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
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