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.



On Anxiety

My daughter is four and a half months old. We are a third of the way through a year. Time is passing. She is growing – stretching and plumping and advancing before my eyes.

Since she was born, I have had the full might of the wonderful Australian health system behind me. Obstetricians, GPs, paediatricians, maternal health nurses and gynaecologists all working in unison to ensure my daughter and I have had the best start possible, into this brave new world.

My family have been there. Offering help when it wasn’t asked for. Allowing me to need support, to feel helpless; to be helped. At every instance, every milestone, I have been checked in on. How are things? How am I coping? How am I feeling?

Fine, fine. She truly is a wonderful little baby. I have nothing to complain about. Everything is OK.

But, it’s not. I am not OK.

I think I have a problem with anxiety. It is getting worse. I am getting worse.

It’s crept up on me, because she is not a newborn and I am no longer so new at this myself. And she is – really is – a happy, settled, beautiful little girl.  So, how could I possibly be struggling?

It’s other mothers that make me feel this most acutely. If I’m having a particularly bad day, I venture a hesitant, ‘It’s hard’, out into the conversation. But unless I can back this up with tales of abject baby-based horror, I’m met with blank looks. I’ve even been second-guessing this post. Fretting that my anxiety isn’t seated in something with more substance.

You have nothing to complain about.

And I don’t. She’s perfect. I know, it’s me.

I don’t think I’m depressed. Every day begins with my heart hurrying at the chance to see her face again. I function well. I get dressed, put on make-up, eat, clean, visit friends, run errands, make sure I tick off the endless list of Things To Do. And I enjoy myself. I know I am lucky to have this life.

But what were a few road bumps a while ago, now send me into a tailspin of fear and worry. When she doesn’t nap. Or doesn’t stick to a routine. Or life intrudes into whatever carefully mapped-out schedule I have in my head … I don’t cope.

There’s a constant, endlessly repeating cycle that exists … like living in the twilight of happy and not. When she’s awake, I am ecstatic, hungry with love for her. When she’s crying in bed, not sleeping, I am exhausted with disappointment. The other times, I’m brittle and taut – watching the clock, eyeing the monitor, one ear and eye always out. ‘Is she awake?’ ‘Is she overtired?’ ‘Have I failed this time?’ ‘What will I do if things don’t go to plan?’

It’s affecting how I enjoy these precious days. When I leave the house, knowing she’ll miss a nap, I worry she’ll be ruined for the rest of the day. When Mr Bun and I settle down to dinner, I worry she’ll wake up ‘early’.  When I pop her down after her late feed, I worry about the night ahead. Worry worry worry.

When she doesn’t sleep, we both feel it. She is unhappy. Her smiles drift away. Her feeding and playing and sleeping all suffer. She has a worse day – and then, so do I. But I should be able to bear that. I should be able to take it in my stride, shrug with the understanding that she is just a baby, that these things happen – and that it will get better.

Instead I obsess and worry as to what it means. I fear for what’s to come, constantly. Every time I use the dummy, I picture a spiral of screaming addiction ahead of me. One bad night has me convinced months of bad nights are coming up. One tough morning and I’ve already written off the entire day.

It’s affecting my marriage. Poor Mr Bun now asks, hesitantly, ‘Has she had a … good day?’ He’s not asking because of her. It’s because of me. How will his wife be when he gets home? Will there be tears? Snapped whispers of ‘Don’t wake the baby’? Or just the silence of my concern filling the room?

I had a realisation last week that turned a corner for me. I’m not so sure fixing Little Bun’s sleep will mean I am fixed too. The rising panic in my chest will remain, and just find some other cause to focus on.

I have always been a huge proponent of therapy and getting help when you need it. I am the first to encourage loved ones to seek help. I am an avid believer in mental as well as physical health. But what’s unsettling is when it’s me, I feel helpless and – yes – embarrassed.

