Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I often wonder if going through our infertility journey has given us more of a propensity toward happiness than if we didn’t go through this journey. Maybe it is that I am getting older and more mature or maybe it has been all what I learned over the past few years. I am not really sure but I am definitely consistently more happier now than when I was younger.
I used to be the person that would think ‘when I get the perfect job, I will be happy’, ‘when I lose weight, I will be happy’, ‘when I find the perfect man, I will be happy’. Turns out, I didn’t actually need to find all these things to make me happy, what I needed to do was change what I thought of as ‘happiness’. I have a good job and the fact that I get to spend time with my bestie when there makes me happy. I am married to a man who is ‘perfect for me’ and daily I take great pleasure in laughing, crying, comforting and being comforted with this man. I have lost and gained weight many times and even at my lowest weight, it didn’t change my life so I was happy 24/7 – though I do want to lose weight now, it is to be the healthiest and happiest me that I can be.
It doesn’t mean to say that there are not times when I am sad, overwhelmed, angry or over it but there is heaps of happiness. Of course, we are the lucky ones who have been successful in our quest to be parents and both JourneyMan and I are looking forward to a time when we can get down to the business of being the best parents of all time to the best kids in the world – without worrying about hormones and needles and cycles and all of the other many, many complimentary therapies that go hand in hand with our cycles. It also won’t mean that by being parents these two little boys that we will be happy 24/7 – parenting is hard – it is tiring and testing but at the end of the day, it makes me very happy indeed.
Every night before I go to bed, I go into JBB’s room and tuck him into his doona and give him a kiss. It is such a small thing but in that moment, every single night, I acknowledge how happy I am to be his mum. It is my little prayer of gratitude that this little miracle was visited on us. We are so lucky and we are about to be doubly blessed with another miracle in our lives. Yes, it is a lot easier to be happier these days.
I wonder if I got pregnant really easily if I would take these beautiful miracles for granted. I would hope not but I just don’t know – I really have changed over these past 6 years. It’s funny. When JBB was first born, my Dad always used to refer to him as our ‘little miracle’ and it kind of annoyed me – mainly I think because I felt it gave the impression that we didn’t really have any part in the creation of this miracle. I know, I know – I don’t know what the heck I was thinking. Now, I openly acknowledge that JBB and soon, Boo2’s presence in our lives is absolutely miraculous and that I need to be grateful for this fact.
I think that was the main thing that I learnt on my last trip to Thailand for the Boo2 cycle with my bestie. Gratitude. I had always tried to be grateful for everything that I have but I don’t feel like I really got it down deep in my heart until that trip. I would often pray to various higher powers asking for what I want but it wasn’t until then that I stopped asking for what I wanted and started being grateful for what I already had. Gratitude is a powerful thing, so powerful that I have come up with a new equation in my life Gratitude = Happiness. Also, to find and enjoy happiness wherever you can get it. For me, it’s as simple as that.
I have started to build castles in the sky about our future, what will we do with ‘the boys’, where we will take them, what we will teach them, what kind of people that they will turn out to be. I take care not to plan too much because that is a big lesson that I have learnt, too much planning = expectations = disappointment.
What I dream the most for my boys is that they will be happy. I don’t care if they are doctors or brick layers or the Prime Minister or an office worker. I don’t care if they are gay or straight or whatever – all I want for them is that, like their Mum – who is the luckiest person for being their Mum – they find that they are mostly happy in their lives.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
As this pregnancy draws to a close, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that this is the last time. We know that we will not be doing any more cycles and not having any more children. There is some part of me that is really, really sad about this fact but another part of me that is very relieved. Relieved that the anguish of cycles are over and
It's taken me a long time to admit but the only thing that I like about being pregnant is the feeling of connection to the child, feeling them move and kick inside me, knowing that I am already nurturing them. For the rest of it (and this is a VERY hard thing for an infertile to admit), I find being pregnant very, very hard. The fear, being uncomfortable most of the time, the physical cost that it takes, the recovery from the birth. The one thing that I know at the end of this pregancy, it's absolutely worth it when I am holding the precious baby in my arms.
