My boy: Sonny Jim
For years and years, the only thing I wished for at Christmas was a baby.
Though I couldn’t put it on any list or casually throw it into conversation while at the office water cooler, falling pregnant was the one gift I yearned for – and the one thing I feared would never happen.
Having children for some women, some couples, just happens.
For others, it never does.
And for others, it takes time. Lots of time. And doctor’s appointments. And hospital visits. And tests. And needles. And months – years – of heartache.
I was one of the latter. And even though this Christmas will be my little boy’s third, I still have moments when I can’t quite believe it.
When my tot smiles with delight as we put on our matching festive pyjamas, then says “Sonny one, mummy one” while patting our candy-cane clad legs, I could almost cry. Continue reading
Thanks to IVF: My darling boy
I’ve written previously about how IVF on the NHS in Essex is fast becoming a thing of the past.
Until 2014, all the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the East of England offered the same level of provision to all eligible patients, which was in line with the NICE recommendation of three full cycles of treatment.
Then things started to change all over the country… especially here in Essex.
By the end of last year lots of CCGs had ditched IVF completely – in a bid to save the NHS cash. Mid Essex now offers no IVF whatsoever, neither does North East Essex. Or Basildon and Brentwood. Castle Point still offers two cycles. And most recently, Southend (after an extensive consultation process) now offers just the one cycle – and only if you’re under 40.
So worth the wait: Me and my Sonny Jim
Next week is National Fertility Awareness Week (#TalkFertility.) As someone who waited NINE years for her baby boy, it’s a cause close to home.
So, to mark it, here are nine things people who are struggling to have a baby really hate being told…
*Just relax… it’ll happen just as soon as you stop worrying about it.
Trust me, hearing this does not make you feel zen. At all.
*You’d be such a great mum/your husband will be such a great dad.
When you’re living with the fear you’ll never have children, this cuts. Deeply.
*It could be worse… you could have cancer.
Yes, generally things can always be worse. But this is kind of like comforting a person whose mother has just died by saying, it could be worse your mum and dad could have both died. Continue reading
Long wait: Me pregnant with my Sonny Jim
Today one of my best friends is having her baby shower. I’m really looking forward to it…which is a new thing for me.
Pre-Sonny Jim, when I was struggling to fall pregnant, one of the things I found most tough was going to baby showers.
When you’ve been trying for a baby for years, have undergone a load of fertility treatment and nothing seems to be working, spending an afternoon looking at teeny tiny babygrows is painful. Continue reading
A cut too far – I have my boy because of IVF on the NHS
ESSEX is within in touching distance of being the worst region in the country for access to IVF on the NHS.
Three Essex CCGs have already removed all provision of NHS IVF (Basildon and Brentwood, North East Essex, and mid-Essex.) West Essex is set to do the same.
And Southend? Well the CCG is looking to stop all NHS provision here too.
Currently eligible couples are offered two partial NHS-funded IVF cycles. About 50 people unable to have children any other way are helped here yearly – costing the NHS about £200,000.
IVF is silly expensive to have privately. Do you have a spare £8,000 (minimum) to blow on a single cycle with no guaranteed baby at the end? I don’t.
But it’s not a done deal yet. Southend CCG is consulting until October 26. And it’s so important you make sure your voice is heard. Continue reading
As a seven-week fetus – our first look at Sonny Jim
TWO years ago today I was sat clutching my husband’s hand at Bart’s Hospital in London.
After nine years of trying for a baby, five years of fertility treatments and a round of IVF, it seemed I’d finally fallen pregnant.
And two days before my 31st birthday we were waiting for a scan to confirm that it was definitely true, for a first look at our baby, to see its teeny little heart beating.
When Sonny Jim’s flickering heart flashed up on the grainy screen, I cried. He looked a bit like a prawn. Or maybe a crocodile. And it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Continue reading
Another look – Sonny Jim when I was 28 weeks pregnant
When did you first see your baby?
At the 12-week scan? When they were born?
I first saw Sonny Jim before he was even a baby. Before I was even pregnant.
He was a blastocyst – an embryo of about 200 cells. And it was six days after I’d been sedated to have my eggs collected. Doctors had managed to get 14. Of which 11 survived to the next day. By day five we were left with six still growing in a petri dish at Barts Hospital. Two of them were deemed “A grade.” One of them was Sonny Jim.
When I went back to have the “best looking” of blastocysts implanted – two years ago this month – the specialist spun a screen round to face me. See all that blackness she asked, that’s your uterus. Now see that tiny white speck? That’s the embryo.
My little Speckles. Continue reading