Back to reality

We had a fantastic holiday in the Caribbean and are sadly now back in the UK.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re away from work and are sitting on a beach, reading in the sunshine (I appreciate that’s a very obvious, stupid thing to say!).

Just before we went away, we were basically told that the NHS IVF cycle we thought we would be starting in February has been cancelled indefinitely.  I was absolutely devastated and (once again) cried at the Fertility Clinic.  It is beyond frustrating that pencil pushers repeatedly f*ck things up, or deliberately get in the way of plans for whatever perverse reason they may have.

Anyway, the holiday could not have come at a better time.  I genuinely think I would have had a full on breakdown if I hadn’t had the holiday to keep me going!

On the whole, the holiday was brilliant.  With the exception of a few days, the weather was lovely (obviously this is the most important thing, coming from the UK where it is always miserable!).  The resort was beautiful and the food was absolutely incredible! The only down-side was that we were STALKED by babies and children (it’s as if they KNEW…).  Although something baby-related happened every single day (errr…thanks for the “Motherhood Challenge” Facebook) particular highlights of our holiday included:

  1. The coca-cola baby.  For the first week of our holiday a chavvy British couple and their baby hogged the sun-loungers next to us.  The baby must have been around 18 months old.  It was clear that he desperately wanted to run around and play in the pool and be a kid, but the parents mostly ignored him.  It broke my heart.  BT and I couldn’t help smiling at him whenever he toddled over to us and giggled, which only encouraged him to come over and giggle some more! As we giggled along with him, the parents looked at us like we were some sort of perverts, then grabbed him and forced an iPad in front of him.  What really topped it off for us though, was that every day they would give him bottles of coca cola.  I mean, are you f*cking kidding me?!
  2. The dazzling, sparkling white family.  After a few days of ovary-ache watching all the babies and toddlers around the pool, BT and I decided to find somewhere secluded and baby-unfriendly on the beach.  We located a lovely little spot right by some trees and overlooking the ocean.  At first it seemed like we had lucked out, as not only was the area beautiful and serene, but there were only adults in sight! After a few hours, however, a family of six came over with a professional photographer.  All six of them were dressed head-to-toe in white linen outfits and they decided that our LOVELY SECLUDED HIDEAWAY was the perfect venue for their happy, family shots.  Cue: several hours of watching the “perfect family” in action.
  3. The breast-feeding mum. After the perfect family left, we managed to spend a couple of hours in infertile peace.  After grabbing a few non-alcoholic as we’re still preparing for IVF drinks at the bar, we decided to venture back to our hidden location, as we decided we had simply been unlucky earlier in the day.  WRONG DECISION.  After a few hours, the same photographer came back, but this time he had a young couple and their newborn baby.  After doing the standard family photos, they decided that it would be AWESOME for her to have some photos of her breast-feeding while gazing out over the ocean.  GROAN.  Now I don’t give a cr@p about breast-feeding.  I’m not offended by it in any way and I’m equally not militant about a woman’s right to openly breast-feed in any given situation.  But while struggling with infertility, it’s really quite painful to watch that bond between a mother and her baby, which I’ll probably never get to experience.

All-in-all though, the holiday was really very good.  Perhaps most importantly, the holiday allowed BT and I to do a lot of “bonding” (urgghhh, hate that phrase!) and chatting through our infertility nightmare so far and discussing how we want to proceed.  We have been frustrating each other because we both deal with things (i.e. infertility) in very different ways.  I am a planner.  I like to have plans and cut off points and THINGS to work towards.  I like to get the ball rolling as EVERYTHING takes so long, so I don’t see the point in waiting months for appointment X, then once that has passed only then starting to arrange the next step, as that then takes months etc etc etc.  Instead, I like to get the “back up plans” in motion.  BT on the other hand, perhaps because he’s more positive and bloody LOVES the NHS, thinks we should just sit back and let things happen when they happen (or as I see it: stick his head in the sand!).

Anyway, after many chats,  we have decided the following:

Plan IVF.  BT has agreed to let me look into doing IVF abroad (probably the Czech Republic).  Previously he was completely against this as an option.  I’ll write more about why I’m keen to go abroad at a later date, but for now I will just say that I am very pleased that he will consider this option.  It will work out slightly cheaper than doing IVF in the UK, so over time (and over various cycles) we should save a bit of money.

Plan Adoption.  Previously BT had said that he wouldn’t consider adoption for at least another five years.  I had been absolutely heart-broken about this.  Five years just feels a lifetime away and on top of that it would be several years of applications and interviews and stress and waiting before we actually became parents! He has now agreed that we can start the process on our 4th wedding anniversary (July 2017).  I feel so positive about this!! It would mean a very different way of doing things, but I’m happy with that.  In particular, I would probably have to give up work (which is not something I particularly want to do) as many adopted children in the UK have serious emotional, mental and physical problems due to their upbringing to date, so they need a level of “parenting plus”.  Again, there are so many more things I want to say about adoption,and A LOT I need to learn about it, so perhaps I will also do another post on this in due course!

