You Gotta Doula, What You Gotta Do

All my life I’ve been petrified of giving birth. As you may well know, my tolerance for pain is incredibly low. I’m the person who’s on really strong prescription pain killers for most of my period. I just can’t do it. I always joked with my friends that I would be sure to get an epidural at the beginning of the third trimester if I ever had to give birth.

I don’t know when that all changed though. Perhaps during one of my two week waits. Day dreaming about finally carrying a child and in those daydreams, I became obsessed with wanting to feel everything that comes with bringing a child into the world. I wanted to experience the morning sickness, the kicking, the bloating, the “glow”, the throwing up, the heartburn (oh the heartburn), the cravings and most importantly I wanted to feel a real contraction.

As soon as we got the BFP I’ve been able to check off these things on the list which has been magical in itself and now that giving birth is going to happen I’ve had to put in some serious thought about how I want it to go down.

In laying in bed at night thinking excitedly about how I might get to feel a contraction I was also starting to dread feeling a contraction. Dread to the point of not being able to sleep. It’s interesting wanting something so badly yet fearing it with every ounce of your being.

I asked my husband if he thought I could do a pain med free birth and he flat out said no. Not because he’s an asshole but because he’s lived with this drama queen for 7 years. It did sting to hear him say that but I get it. So I asked my mother if she thought I could do it since she did it 3 times. All she said was “Oooh, my child…” and pulled this face.

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Again, my mother knows me so I understand. But I still want to try.

So, I asked two of my friends who gave birth with out pain medication if I could do the same and they both said yes. “Yes, you can. It’s going to suck but if you want it you can do it”. They did advise that a birth class would help. A proper birth class with support and proper techniques. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Luckily I’d been toying with the idea of getting a doula. It started when I was looking at birth photographers. The one I wanted also happened to be a doula. I stalked her profile for a few weeks and it looked like she taught a gentle birth seminar as well. I really got a good feeling about her. After a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing about the price I sent her and email to set up a meeting. I told her I was interested in using her as a photographer but I also wanted info on her doula services and the class she taught.

We promptly set up a meeting and I know this is going to sound silly but once we sat down with her and she began talking, Lucky Bean started going crazy. I really took it as a sign that she was going to be the one to help me feel the contraction I’ve been daydreaming about for years.

She’s really lovely so we promptly hired her and we also signed up for her gentle birth seminar. She does these prenatal group nights (we have to do 5 before the baby comes) where her and her partner doulas (there are 3 of them altogether) talk about everything in the whole process to all of her clients.

So far we’ve been to part 1 of the seminar and one of the prenatal group nights. There are about 5 to 6 couples. All of them first time parents so it’s a nice group. Her practice is in Rhode Island so we’re the only Massachusetts couple. They’re all giving birth at the same hospital so we don’t have that in common but that’s neither here nor there.

The classes have been good and bad. Good, in that it’s a lot of information and support and she really makes me feel like I can do anything. Bad, because the simple fact that the techniques we’re learning to get through birth, meditation and hypnosis etc., are insane to me. The fact that you need to hypnosis to make it through the pain is frightening. Like how much is this going to hurt that I’m going to need to be on another level of consciousness to get through it? I look around the room at the calm faces and think how are these women not running out of here screaming. How is this not frightening to them? Why are we all doing this??

So I’m in two places right now. On the one hand, I cannot express the gratitude for this little life inside me. I’m so honoured that I’ll have the opportunity to bring him into the world safely with extremely strong support around me (N has completely forgotten that he doesn’t think I can do this and he is 100% on board with my desired birth experience. I love watching him be engaged). I am ready and excited to prove my mettle. I absolutely do not take for granted how lucky I am to be where I am given where I’ve come from so I owe it to everyone and myself to make the most of this. I know that things might happen and I can’t plan anything but the fact that I get to try is a gift that I don’t want to squander.

On the other hand…

I.am.fucking.petrified.

 

At Least…

One thing infertility has taught me is to be very mindful of what I say to people and to remove some words from my vocabulary.

