waiting for a miracle

Week 12 – We have made it to week 12!

Today is Wednesday and that means we are officially 12 weeks. Up until Monday I had been feeling calm and happy with how things were going….

 

My faith is growing each day!

 
But then in the past 2 days, 3 friends have found out that their babies have passed away. We are all close in weeks gestation so this is scary. I know what they will be going through and it’s really got me down. I’m so sad for them and then so worried for our baby now. 

Then last night I had another terrible nightmare – I got to the scan and again those horrible words that every pregnant couple dreads. The baby had stopped growing. This horrible nightmare was on repeat again. No matter how many toilet stops and back to sleeps I had in the night, this kept playing.

 

This is something I keep reminding myself.

 
I keep reciting some declarations from the bible and trying to remain positive but it is hard. It’s especially harder when there are so many changes in the body that a woman has no idea if one is normal or one isn’t and should we be concerned or not? Symptoms come and go so it is terrifying. And why don’t we get taught about this at school instead of how not to get pregnant only?! There’s so much going on and we have no idea if it’s normal or something to worry about. Thankfully with social media we can ask in our private groups if anyone else is experiencing blah blah blah and generally we find that others are having the same things. Helps relieve a few fears. The hunger! Oh my goodness if we don’t eat almost all the time then we feel like throwing up! Who would have thought hey?!

I used to always say that I never wanted to have children. I sometimes wonder if I cursed myself. Truth was, every time I said this, it wasn’t true. I was just scared of the birth part of having kids. No, that’s an understatement – I was petrified of the birth and labour part. Why? Because all I had heard about pregnancy is how not to fall pregnant and how terrible labour is. So it wasn’t that I didn’t want kids, I just had this insane fear about labour. Note to women out there – stop scaring young people!!! Talk about the incredible miracle that is growing a baby instead! Talk about the journey and how your body changes and how amazing our bodies are that we can birth a human being! Help younger women feel empowered rather than terrified. 

Now, after all of our pain along the way, birth doesn’t scare me at all. We have had the heartache of losing so many babies that my biggest fear isn’t childbirth anymore, but having to go through another miscarriage or a still birth. I’m sure labour will be a challenge, but it’s one I am up for. I will take that any day over another loss – which by the way includes labour pains anyway! 

One of the hardest realisations is that it’s all out of our control. The things in our control, we are doing. But the rest is not ours to control. What the future holds is a mystery. I wait with hope, that there is a plan and a purpose for a prosperous future. 

  
Last week we found the cot that I’ve been waiting to buy for a year now. We’ve said all along that when we have kids we don’t need new stuff. Hand me downs and stuff from op shops are the way to go. Our kids don’t need lots of toys because they will have their imaginations and will develop that through carefully selected toys that we started collecting years ago. So we don’t want to go buying a whole heap of things. We don’t need them and nor do the kids. 

They will need a cot to sleep in though. And the cot I found was and is perfect for introducing a baby to three dogs. It will help with the transition to be set up for success. (I’m a dog trainer, too, so this is something I’m very passionate about.) Anyway, this cot rarely goes on sale and when it does it is still crazy expensive. And because it is new on the market I haven’t seen any on eBay or other selling sites. Until last week. We found a person selling theirs second hand. And even better it’s virtually brand new because their baby slept in their bed and wouldn’t sleep when they put them down away from their bed. (Note to self – we are going to train our baby to sleep in the cot!) So we got it quite cheap! Woo hoo!!! I’m so excited about it!! Pictures to come when we finally have a baby to put in the cot! Oh and have to add too, the seller was called Ivy! Meant to be or what?!

And to top that off, I am on a free cycle email list. I’ve not asked for anything or replied to pick stuff up but a lady very generously listed a baby capsule for the car last week. I worked out how to reply to her and asked if it was still available. It was. So we organised for a pick up time. The capsule is pretty much brand new, too! In excellent condition! The lady and her husband so generously gave it to us. We are over the moon excited!!! We couldn’t believe just how much of a blessing this was and is! To be gifted something that would cost us lots and of course is a necessity. If she is reading this, thank you so much! I have had so many happy tears each time I think about your generosity. I am excited to take some photos of it once our baby is coming home from the hospital later in the year. 

