more bearable. The hardest part of the process was the day that they thawed the two embryos and we had to sit at home waiting for a phone call from the hospital to tell us whether the embryos had survived the thawing process (about 10% don’t survive). We got no phone call, which we took as good news, and went in at lunchtime for the embryo transfer. The doctors told us that both embryos looked perfect and they transferred them both. Jules and I promptly took ourselves out to lunch and then I went for an acupuncture session at Zita West (I would really recommend it). And then the two week wait to find out whether one or both of the embryos would implant began.
I was on a complete high for a couple of days and felt so incredibly positive but on the second night stomach cramps began and continued throughout the night and kept me awake. I had had the exact same experience during the last round of treatment, which failed. I woke up the next day and for a split second thought it had all been a bad dream. I was convinced the treatment had failed and I would begin bleeding any second. I cried and cried and cried that day and didn’t leave my bed. All the while Jules was his usual positive self and refused to allow me to give up hope. The next week felt like the longest expanse of time possible. I caved a couple of days before I was supposed to take the pregnancy test and did one at the crack of dawn. My heart sank through my chest as no line appeared. I picked up the stick to have a closer look and I squinted really hard and there was something there. Maybe not visible unless you held it up to the light or angled it a certain way, but something. I marched into the bedroom (it was about 4am) and switched on the light and shoved it in Jules’s face and told him to look. I’m pretty sure he didn’t really wake up but confirmed there was something. Obviously, I couldn’t go back to sleep after that and just kept staring at that stick. I then got on the internet – massive mistake. My one piece of advice to anyone undergoing fertility treatment is DO NOT GOOGLE ANYTHING. Seriously. I ended up in some hideous forum about faint lines on pregnancy tests after which I concluded that the line should be far darker nine days after an embryo transfer and what I was seeing was traces of HCG hormone after a chemical pregnancy. More tears.
The next day, one day before I was supposed to take the pregnancy test, I did a digital test at about 5am. I was so ready and prepared for it to be negative and I could not believe it when the word ‘pregnant’ appeared. We went for a dog walk and I refused to believe that the test was accurate so on the way home I picked up another test that I did as soon as we got home. The test took three minutes to work and there was no line at all for at least two of those minutes – I shouted at Jules, “I told you! It hasn’t worked – I knew it!”. But then a line appeared, still very faint but definitely a line. The next day I did two more tests, obvs!
That first week after we found out I was pregnant was the worst. Throughout the last four years, having a baby was all about getting pregnant with not much thought beyond that. I had never thought about what would happen next and I was suddenly faced with the absolute crushing fear that a third of IVF pregnancies end in miscarriage during the first trimester. I was completely paralysed with anxiety that something was going to go wrong: I couldn’t focus, concentrate, feel any joy. This was our only chance of having a baby; miscarriage became the only thing I could think about whilst trying not speak, hear or read the word. I began to obsess over what symptoms I was or was not feeling. If I went a day without a wave of nausea I was certain that it was over. I was a mess.
We had an 8 week scan booked in with the IVF unit (we had our treatment at Guy’s Hospital ACU, which I would recommend). I can not explain to you how nervous I was. Luckily, one of the lovely nurses who had treated us was doing the scan and she was as nervous as I was and she could not have been kinder or more reassuring. She grabbed my leg and swung the monitor round and exclaimed that everything was ok. Jules and I both burst into tears.
The time after that went so much more quickly and and as every day passed I felt a little more confident. However, I was terrified before our 12 week scan and I have to admit I didn’t enjoy a single second of that scan and the accompanying screening for various syndromes. I think I have to accept that I’m going to find this pregnancy pretty hard as I don’t think my anxiety levels will drop much; it feels as though so much is riding on this.
If you are going through or about to go through fertility treatment please do get in touch and feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences – I have found sharing as much as possible has really helped me. Before I go (and I promise to get back on the blog as much as possible now I feel far less sick than in the first 12 weeks) I want to thank again those of you who have sent messages of support, shared your own fertility stories and sent positive vibes my way. You really have been amazing and made all the difference. I’ll keep you updated on how my pregnancy goes and the nursery plans, of course!!
I don’t know you, Katy, but my heart has absolutely POPPED with happiness for you and Jules (and your baby!). Huge congratulations! What a whopper of a rollercoaster you’ve been on – and still are – just know that there are random internet strangers sending so much love and good stuff to you and yours! 🙂
Congratulations Katy! I’ve been thinking of you since your last post about your treatment and I’m so pleased to read this news from you! I’m three years into my journey and I’m waiting to find out if I’ll be eligible for NHS funding to start treatment. Thanks for being so candid, and if I have any questions i’ll let you know! x
Like Flora I don’t know you but have followed your story through your blog. Massive congratulations to you both. I’m so excited for you, sending positive pregnancy vibes your way.
This post has made me so happy. I’m delighted for you after such a hard journey. Congratulations! I also laughed like a drain. I haven’t been through fertility treatment and so can’t imagine how much more stress that adds, but I’ve done the miscarriage thing many times and your description of the constant peeing on sticks at the crack of dawn is spot on me! Now I can laugh about it all!
On a more serious note, I also get the not enjoying scans thing and I think each of our histories informs out experience of pregnancy. I totally agree about the struggles you’ll have, but it’s so worth it. I’ve blogged a lot of my experience too and it helps.
