Signing out.

Hello, 14 weeks 4 days. The weeks have slowly ticked by with no major events to speak of. This feels like a normal pregnancy. This feels like evaporation of 4 years of heartache. This feels like the end of the journey for my blog and, the beginning of a new chapter for our family.

Just to update those who have followed me and my story, the PIO injections did the job. I don’t know what they brought my progesterone levels back up to as, in the end, I got in to see my obstetrician who assured me regular scans would give us more peace of mind than blood tests. So from week 6 through to 12 we had weekly scans where we got to see on the monitor screen, a baby of varying stages of development flicker in to focus. It’s heart beating strong each time and its limbs wriggling away during the last few scans. There was no sign of bleeding at any scan. What a beautiful relief.

After week 9 or 10 there was no evidence of spotting, so at week 12 I stopped the evening pessary and at week 13 I also stopped the injections with no side affects. And so here we are now. Plodding along happily at 14 weeks and actually beginning to imagine a life as 4. We have spread the news, told our Little One (who incidentally had the most precious reaction. Yay for big age gaps!!!), begun to think about what we might need to buy again and thrown a few names around. Now we are just waiting for the nausea to pass altogether and the bump to grow.

Who would’ve thought after all that we went through, it would suddenly all seem so familiar and so normal and so, well, like fate. Who would’ve have thought that it seems so strange to step out into the world of pregnancy, leaving the place you have known so well and hated so much behind you, even though you have fought tirelessly to escape it.

So know, those of you in the depths of infertility, you might be thinking the same as me one day. Pondering on all you went through, when everything suddenly seems to have it’s place in your world. When you don’t have to sit in a fertility waiting room anymore, feeling so afraid to try and so afraid not to, but instead have a pile of paperwork and information about pregnancy and newborns to work through. When you don’t have to feel wretched, throat burning hurt anymore but instead can look forward to a future on calmer seas. When you finally burst out of the dark into a lighter place. When you make it, you may look back on those years of infertility knowing it changed you forever, but finding it so surreal to be looking in on it from the outside. Like it happened to someone else. Like it was a dream. I guess this is what being free feels like, folks. I hope you make it here too.

As this blog was a way of expressing and exploring infertility, I don’t plan to continue writing throughout the pregnancy and into becoming parents for the second time. I’d like to leave this blog for those who need understanding, hope and maybe some information about my experience that may be useful* (see below). As I move forward, and away from the time that I endured secondary infertility, I take with me life lessons and a changed outlook on many things. They include emotional and mental well being, how people deal with difficult and traumatic circumstances, decision making, how to be physically healthy, the medical world, patience and a new found respect for conception.

I hope those of you struggling with infertility find your path through it and to a place of contentment, whether that be conceiving, adoption or moving on to a life without children. You will find much along the road of infertility. That will be different for each of us and can take time to find. I hope you find something positive. Most of all I hope you find that special little soul to take home. Good luck.

*A FINAL MESSAGE

For those ladies who may find this helpful, I want to add a final note about my fight with progesterone! I feel this was causing our infertility all along although we don’t have a medical diagnosis to support this. My blood tests showed progesterone at normal levels however I, in hindsight, wish I had pushed my opinion, albeit based on intuition, more with my medical professionals. Several indicators (see my previous post) suggest progesterone was out of balance, even if it was in normal ranges. I wish I had made this point strongly and asked for a discussion about it. Us ladies really need timing of hormones to be on our side, if not this can really make a small problem a big one. I think greater attention to detail on individual cases could mean less expense and heartache for couples involved. I guess what I’m saying here is that you know your body. Many women with infertility are almost experts themselves! I DO NOT endorse self diagnosis. We rely on the medical expertise of specialists to help solve infertility. But DO discuss with your care team what YOU think  if you have suspicions, reservations or questions .

