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Secondary Infertility

by Rowan

Bear with me. This post is not an easy one to write. I have lots of thoughts and emotions with regards to this topic so it may read a little more scattered than normal..

Let’s start at the very beginning. Greg and I got married 3rd September 2015. We decided to start trying for a baby in the New Year. I had just come off the pill, so I expected the journey to getting pregnant to be a long one. I started to track my cycles in January and by March, I was pregnant, due 12th December 2016. It was a huge shock, but I remember feeling so relieved that I could get pregnant.

I had the most amazing pregnancy. I had no sickness. General aches and pelvic pains, but pregnancy didn’t slow me down. I worked right up until 10 days before my due date, and we waited patiently for Luke’s arrival. He was too comfy, and I was induced on Christmas Eve, ready for his dramatic entrance by emergency cesarean on Christmas Morning.

I didn’t have the best experience bringing Luke into the world (you can read a brief version of events here), but the bond and love I felt for him was instant. Greg became the best father in the world overnight, and Luke was instantly our present and future.

For quite a while after Luke was born, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through that again. Well, that lasted about two or three months. Then I got that huge longing feeling for another baby. Mainly for Luke. I wanted him to grow up with a sibling and I wanted so much to see that happen.

My cycles returned around 4 months later and although they weren’t as regular as before, they weren’t far off.

After you have a cesarean in the UK, you have a follow up appointment when your baby is about 6 months old. At that appointment, our consultant said if we wanted to, we could try again for another baby. As we fell pregnant so fast with Luke, we expected the same again.

I started meticulously tracking my cycles. I bought ovulation strips and committed myself to knowing my cycle in and out. As my cycle wasn’t quite as regular as before, I was hoping it would give me a clue. After a few months, nothing.

I started to have a small bleed right in the middle of my cycle. As a woman, that is always something we are told to look out for. I booked a doctors appointment and was prodded and swabbed, a lot.. After having a baby, I really didn’t care though!

The GP couldn’t see anything blatantly wrong, so she referred me for an internal scan at the hospital. I was still a little scared of hospitals at this point after Luke’s delivery and Greg was away with work. I left Luke with my mother-in-law and went by myself. The woman that did the scan started and kept shaking her head. She actually looked like she was going to cry when she looked at the screen. I asked her what the matter was, and she said she wasn’t allowed to say and that I would have to call my doctor for the results in a few days. When I went to leave, she took my hand and looked me in the eye and said “all the best, darling..” and looked away.

I left convinced I had cancer. I started to let myself get emotional – I almost got as far as mentally planning my funeral when I stopped. Mid way through the car park, I decided I wasn’t going to be upset, I was going to be angry.

I phoned the GP and demanded they get the results immediately. The results had already come through at this point and he said it was all clear. Are you fucking kidding me? Don’t get me wrong, the relief was HUGE! But what the hell was that woman doing? The GP told me that as there was nothing wrong, we needed to just wait it out and see if it got worse.

At the time, Greg’s job was investigating the NHS. I told him and within seconds, the complaints process was underway and within a few weeks, we had a meeting at the hospital to discuss the care I had received both when I had Luke and when I had the scan. They listened and were brilliant. I left feeling better about the whole situation.

About a year into our trying to conceive journey, I got the letter for my routine smear test. As we had been trying for a year now, I was already concerned that my body wasn’t doing what it did before.

I called and booked an appointment. Rather than the smear being with a nurse, it was with a doctor as they were short staffed. The doctor did my smear and asked if I had any other concerns. I mentioned I still had this bleed and that we had been trying for a baby for over a year now with no results. She laughed and said “well you already have one baby, the NHS will not help you whatsoever”.

Believe it or not, I opened a can on her. I told her that my body should the priority here – something was not right. I insisted then and there that she referred me to a consultant because of the bleed. She reluctantly agreed and also agreed to send me for blood tests for the next three months to see if I was actually ovulating. She told me to go on day 18 of my cycle. And I did just that.

At this point, I had given up on using the ovulation strips. They were making me obsessed so I gave up. From the strips I did use though, they did detect ovulation, so I wasn’t concerned.

After my first blood test, I called to see the results.
“no ovulation detected”
Brilliant. Now what?

The next two, I had the same result. About a week after the final blood test, I got my consultant appointment. The doctor was a lovely Greek man who listened to everything I said. He said that he wasn’t concerned about the bleeding or the ovulation as he believed the bleeding was being caused by me ovulating – finally, some positive news!

He was baffled as to why the GP sent me for ovulation tests on day 18 of my cycle, and he sent me for the same tests on day 22 and sure enough, that blood test was positive for ovulation.

I went back to see him one last time and he said that there was nothing wrong with me and he was sure he would see me in his maternity clinic soon. I felt really positive and left feeling like I was definitely going to be pregnant soon.