Friday – scan day

So finally Friday came (and went really fast, considering it felt like it took ages for it to come to be Friday!!). I decided to do another social media black out ban on myself so that I could just be and focus – I couldn’t take any more bad news right before our scan. I was already so anxious as it was about if our baby was still alive. In the lead up to today I have had so many nightmares. And in just this past week so many more ladies have found out that their babies have passed away. Another baby passed away on Thursday. It’s really hard on everyone because for some of these ladies, we have supported each other for at least one round of IVF (for some many months and many rounds), the highs the lows and then finally the pregnancy. And to celebrate each week together, compare symptoms, provide positive outlooks and then to grieve in the loss/es. And most of these lovely ladies are now grieving in isolation because no one would even know that they were pregnant yet. Breaks my heart knowing what they are going through along with their partners. 

 

All pregnancies should be celebrated.

 
So these nightmares have probably been my subconscious processing all of these losses. Or at least trying to. Finally I also had one positive dream where the scan went well and we found out the baby was a boy – not that you find out the gender at 12 weeks, it’s too early to see in a scan properly but in dreams everything is possible. We have no idea of the gender yet by the way. We would just be happy with a healthy baby. We don’t care too much about the gender. 

Friday morning was a big rush getting the dogs fed and ready for a long day without us. And in true style I lost track of time, giving myself about 15 minutes to get ready. Ah!!! I drove to Scott to pick him up from work, then we left my car on the road somewhere so we could take just the one car in. Traffic was a bit hectic but thankfully we made it. Signed a few forms and answered some questions. Some of the questions were about if this was through IVF etc. 

Then we were taken into the scan room. Pretty purple walls and dark purple trimmings. The place was pretty. I tried to spark up conversation with the sonographer (this is at a specialist place for the 12 week scan, so not at our usual place). She didn’t seem the type to want to chat. So she did the scan and very objectively pointed out what she was looking at. Something that could be so exciting was a bit bland but that’s okay. It was amazing to see the tiny fingers and fists, the nose, the tiny toes, the spine, the head, the brain, the arteries, the heart pumping and even more exciting to hear the heart beating. She needed to do an internal ultrasound and asked if I had had these before and if I would be okay with one… In my head I replied: Ummmmm yeah, the form did say this is an IVF baby, you pretty much can’t have IVF without those scans, hunny- I’ve had more than you can even begin to count… Out loud I replied, “yes, that’s fine.” And smiled. πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately she didn’t allow photos so we don’t really have much to share except our memories and the good news that the scan revealed no visual issues. At this scan they look at the nuchal chord and measure the thickness – you want it thin because thick suggests issues that will take some careful planning for birth and beyond. Then again any baby takes planning for but this just tells us what the chances are that your baby has any conditions. 

Yeah, I got a sneaky photo!!!

We also did the harmony test which tests for chromosome issues (remember Hope had a chromosome issue so this is important for us based on our history). This test will tell us the gender of the baby, too. So we should get these results in about two weeks – the tests have to be sent to America. We decided to do these tests so that we have a greater idea about what to expect. Some conditions are fatal and we would rather know what to expect. And some conditions are not fatal but we would want as much time as we can to educate ourselves so that we can best support our baby right from birth if there was anything to plan for. 

Harmony Test – ready to be sent to the USA. Even the box is pretty!

So we left the ultrasound place feeling so strange. We were, on one hand over the moon. All of our prayers had been answered! Ivy is alive, on track and even measuring a bit ahead, developing well in every way visible, strong heartbeat and no issues. Yet, on the other hand, the scan was done in such a way that it was a tad bit like we were watching a text book delivery with no emotive side. That sort of deflated us a bit too. We missed our regular ultrasound place. Maybe we have just been really spoiled by their compassion. Plus, for $800 you’d think they would let you take photos of something that has been 7 years in the making!!! Haha, ummmm no!  

