Tag Archives: infertility

Flowers and Fertility

Every year, around this time, I sit down and watch a couple of nights of the Chelsea Flower Show.  I do like gardening, but I’m an amateur that dabbles and have not really re-invigorated my passion whilst my children have been so young.

However, every year, I forget why it’s such a lovely programme for me to watch.  The crowds, the plants, the sunshine, the excitement, but mostly….

it brings back the most wonderful memories for me. The memory of hearing my unborn daughter’s heartbeat and seeing her inside of me.

After 4 years of infertility which included 5 IUI’s we got lucky on our first IVF attempt.  I really thought I wouldn’t be a mother, well not a pregnant one at least. However, there I was, getting off the tube with hordes of excited people all heading to the Chelsea Flower Show. Trying to get around the excited crowds and then finally crossing the road that sent everyone off to the entrance to the CFS and I went on ahead, towards The Thames and to the Lister Clinic.

To find out, at 6 weeks, whether I had twins, a singleton or the possibility of something far more sad.  All that hope and fear.

I was on my own as hubby had a job to do and we needed the money.  So it was just me with all that going on.

Then that delightful sound of horses hooves (a baby’s heartbeat) and the little Pickle there, in the right place with her heart fluttering, fluttering away. Nice and strong.

I floated back down the road to the tube station.  Quick call to my Mother-in-law who had helped us a bit with the treatment and was sitting and waiting to hear the news.  A text to hubby that just read “One Baby on board. Well done Daddy”.

Back through the babbling, excited crowds, clutching their pots, totes and travelcards.

I love the Chelsea Flower Show.

flowers

The decision…..having a 3rd baby

I have wanted a 3rd baby since The Monster was born on Christmas Eve 2010.  He was afforded a much better treatment whilst in my belly and as a newborn than my little girl did.  Partly because I had struggled with infertility with my daughter and even whilst pregnant I wouldn’t let myself get too excited about being pregnant in case something went wrong. Partly because I’d never had my own baby before so my head hadn’t attached Pickle the person to pickle the unborn baby.  With the monster, I knew what kind of person he might be because his sister was right there, looking at me, chatting with me, making me laugh. Despite a few scares late on in the pregnancy (too much amniotic fluid, which can be an indicator of chromosomal problems) I felt more optimistic of my baby boy arriving.

photo courtesy of the Washington Post

photo courtesy of the Washington Post

My little girl had colic for 6 months of her life and screamed almost constantly.  I really didn’t enjoy her as a baby.  I was desperate for her to get to the next milestone, to talk, to walk, to be a person.  My little boy got no such cajoling.  I had Pickle to chat to and laugh with and The Monster was able to just be a baby and what a great baby he was.  He slept well, fed well, never had any medical issues (no conjunctivitis, eczema, raging temperatures) and I was very very happy to cuddle him and enjoy his babydom.

In a way this was my biggest reason for wanting to have a 3rd.  If another was like The Monster I would be very very happy, but of course, in life there are no guarantees.  Never the less, I pined, I coo’d and I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would be a mother of 3.  Who would get which bedroom, how I would juggle work, childcare, school.  I carefully tucked away a few key baby toys, every piece of clothing, with the thought that there was a good chance they might get used again.

I did have infertility.  I had IVF for Pickle.  I then had secondary infertility that was probably caused by my inflammatory condition and I got pregnant a month after going on medication.  For some reason in the last 2 years I have felt this is “my time” fertility wise.  I just feel it wouldn’t be that difficult to get pregnant and after all those years of difficulty, every month that passed that I wasn’t trying to have another felt like a waste of an opportunity.

So 5 months ago hubby and I started talking about it.  He was adamant.  No.  He was happy with two. He didn’t need anymore.  I kept talking about it. He kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t.  All the good reasons too.  Money, cost of childcare, needing a new car, cost of holidays.  I got the distinct impression this wasn’t going to happen.  I dropped the subject and started the thought process to try and reconcile the decision with my overwhelming broodiness.

Then about a month ago I was doing a sort through of the children’s toys and started bagging up babies toys to give to charity.  I said something like “It seems a shame to get rid of these, but I guess we’ll not need them” and he said something like “Well, I guess so. I suppose you never know”.  *sharp intake of breathe*  I then challenged him about it.  He admitted he hadn’t meant it like that, that he hadn’t been thinking when he spoke, but that the very fact I had pounced on the way he’d said it, suggests I hadn’t worked it out.  Communication about it was back on the agenda.  So we talked A LOT. I posted this.

You know what though, all the talking in the world doesn’t guarantee that the decision will go your way.

