Holidaze

I owe so many of you a reply to my last post and I promise to do that but in the meantime we have managed to escape life for a few days in southern Spain. I never want to come back. It has been so blissful already, I can’t even remember what it was like to be at work, to be stressed. 

We have been sleeping in, relaxing by the pool, resting on the beach, napping in the shade, eating super delicious food, reading, listening to meditation tapes and feeling the reassuring twists and turns of Nachito inside. I am sure he has grown quite substantially since we have been here. Maybe it feels good to be free here. I have had a permanent smile on my face and tears in my eyes since we got here. I am just so bloody thankful for him every single moment. Holidays really do do wonders don’t they?

I was quite nervous flying because it had been instilled in me by a TCM a few years ago that flying could cause problems in pregnancy. But our high risk OB was confident as long as I continued to take my clexane and aspirin as I have been and didn’t fly over 3 hours which we didn’t. Nacho didn’t stop moving the whole flight, and instantly I felt more at ease. His ability to relax me totally blows my mind.

So for the next 5 days we are going to lap it up, soak up the sun and rest as much as possible. 

Next opportunity I will update this post with some pics! Hugs to you all xx

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Empathetic Sunday

I’m feeling particularly empathetic these days. Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the anxiety I can’t seem to shake, or the impending doom I feel about Nacho on a daily basis, maybe it’s a particularly emotional time in the blogosphere. But I’m finding it hard. There’s so much pain out there I just want to fix.

My hormones may be raging, yes, but it never ceases to blow my mind how emotional this journey is. It’s not just the highs and lows of our own experiences as individuals, but when you invest in the support of the journey of others in our community as we all do it is can be overwhelming. So much happens in the community of loss and infertility.

For the past several weeks, months, years I have witnessed, via blogging and twitter, long awaited BFPs, painful failed IVFs and IUIs, heartbreaking miscarriages, joyous births, devastating stillbirths, successful pregnancies after multiple losses, shocking second trimester losses, world-changing diagnoses, horrible set-backs, botched adoptions, cancelled cycles, making peace with moving on, cruel anniversaries, all bringing tears to my eyes.

It’s like being on the front lines of a warzone. There’s so much power, so much drive in our desire to be parents. It’s literally life or death. And we are faced with it everyday as we support each other. The sheer strength we all demonstrate to get ourselves through another day is mind boggling.

I’m saddened so deeply lately by my friends, you know who you are, who are struggling through countless failed ivf cycles. My heart is bursting with anger and sadness. The loss is blinding. I just don’t get why these things happen to good people. All we all want is a baby to take home.

And the losses. So many babies lost.

A few weeks ago the loss of a twitter friend’s second trimester twin babies really hit home. The twins were very close in gestation to Nacho, they had just reached “viability”. A cruel word. The grief and disbelief that this poor family must be enduring takes my breath away. How, in one day, can someone go from being fine to losing both her babies? I just don’t understand.

So much heartbreak.

I know, I know, there’s lots of good news out there too. Such happy stories, such relief. I celebrate these little milestones no matter how small.

Apologies for the super down post but I promised myself to get the thoughts that cloud my mind out onto virtual paper when I need to. Today has been a day of reflection too. Thinking of my own lost sweet peas tears me up inside. I think about all six nestled up in a cozy little pod together, looking after each other. I grieve for them everyday. I’m beginning to understand that that’s ok.

Looking forward

Well things have kind of settled down at work since I laid down the law with them the other week. Thanks to you all for your advice and sharing your experiences. That really helped me to feel empowered to do what is right for me and for Nacho. Why should I put up with this shit?! I guess after years of being on autopilot, striving to do the best in my career, now allowing my health to take first place is a big adjustment as stupid as that sounds, one that is long overdue. I feel the guilt of waiting until we were at a “certain place in life” before TTC. Hindsight is total cow. What a fool I was. There is nothing more important that meeting a safe and healthy Nachito and nothing will stand in my way to make that happen.

