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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Transfer and 1DPT

The transfer itself went well, the lead up to it was a little rocky.  I woke up at 3am and 4am and someone in the hotel was smoking (despite it being a non smoking hotel) and it was coming through the vents to our room.  I was ropable and so first thing in the morning, we asked to move rooms because I just didn't want to stay in a room (especially on 2 days of bed rest) that was filled with smoke.  Before we requested this though, I had a call with JourneyMan's mum and JBB - it is sooooo nice to see him, I just miss my boys so much.

Changing rooms caused a bit of a debacle because initially they put us into a terrible room with a rollaway bed that looked out onto silo's - what!?!?!  I was very upset at this point and said 'I am going to the hospital, I need this organised and I don't need the stress'.  They said that they would organise it before we got back at about 4pm so we went off for our massage treatments, got packed up so they could move us and then met our car that we had booked for the day.

Until I got in the car I was a little bit stressed, then I had to let it all go.  The bestie was a mega champ in this respect - talking me down and making sure that I was relaxed before we got to the clinic.  Once we got there, we had time to grab some lunch and decompress.  Once I got up to the clinic, I was super relaxed.  I was completely prepared with my phone and headphones with my fertility mp3's on it and I had my book to read while I waited.

It all went off without a hitch and the two embies were some seriously good looking ones!!  I felt great and when we got back to the new room, it was good and had a lovely view of the pool.  So the rest of the night consisted of a phone call to JourneyMan, some texting to my people to update them, room service and some dvd's.

I got to sleep well last night but I woke at about 1:30am to wee and then I woke again at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep so I did some reading and texting to JourneyMan.  Unfortunately though, JBB has been sick - we think just with teeth coming but I can't help worrying - it physically hurts me to not be there to comfort him to make him feel better. 

I also was very down this morning, for the first time I really contemplated this cycle failing and it really upset me.  Once again JourneyMan and the Bestie came to the rescue - JourneyMan with some lovely text words and the Bestie with some good distraction techniques.

I had some reasonable face time with JBB and JourneyMan this afternoon and then it has just been movies and then some DVD's.  I am still worried and I think it is going to be a tough 2WW (which one isn't) - I just want this so desperately to work!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monks and Tigers and Elephants (oh my!)

We got out of Bangkok yesterday for a day tour in the Kanchanaburi province.  The day started out very early when the guide picked us up at the hotel at 4:30am.  Of course, I am also having every day so I had to set the alarm for 3:45am so that I could do that and whilst I was lying down for the requisite half and hour afterwards, I called my boys to check in with them.  Thank goodness for technology honestly, I would be a lot sadder if I couldn't see and talk to my boys every day.

The drive out of Bangkok wasn't too bad - there was hardly any traffic and nothing was open at 4:30am!!  I really don't like driving (or being driven) in Thailand - the traffic is a scary anything goes type of situation and they like to drive fast.  We stopped to get a coffee (no decaf so I had to have a hot chocolate) and then got to the Bridge on the River Kwai at around 7am.  We had a quick look around there and our guide told us about much of the horrible history of the Burma railway where thousands of allied soldiers died construction the railway line from Burma into Thailand.

We then got to the Tiger Temple.  This temple for Buddhist monks was built in 1994 as a forest monastery.  The villagers gave the first orphan tiger to the temple in 1997 and over the years, the temple has become a breeding place for the tigers.  JourneyMan and I first visited the temple on our honeymoon, we went in the afternoon when the tigers were very sleepy in the heat of the day.  The fact that they are very docile in the afternoon has led people to believe that the tigers are drugged, after our experience yesterday, I definitely don't think that this is the case!

When we first arrived at the temple, we gave food to the monks.  We all had to line up and place the offerings in the bowls of the monks as they went by.  As a sign of respect, we had to dress appropriately (shoulders and knees covered) and take our shoes off.  We also had to make sure that we didn't touch the monks or the bowl that they were holding.  As they came past, we had to use two hands to put the offering in the bowl and then bow to the monk as they went past.  When we were given all of these instructions (by an Aussie guy no less!), my bestie and I looked at each other and said 'what the?', we were stressed that we wouldn't remember everything and offend the monks.  Once the process started though, it was okay but there were some stressful moments in there!

After we had given all of our food, we then went up to the temple where we able to feed some tiger cubs!  My gosh, this was so amazing but once again we got a good talking to that these are not domesticated cats, they are wild animals and that even the babies can do damage if they get a hold of you.  So, once again, it was an amazing experience but there was also quite a bit of fear there.  There were around 10 cubs being fed (we gave them bottled sweet milk) and they would put their paws onto our knees while they scarfed down their bottles.  Once they had all had their fill, we sat down and the monks gave a blessing, to the food and to everyone there.

