Entry 9 - Infertility, Fear and Funding!
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
‘Fear is nothing more than an obstacle that stands in the way of progress. In overcoming our fears we can move forward, stronger and wiser within.’
As I write this post, I have just found out that Fran and I have been nominated for a British Podcast Award for our Podcast ‘The Intended Parent.’
When I heard that news I was filled with such pride, we set about the podcast to help educate, inform and give hope to anyone looking to have a family through surrogacy. Everything we record in the podcast is about our journey to our children, the lights of our life, the good that came from difficult times, our sun, our moon, our shining stars.
I still can not believe that you are two years old. Writing these posts makes it feel like just yesterday we went through the process of bringing you to life. Time is such a strange concept, sometimes days feel like years, and at others, those very same days feel like seconds, slipping by like sand through your fingers.
Since turning two, I have certainly noticed some changes in you. Physically you are growing, you seem so tall now, your fingers and toes are straight and long, no longer curling in, your hair is incredibly long, and your eyes full of joy.
You’ve certainly started to push the boundaries more and we have experienced a few little temper tantrums of late, which is quite a new thing!
You’re sleeping in your own room, in your big girl bed, but you’re obsession with Peter rabbit is causing you to have nightmares about Badger and Mr Fox, which means you wake up at around 4am and walk into our room. You generally come to my side of the bed, and sometimes, you are so quiet that I don’t even know you’re there until I hear your little voice, ‘Mummy Mummy.’
I pick you up, we cuddle, and then I take you back to your room, and more often than not, I fall asleep there, next to you. Holding you close, your head on my heart.
I love you so much my darling, tears fill my eyes when I look at how you came to be.
10th October 2013
We had left a lot of time ahead of the appointment as we knew the traffic could be bad, and that we had to find somewhere to park! As we walked up to the entrance, I felt extremely so many emotions. Fear of the unknown that lay ahead, gratitude for this opportunity but anger towards being dealt this hand.
Barts Hospital is HUGE, we navigated our way through the many corridors out to the Centre of Reproductive medicine. I felt comforted that we were being treated at such an iconic hospital. We were seen quickly and the doctor talked us through what IVF was, she advised us that we would be using ICSI not. In IVF, the sperm and egg are left to fertilise themselves ‘in vitro’. In ICSI, sperm is injected manually into the egg. The chances of fertilisation are higher, and in cancer patients who only have one shot at fertility preservation, this is the best route to take.
She told me that the treatment would require hormones to be injected into my stomach. That the hormones contained oestrogen and progesterone, and that these were the hormones that fed my cancer. We were potentially feeding any rogue cancer cells still living in my body. It was a risk, but one that was managed and that I chose to take.
I then had a trans vaginal scan, a probe was placed inside of me to look at my uterus and reproductive bits! I had no idea what they were looking for, everything on the screen just looked like an untuned black and white TV to me, but the Dr said everything looked fine. I was fortunate that my period was imminent and that we were able to begin treatment immediately. (Great news given the 2-week countdown that was ticking away with Professor Smith at the Marsden!)
We went from this room to another, where a nurse greeted us. She empathised with our situation. I told her that it all felt like a whirlwind, that I had no idea what IVF entailed or what was needed of me. I told her how I had barely come to terms with having cancer and that I felt numb, that this was all part of my treatment plan. I told her that I felt robbed of any romance in creating a new life, because we were only here because of the dark cloud that seemed to be following us around.
I am not sure she was ready for everything that I blurted out in that moment, but she dealt with it very well.
She then went through the forms and paperwork, there was so much of it! One point that came to light was consent between Daddy and I to use the embryos if the other wasn’t alive, and the number of years any potential embryos would be stored for.
I felt my stomach turn. What if I didn’t outlive Cancer, how long would Daddy keep this little piece of me alive? Would a piece of me live on even if I died before making a baby? I had to pull my mind back, this wasn’t a time for ‘What If’s’, this was a time to simply get things done, the emotions and questions would have to wait until later.
We were taken through the medication I would need, the schedule of when to take each and how. I had to ask her to repeat the instruction about three times before I got them straight in my head, she showed us practically what we needed to do, gave us a sharps bin and told me to call with any questions at all. I was given a drug called letrozole during my cycle. It’s purpose was not only to help increase the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), but also to reduce the natural oestrogen my body was creating to help reduce the impact this cycle would have on my Breast Cancer.
We then had to talk about money! I had been in touch with my GP regarding funding for this round of IVF but hadn’t yet heard back. We had decided that we would find a way to fund the treatment regardless of the outcome. Borrow from family, take out a credit card – whatever! So, until we heard back from the GP, we put the cost of the medication (over £1k), on to a credit card.
I sat in the waiting room whilst Daddy went to collect our medication from the Pharmacy. Whilst he was gone, the enormity of what we were doing came over me, and I felt a wave of sadness. Just 4months ago, Daddy and I were sat on a beach in Mauritius, enjoying life. Young, free, happy. How could it all change so quickly?
I looked around the waiting room. People seemed to be happy (I know now that they probably weren’t…..fertility treatment is rarely a happy place; to end up here, something has gone wrong somewhere along the line), there were lots of babies around…why were there babies in an IVF clinic? It didn’t make sense and it rubbed more salt into my already open wounds. I pulled out my phone, tears began to fill my eyes and sent a message to Emma, ‘I don’t want to be here’ that was all I wrote, tears now streaming down my face. The fear of chemo, the fear of IVF, the fear of death, they all came to the surface in those 15 minutes that I sat alone in the waiting room. How had it come to this?
With Love Mummy xx