It's 29 October 2015. Four days ago I had a massive gush of blood, I was six weeks pregnant. I would be seeing my consultant for a scan the following day. The day when we hold our breaths and hope to see a heartbeat. I knew deep down it was all over but I still had hope. The bleeding stopped as quickly as it started and Dr. Google told me that there was a strong possibility that the bleed could just be a clot and all would be ok. But I knew.
The 30 October 2015, when I was told we had a missed miscarriage and our fourth round of IVF hadn't worked started a chain of events I wasn't expecting.
Soon afterwards I lost my job. I became depressed. I reluctantly had a frozen cycle the following New Year which also resulted in a (strong) pregnancy but also resulted in another miscarriage (although this was far more dramatic and violent and heartbreaking - we had seen a heartbeat the week beforehand and I naively thought 'this was it.')
Since then I have lost the plot, regrouped and got myself a fantastic job that I love. It's funny how things turn out, isn't it? I have made a fantastic new 'barren friend' Katy. We were brought together through sad circumstance, introduced by my best friend, meeting for the first time on a 'blind date' at the Southbank in Spring. She's been through the toughest journeys and I was able to help her through it. Without my new barren friend Katy, I'm not sure how I would've gotten through this year. So from the pain of infertility and the dashed dreams of having a baby of our own, I have made a life-long, solid friendship and I feel blessed. I'm happy-ish, things seem to be on the up. My marriage to my amazing Hubster is the strongest it has ever been. I'm the fittest and healthiest I have ever been. There are lots of positives but we still don't have a baby. I'm hoping our luck changes.
As we approach National Fertility Awareness week 2016 (#NFAW16) I felt compelled to pick my blog back up. To take a deep breath and start sharing this journey with you all again. 2016 has been a pretty crap year in the Courtney fertility stakes. Our strength has been tested and I have been overwhelmed at times. Overwhelmed by life. Overwhelmed by people telling me how brave I am (I'm not brave - trust me. I'm just trying to become a Mother and that urge is strong. Not that I'm not already a Mother. My babies are Angel Babies who I never got to meet in person). I've also been overwhelmed by the love and support of friends and family as we have been forced to navigate through what can only be described as a living hell of grief. When life blurs by and you somehow, miraculously 'carry on.'
I have been most overwhelmed by the brave, honest accounts given by my fellow infertilies in the Fertility Network's #HiddenFaces campaign. My amazing Hubster and I recorded our account of what the journey has been like these eight years of trying to become parents. It was hard but something we both felt like we had to do and we're both glad we did it. You see, there's nothing to be ashamed of and if we want to get people talking about what it's really like then someone has to make the first move and start talking, so we stepped up to the plate.
Show your support for these brave people. They have been on a super hard journey that makes you question everything. I'll share our video when it goes live next week but for now, I'm thinking of my first Angel Baby and what might've been.
Much love, hugs, compassion and strength to everyone who is struggling to start a family of their own, and to those who have had to carve a new life out for themselves after experiencing infertility. We are not alone and our faces are no longer hidden.