We see a lot of “What not to say to someone suffering from infertility” articles and I always try to apply that sort of thinking to my everyday interactions with people.

The two words I’m the most conscious of are “At least”. I actively make a point of never starting my response with “Well, at least…” to any news even if it’s just someone feeling fat that day.

I know it’s human nature to want to make someone feel better but when we replace their pain (my boyfriend and I broke up) with another seemingly less painful scenario (well, at least you’re free to do as you please now) doesn’t really make them feel better. I think it makes them push down their current feelings of despair when they’re not ready and that’s never helpful. We have to be allowed to grieve and feel the emotions of whatever we’re going through and the words “at least” do not help with the grieving at all.

I know that I’m preaching to the converted here and we’ve all been give some “At least” lines a few times while navigating  this infertility road, though.

I think, where I am now, I’m good at being more empathetic towards people. I have a pretty good handle on putting myself in other peoples’ shoes. Sometimes to my own detriment but that’s another story. What I’m trying to learn now is to remove the words “At least” from my vocab when talking to or about myself.

I always tend to diminish my own pain and struggle with these two words and I’m trying really hard to change that.

For example, when IVF 4 failed. I’d always say, Well at least this isn’t my 10th failure. I’m still a puppy in the infertility failure world.

While it’s true, it’s really something I shouldn’t have said. Yes, it did help me get up off the ground faster, but it didn’t help me heal properly from the failures.

This “At least” tactic I use on myself I learned from being in an abusive relationship. I actually just realized I almost did it again. I almost wrote “a semi abusive relationship”. I almost wrote it that way because well, at least he never left bruises.

I really have to constantly remind myself that “At least” doesn’t fix the problem. It doesn’t make my situation better. And it is a struggle because if you take away those fix it words you’re forced to face the problem. You’re forced to internalise and feel those stupid painful feelings.

Nobody wants to feel pain, least of all me. But what’s interesting is this. My shitty relationship taught me how to switch off all pain and I’m quite adept at it now and what I find fascinating is that it helped me get up and dust myself of quicker with each failed round of IVF. I would cry for a day but the next day I could act like nothing happened. When you’re in a shitty relationship most of your days are spent acting as if nothing happened just to survive. But the fact that I could push through and not appear broken is a skill I’ve mastered. And as much as I’m loathed to say it, maybe those 2.5yrs with that guy weren’t completely wasted.

My job now, is to unlearn that behaviour. I have to feel all the feelings and stop switching off the pain. Because as much as it is a good survival tool, it’s not a good tool for living.

I definitely still need therapy because I’m still not able to talk about that part of my life without some sort of reaction and I carry a lot of hatred towards that person still. I want to start healing and I want to be more whole.

Anyway, in the absence of therapy, I have my self awareness and my tiny life lessons and my goals for now. And this blog of course.

Sorry, if this turned a little deep and dark but it is Monday after all. Just getting some thoughts out of my head.

Monday Thoughts

I always felt sad when TTC ladies get their BFP’s and fell off the face of the blogging world. I always said, I would never do that, but I’m finding it difficult to write. My main worry is hurting anyone’s feelings and also gushing too much about this little guy and how great life is now (it’s not 100% great but I’m clinging to the great bits) then having everything taken away.

I was talking to my friend about how I’m not enjoying this to the fullest because with these two thoughts at the front of my mind constantly I have not taken any bump pictures. I have not kept a record of anything. No weekly symptoms. No firsts. Nothing. And don’t even get me started on baby shower anxiety. And the sad part is that I’m forgetting. I didn’t even really keep track of my TWW symptoms and I’ve pretty much forgotten them all and when they started.

I used to love going back to my IVF cycles and re-reading everything that I wrote in painstaking detail. I’m bummed that I’ve been too scared to track this next phase.

And it’s not even about posting here or on Instagram. I have 3 empty journals where I can write some stuff down but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.

Anyway, upon reflection and talking to people I feel that fear going away slowly sometimes. I mean, I almost bought a pack ‘n play last week… Almost.

