So, if you don’t already know me, I’m Jade and I’m a bit bat shit mental because I not only went and got myself up the duff but I’m also gonna write about it and tell everyone how it happened…
And no, no, guys, before you get over excited at the thought of me telling you my sordid sexual encounter in order to be with said embryo, I had IVF, with a sperm donor so I have no clue who the Dad is, but not in a fun “I was off my face on ecstasy and shagged my way round Ibiza” kinda way.
But yeah, I’m Jade, I’m 30 (writing it down is even harder than saying it aloud) and I want to tell you my story because well, I think it’s pretty amazing. It was a hard decision to share this story with the world as it involves a lot of heartache and difficult choices that have led me to this exact moment, but I thought F it, as I already share a lot of my life on Facebook and Instagram, like everyone else my age, why not just bloody share it all aye?! I’m of that generation of course!
But also because I really struggled to find information online that wasn’t just clinical shit that scares the f’ing pants off you! It’s all needles in your ovaries, legs, arses, stomachs and wherever else they can think to stick them! And ginormous phallic tools going further into your vagina than you ever thought humanly possible! Also no one just tells you how it is, it’s all process and jargon! I found that talking to people in my situation via the form of a Facebook group really helped me get to grips with the process and all the horrific (I mean beautiful, incredible, blessed) changes that happen to your body when pumping a shit tonne of hormones into your body and then the miracle of growing a tiny human! By the way, I should apologise in advance as you can probably already tell I don’t hold back, I tell it how it is, swear like a sailor and massively over share, so if your precious little ears are easily offended, probably best to stop reading now! For those of you sickos intrigued, welcome to the no belts and braces, no holding back, over sharing story that is the truth about how I got preggers.
Taking it right back to the amazing childhood I had and how close my family are is probably one of the main reasons I felt like I could do this by myself. My family are a complete bunch of nutters, probably like most families, but I love them with my whole heart and because I have grown up with family being so important to me, I felt empowered enough to make this decision. I have wanted a baby for years, anyone who knows me well will tell you how much I mother those around me, much to some of their displeasure at times I am sure, but its who I am, I am annoying but aren’t all moms?! We always need support in life but that doesn’t mean we have to be in a relationship, we need people around us who are going to support us during the really bad times, cry and drink gin with us during the bad times, laugh with us during the good times and cheer you on during the great times. But more importantly we need people around us to lift us up, make us realise how amazing we are and how we can achieve anything we put our minds to. I seriously believe that you can do anything you put your mind to if you want it badly enough. So, I am so thankful to my amazing family and friends for never judging, never putting me down and for putting up with my constant shit, I couldn’t have made the decision to do this journey without you. For anyone reading this considering this journey and feeling a little lost and unsure, please reach out to me and we can chat. I would love to help you in the way I have been helped and supported, that’s the main reason for blabbering on to you about all this stuff!
Like I said, I had always wanted children and had a great family and friend support network around me so I always knew if things didn’t work out for me that I would probably be brave enough to go at it alone. But the real turning point was when my ex-fiancé and I broke up. We weren’t together all that long but it was one of those sing a song, write about it, dance on the tables type loves, we met and everything clicked in to place. We moved in, got engaged, started talking about IVF, booked our wedding and planned our IVF treatment. It was like it had finally started working out for me, things were finally going my way on the relationship front and this guy was perfect (or so I thought). My family and friends had never really liked anyone I had dated (I tend to have really bad taste!) and they loved this one, so everything just felt right!. When we officially broke up, it was actually a bit of a relief, he had kept me hanging for 6 weeks while he made up his mind if he wanted to be with me. Those few weeks were genuinely the worst and hardest 6 weeks, I felt constantly sick, constantly tired but couldn’t sleep, I was genuinely broken. He called the wedding off out of nowhere and said he didn’t want to be with me, then that night get into bed with me and kiss me. Then come home the next day and say he made a mistake. Then change his mind again the week after. He was an arse that whole time to be honest, he didn’t make any effort to try and give things a go and I was on a shoe string the whole time just wanting him to love me. Wanting so badly to turn the clocks back a few weeks before when I thought we were so deliriously happy. I still get upset when I look back at that time, it was hell and still is, so painful to think about. My soul was completely broken, I had never felt more alone in my life. So, like I said, when we actually broke up, I was kind of relieved! I went back to work after just having the one day on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. It took a few months, but I started to feel more myself, and in fact, stronger than ever. After the 27th July had gone, I finally felt like I could breathe properly again, I think I had been dreading the wedding date coming around so much and now it was over. And that feeling came back again, my mind and my body told me over and over again. Baby. Baby. Baby.
