Visibility: Why We Do What We Do

Yesterday, I was invited to chat to Anna Foster of BBC Radio 5 Live about sperm donors and how there is now an increase in demand for them outside of the realms of the NHS. We talked about what we went through and what *should* be common practise when deciding to do at-home artificial insemination (AI).

It certainly wasn’t your average Monday and throughout the whole interview I was asking myself why on earth I was sharing such personal details about our son’t conception (legs up in the air and all). It was an experience, and whilst I was incredibly anxious about the whole thing I was driven by our story and getting it out there so that others out there could see some form of hope. That there are other options when it comes to conception.

If you would like to listen to the whole feature, you can skip through to 10:12 via the link above.
(I’m on at 39:00).

The main concern within the interview surrounded the regulation of certain Facebook groups where couples, usually Lesbian couples, can find sperm donors, and how risky this is. It also briefly explored how the NHS need to change their stance on when they offer support for same sex couples.

Basically, if the cost to have a baby wasn’t so high – then perhaps women wouldn’t be taking the risks to have a baby.

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A Letter to Sharon and Kate 2 Years Ago

Hello Ladies, Kate here!

I thought I’d write to you as a loving hand from the future.

Right about now you’re feeling pretty lousy. You’ve just had your 8th BFN. You’re feeling like this whole TTC malarkey is never going to work for you. You feel like you’re never going to have your family.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. A secret we would have liked to have known ourselves 2 years ago, if not longer…

You will have your family.

I will give birth to a beautiful son and he will be your anything and everything.

You will love him to the moon and stars, and there will be nothing you won’t do for him.

There will be sleepless nights, cold tea,  and hurried meal times; but you won’t care. Not really. You will sigh and maybe complain slightly, but you won’t care. You have your baby.

You have your family.

We’re so happy right now, life couldn’t be better. We can’t wait for you to feel this, to see your son, to see your family as a whole.

You. Will. Love. It. It really is everything you’re currently dreaming of and more.

Stay strong, ladies. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Kate

26w6d – Feeling Thankful

Every Christmas I try and think of all the things I’m thankful for, and at New Years I try and think of all the things I look forward to. They’re not something I have made myself do over the years, they’re just something I find myself thinking about or doing when S is finally home for Christmas and the festivities truly begin. Other years, it’s usually been around 3pm when I’m crammed full with Turkey, had a few glasses of Vino, and I’m cuddled on the sofa with S watching Home Alone/White Christmas/Hook/All of the above.

Over the past few years however, although I am always eternally thankful for all the things we have; a beautiful home, an amazing family, wonderful friends, and, of course, each other, it was always difficult to think of new things to be thankful for over the year as the only thing we had wanted and worked hard for throughout that year was a baby. Sure, we still enjoyed Christmas but there was always something missing.

This year, however, it’s all change. Beansprout isn’t even here yet and they’ve sure as hell already made a difference to the Christmas festivities! Not that I’m complaining, but this year I will be without the following:-

But as much as I jest about what I’m missing out on, I really couldn’t care less. I’d give up all the Smoked Salmon in the world (and I frickin’ LOVE Smoked Salmon) if it meant gaining a Beansprout. Likewise, all my Smoked Salmon in the world is not enough to say thank you to those that have been there throughout our journey – some even making this journey possible! So without further ado; trying not to sound like an Oscar’s speech, I have made a very small but thorough list of all the things I am thankful for:-

Our Donor
Quite a big one here – without them we literally wouldn’t be where we are right now. We’ve had our fair share of rubbish Donors and seen several who we’ve been thankful for NOT getting involved with. Over time we thought we’d never reach our goal, we thought “The Perfect Donor” didn’t exist, but then this one came along! They’ve been with us through ever necessary step, making the journey a whole lot easier and certainly a lot less stressful – again, something we didn’t think was possible. We are so very lucky to have found them. We probably won’t ever be able to repay him the gift that he’s given us.

Our Kinesiologist
Some say that they were just doing their job, but for us they opened up doors we didn’t even know were locked and bolted shut! We went in blind when we went to see Kate, we really had no idea what a good Kinesiologist was and what a bad one was – we didn’t even know whether I was fixable! On top of this, I cannot emphasise enough how little we could afford if TTC didn’t work for me – it probably would have been the end of the road – IUI/IVF was not an option financially so getting in touch with Kate was our last hope – and are we glad we did! She really did fix me and 3 tries later we have a Beansprout. For this we are thankful for the recommendation given to us, and of course to Kate.

Our TTC Community
Our TTC journey really wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t have this wonderful community around us, and we are so very very thankful for being welcomed into it with open arms. It really does give you hope knowing that you’re not alone in this harsh journey.  To those that have given us advice, who have given us virtual hugs when we were at our lowest, and to those who have just listened – Thank you.

