You spend the majority of your teens/early twenties worrying about getting pregnant but when you’re ready to get knocked up it suddenly becomes incredibly difficult.
Maybe you popped a pill daily? Perhaps you took an injection in your butt or the coil in your hoo-haa? Or if you’re like me, you got three implants, (one resulting in surgery after it was broken in half during a bit of rough and tumble) and struggled with the side effects but put up with them for 14 years because you desperately didn’t want to create a little mini-me.
But life changes. All of a sudden you find yourself settled down, married, with a little house and two beautiful cats and the topic of babies crops up. Your implant gets removed, you whip your coil out whilst sipping on wine in the bath (true story) and cancel your pill prescription to prepare your body hormonally.
It’s a tough gig. 20 months of maybes quickly turning in to 20 months of not this time. Promising friends and family that you’re waiting for the right time and it’ll happen when it happens but you’re ok about it. Listening to countless people tell you that it will happen when you least expect it. Telling you to relax and enjoy married life. Everyone means well, you know that deep inside so you smile, agree and quickly change the subject.
I know I’m not alone on this journey. I know there are other people who are on a very similar path but for some reason we just don’t openly talk about it. I wanted to start this blog mainly so I have somewhere to document the highs and the lows but also so we can open up a dialogue about fertility, infertility and the bits in between.
Maybe it’ll happen next month, maybe it’ll be next year or maybe it’ll be in 5 years time. Maybe it’ll happen naturally, maybe we’ll need help along the way or maybe we’ll have to think of other ways of extending our family. Either way I’m ready for this. Together we will tackle this head on.
It’s a strange enough time going through a pandemic as a nation. Juggling work, filling your cupboards with dry pasta for fear of a food shortage, counting your toilet tissue and panicking when you get down to the last 18 rolls. But add a pregnancy in there and it all gets a little more complicated.
My booking appointment was on 1st June and I found myself having to justify to my midwife why I was still going in to work. ‘I can give you a letter that says you must shield during the pandemic and work from home if possible.’ But for my own sanity and mental stability I needed to go to work. I needed some sort of normality to remain in my life and the routine of getting up, putting on my uniform and seeing my colleagues gave me that. Plus, at that time, my husband was furloughed and was only working 3 days a week and I was not prepared for the inevitable divorce and single-mum life that would have occurred if we had spent all our time together.
I found being pregnant during the height of the pandemic a pretty lonely place to be. Although I was working, I was incredibly restricted (by choice and after discussions early on with my manager) as to what I could actually do as a compromise for going in to the office. You also find yourself in a position where you’re having to attend all your appointments by yourself and our hospital trust doesn’t allow you to film your scans or use your phone to video call. So suddenly this journey you’ve been on as a couple for years becomes incredibly one sided. Then your appointments stop being face-to-face and switch to 3 minute telephone calls with your midwife in an attempt to further protect the NHS and expectant mothers. All these measures made perfect logical sense and I understood the reasoning behind it but I still felt very isolated and alone.
My husband, as always, was wonderful. He didn’t question why I was crying in the middle of the frozen aisle in Tesco when the food shortage resulted in a lack of any type of ice lolly I was craving. He encouraged me to rest and nap whenever I needed to, and let me tell you now I napped an awful lot from weeks 5-11 as the exhaustion fully took hold of my body, so much so that we were convinced that there was twins in there. And he only laughed at me once when the smell of the cat using the litter tray made me instantly throw up before he could smell anything himself. I fully recognise that as much as it isn’t easy for pregnant women, it must be equally hard and just as difficult for their partners to go through.
They say when you are pregnant you suddenly become hyper aware of your surroundings for fear of putting your tiny growing baby in harms way. Throw an invisible virus in to the mix and all of a sudden your anxiety towards normal every day activities increases tenfold.
It’s not all loneliness and negativity. There have been plenty of positives to this situation
It was incredibly easy for us to keep this a little secret until we were practically bursting to tell our friends and family. There was no having to explain why I wasn’t drinking or eating certain foods as we weren’t allowed to see people.
At work, where I was holed away upstairs, it was easy for me to take myself away to the loos when the morning sickness kicked in.
