Category: Fertility

Our secondary infertility story: Part 7 – Clomid

This was written in February 2016. It hadn’t been published yet as I just wasn’t ready. In hindsight I can see that I was clearly more hopeful than I let myself believe. I actually feel quite sad for the February 2016 me because I know she had a lot more to go through before any good news was to be received. This was the beginning of a really rough year. 

You can catch up on anything you may have missed here…

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

In our continued efforts to get me knocked up (we’re hitting the 18 month mark of trying to conceive), I have just started a round of Clomid. It’s basically a medication that is supposed to help stimulate ovulation. I have to take 5 tablets (one each day for 5 days) early on in my cycle and then have scans and I guess the doc tells us what to do next. And by ‘what’, I mean we know ‘what’ to do haha – but he’ll probably advise us more on the ‘when’ etc. Saaaaaah romantic.

I’m nervous. Nervous it won’t work. Nervous about letting myself think that it might. I’m relieved we’re finally trying something definitive, instead of just doing seemingly endless exploratory tests (i.e. blood tests and intrusive look sees galore while not actually trying anything new). I also feel weirdly not fussed by it. Yes, it’s a weird mix of emotions that sound like they contradict each other, but trust me – it’s possible. The not fussed feeling is more that I have become somewhat accustomed to not getting pregnant month after month. It’s not that I don’t have moments where I take it hard, but I’ve pretty much stepped off the rollercoaster of hope vs disappointment. Now I just try to maintain a baseline if you know what I mean. Check in with me in a few weeks…I bet that baseline will be kaput. But I’m trying!

I’ve gone a bit quiet on the whole ‘sharing with people’ aspect of fertility for now. While it’s been so liberating and heartwarming to share our story with friends and family and to feel their support, it’s time to be a bit more shoosh about it a bit. It’s just what feels right for me at the moment. On the off chance that this medication works for us*, I don’t want people to immediately know when it’s happened (I’m still on the side of keeping things quiet for the first trimester – especially after our troubles conceiving) and I also don’t want people feeling like they’re waiting for the conclusion to a cliffhanger episode of their favourite tv show (I mean I am sure I am not as exciting as that but you know what I mean), counting down the exact dates I’m working with, before they find out which way things have gone. I don’t want that pressure! Eep!

People always have success stories to tell me about clomid. Which makes me feel good to hear, but I also know that life isn’t always ‘fair’ so I am reserving any excitement about it**. I hope I can be another success story, but everyone is different and I just want to be really realistic (read: play it totally cool haha).

To be continued…

*spoiler: it didn’t
**probably was a good idea in hindsight

Our secondary infertility story: Part 6 – Only Child?

I wrote this on the 27th December, 2015 (we’d been trying to conceive since July 2014). I have been chronicling my/our journey through secondary infertility. While it’s not something I wanted to publish right away, I couldn’t stop myself from needing to write our story. 

You can catch up on previous instalments of this story here…

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

As I sit here typing, I am waiting for my period. Like literally waiting. I’m a day late and while a small, eternally hopeful part of me is getting a bit excited (despite my better judgement), I know that I am more than likely having a slightly late period due to stress. Stress or Murphy’s law, anyhow. Maybe life is trying to give me a break – a consolation prize. Like, if I am going to not be pregnant yet again, then at least I can have a nice Christmas break without bleeding from the uterus or something.

Anyway, that aside, something has been on my mind lately, just nagging away at me. Maybe it’s because the Little Mister is having a break between day care and the beginning of his ‘big school’ career (4 year old kindy). Maybe because I’ve seen him behaving as the typical, over tired, over excited 4 year old that he is at this time of year. Maybe it’s a relatively harmless comment I heard once – something that struck a nerve, unintentionally. But I have been feeling really conscious of the fact that my gorgeous 4 year old is growing up an only child (as of yet) and that with no sibling in sight for him, that’s exactly what it looks like from the outside – to those who do not know our struggles.

While I have learned a lot from being a parent about getting better at not giving a flying you-know-what about what other people think, I am struggling with this one a bit. I know the phase will pass (because I’ll become distracted or make peace or find something new to worry about or all of the above), but I am reflecting on this because I do feel that there is a stigma about only children (there shouldn’t be).

Every time my child is demanding adult attention (there aren’t many other young kids in my family). Every time he doesn’t want to share. I wonder if people might think it’s all because he’s an ‘only’ child. Yet, I know there are lots of kids with siblings who are exactly the same and it’s written off as being used to sibling rivalry. There are lots of ‘only’ children who are amazing, thriving humans – both little and grown.

I think I feel guilty about the Little Mister not having a sibling, because it’s something he wants too. While I’ve had to let a lot of that guilt go, it hasn’t disappeared. I want him to grow up with that built in someone. I want him to feel those joys and annoyances. All of that stuff. I want him to have a sibling to be with when Mr Unprepared and I become old or eventually pass away (hopefully peacefully after a long life). I want him to know what all of that stuff is like. It’s always been our dream to have more than one child. It’s not everyone’s dream, but it’s been a lifelong one for both Mr Unprepared and I – since before we ever knew we’d meet each other.

I worry that one day I might have to make peace with (and grieve) the fact that he could very possibly be an only child for all of his life. I hope that stupid people won’t judge him for being an ‘only’ child. I hope he won’t be sad that he is one or that he will understand when we are eventually forced to explain to him why.

I love him with all of my heart, but my heart is big. There is so much room to love another. I truly hope I get the chance.

