Monday, 30 April 2012

Please Baby Please

Be born alive and healthy.

Seems like such a simple request and yet it's all I can think about these days.

I follow lots of blogs written by women just like me. Women who have lost babies. Women who have picked themselves up and trudged through their grief. Women who have been brave enough and lucky enough to find themselves pregnant again. Women who are doing their best to manage their fear while still trying to stay positive that their rainbow babies will be delivered to them, alive and healthy.

I've been so happy to see so many rainbow babies born lately. These much wanted babies, born to parents who know what it's like to not get their happy ending. Babies who were much loved and much wanted. Babies born into families who will treat them like the true miracles that they are. Because as much as I believe that every baby born is a miracle, I think rainbow babies are just that much more special. Special to their families in a way that if you haven't lost a baby you cannot understand.

Reading about all these rainbows has given me hope. Hope that perhaps it's my turn too. My turn to have my rainbow baby born alive and healthy. Because life can't be that cruel, right? Once you've had one terrible tragedy you surely deserve your happy ending.

Yesterday I read about another angel born into heaven. A beautiful baby girl born still at 36 weeks. Her parents lost her older brother a while back and this was to be their rainbow baby. Their happy ending. Their second chance to be parents to a living child.

Reading that post struck fear into the very core of me. It took me right back to that time and place when we found out our son had passed away. That feeling never really leaves you, you just tuck it away and try not to think about it. It reminded me that life can be that cruel, and bad things can happen over and over again to good people.

When I read this terrible news I was shocked and saddened. I was so very sad for them and in a way not ready to believe that it could happen to them again. Then the reality set in, it had happened to them,,, and it could still happen to me.

It could still happen to me.
It could still happen to me.
It could still happen to me.

I couldn't get that thought out of my head. I was struck down with sheer terror at the very thought of it. It's not that this is a new concept to me. In fact, it's something that is never far from my mind. But seeing it happen to someone I feel connected to made it just that more real. And that scared me in a way I just can't explain.

I can't handle another loss and I'm pretty sure The Hubby can't either. We are so deeply in love with this baby girl. I have been thinking about what additional questions I will be asking my doctor this week to make sure we stay on top of things this time. So that we won't be caught by surprise. So that she can be born alive.

And now that's all I can think about. Please baby please, be born alive and healthy. Because your Daddy and I really need you to be here with us. Because we just can't go through all that again.

Please baby please???

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Back From Vacation

I haven't written about it here at all, but The Hubby and I are just home from a week away. It was so nice to be somewhere warm and sunny for a change. It was also nice to just be away from normal life and really relax and enjoy things.

I've been doing a bit of blog reading while I'm away but I'm pretty behind on things. I promise to do my best to catch up once I tackle my jet lag and of course, laundry mountain. Lucky for me (yes I'm being sarcastic) the weather here in London is total crap so I have nothing to distract me from spending tomorrow washing clothes.

I'll write more later when I'm not so tired and loopy.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Top 10 Things About Infertility That Surprised Me

As you may or may not know, this week is infertility awareness week. It's a week when we're supposed to reflect and share awareness of the fact that not everyone can just get drunk, have sex, and make a baby. I know, it sounds crazy if you watch TV or read the papers but it's not that easy for everyone. If you only went by what you see in the media you would think that any isolated unprotected sex will automatically guarantee you a bouncing bundle of joy at the end.

What you don't see nearly as often are the millions of couples who struggle each year to start their family. Or the ones that manage to get pregnant and then lose those babies somewhere along the way. For whatever reason, we don't like to talk about infertility. For many couples it becomes a dark secret never to be discussed in polite conversation. A shameful secret, one that elicits pity from others who are grateful it isn't happening to them.

It's also something that gets whispered about when we leave the room. "They can't have children." "They have been trying for years and no babies." "Isn't it terrible, they are such nice people." I could go on and on, but I won't. I will only say that these things have all been whispered about me and The Hubby. Oh, and just for the record, sometimes a whisper carries farther than people expect so make sure people are actually out of earshot before you say them about someone you know and love.

I could get all dark and reflective on this topic, but I'm not in the mood for that. So instead I am going to give you a David Letterman-style Top 10 list of things about infertility that surprised me.

Top 10 Things About Infertility That Surprised Me

1. I am jealous of crack addicts who always seem to be able to get pregnant and carry their babies to term.

2. When I got married, I figured that my husband would be the only one looking at my vagina on a regular basis. I have now lost count at the number of people who have had themselves a peek and a poke.

