It was back in May 2010 when my whole world fell apart. I was 15, hadn’t started my periods and I was getting increasingly concerned, especially as my younger sister had already started hers. My mam booked me an appointment with our GP and so we went, I was so nervous as I just knew something was wrong. The GP referred me to my local hospital when the tests began. I had never suffered with any sort of anxiety before, but this just blew it out of the water. During my first appointment I was actually physically sick. It started with my mam and I waiting in the children’s department of the hospital. I had to have my weight and height measured in the room with two doctors. I was examined internally, told to take my bra off, prodded and poked. I was left sobbing and in complete shock. The next test was in the maternity ward with new expectant mothers for an internal ultrasound, with tears streaming down my face I sat next to a glowing pregnant woman. I was then told that I would need to have more hormone tests at their fertility clinic. What? I was only 15, why was I needing to go there?
When I returned home I was a mess. I went straight up to my room and just sobbed, feeling like I had been violated and unable to process what just happened. I was not prepared in the slightest. During that time I was in the middle of my GCSEs, but soon I was struggling to even get out of bed on a morning with exams being the last thing on my mind. At this time I also got my first boyfriend, I tried my hardest to forget about the hospital and instead focused on spending time trying to be happy in my new relationship .
My follow up appointment came in the post, both mam and I went together. Not really knowing what to expect, I remember thinking that they’re going to tell me I need IVF and tried to prepare myself.
We sat down, two doctors in front of us, when one started drafting a diagram of the female reproduction system. She said, “your ovaries aren’t responding, your brain has failed to send signals to your ovaries to start working, you are technically in the menopause and you will never have children naturally, the only chance will be with donor egg IVF”. I switched off after she told me I couldn’t have children, broke down and sobbed. My mam sobbed too. I even remember her even offering to donate her own eggs at the time with the Dr saying, “I’m sorry, at 38 your eggs are too old!”
We soon left as I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember getting in my dads car as he anxiously sat outside waiting for the outcome. My mam just said the words “they have told our baby she can’t have kids”. My dad also broke down, we were all a mess. I went home got straight into bed. We were suppose to be going to Scotland that afternoon. My boyfriend came round, my mam told him and he sobbed too.
We were two 15 year olds sobbing in bed over infertility. Now we are two 25 year olds still sobbing in bed over infertility. POI has changed me and I don’t think I will ever get that girl back again. I still grieve over the loss of my genetics and find it hard to look at my own baby photos or images of me as a child because it’s a reminder that I won’t ever see me in anyone else genetically. My heart physically hurts knowing that I will never see the child James and I could have made together. But… because of these experiences I have a new, much stronger personality in place. We are so determined that we will have a family either through donor eggs or adoption that even on the darkest days we still see hope. I’ve still got hope that I will carry our child.
Over this last year I have gained so much more confidence and, although I’m not 100% shouting my diagnosis from the rooftops (I think that may take a while), I’m learning to reach out to others and share my story on my Instagram IVF account. I have met some incredible women including Jenny (@the_poi_guide) where we talk about all the different ways POI impacts on daily life, and also Becky (@definingmum) who gives me and my husband so much hope of parenthood in the future. Our next steps are to go ahead with our DEIVF cycle in Czech Republic, once the Covid situation allows us to. I hope my story can support others in knowing that however dark those days are, you will always always get through them and there is always hope.
I want to say a huge thank you to Kate for so bravely sharing her story. It’s important that we hear from people who have been diagnosed at very different stages of life, I just can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to process all of these emotions during such an important development stage, all whilst as a teenager you are finding your own identity. If you’d like to connect with Kate you can request to follow her on Instagram @positivevibes228.
I also want to mention The Daisy Network who offer great support for those experiencing POI at whatever stage of life.