I then started considering my options, I could wait and go down the “normal route”, see if I meet anyone else, but the thought still made me feel sick. Whilst I felt like I was in a better place and I was feeling good, I didn’t feel ready to have any kind of relationship. Plus, I kept thinking, even if I did meet someone now, what’s the chance of them being “the one”? What’s the chances of him also wanting the same things? And even if he was the one, and he did want the same things, we weren’t going to just jump in bed and start making babies straight away – although I am sure that would have been a more fun way to get pregnant! We would want to know each other, live together and all of that would take time. The fact was, he could then still turn out to be a douchebag and I just didn’t want to wait, what that life would have given me, a family together, just didn’t seem worth the wait.
I ended up speaking to the hospital in Birmingham where I had treatment and where my ex and I had been discussing our IVF and they advised me that now we had split up, I had to be single for 2 years before I would qualify for treatment on the NHS, obviously I would have had to pay for the sperm donor but still, 2 years to get the free treatment I wanted. Bear in mind also, I had been going to them about my fertility issues and discussing my desire to have a baby and my options for probably 5 years at that point – the system is mental!! Anyway, again I decided, I didn’t want to wait for that long, I was nearly 30 which I know isn’t old, and I knew I still had time, but I would have had kids early 20s if I had my way, I was just SO ready for it, this is what I planned for my life and for that year the rug just got ripped from underneath me. So, it was time to just take matters in to my own hands.
I did keep thinking and occasionally do now still, would I prefer a family together in a more traditional manner, maybe yes, but realistically, is that the life I would have had anyway?! How many couples break up these days, get divorced, have to share custody – it begs the question, is 2 parents constantly fighting, bickering and using children as a bloody bargaining chip more damaging than only having 1 parent in the first place? I don’t know the answer but, in my mind, I thought, I know I can provide enough love, support, attention and stability on my own, so surely it couldn’t be any worse! I didn’t have any doubts that I could do it by myself (those nice petrifying thoughts came a bit later! But again, I am sure this is normal regardless of how you get pregnant.), I knew I could support myself and do it all alone, but I am also extremely lucky to have the most amazing network around me of family and friends that would help me. I mean, ultimately no matter how many friends and family I have, I would be the one sat feeding in the middle of the night on my own, so it was a big decision, but to be honest by that point, I had already decided I was going to go for it!
When you start looking or even thinking about IVF to be honest, you start to realise actually just how difficult it can be for some people to get pregnant, I don’t think we think of this normally as when you are a kid in school, they teach you if you have sex once you are going to get the clap and warts and pregnant and probably DIE! And whilst, I agree that obviously it should be taken seriously and the potential for the clap is very high I am sure, but it does give you a warped sense of getting pregnant, it makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world. So, when you are ready to have a baby and it doesn’t happen, its heart breaking. I don’t know exactly how you get the balance, but maybe we should be warned (when we are a bit older) that actually it might not be that easy. Around 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving and for the majority of couples it takes at least 3 months, it doesn’t happen overnight. And even then, miscarriage is SO common, doctors reckon that roughly 50% of conceptions never make it to a positive pregnancy test and even then, 15-20% of those will miscarry before 12 weeks. It’s a fucking minefield. I am all for teaching kids about contraception, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that at all, but we grow up with this perception that it happens just like that and it really doesn’t. Even me, who has PCOS (which again, affects 1 in 5 women!!) didn’t realise just how difficult it could be to not only conceive, but then get a positive and THEN keep the baby until 12 weeks. That’s a lot of pressure on a woman! Also, with PCOS they are not sure quite how the drugs are going to affect you but that its likely you could over stimulate! I went through a brief conversation with clinics in the UK to just to get an idea on cost etc and one doctor point blank refused to even entertain the idea of helping me source the drugs in the UK because of the concern over stimulation causes. They said it can be hugely dangerous. I actually under stimulated in the end but the number of eggs collected compared to others with or without PCOS is huge!
