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Making the Decision

First of all, can I say a very warm welcome to any visitors who have popped by from iVillage and my new series there…

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It’s lovely to see you here!

Now, for my regular readers in particular, I thought it might be helpful to write a post following on from yesterday’s to explain how Tim and I have suddenly come to the decision to try for a baby after the wedding. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that I felt my health was too bad to even think about it (which I don’t think I mentioned in so many words on here but several of my readers knew of such from “off-the-blog” conversations).

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The very thought of not having a baby breaks my heart because I have been surrounded by children since my mum first became a childminder when I was 9 years old and as such I have known for most of my life that I wanted a family of my very own when I grew up. My interest in children continued as I worked in a couple of daycare settings after graduating from University and I began reading the blogs of other families and seeing my friends starting their own families too. This interest even leaked into my artistic explorations, as the above image shows and the painting in the previous post also indicates. Essentially I was dreaming of the day that I would be able to say hello to my own child.

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When I met Tim I was overjoyed: he is such an amazing person and we have spent many happy times together, despite all that has been against us these past two years. He knows how much I want a baby and accepts it. In fact, he understands it and when my Endometriosis symptoms began to really get the better of me and I started saying “maybe we shouldn’t try for a baby” it broke his heart to hear me say it. In his eyes, having a baby is the next step in our journey together and he wants it as much as I do now.

Of course, he always followed my lead and made it clear that if I didn’t feel well enough to try to conceive and then carry a baby to term then we wouldn’t try. He essentially told me to tell him when I was ready and that would be when we began trying. Which is where we find ourselves at right now.

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You might not think it’s that difficult to know “when you are ready”, but it is for me: much harder than I ever thought possible. As I had always known I wanted a family, I thought that it would be easy… I’ve wanted it for years so to find myself in a position where it was possible should make me ‘over-the-moon’, right? Unfortunately not. Over the past two years I have been through two pseudo-menopauses and had a laparoscopy to clear the adhesions the Endometriosis had caused between my internal organs. As such, my energy levels became desperately depleted to the point where I just had to leave my full-time job or else I might have broken down completely with the stress of it all. I felt ready to be a parent emotionally last year, but physically I knew my body wasn’t up to the job, so I decided to wait.

I expected the medical interventions to help, and although they did, my symptoms have not disappeared completely. Unlike after my first laparoscopy and initial fitting of a Mirena Coil when I had a good 2 years symptom-free, I have continued to have regular cramping and even some bleeding since my last laparoscopy in May 2009. I thought coming out of full-time work would help with my energy levels, but thanks to moving home, setting up a business and planning a wedding I have not improved my energy levels as much as I had hoped. These things made me wonder if it was prudent to start trying for a baby right now, let alone the worries we have about finances with just one income coming in to the household.

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But last week we had our niece to stay, and taking her to the local play park pulled on my heart-strings enough to make me rethink the whole thing: how could I look at all those happy parents with their children and not feel the pull? My health is better than it has been in a long time, despite the fact I still get tired easily, and I have no guarantees that the Endometriosis won’t cause me more problems if we leave it any longer before beginning to try. I have already had two surgeries, which are bound to leave some scar tissue however minimal, and the older I get the harder it could be to fall pregnant anyway. With all these things running through my head it makes sense to try as soon as possible, rather than waiting for an energy level I may never reach. When I think about it I realise that I have lived with Endometriosis and its effects for years now and managed to graduate and hold down demanding jobs throughout some of my hardest times: if I can do that then I can surely attempt to have a baby. I know it will be hard, but I also know I can cope with ‘hard’!

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It has been a year since Tim proposed to me and we marry on October 15th, three years after we first got together and 3 and a half years since we first met. It has been a crazy jouney so far, so why not enjoy some more crazy while we’re at it?

We have a follow-up appointment with the gynaecologist at the end of the month and plan on having my Mirena Coil taken out shortly after the wedding. According to the Mirena FAQs you can start trying to fall pregnant straight away after having it removed, but we are preparing ourselves to know that it could take some time as I haven’t had a proper period in 5 years now and my cycle never was very regular. Until then, however, we are making preparations: optimising our diets, starting more exercise (i.e. yoga), reading as many books and articles as we can and discussing it all with each other. It is a terrifying, yet exciting time.

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But we know we can survive it, because we have each other. And I know I will survive it because I have learnt to accept living with Endometriosis, even when I don’t like it. It is my hope that being completely open and honest about what we are going through will help others, which is why I initially approached the editors at iVillage about running such a series. As I wrote in my first article over there, I know that the road may be rough and I could potentially end up writing about an inability to fall pregnant or the pain of miscarriage, but I felt it too good an opportunity to miss in spreading support and awareness for Endometriosis… if I kept it all to myself for fear of what I might face then I would know that I wasn’t doing all I could to support others.

