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From Emby to LLC to Ella

Well, I wasn’t sure I’d actually write this post. The longer it’s been, the harder it seemed and more ridiculous to finally come back. That said I kept thinking ‘Maybe to Baby, not Maybe to Pregnancy’. So here I am. My catch up, apology and, I feel, final post – on this blog anyways.

16 weeks pregnant when I wrote my last post and today that tiny embryo is a healthy, beautiful and awe-inspiring 15 week old little girl sleeping peacefully in her bassinet.

My pregnancy was really great – a few small issues but nothing too major; it made me feel beautiful in a weird way! I smashed my weight gain ‘goal’ of 11-13kg… I put on 17kg hehehe. That said I think most of the weight was in fluid! A small summary of our pregnancy and it’s conclusion:
~ found out we were expecting a little girl in December, Emby promptly became LLC (Little Lady Cxxxx <— my surname)
~ diagnosed with marginal cord insertion
~ a bright spot found in LLC's heart, follow up scan required
~ bright spot given all clear
~ diagnosed with IUGR (intra uterine growth restriction – small baby) at 29 weeks, put on fortnightly scans
~ induction booked for 16/4 (EDD 24/4) due to IUGR
~ 35 week scan shows LLC has ‘caught up’ weight wise, induction cancelled
~ Waters break at 3am on Friday, April 4
~ Labour progresses very quickly and am at 9.5cm in around 3 and a half hours, then stalls
~ Following some intervention, LLC is born at 6:43pm same day. She weighs just 2.415kg and is 45cm long

We called our little girl Ella Katerina and brought her home about six days later. Ella had some weight gain issues which have been sorted and some health issues for me which are also resolved now.

It's been an incredibly up and down 15 weeks – with the weight gain, feeding and reflux plus my own short return to hospital… Add to that my parents were staying with us up until about 2 weeks ago (they arrived the week before Ella did) and my husband works away – I've really had days where I've struggled!

But every day I try to remember how much I desperately wanted to be a mother and what we went through to get here. As well as holding the knowledge of just what a miracle pregnancy is. And remembering that I do deserve this and that I am doing a good job.

My beautiful, growing, healthy daughter is proof of that 🙂

Thank you for sharing my journey. Until I held her to my chest in her first moments of being independently alive, I truly did not allow myself to believe our dream had come true. But it did, it has, and my ‘Maybe’ is now most definitely my ‘baby’

And I am forever grateful x

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Warning: My mind is scattered …. and so is my post!

Its been a long time since my last post. I didn’t realise how long until I just clicked on my blog and saw it was just after our 7 week scan. That was an incredible 9 weeks ago. I just find that almost impossible to believe. Almost… but I’m 16 and a half weeks now so it must be true!

The five week wait to the magical 12 week mark was actually a 6 week wait, seeing as we didn’t get our scan and the ‘all clear’ results until the 13 week mark. But it was worth the wait.  The scan, seeing that our blob had become a recognisable baby, was beyond belief. I felt the beginnings of love for this teeny human. S-U-R-R-E-A-L.  Here is the best shot we got of our Emby:

Image

Then we got to tell people and we were astounded by the well wishes we received. The amount of ‘you will be amazing parents’ comments were so humbling!

But what was better, we got to be openly pregnant. No more avoiding baby talk, when its all I want to talk about sometimes. No more being furtive when looking at anything child or pregnancy related. No more avoiding certain foods or alcohol without giving away why I’m avoiding those things.  Openly pregnant is awesome. 

I’ve passed the first milestone – getting a heartbeat. The second – the first trimester screening scan / bloods.  Now, all we have coming up is the morphology scan which as far as a layperson knows, is just to determine the sex. But intellect tells me it must serve a much more important purpose otherwise it would be optional, not mandatory! I’ll google that once I’m done with this post.

My symptoms have been relatively mild – I did have quite horrid nausea from weeks 7-12, easing right back during weeks 13 and 14 and gone by week 15 except for the very, very rare flush of it.  I never vomited – but saying that, I did spend 5 weeks feeling constantly sick, from wake up to fall asleep… unpleasant, yes, and made finding food to eat a challenge (thank goodness for McDonalds, that’s all I can say!) but it was also incredibly reassuring to me.

