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Infertility

Being pregnant after fertility treatment

“But people do put you in the same category as a normal pregnant woman…they think once you are pregnant, well you are the same as everyone else. Well, you might look the same as everybody else, but actually you are not.” (Liz).

Many women and men find that when they do finally get pregnant after fertility treatment, the emotional rollercoaster is not over. They described a complex mix of emotions, and being very anxious during their pregnancies after the long struggle. Health professionals, family and friends, usually saw no reason not to expect a normal pregnancy. Some felt rather abandoned by medical staff, after intense periods of contact with fertility clinics. As Liz (above) explained that was often difficult for the couple to feel normal. Martha bought a book called ‘The Long Awaited Stork’ which helped her understand why her pregnancy was different.

Marine had a daughter after an ectopic pregnancy and 4 complete IVF cycles. Her daughter was just 5 months old when she described how she was finding it strange to adjust to being a mother after trying to become one for almost 6 years.

 

Marine had started to come to terms with becoming a successful, childless career woman and was...

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Age at interview: 37
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 33
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No it feels a long time ago and, it’s really strange how I now understand, like my perspective on the whole thing has changed a bit. So I try to hold on to how it felt before I got pregnant, just not to forget that, but suddenly the thing is, it was me and the others with babies before and suddenly I’m in that other group and that feels quite odd. Because after a while, because I mean we did try, what was it, five or six years really when you count it all up and so, I started, towards the end when we’d had that many attempts, and it wasn’t going. And we were just going to go through the frozen ones. In fact we said at that last frozen we said don’t try to save them. Just thaw as many as you think you need to get me pregnant. If this doesn’t work out we’ll find something else. So we were both starting to go towards the adoption idea. And during that time I was starting to re-do my identity in a way. So I thought I can be a childless, successful, career woman. I’ll spend a lot of money on my nephews and nieces and on my godchildren. I’ll, you know, be the fun aunt. You know, and I was really trying to change like my image of myself. Obviously who I was. And yes. So yes. 
 
And then suddenly I’m a Mother. So then I had to re-work that again [laughs]. Because I starting to quite like that image of me being a slim da di da women with perfect boobs at age 45. So now that’s all had to be reworked. And that’s fine, that wasn’t hard, but I am in that other group. I’m now one of those women who wants to talk about my baby all the time and blah blah and I’m really trying to keep that fresh memory of what it’s like being on the other side.
 

Women who were pregnant at the time of the interview spoke of being nervous but excited. Some were keen to put their infertility anxieties behind them and just be normally pregnant. But there was also some resentment that others did not necessarily treat the pregnancy as special because it was hard-won.

 

Naomi was pregnant with twins conceived with donor eggs and donor sperm at the time of her...

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Age at interview: 35
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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Yes, it’s weird, because on one hand I feel very different. And we have been going to NCT classes which have been fantastic. We have a brilliant group of people the NCT and there is another IVF pregnancy there actually interestingly. 
 
But you do look around the room and think God these people have had it easy. And you occasionally you find yourself resenting them for it a little bit. But what I find quite strange is, there is a bit of me that just loves being normal again, loves the fact that I can go along to these things and I am just pregnant, you know, I am not poor [name] who’s infertile and wow now miraculously she’s pregnant. And I love that sometimes.
 
But then on the flip side of that, there are times that other people don’t see this pregnancy as special as I see it. May be if I want to speak to somebody at the hospital or whatever and then I get really, really uptight about it. And so people can’t really win. They treat you normal all the time, and that’s not right, they treat you special all the time, and that’s not right either. But it does feel, I imagine, it feels very different to how a pregnancy would after normal conception. You know, it has taken us over five years to achieve this pregnancy. So it isn’t the same as somebody who gets pregnant in their first month of trying. I am not in any way saying that a miscarriage would be easier after normal conception, because fortunately I don’t know. But the thought of everything you have to go through to get pregnant again, just the logistics of it, and the emotions of it, I think it does make you a lot more aware of how precious what you are carrying is.
 
 

Liz, herself a midwife, described how while some will view an IVF pregnancy as normal, she felt...

