Tag Archives: chlomid

Catching The Bus

Sarah Dawnay writes at The Pretty Good Life, a blog about her life as a parent of two. She gave birth to her first child aged 36, and second aged 41. She has a big red bus in her front garden! Here, she talks about the differences between both her pregnancies.



mother with babyWe have a Routemaster in the garden. It is seriously old, rather large, yet if you appreciate a design classic, it is beautiful. The thing about buses is that you think that you leave the house on time, but once you get to the bus stop you wait for ever, when finally the bus arrives, it powers across London more efficiently than any Ferrari. The bus analogy would be better if I had triplets, but it still gives you an idea of my life as an older mum.

We got married when I was 32, then after a few years thought that it was ‘time’. I was relaxed as I knew that it could take a while before we heard the patter of feet, but even so after a year I was concerned. A visit to the specialists dictated that I loose weight: I was over weight (but by no means obese). I am not sure if it was the weight loss or the associated ultra healthy lifestyle, but the consultant said loose a stone and bingo, it was as simple as that, aged 35 I was finally pregnant. It was bound to happen, I had just got my dream job setting up and running a new high profile organisation.

I loved my pregnancy and felt great,  if exhausted. We attended both hypnobirthing and NCT classes and I was ready for the perfect home birth. Then my blood pressure decided to play havoc with my plans; I ended up with a failed induction and an emergency Caesarian. I am not sure if my age (then 36) and high stress job had contributed to my pre-eclampsia but it had certainly helped me focus on my daughter not on her wayward arrival.

After a couple of years it was time to give the Pickle a sibling. I thought it would be easy, but the heartache was about to begin. I had a series of early miscarriages then nothing. We went back to the consultant and I was not eligible for IVF on the NHS, besides, having heard the gruesome stories I was unsure if I could go through it. Discouraged, I felt that we had run out of palatable options. To make matters worse I was on a deadline, the Hubster confirmed that he was fully mortal and that any babies should be born while he was still in his forties.

Our 90th birthday came and went, in a blaze of live music and bunting, celebrating his 50th and my 40th Birthdays. Still no sibling for the Pickle. Rationale told me that I was lucky, I had a wonderful daughter and husband that I adore – but inside I was a mess. I was struggling to mourn the miscarriages in a society when acknowledgment is not the done thing and I felt barren – a lesser class of woman.

By now desperate to give it one last chance we went back to the consultant; he suggested course of clomid to try to help me ovulate.  Still, my body did not kick into action. Finally, as we were seriously considering IVF – despite our ages, the cost and the side effects – the Nursing Sister offered me a flimsy lifeline. She gave me a hormone injection that could work, but it was rated so dismissively by the consultant that he equated it to unscientific witchery. Scientific or not, it worked, I was pregnant aged 40!

At 20 weeks we were hauled in front of the consultant – it felt like the parental equivalent of being sent to the Head Master’s office. She peered over her spectacles and reached for her diary to book me in for a Caesarian at exactly 40 weeks.

Thanks in part to my long daily dog walks, I stayed healthy and my blood pressure behaved. 40 weeks came and went and I was ‘allowed’ to see if I could wait for a natural birth. Age again started to make decisions for me. To go over 42 weeks gestation as a 41 year old  would have greatly increased the odds of having a still born. So after numerous uncomfortable sweeps – DB was firmly holding onto the birthing brakes – I was booked in for a planned Caesarian. DB was born, a healthy boy, and I fell in love again.

There are definite pros and cons to being older parents. I did worry about having a Downs baby, but I was not brave enough to take any of the screening tests. It can feel dispiriting being older than some grandparents at the school gate, and i can get caught out scoffing at the latest celeb Dad in his mid 50’s only to realise my own hypocrisy. But with age can come wisdom. I spent my twenties going out, so staying in and looking after children is a refreshing change and a joy, not a bind. I’m old enough to appreciate the difference between real friends and lovely acquaintances with whom the only thing I have in common is children of the same age. It has been physically tougher throughout the pregnancy and birth, but I am much more self aware than I was in my twenties and I (almost) never take my children for granted,  I laugh lots and and judge less and that works for me.

Ultimately I have the miles on the clock, a few grey hairs and I couldn’t tell the difference between One Direction and a street sign, but I really don’t feel old. As I said, I left at the right time, the bus arrived a little late, but we are happily enjoying our very personal and special journey.

Sarah Dawnay on Twitter

The Long and Winding Road

This is a very moving story of one woman’s twelve year struggle into motherhood. It does have a happy ending. She also writes a great, blog over at F.A.B at Forty.  