Our secondary infertility story: Part 5 – Ovulation Tracking

This post was written in December, 2015. We’d been trying to conceive since July 2014. 

You can catch up on parts 1 to 4 here…

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3
Part 4

As I write this, I am coming to the end of a cycle of ovulation tracking by blood tests. It’s been quite the time consuming process and I have spent a lot of time hanging out with phlebotomists in pathology clinics. I have had to have tests at least every few days (sometimes a few days in a row) and it has been a bit exhausting!

When I first started doing it, I was already getting used to the fact that blood was being drained out of me constantly (I’d already had a bunch of blood tests done for other exploratory things). I was kind of blasé about it. I thought the biggest annoyance would just be the time it would take going back and forth to the hospital (where the pathology place is).

A few days ago, I started to feel the emotional effects. The ones I had been completely not expecting. I had been very clinical in my approach. Guess it all catches up with you eventually. I tried to give my right arm a rest but my left arm wouldn’t give up any blood. Twice. So I was getting upset at having to turn my right arm into a pin cushion. I started to feel drained (ha – literally!) when I had a bunch of tests all in a row, with no days off. I started to realise that the closer I got to the end of the tracking process, the more real it felt. Like, what happens after? I hadn’t thought about AFTER. I was just all about one foot in front of the other.

Since I started these tests, the Christmas decorations have been put up in pathology. That’s nice. The staff are all so kind. Like really. Like I would hug them if they weren’t always holding needles (and if it wasn’t probably inappropriate haha). There’s one lady who always says sorry when she sticks the needle in and says she’s just not sure why she does the job she does, but she’s so full of empathy and adorable that it distracts you. There’s the lady who is super efficient so you don’t have time to worry about anything. In and out. Then you’re out of there. There’s the guy who is young and makes me feel super old but who put me at ease with great chit chat and made me miss my brother (they have the same name). There are all of the phlebotomists who recognise me because I’m there so much and treat me like a real person. I am so grateful. I guess they make their living by having to put nervous people at ease, but I think it’s more than that. They are wonderful people.

Today, one of them told me that she knows I must really be feeling over it. She said she hopes that she sees me when I’m eventually pregnant. She had such compassion in her eyes. I hope for that too.

I’m starting to enjoy the drive in to the hospital. I make the most of it. I turn up my fight songs and sing (or rap) along. Lots of Bliss and Eso seems to do the trick. I park my car, put on my game face and I march on in there. I take a number like a boss and I catch up on my Facebook newsfeed while I wait. I have read great comment threads about feminism, ‘mummy blogging’ and racism. I get right on up in there, because I have the time to.

On the way out, I send a snapchat photo of my arm to a select couple of supportive friends, Mr Unprepared and my parents. Another one down. It makes me feel not so alone.

In the car, afterwards, I take a deep breath and brace myself to take on the rest of the day. Sometimes the blood test is forgotten in minutes. I hug the Little Mister (if he’s not at day care) or I take some time out for myself – even if it’s just a few minutes. I try to remind myself I don’t have to be superwoman and that having blood removed from my body constantly is not nothing. I have to go easy on myself mentally and physically. Sometimes I have a cry, but mostly I try to stay strong. I can’t help but feel guilty sometimes, when I feel depleted and sad. I mean, there are people going through way tougher stuff every day. I am in awe of those people.

I don’t know what the results of these tests will be (I suspect I am ovulating OK or at least my hormones will say so). I don’t know exactly what the next steps will be (it’s not like I’ve done this before – not this way). I am not sure if my doctor will catch it, so he can call us and confirm in real time when I’m good to go (haha). I don’t know what it’s like to go from here. I’m a bit nervous about the unknown. I have good days and I have bad days. I just hope that I’m a step closer to our dream of having a second baby*.

 

*maybe just give it another year and a half 😬

Our secondary infertility story: Part 4 “Don’t forget – you’ve never been clucky”

This blog post was written in November 2015, during our journey with secondary infertility. We decided not to talk about it much back then (to protect our privacy and because today’s topic was really difficult), but I just couldn’t stop writing. 

Catch up here…

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My mum looked at me and said, “But darling, you’ve never been clucky.”

In that moment I was a little taken aback. Oh yeah. That’s true. How did I forget that?

What the hell were we talking about, you ask?

Well, I had been talking to my mum about how it was really difficult to see so many people around me having second babies. It was something I’d kept to myself a lot and at the time of our conversation I was really struggling. I told my mum that I felt awful because when I thought about those lovely little babies (and the ones that were yet to arrive), I felt NOTHING. Nothing. Was I some kind of cold hearted monster? Was I so selfish in my own pain that I had stopped caring? I felt horrible about it. I was beating myself up.

I felt left behind by everyone. I felt a little resentful – why was it so easy for them? It’s like they planned their second babies perfectly – oh look, their babies will have the perfect age gaps between them. Because that’s what they (the parents) decided. How lovely for them. I fought those bitter, jealous feelings every single time another announcement was made. Luckily that phase did not last too long (although it felt like an eternity for me) and the bitterness disappeared (even if the sadness remained). Bitter is not who I am and I am grateful for that. It didn’t sit well with me at the time and I knew I was not willing to let it eat away at my soul. I didn’t need that on my conscience. Those people were lucky to give their first children siblings. I would never begrudge them that.

