Monday, 31 December 2012

Making peace with 2012




New Year’s Eve 2012 – there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it here. My year started on such a high with moving into our new house and getting married. I had two weeks where I was calm, relaxed and at peace. I loved those two weeks because it was the only time all year I felt like that.

For the newcomers, my year included watching my friends lose their jobs, having to fight for my own, falling pregnant, miscarrying the baby and learning how to survive. It also included watching my loved ones lose their jobs, homes, children, marriages, brothers and mothers. It’s been a challenging year to say the least, but I’ve decided to make my peace with 2012.  

Sunday, 30 December 2012

I WILL achieve my dream


My husband and I have been indulging our every whim - eating what we want, drinking what we want and not caring about it. Well, that's not entirely true. I've been caring enough to walk 7 kms a day so I don't end my holidays being the size of a house! But basically, we're making the most of the opportunity because I've decided this is our last festive season without a baby. I've decided I WILL achieve my dream!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

My top 10 pregnancy quotes


In a bid to find my “trying to conceive zen” for the new year, I’ve decided to draw a line in the sand. Today marks the end of “my pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage,” and marks the beginning of trying to fall pregnant again. I was pregnant. I had a miscarriage. It all happened. I learnt some valuable lessons from that experience that I will take forward with me. But there’s a lot I’ll leave behind too.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Reaping what you sow



One of the books I’m currently reading is “The little book of peace” by Susan Jeffers. It provides snippets from her book “End the struggle and dance with life.” I first came to know her writing in her amazing book “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” I highly recommend it for anyone who feels fear is keeping them stuck. Flipping through this book has given me a timely reminder of not to 
let fear rule my life!

Relieving the pressure


I'm not ashamed to say that my Christmas day meltdown was a "boo hoo poor me, I had a miscarriage," moment. They happen from time to time. As I've said before, sometimes it's one step forwards and two steps back because you wake up in the morning and just don't have the strength to be positive. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How to achieve pregnancy success


I've started hearing alot about Sharkey's Healing Centre, which is a group that provides natural fertility remedies - basically a herb mix. I haven't looked into this indepth, but I did take a look at their website out of interest where I came across the following passage:

"Having a baby is not a 'success', just like NOT having a baby is definitely not a failure.  We believe the miracle of conception is much bigger than just simply achieving a goal or being successful...So when that positive test comes along its really about how significantly you have grown through the process and how much more you will appreciate this pregnancy, this birth and this child when you do become a parent for the first time or again." 

Now, I have no idea about their program and am not advocating it or promoting it in anyway. However, I AM advocating and promoting their approach as a positive one and one I will be adopting.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Surviving Christmas after a miscarriage


Merry Christmas dear readers. I hope you are celebrating with your loved ones and taking great joy from seeing your little cherubs revel in all the wonderfulness today brings!


Alas, I am not feeling one skerrick of Christmas joy. In fact, I’ve woken up feeling depleted, devoid and depressed and it’s only 9am! I wish I could be more happy and joyful as today is also my husband’s birthday. Sadly, I just don’t have it in me today.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Pregnancy is not for the faint-hearted!

Yesterday was a pretty tough day so I’ve needed the past 24 hours to process it before sharing. In a nutshell, I went to the bathroom to find the same black stains on my underwear I had when I miscarried. For the past few days I had suspected I may be pregnant as I had the same symptoms, at the exact same times, I had in my first pregnancy. Anxiety and panic took over and I was convinced I had had a chemical pregnancy. I thought it was terribly ironic given I had only posted about chemical pregnancies a few days ago.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Baby making apps - review of Ladytimer

For those of you trying to fall pregnant, I highly recommend this app. I came across it when I was first trying to fall pregnant, and now I'm back there, I'm relying on it again. I started using it as I came off the pill after 20 years and had no idea what my cycle would do. I thought it would be a good way to track it for a few months before we started trying. Well, it's become so much more than that!

What this ap does is track your cycle and tells you when you are likely to ovulate based on you entering your cycle's timeframes. If you're a control freak like me, you know the whole process of you falling pregnant relies on you having sex within your fertile window. This tells you when that window will be.

You can tick and flick the symptoms you are feeling so you can get to know the signs your body will show as it moves through the stages of your cycle. There are also sections to mark when you've had sex, write any notes and basically capture every part of your cycle. Having this information was enormously beneficial when I went to see the midwife in my first pregnancy. Now, I am back using it to track the return of my cycle and to keep note of what happens if I need to access fertility services later down the track.

To be honest, I think I may have some weird addiction to this ap. Everytime I notice my body doing something, I can't wait to grab my Ipad and enter it into the system. I think it's because each symptom represents my body taking another step to returning to normal and therefore, another step closer to falling pregnant again! I hope it brings you luck!

Here's a demo on how it works!


Friday, 21 December 2012

A word on chemical pregnancies

Ok, so who knew these things existed? These horrible sounding things referred to as "chemical pregnancies." I had never heard of this until I started reading some community forums and women were talking about their experiences of them. 

At the very heart of it, a chemical pregnancy is just another term for miscarriage. However, most people's definition of a miscarriage is knowing you have lost the baby sometime past the five week mark when you knew you were pregnant. A chemical pregnancy is when you loose the baby just days after conceiving meaning the fertilised egg never developed into an embryo. They normally happen around the same time, or just after your period was due. Alot of women never know they have miscarried, they just think their period was a bit late. But, given pregnancy tests can now detect a pregnancy up to 5 days before your period is due, it's devastating to know you were pregnant one day and not a few days later.

The general consensus on statistics is up to 50% of all pregnancies around the world end in some form of miscarriage. This is a staggering figure. Can you imagine what the world's population would be if all of these babies had been born? Perhaps its Mother's Nature's way of controlling the world's population but that doesn't help the women who have to experience it. 

