This was originally written as an online diary which was updated regularly detailing my struggle with infertility, and the quest for my Husband and I to successfully have a baby together, even though I was then in my late thirties and had the added complications of endometriosis with severe internal adhesions as a result.
I hope this ‘desperate for a baby’ diary will help other women out there to cope with their own frustrations and disappointments in their efforts to make babies, and that they will also give those of you in the earlier stages of trying, some idea of what may lie ahead of you.
Growing up I had already decided that I never wanted children, after all, I found no excitement or maternal interest in other people’s newborns or toddlers with few exceptions! Naturally I did come across the occasional child that made me doubt myself, and almost persuaded me that “if I could have one like that I wouldn’t mind”, but as I was never in a stable relationship at the time I never considered the matter further.
It was some time later, (around my early twenties) that in a relationship I was desperate to hang on to, (in spite of it’s unsuitability), I decided to come off the pill and try to have a baby. Nothing happened in spite of months without any contraception and a very regular, (almost daily) sex life. This was my first clue that my body was ” not quite right”!
Fortunately that particular relationship did not last, but after a number of years without being on the pill I had now resigned myself to the fact I would never get pregnant, and what’s more, I didn’t really mind too much as I didn’t feel that having a baby was essential in my life.
Some years later I married a lovely man called Dave, and at some point we decided that it would be great to have a baby together. I felt settled in my life, and now actually found myself wanting a baby with the man I loved. Dave already had two older children from a previous marriage, and as it was already apparent that I had a fertility problem we sought help from my Doctor to try and ensure we could have one of our own.
To cut a long story short, after being referred to specialists it became apparent that I had severe endometriosis as well as a large ovarian cyst (approx 3″ in diameter) on my right ovary, and I was probably not ovulating either. I went into hospital to have the cyst removed, and remained in for a week whilst the wound healed (the wound was quite a large cut across the bikini line). When I finally left the hospital the Doctors told me I was not ovulating, and gave me a packet of tablets to take and made me a follow up appointment for six months time.
After leaving the hospital my Husband and I went through some marital difficulties, and I didn’t begin to take the tablets in case things failed to be resolved. About the time we finally started to get our marriage back on track, my Husband of 48 was rushed into hospital with severe abdominal pains. Within 24 hours he had been diagnosed with terminal bowel Cancer , and after two weeks in the hospital, and two days back at home, he sadly died.
Naturally I was left reeling, not expecting to be widowed at the tender age of 31, and certainly not under such tragic circumstances. My weight plummeted to under 6 stone, and only my adrenalin was keeping me going. My Husband had died whilst we were in rented accommodation, and with no life insurance in place. To say I was terrified was an understatement, and a baby was now the last thing on my mind. I had to move out of our home as I could not afford the rent alone, worry about our pets and deal with a lot of cruelty and theft of personal possessions by his side of the family. It was hardly surprising that when I came across the tablets the Doctor had given me I simply threw them in the bin.
For the next seven months I managed to remain in the UK with my pets, by living with and working for a couple who ran a small plant nursery. Eventually I decided I wanted to return to my home island of Guernsey to be near my family again, and within a month or two was safely back on Guernsey. Unfortunately I then met up with a very old flame who persuaded me to move to Tenerife with him. This did not work out, and the guy turned out to be a complete control freak and a spiteful bully, who was apparently also jealous of my dead Husband and any affection I still held for him. This failed relationship would have been more bearable if I hadn’t by now given up my pets for this chance of happiness, so my cat was now with his ex-girlfriend, my greyhound was now living with my parents and my Cairn Cross Terrier had been re-homed by my parents to other friends of theirs whilst I had been in Tenerife. I felt like I had now lost everything.