I was born in the 70’s in Northern Ireland, during some of its bleakest times in history the country was gripped by the “troubles”, people were dying every day. Bombings, shootings, army helicopters and soldiers on the street were the norm in my life. However, I had a very happy childhood and my parents sheltered us from the worst of it all.

As I grew up though, I realised just how bad things were in my country and when I left school I decided somewhat naively that I wanted to make a difference in my beautiful wee country. So I joined the police or the RUC – Royal Ulster Constabulary as they were then. Through my job, I met my husband. He was a British Army Officer; we fell in love “across the barricades”. Both of us witnessed terrible atrocities, but we kept each other strong and eventually we got married.

Two years later we decided to try to start a family. I stopped taking contraception and waited for the “inevitable” pregnancy. It never happened, after two years I still wasn’t pregnant. I decided to go to the Dr and be checked over. She took blood tests and also carried out sperm tests on my hubby. His tests came back fine; mine however, showed a slight hormonal imbalance. The Dr decided to refer me to a gynaecologist, rather than waste any more time. After more scans, tests and a laparoscopy, he put me onto clomid to try to aid my ovulation. After 8 months it just wasn’t working, nothing was happening and we were told that the route for us would have to be IVF, just like that, like a bolt out of the blue.

We decided to give it a go. It would work right? I had yet more tests and was then put onto an 11 day course of injections to help my follicles mature. Nothing happened; I was on those injections for 42 days and nothing. So they stopped the injections and I had to wait for my next cycle to try again.

We had enough savings to keep trying and that’s exactly what we did 3 more times and each time it failed, I was an emotional mess. My body was pumped full of drugs, I’d had so many internal scans, that probe became like an old friend!

After the 3rd failed attempt, I just couldn’t do it anymore. So we stopped, we told ourselves we weren’t meant to be parents and we tried to enjoy our lives. The huge gaping hole of motherhood hung over me constantly though. At Easter, Halloween and especially Christmas, I’d mourn the babies that I never got the chance to buy eggs for, to dress as witches and bats and to play Santa to.

Ten years after stopping, we were shopping one day when I had the sudden urge to buy a pregnancy test. We went home and I used the test immediately. I didn’t expect much, my period wasn’t late yet and I’d been drinking tea all day, but I couldn’t wait to “pee on that stick”. The positive result was unmistakable, I didn’t have to hold the stick up to the light, tear it apart to examine the inside or balance on the edge of the sink to view it from another angle. It was there, big bold and dark. I was pregnant, completely naturally, unassisted by any medical intervention.

I won’t bore you with all my pregnancy details, but it was a wonderful, easy pregnancy until almost 23 weeks. At that point, our lives fell apart, our wonderful miracle died, his tiny little heart stopped beating, he was gone. Fate, God, Mother Nature, whatever you believe in, took him away from us. It was just before Christmas 2008 and it was the darkest time of my life. His birth was horrific for me and his funeral even more so. Even today I still feel raw and emotional about it. Even today I still cry for my son, my boy, my first-born.

In time we decided to try again, this time I miscarried at 6 weeks, but by now I desperately wanted to be pregnant, now that I knew I could. After another period of trying. I knew instantly that I was pregnant, about a week before my missed period. I just knew. After a horrendously pregnancy fraught with worry, I got pre eclampsia and at 38 weeks following an emergency c section our gorgeous daughter was born. We’d done it we’d become parents. I was almost 39. I’d been trying to become a mum from the age of 26 and now I was.

No matter how wonderful it was, it was also a shock to the system. We’d become so used to it being just the 2 of us and now suddenly we were 3. The adjustments to our lives were immense. No impromptu dinners out, or surprise weekends away, no squandering our money on frivolous luxuries and no more lying relaxing in bed! Six months later I had a very familiar feeling and yes, you’ve guessed it. I was pregnant again!

So here I am a forty-year old mum of 2 girls under 3. Life is chaotic, tiring and emotional too. Sometimes I feel lost in it all, swallowed up by motherhood. I sometimes wonder where I am, the person I am or should I say was.

I do worry a bit about being an older mum. I worry about dying while they are young. Silly, I know, young mums die too. I worry about them being embarrassed by their old mum

Most of the time though, I feel like I am living a surreal dream. As cheesy as it sounds, I could burst with happiness. My dream came true, the heartache along the way will never go away, but the joy and love I have for our girls is the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had. Our house is busy, noisy and now messy, but my word I love it like this.

F.A.B at Forty On Twitter