Monday, 30 May 2011

Avoiding the Dentist

That's been my mission, avoid the dentist and you won't need to have any work done. Right???

I don't mind having my teeth cleaned or whitened for that matter. In fact, I love having my teeth cleaned and whitened. I floss and brush on a regular basis. I have a very nice smile. I just hate the drill.

Once during a filling, the anesthetic didn't work properly and I felt the most horrible shot of pain. So now when I have to have a cavity filled I am in constant fear of the pain relief not working. The last filling I had resulted in a full blown panic attack including tears, shaking, and sweats. Nice!

So I am now one of those patients who has to have Valium or something before dental work. And even then I'm still freaked out.

When I was about 4 months pregnant the dentist told me I had a new cavity that would need to be filled once the baby was born. I was relieved to have a built in excuse to put it off. I actually went to see the dentist in October (2 months after my son was born still) to follow up. I think the numbness of my grief kept the fear at bay.

I was desperate to do normal things like going to the dentist,,, so I went. Then he set the appointment for my filling to be in November due to me going back home to see the family and take care of all the arrangements to do with my son's ashes. In fact, I even had my teeth whitened while I was there. By the time I got back to London I was back in avoidance mode. So I cancelled my appointment and never re-scheduled.

Well now we're getting ready to go for our donor egg IVF cycle and I have no more time left to avoid it. The hubby keeps reminding me that if I don't get this done before getting pregnant than it will really suck to have to do emergency dental work with no pain or anxiety relief. So I went in to see the dentist on Saturday and as I had feared, I now have a few more teeth that need "work."

WTF?? I now have three teeth with cavities. One seems to be caused by a crack made from grinding my teeth. He asked me if I have any stress in my life. I just laughed and said, "Yes, lots." Oh, and an old filling now has cloudy bits below it so it has to be removed and cleaned out. Yay!!!

So I have to go. I'm totally freaked out. I have a cleaning first and then have to book the dreaded appointment to have the cavities filled. I've got my prescription for 1 Valium pill to take an hour before the appointment. One pill?? Are you serious?? Why oh why are they sooooo stingy with meds in this country? I feel like I need a pile of pills before the apointment, not just one!

So I'm totally freaking out. It's my own fault for putting it off. Now it gets to be just one more thing I have to worry about right now. Another ball to juggle.

Ugh! Procrastination never pays.

Also, avoiding the dentist is not an effective way to keep from needing to get cavities filled.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Right Where I Am: Nine Months and Two Weeks

Thank you so much Angie for creating this project for those of us who have lost children to participate in. What a lovely idea, to have each of us write about where we are now in our grief. So that new people can get an idea of the experience of grief further down the road, and so people further down the road can reflect on how far they have come in their grief.

So here is where I am, 9 months and 2 weeks after my son died at 36 weeks. 

I know am doing better. Better than before, when my grief was an all consuming being. It is still there, but it is buried a bit. Peeking at me around corners, but most of the time letting me be.

There are still times when it pops out and surprises me.
Not wanting to be ignored.
Wanting to remind me that it is still there.
That it is still more powerful than I am.
That I have not gained control over it.

Most of the time I can manage it. I am able to enjoy things, and life, and my husband without feeling guilty. I understand now that while grief is a part of my life and probably will always be, it is not the only part of my life.

It's like an unwelcome house guest who has overstayed their welcome. I have learned how to get away from it at times. I have also learned that I need to allow it to spend some time with me as well. If I try and avoid it for too long then it will jump out and tackle me to the ground, demanding some quality time with me. So I do my best to keep a balance. Where I have my time for fun, and my time to be sad. Most days I do a pretty good job of it.

I am also very busy at the moment. They say not to have too many major life changes after a loss, but sometime these things cannot be helped.

I am grieving. In addition to grieving, we are also trying for another baby. In addition to grieving and trying for another baby, we are also having to find a new place to live. In addition to grieving and trying for another baby and having to move, we have found out that the hubby may be given a new project at work. It's a good thing, but it's another big change.

My plate is full. My cup is running over. I am doing my best to manage it all. It's a huge job.

Yet deep down I know I can do it. Because the one thing that my loss has taught me is that I can get through anything. No matter if I want to or not,,,,, I can.

Because I have been there. In that terrible dark place. That place where babies die unexpectedly. That place where it feels like the whole world has screeched to a halt. That place where no light can penetrate.

I've been to that place, and I have crawled back out. I'm back from that place, because I set my mind to it. Force, and will, and strength, and tears,,,, all coming from an inner power and an external support system I never knew existed. And yet they were all there for me when I needed them. So I know they will be there for me when I need them in the future.