I made my way back to Guernsey two and a half years after moving to Tenerife. The whole ghastly mistake had not only cost me another two and a half years of time I could have been trying for a baby, but ended up costing me well over £20,000 in terms of money I was left owing to my Mother on an apartment that lost value after she bought it for me to live in whilst I was in Tenerife, (and as security when my boyfriend was being such a monster). Not to mention the £5000 I invested in him and I going over to Tenerife, and on top of this all the valuable personal belongings I gave away when I left Guernsey to pursue this romance. All in all a bitter blow, especially when his ex-girlfriend gave birth to his baby girl only a matter of months after we had arrived in Tenerife.
Shortly after I arrived back in Guernsey I was lucky enough to meet a man who genuinely made me laugh. At first I wasn’t interested in a relationship, but when he asked me out for a meal and I pointed this out, his response that, “it’s a dinner, not a marriage proposal!”, made me laugh at his originality. We soon became fast friends, and over the coming weeks this developed into romance. I guess the final seal of approval on the relationship was when we accidentally discovered that the property I had chosen to rent, just happened to be the same property he had lived in 15 years earlier with his former partner and children. The coincidence was too strange, and we were soon an item, Richard moved in with me very shortly afterwards, and within four months we were married.
At some point we discussed the fact I had really wanted children, but had fertility issues and doubted I could get pregnant. Richard already had children, so it was not as if he would be deprived of having children at all if I could not conceive. Both Richard and I had come into our relationship with personal debts, and this did put our relationship under a great deal of pressure for some time, especially as Richard seemed to be so terrible with money from my perspective, and although I loved him I did feel as if I had to be the mature and responsible one in our marriage.
We both decided to save money and our health we would give up smoking, and whilst I succeeded (for a while) by taking the tablet Zyban, Richard attempted to give up using willpower alone. I was far more successful than Richard, and went without having any cigarettes for six months, whilst Richard did fairly well, but was tending to have a few here and there in the hope I wouldn’t find out, or smell them on him, (which I frequently did!)
Richard and I were both in full time jobs at this point in time, and we needed every penny we could get to pay off various loans etc we had both brought into the relationship. At first I didn’t really notice too much was wrong with me at work, other than signs I dismissed as insignificant, such as the occasional nausea that caused me to sneak off to the toilets to avoid embarrassment, or the fact that I seemed to find the one member of staff with a bad personal hygiene problem impossible to be within 5 metres of without visibly heaving, (and failed to understand how anyone else could manage to be any closer without experiencing the same problem). My sense of smell had obviously become far more sensitive, but I didn’t realise that mine was any different to everyone else’s. At home I was suffering from constipation, and was more exhausted than usual. My breasts were tender and my libido had hit rock bottom. I had felt like my period was due any second on a number of occasions, and had even resorted to putting in a tampon to avoid any accidents, but the next morning there would be nothing there. On one occasion I did notice some brown spotting on my panty liner, but this failed to develop into anything further. As someone who had never really monitored their periods, I failed to realise just how late I actually was for a normal period.
It took me a long time to suspect I could be pregnant, after all, I was now 36, and had never been pregnant before, so had no way of knowing what it was like. It was only when the symptoms became so bad that I decided to look them up on the Internet as possible signs of pregnancy. It shocked both Richard and me, as I read out symptom after symptom that fitted in with my being pregnant. I decided to book a Doctors appointment for the next day, as even then, it never occurred to me that I should go out and buy a home pregnancy test, because this was something in my youth a Doctor would always have diagnosed.
The next day my Doctor took a urine sample and told me I was pregnant. I was truly shocked, and what’s more terrified as to how we could possibly afford a baby when we were already under so much pressure to pay off debts, and were struggling as it was. What’s more, Richard and I had only been married a very short time, and in many ways I felt he was immature and enjoyed drinking and socialising more than responsibility. I voiced these concerns to the Doctor, and said I really didn’t want a baby right now, and would need to talk this over with my Husband and family, but would probably need to arrange a termination.