I am trying now to allow myself to think about actually meeting this little guy, a surreal thought, as a way to get me through each day. Tomorrow we will have reached “viability” – a milestone I had to be reminded of by lovely Lauren at OnFecondThought – and this idea is becoming more and more a possibility. Viability seems so out of this world, so premature, there is still so much time left (I hope), so much growing to do. I am feeling a little bit more relaxed about Nacho doing his thing. This is no doubt helped by getting the all clear on his anomaly scan, by his constant moving and having a Doppler to hand for times when he is isn’t. Little tiny milestones, one day at a time. There haven’t been many things I’ve felt able to think about. Going into a baby store is very uncomfortable. Buying anything is a long way off. Names? No way. But I’m allowing myself to think about getting him here safely.

Have I turned a new leaf? Don’t think so, not yet. As I start to try to look towards the future, I realise just how terrified of things going wrong I really am. Being labelled high risk makes me envious of the experience I always hoped I would have: a home water birth, an experience under my control, under our terms, one that is comfortable and safe physically and mentally for us both. A labour ward is a far cry from a home water birth but I know I should take comfort in the fact that Nacho will be well monitored to ensure his safe arrival. I don’t care what they do to me; just please let it be OK for him.

I think what is freaking me is out is that up until now my care has been a bit sporadic, inconsistent, unreliable and I have yet to see the same midwife or consultant twice. The more I think about it the stronger I feel about the terms of his birth. Obviously I know I can’t control everything, I certainly haven’t been able to control anything related to my fertility so far, and push come to shove I’ll do anything to get him out safely, but I’d like to make his birth as comfortable and safe as possible. I have been educating myself these recent weeks, reading up. I know it’s a long way off but that’s my way of empowering myself. No induction, no forceps, no drugs that can affect his heart rate, keeping the placenta and cord intact until it gives him as much of his own blood as possible, etc. At least that’s what I want. None of it may actually happen but I’d like to try. And under those clinical conditions I don’t know if I trust my body to get shit done. I don’t know if I can trust them to help me through it. Living without fear isn’t something that comes easily after years of losses and infertility. Neither is trust. They are already talking about early induction, something I really don’t want. I had been hoping for as little intervention as possible, and truth is I am terrified.

For this reason we are considering retaining a doula. I don’t know if it is a crazy idea but I am hoping to use a doula as a consistent face, my advocate, someone to limit interventions and encourage me to go as far as possible by listening to my body. Someone with a midwifery background, someone who gets it. DH will no doubt be a lifesaver but even he feels better with the idea of a doula. I feel like I can’t fully trust the hospital to fully support my choices and we can’t afford to go private. And why should we? We pay taxes just like everybody else so the least I can ask the system for is to support a choice I have every right to make, within the parameters of my care, of course.

Saying that, determination has never been something I’ve been short on so maybe if I’m able to get myself in the zone I can do this without a doula? I don’t know. And it’s entirely possible things will not go according to any plan and we’ll have to decide as we go. And maybe decisions will be made for me because things became desperate enough. Maybe I need to sit with this all for a bit.

A doula’s fees are a drop in the bucket compared to the exorbitant fees we have spent on private consultants, blood tests, procedures, treatment. And research has shown a doula can:

  • Shorten first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
  • Decrease the chance of caesarean section by 50%
  • Decrease the need for pain medication
  • Helps fathers participate with confidence
  • Increase success in breastfeeding

After all the extreme measures I’ve taken from preconception, and throughout the pregnancy, I really just want to give the little buddy the best, safest birth experience I can give him. If a doula can help with that I am inclined to go with one. I also see it as another way to try to overcome the fear and anxiety that has become second nature to me in the last three years.

It’s still a long way off but thinking about these things now helps to me focus on the day I might actually meet this little guy.

Have any of you used a doula or know anyone who has? Am I insane for considering it? Does anyone regret it? Were you happy with the decision?

Resurfacing

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I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post. Where do I start?

Tired, oh so tired.