So after 9 months and 2 weeks I can say that I have embraced my grief. For all it's ups and downs. I know there will be many more tears to come, and I'm OK with that. It's part of the process.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

We Picked a Donor

Well that was easy!

I was so worried about choosing the perfect egg donor. After all, it's not something that you do every day and it's a huge decision. I want to thank all of you who offered me advice on how to make the selection.
In the end here's how we did it.

We gave top priority to a proven donor. As a very wise commenter or two said, everyone has to have a first try, but when so much is on the line it's better to go with someone who has already completed a successful cycle. This donor has a good history. She also has two children of her own so I was able to get some info on how they are doing developmentally and medically.

After that we looked at medical history. I avoided anyone with a history of diabetes (because it's already on my hubby's side) and anyone with too much cancer or heart disease. I know there's no guarantee of anything, but it was important for me to try. In the end I think the donor has a cleaner medical history than I do,,, so in a way I'm trading up!

It was also important to me that the donor looked like she could be part of my family. A couple of her baby photos reminded me of my sister when she was little. Call it vanity or whatever you want, but I want to try and have a child that looks a bit like me.

Lastly we looked at the rest of the profile. Just to get a feel for who she was as a person.

The hubby and I each looked on our own and didn't discuss until we were both done. When we compared notes we had both chosen the same donor!!! It was fate!

So I clicked submit on the database website and now I'm waiting to hear back from the clinic!!!

Oh, and now is when I have to write the VERY big check to the clinic..... yikes!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Too Many Balls in The Air

Seriously! Could I just get one thing settled please???

I have too much going on right now and it's driving me absolutely nuts.

Here are the balls I'm juggling at the moment.
  1. Grieving my son (this one is a biggie).
  2. Having to move to a new flat.
  3. Our upcoming Egg Donor IVF cycle.
  4. Planning a trip home to see the family.
  5. My hubby's potential new job role.
  6. All the rest of normal life stuff.
Here's where I sit with all of them.
  1. Grief- well that's an ongoing one which I don't expect to be settled anytime soon.
  2. Moving- I swear this one is going to be the death of me. I thought we had it all sorted and now it appears it may all fall through. There are some terms on the lease that we are having trouble agreeing to. I thought this one was all settled,,,,,, but it's not. I have tons to do to prepare for this move. But I can't do any of it until we are sure where we're going and when. We have to be out of this place in early July so I'm starting to panic slightly. 
  3. The cycle- this one is moving forward well. We have been checking the database and hope to find our perfect donor soon. Thanks for all the advice I got on this one. The big thing up in the air with this one is the dates. You see, we can't make other plans until we know exactly when this will all happen. So  we're in this crazy limbo where we want to make plans but we can't. I hate limbo. 
  4. Trip home- was planned for late July, but may have to be pushed back if we are in the middle of our donor egg cycle. Or not if we're not. I need to book tickets in advance in order to avoid paying a fortune, but I can't. And it's driving me crazy.
  5. Hubby's job- no he's not changing companies or anything. But he may be given a slightly bigger role than he currently has. If he gets it then it will involve more travel, but to some pretty cool places that I can tag along to. This is good news, but it adds stress. It hasn't officially happened yet,,,, but it might,,, or it might not. So for now it's just another ball to juggle. 
  6. Normal life- well let's see, there is no food in the house. I haven't worked out in weeks. My house is a complete mess. I have a million things on my to do list. So pretty  much I've dropped this ball already.
So pretty much my whole life is in limbo right now. I am not a very good juggler and at times I feel like throwing all the balls on the floor and screaming until someone else picks them up.


Can we just get one thing settled???


Friday, 20 May 2011

We Have Access!

Yesterday I was given live access to the egg donor database!

It's pretty comprehensive considering we're going the anonymous donor route. I can see some photos of them as a child, their vital statistics, their complete medical history, and a bunch of other stuff too.

Wow, wow, wow, this is really going to happen!

I am now "shopping" for an egg donor. It seems like such a strange concept. How in the world do I even begin?

Do I try and find a donor who looks like she could be related to me?
Do I pick based on what subjects in school she says she was good at?
Do I pick based on medical history (although to be fair, they all have pretty good medical histories)?
Do I pick based on the personal essay?
What happens if the hubby and I can't agree on someone?

It's a huge decision. As much as I'm in a hurry to get started, I also don't want to rush and make the wrong choice.

So if there are any of you who have been through this, or know someone who has,,,, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Kindness of Acquaintances

There is much talk about the kindness of close friends. There is also much talk about the kindness of strangers. But what about the kindness of those people who exist in between? Those people who we know and see, but not very well. People we would call acquaintances?

