Tag: secondary infertility

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

Taking Stock: May 2017

It’s May! I feel like this year is zooming by, but I’m not mad about it.

It’s time for me to take stock, like I do every couple of months! It’s a great way to capture what’s happening in an exact moment of my life. I find I actually get quite REAL in these posts for some reason. You would probably find out some little things about me that I don’t mention anywhere else. Or not. Who knows. Let’s find out!

Making: time to catch up with myself on this lovely Friday. It’s lovely because it’s Friday and I have a day off from work or boring obligations!

Cooking: is fun on the weekends but not fun during the week when you’re rushed AF.

Drinking: wine tonight. FOR SURE.

via GIPHY

Reading: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty. I have only just started it. The themes behind the story really resonated with me when I was looking for something new to read, so here we are! I am stoked to actually have something to list here. I am reading more this year like I hoped I would! Not much, but more! Go me!

Wanting: to get to a place in my life where I can commit to anything social/fitness wise/financial without fertility stuff hanging over my head anymore.

Looking: at my Fitbit – I’m charging it right now, so of course I can’t walk anywhere.

Playing: my own music on the way home from the school drop off is the best. I never want to get out of the car because there’s always a good song playing! I think I need a long solo road trip – that would be the best!

Deciding: on what I will do exercise wise today. I think some treadmill time and some Fitness Marshall dance work outs sounds great. I just want it to be fun today.

Wishing: with all of my heart and soul for some fertility success this year.

Enjoying: the quiet. I love the quiet of my house right now.

Waiting: is difficult. I am getting more impatient as I get older, I swear it.

Liking: Instagram stories more now that it’s been around a while longer. I am using it more and looking at other stories more too. I think it’s just an extra procrastination tool to add to my snapchat addiction! I still think they stole it from Snapchat and WTF but it’s growing on me.

Wondering: if the weather will make up its mind about what it wants to do right now. I like that it’s trying to hold onto the warm sun, but I hate that it changes from one extreme to the other in one day! I never know what to wear!

Loving: the fact that I’m finding my own unique style again. Each year I hit a bit of a style slump but there’s no better feeling than picking myself up again and updating my wardrobe.

Pondering: over when I should return to my hair salon and enact the second part of my plan to get really rad hidden rainbow hair happening. I’ve already lightened it once, but I need to go back to get it really bright blonde for maximum fashion colour impact!

Considering: whether or not to start doing afternoon school pick ups through the kiss ‘n’ drop lane. The Little Mister has been nagging me (he thinks it’s such a big kid thing to do) and while the idea of never leaving my car sounds super appealing, a part of me knows I’ve been a bit absent this year at the school with all the fertility shit, so if standing awkwardly at the school gate for a few minutes a day so I get that great after school run-up-and-hug is what it takes to feel like I’m THERE, then I think I’ll do it. Maybe I can pick and choose a few days to do kiss ‘n’ drop when it suits. Compromise!

Buying: jeggings for the first time recently was a little out of character for me, but a great decision (and I can’t believe I’m saying that)! I made sure to buy the ones that basically look like jeans and weren’t too obvious. But the stretchiness of the waistband has been welcomed! My body fluctuates all the time (partly due to constant weird fertility treatment shit and partly because I love food) and I got sick of playing the ‘will I have muffin top today’ game.

Watching: a bunch of stuff on the go on Netflix lately. Chelsea, Riverdale, Designated Survivor. 

Hoping: I’ll get to catch up with some good friends soon. I’ve got a couple of peeps on my ‘must see soon’ list and as soon as my schedule becomes a little more predictable, I can’t wait to arrange something.

Marvelling: at the kindness of strangers. A couple of ladies with really full trollies let me go in front of them at Aldi today because I only had 3 items. They were so nice. That’s the kind of thing that I like to pay forward. I hope I get to do that for someone else soon.

Cringing: at the fact that I had to avoid a good (male) friend at the shops today. I had a bunch of bras in my hand and it just seemed like stopping to chat awkwardly was not something I felt our friendship needed in that moment ? I hid like a big baby in the womens’ accessories section until he was gone!

Needing: a few more nights of good sleep. As always.

Questioning: what amount of cleavage is a classy amount of cleavage. I have had the girls out a little more than usual lately. Slightly lower necklines and the like. Nothing too crazy or inappropes, but it’s kind of a big deal for me. I always worry people will judge me even though they shouldn’t and probably wouldn’t. I think I hid my chest area completely when I got pregnant with the Little Mister and had a bad rash (in 2011) and never got my confidence back again.

Smelling: nothing. No news is good news.

Following: the Facebook page of a local personal trainer who does group boot camps on the beach nearby. Her class times sound really good, I love being at the beach, I need to do something like this, but I haven’t figured out if I can commit yet. So I am watching quietly and biding my time like a really good stalker.

Noticing: that I feel nice and calm today. I’ve needed this after a week full of nervous energy.

Knowing: what I’m doing would be great. Generally. In life. Ha!

via GIPHY

Thinking: about my plans for the weekend. Hopefully I’ve struck the right balance between rest and getting out of the house enough to avoid insanity.

