IVF, Infertility, Miscarriage, WARRIOR Mum Kate's Journey
This week we speak to the lovely mum Kate Meakin from https://mrsmeaks.com/
Kate joins us for a 2 part series and shares a very honest and heartfelt account of her personal journey with IVF, infertility and miscarriage, but also the happiness that can come with it. She shares the highs and the lows, and the importance of raising awareness and creating a space where women can communicate with each other.
Here at NESSA we are so honored that Mums like Kate are open to sharing such amazing and personal journeys with our NESSA community, we celebrate her bravery, she is a true NESSA warrior...
Our journey to parenthood was long and still is heartbreaking.
We spent the spent the first year of our marriage trying to have a baby naturally, I was on a complete mission to get pregnant and was often found flinging my legs in the air after sex, and tracking my ovulation with military precision. But the reality for us and many others, is that it really isn't that easy and after a year we sought help from our GP who unfortunately couldn’t offer much more than some bog standard NHS testing. We did however get a referral to the local fertility clinic but with initial waiting times so long and already so desperate for a baby we decided to seek private treatment. I was very lucky to have fertility investigations covered by my health insurance at work so were able to move quickly with an appointment.
After our first consultation we learnt I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), I was completely unaware but we felt hopeful that with the right treatment we could fulfil our dream of becoming parents. We tried a drug called Clomid first which helps induce ovulation then moved on to further 3 cycles of Letrozole which unfortunately were all unsuccessful. Our next step was IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and after another 3 unsuccessful rounds we felt very deflated. Mentally each round floored me with another negative result.
So after 7 or so cycles of fertility treatment it was time to move on and IVF was the way forward. It was overwhelming and scary but we were thrilled to collect 22 eggs and transfer a blastocyst embryo on day 5 which resulted in our son Austin James 9 months later. We also have four embryos to freeze for future use. Our world was complete and we couldn’t believe after all the failed cycles we finally had our miracle son. Motherhood was everything and more than I could ever had imagined and I felt so content and happy. I treasured every night feed and every milestone just immersing myself in the newborn haze. There were hard days for sure, motherhood is relentless but I just felt incredibly lucky to be able to experience pregnancy and our beautiful son.
When Austin was 11 months old we found out I was naturally pregnant. After everything we had been through it felt like the fairytale ending to complete our family. Sadly an early scan at 7.5 weeks revealed a blighted ovum, a pregnancy sac but no embryo inside. We had a torturous week waiting to have another scan but after a heavy bleed and a visit to the Early Pregnancy Unit a miscarriage was confirmed. I was devastated and truly heartbroken.
We decided to try IVF again and use our frozen embryos stored from our fresh cycle. A few months after our first miscarriage we transferred one embryo and were thrilled to see a positive pregnancy test a week later. Very sadly soon after, I started bleeding and our second loss was confirmed. You try and stay positive and full of hope but baby loss was another dimension now added to our infertility and I am not ashamed to say I really struggled. Somehow we moved on to another embryo transfer only to endure another chemical pregnancy (miscarriage under 5 weeks). This was our third miscarriage in 18 months.
There is a dark and lonely side to infertility but I've spent the last 2 years part of an amazing online community within Instagram of both men and women TTC (trying to conceive). The statistics show that 1 in 6 will deal with infertility and 1 in 4 will encounter miscarriage. This is a huge part of the population who are possibly suffering alone, feeling both ashamed and isolated (like I was). I have seen first hand how inspiring and supportive the online community can be and I have found so much strength from sharing our battle with infertility and in turn hope it can helping others cope too.
Through my blog and writing I've met so many inspiration people and feel lucky to part of such a supportive community. Infertility feels very much at the forefront right now, many wonderful campaigns fighting loud and proud with the message that everyone deserves the right to start a family. We have to keep talking, we have to keep sharing so that we can break the silence around infertility and baby loss and allow a voice to those that so desperately need to feel heard. I feel so passionate about raising awareness for both Primary and Secondary Infertility and as our journey continues I feel privileged to have this platform to help others
Read more about Kate's journey here, and join us for her next post where she shares advice on how to cope, and charities on hand to help.