I Wish I Was A Unicorn

Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn, then ALWAYS be a unicorn!

Introduction

on June 21, 2013

I thought it only polite if I introduce myself before we continue with this bloglationship.

My name is Cat, I am a 25 yr old stuck in the body of a 41 yr old. I married the love of my life, Steven, in April 2011 (Same day as Prince William and Kate), and since then we have been trying to have a child together. I already have an almost adult daughter whom I raised single handedly.

There you go. That’s the abridged version. If you have a spare half hour – then here is the full technicolour version:

I’ve lived a busy, varied life – in my life I’ve had a diverse range of jobs from a solderer, to a postwoman, to a guide dog handler to a tax credit officer! Since having my daughter at age 23 I have most worked in the education sector. I’m a qualified Early Years Worker and also studied at Jordanhill, Strathclyde Uni to achieve my bachelor’s degree in Education & Social Services. I’ve also lived in a few different areas, the furthest afield being on the Isle of Arran. I am currently self employed now – writing, ironing and anything else I can find to make money lol

My hubby. Steven, is 37. By day he is a ‘Comfort Specialist’ (!) and sells motorized beds & chairs to the infirm. By night, he is a rock star. He plays guitar, writes & sings in his band The Face on the Moon.

Steven and I decided we would like to have children together within days of getting together. He proposed to me 6 weeks into our relationship and we married after being together for 14 months. We planned to start trying to conceive as soon as we were married (We are both practising Christians and decided to wait until we were married).

Our journey toward becoming parents has been extremely frustrating for a number of factors, such as the length of time the health service takes to diagnose, the lack of any treatment or support from them, the fact that most of our friends have conceived and given birth (some two or three times!) since we’ve been trying! If it hadn’t been for our close relatives and for those friends we have who truly empathise, I think we might have exploded with the frustration, and that would not have been pretty.

Well you may be reading this and thinking “I know what she needs to do to conceive, she needs to relax/stop trying/focus on other things/take a holiday/start a new job. Well….let me tell you, the past 26 months has been FULL of concentrating on other things. We have been through 4 new jobs, short breaks and holidays. My dad had a stroke, mum mum had surgery which meant I had to step in for a month. I’ve been my husbands graphic designer, website designer, publicist, backing vocalist and roadie. As for ‘relax and it will happen’….unless relaxing unblocks fallopian tubes, then no, relaxing wont work.

So over the first 6 months we didn’t worry too much as we know statistics show it takes MOST couples up to a year to conceive. However, being over the age of 35 gave me the option to ask for a referral from my GP after 6 months, so we did, fully expecting (ha!) to have to cancel as we were convinced we’d conceive as soon as we were referred.

Now you may not be very aware of how the NHS in Scotland works regarding fertility, neither was I, but let me give it to you straight. If you are over the age of 38, you’re too old to be a mum. You will receive a letter with capitalised paragraphs which emphasise this – stressing that you will be offered DIAGNOSIS ONLY. The other delightful aspect of the NHS is the 12 weeks you have to wait between each appointment. So our 12 months following our referral looked like this:

  • 12 weeks wait for appointment with nurse for history and test schedule
  • 12 weeks wait to see specialist to analyse test results
  • 12 weeks wait for further tests to be done
  • 12 weeks wait for follow up appointment

Steven had tests on his blood, urine and tadpoles. I had 4 different blood tests for hormones, a urine test, an ultrasound scan and a hysterosalpingogram tubal patency test. Some tests painful, some embarrassing, some just plain inconvenient. The conclusion was this – Steven’s reproductive health – great. My reproductive health – amazing (ovarian reserve of someone ten yrs younger). BUT. having all the juicy eggs and fertile hormones in the world are useless if you have a tubal blockage, which I do. We had our last appointment with our specialist in February this year (19 months after being referred) and she flatly refused to do anything to help. I reasoned, I pleaded, I cried, but she would not be moved. She would not even prescribe an inexpensive drug (Clomid) on the small chance that it would make a difference. She said I was the ideal candidate for IVF, so go and get it done ASAP. Needless to say, we don’t have the £5k handy to access this. My husband was livid and demanded a 2nd opinion, which we were given, 4 months away.

Well, that nearly brings us to the present day, to the point of me sitting in the car too scared to move. A month before I was due to go for the 2nd opinion, the Scottish government announced that women aged 40-42 would be given NHS funded IVF. I was cautiously delighted. The only criteria I didn’t meet was the BMI, so I immediately began a weight loss plan and managed to lose 20lb in one month!

The morning of the appointment I made a list of questions and notes in my notebook. My mind was racing and I knew it was a make or break. The doctor was late, I waited 30 minutes on the edge of my chair. When she finally arrived she was stoney faced and abrupt. I got to the point immediately about the new IVF criteria and she shook her head. ‘You’re too old’. She produced a print out form the Government group which advised the changes – which said the patient needed to be under the age of 40 to receive a ‘fresh transfer’ (that means the first round of IVF). Not only that, but because there is a 12 month waiting list for treatment, that means a woman would have to be 38 to be referred, or the wait would put her beyond the age limit for her fresh transfer.

I could hardly take in what she was saying, but I still asked everything – why? do I have a chance to appeal, what about taking the referral age from when I was originally referred to this clinic? Can’t you apply anyway so I can appeal? It was no, no, no. And then I became so frustrated that the tears came and I was so angry with myself for crying because I didn’t want this stoney faced woman to think I was an emotional wreck, because I’m a calm, reasonable, intelligent woman.

As I covered my face an cried I eventually glanced up at her and her expression had not changed one bit. No apologies, no ‘here’s a tissue’, not even a word of comfort, just expressionless until I regained composure and firmly told her how utterly disappointed I was at her clinic. I said I have jumped through hoops, I have complied, I have been polite, I have went though humiliating tests. I’ve changed my life, I don’t drink, I’ve ;lost weight, I’ve took supplements. I have even begged for the cheapest little drug  – offered to pay for a private prescription and sign a disclaimer – to give me the tiniest chance because this means so much to us. It’s not too much to wish for, to have a child together. To build a loving marriage and home, to work hard and change everything about our lives to become physically, psychologically and emotionally happy, but it amounts to NOTHING because you hold the power to help me but YOU deem me too old. I think she felt shamed, she quietly said ‘I will give you 3 months of Clomid, but it’s against scientific evidence and I’m not responsible if it has an adverse effect’. She immediately left the room, brought back the pills and then stood with the door open as if to say ‘Off you go’.

That was 5 days ago, I’ve since emailed the Scottish Public Health minister to complain and been advised to ask my own MSP to complain to the health minister on my behalf so that I receive a full investigation & ministerial response.

Apart from that it’s been a hard few days trying to accept that our chances are so low and we need to put our faith in practice. Steven firmly believes we will have a child together and tells me off whenever I feel negative about it. So it’s time to get back to concentrating on everything else in our lives and waiting to see what happens.

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2 responses to “Introduction

  1. Liam says:

    stay strong, we’re all here for you! *hug*

  2. Jackie says:

    You’re not too old! I think their criteria is utter shit. Even if it was a wait time of a year, so what? It takes a month or so to go thru the treatment. The government just drags their feet with everything.

    It is so much easier to have hope for others rather than yourself. Just to let you know, I haven’t given up hope for you. Hope for myself went out the window a couple of years ago. Hope for you has never let. It’s firmly stayed put. Xx

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