See you all on the mother side …

 

 

A rollercoaster in early pregnancy

We finally did it! After a second FET we made it to pregnancy. WOOOOOO friggin HOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Our beta was due during the holidays when the clinic was closed, so I did a home pregnancy test and it came up immediately. Amazing stuff. It was actually very, very surreal after all this time, to finally see those two lines. My husband cried. I was pretty speechless. You’re always hoping for the best but prepared for the worse during a journey like ours.

A few days later, my beta came back at 5 weeks at a massive 25,000 or thereabouts. We were on cloud 9 and booked our scan in for a couple of weeks later. I was feeling similar to how I felt with Little One, pretty nauseous at times and extremely tired. We were on our way.

I had a couple of days where light brown spotting occurred. I wasn’t overly concerned. With my first pregnancy, which was natural, I had that from 4 weeks right through to week 9. Then last Thursday I felt terribly nauseous all day, which I take is a good sign that things are going well and hormones are raging, but that night brought us the worse fright. I stood up and felt a warm gush. Yep. Blood. Yep. Red. Yep. Bright. Through the following few hours I had several more substantial gushes with a couple of clots too. Scary shit. I tried not to panic, especially as hubby was not holding it together (he had finally let the emotion of this journey in on seeing the HPT). I centred myself, knowing there wasn’t much I could do if the worst was happening. In the morning I phoned straight through to my specialists rooms. I reported the events of the night before and that I hadn’t bled since, had no cramping during the episode or after but was spotting brown and red. I couldn’t get scanned that day and had to wait the entire weekend to know more!!! I was told to go to the local hospital if I had anymore bleeding or things became worse.

That weekend was hell. We literally just willed time to pass. My husband was a wreck. He couldn’t sleep or eat. I was in a bubble. Refusing to feel anything. I had another slightly smaller bleed and another clot on Saturday afternoon which stopped as quickly as it had started. I lay in bed or on the sofa, doing nothing and feeling empty. We feared the worst. We were pissed. This was a chromosomally normal embryo! What were the chances?!

Monday morning eventually arrived. We were up and out the door when it was still dark and the first people at the clinic. The nurse warned that at just over 6 weeks it might be hard to see what was happening exactly. But there on the screen was our little 6 week 3 day old baby with a strong heartbeat a 128bpm. Unbelievable! Wow! It was what I had hoped for not allowed myself to belief would happen. The nurse checked everything possible and spotted a, I quote “small”, area where the bleed had come from at the back of the uterus. She reiterated how small it was and that everything looked good. It baffles me still as the bleed was certainly not insubstantial. We saw the specialist too, and both reassured us things should be fine and that this does happen sometimes. I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet, so I don’t want to encourage anyone that has bleeding like mine. But it is somewhat reassuring to know that bleeding doesn’t always mean the end immediately.

Later that day my blood work came back from a test I’d had whilst at the clinic which indicated falling progesterone. It was down to 26. I wondered if that was linked to the bleeding. My HgC though had risen well to 90,000ish. At that point my specialist switched me to daily PIO injections with the one pessary at night. We have been following this protocol for a few days now. My husband does the injections and so far so good. They really aren’t bad. I’m still spotting though. Pretty much just brown now, with the odd spot of red.

It was a massive relief to see the baby on the screen. It looks strong! But our anxiety is certainly creeping slowly back in. I’m now wondering if progesterone has been the problem all along even though test results have come back normal in fertility investigations. I wonder if there is a case for normal ranges not applying to all individuals? With my suspicions of failed implantations all those years ago when we began TTC #2, to spotting before a period, to a cancelled fresh transfer due to progesterone rising before it should and to a failed FET on a lower progesterone dosage there seems to me to be some strong indicators. All this is floating round in my head and now with the continuing spotting we are worrying about whether my progesterone is going to stop us holding on to this pregnancy. I’m nearly 7 weeks. I need another 3 weeks to get to safer waters when the placenta starts doing its thing.

My specialist has sent me on to an Obstetrician now. After the scan and the progesterone adjustment I guess she felt happy enough to. I see him in a few weeks, so I feel like we are in a weird limbo until then. I can go to either in an emergency, but in the meantime no one is really tracking us which feels very strange after all this intervention and poking and prodding. I’m going to request a progesterone test again for my piece of mind. I want to see that it is rising back to where it was again now I’m on PIO. Maybe I will do a second pessary too?