None of what I’m feeling is normal. I know that – but it’s still hard to face. On the good days, I forget all of the above exists; with relief I let it fade like a bad dream. Then I have a bad day, and I’m desperate for help again.

I am seeking help, I will get it, and things will improve. We are looking into sleep school, and support for me too. In the meantime, I’m writing this post. Because no matter how much you wished for this, how tough you are, how wonderful your baby may be, and how tight your support network is – you may still need a little help.


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.


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.



New Blog, Old Blog

So, the question many infertility blogsters ask themselves when they’ve been lucky enough to tick over into motherhood land – what to do with the blog?

As many have questioned, just as many have written posts about it. I’ve wondered absentmindedly over the past few weeks what – if anything – I’ll do. And my thought is: not much. The non-sleep deprived (and therefore, observant) of you will note I’ve tweaked the title and I may add a few more links in … but that’s about it.

When I was preggers I did think that maybe the blogging would stop. I found this medium and its community to be infinitely helpful during those terribly painful IVF times. Would the ‘happy ending’ of a baby make this blog redundant? Yet since Little Bun has made it into the world I’ve found myself turning to the computer more and more.

It’s an outlet. As before, I find this a form of release that allows me to vent, share, worry and laugh. And in a time when I am missing work and the identity it brought with it, this is something that lets me use my brain.

I stopped reading post-baby blogs when I was still trying for mine. Their pages were filled with things I couldn’t connect with. This wasn’t done with anger, or sadness – I just felt a lack of connection with the content. So I understand if there are those of you out there who are drifting away as posts about nipples and sleep schedules invade the screen. I’ll still be reading your words – sending you love and support and advice from the other side. Hoping very much that you get what you want.

And there may be new friends, those who are going through the new challenges we’re facing: the exhaustion, the monotony, the terrified joy of getting what you wished for.

Hello. Goodbye. Welcome! Thank you!


The Bunless Birth Story

OK. Two things:

1 – This newborn baby thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

2 – Here is my Birth Story. I am typing this with an overtired Little Bun sleeping on my chest. It’s been a bad day. She’s been crying nonstop, and I’ve been … well, trying (failing) to calm her. So, the chest it is. But anyway – the In Laws have left and I have some ‘time’ to get this down.

It’ll be a long ‘un, so the abridged version is here: I gave birth. It hurt. But we got a beautiful baby girl. The end.

OK – here goes!

– – – –

Cast your mind, dear reader, to four weeks ago.


Mr Bun and I headed into hospital for my first dose of P.rostin gel. As you may remember, this was with the aim of getting things started, ahead of Dr Spock breaking my waters and commencing the induction proper on Thursday morning.

My cervix was still so high and closed that the insertion of the gel hurt LIKE A MOTHER. We were sent home and told to come in if anything happened. I woke up the next morning with nary a niggle down below … little did I know that would be my last solid(ish) night’s sleep in – well – ever.


We had been told to come in again Thursday morning, regardless of anything happening or not, so off we went, bags in tow – expecting this to be it. On examining me, Dr Spock said there’d been so little movement that she wasn’t that comfortable progressing into a fully fledged induction. I was relieved to hear this, as I was beginning to worry about forcing things too fast. So, we agreed that she’d give me a second, slightly larger dose of the P.rostin. We’d wait a full 24 hours and if there was still no change, she’d progress with the induction on Friday morning.

This second dose of P.rostin was administered with the help of N.itrous Oxide (Gas, or Gas and Air). I lay there at nine in the morning laughing my arse off while Mr Bun, Dr Spock and a midwife looked on in amusement. It was not my most sophisticated moment …

Mr Bun had already taken Thursday off work in expectation of that being our ‘induction day’, so we headed home together to wait. We even discussed going to see a film, but by the time we arrived home the P.rostin Pains had really kicked in. These were just like bad period cramps, and I had to take some heavy-duty painkillers to dull them. It was so weird having ‘cramps’ again after nine months. I swear I got a touch of PTSD-like flashbacks, in feeling like my period was about to arrive … I kept having to remind myself I was 41 weeks pregnant. A few times, Mr Bun asked if I was having contractions – but these were constant cramps that responded to painkillers. So, in a word, no.


