Saturday, 28 December 2013

A blog about not blogging

I haven't blogged for about 3 months, which is the longest I think since I started blogging.  I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath to hear my pearls of wisdom, and have totally noticed I hadn't shared them in a while.  Or perhaps, like me, you've been flat out busy.  And maybe, like me, you've been feeling good.  Better than you have for some time. Perhaps blogging wasn't needed as much as it was. 

I feel a bit like I've betrayed my blog (there, there, bloggy blog, it's OK) since I haven't really felt the need to write for a while.  In the past, writing was a necessity.  I had something to say about my journey.  Somehow blogging helped me find validation, and peace. 

This whole entry is really about why I haven't needed to post, which might seem a little odd.  But let's face it, I'm a little odd.  But we already knew that, didn't we?

Well, I've survived 2013.  There were moments when I wondered if I was going to make it.  I felt weighed down, emotionally, physically, in every way.  My baggage was just too much at times, and I'll be dammed if I could find one of those luggage trolleys they have at the airport. 

Then in October, I made a pledge to be more, do better.  Let the pain go a little.  I forgave myself for not being ready to have another baby.  And I put down my baggage.  I just put it down and walked away.  Possible I've caused a bomb scare at that mythical airport, but I'm sure they're dealing with it.  I took only what I could fit into my pockets. 

For the past 3 months I've been working on me.  Not just selfishly me, but me as a better person.  Me as a better mum, wife, teacher, friend, family member.  I've needed to make peace with the fact that the old me is never coming back.  Like, really.  Never, ever.  I'm changed irrevocably.  But I'm not saddled with this chick who's just a psychotic mess most of the time.  I can make her into someone I want to be.  I can find my compassion, my forgiveness, my happiness.  It's there for the taking, but I have to choose it. 

I can't say I've built her yet, but I'm a work in progress.  Grief is a selfish thing sometimes, and it's so hard to see beyond how you're feeling and how the actions of others impact upon you.  And I don't apologise for my grief.  I earned my time to be wholly focused on my pain.  But I hit a point and I realised I had to face up to not liking who I was becoming.  I can hold my pain in my pocket and still board any plane I choose, without worrying about baggage limits.

2014 doesn't owe me anything.  I'm not owed because I've suffered.  I will find good in whatever happens.  I'd like it to include a new baby, and my gut tells me it will.  But if that's not what pans out, well, I'll find happiness.  I can't stand still anymore.   I can move so much faster now I put down those bags.

So that's why I haven't blogged.  I've been busy getting happier and healthier.  And building me.  Hopefully she'll be a kind and joyous gal. And grateful.  And worthy of the blessings she has.  I look forward to getting to know her.  Without baggage.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Ups and Downs

I haven't posted for ages.  Mainly because I wasn't sure what to write.  The last little while has been an emotional roller coaster, and I wish I could say I coped well.  Alas, no, I didn't.  I was the one with vomit in my hair, a stunned expression and that oh-so-lovely snotty, cry-y face.

Last I blogged I was in the throws of another round of IVF.  I'm not sure how much you know about the mechanics of pregnancy, but timing wise, I got symptoms VERY early.  By the day of my blood test, an IVF day-of-doom type scenario, I felt like I was permanently on the ocean liner to a rainbow baby.  "You're pregnant!" says the lovely nurse who rang me with my results.  "I thought so..." I uttered, and she proceeded to tell me my HCG (Magic pregnancy hormone number) was 788.  Which is very high even for twins at that stage.  3 days later my numbers are over 4000 and we figure we're well on the way to a full term pregnancy. We told a couple of people.  Things were good for a few weeks.

Then, crash.  I wake up in the middle of the night.  I stand up.  "Oh, shit.  Please don't let that be what I think it is..." Off we go to The Women's...nothing left.  I miscarried. Again. (This might be the part where I vomit in my hair on the roller coaster.)  The next day I go to see my fertility specialist, who manages to squeeze me in at the slightly dazzling time of 6.15am.  "I'm so sorry.  We think it was just a random chromosomal abnormality. Just bad luck."  So we're back to bad luck again. Great.