I hope the spotting disappears so I can relax a bit more. I’m developing a fear of going to the toilet right now! I hope PIO is good to me. I hope my baby is still happily growing in there. I hope my body helps us out. I hope for the best at this time of anxiety and fear, where I feel so happy but also afraid to be joyful. I hope for dreams come true when I’m afraid to look too far ahead.

Wish me luck folks. It’s going to be a tense, rocky few weeks!

 

IVF, disappointments and a story still to tell.

In July 2015 I snatched back control of this life of mine. I feel like I have been playing tug of war with something unseen for years now, so it felt oh so good to flex those muscles and do some thing that would bring us the closest we have been in a long time to the “p word”.

We began our ICSI cycle (our specialist felt this would be the best approach despite decent sperm analysis as our unexplained infertility means we are all left guessing what may or may not be happening) sailing smoothly through the stimulation injections. Well, as smoothly as you can when you inject your stomach several times a day, forcing it to puff up to ironically pregnant looking proportions, ovaries are tender, your hormones are a-raging, tiredness is overpowering and you are wrangling with strong emotions. By the time I was ready for egg collection, which fortunately didn’t take long, I could sense how full those throbbing ovaries had become. Even sitting down needed some preparation time just to get in the right position to be comfortable. With the help of gonal f I created 24 mature eggs. I was a bit of an egg heroine apparently, and I came away feeling I could hit this infertility thing across the head and never see it’s ugly face again. The only downer was that my progesterone levels were raised, and meant my lining was out of sync with the growing embryos so a fresh transfer was cancelled. I was annoyed and disappointed, but in hindsight realised how much my body had been through and felt it was good to have some recovery time before a transfer.

It’s a weird time when you wait to hear about fertilization rates. How many mini forms of life have we made? We willed every one to hang on and literally fight for life. One day passed and we found out that 18 had fertilized normally. Amazing! Big sigh of relief. It seemed my body had done me proud and I gave myself permission to relax a little. It is hard to not become attached to these bundles of cells; thinking about how our daughter also began life this way. The overwhelming, mind blowing possibility that one of these early embryos could be the one, left us in a spin of both excitement and fear. At day 3, 13 of our embryos were looking good and we had every reason to feel positive that, finally, we were on the right course. We were nailing this ICSI cycle! The lab rang me on day 6. It was so late in the day, I was seriously worried something had gone very wrong. They delivered the news that 3 had made it to blastocyst stage and they were happy with how they looked. In all honesty we were a little disappointed that our numbers had dropped so rapidly. The embryologist told us that with our initial numbers, they would have expected around 6 to make blastocyst. Our specialist had also put us forward to have any blastocysts PGD tested, so we froze all and had several weeks to mull over questions, disappointments and fears. Do we have a chromosome issue that caused so many to arrest before day 5? Will we be left with any useable embryos? Do I have an egg quality issue even though I have a high reserve? Does my husband have a sperm quality issue despite his count and motility looking normal? Can our ICSI cycle be diagnostic in anyway?

3 weeks passed and I thought I was coping well with the uncertainty. Another call from another embryologist brought a surprising flood of emotion when I heard that 2 out of the 3 blastocysts were absolutely chromosomally normal and one was inconclusive for chromosome 6 (which puts the ball in our court as to whether we use it or not. They don’t know either way if it is normal or not). To know we had 3 useable embryos and that we went through the stimulation round with something to show at the end was a massive relief. I realised how totally spent I was emotionally with all the drugs, the waiting and the desperate hoping. I would not have been ready to throw myself into another stim round at that point, so was grateful for this ray of sunshine. The eye of the storm. A medicated frozen transfer was scheduled for my next cycle. For a few weeks life was good and full of possibility again. We allowed ourselves to dream.

