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.
When my husband and I decided to opt for the IVF route, we knew we wanted a go for a clinic that wasn’t too far from where we lived, which narrowed things down for us. From the five I chose, each website had the previous years results which again helped in our decision making, so for us choosing a clinic was easy. What I did find confusing however, was the jargon and terminology used throughout the process and the varying opinions on different types of treatments (yes, reading online internet forums does NOT help with this sort of thing) When I asked a nurse at my clinic about a certain style of treatment she shot me down, citing that the consultants didn’t believe in it. This was fine as that was (and is) their stance however, I wasn’t pointed in any direction which could have helped clear things up for me.
As we have now veered away from IVF, looking into an alternative type of treatment I have essentially had to go on a gut feeling and recommendations, because everything I have read online is fairly contradictory it’s safe to say. A frustrating journey at times, during an already stressful and frustrating journey! And it seems I’m not the only one to feel confused by the fertility world. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) got in touch with me to share some recent findings and to talk about the first ever Fertility Forum that they were hosting. New data released by the RCOG highlights widespread concern and worry UK women are feeling in the face of conflicting fertility information. Continue reading
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.
Despite what I may think at times, I do have to remind myself that I have been and am incredibly lucky. Obviously I have Olivia and that is something that I am thankful for (even when she’s doing crazy windmill arms at me) I’m also lucky because when I had her I was able to give up work to look after her solely. This was something that was really important to me and that I will always be eternally grateful for. I’ve been at home and despite the odd dabble with work here and there I’ve just been a mum and that’s been wonderful. But, for a long time now and I mean a loooong time, my husband has been suggesting that I should go back to work. He’s not been saying that I must or that financially I need to (although he always adds ‘it would be nice’) he just tells me it would be good for me. Good for my brain – which bar tapping away on here or playing Sylvanian Families with Olivia hardly gets used these days, and it would be good for my mental health.