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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holding On

Like most around the world, I have held my darling son tighter over the past fews days - I have played with him more, I have not wanted to let him out of my sight.  My heart is grieving for the parents, family and friends of the children and teachers that died in  It's incomprehensible to me that these poor parents sent their children off to school, I would have thought not worried in the slightest and that this senseless act would happen.

As a parent, I think that has made us all feel a little sick.  That which we have no thought to worrying about, occurring in such a horrifying manner.  It has made me ask the question 'is there any way to bring up a child safely?'  I am a bit of a worrier by nature and though I do try to minimise the worry, I do tend to try to think of every possible way to keep my son safe but really, how can we when such terror lurks in the world.

My country is not perfect, nor is it a safe haven where nothing bad happens but I am very grateful that we have very strict gun laws.  Gun laws that were tightened significantly in the wake of the horrifying Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were gunned down.  The gunman, who has been said to have some mental issues (I mean surely anyone who guns down 35 people does, right?) but was able to to buy a gun without a gun license or even a drivers license.  My Mum's second cousin was killed in the massacre and it devastated our country.  The government initiated a 'buy back' of guns, funded by a tax payer medicare levy that cost $350 million.  At the time I remember thinking 'worth it'.  

I know that the United States has much greater population and prevalence of guns amongst the population than we had but I hope that the government can enact some tighter gun laws, in my humblest of opinions, this can only make a positive difference.  As I say, this is not to say that my country is perfect, indeed there have been a couple of worrying murders over the past few months of women by men (who were let out of jail despite having extension criminal records and one of whom a judge referred to as being 'not able to be rehabilitated') - I walked the 50 metres to my car in the city on Saturday night very carefully and with breath held until I got in the car and locked the doors.

My heart breaks for the poor people of - I hope that they are able to grieve and mourn their losses in private, away from the glare of the media.  I can't imagine what these poor souls are going through and the days, weeks and months ahead of them much stretch out into eternity.  I hope they find peace.

Bit of a rambly post, I have not meant to be preachy but it is just so hard to imagine that something like this could even happen.  I don't actually understand how another human being could do this - to me it seems that they must be a part of a completely separate species.  It is so incomprehensible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

17 Weeks and 2 Weeks to Christmas...

It is such a busy time of year and I realised yesterday that I finish work for our Christmas break on Thursday week – SOOOOOOO excited!!  There is so much that I have to do before then.  I have about 12 lists going of all the things that I need to do.

Thankfully, I have done most of my Christmas shopping and have already started wrapping the presents – this is pretty much a miracle for me because I am usually wrapping presents late into Christmas eve watching the carols by candelight on TV.  I am wanting to keep Christmas eve nice and free this year so that I can help my Mum out with Christmas day preparations but also to be there for her because she is without Dad this year.  She has also been sick so it is really important to be there for her and help her out – she also has so much to do.

I am trying to break the back of my ‘to do’ list (which at this stage is very long!) by the end of this week but I don’t know how successful I will be because I really have a lot to do.  Of course the weekends are getting busier and busier with things that I am going to on most days in the lead up to Christmas.

I was really busy last Friday and Saturday with shopping and running errands that I got really bad cramps on Saturday afternoon.  I have found that if I do too much or get too tired, I get really bad cramps and basically can’t walk around or anything.  I am going to have to be super duper careful over the coming weeks to ensure that I don’t push it and cause myself and the baby some distress.

Christmas day is going to be very full on as well, we have Father Christmas pressie corner at our place in the morning and then go around to my Mum’s place for another pressie corner and then we have lunch with my family and then drive for an hour an a half to have dinner with JourneyMan’s family and then we are hoping to be home at about 8:30pm so that we can finish our packing and leave at 4am on Boxing Day to drive to our holiday destination on the coast (about 7 hours of driving away).  I am going to keep as much of my energy reserved for those two massive days and then we have 10 lovely days of fun in the sun as a family.

We also got an invitation to a wonderful friend’s wedding on the 12th of January and I am super excited to go but it is a black tie wedding and we are going to have to get ourselves organised in the next week with our outfits and babysitting for JBB because the wedding is only a few days after we get back from our holidays!!

It is such a busy time but still I look at last year and am so happy that we are where we are this year.  I think that the biggest lesson that the IF journey has taught me is that things do not need to be perfect to be happy – this is a big lesson for me as I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.  We have our worries and sadness at the moment but it is wonderful to have all the gifts that we have been blessed with, so lucky.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes....

Yesterday, I cried with joy.  We put up our Christmas tree and whilst the tree itself is a study in imperfection (a bit lopsided, not all lights working, the star has seen better days) the moment was perfection itself.  I watched as my beautiful, miraculous son delighted in placing every bauble on the tree.  My stomach felt heavy with the weight of our new baby coming.  My husband and I exchanged looks and hugs of joy as the perfect afternoon of family enveloped us.  This morning, I took my son to the Wiggles final tour where he and his cousin sat enthralled, danced and sang to the Wiggles songs.  This afternoon, we instituted a new family tradition - Sunday evening movie night and all through December we are watching Christmas movies.  JBB sat between us, eating popcorn and watching the movie - he smiled, laughed and enjoyed himself.  He didn't last the whole movie but no matter, we had an amazing time.

This time last year could not have been more different.  JBB had been fighting sickness all week and on this day last year, I sat in the hospital, comforting my beautiful, sick boy - my heart was clenched in fear, I was not recovered from the failed cycle in October / November and I thought my first miracle could be taken away from me.  I was absolutely exhausted from sleepless night after sleepless night but nothing was worse that the fear that my little boy was hurting and may be irrevocably damaged from a mysterious disease.  I was beyond feeling by that point.  The only thing that I could focus on was pouring all my energy, love and attention in getting my boy better.