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Age at interview: 46
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 29
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But people do put you in the same category as a normal pregnant woman, and the people that pooh pooh the precious baby thing, because they think once you are pregnant, well you are the same as everyone else. Well you might look the same as everybody else, but actually you are not. Because of the nature by which you got pregnant. And there is a difference, I think.
 
And there is a difference because, is it because it took so long to get pregnant, or because you felt somehow there was more than likely to be something wrong with him, because…?
 
No it’s because you took so long, it took so long to get pregnant that is it. I don’t think it is more likely to be, I think it is the fact that if there is a bad outcome, you had a miscarriage, an early miscarriage or whatever you had, you can’t just say well leave it three months and start again, there is a whole raft of what you have got to go to get to it. Get to that point even. So it is the starting again thing, I think. Plus the fact that as soon as you get pregnant and that is the same for many pregnant women, particularly those who have had a miscarriage, even though it is a ball of a few cells, you see it as a baby. And then when you have been infertile you feel there is the baby that you thought you would never have, and then you don’t want anything to jeopardise you losing it. So it was, yes, it was definitely. It was all around the experience you have, had been through, but also the one that you didn’t want to go through again and that is what I felt any way.
 
 

Anne was pregnant with her second child. After the anxiety of the early weeks she was now trying...

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Age at interview: 41
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 39
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Tell me about. I know it is still early days, but tell me about how the pregnancy has been so far?
 
Well the pregnancy test we did on Bank Holiday Monday, my partner was like, “[name] I am not going to be horrible, but don’t get our hopes up yet, after what happened last time.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” I didn’t expect that sort of reaction. But I could understand where he was coming from. Because if you get your hopes up too much and then they all come crashing down again and stuff.
 
So I just literally had to take it easy and at six weeks I started going to the EPA Unit at one of the hospitals in [city] which is called the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and I have had weekly scans from week six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven. I think it was. And then I was invited to go for a nuchal translucency scan at week eleven and a half, which I went for, but I declined the scan. Because I had a feeling, because of my age, it would come out quite a high risk. 
 
And the midwife who I spoke to was absolutely lovely. She basically told me the pros and the cons and one of the things that stuck in my mind a lot was, if you were told that you are high risk, i.e. one in five, of having a Down’s syndrome baby how would that make you feel. So I went, “Oh yes, I see what you mean.” So she went away and I was thinking and I was talking to myself in the little room, and I thought, yes she has got a point. How can I go through November, December, January, with that knowledge. I said, “I would be a nervous wreck.” And I said, “I worry at the best of times.” So she said, “You don’t have to have this test.” So I declined the test and I just had a normal scan which showed the baby was fine. I think the baby was asleep because it was sleeping like I was, like I do in bed, with one hand up by my head and then sometimes my leg up, because you can see the scan photo, the leg is like bent. Not like straight out sort of thing. So the sonographer had to check to see whether there was two legs there which she did and she showed me, 
 
But I also had to go to a clinic for this bleeding problem because it was starting to concern me which I have been discharged from, but then I have had to go to another clinic, because of a medical condition that I have got, which can sometimes hinder pregnancy and what have you, and then in the mean time I have had to be, go to midwives. So it has been a constant stream of hospital visits, doctors appointments, midwife appointments, blood tests and then because I know I am Anti D negative. Sorry, yes, Rhesus negative, I know that I am going to have to have another injection at about twenty eight or thirty four weeks of Anti D which is lovely. So I feel as though I am getting my map, my life mapped out sort of thing with all these hospital appointments.
 
I did have some nausea at the beginning but that has eased off now. I still can’t stomach tea. I can drink coffee which is really strange, because a lady in work, who is now on maternity leave, couldn’t stomach coffee. And I said, “Well I can drink coffee,” I said, “but tea, ugh.” I can have one cup probably over two weeks, which is a bit weird coming from a big tea drinker like myself. 
 
But I have been, when it got to week eight and week nine, it was really nerve wracking, thinking oh it is going to happen again. Is it going to happen again, but those scans in the early weeks were absolutely fab. Because they reassured me a lot that, you know, the baby hadn’t died and there was actually something there. 
 