I didn’t (and still haven’t) experience a growth spurt in my mammary glands, although bigger, its not like ‘in the movies’, or like every other pregnant person I know!  Just mild growth. Husband is quite happy though 🙂 They were a little sore, but again nothing earth shattering. I am getting the whole thicker hair thing though – loving that 🙂 

I’m now in the second trimester and I do feel loads better physically.  And also emotionally. The fear and worry have dialled back a little although I’m still, somewhere deep inside, quietly terrified that this wonderful gift will be snatched away from us.  I try hard not to dwell on that. I succeed about 99% of the time. 

I was lucky enough to be able to hear Emby’s heartbeat with my friends ‘Angel Sounds’ doppler from 11 weeks. That has helped immensely.  I don’t use it often but when I’ve had a bad day, at work or emotionally, laying back and listening to my little babies heart beating away is the most magical de-stresser ever. Reminds me of what really matters and helps me let go of the small stuff. 

So now, just patiently waiting for our morphology scan to see our little lady or man again. Yes, we are going to find out the sex of our baby.  But we’ve decided, seeing as our scan is the 4th Dec, and to make the moment of learning ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ a bit more special, we’re going to do up a little certificate and have our sonographer fill it out on the day but not tell us boy or girl. 

Then we’ll pop it in an envelope and hang it on our Christmas tree, and on Christmas morning my husband and I will open it together to find out in a very private, very special moment with just us and our furbabies whether we’re welcoming him or her to our family in April. I can’t wait.

Being pregnant is just unbelievable.  Its crazy, amazing, awe inspiring.  I still don’t believe it sometimes and given that my symptoms have eased I am surrounded by other pregnant women who have less weeks but bigger bumps under their belts (I pretty much still have nothing!), its not that surprising!  Plus, I wonder how I got so lucky and what an incredible force mother nature is that my body is growing a human life.  When I pause on it it literally takes my breath away.  

My heart breaks for all the women out there who are still fighting the battle to become a mother and I still think about them daily.  I don’t feel guilty for being where I am but an incredible want for them to all join me.  I remember dreading the ‘just relax and it will happen’ comment, or the inevitable stories about ‘that couple’ that everyone knows of who, after years of trying and unsuccessful assistance, stopped trying and BAM fell pregnant naturally! Thankfully I never got that but a very close girlfriend of mine who’s been trying for 5 years or more definitely got it multiple times. We often plotted together the responses we’d make to these people if we weren’t well mannered, civil folk!  One sore spot in my pregnancy, after going through ART together, highs and lows, being each other’s support, was leaving this beautiful person behind when we got our positive. 

It got a little harder when she told me that they’d been refused IVF as the chances of success were almost none. At that point she really lost hope and withdrew into a world of hurt I could no longer enter – I was so sad for her and so worried. But she rallied and her and her husband have been making the most of what they do have and just being wonderful friends to everyone, including me.

And today, she told me that she’s pregnant. Totally natural, accidental conception.  I cried, she cried, the other people in McDonalds looked at us like we were crazy and we couldn’t have cared less.  I am just so, so happy that she’s finally been given what has been for so long unfairly and for no good reason denied to her.  No-one can understand how an infertile woman feels except another infertile woman. Its soul crushing and induces unbelievable feelings of failure and self loathing.  So my heart is bursting with happiness for my dear friend and I am throwing buckets of stick dust her way.

And now we have to take back all those horrible things we practiced saying to the ‘I know a couple who’, or ‘Just relax and it’ll happen’ people… cause now she IS that story. They ARE that couple. And its fabulous. But I promise, and so did she, to never use her as an example in a misguided attempt to try to give hope to anyone going through ART. 

Telling you lot is different. Its just sharing some happy news 🙂

Sorry for the rambling, long, multi-topic post. What can I say – my mind is scattered these days!  I’ll try to come back more quickly and more often from here on in!

x S

 

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Its Clinical! Introducing Emby :)

I never thought the words “Its Clinical” could ever be sweet. But they can be. Last Friday I watched in trepidation as a sonographer lubed up my abdomen (gently – my very full bladder was nearly at bursting, it felt!) and then ran her magic wand over my uterus.

Incredibly – crazily – surreally – she immediately found a gestational sac, a yolk sac and an embryo (and a giant bladder).  Took my breath away. I finally had proof of what the tests were telling me.

You see, unlike a lot of women, and perhaps ‘luckily’, I haven’t really had many symptoms.  Not very sore boobs … no real cravings to speak of … not that tired … not much ‘morning sickness’.  I guess, not NO symptoms, but very, very mild symptoms. So, despite weekly blood tests that showed my Oestrogen, Progesterone and HCG levels backing up this whole pregnant diagnosis, I felt terribly unbelieving.  Even going into the ultrasound!

Maybe a little part of it is self defence too – no expectations = no disappointment. Sounds good in theory, anyway.

But – back to the topic.  Everything that the sonographer was looking for was there, including a teeny, tiny heart beating at 125bpm.  Absolutely incredible to see.  She took loads of images for me and then, very sweetly, made a little video of Emby’s heart beating so I could show my husband who couldn’t be at the appointment. 

So – its real, its clinical, its an Emby! (Only one, to my husbands slight disappointment hehehehe).  We are telling family now – how exciting – and then just enter into another wait – 5 weeks this time!  Until the magic 12 week mark when we should be able to tell the world. 

Image

Thought I’d include a photo of our blob… its totally unrecognisable as a future baby right now but I’m proud of it anyways!  Emby is the sideways oval shape at the top, floating above the downwards oval yolk sac.  Clear as mud 🙂

Stick with me, Emby x

 

xx Luck

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And the results are in…

Well. What a crazy five days it’s been. A life changing, outlook altering five days.

So. Last post, I was on a plane, and we were waiting for blood test results to find out if our latest OI cycle produced a BFP.  [Obviously I posted after we got home, not on the plane, unfortunately. That would mean we were on a private jet or something, which would be aaaaweeesuuuuum!]

Sorry. I digress.

So.  As I’d suspected, “The Call” came whilst we were on the plane. Upon landing, and switching my mobile back on, the little notification whistle for SMS’s went nuts.  Missed calls, voicemails, the whole shebang.  Rang my voicemail and got a totally inane “Hello its ?? from the clinic, could you give me a call back please. I’ll be here until around twelve fifteen. Thank you.”

And the current time was………….. one-oh-five. I was annoyed at the total lack of inflection – a happy voice or a subdued voice – but really I’d known it was going to happen and I was channelling David [or Goliath] right? So all OK.

I totally resisted the urge to do a home pregnancy test that afternoon, despite the fact I have a stack of them [internet cheapies] and I’d kind of sneakily planned to.  But the memory of my last false positive was still fresh enough to put a stop to that.

Monday, I got up at 5am for work and got going, in a neat twist of fate I managed to get a flat tyre on the way to work.  And because I don’t do things by halves, it was not only a flat tyre, it was a tyre with three physical holes in it [the smallest was the size of a cherry], it was on the driver’s side rear, the spot where I had to pull over the shoulder was narrow and sloped, AND it was still completely dark. Winning!!!!!!!!!!!! Sigh. Slightly worse for my lovely husband who not only had to deal with all of the above but also with a rude wake up phonecall at half past five. Lucky he loves me.

Anyways, so started the day with a bang and got to work forty minutes late.  The day was mad right from the beginning.  My job is unusual; I co-ordinate a fleet of tug boats that guide huge iron ore ships into and out of our harbour.  Some days it’s lovely – smooth sailing, so to speak – and some days its chaotic. Things go wrong, lines break, ships miss tides, tugboats break down.  And Monday was one of those days.  So whilst I’m dealing with all this work chaos, every second a little voice in my head is saying ‘You need to call the clinic back and get your results’…. A little voice which I studiously ignored.

By 9:30am, the little voice was becoming a booming chorus and with all that had happened already, I just felt stretched to the limit. So I sent a text to my husband to say I was too afraid to ring the clinic to get an answer – after all, it’s an answer for him, too.  He immediately offered to call for me, bless him, so I said go ahead. Then I waited.

I spend a lot of time on the phone at work, and I was on a call when my personal mobile, then my work mobile rang.  It was him.  Then another work line rang and I heard one of the girls telling the caller I was on another call and I knew that was also him.  My stomach curled, tightened and started shaking. I kid you not. Nervous much

When I got off the phone, I took a deep breath, grabbed my mobile and went into the only private place in this building – the toilet.  I sat, rang and waited to hear the words.

“So, I rang the clinic.”

“Yes.”

“And…. [I kid you not, he paused for dramatic effect!]…. We’re going to be parents.”

“What?”

What followed was him repeating himself several times, and me continually asking him if he was joking. Kinda reminds me of his marriage proposal, now I think of it.  So that’s how and where I found out that finally, unbelievably, my little egg and his little sperm did a dance and became a zygote. Which became a blastocyst. Which was currently in the process of becoming an embryo.

I heard him but I didn’t truly believe it. So much so that I rang the clinic myself later that day. And bought an expensive, fancy “digital” HPT to do when I got home [positive] and took daily HPTs for three days [all positive].  I still feel a little disbelieving.

I am being monitored by the clinic up until Week 8. Which means a blood test once a week to track my HCG, progesterone and oestrogen levels, and a scan at Week 7 to observe a heartbeat.  Apparently, a pregnancy is only considered a clinical [real] pregnancy once it is confirmed via a scan to see the foetal heartbeat/gestational sac.

So far I’m still slightly disbelieving. According to dates, I’m 5 weeks pregnant. I really don’t have anything I’d call symptoms apart from having slightly sore boobs and not getting my period.  So I’m really happy to be having weekly BTs to reassure me that despite not feeling pregnant, I really am growing a human being. Tomorrow I get my first set of results and I’m hoping they are brilliant and I can worry a teeny bit less.

I think we’ve cleared the biggest hurdle in our journey from Maybe to Baby. It’s not over yet and won’t be til I hold our child in my arms and marvel at his or her perfection.  But, by goodness, we’ve taken a big step forward and I feel so, so blessed right now.

x Luck to us all.

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Beating David…or Goliath…!

So, I’m having a David and Goliath battle within today.

A little background; it’s currently CD31. I have completed all meds [read: injections] and had my final blood test yesterday to check my E2, P4 and HCG levels. For those NOT in Infertility Land, that’s my oestrogen, progesterone and human chorionic gonadotrophin levels. To be blunt, it’s a pregnancy test.

For most women undergoing treatment for primary infertility it’s a fairly simple and quick end to the cycle. You attend on the morning dictated by your specialist, get a bit of blood sucked out by a nurse, go home and wait for a few hours…then call the clinic and get your results [what happens from this point is largely dictated by said results].

For me, though, because I live in a remote area and the results are outsourced, I have to wait until the next day, or the day after that, for my results. Usually it’s not a big deal but for this test, this particular result, it most certainly is. And in a cruel twist of timing, I’m sitting on a plane at 30,000 feet while my specialist clinic is calling me to deliver those results. Fun, hey? Just when I was thinking this journey couldn’t find any new ways to have a laugh at my expense.

Its been a run of up and down for this one; of course my blood test fell due on a Saturday, when my usual pathologist is closed [fail] – but a sudden trip meant I’d be in a town with an on site lab open on Saturday [win]… of course the lab can’t process directly and has to send away [fail] but my clinic is open on Sunday so results should be through around 12 [win!]; of course I’m getting on a plane at 1050 on Sunday and haven’t received The Call yet [fail] and of course I land at 1pm – 1/2 an hour after the clinic closes…..FAIL. Sigh.

So one of two things will now happen; I’ll land and have a missed call and subsequent voicemail telling me my results are in and can I call them back before 12:30 or on Monday…. Or I’ll land and there will be no missed call and I will have to call them Monday. Yay. While I’m at work, surrounded by a group of people who hardly know me and hours away from being home with the one person who almost 100% gets it and is my absolute rock in all this [my husband]

Which brings me to my D & G battle [eventually, I know… ]

I figure at this point I have two choices: continue feeling sad, anxious, angry at circumstances and impatient although terrified to get my results, all the while staunchly “not thinking about it”, or I can woman up, realise that nothing I do or don’t do is going to change the results and then choose to let the negatives go and just relax, think about other, happier stuff and concentrate on what I do have, right in front of me, rather than what I may or may not have inside me and what that means.
Obviously the smart choice is option number two but the easy and selfish choice is the first. I don’t want to be a killjoy/depresso/wet blanket but its hard to climb out of my self dug pit of self pity and realise there is sunshine and roses all around me despite my very real and very valid issues.

It may not do anything more productive than give my husband and I a more pleasant day if I choose sweetness and light but I know that choosing the pity pit will be absolutely, unequivocally unproductive. There is NOTHING to be gained by wallowing…. Logic tells me this. And experience.

So I guess that the battle is over; David won [or Goliath, not sure who was the villian in that piece?] and I will do my best to woman up. It will not be easy. But I’ll do my best.

Did I mention have a cold, too?

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When “Dark Me” gets in my ear…

Today is not a great day.

To summarise this cycle to date – am currently CD24, around 9DPO (days past ovulation).  Have my next booster in about 6hrs when I get home from work – I’m on nightshift.  Fun times.  I’m still around 8 days away from getting a BT to tell me if this cycle has been successful or not.

As I said in my previous post, I am feeling quite neutral this cycle.  Well, I was, up until around 1.30pm yesterday when I woke up.  I rang my FS to get my latest blood results and dutifully noted them down; Oestrogen 430, Progesterone 75.  Was the drop in Oestrogen level normal? I asked – my last E2 level was 730 so it’s a bit of a drop – almost half! But she assured me (as did Dr Google, moments later) that that IS the normal process of things.  That said, she didn’t seem that pleased with my numbers.  Usually, the nurse will say “Your levels are X, which is great / right where we want them / perfect.”  This time, it was just “Your levels are fine. E2 is 430, progesterone…”

Fine. FINE. What does that mean?! [ok, even I realise that I’m going a bit OTT with this bit, obviously, she probably just meant they are totally OK….right?!]

Anyways.

So, then after I consulted Dr Google I snuggled back down to try to get a couple more hours sleep and I started to think.

Dictionary.com says: Think (verb): to employ one’s mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation.

What needs to be added is: except in the instance where the thinker is M2B in which case one’s mind is neither rational nor objective, but instead self-abusive and incapable of any shred of positivity.

It occurred to me that perhaps the reason I’m struggling to conceive is a very simple one: maybe I am not a good enough person to become a mother.  Maybe I simply don’t deserve it.  This led me back to dark places I’ve been before where my view of myself as a person is not a very flattering one; no-one knows me like me and I sometimes really feel like I am not a nice person.  There’s a mountain of arguments against this conclusions, such as A) Very, very bad people get pregnant every day – people who certainly don’t deserve children, such as mothers who abuse their existing children. B) Childhood immaturity aside, I try every day to ensure my actions do not hurt others, I try to give back to the community and I do my best to be a great wife, daughter, and friend.  C) As far as I’m aware no-one else agrees with my super negative assessment of myself.  Not even my rational self.

But those counter-arguments don’t really mean jack when I’m being absolutely flattened by the weight of these horrible, draining, hurtful feelings.  The little part of myself that I’ll refer to as ‘dark me’ has a million counter-counter-arguments so rational me doesn’t stand a chance, let alone my poor husband who has to come home and deal with his morose, dejected, teary and still unpregnant wife.

I know that we are less than two years into the TTC journey, and we’re only on our second Assisted Conception (AC) cycle.  That’s nothing compared to some.  But you know it’s a LOT compared to those who fall within 12mths of TTC and it’s a shit tin more than those who fall within 6mths of TTC.  Don’t even get me started on those who fall first go.

And I’m sad and I’m angry about it. I’m also terrified about how long I might have to go through these cycles.  And cycle is such an appropriate word…. You start off preparing, then you actively contribute towards the goal, then you get hopeful, then you get devastated, then you start preparing again.  How many times can a normal, stable, emotionally healthy woman put herself through this process before she crumbles?  If someone can answer me that, then I’ll halve it and think maybe I might have that many goes because I am not emotionally stable or healthy and that’s maybe why I am where I am 1.5cycles into AC.

And maybe it’s the medication talking.  I am pumping myself full of HGC which can cause depression or feelings of irritability. Add that to my precarious self-esteem and being a woman who can’t conceive… it isn’t shocking that I’m having these sad moments.  Maybe I’m stronger than I think and I will feel better tomorrow.  I really, really hope so.

Because I want this.  I want to have the moment when I hear the words “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”  I want to have the chance to take my husband’s hand and say “We’re having a baby!”  I want the opportunity to feel life growing inside me and I want to hold mine and my husband’s child in my arms.

I want it, so bad, but I’m scared I’m not strong enough to endure what has to be endured to get there.  And I’m terrified that’s why I won’t.

I always try to end my posts on a bit of an upswing, a more positive trend, a brief note of hope.  Not sure I can manage that tonight……   😦

x Luck.