I changed from that experience last year.  It has taken me a long, long time to recover.  I felt like I had received too many blows and I was no longer able to function as a valuable parent, wife, friend, daughter, sister or niece.  Only mere weeks after JBB was out of the hospital and recovered, I went to Thailand for another cycle, a failed one and only weeks after that my Father found that he had the cancer back.  In hindsight it was lunacy going to Thailand for that cycle - I was a complete zombie.  I was absolutely empty and no where near recovered from JBB being sick.  I wouldn't really recover from these experiences until I had some serious counselling months into the year.

The joy that I have felt over this wonderful weekend is tinged with the loss of my Dad but he loved Christmas, it has always been a special, special time for his family.  Ever since I can remember, even last year, in December he would always say to us 'he's on his way'.  It makes me happy to think of him, remember him and I will pass this on to my boys and he will live on in my memory.

I feel so grateful.  Since the beginning of our journey into the would of IF, Christmas time was always a marker to me.  Before our journey, it was unreservedly my favourite time of year but as our journey progressed, it became a marker.  For many years, a marker of sadness from failed cycles and yearning for the completion of my family.  When we were given the gift of a successful cycle in December 2009 (we got a BFP on Christmas day), it was the best gift I had been given in my life - a beautiful Christmas miracle.  2010 was also memorable for being JBB's first Christmas with us.  2011 was a difficult one.  

I am not naive enough to think that the 'worst' is over.  I am sure life has many ups and downs to throw our way.  What I have realised when thinking about the terror of losing everything last year to the utter joy that I have felt in the past couple of days is to really sit in the moments of joy that you experience.  Make the most of them, enjoy them and be thankful every day that you have them.  We don't know what tomorrow may hold and I try not to worry about what is to be.  

Today, as I sit and write this post, I couldn't be any happier than I am right now and coming from 12 months ago being in such a dark place shows me how quickly that things can turn around.  My wish for all of you is that you revel in your joyous times and if you are in a dark place, please take comfort that happiness is never that far away, despite how dark it is.

For me, I am grateful for my family.  My wonderful husband whose comfort, humour and love have saved me many times in our years together - I love him more with each passing year.  My precious son, whose personality, capacity to learn and gentle nature amaze me every day.  The new baby that sits so close to my heart who I can't wait to shower with love - I am so excited to see his personality emerge.  Last but definitely not least is my little JourneyDog who is Woolly.  People told me that he would become less important to me when the babies came along but they misjudge my loyalty - especially because he has provided such comfort to me on our journey.  I am so grateful for my family.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Much to Tell...

There has been a lot going on over here.  Last Saturday would have been my Dad's 70th birthday so it was a pretty sad day.  We got together as a family and celebrated his birthday together.  I miss him.  I know that people expect you to get over these things very quickly but it is not so easy.  I still have a cry about it most weeks.  I cried on the way to work this morning.  I went to the market in the morning on Saturday and what with the emotionality of the rest of the day, I was exhausted when I got home and I started getting cramps - cramps in a position that I had never gotten them before - immediately, I started to worry.

JourneyMan takes JBB to swimming lessons on Sunday mornings so I was free to have a sleep in and even though I went to bed at 9:30pm, I didn't wake up until 9:50am - what!?!?!  I did have a couple of get ups to go to the loo but still, that is one loooooong sleep.  I felt so much better after it such an amazing rest and even though the weather was beautiful on Sunday, we had a nice quiet family day at home in the backyard.  The cramps didn't come back so I relaxed a bit.

I got a call from my Mum at 6am on Monday morning telling me that she was sick and could I work from her place because she couldn't take care of JBB on her own.  Of course I said yes but when I got there, she was worse than I thought, she couldn't lift her hands above her head, she couldn't do up her bra or pull up her pants the whole way.  I was REALLY worried.  I took her up to the doctors and it turns out that she has polymyalgia.  It's a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints. Unfortunately, in the course of getting JBB in and out of the car so many times, I did my back (which is always pretty dodgy anyway).  When I got home that night, I was absolutely exhausted again.  Interestingly enough, the drug that they have prescribed Mum is the same one that I have on the cycles - a steroid to help the pain and reduce inflammation.

Thankfully, when I called my Mum the next day, she had already started to feel a little better.  My back was also feeling a little better on Tuesday but still a little tender.  In the afternoon, the cramps came back with a vengeance and were accompanied by a discharge.  I immediately packed up my work and left.  I called the OB on the way home, he said that even though it was in a different area than I normally have - this was in the cervix, he thought it was still stretching pains but because of my uterus shape (which is linked with incompetent cervix), he wanted me to go in for an ultrasound the following day, despite having one booked for Thursday.  I was worried, I couldn't help but imagine the worst.  I tried to put it out of my mind as much as possible but I was still worried.

JourneyMan and my Bestie came with me to the scan - I really wanted my people with me to have the support.  Thankfully, the scan revealed a delightful picture of the new but and we could see the heartbeat straight away, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The baby is measuring perfectly and everything is going really, really well.

I am happy to reveal that we are having........ A BOY!!!  We are SOOOOOOO happy!!  There was a moment of sadness that I won't experience having a daughter but that evaporated quickly and a smile has been on my face since.  I am destined to be surrounded by blokes - even JourneyDog who is Woolly is a boy.  I am in love with our new little baby boy already and I am so very happy that we will all be a family.