But now that I have got to week fifteen I feel as though I have sort of, I could do with more scans but obviously you can’t but my tummy is getting slowly bigger and as I said at the beginning of the tape the tiredness has really got to me and I am normally quite an active person, going here, going there, coming back, going back out again and what have you, whereas I can’t do that now. I have just got to literally do one step at a time, and take my time and relax. But I am really, really pleased.

I know also that this will probably be my last chance at having a baby because of my age and what have you, so I am really pleased that somebody, I don’t know, perhaps some spiritual being has said, “Yes [name],” you know, “ You will have another baby before, you know, the end of your life time.” Sort of thing, so [laughs].
 
 

Michelle was pregnant with her first child who had been conceived naturally after failed ICSI...

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Age at interview: 29
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 28
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And what was the early pregnancy like? Were the first few weeks quite hard waiting to get to 12 weeks?
 
To start with I think, you know, for the first week or so it was like, oh we never thought we’d get this far. So even if, you know, I miscarried with it wrong, we knew we could do it again on our own. But then gradually after that, the first weeks, we’d been through so much already, can’t bear to think about that. And yeah it was a, a long wait to get to 12 weeks. And my mum had quite a few miscarriages herself and she had a little boy before me who died. And so she was like, we’re not going to buy anything until you’re 12 weeks. And then it was 12 weeks, I’m not going to buy anything until you’re 16 weeks. Then I’m not going to buy anything until you’re 20 weeks [laugh]. So then you know. She used to ring me every day and check out how I was and [husband] fussed over me nonstop and I milked it for all I could [laugh]. Yeah it was. 
 
And we had a scan at 7½ weeks because of this swelling this way just to check that it wasn’t ectopic. And we have a little scan of a picture of what looks like a baked bean. So I ever since then we referred to the baby as beany. So I’m a bit worried that that’s going to stick now [laugh]. So yeah that was, it was. We felt a bit more relaxed when we saw it was in the right place. It was 7 weeks and when you saw it at 12 it’s obviously a little person. 
 
Well just emotionally do you think it’s. I mean obviously you haven’t had a pregnancy before to compare it to. Do you think it has been different because of what went before?
 
I was a very, keen to be one of those people that wasn’t going to keep moaning that this hurt and that hurt and this ached, that ached. Whatever hurts and just be grateful that I’m pregnant. And I have been really lucky. I mean my cousin really went through it and I used to listen to her on the phone and thinking, what now, at least you’re pregnant. When I saw her and I saw the state she was in. She was on crutches and she can’t walk. I am so lucky. But you know, people keep saying. I have got this thing which is awful. I think I deserve an easy labour because I had all the problems before. I’m adamant that that’s what I’m going to have.
 
Those people who are like, ‘Oh we tried for a couple of months and we fell pregnant. It’s so easy and the labour had no stitches. I had no this. And I thought, well that’s not fair. She had one or the other [laugh] which is terrible [laugh]. We went for a walk about at the hospital and they showed where everything was. Went into like a dayroom and there was someone sitting in there with their baby. 
 
But I’m determined I’m not going to have any complications. I said to [husband], ‘At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I push the baby out with my nose [laugh]. I have it, It’s healthy it’s all ours, that’s the main thing. 
 

Women could be fearful of losing the baby that had taken so long to conceive. Mary said she was entirely focused on the pregnancy and kept thinking, “This is my one chance”. Michelle said that she was keen not to moan about minor aches and pains during her pregnancy. Others described the pregnancy as “a little bit more precious” or “a precious cargo for everyone”, which of course influenced the extra care they took of themselves, not wanting to do anything to “jeopardise the pregnancy”.

 

Despite having a fantastic midwife, Catherine says she was ‘neurotic’ through her pregnancy. She...

