'I Spent 3 Years Trying To Get Pregnant. Then Birth Terrified Me'

Amy Packham
·2-min read

In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Sarah Harrington shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.

It took three and a half years for me to fall pregnant – and it was far from straightforward. We tried different types of fertility treatment, including three rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) on the NHS and, when that proved unsuccessful, were referred for a single round of IVF. But then we were faced with further complications: after taking the drugs I developed a blood clot in my leg and had to stop treatment for a while. Thankfully, our second attempt with IVF was successful.

Once pregnant, I was hit by really high anxiety. I’d spent such a long time trying to get pregnant, that I kept worrying about keeping it and making sure my baby was healthy and safe. With IVF, they tell you there’s an increased risk of having a stillbirth and I couldn’t get that out of my head – even though it was a marginal risk.

I knew I didn’t want to go full-term. I spoke through my anxieties with my midwife and the more I talked about it, the more I realised it’d be best for me to have an elective c-section, which was planned in for 39 weeks. I was frightened about having a major operation, but I was so riddled with anxiety that this was the best way I could control the outcome of him arriving safely.


It was 29 May. I was booked in for 9.28am and I was petrified. The feeling of waiting on the trolley to go down to theatre was a desperate-sort-of excitement – scared of things that could go wrong, but with such a strong desire to meet my baby.

All the midwives were in masks and gloves – but in a way, I just got used to it. It’s easy to see past it. I didn’t find it intimidating at all.

The actual surgery went quite well. The first time they...

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