We have decided to not try for a 3rd baby.  Even typing this now is making me very very sad about it.  However, I think in my heart of hearts that this is the right decision for us.  There are financial worries to consider, the cost of a new car and the maternity leave and loss of earnings and then taking a few years to get back on track again with pensions, savings etc..  However there are also bigger issues that I just can’t ignore.

Firstly, my age.  It feels I’m pushing the limits for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  That’s not me suggesting that anyone else of the same age or older is wrong.  They have to do whatever is right for them and I do believe in a “fertility age” that isn’t reflective on your actual age.  I also think that if I was talking about a 2nd, the age thing would be less of an issue for me.  Having a 1st or 2nd now would be more important in the big scheme of things and I would worry about it, but just get on and deal with it.  If, heaven forbid, I was to have a baby with any difficulties this has a HUGE bearing on my other two children and we are a family now, I can’t just think about myself.  I am also not sure that my husband and I are cut out to deal with big challenges like that. I’m sure we would and hey, who knows, we may have surprised ourselves, but we struggle with the two perfectly healthy children we have, so I can’t think we would.  My condition matters as well.  I could have a massive flare up after delivery and my husband would need to sacrifice a lot to take on more of the work load, especially if I couldn’t walk or carry.  My condition is very unpredictable and whilst I am experiences a dormant phase of it, that can change in a heartbeat.

Secondly, my children.  For all of the reasons mentioned above and the fact they enjoy each other’s company.  They each make the other one giggle A LOT.  They love each other and I’m not sure how a 3rd will change the dynamics of that relationship.  I’m not sure I am willing to risk it.  At any rate, I’ve asked Pickle (nearly 5) on more than one occasion if she’d like another brother and sister.  Most of the time she says “no”.  Sometimes she umms and ahhhs about it and asks if she can just have a sister.  It seems she’s not sure even if I could guarantee a sister. I know she’s only 5, but she is speaking from her gut and she’s knows what another sibling will do to her time with mummy and daddy. It’s all very valid.

Thirdly, our childcare arrangement.  My husband is a partime stay at home Dad.  He is perfectly happy with 2 children and therefore to push him until he agrees where he has the bulk of the childcare, just seems very unfair.  Had we been in the position for me to be a full time Stay at Home Mum, then I think my argument would have been stronger, but I’m not and I’m unlikely to ever be because any other financial permutations of our arrangement doesn’t work, other than the one we are in at the moment.  So unless he gets a permanent part in Eastenders or we win the lottery, his time with the number of children he can deal with, is a big reason.

Finally, our patience.  I am not an earth mother and my husband wouldn’t say child rearing was his calling in life.  We have got better patience and self control since having kids but we aren’t perfect and with a toddler who is now challenging  due to his own frustrations and an emotional 5 year old and with everything else that goes with running a household and sharing the chores, inevitably we argue alot, tensions run high and some days are just very very hard.  A third child will not make that easier and will probably add to it.

So there you have it.  Done and dusted. I’m a mother of 2.  It makes me very sad, but for all of the reasons above, I can’t truly be sure that having a third is the right thing for us to do.  I need to move on now.  Be happy, be grateful for my two really interesting, bright, healthy children and throw myself 100% into raising them to be amazing adults.

I have to move on.

Trying for a third child

…or not?

How do people make these hard decisions about the number of children to have?  What’s a good number?  Presumably the right number for you is not the same right number for me.  More importantly am I being greedy thinking of having a third?

I can’t seem to shake the feeling of needing another child. I imagine it is very primal, that over whelming urge to bring children into the world.  It consumed my every thought after my son was born and only started to abate when hubby mentioned that two was really enough and he didn’t want to add another 2 or 3 years to his childcare calendar (he is a SAHD for 2 days a week).  I had to consider that, it isn’t just about me and had I been a Stay at home mum then it would have been a different story. I’m not and we have childcare to think about.

About a week ago I made a joke about having a third and hubby made a comment that made me think he was more receptive to it now.  It’s probably related to the fact that The Monster is causing us less trouble than he did a few months ago and we are realising how the two we have, are growing up fast.

Pickle was an IVF baby, but The Monster wasn’t.  It still took a while for me to conceive him though and it is possible a third child may not come easily.  That’s the first hurdle.

The second hurdle is my age and all the risks attached to that. Not just to me and my arthritic condition (amongst other things) but also the risk to a baby.  The likelihood of having a baby with a congenital condition or an issue resulting from a difficult birth.  I have to be honest, I don’t think my marriage would survive the pressure involved in raising a child with added challenges. Had it been my first, that’s a different story.  How do I feel if my third child required too much extra care that I had little left for the two I already have.  That worries me greatly.

