As she introduces her beautiful son Ethan, Local Women’s Lisa Smyth describes the anguish of fertility struggles, miscarriage and the difficult road to recovery.

After a horrible pregnancy, traumatic birth and post-natal depression I was convinced that my daughter, Grace, would be an only child.

So, when I volunteered to have my egg levels tested for a feature on the then Origin Fertility Care in October 2015, I was completely relaxed about the results.

But the wind was taken out of my sails when the obstetrician there told me I was at immediate risk of early menopause at just 36-years-old.

Up to that point, I had been blase about my fertility but as I sat in the car after the interview, I burst into tears, devastated at the thought that Grace would never have a brother or sister.

However, within a few months we found out I was pregnant and began to plan for our new arrival – unaware of the heartache that lay ahead.

I will never forget the day we went for our first scan, the terrible morning sickness had started to lift the day before and it was an unusually warm and sunny February afternoon as we drove to the clinic.

Excited at seeing our little baby for the first time, we left the appointment with broken hearts – our baby was gone.

I remember feeling numb, apart from the nausea lifting there were no signs anything was wrong and even though I knew the statistics – that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage – I couldn’t believe it had happened to us.

I apologised to the sonographer who told us the news, I apologised over and over to my husband, my head filled with questions – what had happened, what had I done wrong?

The next few days were a blur – there were more scans to confirm there was no heartbeat and a consultant told us she thought our baby had Edwards’ syndrome.

Having suffered what is known as a missed miscarriage, I was given options of what would happen next.

Horrified at the prospect of losing our baby at home, possibly while I was alone with Grace, I chose surgical management.

While we were utterly traumatised by the miscarriage, the warning that time was running out for me was at the forefront of our minds, and I discovered I was pregnant again just a few months later.

But I had a second miscarriage within a week of the positive test.

It was gut wrenching and I was convinced that both losses were my fault. I was at my wits’ end, I felt totally useless and I was consumed by a crushing anxiety that was taking over every part of my life -making every day necessities, including work, almost impossible.

It was after a meltdown one night that I sat at my computer and wrote an email to Ruth Ellen Logan to ask her advice.

Having interviewed her about her work in the past, I knew that she had helped countless couples become parents.

I didn’t believe she could help me, I was going into early menopause, but I was so desperate.

However, she replied quickly to say that she had worked successfully with women in my position before and asked me to come and see her at Logan Wellbeing Care Centre in Belfast city centre.

The first appointment couldn’t come quickly enough and I was so nervous as I walked through the door.

Ruth Ellen, who introduced Maya massage to Northern Ireland after her own fertility struggle, spent almost two hours talking with me.

We discussed my pregnancy with Grace, the subsequent delivery, my two miscarriages and my general health.

We talked about my post-natal depression, my mental health at the time of the appointment, my diet, we even talked about my husband’s stroke in 2014 and how that had impacted on our family.

No subject was off limits, but it was cathartic to say the least and I was relieved when, after examining me, Ruth Ellen told me she believed there was still hope.

Because of the stage of my cycle and the possibility that I could be pregnant, Ruth Ellen was unable to do any abdominal massage and she made me promise to do a pregnancy test the following week and let her know the result straight away.

As I left the appointment, armed with advice on dietary changes to improve fertility, I felt hopeful for the first time in months and didn’t even notice that Ruth Ellen had given me antenatal vitamins to take home.

And so it was.just a few days later, that I found out I was pregnant again.

However, I couldn’t let myself get excited or even believe that we would have our longed-for baby.

In fact, quite the opposite, I prepared myself for the worst and just worked on the assumption that I would have another miscarriage.

Pregnancy after baby loss is a very lonely place, particularly during the first trimester, when you are left to your own devices and it is impossible to tell whether your baby is healthy.

So, my weekly sessions with Ruth Ellen & her team were a sanctity from the almost continual terror I felt.

Not only did they provide reassurance that the pregnancy was progressing as you would expect, but they were also incredible when it came to emotional support.

They seemed to know as soon as I walked through the door whether I needed a hug and they never judged.

They knew and understood my feelings of fear and guilt, and my reaction when I found out we were expecting a boy after losing a boy.

I walked into the appointment with the weight of the world on my shoulders but walked out feeling refreshed and positive.

They were invaluable when it came to preparing me for our new arrival and helped me to address the increased risk of post-natal depression.

I know that Logan Wellbeing has helped countless women become mums, but for me, it was the support I got throughout my pregnancy that means the world to me.

In the end, my beautiful, wonderful little rainbow baby, Ethan, was born at Altnagelvin Hospital on May 2 after deciding to make a shock appearance more than a month early.

In typical fashion, it was all fairly dramatic and included a blue light ambulance ride over the Glenshane as there were no neonatal beds in Antrim.

But as soon as he was in my arms I knew my family was complete.

He will never replace the babies that we lost, but when I look at his gorgeous little face and see his smiling eyes, it definitely makes it easier to bear.