They checked my cervix and everything there is perfect as well so we are still very much on track.  

The other lovely news is that I can feel my darling boy moving - I don't think that I had forgotten how special this was but it is such a special time.  Only I can feel him moving, it's our own little special secret.

JBB is also a complete and utter darling.  Today, we experienced a ridiculously hot, 39 degree day (102 F) - our hottest November day since 1997.  I thought I would take JBB to the pool straight after day care because really there was no other way to get really cool.  We normally go to a pool near to our old house but in my wisdom, I thought I would try the one a little closer to the new house.  Wrong, there was massive construction going on there and we ended up walking for 20mins in the blazing sun to get to the pool.  I was not feeling great and must of been whinging a bit because JBB said 'Mummy, stop, hugs' - he gave me a hug to feel better.  He is honestly the sweetest little boy that ever lived.  I am a little ashamed that I had to be comforted by my two year old but also proud that he has the ability to give comfort. Every day, he amazes me with the new words that he knows, the songs he can sing and the jokes that he can tell - he just loves to make us laugh.  

Now that I know that the baby is a boy, I still can't help but be a little sad that he won't meet my Dad and I don't want him to feel a bit left out that he didn't get to meet him when JBB did.  A thought struck me this morning though, maybe my Dad went to get our darling boy and make sure that he got to us.   That makes the relationship between the two special.  I have resolved to tell our new little baby boy this when I tell him about my Dad.  It feels like the truth to me too.

A very big week in the Journey household.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

14 Weeks

Last week, I had a brief reprieve from the total exhaustion that I had been feeling but this week it came back with a vengeance.  Probably not so much from the pregnancy, it is probably more to do with being very busy at work and on top of that - trying to organise my taxes for the year.  This time tomorrow, the taxes will all be done and I will be a lot less stressed, it is one of my least favourite jobs to do and it always comes around so quickly.

Despite the fact that I don't feel great, I am really loving being pregnant.  My tummy has popped out a lot this week and that makes me very happy.  I am really looking forward to meeting this baby and having our family complete.  I still worry but I have not had the heart clenching panic that I had early days.

I was able to tell quite a few friends over the weekend and it was wonderful to have such great news but there is always a tinge of sadness when I tell anyone that I am pregnant because it is so inextricably linked with the death of my Dad.  I feel utter joy that I am pregnant but whenever I tell anyone, I can't help but feel so sad too.

Next week, I am due for the 16 week scan (sorry but the 14 week update is only just slightly before the 15 weeks comes up) and I am really hoping that we can find out the baby's gender.  We have had a girls name picked out for a long, long time but we are very troubled with names if we have a boy!  We cannot agree on a name.  Though if we find out that we are having a boy at least we have got some time up our sleeve to decide.

I have so much happiness in my life.  I am so lucky to have all that I have.  It has been a rough year but just like the weather here in Melbourne, the sun is shining now and I feel like for some precious moments, I can lift my head towards it, close my eyes and soak up its rays.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm on your side...

I am on Facebook but I don't post any statuses or keep up with anyone on there.  I have always been pretty much against it, my feeling of privacy overwhelming any need to connect with people from my past.  I mostly keep in contact with my friends and family in person, though of course this has taken a massive hit from going through IF.  I don't hate FB, I am just wary of it.  I also don't mind if people use it all the time to keep in contact with their people, we all make our own ways of communicating in the world and it is not up to me to decide how other people go about it.  

About 9 months ago, I got invited into a IVF secret group on Facebook.  This was a spin off group of a forum that I used to be a part of.  There is a group for those in the trenches, a group for those pregnant and a group for those parenting after IF.  At first it felt great to be a part of these groups - I mean, what can go wrong with women who have such a profound issue in common?  It turns out, a lot.  There have been arguments, people who have been hurt from others' words and many other upsets.  I have been perplexed, we are all in the same boat, what is there to argue about?  

For me, the biggest lesson that I have learnt on the IF journey is that there are many people out there that don't like others to have powerful emotions.  Unfortunately, IF brings out so many of those profound emotions, grief, loss, emptiness, jealousy, depression, failure, hurt, resentment, exhaustion, defeated, alone, guilt - obviously there are so many more but I am sure that you all have felt many, if not all of these emotions at one time or another - I certainly have.  At times that the people who I am closest to were the ones that were invalidating the emotions - mostly because I think it hurt them to see me hurt.  One person that never invalidated my emotions was my bestie.  She is single and doesn't really want kids but she was one person who never shied away from me admitting to a horrible emotions like being jealous about my sister getting pregnant when I had just had a failed cycle - a horrible emotion to admit about your sister but if you don't face it, how do you move past it.  One day I asked her why she is able to empathise and be there for me when others wanted me to 'think of the good things in my life' and move on.  She said simply 'I'm on your side'.  I've never forgotten it.

So, when thinking about the arguments, hurts and misunderstandings that I have seen in the secret IVF groups - I wonder why can't we let the differences float by and be on each others side?  I will support you if you want a water birth or you elect to have a caesarean.  I will support you if you exclusively breastfeed or if you decide that formula is the only way to go.  I will rail against the horrible IVF god's that give you a negative or a loss or a cancelled cycle.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt if you say something that hurt me, I am pretty sure that you didn't mean it that way.  The biggest lesson that I have learnt as a parent is that no child,  or indeed no parent is 'one size fits all'.  We are all unique, we are all different, we all have different opinions.

