Hello! So happy to be writing my first post for this brilliant blog that Cathy and Eric have worked so hard to create. It’s a wonderful thing for a fertility clinic to give a voice to people who are going through the pain of infertility first hand and who can offer raw and honest perspectives on these difficult and unwanted journeys. I feel privileged to share this platform with Cathy and Eric and hope I can offer you some valuable insights or even just a bit of a distraction (!) wherever you are on this journey.
So a bit about me and why I’m here…
My name’s Julia and I live in London, UK, with my husband Lee. When I’m not reading about/ living through/ talking about infertility, I work as a Digital Operations Director for a book publisher. I’ve also trained as a coach and love that aspect of my work, supporting people reach fresh perspectives on areas they are struggling with. Lee is a Magazine/Multimedia Designer and together we’ve built a great life here in the big city but for the past 3.5 years we’ve tried to make the one thing happen that is out of our control; a baby.
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis (a condition where cells of the womb grow outside the womb in the pelvis/ovaries and can cause cysts and scarring) back in 2011 when I was 30 and single. Although I was shocked, as this was about the most significant health issue I’d ever had, I had no idea how it would end up impacting my life.
Lee and I have tried conceiving naturally, had acupuncture, tried all the diets, gone through fresh and frozen rounds of IVF and the best we’ve come out with is a miscarriage at 6 weeks and a missing baby (blighted ovum) at 7 weeks. We’ve just gone through our second IVF cycle and have two little embryos on ice waiting for us. The rollercoaster analogy doesn’t quite cut it I don’t think – the emotional struggle and fight for each stage of the IVF process to go, not just right, but perfectly, is exhausting but we are hopeful and feel positive about our frozen embies.
As I’m sure many of you have, we’ve seen all our friends get pregnant at the drop of a hat and my own sister on her first month of trying (!) and although it never really gets any easier, there does come a point of acceptance somewhere down the line which we feel we might be close to reaching. What I’m learning is how unique everyone’s fertility journey is and how even people who on the surface look like they didn’t have any issues getting pregnant may well have had a tough time or difficult pregnancies. No-one’s life is as easy as it might seem!
Opening up about what you’re going through is scary but it’s really helped me get through the past few years. The more women I speak to, the more incredible stories I hear of bravery, triumph and strength and I realise that I’m not at all alone on this journey. Over 3.5 million people in the UK seek help for fertility issues every year and that number is rising, so smashing the taboo of infertility and IVF is something we’re moving closer towards. I, for one, can’t wait for the day when you can tell your boss or team that you’re going through IVF and people actually understand what that means and what support you’ll need without fear of putting your job at risk.
So that’s me in a nutshell! I’m looking forward to sharing the highs and lows of my journey with you but I’d also love to hear about your own stories. Do you also suffer from endo? Are you trying to decide whether IVF is the right next step for you? Wherever you are, I’d love to hear from you!