So, knowing that this is the last time that I will be pregnant, we have booked in to have some pregnancy and newborn shots done. We didn't do this with JBB, I am not exactly sure why but I do suspect that it was to do with 'tempting fate' or just the fact that we had so much going on in the lead up to JBB being born - ie. renovating renovating our house. I am really happy that we are doing it but am also really aprehensive. I have never really been huge friends with my body and being in photo's when I am feeling pretty bad about my body is a bit daunting. I know it will be really great for JBB and Boo2 to look at one day and I guess even I will look back and want to remember.
JBB has taken to talking about Boo2 more and more. He has told us that he will share his toys (I hope so) with him and that there is a chair for Boo2 at his little table. I talk to him quite a bit about what will happen when Boo2 comes along. I want him to be as prepared as possible though I know that it is is going to be quite a shock for him too.
In weather news, it has finally broken. It was lovely and cool last night and we all got a good night's sleep, thank goodness!! It is still going to be warm during the days but some cool nights will really help matters!!
Exciting times ahead, only 2 more weeks of work to go - yay!!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
We continue to swelter here in Melbourne. It has been a record breaking summer and we are now sweating through the longest number of days over 30 degrees C in a row. Seriously, I am absolutely over it. It is Autumn now for crying out loud – the average normal temperature in March is 24 degrees – we have been averaging more than that for the minimum temperature and it has made for some very uncomfortable nights.
People are getting cranky because they are not getting sleep and I am no exception, I am absolutely exhausted from the heat and with my temp up from the pregnancy, any effort seems just too much right now. Poor JBB is also having trouble sleeping at the moment which makes us all tired because he is a big cranky pants when he is tired.
JourneyMan went away for the weekend, over to Perth where his cousin got married. I was supposed to go but with all the complications with the pregnancy we decided that caution was the name of the game at the moment. I missed him mightily and I also realised just how much of the load that he takes from me while he is around. He is a gem of a husband for sure. I was soooo glad when he got home – it was tough without him. JBB missed him too, he is a real Daddy’s boy – his Daddy is his hero, especially at the moment because I can’t do much physical playing with him (we do a lot of reading and chatting – I am the boring parent right now).
I had to call the OB on Saturday night because I have had a bit of gastro over the weekend as well as a headache that lasted a couple of days too. I didn't think that there was much to worry about but I wanted to make sure anyway. He was great as usual and I needed to check in the following morning and I felt a bit better. He said that he has had so many calls because the heat is hurting the pregnant people right now. He thought that I just had a bit of a virus, blech.
Apparently, there is a cool change coming at about 6pm tomorrow night but the following day it is due to be 27 and then the day after 28, though I suppose that is better than the 37 that we have going on today. It is supposed to be a pretty cool weekend, that will be nice, I am not holding my breath though.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
During the first year of JBB’s life, I was terrified that one day when JBB was growing up that he would yell at me ‘You’re not my mother’. As time has gone on the fear has left me about this. Being a donor Mum brings some special issues to play and this has been one for me.
When we went for the fresh cycle for Boo2 in October 2011, we met the donor again. It was a wonderful experience. I didn’t know if I would recognise her because we had only met her once 2 years before but when she walked towards me, I saw so much of JBB in her, it was ridiculous to think that I wouldn’t recognise her. We embraced and the feeling of gratitude that I had to this woman overwhelmed me. When we sat down and she asked to hold JBB, I held my breath and questions ran non stop through my mind. Would he have an instant connection to her because of the biological link? Would he prefer her to me? Would she want to take him? The answer to all these questions were no. He played nicely with her and then wanted to come back to me. She loved him obviously did not consider that she was his mother (only the amazing women who helped bring him into the world). That made me surer of myself.