I’ve never felt such mixed emotion in my life. It is actually possible to be genuinely happy for somebody as they grow their family at the same time as feeling incredibly sad for yourself. It is very difficult to explain but it’s true. My sadness for myself does not in any way diminish the joy I feel for someone else, yet it feels grief filled and all consuming sometimes. How does that work?

So there I was, feeling horrible because I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care for people’s pregnancy details. I didn’t always ask after their brand new babies (I am so sorry). I had trouble remembering their names (well – there were a lot of them).

I felt like an awful, selfish human being.

But the moment my mum said those words to me, I felt a huge weight fall off me. She was right. I was never clucky. I know that sounds weird because I loved being pregnant (even when I hated it) with the Little Mister. I have ALWAYS wanted children. I have a strong maternal side. I love children. I think kids are cute. I think babies are amazing.

But…I lack the real cluck that a lot of women I know seem to have.

I don’t always need to know every little detail. I can’t talk about baby stuff forever without my eyes eventually glazing over. I like figuring out what works or being able to share what I know with others, but only because it serves a practical purpose. I love my friends’ and family’s babies because they’re my friends’ and family’s babies. Not just because they’re babies. I liked my own kid as a baby because he was my baby. I was NOT impressed with being a big sister when my baby brother came along so many years ago (and yes I still feel bad about that – love ya bro). See? Not clucky.

When people have brand new babies, I am not running as fast as I can to the hospital to meet the little thing. I’m all chill. Like, I’ll meet the kid eventually. Of course I’m very moved and feel honoured to meet a brand new baby while they’re…brand new, but I don’t feel that overwhelming NEED to just because they’re a baby. It depends on who that baby is to me and what their arrival means for their lovely family. I feel like Miranda from Sex and the City sometimes haha (I hope you get that reference).

I still find holding babies really awkward even though I’ve had one. Sure, I’m probably out of practice at this point, but I think it’s also because I lack that cluck. If a new baby is doing the rounds, I can happily not have a cuddle that day. I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything. I know my turn will come. I am not rushing towards the mummy trying to get dibs. I can think they’re just absolutely gorgeous but I’m not going around sniffing heads like a deranged maniac (haha – kidding – be that maniac – good for you – you’re the ‘normal’ one)!

Of course that doesn’t make me a cold hearted monster (I hope). I hope I’ve been the best friend I can be at this time. I hope nobody has felt hurt or has taken it personally when I just couldn’t be there. I do think babies are a miracle of life. Trust me – I’m holding out for my own second miracle. I wouldn’t try this hard if the desire wasn’t so powerful.

It’s just that sometimes I struggle with other people’s baby news because it’s painful for me to care so much. Other times it’s just because I’m not a clucky person.

And that’s OK.

I was putting so much pressure on myself to be someone that I was not. To feel things that I didn’t HAVE to feel. My mum’s seemingly off the cuff remark released me from that pressure. A lot of healing was done that day.

Are you a clucky person? Are you like me and lack the ‘cluck’? 

Our secondary infertility story: Part 3 – Buying tests – it’s a minefield of awkwardness.

This post was written in November, 2015 – about 16 months into the trying for a baby/dealing with secondary infertility thing. I didn’t feel comfortable publishing all of my story in real time (some things needed to play out first), but I couldn’t stop myself from writing it all down. Here is the third instalment of my story…

You can catch up on part 1 here and part 2 here

When we first started this ‘trying for a second baby’ thing, I wasn’t too fussed about testing for ovulation or buying ALL the pregnancy tests. I was coming off the pill again and it had taken about 4-5 months to conceive the Little Mister in 2011 so I expected no immediate results. I had no idea it would take as long as it has (…and we’re still waiting)! Once that amount of time passed, I started to wonder if my body had changed since having my first baby. Maybe I was ovulating at a different time (even though my cycle seemed to be the same in length as it always had been). I decided to try to find a home ovulation testing kit that would work for me. I did the pee on a stick ones where you had to analyse the two lines, but it seemed dicey. I had no idea if I was reading them correctly. I got these from the supermarket mostly. Chucked in with the groceries. Cue nosey check out ladies.

“Oh, are you pregnant?” (I can’t even begin to tell you how that doesn’t make sense)

“Oh, are you trying for a baby?” (said in front of my little man who had no idea)

I left every exchange fuming and swore never to buy anything ‘sensitive’ from there again. A STRANGER’S FERTILITY IS NONE OF YOUR FREAKIN’ BEESWAX, PEOPLE. Unless you are up in my bits for profesh reasons then it is a NO GO ZONE. For reals. Don’t ask me or I will start to imagine violent things happening to you like only a PISSED OFF TO HAVE PMS YET AGAIN person can. I might not know you, but I will find you and I will kill you. Or at least I will threaten to in a way that makes Liam Neeson seem like a fluffy little kitten.

Aha! I thought. I will buy my groceries online – tests included. No nosey check out ladies (and I am singling out ladies because the teenaged boys are far less likely to comment – or give eye contact). YES.

But no.

The delivery driver (who is awesome) comes to me and says, “Here is a list of the things we didn’t have in stock…”

Guess what those things were. Sigh.

Then I found out that Clear Blue (not sponsored but bloody should be) does a digital test. It would be much more obvious and easy to read. Flashing smiley face means you’re reaching peak fertility. Non blinking, solid smiley face means you’re ovulating. Blank circle means you’re not. Simple. You were either in the zone or you weren’t. Perfect. Only thing was the dual hormone one that I liked was only available in a couple of places in my home town. It was freakin’ expensive but worth it for my peace of mind. There is nothing worse than going month after month not conceiving and worrying that you missed your ovulation time. I can handle my body not allowing it, but my own human error? Much more frustrating to think about the possible missed opportunities.