When I think about it, I know that some of you do want updates and those who don’t are probably not even reading this so I’m going to figure out how to post progress updates that don’t send out email notifications and I’ll have a section at the top with all of the updates. I  know it’s possible, if you know how can you let me know, please?

I think that way, I’ll have a record of what’s going on in my body so that I don’t forget while remaining a bit sensitive to anyone who would appreciate it.

 

 

Random Thoughts *Possible Trigger Warning – IVF Update*

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I still don’t know how to transition from IVF to possible “P” posts (stole that from mamajo). I don’t like saying the word just  yet. Is it too early for trigger warning posts? Am I counting my chickens before they hatch? Anyway, I’ll just leave it and give people the choice and hope that I haven’t jinxed myself with all of this reveling in good fortune.

So we’re still in in so-far-so-good land over here. My final beta on Monday rose more than enough for them to schedule the first ultrasound on May 11th (might as well be next year).

I felt good and confident that day so I posted my betas on my Instagram account in an act of faith that this is going to work.

No sooner had I posted and let my guard down did the universe teach me another lesson. First pee of the morning at work on Tuesday came with a healthy helping of dark red blood and a clot. I was a complete mess all day. The clinic obviously couldn’t do anything. They just said to monitor it and if I’m soaking a pad in an hour or experiencing severe pain, especially on either side, I should call back or go to the ER. It sucks that there’s nothing anyone can do in these situations. If it ends, it ends.

My saving grace that day was the I was feeling incredibly sick all day. I’ve been telling my friends that I so badly want to experience everything, even debilitating morning sickness, so while I was breathing slowly trying not to puke at my desk I was quietly very excited.

The bleeding eventually stopped and I’ve just been brown spotting everyday since. No cramps or anything. My breast hurt to the touch and I feel motion sick for most of the day. But I’m not going to lie, I’m scared.

The rest of this week has been torture of course and I have 2 more full weeks of torture to go before the ultrasound. My days have been passing pretty much the same with these same thoughts going through my head all day.

  • Waking up: Do my boobs hurt? Let me roll around on them a bit more to make sure.
  • Getting out of bed: Oh yeah, definitely still sore. Although, is that because I mashed them into the bed for 5 minutes?
  • On the toilet: Please no blood, please no blood, please no blood.
  • Brushing teeth: Right let’s see if brushing my tongue will make me sick. Let’s also squeeze the boobs again.
  • Driving to work: Was that blood? *wiggles in the seat*
  • First pee check at work: Please no blood, please no blood, please no blood.
  • Trying to work: Was that blood? *wiggles in the seat*. Let’s poke the boobs and hope no one notices.
  • Feeling queasy: Yeeees, yeees bring it on little one. Loving it.
  • Lunchtime: I’m starving.
  • First bite: I’m full.
  • 5th bite: This tastes delicious!
  • 7th bite: This tastes disgusting!… Was that blood? *seat wiggle*
  • Bathroom check number 27: Please no blood, please no blood, please no blood.
  • 2hrs to home time: Can this day please end. I have preggo tests to take!
  • Final minutes of work: Let’s add things to private baby pinterest board.
  • 1 pin later: Okay that’s enough, don’t get cocky.
  • Final bathroom check: I’m sure I’ve bled through everything this time. Come on baby, prove me wrong please.
  • Drive home: We did it little one! We survived another day! Tomorrow I won’t be so stressed out. We’re good. Life is good. You’re not going anywhere. *Butt cheeks finally unclench*

Quarter’s End

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Boy, do I suck at this lol… But I have an excuse! It’s end of quarter at the school which is craaaazy so I’ve been working way to hard to think about blogging or life. But it’s quieted down a bit so expect a few posts a day so I can catch up on this before the end of the week. I apologize for bogging down your emails if you’re subscribed :).

So this past week I missed a deadline. A big deadline. My first big eff up at the new job. I was expecting to be fired but my boss just sat with me and we had a teaching moment discussion. I still felt completely rotten for most of the day but my boss’s demeanor didn’t change with me throughout the day and we had a few laughs after about other stuff.