So, the first week of the school holidays was not quite the blissful family time I had imagined.  Plus I got the flu, just to really make sure it was crappy.  We went on holiday to the beach.  It rained, hailed, was freezing cold.  By one week post miscarriage, I was at rock bottom again.  I decided I can't walk this path anymore.  I can't continue to be a terrible, angry, frustrated mother and wife whilst trying to fill a gap in our family that can't be filled.  We were done with this.  We had finished our family.  And I failed to bring the last piece home.  And I am still failing.

So I did what any sane person does when she's feeling horrid.  I went to see a psychic.  And she said some stuff (which I won't share here, I'd hate to ruin the surprise) and I felt...hopeful.  I realised that I still hadn't managed to believe that we might have another baby.  But I need to focus on being ready for it, instead of rebounding off bad luck.  I owe my family my best, every day.  I owe those here in my house and those in heaven.  And I haven't been giving it, because I wasn't sure I had it in me. I'm better than the person I am.  I can do more.

Today I went for my review with my fertility specialist and I finally said what I've needed to say for some time.  I'm not ready for pregnancy.  I want it badly, but I'm not ready physically or emotionally.  I need to love being pregnant, despite the anxiety. I need to feel good about myself.  I need to be healthier.  I couldn't WANT it more, but I can BE more.

New plan of attack; exercise.  Get out more.  And just ride out 2013.  Start 2014 in a better frame of mind.  Start IVF not waiting to fail.  I am determined.  I won't give up.  Not until I am holding a precious, living baby in my arms.  As a very wise lady said to me recently,  "Tragedy would be giving up now, after all you've been through.  Tragedy would be not getting the prize after the heartache." 

Dr Kate, I promise I won't lose hope again.  Hope is one thing no one can take away, we have to consciously give it up.  I almost let go. It won't happen again.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Just A Phase...

IVF number one was a bust...all went well except for one thing; we didn't get pregnant.  And I was surprisingly upset by that.  Despite my best efforts, I sank into a deep depression.  I've been through worse, I kept telling myself.  What's one little negative?

Unfortunately one little negative has added to the thousands of mounting negatives and become one BIG negative.  I've tried hard over the past 20 months to not sink into the 'Woe is me,' mentality.  People have it worse than us.  Some much worse.  I know this.  I know we are lucky in so many ways.  But a part of me wishes that just once, things would go according to plan.  Something would not be an epic fail.

I held onto my positivity for a surprising large part of our IVF cycle.  For me, any assisted reproductive cycle is divided into three phases.  Phase One begins when I start my medication.  I feel fairly normal, smile at babies, manage my work and home life effectively, have a normal length fuse before blowing my top.  Phase Two usually starts around the time I start the second medication.  At this point I feel a little frazzled, still smile at babies (despite the fact that it hurts I am not yet having another one), begin to feel disorganized and under the pump at work, my housework is erratic, and I have a bit of a short temper.  And then...Phase Three.  Usually this is accompanied by the trio of medications which is the peak of my cycle, and around the time a new embryo is transferred into it's (hopefully) new home for the next 9 months.  Around now I am teary, angry, depressed and plagued with doubt over my ability to do anything right, cry at the sight of babies, kittens, commercials and possibly just because I can't help it, work is a disaster zone, my house looks like a rowdy footy crowd have moved in, and my temper is, well, let's just say it's best to avoid me. Basically I want to throw my useless self under a train.  This phase continues until one of two things happen; I get a positive blood test for pregnancy, or the other normal way a lady finds out she isn't pregnant.  I held onto the hope I was pregnant until 2 days before the end of my cycle.  Phase Three was not my friend.

So, when you are in Phase Three, and you get a negative test result, you don't cope too well.  Already feeling atrocious, you are told that you are, indeed, a failure.  And it feels like it cements everything you have been thinking.  So you sink.  And it's hard to get out again.  No matter how many people tell you otherwise, you blame yourself.  In your head you know it's not your fault, but your heart tells you a different story and it's hard to change the way you feel.

For some reason each failed cycle for me lately has been accompanied by a flurry of pregnancy announcements.  I currently know no fewer than a dozen pregnant ladies.  And it hurts.  Don't take that the wrong way.  I am so happy those beautiful women will get to enjoy the amazing journey of mother hood.  I just wish I could join them.  I wish their growing bump was a not a constant reminder that my growing bump is just because I like cake.