So I headed into the heavily populated pharmacy where I’d found the tests. I hadn’t told anybody about our attempts to make another baby. It was classified information. We were still hoping we’d conceive within a year, keep it quiet and make nice announcements for all the Facebook likes after clearing the first trimester. What dummies. People were really getting on my back about when we’d provide the Little Mister with a sibling, so I was super sensitive about it all. Don’t get me started on why that isn’t cool either.

I find that I have to straddle the line between being suspected of shoplifting for acting too shifty (it’s not like I can hide the tests in my bag until I pay for them) and being so open about it that people start asking questions or starting rumours (it is quite the small world where I live). So I joined the longest line ever (damn it – the longer you wait the more likely someone will notice). When I got to the front, feeling like I might have saved myself some humiliation, the pharmacy assistant said, “Should I be saying GOOD LUCK?”

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. SAY NOTHING. IF IN DOUBT, SAY NOTHING. In fact, say nothing anyway.

The next time I braved the line, used all of my life savings and bought two packets. Yes. I figured this would buy me two months without having to face anyone saying something stupid. I thought I felt braver too. I had gone past caring who knew. Or so I thought. Who do I see paying for something at the counter right in front of me? A dude I used to go to school with. Nope. My fear of awkwardness had returned. I suddenly became very interested in celebrity perfumes. La-dee-da. Nothing to see here.

Two more months went by. No luck.

I went back to the pharmacy. Nobody I know in the store? Awesome! The tests were practically half price?! Sign me up!! So I went to the counter full of hope that for once, nobody would cause me embarrassment or piss me off.

“Um. These are scanning at full price. Are you sure these were the ones on special?”

“Yes. I double checked.”

“Let me get my colleague to check it out.”

So the colleague goes and looks on the shelf.

“WHICH ONES WERE THEY?”

“THE CLEAR BLUE DUAL HORMONE BLAH BLAHS.”

OH GOOD LORD.

They ended up giving me the tests for the sale price and I fled to the safety of my car.

Seriously. I just bought a couple of packs online – discounted too. I am done with that shit.

Ever had a similar experience? Want to have a bitch about it? Feel free!

Our secondary infertility story: Part 2 – HSG.

This post was written in October 2015 (about 15 months into our efforts to conceive) while everything was still fresh in my mind. I’m trying to publish the stories that I would have liked to read at the time. These stories haven’t been told by me until now, because it was a sensitive subject that was hard to talk about and I thought it best to wait until it wasn’t so raw. 

You can catch up on part 1 here

I’m quickly learning that sometimes it’s the anticipation of a fertility related procedure that is the worst part. So far I have had an ultrasound (yes – that includes the type where they stick a wand up your hoo ha to get a closer look at things) and today I had an HSG (a procedure where they push dye through your fallopian tubes to check for blockages and stuff – yes – that involves a complete lack of dignity in the hoo ha area too).

I have found both experiences to be very nerve wracking. Waiting to undergo these things was one big mindfuck, to be really blunt with you.

There are two elements to help you lose sleep at night:

  1. Not knowing how you’re going to cope with the physical procedure – it’s quite *ahem* personal and you hope that things won’t hurt or cause you pain or put you at risk of infection (I am a bit sensitive about that because it was an infection that caused me to go into labour some issues when I was heavily pregnant with the Little Mister). You’ve never had some of these things done before, so the unknown can always be daunting.
  2. Not knowing how you’re going to feel emotionally – before, during, after – depending on what the experience is like and what the experts find while they’re exploring/testing. Will the staff you deal with be friendly and have a good bedside manner? Will they explain things to you in a way you understand? Will they make you feel comfortable at such a vulnerable time? What if you get bad news? Is that at least an answer (after spending over a year not knowing what the hell is going on and why you’re not pregnant)? Is no bad news good news? Even if you still have no idea why you can’t conceive?

Today as I was lying there on a big table with my feet up in stirrups, feeling the air on my private parts, I felt all kinds of nervous. The lovely radiology nurse was so good at talking to me – making conversation, showing empathy. I was able to ask questions about the kind of pain I would be dealing with (if any). Nurse people, you are all AMAZING. While I did have a midwife (after a C-section, PUPPP rash, an infection, blood tests out the wazoo and several drips etc) make a stupid comment at me after I had the Little Mister, “Gee, you don’t like pain do you?” I have decided that she was just being a thoughtless cow and it’s OK to cope with the anticipation of something you’ve never had done which might be invasive or hurty in whichever way you need to. For me, asking about the pain level or when I’ll feel the discomfort – having the nurse, phlebotomist or doctor tell me in detail what’s going to happen and what I might feel at each stage is how I cope. It stops me from having an anxiety attack about it all. It helps me to relax. If it helps you too, then do it. If someone doesn’t honour the process you’re going through and how vulnerable you are in that moment, they are in the wrong job. It’s not a reflection on you.

If the nurse hadn’t told me the pain/cramping/discomfort might only last 30 seconds to a minute, I would have freaked out thinking the procedure took longer (it’s not like I’d had it done before). If she hadn’t explained in detail (with warmth and empathy) the process I might have just kept thinking the worst about the words on the consent/information form I’d signed – ‘injecting’, catheter, cramps, ‘side effects’…etc.

