Belinda ' Interview 02
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Belinda was interviewed a couple of years after getting married and starting to try for a baby. After trying unsuccessfully for a year, she and her husband went to the GPs to ask for some tests to be done. Initial tests did not show any reason why they were having difficulty conceiving – unexplained infertility. They started IUI six months later. Their first cycle resulted in a chemical pregnancy and an early miscarriage. The second cycle was cancelled because Belinda’s hormone levels had not really recovered from the first cycle. At the time of the interview they were in the two week waiting period to find out if the third cycle had been successful or not. Belinda found the waiting for the results very difficult. It had also been a strain balancing work and treatment cycles, especially as she had not really told anyone at work that she was going through treatment. She was keen to keep it private and not even told close family members.
Belinda and her husband found there is considerable uncertainty about the benefits of taking clomiphene (Clomid), and not enough research to inform their decision.
I suppose there are some choices. It is like initially, we when we were seen at the first clinic, and they suggested going on Clomiphene, just like a normal tablet which you take each month just for a few days. And so initially was just to take that for six months, and if that hadn’t worked then we would progress on to IUI. But then when we changed clinics, they were saying, well they haven’t really found Clomiphene that useful for unexplained infertility. They did say like we could carry on with that if we wanted to, but they were suggesting IUI instead. So – and then when we saw the consultant at the local hospital then he was saying he thought that Clomiphene was a better option. So it was just made us feel like we were going back to where we were to begin with. And we tried that for a couple of months and it didn’t work, so we just decided to go ahead with the treatment. And, yet, it is so much cheaper you are talking about the price of a prescription rather than something like £900 so there is a big difference in the price. But yes, the problem is there isn’t enough research done so you don’t know exactly how successful treatment is to compare the two of them. Because of course they have always been done with people like with different problems and like different age groups and things so you can never really do a direct comparison between the two. So we did find that really difficult and I don’t know, we are both people who like answers to problems and like things to be straightforward and there is no easy answer to it and you just have to go with what you feel is right. And at the time we just decided that we felt it was right to continue with the treatment plan that we had got, rather than going back to may be where we had been at the beginning. Because we decided it was a step backwards rather than a step forward. And yes, it might have saved us money but you don’t know.
Belinda talks about trying acupuncture and hypnosis, which had not helped yet.
We have tried acupuncture and tried hypnosis as well to see if that helps. So far it hasn’t done. But I don’t know. I just think if you know there is a reason then, even though sometimes it might make it harder to conceive because you are totally reliant on treatment, whereas like I know that at least I have got a challenge each month that I might get pregnant. But it is just like… goes further down the line and you think oh there is less chance of it happening naturally. I do sort of like now feel dependent on treatment.
Belinda found it difficult to juggle her work as a nurse and her IUI treatment.
Belinda was surprise at how hard her IUI treatment was physically.
Very surprised. I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be physically. Like the side effects of the drugs. The fact that they make you feel so emotional and tired and like with the first cycle of treatment I am just about absolutely exhausted and I just really put it down to having to go over the clinic sort of like one day I would be doing like a fourteen hour day at work and the next morning I would be having to get up early then to go the clinic and then I would be doing another fourteen hour day. And I was doing that for about a week and so I really put it down to that. Whereas this time I sort of like had a slightly easy work schedules but even still I have been absolutely exhausted. And it is actually one of the side effects of the drugs. You have to make yourself do things. Like you have to think I really need to be doing something, but all you want to do is lie down and go to sleep. Like in the evenings, like, I am just fast asleep on the settee and then go off to bed and sleep and yes, like the side effects aren’t particularly pleasant and they do make you emotional. And like I have been quite lucky in that because I am on a lower dose of the drugs because of the treatment then in some ways that makes it easy whereas I know for IVF then you have a much higher dose. So I hate to think what the side effects are going to be like if I ever have to go that far.
Belinda valued the support she found online. It helped being in touch with people who were in the...
I think sometimes the online support is good because there is always somebody who you can talk to generally and you get to meet a lot more people. Whereas like locally there aren’t that many people who are on this site. There is only just like a few of us like within Yorkshire. But like a few of us do meet up and that is quite nice. It is a good excuse to have lunch as well [laughs]. But it is nice having that personal support as well. But it is also quite … but we are not always necessarily in the same situation. So sometimes it can be quite hard to understand what somebody else is going through when you are not in exactly the same place. Whereas at least on the site then there are people in the same situation as you. So even though they might live on the other side of the country then you can still have that contact with them. Which I have found really, really good.
Belinda said her husband was very laid back about their treatment whereas she preferred to talk...
He is very laid back and he tends to cope with things in his own little way and he doesn’t tend to talk about things much, but that is the way he is and that is the way that he handles things, whereas I much prefer to talk about things and I find like one web site is really, really good and I have met quite a few people through it. I have found it helpful talking to other women in my situation. Because it does feel really lonely otherwise. You feel like you are the only person going through it and knowing that there is other people who are like having exactly the same feelings as you, really does help. And a couple of them, we meet on a regular basis because we live nearby, so that is quite nice.