During the last four years, 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.
I have been sharing my fertility struggles for a while now over on Instagram and am always amazed by the love and support I get from women I’ve never met. I’ve had some wonderful messages of encouragement and sharing of stories, just from a post about what is happening with me. There is something incredibly powerful in this I think. A few months ago, after our failed frozen round I discovered there an actual (actual real life!) #TTC (trying to conceive) community on there, and after much searching and connecting with various people in similar situations, I came across Alice Rose.
I thought for a long while on how I could introduce Alice on here, because she doesn’t have a title as such, but she doesn’t really need one because just know that she is most definitely someone who is making waves on social media (namely Instagram) with her positive attitude covering the emotive topic of fertility problems and baby loss. Alice hosted an intimate event in London recently that I had the pleasure of going along to. Despite the intense summer heat (think a room full of women with humidity hair) Alice gave a brilliant talk about her life and how she found she wasn’t coping very well when she discovered that she couldn’t easily conceive or deal with the subsequent, ever stressful IVF treatment. She shared the tools she has, and is still using to help her cope day by day with these issues. I came away from her talk believing I could make some positive changes in my life. Her blog tag says, ‘I am on a mission to empower people during one of the hardest experiences in the world: a fertility struggle’, I caught up with her to find out a bit more about this mission of hers.
Having told a number of people that we were doing IVF back in September, then experiencing a missed miscarriage in November, it’s safe to say we wanted to be more guarded before we undertook anymore treatment. Too many people knew before, too many people knew we’d be getting a result soon after treatment and that put a huge amount of pressure on me without realising. Knowing we had one frozen embryo to go we decided to do this round in secret – well, it’s not really ‘a secret’ but we made the mutual decision not to tell anyone. Not even close family, which was a big deal for me.
What can you remember from your sex education at school? Do you remember anything specific? Can you remember any details? I have a vague recollection of being in a science lesson and the teacher trying to control a bunch of giggling girls, whilst talking about willies, lady bits and a baby in a tummy but this is about it. What I don’t recall however is really being taught periods, ovulation and fertility. Fast forward to now and I’m in a situation where I’ve had to become far more aware of what happens inside my body each month because my fertility is an issue. And this is something I’m only fully aware of in my (late) thirties. But what if this had been something I’d been aware of, from my teenage years onwards? Okay who knows what situation I’d be in now, but what if young girls were taught about fertility, alongside sex education from a young age, would that be a bad thing?
It’s happening. The road I never thought we’d have to go down, we’re on. We’re about to embark on IVF *pulls imaginary train whistle* After a fairly straightforward first pregnancy naturally I assumed I’d easily conceive again but since having a chemical pregnancy, things have gone doolally with my monthly cycle. And quite simply, nothing has or is working. Having IVF has obviously been talked about, it’s been in the back of my mind but I guess me and the husband both hoped that we wouldn’t get to that point. It’s been a possibility, something we may have to consider but I didn’t actually think we’d have to do it. Other people have IVF, I know so many that have had it, everyone knows someone whose had it these days, but I honestly thought it wouldn’t be me.