RHG-IVF Life has launched Time for Teachers to encourage people in education who are planning fertility treatment in the summer holidays to think about having their first consultation in June  rather than late July.  This may give them the chance of completing treatment before returning to school in September.  Read how former teacher Katie reflects on the benefits of treatment during the holidays, to minimise stress and maximise the chance of success.

Soon after my husband and I were married we got pregnant, naturally. We weren’t particularly trying, but were still in the honeymoon period, relaxed and living a stress-free life. I was a primary school teacher in a great school and my husband a director of his own company. Life was good and we were over the moon to find out we were expecting.

But fast forward four weeks . . . a heart-breaking miscarriage.

No one can prepare you for the loss and grief that you feel. I suddenly realised I was desperate to have a baby. It’s OK, I thought – it happened so easily for us, we will get pregnant again soon and have fun trying. Six months went by, a year, then two years . . . nothing.

Why me? Why us?

This had a profound impact on me. It felt like everyone around me was getting pregnant. It hurt. Why not me? I became insular, reclusive almost. I didn’t want to see anyone and face the questions. I didn’t want to talk about it. My husband and I both still grieving, shared the same emotions. It was us, just us, no one else understood.

After three years of trying and still nothing, I eventually went to my GP who referred me to the fertility clinic based at my local hospital. For the first time in a long time I felt positive about things. I was going to get ‘fixed’ and have a baby. But making appointments was tricky, I didn’t want anyone at school to know, so I just had to say: “I have a hospital appointment,” and luckily no questions were asked. To begin with anyway . . .

After investigations and then Clomid (to no avail) we quite quickly decided that IVF would be the best route for us. There was no explanation for why we didn’t conceive again after the miscarriage and I wanted to get started with it as soon as possible.

In hindsight, the timing probably wasn’t great as it was the start of a new term in school and I didn’t think about the appointments I would need and time off for the egg collection and embryo transfer.

Confiding in colleagues

I knew that I would have to confide in my headteacher and a couple of my colleagues who I worked closely alongside. My colleagues were great, very supportive and it was honestly good to speak to them and help them understand why my spark had disappeared in the previous months. I should have spoken to them sooner.

But my headteacher had a slightly different reaction – I was surprised at the lack of empathy and support that was offered and was told quite abruptly that appointments should be made in my own time or any time off would have to be unpaid. I was unsure of my rights and how best to take care of myself in this situation. I didn’t want to have to talk to the governors about this private, personal matter to me. So I accepted this and took the time off when I needed to as unpaid leave.

My first cycle of IVF, although I was excited by it, left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. The unfamiliarity of it all, the rushing between school and clinic for specific appointment times, the hormone injections involved, recovery times, the phone calls, all whilst trying to remain professional in school teaching a class of 28 four and five year olds certainly took its toll.

Heartbreak – again

At precisely the moment when my class and I should have been planning our Harvest Festival, I was crumpled on my bathroom floor clutching my third negative pregnancy test of the day. The IVF had failed. I had called in to work ‘sick’ that morning, not knowing how I could face the 28 children coming through my classroom door.  

I was very, very angry. Heartbroken.

IVF is an unbelievably stressful process. It’s an emotional, mental, and physical rollercoaster ride with few highs and lots of interminable lows. I am guessing many teachers know that; thousands of women undertake IVF every year so some of those must be in the teaching profession.  

After this first failed attempt, I felt that for the next go, things would have to change. I couldn’t give my all to my class whilst going through the processes, I didn’t want to have to explain to anyone why I needed yet more time off. We decided to leave it for a while and hope that we would be able to schedule it around school holidays. That way, I wouldn’t have to rush around, take calls when I was supposed to be teaching, take time off unpaid, or explain to anyone what I was doing.

A new approach

I started going to acupuncture, I loved these sessions. They helped me to relax and it felt like I was talking to a therapist; I had such positive energy. My husband and I also managed to squeeze in a weekend away, we literally forgot about everything, just enjoyed ourselves and took the time to reconnect. No talk of babies, IVF, egg collecting. It was lovely to just be us again.  

Then before we knew it, it was the school holidays! I was so relaxed, full of positivity. I had time for the appointments, I could get to them for whatever time was needed, which can be so important during the IVF cycle. I could rest up after the egg collection, and more importantly, after the embryo transfer. I had no worries about getting back to my class, or who was going to cover the class for me. The experience compared to the first cycle was completely different.

We had an embryo transferred at the end of July and then we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. And then we got our positive pregnancy test! For self-preservation purposes, we did not allow ourselves to get excited.

We heard the first heart beats at six weeks. We were still not ready to get excited.