I told Richard I was pregnant over the phone as soon as I left the Doctors, and he too was very surprised. I told him I was going to see my Mum and Step-Dad after work to tell them and see what they thought. All the time a part of me felt thrilled that I was pregnant, at the same time as being scared of how I could possibly hope to have a baby if we couldn’t afford it, and then there was the fear that I could end up with the equivalent of two children, one of which was my Husband who needed to not only mature with his money handling, but also needed to learn a sense of responsibility.
I went over to my parents house straight from work, and after a while chatting about general stuff I broke the news to them that I was pregnant. The reaction could not have been more negative. Without quoting word for word what was said, the general feedback was that my Mum felt too old to take on being a Grandparent, (she was already in her early 70′s), and they felt I already had too many other commitments such as the new fishing lake business my Husband and I had recently set up ( in addition to our day jobs), and our ability to afford a baby with all of our debts. I think my Step Father was scared that I would be expecting them to babysit whenever Richard and I wanted to go out for the evening, and my Mum pointed out that I had always stated that “I didn’t want children” and I had said I was “far too selfish to have children”.
I ended up leaving their house in tears and driving home. Richard came back to the house to find me crying my eyes out, and once I filled him in on the details he was pretty upset by the way I had been treated.
Thinking it over and talking things through with Richard we decided that having a baby now would be a very bad idea, as we could not afford it, there would obviously be little family support, especially as Richard was not close with his family who lived on the UK mainland, and my family who were local to us were already mortified at the idea of me being a Mother and the implications this might have on their lives.
We arranged a termination at the hospital, and although right up to the night before we doubted our decision, there seemed few options open to us. I broke the news to my Sister the night before the termination, (quite possibly in the hope she might talk me out of it as she had always been anti-abortion), but she actually tended to take the same view as my Mum, and felt I had never wanted children before so why now? She assumed I would be expecting my Mum to look after the baby whenever I wanted to go out or enter a karaoke competition etc, stated that the way I had abused my body in the past I would be unlikely to carry a baby to term anyway, and got quite irate at the idea that I would expect her as an Auntie to want to play a part in helping to care for the baby on occasion, bearing in mind she had previously had a stroke and was signed off as permanently unable to work. I ended up having a huge row with her on the phone, and the next day Richard and I went to the hospital to have the termination.
All in all it was a horrible and depressing time. By now I knew from the scan I was eight weeks pregnant, and had seen the babies heartbeat on a monitor. I had even got a copy of the scan to keep for myself, and had cried buckets over the idea of having this abortion. On the last evening Richard had said to me not to go through with it, but I insisted it was our only option as we could not afford a baby, especially with no family support to back us up.
As soon as I woke up following the procedure I knew it had been a huge mistake, and both Richard and I bitterly regretted it. I then got a post operative infection, lost my job, and was still barely talking to any of my family, having found it hard to forgive them for their lack of support in the first place. Even in the week or so following the termination not one family member made the effort to phone me to see how I was coping and if I was okay, and this added insult to injury.
It took some time before I was able to start talking to both my Mother and my Sister again, but eventually I did. I never forgot the baby we had aborted, nor could I forgive myself for allowing it to happen. What did come out of it was a huge change in me, and suddenly I realised I really did want and need a baby in my life. I think it took me becoming pregnant to realise how it felt, and how seeing a scan could change my whole perception of the idea of being pregnant and becoming a Mother. The only bad thing that came out of it was that I began smoking again and lapsed into depression requiring anti-depressants, (although there were other factors in my past that contributed to this also).
It was nearly a year later that Richard and I decided that we were now in a far better financial position to try for a baby, and that whatever happened we would not allow my family to influence our decision, in fact, if I were to get pregnant we would not even tell them until it was too late for any termination to be possible. We tried for a year with no success, and then went back to the Doctor. The Doctor told me to put on weight, ( I was only about 7 and a half stone and 5′ 3″ tall), and told Richard and I to give up smoking again and cut down on the alcohol.
