Thoughts on the Birth

When I reflected on the day that Lucky came into the world I used to get very angry and sad and I would always temper those feelings down with “But he’s here and he’s safe and the surgery was perfect”.

This constant internal battle with my feelings was extremely difficult for me in the beginning and I kept it all to myself because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful so I spent a lot of time explaining away my feelings and not dealing with any of them.

Eventually it all came to a hold when my parents left when Lucky was just over 4 months old. I cried for days. A mixture of missing my parents and my family and this nagging voice in the back of my head to talk to someone about how I wasn’t happy with his birth day. At this point I hadn’t even talked to N about it.

In the end I found a therapist and in that first appointment I just bawled and bawled incoherently and I finally got it all out. A few days after that I found the courage to talk to N about it and bawled and bawled some more and it really helped. It helped so much. It was just a tiny sentence with big meaning that immediately after talking about it I felt better. It took me 4 months to say “I wasn’t happy with my birth experience”.

I wanted to write about it as well but I just kept making excuses and blaming myself and I’m really glad to say that I’m done with that now. I’m still very sad that it wasn’t perfect but I’ve let go of a lot of the anger a little I think and that’s a start.

And I don’t think it was PPD. My therapist agrees. It didn’t feel how PPD was described to me. I was just unresolved feelings coupled with hormones and homesickness.

And usually my tagline is “Next time”. We didn’t get it right this time but next time will be different. But we don’t have the guarantee of a next time here. In my mind, this was it and it was ruined. And even if we did there will always be this black mark on my first son’s birth and I hated that feeling. I didn’t want to be angry. I wanted to be okay with it. But for a while there I couldn’t read or hear birth stories. Anything to do with birth made me angry and resentful and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.

So I guess the simplest way to explain my feelings is to break down the three things that made this experience unpleasant for me and how I dealt with it all in my head. I apologise if this post feels all over the place. My hope here is to help myself heal some more and perhaps if someone else out there is feeling the same to know that they’re not alone and the words “at least your child is here and safe” doesn’t always make it better. Your feelings are valid.

The surgeon

If you read my birth story, you may have noticed that the operating surgeon was fairly non existent in this story. At the time I thought it was par for the course but the more I thought about it the more I realised that this woman failed us. People always make excuses for surgeons. Especially if they’re good at their job. And she was great at her job. As I’ve said, the surgery was perfect. I healed up really quickly and that’s all thanks to her but the way we were treated by her as first time parents going into a very scary situation will always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

First, she never explained anything to us. She did the ultrasound, declared that we would be having a c-section and I didn’t really see her again. I saw her for 2 seconds when she offered me pain meds and I barely even heard her while she was cutting me open. Not once did she explain to us anything about how a c-section works, risks involved, etc. Not once did she even look either of us in the eye to say the words c-section. Not even the nurses talked to us about it. They just came with endless forms to sign.

But D, you might say, maybe it was an emergency and she needed to get in there quickly. Well, I was told in the OR that this wasn’t an emergent situation and the anesthesiologist spent at least 15 minutes explaining what he would be doing. Also, a few years ago I had my appendix removed at this same hospital. I would venture to argue that an almost ruptured appendix is an emergency situation and while I was high on morphine the operating surgeon found a few minutes to come and talk to me and my husband about the procedure. I think the least she could have done for a scared couple was talk to them about what was going to happen. Especially since we had questions regarding the gentle c-section that we had to ask to the nurse.

She was also incredibly rude. She seemed annoyed with me when I wouldn’t relax while she was doing a cervix check and she barked at my husband when he asked if she’d done delayed cord clamping.

But D, you might say again, surgeons aren’t known for their bedside manner. You take what you get as long as you survive. Now, I tend to agree with this. I’d rather you save my life than be a nice person but we were told by the nurse and my OB that this is what the hospital offered and we were told that that’s what we would get. If the surgeon had taken a f*** second to talk to us she could have told us whether this was the case or not but she was nowhere to be seen.

And lastly, I never saw her again. She did no post op check or anything. My OB did the post op which I guess is standard but we wanted to discuss our disappointment with the operating surgeon and it was like she never existed. We spoke to my OB about what happened and all we got was a weak apology and shrugging of the shoulders. What could my OB do? She wasn’t there. We also spoke to my doula about it and she said we should write a letter to the hospital and/or the surgeon. It may not result in anything but may help us somehow. We have yet to write this letter,  however. I should just copy and paste this blog post :).