Then I started bleeding, not just a little, but a heavy bleed. RHG booked me in for an internal scan straight away. And against all the odds, there was our little bean, wriggling around, heart beat as strong as ever. The bleed was caused from a pocket of blood that had built up in my uterus. Oh the relief! I will never, ever forget that day.   

We had a baby boy, born at 36 weeks. A beautiful, healthy baby boy.

Infertility is a hard battle for anyone, but I will say that I found it extremely hard as a teacher. Working so hard for other people’s children, when you are faced with the possibility of never having your own, is a heartbreaking reality to enter every day. I really benefitted from using my time wisely during the school holidays . . . I honestly believe that this helped me to finally become a mummy.  

Time for Teachers

RHG-IVF Life understands the time restraints on teachers and wants to help them plan their treatment schedule so they have the very best chance of a positive outcome.  Making ‘time for teachers’ will hopefully remove some of the stress for them, which is a key part of successful treatment.

The clinic is making additional priority first visit consultation appointments for people in education, including teachers, lecturers, pre-school providers, and teaching assistants, during the June half-term, and in later afternoon appointments, before the school year ends in July.

In addition, teachers can receive a free 15-minute mini-consultation before any first visit consultation.  To register, visit the website and complete this form.

 

 

Another lovely message from more happy patients – what an amazing way to end the week. Congratulations Laura & Matt, from all of the team at RHG! ?

“Well what can I say!

Our little man was born 6.12.20 – weighing 7lb 9oz ?

RHG you have been fantastic – you have exceeded our expectations far and beyond. I can’t really put into words the whirlwind of emotions you feel going through the IVF process however the support of such a fantastic team made it only both easy and positive for us.

The IVF experience gave me such a keen interest in fertility and helping and supporting others going through their journeys, it will always be such a special memory & something I can be so positive and happy about.

Luciano – what an amazing person you are! Your skill, knowledge, support & caring nature is so admirable. Karen, you too are so kind, friendly and supportive. All the nursing staff, reception staff, every single person at RHG – THANK-YOU.

Can’t wait to have some normality in the world so I can come and visit you all!

Thank you so much for everything. Laura & Matt”

Where can I start? 

Our journey started in 2017 when I had a ruptured ectopic. This followed by 3 other miscarriages and another ectopic. 

At the time, I was under the care of an NHS hospital and thought my needs were fully met… well I was wrong! 

I remember crying every day and feeling like a total failure. What’s more, the increase of pregnancy losses had taken a massive toll on my mental health. I am quite a strong person with a very bubbly personality but slowly but surely I became a recluse and personal relationships with friends and family had been strained.  

After great research I came across RHG and had done a lot of research from pregnancy/ baby forums to fertility support groups. I read a number of fantastic reviews about Professor Nardo and felt it was a no brainer to choose the clinic. 

Professor Nardo is an outstanding medical practitioner and I knew after my consultation that I had made the correct decision. As a result, I was LISTENED to for the first time. He advised my partner and I to have further pregnancy loss investigations. This consisted of me having the hysteroscopy and the EMMA/ALICE/ERA test. I welcomed the idea of investigating this as this was crucial in order to achieve my goal. The next stage was to have an egg collection followed by a transfer. Prof Nardo and his team collected a whopping 32 eggs, 20 fertilised and 10 made it to blastocysts. I couldn’t believe how much I responded to the medicine.  

A special mention to Suzanne Loughlin, who gave me the personalised care and reassurance. Katrina Green who gave me the confidence throughout the treatment as at times I ‘was picking myself off the floor’. 

Currently, I am pregnant and without Professor Nardo and his team I would still be the shell of person I once was. He is clear and concise with the information and I know he is highly determined to create life for many couples.  

To Professor Nardo & team,

Introducing our beautiful baby daughter, Ava who has completed our family. We are truly grateful to all at RHG for everything you have done to help us achieve our gorgeous children.

Ava is pictured here with her big brother Jacob, who would also never have been possible without you and the team. They are both genuinely a dream come true and something we never would have thought possible before turning to RHG.

By no means was ours an easy journey but it was worth the wait for these two superstars! The support we received from each and every one of you throughout our time with RHG was amazing and I believe is what makes the clinic unique in it’s approach.  We thank our lucky stars every day that we had you on our team !

Louise & Luke

‘Just like to say thank you to Dr Nardo and the RHG team who made this possible. Dr Nardo saw that I needed extra help and kept a close eye on me during the first few weeks of my pregnancy.

I have had so many people approach me wanting to know if I can help or recommend anyone.

I can’t recommend RHG, Dr Nardo and his team enough!’

