A birthday, and a goodbye.

My baby is one year old and my heart is full. A balloon of joy swells up in my chest and bursts. Not every so often, but constantly, always. When I am with her, when I thinking of her, when I am talking about her, when I am watching her sleeping …

My life is full, too. Mr Bun and I are racing, racing – juggling and tap dancing through a weekly circus of two very demanding jobs, the insanity of this property market, our marriage, our families, ourselves. It is all going by so, so fast. We are breathless. But we are happy.

Today is my daughter’s first birthday. It’s my 100th blog post. It is time to say goodbye.

I have squeezed so much pleasure out of this blog, which is wondrous considering it was borne from a place of pain. Infertility hollowed me out. It was a physical battle, but the scars are emotional. While driving last week I happened to looked right instead of left – and out popped a memory. A curve of road, a traffic light: there I had been, wailing at the steering wheel as I left behind another negative beta. Oh, that pain. The pain of wanting something so very badly. I remember every aching minute.

I am not a closed person, and have been open about what we went through … but no-one knew, no-one knew like you did. I have relished the luxury of not having to explain anything. But equally, you listened to the detail I sometimes felt compelled to go into. This place allowed me to open up all of that.

Thank you. For your support, and your curiosity, your advice … your humour! This age that we live in is truly miraculous, allowing us to build these extraordinary communities from all around the world.

When I first discovered the world of infertility blogs, I fell upon page after page, seeking out stories that mirrored mine. Some sites I found were years old, many had stopped writing altogether. Most, though, had stuck around long enough to reveal that they had finally become mothers. This gave me hope like nothing else. I like to think that maybe I’ve done that for someone out there.

I will miss this space, particularly as a kick-up-the-bum to write – because I don’t get to do that so much any more. I dunno, I may drop back and regale you with more minutiae … or maybe create somewhere new? But for now I think it’s a good time to sign off.

Life is a matter of contrast, and I’m sure there will be dark days ahead … but there will be light ones as well.

Right now?

Now – my baby is one year old and my heart is full.

Sending you all love, and luck, and happiness so pure that it makes you float.

x

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Baby No. 2

Something scary happened. I saw a newborn pic on Facebook and felt clucky. Broody. Warm and fuzzy, even.

Aren’t our brains clever little things?

I found the first six weeks three six months of motherhood really hard. Even with our struggles getting pregnant, and years of baby-free pain fresh in my mind, I just couldn’t comprehend trying to conceive when Little Bun was six months old. Because – YES – that’s what most of the baby-based medical fraternity suggested we do.

As Little Bun rapidly approaches her first birthday, the searing shock of those first few months is softening. While still bloody tough, motherhood now feels more like a beautiful new life that I’ve moved into – rather than an intensive experience I had to survive.

Harsh words? Probably. And I wasn’t that vocal about this socially unacceptable negativity … until I read this brilliantly written article via the PAIL girls.

It hit home SO HARD. It captured the visceral, raw shock that I felt at being a new mother. When LB was born, an old friend and mother of two (older) children, said to me ‘Enjoy this snuggly warm time.’ I read that line over and over. I didn’t feel warm, or snuggly. What was wrong with me? I felt cold with exhaustion. I loved my baby girl but in a primal, protective way. Things didn’t get snuggly and warm in my head for some time.

But now, nearly 12 months later, my life has hit a new rhythm of normal – and it is wonderful. With the head space that a full nights sleep (and other luxuries of an older-baby) gives you, the thought of another baby is once again a happy one. Maybe not something I’m yearning for just yet, but definitely one to look forward to.

We’re not trying for number two. I may regret these ‘wasted’ months one day. If years go by and Little Bun remains an only child, I’m sure I’ll look back on this time and wonder. I’ll ask myself if I should have leapt back onto the conception train as early as I possibly could have.

Hopefully there will be another Little Bun. A Littler Bun. But for the time being, the three of us are knitted tightly together – enjoying our ‘snuggly, warm time’.

 

Blessed

A year ago today, I stood in a quiet, dark boardroom looking down on the first day of Spring. I twiddled the silver chain that hung off the blinds. I waited, phone pressed to my ear, my mind blank.

This.

It would be some time before I believed what had happened. And time more to feel excited about the possibility of a baby (A BABY!) … but this day was the beginning.