Once the blessing was finished, we all sat down to have breakfast together.  Our guide was wonderful through this whole experience, helping us out with the tigers (there were many wranglers there as well), explaining the blessing as it was being said, taking pictures of us with the tigers and then getting our food for us (wonderful Thai dishes, delicious!!).  He also gave us many of the fruits to try, longan, longon, rambutan and mangosteens - the mangosteens especially were amazingly delicious!!

After breakfast, we took a tiger for a walk (yes, I know!!!) to go and have a wash and then (if you can believe it) we helped wash the tigers and fed them some chicken.  I always knew that we were going to feed the tiger some chicken and it was something that I thought 'no way, too scary' but they were amazingly gentle - JourneyDog who is Woolly is way chompier than these tigers were!!  Then we went into the tiger play area and were given big poles with play toys on the end of them and the tigers came in to play with us.  There was one wrangler per person in this area but still, the terror doing this was overwhelming.  My bestie and I lasted probably 5-10mins and then moved to a more remote area to watch - it was just so scary.

People then had pictures with the big tiger but my bestie and I sat that one out.  It had been such a full on morning, it was hard to believe that this had all happened before 10:30am!!  Once the pics were done, we took it in turns to walk with the big tiger to the canyon where we saw the big tigers at play in the water.  It was amazing to watch these big cats - such an overwhelming, exciting, scary, once in a lifetime experience!!

After we left the tiger temple, we had an early lunch at a beautiful outdoor Thai restaurant.  We sampled many Thai favourites - chicken in coconut, pork with hot basil and chilli (my favourite Thai dish) and chicken and cashews.  It was absolutely yummy and one of my favourite things of Thailand, sitting in a lush outdoor setting eating fragrant, delicious food!

We then went on to the elephant farm where the amazing experiences continued for the day.  We met the most beautiful, fun loving elephant called 'Full Moon' and we rode on her (bareback) in the water.  She sprayed us with her trunk and then took great delight in bucking us off into the water.  We got back on a few times and then she would buck us off again - of course there was a handler doing all of this as well but honestly, she was the most charming creature, we had a ball!  We had a water fight with her - she won!! She also picked us up (singly) with her trunk and allowed us to hug her. Her hide was leathery and bristly but so huggable - it was really the highlight of the day but once again, it wasn't without fear attached to it.  Sitting up on top of Full Moon, I couldn't help but think 'I am here for a cycle, I am a mother, I can't be hurt'!!

After getting changed into some dry clothes, we headed out to a section of the Burma railway that was built by hand, it was absolutely amazing - I can't believe that these poor POW's had to do this.  There was also a cave that the Japanese used as a hospital in the war and there was a Buddhist altar in there.  We asked our guide how we pray and then did what he said.  In the past, I have always asked for help for things in my life - usually around cycles for the past 5 years.  This trip, whenever I have prayed, I have just said thanks for the blessings that I already have - I do truly feel very lucky.  My mindset is so different this cycle.

Then we were finally on the road back to Bangkok.  This is always my least favourite part of the trip because we are on the scary roads, and I just want to get back because I am exhausted!  The drive was made that much more hairy when it started to rain quite heavily.  We had two things happen on the way back, my bestie needed to go to the toilet so badly and we got stuck in a traffic jam and she nearly had an accident in the car before we were able to stop for the toilet.  The other thing that happened was that to pass the time, we started looking through the photos that the guide had taken of us through the day.  Pretty soon, we realised that most of the photos showed us grinning, rictus like as if to say 'I'm having fun but am terrified of being eaten', we also realised that we are really two of the most non-photogenic people going around.  Then it got silly - we started laughing at the photos and couldn't stop - we were howling laughter and had tears pouring down our faces.  The worst photo was one of us at the Burma railway in what looks like a very downmarket clothing catalogue pose - everything about the photo was wrong and we couldn't look at it without tears of mirth running down our faces.  The poor tour guide did not know what the hell was going on and still, we couldn't stop laughing.  

Once we got back to the hotel, I had a chat with JourneyMan (JBB was in bed, sadly) and then we went and had a massage.  Life is pretty good here waiting for the transfer!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In Bangkok

It has been an eventful few days!  Let me go back to the beginning....

I worked on Thursday and was pretty busy in the morning but left at lunch time so that I could spend the afternoon with JBB.  I picked him up from daycare and we went and had some lunch with his Nanna and a friend of hers at a cafe near home that has a playground.  I wanted to really spend some quality time with him because I wasn't going to see him for 10 days, such a wrench!!  We had a lovely lunch and good play in the playground but we headed home because he hadn't had his afternoon sleep and he was super tired.

