IVF NHS Funding

Hi all,
I know I post a lot (of pictures!) – But this post is important.
As I’m sure we all know, our NHS is under constant funding review. We all have our own opinions on politics and what and who should be funded – no one is right or wrong – but this one is obviously pretty close to my heart.
There is particularly a lot going on at the moment to do with finding and treatment for fertility patients; aka IVF.
We currently attend BCRM (Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine), in, obviously, Bristol!! Bristol or Exeter were the nearest places we could go to continue our treatment for fertility, as unfortunately further options aren’t available in Taunton, simply due to space and staff quantities. Both are roughly 80 mile round trips away… our next nearest would be Plymouth; a 160 mile/3 hour round trip away.. when undergoing treatment I pretty much have to attend every other day for 2+ weeks… it’s not even the cost of fuel or the mileage on my new car – it’s that it’s a boring drive and totally unreal to have to travel that far, in the U.K., in 2017, for NHS funded treatment..
The NHS NICE guidelines recommend that EVERYONE in the U.K. Get 3 tries at IVF. Obviously everyone’s ideal is to fall pregnant on the first go – or even better, without fertility treatment!

In Somerset we get one “go” at IVF. In Berkshire, you get 2. Essex: zero. Currently. Everyone should be entitled to NHS funded treatment – at the end of the day, no one asks to be infertile. 
There are currently reviews under way for BCRM to close/be privatised. Which means we may well be moved somewhere else entirely – just as I’m loving our new team (separation anxiety from the team at Taunton was tough after a year!).

There is also reviews for IVF to only be offered to women aged 30-35. 

Why? 

Why shouldn’t a younger, infertile woman be offered IVF earlier? My ideal would be that we already had 1, or 2 children – I always wanted to be a younger Mum. It’s forever a regret of mine that we didn’t start trying – and thus finding out about my infertile mess of a body (!)- earlier, but I can’t change that. However, I can help to ensure that women who do start this long, frustrating, heartbreaking process earlier, could possibly get their “younger Mum” dream.

Furthermore – why must women be younger than 35? My own Mum was 38 before she had my (younger) brother, and whilst I rip the p*ss out of him (& will regret saying this!) there is nothing wrong with either of them. For those that find love “later”, or simply decide “later” that they want children, then why is 36 to “late” for funding?!

Couples should be offered IVF if needed even if one of them already has children – it’s the same as James and I not adopting because we want “our” child; not someone else’s. 
So, my plea is for you to fill in the form on the link below to support NHS IVF Funding for all.
Thank you xx
https://www.northsomersetccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/nhs-service-proposals/fertility-treatment-eligibility/

Dirty Thirty

​​​​As the final weekend of my month long birthday celebrations have drawn to an end, I felt the need to write a little blog..

My husband is a funny fcuker… πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

It’s now been 21 yesterday’s ago since I was 29. And really, I guess I feel no different. I have so many friends spanning across so many different ages – some younger, plenty older than me. I know we are all the same in dreading another year passing and another year older. It doesn’t make it any easier, I really do simply just dread it. I look at others my age and constantly think they seem to have their lives much more “together”, are seemingly more mature and generally doing pretty well for themselves…  ok, in reality I know this isn’t really true, and actually I am basing this thought on a random couple I saw on “first dates” several months ago, who basically seemed worlds apart in maturity and having their “shit together” than me. I know many of my friends are just like me – muddling through life, having fun as much as possible, and probably think they don’t feel mature/30/they have their shit together, or should be adulting in general….

​  Dirty Thirty – well, you suck. You kind of were always going to, I guess, because I’m *almost* the real life version of Peter Pan; I don’t want to grow up. Only problem is, I am.

I think it could have been easier though. If you’d brought me at least one (or even 2, 3 or 4) happy healthy babies by now, I’d probably be coping better. Have my purpose. Be happier and marginally calmer (ok maybe not calmer or less anxious but I am sure happier). If I could run free and have little baby versions of us running around us freely too.

Maybe it’s going to come with my 30’s. I hope so as 40’s is definitely too late (and I can’t bare thinking about – where, how, is life going//so fast?!). In reality, I don’t feel any different to any other day. I’m just very aware that with ageing comes a life over and certain death – I like to think despite the best efforts of many drivers/my mental health/general life, I will make it to old age.