Ivy at 12 weeks 2 days (measuring 12 weeks 3 days)

So the greatest news ever is that we have survived the 12 week hurdle and everything looks great! Praise God!!!! For it is only through Him that we are even able to have a baby! We obviously can’t reiterate enough that there is still a long way to go. We know that anything can happen and change in the split second in pregnancy – just because we have made 12 weeks by no means makes this a safe time. The safer time really only starts at 24-26 weeks when medical professionals can help if a baby comes early, there is then a chance for survival. So we are cautiously over the moon excited and happy! We are also, as I said, cautious! We haven’t had the privilege of going through an entire pregnancy to the end with a live human being to take home yet. This is uncharted territory for us and we are excited to be entrusted with the absolute privilege of navigating this journey. 

We don’t have any more scans booked – that will change after I see my obstetrician, trust me on that one!!! Haha. But we do see our IVF clinic as a follow up from this scan next week. Have to say – they are amazing! Most clinics wave goodbye to you after confirming you are pregnant with a scan around 6 or 7 weeks. Ours has kept us close and wanted us there until they could follow up this scan. Can’t say enough great things about our clinic. They really do care! 

We will see our obstetrician the following week as our starting appointment officially with him (even though I’ve already been seeing him every 3 weeks at the intralipids anyway). So we probably won’t have any more news for at least another two weeks. Other than the fact that, knowing me, I will be a tad bit worried again this time next week after the high of knowing all is okay settles down. 

I had another intralipid infusion last week. And you guessed it, my best buddy was there to meet me. I’m sure we are crossing paths for a reason. I just don’t know what yet. I was super friendly to him again and he talked a little more this time. And you’ll never believe it – he got the needle in first go, no wobbling or anything. Was the best one I’ve had done by him before. I was seriously saying “thank you God!!!” My next one is 3 weeks from last week. They sure do add up but hey, we do what we have to! Can’t say we aren’t trying our best. 

All hooked up to the machine.

My dad came to visit.

Dad got to eat the icecream. At least it wasnt wasted.


 

Surprise! It’s the same meal every time!

 
The intralipids usually end around 11-11.30pm. Then we have to drive the hour and a half home. 

Scott was so tired. He even sleeps with a smile on his face – that’s because he doesn’t have a needle in his arm!

The next morning we did a long drive to visit my Nanna as she is getting older and we wanted to see her. It is a 12ish hour drive to Brisbane. It was very hard to wake up so early after such a late night. But it was worth it to see her as I won’t be flying during this pregnancy. Here we are together and showing her my growing belly. She has been praying for us everyday for many years. It was a very short visit and we drove home the next day. We wish we had more time.   

 
  
Here’s a photo of my bump at 11 weeks:

 

Here’s a photo of me at 12 weeks. Whilst the baby is the size of a plum, the uterus is the size of a melon. Pretty impressive how fast it grows. The first trimester the uterus grows pretty fast – that’s the bump we all see first, and then the baby grows into it. It’s fascinating what our bodies do. So all of this eating is to sustain me! All this extra blood flow and I think Ivy gets hungry a lot because I’m hungry a LOT! Yet I haven’t put on any extra weight yet! Isn’t it crazy? I’m eating so much, I now have a very visible bump and yet my weight hasn’t changed since egg pick up (that was the last time I weighed myself before I got weighed again yesterday). 

  

So once again thank you all for your prayers and support! Truly means so much to us! If you can spare a prayer for those who have just had to say bye to their babies that would be very kind of you. Thank you! And we will update again soon. xxx

 

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10 weeks – baby is moving!

It’s interesting how when we are open about how we feel, after we tell someone, the heavy weight of the fears seems to lift a little. After I shared how anxious I was about the 10 week scan on Friday because that was the scan last time when we found out Hope had passed away, I felt an overwhelming wave of support and prayer power. So much so because many others can relate their own fears and anxieties. I’m truly sorry that others have walked this path, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But a positive is that we can all support each other. 

Anyway, by Thursday afternoon I was feeling very ready for our scan, to see where we are at and how everything is going. Knowledge is a powerful thing. I had been reciting a few great bible verses and felt a lot of peace and calmness. I went to bed ready to sleep, but my subconscious had other plans. Every time I slept, I had the same reoccurring nightmare. We were in the scan room, and our sonographer turns to me and says, “I’m so sorry…” And in true pregnancy style, I would wake up during the night to pee a few, almost dozen, times. So this nightmare kept repeating each time I went back to sleep. I tried not to let it bother me each time, and countered it with the bible verses each time I pee’d. By the time my alarm went to get up for work I was exhausted!! I decided in the morning that it was going to be a great day! I decided that the worst had already happened a few too many times over in my nightmares so the day could only get better. The best was yet to come. 

