Birthday party

I have just come back from my brother’s birthday party. I was partly looking forward to it but also dreading it, as I always do when catching up with everyone. Because of our ages pretty much everyone there is settled with kids and I usually come away feeling depressed. I love talking to people about their kids but there is always that emptiness.


Tonight I had a feeling of hope.

Tonight I was able to talk to an expectant mum and not feel overwhelming jealousy.

Tonight, although I couldn’t say it to everyone, I didn’t feel like an outsider! Okay, I’m not married and the man who I will hopefully be having a baby with is not walking into the room with me, but there is now a chance that this time next year I could be the one with the baby bump.

I keep telling myself it might not happen but it’s that feeling again, the one I’m not used to.

Hope.

Tonight it overwhelmed me in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I have had a tough week. I have been an emotional wreck. My mood has been swinging like one of those Newton’s cradles. I have felt quite frankly, like shit. I nearly didn’t go tonight. I had almost talked myself out of it. But both my brothers are so important to me and I couldn’t miss such an important occasion. And I am so glad I went!

Happy birthday big brother, thank you for giving me an amazing evening, just by having a birthday!

Waiting!

I am happy to say I received the report from the counsellor on Saturday! Nice and quick turn around so I was very happy. I was also really happy with her comments. It’s always quite surreal reading someone’s opinion on you but I felt like she had really understood me and my reasons for wanting to do this and do it now. So I wrote her a letter back saying I am happy for her to put this forward to the team. And now the wait.

I feel like the waiting in this is always going to be the hardest thing. First I had to wait to get the blood tests done because I couldn’t have my first appointment without them. Now I have to wait for a group of people to decide whether they want to help me achieve my dream. If they decide to help me I then have to wait for the right point in my cycle to go ahead with the procedure and then… well then we have what is known as the 2 week wait! I suppose it could be worse, it could be longer, but I bet those must be the longest 2 weeks of your life. If you get a negative result and it hasn’t worked you then need to wait to go through it all again. BUT if you have a positive result, you need to wait until around 9 weeks before you can have your first midwife appointment, another 3 weeks for your first scan and when you finally tell everyone your good news. After that it’s another 4 weeks before your next midwife appointment when you might hear the heartbeat!

So, like I said, it’s a whole lot of waiting! But for something worth waiting for! As I said before, I am an impatient person! I can’t help it! If I’m honest, I don’t know where I got it from, maybe it’s being the baby of three siblings! I always wanted to grow up faster to catch up with my brothers! When I got my kittens I found the few weeks I had to wait to bring them home almost intolerable! I know waiting is a good thing but some waits are harder than others! And when you’ve been waiting nearly half your life for something even a few months seems too long!

There is also that weird feeling of not being able to plan. This might sound strange and if I was going down the traditional route I wonder if it would be the same. But not knowing if or when it might happen, do you book a holiday? Do you make plans to go to that concert next year? Do I hand in my teacher training application now?

I did by the way, I made the decision that if I got the place and then became “with child” I will defer for a year. I have to keep making plans or I can pretty much guarantee it won’t happen and I will not move forward in any way!

I will continue to wait, and I will continue to include you in my waiting!

Of course the other wait I have is to lose weight! It is happening, and apparently I am doing better than expected! I have lost 9.5lbs in 2 weeks, I have achieved my half stone award at Slimming World and I need to lose 4.5lbs this week to get my 1 stone award. But I want it gone now! I want to be at a normal BMI! This of course is down to me and I feel writing my weight loss on here will motivate me to keep going!

I am now off to get some sleep, I have 2 post-surgery kittens so fingers crossed for a good night sleep… I need to make the most of them whilst I still can!!!

Shocked

I am going somewhat off topic tonight. But I am still reeling over the news that Caroline Flack has taken her own life. It is so strange when someone in the public eye dies. You have never met them and even though you don’t know them, you feel like you do.

I have always admired Caroline Flack, she was a bright and bubbly personality and it may sound cheesy but she made me smile! But it just shows, you have no idea what is going on behind the smile.

I know this because I have been there. And it still scares me to think I was not far off being in the same position as Caroline. I truly believe the difference for me was I was surrounded by support and I did not have to read or hear negative and slaying comments about me or my personal life.

People have said that if you choose a life where people watch you every day you just have to accept this as part of it. But that is not true. There are those that sit behind their screens and write hideous things about people they know nothing about. And it’s easy because they don’t have to look them in the eye. But words hurt, they can cut through you like a blade.

