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Chloe & Jenna, UK
"When we first looked into starting a family, as two women, we knew there would be some hurdles. But I look back now and cringe at how na��ve we were.
The truth is, no matter how much your baby is truly wanted and prayed for, it doesn't take away from how difficult the journey to parenthood can be.
Our IVF journey was relatively straightforward, albeit full of medications, injections, scans, appointments, and expenses!
We were extremely lucky to fall pregnant after our first round of reciprocal IVF. When I hit five weeks pregnant, I very quickly discovered that I wouldn't enjoy pregnancy the way I had imagined. I was admitted to the hospital with severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is an extreme form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
The weeks that followed were some of the hardest and most traumatic of my life. I lost more than a stone and a half in weight, experienced tooth decay, required frequent IV fluids in the hospital and was unable to do basic things like eat, drink, shower, get dressed or leave my bed. My partner essentially became my full-time carer, and my mental health took a massive hit.
I wanted this baby so badly, we had prayed for this for years, why wasn't I feeling grateful or happy about the pregnancy? I spent many weeks battling this emotional turmoil, wondering if I could carry on like this. I'd met so many people within the IVF community who would do anything to just be pregnant, yet here I was praying for my pregnancy to be over.
As I entered the second trimester my symptoms slowly started improving. But this came hand-in-hand with the onset of health anxiety, likely caused by the amount of time I'd spent in the hospital and how poorly I had been. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy on edge and was convinced that something would go wrong. Looking back now, I can honestly say I didn't enjoy a single part of my pregnancy, in fact, they were some of the darkest days of my life. It was so far from the beautiful, glowing, joyous experience I thought it would be and I felt robbed of the pregnancy others talk about.
Our daughter Leni arrived into the world via emergency C-section in November 2021. And in that moment, for the very first time, the entire nine-month ordeal felt worth it.
She was the most content, fuzzy, peachy, milky little baby who melted my heart. We both recovered quickly and were discharged the day after she was born. I don't think anything can prepare you for how life-changing those first few weeks at home are.
We were emotional and over-tired but absolutely besotted with this tiny human. We second-guessed everything, spent a ridiculous amount of time googling for reassurance and panicked A LOT.
Leni is now 19 months old and is everything we imagined and more. She is cheeky, sassy, massively independent and makes us smile every single day. Our journey as first-time mummies has been quite the challenge! And I'm sure most mums will relate to the notion that we've been 'absolutely winging it!'
We're over the moon to announce that we're three months pregnant with our second baby. Though like the pregnancy with Leni, I'm just recovering from a rough and tough two-month stint of Hyperemesis Gravidarum again.
Although we were expecting it and felt more prepared for it, it doesn't take away from how difficult it truly is to live through. I found it even more challenging this time around with having a toddler to look after too! Thankfully we make a great team and Jenna has been amazing to keep all the plates spinning during my hospital admissions.
Sadly, due to trauma caused by Hyperemesis pregnancies, this is likely to be our last pregnancy and last baby. We feel somewhat robbed but will always be eternally grateful for our chance to have a family at all.
My experience is that no matter how much a baby is wanted, pregnancy can be difficult and unenjoyable for some. I only wish I'd known at the time that my feelings were valid and normal, I wasn't ungrateful, I was just struggling. And that's ok."
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to our support page for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.