Telling our family was made even more special by the fact that the pandemic impacted everyone in different ways. They have all been by our side for the last couple of years so to be able to share this incredible news with them during such a tough time for so many was amazing and gave everyone something to look forward to.
Covid-19 was easily transferable as a justifiable excuse. ‘What did you do on your day off?’ ‘Not much I could do so I just slept and stayed in my pjs.’ No pressure to make elaborate plans because we couldn’t physically go anywhere or do anything.
Travel to and from work has been an absolute dream. Normally I’d be on a packed bus for half an hour sat next to a school kid who seemed adverse to the idea of a daily shower or deodorant. Whereas, on many occasions I found myself the only passenger on the bus. The driver was often my personal chauffeur.
The amount of money we saved during lockdown has gone towards paying off debts, decorating the house and buying bits for the baby and the nursery. Without the pandemic I doubt we would have been this comfortable financially and I definitely wouldn’t have my beautiful new sofas.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly privileged to be pregnant, even through a pandemic and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’m just certain that many expectant women will agree that this isn’t how they envisioned their first pregnancy to be. But only time will tell how this all pans out. My due date is bang in the middle of winter when they’re supposedly expecting a second wave. Right now we’re happy, we’re healthy and we’re all ticking along quite nicely in the Bloomer household.
If I asked you what you were doing at 5am on May 3rd 2020 would you know? I certainly would and it is a day I don’t think I’ll forget for the rest of my life.
I was sat in the bathroom, distracting myself from looking at the pregnancy test I had just taken, trying not to take a sneak peak for fear of jinxing it. It took me 20 minutes for me to pluck up the courage to put my phone down, take a deep breath and wonder over to the shelf where I placed it while it worked it’s magic.
Before we delve any deeper into my story me give you a bit of background for all those who are new to this blog. My husband and I had been trying to make little Baby Bloomer for 29 months at this point. We’d tried it naturally, we tried medicine, we’d had countless blood tests and scans and sperm counts and doctors appointments. I had my tubes flushed and still nothing had happened. Our next appointment with the fertility specialist was booked for 2nd April 2020 but the pandemic hit the UK and it was cancelled. It felt as though luck was not on our side at all after endless bad news, rearranged meetings and negative pregnancy tests.
*cue humming B*Witched – C’est La Vie to myself*
Back to May 3rd. At this point my period is 4 days late which isn’t unusual. My cycle, for the most part, fell between 28 and 32 days. Those extra few days you spend just waiting for the inevitable to happen. But something felt different this time. I had a bottle of Prosecco the night before and got pickled far too quickly, my boobs felt heavy and ridiculously sore and I was beyond exhausted. Despite this Morgan encouraged me to wait as long as possible. So I waited until the very next morning and here we are, caught up with the story.
I don’t think I actually believed it when I first saw the bright blue plus sign on the pregnancy test. I grabbed the box to make sure it meant what I thought it meant. There was absolutely no mistaking it, we were pregnant! I grabbed the stick and ran to the bedroom shouting for Morgan to wake up. I jumped on the bed and practically waved the test in his sleepy face, shouting ‘we’ve bloody done it’ much to his utter confusion. Realisation set in, he saw what I was shouting about and crying over, gave me a hug, told me he loved me and then said ‘get some sleep.’
Needless to say, with the adrenaline and excitement pumping throughout my body I was not going to be going back to bed any time soon. And if I wasn’t sleeping, neither was he. I downloaded a bunch of apps, ran internet searches for everything pregnancy related and started reeling off facts and figures and comparing the size of our little Baby B to various teeny tiny animals and foods.
I’ve never felt anything like it in my life. The feeling is completely overwhelming when you have been waiting so long for everything to just fall in to place. So many concerns and worries creep in to your mind. Did the bottle of wine I guzzled the night before make the baby boozy? What if the test is faulty and actually there’s not a little water bear in there? (Seriously, Google what a water bear is because that’s the stage we were at on May 3rd and the name has stuck with us) How is this pregnancy going to work during a pandemic? Will the cats get on with the baby?
We agreed I’d take a second test the next day and for now we would relax, put our phones and apps down and just enjoy this moment together. Our little secret growing inside of me.
For everyone who has read my posts, followed our journey, sent amazing messages of support over the last year since I started this blog, all I can say is thank you. Fertility issues are tough to deal with at the best of times, but when you bare all on the internet for the whole world to read and open up about an extremely sensitive subject, there is just no where to hide. You’ve all been incredible and we are ridiculously lucky to have so many amazing friends and followers who have helped us along the way. The next stage of our journey has begun and we are going to let you all join us for the ride. So buckle up and get ready because we’re in this together!
There’s been a distinct lack of posts on here this year so far with this only being the third. I’ve been feeling a bit indifferent and detached from writing and I’ve felt as though I’ve been a bit inside my own head, unable to put in to words how I feel.
So how do I feel? Well where do I start? The last time I checked in we had just met with our fertility specialist and we seemed to finally be on the right path with clear plans for us to move forward with.
I had my HSG (hysterosalpingogram) procedure, or a ‘tube flush’, where a catheter is placed inside the cervix, dye is pushed in to the womb and up in to your tubes while under an x-ray to determine whether there are any blockages. Top Tip; if you ever have to do this do not read up about it online first. The horror stories gave me anxiety. For someone who took out their own coil (long story) I should not have been worried at all. The nurses made me feel at ease, even with my legs akimbo, they reassured me that it would be completely fine. The procedure lasted no longer than 30 seconds with 5 seconds of sudden ‘cramping’ which I was told would happen and soon subsided when the dye stopped being pushed through. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride when the nurse told me I had the perfect v-shaped womb, as if I had any sort of influence over it. It was good news, no blockages, nothing to be worried about. So off I waddled, with the ugliest NHS sanitary pad between my legs, to go get cleaned up and get on with my day.
We had already booked our next appointment with the fertility specialist to discuss the results of the HSG and next steps when the pandemic hit the UK and everything started grinding to a halt. So it came as no surprise that two days before we were due to visit the clinic all fertility appointments were cancelled. Of course I completely understand that everyone’s health and safety comes first but to have another set back is disheartening. I was under no illusions that this journey would be difficult but Jesus take the wheel I didn’t expect a pandemic to be thrown in to the mix.
So yeah, that’s where we are at. Everything is on hold. It’s been oddly refreshing to have a little bit of a break between tests and appointments and medications. It’s been nice to just be ‘us’ and enjoy our time with each other, without any added pressure. It’s incredibly hard to explain but you tend to forget yourself when you’re so focused on treatments and next steps.
The time will come when clinics will open and the cycle will start again. But until then I’m using this opportunity to reduce my caffeine and gin intake, relax and just breathe.
Expect to be given mixed messages. Expect your emotions to be all over the place. Expect to leave appointments slightly more confused. Expect to laugh. Definitely expect to cry. Expect everyone in the world to get pregnant around you (or so it feels). Expect more doctors to see your bits ‘n’ pieces than you’ve had hot coffees in your lifetime.
Just don’t expect it to be easy.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of finally meeting our fertility specialist. After some initial questions about lifestyle, health and just getting to know us she had a look at the tests we’d had already. Until now our treatment has been relatively straight forward. A few blood tests here and there, a couple of scans, sperm tests, 6 cycles of medication and many trips to the doctors surgery. We have never really been given any cause for concern except my blood tests appeared to show my hormone levels aren’t quite right during ovulation.
However, within 5 minutes of meeting our specialist she diagnosed me with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. She explained that our GP should never have prescribed clomid at all, let alone let me take it without constant monitoring with blood tests and ultrasounds. Morgan’s results aren’t as straight forward as originally made out and require a few lifestyle changes. Plus, just to top it all off, we should have been referred 11 months ago considering the length of time we have been trying.
*cue a stunned and confused couple of Bloomers*
It’s incredibly frustrating to find that the last 11 months have essentially been a waste of time. We have spent the last 11 months riding an emotional rollercoaster, constant up and downs, wondering when or if it will ever end. What is really alarming is that a medical professional has wrongly advised me to take medication which could have made the situation worse. It also means that our specialist now cannot prescribe it (to be used in the right way with regular checkups) as it should only be taken for 6 months in total.
However we did get a couple of positive points from our appointment:
– Age is definitely on our side. The specialist explained that as we are both 30 there is plenty of time to try various treatments.
– PCOS is a road bump, not a stop sign. The blood tests I have had clearly show I am ovulating every other cycle. It can be treated with medication and the one saving grace is that the clomid I have been taking may have actually helped in this particular instance.
– The weight I’ve lost already definitely helps our situation and speeds the next steps up by around 4 months.
So what happens next? I need to have my tubes flushed, I have to have more blood tests, Morgan needs to take vitamins and stop vaping, I should stop drinking coffee and alcohol and I need to drop 2 more stone. We have multiple appointments over the next 4 weeks to get this show on the road and I’m actually feeling pretty positive. I’m ready to draw a line under what has happened already and move on to the next stage of this process.
So what should you expect when you’re not expecting? Just expect the unexpected. Anything can happen, good or bad. You’ve just got to roll with the punches, pick yourself up and keep going.
Today marks the start of new beginnings. The time to reflect on the past. The amazing highs, the almighty lows and all the bits in-between. The time to share resolutions you’ll set with good intentions but struggle to keep beyond the first month. A new day, a new year, a brand spanking new decade.
So why do I feel so damn flat?
Let’s just say 2019 was character building. I’m a stronger woman after enduring challenge after challenge whether personal or work related. But I’m tired. Tired of getting my hopes up, tired of constantly putting a smile on my face and muddling through, tired of pretending everything is ok when actually it’s not.
‘2020 is going to be my year’ I keep telling myself. But what if it’s not? What if I’m sat in the bath January 1st 2021 writing the same ‘woe is me’ post because abso-bloody-lutely nothing has changed once again?
This isn’t a cry for help by the way. I’m just feeling particularly sorry for myself. Maybe it’s because my period started yesterday? A fabulous way to end the year *virtual thumbs up*. A middle finger from Mother Nature. I mean, at least it was bang on time though. No pissing about like last month. Note to self: I must remember to remain thankful for small mercies and avoid constantly sounding ungrateful. Repeat after me ‘you are healthy, you are happy. You are healthy, you are happy.’
This month, more so than last month, I had completely convinced myself we were pregnant. That the spotting I got Christmas Day and Boxing Day was a sign that 2020 was going to be ‘The One.’ I had obsessively Googled implantation spotting, timescales, cycles. Thoughts constantly whirring around my head for 6 days. Wondering how I go about cancelling the consultation we have booked with a specialist in January. Staying up until 5am reading post after post telling me not to get my hopes up until I’d done a pregnancy test after my period was due. Looks like one of my resolutions needs to be ‘follow other’s advice’ because I did the exact opposite.
Yes, 2019 had it’s struggles but life would be boring if everything went the way we want it to right? 2020 will no doubt have its own hurdles to overcome and we will get through whatever is thrown at us.
But today I’m a little down so I’m going to get back in my pjs, drag the duvet to the sofa and watch back-to-back rom-coms before I have to head back to work tomorrow. Let me wallow in my hormonal sadness for a few hours and then I’ll be as right as rain.
So cheers everybody! Here’s to 2020! New Year, Same Me. Just 34lbs lighter and a little more exhausted.
That’s how long it was before I was woken up with cramps at 5am this morning. 4 long days of silently hoping this was the one, that we would be starting the New Year with some amazing news.
I hadn’t told my husband that my period was late until yesterday. I didn’t want to say it out loud for fear of jinxing it but I dragged him in to the pharmacy to buy some tests ‘just in case’. I told him I wouldn’t do it until the morning, that I’d give it one more day. I guess I just saved myself £10.99. Every cloud and all that.
This news, or non-news, shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. Our third round of Clomid was quickly followed by a bout of pneumonia which had to be treated with some very strong antibiotics. Let it be known that there is nothing less sexy than someone coughing up their lungs constantly.
Yet this time I feel completely betrayed by my body.
I don’t know whether it’s because I knew this was our third and final round of Clomid, or whether I was hoping for some sort of Christmas miracle, or whether I consciously hoped to be pregnant before I turned 30 in a few days. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like to feel like I’ve failed at something.
This just means that the start of 2020 is going to look very different to how I imagined. Don’t get me wrong, we both knew this was a possibility, our doctor outlined next steps in our last appointment to prepare us. I just hoped we wouldn’t have to start the year with more trips to the fertility specialist. It also means I definitely have to shift those last 14lbs before we move forward.
The last two years have been incredibly difficult but Morgan and I are most definitely stronger for it. He keeps me going with his positive outlook on life and is overwhelmingly supportive no matter what. Whilst I’d rather not be on this particular pathway I’m glad I have him by my side, keeping me going when it is all too easy just to say “I give up.”
So for now I’m going to stick on some sad music, have a little cry, get it all out of my system and then I’m going to relax and enjoy the festive season. I have birthday celebrations planned over the next couple of weeks, too many Christmas parties to attend and I intend to eat and drink my way in to the New Year.
I mean, how can we not right? It’s pretty imperative in the grand scheme of baby-making. Yet you find yourself over analysing something that you once found so natural. You try not to become defined by dates and ovulation sticks and medication and blood tests but it’s hard when your whole life seems to be broken down in to 28 day cycles. Trust me, I found out the hard way that there’s nothing less sexy than saying ‘babe, I’m ovulating, let’s get to it’.
It’s difficult and after months of trying to convince the most ridiculous things will go through your mind.
Should we have sex every day or every other day? Because, frankly I don’t think I have the stamina for every day. I’m pushing 30 years old and my hip hurts and it’s hard to fit that in plus work, plus the gym, plus a two hour bubble bath.
Should we have sex in the morning or the evening? It’s a toss up between morning breath or being too tired after a long day at work.
Should I lay down afterwards and not move a muscle for fear of ruining our chances? What if I knock a sperm off-course?
Do I dare risk going to the toilet after? I mean, I once heard that if you don’t you’ll definitely get a UTI and as someone who has dicky kidneys I donot need that in my life.
Shit, I missed my vitamins, I’ve probably messed it all up anyway.
Realistically, some of these points are valid and may have a small impact on your chances of conceiving. But you could follow all the hints and tips in the world and you’re equally as likely to get knocked up after chucking up your pill post vodka fuelled drunken bunk up.
At the end of the day making a baby should still be fun. It should be romantic and passionate and giggly. It should be spontaneous, flirty, sexy, wild, adventurous, slow, sensual. It should be absolutely whatever you want it to be so long as it’s not micromanaged. You’ll drive yourself crazy following all the pointers on ’10 Top Tips to Conceive’ or ‘Sex Positions GUARANTEED to Make You Pregnant’. You’ll judge yourself for the smallest things and blame yourself when really, what you’re doing is perfectly fine.
I’m going to enjoy this stage. It’s not a process, it’s life and like I said in an earlier post I don’t want to be defined by my body.
Remember ‘O’ isn’t just for Ovulation, it’s also for Orgasm. Or in this case, it’s for Oversharing.
It’s been 5 weeks since I last posted on here. 5 weeks of looking at a blank post, writing utter drivel, deleting it and starting again. 5 weeks have passed and I still have absolutely nothing to say.
Let me just update you with where my head is at. I’ve just finished my second cycle of Clomifene. When I found out that the first round of medication hadn’t worked I was sad but I hadn’t expected it to work straight away. After nearly two years of getting your hopes up and your body letting you down you learn not to get too optimistic in order to protect yourself.
Cycle 2 has been completely different to the first. Maybe because work has been a distraction and I’ve been constantly busy for the last few weeks. I’ve not had the mood swings I experienced before or had to argue over the aircon. I’ve not been emotional or irrational (well, any more so than usual). But I have felt distant and a little introverted. I’ve pushed though and focused on just keeping busy but last week I finally felt myself crack after a customer very innocently asked me a question and I knew I needed a break.
I saw the above post and completely identified with it. I spoke to my manager who has been incredibly supportive and I’ve got myself a little three day weekend. Morgan’s working, I’ve got the house to myself, I’ve got a night out with the girls planned and I’m just going to rest, refocus, reevaluate and reset.
I promise (ish) that I’ll have more to say next time I post on here!
Let’s talk about how bloody inconvenient the menstrual cycle is when you’re trying to make a baby. There are four phases to a woman’s menstrual cycle: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal. On average, the ovulation phase will last around 1 or 2 days out of your 28 day cycle. That gives you a 24-48 hour window to get knocked up. This shrinks to 12-24 hours when you consider an egg will not last longer than a day if it isn’t fertilised.
The tablets I’m currently taking trick my body into thinking my oestrogen levels are lower than what is considered ‘normal’ which in turn causes the secretion of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinising hormone). This stimulates the production of an egg follicle or multiple follicles to be released and then ovulation occurs. The window of opportunity stays the same. The process doesn’t change. All it means is I’m a hormonal, bloated mess.
Tracking my ovulation has been relatively easy for the last two years. Since coming off contraceptives my cycle quickly settled in to a regular 28/29 day process. There’s a few days every month where my skin is clear, my hair is glossy, I sleep better and generally feel more rested and have more energy during the day. However, the tablets I’m on have flipped that on its head this month. I feel constantly nauseous and bloated. Hot flushes are incredibly real (poor Morgan has had to put up with me tinkering with the aircon every few miles as we’re currently on a road trip). Everything generally feels like an effort and I could nap in a heartbeat at any moment. It’s tough but the side effects are just signs that the tablets are doing what they’re intended for.
I’m lucky to have a husband who gets it. He doesn’t take it personally when I refuse to talk to him for an hour because he laughed at me taking a photo of a box of éclairs in the middle of Bicester Village. He waits patiently while I try on every single item of clothing in my wardrobe, complaining that nothing feels comfortable because I’m so bloated, eventually settling on the loosest, baggiest outfit. He silently squeezes my hand when someone asks if we have plans for babies any time soon, a small smile on his face when I manage to explain the situation without tearing up.
We planned an impromptu trip away to coincide with this stage. It’s important to spend quality time together, laughing, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company as it can become easy to forget that this should be fun, especially when having to track dates and hormones and various appointments and tests. It was the most perfect distraction.
Tomorrow marks the start of the next stage. 12 days of appointments, blood tests and playing the waiting game. It’ll be 12 days of feeling very similar to how I do now but with added mood swings and the overwhelming urge to just hide in a dark room away from human interaction. 12 days of letting my body do what it needs to do and preparing to accept whatever outcome we get at the end.
It’s a pointless tool used by medical professionals to tell you whether you’re ‘underweight’, ‘healthy’, ‘overweight’, ‘obese’ or ‘morbidly obese’. Yet it was designed nearly 200 years ago by a mathematician with absolutely no medical training and hasn’t really been updated ever since.
Hun, I don’t need a sliding scale to tell me I’m overweight. I’m short and round so of course on the BMI table I’m off the charts (not quite, but you get what I’m saying).
The doctor hasn’t mentioned anything about my weight. No casual conversation about eating healthy or exercise or ‘let’s just check your measurements’. However, we’ve just been struck with a time scale.
3 months of medication and if that doesn’t work we’re then referred for IVF.
Now, I’ve done my research and I’m fully aware there’s a requirement to be under a certain BMI to be eligible for IVF with the NHS. This requirement means I need to shift 3 stone minimum before the New Year. And actually, for the first time ever, I’m ready for that.
I started worrying about my weight when I realised it was out of control in March. My life was just one big binge eating session and I was starting to feel it. Stepped on the scales and shed a single tear and decided I need to start looking after myself. I lost 20lbs, put on 7lbs, lost 5lbs and put on 1lbs over the course of 5 months. I wasn’t too focused, didn’t know what I was working towards and didn’t really feel a sense of purpose.
I have 3 cycles, 3 months of tablets and 3 stone to shift. If that’s not a clear goal I don’t know what is. It’s 17 weeks until the New Year. Broken down that’s 2.5lbs per week and I’m going to do it.
I have to do it.
The tablets might do their thing, the doctor seemed very confident they will. But I would hate for them not to work, us be referred and then be turned down or delayed because I’ve been a little meatball for the last 10 years.
So, if anyone needs me from now until 2020 I’ll either be at work or the gym or crying because I miss all the carby foods and would do anything to dive headfirst in a bag of crisps.