We were ridiculously excited at the arrival of cycle day 1. After several months of waiting (thank you to my mild PCOS for a 45 day wait) I felt close to finding the end of this journey. I even felt I sensed somebody was close by, on their way to us even. I felt that this was it. After years of unexplained subfertility, overcoming stress and anxiety, acupuncture, becoming healthier in mind and body, clomid, ovulation induction and now IVF, surely this would be the moment? Surely we have done everything to prove to the universe that we are ready? My body responded well again to the drugs and my lining thickened up nicely. The transfer of a excellent looking, already hatching blastocyst went perfectly. I remained calm and positive, visualising what was happening inside my body until 7dp5dt. Pink blood. One spot. Fuck. My mind went into a spin. I talked myself down, telling myself if could be a good thing but after that the anxiety just took hold. I was afraid of what the following few days would bring. Two days later some more spotting. Hardly anything, but red. It was over. My period was coming. But, hold up! And here is the mind bending shittyness of this experience … all spotting disappeared. 10dp5dt and I was all clear. I didn’t feel like my period was coming and I allowed myself to feel a glimmer of hope. After all, with the two week wait any symptom could mean ANYTHING. Perhaps I was still in with a shout. We couldn’t take the suspense anymore so we decided to take a home pregnancy test. I was due to have my beta the following morning and wanted to be prepared for that anyway. It was depressingly stark white. I was red with anger. I made a sound that I can’t describe. A scream or a growl. I was green with bitterness and envy. I wanted to message my friends and tell them how lucky they were and how they would never know anything close to what I was experiencing. I was black with sadness. How can this still be happening? How can I have not learned my lesson? How am I still naïve enough to think things will be different?

I’ve done this so many times that I can run through the emotions in break neck speed and get myself functioning again. But it is so much harder when you’re doing all that science can offer you, the stakes are higher, you believe once again and yet the result is still fucking negative. What do I have to do?

I felt hope and belief leave me like a river flowing down a valley. Can I put myself through this again? I don’t know. Probably. Maybe. Can I walk away from it? Yes. No. I wish I could but I don’t think I can. Can I leave my frozen embryos? Certainly not. But I’m not sure I can stop the rush of hope leaving me either.

My specialist was surprised we didn’t have a successful round. With all our results and stats, I think she thought we were going to be a big success story. I don’t think failure is in her vocabulary though, so we are doing an endo scratch next week to increase implantation chances during this next transfer. This is good I think. We aren’t doing the same thing expecting a different result. I have learnt my lesson there. But, sigh, more questions. Is implantation our issue? I always felt in the early years of this journey that we were having failed implantation, but we were also very stressed out at the time. Miss Acupuncture tells me not to let that worry take hold. She thinks we are simply unlucky and that it is a numbers game for us. ‘One day you will hit jackpot,’ she encourages. I wish I had the same unquestioning faith.

In the meantime, wish me luck as I jump aboard the FET train again. Our journey is unfinished. Maybe we will reach our destination this time …

