An Irish woman who has never had a regular period and was told she was infertile has discovered she is more than six months pregnant.
Kildare native Denise McLean has had one period in more than a decade and was told that she would never conceive without the assistance of IVF.
Her fertility journey has seen her star in televised documentary, ‘The Babymakers’ and eventually she conceived her daughter Beth after nine rounds of IVF.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, she said she said she continued trying for a second child in the years since; however, when lockdown hit last year, she decided she would stop.
Last Saturday, she got the news that she was 26 weeks pregnant.
“I spent the last three months telling my daughter that it was just going to be her,” she said.
“That this was her home and how special it was that she was going to be on her own – I had no idea that I was pregnant or anything.”
She said she had finally reached a stage in life where she was, “happy and content and OK about not having another baby.”
“I was doing yoga on Friday and my bellybutton popped,” she said. “Literally popped.
“For the last three to four weeks, I was cutting out pasta because my stomach was swollen.
"I didn’t even think to do a pregnancy test because remember, I was told I was infertile – that without drugs I wouldn’t conceive.
“The doctor was like, ‘oh my god I am so sorry,’ but she didn’t even think to give me a pregnancy test because my history is, you know, no periods.”
Ms McLean said she was just about to begin her last cycle of IVF last March – but decided against it when the pandemic hit.
She said she spent lockdown at a mobile home in Wexford with her daughter and through that time, took on a different outlook on life.
“For anyone that has done IVF or had a long road of IVF you become a different person,” she said. “It is actually quite sad because my whole life was consumed for years in having a child.
“Nothing or no-one; no relationship, nothing mattered to me. No friendships, no relationship with my husband – nothing. All I wanted was to be a mam.
“The person I was - travelling the world and having drinks with friends - was a distant memory. The person I became when I was trying to have Beth was, I don’t know if I would say cold but I definitely would say very lonely.”
Even after welcoming Beth into the world, she said she felt “miserable” and was constantly thinking of her next child.
“I was always chasing this extra dream of, ‘oh I would love to add to my family,’ but not actually realising and being grateful for Beth and being grateful for my husband,” she said.
“There was never a time when I was just still and happy for what I actually had.
“The last year, I became so content in myself, in my relationship and in my friendships – I don’t even know how I still had any friendships because I was so used to blocking friendships out and not doing anything and not enjoying my life.
“Then last year, I just took a step back and thought, wow, you have everything you have ever dreamed of and more – let’s live it and be grateful.”
You can listen back to the full interview from Lunchtime Live here: