It was New Year’s Eve 2010. As yet another bottle of wine was opened, a friend’s voice piped up from the corner.
“Do you want to hear something exciting? We’re going to have a baby!”
This couple were the first of our group of friends to have children, and that short statement was like flicking a switch. OH and I had always known we wanted to have children, in some kind of abstract way, in sort of the same way that you know that, some day, you would quite like to go to Australia or somewhere equally far-flung – you know you want to go there, but you haven’t really thought about the specifics of when, where or how you’ll make it happen.
Lunch time on New Year’s day saw OH and I sitting by a roaring fire eating a very yummy pub lunch and choosing baby names. Suddenly we had realised that OH was 30 and we didn’t have forever think about this.
I got to work. I looked into fertility clinics and sperm banks, and we ended up going for an information session at the London Women’s Clinic. At this point, we had no idea how we were going to afford it, and thought their egg sharing programme was going to be the best way forward, although there would still be some pretty hefty costs anyway.
OH went to our GP to talk about our options, and our GP thought it might be possible for us to get the treatment on the NHS. As it turns out, we can’t, but we could be put on our local clinic’s waiting list for donor sperm, which would be free. Given the dearth of sperm donors in the UK, this list is LONG. We got ourselves onto the waiting list.
And we waited, still with no idea how we could afford treatment, free sperm or not.
Fast-forward to February 2012, and unfortunately OH’s Gran died, leaving us with a substantial inheritance. We now had the means to move forward.
We contacted the clinic, and first asked where we were on the sperm waiting list. Answer: nowhere near the top. So we looked at buying our own. We’d both always felt that using a known donor wasn’t the right way forward for us. Who would we ask? How do you begin that conversation? What if things change and we fall out with our donor, or he changes his mind about involvement with our child’s life?
I stumbled across the European Sperm Bank, and this was the most affordable option for us. We embarked upon the weirdest internet shopping trip, and came away with 3 little vials of IUI quality sperm, frozen and ready for delivery to the clinic.
Finally, we could begin!
August 2012 saw our first IUI. Neither of us knew what to expect. We expected the whole “emotional rollercoaster”. I now feel it is more like emotional bungee jumping.
OH arranged the scans, and finally, we went and got her Ovitrelle trigger shot, and then the next day was basting day!
Then… back to waiting. The lovely 2 week wait.
As soon as the HCG injection was out of OH’s system, we got some super sensitive First Response pregnancy tests, and there it was: the faintest of faint second pink line! We went, full of hope, to our blood test, then, at 4 o’clock, we rang for the results, which showed low levels of pregnancy hormone, but not enough for a viable pregnancy.
Unfortunately for us, this early miscarriage dragged on and on. Finally, after just under 3 months of OH playing pin cushion with fluctuating hormone levels, the blood test was negative, and since we weren’t sure what had happened,OH had a test to make sure nothing was wrong with her tubes. All clear!
We could now start again, and in February began the scans and aimed for treatment that month. Unfortunately, the cycle had to be cancelled as OH ovulated before her follicle had matured. This was gutting. We needed to start again to move on from the miscarriage.
March. Finally, our second IUI happened, and we are currently in our 2 week wait, and have spent the last 3 days agonising over whether there really is a faint second pink line on a pregnancy test each morning.
We just don’t know.
In limbo for another couple of days.