Riding the Wave

Things have been… different since hitting the third trimester. It’s physically a bit more difficult but nothing I can’t handle and emotionally it’s been a bit taxing as well.

I always said that I would never complain if I was ever so lucky to be in this position and for the most part I think I’ve been okay. There have been days when I’ve been in tears wondering if I actually did deserve this miracle. I know most women would kill to be in my shoes and here I am crying silently on the toilet on day who-knows of violent constipation and painful gas.

I was in a bit of a state when I first noticed the hemorrhoids too. I thought I was doing so well but I guess I just drew the short straw on that one. And then a few days later I failed the 1 hour glucose test. That was a really low point for me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.

I was given this incredible gift and I was ruining it. Am I not supposed to be glowing with pride every single day? The picture of joy?

I know I’m only human and I should really give myself some grace. I’ve had to dig deep these past few days. Thankfully this past weekend was a good weekend and I had to remind myself of the mantras. Just ride the wave. Cling to the good moments with all my might and give myself some grace on the bad days.

On Saturday I did the 3hr glucose test and in the 3hrs I was there I re-read blog posts and found birth stories and tried to remind myself that I wouldn’t change any of this for world. Not the constant night peeing. Not the fact that I can’t take a full breath anymore or that bending over is more effort than it’s worth.

Afterwards we had our baby shower (thrown by my amazing friend B and my mom in law – They are fantastic) and it was everything I needed. Seeing most of our family and friends in one room again was really re-energizing and wonderful. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I laughed… I really laughed a lot and it felt so good.

I listened to mom’s tell no sugar-coated birth stories and mom stories. I got advice on hemorrhoids and gestational diabetes. I got sympathetic nods and compliments on my small bump. I was told not to get up to say goodbye when guests left. I did but it was nice to be fawned over.

The food was good, the dessert was better (3 words, creme brulee cheesecake). The games were fun.

When we got home and snuggled under a blanket, too tired to make it through a late night movie, I breathed slowly through one of the painful cramps that started a couple of weeks ago and I smiled… and then I got up to pee… again.

I wonder if that’s why they throw baby showers. To remind women who are having a less than easy 3rd trimester that it’s all going to be awesome in the end.

 

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Am I Okay Now?

This is the post where, if you’re fortunate enough to be carrying a child after infertility, you reflect on whether or not pregnancy announcements or pregnant bellies still send you into a downward spiral of despair. Everyone’s experience is different but I think the short answer to “Are you okay now?” is “kind of”. Yes it can be a lot easier to bounce back but it’s still a painful reminder of what you’re not able to do spontaneously.

For me, in particular, all the announcements I’ve experienced since my own are for second babies and the reminder that a second baby for us being highly unlikely is something I’m not ready to think about yet and seeing second or third pregnancy announcements forces my head into that space for a short while.

The one thing I’m especially not proud of is in my infertility group on FB. The one I spoke about where the ladies weren’t vibing for a while. I’d mentioned that everyone in that group had a baby already while I was still waiting and I’d started to feel out of touch with them. We’re a year or so on and they’re all either pregnant with number 2, trying for baby number 2 or have had baby number 2 and are trying for number 3. I should be ecstatic for them. But most times when I see their positive tests it just makes me feel how I felt when I was seeing their first positive tests and I had nothing.

The good thing about all this is that the bounce back is incredibly quick. I remember feeling despair for at least a full day but lately it’s just a quick pang. Maybe 20 minutes of me feeling very sorry for myself and then it’s over and I can move on. Lucky Bean is very active lately and when I’m down he’s very good at giving me quick taps to remind me that everything is okay and I love him for it.

I don’t know if this makes me sound ungrateful. This is obviously not the case. I don’t know how to rationalize these feelings. I think it’s just that when I’ve lived my entire life planning a big family. Then getting older and just wanting 3 or 4 kids. Then eventually finding myself struggling to have a child and just hoping for the opportunity to maybe have 2 to eventually having that dream half way realised. I now find myself in transition again to being content with just one child. Each time you have to mourn the loss of those dreams and it just takes a while to get to a place where you’re okay with it.