We tried this, but I still wasn’t getting pregnant. Richard had his Semen tested and it was fine. I went back to another Doctor within my practice, and he referred me to a Specialist.
After a number of Blood tests, internal ultrasounds etc, the Specialist discovered I had yet another cyst on my ovary, and decided to perform a laparoscopy to not only remove the cyst, but also to determine if there was any other reason why I was not getting pregnant, such as blocked fallopian tubes etc. The intention was to inject a dye through the fallopian tube and see if it emerged at the other end, so indicating no blockage.
When I came round after the anaesthetic, I was in alot of pain, in spite of the fact it had only been keyhole surgery. I was told I would have to wait seven weeks until my next appointment with the Specialist to find out exactly what he had found, done etc. This was an agonising wait, and I did try to call the Specialist’s Secretary to see if she could pass on any information at all about what he had found, but the answer came back that he preferred to wait until he saw me in seven weeks time.
I waited in anticipation, and on the day I went to see him the appointment was brief to say the least. The Specialist kindly told me that the news was not good, and that when they had looked inside me with the “camera” during the laparoscopy, my reproductive system was essentially a mass of severe adhesions, in some places even attaching them to my bowel. Apparently things were so bad inside of me that they tried injecting the dye, but could not even find the fallopian tubes to see if it came out the other side. He felt that it was incredibly unlikely I could ever get pregnant the way things were inside of me, and that I would most likely need IVF as my best chance. I never even thought to ask if they found the cyst to remove it!
Apparently the IVF was about £3500 per try, and most people needed around three cycles to be successful. This meant us trying to find around £10,000, a virtual impossibility as we were still paying things off and had no savings and only rented our property. The fishing lake was still a small business that costs us more than it made, so there was no profit there, and we didn’t own the land ourselves to use as an asset against a loan.
The depression that then overwhelmed me was immense. Needless to say I was then 38, and had only a limited amount of time left to have children. With IVF they can only harvest your own eggs up to the age of 43, and then there are no guarantees the eggs they harvest will be viable as eggs deteriorate with a woman’s age.
It seemed to be a no win situation, as although the ferllity clinic in Cambridge were very helpful when Richard spoke to them, they did not offer payment plans. The bank would never have lent us the money because Richard had a bad track record with loans in the past, and I could not get a loan in my own name as I was no longer employed and was signed off work indefinitely as depressed anyway. We had no assets as security, and I felt like we were being punished for throwing away the one chance we were given to have a baby. I certainly couldn’t ask my family for help as they didn’t really want me to have a baby anyway, and Richard’s family had helped him out so much in the past with money that they had had enough of helping out too.
We decided the best thing to do was to work hard at paying off our final debts, whilst still trying for a baby on the off chance we could prove the Doctors wrong. This was in May 2008, and in spite of a few hiccups in our marriage due to Richard overspending and not being honest with me about it, we perservered with our plans. The disappointments were horrible though, and one in particular is what sparked me into keeping this online diary.
Having been on a regular 28 day cycle for as long as I could remember, I found one month I was late. Needless to say I couldn’t help getting excited, and didn’t tell anyone I was late, not even Richard. The days went on, and by the time Richard noticed I was over a week late, I told him I was pretty convinced I was pregnant, especially as many of the same signs were there, such as fatigue, slightly tender breasts, mood swings etc. I took a pregnancy test which was negative, but I had read loads of articles and posts on the Internet that said this can happen if your Hcg levels have not yet reached a high enough level to show as a positive result. I even read articles that quoted situations where the woman had been pregnant six months or more without a home pregnancy test showing up positive, and that even Doctor’s blood tests had been negative.
I convinced myself I was pregnant, and decided that from what I had read I should leave it until I was as least two weeks late before testing again, and should then get a blood test from a Doctor too, either way!
Meanwhile, every night I sat up until gone 3.00 am on the Internet, checking every conceivable pregnancy sign that I thought I had, and looking at every person’s post from 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20, etc days late on their period.