It got me thinking about how good it feels to finally have a good manager. I was reminded of my last job where I also made one eff up and the meeting I was subjected to felt like a congressional hearing.

I’m not making excuses for myself but at this stage the company was going through a merger and we got new software that everyone was trying to wrap their heads around. It wasn’t a good time since we were still having to process work in the old system while trying to process new jobs in the new system. Things are bound to fall through the cracks. Also while all of this was going on procedures were changing with how projects were run. Procedures that we got little to no training on. Just a quick mention in meetings. One of these procedural changes was just a quick checking of a checkbox that we’ve never previously done. Unfortunately, this checkbox, if it wasn’t checked had knock on effects down the road. Effects that wouldn’t be picked up unless it was looked for specifically but effects that messed up data that was presented to clients. Whoops. Guess who wasn’t checking that checkbox for about 10 projects.

I’ll never forget the day. I only reported to one manager but there are 3 in the office. bare in mind that I was also a manager like the other two, though they were a bit more senior than I was. I was called in and had to sit across from the 3 of them and had to answer questions about this egregious error. I felt like a dumb child being spoken down to. “How could you let this happen?” “Walk me through your thought process, step by step”.

I felt terrible. My punishment was that I was to send and “apology” email to all the customer service guys who worked on the projects and I had to fix the error and resend data reports.

But the more I thought about it the more angry I got and I couldn’t understand why such a big deal was being made about it. Mostly because everyone in customer service seemed unconcerned and thankfully none of the reports had been presented yet so crisis averted right?

I think I know why such a big deal was made. This wasn’t an issue of negligence it was an issue of a broken system and lack of training. Things were changing so rapidly that upper management had no time to set up proper training sessions. I won’t go into details of how things were coming apart at the seams. Things have calmed down now and are a lot smoother, I’m sure, but those few months were awful and a lot of people jumped ship so they had to deal with that as well. Anyway, I think my boss knew that I wasn’t fully to blame and she didn’t want any push back from me so she called in her 2 buddies to back her up in case I fought with her. Luckily for them I’m a pushover and I took all the berating. Also for the rest of the day my boss just seemed moody with me. Ugh that’s a tale for another day though. I should start a whole new blog to tell stories about that old job. You would be amazed and horrified.

Anyway, the point of this story was that having a good manager will make or break you. I’ve had my share of really awful and really great managers and I’m very happy to be going through this stage of my life (read: infertility) with a great one.

Pin Prick

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I’m sure most of us can say that we’ve always wanted to be mothers. For me this was definitely the case. I don’t remember waking up and thinking I want to be a mom, it was just always a given. I just always remember saying “When I have kids….”

I was just thinking about something from that time that made me chuckle. It was round about the time my mother had her tubes tied. I think I was 8 or 9. I remember going to see her in the hospital and I think that’s when I became curious about having kids and I would ask her all sorts of questions about children and child birth etc.

One thing she said to me was that after she gave birth to all of us while she was in the hospital the nurses would come in everyday and prick her finger to test her blood. I assume it was for blood sugar levels or something, I don’t know. She said that it was the one thing she dreaded every morning. She’d given just given birth but the pin prick was the part she dreaded :).

But the way she described the pin prick to me really frightened me. I’m 35 now and I still remember being frightened. Would I have to endure daily, painful pin pricks while I’m at the hospital?

I remember lying awake and contemplating if having children was worth it. I remember squeezing the tip of my index finger and my thumbnail together really tight to feel what it could possibly feel like. I truly was shaken by the prospect. For a long time I was very sad that this is what I would have to do to have children. I didn’t know if I could do it.

I’d obviously recovered from the shock but recently this memory popped into my head and it made me laugh.

Here I am, hundreds of pin pricks later, all in the pursuit of a child. I wish I could go back to that frightened child and hug her and say “Oh honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet…” Then I’ll laugh maniacally and walk away.

Okay, that probably won’t help but she’ll figure it out, she’s a tough cookie. *wink*