If you’re just starting out in the TTC journey, I urge you to communicate with others in the same boat – whether it’s via a forum, a blog, or even via Twitter/Facebook. The community is not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, it’s a shoulder to cry on if it doesn’t work the first, second, or even fifth time – these guys will understand wholeheartedly when others may not.

So there we have it. Only three things, I know, but to us these three MASSIVE things are what we are thankful for this year.

K

The Week That Was Ours

I was on approximately CD27 (13DPO) when I went on holiday – I say approximately, as our app and I are in disagreements as to when I ovulated. I believe I ovulated on CD14 (06/07) due to the positive OPK’s and BBT dip, but the app believes I ovulated on CD16 (08/07). At first the app didn’t believe I ovulated at all due to the fact that my BBT was all over the place during the cycle, however once I edited a few items I got my cover line.
Nevertheless, I ovulated which was a good start. However, we were only able to get the one shot in due to timings but either way, I know it was before ovulation was due. Phew!

The first week of the TWW was easy as I was super busy at work as well as getting over excited for our holiday. The second week was also remarkably easy as I was on holiday! I was stuffing my face as well as entertaining a very active 7 year old – I was keeping myself happily occupied, however I was very aware of the up and coming visit from AF which was bit of a downer, especially on holiday; which is a time I like to go swimming. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to let myself think about it for a change.
S was also really well behaved, although she did slip in the occasional “how are you feeling” which was answered with a generic “fine”. I didn’t want to think about anything TTC related.

We took our BBT thermometer with us, however we were unable to log anything on our app due to having no wifi – so we couldn’t see what my chart looked like, which was a blessing in disguise as one of the worse things during the TWW is seeing AF arrive in the form of a BBT dip before hand.

So anyway, the due date for AF came and went. I was due around 14DPO (20/07) and 16DPO (22/07) but those dates came and went. No sign of AF! Typical. I was at my most relaxed, having a great time, and AF is late! As and when it does come, it’s going to be a bad one, I thought. I wanted to go swimming and wear my white linen trousers due to the scorching heat, but there was no chance of that happening. I wasn’t taking it too seriously, though, as I’ve been late before.

But it didn’t come… however this did:-

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So as I write this, I’m currently, starting my 6th week of pregnancy (I still can’t believe it). I’ve booked my midwife appointment for 08/08 which will soon be the end of my 7th week. I then have to go back a week later on the 15/08 but I’m not sure what for – but right now, I don’t care.

I’m super nervous, as well as excited, but more nervous than anything. I want to scream the news from the rooftops – but I can’t.

The next 12 weeks cannot come sooner.

K

Clubs

Within the TTC blogging world, I have found that there are roughly 3 “clubs”. The “Trying” club, the “Pregnant” club, and the “Mummy” club. During the TTC journey, we all belong in one of them but not all of them, sadly. Of course you can TTC AND be a mummy, I mean in a sense that once you’ve moved into a new group by falling pregnant, for example, you seem to be moved down the hall from the TTC room and into the next waiting room… or at least that how it feels to me. I’ll expand on the Mummy Club in another post I think – that’s a whole different box.

Over the past few months, I’ve read some really difficult posts where some ladies have been downright rude about women who have fallen pregnant… “I can’t believe she’s Pregnant”, “They’ve only been trying a year”, “I’m unfollowing anyone who falls pregnant before me” are just a few of the posts I’ve read – and it’s really depressing. I didn’t think that this dark underworld where “support” only exists as long as it’s you first really existed, or at least I hope it didn’t. How can you possibly measure when it’s acceptable to fall pregnant. You don’t grab a ticket and wait for your turn – it’ll happen if and when it happens.

Likewise, there have also been a couple of other blogs where ladies feel genuine heartbreak, and the pain now outweighs the joy for others, and they simply cannot bring themselves to follow these blogs anymore. I also believe it genuinely hurts them that they feel like this, however, I’m completely on the fence with this.

I understand wholeheartedly the heartache that comes with a BFP announcement. I really do. You have been spilling your heart out for months, years, decades, about TTC with fellow TTC’ers and suddenly someone reaches their goal. It’s even more heartbreaking when the length or attempts in trying is minimal in comparison to yours, or like-the-time-recently-when-a-person-I-know-fell-pregnant-after-not-trying-at-all-and-is-certainly-not-in-the-best-position-to-fall-pregnant-and-didn’t-really-want-kids-anyway (and breath…). It really hurts. You want to start a family and nothing is holding you back apart from something inside you literally cannot control.