3. You will get to a point where you don't really care who is looking at your vagina, as long as they have some kind of medical degree and offer you some hope that they can get you pregnant.

4. I wish they actually found something wrong with me. The term "unexplained infertility" basically means you are totally screwed and there is no exact plan of treatment for you.

5. Even the most amorous of husbands will tire of having to "do it" on a schedule.

6. If you find yourself accusing your husband of not loving you because he doesn't want to "do it" when you're ovulating just because he has the flu, it's time to take a break from trying for a baby.

7. You will learn more medical terms and acronyms than you ever wanted to. I'm still hoping that someday they will come up with a infertility version of Trivial Pursuit so I can kick some major ass!

8. There is no such thing as a pain olympics. Anyone who struggles with infertility has experienced pain. It's not a contest, they don't give out prizes for the most failed cycles. Although if they did I would hope they would be filled with wine.

9. Getting pregnant does not cure you from being infertile. Once an infertile, always an infertile. You're just an infertile with kids.

10. If you do reach out and talk about your struggles with infertility you will be surprised to find that your infertile sisters are all around you. They can be your biggest resource for hugs and information. So don't be shy or embarrassed,,,, talk about it! It really will help.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Finding Hope In A Bikini Wax?

All the way back in September when I was coming off a failed IVF cycle and just about to begin another one (the one that worked) I wrote about finding hope in a replica of one of the chimneys from the Palau G├╝ell in Barcelona. Then just this past February I wrote about how hope has been creeping into my life without me even noticing it.

I seem to get these flashes of hope when I least expect it. They come out of nowhere, just like the horrible flashbacks I sometimes get. These flashes of hope are the exact opposite of the flashbacks of pain and despair. A yin and an yang of emotions. For a long time I only got the negative flashbacks, but now it seems that hope is doing it's best to bring balance to my grief. So even though these flashes of hope come at at the strangest of times, I'm trying my best to embrace them. Because they sure are a lot more pleasant than the painful ones.

This time around they came in the form of a bikini wax. Yes, a bikini wax. That modern day form of torture where we lay on a table with our legs akimbo and allow some sadistic spa employee to apply wax all over our nether regions and then rip out all the hair. Although I must say that after everything I've endured in the way of infertility treatments, a bikini wax can seem like a walk in the park. 

Not an actual photo of me.
Anyway, it's been a while since I've had a bikini wax (I'm sure you really wanted to know that) so I knew this one would be a bit more painful than normal. A fact that I wasn't entirely thrilled about. I entered the room, undressed from the waist down and assumed the position. In anticipation of what was to come, I was slightly nervous about just how much this was going to hurt. Frostina, feeling my anxiety, started to kick and move around.

It was actually a nice distraction to watch my belly dancing around while the woman was applying and ripping off the wax. She thought it was funny as well so it gave us both something to chat about. Even when I had my eyes closed, I could still feel Frostina wiggling around like crazy. It made the whole experience much more enjoyable, well as enjoyable as waxing can be. 

On my way back home I was struck with a thought. I had many bikini waxes during my pregnancy with my son. Right up until a week before we lost him in fact. In all that time I don't ever remember him moving around during a wax. Not once.

That got me thinking about a question The Hubby has been asking me lately. He wanted to know if I think Frostina is more active than her brother was. I've never been able to answer that question because to be honest, I really don't remember. I was so blissfully happy after my 20 week scan and so sure he would be born alive that I really didn't pay attention to his movements. 

I think that's why I didn't notice when they started decreasing, or when they stopped completely. Because it wasn't something I put any focus on. Because it wasn't important. Because of course he was going to be born alive. I had nothing to worry about.

So this was a direct comparison. A comparison between Frostina and her older brother. One that I could vividly remember and compare properly. I was caught by surprise when Frostina kicked during my waxing because this was something her brother never did. Which means that she must be more active than he was. 

A comparison that gives me hope!

And if she's more active than he was then that must be because she is healthier than he was. More specifically, her placenta must still be hanging in there. Because the reason my son didn't make it was due to being starved of nutrients and space by his placenta. He couldn't move around as much because his placenta was failing. So if Frostina is so much more active then it must be because hers is fine.

We've been having Frostina and her placenta monitored very closely this pregnancy with nothing but positive feedback. But I've still had lingering doubts and fear. After all, everything was fine with my son,,,, until it wasn't. So I'm not entirely reassured by good feedback.

