Andrew was diagnosed with idiopathic PAH at the age of 21 and fathered twins ten years later.
“When I was first diagnosed with PH the thought of having children didn’t really enter my mind. It was all about coming to terms with the diagnosis.
I met my partner a couple of years after I was diagnosed and a few years after we got together, we discussed having a family.
I felt a little anxious about it initially. I work long hours and combined with PH I get fatigued from time to time – I didn’t want to leave all the parenting to my partner when I felt tired or like I needed to rest. My partner was brilliant though and we discussed how she would help me to relax and have time to myself when needed.
We had difficulty conceiving, but that wasn’t because of my PH; the doctors at the fertility clinic explained it was mostly down to bad luck. After over three years of trying, we went through IVF and became pregnant with twins.
I did worry about managing two babies at first, but now they are here I’ve loved every minute and wouldn’t change it for the world. We are very lucky.
The girls were born two years ago and now my main thoughts are around my family rather than my illness. By looking after them I tend to forget myself a bit. Of course, I still remember to take my medication and attend appointments, but having the girls keeps me positive and I feel like they have made me a happier and healthier person.
They keep me on my toes, but I am quite well, and feel fit in myself. We have family members around who help and if we need a break at times, there are people there.
Having PH, I do feel fatigued sometimes, but my partner is very good. If either of us are tired, we give each other a break and rest or take a nap. We are quite fortunate as we have got the twins into a routine, so we get to relax and get a little break at the end of the day and that definitely helps me.
I do worry about my PH getting worse and the effect that may have on us as a family. I want to be a fun father, chasing my daughters around the park and playing games with them. If my PH was to get worse or restrict me from doing those sorts of things it would be upsetting. I try my best to live in the moment though, so I make sure I do those things now and hopefully it will continue for years to come.
My girls make me smile every day. It’s the best I have felt physically and mentally since finding out I had PH.”