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

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.

 

 

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!

x

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.

Dr Spock

We met our obstetrician this week, who I will call Dr Spock.

She. Is. Uh. Mazing.

Seriously, after a year + with our fertility specialist Dr D and her … interesting … approach to a bedside manner, I was apprehensive about a new Doc. But, she is wonderful. Warm, funny, lovely, considerate. You know when people are nice to you and it makes you want to burst into tears? We walked into her office, super nervous, and she took one look at the stack of IVF paperwork in my sweaty little hand.

‘Oh. You’ve really had a hard time getting here, haven’t you?’ An incongruous comment, but it was delivered with such kindness and empathy that I just welled up.

She chatted away about this and that, all the while my internal monologue was yelling , ‘SCAN ME! SCAN ME! This might all be a TOTAL waste of time!’ She took my pulse before the scan. ‘Wow’ she said, ‘you really are nervous!’ I grimaced.

I was all ready to spread ’em when she squirted the gel onto my tummy. That’s what got me first. You mean it’s big enough to not need an internal scan? What? And before I could continue to wonder about that, there it was – a typically shaped silhouette waving its limbs and somersaulting around. And for the first time in five scans, I cried.

We then went back and discussed genetic testing. The cystic fibrosis test is a mouth swab, and the Downs test a combination of blood, urine and a scan at twelve weeks. I’ve since done the swab, and blood/urine test. I’m booked in for the scan at the end of next week.

It’s such a personal decision as to how you approach tests – particularly for couples who’ve had the challenge of infertility. But this is how we’re managing it so far, and it’s what’s right for us.

I feel extremely lucky to be at this stage. If I look back to those first few weeks, what I wouldn’t have given to have arrived at this stage. And now, a few more hurdles next week. I’m wishing and hoping so HARD that we get some good news … I keep typing sentences and deleting them. This superstition is so severe.

Little steps, little steps.

A New Stage

After last post, I decided to call both of my doctors – Dr D, and our new obstetrician (although we haven’t even met yet).

Dr D’s receptionist remained true to form and was … brisk. She effectively told me that at 7 weeks I was no longer under Dr D’s care and they couldn’t really help me. While I’m not technically under the obstetrician’s care until 10 weeks, I tried her office and the receptionist was wonderful. Warm, caring – and very focused on what I was saying. I explained my drop-off in symptoms had occurred after the 6 week scan and she suggested I go in for another scan immediately.

So, on Tuesday we drove across the city in the rain to a weird, poky little office (our usual scan place is more exclusive than a three-hatted restaurant – you need to book in three weeks in advance!) And, at 7 weeks we saw the heartbeat. Still drumming away.

Sweet, sweet relief.

Now, I feel like I’ve moved into a different stage. I feel a little more positive. I feel like I need to focus on being optimistic, rather than pessimistic. I need to concentrate on hoping that everything will be OK, instead of expecting everything to fail. I need to set aside the miscarriage demons, even though I fear leaving them behind will encourage something bad to happen.

I won’t say the approach is perfect. Every day that I feel a little more hopeful is another day we have further to fall if something goes wrong. And, I did find myself lying in the dark, reading ‘miscarriage after heartbeat’ stories online at 4am today … which is clearly not healthy or helpful. But I’m trying hard.

This may seem phenomenally negative, but I think it’s important to be honest. Infertility isn’t a condition that switches off at a positive pregnancy test. This is what us women have to bear – a trauma over years that affects our very psyche.

I’ve received the OK to travel, have sex, and exercise again (but not at the same time! – boom boom). I need to trust the medical advice I receive and go with it, rather than second guess with the ‘aid’ of the sad stories scattered throughout the pages of Dr Google.

So, here I am. At 8 weeks and focusing on the good – the amazing luck we have had up to now, the beautiful blurry grey images we’ve seen, the happiness in the faces of those we’ve told. Focus, focus, focus!

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.