I had one complaint made about me as a midwife, it was from a couple who had a tough time and their baby had complications. I know I did nothing wrong but they needed a scape goat. I am sympathetic to this. But they said I was uncaring. It was like I had been kicked in the stomach and punched in the face. I can honestly say that no matter what was going on in my head my women and their babies and families ALWAYS came first. The night after I was told about this I went home and cried. Solidly for hours. I didn’t realise it at the time but my mental health had already started to decline and this tipped me over the edge. I would drive around trying to work out in my head how hard I needed to hit a tree to hurt myself but not kill myself. And it was the day I stopped worrying how hard and just wondered which tree would be best I knew I needed help.

I am so relieved to say that I am way out the other side. I am happy. I want to get out of bed in the morning, shower and brush my teeth. I have a purpose and a drive. But I only had one comment. It took one to tip me over the edge and if it just took one for me I cannot imagine what Caroline was going through.

People need to stop using social media as a way to slate people and use it for good. Children get bullied at school but it doesn’t stop when they come home. Social media can be great but it can ruin lives. I don’t know how to police it, I’d be a millionaire if I did. But people need to know their is a consequence to their actions. I would like to think those that trolled Caroline Flack are feeling like shit tonight but the sad truth is they probably don’t think it has anything to do with them. It does.

I hope that Caroline can rest in peace now. I hope her family can find some way to get through this.

Please people, think before you act. You never know what someone is going through and sometimes you might find out too late.

Appointment 2

Wow! Talk about a week of mixed emotions! It’s been a pretty tough week at work, probably the combination of last week before half term and some pretty emotional work with the children! It’s a bizarre thing, working in a school. I know how lucky I am to have the holidays but I will be honest and say out of the jobs I have had, this is the most exhausted I have been.. and I have worked 14 hour shifts, nights shifts, and 9 hours a day 7 days a week for months on end!

Tuesday was my first weigh-in after joining Slimming World and I was over the moon to hear I had lost 4.5 lbs! This never happened the last time I joined so I must be doing something right!

Wednesday was my second appointment at the clinic. This time I was seeing the counsellor. I was pretty chilled about this appointment, until I got there. The first this I was told was that once the session was finished she would write a report and it would go to the multi-disciplinary team who when decide if I could move forward. I must have missed this somewhere along the line because I thought at this point it was a sure thing! I could feel anxiety rising in me but just told myself to see how it went.

By the end I felt so much better! We talked about how I would cope with being a single mum, finances, child care and how it would affect my job. But the two main important things seemed to be my support network and what and when I tell the child. Support network, I have an awesome family! Not just my immediate family but my extended family. It’s one of the reasons I feel a bit bad about not telling them about this yet. But I am still getting my head around it so feel I should sort that out before I tell everyone. I also have an amazing group of friends. A few years ago I had some mental health issues and it was the amazing people around me who got me through. I know that they will be amazing again!

Telling my future child about all this? I had thought about it, I had read other people’s views on this but has no idea when I should do it! This is where the counsellor was invaluable! She showed me a fab book, and advised me that 3 years old is the best time to tell a child about their family. Before they have the memory of finding out, so that the shock doesn’t stay with them, it is just something they have always known. This makes so much sense to me now and I am so glad we talked about it!

So, now I wait! My counsellor will send me her report which I get to read and amend if necessary, I send it back, then I wait for the team to make a decision on my future! I am an impatient person, I do not wait well! Task for the half term holiday…. find distractions!

Late Night Thoughts

I seem to have a lot going on in my head tonight. It’s safe to say that the majority of my time is spent thinking, talking and dreaming about IUI and what will happen. Even down to looking at my 2 gorgeous kittens and thinking, “one day you will have to take a back seat”.

One of the things I am thinking about is my appointment yesterday. It went really well, I have a healthy uterus, it looks like I have a good number of follicles, my bloods were good (I had convinced myself they weren’t) and my superstar consultant was really positive.

But I am a pessimist. I hate to admit it because I want to believe I am an optimist but unfortunately to me the glass is half empty. I keep thinking something is going to go wrong. My AMH test will surely show I actually have a crap egg reserve, or my fallopian tubes are blocked and we don’t know because you can’t see that on a scan.

I have absolutely NO reason to think these things… but I do.

One thing I do know is I am meant to be a Mum. I think I’ve said this before. It’s in my DNA. The women in my family have shown me what good mothers are… not just in my DNA but I have other amazing mother figures in my life, my stepmum for example. So I know I have got this… but what if I don’t! What if I have built myself up to being a good mum and then I fail?