I wanted to post a link here to provide more information but to be honest, I couldn't find a site that didn't offend me in someway. From being told "If you are trying to have a baby, reduce the chance of knowing you've had a chemical pregnancy by waiting until your periods are due before taking a pregnancy test," and "...it’s still an early miscarriage that some feel really bad about." Wow, thank you Captain Obvious! I'm pretty sure that any woman who knows she's had a miscarriage, whether early or not, is going to feel more than just "really bad" about it! And, as women trying to get pregnant, we want to know as soon as possible that it's happened so telling us to just wait until your periods come is not helpful! 


Ok, I admit I may be a little sensitive to this but I think the people who write these websites could consider their words a bit better! But, if you're after more information, just head to Google and put in chemical pregnancy and you'll get a raft of stuff. 

The reason I am posting this is for education and interests sake, not to scare you. We don't want to be going out there into "trying to conceive world" thinking every time we get our period we could have had a chemical pregnancy. No, it's more about knowing what the realm of miscarriage includes, and being amazed that so many different and painful things can happen to us. However, I trump that statement with the fact that so many amazing things happen to us too - like the fact we fell pregnant in the first place!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Keeping the faith


All month, I've been walking past this Angel that's been setup in the City. I think of Peanut everytime I walk past it. I think it's because when I was pregnant, I thought this Christmas would technically be Peanut's first. It made me excited that this time next year I would have a 7 month old who would have sat on Santas' lap and giggled as they played with the wrapping paper instead of their presents. 

Obviously Peanut won't be with us next year, but there's hope that another little one will be. So, I look at this Angel as a reminder of what was, but a sign of what will be. For me, it's a sign of faith. I know some will think this simplistic, but it's how I view it. I choose to have faith that there was a reason Peanut wasn't destined to walk this world. I choose to have faith that there is a reason my next little one is destined to be here. And I choose to have faith that there will be another little one. 

In some of the online forums I've been reading, many women experiencing pregnancy after a loss struggle with the anxiety and fear they have of it happening again. I have no doubt that I will be the same, but I'm trying my hardest to minimise the degree I experience. Really, anxiety and fear is all in your head so I'm trying to find the answer on how to reduce it when you're so scared of something horrible happening again. 

At the moment, all I have is this:
 - whatever happens is beyond my control
 - as a pregnant woman I will give up a range of things to ensure a healthy pregnancy so stress should be one of them
 - I have already been through the worse so I know I can survive
 - spending my last pregnancy in anxiety didn't stop the worse happening so I'll try positivity instead. 

I'll have to wait until I'm pregnant again to see if this works, and I'm glad I'll have this post to remind me of it when I start to waver. In the meantime, all I have to rely on is my unwavering faith that I am meant to be a Mother and I'll continue to do everything I can to make that dream happen. I will focus on the strength and determination I have demonstrated so many times in my life to make my dreams come true. In the end, I'm a pretty formidable person so the baby gods should be prepared for a fight!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

16 tips to cope with a miscarriage


It’s been 70 days since I had my miscarriage so I now consider myself a survivor. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, so if I could go back 70 days ago, and tell myself what I know now, maybe the process would have been a bit easier. Clearly, I can’t do that, so maybe I can make someone else’s process a bit easier.
Here’s what I know:
1 – Be patient. Your mind, body and spirit will need time to heal so give yourself that time. There’s no point getting frustrated as it only makes the process harder. Sit back, love yourself and trust it will all be ok.   
2 - Cry when you need to. Tears will come at random times in random places. Honour yourself by releasing your emotions when they arise as holding onto them just makes you feel worse.
3 – It’s ok to feel exhausted. Your body, energy, emotions and brain are completely drained because everything you do takes 10 times the normal amount of energy. Don’t get frustrated by it, your energy will return in time.
4 – Don’t hate yourself or your body. It’s natural to feel like you failed but you didn’t.  Your body did the best it could and it has gone through a dramatic change. Respect the fact it needs to heal and let it do that in its own time.  
5 – Ride the emotional roller-coaster. It will take time to go through the 7 stages of grief and you will move between them constantly. When the emotions become too overwhelming, stop, take a breath, identify which stage you’re in and tell yourself it’s ok to be exactly where you are. Remember, there is no timeline on grieving because there is no timeline on love.  
6 – Don’t be upset by those who can’t support you. You will have wonderful friends and family that will be there for you but others won’t be – for their own reasons. It will be disappointing and for some, your relationships won’t ever be the same, but focus on the ones who are there as they are the ones you will truly need.
7 – Don’t begrudge other pregnant women. It’s easy to feel jealous and angry when you see pregnant women, or those with newborns, and wonder why them and not me? There is no answer to that question so look at those women and be happy they have not had to experience what you have. There are far too many women in the world who have experienced this so be thankful others were spared and know your time will come.
8 – Don’t take it personally when people say you should move on or get over it. Others can’t possibly know where you are or how you feel because they haven’t experienced it. Let those words wash over you. Don’t pick them up and make them an issue. Just say to yourself, I am where I am and that’s ok.
9 – Deal with the pain. Running away from it, filling the void with food or alcohol, or trying to fall pregnant straight away to forget it won’t work. The only way to GET through it is to GO through it. You don’t want to take the pain and anxiety into your next pregnancy so take time out, regain your strength and ensure your mind is healed.
10 – Don’t forget your partner. Don’t take your anger and emotions out on them and apologise when you do. They haven’t experienced what you have and men especially can be easily forgotten about. They have lost a baby too and will deal with their emotions in their own way. Don’t be upset if it’s not the same way as you.
11 – Positivity can come from negativity. As painful as this is, good things will come from it. You will realise new things about yourself, your partner, your relationship and the impact you have on others. You have the power to make a difference in many people’s lives by sharing your story so make sure your experience is put to good use.
12 – Be grateful. You can choose to be a victim or a survivor. Be a survivor by focussing on all the fabulous things your have in your life and the great things that will continue to happen to you.
13 – Track your journey. Keeping track of your feelings will help you see how far you’ve come. Your mind will be cloudy so writing things down will help you remember thoughts, learnings and feelings. This will be important to help you see the progress you are making. 
14 – Don’t be afraid to get counselling. Having someone to speak to will help you unravel the range of emotions you will experience. Be it a counsellor or a friend who has experienced the same thing, find someone to just offer a listening ear.
15 – Relapses will happen. Even when you feel you are starting to move on, something will happen that will trigger the memory and the sadness of what you experienced. Remember,  it’s ok to feel the sadness and it doesn’t mean you’re going backwards, it just means you’re remembering.  The triggers will reduce in time but accept they will always be there.
16 – It’s ok to move on. Give yourself permission to move on. Don’t keep yourself stuck in grief.  It’s ok to be happy and get on with your life. It’s ok to smile, laugh and share fabulous times. That’s what you would have been doing with your baby so now, you can do it with your little angel sitting on your shoulder sharing it all with you.