I am honestly so overwhelmingly grateful for the people who have been so good to me in this process. The kindness and caring of the staff has been second to none and I admire them so much for bringing that to their work.

In the end, everything happened exactly how the nurse described it might. When it was over in a flash, I was just relieved it wasn’t worse. I was given my dignity back and looked after well.

In both my ultrasound and my HSG, things have come up as seeming to be normal*. Which is great from a structural point of view, but mystifying from a ‘why can’t we conceive?’ point of view!

I am just relieved that I will not have to do any more blood tests or have any more strangers exploring in my private parts for a little while.

I know that it will take a couple of days at least to process everything that’s happened so far. I find that on the day I’m a bit mentally numb, glad I survived a procedure, a little bit weepy, but it doesn’t all sink in for a while as the busyness of getting back to real life kicks in. I just hug the Little Mister and keep on going until I get a moment to myself. Then I let myself bawl, journal it out, use my wonderful support networks. Plan for whatever comes next.

I don’t have my follow up appointment with my doctor until mid-late November. About three weeks from now. I am hoping that he can take all my information gathered from my tests and give us a real direction to head in. I am nervous but excited to actually get started.

*while they didn’t technically see anything wrong, in hindsight I have looked at the X-ray and wondered if the fact that the dye seeped out slower through one of my fallopian tubes could be a factor in my secondary infertility.

Our secondary infertility story: Part 1 (15 months trying to conceive).

This post was written in October 2015 when everything was still fresh in my mind. It hasn’t been published until now, because it was a very difficult thing to talk about and process at the time. I would like to finally share my story of secondary infertility and beyond (currently expecting a little miracle in February 2018 – we are over the moon) over the following days/weeks. It’s both therapy and also hopefully something that someone else might find helpful or informative or interesting. I tried to document my experiences by writing the stuff I would have wanted to read. I’m no hero or crusader but I do hope that I could make at least one person feel less alone. 

As I sit here on the first day of my stupid (literally) bloody visitor for the 15th month since we started trying for a baby, I am feeling a little bit nervous. A little bit overwhelmed. See, I thought waiting for my period was stressful for the 14 months that came before this! The confused feelings of hope versus pessimism fighting each other every single day until I got that negative at home pregnancy test or later, when I’d given up on those and just waited until the bleeding started.

But no…this is a little more stressful! See, there’s all these rules before they start doing some proper tests (I have already had what feels like litres worth of blood tests removed from my body so it totes doesn’t count) and they all depend on where you are in your cycle. I won’t bore you with every little detail, but basically once my period arrives I have to jump into action. An ultrasound 3-4 days in, a blood test to prove I’m not pregnant (doesn’t take a rocket scientist but I do understand why they do it), an X-ray to check my tubes at 10 days (which isn’t as lovely and easy as it sounds and involves stuff stuck up my clacker and dye forced through my tubes)!

I have a long way to go on this journey (even if things go amazingly with early medical intervention for whatever might be wrong with me it will feel like forever haha), but I am starting to learn so many things. Here are some of those things…

It’s all pretty fucking emotional 

I mean, I’m not stupid. I knew this would be an emotional rollercoaster. I mean, duh. But I didn’t realise just how much. I have cried over things that I never thought I would cry over. I think I tried to be all matter of fact going into this, which is a ridiculous expectation because have you met me (or read my blog)?

Some days, the weirdest (in)fertility related stuff will make me cry like a baby. I don’t even mean a single tear rolling down my cheek as I grieve for the baby that feels so far from my reach. I mean, big fat tears that keep on coming. And the craziest thing? It feels so damn good to cry sometimes!

Earlier this month, I found out that the 5K fun run I was going to do with friends wouldn’t be a realistic option, because I will most likely have that X-ray right before it. I had been so excited about the run. If it hadn’t been fertility related, I would have shrugged, made mock angry noises about not being able to go, apologised to my friends and been done with it. But what did I do? I CRIED LIKE A BABY on and off for two whole days. And the thing was, I wasn’t wallowing. I was just crying! It’s like you kind of get on with things, but you cry too. It’s like a release valve that keeps me going, weirdly enough. I guess sometimes the bigger disappointments rise to the surface when you experience smaller ones.

Get a really awesome magazine subscription – treat yo’self!

All these appointments mean some sitting around. I have learned that I really want to make the most of that time. It’s like my poor woman’s version of the mythical ‘me’ time! Before all of this, I considered getting a subscription to my favourite magazine Marie Claire. I then thought, don’t be silly, Kez. When’s the last time you actually got through an issue from cover to cover? Don’t waste your money!

NOW? Now I think it will be the best investment ever and will give me something nice to look forward to – a little distraction. Also, you get a discount if you subscribe, so technically I am saving money 😉

Always a fan of a bargain!

You have to let people in

I know it sounds funny because I’m generally quite an outgoing, open person. But sometimes I just can’t talk about certain tough things going on behind the scenes for me. I freak out about making myself vulnerable or about how people will react. I worry about burdening others with my problems (even though I am always happy to be there for my friends). When we made our first appointment with the specialist, I started to open up a bit with those closest to us and the most wonderful thing happened. A lot of people were full of love and support. I mean, sure, I should have expected that because we have such beautiful people in our lives (hashtag blessed and all that), but I am an anxious freak sometimes. I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I just expect the worst.