I have written a post about this and will post it later but one of my new bosses told me that she is going through IVF.  My heart broke for her as it does for any of us that walk this difficult path.  I asked her how she was going and she said something like 'fine but it's hard.....but of course not as hard as what you have been through'.  I said to her 'you never have to say that to me, it doesn't matter what I have been through or what you have been through, there is no harder, there is just shit - this is probably the shittest thing that has ever happened to you and it is the shittest thing that has ever happened to me'.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said 'yes, it is just so hard'.  I hope that I let her know that it is okay to have crappy emotions.  Just because there are millions of people that are worse off than you doesn't mean that you can't feel sad, hurt, jealous, devastated and every other emotion that comes with the rocky IF terrain.  

When I was younger, my bestie was in a terrible bus crash in France.  She had had the crappiest year of all time and had gone away on the holiday of a lifetime.  A few weeks later she was at home in the hospital, her dreams shattered and her back hurt in a way that she has never fully recovered from.  Not long afterwards, I said to her 'I feel sorry for the bus driver, he will have to live with this for the rest of his life' and it upset her terribly - because in my youth and stupidity, I gave the impression that I was on the bus drivers side and not hers.  Of course it was okay to express empathy for the bus driver but it was not okay for my friend to think I was not on her side - lesson learned.

At the end of the day, I know that my little blog does not have a huge readership and I am okay with that but I do want all of you to know - I am on your side, wherever you are:  in the trenches, pregnant or parenting after IF.  I have quoted this before, I am sure but it is a favourite from the West Wing:

'The things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us'

Monday, November 12, 2012

13 Weeks

So, we have made it to the second trimester – YAY!!  I am really happy to report that I had a scan on Friday and everything is going well.  The baby is measuring perfectly and the down syndrome tests came back very low risk.  It was quite funny because I went to the scan on Friday expecting to get the internal scan and huzzah, it was external!!  It was so nice that I didn’t have to drop my dacks at an appointment – what a revelation.

At one point, the ultrasound technician did say that they needed to step out to get the doctor which always sets the heart racing but it turns out they wanted to make sure that they had a good angle for the down syndrome test.  I am pretty used to them going to get the doctor’s though – everyone loves to have a look at the deformed uterus.  Here is a sample of the general conversations that come up:

Technician / doctor – So you know that you have a unicornuate / bicornuate / didelphys uterus? (there is some conjecture about just what type of deformity that I have)

Me:  Yes

Technician:  It’s very interesting.

Me:  So I hear

Technician:  And very rare

Me:  Yes, now how about we check how the baby is doing?

We wanted to find out the baby’s gender if they could but unfortunately, they couldn’t tell.  Of  course, I would love to have a baby girl so that we could have the perfect one of each type of family but I am also keeping my eye on the prize and that is a healthy sibling for JBB – I want both of these babies to grow up having each other and if we have two boys – that’s also fabulous!!

I told my boss at work today.  It was good to have it out in the open (because my guts certainly are getting out there already!) and he was really good about it – he said that my contract could be extended 3 months and asked when I wanted to come back, which was nice considering I am on contract and they are under no obligation to do so.  It did feel strange though saying to people ‘I’m pregnant’.  I mean I have seen the baby squirming in there on the ultrasounds and everything but there was just something about saying it out loud that made me say to myself ‘yes, you actually are pregnant’.  What a nice feeling.  I am actually pregnant.

I have another scan at 16 weeks which is less than 3 weeks away now, which is good.  I am really hoping that we will find out the gender at that time.  So exciting!!  I think that now it is all out in the open, time is going to fly by.  Christmas is not even that long away and on Boxing Day we are going on a family holiday, which I am beside myself excited about – JBB is going to have the time of his life – we are staying in a cabin in a caravan park right on the beach and it has a park and his cousins are going to be there – he is going to be in his element!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pop's Boy

This week, I have been thinking about my Dad a lot.  I don't really know why but I think that it started on Wednesday when I took JBB to see his Nanna (my Mum) as she had been away for a week.  As I was putting him in the car when I picked him up from daycare - I told him that we were going to see Nanna, he then asked 'Pop too?'.  Over the next few days, I had a few periods of crying, crying because I miss my Dad, crying for the time that mine son could no longer spend with him - they had such special time together.

I couldn't stop thinking about 'Pop's Boy' - that's what my Dad called JBB.  Every time he walked in the door, he said 'is that Pop's Boy? and JBB would go over to him, lean in and Dad would pat him on the head.  I was always touched by their relationship, it made me so happy that they could spend time together.  When I was in Thailand, my Mum called JourneyMan and JBB over to the house the morning that my Dad died, they spent time with him.  It hurts me very much that I was not able to comfort my Dad when he was near the end, just for him to know that I was there, a touch on his cheek, to hold his hand.  Moreso, it's upsetting that I didn't see the final interactions between JBB and my Dad, those are memories that I will never have.  

Still all through the week, 'Pop's Boy' kept running through my head and I didn't understand why until I was having breakfast with my Mum and older sister yesterday.  I realised that the precious baby that I am carrying is the first grandchild that my Dad will not see.  He will not give him or her a nickname, he will not call out to them as they come running in the door.  I absolutely know that I my Dad would be so happy that I am pregnant, I know that he wanted me to go to Thailand when I did.  I am just sad, really sad that my kids will miss out on him being in their lives.  I'm sad that he is no longer in mine.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And exhale....

So, I have had my first visit to the OB and thankfully, it was a good one!  It was great to see the OB again.  Funnily enough, I have not heard great reports about my OB from other people but I have always found him excellent.  Sometimes, you have to make your own judgement about these things.  He gives me great comfort because he has dealt with all of my various health concerns previously and of course, I had an excellent pregnancy and delivery with JBB so I just love him.