Resigning ourselves to a full induction the next morning, and toasting our last night as a family of two, we sat down to takeaway and a DVD. As the opening credits rolled, I felt a swift and firm ‘kick’ down low in my nether regions. Almost immediately, there was a POP and my waters broke bigtime! Being the practical lass I am (ahem) I swiftly moved off the couch/rug/any stain-able soft furnshings and onto the wooden floorboards.

Me – ‘Woah! WOAH!’

Mr Bun – ‘What! What!’

Me – ‘My waters JUST BROKE!!!’

Mr Bun – … !!!

Me – ‘GET A TOWEL!’ (See? Practical)

We called the Maternity Ward and even though I was having zero contractions, they told us to come in. We piled the car up with bags and made the third trip in two days to the hospital. They examined me, confirmed my waters had broken (duh) and asked us what we wanted to do. We could hang out in the labour ward, use up one of our four allocated nights (it was 10.30pm, so counted as a first night) and wait for contractions to begin – or head home, try and get some sleep, and come in when contractions had started. It seemed a no-brainer. We got back in the car, and made the now very familiar drive home.

And – you guessed it – my contractions began. They were crampy-like, down deep (I believe they call it perineal pain!?) and within half an hour were coming every 2-3 minutes, lasting 45 seconds. It was intense, and it wasn’t long before I was doubled over the kitchen table having a good old holler. It was time to go back to the hospital. For the fourth time.


The drive to the hospital was one of those surreal, out-of-body experiences where you’re living something you’ve imagined so. many. times. I was bellowing over speed bumps and bracing myself on the roof of the car. I couldn’t make it across the footpath until a contraction had passed, and had to stop again – doubled over and moaning – outside the lift. We arrived in the delivery suite and Mr Bun asked where we should set up our TENS machine. The midwife looked at me, and gently said, ‘It’s a little late for that, love’.

With the help of gas and a shot of p.ethadine, Mr Bun and I worked through the contractions together. While things were progressing really quickly, and the pain was intense – I felt in control of my labour. Mr Bun was AMAZEBALLS, and really helped me work through each peak and trough of pain.

Around 3am Dr Spock came in and announced I’d gone from 3cm to 10cm in a few hours (woah). And that, being fully dilated, I’d be soon be getting the urge to push and the baby would be not far away. The contractions had peaked, she said. While I had been gently suggesting (ie. starting to shout) for an e.pidural, this news changed things. I felt calm. In control. I could do one more hour – sure I could!  We agreed to a top-up of p.ethadine and got ready for Baby Time. Labour is easy, people. I am a birthing legend. Bring on the champagne and streamers!

This did not happen.

This did: bad things. Painful, sobbing, begging-my-husband-to-help-me-please things. I did not get an urge to push. The baby was not moving anywhere. The contractions were getting worse. And the ANAESTHETIST AND DR SPOCK HAD BOTH BEEN CALLED AWAY TO ANOTHER LABOUR. Endless minutes passed. Time slowed. Mr Bun looked stricken. It was a shit way to spend the early hours of a Friday.

Dr Spock eventually reappeared and immediately approved the goddamn epidural, and then broke the news that the anaesthetist was still an hour away. The ensuing 60 minutes were the toughest of the labour.

When the epidural finally did arrive it was incredible – obviously. It’s amazing that you can go from 100km/h to 0 in just 15 minutes. Drugs are GREAT.

I had a little sleep, and then we got down to business. The actual birth of Little Bun was the most peaceful, beautiful thing. Our favourite music played. Mr Bun and Dr Spock chatted and joked quietly. When our baby emerged, calm and peaceful and very, very beautiful – there was an explosive pink and purple sunrise out the window. I reached down and pulled her onto my belly, and then my chest. I was the first to see that she was a she. A few tears were shed. She latched onto my boob. Our daughter was here. We had become three.