An unexciting no news update

… but I hope it helps you, amuses you or gives you something to do in your spare 5 minutes. An email notification arrived in my inbox from wordpress. I had a comment on an old post. Oh yes! I remember I have a blog. Sometimes, what I have been through on our journey helps someone. I felt inspired to write an update post and this time, I’m doing it not because I need to put my thoughts somewhere, but in case someone out there in the world needs a little bit of understanding. Secondary Infertility is isolating. Secondary Infertility is lonely. Secondary infertility makes you different to the rest of your Mummy friends. Secondary Infertility is a confusing, guilt splattered, faith destroying rollercoaster of a journey that tortures you, flashing visions of your aspirations and desires everywhere you have to take your child and that can shatter your enjoyment of what you already have. I hear your cries and I hold your hand. It has been my demon for 3 and a half years until I chose not to dance with it anymore. I’m still not pregnant. I still find things hard at times. But I know I have all I wished for 10 years ago. I think I’ll focus on that for now. So hello blog and hey you guys. Wow, it feels weird typing away here again. It takes me back to a time when I was exhausted, anxious and metaphorically floating in zero gravity, not able to grasp on to anything. I just looked at my entries and I last posted in October 2014. A whole human gestation period. I could have grown a baby in that time. But I didn’t! Haha Bloody ha. I haven’t even checked in on you guys since then. Sorry. I hope it has been a good and joy filled time for you. I took time out of infertility. We went on a big holiday over Christmas. It was nourishment for the soul. On returning, normality resumed. Husband went back to work and Little One started back at school. Did I tell you about the first day of school? Oh man! What a moment. A moment I felt joy, celebration, pride, excitement and sadness about all at once. Sadness because my baby was off, taking her first steps into the big world without me and I didn’t know if I would get to do it again. So slap a little bit of self pity into that pile of emotion too. So my days have been quieter and emptier now that I’m no longer a full time mum to a preschooler. We spent a few months at the start of this year being quiet and still on TTC. We did nothing. We expected nothing. We got nothing; except, actually, a little bit of silence and rest from the noise and emotional chaos that has been around us for so long now. It was refreshing and I felt better than I had felt for quite some time. I got a job and now actually focus on something else a few days a week! It is blissful. When we felt ready to get back on the horse, so to speak, I saw my specialist again and had a laparoscopy done to determine if there was anything undetected. There was nothing. I don’t mean there were no ovaries or uterus. I just mean, again, all looked healthy and good. That means I’ve pretty much had every fertility test possible done and passed. Yay! Go me! I get a prize or something now, right? No. of course not! Because life is that harsh. Truth. But hey, really, I remember I’m being all positive and shit, so that’s great news. There really is still nothing stopping us getting pregnant (and we are going to book another holiday. Even more good news!). My specialist tells me ovulation induction is still a good option again for us. So another several hundred dollars and some needles down and yet another failed cycle. Ho hum. On a positive note, my periods are loads better since the laparoscopy. I can be out for more than an hour or two and not worry about where the nearest lavatory is! Every cloud and all that. I began to doubt if I had the patience or possibly faith, I’m not sure which, in ovulation induction and instead took some more time out and began to get my head in gear for IVF. However, dark clouds were gathering. And like that, two friends tell me they are pregnant with their third child. Third-fucking-child. Greedy mother f….. Seriously, I feel like I am being tested and tested and tested some more. I’ve counted up that I know of about 80 people who have become pregnant and had their baby OR BABIES in the time we have been trying. Some of those children are over two years old! Granted, some of these people I know are people I knew more than 15 years ago at school, now live on the other side of the world and I only see their lives through Facebook. But a handful are close friends that I have supported despite my own longing and pain. I’ve smiled and cooed at their newborn. I’ve taken their older child for them so they save some sanity. I’ve listened to how hard it is to have more than one child and how they didn’t realise how tough it would be. I’ve pushed their babies pushchair around the shopping mall to soothe them to sleep so they can try on just two more dresses. I’ve had their girls overnight because they are in desperate need of a date night. Surely, I’ve passed the bloody test?! My one pregnant friend is especially close, knowing all I go through on my journey. This makes it particularly hard for me and at this point in time I’d be lying if I said it’s not affected our friendship. Not because I’m not happy for her. I know that everyone deserves to have the family they want. But that’s exactly it! Everyone deserves the family they want, including me. So, I just need some space. But we will be good again, no doubts. Right now, on the eve of IVF, with the forms all ready to be signed by my specialist, I can not be there for my third time pregnant friend in the way I would like to be and have been to others before. It has taken me 3 and half years to reach the point I am at. I can not focus on anyone but me. I can not help her because I need to put myself first. I don’t want to meet for coffee in a park on my day off so her kids can run off steam. I don’t want to pop around whilst (not so little) Little One is at school, whilst her kids run around, screech at each other and come begging for another snack. I don’t want to hear about anyone else’s complete family today because I am being utterly selfish, staying emotionally level and focusing on completing MY family. It is MY turn. Offer me a catch up in a local bar with a glass of bubbles though, I’ll be there. No really, I have 3 priorities: I pledge to go to work and feel valued, enjoy time with the family I already have and feel loved and, get pregnant and feel the amazing rush of new life inside my belly. I can’t bloody wait.