We had a great talk and he asked how Riley is which was very nice.  He gave me a scan and said that the baby was growing ‘perfectly’ which was sweet music to my ears.  He asked me how I was going and I said that I was very, very worried.  He asked what I thought was the source of the worry and I told him that it really was mostly because the last 12months have been pretty average and I didn’t feel I could take another blow.

He was soooooo comforting.  He told me that really, with the baby growing so well and the heart beating beautifully, it is time for me to stop worrying.  I am going to try really, really hard not to.  He is going to treat this pregnancy the same way that he did with JBB and that because I ‘did so well’ with JBB, the only thing that he will do differently is to reduce the scans from weekly to monthly.  This is a bit scary but will save us a bucket load of money (almost $500 per month – yay!!) so I will just have to practice my positive thinking!!

I also asked him about my weight because I am heavier than I was with JBB, he told me ‘of course, you will need to eat as healthily as you can but the small amount of additional weight you are carrying will have absolutely no effect on the outcome’.  This gave me no wiggle room to use it to beat myself about being a bit of a poppo (JBB’s word for hippo).  I have been stressing a bit about my weight so whilst I am not going to use this as a license to go crazy with my eating (thankfully most of my cravings have been for:  tomatoes on toast, tomato and cheese toasted sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and juice and fruit of all kinds, though mainly citrus), I am going to try to stress about it less.

I love my OB.  I next see him in another 6 weeks but I have the 12 week scan coming up on 9 November so hopefully this positive, happy feeling will last through till then!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where the fear lies....

I think that this first part of the pregnancy is always (well twice anyway!!) the hardest part for me.  There is so much time between the visits to have scans or to see the OB send me into a bit of a panic despite there being really no reason.  Waiting for the first scan (which was all good) at 7 weeks was the 2WW turned into the 3WW and then I don’t see the OB until 10 weeks (next Monday) and whilst 3 weeks doesn’t seem much, it feels like a lot when your every nerve is stretched out in anticipation of more reassurance.  I mean, I definitely have been having plenty of symptoms but the doubting Thomas part of my mind will always find an alternate reason, other than being pregnant, that I would be experiencing these things.  Though the evil part of my mind doesn’t seem to have an explanation for the massive trail of veins over my breasts and abdomen – yeah, take that evil mind, what do you have to say for yourself – nothing, good, now keep it that way and shut up!! (okay, so maybe cracking up could be a pregnancy symptom too?)

From 12 weeks on it is a bit easier to bear but only because I have scans every week from 14 weeks as I am in the high risk category (for incompetent cervix) – the 2 weeks from 12 weeks is not that hard to bear and then getting to see the baby each week from week 14 is a real treat.  It’s nice too because many people want to come to the scans and because I have so many, it is nice to get people along (I warn them about ‘up the bagingo wandy’ so they are not shocked but it is all very discreet.  My Mum is coming to the 12 week one and then I think my bestie will be first cab off the rank in week 14 – it’s nice, it becomes a weekly event (or I hope it will again!).

The fear is 100% completely irrational and every time I bring it up with anyone, I don’t really feel like they understand – I mean, I wouldn’t understand either.  My motto has always been ‘past behaviour predicts future behaviour’ and by that motto, my body should behave as it did when I was last pregnant, which means big yayers, all should be great, right?  You would think that but I continue to have feelings of panic and dread.  I’m hoping that we have experienced our last cycle but don’t even want to contemplate life too far ahead in case I curse us.  

I think that all that has happened in the last year has really affected my ability to stand up and stare fear in the face.  Firstly, it was the failed cycle in October – until then I had actually thought we had the found the IVF certainty – donor cycles and because it happened first off with JBB, I just expected it to work straight off again.  The fact that it didn’t really affected me.  At the time, I also didn’t feel that I was allowed to grieve because I had to be excited for my sister who got pregnant at that time (I have gotten over that now, her little son is adorable and I really credit him with me finally getting excited to have an actual baby in the house again – I held him and realised I really, really wanted another baby). 

Then came JBB getting sick and spending 5 days in the hospital, this was so monumental, I was numb for months.  The thought that my darling little boy would have problems with his heart for life was just too much to bear – I couldn’t even contemplate it. 

Hot on the heels of JBB being in hospital was the second failed cycle in December, I was still so numb from JBB being sick that it barely registered as a cycle.  I was a mess physically, mentally and emotionally – there is no wonder that the cycle was a failure.  It was the best decision that we made to take a break and wait for 9 months before going again. 

Straight after that cycle failure, my Dad found that he had the cancer back. So it was treatment and horrible decisions and seeing him going before our eyes.   I didn’t expect him to die while I was away in Thailand.  It also feels very strange that my Dad’s death and this pregnancy are so inextricably linked.

It’s now almost 12 months since that first failed cycle in October last year.  Surely, we can put this 12 months behind us and look forward with great hope and joy at the next 12 months.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Catalogue of Pregnancy Symptoms:

Morning sickness:  Check – definitely have been having morning sickness from very early on and as with JBB, it is generally all day on and off.  Some days are better than others though – today is a good day, thankfully!!

Weight gain – whilst not a symptom as such, it is really a result of the massive amounts of food that I’ve been eating.  My biggest problem is that I have always thought that the cure for feeling sick is to eat (yes, sad I know) and unfortunately, I have been feeling sick a lot of the time so that has equated to eating a lot of the time.  I try to eat as healthily as possible but I can’t say that I haven’t gone to the dark side (macca’s, fish and chips etc) occasionally.  I am trying to reign myself in at the moment so that I don’t put on ridiculous amounts of weight during the pregnancy.

