Throwback: Just days before I gave birth to Sonny Jim
Knowledge is power – or so the saying goes. But sometimes the more information you have, the harder stuff seems.
Take fertility, for instance.
Having had a successful round of IVF, three unsuccessful rounds of IUI, six months of clomid treatments and years of hospital appointments, I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this area of life.
I’m under no illusion that I can just have another baby at some time in the future (though medically, there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen – oh the joys of unexplained infertility!)
I know that post-35 the chances of IVF working start to drop – and dramatically. That when you hit 35 the risks – to mum and baby – rise rapidly. That you’re actually classed as a “geriatric mother” in medical terms.
I know all of this, but at 34, it sometimes feels like information overload.
No test-tube used here…
Despite the fact more than 60,000 couples have IVF every year, (us being one 2015’s crop!) there’s still rather a lot of myths surrounding infertility and assisted conception.
So, when the new Bourn Hall clinic opened in Wickford earlier this year I got chatting to one of the fertility nurses and asked her to dispel some of the more common…
MYTH – If a woman is born with no uterus (womb) it is not biologically possible for her to be a mother
FACT – If a woman has no uterus but has working ovaries then she still may be producing eggs. Having some of her eggs removed and fertilised with her partner’s sperm and arranging for a surrogate to carry her child is an option which some women choose. Bourn Hall was the first clinic to provide surrogacy with IVF.
MYTH – “Test-tube babies” are “made” in test tubes
FACT – Although embryology labs do have test tubes they are mainly for storage purposes not the actual process of IVF. The process of mixing the sperm with the eggs is actually done in a petri dish!
Bourn Hall Wickford: Me with fertility nurse specialist Angela Leach
A NEW multi-million pound IVF clinic officially opens in south Essex this week.
More than a thousand procedures, to help people struggling to conceive, will be carried our per year at the £5.2m Bourn Hall centre.
I was given a tour around the London Road clinic in Wickford ahead of the opening.
The purpose-built centre replaces a smaller, satellite clinic, which was in the same road, and is one of six Bourn Hall clinics in East Anglia.
Sarah Pallett, Bourn Hall’s business development director, said: “Our concern is people often go into denial about their fertility problems and put off getting advice through embarrassment. Continue reading
Just how important are siblings? My Sonny Jim
We’ve just had International Sibling Day and it got me thinking…
Just how important are sisters and brothers?
I’m one of four (the elder sister of triplets. Yes, triplets. I knoooow.) Sonny Jim’s daddy is one of three (a big brother to two sisters.)
Growing up, both our homes were noisy, busy, at times raucous, places. As the eldest, we both looked out for the littles that followed us. Learnt to share, to row, to compromise. To love – even when they stole your hair straighteners (yes, Clair, I’m talking about you) or left the milk out before your breakfast (warm milk…yuuuuk. Thanks for that Luke and Sam.) 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.
Opening soon: Bourn Hall’s new purpose-built IVF clinic in Wickford
Sonny Jim was conceived thanks to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at Barts Hospital, in London.
We were living in Leigh-on-Sea (in Essex) while undergoing the process. And while I think I would have travelled to Scotland three times a week, if it meant the treatment would be a success, there is no doubt the commute to the clinic did take a bit of a toll.
Juggling a job on a regional newspaper, with the newsroom based in Basildon, but travelling into London to undergo internal scans (always a joy!) and blood tests and egg collection and embryo implantation was not exactly easy. A lot of the appointments were mere minutes long… but the round trip meant it was at least a 3-hour plus process. Which was not simple to slip in before work. It meant I had to tell my boss I was having IVF – and while he was very understanding and good about helping me work shifts around it, I would still have rather not have had to tell him. Continue reading
Worth it all: My Sonny Jim
The first IVF baby was conceived on this day, 40 years ago (#IVFis40).
To mark the (rather amazing!) milestone, as a mama of an IVF tot, here are some rubbish things no one ever tells you about it…
- If you are a needle-phobe, it will either break you – or cure you.
By my reckoning, one cycle of IVF probably involves you getting stabbed about 70 times (in your belly, your thigh, in your bum cheek.) A lot of them you’ll have to do yourself, or get your other half to do. You’ll even have a special yellow toxic-waste sharps bin – like actual drug addicts on TV. Continue reading