While he was asleep, I was able to finish off the last minute packing and got a head start on dinner.  He woke up pretty grumpy but there was a big thunderstorm so we had a great time listening to the thunder and seeing the lightening.  He would say 'sunder, mummy' and then give me a big hug, we wiled away the afternoon doing this.  It was so nice to spend the afternoon with him, especially because he was in a very affectionate mood.

Once JourneyMan got home, we had dinner and got JBB ready for bed, he was staying at my Mum's for the night while JourneyMan took us to the airport.  JBB was such a darling he went to bed very easily (after being hugged to within an inch of his life) and we had a cup of tea and then went to pick up my bestie on the way to the airport.  After saying goodbye to JourneyMan (I miss him!!), we checked in and after being up since 5am, we boarded the plane at 11pm - I was shattered.

The flight was not too bad, I slept most of the time but there was quite a bit of turbulence.  I don't mind those overnight flights from Melbourne to Bangkok, I don't really like spending a whole day on a flight I would much prefer to spend a night.  We arrived at the hotel at about 7am and were hoping that they would allow us to check in early, which they did.  Thank goodness too - we were sooooo tired and I also wanted to freshen up and change because I had the appointment at the clinic at 11am, no-one wants someone looking up their lady bits when you have been on a plane for 9 hours - belch!!

The clinic visit was a good one, my lining measured 11mm which is way better than the last 2 cycles, my oestrogen was excellent and my progesterone was pretty good.  I am now on 2 forms of oral progesterone as well as the suppositories - hopefully that will work well.  The doctor is also flying out to Japan so the transfer has been moved up a day to Tuesday, hopefully the 5 days post transfer on the trip will help to give a good result this time!!

Since the clinic, it has been all systems go on 'Project R&R' and it has been pretty successful so far.  We spent time by the pool in the afternoon and last night I had a nice foot massage (though they did dig in a bit so it also was a bit hurry) and this morning I had a fabulous Thai massage with herbal compresses - hugely relaxing.  This was all after a lovely sleep in until 10am - wow, who would have thought that was possible!!

I've also have had 2 great Sk.ype calls with JourneyMan and JBB - it was wonderful to see my boys and JBB seems in very good form - he doesn't seem too upset without me, which I am hugely grateful for.  It is so amazing to see him every afternoon while he is getting ready for bed, he tells me what he has done for the day and loves having a chat with my bestie as well!!  He is such a cutie, I miss his hugs.

Tonight has been lovely too, we had a nice Thai dinner and then went to the movies - saw the Bourne Legacy, which was okay.  I have done my yoga, taken fistfuls of hormones and vitamins and am now preparing for bed.  Need to get up super early (4am - week!) tomorrow because we are going on a tour to see the tiger temple (we have breakfast with the monks and feed the baby tigers) and then we give some elephants a bath, it should be a super fun day.

I had better get off to bed so I can enjoy it - night!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…..

I am all at once very excited and nervous and worried.  Excited at the prospect of having a holiday in Thailand and hopefully having a successful cycle and bringing another baby into our lives.  Nervous that this all will be for nought and once again, the cycle will be a bust and worried about leaving JBB because I know that he will miss me a lot and I am not sure that he understands what is going on.

JBB was very clingy this morning.  I have been telling him for a while that I am going away and that we will talk every day on the computer and that after 10 days I will be coming back.  I am not sure how much he understands but I hope that he is not too upset when I am not there.  We have tried to keep things as much as possible the same as when I am home though JourneyMan is leaving work earlier every day so that he can spend more time with him to help to reassure him.  We are going to Sk.ype every day and I hope that will help him out.  

So much of my time spent as a mother is being torn.  I try to make the best decisions that I can but sometimes the consequences are both good and bad at the same time.  I will enjoy my time in Thailand, it will be fun having my bestie there – just like old times but I do feel a bit sick in my stomach at the thought that I might be hurting JBB.  I know that in the long run (if the cycle is successful), he will benefit greatly from my time away as he will have a sibling for life but it is still hard when I won’t be there to tuck him in and comfort him when he is hurting etc.

There is a part of me that feels guilty about having fun while I am away but then I want to be as happy and calm as possible for the cycle.  At the end of the day though, mostly what I am trying to focus on is that I am doing the best for our family in the long run.  I need to relax, stay positive and feel in top condition for the transfer and hopefully, I will be able to give JBB the best gift of all.

Check the ticker people – only hours to go…..