Bump – yes, you read right, 8 weeks and 3 days and there is already a bump.  I am sure most of it has to do with the above eating pattern but underneath the big layer of fat, I can feel a genuine bump there.  I am pretty embarrassed to be showing so early and of course no one from work knows, so I am hiding under massive baggy clothes.

Cramps – I am still getting cramps, some days are better than others and I (touch wood) have only had two of the very bad episodes in the last couple of weeks.  Hopefully things are stretching nicely at present!

No clothes at the Inn – since I already have a bump and the cramps make it extremely uncomfortable to have ANY pressure on my stomach, I am struggling for clothes, even my fat pants don’t do the job.  Yes, I have resorted to some maternity pants and on the weekend I had to buy some ‘harry high pants’ pants.  Today, I made the mistake of wearing normal skirt with normal leggings – wrong!!  I have been uncomfortable all day and the pressure on the stomach is very unpleasant.

Exhaustion – I am having trouble peeling myself from the couch at the moment.  When I get home from work, it is a struggle to get dinner for all of us and get JBB into bed.  The worst part is that I am also not sleeping well.  I keep waking up at 2am (to go to the toilet and I check on JBB at this time too) and 4am (another toilet break and a check on JBB) and then I can’t get to sleep.  I am very, very tired.  This morning, I got up at 5:30am and went for a walk for half an hour so at least that was a little productive.

Frequent urination – check – yep, got this one too but I am also thirsty all the time and making sure that I am drinking heaps of water so this could be a result of that.  I usually am able to sleep through the night without a toilet stop but at the moment I am on 2 a night.

That’s pretty much it – so I feel pretty crap but in the best way.  It makes me very happy to do this catalogue, I hope that all this means that this pregnancy is going to stick around.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I am member of a private Facebook community of women who are going through IF technologies, are pregnant via IF or are parenting post IF.  For the most part, it is great to be a part of this community as it is very supportive of everyone but sometimes things happen that disturb me.

An incident happened yesterday though that made me really sad.  A girl posed the question ‘if I am a donor egg mother, will I be less of a mother?’  As you can imagine, she got a lot of responses to this question - some were good and some not so good.  Some people said things like ‘if you are having doubts, you need to work through it before continuing’ or ‘maybe you need some counselling to work through your issues’.  Someone said ‘if you are feeling ashamed, you will pass that feeling on to your child’.  I wasn’t really upset by the responses personally because all these questions told me was that these people haven’t actually be in this position before because there is no way in hell you would respond in that way if you had.

To me, the only answer to this question was a flat out ‘no’ (my actual response was ‘no way, no day’).  No, you will not be any less of a mother.  No, you will not love your child any less.  No, you will not treat this child any differently.  No.  No.  No.  Unfortunately very few people answered that question directly and tried to assume what was behind the question.  Doubts, shame, issues. 

How many times do all of us do that – answer the assumption behind the question rather than the question itself?  I was the only actual donor egg mother who responded but by the time I did, she had gotten extremely upset, thought that she was upsetting others and  removed herself from the group and blocked everyone.  I was really sad because I think she just needed to hear ‘no, you will not be any less of a mother’.

I wish I had of gotten in on the conversation earlier because I could have told her that I had my doubts before doing donor eggs but they were wiped away when the cutest, smartest, most loving child came into my life (**there is a chance that I am a little biased on this subject).  I would have also pointed out that surely it’s impossible to have doubts when you are going into something so unknown?  I would have told her that when I was up night and day for days on end when JBB had Kawasaki disease, I didn’t think I was a ‘donor egg mother’, I was just ‘mother’ – no more, no less.  Indeed, JBB tells everyone he meets that I am ‘mummy’.  I would tell her that I feel no shame that I couldn’t use my own eggs to have children, I only feel great pride that I was brave enough to walk this path, that I was an integral part in bringing this wonderful miracle into the world.

I also wish that people could have just answered the question that was asked and not assumed the motivation behind it.  I feel very sad that this woman came to us for support and we failed her.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scary Times

I had bad cramps last night – so bad that I could barely walk  I had cramps in the pregnancy with JBB as well but not so bad so early.  The only thing keeping me sane was the fact that there was no bleeding.  The sheer pain of the cramps had me worried enough to call the OB to see if there was anything that I could do.  Unfortunately my OB was on leave so I had to speak to another one who doesn’t know about all my issues but he did alleviate my fears enough to be able to sleep (after having some pain killers) and this morning when I woke up, they were almost gone.

I thought I wouldn’t have as many cramps this pregnancy because my uterus would have been stretched out with JBB.  I did some Dr Googling this morning and it turns out that people who have had caesareans seem to get worse cramping in subsequent pregnancies – bummer.

I am not sure whether I have any control of it.  I had pretty bad cramps last Tuesday as well and I have been trying to compare what I did on both those days but there doesn’t seem to be anything that I have really done that could have caused it.  Oh well, I will grit my teeth and thank my lucky stars that there is no bleeding!!! 

I am basically useless at the moment.  I am so tired that I can barely get anything done around the house, JourneyMan is an absolute godsend at the moment – he has been doing so much and I really appreciate it.