There’s so much more to tell. The blissful post-baby days in hospital, surrounded by bustling midwives and the heady scent of endless flowers. The Baby Blues and how they muck with your mind. The sleep deprivation and how it mucks with your EVERYTHING. The, frankly, horrible breastfeeding trials of clinics and classes and consultants (and how, four weeks later, I’m nearly there). What it feels like to have a baby, after so long of wanting one.

But you’ll have to bear with me. This post is being completed three days after it was begun. Time at home with a newborn is liquid. Your day, your life is not your own. You exist to serve another, so things like blogging – and eating, and brushing your hair – become luxuries.

Let me just say one thing: to those of you, waiting and hoping and trying your goddamndest to get what you want. Whatever you end up choosing, whatever ends up being your story – know that there are people out there who hurt as much as you did, who begged and hoped and prayed as hard as you did, and they are here. On the other side. With what they wished for.


Lists and Superstitions (34w3d)

I’ve just finished writing four lists:

  1. Things to buy for the baby (8 million babygros, singlets, wraps etc etc)
  2. Things to buy for me (padded-housebrick maternity pads, 20 supersize black knickers etc etc)
  3. Things to pack for labour (‘glucose treats’ – lollies? – ginormous nighties etc)
  4. Things to pack for the hospital stay (dressing gown, ‘non-slip bed socks’ … seriously!? etc)

I’ve tried to be brutal in making these, only including what my girlfriends, the eminently sensible prenatal class maternity nurse, and Kaz Cooke say is absolutely necessary. Yet I still have a selection that would make any practical person squirm. How do people keep this megaload to two bags!? Are any of you following a ‘master list’ online? Would you pre-purchase everything, or leave until after the baby is born?

Which brings me to the second half of my post’s title. The Huggies* update was once again right on the money with this week’s update:

“At 34 weeks pregnant, you could worry that there may be something wrong with your baby which hasn’t been detected yet. You may wonder how you and your partner will cope if there is a problem and how this will impact on your life. Many women become very superstitious at this stage of their pregnancy and see “signs” which they interpret as being proof there is something wrong. Dreams, seeing someone with a physical or intellectual impairment, hearing of other new parents who’ve had a baby with problems can all cause great concern.”

This is me to a tee.

As we get closer to the due date, I can’t put off doing some pretty significant baby things any longer. Mr Bun put the cot up today (WOW). I’ve got these aforementioned lists that are going to require some pretty heavy-duty time in the baby shopping department. And I just can’t help but think, ‘what if?’ Is this all tempting fate?

Basically, my superstition radar is going BERKO.

I had a good chat to Dr Spock a few weeks ago about my anxiety around this sort of thing, and her answer was perfectly balanced between the rational (giving me the facts and trying to appease me with odds and stats), and the emotional (gently explaining that this sort of anxiety is normal, and I just have to remove triggers like nasty/depressing/tragic mag articles, news stories etc etc from my life).

Of course, the ongoing movement of the little one is really the only thing that makes me feel calm. But all it takes is one shred of doubt, or one whisper of  story, or one quiet day from the baby, and I find myself panicking that something awful will happen.

In black and white this looks extreme. But I guess that’s one of the roles of this blog. To express how I feel, and in doing so, to lighten the load a little?

It’s also not the full story. The majority of the time I am excited, scared, in awe, uncomfortable and your all-round pretty average first-time-preggy-lady in her last few weeks. It’s just these black spots. I try not to dwell on them. I try to combat them with happy, shiny thoughts.

Here’s to a week ahead filled with those happy, shiny things – for all of us.


*While I’ve been subscribed to Baby Center throughout this pregnancy, consistently I’ve found the Huggies updates to be the best: detailed, accurate, helpful and interesting. I was skeptical initially because it was branded, but well done the Huggies marketing team for creating such good content!

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.


Boobs and Tears

Just had a massive snotty teary meltdown on the couch. Mr Bun stroked my head and told me everything was going to be OK. No real reason for the Big Cry. Hormones, I guess.