But Frostina kicking me like crazy during a bikini wax, something her brother never did, was different. Even though it's nothing that can be measured by science or medicine, it felt more real to me. It felt like proof that she is in fact better off than her brother was. That perhaps she is going to make it out of my body alive and healthy.

And that my friends is how I found hope in a bikini wax!

*Image from here.

Monday, 16 April 2012

She Has A Name

After months of negotiations we have finally agreed on a name for Frostina.

Our methods this time around were very different than with my last pregnancy. With my son we had this idea that we didn't want to make the final name selection until after we met him properly. Our goal was to narrow the list down to 2 or 3 names and then choose based on what we could see of his personality after he was born. We didn't share our options or ideas with anyone because we wanted to do the big "name reveal" after we made our choice.

As we all know, things went horribly wrong with my last pregnancy at 36 weeks. Once we were told that he no longer had a heartbeat, everything happened quickly and in a blur. After he was born the midwives asked us what his name was. There was silence from both of us. He didn't have one yet, we had wanted to meet him first. We wanted to match his name to his little personality. Except that we would never know what his personality would be, because we were never going to be able to meet him properly. Because he was already gone and everything about him would always be a mystery.

I was devastated and embarrassed to have to tell them he didn't have a name yet. So they just called him baby boy and our last name. They said they could update things once we made a decision.

No one should ever have to choose a name for their dead baby... I'm just saying.

We agonized over the decision, but finally made our choice. Once we picked his name we then had to go about the business of telling people. I found this task so very difficult. Everytime I tried to say his name out loud my throat would close up and my eyes would fill with tears. In the end, we decided to email his name to family and friends because saying it was just too hard. Too hard because we never said it when he was alive. We never got to address him by his name when he was still with us. So in the beginning, his name was a source of pain.

We didn't want it to be like that this time. So we used a very different strategy. We both did a list of our favorites and then each eliminated names off the others list that we didn't like. When we got the list down to 15 or so we started "road testing" them for one day each.

It's amazing what doing a road test can do to a name. I found that some of the names I thought I would love just didn't feel right, even after only one day of using them. This process got us down to a final four. With the final four names we extended our road test to a week for each name. At the end of the fourth week, it was decision time. Luckily, we both agreed on what name felt best.

So that's it! Decision made! We've already started calling her this new name and she seems to like it. We haven't told the family just yet but plan to sometime very soon. Because I don't want the first time anyone hears it to be after something terrible has happened. I want to know that no matter what, she is her own person with her own name... a name that everyone already knows.

**I do feel slightly bad writing about name selection and then having to break the news that I'm not actually going to reveal it here. It's a bit mean I suppose, but this being an anonymous blog and all it wouldn't really work if I started talking in real names now would it? So for the purposes of this blog she will always be Frostina.

Sorry about that.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter

My dear sweet baby girl. Today I am 29 weeks pregnant with you. This is a milestone that is met with both excitement and fear. I feel guilty about the fear and sadness that has followed me through my pregnancy with you. You are a true miracle and a huge blessing. I should be shouting from the rooftops about just how happy your impending arrival has made me.

I am being given a second chance to be a mother to a living baby. You are that second chance, and yet I find myself overcome with the worry that something will happen to you, like it did to your older brother. I don't know if you know this, but you have a brother who is smiling down on you from heaven. We love him and wanted nothing more than to be able to hold him in our arms and take him home with us. Sadly, that was never to be and we can only hold his memory in our hearts.

Your daddy and I weren't sure that we could have another baby, and yet here you are growing inside me. I'm amazed at how much we already love you, even though we haven't even met you properly. I love how you seem to know when I'm worried and give me a kick or two as if to remind me that you're still there and you're still OK. I apologize that we haven't decided on a name for you just yet, but I promise you that we're working on that and will make a decision very soon.

We are already head over heels for you, sweet baby girl. Your daddy even has one of your ultrasound photos in his work planner. I think it's because he has to travel for work and wants to keep you close to him. When I saw that photo it made my heart melt. He loves you so much that we wants to be able to look at your photo while he's away and can't feel you kicking inside me. That's why it's so important that you keep growing. We need for you to be OK. We need for you to be born alive and healthy. Because I'm not sure either of us could survive another loss.