Unbelievably I’m 22 weeks today. We had a scan last week that went well. These things still bring tears to my eyes. I can’t believe a heart is still beating in there, I just can’t. Nacho is measuring on time and everything seems OK. He is a bouncing kicking ninja. He makes me smile when I feel him moving in the middle of the night, or when I’m in a meeting. It is the best gift to be reminded that he is doing fine and just doing his thing. I am so overwhelmed and thankful every single day.

I am continuously at the hospital. Continuously waiting at the hospital. Although I am being seen a lot but several different specialists I don’t feel like I am getting consistent care. Advice I get is fast, preoccupied or conflicting, I never see the same doctor or midwife. There’s something about being a patient at a large hospital that makes me feel like I am slipping through the cracks a little. Not that I have anything to really justify that statement, it’s just a feeling. The important thing is that they feel like everything is going OK. So for now that is good enough for me.

We are over half way now. I am filled with excitement and fear and anxiety.

I think for those of us immersed in the world of infertility and loss, we almost know too much. We know what can go wrong. We have seen it happen. We have friends who have been through it. We hear their stories everyday. That naivety and innocence other lucky couples get to experience isn’t an option for people like us. This knowledge has a weight. I feel it everyday. I’m scared for the worst. It’s what holds me back from feeling safe, feeling comfortable, from trusting my body.

Maybe this is still why I have this innate fear of telling others. I still want to keep him secret until he turns up. It feels so much safer that way. Crazy I know. My therapist tells my this could be lingering PTSD. To this day I can count on one hand how many people we have told. Our families know, my boss, and two friends. But I think another week and there will be no denying it, my bump is getting big. Yet I still can’t identify with other pregnant women I see day to day. I haven’t been able to reconnect with the friends I’ve lost over the years. I just can’t relate. I don’t feel any different. Nothing has changed for me emotionally. I feel as cautious and scarred as ever. I wonder if we ever lose these RPL or infertility battle wounds?

But the long time I’ve taken to post again I am blaming on my job. It has taken over my life. I’m going through a massive work-life imbalance, something that has got to change immediately. Since January my work has ramped up to the point where I am working 70+ hour weeks. I haven’t even had time for a haircut let alone a blog post and this makes me so angry. My job is not physical or laborious but this is still not good. It is stressful and challenging and I am shocked and dissappointed in myself that I have put up with it for so long. I raised it as an issue back in January and continued to discuss it with management that something has to change. They keep making promises that they don’t keep and I am sick of it.

I have only recently told my boss I am expecting, something that took everything I had in me. He was great about it but you’d think the pressure would lighten up? Nope. What I don’t understand is why do I even care about this job? I have been waiting and working so hard to have a pregnancy succeed why do I give two shits about this job? I’m still figuring it out.

I finally jumped up and down enough that they have taken notice and started to do something about it. I booked this week off to recover and when I get back I won’t put up with this crap. I can’t flat out quit because we are dependent on my maternity pay – we JUST qualified by the way. A LMP 10 days sooner means we wouldn’t be eligible. So I am thankful for that.

So you haven’t missed much. Thank you to all who have checked in, your kindness overwhelms me everyday.

One thing is for sure, I miss this blog, I miss the feelings this blog allows me to express and I miss everyone I am connected to on here. I promise not to be gone so long again. Lots of love to you all. xx

One day at a time

Thanks to you all for your support during this amazing and scary transition.

Right now I am full of excitement, desperation, anxiety, happiness, fear, and pure love. I can’t say I’m getting into the groove of this yet but I am continuing to take one day at a time.

After the results of the Harmony test and 12w Nuchal scan we took a few days to enjoy the knowledge that everything was looking good. Nacho was actually measuring four days ahead so they have changed my due date to reflect his new size. We have lost four precious days of this pregnancy as a result. Today marks 14w5d and I am in utter disbelief.

I attended my first antenatal midwife appointment shortly afterwards, at the hospital we decided on. I had been preparing to be treated like a normal pregnant woman, thinking they wouldn’t pay much attention to my history now that I have officially graduated from the recurrent loss clinic. But what came out of the appointment couldn’t be further from what I had expected. After a thorough Q&A and check of the relevant vitals it was determined that based on my RPL history and current clotting disorders, my family history and the list of drugs I’m on, I tick all the boxes for preterm labour and other complications and will be treated as a high risk case.

