waiting for a miracle

21 weeks -23 weeks

So it has been almost 4 weeks since our last update. How time flies! Where were we last? I think I was reducing the prednisone… don’t get me started on this one! So I went from 20mg to 15mg for 2 weeks, then to 10mg for 2 weeks and then 5mg for 2 weeks and I am now on my last few days of a week at half of 5mg and then I finish. So on Wednesday when we reach 24 weeks I get to celebrate in two ways – our baby is then officially viable so therefore considered a baby medically (woo hoo!) AND I get to say goodbye to my dear old friend prednisone! Goodbye and so long, I hope I don’t have to see this evil drug again, well until next time to hopefully fall pregnant (yep, she will have to come back on board for any other tries we have at this whole easy thing called having a baby… it’s super easy right? Don’t hold hands or you will get pregnant 🙂 …………….. – that was sarcasm FYI haha).

If you have read any of my previous posts about this wonderful drug called prednisone, then you will know it has some pretty nasty side effects. And unfortunately these don’t simply go away as the medication is reduced or stopped. This is the type of drug that loves to linger around and remind you of how much she messed and will continue to mess with your life. She’s the type of drug that makes you excessively hungry, so many people put on weight… in all the places we don’t want it, like the face, the chin, and other places… never the areas that one would have to pay money for to enlarge… hint hint. Nope, she loves to select the areas that we really don’t want excess weight as a reminder that she controls our bodies. And while we are talking about the face – the roundness, yep all her. The redness, yep all her. And I have found that the symptoms were the worst at the start of taking this drug and now as my body is being weaned off. In the middle they aren’t as bad as what they are now.

A rare photo of all of me – until this prednisone stuff goes away!


I guess my body is going into some type of withdrawal. I will do this again and again to have a healthy baby, but I am a little over the red bumpy face from dear old prednisone. It leaves bumps that look like acne, but it is not. It leaves you not wanting to leave the house or have any photos taken, or see anyone that knows you… makes you want to just hide at home until this horrible part is over and then you can show your face again. I’d much rather people notice the beautiful bump (more on this later) rather than my red, bumpy and swollen face. 🙂 So a side note, don’t mention a rounder face to people having a baby, they may not share with you that they are on the same meds that I have been on, but they just might be on them and feeling as crap as I am about it. In fact, anyone may be on these because they are used for a range of things, one of which is Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. A good rule is if you wouldn’t want someone to say it (whatever you are about to say to someone else) to you, then don’t say it at all. I am a little over the comments about the round face, or the red face. 🙂 Thank you, I am very much aware of it. Not trying to sound rude here but my symptoms have been mild compared to some, and I don’t want to leave the house because I feel crap, so on behalf of others who have it worse than me, I really hope people stop and think before speaking. Say uplifting things instead. Let’s make this world a happier place. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Be kind with your words.

Anyway, lots has happened since our last post. I have had another intralipid at the hospital. These things are great in that they keep this going, but they also take up pretty much the entire weekend. They start at 2pm on a Saturday, which means leaving home around 11.30am… and they finish around 11.30pm by the time you allow for them running over time which they always do. And that means getting home around 1am. And then the meds they give you afterwards make you so drowsy that you sleep so deeply. This time around I slept in until after 1pm on Sunday. The rest of the day I am then also very groggy and very unproductive. So when I go in for these hospital visits, they really take up the entire weekend. I was wondering where all of our time was going, and then thinking about it like this I realised that’s why we are so short of time – because the week either side is usually so super busy and hectic trying to do everything we would usually do on the weekend during the week instead. And up until now they have been every 3 weeks, so that only left 2 weekends in the middle free for any type of work around the home, catch up work, socialising (what’s that?) etc. At least this last one was 4 weeks apart so we had 3 weekends in the middle – super busy anyway! Not at all complaining, but this does explain why we feel like we are so strapped for time to do anything or see anyone.

The liquids ready to be set up for me.

I’m all hooked up to the machine.

My hero right there. He is amazing this man!

 

The good news is that I didn’t see scary man who does the needles and I had my own room again.:)  I also saw my favourite man who is incredible at doing the needles…. He came in to check on the lady nurse that was about to do mine… then he said he was going upstairs to start the other girls…. It took all of my self-control not to call out and say (ahem *demand*) that he comes back and does my needle!!!! He is the magic man of needles. But I held back and smiled as he left…. Like waving chocolate in front of a child’s face and then taking it away…. I’m happy for all of the girls who had him do their needles……….. Truly I am……… Thankfully this lady was pretty good too, well I guess a uni student learning how to do needles may also be good compared to the scary man. I will still take her any day over him. Sorry dude if you ever read this – your technique is for those who either don’t feel pain or for those who enjoy pain, both of those I am not. 🙂

 

So I have always loved plane food and hospital food….. I am now over the same meal every night that I am here. I’ve started bringing my own food and I take the hospital food home for the chickens to eat.