I guess it all comes back to feeling like a failure.  I have failed so many times to get pregnant or stay pregnant.  I have failed in bringing Poppy into this world safely.  I failed in the most terrible way. And I need a not-fail.  I need to feel like I've achieved something amazing.  Like I can do something right. 

So, the time has come, world.  It's our turn to do something great.  It's our turn.  We've bidden our time for years and years and endured heartache and panic and fear.  And we've kept our faith that one day it will be our turn.  We'll, I'm calling it in.  Time to pay up.  Will you PLEASE knock me up? Right now?  No more negatives, ok?  I'm done with that.  I'm sick of spreading my negativity.  I'm sick of feeling negative.  I want me back, and I can't be me whilst on all these hormones.

Fate, God, Buddha, Allah, Mythical Fairies of Great Western Sydney, whoever I need to talk to; The time has come.  Seriously, it would be easier if you just give in now because I can write a mean letter of complaint, make a amazingly effective passively-aggressive phone calls and I'm VERY stubborn.  It'll dog you until I get what I want.

Plus, guess who just entered Phase don't wanna cross me right now.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Three little letters...I.V.F.

I guess technically it's three big words, but you get the picture.  Frankly, I'm a bit pissed off that we have reached this step in our journey.  Surely when your baby dies, you don't have to deal with infertility too?  Whoever plans this stuff, really needs to look into that one.

IVF, hey?  When we fell pregnant with Poppy, we were so glad that we didn't have to do IVF.  For many reasons.  One: THE MONEY. Two: The potential heartache if things go wrong and it cost us ALL THAT MONEY. And three: THE DAMN MONEY.  Shit a brick, how do people manage to do more than one round?  But anyway, I'll turn off being a gigantic tight ass for a moment, and get back to business.

When I had my last review with my wonderful Fertility Specialist she agreed to 3 more rounds of injections with timed IC (for those out of the know, that's, um, well, you know...).  We got one real go, since the first cycle we accidentally managed to produce 8 eggs, and since I've no real desire to be Octomum, we had to cancel that cycle.  The second went well, 2 nice juicy follicles, but alas no baby. And the third cycle didn't happen because, well, we ran out of time.  So here we are, poised on path to, gulp, IVF.  And I am truly terrified. 

What if I get pregnant, and we miscarry again?  We waste all that money and then walk the path we have walked so many times?  What if it just doesn't work?  What if? 
I have tried very hard to not consider the 'What if's' but realistically, I'm a 'What if' person.  I plan and schedule, and consider possibilities.  It's what I do.  I'd like to be prepared for all eventualities.  But the 'What if's' are not helping me sleep at night.

First, the money.  Perhaps if you're are a multi millionaire, and do lunch with your Toorak gal pals every Thursday, you might just say, "I won't have the caviar today girls, I've got IVF in the morning." But for a double income, no spare money, us, IVF is a hell of a lot.  We would do anything for another baby, of course.  We will sell the house, take out second jobs, rob a bank, whatever.  Ten grand is a hell of a lot of cash to raise, especially if we have to raise it more than once.  And if we need to do any specialist IVF treatments, we're looking at 15 or 20G. Holy moly. That's a car.

Secondly,  I have a higher risk of miscarrying than most.  I've have 4 previous early losses, plus an ectopic and a still birth.  And I have Poly cystic Ovaries, another risk factor.  So far we're 2 full term pregnancies from 6.  Not great odds.  So what if we are paying for the privilege of losing another one?  Will it hurt more because we may not be able to afford to try again?  I worry about that.

And, last but not least, the intervention.  Getting pregnant by IVF is kind of like having some kind of bizarre time delayed threesome, in which there is no actual nooky.  Just the two of us and a group of scientists who will be making the magic happen.  Still a miracle, but a science driven one.  Which leads me to worry; is it meant to be?  I believe that life cannot be forced.  Even in a petri dish, the spark of life will only happen if it's meant.  But what if it doesn't?  Can I handle that?

