Nicola’s Story Part 1
A few months ago, I met Nicola Ferguson at a party thrown by my friend Kat (aka Rock’n'Roll Bride). I was about 8 months pregnant at the time and we got to talking about babies. Also a photographer, Nicola ended up telling me a story that few people knew, about how she had been trying for a very long time to get pregnant and how difficult she was finding it. I asked her to write about it because I think her tale will resonate with many of you. This is her story.
“Trying for a baby is meant to be such a happy and special time between you and your Husband. Just enjoy it.”
“If you just relax, then it will happen naturally.”
“When are you and your Husband going to have Children then? Leaving it a bit late, aren’t you?”
“Is your Husband a Jaffa (this was in a room of 6 people)?”
“Are you secretly taking the pill because you don’t want to get pregnant (followed by the knowing wink)?”
“Maybe you are trying too hard.”
(At our wedding reception) “It will be babies for you next. How long do you think?”
“You just need to stop thinking about it. Look at Mrs X down the road. Trying for 10 years, stopped thinking about it and BAM. Pregnant!”
“I only had to look at my Husband to get pregnant.”
These are just a few of the sayings that people who are trying for a baby usually endure. I thought it was appropriate to start with these just so you know you are not alone if you are nodding and laughing along. While I was TTC (Trying To Conceive), I came across these people all the time.
Now, I am not saying the occasional question of “so when are you two planning to have Children” isn’t OK. Of course it is and it’s nice that you are interested, but that’s where it should stop for some. Cutting jokes, sarcastic comments to my Husband and worrying looks to the person sat by the side of you when I reply “when we are ready” while feeling like you are pulling at my insides don’t go down well.
We had been trying a year when I decided to go to the Doctors because that is the ‘correct time frame you have to wait’. Before this we were just trying naturally. Perhaps I hadn’t conceived because the pill was still coming out of my system? Perhaps I wasn’t hitting the vital 12-24 hours we had to do the marital dead in to catch the egg? Perhaps buying pregnancy tests by the packs of 100 was a bit too much?
I had followed everything to the T. Elevating bottom to make sure even the stupid ones knew which way to go. Taking my temperature first thing when I woke up to watch for the ‘peak’. Monitoring my cervical mucus for when it looked like egg white. Thinking every niggling pain in the ovary area was a sign the egg was being released. You name it, I exhausted it.
One of the best things I ever did was join a forum to talk to other Ladies about what I was going through and find other Ladies going through the same thing, or so I thought. I now know this was also one of the worst things I could have done and will talk about why in more detail later on.
So in true Billy Connelly style I’ll go back to the part where I mentioned I decided to go to the Doctors before I digressed. As we had been TTC for a year he was happy to refer me to the hospital for tests. In the meantime, we were advised to carry on trying naturally.
I left there feeling relived and upset at the same time. I don’t know what I expected to happen. Whether he could wave a magic wand and as if by magic I left his office pregnant. OK, that sounded a bit dodgy, but you know what I mean.
About a month later I had a letter arrive from my local hospital. Ripping it open with excitement I ignored the pleasantries and got straight to the important part. I had to have a procedure called a Hysterosalpingography, which they shorten to HSG.
What they do in short is insert a catheter through your cervix, inject a dye and then you have a scan, which shows if your tubes are blocked by picking up the dye on the screen. I’m guessing the Ladies that conducted this procedure did this quite a few times a day as they looked pretty bored with doing it again.
It was the first time I had ever been told upon entering a room to remove everything below the waste and lie on the bed. At first they didn’t give me anything to cover myself with and I felt very uncomfortable and exposed. After all, there were 5 people in the room not including me.
Eventually she brought over what can only be described as a paper tea towel and put it over my lower half. The next thing I didn’t expect at all. I had posted about having this procedure on the forum and it was apparently a very easy thing to go through. Not for me. They tried inserting the catheter through my cervix, but it would only go so far. It needed to go through, but it’s as if it couldn’t so more pressure was put on it.
It was so uncomfortable and luckily they decided to deposit the dye where they were and hope for the best. Thankfully that worked and the scan showed that one tube was clearly not blocked and the other tube was, in the Nurse’s words, “hiding”, so they couldn’t see it very well, but it looked blockage free too.
I just want to make it clear here that this procedure is meant to be very simple and it will be explained about my cervix later on, so if you are having this then please don’t worry, you will probably be in and out with no issues.
My memory is slightly deceiving here as I tend to blank out as many negative experiences as possible (I would love to believe this, but I actually think I just have a bad memory), I think I then got a letter through the post to say everything looked great and my tubes were not the issue. This was great news!! So the Husband must be the problem right? Joke!
Another few months past and I find myself sat in the doctor’s surgery again waiting to find out what the next move was going to be. Another referral was sent to the hospital and another post box watch began. Then my second golden ticket arrived within a few months. This time a different procedure is mentioned.
I have to take a drug called Clomid. This will apparently make my ovaries produce more follicles and eggs giving me a higher chance for one of my Husband’s Boys to reach one of them. Now this sounds good, right? This is bound to work!
During each cycle I also had to report to the hospital for several scans where they would insert a dildo-cam (this was my pet name for the prod that had to be inserted internally) to check my ovaries were not going mad and producing too many follicles. If this happened, then the cycle would have to be terminated, as there would be a risk of multiple pregnancies. Great! I hear some of you say. Not when the risk is for about 8 babies at once!
I start the drugs and was told to drink plenty of water, which helps to prevent headaches. Headaches?? Some days I felt like I had been belted over the head with the dildo-cam. Apart from that, the only other thing it felt like was I was carrying two tennis balls around with me, one either side of my womb.
I was a lucky one, my cycles were very good and I didn’t have any terminated. They were doing as they were told. Each month, one of my 100’s of pregnancy tests came out and I sat there looking for the second line. Oooooh wait, that’s one there isn’t it? I would stand holding it up to the brightest light to see if there was a glimpse of a line. Nothing. Just disappointment, upset and desperation was left.
This happened like a slow torture for 6 months and not a sniff of a positive. I had a review meeting with the Lady I was seeing in this time and she spoke about now trying a procedure called IUI. I was very lucky to have the loveliest of Nurses dealing with me at this stage. She made me feel so comfortable.
I was to learn that this was going to be a very important factor with what was coming up for me next.
Check in Thursday for the next installment of Nicola’s Story.