I wish that my pregnancy with you wasn't so filled with fear. A fear that sometimes drowns out the joy. Because you deserve the joy. You deserve to have parents who are excited and happy for your arrival. A happiness that isn't clouded in fear and sadness. Parents who aren't waiting for the other shoe to drop, to be told the worst possible news. You deserve that and so much more.

You deserve a mother who isn't afraid to let her friends throw you a baby shower. You deserve a mother who isn't so scared something will go wrong that she refuses to buy any baby things until after you arrive. You deserve a mother who isn't crying all the time about your brother in heaven who she misses terribly.

I don't ever want you to think that you are somehow second best, or a replacement for him, because you are not. I don't want you to ever feel like you're living in his shadow, because you won't be. But the fact is, that his death forever changed your mom and dad. We are trying our best to separate our feelings about his loss from our feelings of joy for your arrival. It's just that sometimes the lines are too blurred and we just can't manage it.

I can only hope that the day you are born alive and healthy that you can help us to heal. And that we can finally realize the joy that you will be bringing to our lives. You deserve that from us.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Pulling Inwards

I can feel myself pulling inwards. I'm not sure what's going on with me, but I'm finding it harder and harder to get in touch with how I'm feeling. I guess I'm just tired of the emotions, tired of crying, tired of being a slave to my feelings. So I can feel myself trying to bottle them in, as if that will make them go away. Of course I know that bottled feelings always find their way to the surface eventually, but I find myself doing it nonetheless.

I can see it manifesting in many ways. In the land of blogs I'm finding myself skimming posts that are too emotional. As if by skipping over the pain of others I can somehow smooth my own pain out. I'm also finding it very difficult to comment. Not that I've ever been particularly good at this, but lately I've been even worse. It's not that I don't care about all of you, it's just that I can't allow myself to go there enough to make a comment that would be even remotely helpful.

In my real life I am finding myself trying not to feel things, or to hide how I'm feeling around The Hubby. Easter was not nearly as difficult as it was last year. For most of the day I was fine, or perhaps pretending to be fine. It didn't really hit me until I was doing the dishes after dinner. For whatever reason, that's when the grief and sadness hit me.

Normally I would have stopped what I was doing and sought out The Hubby for comfort. But instead I cried silently at the sink. My tears and snot running into the soapy water while I was scrubbing the pots and pans. By the time the kitchen was clean again, my tears were gone and I went back into the living room as if nothing had happened.

I feel guilty for being such a sad needy person. I'm so weary of my crying outbursts, the ones where he holds me while I leak tears and snot all over him. I'm so tired of being that poor woman who's firstborn son died and who is now worried that the same fate will befall her daughter. I don't want to be that person anymore. I'm done with her.

As if I could will her away that easily.

Photo Challenge- 7-10

Two posts today, this one about my photo challenge and then a second one about something more serious. I just couldn't figure out a way to combine them in one post. I know I could have spaced them out by scheduling one to appear later but I prefer this space to be spontaneous so I almost always post things in real time. Therefore, you get two posts for the price of one today.

My latest photos.

7. Shadow
On my way to pregnancy yoga. Shadows really do look funny don't they. This one makes it looks like my head is tiny and my legs are huge.

8. Inside your wallet
No money in here. 

9. Younger you
This photo is from my first pregnancy with my son. Not only was this woman a few years younger than me, she was also untainted by pregnancy loss. Sure she had to deal with years of infertility, but she was pregnant now and all would be well. I was so amazingly happy during this pregnancy. Giddy was be the word The Hubby used. I had no idea what was coming next. But I'd give anything to be able to be that blissfully happy again!
10. Cold
My anti-nausea pregnancy pops. Which I bought right before my nausea went away. So I have no idea if they would have worked. They taste ok though.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Photo Challenge

It's the 6th of April and I'm still enjoying this photo challenge. Truth be told, it's probably going to be more fun for me to take the photos than it will be for you to look at them but that's just the way it goes sometimes. So I understand if some of you want to skip these photo posts. Although if I'm honest, this place can get pretty dark sometimes so maybe these photo posts are a nice break from all my inner angst. Either way, I'm having fun so I'm going to keep doing it.

Here's my photos from 3-6 April.

3. Mail

I just love the red post boxes here in England. This one gets a lot of use from me since they only drop off mail at your house, they don't pick it up. So everything you send has to go into one of these boxes.

4. Someone who makes you happy

It's The Hubby of course. He can make me smile and laugh even during the darkest of times. And trust me, we've been through some pretty dark times over the years. He was out of town on the day I was supposed to take this photo. So instead of trying to find an old one and then crop out his face, I settled for a photo of his closet. It's so much more neat and organized than mine is.