Anyhoo … HALLO.

A lengthy and tedious absence from this dear blog. I’ve a pretty good excuse. I’ve been interstate working on a project. Nights and days, early starts, late finishes, client entertaining and endless chit chat and all the while trying to keep the project itself on an even keel. BLOODY EXHAUSTING I TELL YOU.

No-one, of course, knows my current state – so they just think that I’m a grumpy, antisocial, greedy (the FOOD I am eating … I tell you), fat cow. If we get to that point, telling the team will be a pleasure. At least they’ll know why I kept avoiding late night drinks with the group, and spent the big posh wrap dinner (at a Japanese restaurant, of course) politely declining every dish bar the edamame and tofu. I was starving like a madwoman by the time I got back to the hotel …

I remain nausea free, which I believe I should be very thankful for. My boobs are bigger and hurt all the time now – hilariously, I have to hold them when we go over speed bumps. I’ve already put on about 2kgs, all of which seems to be sitting on my belly. My bloat is … apparent, and I can now no longer do up any of my jeans comfortably for more than an hour or so. I’ve started tying the button and hole together with an old elastic band … my wardrobe has been whittled down to baggy tops and baggy tops.

Did I tell you I also feel fucking glamorous all. of. the. time?

This is a big week for us, as we meet our Obstetrician for the first time on Tuesday. We’re on the tail end of our longest gap between scans yet, and I am HANGING OUT for the next one in the her office. We’re wishing so hard that everything’s OK. At 10 weeks, it’s impossible not to look toward the future with a little bit of hope … as well as fear the pain losing that would bring.

I have been watching and reading you all from cars, airport lounges and taxis. I’m sorry for my silence. I’m here.

The Fear and the Ecstasy

Wow. Well, that’s been a big few weeks. Want to know what intensity is? Have your in-laws arrive after 18 months and 12,000 miles, on the day you have your entirely unexpected and very wanted pregnancy confirmed.

Then, go on a trip with them and your husband. One house. One bathroom. Four people. Spend the entire time spotting and cramping.

And, yeah – try and remain C.A.L.M.

Excuse my French – but, fuck me.

This week, two things happened: they headed home, and Mr Bun and I saw a heartbeat.

At six weeks and five days, a feathery, flickery heartbeat. I didn’t cry – I haven’t cried at all since this happened. I think I’m still in shock. I was happy, yes – but it feels like a measured, superstitious relief. It’s been so long, with so many months of so much bad news. I just can’t quite come to terms with it.

And that’s probably the theme of Me right now. While I have Dr D’s words of reassurance in my head, that a heartbeat at six weeks means the chance of miscarriage is much lower, I am still very frightened. My symptoms of mild queasiness and dizziness have disappeared over the past few days, and I find myself fretting that that’s a bad sign.

We have only told immediate family, and every happy announcement is followed by a sombre warning, ‘It is very early days … please don’t get too excited.’ It’s like I am compulsive in sharing my pessimism, hoping that to multiply it is to create a fortress around us that can defend from bad juju.

I feel a tad ridiculous now I’m writing this down. Especially when I know there are other women out there at this stage who are happily shouting the news from the proverbial rooftops, full of joy and baby catalogues. Why do I have to be so neurotic!?

My paranoia and hypochondria is balanced by Mr Bun’s quiet, steady optimism. He’s the rational one, and prefers to rely on the scan, heartbeat and Dr D’s pronouncements rather than my ‘feelings’ and ‘vibes’.


Smart bloke that one – lucky I married him.

I apologise if you’re having a tough IF time, and this sounds like the ungrateful bleatings of a woman who has what you want (I may be neurotic, but at least I’m self-aware). This blog has always been about honesty on the most self-centered of subjects: me. The support I have received (and hopefully will continue to receive) has been priceless and magical.

Whatever happens, I hope that remains, while I in turn can continue to provide it to others.

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.