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Age at interview: 45
Sex: Female
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I was very lucky that I had a really really fantastic midwife actually, who made a lot of difference. Because she just kept saying to me, you know, “The fact that you’ve had problems getting pregnant doesn’t mean you have to have problems being pregnant. The two things are completely different.” Which was actually immensely reassuring. And I was lucky that I had really good care throughout my pregnancy. But at the same time I did feel completely neurotic about everything. And I started reading medical textbooks and kind of pregnancy books in a slightly manic way and became convinced that I had every single thing that you could possibly have wrong with you. I remember saying to her once, “Do you think I’ve got an incompetent cervix?” And she said, “Why would you have an incompetent cervix?” I said, “I don’t know. I could have, couldn’t I?” I got really, I was really worried about everything. And the other weird thing is I don’t think I ever felt properly pregnant oddly. Even when, you know, I had a bump out here, I still used to think that other people were really pregnant and I almost wasn’t really pregnant. It was like I was pretending. And I don’t think I actually really believed that I was going to have a baby until I had my baby there. But all of the time I don’t think I could ever quite let myself believe that it was going to work. And I was, I was really really worried about miscarriage. I mean I know that everyone is. But I was just so worried. I didn’t tell anyone at all apart from my family that I was pregnant for a long time. I didn’t tell anyone at work. I, I found it really hard to, to admit to it, because I couldn’t quite believe that I could be allowed to be that happy really. And it’s kind of sad in a way, because you think you’ve spent all this time waiting to get there and you should be really overjoyed, but instead you’re just really really worried. And I think that’s quite sad in a way. It does kind of affect the way you feel about being pregnant. And I think probably quite a lot of us do end up feeling slightly like that. I mean I was, I was really lucky with my midwives about the whole birth thing. 
 
But I think pregnancy is quite, is not, it’s not quite the same. You sort of feel when you’re going through fertility treatment and you’ve gone through years and years to actually get to the point of being pregnant that that ought to be the end of something. Whereas for most people that’s the beginning of something. And it’s actually quite difficult to think you’ve got another nine months of worry to go before you actually get to the goal that you really want to achieve actually.
 
 

Mary was a corporate lawyer and so anxious during her pregnancy that her law firm sent her home...

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Age at interview: 42
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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It was really dreadful. I was very lucky that I had had an amazing boss at work who had been very supportive. I had to tell him at this stage where I had to take time off for this, that and the other. And he was fantastic. He just said, “Whatever time you need, just take it, take it in the middle huge trials and everything.” He was fantastic. But I went back to work, whereupon I started having bleeds and fainted outside the office. We had three ambulances came, I was collapsed in the foyer, they had brought me in off the street. And then I had huge bleed when I was in the High Court. I rushed around and tried to get a Court Order or something out and rushed back to the office. Anyway and then I had a huge bleed and I had to go straight to the clinic, where they scanned and said, “The baby is still there, the baby is still there.” I think that was about, I must have been about two weeks, two weeks or three weeks then and then I just kept having bleeds for the whole time. And they were very good at the clinic because although you normally … it was a private clinic and you had to pay for scans, they waived that and they scanned me every week free of charge, just so I would know, but I did have about, in the first twelve weeks I had about five bleeds or so, or even more. And you can imagine I was like, beyond hysterical. And when I think after the big bleed my boss called me in and said, “There is nothing more important than bringing this child into the world. You are to go home. We will pay you your full salary but you have got to go home for this pregnancy because I can’t send you off to the High Court and worrying about you when you are off and out.” So I stopped work, which I think was… well physically I was very, very drained. Physically I was weak. I had had the whole IVF thing, all the emotional trauma and it was probably the right decision but emotionally it was very, very difficult then because I was entirely focused on this pregnancy and I kept thinking this is my one chance. If I screw this up, this is one my chance. And everything is resting on it. And so then I became paralysed with fear and didn’t do… I didn’t move and watched Richard and Judy virtually the entire eight months and I was so frightened and I did have bleeds and scares and the whole time and even at five months I was being rushed to hospital with cramps and pains. So it was an ordeal all the way through really.
 
Until your daughter was born?
 
Yes and then she was premature, five weeks premature and small for dates and so that was … no barrel of laughs at any time, but I was very, you know, and you kind of think that you are going to be elated and I put so much and wanted this so much and then, but I was in a way too exhausted and traumatised I think by the whole to be elated. And then I just found it quite difficult to cope. And you feel so guilty, because I thought well l wanted this, and I have gone for this, and I have got, and I have been very lucky because it has worked first time and that is amazing, amazing luck and then why is it such hard going, why do I just want time to myself now [laughs].
 
 

Liz, a midwife, was so anxious during her pregnancy that she would regularly listen to the baby’s...