Scott picked me up straight after work and we did our best to get to the city and our appointment on time. They were running late and so were we by the time we got there so it was well timed. Scott did have to let me out early so I could save the walk from the car park to the clinic – a full bladder for an ultrasound and a pregnant lady bladder isn’t a great combination. Haha. I got inside the clinic and they said I could go let some out for 5-10 seconds. Ah, how will I stop myself?! Haha. 

Scott got there just before I was called in. And it was our favourite sonographer. She really is amazing! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the clinic is so lucky to have her. She makes everyone feel so welcome and calm. 

I walked in to the scanning room feeling an incredible sense of peace that no matter what happened next, everything would be okay. 

I got up onto the bed and she got the equipment ready. Scott got his phone ready. πŸ˜‰ She stopped to say a quick prayer again and then the ultrasound machine went onto my belly. She gave a big smile and a sigh of relief. She said there’s a heart beat! Our baby is alive!!!!!! 

Then she showed us our little IVF baby’s heart beating away. And then the most amazing thing happened. She showed us on the screen that our baby was MOVING!!!! Ivy (we’ve decided to call this one as a nick name Ivy, short for IVF baby and nicer than saying ‘it’) was moving around, stretching out, even crossing their legs!!! We saw the nose, mouth, arms, legs, head, brain development. Wow! It’s incredible how something that is only about 3cm can be so developed and can already be so active. 

  
Photo: you can see the head, nose, arms and legs. Pretty cool. πŸ˜‰

We had prayed that Ivy would be on track or even ahead. Well, that prayer was answered too. Ivy is measuring 10 weeks and 2 days (on track) when curled up, but measuring 10 weeks and 6 days when stretched out. She said that the stretched out measurement is more accurate but for now we will keep the due date and how far I am set at the 10 weeks and 2 days, we can adjust it later in the pregnancy as things pan out – that way there is room to grow and adjust rather than feel behind, I think. The heart beat was sitting at 168 which is pretty good too. She said that if it’s too high it’s not a good thing. I went in hoping for 180 so I’m glad I didn’t get what I want because sometimes we want the wrong things. πŸ™‚

We watched Ivy moving around for quite a bit and she showed us all sorts of things. It sounds and looks like this one is a keeper. That if we keep doing our job with the meds and looking after myself, this baby is here to stay. We know that there is a long way to go, but we are also finally over our big hurdle of 10 weeks. Hooray!!!! Officially over a quarter of the way through this pregnancy. πŸ˜‰ 

The next scan is the 12 week one which is at a different place. It is the big screening one and the blood tests too. They check for all sorts of things. It will just be nice to see Ivy again and check the progress. Lots of people only announce their pregnancy if, after that scan, when they know if their baby is okay or not. 

I’m so glad we have been blessed with the opportunity to share our pregnancy and our IVF journey this round right from the start. We have felt so different with this pregnancy. We have had such incredible prayer power and positive thoughts behind us, that even when this insanely positive person (yours truly) felt incredibly overwhelmed in the lead up to the scan, I was given a reality check by everyone with your positivity. So thank you!! Yes, I was in a bit of a rut and I snapped out of it really fast. Thank you!!! 

This week a few ladies have not had such great news at their scans. They are feeling what we felt in October, and many times before that. My heart truly breaks for them and for their partners. While we are celebrating the most incredible blessing and beginning to allow ourselves to feel excited, others are grieving the loss of their hopes and dreams for now. Their world has become a little darker in this present moment. I know the feeling of numbness, anger, hurt and being unable to breathe – like your chest is being sat on. I pray that they will all have healing and answers to help them move forward. That they will not give up. That they will know that they are stronger than they can imagine and this storm that they are going through has blessings to come. And I pray that they will have comfort and support around them. If you can spare a prayer for these ladies and their families, I know that incredible power of prayer will guide them when they feel so lost.   