This post is about exactly that. It's about someone who caught me by surprise. Someone who I wouldn't expect to be thinking about me. But she was.

As I have mentioned before, I belong to an expat women's club. The women I have met through this club have been my lifeline,,,, both before and (especially) after losing my son last August. In a huge city like London, this club has brought me a sense of community and security. 

I went to our club's monthly wine tasting event. As it's a recurring event, I know all the women there. But not all of them are what I would consider my close friends. Tonight I sat next to the woman who organizes the event. Although I don't know her well, I met her when I was pregnant with my son and she is aware of what happened.

"I've been thinking about you a lot lately, " she says, "I was wondering how your Mother's day was?"


Did she really just ask me that?? In person and everything???

"Not great," I say, "It was pretty rough, but I managed my way through it." I told her. I shared her about how difficult every holiday has been since losing my son. I talked about how Easter had snuck up on me and how much it sucked to have to deal with two Mother's days. 

She squeezed my hand and told me how sorry she was for my loss.

I was so touched. I mean, I don't see her every day, and I certainly don't share my grief with her. But she still thought about me that day. And she thought about me enough to ask me about it tonight.

I was overcome with gratitude. I thanked her for asking (as I tried desperately not to cry). I shared with her my sadness that more people don't ask me about my loss. They are afraid to hurt my feelings, when in truth my feelings are already crushed in a million pieces and no question asked by a caring friend is going to make things any worse.

Again, she squeezed my hand and told me that she was there for me if I ever wanted to talk. It made me feel so good, and so loved,,,,, by someone I hardly know.

It reminded me that people do still care. They do still think about my loss. Even when it seems that the whole world had moved on. It hasn't. It's just that most people don't want to mention it anymore. They are afraid to remind me of what I have lost. But not everyone. There are still a few people who are willing to reach out.

It was a great night. A night when I learned to appreciate the kindness of acquaintances.

So for those of you who are reading this who know someone who has suffered a loss..... please don't be afraid to let them know you are thinking about them. It will make their day,,,,, I promise!

Monday, 16 May 2011

The One Where I Lie to My Friends

I have a confession to make,,,, a friend is moving back to the US and even though I pretend to be sad about it, I am actually happy she's going!

I feel terrible for feeling this way, but I can't help myself. It's amazingly selfish and if any of my friends in real life knew they would be very upset with me. They would be horrified that I could think such a horrible thing about someone I call my friend. It would probably change their view of me completely. So I hide it. I keep it to myself and pray that no one discovers my dark secret.

So what is this friend's crime?? What has she done to make me so happy that she's moving so far away?

Three words

Yes, it's a simple as that. We were pregnant at the same time. Our due dates were a month apart. We had all these plans about our babies being friends. She was having a girl and I was having a boy and we joked about them being boyfriend and girlfriend. We were going to join the same playgroup. We were on the same path.

Until that horrible day.

"There's no heartbeat." 
Those words uttered at my 36 week growth scan changed everything for the hubby and me. 

But not for her. Her baby girl lived, and is here,,, on this earth,,, in her arms. While my son looks down on me from heaven.

I can only hold him in my heart.

She and her daughter are walking reminders of what I have lost. In fact, in the 9 months since my son died (yes, it's been 9 months now) I have yet to meet her daughter. I can't meet her daughter. In fact, we had a near miss a few weeks ago and it nearly sent me into a crying frenzy.

So I pretend...
That I will miss her.
That I'm sad to see her go.
That our group of friends will never be the same without her.
When really, I can't wait for her to be gone.

So that I don't have to see the awkward looks on people's faces when they are in the same room with the two of us. Knowing the struggle they are going through.
  • Dying to ask her about her baby, but not wanting to hurt my feelings.
  • Wanting to invite people over but knowing she may not have a babysitter and knowing that I can't be in the same room as her daughter. 
  • Feeling like they somehow have to make a choice whether to see me or her based on her childcare situation. 
  • Feeling like they are stuck in the middle of this horribly awkward situation. Where her baby lived an mine died. 
  • Trying to be good friends to each of us while not hurting the feelings of the other. 

I don't envy their situation. I try to put myself in their shoes,,,,, but I'm too close. I am unable to think objectively. So as much as I like this friend (and believe it or not, I really do) her move is a huge relief. Because I get to keep the friends.

And I really need them right now.

As horrible as it is to say this,,,, I need them more than she does. So I'm lying to everyone. Saying how much I will miss her and how sad I am to see her go. When really I'm just counting down the days.