The third hurdle is cost.  Not really on the outlay (clearly I have everything from the first two) and not from nappies, as I use reusable nappies, but as they get older and want to join clubs, do sports, go on excursions, require funding for things.  How can I reconcile my decision to have 3 children with the fact I may struggle to provide for them as they make their way in the world.

Of course, all of these hurdles are because I am a risk mitigator.  All fine and well when I’m planning the launch of a product in a European country, but human beings don’t work like that.  There are no guarantees in life. It all reminds me of a scene from Parenthood, one of my favourite movies and full of great lines related to raising children.

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Gill: And in all those things, sometimes they´re gonna miss.

Karen: – Sometimes they won´t.

Gill: – Sometimes they will.

Karen: What do you want? Guarantees? These are kids, not appliances. – Life is messy.

Gill: – l hate messy. lt´s so messy!

Grandma: (Wandering into room) You know, when l was young Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. – Oh, what a ride. –

Gill: (sarcastically) What a great story.

Grandma: l always wanted to go again. lt was just interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened… so scared, so sick, so excited… and so thrilled all together. Some didn´t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. l like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. Well, l´ll be seeing you in the car.

Karen: She´s a very smart lady. Come on, Taylor. Your ears are ready.

Gill: (sarcastically)A minute ago l was confused about life. Then Grandma came in with her wonderful and effecting roller coaster story. Now everything is great again.

Karen: l happen to like the roller coaster, okay? As far as l´m concerned, your grandmother is brilliant.

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So part of me wants to throw caution to the winds.  I want another child, because I love the ones I have so deeply I want to create the family unit of my choosing. I want my children to have noise and emotion around them, arguments, laughter and learning to understand others point of view.  Of course it could all go horribly wrong, especially if having a third creates unwanted friction later on in life. The one who doesn’t talk to the other two.

I was one of 3 children growing up, until the age of 11.  At 11 years old by older, adopted brother killed himself.  His story is for another day, but after the age of 11 I was only one of 2 children.  It felt very small to me, very vulnerable only being 2 of us.  My mum only had her third because when she unexpectedly got pregnant 6 months after I was born, she couldn’t bring herself to have an abortion. After 13 years of infertility and then having me, she knew what a miracle it was. So despite being in a bad financial situation at the time, she went ahead and had my sister.  I cannot imagine how awful my life would be if she hadn’t had my sister.  My parents were old school English parents, who didn’t “talk” or share emotion. Our household was one of sadness and walking on eggshells from the age of 11 until I left home at 18.  My sister got me through that and we have that shared history.  I can’t help thinking my experiences are clouding my thoughts about needing a third. Whether it is a deep-seated fear of something going wrong in years to come, or the need to create that family unit I felt crumble away at that young age.

I feel I need to make my decision soon.  At this moment in time I will be 41 if I was to get pregnant in the next few months and I do feel I am pushing the limits of my own health (due to my condition) if I do.  I’m also very much aware of how tired having three children will make me, so the sooner I decide the better.

How did you decide your family was complete?  Have your experiences growing up influenced the size of your family?  Really need some help of this one.

XX Bella

Sex, Infertility and the (slightly) older woman

One of the big advantages to blogging anonymously is being able to tackle the sorts of things I just wouldn’t do if my name was in the title and my mates were following my blog. So I’m going to tackle something that I find very difficult to talk about……….sex. Specifically my own.

The Irish one (my husband) and I had a pretty good sex life when we met each other in our mid 20’s. In fact, really good. Not a 6 in one night kind of sex life, but a frequently and very satisfying sex life that I had no reason to ever complain about.

We married in our early 30’s and waited a year before trying for a baby. And try we did. In fact we tried so hard to have a baby that the whole thing became a bit of a chore. You may have heard this sort of thing before. My advice to anyone trying for a baby is to hold off charting or using ovulation kits until as long as possible. As soon as you begin using it them, that’s it….things will never be the same again.

I don’t regret our regimental approach really, because I think we realised we were going to have issues within 2 years but it had a huge impact on our sex life. Lots of arguments and lots of having to have sex when really neither one of us was in the mood. A bit of a disaster really.

4 years, 5 IUI’s later and then our first IVF and we were finally pregnant. We had 9 months off sex. It was a relief. No more needing to do it and we both wanted the break. By the time I was 12 weeks pregnant I then didn’t want to risk going into early labour (I don’t believe this is a scientific inevitability, but I’d waited so long I probably enforced a lot of ridiculous rules on myself). I waited until I was a few weeks off my due date and we started again. It felt fun, I didn’t have to suck my tummy in or wear a vest (I have very small boobs) and I didn’t care if I went into labour early. All was good.