It was explained to me that all the choices I was previously told I would be able to make surrounding labour and birth have now been removed and that I would give birth in a labour ward under the conditions agreed with our consultant. This doesn’t really bother me, but I did wonder if they have had many RPL patients because BIRTH is the LAST freaking thing I could possibly even think about right now, I can’t even think about next week.

I’ve also been warned that I am likely to require a cervical stitch in the next few weeks, something I was not expecting. I will do anything if it helps.

Since that appointment I have already been seen twice (and got to see Nacho again – bliss)and will continue to be seen once a week by the midwives and various consultants for cervical exams, blood tests, and additional scans for Nacho. It is a bit overwhelming to be so thoroughly scrutinised but I am so appreciative. Anxious but appreciative.

Otherwise, nothing has really changed for me since the day one. I am still fundamentally terrified Nacho’s heart will stop beating one day and I will be able to do nothing about it. I wonder if that fear ever goes away.

But as DH and I move forward each day with trepidation, Nacho couldn’t be more oblivious. He is growing fast. His presence is showing now and each day it feels like the bump is getting bigger. Well I guess that is how it’s supposed to work. His growing, as happy as it makes me feel, also fills me with anxiety as I know I will need to address it with the outside world soon. This is something I am most definitely NOT prepared to do.

I have always hoped that I could just exclaim at the end of this “hey guys look what I found!” and point to a little person that (hopefully?) bears a resemblance of DH and me. Can’t I progress through this without having to tell anyone?

No one knows except for you guys and one IRL friend. Why don’t I want to scream it from the tree tops like everyone else? Why do I panic when I think about telling family, work, the few friends I have left?

1) Telling people makes it too real. If it’s real then something bad could happen. Again. If the universe doesn’t notice I might just squeak through unscathed. Stupid but pretty accurate.

2) The more people who know, the higher the expectation will be for me to go back to being the person I was before all the sadness. Many people have intimated they are just waiting for me to “snap out of it”, to be cured by finally having a baby. A baby isn’t just going to cure the sadness and heartbreak we have experienced over the years. I’m sure it will take the edge off, but I will carry my lost ones around with me forever and I don’t know if I can ever be the same person again.

So for now we have decided to lay low, to keep quiet a bit longer. It feels better that way. I can still try to enjoy this pregnancy even if no one else who knows about it. But I will have to tell work soon. I can barely think about that. Today I’m just going to focus on making it through today.

9 Effective Exit Strategies for Pregnancy Announcements

This is brilliant!

Honestly Infertile

It is never easy to prepare for a pregnancy announcement even when you are highly suspicious that it is coming.  It is even harder when you are completely blindsided by the friend that was “totally done” with having babies, an unwed cousin, or a workplace nemesis.  This article will help help you escape from that awful situation so that you can cry in solitude.

First, identify your safe cry place.  Your vehicle is usually a good idea but if that is not a possibility, a bathroom stall is okay if you can wail silently.  Other options might include a psychiatric ward of a hospital, a funeral service, or a feminine product aisle of your neighborhood Walmart.

Then, make a list of trigger words/phrases so that you can react swiftly.  These phrases may include but are not limited to:

I have been dying to tell you…
I have some big news…

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I can’t believe this

I can’t believe I’m writing this post but unbelievably, remarkably, I can report today that all is well.

The results of the Harmony test came back 1/10,000 chance of Edwards, Patau or Downs. The Nuchal scan confirmed that so far everything is ok.

And little Nacho is a wriggling, gesticulating, kicking little boy!!

We are both so overwhelmed with emotion at the moment. We never ever thought we’d actually get here. There are still many hurdles ahead but just having reached twelve weeks is massive blessing to us. Whatever happens going forward we are just so so thankful to have reached this point.

I’m going to go ball my eyes out now. I promise to write more later.

Thank you to you all for your support and encouragement. It has helped me more than I can ever articulate. xx