So I'm a liar, and it makes me feel like a horrible person. Even though all I'm really trying to do is survive.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Hooray!! We Will Not Be Homeless!

After months of looking we have finally found a new place to live. What a huge relief!!

When we found out back in March that we were going to have to move I wasn't worried. We had until July to find a new place which I thought would be plenty of time. As it turned out, this house hunt was not nearly as easy and stress free as when we first moved to London. It got to a point where I was starting to worry that we may end up homeless. I'm sure all the hormones I'm taking for my mock cycle didn't help my stress level either.

I finally connected with a relocation woman who showed me a bunch of places and guess what? We found something!! HOORAY!!

It's still in the same part of London we're in now, albeit a bit farther away from the high street. It's also bigger than this place and has a much bigger garden (backyard for you Americans). It even has a garage which is practically unheard of here in London. Not that we have a car at the moment, but I'm overjoyed to actually have a place to store all my junk!

We have a move in date of June 10th which gives me less than a month to get ready for the big move. Even though moving is a huge pain in the ass, I'm so happy to have one less thing to worry about.

Plus this means we will be all moved into our new place before we start our donor egg IVF cycle. So I won't have to worry about moving when I'm (possibly, hopefully, please let me be) pregnant.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I Have Great Lining

I never thought I'd be so excited to announce that I have great uterine lining!!! But I do, and I am.

I have finished doing all the injections for my mock cycle. There were 5 in total, each one as scary as the next. They got slightly easier each time but I'm by no means an old pro yet. I had to go in on Monday to have a scan to check my lining and blood levels. I am pleased to say that I passed both tests with flying colors.

I've always been good at taking tests!

Woo Hoo!!

So now I've got to take a pill each day for 5 days and then wait for my period. Then I'm being put on birth control pills until we start the real thing. It's funny how they put you on birth control pills as part of a treatment to try and get you pregnant.

We had our required counseling session today. It's part of the process when doing egg donation and I completely understand why they do it. They want to make sure you have thought the whole process through before you get started. The counselor was very nice and actually brought up some good points about how and when to tell any future child about where they came from. We have always planned to tell our future children (if we are so lucky as to have them) about the fact that they were conceived using a donor egg. I personally don't think there's any reason to hide the information. It's part of their story and they deserve to know. It's also the kind of thing that if kept hidden but somehow came out, could shatter lives. And I would never want to do anything like that to my child.

So now that we are done with all the preliminary testing I believe we will be given access to the donor database very soon!!

Wow!! It's all so very exciting.

Monday, 9 May 2011

I'm a Guest Author

It's funny to write that because I don't consider myself a writer/author. But it's flattering nonetheless that someone liked something that I wrote enough to want to put it on their blog. Especially since they approached me because they think my words may help others who have experienced the loss of a loved one. I would absolutely love to think that what I write here may be able to help others get through such a devastating time.

Check me out over at Hello Grief, a website that's a place to share and learn about grief and loss. Here's how the folks over at Hello Grief describe their site.

We're not afraid to talk about GRIEF & LOSS Hello Grief provides information and resources about grief in order to break through the current culture of avoidance that surrounds death and loss. Instead, Hello Grief addresses bereavement head-on for those who are helping others cope, as well as those who need support on their own personal journey with grief. In a world that doesn't get it, we do.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Denial,,,, Not Just a River in Egypt

I am in denial and I'm proud of it.

American Mother's Day is tomorrow and I'm trying my best not to think about it. As an expat living in London I've already had to endure the UK Mother's Day. How cruel is it that the first year after my son dies I have to go through not one, but two days honoring mothers??

So my strategy is to pretend it's not happening. I plan to stay off facebook for the weekend so I won't see all the happy posts from all my friends. I put up one of the lovely flowers from Carly's site on my facebook page last week and that's all I'm going to do.

It is nice that at least I won't have to suffer through the stores being full of Mother's day stuff this time, but still,,,,,,, it's just too much for me.

So other than the obligatory phone call to my Mom, I'm not going to deny it's another Mother's day without my precious baby boy.

Denial...... let's see how well that plan goes.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Have I Mentioned That I Hate Moving?

Here I go......... I HATE MOVING!

As I have talked about previously, we have to move. Not out of London, just out of our flat. Why you ask??? Because a certain celebrity (who shall remain nameless like everyone else here on this blog) is buying our place. So we are being evicted by a celebrity. Hooray for us!! Well not really. Being evicted by a celebrity sucks just the same as being evicted by a normal person (or "civilian" as Liz Hurley would say).