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2 More Sleeps – Calm

I woke up this morning and thought ‘2 more sleeps’ and I felt something.  It was a feeling that I had to take a moment to recognise.  I was calm, that was what I was feeling.  I am not a very calm person, I would usually describe myself as ‘passionate’ when I am being nice to myself or a ‘drama queen’ when I am a little bit over my craziness.  Calm, patient, serene – these are definitely words that I don’t think that I have ever heard linked to me before – in fact if that sat down next to me on the bus I would have trouble recognising them.  It has made me wonder from whence this new found calm has come?  

I can only imagine that it is the fact that I am ready.  I have looked at the last couple of cycles, reviewed my posts leading up to and during the cycles and from the true benefit of hindsight, even though at the time I thought I was ready, I wasn’t.  I feel pretty good about myself too, I think that I have done what I can to make the cycle a success.  I have by no means been perfect but definitely I have influenced what I could to make the cycle a success.  I mean, who the hell knows why a cycle succeeds or fails anyway, I sure as shit don’t and I am done with beating myself up with the multitude of ways that we all can do in a cycle.

I am not stressed.  I really, really hope that this cycle works but I am also satisfied that we have a workable plan B to go on with and I am not horrified by it.  Of course, I will be very upset if we have to do plan B but I accept that we may have to do it.  Work is also not stressful, though I have got quite a few last minute things to do, I am not stressed about it, I will hand over anything not done to my sidekick and will move on immediately.

I am tired but not the ‘falling asleep driving to work’ kind of dead exhausted that I was before the October and December cycles last year – now I am just your everyday working Mum type tired – I kind of expect that this is just how it is from now on.  

I am not over the top emotional – thankfully for JourneyMan, JBB and those around me, I am not snapping or crying or overly worried or anything that normally precedes a cycle for me – it is quite pleasant really!!

I may lose my shit tomorrow but for the moment I am revelling in this new found calm – it’s nice, I would definitely like to experience it again!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Darling 2 Year Old

We had the most wonderful 2nd birthday for our darling JBB yesterday.  He woke at 6am as normal and we hung around together while JourneyMan had his sleep in for the week (we take it in turns of having a sleep in on the weekend days), only until 8-9 but that is a massive sleep in for both of us!!  I love my ‘Mummy and JBB time’ it’s so special, especially on his birthday.  I made him a train cake and stored it in the pantry over night – I showed JBB in the morning and he was over the moon about it – he kept wanting to go back and look at the ‘choo choo’.  Finally, we (okay me) got sick of waiting for pressie corner and we went to wake up JourneyMan.  JBB was shouting ‘corner, Daddy, corner’.

He didn’t really know how to open his pressies but by the end of the day, she sure knew how to rip into them and see what was inside.  We spoilt him with Thomas the Tank engine sheets and plate and cup set, finger puppets, a cloth tunnel, some building blocks and a small cubby house for the backyard – he was delighted with all of his presents, which made us delighted too.

We had our families (21 adults and 7 kids) around for a party.  Usually I stress out big time before parties and don’t really look forward to them at all, mainly because I think that I am a pretty shy and private person and being out there talking to people is pretty stressful, – even with family.  I also think that I worry about what people will judge me with – is there enough food, is it nice, was it fun or crap, is the house a disaster?  I did start stressing earlier in the week because there was so much to do
 but I decided to not worry about it and the good thing was, I really didn’t.  I also thought that if people want to judge me because there are some things out of place in the house, it is more about them than about me.  I didn’t run myself into the ground cleaning and I had chosen to get food and balloons delivered to make my life easier.  It worked, I was really organised, the cake was great fun to make and decorate and I think we all had a great time.

I was worried that JBB might be completely overwhelmed with the experience because he is quite a reserved kid and is very shy around most people, even family that he sees fairly regularly.  He was asleep when most of the people arrived and when he woke up, he sat with JourneyMan until he was ready to join the party.  JBB was a super darling the whole day.  He is such an easy going kid.  The other kids would take his toys from him and he wouldn’t cry or throw a tantrum – he would go and find something else to play with (or I would make the kid give it back to him – though I tried to just watch).  He had such a wonderful time, chasing bubbles and blowing out the candles and showing everyone his cubby house!  He had an early night and slept right through and was ecstatic to wake up to all his presents again today.

He is such a special presence in our lives – he brings me joy every day.  I know I am going to miss my boys so much when I am in Thailand – it is such a wrench to be away from them but it is all in a good cause and hopefully this cycle will be the one that completes our family!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

1 Week to Go - The Baby Shower Aftermath….

Back in July, I wrote this post about a friend of mine who was pregnant with her first child at 42 (I said 43 at the time but she is 42) and because she seemed very unexcited about the baby and shut down any excitement that I wanted to give her, I was peeved and confused by the situation.  It was something that I thought she would be ecstatic about but she did not seem so.