Trying for our 2nd meant we kept up the momentum. Less pressure because we had our daughter and after 3 years I successfully got pregnant naturally with my son.

So here I am, with a nearly 5 year old and an 18 month old and the likelihood that I won’t have any more children. I’m 40 and sex is very very very low on my agenda of things to do. It’s definitely below sleeping, it’s below finishing off my Millennium Trilogy and sadly it’s even below blogging. I’d rather get this post done in silence on a Sunday morning than have sex!

I read on twitter from women who seem to have sex with their husbands a lot. I’m often reassured when I read that they are still in their 20’s or they’re in the throes of early marriage (maybe their second). I still do find some out there, the same age as me rampantly enjoying a healthy sex life. I feel deflated, but it still doesn’t prompt me to rush off for 5 minutes of sexual abandonment.

I know almost every relationship guru or counsellor will tell you that sex is an important part of a successful relationship. I don’t doubt it and I worry about it for about 3 minutes and move on. I should be more worried really, but I can’t. There are several reasons why we don’t do it that often.

1. We’ve got out of the habit
2. We are tired! Early 40’s with 2 young children will do that to you.
3. When we aren’t tired (morning, midday) we have 2 young children. Logistically impossible.
4. We both have the libido of Pandas. Helpful we are both on the same page, but it means neither one of us is pushing the issue.
5. We both have quite low self esteems about our bodies and abilities in the bedroom. The slightest wrong word/sentence can affect us for weeks.
6. Infertility. We now have a choice. I choose to sleep.

So here I am. It’s been 4 months since we last had sex and I’m hoping one of us gets in the mood soon. I have purchased THE BOOK recently so I’m hoping a bit of racy literature will fire things up. In the meantime I will seek solace in the fact that many 40 somethings with young children will be in the same boat and that this boat will eventually reach it’s destination when our household becomes a little calmer and we start focussing on us again. Until that time I will see if Mr Grey brings some va va voom into my sex life. It’s worth a shot!

Me. Losing it.

Losing it!

Me. Losing it.

When you listen to your 18 month old cry and scream for the 2nd hour whilst your 4 1/2 year old asks you if they can do their sticker book, over and over and over again.  That!

I love my children. I really do.  I fought hard for both of them.  My eldest was eventually conceived on our first attempt of IVF.  We were very lucky indeed.  My youngest took a while to come too, due to not knowing if we could conceive naturally and also I was having a major flare up of an inflammatory condition. I went on medication in the April and conceived him in the May.

My eldest girl was very collicky. I refused to admit it at the time (no official medical term exists for colic) but she cried and cried and cried, all day long and all night.  Hubby and I argued a lot and spent a lot of time sobbing ourselves.  He told me once that we mustn’t get so upset about it, we asked to have her and fought hard to get her.  I now know that that was a mistake. We were just as entitled to moan about it as the next person and the extra guilt should never have come into it.

My son was a dream baby. Slept well (still does) and we barely heard a whimper. He’s now very different, very frustrated and very vocal.  I’ve blogged about his frustrating age here.

To top it all of, I’ve recently realised that I am a very highly strung, anxious person.  I know most people don’t adapt to change very well, but I don’t even more so. I rarely manage more than a few minutes of calm searching for something, before losing it, raising my voice, loudly asking rhetorical questions or swearing. I get very angry with other road users too. More so, when I’m under pressure to get from work to the nursery in good time.

The trouble is, although I consider my tolerance to be better than ever, because I think I would have literally exploded if I’d kept up with the way I’d handled things 4 years ago, I still can’t seem to hold it together very well.  All it takes is for 1 or 2 things to go wrong on top of me being in a bit of “funny mood” and I’m so ANGRY.  I have no idea how to manage this anymore.  I do take myself up to my room to rage in privacy as I don’t want the kids to see it and thankfully they don’t so much anymore, but I just wish I could be one of those cool, laid back kind of women who takes issues in her stride and copes.

I am being hard on myself, because I’ve been in some pretty horrendous situations of constant children crying and managed to cope, provided I’m in the right frame of mind.  I’ve also recently discovered that my tolerance level lowers if the place is a mess.  So I’m much more tidier and cleaner than I ever used to be.

Maybe, however, it’s time for me to find some better techniques to coping with the anger.  I don’t think it’s very nice for my kids to see me stressed and I remember being really scared of my mum and her moods.  Where do I look though?  Has anyone got any suggestions?