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Anne ' Interview 17

Age at interview: 41
Age at diagnosis: 39
Brief Outline: Anne had secondary infertility, and had difficulties when she started to try and conceive when her daughter was aged 3 '.
Background: Anne is a community food writer. She lives with her partner and daughter and was pregnant with her second child. Ethnic background' White British

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Anne did not think about another child immediately after her daughter was born, but when her daughter was three and a half she and her partner started trying for another baby. Nothing happened, and after a while she went to see her doctor who did some tests. They did not show anything wrong but as she had been trying for over eighteen months, she was referred to a fertility clinic. However, when she got to the clinic her partner was not keen to give his details, and so treatment could not progress. After two years, she did get pregnant naturally but miscarried at nine weeks and then had another miscarriage a year later. But finally after four years of trying she found out she had successfully conceived and was expecting her second child at the time of the interview. 

 
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Anne's doctors was 'lovely' and arranged for blood tests straight away to check her hormone...

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Great and can you tell me about going to see the doctors when you started to find out, you know, suspect that there was a problem the second time round. Did you first go to a GP? 
 
Yes. I went to my doctor at my old surgery where we used to live in [city] and he was lovely. And we said to him that we had been trying for over a year to have a baby and so he arranged for blood tests virtually straight away for me to check my hormone levels. And then as you probably can imagine said, “Well keep trying and come back in six months time if it has not worked again. And we will see if we can take it from there.”
 
But as I mentioned before I had had this really bad ovulation pain and so he wrote a letter to the hospital in [city] to ask for investigations and that is how I took the route of perhaps going to a fertility clinic but I never actually got the chance to go there.
 
 

After 18 months of trying for a second baby Anne went to her GP who referred her to a clinic. She was unable to pursue treatment because her partner was unwilling to take part.

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So we removed all contraception and started I think about 2004, January. So obviously, we tried like the medical textbooks say you do. And you automatically assume, especially when you are a teenager and you are taught the facts of life, when you have sex there is a very good chance you can have a baby.
 
Well as 2004 went on and nothing happened it was like no it doesn’t happen all the time like that. So we left it a year. And then 2005 came and then I think it was about March 2005 or somewhere around that time, I went to my doctor and obviously explained about I had been trying for over a year, etc. etc. 
 
So he arranged for me to have some blood tests. They all came back quite normal and I also mentioned to him that I had extremely bad ovulation pain in the middle of my menstrual cycle. So he said, “Well we will just get it checked out.” He said, “And then we will see what the situation is.” 
 
So we obviously kept on trying. 
 
So I went to one of the hospitals in [city] and saw a gynaecologist and he basically said to me, it was quite normal what I was experiencing. And didn’t see any major, anything wrong, because I think I had an internal scan as well to see if there was any ovarian cysts or anything like that. 
 
So he said, “Since you have been trying for nearly a year and a half, we will send you to the fertility clinic.” So I said, “Okay that is fine.” 
 
Anyway when I got the forms back from the fertility clinic to actually fill out medical history, names, addresses and what have you, I asked my partner for his details and he basically said, “I am sorry [name] but I don’t want to take part in any of these tests.” So I said, “Oh why?” He said, “I just don’t want to.” He said, “Don’t badger me about them.” He said, “I just don’t want to do it.” So I was like, “Oh, okay.” So he said, “If it happens, it happens. I am not going down this road of any testings and having this tested and what have you and stuff.” 
 
So I rang up the fertility clinic and they basically said to me, “We can’t take this any further, because your partner won’t agree to any tests.” So I went, “Oh, okay, right.”
 
So I then started doing a bit of research for myself and that is when I found that I had got this medical condition, or what I presume has happened to me. It is called, secondary infertility, which means the... you find it impossible to conceive again after you have had a baby. 
 
So that avenue was sort of blocked and the only way forward basically would be if I had any, I had a load of money to pay for private treatment. 
 
And then after reading various information articles and booklets and stuff, a lot of people or a certain proportion found and even my doctor said this to me. Once they have had fertility treatment and they have not worked and they have given up, they have conceived naturally, probably because of all the stress that has been taken off them and what have you.
 
So I thought right, okay. I also got myself a new job in this interim period, so I was a lot more, not as focussed on babies as much as I was the year before sort of thing. So I thought right okay, we don’t need to use any contraception. We will just keep on trying.
 
 

Anne found it hard to cope with secondary infertility and wishes there had been more support for...

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So I sort of like tried to think more, I need to get focused. I need to try and think of something different to do which will take my mind off it, and you know not make me think about it all time. Like I was saying about I was going to go back to college to do another teacher training qualification. Or try to do something different in a weekend rather than being stuck in the house and brooding a little bit, you know, do something different with [daughter], which is my daughter. So yes, it was difficult some days, especially also when you went into work and was told somebody was pregnant. It sort of like came crashing down again on you and you think oh I didn’t really want to know that because I am trying to build myself up again to get out of the pregnancy bubble sort of thing and then suddenly it just goes pop and you go back down again.
 