When I look at Little Bun, with her feet waving in the air, stretching out the ever-deepening creases on her fat little legs, big eyes watching me – I remember that day and all the days that came before.

We are blessed.

 

 

Infertile Women’s Bill of Rights

This will be my second post this week extolling the wonders of the infertile commenters on my fave site Jezebel.

On the article reporting Giuliana Rancic’s (frankly tragic) announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis, was this comment from SloppyLobster:

Infertile Women’s Bill of Rights
1. My infertility is not up for discussion. And neither are any of the other reproductive choices that I make with my body.
2. Yes, I have thought of Adoption/Fostering. There is a good reason that I am choosing IVF
3. Being infertile doesn’t mean I have to be a saint. If I don’t want to adopt, I don’t have to.
4. If I want to spend 30,000 dollars of my own money on IVF, that’s my business.
5. Infertility does not mean that I don’t deserve to have a biological child, if I so choose.
6. Reproductive choice does not end the moment I find out I am infertile.
7. It IS insensitive to tell someone to “just adopt”. You shouldn’t do it.
8. I owe you NO explanations about what I choose.
9. Adoption is not an easy route. There is a chance that I will not find a child. There is a chance that I may not be deemed suitable to have a child. There is a chance that the child could be taken back. Biological reproduction is easier in some cases.

Gold.

Days Like Treacle

Every day is c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g along. I thought the original TWW was torture. Jeez Louise. A week ago today I saw a heartbeat, and in a week today I go in for another scan.

So. Halfway there and crapping myself.

You see, the evening-queasiness, smell-sensitivity and strong food aversions I was experiencing around 5 1/2 – 6 weeks completely disappeared last week, and haven’t returned. I’m also not dizzy at all anymore, and am feeling a little less tired. Basically, I’m 7 weeks and almost symptomless – a big change from a week ago.

I’ll be honest. It has me worried.

Any symptoms that were there, and now aren’t, do make me think … missed miscarriage? I haven’t had any actively bad symptoms (touch wood) like serious spotting or painful cramps. So, I just clutch onto the heartbeat we heard a week ago and pray that disappearing symptoms are a freak of early pregnancy and not … anything more sinister.

Mr Bun said if I’m really worried, I should call Dr D and see what she says. Yet she’s effectively ‘graduated’ us, and we haven’t yet met up with our obstetrician. So, I’m sorta in between doctors – and I don’t even know what they’d do. Crap. I’m rambling now.

In the meantime, I’m getting piles of letters already from the hospital, obstetrician, ultrasound, health insurer – all talking about tests and forms and decisions and – EEK! I just want to get another good scan and then maybe I can look at them. For now, they stay in a steadily increasing pile on the table.

Shit post. Sorry (distracted by the tedium of the Brownlow (!) … that’s for you Aussie ladies out there)

Breathe.

I did it. I asked for another beta.

I’ve doubled again.
My numbers aren’t crazy-high, but they’re in the safe zone. My progesterone is also increasing. Dr D is OK with my progress.
And so, today, I exhaled a little.

Tomorrow I head off for a week with Mr Bun and his parents. Of course, it will be tough. I don’t have any symptoms at all. I am still so early. So much could change.
Yet I received some great advice via Infertile Days – live in the moment. Each day, remind myself ‘Today, things are going well.’
There will either come a time in the coming weeks when that’s no longer true. Or there won’t.

And in the meantime – I will just try to keep breathing.

OK, here goes …

I have had three positive betas. As of last Thursday (when I had my most recent test) they were still doubling.

I’m sorry I haven’t written. You see, I’ve been … superstitious. Not just about blogging, about everything. Since we had the results of the second beta – which I was SO SURE would confirm this was just another blip – I’ve been a neurotic, wobbly knot of superstitions. Everything I do, I wonder if that will be the ‘thing’ that causes this to end.

It feels very strange. I know I sound crazy. Please forgive me. I’m sorry if it seems selfish, or ungrateful – but I’m not ‘elated’, or ‘over the moon’ or – even – ‘excited’.

I am scared. I. am. so. scared.

We went for a ‘viability’ ultrasound on Wednesday, as I had been having some sharp, stabbing pains and Dr D was worried about an ectopic. What was discovered was … nothing.

Rather than being 5-6 weeks, they measured me at 4w5d, which points to ovulation a week or so late. They couldn’t confirm if what we were looking at was viable, was growing, was ectopic – was anything. So, we had the third beta on Thursday (again, which I was sure would have dropped) and now we sit tight until a second viability scan in just over a week.