If you need some more help with moving on from a miscarriage, check out some other posts that might help.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Two two week wait...again!


I had a Christmas get together on the weekend that included a 16 week old baby, a 1 year old, a 2 year old and a woman who is 6 months pregnant. There’s nothing like throwing yourself into the deep end to see how you’re travelling 10 weeks after a miscarriage. I wondered how I would cope being surrounded with it all but I was absolutely fine.
It gave me an insight into the different stages of parenthood, and pregnancy, with all the goings on of the day. We had the 16 week old laughing and smiling then screaming because she was hungry, the 1 year old stuffing his face full of grapes then grizzling because he was teething, and the 2 year old throwing himself on the floor because he was exhausted after being at the Wiggles concert. I loved every minute of it and couldn’t wait to experience it all.
After everyone left, I bombarded my husband with all my comments – wasn’t the baby so cute, wasn’t the other one funny shoving food in his face, wasn’t the oldest one so well behaved for being so tiered, didn’t the pregnant woman look good! I felt happy and positive just being around it all…until the inevitable crash!
As we laid in bed, I suddenly realised I was back in the two week wait…again! For those that weren’t with us for my first two week wait, take a quick read of it before you move on. So needless to say, I’m nervous being here. To be honest, the thought that I could be pregnant again freaks me out. Not because I feel anxious about miscarrying again, but because I find the prospect of being pregnant twice in 4 months a little hard to grasp. If it was to happen, I wonder how I could be so lucky given some women can’t fall pregnant in 6 to 12 months of trying. I’m trying not to feel guilty if it does happen.  
I told my husband I feel a range of emotions: happy but sad, excited but scared, positive but negative, wanting to be pregnant but not wanting to be pregnant. He said he felt the same. So clearly, we’re experiencing some anxiety about venturing into pregnancy again and wondering how it will go. But I’m finding I’m a lot more relaxed this time around. So much so I had wine at my work Christmas party on Friday night and two glasses yesterday. Mind you, I won’t be having anymore but I figure I’ve already experienced the worse so what does it matter!
In the spirit of being more relaxed, I’m not going to keep a day-by-day record of the next 2 weeks like I did last time. I think that just focuses on the fact you’re waiting. I’d rather be relaxed, enjoy Christmas and just hand it over to the universe. However, if my period hasn’t come by New Year’s Eve then I’ll do a pregnancy test as I don’t want to forgo celebratory bubbles unless I have to. So we have 15 days to see if 2012 has any more surprises up its sleeve!

On the starting blocks...again!


I feel like I’ve been living at the obstetrician’s office of late. I’ve been three times in the last 10 days. I’ve now developed an intimate relationship with the internal scanning probe and I’m glad we’re on a first name basis given the delicate place this piece of plastic goes. I now refer to him as Probey. It’s not just Probey I’ve become friendly with, but the obstetrician too – Dr. P.
Dr. P. has pretty much thrown away all sense of formality now. I just get up on the table, take the bottom half of my clothes off, he lubes up the plastic probe and whooshka, in she goes! I don’t even bother taking my shoes off anymore! Sometimes I lie there wondering how this became my life, but it really doesn’t matter how I got here – I’m here!
Today, I went back for my third scan in 10 days. At the last scan, Probey showed there was one dominant follicle and it was 1.2 cm long. This scan showed the follicle had grown and I had ovulated. Dr. P. said “Well, you could be pregnant, good luck.”
I was a bit taken back as it sounded so final. I asked if he needed to see me again but he said “No, it looks like everything is happening so you don’t need me anymore.” I asked when I should come back and he said if I get pregnant 7 weeks and if not 6 to 12 months. Just the mention of 7 weeks sent a shiver up my spine as that's when I had the miscarriage. I started imagining the morning of going in for that scan and how nervous and anxious I would likely be. I'll need some time to work on that!
Dr. P. seems confident that my cycle is back to normal, and given it only took me 3 attempts to fall pregnant last time, it won’t take me long again. Unfortunately, I have too many stories in my head of other women who did struggle. However, I’m telling myself that if he seems confident, maybe I should be too!
It would be nice to feel confident as we’re now back on the starting blocks. I guess part of me remembers last time we were here and I feel a bit dejected that we’re back. But, on the positive side, we’re at least here. Things looks good, we’re primed and ready for the starter’s gun!
Here’s a reminder of when we were at the starting blocks last time!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Maybe Having A Baby - new and improved!

