Taking the plunge!

So, it’s been nine months since the ‘glitch’, nine months since the GP referral and five months since the hospital acknowledged the referral and I have still not heard anything.  I’m not getting any younger and we’re not having any luck on our own so today we decided to finally contact a private fertility clinic.  

I called Bupa and my policy unfortunately will not cover the fertility investigations so it looks like we’ll be shelling out for them ourselves but the cost is just a drop in the ocean if we actually need fertility treatment.  Besides, I have had enough of waiting and feeling completely helpless! 

My GP said to do some research into the local clinics and look at reviews so that’s what we have done this evening and we have chosen one with a good reputation and some excellent practitioners.  Coincidentially it is also the clinic that our friends who have previously had IVF have used (and are using again at the moment) so we are amongst friends.

If nothing else apparently they have a good coffee machine in the waiting room which is good news.  NHS say that caffeine has no adverse effect on fertility too so I’m glad that’s one thing I don’t have to give up! 

I bought some more fertility lube, started yoga and have been back on the agnus castus too, at least that makes me feel like I’m doing something positive.  Next stop acupuncture!

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Now the family’s at it! 

That’s it, I’ve had it, my cousin is pregnant, my delightful, successful, single-until-fairly-recently, younger cousin! Her and her pilot fiancée got engaged last week and we were all thrilled.  She has not had a serious relationship for nearly 20 years and met her fiancé through a friend (who met him on tinder) a year or so ago.  He is lovely and they are so well suited, it was if it was meant to be and now they’re engaged and having a baby! I am insanely jealous!

We’ve been trying for nearly two years now and, apart from the one ‘glitch’ (as the doctor described it), we haven’t even come close to getting pregnant.  I am thoroughly depressed about the whole thing.  

True, I may not have been as pro-active as I could have been (I have still not called Bupa to check my cover and I haven’t altered my diet at all) but the depression has robbed me of any inclination to do so.  Until recently it had really put us off sex too (although we seem to have got over that issue now)!  

I need to pull my finger out, call Bupa, book some acupuncture sessions and start really researching what I should be doing to help. Izzy Judd’s book “Dare to dream” is out tomorrow and I’m thinking that may be a good place to start.  I need to stop resting on my laurels and expecting it just to happen as it is obviously not going to.  

Any pointers as to where to start would be appreciated! 

Yours, frustratedly! 

No news is unfotunately not good news! 

It’s been a while since my last post and for no good reason I’m afraid.  I don’t have any updates, good or bad really and nothing to report but an ominous bout of depression which is forever lurking in the background.

My husband had the results of his tests and they didn’t show anything abnormal as such, the only feedback was that the ‘look’ of the sperm was not great but that in itself does not necessarily cause complications.  I now just have to wait for my next tests.

We have had a bit of a dry patch over the previous months for a number of reasons, I was very busy with work during the first few months of the year and working long hours which meant I was very tired by the time I got home then he had a bout of illness (terrible timing) and I think the frustration of struggling to conceive is getting to us both.  I am determined to get things back on track this month though and we kicked things off with a mini break which helped.

I am putting off researching too much into conception woes as I have heard a few things recently that have scared me.  Of course I know you should try to live a healthy lifestyle and by and large that is not an issue, I exercise regularly (and largely enjoy it), eat healthily, don’t smoke (and never have) and drink lots of water.  I do however have two main vices (i) caffeine and (ii) alcohol.  I know that neither are good for you but I don’t drink either to excess.  I was brought up in a drinking household and have always enjoyed a little tipple.  It helps me relax.  I don’t drink daily  (well not normally) but I don’t deny myself if I fancy a G&T or a glass of wine.  I also like a coffee in the morning or after a meal.  I love my nespresso machine.  I don’t usually exceed more than two (strong) cups a day but that increased to four when I was working long hours (I have cut down again now).