When I decided to do this I knew I would go on an emotional rollercoaster but I never realised the self-analysis I would go through. I spend my days looking after other people’s children and I am damn good at my job. But they are not mine, I am a carer for 6 hours of their day. I cannot wait for someone to depend on me 24/7 but will I be good enough?

I assume women go through this when they conceive in the “normal” way but you are under so much more scrutiny when you make a conscious decision to be a single mum. People question you at every turn. And I guess, rightly so. Except, this is not a decision we single women have taken lightly or jumped to. We have thought about it, ignored it, cried over it so to be questioned over and over again is draining. We love people for caring but what we want is support and love. At the same time we want people to talk to us and not each other. I say we, I probably shouldn’t talk for others but I have heard this from some so am generalising.

What I really want right now is a crystal ball. I want to know what will happen. But then that would take away the excitement. My thoughts are so contradictory. And again I cannot sleep from thinking about it! But I will try! Goodnight all!

Appointment 1

So it has started! My first appointment took place this morning. I am not going to lie, I was shaking! But it was good, in fact it made me feel great. My scan showed a lovely healthy uterus, my ovaries are good and I have enough follicles. My blood tests were all good, just a borderline thyroid result (normal for everyone else but a little high for someone trying to conceive) so repeat this in March. I have had an AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) blood test just to double check my ovarian reserve.

Next step is my counselling session, which is next week. Not really sure what to expect but I am excited to get going now.

I thought I had chosen a donor this week but it turns out I wasn’t the only one and he is out of stock! Fingers crossed he has plans to get to the bank sooner rather than later!!!

Anyway, I now have to get back to normal life.. turns out it’s quite hard to do!!!

Grieving

For most women, hitting that time of the month is just an inconvenience that doesn’t really mean much. Don’t get me wrong, we all know what we have them for but you don’t really think about what it means. I’m talking about the fact that with every period, that is one more potential child slipping away.

When a girl is born she will have approximately 2 million eggs in her ovaries… great right? Wrong, around 11 thousand eggs die every month leading up to puberty so by the time you reach your teenage years you have around 300-400 thousand eggs. Still not too shabby… EXCEPT, approximately a thousand eggs die each month. And when you run out, well you run out. Not all women are the same some women have fewer eggs but we don’t have little counters on our pelvis telling us how many we have left.

The average age of the menopause is 51, around 5% of women will experience menopause between 40 and 45 and 1% before 40. Not a lot, except that is still 1 in 100 women. Suddenly doesn’t sound quite so great.

My point is, that whole ticking biological clock is a real thing. And with every period you are essentially losing a child. This might sound dramatic but for some of us it just feels real. So with every period, we grieve. We grieve the loss of a child we will never have. And you ruminate, you spend a good amount of time during that period getting upset and stressing over what is happening to those tiny little eggs inside your body.

It’s hard to understand this unless you have been here. And although I thought I was alone I have recently found out I am not. This is a genuine grief that women feel but we don’t talk about it. The average age for women to have their first baby is 28, well, I’m 9 years beyond that… that is approximately 108,000 eggs. Approximately 108 periods. That’s a lot of babies I have missed out on.

And this is why I am on this journey. My clock is ticking, my eggs are dying, their quality is degrading and my uterus isn’t getting any younger either. So I am here, having bloods taken, spending my spare time looking through sperm bank catalogues and imagining what my future child would look like… if this works. Please, please let this work!

Nerves

This week I had my first lot of blood tests. Nothing majorly stressful… or so I thought! I woke up on Thursday feeling, well, not quite right. Then I remembered I was having my blood test. I have no problems with having bloods done, after all I used to take blood from people all the time! But I had this weird feeling of, “what if I fail these tests?” I know you can’t fail a blood test but these are checking my fertility… what if I have a fertility problem that I never knew about, what if I’ve left it too late and my age is going to make this a problem.

Nerves have set in! Not nerves about WHAT I am doing but nerves about whether my body CAN do it! I’m taking all the advice, I’m taking conception vitamins, I’m taking myo inositol, I’m starting Slimming World this week, I’ve even massively cut down on my caffeine intake (probably the hardest one!)… but will it all be enough?