The doula

Let me preface this by saying the this doula group is fantastic. Doula L who was with us on the night was amazing and both her and my doula came to visit after baby was born and also checked in a few times via text for a few months after. I can’t fault them on their care on the day. However…

This mostly probably me not knowing what a doula’s role is and me not taking the reigns as far as letting her know what I want. I let her narrate what I should expect if I wanted a natural birth. And also, I’m talking about my doula R not L.

First, she wasn’t there. In the contract we signed she said that she would be on call for us 2 weeks before the birth and she went on vacation. I was due the 23rd and my ECV was scheduled for Tuesday the 19th. She said she would be there for the ECV, she would leave her family in Maine and drive to be with me for the ECV. At the time I was grateful that she would cut her vacation short to be there but technically… technically, she should have been available for me since I went into labour on the 18th. Anyway, I guess it was a blessing in disguise because L was incredible in R’s absence.

We were also not really educated on or prepared for a c-section. I understand that doulas advocate for natural birth but in an emergency will assist you through a c-section. I feel like my doula didn’t want to believe that I would need a c-section just because he was breech. That might be true but he was not turning and she kept saying I had time I had time. She never entertained the notion of a c-section so we weren’t adequately prepared and even more shocked. We met with our doula weekly for discussions about all kinds of birth but very rarely did we discuss c-sections. On the day when we were told we were going to have one doula L had to prep me and get me into that mindset in a very short space of time in between painful contractions. I think if we’d had this discussion prior I might have been more at peace.

Anyway, I’m not really angry about this. I just feel a little meh and sad about it.

And lastly,

Me

I’m so disappointed in myself for not advocating better for myself and Lucky. Why didn’t I speak up when I felt we weren’t being looked after properly?

Being wheeled into the OR I remember thinking okay this isn’t the worst, at least they can do the gentle c-section but once the spinal block was in and they were laying me down they put a sheet over me and it wasn’t the clear sheet that my OB mentioned and I just knew, I knew this wasn’t going to be a gentle c-section and I didn’t say anything. I clamped up. What was I afraid of? Why didn’t I just speak up? That green sheet is emblazoned in my mind. The moment I failed. My first mom fail and he wasn’t even here.

I’m telling you, friends. Living with that was killing me. And after he was out and they didn’t give him to me before cleaning him and they didn’t delay the cord clamping and seeing N’s irritation with the way the surgeon spoke to him. It was just awful.

 

Nothing went the way we wanted it to go and no “at least” was making me feel better. It was just crashing wave after crashing wave every time I relived the birth.

The only thing that have helped was talking about it. First to the therapist and then to my husband and now to all of you. And I do feel better about it. I’m not over it. I don’t know if I ever will be but I’m getting there.

Having Lucky in my life is also one of the only things that has brought me some peace. Because even though I feel the way I feel he IS here and he IS safe and being around him makes everything bad disappear.

I’m glad I got this off my chest. N says he doesn’t believe that I did anything wrong. He thinks that even if I did speak up, the surgeon would have done her own thing and not listened anyway. He’s probably right. It seemed like she didn’t want to deal with us. I often wonder if some surgeons have their backs up when they hear that you have a doula with you. That’s the sense I got from her. When we protested a little when we heard about the c-section she probably just wanted to get us the heck outta there.

Anyway, so that’s where I’m at with the birth. It’s not nearly as all consuming as it was, which is a relief.

I just want anyone who’s going through something like this to know that it’s okay to be disappointed. It sucks. Granted my birth had a very happy ending and my issue with it seems superficial when you think of how badly things can go during birth but everybody wants a perfect birth. Perfect for them. Don’t we deserve a happy birth after carrying a child for so long?

My wish is to be able to laugh about this one day. I’ve always wanted my birth to be a funny story and it had some very funny bits. While I’m processing this I’ll just be sure to cling to the funny memories and hopefully they will overshadow the shitty parts.

 

 

 

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Double Digits

**Trigger Warning ** This is just a quick boring update on Lucky and the renovation but please take care if you feel like  this isn’t something you’d like to hear about. ❤

We’re currently 92 days from our due date. I was going to post this on 99 days but… life. I saw on a December babies forum someone was 100 days so I did a quick calculation and realized we were on 100 as well and had a tiny little panic attack because we are nowhere near done with our reno and time is clearly running out.

We’ve been lackadaisical the past few weeks because the deadline seemed far off but now we’re realising that time may not be on our side so when we were just working on weekends we’re going to have to pull some weekday shifts as well. In theory we don’t have much to do so we’ve made a schedule, here’s hoping we can stick to it.