Anyway, the baby shower was a couple of weeks ago and I had another good talk to her.  It turns out that at the time she was terribly worried about the baby having down’s syndrome or having something wrong because she is an older mother.  She also just was not enjoying being pregnant, she just wanted to have the baby.  She made the most moving speech about how her life had turned around in the last 12 months, she had met her soul mate, she got pregnant, she got engaged, they moved in together – all in all a pretty busy 12 months.

I feel very bad now that I was slightly angry with her (even though she didn’t know it) because I made an assumption that her lack of excitement was because she wasn’t grateful enough and not because she was worried about the baby.  I mean seriously, I definitely understand the worry of pregnancy, I felt like I didn’t breathe out until I heard JBB cry.  It goes to show you that you really shouldn’t make assumptions about what’s going on with people – I was very wrong and of course, my judgements were about me and not my lovely friend.  

The baby shower made me realise another thing as well.  I like my friends and they really don’t deserve me constantly withdrawing from them all when cycles go bad, or actually even when I am cycling.  They are all very understanding and supportive, I believe I need to give them more credit.  Once this cycle is over, I have vowed to myself that whether it is positive or negative, I will have them all over for lunch or something – it will be fun!!  I will not necessarily tell them what is happening with the cycles (because I find that very hard) but there are plenty of other things to discuss!!  I had such a great time at the baby shower chatting and catching up with everyone, it was so nice – I really miss them.

In other worse news, this cold/flu/pharyngitis/pleurisy type sickness is still kicking my arse, I woke up at 2:30am this morning and didn’t get to sleep until after 4:30am (we get up at 6am) – my muscles were so sore I had to have an Epsom salt bath just to get back to sleep.  I keep thinking I am recovering and then it comes back.  Thankfully I am not too worried about the party now, I am just going to do what I can do and get as much rest as I can before I go.  I know it’s only a week but I feel if I can get some good rest in there before I go, I will be tip top by the time of the transfer – lucky it is 5 days after I get to Thailand – yayers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

9 Days to go - The dichotomy of confidence and fear

Generally I feel confident that this cycle will work, we have good embryos and I am in much better shape both mentally and physically than I was in the previous cycles, so really how can it not work right?  I have been catching myself talking about ‘when’ I am pregnant rather ‘if’, I am making plans that include my being pregnant (ie. Our family holiday at Christmas) and I imagine how I am going to share the news with everyone.  I think about how much I am going to try to enjoy the pregnancy more than I did with JBB (mostly I white knuckled it right through that pregnancy).

But then, a feeling of fear splashes over me like a bucket of ice water.  ‘What if it doesn’t work’?  These embryo’s are from the same batch in which 3 were unsuccessful – does that mean that they are a bad batch?  What if I have to send out that dreaded text message again ‘it’s negative, I don’t want to talk about it’.  What about if I have to feel that enormous feeling of hurt and failure again?  

This is the quintessential roller coaster that is IF.  There are never any solid answers because they don’t know everything and whilst the science has come along leaps and bounds, there is SOOOOO much that they don’t know.  Why do some embryos implant and some don’t?  Why does an embryo from a 41 year old woman implant naturally and an embryo from a 24 year old donor not?  What is the best protocol to use?  What are the best medications to get the best results?  What natural therapies work and what don’t?  The answer to all of these questions is, ‘we don’t really know’.  So, I pray, I get my good luck charms,, I do my yoga, I listen to my hypnosis mp3’s. I try to influence the outcome in any way possible.  At the end of the day though, what influence do I have?  I suspect very little.

I guess I have become a bit of a fatalist because now I think ‘if it’s meant to be, it will happen’.  This is extraordinarily ironic because amongst the things that fertiles have said to me that pisses me off mightily, it is this – ‘if it’s meant to be, it will happen’.  Gaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!  Honestly, it drives me crazy because then the thoughts come into my mind like ‘so a 15 year old is MEANT to get pregnant, and how about the baby that is born addicted to heroin, is that MEANT to happen’.  It is hard to reconcile these thoughts and the only way that I have been able to is to try to accept that life is really bloody unfair.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still do everything in my power to influence the outcome – I am still taking my herbs every day and having acupuncture every week, downing handfuls of pills and supplements each day and generally doing the myriad of things that I do before and during a cycle.  I think I am just coming to accept that I can’t control everything – probably a good lesson to learn considering I am 41!!

Anyway, most of the time I am confident but I am well and truly on the roller coaster.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

10 Days to Go – Feeling a little Stressed!!

So, it is getting very exciting now but of course, very busy!!  There are only 10 more days to go until I fly out for Thailand and in between there, we have JBB’s 2nd birthday party so things have gotten super duper hectic!!  There is sooooo much to do!

