Trying by Michelle & Clive 

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When somebody asks me how long we have been "trying", I ask them, have they got an hour for me to explain? I put trying in inverted commas because I don't actually know if I can still class us as a couple that have been "trying" nonstop for a certain amount of years. Our journey has been that of a rollercoaster, and during our time, we have had a failed IVF cycle here in Ireland, we were naturally blessed with the most precious child, our boy Zach, who was given to us for a short five weeks in August 2017 and then cruelly taken away from us again, and then a failed ICSI cycle in Prague as recent as February 2019. 

Clive and I met when I was just 18 years old, and even at that young age, I knew I wanted children. Clive already had a young son when we met, and he was adorable, still is in-fact.

In early 2013, after 4 years of trying to get pregnant, becoming completely obsessed with trying to get pregnant, crying at the news somebody else was pregnant, getting poked and prodded with needles and all sorts of ‘investigation operations’ and continuously being told nothing was wrong (UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY) we made the decision to undergo a round of IVF. Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t meant to be and although everything went extremely well throughout the process, it didn’t work. Not one egg fertilised. It was a heart-breaking time. I felt useless. I'm a woman and I can't even give my husband a child. It took me a long time to get over the IVF failing and come to terms with it all.

 After about a year of feeling sorry for us and our journey, I started doing something that I was passionate about. Doing something that took my mind off trying to become pregnant. I set up a blog! I had spent 5 years by now focussing on one thing that I now realised was totally out of my control and I honestly had enough of it. It's like something went off in my head and there was a shift. I changed jobs and started doing something I loved and the whole 'getting pregnant' obsession started to ease. 

 Shortly after starting my new job in 2015, I lost my amazing, kind, soft, loving, handsome (the list could go on) brother Derek to suicide. After losing Derek I really threw myself into my job, it was my escape from dealing with losing him. Probably not the right way to deal with grief but that's what I did. I became very closed off and the affectionate girl I once was seemed to have disappeared. It was a tough time for our marriage. I wasn't the same girl Clive had married and things got pretty rocky. Luckily for us, we got back to our happy place eventually. 

I became so focused on having a 'career' that I even began to wonder if I even wanted to have a child. Our minds have a way of tricking us into believing things as a coping mechanism. Obviously, I wanted babies, loads of babies, but I think the only way I coped with the fact that I STILL hadn't ever conceived was to make myself think I didn’t want a baby anymore. 

I had only been trying to convince my friends that I 'didn't think I wanted to have kids anymore" when I found out I was 7 and a half weeks pregnant. 

Yes, I was pregnant. Me.... PREGNANT. Just out of the blue and all natural too! We couldn't believe it! I believed my brother had sent this little miracle to us. This was meant to be. This was the way it was supposed to happen. I felt like the luckiest woman alive. Our news brought so much joy and happiness for our family and this baby was always going to know how very special they were. 

Suddenly and very sadly, Zach arrived into this world at 7.50pm on the 15th of August 2017 at just 23+6 gestation. He was 730g and the most beautiful boy I have ever set my eyes on. 

From the moment he was born until his last breath he was a feisty little man who gave it his all. He overcame the biggest milestones that tiny NICU babies face, and he kept getting stronger and stronger. Not for one second did I think we wouldn't get to bring him home. 

When he was 4 weeks old, he got a blockage in his ventilation tube while it was being suctioned and he went low on oxygen when the blockage was there, but it was fixed, and they got him back on track. A day or so passed and it was noted that he hadn't urinated. The news we received was that his kidneys no longer appeared to be functioning due to the lack of oxygen during this blockage incident. Over the next few days we had so much hope that his kidneys would start working, and he had a little catheter into his bladder but there was no urine being made so no fluids leaving his body despite all the medication that should be helping.

We will never ever get over losing Zach. Another baby will not fix us. 

Zach has given me more than I could have hoped for, he made me a mother, I am his mammy and always will be. He taught me so much about love. His loss has hurt us beyond words, and I would literally give my everything to have him here, even myself but what he gave me is strength. Strength to never give up. He has given us HOPE. He is proof that we can get pregnant. It's just not going to be an easy road for us like it is for some. We will never give up, and we will do whatever it takes to give our boy a sibling. 

Since we lost Zach, we have actively been trying to conceive again since January 2018. We were under the care of Dr. Phil Boyle of Neo Fertility for almost 10 months in 2018. Dr. Phil Boyle is the loveliest man I have met. He has so much knowledge and genuinely cares for his patients. It was Dr Boyle who recommended Proceive to us initially. He is the first person in our entire journey who has ever been able to give us a reason as to why we struggle. My hormone levels were found to be below the levels suitable for conceiving naturally. He got them to a normal level and all looked good. He had a plan in place for when I got pregnant again and there will be no chances taken, I will be on progesterone and I will also need a stitch as we now know I not only struggle to fall pregnant, I have an incompetent cervix, hence Zach's early arrival. 

I got impatient and we decided to go abroad for ICSI. It was quite a rushed and desperate decision. We went to Prague (Gennett) for our ICSI cycle in February of this year, and the entire process was smooth, we had a really nice time over there and enjoyed the process. I think being away was a nice bit of downtime, away from real life and day to day chores.

Unfortunately, once again, we were knocked back when we got a BFN a couple of weeks later. Naturally, we were devastated but kind of took it on the chin. Nothing really hurts as much as what we have lost. 

We have now decided to go back to basics, get our bodies and minds in the best possible shape and have made changes to our lifestyle to give ourselves the best possible chance, and a huge part of this is our daily sachets of Proceive Max. I truly believe that with all this goodness, there will be a reward. I'm now in the middle of a letrozole cycle, and if it's not successful, I’m booked to have a D&C, Laparpscopy and Hystroscopy at the end of July. Once we know what that brings back we can take it from there. 

I know we will get there, and we won't stop trying. There is no love like there is for your child and I didn't even know that until we had Zach. I have so much love for him it hurts, and I have so much more to give. 

To anyone out there on this journey, remember, when you choose hope, anything is possible.... 

 Proceive advanced fertility supplements are now available online at Boots.


Amy Green