Over the weekend, we took JBB to the Royal Melbourne Show where he had an absolute ball!!  There is an animal nursery there where heaps of animals are wandering around to be patted, he thought it was the best thing ever – patting sheep, dogs, pigs, cows, chickens!  They also had a Sesame Street stage show on, he absolutely loves Elmo (or Melmo as he calls him) and was transfixed by the show.  There were rides everywhere and carnival games, flashing lights and people yelling - he was so overwhelmed by all of the fun things that when we got to the car (we drove some of the way and took the train the rest of the way) he was asleep in 2minutes.  It was a really fun day. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Heart

We have a heartbeat, just one beautiful heartbeat.  What an amazing day!

The scan went really well.  Everything is perfect. The baby is measuring one day ahead and has a heart rate of 122bpm which they said was excellent.  JBB and JourneyMan were both there and it was beautiful to share such a special moment with my boys.

I have to say, I am seriously relieved that we are not expecting twins. Until they were sure that there was only one, I hadn't let myself feel how truly afraid I was that I couldn't keep a twin pregnancy. Today I realized that there is no reason why I can't take this baby to 38 weeks, JBB went right through, my body knows what to do so as long as I take care of us both, we should be fine.

I am hoping to enjoy this pregnancy. I enjoyed being pregnant with JBB but I was so afraid. I am still determined to keep as much of the fear at bay.

Is there anything more special than seeing the beating heart of a being inside you, such a miraculous day. I'm so thankful that we have gotten this far, I so hope to hold this precious baby in my arms in May. So happy, so excited, so grateful.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scan Nerves

On Wednesday I had some very, very bad cramps – I was very worried but there was no bleeding so I tried to just think that it was my uterus stretching.  I have still been feeling morning sickness but it has not been as bad as it was earlier in the week.  Last night I was going to make home made pizza for dinner but in the end, I really wanted roast chicken sandwiches – really, really wanted them.  I don’t think it was a craving, just really felt like it.

I am nervous about the scan tomorrow.  There is a chance that we are having twins because we put two embryo’s back and I am nervous about the outcome either way.  On one hand, I would dearly love to have twins as it would complete our family nicely.  JourneyMan doesn’t really want twins though, he is worried about how much work it will be (which I am sure it would be enormous!) but I like to focus on the lovely fact of more love being brought into our family.

The biggest thing that I worry about if it’s twins is getting them born healthy.  I am worried about my unicornuate uterus being too small to accommodate them for the full term of the pregnancy.  I have done plenty of research and whilst it is not common, there are certainly documented cases of successful twin births from a unicornuate uterus.

We did weigh all this up before we decided to transfer two and decided that it was worth the risk.  I had spoken to my fertility specialist about it and he has always maintained (and he should know, he has been in there 3 times when doing laparoscopies!) that the ‘good’ part of the uterus is only a little bit smaller than a normal one – which is a great relief.  My OB also

There is also the fact that I carried JBB to full term without any problems, except for some cramps but I can put up with that.  I don’t know if it’s twins – some people saying they definitely think it is, some are saying they definitely think it isn’t.  The HCG numbers are not convincing and the only thing that makes me think ‘maybe’ is that I am already huge – I look like I am 6 months pregnant already.  This is very subjective though and could also be that I have just put on weight or that I am massively bloated (which I know that I am).  I just don’t know.

Most of all, I am hoping for a healthy baby or babies tomorrow.  At the end of the day, that is all that I worry about – seeing that beautiful heartbeat and knowing the little one is growing and thriving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Going well....

So I am only 3 days away from my ultrasound and I am hoping that everything is okay.  I think that it should be, I have been having morning sickness daily which has been very reassuring.

It is interesting that most of those around me keep forgetting that I am pregnant.  My Mum and Aunt were talking about taking a trip to Thailand next year in May and I said ‘but that’s when the baby comes’ – my Mum openly admitted that she keeps forgetting about it!  I obviously forgive her, she’s had a lot going on at the moment.  I think that she is really starting to find it hard without Dad so obviously the baby is not right at the forefront of her mind.

JourneyMan also said to me last night ‘have you been smoking?’ – now, I did used to smoke but I gave up when we started trying for a baby though I did have lapses after pretty much each failed cycle.  I looked at him disbelievingly and said ‘are you serious?’ and he said ‘yes’ and I said ‘I’m pregnant, there is no way in hell I would be smoking’ – his response ‘oh yeah’.  

Symptom wise, I am mainly having the morning sickness, serious fatigue and I am so bloated that I already look 6 months pregnant – I am pulling out my fat clothes to disguise it all!!

Whilst, I really don’t want to play the when / then game – I definitely will breathe a little easier when the scan (hopefully) comes back all good on Friday.  Obviously there will be many more milestones to hit in the pregnancy but that is a good one to get done and dusted!

We have already told JBB and periodically he will say ‘Mummy, bubby, tummy’ – he hasn’t said it yet in front of anyone that doesn’t know which is good but if he does, I won’t be too concerned.  He is such a good and gentle boy with his 3month old cousin, I think he is going to be a super brother!  It is so nice to think that we will have a new addition to our family, our love will expand once again – it is such a nice thought.  We are lucky.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Staring Down Fear…

I have a question that I keep asking myself – ‘how do you enjoy a pregnancy when at any moment you expect the rug to be pulled out from under you’?  This is the classic ‘pregnant after IF’ conundrum.  I have watched bloggers be fearful for the whole pregnancy (this was also me with JBB) and I have watched in awe as some bloggers have courageously stared down their fear and determinedly enjoyed every part of their pregnancy.