For some reason we're meant to walk this path.  For some reason, Poppy was taken from us, so we could learn something else from this next step.  But what?  Why could we not have learnt this from her?  I guess I'm a little bit frustrated because we've run this race before and at the finishing line, they said, "Sorry, false start,". Then they sent us back to the beginning again, except now the starting line is further away and in a swamp with crocodiles and sinking mud reminiscent of The Never Ending Story.

But, we've been through worse.  If I've learn anything from the past 18 months, it's that we are stronger than we thought.  There have been many, many times when I wondered if I could really truly get out of the black hole I was in.  But I always battle back up.  It's not easy, but my little family keep moving forward, pursued at times by a terrible grey cloud of despair.  Realistically we can live though losing some money whilst we chase our dream of our third child.  Maybe our little ray of sunshine, Miss Poppy, will lead us in the right direction.  Out of the storm of our grief, to find our rainbow. 

We've got the GPS ready, sweetheart, lead the way.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

I'm the man with the plan...

My name is Bec and I'm a recovering grieving mother.  It's been 3 months since my last post.  I went to sleep on the 31st December last year and all of a sudden, somehow, it's March 14th.  Bloody hell.  What a blur.

The beginning of 2013 has felt something like returning to real life from an extra long holiday.  2012 seems a little fuzzy in my memory; a long, horrific dream.  This year feels kind of normal.  Like life has started moving again, in our new altered post-Poppy world. 

If you have a good memory you will remember that  around 9 months ago we began to think about having us a rainbow baby.  A child born through the storm of grief to shine brightly in a families future.  Not negating the pain.  Never pretending it has gone.  Rather recognising and honouring that after the darkest of storms, the heaviest of rain, a rainbow can appear. 

We had hoped that our luck might change, that we might be blessed with a bub quickly and without too much fuss.  Who was I kidding?! Us?  Have something go smoothly?  Fat chance... Over the course of last year we vaguely committed to fertility treatment, but it was really hard to look forward when I was still so embroiled in the past.  I guess, in short, I was about as ready to have another baby as I was to climb Everest.  So in December, when my latest round of treatment ended in a chemical pregnancy, I was done.  I needed to take a break and reevaluate what I could handle.  And what I wanted.

Did I want another child?  Could I do it all again?  Was I able to put aside the fear once more and plunge off that cliff into the unknown again?  Frankly, I wasn't sure I even wanted to think about it.  I was scared shitless.  G, as always, was flexible enough to deal with my back flipping often arbitrary decision.  "I really want another baby," as I gaze at some perfect little bubba at the supermarket.  "I just can't!" as I trawl the internet for new information on Poppy's medical condition.  But most frequently, "I don't KNOW!" 

So we look 3 months off.  No meds.  No medical appointments.  No blood tests.  Nothing related to trying to conceive again.  Much to G's disgust. 

Anyone who has had trouble trying to get pregnant will know what I'm talking about.  How structured know....gets.  It's all about timing, not passion.  Throw in a perpetually emotionally imbalanced women, hopped up on artificial hormones, getting up early to get to the doctors before work, and things can be a little challenging.  So we needed some time to reconnect.  Remember why we want more kids.  Just to be in love.

But the time has come.  Review appointment with my lovely fertility specialist.  "Aren't you getting impatient?" she asked as I sit down in her office, "I'm impatient for you!  You've been forced to wait too long."  And I realise I have waited long enough.  If Poppy had survived, now might be the time we would have considered trying again perhaps.  It feels normal now. 

So we planned a plan.  Three more round of my current treatment, then some invasive testing, followed by IVF.  She's determined to get us baby number 3, bless her cotton socks.  So armed with my plan, I stand poised to take on Mt Everest.  I am sure I'll stumble more than once, and possibly slid backwards a little.  But I also know I am determined, and I couldn't be more supported.  I can imagine another baby now.  I can value him or her as an addition to our family in their own way.  Not the fill the ache left by Poppy, but to enhance the joy in our lives.

I'm ready, I think.  Well, I'm fairly sure.  Mostly positive.  More ready than before anyway.  I'm armed with my backpack, wearing my comfy hiking boots, and I have my compass in hand.  Time to start the trek.  And if you've ever got a hand free, could you just give me a bit of shove upwards?  Ta for that.