Age at interview: 30
Brief Outline: Had problems getting pregnant because of polycystic ovary syndrome. Conceived after taking Clomid; also used acupuncture. Now 16 weeks pregnant, and pregnancy is progressing well.
Background: Occupations' Mother- research manager, Father- IT solutions architect. Marital status' married. Ethnic background' White British. Partner of Interview 28.
More about me...
She had polycystic ovary syndrome and took the fertility drug clomifene (Clomid). She also found...
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So I started having some acupuncture and that I think just helped me feel a lot better, and I continued with the Clomid as well, so I was doing these things in conjunction. We kind of synchronised the acupuncture with the Clomid cycle and my cycle and I had, I did two cycles of Clomid while I was having acupuncture as well, and I'd had a review at this clinic I was attending in London, in the big city [laughs] and I'd- I'd decided that we'd give it another go, just with acupuncture and Clomid before maybe seeking - there was a surgical procedure that my local hospital were offering me. And I - I felt really strange one week, as if my period was about to start at any moment, but it didn't, and I'd been away at a conference. And when I got home it was actually the night England were playing Portugal and I used to do a lot of work in Portugal, so I'd been watching the football match and texting my friends in Portugal, and I just did a pregnancy test. And I must have done about twelve or twenty tests over the last two years, and so I really wasn't expecting a positive result, and it was faintly positive, and we were frankly stunned, and terribly excited, but also terrified, to be honest.
She felt ill taking clomifene (Clomid) and could not get clear information about this. She wanted...
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So is there anything you can do to alleviate the symptoms?
No. [Sigh] Not really, and they - it's to be - to be honest I think I joined various kind of email based discussion forums, like that, so I'd known from kind of other women that the side effects could be pretty grim. And the consultant kind of played them down, but when I went back the second time, she just said well, "No there's nothing else, you just" -you know. It is what it is. It does overload your system, and I think any time you try to adjust hormone levels it does kind of put everything out of sync, really.
You said it made you realise that you wouldn't be able to cope with IVF?
Tell me, did you discuss that with your husband?
Yeah, we talked about it a lot and [sigh] I suppose it, it's interesting whenever I talked to people and said, that you know IVF really wasn't on our list of options, they said, "Oh is it a religious thing that's coming through?" And, and for me it wasn't. It was, I suppose, it was nobody's ever promised me that I had a right to have children and I felt that for some people it's obviously the right decision, but I think my assessment of it was, I've really struggled doing the Clomid, and getting scanned, and, you know, having sex according to a timetable, and that's nothing compared to the kind of invasiveness of IVF, and so that, combined with the - my relatively high rate of miscarriage just made me feel that it would be another two, three, four years of heartache, really.
They decided to tell friends and family she was pregnant early on, so they could support her if...
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And I was very tired during those first few weeks. And we also made the decision to tell friends and family really quite early on, in fact before we'd had the first scan, because we knew that there was a high chance that I might miscarry, and we're both quite close to our family, and we thought it would be an awful lot to expect them to support us, if they didn't know that I was pregnant, you know, to phone up one day and say, you know "Mum, I've had a miscarriage, oh and by the way, I was pregnant, briefly". Because they - all the family had known what we were going through.
They knew we were trying, obviously, so, and again we had a couple of raised eyebrows that we told people when I was only probably - we didn't really quite know - but it was probably seven or eight, seven, eight or nine weeks when we told people. I didn't tell work then, obviously, but close friends and family. And I'm really glad I did because we also wanted to celebrate, anyway, you know, because as I said, we did feel it was such a positive event, even if it didn't, you know, come to fruition, so we told people at my niece's first birthday party, which was lovely, and everyone was so, so happy for us and so supportive. So I think it was a good decision.
She had heard conflicting advice about drinking alcohol in pregnancy. It can be difficult to know...
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So how do you decide what to believe and what not to believe?
It [sigh] it's tricky. I think trusting your instincts is quite a good one. I just do not feel like drinking alcohol. The most I've had is a really, really weak Pimms. I mean, it was literally that much Pimms and, you know, a full glass of lemonade. And that's all I've had, so, I suppose it's about, in some ways, it's about trusting your body about what it says you fancy. But also just cutting yourself some slack, that you know, you don't get any prizes for being, kind of, the super mother of the year, you know. I think it's about getting through the pregnancy, making sure you don't get too tired, drinking plenty - I've never drunk so much water in my life, I'm always thirsty, always hungry, but trying to make sure that I'm eating apples and oranges, and not M&Ms, Twix bars and what have you. But then again, you know, having chips once a week because, sometimes that's the only thing you really, really fancy. And I, you know, think a lot of pregnant women really beat themselves up about these kind of lifestyle issues. You know, lots of the books say you should be doing exercises and yoga, and all sorts of things. I mean I'm lucky if I'm awake by the time I get home [laughs]. So quite where you're meant to get the energy to do all of these other things from I'm not sure really. So I think it is about just being, being gentle to yourself, really, and you know, I had two lovely walks over the weekend, which were great and I felt so much better for them, but that was probably the first time since I've been pregnant that I've fancied, you know, taking the dog for more than a walk round the block. So I think waiting until you're ready for these things.
She did not like the way one doctor talked to her about her weight in pregnancy.
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I suppose there - there was one. When I was first seen at the hospital that's going to deliver my antenatal care, and I had my kind of roughly twelve week scan there, and I saw a midwife, and I also saw some medical staff, and initially it was a very sweet student doctor. And it was quite funny actually, because we went and sat down in a room, and we could hear him talking to the nurse outside, saying, "Right, What do I do? What do I do next?" It's like, "You take her history". "But she's already seen the midwife, she's already had her history taken", and they were saying, "You're a doctor, you do it again", [laughs] so by the time he came in we were trying really hard not to laugh. But he was - no, he was charming and - my one question was that I'd, at that point, because I wasn't quite twelve weeks, I was still taking my metformin [a drug to induce ovulation], and I wanted to check what this hospital's policy was about me continuing, or discontinuing the drug, and he wasn't sure about that, so he said he'd go and talk to his - I presume it was his registrar, or equivalent, and after about five, ten minutes the registrar came back, and, you know, quickly reviewed my notes and was very I suppose dismissive actually, of the advice I'd been given about taking metformin, and said, "In this hospital we, we do things on a needs basis, and you've been fine so far, so you've no need to take it. We do things in an evidence based manner here", kind of thing, which didn't help because you go on the advice you're given. So, and then [sigh] he, and this is going to sound awful but he was frankly clinically obese. He was a massive man, and he started referring to me as a larger mother, and going on about my weight, and it was just really hard to take from somebody who was frankly four times my size, and it was just really difficult. And I'd also lost a huge amount of weight over the last couple of years. I'm not, you know, thin by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt kind of quite comfortable about where I was, and that was quite hard. You know, partly you just felt, "Where do you get off telling me, you know, lecturing me?" You know, saying, "We'll have to see you at thirty weeks because, you know, you're on the larger side", and all the rest of it.
What was his point?
Because allegedly - well, presumably - he said it's very difficult to visualise the baby, so we'll need to check at thirty weeks that we can still see it clearly. Which seems quite strange really, because, you know, women far larger than me have had very successful pregnancies, so that was, that was the only kind of sour note, really, that it just, it was quite difficult. Because I suppose I'd had a lot of support from my fertility consultant, who understood how ha- one of the things about PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] is it's really difficult to lose weight, because it alters your metabolism and, you know, it is really a struggle. But, you know, I had lost a lot of weight, so that felt quite hard.
She is worried about being rushed into decisions during labour without thinking it through, but...
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