Janine - Interview 33

Age at interview: 44
Age at diagnosis: 32
Brief Outline: Janine and her husband (Steve ' Interview 34) had unsuccessful IVF with ICSI treatment and decided to adopt two boys.
Background: Janine was a student, married to Steve (Interview 34) with two adopted sons. Ethnic background' White British.

More about me...

Janine had had skin cancer in her late 20s and so had to wait until she was clear of treatment before starting to think about a family. Her GP referred her to specialists who started her on Clomid. Their tests came back and showed that her husband had problems with his sperm, and she was not ovulating properly. So doctors recommended that they try IVF with ICSI. They were referred to the Assisted Conception Unit at their local hospital. They had a couple of unsuccessful treatment cycles of IVF with ICSI. Doctors then told them that the quality of her eggs was so poor that they advised using donor eggs. Janine did get matched and have a cycle of IVF with ICSI with donor eggs, but miscarried early. They had a try with frozen eggs but that did not work, and at that point they thought it was time to get off the treatment escalator and look at other options. They went through the adoption process and adopted two boys, who were 17 months and 3 and a half years old when they came to live with them.


Janine felt that her GP and practice nurse did not understand the psychological as well as...

Well I suppose because it’s such an emotional thing and a psychological thing, you know, trying to have a child and worrying that you’re not going to be able to have a child, then I’m not sure that GP’s are very, well I’m [not] sure that they have the time really to deal with that. So whenever I went to the GP it was very much about this sort of consultation about, you know, hormones and periods and temperature, and so all these physiological things he was[n’t] interested in. But each time I went I was having to I suppose engage with all of the emotional side of it. So rather like if I was at work or something I could sort of push that to the back and forget about it a bit. So I think that was the frustrating thing about going to the GP. 
Because I remember one, I went to see, it was the practice nurse and I had to, I think she gone to take, is it working, she’d gone to take some blood and it had to be at a certain point in my cycle and I think my period had started early so she couldn’t take the blood and so I went anyway, and said, “Can..” Because I wasn’t sure. “Can you still take the blood?” And she said, “No.” And just sort of sent me home. And I remember coming out crying thinking, if she, bless her actually appreciated at all that actually you know, I’d waited all month to go for that blood test and I was going to have to wait another month, which was putting off finding out what on earth is going on with me body for another month. 
So, and then the GP was just not very good at recognising infertility as a psychological emotional thing as well as a physiological thing.

Janine no longer wishes she had been pregnant or had children genetically hers.


Well actually I don’t have any sadness at all about never having been pregnant. And that went away a long time ago, and I don’t have any sadness at all about not having children that are genetically ours. Because again that went away ages ago, and we decided to go down the route of donor eggs, and actually we talked about donor insemination at one point. So it was never… it was once about being pregnant and giving birth and that, that’s gone away. It was never having little [own name] and [husband’s name] running around. But there’s something about the feel of a baby in your arms, and actually I’ve been doing interviews with adoptive parents and one of the women that I interviewed who adopted, her children are grown up now, in their twenties and she adopted them when they were tiny babies, and her son has just had a child of his own, so it’s her first grandchild and she was talking about being in the hospital and this tiny baby being presented to her and having it her arms and bursting into tears, and she said I don’t know what’s wrong with me, you know, and she said you know, I’ve never held a baby this small. And so for her, it’s a similar thing, you know, sort of there’s something very emotionally powerful about holding a tiny baby in your arms and, or not, not being able to, not be able to have that experience. So I don’t know why it comes back or why that’s the powerful thing that feels like its missing but it is. 


Janine found she didn’t talk to her Mum as much as she might have done, because she was aware...


I found it quite difficult to expect support from my Mum for example. And Dads are Dads and my Dad was sort of in the background and sort of, I’m sure he was supportive, but he wasn’t really included in any conversations about it or anything. Like his role was to be a background person. But for my Mum there’s always that issue of she’s someone who’s wanting to be a Grandma who can’t be a Grandma, so like it’s difficult for her too. Which doesn’t mean that she can’t be supportive. But I was always aware, particularly like when I was pregnant, and it was just for a few weeks, my Mum would knit bootees and jackets and all sorts of things. So I knew how much, how important it was to her so you sort of, you want to protect your loved ones from sort of saying, you know she’d get the phone calls oh it didn’t work again and but actually I didn’t want to discuss it loads with her, because I knew that it was quite painful to her too. And probably the person I did discuss with most in the family would be my sister-in-law. And she’s like a nurse, and been a midwife so somehow it was a different sort, and I suppose she wasn’t quite, you know, she would have loved [husband] to be producing babies, but somehow it wasn’t quite as emotionally close to her as it was discussing it with someone like my Mum so you have to think about that sort of thing when you’re looking for support from your… I had to.

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