"I’ll never forget the day my husband and I were sitting next to the lake in Battersea Park. He said to me that perhaps we should start trying to get our heads around the fact that maybe we would be one of those couples that simply doesn’t have children, and that that would be ok – imagine the places we would see and the travelling we could do? I burst into inconsolable tears. I had no problem getting pregnant, the problem was staying pregnant. This meant repeated cycles of slowly diminishing joy, followed by disappointment (diminishing because the more I miscarried the more we had to lower our expectations for the next time).
That’s when I first met the inspiring and wonderful Emma Cannon…ironically when I was already pregnant. She kept me calm, grounded and hopeful. The first early scan devastatingly revealed no pregnancy, or at least no baby in the uterus. A series of tests revealed that it was an ectopic pregnancy that had to be dealt with quickly. I was now a fallopian tube down and things were looking bleak.
As soon as we realised only one fallopian tube was operational we decided to get going with a course of IVF. Emma helped us assemble a SWAT team of experts in every field. She would supply the acupuncture pins and Michael McIntyre would administer the Chinese herbs under the watchful eye of consultant gynaecologist Adrian Lower, who thoroughly managed the IVF process and more importantly, our expectations at every turn. These were uncharted waters and we had no idea what to expect. But the SWAT team were always there, cheering us on and willing it to work.
After the first week of treatment, it transpired that I wasn’t responding well to the IVF drugs and by the end of the cycle it was revealed that only 2 eggs had been produced. Far from ideal but that’s what we had to work with. We waited to see whether the embryos were dividing and Adrian suggested that we put them back in after 2 days as opposed to the usual protocol of 5. We returned, nervous, but with the dream still alive and then we waited. The management of our emotions during this period had to be the worst part of the process. We tried to remain positive and open to the idea of all good things being possible, as well as being prepared for total despair at any moment.
Throughout it all Emma was there for me: a beacon of light, calm and a source of genuine love for which I am eternally in her debt. Sticking pins in me, whilst making me laugh throughout the whole hideous thing, she was entirely (well maybe not entirely) but hugely and immeasurably, responsible for what eventually happened.
At the 6 week scan Mike and I stared at the screen and I instantly saw two of them beating away!!! We were overwhelmed with elation, excitement, euphoria and relief. From here on in the next 9 months were full of light and shade, but what prevailed most of all was a sense of hope and focus. I had acupuncture with Emma once a week, which became an integral part of the journey, as well as a huge bonus in that I made a friend for life, and someone whom I have turned to at other crossroads in my life – completely unrelated to fertility.
So now, nearly 10 years later, here we are. The proud parents of two happy, healthy and hilarious boy and girl twins named Sam and Evie: the best things to have ever happened to us in all our lives. We wouldn’t have made it without the care and devotion of Emma and her team. What we learnt along the way is to never give up, to stay strong for each other, and to do anything necessary to give yourselves a better chance. Be bloody-minded. It will be worth it in the end. "
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