Here We Go Again!

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Never would we have imagined that the journey to motherhood was going to be so long and painful. However once we knew the challenges we faced and that we would only be able to have a child using IVF we decided that after baby number 1 was born we wouldn’t wait too long to have baby number 2.

When we decided to try for a baby the first time we were full of naive excitement and total ignorance. We never thought we would be the ones who needed fertility treatment or lost a baby. The benefit of hindsight means that we are fully aware of the potential set backs that lay ahead. We know it may take a long time and it may be a bumpy ride so why wait when we know we want another child?

While I was pregnant with our little boy we decided that as soon as there was the chance to try again we would. We would save our frozen embryo for the future and, while I was relatively young, make some more embryos. That was the plan. That seemed like the most sensible idea. Once my body had returned to normal we thought we’d get going on IVF number 2. All of that was until our little bundle of joy arrived and turned our lives spectacularly upside down! So when the opportunity to try again came while our baby was still such hard work we took one look at each other and agreed that in no way were we ready to cope with two little monsters! We were exhausted and our little baby was a complete handful. In many ways he still is!

So when asked by friends and family when we would try again we quite honestly said next year. However we now have got to the point where we feel like (relatively) confident parents who have, to some degree, begun to resume normal life. We sleep pretty well and are enjoying our son so much that we now feel that its time to do it all over again! Are we mad?

Despite the craziness of our lives now, the stress of pregnancy and the ordeal of trying to conceive, absolutely nothing is better than the love I have for my son. I would feel so blessed to have another little one to join our family. Last time we shared it all with our close family and friends. We needed the support as we blindly went through IVF. This time we know what lies ahead, so unbeknownst to all our friends and family we have began the process! Today is day 4 of my shots and next week may be the egg collection. It’s mad. Totally mad and completely exciting!

31… eek!

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Today is my birthday! I feel very blessed to be spending it with my gorgeous little baby boy. A year ago I had just found out I was pregnant which certainly softened the blow of leaving my 20s behind and turning the dreaded 30. Despite my joy that the IVF had been successful I still never allowed myself to entertain the idea of actually having a baby a year later. It was just too hard to imagine after the ordeal we had faced.

So the fact that a year has passed and the stressful pregnancy has resulted in a beautiful baby is a dream come true. I feel so grateful that my prayers and wishes were answered.

I have more to be grateful for too. Firstly I have made amends and rebuilt my relationship with a very old and special friend whom I had fallen out with and secondly my lovely mummy has been given a clean bill of health. So this year as I celebrate with my husband by my side and my baby in my arms I will feel so contented and at peace.

Ice Ice Baby

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According to yesterday’s Evening Standard egg-freezing parties are all the rage! Just like the Tupperware party, this party features wine, canapés and a discount on anything you buy. But what you’re shelling out for, is oocyte cryopreservation — AKA a batch of frozen eggs.

In the US these soirées were designed for women seeking advice on fertility and delaying motherhood. London’s fertility experts say egg-freezing parties could be on the horizon too. This option, originally available for cancer patients, could become more widely practised.

Either way couples are reminded to consider how their career choices will impact on their fertility and realise egg-freezing does not guarantee a baby. By 30, women have already lost around 90 per cent of their eggs, and women who grew up in a household of smokers can go through the menopause up to eight years earlier than those who did not. Only 20 babies had been born in the UK after treatment using patients’ own frozen eggs by the start of 2013, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the UK’s independent regulator of the use of embryos, although around 18,000 eggs have been stored in the UK for patients’ own use. The odds aren’t good. But choice is, and I hope women who attend allow egg-freezing parties will receive valuable information which helps them to understand their fertility better.

Shine A Light

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The festive period is upon on us. With that comes excessive shopping, spending and indulgence. It made me want to do something for a cause close to our hearts.

We lost a much-loved, much-wanted baby this year who suffered from a debilitating medical condition. However many babies born with similar conditions have a different path in life. They face a brave life filled with ongoing medical challenges. In memory of our little one we decided to raise some money for those babies who will need support throughout childhood and adulthood.

Last night we brought our friends together for a Chanukah party where they gave so generously. It blew us away. We knew our friends were special but we are so grateful and appreciative for their kindness. I am thrilled that we can help others to lead as meaningful lives as possible. Chanukah is the festival of light and I hope we can shine some on some very special little ones.

Dear Santa

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While Christmas is an exciting time of year for many, it is also a time when those who have experienced struggles, loss or grief can find it especially difficult. Many couples facing infertility or pregnancy loss will have hoped that they would have a new baby by this Christmas. I have seen many comments on blogs and forums that express disappointment over their situation and a reluctance to embrace the festive period.

I am the least Christmassy person you could ever meet (I just don’t get the hype!) so it was never going to be an issue for me. This time of year is not momentous for me in any way. But I can appreciate that for many it is a time for family and that can be hard when you hoped yours would look very different.

My advice is to:

  • avoid placing too much emphasis on what is essentially one day of the year – just like any time of year there is hope and a multitude of opportunities and possibilities ahead
  • look at what you have got, rather than what you have not got – you may not have the baby you are desperate for but you have many other wonderful things in your life
  • embrace the distraction – consider the time off work or the socialising the perfect thing to occupy your thoughts. If you don’t feel sociable get cosy with some comfort food and watch elf and home alone!

Would You EVER…

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… Announce Your Pregnancy On Social Media?

This week in Grazia (yep I read very high-brow publications) I saw that in a poll they took 31% of people voted that yes they would announce their pregnancies on social media, leaving 69% in agreement with me and voting no. During this pregnancy I have been extremely protective of sharing our news, but even last time I never would have made such a personal announcement on social media. I would far rather share it in person with my close friends and family. I actually have spent the last 3 months deleting the random people who have made their way onto my facebook with whom I have no contact and, if I’m honest, no interest in. Lately I’ve felt that social media can become a boasting platform and when I know how painful infertility or pregnancy loss can be, I would hate to be rubbing it in anyones face. What do you think about social media announcements? Is your life an open book?

Infertility Faux Pas

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What not to say to a woman who can’t get pregnant

Author Tracy Buchanan has ‘dodgy eggs’ and struggled to conceive for five years. During that time, she was flabbergasted by some of the ‘comforting’ advice she got – even from well-meaning friends. Here, she explains what not to say:

  1. ‘Kids are a nightmare anyway, you’re better off without them’
  2. ‘Don’t worry, it’ll happen, I just know it’
  3. ‘I bet you’ll get pregnant on holiday’
  4. ‘So-and-so got pregnant on her tenth round of IVF!’
  5. ‘There’s always adoption’
  6. ‘Oh, I didn’t mention so-and-so was pregnant, I thought it might upset you’
  7. ‘It’s G-d’s way’

My advice  is to be realistic without being negative.You might be tempted to be overly positive but it’s frustrating to hear. Let your infertile friend vent without adding your own opinions or dismissing them when they try to be realistic. All you need to do is listen. Make it clear you’re there for them. If they need to talk or ask your advice, they will.

Awkward

 

Yesterday was the first time, in a long time, that my husband had to have the awkward conversation which begins with ‘so your wife must have had the baby’ and ends with that person feeling utterly embarrassed. We are resilient enough now to be able to talk about it without it being horribly painful but we do feel sorry for the well-meaning people who put their foot in it. They are people we rarely see, who are not connected to our friends and family. How should they know? It’s not their fault. Even worse was that his wife was pregnant and I don’t like to tell pregnant people in case it makes them anxious. Hopefully we will be able to tell them positive news soon.