Biography - Sheila Lamb
Hi! I’m very glad you found my website but I am sorry that you are needing to find books about infertility and the challenges that go with it.
I and my husband went through ‘unexplained infertility’ for six years – this included scans, blood tests, investigations before doing an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle that was negative. Then a intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) cycle with pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), where we also got a negative from our one embryo. We took a break for a couple of years and I had regular acupuncture and took traditional Chinese herbs, changed our diet to mostly organic, tried to reduce our stress levels and cut down on alcohol, and tried naturally. When I still wasn’t pregnant at 45, we started to consider, and actively looked into, donor egg (DE).
We found a Spanish clinic that had an English fertility nurse from a Sunday newspaper article, and we did our first DEICSI cycle in the November. And guess what? I got pregnant! Briefly. I had a miscarriage at six and a half weeks – though the technical term is ‘chemical pregnancy’.
I went into research overdrive, looking into miscarriages and repeated implantation failures, and came across the idea of natural killer cells and blood clotting issues. As I had previously been a qualified nurse and midwife, this train of thought made sense to me, because with the donor egg cycle I had taken aspirin, but I hadn’t with the previous ICSI cycle. I had the basic tests for NK Cells, Factor V Leiden and blood clotting issues and was so sure something would come back abnormal. But they didn’t; all were within normal range. However, the miscarriage consultant we saw agreed that on our next donor egg cycle he was happy for me to take the medication as if I did have an issue. We discussed this with our Spanish clinic and they were happy to work with this.
We used a different donor, started the meds, went to Spain in the April, had two, two-day old embryos implanted, (none to freeze unfortunately). The fertility nurse was sure one was a girl. And guess what? I got pregnant! And stayed pregnant. In January 2011 we welcomed our miracle, rainbow daughter into the world. Yes, the fertility nurse was right!
The two areas I really struggled with were finding jargon-free, understandable medical information and emotional support. Even though I had been a midwife years previously, I didn’t know much about infertility at all, and most of the website seemed to be written by medical people for medical people. It was pretty frustrating, and I’m sure that’s how you often feel. There is no one cause and no one treatment for infertility, like most diseases and illnesses.
On the support side, there was one good forum that I knew of, (this is pre-2010 we’re talking about!), and some books. Nowadays, there is a lot more available – support groups that you can go to in person, Facebook groups, podcasts, webinars, online summits, Youtube, Instagram and some I don’t know about. Even though things have moved on, the emotions, desperation, frustration and sadness that accompanies infertility and miscarriage, hasn’t changed at all.
These two reasons are why I started writing books. I am passionate about supporting people who are experiencing now what I once experienced – and if any of my books help one person, it will have been worth it. I am also very keen, like many others, to inform the wider world about infertility, fertility treatment like IVF, and miscarriage, especially the emotional side. All these subjects are taboo and they really shouldn’t be, because it isn’t the person’s or couple’s fault that they are struggling to have a baby. They should be supported and understood by those who love them, but people who haven’t personally gone through infertility, just don’t ‘get it’. When a baby is born following a little help from science, like IUI or IVFs, they grow up with parents who are quite rightly proud of how they were conceived, and this should be celebrated.
My Fertility Book is the perfect book if you want to learn more about the medical side of infertility because you are going through it, or you work with people who are going through infertility. For emotional support, my This is series are books of short contributions where real-life people share their experiences of different areas of infertility – from trying to conceive to pregnancy after infertility.
If I can help in any other way, other than through my books, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
May your dream of becoming a parent come true very soon