Admiring: people who are there for others, even when they have their own struggles.

Sorting: my wardrobe out still. I’m so excited to actually have clothes to wear this autumn/winter.

Getting: messages from my besties and just talking shit back and forth is always a great part of my day.

Bookmarking: silly videos I find on Facebook that I want to show Mr Unprepared later so he can laugh or cringe. I don’t know if my efforts are always appreciated ?

Coveting: those Dyson stick vacuum cleaner things. Or a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. One day I shall have one. One day. Just not for Mother’s Day. Because that might not go down so well haha.

Disliking: not much right this minute.

Opening: my fitbit app is the first thing I do each morning. I like to see how I slept. Sometimes this is a valuable exercise and sometimes it’s a self inflicted torture thing haha.

Giggling: about my people watching adventures in the school car park (yes my life feels like it revolves around the school car park – can you tell). I see some really great things that make me laugh (in a not obvious way of course).

Feeling: happy right now. In this moment!

Snacking: has been a problem. Mostly because there’s SO MUCH CHOCOLATE in my house right now. I am not normally a snacker or a chocoholic but the temptation is just too great (and the PMS has been real too).

via GIPHY

Helping: myself to relax by having a quiet day seems to be working.

Hearing: birds making noises in the distance. Which is so much nicer than listening to the recent ridiculous night time cat fights (they are not our cats but they think our place is an ideal battleground – gah)!


What have you been up to lately?

Taking Stock: March 2017

It’s March already. What the hell. It’s shaping up to be a crazy month and quite honestly, the name ‘Awesomely Unprepared’ has never fit me so well as it does now. It’s time to take stock and capture this moment in time!

Making: The most of the little time I have right now before the Little Mister wakes up for the day.

Cooking: All the ‘sometimes’ foods more than sometimes. Must try harder to keep my diet (not ‘diet’ as in fad diet – ‘diet’ as in nutritional intake) on track.

Drinking: More water.

Reading: Amy Schumer’s book. STILL. OK, so not really actively reading it. BUT I WILL FINISH IT.

Wanting: Our journey with secondary infertility to end as soon as possible, please. I have told myself that 2017 is our year and I really really hope I’m not wrong.

Looking: at my computer. Because I’m blogging. Duh.

Playing: all my favourite music on Spotify on the drive home (alone) from the city on Friday was the perfect treat. I don’t usually do it because it eats up some data (I can’t download the songs to my phone because it’s chockers and has no memory available), but it was worth it. I don’t usually use much data anyway, so I think I’ll do this more as I’ll be up and down to the city a lot this month. When my data’s low, I’ll play all the podcasts I never get to listen to! It will be my version of me-time!

Deciding: on things and owning those decisions without doubting myself or caring too much about what other people will think is easier said than done but I’m working on it.

Wishing: I didn’t constantly feel like I’m fighting off a cold.

Enjoying: a very low key long weekend, socially.

Waiting: for new seasons of Catfish and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I know. It’s sad of me.

Liking: the fact that on this public holiday Monday, I haven’t had to worry about getting the Little Mister to school. A reprieve!

Wondering: why the Little Mister is up so early. I just heard his bedroom door. I know he’ll be good and stay in his room but that’s weird, anyhow.

Loving: my sleep lately. I’m not getting enough (7 hours or less on average) but I’m falling asleep nice and early without spending hours lying in bed waiting for the Zzzs to come.

Pondering: a lot of things. Because over thinker.

Considering: what I want to do with my day.

Buying: a new dress for a wedding soon. I do not know for sure if I’ll make it to the wedding, but damn it, I’m buying the outfit anyway.

Watching: a lot of Ellen lately. I’ve become a cliched housewife. I watch Ellen when I need to be cheered up. I have heaps of episodes saved onto my DVR to watch at any time haha. 

Hoping: So much hoping.

Marvelling: at my resilience. That makes me sound up myself, but sometimes I just don’t know how I keep getting up again and again. I’m glad I do.

Cringing: at the last couple of days and my emotional rollercoaster.

Needing: more alone time. I’m just feeling so greedy for it lately. I’ve already got it fairly good, but I’m craving prolonged solitude!

Questioning: my own judgement. Seems to be a theme with me at the moment.

Smelling: Nothing. My nose has been a bit stuffy.

Wearing: an old singlet that I’ve loved so much over the years, the fabric has taken on a PJ like quality so now I just wear it to bed anyhow.

Following: every Facebook article about Married at First Sight. I’m disgusted with myself haha.

Noticing: a new pimple on my jawline. Lucky me.

Knowing: when to follow your head vs your heart is really tricky.

Thinking: about my life, my relationships, the future.

Admiring: People who have survived struggles similar to mine. Makes me feel like I’m not alone and that there’s hope.

Sorting: the junk in my spare room is a task that haunts me. It’s always the first thing to drop off the priority list when life gets busy. GAH!

Getting: out of bed today will be hard to do. I’m so comfy.