I follow Izzy Judd on social media, I’m not sure how I first came across her.  I wasn’t a Mcfly fan (I’m too old) but love Dougie Poynter and came across Tom  Fletcher in the media (his wedding speech I think) and that led to easy-on-the-eye Harry Judd which led to his wife Izzy.  She has just released a book about her experience of ivf (which I will bring myself to read at some point but it is still early days and I don’t want to run before I can walk) and she recently mentioned that she had given up caffeine completely when trying to conceive (apparently abbreviated to “TTC”).  This was my first scare, I hadn’t thought about it previously, should I be giving up caffeine? This will certainly make everybody at work suspicious and how do I explain away that?! 

I looked at the reader comments on Izzy’s posts and people were sharing what they had given up when TTC.  This scared me even more, people had given up gluten, dairy, carbs, meat and, worse of all (although probably most obvious) alcohol! “Do you think I should stop drinking completely?” I asked my husband.  “How would I explain that to friends?”.  They would automatically assume I was pregnant and answering questions when I wasn’t would be depressing.  

So I am putting off reading anything else.  Can I face giving up alcohol and caffeine when they are two small pleasures in life? I am finding the whole TTC thing quite depressing and I think no alcohol or caffeine will make that even worse.  Of course I want to give myself the best possible chance but will it really help that much? Do I consume enough of either for it to make a difference? Obviously if we were at the IVF stage it would be different, I would give both up straight away then.  Do I need to start phasing them out now? 

To make matters worse I spoke to a colleague last week and in passing she mentioned that she was tee total for 10 years (but isn’t anymore).  When I asked why she said it was because she couldn’t get pregnant so had given up drinking and then when she had her daughter she couldn’t face the thought of a hangover, then she had her son and just didn’t start again for 10 years! I am going to have to change my mindset I think, it is going to take some will power though.

I’ve just seen the GP again, I had asked to be referred privately as the wait for an NHS appointment is apparently ridiculous.  Our IVF friends went privately.  She has said I should research the local clinics to ensure I am getting the best service for my money.  If Bupa won’t cover it that is, need to check my policy.

I have been having some issues with irregular bleeding too though so I mentioned that and she has asked that the hospital expedite my appointment.  She has also suggested an examination and more swabs and booked me in for the morning.  That’ll be fun! 

Progress report #1

So, I’ve been taking the Agnus castus on a fairly regular basis.  I should take it daily along with my other supplements but I often forget (as I did this morning).  Must try harder! I don’t think it is having any physical effects but we’ll see when my period is due whether it does actually help alleviate the symptoms of PMS. 

I am generally a fan of supplements and,  in the lead up to the wedding,  was literally taking about 20 a day.  I’m not sure any of them did anything other than increase the value of Holland & Barrett’s shares mind you.  I am still finishing off the leftovers (turmeric and beetroot I think) together with daily multivitamins, cod liver oil (Joan Collins apparently swears by it), calcium and vit D (I don’t like milk)  and folic acid, for obvious reasons.  Apparently there has never been any scientific research which shows that supplements have any effect but surely it’s worth a go.  

The lube however is worth a comment, it’s pretty gross and doesn’t have the same silky consistency of normal lubricants.  It’s less viscous and has the slippery quality that semen has.  It comes in individually wrapped pipette like applicators and the directions tell you to squirt the entire contents inside you.  This is no mean feat.  You need to adopt the post-coital bridge position prior to sex (which somewhat interferes with foreplay).  I think the dosage is probably a little high too as, although you don’t really feel anything until half way through, it very soon overflows.  Not particularly sexy.  

It feels similar to how I imagine an enema, like one of the high-tech Japanese toilets that squirts water at differing pressures.  It’s a bit like a flushing, but you have to keep it in.  Once applied you have to ensure semen delivery within 15 minutes too which puts you on a timer.  And they say that trying to conceive takes the joy out of sex! 