I didn’t want to be that person who never talks about it, because no-one ever talks about it. The year leading up to that had been so stressful with nobody to share the struggles with. I decided that I just couldn’t go on any longer keeping it in or I might explode.

When the kindness started coming back to me, I was so overwhelmed. It was the first time in my adult life that I had ever put myself on the line so much. To see that there was nothing but love and positivity was so humbling (and shocking) to me that I actually took a few days to let it sink in and accept it. To all of those who have been there for me/us – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much you’ve made a difference.

Some of the weirdest stuff will make you feel better – just go with it

Want to know something totally embarrassing and ridiculous? Right now, my fight song is Bad Blood by Taylor Swift. Yep. Because each time I get my period (instead of being pregnant), now we’ve got bad blood. It makes me giggle, but it also makes me sing at the top of my lungs like a loony. It’s not even an optimistic song and the metaphor doesn’t quite translate and I really find Taylor Swift irritating, but it makes me feel all bad ass. I get all feisty and for a second, I feel like I’m gonna blow up the place with my awesomeness and (sometimes) good hair and maybe everything will be OK. I am not even gonna apologise for it. I’m just gonna take the laughs where I can. Even if mostly I’m just laughing at myself. #squadgoals (OMG I hope you know that was a joke)!

The other day, my mum (who is amazing and went through infertility with my dad before they adopted my brother and I) said, “You just have to learnt to go with the flow…literally.”

Yeah, it’s funny. So expect stupid ‘period’ jokes*. If you’re too grossed out, you might need to find another blog haha.

Get organised

I just bought myself a whole bunch of planners and stuff. It’s helped for two reasons. One being that now I know where the hell I’m supposed to be and when. There are so many dates and times and appointments thrown at you when you start this process. I have to remember haematology appointments (I may have a little blood disorder** – no biggie), specialist appointments, dates to have blood tests by, ultrasound dates, blah blah. It’s a bit overwhelming. I have a dedicated folder to keep my referrals and test requests from my doctor in. The idea of losing some of those just gives me anxiety! I have to know what’s going on each week and I admit I had become a bit chaotic and disorganised before this, so it’s been a great kick up the arse.

The second benefit to being more organised is that it helps me to feel in control. It calms me. At a time of my life where I couldn’t be more out of control of what’s going on (i.e. not knowing what’s wrong with me or whether I’ll be able to get pregnant again or when that might possibly happen), having a way to keep organised just makes me feel like I’m nailing something. I can breathe out, knowing that I haven’t forgotten anything.

I hope that sharing this stuff helps somebody else. If you’re going through this too, I am cheering you on. I really am. I know that I am new to this whole process and I can’t imagine what it’s like to try for multiple years with no success***, but I am sending lots of love x

I shall leave you with this…

x

*It actually got less and less funny

**I was subsequently tested again and got the all clear – turns out I have a slight tendency to be a ‘bleeder’ but I don’t have any diagnosis for Von Willebrands as originally suspected

***3 years later…

{From the Vault} Just wait until you have kids! Said no Kez ever.

I just found this post in my drafts folder – dated October, 2013 (the Little Mister was almost 2). I think it’s still relevant now – especially as I’ve experienced quite the journey with secondary infertility. I have occasionally heard the words, “At least you only have one child. I have (insert plural number here). Just wait until you experience it!” as a way of telling me that I have it easier and have no idea. Sure, I probably do have it easier in some ways – I definitely have it easier than someone who wants so badly to become a parent but cannot. But I’d also argue that the challenges I have faced have not been a cup of tea or a picnic or a walk in the park either. I know I wouldn’t wish my challenges on somebody else, that’s for sure. Both myself and every other parent/person have had our own journeys and they’re both likely to be as unique and as valid as each other’s. Someone will always seem to have it better than us and some will always have it tougher than us. It’s not up to us to judge what that’s like for them and whether they’re suffering enough. It’s not a competition. I try to keep myself in check about this all the time…  

Fellow (erm…probably female) parents…do you remember being pregnant for the first time? Do you remember feeling bone weary tired and uncomfortable sometimes (or all the time for those less lucky?). Do you remember the late pregnancy insomnia? The aching and the need for some kind of body pillow arrangement that your partner dare not disturb? Do you remember those times you told someone about how tired you were and that someone had kids and that someone kept saying, “Pfft. You just wait until you have the baby. Then you’ll know the meaning of tired.”

You know, with that tone that says clearly, “Ha! This person has no idea!” followed by an evil laugh because you know they’re secretly enjoying the idea of you suffering in the near future.

Remember every time you opened your mouth and someone would say, “Oh you just wait…”

“Oh, that’s nothing. You just wait until you have the baby…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re crawling…”

“Oh, you just wait until they’re walking…”

“Oh, you just wait until the teething…”

“Oh, Terrible Twos? There’s Terrible Threes…”

“You just wait until you have two kids! Oh, you have two? Well, that’s nothing compared to three!”

You know what I mean. Some of you might even have a person you know in mind when you read this.

Look, these things are fine in the context of a positive conversation between friends/family members, but what I’m referring to is those who have quite the case of the snarks. That person who is competitive or condescending.

I can’t promise I won’t ever say any of the above things at some occasion (in the right moment hopefully with the right person at the right time with the right tone), but I can promise that I will never do it with the intention of making someone feel like their experiences are less valid because they’re not parenting a child yet. Or ever. I also sincerely apologise if I’ve ever unintentionally p*ssed someone off.