I did a few lots of meals and put them in the freezer over the weekend for when I am away, I still have a couple more to do but at least I will know that JourneyMan and JBB are eating decently when I am away.

Now the party is playing on my mind!!  We are still to pick up JBB’s main present – a cubby house and sand pit for the back yard.  He is such an outside kid, he is going to love it, I think!!  I still have to do a trial cake in the oven (it is a bit temperamental) to see how it bakes cakes because I am making the train cake for JBB. 

There are around 30 adults and children coming to the party and I don’t know if I have ever told you this before, I am not really a party person.  I don’t mind having birthday parties for JBB but it is all the preparations and clean up after that is stressful for me.  Well, I am just going to have to keep writing my lists and getting thing done, hopefully it will all turn out well.

Only 10 more days to go – I am all at once, excited, scared and stressed at all I need to get done!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Inspirations...

So, it is time for another Olympics to come to a close and whilst Australia didn't do quite as well as we'd hoped, it has been a great Olympics with inspirational stories.  I, of course, like to focus on the stories of the women because that is where I find my inspiration.

There is Erin Densham, the gutsy bronze medallist in the triathlon.  She gave it absolutely everything and was totally amazing considering she had been pulled from the water 3 years ago whilst competing in a triathlon and was diagnosed with a heart condition.  She recovered and fought her way back.  I love a fighter and she had a truly wonderful race.

Then there is Anna Meares, our wonderful track cyclist.  She was our youngest woman ever to win gold in Athens and then 7 months out she fractured a vertebrae in her neck and sustained other injuries in the fall and then went on to win a silver medal in Beijing - that was sensational.  She is held very close in our hearts and when she won gold in the sprint - well, really, how can you not be inspired by someone who was knocked down but got back up again and continued to compete.

Then there is my favourite medal of the games.  Sally Pearson's gold medal in the 110m hurdles.  There is not a nicer, more down to earth woman going around than this tenacious pocket rocket.  She has long  been a favourite of JourneyMan's and mine, we have seen her race at Stawell on a number of occasions.  After the debacle in the pool, she was our only world champ on the athletics track and the pressure landed on her hard.  I admire her greatly, she didn't shy away from it, without ego, she just said that she would do her best and hopefully everyone would be behind her at the end.  I was worried because it is a tough event, all you have to do is clip a hurdle and your dreams are over.  Sally absorbed the unbelievable pressure on her and ran perfectly won gold.  I cried when she won - she was fabulous!!

I love sport, I love the wonderful stories that can be found there.  When the Commonwealth Games were in Melbourne, I went with JourneyMan and all of my family to the athletics.  It was the day in which the women's marathon was run and as the two runners ran into the MCG for the final lap, an Australian woman, Kerryn McCann was in front, just.  The roar from the 90,000 strong crowd was amazing - I had never experienced anything like it before or since.  The last 400m was practically a sprint and even though the Kenyan runner got in front, Kerryn dug deep and kicked away in the last 200m.  This was a 38 year old mother of two children who had just won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games - she was amazing and it was a truly legendary moment in Australian sport.  A year later, whilst pregnant with her 3rd child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and died a year after that.  

She has always been an inspiration to me, I have always wanted to run a marathon but knew I would have to wait until after I had finished having my own family, the treatments are just too taxing.  The fact that she competed at the highest level (she finished 11th at the Sydney Olympics), went on to have a family and then won a gold medal at the Commonwealth games make be believe that one day I will be able to finish a marathon. Obviously, I won't be competing, I am a terrible runner, I just would like to complete one.

Sports stories usually tell me that, most of the time, you have to fail to win.  Winners are the ones that keep getting up when they are knocked down.  Of course, we can all relate to failing in our IF world.  TTC the normal way, IUI's, IVF, donor cycles, surrogates, miscarriages - all of us can relate to having to picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off over and over again.  I like to see people who have struggled, triumphant.   I have been lucky and have experienced that triumph in my journey.  I hope that all of you who are reading have experienced it too.

I still tear up thinking of Kerryn and the day she had her 'greatest race ever' - I am proud to have been a very small part of it.  Now that another Olympics is closing, I always have that mix of sadness and joy - I love it as a sporting event and I just love the stories.  I will not forget Erin, Sally and Anna - I love inspirational women and these are three of the best.  Bye London, I look forward to seeing all the action and stories from Rio.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Being Mum....

There are times when I mentally double take about being a Mum.  The past couple of weeks, I have come to the realisation, I am happy!  It is such a revelation, I have always been one of those people that 'will be happy when.....' - lose weight, meet the man of my dreams, have a baby, get the promotion etc.  