Some things I’m learning:

  1. Age really is, just a number. Fight it by staying young and having fun – life’s too short, it’s always playtime 😈 
    “Never lose your sparkle”
  2. If you really do have to keep getting older – drag out the celebrations as long as physically possible. I’ve dragged mine out a month, 7 “official” birthday dinners “out” this year – I think one less than last year. Poor show! See all your friends and family – or as many as possible.
  3. Fit 2. Into your everyday life. See friends and family and have as much fun as possible – we all came into this world with nothing and are all going to be leaving with nothing – take pictures/make memories; objects will be left behind (although to be inherited πŸ˜‰ [been stealing my mums jewellery since 1987, she’s still happily alive and kicking and I’d like to keep it that way, whilst still “inheriting” {stealing} her jewellery!])
  4. Anxiety won’t lessen, if anything it seems to be getting worse. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better?
  5. You’d do better to not put yourself in situations that make you anxious, but you still have a determined belief that things should be right/fair/just and trying to bring that into the lives of morons often causes you anxiety you could avoid. 
  6. With that, depression won’t change either. Sadly, the world is still full of more a-holes than good people. It gets you down.
  7. It wouldn’t seem possible – given some of your previous responses… but alcohol will affect you even more and hangovers will be easier to come by πŸ™„

Here’s to the next 30 years! 😱😱😱

How to live life β˜ΊοΈπŸ’–

Smile, Love and be Kind x

I just wanted to do a little post to try and help direct people to these awesome books, written and illustrated by fabulous people who’s worlds were shattered far too early in life, but who continued to somehow remain positive, strong, kind and inspirational throughout.

I’ve bought both books so far for friends children, as well as copies for our house. They are such sweet, lovely, well written books with the strong message of kindness being magical and so, so important solid throughout them. The illustrations are also all hand drawn by Jake. The books don’t fail to make you smile.These books are incredible – don’t just take my word for it! You can purchase Tara & Tyrone books (currently two with a third on the way) written by the incredible Emmy and brilliantly illustrated by Jake through Etsy, or if you want a message from Jake and Molly dog 🐢, email ejtandem@hotmail.com – I’ve added my own message (see below) to the children we’ve bought them for too. I can’t credit Emmy and Jake enough for their constant positivity and kindness – and no, I don’t know them personally so there is no friendship bias here!

You can also read more about Emmy and the journey #EJTandem
Dear Ollie, Ellen (and Thomas*),
I am so sorry I didn’t get you this book earlier to enable it to be signed once again by the inspirational author as well as the wonderful illustrator, and the lovely Molly dog πŸΆπŸ˜‰.
Emmy sadly passed away on 16.06.17. She fought hard against an impossible battle. But she inspired the world. She taught us life is too short. She taught us to live life to the fullest. And most importantly, she taught us to “smile, love and be kind”.

I love you forever, your (fairy) godmother xx

*not Thomas’ godmother!

Re-home Benji!

Benji 🐢

Meet Benji!

I volunteer dog walk for The Cinnamon Trust who help out with pets when their owners who are generally old/terminally ill can no longer look after them so well, aka: walk dogs. 

I used to walk Benji 🐢 on just a Monday, but found out this week the other two volunteers had stopped because he was too “boisterous”.

πŸ™„πŸ˜ πŸ˜«. He is not boisterous. 

He’s 2/3 years young and barely getting walked because his mum is terminally ill. He just wants to walk and smell and play with ALL the other dogs, because THAT’S WHAT DOGS DO. My heart absolutely broke πŸ’” for him when I realised this, so I’m going to now try and walk him every day until he is rehomed. Fortunately, he lives pretty close to us! Apparently he is exhausted and much better behaved once he gets home from a walk – proof you just need to keep your little fur babies knackered and their behaviour improves! His Mum’s two daughters are so grateful for me doing this simple thing to help whilst their Mum is very ill – I walk him with Rufus anyway – I have this real need to help others – and this is such a simple way of doing so. I don’t understand how you could stop helping when so badly needed.

Would anyone like Benji to join their family?!

Camera shy Benji!