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Age at interview: 46
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 29
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Do you feel, I mean you have obviously seen a lot of women in your professional life, did you feel that you were more anxious than most women?
 
Absolutely. Definitely. Every day when I went to work, I used to listen to the heartbeat. “She is at it again. There is again, listening to the baby’s heart beat again.” Oh the usual… it was a routine thing with me, because of the worry and professionally that is totally illogical to do that, because I knew that if I was feeling, him or her at the time, I don’t know, move then it was okay. But that wasn’t enough. Not enough reassurance, and so there were, and I did find this with other women who had gone for infertility treatment and because of that that made me more understanding of them. And previously I might have said, “Oh you know, don’t worry. You are all right.” But then I felt it. I felt it the same for me. And because of that, there was, and even down to worrying of there was anything wrong with him, my best friend was at the delivery and the first thing she said to me, “He hasn’t got it, he hasn’t anything wrong with him.” Because she knew that that was the thing I was worried about. Not that, you know, I don’t know, not that she went, “Oh isn’t it lovely.” It wasn’t that, she knew and that, she is a sort of like a really, really good friend, you know best friend. And she knew that that was my thing that I was worried. So that was the first, as soon as she could she reassured me that all looked well. So yes, I think it was more amplified, than I had seen in many women. Probably comparison of that would be women who have had a previous still birth or many, many miscarriages. And I have to say it is probably the same sort of anxiety that is felt. 
 
 

Marine describes how frightening she found her pregnancy.

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Age at interview: 37
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 33
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Terrifying yes. Especially the first few weeks. I had a bit of bleeding and I was on quite, they continued the injections until twelve weeks because I was so, yes, because I tried so hard, and they were worried about losing it, and so I was on quite a lot of drugs and I was worried how those drugs would affect the baby and especially about hormones, because I think if there’s a lot of hormone problems in pregnancy, they think there’s a link to, to you know, gender related, but they don’t [Baby] know whether it’s a boy or girls, these kind of things and so yes, I was worried about that and I was worried about losing it. Yes. I counted every day until about week 29, 30 and then after that it started to go really quickly but it was up until then just every day I woke up, yes, it’s still there. So, terrifying.

Even women who had already experienced a successful pregnancy found their IVF pregnancies especially anxious. Some decided not to tell other people until they felt that the pregnancy was well established, and they were “well and truly pregnant” as Frances put it. Christine, a doctor, said she read every symptom during the early weeks. By nine or ten weeks she started to think it might work and then she just settled down to worry about the rest of the pregnancy. 

The fact that the pregnancy had been achieved through IVF affected some women’s decisions about antenatal screening. Anne discussed the pros and cons of antenatal screening for Down’s syndrome with her “lovely midwife” and decided to decline the test and just have a scan.

 

Martha who had secondary infertility and IVF feels she will never be able to put the infertility...

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Age at interview: 34
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
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Well it is funny, because the very, I mean the first sort of day, I was just like, you know, I finally did it, and then, I pretty much was anxious mess for the next nine months. It was awful. It was an awful pregnancy which is really too bad as well, because you think…. But I was sort of prepared for that because everything, all the stuff I read about said, you know, it is quite hard to sort of get round it, after you had been through all of this and you know you worry. And obviously the first few months were just awful, just waiting, you know, the time when you think oh it still could not work and you could miscarry or whatever and getting the full scan and all that. When you have got that to come back. And I think because you are so programmed by them to think that something is going to go wrong that it is really hard to imagine that it is going to be all right and so and it was nice because one midwife…
 
I was a few months into it, and she said, “Do you…” she said, “Have you, have you accepted the pregnancy yet? Do you feel all right about it. And I thought oh that is a very incisive question and I said, “Well no, frankly I don’t.” And she said, “Yes,” she said, “It is really hard.” Because it turned out her sister-in-law had had secondary infertility and the exact same thing, and she said it was really… You know, so that was nice, that she kind of at least had it. She was the first person really that I had dealt with on the medical side of it that actually seemed to get it, you know, and it just wasn’t surprising. You know, I think midwives do have a bit more of a window into it.
 