 

I was brave and went for a walk to heat up my own food for dinner. I brought my friend along for the walk – my hospital drip.

My amazing husband prepared me well with all of thus fruit to snack on.

I was brave and let the lady stick the needle in my wrist. Ew!!!

One awesome thing about going in to hospital this time was seeing a lady I had met last time. And also seeing another good friend that I have made through this whole experience. And I also got to meet another lady who has now had her baby. These shared experiences form the base of some good friendships as we walk together and guide each other.

So last time I shared with you that Scott had felt our little man giving him a high five. That was so priceless. He has been pretty active ever since. Our little man, yes Scott has been busy too… already like father like son. Anyway, since then he has also been visible from the outside. I first noticed this on the 20th June, during week 20. 🙂 I was told that we wouldn’t see him from the outside until about 30-32 weeks. Nope, we can see him already. It’s funny watching my tummy move around with a mind of its own, literally there is a young mind growing in there. So that has been pretty cool to watch. We are starting to try our best to monitor the movement, commonly referred to as ‘kick counting.’ This is really important for prevention of any avoidable stillbirths. The trouble with this is trying to work out what is normal for our little man and what isn’t. It’s early days but the pressure is there to be the best parents that we can be by knowing his patterns to know if anything requires medical attention.

This video below was that very first night that we saw our little man moving. If you look to the left of the screen you will see the tiny movements.

In our week 23 of pregnancy we went to the Hillsong Conference. On our first day there, it was officially the start of week 23, where he can now hear what is going on (my voice and some other loud noises around me). Well he enjoys dancing to music. He was moving around to the music and the bass sounds. It was pretty cool to feel. And then during one of the talks he fell asleep and then woke up with a big stretch which felt like a massive kick! So much so that I let out a loud “whoa!” Scott reached over to hold my belly and wham, he got one strong stretch too! Literally took my breath away! Super cool. 😉

A packed out Conference!

On that note, never underestimate the power of kindness. When we arrived at the conference we were a bit late because the night before I had been up literally every hour on the hour to pee, and then trying to get back to sleep is always a challenge for me, so I had had very little sleep. We still got up as early as we could to toilet and feed the dogs and then pack the cooler bag full of essential food for me for the day, oh and some for Scott, too. Anyway, being late we thought we would just get whatever seats were left, but when we got to our door there were no seats left. Then this angel of a host noticed that I was pregnant and took us to some special seating so we didn’t have to stand. What an answered prayer! We had planned to get there early to make sure that we had seats but more importantly a seat near a loo! (For those who are overseas a loo in Australia means a toilet.) So getting there late added extra stress about would we have a seat at all and if so would we be able to have easy access to the toilet.

And not only did this host find us a seat but one that had easy access to the loo! Just goes to show that there are always answered prayers should we choose to remember the requests that we had made earlier. I’ve seen so many people (and I know I am guilty of it too) pleading for prayers for a certain need (for example if a loved one is in hospital sick would be a common one that I see regularly on social media) and when the prayer is answered there’s no thanks given to God or recognition for the answered prayer, just forgotten. I was so so so thankful for this seat that it took a while to compose myself after we sat down, I literally had tears of thankfulness. I couldn’t believe just how blessed we were to have seats and have access to the toilets without climbing over 10 people, and this in a crowd of 30,000 people.

The thought of climbing over so many people to get to the toilet didn’t have to be a worry thanks to this beautiful host.

Scott’s always looking out for us and protecting us both from crowds.

This is the Compassion tent. We have 3 children that we sponsor through compassion. Their stories would bring tears to the driest of eyes. So many children who are desperate for sponsors. Compassion provide food, education and so many other things for these children and their families. Such a worthy cause.

Some of the worship time.

Really awesome seats! And a great message, too!

This amazing host (who was volunteering her time) went on to reserve us seats for the remainder of the conference that were always close to toilets. It may have been something small to her (maybe not, I don’t know) but it was massive to us. So the moral to the story is, never underestimate how your actions to help another will impact them. Something small like letting someone into a lift first may just make that person’s day, or offering a seat.