Plan Australia.  I am not a particularly big fan of the UK.  Obviously I know how lucky I am to live in this country as opposed to many other places, but there is a lot about the UK I have lost faith in.  For a long time, BT and I have discussed moving to Australia.  We have never actively pursued it, however, as we did not want to move away from our parents while the children were young (!!!).  As things stand though, there is no sign of us having children any time soon.  At the same time, we’re being bled dry by the current government.  To cut a very long story short, they’re planning on introducing changes to BT’s job which would make it extremely dangerous for him to work, he’d be expected to work more days (he already works 5 days a week, mostly for 12+ hours a day with no break, plus at least one full weekend per month) and he would be paid a lot less.  If the changes occur, despite both of us working incredibly hard in long-hours jobs and having no family to support or extravagant outgoings, we would really struggle to pay our mortgage and bills.  We would also not be able to have children without getting into significant debt.

I just don’t think it’s right that people who study incredibly hard for years and years, get into huge debt doing so, spend many, many years working at either minimum wage or for free to get “experience” should then be in a position where they do not earn enough to pay the mortgage on an average home.  All of this has stressed me for some time, but now we’re also in the position where we’re getting no help from the NHS for our infertility, despite both being taxed CRAZY amounts to cover the education and health of everybody else in the country.

I know Australia will not be the answer to all of our problems, but we would like to go for at least a few years to see what the culture (and work culture) is like out there.  Firstly, the weather is much better than in the UK, which I think will have a positive effect on my mental health.  Secondly, the “outdoorsy” lifestyle really appeals to me and will be better for our physical health.  Thirdly, BT would be paid more than he currently is for working fewer hours.  This would therefore take away some of the financial stress we’re currently under and will allow us to actually spend a bit more time together.

So all in all I am feeling a little more positive about the future!

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4 thoughts on “Back to reality

  1. Agh! How frustrating about your IVF cycle. Did they give you a reason why it’s cancelled? NHS cuts? Eligibility? (Are you too young and gorgeous… Is that it?!)

    That totally sucks! I feel really devastated for you. However… I think maybe look into private options if you can? Czech Republic sounds cool (I love Prague! Good holiday/fertility combo!) but there are also options in the uk… Only saying because I found it quite stressful getting to appointments. I don’t know how it works overseas. (Actually might work nicely if you’re on hol – ha!)

    Also re NHS if it’s anything to do with eligibility – we got turned down the first time because of some kind of silly postcode thing for or CCG. Then we went back to our gp (who’s quite an NHS bigwig) and he wrote a stroppy letter and next thing you know, we had an appointment! Which was nice. Worth a go?

    Hope the hol was good!! Never quite sure if it makes things worse by providing a contrast to everyday life! 😉

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    1. Thanks 🙂 Basically it comes down to the fact that I am registered at a GP near where I work. This is in CCG A. BT is registered at a GP near where he works and where I work one day a week. This is CCG B. We have just moved to an area between the two where neither of us are registered yet. This is CCG C.

      We want to be treated at a clinic in CCG B because it’s near to where BT works and where I work 1 day a week (and for a short time I could work more days there). The clinic is about a 10 minute walk from where I work. If we were treated at the clinic in CCG A, BT would need a day off for every appointment (which he can’t take on short notice) and we’d also need to drive 45 mins out of the main town to get to the clinic! If we’re treated in CCG C, then we’d need to wait another year (as new patients) before starting the whole process again from scratch!

      I had tried to register as a patient with the GP in CCG B. Basically the FC advised me to do that (partly for convenience and partly because CCG B provides 3 NHS cycles, whereas CCG A provides just 1 and CCG C provides 2), a doctor at the surgery told BT it was fine for me to do that, the surgery operates an “out of catchment” policy so “anyone” can register and when I filled in the paperwork they said it was fine to register. I did all of that in December then kept calling to check I was on the system as we were due to have the IVF screening tests towards the end of January. They kept saying “You’ve been approved but are not yet on our system”. Anyway, 2 days before the pre-IVF tests, they decided that they would no longer let me register as a patient! We went to the FC and they have basically said IVF is on hold until they have written confirmation from CCG A that, as I am still a patient in that CCG, they will pay for me to have a cycle in CCG B.

      So everything is now on hold. Our first cycle of IVF is on hold due to some pencil pushers. We have no idea if CCG A will approve the funding and how long the whole process will take! We could not have gone on holiday at a better time, as I was devastated that the IVF has been pushed back indefinitely. The powers-that-be (and unfortunately that often means medical secretaries and “managers”) just do not care about the heartache and anguish is causes 😦

      x x x

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      1. That is crazy. It sounds really similar to our situation where T was registered at his home (parents’ home) surgery. I think unless you have a sympathetic GP it can be impossible. I was so upset when it happened that way for us. We did get pushed through in our home CCG after we mentioned it to the sympathetic GP (who’s a bigwig) but you can’t rely on that. When do you find out about CCG A/B? If not, I would consider both registering in CCG C. I know it’s a year but could be delayed even longer… And if you have IVF then BT won’t really have to take much time off – it’s much more on the woman (unless you want him to come to all the scans… I didn’t have T at all of mine as the womb lining ones are quite frequent and boring, and he works further away). Our clinic is close to my work and not to T’s.

        I really sympathise as we were in that position. Don’t think we actually skipped anything through the GP writing to someone as it still took a while to come through. But we didn’t have the funding refused at the second hospital whereas we did with the first. (Both in same CCG but T hadn’t been registered there long enough because of the parental home GP.) It’s super frustrating. X

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