 Thank you very much for your kind words and many congratulations from all of us here at RHG.

Watch our latest video as we are joined by former patients Jen & Connor, who talk to us about their fertility journey, treatment with Reproductive Health Group and how starting a family has changed their lives.

Former patient Cheryl discusses her fertility journey, her ICSI treatment & why she would recommend RHG.

Read Cheryl’s story…

After getting married in 2002 and trying for a baby without success we embarked on our IVF journey in 2006, and after 5 failed attempts between the NHS and privately, we decided to stop and rebuild our lives as the emotional rollercoaster of the fertility journey had really took its toll physically and mentally.

In 2013 as I was approaching the age of 40 in the following year we decided to give IVF one more go, and if this didn’t work this time it wasn’t meant to be. We did our research to look for a private consultant that had a good reputation and that could help us, and that led us to Mr Nardo.

Mr Nardo was amazing from day 1, really took time to go back to basics and look at all our medical history and what we had been through. On further examination Mr Nardo noticed a problem with my womb which needed to be operated on in his professional opinion would be needed before a successful conception happened. A problem on my womb that no one had previously picked up on was then rectified by a day case operation and then once I had recovered we embarked on 1 final attempt of IVF.

With RHG everything felt so different, Mr Nardo was always empathetic and always encouraging us to stay positive and there was always the personal touch from Mr Nardo you could always speak to him directly something that had never happened before. In November 2013, we got the best news ever we had a positive pregnancy test, something my husband Glen and I had never thought would happen.

In July 2014 – Our beautiful miracle baby Sophia arrived safely into the world on exactly week 36 of my pregnancy weighing 4lb 5oz. We will never forget how Mr Nardo and his team helped us achieve the gift of life which we thought would never happen, I do believe he is the Miracle Man of the fertility world he is truly amazing.

Our hopes, dreams and prayers had finally been answered, being a mummy and daddy was what we had always wanted, we were so happy a little family we had finally become, sadly from Sophia being 3 months old Glen her daddy started suffering with his health, he had suffered with a heredity liver disease for about 15 years which the condition had always been manageable, to it then becoming end stage liver disease to the point where he would need a liver transplant to survive.

Another emotional rollercoaster was about to start, Glen was placed active on the waiting list in April 2015. In November 2015 we got that call in the middle of the night to say that a liver had become available, off we went to Leeds where the operation would take place. Glen had further tests to find out that another problem had now occurred on his lungs and the consultant would not allow the transplant to go ahead as they did not believe Glen would survive the operation.

A devastating blow, one that caused Glen to be suspended on the transplant waiting list whilst they tried to rectify the problem on his lungs, the more the time elapsed the more Glen was deteriorating to the point at the beginning of April 2016 when Glen was being best man at his best friends wedding, he did a speech despite being breathless and not feeling well at all to then be taken to hospital on the same day. On arrival his oxygen levels were only 40% and the doctor treating him did not even know how he was standing on that level of oxygen let alone being able to do a best man speech.

After trying desperately to try and get his oxygen levels up without success, Glen was transferred to intensive care and a couple of days later he had to be put on a ventilator, and from then on he was just deteriorating until sadly on 20th April 2016 Glen lost his brave fight for life at the age of 39.

Life had truly been an emotional and cruel rollercoaster for Glen, from desperately wanting to be a dad and it finally happening after years of trying and unsuccessful fertility attempts he was then gifted with being a Daddy to his Princess Sophia and that was sadly short lived as Sophia was only 20 months when her daddy passed away.

I believe things could have been different if Glen had received the call that a liver had become available sooner, sadly not enough people are opting to be on the organ donation register and sharing their wishes with their families what they want when they die, so people like my husband are sadly losing their lives waiting.

Raising awareness of the importance of organ donation and the importance of talking about it to your loved ones and sharing your wishes is something that I am completely passionate about doing as I know first hand how heart wrenching it is watching someone you love more than anything in the world deteriorate day by day and the only way they are going to survive if someone gives them the gift of life by donating their organs when they no longer need them.

I hope sharing Glen’s story will make others think about organ donation and talk to their families as you really and truly do not know when someone you love will need a transplant.

Former patients Colette & Chris talk about their fertility journey with Reproductive Health Group and how starting a family has changed their lives.

You can view more testimonials here.

Former RHG patient Michelle introduces us to her little ones, Elliott & Elodie. She also talks about her fertility journey with Reproductive Health Group.

In the first in our series of patient story videos, former RHG patient Jen Pritchard discusses her fertility journey, her treatment & how starting a family has changed her life.

You can read more about Jen’s story here.