Our house is teeny tiny and old, as I’ve mentioned, and our reno consists of us creating a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom out of a shell of an attic. We installed a dormer up there to increase space but right now the entire room is gutted except for the walls for the bathroom and mini built in closet.

We’ve started the wiring but we need to finish it and have the inspector come check it out. After that it’ll be putting in insulation. Then we have to do the walls and ceiling then fully finish the wiring with the outlets and lights etc. At some point the inspector has to come check again. After that we’ll mud and paint the walls and ceiling and see about trim. Maybe we won’t need it. Then lastly we’ll install the wood floors. While this is happening the plumber has to come and fix a few pipes. Once he’s done we’ll move into the bathroom. I’m not too worried about this since we have a working one downstairs but it would pretty awesome to get it done before my parents come.

When you write it down it seem quick quick but let’s see how it goes. If we can get done by November life will be good. I hope to be of some use during that time.

 

Scroll a bit for baby news if you’re interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything that’s been going on is completely different to what I expected. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a very smooth 2nd trimester. Yes there’s heartburn and yes I’m struggling to sleep some nights but the heartburn is something I’ve struggled with all my life it seems and the sleeping is not that bad yet. I find I’ll a bad night every second night and the good nights I’m so exhausted I fall right asleep as my head hits the pillow and that amounts to feeling well rested the next day. I’m told it does get worse though so I’m not resting on my laurels.

I have officially stopped wearing underwire bras. I don’t know why I was suffering for so long. I should have stopped ages ago. My pants still fit but I have a feeling that won’t be for much longer based on my struggle this morning in the bathroom.

I will say that things are getting a bit uncomfortable and I find that I can’t sit in one position for very long. This is making the commute home a little challenging. Right now my car seat is positioned completely straight up but it’s still not the best. I tend to move it back and forth a few times while driving. That coupled with leaning to my left then right every 15 minutes is just how I live now. If anyone has tips on what’s a comfortable position to drive in, please help. Should I be getting an exercise ball for work do you think? My job is quite sedentary so I have to remind myself to go for a walk at least twice a day or it just starts to ache all over and it feels like I’ve been doing crazy ab workouts all day.

As for little Lucky. He seems to be pretty happy in there. I did start to feel what I believe are hiccups and it absolutely is my favourite right now. I can see the kicks from the outside but N has yet to see it. He’s felt a few kicks but Lucky gets shy when you put your hand where he’s kicking. I can’t wait to tell which body part is doing the kicking. Sometimes I do worry if he’s kicking for fun or because he wants me to move because he’s uncomfortable. I think that’s part of why I keep changing positions too. It’s probably silly but I worry if I’m squishing him of it there’s an arm or a leg trapped somewhere.

We haven’t had many appointments with our OB. Going to see her again early October, after which we’ll move to bi-weekly appointments. I’m not sure if there’ll be anymore scans though.

But we’ve seen our doula quite a bit. She teaches a gentle birth class which uses hypnobirthing techniques. We finished that course last week and it was pretty cool. They also have a mobile app with mindfulness, affirmation and hypnosis tracks that we have to listen to. We have to save our favourite ones to use during labour. We’re slowly working our way through the list. Slowly. We listen to the hypnosis at night and I listen to the others during the day when I can. The hypnosis isn’t that easy to get into. I’m too in my head I think. That, and the lady has an Irish accent and she says the word “calm” strangely and it sends N and I into a fit of giggles every time. But we’ll keep trying.

The doula also has bi-weekly prenatal group classes with all of her and her team’s clients. It’s nice to get to interact with other couples and talk about some fears. It’s been going well. I’m glad we chose her.

I am having a bit of trouble. I feel like I know which way I’m going to go but maybe you could weigh and let me know what you think. After talking to the doula a few times, she stated that she didn’t have a good experience at our hospital the one birth she had there. She operates in Rhode Island so doesn’t come to Mass often but when she does she goes to another hospital which she is in love with. We decided to check the other hospital out just because it couldn’t hurt. It was absolutely beautiful! Brand new and the rooms were huuuge. And another bonus was that they had a tub. Something my current hospital doesn’t have but something that I would really love to have access to.

So now I’m torn between the two because they both have pros and cons. Here’s the list of pros and cons.

Hospital 1 (our current hospital):
Pro’s
15 minute drive from home
We love our OB but she only delivers here. But we may not get her anyway because they rotate.
Pretty much everyone we know gave birth at this hospital and have only good things to say about it.
Con’s
One of the OB’s who I complained about in a previous post is in this rotation and I would hate for her to deliver my child. I don’t want her near me.
No tub
The postpartum room is oh so tiny. I know it’s not a big deal but it’s really really small. Barely enough room for partners to sleep in.