So you may have noticed my little blog is looking a little more fancy-pants! After much Googling and You Tubing, I've figured out how to make a few changes that I hope improves your reading experience.

I've made some tabs up the top to group my posts into categories. For readers who have just joined us, this will help you understand my journey to date. It will also direct you to whatever stage you're currently in.

I've also made it so you can comment without having to sign into Google. So, if you have anything to say on a particular post, please just add your comment to the comment field.

If you don't want to post publicly, I've added a Contact Me form so you can email me your question, comment or story directly.

I'll continue to update the page as I figure out how to do things but if there is anything you'd like to see, please let me know!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Surrender


I opened my desk draws today to find a Tupperware container full of crackers and another full of crystallised ginger – both leftovers from my pregnancy morning sickness. When I came back to work after the miscarriage, I took them off my shelf and stashed them in my draw so I didn’t have to see them. Today, I found them.
I’ve known they were there for the past 7 weeks but didn’t really acknowledge their existence. For some reason, I was ready to today. It’s funny that only last night I was wondering where my other Tupperware containers were – not realising they were holding a memory at work.
I pulled both containers out and looked at them. I thought it was ironic that the crackers were still fresh but the reason I had them was stale. I wondered if I should keep them or not but decided to throw it all out. I realised these were the last pieces of my pregnant life I had been sub-consciously holding onto.
It felt good to throw them out but I was sad too. I realised how much I miss being pregnant. I was happy to have the crackers and ginger as my saviours to the nausea. I was even happy to have the nausea as evidence the baby was growing. Now, I just miss the fact something was growing.
I think that’s one of the cruellest parts of a miscarriage, especially in the first few weeks. You only just start to get use to the idea that something is there and it’s taken away. By the time I had the miscarriage, I only knew about the pregnancy for 3 weeks but I was totally in love with my child the minute I saw the second line on the pregnancy test.
Deep down I know it’s a good thing to move on from this last piece of my previous life. Even if I fall pregnant again, my experience will be totally different because I’m totally different. Maybe crackers and ginger won’t help me. Maybe they’ll make me feel worse. We’ll see what happens when I get there. Either way, I know I need to surrender the past to move into the future so here’s hoping it’s now full steam ahead.      

Monday, 10 December 2012

Re-focussing

Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting bogged down in worrying how other people are dealing with dealing with me! It’s so ridiculous when I think of it. I know people want to be supportive and I’m glad they are. But now I have to stop worrying how they are coping with it as they are responsible for their own thoughts and emotions, and I don’t have the extra energy to give to make sure they’re ok. I need to spend that energy making sure I’m ok so I can get serious about making this baby thing happen. Decision made – I’m now shifting all my attention onto that.
I went to the obstetrician for my check-up today and he was surprised to see things were happening so slowly. I am in day 13 of my cycle and before the miscarriage, I would have ovulated between days 12 and 14. From my last visit, the two dominant follicles have become one and that one is maturing at a snail’s pace.
It’s interesting to know the science behind all the mechanics but apparently the follicle needs to be at least 1.8cm to ovulate and preferably larger. So my lucky follicle will grow .2cm a day so we expect ovulation on Friday which will be day 16 of my cycle.
The obstetrician said “You normally have long cycles don’t you,” and I had to tell him that no, in fact my cycles were 34 days, 31 days and 29 days between coming off the pill and falling pregnant. They were pretty much spot on average. So I’m assuming that, just like coming off the pill, I’ll have to wait for my cycle to come back to normal.
To make sure we’re getting our timing right, we’ll be back for another scan on Friday. Getting these scans makes for a long start to the day – we drive the 20 mins to the hospital, see the doctor for about 10 to 15 minutes, drive the 10 minutes to the train station, wait for the train, then catch the train into work. Today, my appointment was 9:15am and I made it to work at 10:30am.
I’m lucky that I can just tell work I have an appointment and I turn up whenever I want to. Mind you, it might become a bit more difficult if this becomes more regular but I’m thankful for the current flexibility I have. There are so many things that can get you down about the baby process if you let it – the time it takes to have sex, the aches and pains you suffer, frustration you feel and the ongoing pains of just being a woman, but I try not to worry about it, lament about it or complain about it. I think of each element as an investment in making a baby happen.
Given we are choosing to do all of this, I don’t see the point in complaining about it. Sometimes it gets the better of me and I have a little whiney thought, but I put it out of my head quickly, reminding myself that babies don’t come easy – it’s my new mantra!
All my focus is being where we have to be when we have to be there, having sex when we have to and sending prayers to the baby gods for healthy sperm, healthy eggs and healthy cell division. I am working on accepting every aspect of the process as another thing we will face on our journey to become parents. As Dan Rather said “If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” I’m just pretending I don’t know what the difficulties are!

