Nicola: "The lockdown has made me wait longer for my baby"
The unprecedented Coronavirus has had an impact on all of us, on different levels. Financially, mentally. Everyone reacted differently to the lockdown. A recent study emphasised the fact that, overall, the impact of coronavirus on people’s lives had a positive effect, depending, of course, on the individuals and individual circumstances.
The lockdown imposed drastic effects on fertility treatments, as clinics were advised to shut down for the foreseeable future. Effectively meaning that all assisted reproductive treatments including IUI, IVF, egg collection, and Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycles to be initiated in March, April, and May had to be postponed.
This has had a big impact on our patients, each one them on different stages of their personalized fertility treatments. We have been reaching out to them to ensure they are handling this delay and help them out with any queries they have at this stressful time.
Our patients Nicola and Alex, who had recently embarked on their IVF journey with us, were kind enough to share their personal experience on how the lockdown has affected them.
We welcomed Nicola Manashe and her fiancé, actor Alex Reid to our HSFC family, in December 2019. This is when they started their fertility journey with Harley Street Fertility Clinic in. They were determined to blog their way through their IVF journey, which, sadly, came to a temporary halt in March 2020.
We caught up with them in a telephone interview to ask them about their journey so far, the lockdown and their hopes and dreams for the future.
What IVF stage was Nicola at when the Lockdown started?
“When Coronavirus Lockdown started, I was waiting for the results of my embryos. They were genetically tested and 4 of them came back perfect. I was waiting for Dr. Venkat to tell me when I can start my cycle,” says Nicola.
What was Nicola’s first reaction when her IVF treatment was cancelled?
Nicola’s first reaction to the news of her IVF treatment being cancelled was sadness. “When Dr. Venkat called me, I was really upset.” And no wonder she felt that way, as she was trying for her baby for 5 years. “I am 35 and I feel that I should have been doing this 10 years ago.” Nicola believes that the longer you leave it, the harder it is going to be to have a baby. “I don’t want to be an old mum, although Dr. Venkat tells me I am young, I am fit, I am healthy. All I wanted was to get the treatment going and get my healthy baby.”
These were Nicola’s initial thoughts, that completely changed after a while.
What does she feel now?
“My initial thoughts were a little bit selfish. I had to look at the bigger picture which is not only my health and safety, but Dr. Venkat’s and all the amazing staff at the Harley Street Fertility Clinic,” says Nicola. She continues, “The Government set the Lockdown and to close fertility clinic because there are many, many, many sick people in the UK and in the world that need treatment, and having a baby is not a priority.”
The fact that Nicola’s immediate family is on the front line, completely changed her views. “My stepmother is an intensive care nurse, working around the clock, saving Covid-19 patients. I feel that postponing the treatment was the right decision for my safety.” Nicola mentions news about pregnant women whose babies were born with Coronavirus, friends who gave birth alone, without their partners by their side, and she now feels that postponing the start of her treatment was the best decision.
Passing the time (and, maybe, some wine too…)
How does Nicola spend the lockdown? She confesses, “I am a clean freak, so having a spring clean at the moment.”
What about her blog? “I haven’t been blogging because, emotionally and mentally, I have to digest the information that my IVF treatment has come to a halt and my blog is about starting treatment. I am going to start again soon.”
Other things going on? “Me and Alex are working on indoor fitness. We are trying to help people, not making any profit from it. We are doing live PE classes for children, Alex is doing Zoom sessions for our members and for people who want to be fit.”
After the fitness sessions, Nicola enjoys sitting on her patio, “sunshining,” having maybe a glass of wine, and calling her friends and family on Facetime.
Nicola’s hopes for the future?
Nicola hopes that “this coronavirus comes to a halt and the number of deaths decreases.”
She prays for the NHS staff working around the clock to save lives. “My wishes are for the NHS to get recognition for the absolute amazing work they are doing. I say this from having a family member working around the clock at the age of 60, risking her life and my father’s life.”
She is still very sad. “I hope and pray that this horrible virus that we are fighting stops soon and I start making my dreams a reality, with the help of Dr. Venkat and have a beautiful baby, or babies.”
Nicola’s message for other women who go through an IVF journey
Nicola has plenty of advice for women in a similar situation to her. “Don’t give up hope. Keep dreaming of that baby. Take time to be selfish. This is the time when you can just be you and not the IVF baby-making machine. You stopped your injection, you can have a glass of wine (sorry, Dr. Venkat, you can tell me off for saying that!). Let’s just enjoy this lockdown the best we can, to feel human again, to feel normal again. Relax, if you can meditate, then meditate. Take up some yoga.”
Nicola’s been trying to reconnect with her sister she stopped seeing. “After having so many miscarriages, I stopped talking to my sister who already has a beautiful baby. I realised time is precious, life is precious, and I tried to rebuild those relationships back again. I am very grateful to see my beautiful baby niece”.
Nicola’s piece of advice is to “take time for yourself but make sure you contact your friends or family. If you have no friends or family, remember you are not alone. There is an amazing IVF community out there, like me, who are going through IVF.” Nicola is trying to support other women on her Instagram page, IVF_chasing_dreams.
Nicola promised to blog her way through her IVF journey with HSFC, with all the ups and downs, heartbreaks and heart-warming moments. A large number of women who are eager to improve their chances of getting pregnant through IVF have been super supportive, encouraging Nicola even through this delay.
Although her treatment has temporarily stopped, the battle is not lost. Another war the whole world battles, the war on coronavirus, continues. To be scared and sad is human. To be hopeful and optimistic is also human. And these are the feelings that an IVF warrior like Nicola experiences.
Nicola finishes her interview with a beautiful message for other women: “Wishing everyone the best of luck and praying for your beautiful babies to become a reality.”
We would like to thank Nicola and Alex, once again, for letting everyone witness their IVF journey with the HSFC family.
This is just the storm. We are all waiting for that beautiful rainbow to appear on our skies.