I don’t have any symptoms. Absolutely nothing. I don’t feel like this is real.

I am a toilet paper addict. I stare at the sheet at what seems like 100 times a day. The seconds after I see white are probably the only times when I feel OK. The rest of the time, I am walking around wondering how long this will last … whether I will break completely when it ends … and then sometimes, really brief moments of sometimes, I allow myself to maybe think that possibly this may last.

I am heading interstate on Tuesday morning, and I so desperately want to book in another beta before I go. That at least may tide me over until I return and we have our scan.

But, if it is dropping … I’m on a plane with Mr Bun and his parents the next morning, away from Dr D for six days, and … god.

What do you think I should do? Am I being paranoid? Shouldn’t I just enjoy the trip with the hope of a scan delivering good news on our return? Or should I give into this fear that three years of infertility and loss has given me?

We keep holding each other tight and saying thank you and hoping hoping hoping this bizarre, surprising, shock has a wonderfully happy ending. I’m trying so hard to be positive. I’m also trying to build a little support structure around my heart, just in case it breaks.

Sunday, Grey Sunday

The optimism of Thursday has given way to a mildly grim weekend of waiting.

I am feeling so terribly pre-menstrual, but in a strange, strange way. Clearly the Progesterone Dr D has me taking is holding off a period. It feels sad, and unnatural. We fell pregnant naturally, and now my body is trying to begin my period naturally.  Yet these drugs have me in a chemically-induced holding pattern.

When we’re in an IVF cycle, it’s OK – like it’s all part of the plan. This time, I just want to get back to normal and be thankful for what we did get, instead of sad for what we’re losing.

I also have awful dizziness and clamminess – symptoms I recognise as hypochondria-caused, coming from a heady dose of anxiety. I know, because I’ve felt like this before. My brain is a powerful beast, and it’s very good at manifesting psychological blips in very real, very physical ways.

So, like I said. Monday afternoon can’t come soon enough. I have a great, but intense, few weeks coming up of OS visitors and travel. I want to focus on that, rather than the tail-end of this.

Starting with this: a link I found last night, that at another time may be upsetting. For some reason though, this weekend I took this in the way it was intended – with pure celebration and joy. If you’re in the right mood, click through.

Photo Essay: ‘I’m Going to Be a Dad’

“UK-based photographer Tom Robinson takes us back to the good old days in his series I’m Going to Be a Dad. His brilliantly simple idea? To photograph his friends, family, and coworkers as he told them that he was going to have his very first child with his wife Verity. The resulting candid images — and the wildly different immediate reactions people have — will make you smile.”

Image: thank you.

Well knock me down …

A positive beta. A teeny, tiny, barely-positive beta. A beta that the nurse doesn’t sound happy for. A beta that wouldn’t even register on a HPT. Super low. Lower than Barry White with a head cold.

Like I said, knock me down …

My blood test was a Woody Allen-style comedy of errors this morning, but I finally managed it. And when I made the call at 2pm after sitting through the world’s. longest. meeting. receptionist Uber-Bitch told me about the positive.

‘It’s very low. Where are you in your cycle?’

‘… Um … I’m not sure’ (why do I always clam up like a stuttering student on the spot when they ask me that? They must think I’m a moron). Um … (counting on my fingers) day 35?’

She told me Dr D would call me back. And that she did, confirming it was indeed ‘very low’ –  lower than my last beta that ended in an early miscarriage. She’s told me I should start taking my Progesterone pessaries and Astrix again (‘just in case’), and go for another blood test on Monday. I’ll do as I’m told, but at the same time I’ve begun my normal PMS symptoms.

So, a positive beta that will drop and and fade away and that will be that.

BUT

We were on a natural cycle. Mr Bun’s sperm and my egg actually came together and fertilised. NATURALLY. Wow. I mean. Maybe this has happened before? I’ve been a week late for my period maybe four or five times in the past three years. And clearly I’ve never had a blood test to tell me otherwise.

It doesn’t matter. Whether this is our first or our fifth natural conception – I don’t care.

We can actually do it.

IVF for us will remain a two-pronged process to a) get more embies, and b) hold onto the precious things. Clearly though, b) is starting to become the frontrunner to focus on. And, after nearly three years, that’s something.

Like I said, knock me down with a feather.