I went for my blood test, it took 20 minutes… I’m not easy to bleed! Great, all sorted. Until a few hours later, sat in traffic on the way home from work, when I suddenly thought, “did she take the right bloods?” I kept telling myself I was paranoid! But I had to phone the surgery to check… and it turns out I was justified! She had taken the LH and FSH not the progesterone! Now I’m panicking! But it’s all sorted and they won’t need me to come in again… apparently!

Nothing like a bit of added stress!!!

Decisions, decisions!

It’s easy right? You go to school, when you finish you either go to college or sixth form, or get an apprenticeship. Then you either go straight into a job or you go to university then work. Somewhere along the timeline you find the man of your dreams and you settle down, maybe get married, and you have children. Simple! That’s just how life is planned out right? Well, that’s what I always believed. Every year from the age of around 16 I thought, “This is it! This is the year I find Mr Right!” Up until around 30 when I started to think, “Please can I just find a man!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been perpetually single. But I genuinely believe there has been some announcement somewhere that says all men who just want someone to use should get in touch with me! Please don’t think I am feeling sorry for myself, after all, I pick them! But it does make you lie awake at night thinking about what kind of a person you are if you cannot find “the one”. I have found at least one man who didn’t use me as the other woman against my knowledge, but our paths were going in completely different directions. That is, he has had kids and doesn’t want more, and me… well, I believe the word is desperate!

And that is what leads me onto this blog and where I am today! A couple of months ago, at the age of 37 and after years of thinking about the option, I have made the decision to go it alone. If I can’t have a child wit h someone, I will do it alone. Every cell in me is screaming to have a child that I can love and nurture and help turn into a (hopefully) happy and successful adult. So, I am going to use a sperm donor and go through the process of IUI (intrauterine insemination).

There is it, decision made! What I never realised was that decision was just going to be one in a long list of decisions I would have to make. It’s not that I haven’t thought it through, I just didn’t think it through down to the finest details! Once you have decided to go ahead with trying for a baby you then have to decide which clinic you want to use. My Mum came with me to open evenings where we met consultants and embryologists and other people who are getting help having a baby. And it seems once you have made the choice to have a baby, that biological clock start ticking louder and louder (as mentioned by one consultant on every PowerPoint slide during a 20 minute presentation!), so you feel pressure to make that decision quickly.

On this, I was actually lucky, there was one particular clinic that I just felt comfortable with. The open evening was personalised for you, no group presentation, no mass tours of the “facilities”, just you and the people who will be helping you achieve your dream. Ok, so it helped I knew the consultant, but my Mum agreed, it just felt right! So actually, easiest decision.

Ok, so far I know, I am having a baby and the clinic who will help me try. Next decision, conception vitamins! Easy right? WRONG! Do you know the choices out there? I have stood looking at rows of vitamins, I was able to quickly discount the His & Her boxes, (well I wouldn’t be here if I needed those) but do I want just folic acid? Do I get more if I pay more? And then there is the fact I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, so do I want to spend more and get the specialist one that has myo-inositol? I mean, if your spending money on fertility treatment you should go for that right? But then do I need it? AAAAGGHHHH!!!! So I have bought a cheap one whilst I think!

Ok, vitamins sorted (well, almost) now I have to book my blood tests. This can be done at your GP surgery, saves you some money! Except, you have to have 2 lots of bloods done, on specific days in your cycle… so if you can get that at short notice you would be one of the lucky ones! You need a blood test 7 days before the 1st day of your period to check your progesterone level, you need bloods on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd day of your period to check your FSH and LH levels. Again, if you are one of those that has a regular cycle and know what day your period will start, lucky you! Part of my PCOS means my cycles are not very regular. You can have a test called an AMH test instead but I decided to try and guess it! You also need rubella, chlamydia, thyroid function, prolactin, Hep B, Hep C and HIV tests!

Once all this is done and you start moving ahead you need to pick the sperm donor! I thought this would be easy, I don’t really have any special requirements… or so I thought! But looking through I find I’m looking for the same colour hair and eyes as me, their height (I’m short so give the kid a fighting chance!), I’m even looking at hobbies and education! No idea why, my priority is the baby!!!! Once the treatment starts I will need to track my ovulation, so this will involve an ovulation test… and here is where I find myself back in the vitamin situation! This time I have gone for the middle of the range, and I’m starting now so I can see how accurate my ovulation app is! Oh yeah, if you’re like me, they have those too!

And this is only the beginning of my decisions! I have a lifetime full of them to look forward to if I get my way! I promise future posts won’t be this long but I have a lot going on in my head right now!

See you soon!