Weight gain in pregnancy. Now that’s a whole other story! And one that many are too ashamed to talk about? Why? Because in our society weight gain is somehow in comparison or on par with our value or self-worth. I don’t know why but really, come on, this needs to change! Weight means nothing except to the individual and as long as you are feeling good, who cares about a number on a scale? And especially when you are growing a human being! Anything healthy should be celebrated! So let’s talk about weight gain openly, and I will start here. So we all know just how much I’ve struggled to put on and keep on weight my entire life. Well finally my body is retaining the weight. It’s awesome! So my starting weight was 49.2kg and I stayed at that weight for a while. I’m not sure when I first gained any weight but I do remember around 9 or 10 weeks weighing myself and hoping I had put on weight because my belly had grown, but nope, I still weighed the same 49.2kg exactly! At 13 weeks I weighed 50kgs and then at 15 weeks I was 53.6kgs. Finally the weight was starting so come on, and it is healthy weight which is even better for this little one. At 21 weeks I was 56kgs and now at 23 weeks, almost 24 weeks I am 57.6kgs. That is a total weight gain so far of 8.4kgs.

I’ve found a rough breakdown of what the gains typically are for during a pregnancy and here they are (all in approximations):

  • Baby – 3.6kg
  • Placenta – 900g
  • Uterus – 900g
  • Amniotic fluids – 900g
  • Maternal breast tissue – 900g (woo hoo! This one is welcome to be more than average!)
  • Maternal blood – 1.8kg
  • Fluids in maternal tissue – 1.8kg
  • Maternal fat and nutrient stores – 3.2kg

So that’s a total of 14kg that your body needs to gain and that is just an average. Some will need more and some will need less. Let’s celebrate this miracle that is growing a human and be proud of our weight gains! I bet if it were men growing babies, they would be in their locker rooms or on their phones telling their mates all about how much they have gained with a sense of pride! They would be in competition with each other about the human being that is being grown. Unfortunately, us females tend to try and restrict things so we don’t put on too much and we worry about our figures. Let’s just face it, our figures will and should change, and they will probably never be the same again. Let’s embrace this and wear it with pride – we are incubators for some incredible world changers that are grown inside of us! What an incredible job we have!

And I know some might say that it is easy for me to say this because I was on the smaller side to begin with, but that being said, the weight gain is that much more noticeable on me and the percentage feels and probably looks a lot bigger than if my starting weight had been higher with the same weight gain. I’m embracing this and loving it. I’m eating really healthy and our little boy is benefiting from the healthy choices we are making and therefore the weight gain for him.

Baby bumps – every woman is different, every pregnancy is different and therefore every bump is different. I’ve seen so many ladies get upset and offended by comments from others. People feel the need to comment on a bump, I’m not sure why, perhaps because they are not sure what else to say. However saying things like, ‘wow, you are so tiny, are you sure you are pregnant?!” or “wow you are huge! Are you sure there’s only one in there?!” or “are you sure the dates are right? You’re just so small/large.” And all of these comments, especially over time, build up and eventually make women very self-conscious and they start to worry about the pregnancy and the baby.

So I’m going to let you in on what to say instead. Say “wow, you look beautiful!” or “You look amazing” or “you’re growing a human and you still look this good!” or simply don’t comment on the look and instead say, “you are amazing, your baby is so blessed to be in your belly.” And if you can’t say anything like that, then don’t discuss the pregnancy. Simple. 🙂

Being in a social media group with other IVF expectant mothers all due in November has been a life saver. We can openly ask questions and share information, and concerns. The bump comments from others directed towards us come up a lot. If it weren’t for this group, I think we would all go crazy! We have Bump Wednesday where we share our bump photos. I love comparing all of the beautiful pumps. Each bump is perfect in its own way and no two bumps look the same. Some of us are the same weeks (because as we all know a month has more than one week). When we look at the same week bumps, even then some are huge and some are tiny. I love this! I love that we can be carrying a baby with the exact same gestational age and yet the carrying of these babies can be so different. It shows how amazing the human body is. And huge or small in our group is never mentioned. Not on purpose, but there is no need. We all marvel at how beautiful every bump is. 🙂 And each bump really is beautiful! 🙂

So I guess if you see a pregnant woman, rather than comment on her size, either make no comment or say something kind, especially if you have had a child before – you should know better!!! 😉

