I have always been baby mad from a very young age, growing up I didn’t really have any career aspirations, I never knew what I wanted to do, the only thing I knew I wanted to be was a mum one day. When Dave and I got married we started trying to get pregnant pretty quickly after the wedding.
What obstacles did you have to face once you decided you wanted to start a family?
The biggest obstacle for me was fear, I have a pretty horrendous phobia called emetaphobia, which is a fear of being sick. So getting pregnant wasn’t the hard part in my mind, it was the fear of what pregnancy would bring! But I knew I wanted a baby so I’d have to push through this!
When did you start to realise something wasn’t right?
Like any other couple we thought it would happen pretty quickly once we decided to start trying for a baby, after about 6 months we started to get concerned that something wasn’t right. We tried everything, but every month we got the same painful negative result.
How did this effect your relationship?
We are a pretty strong couple, when one of us is down we pick the other one up! But it was extremely upsetting and stressful. The doctors weren’t able to offer any help until we had been trying for 2 years which was very frustrating! When we were finally eligible to go for further investigations it was a massive relief, knowing that we were going to get help.
What was the prognosis from the doctors?
We were diagnosed with female factor infertility, which means that my husband was absolutely fine and it was me that was the problem. After investigative surgery I was diagnosed with endometriosis and low ovarian reserve and advised that IVF was our best option.
How many courses of IVF have you have?
So far we have had 2 rounds of IVF, we didn’t qualify for NHS funding so have had to remortgage our home to help pay for it. We are now looking at another more specialized clinic to proceed with our third round.
What do you have to do while receiving IVF?
It varies person to person but for me it was oral tablets followed by daily injections, I have a fear of needles so this was a big thing for me to inject myself every day, sometimes twice a day. The clinic scan you to keep an eye on how the ovaries are responding and when they are happy you are booked in for egg collection.
Take us through the process of what a doctor has to do
Egg collection is done under sedation and the doctor basically uses a needle to collect the eggs out of the ovaries vaginally whilst using an ultrasound scanner to guide him.
After the eggs have been collected they are left to fertilise and observed during this process. Once they reach certain milestones, the doctor will arrange for an embryo transfer where they put the embryo back inside the uterus.
What does IVF feel like?
It’s a very difficult process both emotionally and physically. There’s so many hormones floating around it can make you very up and down in mood! Angry, emotional, exhausted, you never know how your going to feel from one minute to the next! And physically I really suffered with extreme tummy pains, feeling sick and bloating! I looked 6 months pregnant through most of it which can be embarrassing and hurtful when people comment!
How has it left you feeling?
Completely exhausted and deflated. I never thought in a million years this would be so hard, I’ve surprised myself with how strong I have been through it all, but I will never shake the fear of ‘what if this doesn’t work’.
How has this effected your personal life?
Both myself and Dave have suffered with depression and anxiety throughout this process, we are constantly worried about money and how we will afford to try again. I personally have found it very difficult to maintain friendships because it feels like nobody understands. All of my friends have children already or are pregnant, and although they try to understand they just can’t. I’ve found a lot of them don’t know what to say so they sort of back off which is hard.
How has this effected your work life?
I’ve had quite a lot of time off in the last year for operations, investigations and treatment. Unfortunately I lost my job because of this, 2 weeks before our first IVF transfer. This resulted in quite a lot of stress and panic about finances particularly! We didn’t know how we were going to pay the bills let alone pay for IVF!
Since then I have set up my own business and I’m currently working 3 jobs to try to save as much as possible.
Have you tried alternative treatments?
I’ve been very lucky to have found a fantastic reiki and reflexologist, as well as an amazing acupuncturist who specialises in fertility, but again this all costs money on top of the IVF costs.
How does this process make you feel?
It’s difficult and I’ve felt very low through a lot of it, but I know it’s the only way to get to my dream of being a mum, so I have to push through it and keep fighting! And research! Plenty of research to find the right clinic for you! I really wish we had found this clinic at the start because they have been amazing and have really given us some hope!
What would you say to other woman going through this also?
Find somebody to talk to, those friends that will do whatever they can to brighten your day will be your lifelines! And keep fighting for your dream!
How has it effected your partner?
Dave has seemed very strong throughout all of our treatment, he has had to be strong for me. After our second cycle failed he began to struggle, he was very down and needed some help to pick himself back up. It’s a tough balancing act, you both have to be there for each other and talk through any fears!
How can an outsider looking in help?
We are asking for donations, anything at all will help us to fund another go at being parents. We have to raise £12,000 as soon as possible to continue our treatment. This new clinic has given us a ray of sunshine and we are very hopeful for a successful result, but we need to raise enough to try.
What is the worst thing someone can say to you while going through this challenging time?
People say a lot of really insensitive and hurtful things without really meaning to. The most common we’ve had have been ‘why don’t you just adopt?’ And ‘you just need to relax’ if only it was that simple.
The best thing anyone can do to support someone going through this is just to be there and listen, check in on them and make the effort to support them on this emotional roller coaster because they, like me, will feel so alone.
If Colette and Dave’s story has touched you, please help by giving them the gift of life & donate towards their IVF treatment to be able to start the process and chance to start a family.
Thank you for reading.
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