Mother’s Day was just another reminder that I couldn’t get pregnant

“The one thing I had always wanted was children,” says Amber, who was 21 when she and partner Josh decided to try for a baby. “When it was confirmed that I had blocked fallopian tubes and we would need IVF I was devastated; I felt as though my body had failed me. I felt bad for my partner and worried that if he was with someone else he would have had children by now. 

“I was one of those naïve people who thought I would fall pregnant in the first few months of trying. We had been together since we were 18 and we had always been interested in being young parents. I had really not given it a thought that we might struggle to conceive, my parents were 20 when they had me and Josh’s mum had her children young and so we assumed it would be the same for us.  

“After about six months I thought ‘oh okay, this is a lot harder than I thought’. I am a very organised person and I started doing ovulation tests every day and so instead of sex being a romantic thing it became a regimented thing of ‘right this is the right time, we need to do it now!’ 

“We waited another 18 months before going to the GP by which time I had done a lot of research and I just knew that something wasn’t right. 

Amber, Josh and Hallee - credit Kate Boston
Amber, Josh and Hallee - credit Kate Boston

The GP asked us to see us together

“At first we thought the issue might be with Josh because of surgery he had on one of his testicles as a teenager to remove a cyst. He was really worried and convinced that it was him. 

“Our GP was really lovely and actually asked us both to come in and have a chat with him at the same time. He asked us lots of questions about how long we had been trying and he sent us for some tests.” 

Josh’s first sperm sample showed low motility and he was sent for another test which came back as normal. The couple were then sent for further tests at their local hospital – which is when the cause of their infertility was finally diagnosed. 

“I had an internal scan and there was a massive dark patch on the screen which looked like a big ball,” remembers Amber.  “I was petrified because I thought it must be a massive tumour and I was absolutely panicking and my mind was racing but the doctor reassured me and said ‘it is not what you think.’ After I got dressed he was sitting at his computer tapping his fingers on his desk and he said to me ‘have you ever had any operations on your stomach?’ and I was going to say ‘no’ but then I remembered that I had a burst appendix and infection when I was four.  

“The doctor said ‘can I have a look at your scar?’ and as soon as he looked at it he told me that it wasn’t normal. My scar is inverted and looks like someone is pulling it from the inside and the doctor said he suspected that the scar tissue from when I had my infection had probably attached itself to my reproductive organs and that I would have a lot of scar tissue and would probably need IVF.” 

I felt like my body had failed me

A laparoscopy and dye test confirmed that Amber’s tubes were blocked and that she had so much scar tissue that the doctors couldn’t locate her ovaries or fallopian tubes.  

“When it was confirmed that I would need IVF I was devastated,” says Amber. “The one thing I have always wanted is children and it was like my body had failed me and just said ‘no’. I started feeling really bad for Josh and worried that if he was with someone else he would have had children by now.” 

The couple were entitled to NHS-funded IVF and chose to go to Bourn Hall Clinic but their treatment was delayed when clinics were forced to close because of the pandemic.  When they were finally able to resume their IVF journey at Bourn Hall Amber began her course of medication before egg retrieval took place in October 2020. 

“I had to have a general anaesthetic for my egg retrieval and I remember coming round from the procedure and being told that they had retrieved seven eggs and I burst in to tears and said ‘that isn’t enough’ because I had done my research and had read about people having 20 eggs and I was worried that I was going to lose them all. 

“I needn’t have worried though because we ended up with four fertilised embryos, one was transferred to me and three were frozen.  

My first ever positive pregnancy test

“During the next two weeks I didn’t feel any different and that started to make me feel even worse! I was hoping that I might feel sick but I didn’t feel anything so it felt like a really long wait. 

“When we did the pregnancy test it was the first time I had ever had a positive pregnancy test and I completely freaked out, we just stared at it. Josh didn’t believe it and wanted me to do more tests, it was almost like he was reserving his feelings and didn’t want to get his hopes up. So we did another five and then more the next morning and it finally began to sink in that we were pregnant. 

“Our daughter Hallee arrived in July 2021 and I just felt over the moon. We didn’t know that we were having a girl and when they put her on my chest I said to Josh ‘what is it?’ and he said ‘it is a little girl’  and I was just absolutely elated. It was as though we had gone in to this weird little bubble just the three of us and we had had to fight so hard to get her and it felt as though she was meant to be part of our little family. 

“It feels fantastic to finally be a mum, it is something I was born to do. Hallee has changed me in to a better version of myself, she is amazing.” 

Amber and Josh got married last September and Hallee was the ‘star of the show’ as their flower girl says Amber. 

“Our wedding day felt complete with Hallee being such a huge part of it.  She has such a confident funny little character and makes everyone she meets smile.” 

Hallee - credit Kate Boston
Hallee - credit Kate Boston

Thinking of others on Mother’s Day

 As Amber prepares to spend her second Mother’s Day with Hallee she says she will be thinking of other women going through their own fertility struggles as she remembers her own emotional journey. 

 “Mother’s Day I would say is very triggering for women who are going through infertility and IVF as it’s a reminder of what you long for but don’t know if you will ever have. It’s hard to separate those feelings rationally.  

 “Now I am a mum it is an incredible feeling to know what we have been through to get to where we are now and makes me so proud and reminds me how lucky we are. Everything feels so much more special to me. But I will never forget the feelings that I felt prior to being a mum and the anger I would feel towards my body so I really do resonate with women who are going through the same.” 

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