5. Tiny

In direct violation of our "no buying any baby stuff" rule, The Hubby came home with these little darlings last weekend. He was in big trouble! Not just because he broke the rules, but because your eyes are not fooling you. These are in fact Michael Jordon socks. They came as a set with a white pair and two pink and white Michael Jordan basketball jerseys. Since we are not from Chicago nor am I a big fan of little girls in sports gear, this purchase was not greeted with lots of enthusiasm by me. The Hubby knew of course that he would be in trouble and bought them anyway. He's determined to dress her in all kinds of sporty gear. I figure that if she's born alive and healthy then he can dress her in sports stuff every so often. Maybe on really cold days when she will be wearing a coat or wrapped in a blanket? Once you get over the fact that they are basketball themed,,, they are pretty cute. Baby socks really are the cutest aren't they?

6. Lunch

What is that? You may be asking yourself. It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yes, I am very gourmet. I was so hungry after making it that I completely forgot to take a photo of it. By the time I remembered it was too late. So all you get to see are the crumbs. Plus my water which I am drinking by the liter these days. Oh, and don't forget my antacid. Preggo heartburn is no fun so I've got a million of these laying around.

That's all for now. More photos to come if I can keep up this pace and remember to take them each day.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

We're All In

I had an ultrasound yesterday and all is well with Frostina. She decided to start a kung fu kicking party right before the scan began which continued throughout. This party was called, kick Mommy and the ultrasound wand. Apparently it's all the rage with the 27 week old in-utero crowd. She sure seemed to enjoy it.

After all the measurements were done which showed she's growing right on track for her age, my doctor captured this image.

Caught in the act.
Yep, that's her foot in mid-kick. She was moving around and kicking so much that the doctor had to take extra time to listen to all the placental blood flow stuff he wanted to listen to. Apparently, when your baby keeps kicking the ultrasound wand it interferes with the sound wave measurements.

It was so nice and such a relief to see her moving around like that. I am always so scared when going into these scans because I have learned the hard way that they don't always bring good news. After the appointment I called The Hubby to share the experience. He's away at the moment and couldn't come to the scan. He was just as relieved as I was. But mixed in with his relief was the worry that is always there.

As this pregnancy progresses and we get closer to where it all went wrong the last time we are both getting more and more worried. We're at the point now where she is real. Denial is gone, and we're both getting to the point where the idea that this may actually happen for us this time is within our grasp. An avid poker player, The Hubby said it best when he told me that we're at the point now where we're all in.

In poker if you think you have a winning hand you will often go all in. In the tournaments they show on TV, the professionals push their huge stack of chips in the middle with a dramatic flair. "All in," they pronounce to the crowd. They usually will stand up and pace around the table in anticipation of the cards the dealer will flip over. If the cards are on their side, they cheer and jump around victoriously. They have won the jackpot and sometimes the title. They are the winners. If the cards are not on their side, they lose and walk away in defeat.

All in. That's how The Hubby and I feel.

All our chips are on the table. We're completely at the mercy of the cards we are yet to be dealt. We will either walk away from this in victory with a beautiful baby girl in our arms, or in defeat with empty arms and broken hearts.

We're all in and it's a very scary place to be.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Photo Challenge

Well I've made it through another month and I'm still pregnant. I'm also just about to enter my third trimester. While most pregnant women see this as a sign of progress, I see it as the time when it all went wrong for my beloved son. So I've got to come up with some things to distract me.

Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim runs a monthly photo challenge and I've decided to join in for the month of April. She has an "inspiration list" for each day of the month. You're supposed to keep your camera with you and take photos each day when you find the item on the list. I actually wanted to start doing this a few months ago but was an epic failure at it.

Things will be different this month though. I really need something to focus my energies on. Plus it will force me to get out and take photos, something I love but usually only do when we go on vacation. If you like the idea, I welcome you to join in. I'd love to see your photos too!

I can't promise I will post a photo each day here, but I will take them each day and post when I have time. So expect a few posts per week with multiple photos on them. Not perfect follow through, but probably the best I can do. My goal is creativity and distraction, not perfection.

So here are my first two photos.

1. My Reflection

My 27 week baby bump. Grow Frostina grow. 

2. Color

There's nothing nicer than the colors of spring. These lovelies popped up in my back garden about a month ago.