I decided to stay off social media on Friday because I stay off of it at work, and I also didn’t want to let myself lose my calmness before the scan – so I didn’t jump on my phone in the waiting area. I didn’t want to read anything that could upset me – I cry when I see other’s sad posts or sad stories. Yes, I also cry when I see roadkill. I actually don’t cry a lot otherwise but I feel other’s pain in a way I can’t describe. So I didn’t want to let myself lose my calm and positive headspace. 

After the scan, in the car on the way home, I was quietly in tears (happy ones) at the incredible support and well wishes. From everyone and from all over the world. Thank you!!! Even my beautiful “Due in May” sisters were all asking how our scan went. I’m so touched, that a group I reluctantly left, 6 months ago, still remember me and are still caring about us! Girls, if you are reading this – from the bottom of my heart, thank you!!!! I have tears in my eyes writing this. I’m so excited to see/hear all about your miracles coming to be in the next few weeks. Some of you have already had your babies and it’s the most beautiful thing to see! I think of you all so often. I’m so so so excited for May to come. Instead of dreading the month that Hope was due, I’m over the moon excited!!! There are going to be so many loved babies being born in and around May. So many happy parents who have waited years and years to hold their babies. Who have gone to the ends of the earth, just about, to have their babies. I wish you all the best as you rest up and prepare for your new chapters in your journeys. Thank you all for the most amazing support and love you have all shown to Scott and to me. You’re all beautiful, strong women! A beautiful sisterhood. 

  
Photo: I couldn’t take a photo where I didn’t look completely exhausted, because – I’m pregnant and completely exhausted!!! Woo hoo!

And to everyone along on this ride with us. A massive thank you, too! From the bottom of my heart! I can’t thank you all enough for caring, and for taking time out of your busy days to pray for us and check in on us. It means the world to us. There really aren’t enough words to describe just how amazing and comforting it is to have your support. It has helped to make this journey not as scary and certainly not so isolating anymore. I don’t know why for all these years we held these secrets so close to ourselves, that even our own families didn’t know. I’ve learned that it’s okay to invite others in. Thank you for teaching me that. 

We will continue to update here – thank you for taking the time to read. I’m always so surprised that it gets read by anyone other than me. Haha. I know I can over think things and talk/write waaaaaaay too much, so thank you for reading. I hope we don’t bore you to tears. πŸ™‚ Thank you all for the messages – they always bring a smile or a happy tear. Thank you πŸ˜‰

We will also continue to hope and pray for Ivy to grow strong. That this pregnancy goes well. And as we do, we hold each of you in our prayers, too. That you will all be blessed beyond measure. Thank you again for your support. A hug, a message, a smile, a prayer, a quote, a text, whatever – it’s all amazing and great. Thank you all!!!! I can’t wipe this smile off of my face. πŸ˜‰ I’m so relieved that the scan went well. I’m so excited for what will be in our future xxx

β€œFor in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Romans‬ ‭8:24-25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

PS A special reward for reading so far πŸ˜‰ Here is a video of Ivy moving. πŸ˜‰ and us in the background being amazed and very quickly falling in love with the smallest little thing. πŸ˜‰

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Things no one tells you

  
I’m not sure what it’s like for a normal pregnancy. The ones where people have their baby at the end and don’t experience any losses. 

For those of us who have only ever experienced joy and hope for a future with a pregnancy only to lose it, we haven’t experienced that certainty of birth with a real, live baby. So it’s only natural that we worry. We worry about every tingle, every twinge, every pain, each loss of symptom. We know that symptoms come and go, but we worry. We don’t want to go to the toilet because then we are so anxious to check our undies and the toilet paper and we pray like crazy that there’s no blood there. Every moment of every day, we are hoping, and many of us praying, for this miracle growing inside to keep growing and to finally come true. 

We eat right, super healthy. We take a concoction of medications and do a ton of reading to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this baby live another day. We have many blood tests and scans. And then we ask our friends if our results are okay and we stupidly go to Dr Google to see if we are in track. And this whole on track can vary so widely so of course we are on track, and then we aren’t on track with another website and then we worry. 

We tell ourselves not to worry. To breathe and relax. Everything is going to be fine. But the truth is we have no idea how things will turn out and we are absolutely terrified of experiencing another loss of hopes and dreams – accompanied by the total physical pain of the loss. We are scared inside. More than we will ever let on, on the outside we try to stay calm and keep it together. 