Needles!

Last week we saw the specialist for the first time. I was expecting a pass straight to IVF, as Miss Acupuncture and the Ob/GYN I was seeing before he referred me, both told me that in my unexplained case there wouldn’t be other options laid on the table.

They were wrong. She offered us injectables. It took me by surprise, but I was happy to have another stepping stone rather than leaping right across the pond into IVF. I know this continues to be an issue for me; the idea of IVF scares me, although I am getting there and, honestly, I’m so utterly ready to move on from this trying to conceive journey one way or another that I know the time is imminent. Living in this limbo feels like living half a lifI’m here and going through the motions, but not giving things my full attention or enjoying what I have to the full. And that makes me sad, because I have a lot to enjoy and be happy about.

The appointment was … short. That was a little disappointing. Not getting pregnant is such a big part of the life of the couples that end up in these offices, and we felt a little like just another set of ovaries to get working better! But, this specialist is supposed to be the bomb, so we will give her the benefit of doubt. In a nutshell, the reality is we won’t get onto IVF, even if we said yes today, until the new year and she felt a few injectable cycles was worth a shot (I hope anyway!). Reviewing all our test results, she diagnosed our only issue to be a mild ovulation disorder due to late ovulation, which we already knew. Hubby looks all good to her. So injectables. No IUI. I was rather anxious, bringing these pens and needles home. I was so afraid of pain when sticking that first needle in that I messed the first dose up and pressed the button first as the needle entered the skin. Oooops! I’m happy to report that it really isn’t that painful at all. In fact, I think I prefer it immensely to clomid. I’ve got no side affects at the moment (other than some decent cervical mucous, which can only be a good thing, right??) which is a welcome relief after two of my clomid cycles were a massive rollercoaster of emotions. The specialist also said that this is better as it doesn’t affect the endometrium which can thin with clomid. I also like that there is more monitoring of me through the cycle to better understand what it happening. Only thing with this treatment, I think, is that there feel there is more at stake. We are spending more money on this, and there is a chance of cancelling the cycle if the ultrasound doesn’t show good news on the ovaries.

I’m back later this week for another ultrasound to see if I’m ready to trigger. TMI (as the ttc online forums users say), but I’m a little uncomfortable down there with thrush so am desperately hoping that has passed before the appointment so that a) I don’t have to feel mighty embarrassed and, b) so that we can get trigger happy in the bedroom.

Hit me up with some positive injectable cycle stories! I also need to find the answer to my question: I already ovulate, albeit on approx. 6 week cycles, so how does inducing ovulation improve my chances? No one has been able to explain this to me! Any insight appreciated!

Q and A’s

It’s been a while since I checked in here, because life has been a little all over the place over here. More on that in a moment. But wow, what a lot happened on my feed here. I was gone longer than I realised. Congratulations to all who have had good news, and are currently holding on to some hopeful signs. And the biggest hugs to those of you who have been knocked down, again. That is just shit.

I’ve been spending the last month fighting to stay positive despite very little reason, it feels, to believe this journey will end the way we hoped it would when we started it 2 and a half f@#%ing years ago. As I sit here in the first few days of cycle 26, I feel empty. I wonder how many times someone can keep experiencing the bitter disappointment. I ask how long someone can deal with the pain of a gaping hole. Handing over my faith that a soul is coming our way, and wallowing in the darkness seems like the easier option right now. It seems ridiculous that I can even fear remaining a family of 3, as surely we should feel lucky to have a family after all this (especially as we got little one so easily). But the time has come to face that fear. Anger towards my body for not getting pregnant without giving me an explanation why, and maybe even towards the little soul that is adamantly holding back is bubbling away. Letting it burst forward feels like the easier option.