Well, by the time I was about 11 days late even Richard was fairly convinced I must be pregnant and was getting excited.Strangely enough I was now doubting it, as the early symptoms such as the mood swings, cramps and fatigue seemed to have vanished again, and now I just felt pre-menstrual. I hoped I was wrong, but on the 12th night I noticed a small amount of brown discharge on my panty liner. I knew this was a bad sign on this occasion, as I felt crampy and pre-menstrual days after implantation bleeding was likely to be the explanation. I went to bed at around 2.30am, and when I finally woke up the next day (Thursday 3rd July), my period had come on with a vengence. To say I was gutted would be an understatement, and so was Richard when I emailed him at his work and broke the news.
I guess this was what decided me that I should start an online diary of our quest for a baby. I now feel for those women like me who sit up until all hours of the morning trawling their way through website after website looking for a shred of hope that either they are, or they could, be pregnant, whilst reading conflicting views, and often inaccurate information provided by wannabe Mums who have not yet read as much as the rest of us.
It became my intention to regularly update this blog with our news, and what lengths we were going to in our efforts to have our own baby. As we could not afford IVF time was of the essence, and short of a miracle we needed to simply keep hoping that we were lucky enough to be successful using old fashioned methods.
This is the diary as I wrote it at the time:
July 8th 2008
Well, my normal period has just finished today and I am on day 6 of my cycle, so I guess it is back to trying all over again. What is frustrating is that when you are trying for a baby sexual relations with your partner soon become pretty tedious, and before you know it the cry of “we will have to make it a quickie”, rolls readily from your lips everytime sex is on the cards. This does seem to make my Husband pretty frustrated, as he wants the whole “swinging from the chandelier” experience every time, when I just want to get it done and dusted in case “this is the one time it will work”. I am pretty sure most women trying for a baby will understand this, and would rather do the deed and get back down to watching Eastenders rather than making it an evening event, after all, either it is your fertile time or it isn’t, and dragging out the whole process over the evening won’t improve your chances of getting pregnant this time, nor will it improve your desire to do it all again two days later. I never thought I would say this, but even having an orgasm becomes a chore, as it is quicker if you don’t bother and concentrate on getting the vitals done. Sometimes think it would be easier using the turkey baster!!!!
July 17th 2008
Well tonight is the night for the third time we have had made love in the last five days. Only reason we did it on day 11 was because I felt shooting pains in my left ovary, which I thought might be a sign I was ovulating, so wasn’t worth the risk of “missing the boat” on. Tonight will be day 15, so will go through the motions again in the hope that this may be the lucky month, or should I say the miracle month!!! What I do find a bit of a problem is the fact Richard my Husband, still wants quality sex each time, whilst I am happy just to get the chance of getting pregnant. This results in my now finding it somewhat irritating when he tries to touch me in a sexual way, as all I feel right now is a burning desire to be pregnant, and all the feelings of excitement and anticipation that will go with it. My first instinct now is to just want him to “get on with it”, as although it is not romantic, it could achieve the goal we seek without wasting time on foreplay. Am I mad, or have I just had too much of a good thing, and have overdosed on the chocolate cake???
July 25th 2008
It is now getting to that time of the month where I start checking the calendar and seeing what day I am on in my cycle, (currently day 23). The reason I do this is so I can start looking for signs of possible implantation bleeding or period-like cramps that may indicate I am in the very very early stages of pregnancy. Well, no signs yet this month, but it could still be a bit too early. I would be amazed however if I were to get pregnant after what I have been told by my specialist, but you never know, nature could surprise me a second time.