Again though thisnisnsuch happy happy news x
I’m so happy about your news! Sorry it’s been such an exhausting and emotional journey. I’m sending all my love and a little dance about the news! xx
Oh Katy I’m just over the moon for you!! I could not imagine the journey you have been on and how hard it’s been! I’m absolutely thrilled for you (and yes I admit I had tears in my eyes by the end of the post)! Big hugs darling to you and Jules xxx
Katy! I am so excited for you!!! Huge huge congrats!!
Well, you know how I feel about this already, but YES YES YES YES YES wooohooooo xxxx
HUGE congratulations Katy! I’m so happy for you both and so glad to see a happy ending to your long journey. Big hugs to you both and hopefully see you soon in my garden 😉 xo
Huge, huge congratulations. I’m thrilled for you both!
Oh Katy I’m so happy for you. I had an inkling when you couldn’t come on the trip, and hoped that was the reason, so I’m thrilled for you both. Have a little tear in my eye as I read this xxxx
A massive massive congratulations and wishing you a smooth pregnancy!! 🙂
Your fan, Alina
Alina from The Fairytale Pretty Picture
Oh that’s such amazing news! Massive congratulations Katy! I’m so happy for you xx
You don’t know me, but I have been following your fertility journey and couldn’t be more pleased for you. Very best wishes to you both xx
You guys deserve this! So happy for you.
Omg Katy, I’m literally over the moon for you, best news ever, you will be the best mum. You have 1 lucky baby in there. Look after yourselves ❤️
Oh wow, Katy, congratulations! Amazing news, I’m so happy for you. Brought a lump to my throat reading that. Xx
Just the BEST news! I had a feeling when you asked me to go on the trip…and maybe a bit before then as you’d been so quiet. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Take care of yourselves and try not to over-think things…I know that’s easier said than done, but don’t forget to enjoy those moments too 🙂 xxxx
This is just the most wonderful news! Congratulations 😀 Wishing you all the goodness and sending love xxx
Wonderful wonderful news!! Have a fantastic pregnancy and I cannot wait to see your beauiful baby
So so happy for you, lots of love and hope it all goes wellxxx
Ahhh Katy this is such absolutely wonderful news, I’m so, so happy for you both…I have a tear in my eye! Sending much love your way and wishing you a smooth and happy pregnancy! xxx
Absolutely amazing news!! So, so thrilled for you. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Just wonderful. Xxxx
CONGRATULATIONS KATY! Soooooo happy for you. Wishing you all the best 🙂 xxx
What wonderful contagious happiness you are spreading my darling. I feel this will be the luckiest baby ever – just the best mum and dad.
So so amazingly happy for you lovely lady xx
I’m so proud of you and Jules. You have faced this ordeal with typical grace and good humour, never failing to take an interest in everyone else’s lives and rarely letting on just how difficult it has been for you both. What a great testament to your relationship to have come this far and what amazing parents you’re going to be. That little strawberry is very lucky indeed. Xxxx
Such good news! A hearty congratulations! Take care Katy!
So so so happy for you Katy! Just the best news ever!!! Caroline x
Have followed your lovely blog for the last year. So delighted for you. Sending you lots of well deserved congrats! X
Congratulations! This is such wonderful news! Xx
Absolutely thrilled at the news Kathy- very happy for you! 1 piece of advice : really try to work hard to keep your self calm and serene, I think it played a huge part in you being successful this time, so try to relax your mind and your body will do the rest 😉
Oh Katy, what fabulous news – so, so happy for you! I might just have shed a tear. I did think you’d been rather quiet of late – very happy that this is the reason. Huge hugs coming your way. Z xxx
Most exciting news ever! Now to get obsessed with aesthetically pleasing toys. Xxxi
I knew it would happen.
Congratulations! So happy for you. I didn’t know you were on this journey. I had my own fertility issues and have since built a whole fertility team in my studio to help people through this as support is so necessary. I hope you have an easy pregnancy. At least your nesting will be beautiful! And when your bundle of joy arrives it will be the most exciting time of your life xxx
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, happy day!! 🙂
Such wonderful news! I was hoping this was the reason for quietness! Congratulations 🙂
For the second time in my life I’m actually in tears after finding out that a blogger (who I’ve never met) is pregnant after a long wait. I really hope the rest of the pregnancy is smooth sailing for you. You’ll be in my thoughts a lot xxx
This is such wonderful news – I’m SO pleased for you Katy. Hoping you’re getting plenty of rest and are feeling well. Much love! xxx
Congratulations Katy, I’m so, so happy for you! Thank you for sharing your journey here – we’re all rooting for you! xxx
I’m so happy for you! We are only just at the start of our fertility journey (polycystic ovaries, umm, yay) so thank you for sharing your story! A big squeeze from me over here xxxx
Katy! I actually had butterflies in my stomach reading your post! I’m so utterly delighted for you and Jules. Huge congratulations and much love to you both. x
Best news ever – so happy for you both 😉 xxx
Congratulations Katy, so happy for you! Hoping for an easy pregnancy for you x
So happy for you. Wonderful news.
Absolutely thrilled to hear your news. How wonderful for you both.
Hello, this is such wonderful news. Huge congratulations to you both I’m so happy for you. Love laura xxx