I feel I am starting to play the ‘when, then’ game.  When I see a heartbeat, then I will relax and enjoy the pregnancy.  But really, that just doesn’t work because then it is ‘when I get to the 2nd trimester, then I can relax and enjoy the pregnancy’ and then it goes to ‘when I get the tests back, then I can relax’, ‘when I get to viability, then I can enjoy it’, ‘when I hear them cry, then I will relax’.  There is always a when / then scenario and I really don’t want to live my life that way.

The fear is because I worry about the doomsday scenarios (miscarriage, stillbirth etc) but does worrying about them make them any less heartbreaking if the worst occurs?  In short, the answer is absolutely not.  I have gone into cycles with complete hope, I have gone into cycles with complete doubt and if the negative comes, I still howl crying and feel dark to my soul, so the question is ‘why worry?’  There is really no reason to give in to the fear.

So, I am going to stare down the fear.  I am going to hope and to act as if this pregnancy is going to go all the way and that at the end I have a beautiful baby to hold in my arms.

So, that being said, I do feel much happier today.  Over the weekend, I had a food aversion on Saturday night and some slight morning sickness on Sunday morning and today, I have had undeniable morning sickness for most of the day.  It’s made me so happy!!  I feel like crap but the very best thing is that I feel like I am pregnant and that is a really great feeling!!  Still 10 days until the first scan (when isn’t there a count down?) – so a bit of time to wait but I am going to enjoy it!

***  I would also like to thank the following people
for stopping by and commenting in the last couple of weeks.  Each and every comment has touched my heart and I appreciate your support at this difficult and joyful time.

Ordinary Girl at Wonderfully Ordinary

Sue at Dream-Believe
TIO at The Impatient Optimist
Elle at Elle’s Family Blog
Silver at Hope for the Best
Melissa at Banking on It
Tiree Gal from Happy Go Lucky
Summer at Worrier/Warrier
Played by the Fickle Mistress at Fate is a Fickle Mistress

Maj Bryen


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I am struggling at the moment.  I am anxious - so anxious that I constantly have that sick feeling in my stomach.  At first I thought that it might be early onset morning sickness but now I am pretty sure that it is just anxiety.

Just. Anxiety. 

Anxiety is such a small word but its effects are devastating.  I am not sure of what the origin of the anxiety is but I am certainly very worried about the pregnancy.  It is so early and I don't expect there to be symptoms and, of course, there are none but that worries me.  I have booked in for the first scan but it won't be for another 17 days - that feels like a life time.  Don't get me wrong, underneath the anxiety is certainty gratitude and some small measure of excitement but everything is overlaid by that anxiety.

It also could be to do with dealing with the emotional aftermath of Dad's death.  My Mum was worried that I wasn't there when Dad died but one thing that I know 100% is that Dad wanted me in Thailand for the cycle.  I am also okay that he couldn't wait, I didn't want him to struggle.  The simple truth is that I miss him.  Last week preparing for the funeral was completely manic and because we were immersed in his life, he felt like he was right there but now I feel bereft.  When I went to the viewing, I spent some time with him on my own and I told him about the baby, he would be so happy to know about another 'little miracle'.  How do you say goodbye to your Dad?  How can it be that he won't be ringing me and asking me how to text on his phone or talk about the footy.  I actually really don't understand.  The thought of his not meeting the baby makes me so sad.  The thought that JBB won't remember him tears me down deep.  The football finals are on and they are continually a stark reminder that he is not here.

I think that it is also work.  When I got back yesterday, I was overwhelmed with how much there was to do and today I think I have unwittingly walked in to a power play.  I am hoping that it will work out well for me and my Bestie but the uncertainty definitely has created more anxiety.

I am also worried that I am so anxious (yes, I just said that) - I hope that I am not hurting the baby with my worry.

How do I get rid of this sick feeling in my stomach?  Being a comfort eater, I usually try to eat to feel better but I have been trying to restrain myself, I want to look after myself and the baby.  I have downloaded some hypnosis mp3's - I am hoping that they will at least help to make the anxiety manageable.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Two Beta's

I have had two Beta's in the last week.  One on Tuesday and Friday.  Here are the results:

HCG Tuesday:  72
HCG Friday:  231

So, I think all is looking good and it now is just a matter waiting until the 6 week ultrasound to make sure that everything is okay.  

Everything feels very surreal for me at the moment, I know that there is a massively long way to go but at least for the moment, it feels like all is on track.  I can hardly believe that the trip to Thailand has even happened, let alone worked.

We had the funeral on Thursday and I am sure my Dad would have been extremely happy with the service.  He was a collector of people so there were an enormous number of people there.  

The weekend has been nice, I have been able to spend a lot of time with JBB and JourneyMan.  Friday, I took JBB to the indoor playground because the weather was horrible.  He had an absolute ball.  On Friday night, I went to the footy with my Aunty - it was the finals but I didn't really want to go because of he weather and also because I was absolutely exhausted.  I did feel that Dad would want me to go though, unfortunately my team lost but seriously, I didn't really care.

Saturday, I went to the market with my sisters and Mum and that was really nice.  My bestie dropped in after her acupuncture appointment and it was good to see here again.  It has been strange this week going from seeing her every day to only seeing her a couple of times.

Today, I was able to have a big sleep in so I feel much better.  Today, we are taking JBB to his swimming lessons and then we will have a swim with him.  Then it will be nap time for the cheeky and maybe if there is time, we will be able to take him to the mini train track for a ride on the train.

I know that I have resorted to updates again but I am overwhelmed with emotions at the moment.  Grief, joy, sadness, gratefulness, fear - you name it, I am immersed in it.