I’ve been mulling over ideas for a 1st birthday post. I could do something soppy or profound. I could tell my birth story but I’m still too traumatised to do that. So I thought I’d put the timeline of my journey in a post. Getting to Scarlett’s first birthday is a big thing, so how did I get here?
The real journey begun over twenty years ago when I realised all I ever wanted from life was to be a mummy. Nothing else was important, it was all just a stop gap on the way to having children.
The beginning of the plan actually forming with real intent was four years ago, at the start of 2016. I’d just ended a relationship which confirmed to me that was never going to “just settle” and I actually hated the dating game so much it was never going to be successful! It was also when I bought my first home. Moving from rent to mortgage payments saved me a fortune each month and allowed me to save. I’d started a new job six months earlier and was eligible for an enhanced maternity package from three years employment. My 3rd anniversary at work was 21st April 2018…the day after i was to turn 35. A sign I felt.
So I began to think and plan.
June 9th 2017: I had my first appointment at Care Fertility in Tunbridge Wells. I’d enquired by email months before and had it booked for over a month. I needed to know it was there but didn’t want to go earlier as I knew once I set foot in there I’d want to get the ball rolling and I had a timeline!
At my first appointment we talked through my history and my plans. I had a blood test to check my AMH levels. This is the hormone that tells the doctors what our egg reserve is like. The consultant said if it was high I was fine to wait a few months but if it was low he would recommend starting ASAP. He said a woman’s fertility declines with age but they have no way of knowing the speed of that decline. I was already 34 by this stage so age was creeping up on me. Thankfully I had a very high AMH, the doctor’s exact words were “it’s a bit too high, we will have to be careful that you don’t end up with triplets!” Eek!
The plan from here was that I would do IUI as I had no obvious issues with my fertility. IUI is cheaper and less invasive than IVF. It was discussed that i should have 3 rounds of IUI and go from there if I was not pregnant by then.
19th July 2017: I returned to the clinic on this day to see one of the fertility counsellors. It is a requirement of the HFEA for anyone using a donor. My main take away from this session was that it is recommended that you tell your child from the start they are donor conceived, which I was planning to do anyway!
28th July 2017: this is the day I spent nearly £2000 on sperm!
28th September 2017: I had my “teaching” appointment on this day. My sister came with me, we met a lovely nurse called Sarah and she talked me through the IUI process. I was taught what injections id need and how to do them. It was all quite overwhelming and real from this point.
1st November 2017: first baseline scan. At the beginning of any fertility treatment cycle you have a baseline scan. It is an internal scan to look at the starting point of your uterus. This was actually the first time I’d been checked internally so it was reassuring to see that I had a womb and two ovaries!! The nurse had a look at what was going on initially and sent me on my way to get started with my injections!
8th November 2017: I was meant to have scans on this day and the 10th to see how the follicles in my ovaries were growing…but on this day I had 3 big eggs ready to be released so my IUI was brought forward and booked in for 2 days time. At midnight I did my first trigger injection, this is an injection that makes you ovulate in 36hrs time. At exactly the time the sperm will be inserted through my cervix!
10th November 2017: I had my first IUI procedure on this day. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life! I opted out of sedation, wanting to be conscious for the potential conception of my child. That was a mistake!
26th November 2017: two days before I was due to take a pregnancy test my period arrived. I let myself still hope, you hear of people who bleed and are still pregnant. I wasn’t. Totally heartbreaking.
1st February 2018: here we go again! I had my baseline scan on this day for round two of IUI. The consultant had said it was just bad luck that it hadn’t worked first time and we should carry on in exactly the same way.
7th to 21st February 2018: I didn’t have the same type of response to the drugs in my second cycle. Too many eggs were latching onto the hormones I was injecting, this meant I had lots of little follicles and no big ones. The clinic wanted to keep going and I went in every other day for scans. They decided to go ahead after 3 weeks of stimulation.
23rd February 2018: I had my second IUI procedure under sedation. I’ve never been drunk in my life and my sister says she got a little glimpse of tipsy Kimbo!
12th March 2018: Not pregnant. Gutted.
4th April 2018: I had a consultant appointment to discuss leaving IUI behind and moving on to IVF. this was a lot to get my head around. It was a lot more money and a much more intrusive process. I felt like I didn’t NEED it as there was nothing wrong with me. It wasn’t fair. The thought process behind it was that the fertility drugs had made my ovaries polycystic in the last IUI cycle so they had to be so so careful. Whereas if I had IVF they could blast me with hormones and make me produce lots of lovely eggs.
12th April 2018: Another £1300 spent on sperm. It’s expensive stuff!!
22nd May 2018: Third time lucky with a baseline scan!! Here we go again! More injections this time, more scans and a lot more hormones!! IVF took its toll on me and by the time I was a week into the treatment I had been signed off work. The best thing I couldn’t have done for my stress levels.
4th June 2018: Egg retrieval day! This is a pretty traumatic process involving a needle on a probe going through your vagina wall into your ovaries!!! My left ovary would not play ball so they only collected 7 eggs from my right ovary.
5th to 8th June 2018: These 4 days between retrieval and transfer are like having your life on hold. I had 7 eggs collected, 5 of those were mature enough to fertilise and then I had to wait to see if they made it to day 5 when they would be put back in me. I was a complete and utter wreck in this time, I felt like I was going to lose them all! The embryologists and nurses at Care were so amazingly kind, patient and understanding.
9th June 2018: One year on from my first appointment. I’m back in theatre with my legs in stirrups and a strange man looking up my bits!! I had one perfect embryo ready to be transferred back into my perfectly lined womb. It’s twin was taken to the freezer, to be used if this one chose not to stay.
20th June 2018: She chose to stay!! I tested 2 days earlier than I was meant to. I tested 7 times. They all said something I had only dreamed of. I was pregnant. It was my turn at last!!
25th February 2019: Bang on her due date my little pudding arrived it the word.
25th February 2020: We made it through our first year. Today I hold my perfect, sleep avoiding, loud, clever, funny, chatty, nosy and beautiful little girl in my arms and think back over the last 4 years. I think of the time spent dreaming, the hours researching and planning, the £1000s spent creating you, the hopes and dreams. The hardest days and nights of my life but the most awe inspiring and incredible few years I’ve ever had.
If you want something bad enough, there is nothing to stop you!!