We have to be out by the beginning of July so there is still time but I'm starting to panic slightly. We've been looking since March and have found nothing suitable. We are spoiled and picky. We live in a fabulous part of London and we refuse to even consider another part of town. We love our cute little flat and want something just as nice. Is that asking too much??

Our street this winter when it snowed. Who wouldn't want to live here?

Except that the market is different than when we moved here over 5 years ago. Fewer people can get mortgages and so more are renting. Which means supply is down and rents are up.

I am currently working with 2 estate agents who are both operating with a very "casual" attitude. Basically they email me properties. I email them back saying that I want to see them. Then they never email me back. So I call them and they act like nothing is wrong with them never getting back to me. I feel like I'm constantly chasing them. Me, chasing them to help them make money from helping me. What is wrong with this picture???

Finally in desperation I have found a relocation agency that will do all the work for me. Except she can't show me anything from the two agencies I'm already working with. Apparently there is "turf" and "rules" around this sort of thing. Seriously?? They can lay claim to me as a customer even though they have barely lifted a finger to help me? I don't care who helps me with what, I just need a new place to live.

So needless to say, it's been frustrating.

But I'm trying to be positive because the relocation lady is going to take me out tomorrow and show me a whole bunch of places. Hopefully I can find something I like. Because with everything else going on I really don't need to be so stressed out about where we're going to live.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Men and Doctors

What is it with men and doctors??

I should start off by saying that I love my dear hubby. He is an amazing man and has been my rock throughout our marriage, especially this year. He is an amazing person and I am lucky to have him in my life. But he can be such a baby sometimes about going to the doctor.

He's got two issues that are keeping us both up at night (literally). One is his shoulder and the other is his calves. He hurt his shoulder a few months ago. He was dragging a suitcase when the wheel fell off and jerked his shoulder. It has been hurting ever since. I suggested he see the doctor when it first happened but of course he didn't think that was necessary. Every few weeks he would complain about how much it hurt and how the pain was keeping him awake at night. I can attest to this fact because he does not like to suffer in silence, even in the middle of the night. Each time I suggested a visit to the doctor, each time he said he would be fine.

In the meantime he has started having issues with his calves. Each morning he wakes up and the are literally hard as rocks. The muscles have managed to tighten themselves up and they won't relax on their own. They are of course very sore as a result of being so tight. So he can't sleep well because his shoulder hurts, and then when he gets out of bed his calves hurt so bad he can hardly walk. 

He's in pain. So he complains to me about it. He wants to know why they hurt. Each time I tell him how sorry I am. I also suggest he see the doctor. I am not a doctor and so I don't know why his legs still hurt. I don't know why his shoulder isn't healing. But if he went to the doctor perhaps he could get some answers. No more guesswork required, just make the appointment. Or let me know when you will be home and I will make it for you.

So now it's 2 months on and he's finally decided I was right and we go off to the doctor. Right in the middle of the Easter/Royal Wedding holidays. Of course we don't get to see our normal GP, instead we get this guy who couldn't seem less interested if he tried. He had the hubby move his shoulder around a bit and immediately said we need a referral to the muscular skeletal doctor.

This is good news, a specialist! We can get some answers at last!

So now I'm waiting for the hubby to mention his calves. But he doesn't. So I mention them.

The doctor suggests it's due to exercising or maybe being tensed up due to the shoulder pain. Not exactly the answer we were hoping for, but better than nothing I suppose.

Then I wait for the hubby to ask about better medication for pain. He doesn't ask. So I ask.

As a result we get a prescription for something a bit stronger than ibuprofen (but not much). *Side note, what is it about UK doctors and pain meds? When I had my c-section they gave me paracetamol (tylenol for all you US folks). Seriously, what is their aversion to some good old vicodin???

Why isn't he asking these questions I ask myself? He's done nothing but complain for months about his legs and the pain and he's about to walk out of this office with a referral for the shoulder and nothing else? He later told me it was because he thought the doctor was a "tool."

So basically, he was willing to leave the doctors without even asking about pain relief or his legs because he didn't like the doctor? How much sense does that make? Then you're going to come home with no pain meds and wonder why your legs and shoulder still hurt? Then you're still not going to be able to sleep (which means I'm up too) and you're going to be asking me why your legs still hurt. At which point I'm going to be asking why you didn't ask the doctor when you were there.

He's just lucky I was there to ask the questions for him. Even though we didn't get the best answers, at least we got something.

So the next step is seeing the specialist. It will take a week or so to get that appointment. In the meantime I am massaging his legs and he's using a hot water bottle. I'm force feeding him the new pain meds and wishing for the best. I also plan to make sure I can go with him to see the specialist to make sure he doesn't go mute again.

What is it with men and doctors???