The Part Time Nanny

You guys, I think we have found childcare! This excites me far more than it should.

She is lovely! We clicked the moment she walked into my house and I just knew she was a good match. She has all the credentials and is better trained at first aid/CPR than I am. She’s a part-time primary/elementary school teacher and just looking for extra work to bridge the gap (only part time due to budget cuts unfortunately). It does concern me a bit that she may get more hours next year or find another job, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when I get to it.

As it turns out, she’s the sister of someone I went to high school with, and her other sister is someone my sister went to school with, which makes me feel a little better (they were the nicest, most gentle family)

The plan is for her to have Oliver for the odd couple of hours while I’m at meetings, the gym or out with friends, and to also watch him for full or part days while I’m at weddings.

If she’s still around when I have another baby (if that should happen, anyway!) then wonderful! If not, then I won’t let that stop me. I’ll commit to the Saturday nursery and find a way to make it work.

I hope she works out and is as nice as I think!

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The Great Childcare Hunt

I have had the hardest time finding childcare, which is impacting my impending TTC#2 plans because I cannot/will not have a second child while relying on family to babysit.

I went on the hunt for a babysitter. I thought that finding someone to watch him 3-4 full days a year, and 2-4 hours just once a week would be something people would jump all over. Apparently not. Of all the people I messaged, only 4 wanted to meet. Of the 4 who arranged to meet, only one showed up. She was LOVELY, but for a number of reasons she just doesn’t fit my requirements. She’ll be good for babysitting while I’m at meetings for an hour, but nothing more unfortunately.

Then I went on the hunt for a part-time nanny. Surely they make childcare their living! Even less luck. I understand why, but they all told me they wanted more permanent and structured hours and would have to quit if they found another job. Fair enough. I simply do not have the funds for a nanny to have more hours, plus I’d have to pay their taxes, holidays, sick etc. It would be more than I currently pay myself.

Now I’m back to exploring childminders and nurseries. It pains me, and it’ll not be good because I’ll end up paying for days he doesn’t use, driving miles out of my way to drop him off/pick him up, and if he’s sick I’ll still have to find childcare (and pay for his place at childminder/nursery) because they won’t have him.

It’ll all work out, I know, but it’s without a doubt the hardest part of being a single parent, hands down.

Same donor or another? – TTC#2

I said this wasn’t going to be a TTC blog, but this is verging on the SMBC theme so I’ll allow it

Very long story short, my son’s donor is running low. I have been advised to buy all I can now for future attempts. Except I cannot afford to buy more than one straw at this moment, and cannot justify getting into debt for more when I have a child to take care of. The clinic will not buy back any unused straws, and since I don’t know whether it’ll work the first time or the 6th time again leaves me in limbo.

So, I either do as I planned, one IUI at a time and hope that the donor doesn’t run dry before I’m pregnant, or buy one straw, keep it on ice and save for one cycle of IVF in the next 2-3 years, which I really don’t want to do because my eggs were shit enough quality last year so the thought of saving for 2-3 years for one measly cycle of IVF with even crapper eggs isn’t exactly exciting. On the other hand, it seems a bit of a waste of sperm doing IUI, like I’m throwing Oliver’s potential siblings down the drain because the chances of IUI are so damn low anyway.

To answer the inevitable questions:

  • No, they can’t get him to donate more. I asked and it’s against clinic protocol
  • No, they won’t tell me how many straws are left (all I know is at least 2) and won’t tell me when they’re on the last few so I at least have a chance to panic buy then
  • No, I won’t use another donor. I understand why others would but for me it’s this donor or Oliver is an only child.

I think I’m going to go ahead with the IUI option only because I simply cannot afford IVF at this time (if I could I would be doing that, no doubt about it) If it doesn’t work, then so be it, and another child will be out of the question for me.

I’m so lucky to have him and I know it, and while I desperately want a second, I feel no real pang of sadness thinking that it may never happen because I have him.

Starting Again: TTC #2

With Baby O barely 5 months old, it doesn’t feel like I’ve long been off the ol’ TTC horse, and yet I find myself eagerly awaiting my leap back onto it. Yes, very eagerly! I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve had with O and I’m so excited to hopefully have a second (and final) child, and more importantly a sibling for him.

Long gone are the plans to start trying again this month. That would have gone ahead however AF didn’t make her return until last month. I’ve now had 2 natural cycles and I am good to go.

I’m hoping to do IUI, and if I can then I’ll be doing my first cycle in February. This is dependant on a) a clear HSG in January, b) me finally being able to get a Metformin prescription from a kind GP (trying again tomorrow), and c) my clinic emailing me back to confirm that my son’s donor has IUI ready vials available for me to use.