I’ve just never understood that attitude.

I mean, what’s their point? So they’re further ahead in the parenting game and always will be. That’s fine. Good for them. If they have any useful advice or humourous anecdotes we can relate to and feel better about, that’s really great. But what’s the point in bringing us down while we’re learning?

When you’re f*cking tired, you’re f*cking tired. When you’re struggling, you’re struggling. When you’re juggling, you’re freakin’ juggling.

When you love a child or care about children, that experience is real. Even if it’s not your own child.

I look back on my life BC (Before Child) and I think about the times I was bone tired. Did I take some freedoms for granted? Absolutely!! But were my experiences valid, real and necessary to enjoy/live through before having a child? Abso-f*cking-lutely! Imagine if we all spent our whole life leading up to having children, stopping ourselves and saying, “Oh, this pales in comparison to when I will have children.”

That would be ridiculous, yeah?

I remember staying up all night frantically finishing university assignments, feeling like my whole future rested on the success of my studies. The pressure, the stress, the late night panicked phone calls from fellow students about group assignments. I would spend weeks in a daze, just wondering when the hell I would rest and then when “holidays” arrived they were spent worrying about the rest of my life (the part that had been neglected).

I remember the stress I’ve been through when terrible events have happened. The constant juggling – family, friends, university, work, self care, my relationship, etc. Having to say no to things. Having to feel like trying to find the right balance is a nightmare. Realising you can’t please everyone.

All of those things were real. Doing it tough when my husband lost his job – not having disposable income. That was real. Just like it’s real when a baby comes along and it costs a lot to keep them in nappies and formula and god knows what else.

And what about those who cannot, or choose not to, have children? Are we smug parents saying that none of their life is valid or complicated or real? F*ck off!

We’re all in different stages of life, making our own different decisions. All of us deserve respect for where we are. We all have our paths to follow, new things to learn. All in due time.

I feel sorry for those who will try to convince us that life is going to be horrible when pregnant or when we have children. Sure, there are some crazy times to be had (my path wasn’t exactly ‘glowing’), but those crazy times are for everyone to experience for the first time themselves (if they ever do). For all of those times, there are so many other blessings that make parenthood worth it.

Having a child has really made me learn a lot about how deep your love can be. It’s this pure, unconditional kind of love I didn’t know you could feel before I had a child. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t know what love was beforehand. I’m just experiencing a new kind of love. When some parents say, “You can’t know what love is until you have a child”, I do get what they’re saying, but that’s not a very nice thing to say around people who don’t have a child!! They do know what love is. Sure, they might not share the experience of having your own child but that doesn’t mean that someone without children doesn’t know what unconditional love is. Or what it’s like to care for someone who will test you constantly.

We’re all running our own races, facing our own challenges. All of our journeys are just as important and as challenging as someone else’s.

Mother’s Day shout outs.

I was just going to make a little Facebook post for Mother’s Day, but realised that I have soooooo much to say. Probably a bit too much for Facebook. Which wouldn’t be out of character ?

Anyway, I’ll start with myself (what an ego – kidding – just getting it out of the way)!

I am so grateful to be a mum. When I say that, there’s a lot of weight to it. I have truly realised in the last 3 years of secondary infertility hell that being a mum is not a right. Becoming one is not a certainty for anyone. You can do all the right things (and then some) but at the end of the day it’s nothing but a crazy, lucky privilege (even if it seems to come easier for some). And for all my struggles to add to my family, I am so ridiculously grateful that I get to be called mum (probably 50,000 times a day – more on weekends and school holidays). I am so glad I get to whinge about about how hard it is and so glad I get to celebrate how amazing and heart burstingly fulfilling it is. Whatever happens from here on out, I will always be so glad that I have the Little Mister – he’s made me a mum and I am so glad he was meant to be in this world, hanging out with me and being my kid. I wouldn’t change that for ANYTHING.

Now onto my mum. My mum is amazing. She (and my dad) went through infertility struggles too. These led to the history making decision to adopt. And bam – there I was – in her arms (followed 3 years later by my bro). Well, not ‘bam’. It wasn’t easy. It was a long wait, with a lot of gruelling hoops to jump through. When you adopt, you have to actually prove you are going to be a good parent. It’s like having to earn a parenting license. Not many people have to do that. Maybe more should! But here we are. My mum is someone I have not always got along with (those teen years were a bit rocky!) but I have always been able to trust her. If she says she’s there, she’s there. If she says I need to figure something out for myself, it means she knows I’m strong enough. She’ll never tell me a white lie to make herself feel better. She’ll tell the the truth so I know I can believe her. She’s strong, assertive and confident. That inspires me. She’s also pretty effing amazing at putting outfits together and fantastic for the fashion advice! She’s been there for me emotionally, especially through the infertility stuff. She’s been there physically too. Babysitting and driving the Little Mister to school. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive network of people around me. She cries at the drop of a hat when talking about how she feels about being my mum and that makes me feel kind of special (can you IMAGINE when we went to see Lion together?!). My parents taught me that family isn’t just blood. Because of my parents, I am the compassionate people person that I am. I have no doubts about that. I love you, Mum!

My mother in law deserves a mention too. She loves the Little Mister to bits. She will never say no to being there for him or us and while I insist that we never take advantage of her, it is so nice to know she’s there in our corner. She always calls me on my birthday or checks in if Mr Unprepared is away. Thank you!