LonelinessΒ 

Loneliness… it’s a real thing. Sometimes I think I struggle with that more than depression but then loneliness is probably an effect of the depression. I always thought I wanted to WFH/be a housewife/full time mum but the reality of not having a set “9-5” means I’m often super lonely and isolated and leach onto ANY social contact quite badly…! Soz all! Some days if I’ve somehow managed to not see or speak (in any form) to anyone I practically pounce on James when he gets home – you know like when you’ve been off sick for a day and then when you get to see someone you’re all crazy for conversation? That’s me… most days. Rufus probably helps… poor dog 🐢I’m not saying leaving Clarks wasn’t the right choice – it 100% was. I don’t miss the corporate BS or the fakery, and thanks to my addled brain [alongside my amazing husband] I won’t ever be going back: I find myself infuriated with myself because of the simple things I struggle to pick up as quick as I used to in the work I do for the business as it is, I honestly don’t believe I would ever get through an interview process again: I struggled as it was in the 6 months or so before I left Clarks.
So, obviously I’m not thrilled at the prospect of facing this weekend alone – James on a stag, 2 sets of cancelled and one failed set of plans for me – I don’t, of course, dispute him going – I want him to! He deserves a break (from me!!) and to have fun with his mates – plus I abandon him to go off with the girls enough – although I suspect {know} he also just enjoys the break from me and catches up on sleep πŸ™„πŸ€£. 

I just get so tired of being alone. I often make out I hate people – and general people I probably do, they’re often a pain in the ass 🀣 – but when it comes to my friends and family, I just want them around all the time (no, not you Dad.. haha love you x).
I have often found myself, when travelling or just out and about, looking at others who are alone and being super worried for them. Concerned that they aren’t happy. It’s absolutely insane and 99% of the time I suspect they are absolutely just fine. I’ve noticed it for as long as I can remember – since I was really young – a business man eating dinner alone; pretty average in the world and yet I’ve always wanted to invite them to join us (but never have… confidence lacker in being such a weirdo!) I end up just making myself feel awful in convincing myself they are sad and alone. I just seem to really FEEL and have all this emotion for others which is just seemingly totally random. I worry about June – who I dog walk for through The Cinnamon Trust – about her feeling lonely, and as such spend time attempting to make awkward conversation (I am sure I am the queen of awkward conversation, somehow) before I leave her because I’m so worried about leaving her alone. In reality she’s probably internally questioning when the weird dog walker who doesn’t seem to work is going to JUST LEAVE πŸ˜‚.
I did however read a pretty interesting blog this week on the time to change website that was written by someone else who seemed much better able than me to get her point across – I agree with having ALL THE EMOTION. I’m not just a spoilt brat (πŸ‘ΈπŸ») who strops when she doesn’t get her way (just mostly..!) but everything just seems to effect me much stronger and deeper than it seems to affect anyone else. A sad advert about dogs and I’m forcing Rufus to cuddle me whilst my paranoid brain panics about the day he’s no longer with us (we have an agreement that this will be never, we all go together… also never..!), but the simplest smile or sharing “knowing” eye contact from a stranger has me bouncing off the walls for joy. I feel it all, deeply, but particularly, I think, loneliness.
And so, with being alone I can’t really seem to adult… I’m not sure who let me solo adult.. I can’t even seem to figure out what I want to eat, but don’t worry, there’ll be no half stone weight loss this weekend because I’m so (pre-menstrually) hungry that I’m consuming EVERYTHING in site trying to placate whatever it is I really want but can’t figure out myself. Instead it’s Frosties and easy solo person meals for dinner because I have NO CLUE what I really want and can’t be bothered to cook to figure it out πŸ˜’. In positive news, I did just manage to be near a Sainsbury’s and NOT purchase jam doughnuts – mostly because at the time I wasn’t sure I wanted them… but now I think it’s a big regret…

Wild Friday nights at 30… bedtime (8.30pm: suspect I’ll be punished for that with a horribly early morning wake up!), night all x

I believe it’s called “brinner”…. “breakfast”, for dinner..

Infertility Sucks: The IVF Funding Debate

I started writing this having had Loose Women (I know, I know, I’m not even sure why it was on) on the television yesterday in the background, but quickly started to listen properly. I’ve seen further outrageous articles (some of which I cannot bring myself to read because my stress levels do NOT need raising any further, especially with no running!), comments, suggestions etc. since, which has meant: this is getting posted.

Restrictions on IVF terrifies me. I’m 30, husband 32. We’ve been trying for 3 years – around 2 years ago we discovered I don’t ovulate, so without help, we can’t conceive. It is no ones fault (but of course I blame myself), it is just the (un)luck of life. Earlier this year after 18 months of trying with the aid of Ovulation Induction at our local hospital, we began treatment with Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine. 