And she would ask me every time I got down there, “Are you still worrying? Are you all right?” You know, whatever, and yes, but yes, so … does that answer that question?
 
No, no, that is brilliant. And once you had him did the sort of worry when the baby was born, was that when you could finally start to put it all behind you, or …?
 
To an extent, I mean, honestly I am not sure I am every going to put it all behind me, because I think, I have thought about this a lot and I mean I am a worrier anyway, that is sort of the way I am, but I definitely, I have to work very hard all the time not to sort of over protect him. And in fact, I bought this, there’s this quite good book called the ‘Long Awaited Stork’, which I bought as soon as I had him because I thought actually this isn’t going away and I don’t want to make him a right mess because, you know, this is really not his problem. It is mine. And anyway this book is quite good, because it just does say, you know, it is different, if you have been through all this and you have waited and you know, it is very hard to kind of look at it the same way, as if you had just gone and had this baby. And it is not, it is not to say that I think, you know, he is any more precious then anybody else’s baby, more than [daughter] or whatever, but I think it is more just that you actually, you think a lot harder about what it means to actually have him and I think just because you have got so used to things going wrong that is very hard to let go of that idea, that actually everything is actually all right now, like things are normal now. And you know, it is really, I do find that hard even now. But it is not like, I don’t worry the way I did when I was pregnant with him no, but it is different. I do find it was different than what it was like even with [daughter] when she was a baby. And even, even with [daughter] I think I treat, not treat her differently, I try very hard not to treat her… but you know, but I do feel a bit differently about them, like there is always this sort of gut reaction of having to protect him from different things. And of course he is a baby. And that is the way you feel. But like more so then I do with her and I think it is just because it is a bit of a sort of remnant of all of that, you know, of the way of feeling about the whole thing, so yes. I hope it doesn’t every become a big problem, but yes, I don’t know.
 

Catherine’s second IVF pregnancy felt harder than her first, as she could not believe that she...

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Age at interview: 45
Sex: Female
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It was much much easier actually. I think once you’ve got a child you never feel that sense of isolation in the way that you did the first time round. And although it’s still a difficult process, it’s not easy, you’ve still got the same kind of ups and downs, you, you don’t have that, you know, you’re not this odd, different person any more. You’re someone who actually has a child. It would just be really really truly lovely if you could have another one. And so it doesn’t feel as desperate. I think that one thing that was quite odd about it was I felt really worried about my son when I was doing it again. I really didn’t want me getting upset and having to keep going to the clinic and all of that, I didn’t want that stuff to impact on him at all. And I was quite worried about that, because there were times when inevitably I would get quite upset. And I really really didn’t want him to feel that. And I didn’t want him, I mean he didn’t know what we were doing, he was still really little, but I didn’t want it to affect him at all. And I remember being very conscious of that, and of the fact that I should try not to let it impact on him. And we actually had quite a lot of treatment cycles in that time, mainly frozen. We had four frozen treatment cycles and one full treatment cycle. So there were quite a lot of ups and downs in that period. But I really didn’t want it to upset him. But at the same time I desperately wanted it to work for him, because I just thought, “It would be so lovely if you could have a brother or a sister. It would really just be such a fantastic thing.” And having had a child you kind of knew how wonderful it was and how truly amazing it would be to be able to have another one. But oddly the second pregnancy I found much harder. And my midwife said to me one day that she thought maybe it was that I almost was thinking, “Anyone could have one miracle, but surely no one deserved two.” And it was really like that. The second pregnancy, I was so worried that something was going to go wrong. I was worried all the way through the pregnancy, much more than I was the first time. And I think that was true actually, that I kind of thought, “I’ve been so lucky once. Could anyone really be this lucky again?” And, you know, it’s crazy really, isn’t it? Most normal people just get pregnant and have loads of babies and don’t think about it. But it was such an amazing thing for us to be able to have a second child that I think I felt much more aware of that actually the second time around.

Men also sometimes described the pregnancy as an anxious time. Brian said it seemed to be just too good to be true and felt that, “We are not this lucky” and something was bound to go wrong.

 

Brian and his wife had been given a 3% chance of conceiving naturally. When they did conceive...