But for those instances where ladies who have been on TTC slope do fall Pregnant, I really cannot bring myself to unfollow them. It’s not fair. We ladies are in this together and if we can’t support each other and at least be happy for them in the first instance and an unfollowing them is the first thing you do, then that’s really sad. Sure, I’m not expecting everyone to throw a party when a BFP is announced; but to unfollow someone, almost punishing them, isn’t fair also. Personally, a BFP gives me hope. It shows me that even the toughest of journey’s make it in the end. I can’t be happier for those couples.

To be honest, I don’t monitor my follows. I write like it’s a journal and if people want to read, then great. If not, fine – so I probably wouldn’t notice any unfollows. However, I would notice if someone I once communicated regularly with suddenly disappeared – that would hurt, especially if I then found out they unfollower me. I would feel kicked out of a club – I would feel sad that I’d lost a friend for doing nothing wrong.

I wouldn’t, however, feel guilty – which is another side to this TTC business. Women are feeling guilty about announcing they’re Pregnant! LADIES! You have done nothing wrong. Don’t feel guilty. It’s very kind that you feel for those that haven’t got there yet, but it’s nothing to do with you. You haven’t travelled this long and winding road just to feel awful about it. So, stop!

If and when I get to the stage when I can announce a BFP, I will totally expect a couple of unfollows because perhaps my blog doesn’t match a reader’s interest criteria anymore but I would not expect an unfollow simply because I’m Pregnant.

From my point of view, I probably won’t be as active on other TTC blogs – I’m not going to pipe up on blogs and be all “well… when we were trying” – that’s totally wrong, inconsiderate and the bitches that do that can go away, but I will continue to support and help where possible (and generally give advice when advice has been asked for).

This may cause a few arguments, it is a sensitive subject after all, but I’m afraid I’m on the fence about a complete unfollow of someone’s who has been in the same boat and then falls pregnant. It’s like kicking them out of a club they still rightly belong to. If you don’t want to read what they have to say, don’t read it. Don’t unfollow them straight away (which they will later see) making them feel awful for something that is probably going to be one of the happiest times of their lives.

The Week That Just Wasn’t Ours.

So Aunt Flo has come and gone following our last try. As expected, after a delayed ovulation, AF came right on time two weeks after actual ovulation. I’m always intrigued by how the body just ‘knows’ what to do at the right time. I wish it could tell us when it’s good and ready to get pregnant, but obviously the ‘too difficult’ light comes on for that one.

Although it was bit of a shocker at the time; seeing as we pretty much hit the nail on the head when it comes to timings, it shouldn’t really shock us by now seeing as we’re so used to getting BFN’s now… but it did. As BBT monitor, I saw it first, and then K saw it in my face. I had seen the massive temperature drop one morning and knew straight away it hadn’t worked this cycle. I didn’t want to tell her, but I guess after 7 years she can read my face pretty well.
Regardless of how many BFN’s we’ve had now, this one really hit K for six and pretty much ruined her for a few days. So I apologise for not updating, but she couldn’t face breaking yet another BFN.

K felt, and still does feel, like a fool when she writes so positively on here; especially after then having to break the BFNews, but what else can she do when you think that you’ve got everything timed perfectly? As far as K’s concerned, her body is “working”, and all the other signs for good fertility are there smiling right back at us – so there shouldn’t be any issues right? And at the same time, she doesn’t want to be a negative Nancy. Yes, she’s scared of it not working – again – but she certainly doesn’t want to keep thinking it. She wants to remain positive, but it’s so hard to when you expect the same thing all over again.

I’m still not sure when to say ‘enough is enough’, but at the moment I’m not ready, and K’s certainly not ready to give up no matter how much every BFN hurts. She regularly worries whether something is wrong and to be honest, I just don’t know what to think. A lot of people advise us that it does take some time to fall pregnant and it is very much a waiting game, but how long do we wait before becoming concerned?

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So as I write, K is soon to be coming to the end of her first week of the TWW. (Sunday) We got a donation in just before ovulation which was lucky as K ovulated earlier than expected again. Despite having a delayed ovulation last cycle, which meant that everything would have moved backward by about a week, she still managed to ovulate bang on the same time as usual which means she was a few days early if you were to count it from AF which, of course, was delayed because of the delayed ovulation.

Apart from recording her BBT and OPK tests, we’ve decided not to record anything else such as any “symptoms” (not that they really exist at this stage), but at the same time; to find out whether one cycle is different from the other, we try to record any changes so that we can compare other cycles. Last month, for example, we were full of them, K was feeling genuine cramps as well achey boobs towards the end of the TWW (which is something she doesn’t suffer from before AF), but we now feel they were just her mind playing cruel games. So seeing as the ones we recorded mean jack anyway, we’ve decided to just wait for AF this cycle.

Hopefully, this BFN won’t hurt as much this cycle.

Sx