It all started with a domestic moment in the new house.  JBB love being outside and despite it being the wettest, coldest winter in recent memory, he's gotta go 'side, mummy, side' but I wanted to go back inside because I wanted to make him some stewed apples.  So I got the bag of apples, my knife and bowls (a big warm coat) and sat outside peeling and chopping apples while JBB rode his 3 wheeler and chased the dog.  It was in this moment, I realised that I am happy and it is these simple things that make me so.  Watching JBB running around and hearing his beautiful laugh, seeing his cheeky smile - I just thought 'how lucky am I to be his Mum?' and then I had the mental double take 'I am his Mum'.

It is strange that after 2 years, that the title that sometimes fits like a glove, sometimes feels like I'm having a beautiful dream and that I will wake up and realise that I never had that successful cycle (that thought causes me to break out in a cold sweat).  

At some point in the past few years, I have finally realised that you don't have to have everything you want in your life to be happy.  Maybe I am a slow learner but I spent most of my 20's and 30's chasing after perfection, the perfect job, the perfect man, the perfect relationship, the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect family.  In my 20's, this chase for perfection inside and outside of myself led me to abuse myself in a variety of ways, eating, drinking, smoking and mentally beating up on myself.  In my 30's, I started to move away from this behaviour and finally I met my 'perfect for me' man and we entered the world of IF.  

I approached IF the way I approached most other things in my life, like a bull at a gate.  All of our decisions early on were based on the 'get this done as quickly as possible' and then IF forced patience on to us.  It also forced real sorrow, pain and heartache.  It forced me to look at myself and my life.  Previously, I was on the fast track at work, I wanted to work harder and better than everyone else because I 'was going places'.  In the midst of preparing for IVF #3 with my own eggs, I quit my job and ended up negotiating to go back to them on a contract doing 3 days a week.  This changed my view of work and career forever.  My priorities had changed, the important thing no longer was proving how good a worker I was, it was to start to protect and nurture myself through the stress of multiple IVF cycles.

When, after two and a half years and 5 failed cycles with my own eggs, we turned to a Thai donor and clinic and experienced sweet, wonderful success.  We welcomed our son into the world and I became 'Mum'.  It is a difficult role, there is no handover, no manual and each and every child is different.  You have to learn on the job.  When you think you have something worked out, it all changes.  It is challenging but sweet, so beautifully sweet.

My birthday on Monday was nothing out of the ordinary, I wasn't whisked off in a private jet to a tropical island to celebrate.  I was woken by my boys, JourneyMan, JBB and JourneyDog who is Woolly.  I was given presents, slippers (I LOVE them), magazines, chocolates and an iTunes voucher.  I went to work and my Bestie took me out for cupcakes for lunch.  When I went to pick up JBB from my Mum's, she had helped JBB to pick flowers for me and make a card and she gave me some presents (pi's, bras and a trestle table - all of which I loved!).  We then had Italian takeaway for dinner and chocolate cake.  This is the most ordinary of birthday's but to me, it was all bliss - I have never been happier.

I don't have everything that I want.  Of course, we all know that I want another child, that is a given.  I wish we had been able to buy a house rather than rent, I wish that we had more money so that I didn't have to work and I could be a stay at home Mum.  I think that we all want more.  Once we get something that we want, we immediately start to focus on the next thing that we want, that is human nature, I think.

Being a Mum is way different but also the same as I imagined.  I love my life, I love my husband, I love my son, I love my Woolly dog - our family is wonderful.  After all of these years, the thing that I wanted most of all, despite all of its challenges being a Mum has taught me the lesson that despite the fact that you don't have everything that you want in your life, you can still be amazingly happy.

Being a Mum is what I was born to be.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Birthday’s, Anniversary’s and Cycle 9 starts in earnest!!

So, it is my birthday today and I am 41.  I am not freaking out too much over it, though I am not exactly over the moon either.  You would think that after all of these year’s of making family plans that haven’t come to fruition that I would stop making plans but I still persist in trying and my latest disappointment is that I wanted to have finished IVF by the time I turned 41.  The year before that, I had wanted to be finished having cycles by the time I turned 40.  So another birthday has rolled around and yes, I am still continuing cycles – of course, I still may be doing them next year as well – I accept that now.

