You may recognise our little cover star from March/April issue – Joseph Jake Cruz. JJ was the first baby born as a result of our groundbreaking Fertility Journeys project, with mum Leah the chosen recipient of free treatment from fertility expert Russell Davis.
When we kicked off the project back in 2014 we didn’t know quite what to expect. But now two years on, following five pregnancies (two ongoing and three babies) and a whole mass of media coverage, Fertility Journeys has been a true success. It has started and extended families whilst also opening up for readers the hard and, at times, painful realities of treatment that can become forgotten or hidden amidst marketing bluster.
As cover star JJ prepares to celebrate his first birthday, we caught up with Leah to see how the first year had gone.
Leah writes… Wow! What a year… a total whirlwind! And what joy JJ has brought to our lives and those of our families. I am back at work, but only part-time, which is a blessing because I can spend more quality time with JJ. I know from having an 18-year-old how fast time flies!
The whole Fertility Journeys project courted quite some media attention. We were in magazines, newspapers and on the Good Morning Britain sofa with Susanna Reid. I must admit, it was all a bit strange at first, like it was happening to someone else.
The TV interview was a mad frenzy with a rush down to London for some ‘teaser’ filming in the hotel room the night before the show. I didn’t sleep a wink and was then up at 4am after JJ’s first feed of the day. We rushed to the studio for hair and make-up and no briefing for what I was actually going to be asked! I had something of an out of body experience whilst on air with no idea what I had said, but apparently it all went well and JJ managed to stay on good form right up until the end of the interview despite his early start. It was an exciting and intense experience.
Then there were magazines and newspapers and old friends contacting me to tell us they had seen me and lots of random folk congratulated us. I still bump into people now who tell me they had seen us on TV!
The media part was quite tricky because both James and I are ‘side line’ types – we don’t feel comfortable being centre of attention, but the need to inform other people who may have been in our position, struggling with fertility, far out-weighed our own shyness and reluctance to be in the spotlight. This need pushed us to continue sharing our story, because if just one couple heard our story and learned that there are many natural alternatives to conceiving, whereby they can go on to have a healthy baby with success, then this would all be so worth it! It was a challenge too with such a young baby, throwing him out of routine and expecting him to perform well, but he was a little star. The feedback we received was so positive and amazing and I have had a few people contact me asking for fertility advice or to be put in touch with Russell Davis.
I have also helped another couple to conceive – they came to me after hearing our story and enquired about the reflexology fertility work I do in my spare time. So it just goes to prove there are so many great positives that have come out of this!
My family have been excited and supportive throughout, while Russell and I stay in touch with emails and updates from time to time, which is lovely. I sent him a card and photo of JJ at Christmas to again express our gratitude for all his help and support, and to remind him that he is doing truly awesome work, as are the team at Fertility Road!
Life is so much better than we could have imagined, even though the first eight months were draining, with a baby who woke up to six times every night, and who napped very little during the day. There was also a week’s stay in hospital for me because my resistance levels were down and I didn’t have the strength to fight an illness I picked up. Although a horrible situation it cured the night wakings! However, I would have preferred a few days in a spa to a week’s stay on the NHS. Oh well!
To sum up, I would say nothing can prepare you for how your life will change when having a baby.
Even though I have done this before it always takes you by surprise! And although at times it feels as though you have used up every ounce of energy you have, there is that cheeky little smile, that squeal of delight or that loving squeeze he sneaks in as I lay him down to sleep that makes the heart melt every time, and they are the delights that make it all so worthwhile! JJ has fulfilled our lives and we are simply focusing on family time and enjoying every moment spent together. I’m also looking into ways I can further help other couples struggling with fertility issues.
Our journey has brought us closer together and has helped us to grow in many ways. Our lifestyles have become much healthier and we have learned to be grateful for what we have instead of focusing on what we do not. We find so much more joy in each day!
I hope that our story has inspired other couples to not give up, to trust that however challenging the journey, however hopeless it may seem, there are many natural alternatives that can help them achieve their dream of having a baby. I think the key is to find the help and support that resonates around and within you, and to always trust your instinct.