Tag Archives: IVF

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.

Old Age Mummys

I had children in my late 30’s because of my career….

Actually that’s bollocks.

I had children in my late 30’s because I thought I had all the time in the world…..

Actually that’s bollocks too.

I had children in my late 30’s because I just wasn’t ready in my 20’s…..

Nope…………..well, you get the picture.

ACTUALLY “I” wasn’t the only person responsible for having my children in my late 30’s.  My husband was also responsible.  There was TWO of us.  It wasn’t solely my decision.  So why the hell does every report in the newspaper and on television start with:

“Women leave it too late to have children”.

It winds me up so much I could scream, to be honest.  Like we are all floating around making these decisions (whether we are doing it unconsciously or consciously) and blokes are walking behind us like idiots, merely pawns in our game of fertility roulette.  Which is ridiculous.  Not only are we not solely responsible but it suggests the men in our life aren’t having any say, when they are (most of the time).

I’m not saying that some women don’t make these decisions based on their career and I’ll mention my views on that further down, but I think for a lot of women it’s got a lot to do with marrying later in life due to various reasons and the need to be in a better financial position before embarking on the very big deal of bringing of a human being into the world.  I just wish someone would acknowledge the complexity of why we are having children later rather than simplifying it or targeting women.

I don’t think my story is unique.  I have had 3 long-term relationships.  2 of which were with complete idiots and the third with my now husband.  I was 18 when I met my first boyfriend. Fell in love for the first time and believed this was it! Engaged at 19 and then 2 years later realised he had no intention of marrying me but was “bagsying” me so I didn’t run off with someone else. The relationship was quite horrific really, he was an alcoholic and violent and I didn’t know any better. It’s only when I started fancying someone else that I had the guts to call it quits.  Which I did thankfully.  I was 21.

I started seeing my 2nd boyfriend. We moved in almost immediately, had lots in common or so I thought.  We eventually moved to the UK together but he had always been a bad egg.  This was my emotional abuse relationship. The guy was horrendous. Treated me like absolute dirt one day and then cooking me a surprise meal with candles the next. I felt trapped as I didn’t know many people in London and was barely pulling the minimum wage.  He really didn’t love me anymore and we hung on for another year, moving to a flat and trying to make it work.   I supported him through drama school and the deal was that he would do the same for me the following year.  2 weeks into my course he didn’t come home one night and 3 days later we talked it out and agreed to leave each other.  Of course, true to my form I felt stronger because my weekends were filled with the drama school and I’d met lots of new people including my future husband (although I only made a move 2 months later). I was 25.

My relationship with my future husband worked very differently. He didn’t play games. He had not had a difficult childhood. He was normal.  He didn’t like it if I tried to get highly strung over small things. He taught me to be polite and considerate. He changed me and made me realise that relationships were about trust.  He also taught me to enjoy my own company. He didn’t see me as often as I would like because he had his own friends and his own space that he enjoyed.  He grew to fall in love with me and slowly we spent more time together.  I would have rushed this all much quicker. I was aware of my ticking clock.  We had “words” one day about where we were going.  I think it did the trick.  We moved in together when I was 29.  He asked me to marry him when I was 30.  I was married at 31.

My husband wanted us to enjoy some time being married and as we were buying a house as well, we took a year out from thinking about children. On our 1st anniversary I broached the subject and he got a bit panicked.  I now realise (as does he) that for some men, they are never ready to have children, so waiting for that moment could take forever.  We had a difficult chat and then agreed to start trying.  I was 32.

For 2 years we tried without getting too hung up.  I occasionally used an ovulation kit but nothing was happening so we saw our doctor and got referred.  We then embarked on IUI with the NHS.  We had 5 go’s involving scans every two days, a trip to another hospital for my husband to “provide” sperm and then his dash back with it to the hospital I was at for it to be inseminated.  Then we had trigger injections at midnight at the same hospital.  I was 34.

We accepted the inevitable and had the choice of going on a 2 year waiting list with the NHS or paying privately for IVF. We had some savings and my in-laws offered some help and we opted to go privately rather than wait.  We were very lucky. I got pregnant. I was 35.

Picture courtesy of bbc .co.uk

I eventually had my daughter 2 weeks before I was 36.  My son came naturally but despite our attempts to have them close together by trying when my daughter was 6 months old, he arrived 3 years later.  I was about to turn 39.

You can see how these things snowball.  Not many people set out to have children later in life. They find themselves in less than ideal relationships without the emotional strength to leave, they find themselves not wishing to push partners away by rushing decisions. I felt I’d pushed my earlier two relationships too early and they had quickly fallen out of love with me.  I didn’t want that to happen again.  Things went this way, because that’s life, but two of us were in the driving seat (technically probably my husband was more to an extent, then) and this is what happened.  Children in my late 30’s.

AND as for women who have children later in life because of a career.  If we could climb the corporate ladder by popping out children left right and centre, then we would.  Sadly that is not the case.  At my work there are 2 women who are at Senior Management level. One has chosen not to have children at all. The other has chosen to have one child, whom she spent 3 months maternity leave with and is now back working at 8am-8pm day whilst she has her child looked after by her husband and childcare.  I’m sure it’s not what she would have liked, but she has to be around for those important meetings which inevitably happen around 6pm.  This is a good video to watch about some of the barriers women face.

So please, journalists, stop putting the blame of late motherhood on mothers. Look deeper, find the cause and deal with that.  If we can’t, then face the inevitability of an increase in IVF, the need to make it more accessible.

This is a bigger issue than the women of this world putting motherhood on hold for purely selfish reason and I’m, quite frankly, fed up with the accusations.

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.

************************************************************

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

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?