Infertility. A phrase that can be terrifying for those trying to conceive. However, despite being difficult topics to talk about is is estimated that 1 in 7 couples may have difficulties when it comes to conceiving. With a plethora of emotions being tied to infertility, here at Merci Maman we have decided to place a spotlight on the lovely Sophie & Lee, otherwise known as @sprinkleofbabydust. Keep reading to hear all about their journey to becoming parents, as well as a candid look at the male perspective of dealing with fertility issues.
Sophie & Lee’s Fertility Journey
Please could you introduce yourselves?
Hello, we are Sophie & Lee! Both in our early 30’s, living in London with our two babies! We’ve been together ten years this year, married for three.
How has your journey to motherhood been?
My motherhood journey hasn’t been the easiest, in fact it has been one of the hardest journeys of my life to date. What started out as a lot of fun with trying to conceive (TTC), turned into our scariest nightmare. We’ve been through a lot of heartache on our journey to becoming parents, but now that we are, it is the most amazing experience we could ever have dreamed of and more.
We have seen you have beautiful twins, Blaire & Mason. Congratulations! How was your pregnancy with them?
Thank you! After our fertility journey, my pregnancy with the twins was riddled with a lot of anxiety mixed in with excitement! I was constantly checking for bleeding when I went to the bathroom and any slight movement from me in the night, woke Lee fearing something bad had happened! In the early days, we held our breaths before each scan, only relaxing (for a few short days in-betweens scans) once we knew both babies had heartbeats and were okay! My pregnancy went on like that for most of it, only really settling when I reached about 32 weeks. From then, I loved every single second of my pregnancy and watching my bump grow and grow.
Physically, aside a few unscheduled hospital visits, my pregnancy with the twins was good! I carried both babies to term at 37 weeks which amazed both of us and restored a lot of faith and love in my body.
With Blair, I had grade four placenta previa which I was aware off from very early on. This just meant I had to take it easy in my pregnancy, lots of rest! She also had little fluid around her compared to Mason and so we had regular scans to keep an eye on her development. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, Blair was the bigger of the twins weighing a pound heavier than little Mason!
Despite the anxiety through my pregnancy, today I miss my pregnancy and I miss my bump! I’d do it all over again despite the difficult journey that we’ve had.
How are you doing today?
Really good. It’s definitely hard work with two, they forever keep us on our toes (and awake at night) but it’s truly incredibly special and we’re loving every single moment of parenting them both. They’ve brought us so much joy and they’ve warmed and healed our hearts.
And Lee, we often see fertility struggles documented from the mother’s point of view. We would love to know has this journey has been for you?
Losing our first baby shocked me. I never really imagined something like that would happen to Sophie & I. Knowing that I couldn’t do anything to physically help the pain Sophie was going through was incredibly hard. In saying that, I felt that it was my responsibility to carry us both through the loss and heartache that followed.
For a while after the loss of our first baby, I felt like I had lost a bit of wife. Emotionally, it was difficult to continue month after month to try and conceive another baby only to be met with more disappointment and negative tests. I felt like I was letting Soph down, and I know she felt like she was letting me down.
Even after all the tests and being advised that IVF would be our best option to conceive, I felt disappointed that we would struggle to conceive the ‘natural’ way. However, even though it has been the most challenging journey of our lives to date with many bumps along the way (excuse the pun), I’m so grateful for the opportunity of IVF because it led us to having Mason & Blair.
From a guy’s perspective, we have one job and that’s to provide the sperm! Everything else, repeated injections, scans, blood tests, transfers etc., falls to the woman and for me, it was hard to watch Soph go through all of that and me not be able to take some of the physical burden. My role therefore meant stepping up in a more emotional way, being there for Soph to help make the process as stress free as possible for her.
Do you think men find it harder to speak out about fertility struggles?
My biggest fear was not being able to provide us with babies to start and grow our family and I didn’t know who to turn to to talk about that. Whilst I had a lot of support around me, family and close friends, at the time, nobody had experienced a loss or had gone through fertility treatment and therefore it felt like quite a lonely time (despite my support networks best efforts).
I mentioned above, but I’ve always seen my role as the person in our relationship to hold things together. Even though I was hurting, and I was scared, I felt like I had to put my feelings aside. I think I am quite emotionally strong and I’m aware when I feel a certain way and deal with it internally, but going through fertility treatment, you do need an outlet otherwise those emotions can resurface in other negative ways.
Do you have any advice for others who may be going through similar journeys?
Talk. To one another, to friends and family. Don’t bottle up those emotions, and let the stress of it affect your relationship. It’s always easier to look back once you’re through it, and at the time it’s the worst thing ever. But I really hope our story can bring others some hope.
It took us two miscarriages, two IVF cycles and four transfers before we got our positive pregnancy test that blessed us with Mason & Blair so it can happen even when you fear it can’t. Keep exploring, keep fighting and stay strong.
What pieces did you choose? Please let us know the meaning behind the engraving.
I chose a leather bracelet with Mason & Blairs initials and date of birth as a keepsake, and Sophie chose a necklace engraved with ‘Over the rainbow’ alongside Mason & Blairs date of birth.
‘Over the rainbow’ signifies our complete journey through loss and to having our babies here with us now. They are our double rainbow blessing that we fought so hard to have and they really are our dream come true.
We want to massively thank Sophie & Lee for sharing their journey with us.
Below we have linked some useful websites that may aid those who are currently struggling with infertility.