I know the future isn’t set in stone. I might still get that opportunity. I’m just sharing where I’m at today in this journey to motherhood.

All that being said, there have been 5 pregnancy announcements (3 within the same month) that would have knocked me off my feet and destroyed me if they’d happened a few months ago. But thanks to my awesome doctor and nurses I’m able to smile and feel real joy in the wake of pregnancy news and that feeling is something I am absolutely grateful for.

So while I’m not 100% okay now, perhaps when I have him in my arms I will be even more okay. Or if the universe is really kind I could be 100% okay.

Guess Who Turned 36!

4 more years before this blog becomes a lie hahaha…*sob*.

The day (The 21st) itself was pretty underwhelming. In fact, I’m still harbouring a few hurt feelings because it wasn’t a grand show seeing as how it’s likely my last birthday with just husband and I (and cats) but when you’re saving for maternity leave and paying for a very expensive renovation, your options are pretty limited. But I certainly felt the love around me as I always do on my birthday.

I also did an FB announcement about Lucky Bean’s impending arrival. That, too, was nerve wracking since I hardly ever post anything on FB. Afterwards I felt a bit sheepish, like that was way too much attention for me to handle (I guess I’m not a real Leo). I knew I never wanted to announce but I was in really high spirits after reading and replying to the wishes it just felt like a good time to do it. But it’s done now and again, that love was felt. I didn’t outright mention IVF but I did allude to the fact that there was a struggle. But I don’t think anyone picked up on it.

So that’s it. 36.

I went back and read a few post around last year’s birthday month just to see where I was at emotionally compared to now. Now that my biggest dream of the past few years has come true.

Again last year’s birthday was actually way better than this year. We spent the weekend in New Hampshire with our friends and spent a day slow tubing on the Saco River. It was simply glorious. This year I just ate my body weight in sushi and korean bbq. Still, not the worst but last year was better.

However, last year this time we had come off our 4 failed IVF cycle. Our worst fail to date. We retrieved the most eggs of any cycle but not one of them made to biopsy. We were at our wits end with our RE and just at the absolute lowest of low. Also, a few days after my birthday our RE eventually told us he was out of ideas and we didn’t have any plans to move forward.

As much as I remember that wretched feeling, I distinctly remember being happy as a lark on the actual day. It’s very important to grasp tightly to moments of happiness when you’re struggling with infertility and that was a really good day to be grasping.

And now this year, I’ve been flying pretty high most days but my birthday weekend was kinda of rough. I’m attributing it to hormones because by Tuesday I was fine. I cried a lot and I was irrationally angry a lot and I there really wasn’t any good reason.

But despite all that. Seeing how far we’ve come and to finally be here is so amazing. Yes work is stressing me the hell out and this reno is a pain in the behind but last year around this time I was crying in our RE’s office as he was telling us that he doesn’t want to move forward with more treatments and that he was out of ideas. And yesterday we saw our very last lonely embryo… in 3D… as a little person. With my nose and his dad’s mouth. Frowning, probably because someone was poking at him and disturbing his all day dancing.

As much as I think that last year’s birthday was way better than this years. There’s obviously no doubt in my mind that this August and this year, in fact, is on a whole other playing field in terms of awesome-ness.

The point that we all know, I’m sure, is that you never know what’s going to happen a year from now. My 2015 birthday month I’d just started a new job with new insurance and omg I was filled with hope. My 2014 birthday month we just started finding out about our diagnosis and what it would mean for our future. Gosh in ’09 I was single and so so brokenhearted and then in ’10 I was in another country with a boy I met online!

We all have different stories and big changes and little changes from year to year but my hope is that if you find yourself in a difficult year, try to remember that it won’t last forever. It can’t. And if you find yourself having the best year of your life, just cling to it with all your might because you just never know.

❤ ❤

 

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P.S. I’ve added a new page to the site with some ultrasound pics and my 2 lonely bump pics, if you’re interested.

P.P.S I just re-read the title of the post. OMG 36. That’s so weird.

 

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.