Hope from a Butterfly:The Road to Parenthood
The path to parenthood varies greatly for everyone who starts a family. For myself and Fergal, this journey wasn’t without its highs and lows. There never was any doubt we both wanted children and to create a family together, but we always knew with my history it would be a challenge – and that it was!
I do not want my guest blog here at @ThesisClinic to be solely about fertility, however I would like to dedicate this post to my own personal journey of becoming a mother, as it is a journey very close to my heart. Fergal and I married on the 29th August 2008, in my home village of Scotshouse in Co. Monaghan. It truly was one of the happiest days in our lives (alongside the birth of both our girls). Myself and Fergal began the road towards parenthood from that day onwards, hoping that we would succeed in becoming parents. I had already had my first laparoscopy prior to this and having both Endometriosis and polycystic ovaries we knew the road ahead would have its difficulties.
The initial months passed and with an irregular cycle, our hopes were raised many times, but the big fat negatives on the many pregnancies tests were oh too plentiful. We tried to leave testing as long as possible and like any couple trying to conceive we tried not to think about it! This resulted in me having my first miscarriage on my own, without even knowing I were pregnant. I knew in my heart what was happening and attended the doctor the following day to be told I was pregnant and sent to A&E. “Is this your first pregnancy?” I was asked repeatedly by the numerous medical staff. “My first pregnancy” …these words kept running through my mind, I had longed so much to be pregnant and didn’t even know I was pregnant until it was too late. A short few months later I fell pregnant for the second time, and again in the early weeks I lost baby number two. We were gutted, heartbroken, but yet I couldn’t help but think, at least I can fall pregnant!
Following my two miscarriages, I spoke with a close friend, who also has endometriosis and had recently given birth to her first child. She encouraged me to contact Mr Phil Boyle in the Galway Clinic and to try Napro Technology Fertility treatment. Aside from my longing for a child, I was suffering badly from the endometriosis again and she ensured me he could help both with my pain and my trying for a baby. So, in the autumn of 2009 I made the most important phone call of my life to date, to Dr Phil Boyle’s clinic. I began charting my cycle, commenced the fertility meds and by February 2010 I had my big fat positive, we were expecting a baby.
My pregnancy whilst carrying Rebecca was practically a dream pregnancy. I was monitored closely through monthly blood tests and was on hormone support for the first three months but following that I flew it. I went on to give birth to Rebecca Marie Reid on 22nd October 2010, 6 days early, weighing 6lbs 10oz. There is no other feeling in this world like holding your baby for the first time.
Christmas 2010 was just magical. Our dream of becoming parents had come true and it was even more amazing than we had hoped. However, by January 2011, the pain and suffering from the endometriosis had flared up again. The old wives tale of having a baby will sort you out unfortunately did not ring true for me. I contacted Dr Boyle again and was asked if I would like to try for a second baby or alternatively look at my long term treatment options. There was no doubt in our minds, we truly wanted a sibling for Rebecca and we genuinely believed after our success on the treatment the first time round and such a perfect pregnancy that number two would be along quite quickly. So with Rebecca just 3 months old I started back charting and on my fertility medication. The road to having a sibling for Rebecca had commenced!
Nothing could have prepared us for the following three years. They, without a doubt, have been the toughest in our lives so far. Our first two miscarriages, although were heartbreaking, were due to my not being able to produce progesterone myself, this was detected during the napro treatment, and Rebecca was conceived within the 9 month period following my first miscarriage so I was never destined to give birth to all three babies. So I consoled myself by trusting that my first two angels paved the way for Rebecca and were close by to guide and protect her always. It was the third miscarriage that hit us even harder, we lost our third angel, but Rebecca had lost her sibling.
The second round of Napro treatment was much tougher. The endometriosis had returned and through follicle tracking it was evident that both my ovaries were now covered in cysts. Month in and month out was one big rollercoaster, day one of each cycle starting with the heartache of not being pregnant, day two began with hope that this would be our month. Each week I would take a different medication to assist with the various aspects of my cycle. It was so mechanical which had its own emotional turmoil for me also, but I knew it would all be worth it, the meds, the injections the rollercoaster if we could just have that sibling for Rebecca. Then the guilt would set in, was I more focused on having a sibling for my daughter and not enjoying my time with her? Should I not be just grateful for having one child when so many don’t have even that? Yet during this time, I still believed I would have another baby, and every now and then I would see a butterfly and this always gave me strength and hope. I believed it was a sign, a message from my angels to keep trying and never give up hope.
Following my second laparoscopy I fell pregnant which proved somewhat that it was in fact the endometriosis and the ovarian cysts that were preventing me from falling pregnant. But, alas, as I have already stated in May 2012 I lost my third angel. I can still see my mother’s face looking out the window as myself and Fergal headed off to the hospital knowing when I returned I would no longer be pregnant. A further 12 months passed. And it was the following summer, when I sat in tears after another disappointing month that Fergal turned to me and said he couldn’t watch me suffer any longer. We had to admit defeat. This broke my heart. He had been my rock and I knew this was a battle we had to fight together.
Following some time out that Summer, a lovely family break with Rebecca and many, many conversations, we decided to take a break from trying to conceive and I would go back for my third laparoscopy that October purely to ease my pain again. I never did make it for that third laparoscopy, Instead, I had a 7 week scan that October. Our ‘not trying’ had actually resulted in my falling pregnant and although the following 9 months were not the dream pregnancy I had experienced with Rebecca (in fact it was quite a difficult one right to the very end) we, nonetheless, made it. I had one minute to deliver Emma Kate Reid who had gotten in distress, and the only thought running through my mind at that moment was, “I have fought hard to get you this far, you are going to make it”, and she did!
So that was my road to parenthood, not the smoothest of journeys, but one that brings me so much joy every time I look at my two precious miracle children. My three angels are forever in my heart and will never be far away and I know they will take good care of their sisters. Never lose hope and always keep smiling, even on the most difficult of days, as the sun will always shine again …. (it sure did for us!)