My first blog post as Wannabeamum went live on 7th March. If you didn’t read it, check it out here. It was a brief ramble, a thinking out loud account of how I think I’m starting to find myself hearing the loud ticking of my biological clock, while seemingly everybody else around me is in the throes of motherhood.
I guess I should set the scene a little. I’m almost 35. I met my partner two years ago this month. He’s 30. We fell in love. This was the guy I knew I wanted to marry, the one I knew I’d be happy spending the rest of my life with. We’re getting married soon, and to the unsuspecting eye, everything looks rosy. Wait, wait, wait… it really IS rosy. We are very happy. We recently moved into a house together. We were lucky enough to buy somewhere with not one, but TWO spare bedrooms, rooms we want to fill with children. At 34 years and ten months old, I think you’ll agree I’ve had to wait a decent amount of time to have those things. I cannot tell you the amount of singles tables at weddings I have sat at, (they are the worst) the times friends and family have enquired ‘when are you going to settle down?’ or ‘it’ll be your turn next!’ or the amount of times I assumed I’d be a sad old cat lady for life. (I love my cats, there are worse things that could happen, of course.)
Back to now… After trying for a year, last December we decided to head to the GP. My initial results eventually came back normal, but that was after an ordeal which involved the receptionist telling me the incorrect results over the phone. She very badly and incoherently (since when did receptionists get to tell you this sort of important stuff?) gave me the results of my day 21 blood test when it was day 4 I had been tested for. The result was massively inaccurate and indicated infertility. Seriously, I spent the afternoon in tears googling ‘egg donors’. Long story short, the doctor called me later that day to apologise for their error – the phlebotomist’s screw-up, apparently.
My partner’s results weren’t so glowing either, revealing 1% morphology. Having had very poor support from our GP, (with botched results on both sides – my partner had to do TWO samples in two weeks, as the first sample pot given to us by the GP had the wrong coloured lid on it, so SAMPLE VOID!) and with no follow up referral in sight, we decided to pool our resources and we booked in at Zita West’s clinic. We went along last week, with the main purpose of having the semen analysis interpreted by an expert that could tell us a little more than a vague ‘I’m not really sure what this means, you’ll need to be referred, in about ten months time if I remember, or following the two letters of complaint you will eventually write to my practice manager because I haven’t remembered to refer you, despite my letter acknowledging your first letter of complaint…’ You get the picture.
Back in the room. The expert opinion of my partner’s semen analysis went like this: a good count, great volume, great motility. While the 1% morphology might prove to be an issue, it was made less so by the volume. We were also heartened to know that the result may not be entirely accurate, because of the way NHS semen samples are generally carried out, or at the very least, in this case. A forty-five minute drive to the hospital with sample in pocket is surely going to cause some damage, in addition to whatever waiting time it endured on arrival, before being handed to a lab in a very busy NHS hospital. That process is enough to make even the hardiest of us give up the ghost, let alone those poor innocent little swimmers.
So, we felt very reassured by this, and my partner will test again in a couple of months time – at Zita West’s clinic, where you produce the sample on site, (PRESSURE!) and the technician is on hand to analyse it there and then. Total accuracy. We were also advised to cut out alcohol, and to improve our general diet. For me, that means cutting out the daily chocolate bar, and the weekly trips to the pub. To conclude – we’ve now embarked on three months of complete clean living to improve the quality of my eggs and his sperm. Before the end of our appointment at Zita’s, there was just one more test that had to be done that day. The AMH test.
The AHM test is a blood test that measures your egg reserve. I had the test done straight away at The Doctor’s Laboratory, and although it cost quite a bit, it was worth it to get the results back the next day. As it turned out, the results weren’t the best. I scored 6.6, the normal range for my age being 6.8 – 47. I was told not to panic, but I felt absolutely gutted. I have never failed a test in my entire life, never flunked an exam, not even maths, at which I suck at. God, I even passed my driving test first time, and that was a surprise to even my instructor! But, here I was, failing a test I couldn’t have prepared for, there was no way of controlling the outcome.
Okay… So, with a level of 6.6 I’m just shy of normal, but let’s be clear here, we’re talking about the shitty end of normal, and that, coupled with possible 1% morphology sperm, things have started to look gloomy again.
So, that’s where we’re at. We’re three days in to our new clean and healthy lifestyle, and we’ll see patiently what the next three months brings. A sober hen do and stag do? Eek.
Bringing this back to the reaction of my last blog post, and the reason I set out to write this post, I wanted to share with you the absolute clangers left by way of comments by one mother on social media. It’s safe to say, I wasn’t the only one who was shocked, thank you to all those who wrote in personally by way of solidarity, and those that wrote comments in defence, not just of me, but of their own fertility struggles and situations. It meant a lot… I’ll treat you to a few of those prize comments now (brace yourself, these are as good as Bushisms):
‘ENJOY your childless days’ – Um, oh. Kaay.
‘You should be grateful not to have the stress of kids.’ – Really?!
‘She wants the fake dream of blissful motherhood!’ – By this reckoning, you’re saying that anybody who wants a child, or a family is deluded. Are you trying to wipe out the human race?
‘Don’t wish your carefree days away.’ – You’re sounding more like a woman who regrets her life choice, more than one who cares about mine.
‘I believe we should all LIVE a bit before we have them’ – Bitch, I’m 35 in two months, how much more living do you want me to do? I’m cruising headlong into menopause!
‘I don’t have a mansion or a boat’ – I’m like… This one went way over my head.
‘I just feel like this lady could look on the positive side and enjoy the life she has rather than yearning for something she doesn’t have.’ – And that’s something I will do. After I’ve slapped you in the face.
Seriously though, I really don’t think this woman read the column.
I was surprised that there are mothers out there (not women per se, but actual mothers) who don’t support another woman’s wish to have a family. Eh..? Turns out some mothers really do ‘ave ’em… And some women don’t.
Til next time! Baby dust to all that long to have it. Peace out!