Hospital 2:
Pro’s
It’s so big and pretty and new
They have a tub (Big selling point for me)
Doula recommended
The same nurse took us on a tour at both hospitals and she recommended hospital 2. She works at both.
Con’s
We would need to find a new OB who’s in rotation at this hospital (really don’t want to do this)
It’s a 45 minute drive from home (boo)

Now this is only round 1 of the pros and cons list. The biggest deciding factor would be whether or not the hospital/doctor’s policies are in line with how we want the birth to go. I plan to find out from my current OB at our next appointment. And I’ve just made an appointment with a midwife at hospital 2 for next Thursday to see how she will do things.

I just need to know where they stand on inducing and episiotomies and things of that sort. My next update will be on their responses and I’ll have to decide what are deal breakers.

Right now I’m leaning towards staying with my OB and current hospital because it’s so close to home and I love my OB but that being said I really don’t know how she approaches each birth and she may not have the same thoughts as we do.

Part of me is frustrated that I’ve put myself in this situation.  I was content not being presented with choice. It never occurred to me to be open to different hospitals etc. I would be happy if someone told me what to do. I even asked N to choose and he flat out refused. He’s afraid he’ll choose one that we end up hating and that he’ll be blamed. But he’s insistent that we do our due diligence and he’s going along to the appointments to ask questions. So he’s involved but he’s reluctant to make a choice for me which is enough for me right now.

So that’s where we’re at right now. I can’t believe this is going by so quickly. I am still in awe of everything. Not everyday is easy but, as they say, everyday is so worth it.

 

 

No Happiness Allowed

N

We’re almost out of the woods and everything is going really well so far. My beta today more than doubled and I don’t have to go back until next Monday for a final beta. I assume them moving it to next week means they’re feeling confident so that makes me feel good and I even dared to change the settings on my period tracker app.

I really wish I was able to enjoy the tww. I understand that no one finds joy in the two week wait but this one was  quite particularly difficult.

From day 4 on I started feeling symptoms that I’d never felt before. Even with the ERA when I was on progesterone and estrogen for 10 days I felt nothing like this.

In my heart of hearts I knew this was different. I just knew this was it but with every wave of nausea, with every cramp that made me double over, I just kept asking myself why? why would this round be any different? Yes we changed protocols but that embryo. It’s the same as the other two that were transferred. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare.

In fact we did the same protocol as round two and my round two embryo was a better graded embryo than this one. That one was hatching. Why would this embryo take?

Remember all the shit you ate this past month? Remember all the drinking? Remember that bad thought you had about that person? You don’t deserve this. This is not it.

These negative thoughts left me in tears at least once everyday. I was a mess. I don’t remember the other two being this hard.

Even after the beta. We told everyone who knew about the transfer (basically all of my friends and family) and that night we went out for N’s cousin’s bday and he told his brother and cousin. His cousin then told everyone at the party (shocked face). I mean it is what it is. I’m not mad at all but the following morning both us were thinking “What have we done?”.

Again that nagging voice came. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare! Why would you tell people? Good things don’t happen to you.

Today I spent the day with my friend and waited all day until N got home so that we could listen to the latest beta voicemail. Today was the first time I breathed I think. A tiny little quiet breath.

The voice is still there “Seriously dude, no happiness for you”, but it’s quieter now. I have a feeling it won’t ever go away. I think I’m forever scarred but I can ignore it on good days.

I have to actively ignore it. Everyone has been telling me to live in the moment and that helps. When I’m done with this post I may even download an actual app (recommendations welcome).

You haven’t won yet voice in my head. You’re 0 for 2 so far, so G…T…F…O… please.

Thank you everyone for the kind messages on my last post. I haven’t read everything yet but I will do so right now. And I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend.

ERA results

Someone I follow on Instagram is at the same clinic as me and with my RE and she cycled about a week before me. She also did her ERA a week before me. Her results came in last week and they were inconclusive. So of course I was worried that mine would be as well. When the NP did the 2 biopsies she said that the 2nd one was way better than the first. She’d gotten a better sample. So I started wondering if she’d sent the better sample for the ERA and if not, did they have enough to test? Would I have to do it again if it was inconclusive? etc. etc. You know how one’s mind can get away with itself.