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Age at interview: 33
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 32
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We went to the doctor’s and said look you know our situation but these tests say we’re pregnant. Tell us now, are we pregnant. Obviously they can’t do that but you want them to say it. They said, ‘Well all we can do is what you’ve just done. The same tests.’ He said, ‘Which is pointless because you’ve done two and they show you’re pregnant’. He said, ‘What you need to do is have a proper blood test, HCG test or whatever it is they do which is at [hospital] Hospital. So we go back and have the test done at the hospital and then go back to the GP. I think it was four days later to find out that she is pregnant which is fabulous, brilliant.
 
But I have to say, I’m sure [wife]’s probably said the same to you, up until, [cough] up until the viable date for having the child, 24, 26 weeks I didn’t enjoy one day of it because the whole time I’m thinking ‘This is just too good to be true. We’re not this lucky. This has proved it in the past. Something horrible is going to go wrong.’ And every day even now I sit at work thinking, I’m going to get a phone call that something’s gone wrong. And until that baby’s in her arms in the hospital I won’t believe it. Well I will believe it but I won’t, I won’t be able to relax and by that point it’ll be too late. 
 
But it makes you very defeatist. You know it makes, it makes you think the worst of everything all the time. You know I remember [wife] saying something. ‘Do you realise’, she said, ‘This has happened.’ It didn’t work with the ICSI treatment. One of the fish died. I brought [wife] the kitten Thomas and within a, within three months he’d been run over and had to have his hip removed. And then something else has happened. It’s like four things. You know it just, just seemed that the world’s against you. And it does feel like that. But yes it worked out ok in the end. 
 
And we’re very lucky. I mean to be honest I’ve no idea what we will be doing now. I don’t know how many times we, I don’t know how many times. I’ll rephrase that. I could have continued with the ICSI treatment until it worked. I don’t think [wife] could have. I think [wife] would have got to [ah] the second or third stage, two or three times before she would have given up. I don’t think mentally she could have hacked it to be honest or physically possibly. And how much, how much should she have to put herself through that pain and anguish and anger and all the millions of emotions she must have been feeling. 
 

Not everyone was anxious about the pregnancy. One of the men, James, said that it seemed to him his wife had had a relatively easy, good pregnancy. Frances conceived twins with donor sperm. Although she had had a difficult first pregnancy she was confident second time around that the doctors understood her health condition and would manage her health problems.

 

Frances was calm and confident that doctors were able to manage her blood clotting condition. She...

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Age at interview: 45
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 32
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How did you find the rest of the pregnancy after you had got through the sort of first weeks. Was it…?
 
After I got through the first weeks and knowing what had caused the problem the first time, so they were therefore, once the problem was known there was no cure for it, but there was a way to contain it. So there is a blood substitute, there is a clotting agent you can be given, a clotting factor. It doesn’t last very long, you don’t need it unless you start to bleed again, but at least all that was in hospitals everywhere. It was all over the place. So I felt quite relaxed that that wasn’t going to happen again. 
 
I actually, for the most part during the pregnancy. For the middle section of the pregnancy I was absolutely fine, because once I got over the morning sickness and I didn’t worry about the pregnancy. I don’t know, I had no tests done, because you can’t test very easily with twin pregnancies for a lot of the things that you normally test for. Blood tests in twin pregnancies don’t work because there is so much pregnancy hormone because you have got two babies that if you test for all sorts of things it doesn’t work. They couldn’t do, they couldn’t put a needle into me, so they couldn’t test. So… and then I can remember thinking well suppose they could test, and there was something wrong with one baby and not wrong with the other baby. What were you going to do with the information. So I just blithely went along totally. 
 
And I remember being very calm about it. And I can also remember feeling strongly that it would just be fine.
 
And it was.
 
It was fine. That was in the middle stages of the pregnancy. Towards the end I became less sure. Towards the end I did start to worry, partly because my son wasn’t growing so I was having lots of extra scans. And being told basically to sit down and eat and see if we could get the baby to start growing again. So that was a worry and then I did start to worry about the delivery and whether or not it would go smoothly or whether or not I would bleed again and whether that would be it. And I did have my Will rewritten before I delivered the children.
 


​Last reviewed July 2017.
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