It has been a lovely birthday so far, JourneyMan took me out to Gold Class last night to see the new Batman movie which was pretty good.  JBB also gave me (and JourneyMan) a great birthday present, he slept right through the night to 6am – what a little star!!  JourneyMan and JBB also gave me some presents this morning and I had lots of kisses and hugs from all of my boys made it a great birthday morning.  One of the best things about working with my Bestie is that we get to spend time together that we previously wouldn’t have – we went for coffee this morning and then we had lunch and cupcakes – yum, what a nice day!  It’s also my Mum’s birthday tomorrow so we are having a birthday lunch for the both of us with the whole family on Sunday, which will be lovely as well.  I have had lots of calls and messages from family and friends and tonight, the three of us are having a nice dinner together as a family.  Honestly, how can a birthday be any better (unless I was turning 25?) – I am one lucky woman.  I had always dreamed of such simple family life and now that I have it, it is even better than I had imagined.  The chipmunk voice ‘Mummy, story, mummy, book?’ waking me, the chubby little arms wound around neck hugging me and patting me for comfort, the smile and squeals of delight as I play with him.  Dreams do come true.

I would like to take a few moments to acknowledge a few of the other anniversary’s that have passed over the past couple of months without my acknowledgement on the blog:

  • May marked the 10 year anniversary of being sober – am very proud of myself, this is a huge accomplishment – I was going to do a whole post on this and I will at some stage because it was a massive changing time of my life. 
  • July 29 was our 5th wedding anniversary!  I am so very happy to have met my JourneyMan and the past 5 years have been wonderful! 
  •  July 31 was my 3 year blogaversary!!  I can’t believe I have actually been blogging for 3 years, it has been so good to keep a record of our Journey as well as to provide the catharsis for the overwhelming emotions that accompany a Journey such as ours – I appreciate each and every one of you that has read anything that I have written over the past 3 years!

Finally, cycle 9 has started in earnest.  The BCP has stopped, AF kind of came and I am now on the oestrogen to build up the lining.  I am getting very excited now – only 17 days to go!!  I am sure that is going to go very quickly!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cycle Analysis….

So, I got worse and worse and finally went back to the doctor and they said that I had the flu and pharyngitis.  Everything was looking pretty bleak on Monday, it was not a great day.  It was pretty unbearable, I was almost unable to swallow my own spit and the pain from my throat was agonising.  I had been on anti-biotics for 5 days and nothing had changed, in fact I had gotten worse.  I had Monday off from work and asked my (new) boss if I could work from home for the rest of the week which he was agreeable to so after some serious resting on Monday, things slightly improved on Tuesday and hugely improved on Wednesday!

In the dark days of Monday, I wondered if the cycle was compromised.  It is not a nice place to be but I just had to keep telling myself, I am going on this trip, I am going to get myself well and I am going to give these beautiful embryos the best chance in life possible.  The rollercoaster is in full force, I keep thinking that I am ready and all is going well and then *bam* something will happen and I think that it is all going to hell.  I think the hardest thing to keep on a cycle is your equilibrium.  That is hard for me at the best of times but add in hormones, stress and leaving the men in my life for 10 days and it is super tough.

Now that I am on the mend, I am back to being enthusiastic and excited about the trip.  There is still the fear that this cycle will be a failure but at the end of the day, whatever will be, will be.  I am trying to focus on the positives about this trip (having a trip with my best mate, getting treatments, sleeping, shopping, relaxing, getting pregnant of course!!

In my true nerdy style, I have analysed all 3 previous cycles to see what the differences are to this cycle.  Here is my analysis:

Days on BCP:
Days on Progynova:
Transfer cycle day:
Embryo Quality:
1 x 4BB
1 x 4AB
1 x 3BC
1 x 2AA
1 x 4BB
 1 x 2BB

So the biggest thing that I see here is that with JBB, I had 24 days of Progynova and of course we know that ended up being a successful cycle.  The Oct and Dec cycles had significantly less days of Progynova to develop the lining (-7 and -6 respectively), so hopefully the big positive of this cycle is that I have almost the same number of days of Progynova as I did with JBB.  The other aspect, of course, is the quality of the embryo’s.  We had excellent quality for both JBB and for Oct-11 but Dec-11 weren’t as good but this time we have one embryo that is the same quality as JBB as well as an extra one.  At the end of the day, we all know that there is no way to tell what cycle will be successful and which won’t be but I feel relieved that this coming cycle is much closer to mirroring (in lining prep and embryo quality) our successful cycle with JBB.  There is no guarantees that it will work but I feel like we have a great chance.  Added to this is the fact that I have lost a good deal of weight from the Oct & Dec-11 cycles and although I have not reached the same weight that I was at for JBB, I think I made really good improvements.

It is three weeks to go.  My focus is to keep my body strong and nourished.  Relax as much as possible and minimise the roller coaster.  Until Sunday, I am focussing on getting as much sleep and ensuring that I am as completely recovered as possible.