I have always known that I wanted children. Maybe not as many as my mum had, but I definitely wanted at least 2. As I approached my mid-thirties, I gave my partner at the time an ultimatum. Either have children with me or I will have to find someone else who does want them. By that point we had been together for 10 years and, despite an engagement ring after 3 years, there was no sign of marriage. I recall one incident where someone asked him in a pub why he didn’t he marry me, he replied by saying that if I threatened to walk out then he would. Ultimatums really don’t work!
Choosing the wrong man for me does mean that I had Grace though, and I would never be without her. However, when it came to finding someone new for me, it had to be the right person for both me and for Grace. I wasn’t going to accept that man if Grace and he didn’t get on.
Ross came into my life at a time when I had accepted who I was and that I was happy to be on my own. The best way to be, I believe. I was independent and had started to carve out a life for Grace and I. I wanted someone who added to that – not took over or took away from what I had achieved.
Both Ross and I were apprehensive when we first started to date. His concern was that I had Grace. My concern was that I had Grace! We both agreed to date and make sure we were happy with each other before we introduced him to my daughter. Now, of course, they are the best of friends – and sometimes I am the one who feels like the odd one out!
Just over two years into our relationship we moved to Somerset. We knew we were very happy together and, partly because we were both getting on in years (!), we both knew we wanted a family together and decided to start trying for a baby. We were very surprised at how quickly I got pregnant. However, it wasn’t to be and just two short weeks later I miscarried. I spent the following year on a downward spiral, putting on weight and feeling so unhappy but when the year anniversary of the loss arrived – the day one of my sisters told me that she was expecting my nephew – I decided to turn things around. I got myself back into a positive mind-set, lost weight and was ready again for what life threw at me.
Then, in December 2014, I got pregnant again but, less than two weeks, I miscarried again. I was thankful though. It turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy which was self-aborting so I didn’t need any surgery. I was determined. I knew I could still get pregnant and that was a relief to me.
In January last year, Ross had a semenology test and found out that everything was in working order. I then attended a meeting with a specialist at Yeovil hospital to discuss my fertility. They concluded that I was experiencing unexplained infertility. I had an AMH test carried out which showed that my egg levels were less than 5 (a healthy woman has around 15 to 30). This meant that if my levels had been over 5 then we would have had a 50% chance of success at IVF. With my levels as they are, we only have a 20% chance. Too high a gamble for us to make.
On top of the fact that I have a depleting supply of eggs, I also have endometriosis on the left ligament supporting my womb and I have a balanced translocation of my chromosomes which means a 1 in 4 chance of miscarriage. The odds really are stacked against us.
As a result of all of this, Ross and I have come to a decision. We have decided to go for a different kind of treatment. Egg donation. Since September I have been recording my thoughts and feelings and details of our decisions in a series of vlogs – which I am still recording – and I have decided to start publishing them this weekend. Because they are historic, the feelings won’t be as raw as they were when it happened. There are some where I get upset (I am pleased to say that I am past that stage!) and some where I waffle on a bit but I believe that anyone who may be on a similar journey will get some comfort from the fact that they are not alone.
It now looks like we will be going for our treatment towards the end of February. I will be vlogging from there too! So I hope it will give more couples an insight of what a actually happens and I am pleased to say that our clinic are on board with this.
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