I didn’t realise it was this hard. I assumed it would be quite easy to get pregnant again. It would happen within a year. I wish I had known a bit more about miscarriages because they can happen to anybody. I wish that I hadn’t had the bleeding problem after the miscarriages because that doubled the pain I was feeling at the time. 
 
I would love sometime to go to women who find it easy to get pregnant and say, “You do not know how lucky you actually are to be able to get into that condition,” sort of thing to some people out there. I mean sometimes when you are in like situations, you might hear somebody saying, “Oh I don’t know why that woman has had so many children, she can’t look herself properly as well as her own children.” Blah blah blah and sometimes life does seem unfair in that way. 
 
It is unfortunately part of life and you have to deal with it, but I can imagine that having infertility that doesn’t lead to a baby, is possibly one of the worst scenarios that anybody can actually have. I mean it has obviously been going on since time began, because you hear of all kings and queens that were married and xx had no children. Xx had still born children and stuff and you think well it has been happening for ages, but they didn’t know about it just then. But it is an awful condition and there is nobody who can help you apart from somebody else who is going through the same as you. But how do you find these people. I wish there was some type of scheme whereby you could voluntarily put your name on a register and when your doctor is aware of what is happening or somebody say would you like to be contacted by somebody who can support you through this who is doing exactly the same. But there is nothing. Absolutely nothing.
 
 

Anne was pregnant with her second child. After the anxiety of the early weeks she was now trying...

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Tell me about. I know it is still early days, but tell me about how the pregnancy has been so far?
 
Well the pregnancy test we did on Bank Holiday Monday, my partner was like, “[name] I am not going to be horrible, but don’t get our hopes up yet, after what happened last time.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” I didn’t expect that sort of reaction. But I could understand where he was coming from. Because if you get your hopes up too much and then they all come crashing down again and stuff.
 
So I just literally had to take it easy and at six weeks I started going to the EPA Unit at one of the hospitals in [city] which is called the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and I have had weekly scans from week six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven. I think it was. And then I was invited to go for a nuchal translucency scan at week eleven and a half, which I went for, but I declined the scan. Because I had a feeling, because of my age, it would come out quite a high risk. 
 
And the midwife who I spoke to was absolutely lovely. She basically told me the pros and the cons and one of the things that stuck in my mind a lot was, if you were told that you are high risk, i.e. one in five, of having a Down’s syndrome baby how would that make you feel. So I went, “Oh yes, I see what you mean.” So she went away and I was thinking and I was talking to myself in the little room, and I thought, yes she has got a point. How can I go through November, December, January, with that knowledge. I said, “I would be a nervous wreck.” And I said, “I worry at the best of times.” So she said, “You don’t have to have this test.” So I declined the test and I just had a normal scan which showed the baby was fine. I think the baby was asleep because it was sleeping like I was, like I do in bed, with one hand up by my head and then sometimes my leg up, because you can see the scan photo, the leg is like bent. Not like straight out sort of thing. So the sonographer had to check to see whether there was two legs there which she did and she showed me, 
 
But I also had to go to a clinic for this bleeding problem because it was starting to concern me which I have been discharged from, but then I have had to go to another clinic, because of a medical condition that I have got, which can sometimes hinder pregnancy and what have you, and then in the mean time I have had to be, go to midwives. So it has been a constant stream of hospital visits, doctors appointments, midwife appointments, blood tests and then because I know I am Anti D negative. Sorry, yes, Rhesus negative, I know that I am going to have to have another injection at about twenty eight or thirty four weeks of Anti D which is lovely. So I feel as though I am getting my map, my life mapped out sort of thing with all these hospital appointments.
 
I did have some nausea at the beginning but that has eased off now. I still can’t stomach tea. I can drink coffee which is really strange, because a lady in work, who is now on maternity leave, couldn’t stomach coffee. And I said, “Well I can drink coffee,” I said, “but tea, ugh.” I can have one cup probably over two weeks, which is a bit weird coming from a big tea drinker like myself. 
 
But I have been, when it got to week eight and week nine, it was really nerve wracking, thinking oh it is going to happen again. Is it going to happen again, but those scans in the early weeks were absolutely fab. Because they reassured me a lot that, you know, the baby hadn’t died and there was actually something there. 
 
But now that I have got to week fifteen I feel as though I have sort of, I could do with more scans but obviously you can’t but my tummy is getting slowly bigger and as I said at the beginning of the tape the tiredness has really got to me and I am normally quite an active person, going here, going there, coming back, going back out again and what have you, whereas I can’t do that now. I have just got to literally do one step at a time, and take my time and relax. But I am really, really pleased.

I know also that this will probably be my last chance at having a baby because of my age and what have you, so I am really pleased that somebody, I don’t know, perhaps some spiritual being has said, “Yes [name],” you know, “ You will have another baby before, you know, the end of your life time.” Sort of thing, so [laughs].
 
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