To my mums’ group. The OG MG. You have helped to shape my experience as a mum. We met on a fateful day in early 2012 (after a few weeks of trying to get the hang of leaving the house with an infant) and we’ve never failed to support each other or be there since. We have laughed, cried and stood up for each other. We’ve celebrated milestones and we’ve found out we are good drinking buddies when we can get babysitting too ? Thank you – each and every one of you. For being exactly who you are and bringing together our crazy melting pot of personalities in the most wonderful way.

Now, onto you lot.

I wish all of my fellow mums out there an amazing Mother’s Day. I hope you are pampered and loved. I hope you feel safe and happy. I hope the most important people in your life have let you know just how special you are to them.

To all of the women who dream of being a mum, but have struggled. I am so sorry. This shit is hard. I hope that one day your dream is realised. I am sorry that today might be hurting your heart. I’m thinking of you.

To the women like me, who feel their family is yet to be complete – we are so lucky to have what we have, but it’s OK to want more. Our hearts are big enough. I send all of my love to you. I hope this year is our year.

To those who no longer have their mums around. I’m sorry. I can’t imagine.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who have stepped up to parent and love children who are not biologically theirs, whether through fostering, adoption, blended family situations.

Happy Mother’s Day to the single mamas out there. That shit is tough!! I won’t even pretend to know the half of it! You’re amazing. You’re strong. You’re doing the best you can and that is bloody good enough. Probably more than.

My thoughts are with those who have suffered the loss of a child of any age – from pregnancy to adulthood. They were so lucky to have had you as a mum – even if it wasn’t for anywhere near long enough. My heart goes out to you.

Basically, if you are a mum in your heart, I wish you the best. Not just on Mother’s Day but all of your days. No matter what your situation is, I hope you have/find joy and laughter and love.

*raises glass*

To us.

via GIPHY

Kez Gets Physical: Let’s try that again!

Look, I had great intentions when term 1 of the school year began. I was going to work really hard on being one healthy little mofo and have amazing success like I did at the end of last year.

Then life got in the way.

In hindsight, I really did have some odds stacked against me. While it could be argued that there is still no excuse for not living as healthily as possible, realistically, I was going to struggle. I was sick for half of the term and the other half, I was undergoing intensive fertility treatments (no – I’m not pregnant – feel free to spread the word ?).

The best I could do was maintain my post Christmas weight (an extra kilo or so) and then accept that my diet and exercise routines would be disrupted, with me eventually putting on a second extra kilo for good measure (medically that would have been hard to avoid – long story – won’t bore you).

As we close out term 1 now, I see another opportunity to kick arse. I have a decent gap between treatments and I am so excited to have the freedom and the energy to do whatever the f*ck I want with my body. That’s been the biggest thing for me. Feeling like my body is my own again for a bit. No tests. No invasive procedures or ‘look sees’. Bliss! Maybe my fellow fertility challenged peeps might understand this?

I need to optimise my time and put in the hard yards to get ahead again.

I want to feel fit, strong, leaner and more agile. I also kind of feel the pressure to fit into all my new (slightly smaller) clothes I literally just bought right before I puffed out in the last couple of weeks (most of which was medically unavoidable – again long story).

I am proud of myself because we just got home from a great trip to NSW. Despite indulging a little, I came home the same weight I was when I flew there. I even lost some body fat! Yes!

Moving forwards, here are a few things I want to commit to:

Doing ALL of the work outs

Often I’ve chosen to (or have been advised to) pass on some particularly challenging/awesome looking work outs I’ve seen online etc. It was disappointing but important that I listened to my body. Right now I have no reason to fear anything. That feels so good. I am going to do whatever takes my fancy. I’m going to work my whole body and have fun giving anything a go. I actually crave all the initial soreness that comes with trying new things and I look forward to moving past that soreness and realising that I’m getting stronger/fitter. When something takes my fancy, I will bookmark it and try it at my earliest convenience. I can’t wait to see the difference that occurs in my body when I can vary my routine more. No more holding back. YES!

Avoiding food that isn’t the best for me

I’ve rattled on about this before. I just need to cut down on processed food and carbs and excessive sugar. Same old story. I just need to be more disciplined. I really feel like my head is finally back in the right place to get started again.

Weight loss

While I have a specific goal I’m working towards medium term, I will be happy if I simply lose more weight than I have gained recently. While I have mentioned that I’d like to fit in my clothes better, this really won’t be so much about the numbers on the scale. It will be more about feeling really healthy (mentally and physically) and living really well.

Drinking more water

I admit that I can be terrible at keeping up my water intake. Recently I was medically advised after a procedure that if I didn’t, then I could become quite sick (it’s standard advice for all who undergo this). I forced that 2-3 litres in a day and I honestly do feel better for it and I am glad the habit was created. I am finally out of the danger zone with my health, but I want to continue this regardless. My skin looks less scaly and dry too. I love not having chapped lips – they look waaaay cuter when I put on my lippie!

Documenting my progress to stay accountable

You can follow the hashtag #kezgetsphysical on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, to see how I’m going! If you want to share something you’re up to that I might want to see/try/celebrate with you, then use the hashtag to get my attention! I’d love to share in your journey (yuck – “journey” haha).


OK, so there it is. I’ve so got this (again), right? I swear, if I get sick again, I’m going to get a bit stabby. But we’re going to think positive, aren’t we? Yes we are.

image: GIPHY