I got a bit over excited yesterday when I thought that I may be overdue but I checked the diary, counted my days and flo is not due in until the end of this week.  Fingers crossed she doesn’t show up! 

Fertility and me 

It seems this subject is very topical.  Alex Jones (One Show presenter on BBC1) has just done a one off documentary entitled “Fertility and me” (personally I prefer “35 and counting”). I missed it when it aired on Monday but watched it on demand (thoroughly modern of me).  It was essentially about trying to conceive after the age of 35 (she was 38 at the time it was filmed) and she raised many of the same arguments I have for leaving it until now to try.  

I tweeted her to say how brave I thought the show was and she, very surprisingly, responded to thank me.  However, I had not been totally honest in my tweet as I also found the documentary very depressing.  It left me feeling disheartened.  Apparently after the age of 35 you have a 75-80% chance of getting pregnant within a year (which is just coming round for us), those odds are ok.  It is the odds for the 20-25% that fall outside of the bracket that scared me.  As soon as you look at the chances of success if it does not happen naturally for you the task seems impossible.  

As I mentioned, we have friends who have been/are going through IVF, some successfully, some less so, all expensively.  Science is miraculous.  The things they can do these days is incredible.  Being able to shoot still-wiggling sperm into the centre of an egg and watch the cell division on a time lapse camera to determine the best quality egg is amazing.  However they can’t do it all yet, if your eggs are too old and too tough there is no breaking through their tough exterior.  There are other options of course but I am not sure that I could carry a child which was not genetically mine like the woman did on the show.  

It was a success story for Alex.  She has recently announced her pregnancy, at 39. I am really pleased for her.  Let’s hope we have similar luck! 

Check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq9m82p for some additional information on fertility after 35 

Pier pressure

There isn’t any really and it wouldn’t be a reason to have children in any event but we are one of the few childless couples left in our group of friends.

Yes we have been together longer than most and had been settled in our jobs longer than most but they have still over taken us at some stage.

The first friends’ babies probably arrived not long after we left Uni (for the main out of wedlock) and it still felt outrageously young to me.  I was probably still at Uni (having spent 6 years on various courses) and still, in the main, living and acting as a student.  Babies did not even enter my head back then.  

We had nieces and nephews of course (on his side) but his siblings are older and were already married before I met them so it didn’t seem unusual.  His sister and sister in law were much younger having their children than I am now though, much! 

So babies were not entirely alien to me, I was used to handling babies, used to crying, used to breasts being whipped out in front of me.  It was such close exposure to pregnancy that was new, we lived the first (very unexpected) friend’s pregnancy as if it were our own.  She regaled us with tales littered with gory details.  

I thought she was mad.  She had just come out of a long-ish term relationship, met a guy at an event and two months later she was pregnant! We had crisis talks.  She had missed a pill, just missed a pill.  She was pregnant.  No sign of trying there.  

NB – she is now happily married to the guy with 3 beautiful children so it all worked out well.  She has not really had to try for any of them, she ‘counted’ for the second two and told me to ‘lift my bum up’ (already doing it) but that is all.  She is a few years younger though. She can pinpoint exactly when the boys were conceived.  They must not do it that much! 

The second friend’s baby was just as much of a surprise.  She was married, straight after graduation.  He had an affair and she left.  She met someone else fairly soon and boom – pregnant.  They too are now happily married with 2 children.  Another success story.  She would probably agree that she was very young having them.  

His best friend had two in quick succession, before he had a job, before he had a house and before he had any money.  The baby was not planned, they weren’t trying.  The second followed immediately after (which she regrets). We obviously have some very fertile friends.

That said, there are exceptions (which prove the rule).  We have friends who would make the best parents, who are as kind and loving as anyone could be, who desperately want children but are struggling.  

They have counted, for much much longer than I have.  Counted not only days but courses of IVF, painful courses, followed by bitter disappointment.  We are not there yet, we may never have to be (God willing).  It is so horrible to watch them go through it.  So hard.