Since speaking to a counsellor a few months ago I know what this is. It’s the part of me that is trying to protect me in a destructive way. It wants me to shut off the hope so I don’t get disappointed. It wants me to give up and move on so I don’t hurt anymore. I know that my more positive self will re-appear, because it always does, but I’m rather tired of that internal battle. My Miss Positive always seems to have to keep ssssshhhhing and reassuring Miss Negative. “I know you’re disappointed and angry this is happening, but all will be well” I tell myself. Well you know what, I’m going to throw a little tantrum here because when is this going to end? Living in this limbo is no place for anyone.

Our appointment with a fertility specialist has come around. It is happening this week. I’m not sure whether I’m excited, scared or just going through the motions because hubby wants to get this show on the road ASAP. I had some more blood tests done, which I will find out about at the appointment, and am intrigued to know if anything shows up. A few new things were tested including a celiac antibody test, AMH and a couple of immunology ones. My gut feeling, and perhaps this is what scares me most, is that nothing will come back as with all our testing so far. We will be told IVF is our only option. This should be a good thing, I know, and I totally understand that I’m in a lot better a position than many on an infertility journey, but if there is nothing to fix, why does that mean this situation will change with medical intervention? If we are both in good reproductive health, why aren’t we pregnant already? This raises some spiritual questions for me, and therefore undertaking intervention confuses me and makes life more intense than it is already. What if we force someone to come to us before they are ready? Is that right? What will it mean for us all? Or is this the path we are all supposed to be on? Do any of you have any thoughts about this that might help me figure this out? I know I really need to get my head around IVF, as it looks like it is really going to be our next and final step.

The other awful reason life has been a little dark over the last few weeks is because something truly terrible happened to a family we know through a friend. Tonight I will be attending the funeral of their beautiful 2 year old boy. He was taken from them and given angel wings by an aggressive, rare and fatal childhood brain tumour which was only discovered 3 weeks before his death. Life seems utterly cruel right now. Sleep tight little man.

I’m questioning a lot of things. I’m feeling many emotions. I’m hoping I find answers and peace very soon.

When parenting pressure possibly prevents pregnancy.

Hey there! Long time, no speak. I don’t have a reason for it, other than I guess time flew before I felt the need to rant/unload/share anything. The basic truth is I was feeling rather good, and rather positive despite this being cycle 24. That was until 6 days ago, when I had an almighty emotional crash for some random reason that I couldn’t even figure out for a day or two. Hence, my logging in to my blog to rant/unload/share.

So, back up … Last time I blogged, I wrote about figuring out how anxiety is impacting my life and that I had decided to speak to someone. Fast forward to now, and I have had 3 lovely appointments with an extremely kind and warm lady. I instantly felt the difference after walking out of my first appointment. It was liberating. I have never had any sort of counselling before, but I happily blabbed away to my heart’s content. I came away feeling so much lighter and so much more positive.

Last week though, I felt my positivity came crashing down and I was left with tears, anger and frustration and I couldn’t see which way was up. It was so confusing. I even felt angry and about feeling angry. I was frustrated I had tripped up, emotionally speaking. But our paths are rocky, eh? No path is smooth in life. And this path I am on, finding my way back to emotional paradise, where downs are only dips, recovery from a minor stressful moment is instant and every day holds mostly happy thoughts, self-worth, fulfilment and laughter; it is a little rocky. I am lucky though. Most of my days contain happy thoughts a plenty, laughter and dips rather than downs if there are any. Many people have much darker times than me, I know that. Sometimes, I feel like I go for a little visit to see those people though. I feel the turmoil, the self-doubt, the negative self-talk. I see how dark it can be. I hear the screams of panic, cries for help and pleas for the pain to go away. I am lucky. Those times are fleeting for me. I probably get dragged there by my hormones if I’m honest. I visited this weekend just gone, but only for a short while. I’m back in my world now, and it is a sunny day.

