There’s been a distinct lack of posts on here this past year (anyone noticed?!) with only six written to date. I’ve been feeling a bit indifferent and detached from writing, as much as I enjoy it, and I’ve felt less and less need to write on here. It filled a space for me before, I had lots of free time before Olivia started school, it gave me something to do while she was at nursery, napping during the day or if I just wanted to ignore her (!). It gave me some purpose and a chance to use my brain (tiny Homer Simpson brain that is). And also, with our fertility problems, it helped writing everything down, I found writing very cathartic. But now I work two days a week my time is taken up with lots of other things and the few times I’ve sat down to write, nothing has come. And also, if I’m completely honest, I’m a bit bloody bored of writing about my fertility nonsense. Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of it.
OK so this post is a little late, a year late in fact. I’ve no idea why I didn’t write this at the time *shrugs shoulders* I think because Olivia went straight to school when we returned from this holiday, everything just snowballed from there and before I knew it, eh, it’s September again?! It’s safe to say this post got well and truly parked. However I think I’ve been spurred into writing as we had a ten day getaway to France this August, just the three of us and whilst the sun shone, we ate well, drank delicious Rosé and enjoyed the pool at our little house, ten days altogether with just the three of us was too intense. It was too full on with Olivia 24/7 and for her too, she got bored with no other kids to play with. Neither me nor my husband had any much needed, ‘down time’. We discussed it a lot on the last day and both realised that going forwards, we need a holiday with a kids club. Which reminded me of our lovely stay at Messini Beach last year.
So rewind a year and we took full advantage of the fact that Olivia didn’t start school until late September and decided to go away. After much internet searching, one option that kept popping up was a Neilson holiday in Greece. I’ve heard about Neilson before as a good friend who I play hockey with swears by them and after much deliberation, we settled on their Messini Beachclub site. A minor concern we had about this hotel before we booked was that it is quite isolated. Bar a sister hotel next door which is adults only, there are no shops etc nearby. There are one or two restaurants about 15/20 minutes walk away (30+ with a small child) and there is a Lidl about a ten minute taxi ride, but that is it. Generally we like the option of having places to walk to (to erm, buy booze and snacks for our hotel room), but after speaking to Neilson direct, to a lady who was incredibly helpful and who had been to the site, we decided that because we were only going for a week, this didn’t matter too much. We paid £1,993 in total and had a Double room with Club board (Club board includes breakfast and lunch every day and four evening meals per week)
During the last, nearly four years now, something I’ve never been 100% certain of is whether or not I’m actually ovulating. We started trying for a second baby back in 2015 and I duly bought and used ovulation sticks, given that they worked literally like a dream when we conceived Olivia. However second time round I found them to be increasingly unreliable. I seemed to get conflicting information from them – either nothing each month or several peak days. This meant I’d start using them really early to try and catch the right day, which ultimately meant spending loads of money. I stopped using them after a year and aside from a scan with a private consultant in November 2016 which showed I had ovulated at the time, bar this one confirmation I had no idea what was going on in there every month (hellooooo, anything?!) Because of this and because I simply wasn’t getting pregnant, I felt I could do with some help in this department, so towards the end of last year I found myself looking at devices I could buy that would help me pinpoint ovulation.
When we started trying for another baby and when we realised that things weren’t working as we’d hoped, for some reason I always had it in my mind that we would try IVF, but I’m not really sure where this thought materialised from or how it came about. Perhaps because I know a lot of people who have had it and it’s worked, perhaps because I follow lots of people on Social Media who have been through it. Maybe that’s the reason it was already implanted in my mind. Definitely one of the reasons I know for sure that made me consider it was my age – there is something akin to doom when you are a woman nudging 40 in the fertility world, think flashing klaxons going off, warning of your ovaries about to shut down. Ultimately however if I am honest, I think I thought IVF was the answer to our problems. I thought it was going to be the easy route to getting what we wanted.
Every now and then there are Social Media campaigns run in the world that is Instagram, that I like to join in with. I don’t tend to get involved or have the time for these things (too busy pretending to be busy) but two that were run before Christmas, miscarriage awareness week and fertility week, I felt I had something to contribute towards. The idea of campaigns like these is that you share a post talking about the fertility problems you are going through or have experienced and you use the relevant hashtag so people can look through all the linked posts. The overall outcome being that hopefully in sharing, it will join people together and make others feel less alone. After taking part I had a look through all the posts and read many honest and open stories. Stories from women who are desperate for a child, who have various problems that prevent them from having one naturally and whose only option is assisted help. After reading I had a bit of a lightbulb moment (well for me it’s more like someone slowly turning a switch on and off, repeatedly, for a long time) I realised that in hindsight we bowled headlong into IVF when we didn’t need to. There is nothing wrong with my husband or I per se – well, nothing that has flagged up on any kind of test. We easily conceived our first child we just frustratingly can’t conceive a second, we have unexplained secondary infertility. My point being that I realised we didn’t have to have IVF – we chose to have it. Now that I know what a stress and strain IVF is, I think (we both think) we should have waited before going down that route. There were perhaps other avenues we could have explored before IVF. Hindsight eh. Off the back of this lightbulb ping I was pondering about what I wish I could rewind the clock for and go back and tell myself. Here are six things that I wish had been on my radar four years ago.