If my HSG shows my tubes are blocked, or my donor only has IVF vials remaining, then I’ll be forced to wait quite a while while I save up the money needed for IVF. Understandably, with a young son to look after now my money needs to be prioritized for him and his needs over TTC-ing. I can justify spending £1000 for an IUI cycle but not £5000 for IVF.

Send good thoughts! I’m so excited 🙂

Where Did I Go?

Many of you have noticed that my blog has been disappearing and then reappearing many times over the last few  months (and when it does resurface it’s missing more posts each time)

I am slowly removing most of my old posts and taking the blog in a new direction, aimed more at the life of a single mum by choice. This will no longer be a TTC blog. The reason for this is that I want to be more open about my blog and as such don’t want any personal posts on here from the past. I will, however, leave my timeline and clinic journal up so that new people finding me can see just what a journey I had, and once I have successfully removed all of my old posts I’ll do a ‘Start Here’ post recapping pretty much everything.

But I’m still here and I won’t be disappearing from the blogging world altogether 🙂 More exciting things to come, I promise!

For the meantime, here’s an updated picture of my FIVE MONTH OLD BABY! Seriously, how did that happen?

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 22.32.10

World, meet Oliver!

What a day yesterday was! Booked for an induction at 8pm, started getting contractions at home at 3pm. 3:45pm I arrived at the hospital (praise any higher being for only living a mile away!) got assessed straight away and they found I was 9cm – too late for my much wanted epidural – I didn’t even make it to the labour ward! Got to a birthing room on the midwife unit at 4pm, and with the help of gas and air (LOVE the stuff!) he shot into the world at 6:15pm.

I suffered some tearing unfortunately (second degree) so had to go up to be stitched by a consultant at 9pm. By 11pm I was showered, packed and in the car to go home!

Pretty much couldn’t have asked for a better birth to be honest although kind of wish it had happened a little slower. I’ll take that over intervention any day though. Counting my blessings!

Feeling relatively ok today. Didn’t sleep much last night of course. Between him being sick a lot, many bed sheet changes, outfits, and crying, my dog being stressed and pacing around and just generally being unable to take my eyes off my beautiful baby, I think I slept 3 hours at most. I’ve managed to shower and dress again this morning though and stitches aren’t hurting too bad yet even though the painkillers have worn off. Too scared to look down there.

I’m finally a mum 🙂

IVF & IUI on the NHS in Wales for Single Women

This is a topic I struggled to find any information about, so now that I’ve been through some of the process I though it would be informative to others to read about my experience so far.

In Wales, single women are extremely lucky to be entitled to fertility treatment. We can receive up to 6 IUI cycles, and 2 IVF cycles with donor sperm.

How do I get started?

Go see your GP, as they will need to refer you, in the first instance to your local hospital’s gynaecology department for initial tests (internal scan, blood tests, HSG to check if your tubes are clear, and to take down all your medical history). The consultant will then decide whether to refer you to the fertility department for IUI if you have no fertility issues, or IVF if they don’t believe that IUI will work (usually if your tubes are blocked)

Can I ask to go straight to IVF?

Usually no. IVF is purely for those with known fertility issues, or those for whom 6 IUI cycles have not worked. If you have already have 6 unstimulated IUIs which you have paid for privately then they may well allow you to skip forward to the IVF queue.

What are the requirements?

Currently, for single women the requirements are:

  • Under 42 years of age
  • Non-smoker/have given up
  • BMI under 30 (although you will have 3 months to lose enough to get under BMI 30 after your first appointment)
  • No children, living or adopted
  • No more than 2 IVF attempts either privately or on the NHS (e.g. with a previous partner)*

How long does the process take?

I can only give a very rough guideline, but here it goes as of March 2017:

  • GP referral
  • Initial consultation at hospital/gynaecology unit – up to 6 months after referral (mine was 4 months)
  • Second consultation at hospital/gynaecology unit for blood test/scan results – 3 months later
  • Referral to fertilty unit (WFI in South Wales) – 1-3 months
  • Board review of your case for funding – 1 month
  • Either wait for IUI treatment – currently 8 months
  • or wait for IVF treatment – currently 12 months

So from start to finish you’re looking at approximately 21-25 months so get started early! The longer you delay it (like me) the longer you’ll be waiting.

*What if I’m not honest about my private IVF attempts?

Not that I’m promoting lying, but they only know what you tell them. They cannot and do not access your private records.