Bookmarking: the result of personality type quiz I did. Apparently I’m an ENFP? I am not 100% sure that completely nails who I am but I want to read over it a lot more and think about it!

Coveting: ALL THE CLOTHES. I’ve only recently discovered that I like clothes shopping again. Now I want all the things that make me feel good. Party clothes, casual clothes, activewear, autumn winter stuff – basically every damn thing haha.

Disliking: the fact that I often chicken out of wearing a bright lipstick. I rock those bright colours and I should stop worrying that it’s ‘too much’.

Opening: the new app I got to track my food (it’s like a visual food diary). It’s called ‘Ate’ (in case you’re interested) and you take a photo of everything you eat or drink and decide whether this food is going to help you with your health goals or not. I think it’s going to be very interesting in keeping me accountable! Note: yesterday I was literally 0% on track hahaha. OOPS.

Giggling: at just about everything on Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been my nightly therapy. Don’t you just love when a TV show nails your exact sense of humour?

Feeling: a bit crappy. But OK.

Snacking: has been an issue for me this weekend. I must remember to only eat when I’m genuinely hungry!!

Helping: the Little Mister under the covers for a morning snuggle makes me happy.

Hearing: the Little Mister nagging me for breakfast!


What have you been up to lately?

2017.

A little while ago, I took some time to reflect on the year that was: Oh, 2016, you were a complicated beast.

Now, I would like to look forwards in time. What will 2017 have in store for me? What are my goals? What would I like to continue?

I feel like I’m going to leap into 2017 feeling awesomely unprepared (see what I did there?) and oh my goodness, if the last couple of years have taught me anything, it’s that life will never cease to surprise me.

Still, here are some things I would like to see! Whether life has other plans or not, remains to be seen!!

Goals:

Fertility

While I don’t really feel like writing about it anymore (it can be draining), it would be neglectful to not mention this: Some fertility success would be ideal! While I can’t control the outcome so I don’t feel like it’s an actual ‘goal’ so much as a dream, I do hope I can aim for being much more pro-active in the care I receive. More assertive when it comes to dealing with specialists. I spent a lot of 2016 finding my feet. I hope 2017 can be about Getting Shit Done and making sure the right people are helping me to GSD (Get Shit Done).

Finish the Lady Cave

This epic saga has dragged on for so long it’s embarrassing. I bought most of the furniture. I cleared out most of the junk from the room. I just had trouble directing the moolah towards getting new carpet (by ‘trouble’ I mean I always found other things to do/think about), and motivation towards moving the last of the heavy furniture from the room. It’s a bit crazy, how slow I’ve been at this. I’m sure you could analyse me and find some kind of deep seated emotional/psychological block that’s been holding me back! Either way, I am so ready to make this happen. A little bit of Christmas gift money and Mr Unprepared being a magical furniture removal fairy yesterday while I was out, has made me feel much more enthusiastic!

Now that I write a lot more and I work on my computer a lot, I am more than ready to have my very own blogging lair.

*evil laugh*

Support more small creative business

I know I practically live at Kmart or Cotton On or some of the bigger chain stores. Sometimes my wallet (and my time) can only stretch that far. But there’s something I really want to do. I want to spend 2017 thinking more locally too. There are so many unique things out there: clothing, gifts, etc. Stuff that would not only make my life at least 67% cooler (don’t fact check that statistic I just totally made up), but that would allow me to support those who are out there doing their small creative business thing. I have some special peeps on my wishlist. I’m going to stop talking about it and I’m going to start doing. Because some of that stuff doesn’t actually cost an arm and a leg like I used to believe! It might take a little extra planning but I think it will be well worth it!

Record my happiness more

I’ve written a lot of happy lists on this blog, but they have been quite sporadic lately. I’ve decided to participate in #100happydays to keep me creative and in a positive frame of mind. I start on January 1st, 2017. You should join me! Just register at the website and get started – you can choose your own start date too! I really hope I can stick this one out. Or at least get to 100 within the year haha.

Things I’d like to continue in 2017:

  • Living healthily and striving towards my goal weight. I did so well this year, losing 5kg. I can’t wait to smash the final 3-4 I have left to lose. It really worked well for me, using the school term as a timeline for being really disciplined. If it ain’t broke!
  • It took me until the end of the year to get my shit together, but I finally started using online calendars to organise my life. I feel so much more in control now, so there’s no way I’m going to give that up! Note to self: figure out how to stop getting reminders via email. SO ANNOYING.
  • I’ve made some social changes in 2016. I’ve really enjoyed developing friendships that make me feel good about myself (and hopefully feeling like I do the same for them). I’ve redefined some boundaries and I’ve found my tribe/s. It feels good. I feel much more secure and happy friendship wise than I have in years. I want to stay on that path.
  • Adventuring. I did so much of it this year and it saved the way I look back on 2016. We already have a trip planned for March and we’re working on an idea for July. SO EXCITING.

What do you want to see happen in 2017? Do you set goals or resolutions, or would you rather poke your eyes out with a blunt object?