I do have an additional dilemma now, as my wonderful Step Dad has booked both of us on an 18 day cruise next February around the Magellan Straits, Cape Horn, Antarctica, the Falklands etc, incorporating Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. I guess he would have taken my Mum, but as she has a lot of pain in her knees right now and is not as mobile as she used to be, it is more practical for me to go as I am naturally far more agile and my Step Dad and I get on like a house on fire, (ironic as he is a retired fire chief!) So, I have to ask myself, what happens if I do get pregnant before February? I still want to go on the cruise as it will be the trip of a lifetime and do me the world of good emotionally, but I want a baby more than anything. I would feel dreadful if I let him down by saying I couldn’t go because I was beyond the point in my pregnancy where they would let me fly, especially as this has cost him a lot of money. However, I am not willing to say no to going on this trip on the basis that there is an incredibly remote chance I might get pregnant beforehand. Very tough on the emotions, and I guess the best result for everyone might be if I were fortunate enough to get pregnant shortly before the trip, so I was still able to do things and remain active, whilst having the baby to look forward to. Life is never simple, but I still won’t be able to help myself from hoping every month is the month I find out I am pregnant, in spite of the complications it will cause if it happens before February.
29th July 2008
Well, day 27 today, and I guess the fact my breasts have been quite tender for a few days made me hope that just maybe it was due to early pregnancy and not simply premenstrual symptoms. Anyway, about 10pm last night I went to the toilet and found a patch of brown blood on my panty liner. Still hoping this could be implantation bleeding, but doubt it as it was too heavy in my opinion. I have put in a tampon just in case, but will update this hub if it ends up not developing into a period. What concerns me a little is that this means if it is my normal monthly it started 2 days early, and I am usually very regular. I guess I will know more in a day or two!
July 30th 2008
Hmmmmm, I think this is a period, but am still not sure as only in the first 24 hours or so and hard to tell if it is going to be really heavy or not. Really hope I am pregnant, but somehow don’t feel as if I am, (and they say you can tell!)
Cramps pretty bad and tidying the house like mad, (usually a sure sign I am either due a period, or am having one). I guess I will know for sure when I next change my tampon, but will update this Hub accordingly, and if not pregnant this time, simply keep trying next month.
August 20th 2008
Well, day 24 today, so yet another countdown begins to see if I am pregnant. To some degree I have tried not to think about it too much this month in the slight hope that once we stop trying so hard it may happen on it’s own. Mind you, I did read a bit of local history the other day that says there is an ancient “standing stone” in one of the local fields that if you touch it is meant to help with fertility, so I may pay that a visit, you never know, and I have nothing to lose!!!!
August 28th 2008
Well it’s no great surprise that my period has come on again around three days ago and so I am still not pregnant.
My Mum now realises how important this is to me, and has even suggested I go to a “Faith Healer”, as we have local chapel that perform regular services, and who have had a great deal of success. Actually this chapel was built as a result of a vision by a man who lost his faith after his Son was killed, and then he saw an angel that told him to build a chapel on the spot, which he did. His success was great, and even though my family have never been particularly religious, he healed my Mum’s back which had been “locking up” for years, and it never locked up again afterwards.
Sadly this man has since died, but the faith healing goes on with a new pastor, and recently a friend of mine who had heart problems went to them for healing, and he too has never had any problem since.
My Sister who had a stroke at 27, and is now 43 plans on going there tomorrow, so I am waiting to see if they can help her with her problems that stem from the stroke, if so I will definitely give them a try in the months to come.
December 03rd 2008
I would love to update this hub with good news after all this time, but sadly I cannot. I am still not pregnant and tomorrow is my 39th Birthday, so time is even shorter for us now. I shall keep on popping by to update this hub with any up to date news, but until something changes I guess the news will be similar each time. All I want to be able to do is post here to say that I am finally pregnancy, or at least that I have been able to raise the funds to try the IVF route.
This whole experience has totally convinced me that we made a huge and costly mistake by having the pregnancy termination that we did. If I never get pregnant again I will spend the rest of my life kicking myself for making such a bad decision.
My Husband and me have now been referred for the IVF treatment, and I have decided to continue my story in an IVF diary, to be linked here soon.
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