IVF is our last chance. Despite me being “only” 30, we get 1 try at IVF on the NHS, funded by Somerset (where we live) CCG (Clinical Comissioning Group);  2 less than the NICE guidelines (as well as “3” attempts at IUI, which whilst we have taken, after one fail and two cancelled treatments, I no longer feel any positivity about]. I’m from Berkshire originally and am aware Berkshire currently funds 2 “goes” at IVF. I also know, from discussions with fertility nurses and teams, that Essex gets zero funding.
It isn’t fair, and it most certainly isn’t a choice. I wish more than anything James and I could conceive our much-longed for child naturally. At no point did I wish to have to undergo various procedures and general prodding and probing and blood tests and injections and, worst of all, the heartache every single month when I am still not yet pregnant. Everyone should get their chance should they want to be a Mum – so many people seemingly manage to conceive so easily (whether they want children or not) and it is heartbreaking for those that can’t: I can’t take any more pregnancy announcements. I am feeling myself begin to isolate whilst I withdraw from friends or family who may (or may not) be about to announce their happy news. Of course I am happy for them – but it is long overdue our turn… when will that be? Will it ever be? My last period saw me hit an absolutely horrendous depression; I lost half a stone in 2 days. I couldn’t eat or sleep, I could barely move and I most certainly was not engaging in any communication, with anyone. I constantly worry that I have somehow already gone through menopause and no one has noticed and therefore it will never happen. I have said to James on more than one occasion that we should sell the big car and 5-6 bed house we bought – ready for children – when we moved to Somerset, move to a one bed getting rid of our mortgage alongside any other expenses because I’m so convinced it’s never going to happen.

We can and will pay once we’ve used up our NHS “chances” – but even in saying that, money and our savings ends somewhere…. and whilst I know the same goes for the NHS and the government – everyone should be funded for the 3 rounds of IVF as per the NICE (recommended) guidelines. We pay our taxes into the government; why should we not get some funding back out?? Or do we get to pick and chose now what our taxes go towards instead, because we seemingly get nothing else back for them!

It is so extra incredibly frustrating when you hear that what is essentially 29p paracetamol is being prescribed by doctors, but not the guideline amount of IVF, because [albeit a minority] can’t even be bothered to fund that themselves. Our postcode lottery on healthcare is disturbing. And, worryingly, of this also falls in line with my politics blog. Its all politics. Few of us are actually qualified or even in some cases*, clearly intelligent enough to comment.
I am constantly told “I’m still so young” but 3 years ago when we started trying, I was 27… when will I still be “so young”? The only thing I have ever and always known I wanted to be is a mother – and I wish I could turn back time to have not been so “worried” or “swayed by societal expectations” to not have children before marriage – my husband and I have been together 10 years now and I always have that hideous thought that I could and should have started trying earlier than when we got married; then we might have known sooner, begun treatment sooner, and may already have our much longed for child/children in our arms… for me, I’d rather be a younger Mum than older and it hurts to think that only I delayed that for daft reasons.

If funding for IVF is now only given to women aged 30-35, then me questioning my “still so young” timeframe just became even shorter. But also – if we had been ready and keen to start a family when I was 25, why should we not have been provided with that funding then as well? We still knew we wanted them, and we still would have faced the same infertility issues we face now.

I have faced a lot in the last few years, I’ve battled mental health difficulties my entire life, I’ve battled being “dumped” by friends/colleagues because of the isolation mental health creates around you, I gave up my career, I face worries about my parents and elder family members, and I ran a marathon. I know I am not alone in any of this, but nothing, none of these things are as hard as battling infertility.

And for those that think IVF should be private only – if you smoke and get lung cancer or have a heart attack as a direct result: should that be paid for by the NHS? Why?! At least infertility isn’t a choice*. For those that think adoption is the answer: should you not be more concerned about the fact that contraception is FREE on the NHS, and yet still there are so many children born each year that are placed into the care system?? Why should my husband and I not have our chance at OUR children, rather than the children of someone else who are lucky enough to conceive, yet can’t be bothered to look after their own? 

*one comment suggesting that “some” cases of infertility are asked for or someone’s fault because they are born from STI’s…. 1) I have never had an STI, (neither has James for the record) but I am pretty certain no one asks for an STI, thus fertility issues..