So it’s really that simple! If you’re single, living in Wales and want to have a baby, your first stop should be your GP. If they aren’t very considerate and refuse to refer you, ask to see someone else. My GP is lovely and I’m so thankful that she referred me on the first attempt and has supported me along the way, however I am aware that other GPs may not be as caring or understanding.

For those living in other parts of the UK, I’m not sure about the requirements as they vary from area to area so much (with an increasing number of regions ceasing fertility treatment for all!) I know that most areas aren’t so lucky as to offer single women who want a child the same access to treatment for those who are in relationships, so I am incredibly grateful to the Welsh boards for allowing us treatment. If you live outside of Wales please check with your GP for referral criteria (not all regions seem to put it online) and good luck 🙂

http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/863/page/75679#referral

 

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Stop calling absent dads ‘sperm donors’

This matter has been on my mind for a while, but it seems to have ramped up a notch in the last few months. Either that or everything I’m going through has made me more tuned in to it’s use.

Let’s all stop referring to absent or dead-beat dads as ‘sperm donors’.

Sperm donors are wonderful men who, just like egg donors, provide women and couples with the necessary cells to create their own family. Sperm donors are selfless men who get very little, or nothing, in return for their donation (in the UK, at least, where they aren’t allowed to be compensated other than reasonable expenses).

Absent and dead-beat dads are NOT sperm donors. They should not be categorised with them by any means.

Let’s stop the negative connotations of sperm donors. Let us rejoice and be thankful for them because without them I, and many other women, would likely not be a mum.

/rant

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Looking back

I had a grand old time looking through old posts on a fertility forum as well as my old blog. I started posting in July 2011, just before my dad died, when I was 26 years old. Back then I was truly concerned, perhaps even convinced, that fertility clinics (you know, those people who CHARGE MONEY FOR YOU TO HAVE A BABY!) would refuse to treat me because I was “too young”. That is hilarious. For over a year I was certain that they would think I was stupid for wanting a child so young. I guess it goes to show what my thoughts were about my family’s reaction (and rightly so).

I posted about my first trip to the fertility clinic I’m with now. I went to an open evening in February/March 2012. I was petrified. I met up with another girl from the Fertility Friends forum and sat with her and her husband throughout the presentation. Funnily enough her husband came into my office (at my last job) months later and remembered me.I remember looking around and thinking that I was the youngest person there. I remember another girl on the tour being about my age or slightly older but her mum was with her, and she was SO excited. Her mum was excitedly looking into “the room” (you know, the one the men disappear into to do their business 😉 ) and she was smiling constantly at the thought of a grandchild. I didn’t know the girl’s journey – was she also going it alone? Was her partner just unable to make the tour? Or was she perhaps a medical student wanting to go into OBGYN? Who knew. I just knew that I felt pathetic and worthless and stupid.

I read back the posts about how I wanted to do at-home insemination to get around the clinics non-existent age criteria, but also because I wanted to avoid having the preliminary blood tests. What a laugh! I was so scared of a bloody BLOOD TEST that I chose at home insemination.

I wish I could tell 2011/2012 me to buck up and just do it properly. I wish I’d told my family from the start and not cared about their response. I wish I’d just had the blood tests and done IUI/IVF from the start without wasting my time, money and emotions on at- home inseminations. I wish I’d had baby #1 and maybe baby #2 while I was still at my last job and entitled to £25k maternity leave a year. Then I’d have still been able to leave my job, but would likely also have a new house, better car, and been more comfortable. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent £15k+ on trying to get pregnant (and failing, so far)

But then again maybe I needed this time to adjust to being a mother. Maybe this is just the path I’m meant to take. Who knows?

One Year

A year ago today I was legs akimbo atop the clinic bed. It wasn’t just for fun, it was my embryo transfer day! One year ago today I became PUPO, one year ago today I became pregnant. Two beautiful embryos started to grow, and the next 6 weeks I was pregnant…PREGNANT!

It still baffles me to think that it actually worked, that for 6 weeks the IVF had worked and I was pregnant with twins. I think I blocked out a lot of the emotions because it still doesn’t seem real that it happened. I spent most of my pregnancy being sick, scared and worried, both of my family’s reaction to me being pregnant and then how I would cope with twins. I don’t think I truly had a chance to enjoy and marvel at the wonders of pregnancy.

Hopefully this IVF will work and I’ll get pregnant again. This time I won’t have to worry about my family’s reaction, I won’t worry about how I’ll cope with one baby or 10 (ok, hopefully not 10!), and I’ll cherish every prayer I make to the porcelain god because it will be the road to my destination. It’s been almost 5 years in the making, it’s time to make Baby B a reality.