“Journey to three”- Courtney’s story

Courtney MillsOur journey to becoming 3 began back in 2013 and it wasn’t as straightforward as we would have liked as nothing really happened up until I miscarried our first pregnancy in 2015 which shortly was followed by another miscarriage. We underwent tests and I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and my partner was diagnosed with low sperm count. Being diagnosed with male and female infertility was tough and our dream of becoming parents and having our own family seemed further and further away.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t seem to fall pregnant again after this and so I was referred to a fertility specialist who carried out a laparoscopy and dye test to have a closer look at my reproductive organs and determine if there was anything else underlying. The surgery only confirmed my polycystic ovaries and that our next step would be to try IVF.

The moment I heard we would be needing IVF felt like someone had stuck a knife straight through my heart, I had no idea that this was our next and only option to try. I was so young but so sure I would have children and live a long and healthy life as a mum to the most beautiful human beings my eyes would have ever seen, but now my chance of being a mother was uncertain and I found that so hard to take in.

We were extremely fortunate that the wait for IVF in our area wasn’t too long and within a couple of months I was in the consultants room writing up our plan and being told how to administer the drugs and that we would be starting our first round the following month.

The day came to start our first round and we were filled with so much joy and excitement that in such a small amount of time we could be expecting and our life would just be falling into place after all the struggles and heartbreak, but unfortunately as I kept pumping my body full of all the drugs and hormones to stimulate my ovaries I ended up in a very bad way after getting severe Ovarian Hypostimulation Syndrome (OHSS) which needed a lot of medical attention as my body began to retain fluid and I gained 3 stone in fluid in just a couple of days which then resulted in the fluid not making it through my body to my kidneys and they became so dehydrated they began to shut down and the only thing that could repair them would be to have some blood transfusion products to help them in functioning again. OHSS was the worst experience of my life and knowing all I had gone through that I now couldn’t have our embryo implanted back for months until I had fully recovered was just another kick whilst I was down but quite frankly being that poorly I just needed to survive and give my body a break.

Sure enough, I recovered and the trauma of it all soon began to fade when I thought about my end goal and why I did this to myself in the first place, so we went ahead with our first Embryo transfer 4 months later however we didn’t get the news we were hoping for and this transfer had failed and we were faced with yet another negative pregnancy test. All we had gone through and all we had put into this had been for nothing. It was back to the drawing board and we decided that we just couldn’t give up now, the road was tough we hit a few bumps but most of all what we set out to achieve was so important to us that we couldn’t give up just yet.

We tried again but, unfortunately, this also resulted in our second failed cycle. Each time you build yourself up to go through a round of IVF your telling yourself to be positive, in just 9 months you could have a baby in your arms and look back and think how lucky you are and how it was all so worth it.

You literally plan your life around the IVF, you cut out all bad things, you cancel plans because you need to be home to do your injections or your simply not out socialising with a glass of wine because your detoxing your body from all the bad chemicals to give yourself the best possible chances. You don’t book that holiday you want to an exotic country because of the risk of contracting viruses or diseases that would stop the IVF form going a head. You don’t plan a holiday for post IVF because In your heart your hoping and praying you are pregnant and don’t want to fly. Infertility and trying for a baby becomes your life, from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to bed your days,weeks and months become obsessive and solely about falling pregnant. You leave the house and everywhere you look you see someone pregnant or pushing a pushchair and your heart physically becomes painful because while your so happy for that person you are deeply saddened for yourself and jealous that it isn’t you and why isn’t it you.

I can’t express the strain this put on our relationship, on us both as individuals and how heartbreaking waking up each day to a life you hadn’t imagined and the one you had imagined feeling like it won’t ever be. One thing I have learnt through all this is that you are not alone, and to not give in, do not give up!

The moment you feel like giving up you must use it to excel, even though you feel burnt out and like you have no energy left, and like this can never happen believe me it can, and it does. We went for our 3rd round and if I’m honest both of us felt so disheartened from the moment we agreed to try 1 last time we felt like we were just inflicting more devastation on us both and for nothing in return, for our final round we decided even though we felt like it wasn’t going to work we also agreed that as it was our last opportunity we wanted to be able to sit back after it all even if it failed and say we gave it everything and not have any regret so we had our medication changed and much to our surprise this round worked and we finally got to see the word “pregnant” on a pregnancy test.

We feel honoured to be one of the lucky ones, we really didn’t believe this would be the outcome and had started to accept our fate and were thinking what our future would be without children but that isn’t the case. IVF does work, it isn’t easy and by no means is it fun.

It is tough, traumatic and testing but to be able to have and read a success story makes every part of the process worth it. My heartbreaks for anyone having to experience infertility and I wish more than anyone that there was a cure and that no one would ever have this type of battle but unfortunately that isn’t going to change over night, but one thing that is changing constantly are the breakthroughs in the research and the technology the techniques and the treatment surrounding it all and for me that is incredible over the years the success rate is getting better and better and together we can make a change, we can come through this and we can succeed for as long as we don’t give up.

Good luck to everyone on there own journey and I wish for your dream to come true soon.