I’ve been showing right from the start as we all know here. And could no longer make any disguise of this bump from 12 weeks. My bump was well and truly here. In some ways that has been great because it is visible – people are more aware and gentler around the bump. But I have also copped so many comments about the size. And many people, knowing that this is an IVF baby with many scans, have said on numerous occasions, “are you sure there is only one in there?” Yes, I am sure, we have been sure since the 6 week scan, technology is much better than it was say when I was born. Yes we were also sure at the 8 week scan, and the 10 week scan, and the 12 week scan – need me to continue? Make no mistake, there is only one, big, healthy baby boy in here. And you know what? I am super proud of him! He’s growing so well and doing everything he needs to be doing. I love the growth each week. And I hope you enjoy seeing that happen too. We have fought long and hard to get to where we are, I am not too concerned with the comments but I know that over time it can get draining and for many women this really causes concern. I’m okay, I’m not complaining. What I am trying to do though is to point out that there are so many more things to talk about than the size of a bump. 🙂

Something that does get talked about a lot and always leaves me unsure what to say is when people, strangers, make conversation about pregnancy. It usually goes something like this, “how far along are you” – I respond with however many weeks. They say “is this your first pregnancy/child” and I don’t know how to respond. Do I say “yes, this is my first child or pregnancy?” That would kind of be a lie because it isn’t. Or do I respond with “no, this is our 7th pregnancy?” And if I do that do I leave it there to save a conversation the unsuspecting stranger probably didn’t realise they were opening themselves up to have, and therefore the person will think we have 6 other children at home, leaving them pondering what were we thinking? Do we have a TV? Do we believe in birth control? OR do I respond with the truth and therefore give the unsuspecting stranger personal information they may not be ready to receive and say something like, “this is our first one to make it this far, we have 6 babies in heaven.” See, a simple question can have so many complicated answers. And it is a question that we get asked a lot. We used to get the many questions about why don’t we have children yet and they were tough to answer too.

We have taken the approach that honesty is the best way to handle these questions, so we simply go with the latter response of saying that it is our 7th pregnancy but the first to progress this far. This has opened gates for some pretty amazing conversations, and tears from people re-living and sharing their own experiences. It has formed bonds. But it has also produced some awkward (for the other person) conversations. It has also taught me that if I talk to someone and ask what I think is a generally simple question, to be prepared for the unexpected.

Tomorrow I finish prednisone. This post has taken a few days to write, as they all do. I am so excited to stop this drug. I am really looking forward to making it to 25 weeks. Each week closer is such an incredible gift and milestone. Woo hoo!

I am still on clexane and you can feels the bumps (bruises) through my clothing. Currently I have a very painful bruise on my left leg that hurts to even have clothing touching it. This is a drug that can sometimes glide in and not hurt too much or at all the next day, or like this bruise, can be sore for many days and hurt more like an injury than from a needle. Good old clexane. 😉

As I write this and am so excited for tomorrow, I also feel great pain in my heart for my friends who are desperately trying to have a child. Some are in the process of miscarrying, others are in the process of an IVF cycle, some have just finished a cycle that did not work. These are all very strong women and they are hurting so much right now. 😦 Ladies, you (and your partners) are all in my prayers. And anyone reading this, can you please pray for these courageous women and their partners please? The pain, isolation and absolute shattering feelings are very hard to truly describe or put into words.

I hope that talking openly about this type of stuff helps.

I have learned so much on our journey. I have learned that good can come from anything and everything. It may take years to see what that is but there is good in everything if we search for it. If we are always looking for the negatives, we can become bitter. When you are on a journey trying to have a child, and you have endured a lot of pain and loss, it is easy to become bitter towards those who are expecting. If this is your situation, please find the positives in life. Bitterness will only eat you up inside and make the whole journey harder, feel longer and hurt more. If you can find the joy in life, you will be happier. Bitterness or joy won’t make the process outcome change, but both will change you inside – either for the better or for the worse. So make a choice to allow the pain to be felt, but don’t unpack and live there. Find a way to be happy and to see the beauty in the world.

This can be hard but try to remember this.

Every day is a miracle – a fresh start.

I love this verse.

In case you haven’t read our journey from the start – it’s taken us 7 years, 6 miscarriages and 4 rounds of IVF to get here. Anything worthwhile is worth the wait.


Thank you again for all of the prayers. We appreciate each and every one of them! I know the hotline is always ringing to God to look after this pregnancy. Thank you so much for taking the time to not only care but to do the one thing helping this miracle – taking the time to pray. Thank you! 🙂

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