The next thing you would think normal people would do in this situation is research. I mean, I was about to go through some pretty intensive medication, procedures and could potentially have my entire life changed after, it was pretty important I knew what I was doing right?! Clearly not to me! This is where the whole me not being your average girls thing comes in again, I did very little research, I had no idea what medication I would need, how I would take it, what procedures I needed, what these procedures entailed, nothing! I didn’t even know where I would begin looking for information either! Like I said previously, you could bombard yourself with information and still not feel any clearer about what was going on, plus, if I am honest, I didn’t really care! Whatever had to be done, was going to be done to get what I wanted. Plus, any questions I had, I asked the clinic, they were amazing and answered everything I asked and were so helpful! If i was doing this again, I wish someone would have told me to ask a couple of things, just the key things you need/may want to know so, the few things I would recommend asking are;
- How much does it cost and how does the payment plan work? – affording this treatment can be quite a stressful time so some of them allow you to pay in chunks which makes it more affordable and helps with the stress levels!
- What drugs you will have to take and when – this will help plan your timeline, getting medication can be a bit of a bitch so leaving yourself plenty of time to receive it will again help with stress levels!
- Will there be any side affects to the medication and are there any conditions around taking them, such as on a full stomach, no alcohol etc
- Is there any waiting lists? The worst thing would be to get in your head that you want treatment at a specific time to then find out they have a 6-month waiting list!
- If you are having the treatment abroad like I was, ask about getting there, airports, if you need a hire car, where’s best to stay (a lot of abroad clinics get good rates with local apartments/hotels so always best to ask)
- Ask about the donor. They may not be able to tell you much information as they are anonymous, but I got told that they will have the same hair, skin and eye colour as me and that they were Caucasian.
The one thing I did do and found so useful was join a couple of support groups on Facebook. My fave one being “IVF Support UK” there are lots of ladies in there, all going through the same thing and genuinely without this group, I don’t know what I would have done half the time. I asked a lot of questions in here about how I should be feeling, if the things happening to my body were normal, a lot of the girls post in there to start conversations with people who are at the same point in their cycle as you are. I have made some friends on here who were getting eggs collected etc all at the same time too, or just before or just after me. It really helps because even though you have a massive support from your friends and family, they can only understand what you are going through to a certain extent, even if they have had babies before, so I found this great. It is not all fun and games in these groups though, there is a lot of heartache, a lot of people have unsuccessful rounds, or miscarriages or worse. Sometimes it’s really hard because you almost don’t want to hear all of it but obviously for these ladies it’s a good way of communicating what they are going through. And also, sometimes you post in there and get complete horror stories from everyone (like I said, this happens a lot in pregnancy regardless of if you’re in a Facebook group or not!!). It’s all “My friends baby had 3 heads”, “My friends baby had no head”, “My friend now has to shit out of her vagina now because of a 17th degree tear!” OBVIOUSLY, I exaggerate but you get my point. The word “tear” gets used a lot during pregnancy too and it makes me want to jump of a bridge, please guys, if you have pregnant friends who are about to go through the unknown, DO NOT tell them about your mate that had to get 20 stiches because she tore so badly there was no differentiating her vagina from her ass hole – it’s really not what we need to hear, even if the reality is a likely possibility!