Nicola recorded the podcast while drinking a strong coffee in Starbucks, two hours early for her appointment with Harley Street Fertility Clinic, London. She began by confessing her feelings about the fertility treatments: “I'm scared, I'm anxious, but I'm also really excited".
Feelings Throughout Lockdown
Nicola said that she had been through “an absolute whirlwind of emotions" leading up to the treatment, sometimes feeling excited, while other times not wanting to go ahead at all, petrified of the treatment not working. However, she managed to overcome her fears and also revealed to us that herself and her sister, "who has two absolutely amazing children – one born during the lockdown" have been able to reconnect during this time.
Nicola's "amazing bonds with [her] family" have definitely helped her emotionally while managing her fertility problems.
During the lockdown, Nicola managed to keep herself busy working on her and Alex’s fitness business. Of course, the pair were "keeping the social distancing, working a lot from home [and] spending some time with family", which made the situation significantly easier.
Nicola spoke about losing hope after being unable to conceive naturally and then having to deal with the impact of the pandemic on her upcoming fertility treatments.
“My battle was in my head. I am not afraid to say that I was diagnosed with PTSD due to my miscarriages. It’s been a really difficult time. In one aspect, I felt that this lockdown has been a blessing in disguise so I could work on myself and be stronger for my cycle."
She later revealed that on the other hand, she felt “robbed" of her IVF treatment thanks to the restrictive measures put in place due to the pandemic.
Postponed IVF Treatment
Although the HSFC opened again in June, HFEA advised fertility clinics that some treatments were not allowed to be continued – and Nicola’s was one of them.
“When the clinics reopened, I was so happy, so elated. I didn’t know that I couldn’t start treatment. A week or two later, I got my results for my natural killer cells. Dr Venkat told me that I could not start treatment.”
Nicola admitted feeling jealous of her followers who were telling her that their treatments were being continued while hers couldn’t.
“I was so angry that other clinics had opened and mine hadn’t. My followers kept telling me go with this clinic, go with that clinic... but I have loyalty. I feel so safe with Dr Venkat, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I will have to wait.”
“My treatment took a massive toll on my mental health. I couldn’t get out of bed and I found it difficult to wash. Carys (acupuncturist HSFC) came over and did some counselling with me and Alex. We really needed it! Hands up – we are a normal couple. Just because someone looks all happy and loved up on social media, sometimes it's not the case. Behind closed doors, when you're battling infertility, and have another closed door of treatment not starting, being in lockdown together... arguments happen."
"It’s brave to admit you need help as a couple. We were not prepared to walk away. [We said] we are definitely having this baby, so that’s what we did.”
The Surprise Email and Phone Call
Nicola spent her birthday with Alex in Manchester. “We had a nice weekend in my favourite city, Manchester. We had booked in a hotel and spa, and even had a cheeky gin and tonic,” she confesses.
Nicola received an email from Dr Venkat outside normal working hours, breaking the news that she could finally restart treatment. However, before she read her email, she had a surprise phone call from Delia at the clinic. "Lovely Delia...called us and was ecstatic for us restarting treatment.”
“So here I am, in Starbucks, two hours away from starting my treatment at Harley Street Fertility Clinic.”
We are over the moon for the lovely Nicola and Alex, and we're looking forward to witnessing the rest of their journey with Harley Street Fertility Clinic, London.
To read Nicola's blog, please visit ivfchasingdreams.com.
If you are thinking of starting your fertility journey, we are looking forward to hearing from you. Please call us on 020 7436 6838 or email us at email@example.com.