Thankfully, we did get a result. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t use the words pre or post-receptive so I’m hoping I don’t get this wrong. He said that my lining would be receptive with 12 more hours of progesterone support. So my understanding is that I’m pre-receptive. How they know this down to the hour is fascinating to me.

The doctor said that this is very good news and the reason the last 2 transfers didn’t work is probably because we were transferring too early. When I told one of my friends he jokingly (at least I think he was joking) said that I should sue my previous doctor for negligence haha.

As for the other biopsy they did. Those results came back negative for infection as well, so that’s good.

All that’s left is the dreaded SHG next Wednesday. I have requested Valium and should get that before the appointment. I stand to be corrected but I think Valium is just for the anxiety though so my guess is I’ll still feel a lot of pain, I just won’t care. I still don’t want to do this horrid test, though.

Okay, back to work I go. Happy Ash Wednesday to those of you who observe!

Let’s See

Last night I started BCP’s for this FET cycle. I’m a little shocked that it’s already go time. Granted this is going to be a very long cycle it feels like it’s happening quickly again.

My feelings are the same. Waxing and waning. Excited and Ugh what’s the point. Today I woke up with a beautiful sore throat that has me in quite a mood. The one year I get the flu shot I get sick twice. I know the flu shot only attempts to prevent the flu but I’m just annoyed that I was proactive in my not wanting to get sick this year and now look at me.

So today is an Ugh day. Truthfully I’m still skeptical. I was talking to my friend about it and even with my RE giving us all these good odds I still find myself self saying let’s see doc. Let’s just see.

This post doesn’t really have a point. Just wanted to mark the beginning of my 3rd transfer cycle.

Third transfer of yet another PGD tested normal embryo.

Different doctor.

Different protocol.

Same scenario.

Let’s see.

The End of an E.R.A.

Been dying to use that blog title for the longest time 🙂

And thus ends my ERA cycle. I am battered and bruised and so happy that it’s over. 7 weeks total. Here’s the breakdown if you’re interested.

December 25th: Period Starts. Pregnancy test negative duh.

December 27th: Start birth control pills for 3 weeks.

January 4th: Follow-up appointment with RE.

January 10th: Start daily Lupron sub-Q injections.

January 16th: Stop birth control. This is the longest month in human history.

January 19th: Baseline appointment. All systems go!

January 21st: First day of my period. 100 more days of January left.

January 23rd: Start daily 1mg estrogen pills and 1mg aspirin. Increase to 2mg estrogen at some point, then 4, then 6.

February 3rd: Stop Lupron injections.

February 5th: Start nightly Progesterone in Oil intra-muscular injections 1cc.

February 10th: Cycle ends with Endometrial Biopsy. Stop daily estrogen and aspirin.

February 14th: Stop Progesterone injections. Joy!

The biopsy was a nightmare as always and to make matters worse the nurse practitioner said that she had to do 2 biopsies. That was news to me and I actually cried when she left the room for a few seconds. One biopsy was for the ERA lab and the other was to test if my lining had any infections. Same as the first biopsy I had done. They have me scheduled for another HSG in March and I’m going to make them give me harder drugs. My friend B has so kindly offered to take me to the appointment so I hope they can do it on a day that fits her schedule. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go through that much pain. I’m a woos and I’m proud!

And now we just wait for a period and we can start prepping to bring little Lucky home! I believe it’s suggested that you do another ERA if the result doesn’t come back as receptive but my RE doesn’t seem to think it’s necessary but gave me the choice. I am really averse to doing another one but let’s see if my RE changes his mind depending on what the results are.

So for now we are awaiting our next FET cycle. Big yay!! My app says 5 days til my period starts. Come on body, let’s get this party started!

BTW my ass hurts so much from the PIO shots. I can’t imagine doing them for 12 weeks or more. Besides ice and massaging do you guys have any tips on PIO shots? And itchy!! the injection sites are itchy as hell. I don’t think I’m allergic to the oil though. No serious skin reaction. Just itchy. Fun times.

 

 

 

 

Carb City

It was a good day and a good retrieval. I only took today off so I’m just napping and resting and filling up on all the carbs I missed out on these past few weeks.

I’ll write more in the morning but everything went well and the pain is minimal. I’m just battling a violent headache. 

They retrieved 20 eggs!  I’m extremely surprised and elated. I know most of them won’t be mature but that’s a great number. I was worried that with that many eggs I would be in a bunch of pain but I’m really doing well. Right now anyway. 

One day at a time. And today was a win. 

Thank you very much everyone for keeping us in your thoughts. Thank you so very much. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to dive into a grilled cheese sandich… Maybe two.