Being back here gives me a chance to assess what I saw, felt and heard. It gives me a brief chance to talk to my subconscious about what is going on. This weekend I discovered that I’m angry about how our society parents in the western world (I’m talking a general thing here). I also discovered that I question my strength to bring another child into a world where parenting is in such crisis, putting them in potential situations that I’m not comfortable with. What am I going on about I hear you ask? Let me elaborate …

Personally, I feel that as a parenting society too many of us over protect our children and are judgemental of others. As a parenting society we are so afraid of hurting our children’s feelings, we can’t see through it to make good decisions for our offspring. As a parenting society, we act for our children before teaching them the tools to act for themselves. As a parenting society, in being so desperate to do the perfect job we are actually sending our children the wrong messages.

I put myself in the group of parent in crisis. I am desperate to do the best job, and ensure my child is not hurt in any manner. I put an immense amount of pressure on myself. But do you see how I am setting myself up for failure? I cannot do the best parenting job ever, because I am human. I make mistakes. There will be times I make the wrong decision. There will be times I lose my patience. But I also love my child more than life itself. I provide her with healthy food, clean clothes and motivating toys and activities. I try to teach her how to be a good friend, how to use manners and right from wrong. I try to teach her about the world, differences, similarities, how to be healthy and letters and numbers. I do the best I can do with all that I have. Surely, I am a good parent because of these things?

A friend of mine had something happen to her daughter at school with another child. She was unhappy, to say the least. Apparently, the other child was totally in the wrong, and the situation was dealt with at school. No child was hurt physically, and it was a ‘normal’ schoolyard one off clash as far as I could tell. However, my friend was in total anguish about the whole thing! She felt angry towards the other child. She felt angry towards the school for letting it happen. She felt guilty about sending her child to this school (they had recently moved there). She worried it would stop her daughter settling in and being happy. She entertained pulling her out! Stop. Stop. Stop. Surely this story should have stopped at, ‘the situation was dealt with at school.’ Perhaps rather than my lovely friend feeling so terrible about the whole thing, she should have stepped back, realised that in the path to being a fully developed social being children make mistakes! They do silly things that hurt feelings and occasionally body parts. Some children do things because they are hurting so bad inside. Perhaps rather than letting her child see the guilt and anger she had, she could have taught her how to be compassionate and loving. She could teach her how to be resilient and get back in that classroom with her head held high. She could have used the school community as a resource to help her child develop. She could have turned into something so wonderful, but instead chose to give her child a different message. In my eyes, the wrong one.

OH PARENTS OF THE WORLD HEAR ME! Putting your child first does not always mean instant gratification and even instant happiness for them. We must stop pressuring ourselves to be the ones who make our child happy 100% of the time. Our job is to teach them HOW to be a good, happy person in the world, who knows how to overcome obstacles when they arise. And they will. Just look at me and you!

So, how does this all come back to me and my blog about Secondary Unexplained Infertility? Well, I’m thinking I’ve (and by I’ve I mean my subconscious) been doubting my parenting approach at times, as it sometimes goes against the grain and in some small and bizarre way I feel a little guilty that I have brought Little One into a world that expects her to be bloody darn perfect despite her being so small. However, it is funny this is a thing for me, as Little One has many wonderful traits and we actually get lots of positive comments about her. She isn’t always perfect though. Yesterday she shouted at me because I had distracted her (it wasn’t on purpose!) and spoiled her playdough creation. I could make an excuse and defend her actions, like so many Mums do, but I’m not going to. Because she is not always perfect and that is OK. And that finally leads me to trying for Baby number 2 … Can I bring another imperfectly perfect little being into the world, to face criticism, judgement and labelling? Do I have the strength to just love my children for who they are, and ignore any whispers about their flaws? Do I have enough belief in the fact that my husband and I love them enough that nobody else needs to?

I think I can answer yes to these questions, because I am pretty sure it is fear who is asking them.

So, I count down to the end of cycle 24 … Bloated. Check; perhaps more so than normal, but hey perhaps I’m just kidding myself. Emotional and irritable . Check; and extremely so around 6dpo and 7 dpo. Swollen breasts. Check, well a little. I hope this is the one.