Months passed and Greg and I almost forgot we wanted another baby. There was still that longing at the end of each cycle that was constantly ending in a period.

We went to London for the day with some friends. She was due in a few weeks so we were taking them to a baby show as I got free tickets. We went to get food and I had this sudden realisation that I was due on my period that day and it hadn’t happened. I sent Greg to Boots to get a digital test and we waited until we got home to do it.

As soon as we got home, I ran upstairs and did it. 

I burst into tears and Greg gave me a massive hug. We were finally pregnant after all this time! It had been 18 months since we started trying again. I was so happy, frightened and grateful that my body hadn’t let me down.

I worked my due date out to be the 26th July 2019.

A few days later, I decided to do another test – just for fun! I sat waiting for the words to pop up on the screen. I was more excited than the first time as I knew what it was going to say. However..
“Not Pregnant”

I was adamant that it was wrong, but I still had that horrible sinking/sick feeling. It was late on a Sunday so there wasn’t another shop open. I knew I’d have to wait until the morning. It was the longest wait I have ever experienced.

I picked up another digital test on my way to work. Once I got there, I tore the pack open and did it. 
“Not Pregnant”

I immediately felt all of the blood in my body go cold. I knew this was too good to be true. I left work and called the doctors. The receptionist was lovely and calmed me down. By this point I was crying but still trying to hold it together. She told me to come in and see a doctor later that day.

I arrived at the doctors and went into the room. The doctor introduced herself and said that she was a junior doctor in training and she said “I’ve never actually dealt with a pregnant person before – or a miscarriage for that matter” so straight away I burst into tears and asked for someone who knew what they were doing. She apologised profusely and went to another room to ask a different doctor for advice. She then asked me to take another pregnancy test. It was negative. She said there was nothing else she could do – I insisted on a blood test to detect my HCG levels. She left again to ask the doctor if that was ok. She returned and said that she didn’t know what that was until a second ago. I eye rolled her – she eventually agreed to let me go for the test.

I went that evening to the hospital for the blood test, the said I could get the results the next day. I cried a lot that evening. More than I ever have before. I remember feeling so exhausted.

I called the GP the next day and the receptionist looked up the results for me. She said “yep, they all look ok.” so I asked if that means I was still pregnant or I am in fact not.. She was really apologetic as the doctor hadn’t put any more notes other than “ok”. She put me through to a nurse. She was the nicest human on the planet.

She explained that my HCG levels were too low for a viable pregnancy and that I should expect to pass the cells in the next week or so. She explained to me what a chemical pregnancy was and said she was so sorry for my loss. She asked me to go back to the hospital that day for some more blood tests to see if there was anything else obviously wrong (thyroid, diabetes, etc) that could have stopped me getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy. I was so grateful for this.

I tested negative for everything and I just waited. Another week and a half passed, and then it finally happened. I was so heartbroken. I was glad my body was moving on, but I felt so broken. Typing this now, it has brought back those memories and I still feel hurt by the whole situation.

Why was this happening? I decided that it must have been something I’d done. I’d smoked a few months before – it must have been that. I am overweight – it must have been that, too. Did I eat something that I shouldn’t have?

I was feeling fairly depressed and I just hated myself. I didn’t let it consume me because I had Luke to worry about. He had to be my priority and he definitely helped me move on.

I started to realise that these things do just happen. I wasn’t looking after my body like I should, but I can’t just blame myself. The most healthy person goes through this – so it must have just been one of those things, right? It didn’t make it easier, but I did stop beating myself up about it.

Since our loss, we have still been trying for another baby. Nothing has happened so far.

Every month that passes, I feel that little bit more blessed to have Luke. He is amazing and he is just the absolute highlight of my life. I feel so grateful that I have one child and if he is destined to be an only child, I am ok with that. Greg and I desperately want another child, but if that never happens, we have found peace.

As far as the NHS goes, they will not do anything else to help us. When I say help, I don’t want IVF or drugs to help us get pregnant. I just wanted the peace of mind that my body was ok – that my body was working and that it was just one of those things. I haven’t really got any of the answers that I wanted, but I am getting over this.

Loss is loss. Whether you have lost a baby or you have never got that baby you have longed for – I see you.

In the next few months, I plan on going back to the doctors to challenge them on a few bits and bobs. Who knows – they might find something the missed..

I am asked almost daily if baby number 2 is on the cards – I understand that because we kept my pregnancy with Luke off social media and the blog completely, people may think we are getting ready to surprise them! Unfortunately that isn’t the case. When I am asked, I am very honest. I tell people we have been trying for over 2 years now. I don’t tell people this to make them uncomfortable.

I tell people so if they are struggling, I want them to know they are not alone.

I hope this has given you more of an insight into what we have experienced and I hope this gives some comfort to those going through it.

Written by Rowan for her blog, Funning Up My Life.

Follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!


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