So, please do pop over to the iVillage Pregnancy and Baby Channel to follow my series, and if you are trying to conceive yourself, why not join the forum over there and get to know other women who will understand what you may be going through.

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11 comments

  1. Jeanne says:

    Amanda,
    I know you’ve put an incredible amount of thought into the decision of whether to try to conceive and when to do so. I truly hope that the process will be smoother than you’ve ever dreamed but I also know that you have the strength, courage, and wisdom to deal with whatever comes your way.
    You are a very special person and I will be beside you 100% to support you on this journey. I’m sending positive energy your way!
    Jeanne
    xoxo

  2. Louise says:

    You have such talent as a writer Amanda. It’s a great article you have written. And in art. Your sketches remind me a little of Henry Moore. Wishing you and Tim every happiness in your future together. x

  3. Sarah says:

    I am so excited for you all! I am sure everything will work out. I felt my very best when I was pregnant and breast feeding. I am sure it will be the same for you!!

  4. Gisele says:

    Just wanted to say your post on IVillage hit home and almost made me cry. I suffer from mild endometriosis myself and have in the past been in extreme pain, which your entry reminded me of. Thankfully following lots of medication as well as a pregnancy the pain is much more bearable. What I wanted to say though is, I was terrified of starting my ‘trying to conceive’ journey. As you mentioned on IVillage, it is scary to make the decision of trying for a baby before you feel ready financially etc because you feel like there is no time. However in the end I conceived on the very first month, so be positive and enjoy the ride! 🙂 Good luck and baby dust!

  5. Jenn says:

    Congratulations of your ivillage article Amanda!! I am so excited for you & the awareness you are raising!
    And best wishes for your conception journey! Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  6. Daisy says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I just wanted to say thank you for writing about your experiences with Endometriosis. I am 25 and was diagnosed with it in 2009 after having problems for some time before that. I had a laparoscopy in 2009 to remove the endometriosis that was there, I was then put on a six month course of hormone injections to help keep the illness at bay, it is an interesting experience being on the menopause in your twenties!! However, after coming off the injections I then experienced very bad pains again soon after and had to have a scan which showed the Endometriosis had spread and I also had a chocolate cyst on my ovary. I had another operation earlier this year, which was more extensive than the first.
    I am now on the hormone injections again but the reason I wanted to write is that my partner and I are at a very similar stage to you. After my last operation, we were advised by our consultant to think about trying for a baby soon, given the chances of conception for Endometriosis sufferers and the fact that mine seems to spread and develop very quickly.
    I had always known from my first diagnosis that conception was hard for Endometriosis sufferers, but this brought it to a fresh perspective. For the first time my partner (who has been an amazing support) and I had to seriously talk about our future and trying for a family. It was hard coming to the realisation that we might not be able to follow the pattern that other couples might – for some people it happens so naturally and also that we might never be able to have children, though we are trying to be as positive as possible and not think about the ‘what if’s’. As daunting as it at first seemed, we now have a plan!
    We are getting married in February 2011 and are planning to try for a baby after I come off my injections in October this year – the sooner the better we have been told so we are keeping our fingers crossed. It is nerve wracking and neither of us know what is going to happen but the one thing that this illness has done is bring us closer together, we feel like we are a real team. It has been for me, and still is, a battle to get over the guilt that it is my body that is causing these problems and it is hard to come to terms with the fact that you have no control over your own body, especially as Endometriosis is something you cannot see, it makes it worse that you don’t know what you are doing. But my partner has been so supportive and I am incredibly lucky!
    Thank you very much for sharing your experiences. Until reading your article on IVillage I thought that I was alone, but now I feel reassured that other people are going through the same experiences as me.
    Good luck and I look forward to reading your experiences! I will let you know how we get on too! Thank you for sharing.
    Best wishes,
    Daisy x

  7. Amanda says:

    Hi Daisy,
    thanks for popping by and introducing yourself! It does indeed sound like you are at a very similar stage to me and my partner and it is always nice to know someone else is going through it too and truly understands how you may be feeling!
    Two chemically induced menopauses in such a short time can really drag you down, I know, so good luck for the remaining few weeks left of this one and extra good luck for when you begin trying to conceive… yes, please do keep us posted! Endometriosis can of course make you feel terribly alone and out of control, so knowing people who “get it” can really help you deal with the emotions it can bring up!
    xx

  8. Amanda says:

    Hi Gisele,
    sorry to take so long to reply to your comment… I am glad you found me via iVillage!
    Thank you for sharing your own personal experience, as it is always lovely to hear from other women who know what it is like and especially to hear their success stories!! xx

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