When we are in the lead up to a point where a previous pregnancy came to a crashing end, this fear only intensifies. We are an emotional roller coaster. The tears flow frequently and just as quickly we pull ourselves together and say everything is different this time. 

But then one of our friends in our group of expectant mothers all due at the same time shares with us that their scan didn’t go well and their baby has passed away. We all grieve. Then we all get scared again for our own babies. 

This is what no one tells you about pregnancy. The constant fear that your baby will pass away. That the pain in your tummy that wakes you up at night could be your baby passing away. A doctor would probably explain that it is just our uterus stretching to make room for the baby. Doing wonderful and miraculous things to grow this miracle. Somehow our fears always remain. Will these fears ever go away? 

I know I speak for so many women because we all share these fears and anxieties with each other. Some of us have coping strategies and some of us don’t. I choose to pray. I believe in God and I believe he has a future and a purpose for my life. So I pray. I know that everything with this pregnancy is completely out of my control. I am doing everything I possibly can with the medication protocol that I am on. So now the rest is up to God. I find myself praying at every waking moment and even in my dreams. I’ve never prayed so much in all my life that I often wonder if God is getting sick of his daughter talking to him all day. If I had a daughter on earth, I would love to hear her talk to me and tell me about all of her worries. I would love that she trusted me to listen to her concerns. I would love to help her feel better. I would love to just be there for her. I would love to have a daughter or a son. I hope God feels the same when I talk to him so much.

I’m not just praying for us and our baby. I’m praying for my dear friends who have had their babies pass away. My heart aches for them. I’m praying for God to give them comfort and strength. I’m praying for all of the ladies who are pregnant, that they will have successful pregnancies, that they won’t experience the complete devastation of losing a baby. I’m praying for those who are trying and month after month face heartache. I’m praying for those who didn’t want to be pregnant – that they will love their babies and that they will be a blessing to them. I’m praying for those around the world who are watching their babies die but they have nothing to feed them. What heartache. I’m praying for more people will look into sponsoring a child so that they can have a hope and a future and that their family and community will benefit from that that too. I’m praying for the animals and for people to show compassion. 

Then I thank God for all of the things in my life. I thank him for the opportunity for this pregnancy and for each day forward we have come. I thank him for my wonderful husband, Scott, who does an amazing job looking after my massive food intake and the housework. I thank him for my beautiful three dogs. They bring so much joy to my life. I thank him for my family and my friends. I thank him for a roof over our heads and the peace that we have here. I thank him for so many things. There are blessings all around us, we just sometimes forget to see them. 

Before long I’m not stressing about this baby because I’m now thinking about others. I think that’s the key. Turning our innermost thoughts and fears into thinking about others. Praying for others. Caring about others. 

I’m not perfect and I do pray about and for our baby a lot! But I know that this pregnancy is out of my control. 

In the lead up to our scan on Friday I would be lying if I said that I’m not beyond anxious. That I can cry at any given second because that fear and that feeling of loss is still so raw. That each pain has me so incredibly worried. That’s at times I can barely breathe because I can feel that devastating loss that we had in October, and the 5 before that. I’m counting down the days to the scan. I’m believing that we are going to have great news. That I will be happy. That Scott will be happy. 

One thing I do know is that there will be plenty of tears no matter what the outcome of the scan is. We have given our all to get here and when we see that heartbeat and that baby taking shape there is a flood of emotions. 

If you are in a similar situation as us, this fear is normal. But don’t let it steal your joy. At times my joy is stolen to the haunting of the past. But not for long. I smile as I hold my growing belly in my hands and I pray for God to look after our baby. 

 
Thank you for all of your prayers for us. It is an overwhelming comfort to know that others care for us and that you are praying. In these moments of endless fear, the end of the fear does come closer because we have those prayers being said for us. Thank you so very much. Even people who don’t believe are praying for us and for that we thank you so much, too. 

3 days until our scan. They can’t come soon enough. Finding this insanely positive person that is usually the everyday me has been a little difficult these last few days, but I know she’s there and the positivity is still there, it’s just hiding a little. 

β€œAs for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭71:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  

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