It’s Fertility Friday time again. I cannot tell you how much I am loving reading and sharing all these amazing stories. It is a privilege to know so many bloody amazing women!
Today’s guest poster is my friend Naomi. As well as doing a frighteningly accurate Mick Jagger impersonation after a couple of drinks, Naomi is also a mother of three. However, she didn’t end up with her three beautiful kids in the ‘usual’ way. This is her story:
My husband and I had always talked about having a family and I guess it is just something that you expect to happen. We had everything planned; the length of our engagement, the wedding and then at our one year anniversary we would start trying for a family and we would have two kids, a boy and a girl. Things never seem to go as planned. We got the engagement and wedding bit right, but it took us three years to get the kids.
We tried for a year on our own to no avail. I made an appointment with my GP who then referred me to a specialist. And so the fun began! It started with blood tests, ultrasounds etc etc. In the end it turned out I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It’s quite common and one of the leading causes of infertility in women. As many as 25% of women of childbearing age have PCOS, but most don’t even know that they have it until they begin trying to get pregnant. The big problem with PCOS is that you don’t tend to ovulate regularly, making it very difficult to conceive. Generally medical assistance is required so the process for us started out with tablets to bring on ovulation which then meant more blood tests, ultrasounds etc etc. It quickly became a very tedious process and the exact opposite of romantic – particularly when your doctor gives you and injection and then orders you to have sex at 10pm that night! Totally takes the romance out of “making a baby”.
For me this cycle continued for about a year with no success, until my doctor then informed me that we might need to do a bit more to make this happen, so the next part of the journey was some surgery. “Ovarian drilling” to be exact. They didn’t strike oil down there, but instead helped stimulate the ovaries to encourage them to produce those little eggs I so desperately needed. Surgery – tick, ovaries stimulated – tick, baby – nil. So the next part of the treatment was what I lovingly love to refer to, “the turkey baster method”, or for those medically inclined, IUI – Intrauterine Insemination. Basically my husband was required to do his part of the deal in a cup, the doctor then took that contribution and spun the semen in a machine to get the sperm all excited about this conception business, and once the spinning was complete the doctor puts the sperm in a syringe and inserted them inside my clacker! Along with this process came lots of needles to produce lots of follicles that were ready to pop.
Finally, we had success and I took a pregnancy test on Mother’s Day in 2004. Woo hoo! We were so super excited but the excitement didn’t last for too long. Unfortunately at around the 8/9 week mark I suffered a miscarriage. I was so very angry and upset – it had taken us two years to get a positive result and now it was being taken away from us. Of course all around me friends and relatives were getting pregnant and I was happy for them but inside me was this little voice saying “why them and not me?”. I guess that is the crappiest part of infertility, the hormonal roller coaster ride. My poor husband at times didn’t know what to say to me. Of course I blamed it all on myself because I was the one with PCOS. I would often find myself apologising to him because I knew how much he wanted children.
I eventually bounced back from the loss of our baby and soldiered back on with trying to get our bundle of joy. We continued the IUI cycles for another 12 months and exactly 12 months to the day we found out we were pregnant again. Yay!!!!!
This time it was a little different. I didn’t feel so hot. The pregnancy test came back positive really, really quickly. Looked like my hormone levels were very high. The first sign of multiples came in the form of over stimulation of the ovaries, which was incredibly painful and not much fun at all. Then at 7 weeks we trotted off to our doctor to have our first scan. While we were driving to the appointment my husband reached over grabbed my hand and held three fingers and he indicated to me that he thought we had three. I of course just laughed it off. The doctor lead us into the ultrasound room and proceeded to probe my belly “Congratulations we have twins!” then came the “hang on a sec……………….we have a third!!!!!”. From that moment on our lives would never be the same again.
On the 24 November 2005, I gave birth to triplet girls – Imogen, Caitlin and Hayley. The girls were kept in hospital for a period of four weeks and came home on the 22 December 2005. We were blessed with three very healthy babies. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the total shock of bringing home a baby for the first time, let alone three, but the support that we received from family, friends and total strangers was absolutely amazing.
It was quite a journey to get our girls, but they continue to bring us so much joy. Of course I tell them quite often how hard we worked to get them. They still find it quite freaky that I could fit three of them in my belly. Trust me when I say it wasn’t the most comfortable pregnancy, but we got there in the end. It has definitely been hard work having three at once but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. They are three very unique personalities, and can at times have a love-hate relationship like all siblings, but they are sisters who will always share a very special bond.
Oh Naomi what a roller coaster of emotions. Whilst I’ve never undergone fertility treatment I have supported feeling somewhat useless at times, a very dear friend, it was heart breaking watching her having to deal with such pain. Like you she ended up with multiples but sadly she only got to bring one of her boys home, bittersweet. Your girls will certainly inherit your tenacity and determination and you will need every bit of your fighting spirit for the trying but of what fun teenage years. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.
Hi Nanette, it’s Naomi here.Thanks for your kind words. I certainly was very lucky to have three beautiful healthy girls to bring home with me. You are right about the teenage years, they certainly will be exciting. Hopefully I will still have all my hair when they eventually leave home.