By Cath Franks on 09/01/2019
I’ve shied away from sharing my own personal story for such a long time.
There have been some heart-stompingly gorgeous bits in it, but it’s also messy and gets a bit ‘out there’ towards the end, and doesn’t end quite how i’d hoped it might…or at least, I wish i’d managed the ending with a bit more grace than I did.
It seems to go against all our deepest instincts somehow, opening up all those most vulnerable bits of ourselves.
We know it’s the same every time you send us a message or reach out for support.
Knowing there’s a real person on the end of those messages is everything, isn’t it?
So this is me…and why I’m so stupidly passionate about supporting others on this path, whether you happen to be at the start, the muddy middle bit or coming towards the end of your journey.
My story started with severe endometriosis.
Despite the pain being truly awful, it was the dread fear that it would affect my chances of having children that bothered me more than anything.
And it did.
We were given a less than 5% chance of conceiving naturally, and told to skip straight to IVF but after a few years with no success, I had to take a break. I was on my knees and just knew I didn’t have it in me to try again, but stopping and not ‘doing something’, not having a plan, felt as though I might as well be giving up.
Over the years my diet and lifestyle had been slowly steadying and settling, and I’d been putting together a recipe of things that I found that felt good for me, things like acupuncture and Reiki which felt right for me, but I know I was probably seconds away from abandoning some of these too because I couldn’t see the changes I was looking for.
I was standing on that line, not quite sure which way the path was going to take me next, whether it was more IVF or beginning to look in to adoption, when I found out I was pregnant naturally.
It felt really wobbly from the start. I don’t know if it was me or the pregnancy, but I even felt like I needed to walk gently in case it all went wrong. And then it did.
I woke up at 19 weeks bleeding heavily and the hospital prepared me for a blood transfusion and the miscarriage that seemed inevitable.
It was the most terrifying week I have ever lived through, not even daring to move or breathe because of the blood loss, but somehow the pregnancy held on.
A nurse popped in one day, I don’t even know how she knew of me as she was from another ward, but she told me that she’d also had heavy bleeding in her pregnancy and that it had all been ok. It felt a bit like an angel popping by, (and still makes me cry), she was the first person that had given me any reason to keep hoping.
It felt like it was touch and go forever, but eventually the bleeding slowed. It never stopped and I was kept on bed rest for most of it, but my little boy arrived safely at full term. They were never able to work out what had caused it all, and I know every single day how differently our story could have ended, and how it was nothing short of miraculous that he survived.
We weren’t sure we could even dare to hope when we felt like trying again, but crazily my daughter came along that first month and the pregnancy was strong and steady, so completely different.
The lovely man who did the c-section to deliver her couldn’t stop saying how she should never have been there…the damage to my ovaries and tubes was too great, I should never have conceived, and she arrived with the cord around her neck three times and a knot in it, but she made it.
That was it, it cemented my belief in miracles, and the magic of conception, and I genuinely thought I’d done it, i’d beaten infertility.
I had no idea there was another chapter to come. Secondary infertility wasn’t on my radar at all.
And this is where it all started to get a bit ‘out there’. I’d never had anything like it before, but it felt almost like being tapped on the shoulder and being told that things weren’t finished yet, there was another little one getting ready to come.
It’s felt so unbelievably clear, that it’s been about this deep soul connection, as if I already know this little soul and have been missing her being with me, being a part of things, even though we’ve never met. It’s not been like anything I’d ever experienced before, or imagined I ever would.
That was 9 years ago, and we’ve tried everything to open the door as wide as possible, including more IVF and donor IVF. I did get pregnant and thought that was it. Despite every caution I thought infertility had taught me, I jumped straight in to the joy of finally getting to meet this babe, and the missed miscarriage that happened knocked the stuffing out of me.
In all that time I’ve never had the courage to open up and write about it. It’s been too ‘woo woo’, too much about secondary infertility which brings up so much guilt and feeling greedy to want more when you should just be so grateful for the incredible miracles that you have; too messy and unresolved; too strange trying to describe missing someone you have never met. Grieving for someone that you’ve never known.
I do wish that I’d been able to manage it with a bit more grace than I have, and I’m still not quite sure what the big old soul journey has been all about. I have the feeling that one day I might, but for now it feels like it’s time to say goodbye to any more babies, and to know that it’s ok for my fertility journey to have reached it’s end.
I have no why idea it’s been such a big part of my life, or why it took this whole spiritual twist, and I’m still not sure I understand why some babes are able to come and why for others it’s not the right moment, or why the journey to reach them needs to be so much harder, or why some kind of need to come in stages.
But I do know that each of these souls is so special, and sensitive and so full of light, and there is such a longing to come, and sometimes such a big plan to the timing of it all, and that following your heart and what feels most right for you is always part of that.
Special souls that need special families and sometimes a little help to get here, and we’re ready with bucket loads for you.
And the understanding that more than anything that sometimes that needs to be deliciously physical and practical AND sometimes it needs to be the out there ‘woo woo’ spiritual stuff or some lovely mash up of whatever is needed most at the time.
With much love,
Cath x x x