Welcome to the Herald's new parenting podcast: One Day You'll Thank Me. Join parents and hosts Jenni Mortimer and Rebecca Blithe as they navigate the challenges and triumphs of parenting today with help from experts and well-known mums and dads from across Aotearoa.
In the first episode, available from today on iHeart radio, Hits radio host Laura McGoldrick shares her brave journey and fertility expert Dr Guy Gudex explains IVF, infertility stigma and how to optimise your chances of having a baby.
Laura McGoldrick knows all too well the overwhelming grief that comes from struggling to fall pregnant and suffering the devastating loss of not one, but two pregnancies.
"You just really don't know until it happens to you what it's really like," the Hits host said.
One in four Kiwi women either struggle with fertility issues or suffer a miscarriage when trying to have a baby.
"It's more common than you realise," she said of her experiences in a bit to normalise conversations about these all too common statistics. "We need to talk about it otherwise we just keep feeling alone."
The hosts echoed McGoldrick's sentiments, with Mortimer also going through demanding fertility treatment before falling pregnant with her son Knox, 3, with the help of the drug Letrozole.
Blithe also said that after a year of trying to get pregnant she was referred to a fertility specialist, before falling pregnant naturally with her son Hart, 2.'
The broadcaster said that while the arrival of her first child, daughter Harley, went so smoothly, she realises now how incredibly lucky she was to fall pregnant and have a baby without complications.
Because when it came to having a second, McGoldrick endured a harrowing period of hope and loss "like nothing I'd ever experienced".
She suffered her first miscarriage alone in January 2020, the evening after her husband, cricketer Martin Guptill, left to go on tour.
"It's so out of your control, and once it starts you can't do anything to stop it. Which is just wild to wrap your head around at the time."
The couple then learned they were expecting just as New Zealand was entering the first nationwide lockdown that March.
After visiting her obstetrician alone, due to Covid restrictions, McGoldrick found out she was going through a missed miscarriage, another devastating loss for the family that she described as "harrowing".
The most triggering part came afterwards when she was also forced to go alone to have surgery. The screen in the room read: "Evacuation of the uterus."
"I kept saying, 'I really did want this baby, I want this baby'."
Later in 2020, the couple shared the news that they were expecting a baby boy. But she was cautious about how she told friends and listeners after knowing how triggering pregnancy reveals could be.
"Every time you see a reveal, a bit of your heart breaks," she said of seeing social media pregnancy announcements at the time.
The host decided to share her story on-air, complete with heartbreak, tears and resounding hope for others going through the same battle in silence.
"I am just feeling lots of different things ... I was scared to say this out loud today, but I felt as though I had to tell the whole story."
McGoldrick finished the announcement by telling others struggling: "You are not alone, do not lose hope."
Dr Gudex from Auckland-based fertility clinic Repromed helped host Mortimer have her son Knox and said couples who find themselves struggling to have a baby often keep it to themselves.
"I think there is [shame around not being able to fall pregnant]. And a loss of control. Many people plan their lives carefully whether it's employment, finances, relationships and they assume they'll be able to get pregnant okay and when they can't and they need help from someone else, it can be a really big thing to come to terms with."
Dr Gudex said couples often asked what changes they could make to fall pregnant. It often comes back to a woman's age.
"Occasionally things like egg reserves in a younger woman are an important issue and occasionally there are sperm issues that are difficult to overcome, even with the clever tricks we've got. But primarily the success rates are age-based. And it is most successful under the age of 30."
The message he and his team try and get across is not to leave it too late before you seek help. Under 30, chances are "55 to 60 per cent with an embryo we know is genetically normal".
But by the time a woman is 40, "the success rates would drop down to about 20 per cent, 25 at best. So as you can see the success rates abruptly halved in that 10 years."
He encourages couples as young as 25 "even if you don't want children until you're 30 or 35, to just at least think about it and maybe plan ahead".
• To hear more of Laura's story and find out about how to optimise your fertility health, listen to One Day You'll Thank Me below.
Where to get help and support
If you think you may be having a miscarriage, contact your lead maternity carer - this may be a midwife or your GP. Alternatively, call Healthline free on 0800 611 116, or visit your local urgent medical centre or hospital.
Visit the Miscarriage Support website or join the Facebook group.
Visit the Sands website. Sands supports parents and families who have experienced the death of a baby.
Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor.