waiting for a miracle

Wave of light

  
Our 6 candles are lit up for our 6 angels in heaven. And 6 more for others that I said I would light a candle for.  

 
Rest in peace beautiful angels. Your parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, siblings and would-be-friends miss you dearly xxx

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Hope

When Scott and I decided to share, what I had written for us, with others, essentially with anyone who has access to the Internet, we had no idea how it would be received (especially because we really are so private and going from private to public was a massive and completely opposite thing for us to do). We have been overwhelmed with the support and with the feedback from friends, family and strangers. We are so grateful for those who have shared it with their friends. Many have said that the blog helped them understand better what is involved in the IVF process. Many said they have had friends or family go through many cycles of IVF yet until reading our journey had no idea of what that actually meant.

This got Scott and me thinking. I guess because there has been so much silence around infertility and treatments people go through, many either don’t know what to say when they find out or may assume the process doesn’t want to be discussed. This may largely be because couples (or singles) going through the process don’t talk about it enough. Those of us on these journeys hide it and therefore our friends don’t get the opportunity to know about it.

There’s probably many reasons for this. For us we felt like we shouldn’t talk about this sort of stuff because no one we knew talked about it in our circles of friends. We also felt no one would want to know the ins and outs of what we were going through or that talking about ourselves may make others uncomfortable.

The other reasons couples may not say anything when they finally are pregnant is that it’s the done thing not to say anything until the ‘safe’ time at 12 weeks. Not that you’re ever really ‘safe’ the entire pregnancy so I don’t know why this is still the case. We had planned to keep it quiet until 24 weeks. Why? Because if anything were to go wrong there would be a greater chance to save our baby by then. We were actually so excited we wanted to tell everyone. And I started to get a baby bump pretty quickly – it was hard to hide it! I didn’t want to hide it, I was so proud and in love that we had a baby growing inside at long last but we were hiding this. (We took photos of it growing each week. First time in my life I had a bit of figure. Woo hoo!)

It’s the done thing to hide your pregnancy. Is it because we don’t want to upset others if we lose our babies? I think that is part of it. I know we didn’t want to upset our family and friends if it didn’t work. We didn’t want to drag them along a roller coaster if it didn’t deliver at the end. We would lose our baby, but they would lose a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a cousin, a bestie for their kid. When you lose a baby or child, it hurts many around you. So maybe that’s why our society says to keep it quiet. Self preservation and for the preservation of your close ones. Well next time we won’t keep it so quiet. Unfortunately death is part of life, and even small children can deal with it well. My little niece had been praying for her cousin in Aunty Jenni’s belly. She’s now praying for her cousin in heaven. Bless her. What a sweet kid.

Two of our dearest friends have asked us almost anything about our journey. And you know what, it was kind of a relief to be able to talk about it with them in such a casual way, the same we we would decide what we would eat for dinner together. No big fuss was made but they were genuinely interested so it also helped us feel more comfortable around them as they knew what was going on in our lives. Yet it wasn’t the only topic of conversation. They even knew our daily afternoon/evening time schedule for medications and being able to work around that when we would see them. They knew that at 5pm I would need to insert my pessary and then lay down for an hour. At 7pm I had to be able to be somewhere private so Scott could inject me with the medications and preferably have an ice pack handy. Because they asked the questions, they knew the answers and we could fit hang out times in around the mediations. One afternoon they even hung around watching the footie a bit longer so that I could continue the medication routine and then we took my injection with us while we went to dinner.

Now I’m not saying everyone on the journey wants everyone to know their timed medication schedule or everything about the journey. And I’m also not saying that everyone wants to know what others are going through. But what I am saying is it is okay to ask questions, genuine questions that you are curious about. Just be prepared that the person or couple may not want to talk about it, but also be prepared to listen in case they do want to talk. 😉

On Tuesday 13th October I had the d&c. It was meant to be our celebration of 11 weeks, and instead it was the final bit of closure in all of this for now.

The morning started bright and early for a 6.15am entry to hospital. The lady doing all of the pre administration forms was so lovely. She realised what we were coming in for and said she would try organise a room for me if possible rather than send me to the chair in the shared room. I could hear her from the waiting room as she phoned around the hospital and then she came out and said to us that they had found us a room. That was such a relief and so kind of her to go above and beyond especially because I was currently having painful contractions. We had a bit of a wait in the room but it was nice to have each other by our sides. Normally I would have been in the shared area and partners aren’t allowed there.

One of the nurses came in to do some pre op stuff and we got talking. She told me that her daughter had miscarried last year at 12 weeks too. First pregnancy for her and hasn’t fallen since. She went on to tell me that a few weeks ago her son called the family while they we’re all together to say that they were pregnant. She said she instantly looked at her daughter and her husband and noticed the tears welling up in their eyes. Her daughter told her that she’s happy for her brother, but it just hurts. And she said that her daughter hasn’t been able to talk about it all since she lost her baby.

That got me thinking. It’s so true. After a loss of any kind, the last thing we usually want to do is talk about it. Why? Because it hurts so much to speak those words about someone you loved (still love) that is no longer. It’s painful to bring the words to the lips and voice them. In time though it’s so healthy to talk, to be heard. To remember them. I hope she finds a way to talk when she is ready. The nurse took the details for our IVF clinic. I hope they can help her.

For those going through a loss there is always the anxiety about the return. The return to normal and seeing your dear friends and family. You want it to happen but that first return is the hardest part. You have so much anxiety about staying strong and keeping it together. You know that the second anyone asks you how you are, that brave and strong person you thought you could be will crumble into a blubbering mess. And then your comments of “I’m okay” may not quite be believable. Even those first phone calls, you put on a brave voice and then that little trembling starts and before you know it you’re once again a blubbering mess. I’m not sure how we can overcome this. I think we just deal. We know those asking care and we try to respond as best we can. And we appreciate the care. It would be sad if people didn’t recognise your loss wouldn’t it?

One thing for those on the other side of grief to be aware of, if your friend doesn’t give you much time or only says a quick hi before returning to their work for the day or stays occupied rather than hanging with you, it’s probably all they can do to hold themselves together.

I got taken up to the place for surgery and again, all staff were so kind. It’s almost like I had a post it note stuck to my forehead saying “please be gentle today.” I think a loss of any kind has an impact on those around the hurt and somehow brings out a beautiful nature in everyone. Maybe it reminds us what a blessing today is. Maybe it reminds us of our soft sides. Maybe it somehow bonds us.

My obstetrician came to see me just before I was to go to the operating room. She was visibly upset. She’s been with us on this journey for about a year and a half almost. She was so excited when we got past our previous losses weeks. I guess she also, like us, thought that in 6 and a half months (ish) we would be seeing her at the hospital to deliver our baby. Instead she was going to remove it before it had a chance to be born.

The anaesthetist came and prepped me. He gave me the “first drink of the night” (his words – made me giggle) before the real stuff. I was determined to count past my previous attempts of ‘two.’ I made it to ten and stopped counting. I realised the “first drink” wasn’t the one that makes me sleep yet. Time to move over to the operating bed.

And then you’ll never believe it. I woke up in recovery!!! Best sleep ever but I didn’t even make counting to ‘one’ this time. Now that’s an all new record. 😉

As I woke up (in my slurry state) I remember lifting my head and telling the guy beside me (different beds, remember we are at the hospital in recovery!!!) that “everything is okay, you’re waking up in recovery.” What the?! Who am I?! A nurse now? Why am I telling him it’s okay? I mean it was okay but looking back now, those meds were some strooooong meds!!! At least it wasn’t like my first time going under- when I woke up then, I turned to the nurse/staff member and said “now I know how my dogs feel after they get desexed.” I was groggy then too but I will never forget his laughter. Hahaha. I don’t blame him. I would have laughed too. Probably uncontrollably.

So while I was then lying there in recovery (now finally minding my own business being a patient and not a personal comforter for the sleeping) I suddenly realised, “that’s it… It’s officially all over now, I’m no longer pregnant and our little hope is gone.” And then the tears rolled down my face. Okay, there may have been a slight river streaming down my face. And the more I tried to be brave and stop them the more they dropped from my eyes. I felt so silly and tried to hide it. One of the nurses (probably thinking what on earth is with me, one minute I’m comforting random strangers and the next sobbing like a child myself) came over to me, closed the curtains around my bed and asked if Scott was coming to pick me up. She said she would go phone him. And then like a time travelled movie super fast in he walks behind her. She said they don’t normally let partners in this area but that we need to be together. (I hope that was because I was crying and not because I was the weirdo in the bed talking to randoms.)

Scott and I hugged and just stayed together. Then it was time to go back to my room. And would you believe when we got up there I had sandwiches and an apple juice given to me. I was so thrilled. Yes food makes everything feel better. Much like being around my dogs 😉 and of course Scott.

Speaking of dogs, it was almost time for Scott to head back home to let the dogs out for a quick toilet break before returning to me. I managed to get some sleep after the food and while Scott was looking after our furry one’s needs.

A short time later I was woken with the most amazing smell. Food!!! Time for more food. You would have seen on my previous update the food they gave me. I was so impressed. When they asked me if I would like to stay overnight it was tempting to say yes just because of the food! 😉 But I don’t like to be in places others might need more than me, and it’s always nice to see my dogs so I declined. (If you are wondering… I love love LOVE plane food too. Best part about flying. All those different serves of cute little dishes. Awesome!) I have to add here, Scott is our main cook at home and he is incredible! His food is awesome! I just love the plane food type things where they give you all these different things to eat. It’s soooooo exciting! A surprise under each lid! Yep, I love my food! During the pregnancy I was eating the equivalent of probably 5-8 main meals a day. 😉 And somehow I didn’t gain any weight.
So that brings me to here. Home recovering. Thankfully the pain has eased a bit (after contractions this is bearable). My doctor told me I have to stay home to rest and recover. I would rather do that quickly and then get back to work and normal routines again. Put all of this behind me (especially the nurse Jenni part! Haha). I’d like to focus on the future and what options we have. But my wonderful and caring husband and parents kind of ambushed me and told me I’m to follow doctors orders and I have to take the rest of the week off. How can I argue with the three of them? Mum is even coming over each day in my car to make sure I do stay and rest rather than returning to work. So….. I have another few days to rest, recover and hopefully also get over this terrible cough I’ve had for way too long now that got worse over the past week.


[Side note: I believe in God. I don’t expect everyone reading this to believe in God, but that’s why it’s my post about my life. So I’m about to talk about Him now, if this offends you then don’t read it but if you have an open mind then continue here to find out what I meant about getting out of bed on my first post.] In my first post I was feeling very angry with God. I had listened to a fantastic podcast on my phone on Friday while I waited for our IVf scan to tell us how the baby was going. It was about prayer and knocking on the door. And how God will answer the door. It’s the parable with 3 characters in it. A visitor from out of town, the home owner and the neighbour who is in bed. Long story short; a visitor knocks on the homeowners door. He invites the visitor in for some bread – symbol of our need to eat – and then realised he has nothing to feed the visitor. So he runs next door to his neighbour. He knocks on the door. It’s in the middle of the night. He knocks so hard and for so long and the guy won’t get out of bed. Finally after the whole street must have woken up and come peering out of their windows this guy opens the door and gives him the bread. So the point was to keep asking. It’s not annoying (maybe to the street haha). Keep asking keep knocking.

So I was lying in bed crying on Friday, as the bleeding got heavier, and I was begging, pleading, knocking for God to save our baby. All the way to the city for our scan I prayed and while I was being scanned I was praying. And I was soooo mad that God didn’t answer the door to us when it was so important to us. I will post the link now to the podcast (listen if you want – it’s fantastic) and then continue about this:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/mars-hill-bible-church/id214057317?mt=2&i=351098033

So after we found out that the door hadn’t been opened I was so mad. I don’t think I have ever been mad at God. Ever. I couldn’t talk to him. I couldn’t pray. And anyone that we told that Friday night what had happened seemed to reply with hope about God. I couldn’t get my head around it then. I was shattered. I felt like God had turned his back on us. On me. And why? I am not perfect (at all, very far from it), but I try my best to live a life that makes others’ lives better, even if just from a smile or a genuine kind word. I have the most softest heart about animals (I often cry when I see road kill, yep major animals lover here). None of this makes me better than anyone else but surely I live a life as good as I can, so what am I doing wrong? I ate all the right foods in pregnancy (even ones I hate, just for the nutritional components to support our growing baby). I rested. I didn’t lift anything heavy. And when our baby stopped growing I was on holidays at home resting. This shattering news made me think I was being punished. What had I done that was so bad that this was my ongoing punishment and why something that steals my husband’s hope and joy of fatherhood too?

I was so mad, so upset and so confused when we got home on Friday night. Immediately I gathered up all of the medications from beside my bed and hid them away. And any reminders. I cleared all of our weekly ‘birthdays’ that we would have celebrated off of our calendar. I removed all pregnancy apps from my phone. It hurt too much to see what was still a little hope from a few hours ago, now our tragedy. Everything had to be hidden away.

So I got to writing because I couldn’t pray. And then Scott and I decided to share our story. And then something amazing happened. People read our blog. Lots of people. Lots of friends. Lots of people we haven’t met before. It reached over 1,500 in the first 24 hours. Were there really that many people that took the time to read my long winded recount? I’ve never been straight to the point with words. 😉 And then I started receiving private messages from people who hadn’t found the words to describe what they had been through or were going through. I had people message me and say thing like (paraphrased) “oh my goodness – I’ve had many friends/family go through IVF. I had no idea what that actually meant. I wish I had been a better friend. Now I know what it’s about I can be a better support in the future.” I had people message offering hope and prayers who said they had no idea about how hard this journey could be as having children for them was never a problem at all.

And then I heard it. I felt like God made me realise that when I was knocking. Pleading. Crying at that door. Screaming for it to open. Crying out why he wouldn’t get out of bed and open that door, he did get out of bed. He stood behind that door and whispered “not yet, I need you to go through this one.” And I can see why now. Our hurt and our pain and loss have helped more than I ever could have by having a healthy baby. Would I change it if I could. Of course I would! (Told you I’m not perfect. I would be selfish and keep our baby and have a healthy baby.) But then I wouldn’t have been so angry and felt so alone that I had nowhere else to go but write it down. And then I wouldn’t have spoken out. I would have continued to keep quiet about everything we have gone through. And then the silence would need someone else to break it. That someone was us this time. And if any good has come from this then it is breaking the silence, not just for us but for everyone.

One in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. I was in a wonderful IVF Due in May 2016 secret group on a social media site and another pregnancy one from our clinic. The ladies in there were, and still are lovely. We all become a close sisterhood. Someone had a question, it was asked and immediately all the lovely ladies responded. Any advice was shared. It was beautiful. And one by one, lady after lady miscarried. I was the most recent (that I know of). All of us had already gone through IVF, some of us together. Leaving that group was like leaving family. But I am no longer due in May 2016 am I?
I suspect that because there is such a taboo, that one in four statistic is probably way off. It’s probably much higher. I didn’t report any of our losses to someone taking notes of how many losses per person vs how many babies. It’s probably much higher which is why we all need to stop blaming ourselves and start talking about the subject.

It’s not just the ladies that feel the loss. I think it’s the partners that sometimes feel it worse. They are the ones watching us go though physical pain. Horrible pain. And they can’t do anything to make that pain go away. The most powerful meds don’t stop the pain. They sometimes feel responsible for it and don’t want to try for a baby again for the fear of putting the person they love the most through horrendous pain. They have to do things for us like take us to the loo, look at the excreting things we are passing to describe to the doctors what’s happening, look at the clots we are passing until the little one finally passes. They have to pick up the pieces. Make the phone calls. Cancel appointments. And there is the taboo about partners remaining strong. If you are a partner and you are reading this – it’s okay to break down. It’s okay to cry. It actually makes us girls feel better. We feel like maybe we shouldn’t be so upset when you are superman or superwoman! When you show your emotions it gives us freedom to allow ours to show. Scott is my rock and I love him to infinity and beyond and then back again. He is the most amazing guy and I am so blessed to walk this road with him and with our three dogs. Scott, you will make the best dad one day.

We may never know if our little one was a boy or a girl. We’ve felt all along that she was a girl. We had decided to make Hope a middle name for her when she was born if she was a girl but we have since (losing her) decided to name her Hope. We haven’t named any of our previous losses but this was the furtherest we had gotten and had seen our little one’s shape start to take form of a baby figure. Hope was to symbolise the hope that having this pregnancy had brought us. It also symbolises how we felt in the midst of losing her – our hope was completely shattered. But it symbolises where we are at now – our hope is being rebuilt.

Tomorrow is October the 15th. It’s a day to remember miscarriage, pregnancy, infant and child losses. If you’ve ever lost one or if you know someone who has or if you want to be part of it, would you light a candle at 7pm? It’s a global remembrance thing so let’s light up the world with bright candles burning for all of the ones who relocated to heaven too soon for us. And if you want you can share your photo on social media (or in the comments here) to continue to bring awareness and break the silence.

whitecandles-300x300

My favourite kids book is one called Eight. If you haven’t read it – go buy a copy because after you’ve read it you’ll want a copy. A quote I always remind myself when we are doing the IVF injections or having unpleasant stuff done (like the internal ultrasounds to track follicle growth or the d&c) goes something like this (note: ‘you’ is ‘Eight’ in the story. I just replace it with you/I for me):
You are big, you are brave and you are strong enough for anything.

xxx
PS a friend said that if you go to the following web address you can add this blog and it will then send you an email when we post a new post (and any other blogs you want to follow). We won’t clog your emails with thousands of posts. We will probably have a few more as we close this chapter (my many) and then be fairly quiet for a while as we continue to come to terms with our loss. We will continue to post here if there if there are any advancements and when we begin IVF again so you can follow if you want. We will post here rather than on our social media accounts so we don’t flood your newsfeeds 🙂 Here is the web address:

https://blogtrottr.com/

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A quick update

We have been overwhelmed with the feedback and messages we have received since sharing our journey so far on Saturday. I have started a short follow up but I’m not quite ready to post it yet. So that may come in time. 

Today  I had the surgery to remove our baby to send for testing. I had the contractions overnight and they got worse this morning. I was so worried that we wouldn’t make it to surgery in time to catch it but thankfully we did. Here are some photos of our short stay. 

Here is my prince, my hero, my best friend and soul mate. My husband Scott 😉

  
He took a stealth snap of me in my flattering hospital gown. These things could so come into fashion…. 😉

 
Here we both are just before being discharged. Can you tell I’ve eaten? I’m smiling. That’s sign I’ve eaten 🙂   

The food was amazing! All vegetarian and so delicious. 

 
Yummy soup.    

This was amazing! I asked the person who delivers and collects the meals to tell the chef that the food was fantastic! She giggled and said that’s not usually something patients say. She was surprised that I ate literally everything. Scott wasn’t surprised- he knows I eat more than most. 😉

  Soup and a bread roll, vegetarian something and rice, fruit salad thing, and an apple juice. Yum! 😉  
I was meant to be in a shared room with just a chair to sit on. I can’t thank the hospital staff enough. I didn’t ask for it but when they saw why I was being admitted this morning they organised for a private room for us. They were amazing. All staff today were so incredible. It’s the attitudes and care in times like these that make it a little easier. 

  When I came home I was greeted and watched by my furry bestie Zazu. She didn’t leave my side.  
So for now I am in recovery and hopefully my body heals well. We hope we get some answers from the testing. If I feel up to it I will finish my post and share if I think anyone might want to read it. 😉

Thank you all for your support and thank you for reading our first post. It means a lot to us. Thank you to everyone who has shared it. That also means a lot to us because it is firstly helping to bring awareness and secondly it might reach someone who feels desperately alone perhaps not feel so alone. 

With love xxx 

Oh PS. If you would like to follow our next steps for the future you can follow this blog somehow. I think with your email. I’m not 100% sure. We will share what happens etc over the coming months on here. This will 1-give our friends updates if they want them and 2-any others on a similar journey, it may show you some possible options. xxx

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Our Journey to now

How to make a baby... well almost.

I thought I would start with a bit of a background on where we have come from and where we are at right now. I’m normally a pretty private person. I don’t like to share too much about myself or talk about sad stuff because I would rather focus on positive things. But I think it’s time for the taboo about infertility to go away and for it to be something we can all talk about easily and without judgement.

I’m not sure how to deal with all of this. It’s literally a roller coaster of emotions. One second I’m feeling okay and not too worried about the world. And then the next I’m in tears and I don’t know how I’m going to even brush my hair.

We have been on this journey of trying to welcome a baby into to our family since I was 25. I’m now 31 and almost 32. That makes it almost 7 years to try and start our family. 7 years! We could have had 9 kids in that time – almost. Instead we have now had 6 miscarriages and many failed cycles.

It all started with our first miscarriage when I was 25. We weren’t planning for a family but we had the approach that when it happens it happens. So when we found out we were pregnant we were shocked but so excited. Scott’s father had recently passed away so this new life had brought us new hope.

Unfortunately on Christmas Day I started having stabbing pains in my tummy. So we went to the emergency department at the hospital. We had to wait there for ages and were quite entertained by the guy that had almost chopped his finger off while cutting the turkey after a few too many drinks. That helped ease our worries as we talked with him and his family about their festive day. We were sent home a while later and all seemed okay until New Years Eve. By 3 am we were back at emergency with excruciating pain and bleeding. After an overnight stay for observation we were released back home to try and relax. Yeah right! 2 days later on the 3rd of January, on my 26th birthday we lost our first angel to heaven at around 7.5 weeks. Nothing can describe the loss, heartache and physical pain that we went through.

In the years that followed, we had another 4 miscarriages all between 5 weeks and 7 weeks. We were never investigated properly by any of our doctors or sent for further testing, despite our concerns being raised. One doctor (who has ironically since been discredited as a doctor) even told me “no need to be so dramatic it’s just another miscarriage” when I asked if she could refer me to a specialist for testing after our 5th loss. After that loss we decided it was time to move from an outback country town to a main city so we could get some help and investigation.

It took us about 6 months to find our feet in our new area and I finally found a great doctor who sent us for testing and to a specialist who did lots of testing and exploration surgery to check everything was fine with me. Hubby also had lots of testing. All results came back fine. Great. No problems.

We were put on clomid to try for 4 cycles and if we weren’t pregnant by the end of that we were to go back to our obstetrician. Clomid is evil!!! It’s horrible! The things it makes you feel or think is terrible! I remember visual disturbances at night after I would take it. Felt like I was high as a kite. And would make me have such bad mood swings too. Was a very scary feeling and doing that to my body just felt wrong but we persevered in the hope of a child. In each clomid cycle we had to time sex well to do it at the right time.

While we were cycling on clomid Scott had a job working night hours while I worked day hours. We would cross paths for about half an hour every morning. So timing ‘the deed’ was very hard (pardon the pun) and really took any romance out of it. Either I would have to wake up in the middle of the night at 2/3am or he would have to wake up extra early before I went to work. Those four cycles were tough work with no rewards. And the clomid headaches were horrible too. But we tried it. We have it our best shot.

We went back to our fertility specialist in our 5th month to see what next. IVF was the recommendation so we got our referral for an IVF clinic. Looking at the cost of IVF is enough to freak anyone out, especially those of us living pay-check to pay-check with a mortgage. I’ve heard many people say that if you can’t afford IVF then you can’t afford a baby. This is a saying that makes my blood boil! I am usually a calm and peaceful person but this makes me want to slap whoever says that in the face! Because it’s so far from reality and anyone who says that clearly has no real comprehension of the cost of IVF (or the cost of a child). It can cost anywhere from $5,000-$20,000 per cycle. That means every 28 days, if you have a 28 day cycle, you have to find that sort of money. Sorry but a baby does not cost around $10,000 every 28 days. Many of us have to go through multiple IVF cycles with additional medications or additional scientific intervention to give us a chance at a child which all adds up the price tag more.

Anyway, we decided we simply could not afford IVF. This was in February of 2015. I was in a few trying to conceive social media support groups and thought I would ask for a contact for the new bulk billed IVF clinic that I had seen on the news in late 2014, well mostly bulk billed. Some girls were kind enough to give me the place’s name and contact details. I made the call and managed to get an appointment the very next day!

We went to this appointment and we were sent away for further testing. In a months time we were to go back and see the fertility specialist.

So we went away and had all of our testing done on exact days in the cycle and had the ultrasound on the exact day, blood work urine analysis. You name it we had it.

A month later we went to see our fertility specialist. Results all came back fine but due to previous history of the 5 miscarriages she wanted to send us for further testing. After our appointment we went to the blood collection at the clinic and had many bloods taken. I had 38 vials of blood taken.

We had to wait for the results before we could see our specialist again. So a month later we went back to see her. Everything had come back normal so we were approved to start our first IVF cycle. And as luck would have it (finally on our side) my cycle had just started that day. Our first IVF cycle was starting right then, in April of 2015. We were so excited. We were fast tracked to see the nurse to learn how to inject needles into my leg. Most people inject into the tummy but as I’m a thin person there wasn’t enough excess there to inject.

Scott was the hero in this situation. He paid attention to the administration as he knew my extreme phobia of needles gave us no hope of me injecting myself. I had always told my parents when I was younger that they had nothing to worry about with me – I was terrified of needles and couldn’t swallow tablets. I had no chance of being a drug user. Well now I was being forced to inject and the only way that was going to happen was with Scott doing it!

Before we could pick up our medications we had to have a day one blood test. So we went and had that done. We would then go home to wait for the call to give the go ahead to pick up medications. We picked them up the following day after our call and that night started with our first injection. At the last second I decided to try my tummy because that’s what all the ladies were doing in the support groups that I was part of. Well that was a mistake. It hurt so much and still hurt the next day. I really didn’t have enough padding! The following night at exactly 7pm it was medication time. This time we tried the upper thigh and it wasn’t as bad. 7pm became our injecting time every night.

Injections continued for a few days until it was time for my blood test monitoring and internal ultrasound to monitor the follicle growth. To get to the city for a 7.30am appointment we had to be on the road by 4.20am to catch the train. After these appointments we would then have to go to our work places. Thankfully Scott’s job had changed to day time shifts by this stage which was a huge relief.

The blood work and ultrasounds continued every second day for me for a week and a half. Part of the way through it was time to start injecting our second nightly needle. Two needles every night. Eek! Scary! The second one would hurt more as the needle was bigger.

Soon it was time for our third needle – the trigger. This one was a once off (not a daily one) thankfully. And it has to be timed at exactly the right time so ensure at egg collection in a few days my eggs would be ready for harvest at exactly the right time.
After trigger you get a day off from any injections. Woo hoo!

36-48 hours later it would be time to go in for day surgery to have eggs collected (and of course more needles) and sperm solicited so that the scientists could do their thing with our things. 😉

My first egg collection went well and I had slight bleeding for a few days afterwards. In the following days there was some pain but it was bearable. You’d think after egg collection the hard work is over. But it isn’t. Then you wait to find out if your eggs and and sperm make friends or not. I had 19 eggs collected which put me at risk of hyper-stimulation which can be very risky. Of the 19 eggs 5 fertilised. That was a bit of a disappointment but we knew there were no guarantees any would. Or that each follicle even had an egg to collect.

Five days after egg collection we were booked in for a transfer because my blood test came clear of complications. Woo hoo! Transfer was on a Saturday morning and Scott couldn’t have time off work. As I lay there having an embryo placed inside of me it dawned on me that if this worked we could say to our kid that their father wasn’t there at conception. Haha. That made me giggle. Transfer was done and the two week wait began. I used to think this part was the hardest. But I don’t think that anymore. I’ll tell you why later – the hardest part is the weekly wait in pregnancy, more on that later.

After two weeks of inserting the dreaded crinone gel morning and night (at exactly the right time to be 12 hours apart) into a place you really don’t want to be inserting anything it became clear this cycle had failed. And what’s worse none of our fertilised embryos had made it to freeze. As if failure isn’t bad enough, it’s a smack in the face having the period return just to remind you how much it hasn’t worked. Plus there is that pregnancy blood test which I knew would come back negative.

A month later we were booked in to see the fertility specialist again to see where to next. We were approved to start another cycle. So the forms were signed and the many blood work forms were given to us to use during the cycle.

Day one came and we had our blood test. The call came to say we could pick up our meds and start our injections. Round two went very similar to round one, until egg collection. This round my medication dose had altered slightly so that I wouldn’t produce so many eggs. Same number of needles but less liquid to inject. We had decided to do ICSI this cycle rather than straight IVF. That means the scientists insert the sperm into each egg to make them fertalise.

Finally after the monitoring blood tests and ultrasounds my follicles were ready for egg collection. So it was another day surgery procedure. This time I had some nasty complications. When I woke up after the surgery I had terrible cramping that only got worse and worse. The nurses had to wheel me back into recovery and pumped me with multiple pain meds and whatever else they put into me. When I was finally able to leave and go home the pain only continued. It was so bad that I couldn’t use the toilet. Not one of the things I ever expected from IVF. This pain went on for about a week. The worst pain I’ve ever been in. I can’t even begin to describe. The weird thing was the pain was in my bowel and tummy. We found out that a complication from egg pick up can be a perforated bowel because all of those parts are so close together down there and the needle can go through that little wall. The potential complications from that caused considerable pain for about 6-8 weeks. And of course lots of time off of work.

We had 8 eggs collected and this time 7 fertilised. Five days later at egg transfer they told us that one was ready for transfer and one needed another day to see if it could freeze but the others hadn’t made it. This time Scott came for the transfer as he had changed jobs again. A much better workplace that understood this journey.

And the two week wait started again. And in 14 days it ended again with another period. And another negative blood pregnancy test. But we received a letter saying that our little one had survived to be frozen. That was a relief. I cried when I got that letter. The thought of not having to inject every night was such a relief.

So back to the fertility specialist to book in for round 3 – a frozen egg transfer. We had the option of a medicated cycle or a natural one. We chose natural as it gave my body a chance to be clean from the meds. We still had to have many blood tests to monitor my cycle so that they could time my ovulation with the transfer in the days afterwards. We also had to have another two ultrasounds to track the lining of the uterus. This also meant days off of work due to the time of the ultrasounds.

I had to start the pessaries morning and night and they had to be timed exactly 12 hours apart. Plus I had to lay down for an hour after each one so that they could be absorbed by my body. Pessaries are progesterone medications to support pregnancy. Many people either don’t get pregnant or they miscarry due to not enough progesterone. So this is a standard thing when doing an IVF cycle. The pessaries were very tricky to time. Getting up extra early to fit it in before work. This would continue well into pregnancy if I got pregnant (like at least up to 12 weeks). Finally we were ready for our transfer. And then the two week wait began.

9 days after a 5 day transfer I did a home pregnancy test prior to the bloods to prepare myself for the outcome. It had two little lines. Two lines that we hadn’t seen for almost 2 years now. And our blood test confirmed that we were pregnant. At last!

We were booked in for a scan at 6 weeks. However before we could make 6 weeks my body started having heart problems. I had a heart rate of 247 and had to be taken by ambulance from work to hospital. Now that was embarrassing. And then a few days later it happened again and had to go to hospital again. I had to have many days off of work while we tried to find out what was wrong with my body. And to make sure the baby was okay. All seemed fine. And our 6 week ultrasound confirmed a little baby with a little beating heart! At long last! 🙂

We saw a very specialised specialist in immunology and fertility who put me on nightly Clexane injections (wow do these sting!! And the bruises! IVF needles were nothing compared to these!), prednisone to make my body not attack the embryo, and low dose aspirin to also thin the blood. I still had to do the twice daily pessaries along with the laying down inconvenience, plus the pregnancy multi vitamin and an extra foliate tablet. Yes, I had to learn to swallow tablets. On top of all of this was the salafolk suppositories for my ulcerative colitis. I felt like I had meds going into all holes at set times!

Each day was a blessing and each day we got closer to getting past our previous miscarriages dates/weeks. We had another scan at 8 weeks and our little one’s heart beat was nice and strong. The shape was starting to take place. We finally had our little miracle. I had a check up with my obstetrician at 9 weeks and all was fine – the little heart beat was a cute little flicker on the ultrasound screen.

We finally reached 10 weeks. Every week when we got to a new week on the Tuesday in the pregnancy we celebrated together, Scott and I. We were so excited and so in love. And then in week 10 on day 2 I experienced some pink spotting. I was so worried but remembered that it can be normal so tried to take it easy and not worry. The following day at 10 weeks 3 days the pink turned to red blood. I left work and went straight to the emergency department. An hour later Scott came to be by my side. What a relief. After many hours at the hospital they finally did a tummy scan. It showed our little one and they thought they could see a heart beat. What a relief.

Thankfully we had another internal scan already booked at our IVF clinic the following afternoon. I had the day off of work for bed rest. So I rested and tried not to worry. The bleeding had stopped so I wasn’t too worried. But then it returned. I cried for a few hours until Scott got home to take us to the city to our clinic.

We arrived at our clinic and waited to be called in. Our favourite sonographer was on and thankfully she called us in. When we walked through her doors into the room I had some tears in my eyes and she immediately asked what was wrong. We explained what had happened the last two days. She was so lovely and tried to reassure us that she would get straight to it and tell us straight away how everything was. I was half expecting her to immediately find that little heart beat and tell us everything is going to be fine. We would probably cry with relief and everything would be fine.

But that wasn’t the case. She did her usual scan and was particularly more quiet than her usual happy self. Then she turned to me with tears in her eyes and a trembling voice. I instantly knew. She said she was so sorry but there was no heat beat. The scan showed the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. It was over. Our miracle had died and was not going to be joining our family. She went out to arrange an urgent meeting with our fertility specialist and gave us some time to grieve together in the ultrasound room.

We were lead to a quiet waiting area where one of the nurses came and talked to us. She also had tears in her eyes as we tried to stop ours from flowing. We saw the fertility specialist and we discussed what/where to next and possible testing of the embryo. She was also visibly upset too.

And now we wait for the miscarriage and the pain to come. If it doesn’t pass on its own then we will have to have a d&c next week – which would be better for the testing to happen.

Devastating. How do you say goodbye to someone that you have prayed for so long and so hard to be able to meet. To say hello to. And the confusion sets in. Why again? What did I do wrong? Will we ever have kids? Do we really have to start another IVF cycle again? How will we get time off work to go to all of the ultrasounds and blood tests required for another cycle? How many cycles will it take? Why did this one die???? Why won’t God get out of bed to answer us knocking and pleading at his door?? Why? Do we give up now?

For now we have to deal with this one. We have to grieve. Say goodbye. And somehow try not to lose ourselves in this grief.
I do describe the infertility journey as a roller coaster. So many highs and so many extreme lows. We can go from such excitement to suddenly loss. A loss of our baby and a loss of hope. And then anger. Why won’t my body do what it’s meant to? Anger that surrogacy is so expensive in Australia. We have had dear friends offer to carry a baby for us but due to our country  it’s even more unaffordable than IVF. So how do we plan anything from here?

And then there’s adoption. Well to adopt we would have to cease trying to have our own child for at least 12 months before we are even allowed to apply. And then that would pretty much mean we can’t attempt our own family. Plus the legal fees and regulations involved… it’s full on.

This is why when people say to us “why don’t you adopt?” I also feel like smacking them in the head! I’m honestly not a violent person but there are a few sensitive things that make me get cranky so fast and it’s usually due to naive people meaning well but actually saying the dumbest things. Do people really think that when someone has been on this journey this long, suffered so many losses and bared so much pain that we wouldn’t have already exhausted all other options? Do they expect us to go “oh wow what a great idea?! I hadn’t thought of that! I think I’ll go adopt a child this week!” Because it’s that easy! And inter-country adoption is even more difficult than Australian adoptions. Yes we honestly have exhausted all other options! If we had the money then we could probably accept we can’t have kids and put the money into adoptions. But we simply don’t have the cash required to do this. And that doesn’t mean we can’t afford kids, again kids don’t cost you $20,000 in fees to consider having them before being approved to have them do they? For most people they just happen and you then have the same child costs as anyone finally with a child.

So how do we deal with another loss? Our 6th baby to never be born as a child for our family. Well I don’t know. I don’t know how to deal. One moment I’m okay. And the next I’m a complete mess in tears.

Is this the end? I don’t know. So I will cry. I will laugh. I will probably get very mad and angry. But I will not lose my positive spirit, well not forever. I will be strong at times and a mess at others. And I will prepare for the excruciating pain that I know I’m about to experience as my body starts to recognise this as a miscarriage. Going through labour pains is something I was looking forward to so that we could bring our child into this world. But going through labour pains only to bring our now dead baby just feels so pointless.

And so the wait starts. Feels like this journey of full of waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for my body to release the baby.. Waiting. waiting. waiting… waiting for our miracle… if he or she ever becomes a reality…

So I’ve decided to create this blog so that when we go through our next round I can document it, share it and if it results in disappointment then we don’t have to verbally tell anyone – it will all be here. Harder than the grief we feel inside is having to tell others that there has been a loss, or a disappointment. It’s also a way for me to get out my thoughts so they don’t eat away inside of me. I’ve never really been a big writer but I am a thinker. I over think everything.

Right now I am feeling broken. Shattered. Numb. Empty. I know this won’t last forever and I will pick myself back up soon. I will cuddle my dogs and they will make everything feel so much better.

Hug your children. If you are pregnant, smile and enjoy. Love your partner. Love your pets.

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