Friday, 7 December 2012

A step backwards

It was only yesterday that I thought how well I was doing with everything. I should know that thought is the indication something is about to hit. I didn’t realise it at the time but every meltdown I have begins with that thought.
As I do every Thursday night, I tuned into One born every minute which is a tv show about women giving birth. I’ve become a fan since deciding to try to have a baby. I had to stop watching it after the miscarriage as it bought me to tears everytime but I’d done so well over the past few weeks I felt ready to re-engage with it.
I did really well until the last moment of the show when the father started crying seeing his newborn baby. I got a little teary but it wasn’t anything too dramatic. I brushed my teeth, went to bed and everything was fine. Then I said to my husband “I hope we get to have a baby” and he said “Me too.” The flood gates opened.
Ever since the miscarriage, I’ve learnt my crying fits come in degrees. They range from a few tears/eyes welling up to the wrung out sobbing that leads to a blocked nose and inability to breathe. This was more on the eyes welling up side and only lasted about 10 minutes so it was a relatively minor event. However, I’ve also learnt that despite the degree, I always feel like a wrung out rag the next morning.
So after sleeping through our alarm, I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and come to work. I felt exhausted, like I had been hit by a train and hungover, despite not having a sip of alcohol to drink. I was not in an emotional state to cope with the announcement that one of the other girls at work is pregnant and due the same time I was. I certainly wasn’t ready for her and the other pregnant woman to stand at the end of my desk talking about whose belly was bigger, how far along they were and name choices. I sat at my desk and held back the tears.
I texted my husband to tell him I wasn’t coping with it. He said be happy for them. I said I am happy for them but sad for us. He said be happier for them then you are sad for us. I said easier said then done.
It’s nearly 9 weeks now and I’ve realised I’ve exhausted people’s support capacity. I am enormously thankful for all the support I’ve been given to date and am fully aware that I would not be as far along as I am without it. But I understand the drain that supporting someone you love puts on you. We’ve all been in a situation where a friend is going through something that we cannot understand. We provide advice and support with our rational mind because the way forward seems so clear to us. We forget that our dear friend is constantly swaying between the rational and irrational and using all their spare energy to try as hard as they can to stay in the rational.
As the supporter, our lives would be so much easier if the person could just get over it and be ok. If only we all had the power to just decide to be ok and voila, everything just magically disappeared and our smile returned. Alas, life just doesn’t work like that.  
This experience has bought me a whole new understanding of how to be a more supportive friend. I don’t want to explain my emotions. I don’t want to justify my actions. I don’t want to be judged for where I am in my recovery process. All of that just makes the process of surviving so much harder. It’s a good reminder that as a friend, sometimes the best thing we can do is listen and offer no opinions, thoughts or interpretations unless asked.
At the start of this post, I thought I was moving backwards but now I realise I’m actually taking a step forward. I’ve realised I’m actually strong enough not to rely on people anymore. I can stand on my own two feet and provide my own support, empathy and encouragement. It makes sense really – if I want someone to just nod their head in understanding, know where I’m coming from and say it’s all going to be ok, that person should be me. Afterall, I’m actually the only one in the world that has any idea what I am going through. I should be the one to get me through it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Back in the saddle


Today we officially jumped back in the saddle. I figure that’s the most positive way to accept the fact we are back where we started from 4 months ago. I visited the obstetrician to check on where things are at. I had my period last week so am at day 7. I told him that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tell when I was ovulating given I was still having cramps. He did an ultrasound and said I had two follicles that were maturing.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll have no idea what that means. So, thanks to Dr. Google, I found out that in the week leading up to ovulation, you have about 5-7 follicles that start to mature to produce an egg. Prior to ovulation, only one or two of those follicles will come to full maturation and one, or both, can release an egg. So, it seems we’re on target to ovulate at my normal time.
Given recent events though, I have to go back to the obstetrician on Monday to get another scan to make sure I am ovulating, or if not, get a better idea of when I will be. Now, we have officially entered the scientific realm of the baby making process. Of course, when I feel pregnant last time, there was some science involved – in terms of monitoring when I was ovulating. But that didn’t require a long plastic probe, covered in a condom and lubricant being inserted into my vagina. Now  the vaginal probe is likely to become my new best friend!
I told my obstetrician about my vulvadynia today and he said “Well, that might make things difficult. But you didn’t seem to have any problems with the ultrasound probe.” I said, “I sucked it up.” He said “You’ll probably have to do a lot of that.” He went on to tell us that we’ll need to take a spoonful of cement and harden up. Basically, there will be parts of the process that will be unpleasant, painful and void of all enjoyment. He said “You’re better off realising there is no romance in the baby making process. The only times babies come easy is when people aren’t planning them.” Well, you can’t get any more matter of fact than that!
In that moment, I realised I needed to let go of the complaining and begrudging I felt. Everytime I feel annoyed at the pain, or the fact we are back here, or the time it takes, or the waiting, or that it just hasn’t happened yet, I inject a little more depression into my experience. It’s our choice to do all of this. We want a baby so we are prepared to do everything we can to make it happen. I’m not sure why I complain about it, given I’ve chosen it, but I do. Now, I look at it all as part of what I have to do to make my dream come true.
When you think of any dream you’ve had – mine were going to university, buying a house, finding a partner and organising a wedding – there were elements to each that were hard. There were times I complained when I had to step outside my comfort zone, suck up a bit of pain, sacrifice things and face stumbles. However, with patience, perseverance and determination, I achieved my dreams. I don’t see any reason why this should be any different. The only trick is reminding myself of this when the patience starts to wane.
In the meantime, I’m happy to be back in the saddle. Finally, after 2 long months, we are ready to give it another shot. Giddy up cow girl!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Being where you are meant to be


I spent last weekend in Perth visiting a friend. I was in a foreign city, in a foreign cafĂ© reading a foreign newspaper when I came across an interesting article about grief by Mia Freedman. It said that 6 weeks after the event is normally the time when reality and acceptance sets in for the person suffering. It’s also the same time those unaffected start to assume you're over it, or hope that you are, so they can strike "check on x" off their to do list.

In my case, I would say all of that is true. It was a around 5 or 6 weeks that I did start to feel better and it was that time I noticed a sharp decline in the amount of people checking on me. To be honest, I'm not sure if it’s a good or bad thing to be left alone. I swing from being glad people aren't asking me as it reminds me of what happened and I may have been enjoying a rare moment where I wasn’t thinking about it, to feeling sad that I've been neglected so soon. There's no right answer, it really depends on how I'm feeling on the day.

I think the difference between those who do still check on you and those that don't, are the ones who realise that if they wait for you to get over it before contacting you, they'll be waiting forever. This article had an interesting quote from Petrea King that said “…there’s no finite time for grief, just as there is no finite time for love.” I know that 20 years after my grandfather died, my Mother isn’t being asked how she is coping with it, but I know she misses him everyday. Just as I know no one will be asking me in 5 years time how I'm coping with the miscarriage but I'll miss Peanut everyday for the rest of my life.

I think the lesson to be learnt, and accepted, is a part of you will grieve forever because you will love that person forever. Your love will never stop so you missing them will never stop. You'll just learn to cope with it better as each day passes. You'll learn to talk about your loss openly and be glad you are honouring them by remembering them. You'll learn to appreciate hearing other people's stories and knowing that you are not alone in what you are going through. You'll be buoyed by hearing positive outcomes and realising the future isn't as scary as you first thought. You'll learn to not take yourself or life too seriously and to enjoy a laugh when the opportunity presents itself.

It seemed perfect timing that I should have realised this as I sat there sipping my coffee that morning as, that afternoon at my friend’s bbq, one of her friends asked if we were going to try for children. I realised this was the first time I’d been asked that since the miscarriage. It was nothing more than an innocent question from someone who knew we had only got married 9 months ago but it threw me none the less. I told her I had the miscarriage and she told me she had had two of her own. We shared our own stories and our own pain which you can only truly do with someone who has walked in your shoes. But we also shared that unique smile that is full of enormous happiness, but tainted with enormous pain, as we watched her beautiful two children run around the yard.  

As you dust yourself off from the earth shattering event, and you start to make your way back into your life, the biggest lesson you'll learn is that life is still beautiful, wonderful and amazing and you still have so much to experience and bring to it. You just need to be brave enough to throw yourself into it! It’s sad that sometimes it takes such events to remind ourselves of that. But I'm so glad I stumbled across that newspaper. I would never have read it if I hadn't been exactly where I was at that moment. As I get ready to start the “trying to conceive” process all over again, I think this lesson came to me at the exact moment I needed it. Funny how life works like that sometimes!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

When one door closes....



Today marks the official closing to this chapter in my life. The significance of today is I finally got my period – thanks to good old progesterone! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was originally dreading this day as it would be the final slap to remind me I’m no longer pregnant. And part of me feels that.
I have taken a moment to recognise that sadness and honour it as another part of the grieving process. On some levels, it’s a tough day. But, I also recognise it as a new beginning. While the door on my first pregnancy is now closed, today opens up the new door to my next pregnancy, and hopefully my child.
 I’ve read stories of women whose period took months to come back, even with progesterone. So I’m thankful mine didn’t. I’ve read stories about women whose cycles don’t come back regularly and who find it difficult to know when they should try to conceive but I’m trying not to think about that too. Today is the first step of what I’m sure will be many before I hold my baby in my arms. So I’m focussing on that.
I have made an appointment to see the obstetrician next week. If we decide to go on ovulation medication, it will now have to start in my next cycle so for this month, we’ll just give it a go ourselves. It worked before so I’m keeping my mind clear of all the “what ifs” and focussing on what I know – I can get pregnant!
My concern is that I am still suffering cramps, headaches, sore breasts and a variety of other pains. As a result, I’m not confident I will know when I’m ovulating. But again, I’m putting that out of my head. I choose to be positive that my body will let me know what it’s doing. I choose to be patient that it may take time to happen again. I choose to be hopeful that we can pull this off with little intervention. However, I also choose to be proactive in searching out options, information and reassurance that we’re on the right track.
Today, I am standing somewhere between the two doors. I can picture myself, standing side on, with one hand closing one door, my front foot forward and my other hand twisting the knob of the other door. I feel frozen in that spot – ready to move forward but feeling anxious at the same time. I guess this is the feeling you have when you’ve been knocked down and you decide to get back up. It’s that moment, just before you stand again, that you realise standing up means you risk the same thing happening.
But this time, when you stand, you are older, wiser, calmer and so much braver than last time. So realising that, I pull the door shut behind me and step through the next one. Only time will tell what this new chapter will bring!  

Monday, 26 November 2012

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Another piece of the puzzle


I’m finding that mentally, I’m going through this process where my mind releases little pieces of information at a time. I know I feel emotions – angry, sad, anxious, scared etc. – but sometimes it’s hard to know why. There are the simple reasons – I lost my baby and I’m mad and sad about that, but I know there are other underlying reasons. I just don’t know what they are until they show themselves to me.
Overall, anger is the rarest of emotions I feel about the miscarriage and it really doesn’t pop up that often. However, when I saw a pregnant woman walking down the street smoking the other day, it turned up in a big way. The inner tirade started – I loose my baby doing everything right and your baby continues to grow despite you knowingly putting it at risk! In those moments, I know I haven’t let it all go.
So, as I was on my afternoon walk yesterday, one of the reasons revealed itself to me. A while ago, my friend who is trying to fall pregnant said to me “It’s so unfair because we spend so long trying not to get pregnant that when we want to, it seems like the hardest thing in the world.” And boom – in an instant, I realised that was one of the reasons I felt angry.
In my 20s and 30s I was so diligent. I remembered to take my pill everyday. I used condoms with partners until I was in a committed relationship. I took the morning after pill when accidents happened. I did everything right. So right in fact, that I didn’t fall pregnant. I was a gold medal winning performer on how not to fall pregnant.
It took time to find my husband, get married and get to the point where we wanted to have children. So I think part of me just thought that given all my diligent work for so long, falling pregnant when I wanted to would be my just reward. It didn’t seem like it was too much to ask. And really, it wasn’t.
I did fall pregnant quickly but in my raw state, I couldn’t see the point of falling pregnant if you loose the baby. I realised that part of me feels entitled to have this baby the way I want to with whom I want to. Otherwise, I would have let myself get pregnant to some random, and just have dealt with the consequences, but that’s not how I wanted to experience motherhood.  
I guess when I strip the anger back, the real reason I’m angry is my experience was not the outcome I had hoped for. As an optimist, I normally expect the best from life and take it as a personal affront when something negative happens. I’m not in denial about negative things happening, but it always comes a such a shock to me when it does.
I suppose this is a good lesson to learn – don’t be attached to our expected outcomes. If we go into a situation with a pre-defined picture of what will happen, how it will happen and what it will look like when it does happen, we are only opening ourselves to fall when our perfect picture doesn’t come to fruition.
The simple fact of life is nothing is perfect so why do we continue to think it is? Or that it will be? Or that it should be?  It would be much kinder to ourselves to just go into any new experience and say to ourselves “I am open to whatever this experience will bring me.” That way, we open ourselves up to whatever it will be – with no labels of good or bad on it. As Shakespeare said “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
So the lesson I have learnt from all of this is that good can come from the bad. As a result of the bad, it seems I’ve been able to help others, generate discussion and bring issues forward. I’ve helped people release emotions they’ve couped up for a long time and improve relationships. So if I look at my experience with open, non-expecting, non-judgemental eyes, I see the beauty and value in it.
That helps to vanquish the anger and I appreciate the calmness it brings me. However, as the eternal optimist, I now face the challenge of reminding myself to think like that. Perhaps it’s about embracing a new mantra – “I’m open to that.”

Friday, 23 November 2012

Me 2.0


I finally feel back to what sense of my normal self I have left. Of course, it’s not really my normal self - I could never be that person ever again. It’s a new normal - Me 2.0. 2.0 is the latest language to represent a new version of something. Essentially, it’s the same as upgrading from an Iphone 4 to an Iphone 5.
I think the mistake a lot of people make when something significant happens to them is thinking life will go back to being the same. Normally, these things are so severe that they leave an enduring impression on us that we can never erase. Essentially, we are changed for ever. Upgraded if you will!
Upgrades are made to make improvements. To make something work faster, easier and simpler.  To give it more functionality. To make it do different things.
 I’m not sure I’m faster. I’m definitely not easier and life certainly isn’t simpler. However, I do believe I have more functionality and I do think and feel different things.
As with anything in life, our perception of things dictates our experience. So, nearly 7 weeks on, I have enough space from the miscarriage to really sit down and take a good look at myself. If I was to market myself, I would say my upgrades are:
·         more confidence in myself to handle the curve balls life throws at me
·         improved love for myself – treating myself more gently and being kind to myself
·         self-appreciation for simply surviving
·         realising the things that really matter in life
·         gaining perspective on my world and how I function in it
·         increased appreciation for my loved ones
·         a new understanding of who I can really count on – and more importantly, who I can’t
·         knowing my husband and I are a strong team who will survive anything.
Of course, as part of an upgrade, there are bugs that need to be worked out. It’s not often that an upgrade is made smoothly. So I view my upgrade as a phased approach. I’m not sure it will ever be complete, but I feel I’m nearing the top. I know there will be times when I slip back a bit. I expect that and I know I have the tools now to be able to cope with it, so I’m not scared by it.
Essentially, I’ve just accepted what happened. I accept that I had no control over it. I accept that there is no one to blame. I accept that I did nothing wrong. I accept there is no reason for it. I accept that these things just happen. I accept that whatever happens, my life will be fabulous! As a result, I feel happy, calm and peaceful.
It’s been a hard slog to get to this place. But, I’m thankful it’s only taken me 7 weeks when I know some women just never accept it, or they get so tied up in anger, bitterness and jealousy they can never see their way out of it. Now, I am sitting back and patiently waiting. I’m looking forward to the new challenges life will bring me and seeing what new and improved ways Me 2.0 will serve me!   

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The ripple effect


There was no possible way I could ever have imagined the impact my Facebook post would have. Since posting it, I’ve had 14 friends tell me about their experiences, including one who hadn’t really spoken to anyone about it. I forwarded on my blog to some of them and one friend told me that reading it was the first time she had felt a ray of hope. I am enormously humbled by that.
But the most inspiring thing is that my husband’s three closest work friends shared their own experiences of miscarriage as a result of seeing my post. It’s amazing to think this group of four men were all carrying about the same pain but not talking about.  As I said to my husband, it’s not like one of them would just say one day “My wife had a miscarriage.” But somehow, knowing that he had experienced, they felt it was ok to share and have now shared with each other.
They told my husband how impressed they were with my bravery and how touched they were with my post. Stereotypically, we don’t expect men to express such emotion but I’m enormously touched that they feel like that. My husband is a man of few emotional words but he told me he was proud of me for being so brave.
But I can’t take the credit. That has to go to my dear friend who experienced the still birth. I realised these events are all part of the chain reaction she put into place by posting her message. As I went to send her a message, I read one from her telling me she was feeling anxious about having to return to hospital to get test results and facing the potential for receiving bad news. My heart felt for the emotional wrenching that situation would bring.
I told her my story and the outcome of my post.  I told her she should be enormously proud of the ripple effect she set in motion and the impact she has had on so many lives of people she will never meet.  But, I also recognised that it was in fact her daughter that started it all.
While her daughter spent such a short time in this world, she made her brave, and that made me brave and that made others brave. My friend’s hope all along was that people would be open and talk about it so the issue would not be forgotten. We have well and truly achieved that. I have had some amazing conversations with people and gained a fabulous insight into what lies ahead of me. But mostly, I’ve been inspired to remain hopeful that things will work out, given I now have so many examples to look at.
I hoped that knowing all of this could bring my friend some comfort as she faced another test. I hoped that knowing that her daughter’s existence had not gone unnoticed and would not be forgotten would make her smile. Despite the fact I never met her daughter, I will always think of her as the little soul that inspired us all!  

Friday, 16 November 2012

Getting back to business



I know I’ve been a little post-happy this week – it’s just been one of those weeks! And while my last few posts have been about the emotional struggle, I now want to focus on the physical one – and getting back to the business of making a baby.
Well, it’s been frustrating to say the least. It’s been nearly 6 weeks since my operation and my period has still not returned. The obstetrician told me it would take 4 to 6 weeks but I’ve also heard of other women having to wait 9 and 12 weeks and even 6 months. This is not an option for me.
The other annoying fact is I’m still having cramps, headaches, pains in my breast and nausea. After all this time, I’m getting over that too. I think I’ve been through enough emotional pain so I don’t need a constant physical reminder of what I’ve been through.
The pains were getting so bad I went to my GP yesterday. He thinks it’s just my hormones STILL sorting themselves out and has put me on Primolut – a progesterone drug to balance out the hormones and induce my period. I need to take two pills a day for 10 days and then my period will come back about 3 to 4 days after that.
I know I’ve previously said that I was dreading getting my periods back – that it would be the final slap in the face. But now I want them to come back. I’m ready to get back to trying but the absence of my period means that isn’t possible. So onto the medication I go.
The obstetrician told me if I was 30 years old he would have just told me to wait until they came back but given I’m 37, there was no time to wait. He said that he might put me on Clomid to aid my ovulation as some women can experience infertility issues after a miscarriage. I know a lot of women who go onto having children after a miscarriage, but it can be a difficult process. So I’m keen to get the process started as soon as possible.
I spoke to a friend who had her baby on Clomid. She said her obstetrician made her have it one cycle on, one cycle off. She fell pregnant on the third cycle which meant it took her 6 months. I had a little inner-tantrum when I heard that. Impatience, once again, getting the better of me! I’m just so frustrated that it seems to be taking so long to recover but I quickly got over it, realising I need to respect the fact my body needs to heal as much as my mind does.
I have been enormously buoyed by all the fabulous comments I received on my Facebook post. I got so much support and so many friends told me their inspirational stories that now I’m really motivated to keep moving forward. It makes me feel silly that I spent so much of my first pregnancy worrying about my age. I think that was a big contributor to constantly thinking I would miscarry. Now, I see so many of my friends who have had babies at my age with no problems at all, and I see so many friends older than me who have also had no problems.
So I’m in a much more positive frame of mind. I’ve learnt so much from my first experience and now feel confident I can handle another pregnancy and have a successful outcome. As one of my friends said, “Babies don’t often come easy” and it’s true – they don’t! So many of my friends can attest to that. But they can also attest to the benefits of not giving up so now I’m ready to stare the negativity in the face and yell BRING IT ON!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Paying it forward

I found out this week that a wonderful woman I use to work with suffered a full-term still birth. I was saddened to hear the news and enormously inspired by the courage and strength she had shown. She was determined to share her story in an effort to keep attention focussed on figuring out why this still happens. I thought it was an important cause to support.
It’s not just stillbirths that sometimes have no explanation, it’s miscarriages too. I have read so many stories about women who miscarry and the tests shows there was nothing wrong with the baby. It just doesn’t make any sense. And how can people be expected to get over and heal from something that just doesn’t make sense?
When I think about it, I know four women who have suffered miscarriages. I have relied heavily on one of those women to share her knowledge, encouragement and support to help me through this. She is the only one who can sit opposite me and nod her head in absolute understanding of what I am going through. But surely, there must be more of my friends who have suffered this?
I’ve learnt that some people just don’t know what to say or do in these situations.  Some of my friends have seemed to approach me gingerly and feel bad for not speaking to me sooner. Some of them just don’t even bring the topic up.  I can certainly understand the difficultness of the situation. In the past, I have tried to console friends who have had miscarriages and felt useless as I couldn’t possibly imagine what they were going through. Now I do know, I realise how important it is just to show your friends you are thinking about them and caring about them. In the midst of all the grief, that’s all you want to know – that people care about you!
So, inspired by my brave friend who had the tragic loss of her daughter, I posted my story on Facebook today. Today was significant as I was originally booked in for my scan and would have been announcing to the world that I was 13 weeks pregnant. I questioned whether I should – I was worried about people judging me, people at work knowing and people thinking I was just searching for sympathy. But, I knew my motivation was pure - I didn’t post it searching for sympathy or nice comments, I posted it so that if any of my friends had experienced the same thing, or do experience the same thing, they know they can call me and I will be there for them as my friend was there for me.  And, I realised that being worried about what people thought is the main reason women don’t talk about it and that was the whole reason for doing it. In that moment, I quickly realised I didn’t care what anyone thought – that was enormously empowering!
Within a few hours of posting it, four friends had told me about their miscarriages. The majority of those had gone on to have babies, but clearly, the pain and the memory was still there. For another friend, her experience was very recent and she was going through a lot of the same thought processes as me. All I could do was tell her I totally understood where she was coming from and send her the link to this blog.
In the end, my post was about paying it forward. If we can all stand proud in our experience, it releases the feelings of guilt and shame we carry around. If I can help one person through their miscarriage, then my experience hasn’t been in vain. I’m so glad to realise so quickly that my instinct was correct and people have already valued it. I hope and pray that none of my friends ever have to experience this, but I’m ready to turn up to their house in a moment’s notice if needed.

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