When JBB got sick and was in hospital, I didn’t worry that I was his Mother anymore. I was the one he wanted comfort from, I was the one who stayed up with him all night, I was the one who held him while the put the drip in and gave him treatments, I was the one who was so terrified that he would be taken away or his life changed forever. At this point I realised that really, there was no-one else to lay claim to be his mother.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting with JBB and we were talking about how bubby Boo2 is in my tummy and was kicking me. I showed him what it felt like on his tummy and he laughed. He wants to talk about Bubby Boo2 all the time at the moment and yesterday he asked if he could go in to my tummy to see Bubby Boo2. What a cutie. I also told him about how he used to be connected to me from his belly button – I don’t think he quite got the concept but he was fascinated. It also brought home to me the fact that I carried him in my body, he was connected to me, he still is and always will be.
After all this time, I am now not worried if one day JBB or Boo2 shout at me ‘you are not my mother’ because I know deep down into my bones, I am most certainly their mother. I think what I was more afraid of was my reaction to this occurring because I didn’t know if I could handle it. I am sure that it would hurt if they say something like that to me but I know I can handle it. I am their mother. I am happy to help them meet the donor in the future if that’s what they decide, I will do anything that will help them to know who they are and how they came into this world. All I want for them in their lives is health and happiness. My love for them has absolutely no bounds, they are the light of my lives. After 6 years of struggle, pushing, grief and amazing, unadulterated happiness and joy – I am what I wanted to be. A mother.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Last year, one of my bosses told me that she is going through IVF. She told me because she knew that she would have to duck off to appointments etc but little did she know that I had a very intimate knowledge of what she is going through. They had just done their first fresh cycle and were waiting on the results. She was very enthusiastic, she was sure that they would be successful on their first go and that she would be pregnant and going on maternity leave soon. In my mind, I admired her enthusiasm and hope, it had been a lifetime since I had felt that way during a cycle but I also feared for her. I had felt that cycle positivity myself too but changed over significantly over the years until I approached each new cycle with a mixture of fear and hope but I didn’t say anything because I hoped against hope that she would be one of the lucky ones that got pregnant straight away.
Fast forward to today and we were discussing her latest transfer failure. Since that first fresh cycle, they have had 3 more frozen transfers pretty much back to back and unfortunately, they have all failed. My heart hurt for her as I realised the change in her from when they started. She had all the main hallmarks of an IVF battler – withdrawing from friends, anger over what was happening, not wanting to go to baby showers, feeling guilty over jealous feelings, bewilderment that this is their lot. For my part, I also felt a bit of survivor guilt. I am proud of how we persisted and got to where we are now, hopefully completing our family soon but I have been in her shoes and I know that they are hard to wear. I felt terrible that my enormous belly was showing her that I was at the end of the journey and she has still yet to experience any success.
We discussed how very few people know how to deal with the situation in a constructive, supportive way – most people resort to platitudes ‘it will happen when it is meant to’, ‘think positive, it will all work out’, ‘you just need to relax’ etc, etc. She told me that someone had said that she needed to buy some sexy new lingerie and that will help – seriously, that is a new one that I just had to share, my goodness, can you be any dumber!??!?!? I also realised that it doesn’t stop once you have had a baby, people will then start to say things like, ‘I heard this story about so and so who had a baby via IVF and then found out that she was pregnant naturally’ and the worst part of people saying that was that I really wanted to believe it. Now I have also realised that people still want to say stuff ‘it wasn’t really that bad, after all you have your family now, you are a big success story’. Yes, I absolutely feel lucky but JourneyMan and I were talking the other day and we realised that we had spent the last 6 years of our lives to get here, our finances have suffered significantly, many parts of our lives have been put on hold and the emotional and physical toll has been great. I feel very lucky to have our family but I think I also want a little acknowledgement that we also contributed significantly to making our own luck. We thought outside of the square and did things that many others are not willing to do. I feel proud of us and I suppose that is the real acknowledgment that I need.