Goodbye 2016

Yes, I know.  This is a little premature.

I have just been looking back at the two posts I wrote almost a year ago: one saying goodbye to 2015 and one welcoming 2016.  It is crazy to see how much everything has changed over the past 12 months.  Never in a million years did I really believe that I would be holding a baby in my arms by Christmas 2016.

In short, 2015 was one of the worst years of my life, if not the worst.  It was the year that I really started to lose hope that we would be able to conceive naturally, or even at all.  All the initial excitement of trying for a baby, then the subsequent months of rationalising that we had “only been trying for x number of months” was over and instead 2015 was filled with the same depressing cycle of waiting to ovulate, having an agonising two week wait followed by days of heartbreak and despair.  I developed depression and insomnia and gained a lot of weight.  All in all, it was a pretty shitty year.

During the last few months of 2015 both BT and I had a number of fertility tests, I had a laparoscopy and we prepared for IVF.  These were a hellish few months and everything was a battle.  When we got all the necessary appointments and tests, there would be months in between each new step that we needed to take.  In October 2015 we were told by a GP that I had signs of either ovarian failure or early menopause.  Thankfully, when the fertility specialist saw me several months later it turned out that my numbers were not fatal to my fertility and that it was certainly possible for me to conceive naturally.  She felt that the bigger issue would in fact be BT’s low count and poor morphology.  At first we were told that we could have IVF on the NHS by Easter 2016, then at the start of 2016 we were told we could start straight away the following month.  Only a few months later, this was then pulled altogether as we moved house and with it moved to a different CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group – the NHS operates on smaller regional areas, and generally the individual CCGs decide what they spend their money on.  So a few will fund three IVF cycles for eligible people and some will fund none).  The effect of our move was that the clinic we were being seen by refused to carry out the first IVF cycle as scheduled until they had a written agreement that our new CCG would fund it (although nobody could tell us who this consent should come from or how we could get in touch with the relevant person!).

Despite my initial optimism, 2016 looked as though it would carry on the way 2015 had ended.

In many ways, this has been a terrible year for many and I see a lot of friends talking on Facebook about 2016 being the “worst year ever”.

There has been quite a lot of stuff generally that has upset me this year.  Losing one of my best friends and then my dog passing away over the summer were particularly difficult.  I have also had my career stall and faced some awful discrimination which, although horrible and I am dreading going back SO MUCH, has forced me to reassess my chosen career path and switch to something more suitable as soon as I get the opportunity.  I am trying my best to see the positives and to stick out my return to work, but the whole situation has really crushed my confidence and has made me very distrustful of employers more generally.

I am also still deeply upset by the Referendum result and the UK’s vote to leave the EU (or more accurately: England and Wales dragging Scotland and Northern Ireland out of the EU).  I won’t go into all the reasons why it has upset me and why I think it is ridiculous that people think we will be better off out of the EU (did they GENUINELY think that money was available and would be spent on the NHS?!).  All I will say is that unfortunately there seems to have been an undercurrent of hatred quietly bubbling away and the Brexit vote has allowed that to rise to the surface.  Several friends of mine have received verbal attacks, with one friend who has lived in the UK for over 40 years saying that for the first time ever she worries for the safety of her and her two young daughters.  In 2016, nearly 2017, it is terrifying that hate crime and intolerance of others is seen as acceptable.

The fact that America can vote in a man who holds such hateful, sexist, racist views shows that the UK is not alone at the moment.  It really worries me how all of this will end.

Anyway, negativity aside, I have actually had a brilliant year.  At the start of February we had an amazing holiday where we did a lot of talking (as well as sunbathing, reading, exercising and eating!!!).  We decided to look into IVF in the Czech Republic and we also decided to start exploring adoption more (although we were keen to try IVF a few times first).  All in all, the holiday did wonders for our morale and we both came home feeling much more positive about the future.  Little did we know, Baby Flat had actually been conceived by this point! I would love to say that we “just relaxed” and “it happened when we least expected it”, but all of this is total b*llocks.  As romantic as it would have been to say that we conceived on holiday, sadly Baby Flat was conceived a few days earlier in miserable, cold, rainy Britain!

So on a personal level 2016 turned out to be the best year of my life! I can’t begin to describe how amazing it felt to get a positive pregnancy test and to have each scan along the way go well.  I was incredibly anxious for the whole pregnancy, made worse by my awful working environment and the discrimination I faced, but in 2016 I gave birth to a wonderful, healthy, happy little boy (Ok, I’ll ignore the details of the horrific birth.  He’s healthy and happy now, and I really can’t ask for much more!).  He makes me so happy* and I am grateful every day that he is here.  I’m sure there will be times when I get stressed or complain about some minor aspect of motherhood, but on the whole I find it very hard to relate to the other NCT mothers or my many “mummy” Facebook friends who constantly update about how hard it is when their babies won’t sleep or the children fighting etc.  I still have to bite my tongue and refrain from saying “Do you have any idea how lucky you are?”.

I’m sure I’ll be less virtuous when the memories of infertility fade a little more…

So for me, 2016 is ending on a much happier note than 2015.

Now onto 2017!!!

*Must stop saying “happy” all the time!

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