FUNDRAISER and campaigner Jules Peters has reflected on her personal struggles to become a parent.

Jules, touring member of the Alarm and wife of frontman Mike Peters, was diagnosed with infertility at the start of the new millennium. This was a result of an appendicitis operation when she was 19.

She reflected on that time - and her IVF journey - to mark her son Evan’s 13th birthday. The couple also have son Dylan.

Jules said: “I think most people assumed our infertility was a result of Mike’s leukaemia diagnosis but it actually wasn’t the case.

“When we recognised that we may have a problem, Mike was incredibly up front about it all.”

This marked the beginning of Jules and Mike’s ‘arduous’ IVF journey.

“If I thought Mike being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was devastating back in 1995, being told the black news that I may never become a mother was without doubt the worst period of my life,” Jules admitted.

“I’m just trying to be completely honest, now with hindsight, as to how dark it became. I felt like my life was over. It sounds comical perhaps now but at the time, I felt my whole wonderful life was sinking around my eyes.”

Jules and Mike met in 1986. On their first date, looking out over the Foryd at Rhyl harbour, the couple discussed having a little boy called Dylan.

Jules said: “It was my biggest challenge yet to find a way of embracing this horrendous journey. IVF and the Midland Fertility Services was my only real option, a costly, physical and psychologically draining journey. The postcode lottery also meant that it wasn’t available on the NHS.

“So bright eyed and enthusiastic, we set off on our new adventure to Birmingham, up and down the M6, filled with new hope.”

Jules described their IVF road as ‘rocky’.

She added “I became pregnant on the second attempt, only to miscarry.

“It probably helped that it was me who was diagnosed with the main fertility problem. I’m sure I would have been a nightmare, had the problem been Mikes’.

“The fertility journey is pretty damn gruelling for a woman. As the tests ticked by though, it did become apparent that Mike’s ‘hockey players’ also needed a bit of cajoling.”

The couple graduated to the more costly procedure of Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Jules said: “I will always love Mike for his stoic demeanour and refusal to panic and give up.

Jules admitted she found it strange going through tough times in the the public eye.

“We always understood the balance of fame and I think in fairness, we have always enjoyed a very loving relationship with the Alarm community but sometimes people can be cruel,” she said.

“When an Alarm fan was being flippant or critical, I found it very hard to bite my lip, under our personal circumstances. There were times when I just wanted to scream but it was a good learning curve to stay calm and strong, something which has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.”

The couple had two weeks waiting to see if the embryos had implanted.

“After the two week wait failed, the realisation of not becoming pregnant was like a dagger in my heart. I felt completely destroyed, Jules said.

“Mike was able to deal with the disappointment much more stoically.”

On the fourth complete IVF attempt, Jules was given hope after reading an article by Gillian Lockwood, an IVF expert and head of the clinic at Midland Fertility Services.

Jules added: “It suggested that if you could stick with the IVF journey, both emotionally and financially, that you could maybe, inevitably, ‘achieve pregnancy’, especially if your fertility problem had been identified.

“The article gave me hope and I decided right there and then, that I was in it for the long haul.

“On my fourth IVF attempt, I was less vigilant about my routine. I flew to Italy with the Welsh Football Team.

“With Mikey on one side and Ryan Giggs on the other, syringes and drugs in my hand luggage, I threw caution to the wind.

“I was sick of routine. Mike sang for the Welsh Team, I sank a few beers, Wales lost. I injected myself under the Welsh flag on the Wales Coach outside San Siro stadium. I flew back on the same plane as the Welsh team but I felt energised and ready for round four.”

Two weeks later, Jules had the result she had always dreamed of - she was pregnant and Dylan Ap Michael was born.

Jules and Mike had also been able to freeze some embryos.

“Our precious second born was unknowingly placed in the freezer in Birmingham, as a five cell embryo,” Jules said.

In 2006, following Mike’s leukaemia diagnosis, Jules felt a strong desire to return to the Midlands and ‘try’ for another baby.

“Mike was seriously ill and I felt a strong primeval urge to try for a second baby and have a part of Mike, in case he was taken away from me,” Jules said.

“It was an emotional and terrifying time.

“Two frozen embryos were defrosted over night and two weeks later, my period never arrived and like magic, I knew that I was pregnant.”

Jules said Evan Ap Michael is their happy ending.

“He is also Dylan’s conceptual twin,” she added.

“They both understand their Welsh/Brummie heritage and are also aware how very special they are to us.

“Evan Ap Michael has us in stitches most days. If I had to sum him up in a few words, I’d say he’s witty, chatty, loving, helpful and gets things done. We love him to bits.

“Thank you, Midland Fertility Services and Nigel Bickerton, gynaecologist extraordinaire for enabling me to become a mother - the most tiring yet rewarding job in the world.”