Friday, December 23, 2011

39 celebrate... and 4 years

...since N and I married, I had just turned 32, we met when I was 29 and the time has passed more slowly in the last few years as the waiting for a baby began. Can't believe I'm 36 though. It all just feels like numbers, quite meaningless. I think age is just a number ...except when it comes to diminishing fertility. For the first time in my life I envy peoples age and I'd love a few more fertile years to play with for future treatments. While my mind feels as prepared as it will ever be to make the transition to Motherhood I have been fantasising this week about have a body 10 years younger to get me through labour. A nice springy one!

My induction is booked a week today. I've read UK and other guidelines until my eyes hurt and spoken at length with my Dr. In his professional opinion he is giving me the chance to reach my due date with a day or two over and then as (he believes) the placenta starts to decline post EDD he wants to start an induction as (he believes) this will give the baby the best chance and why take any risk at all in going overdue?! It's not what they do in this country and he couldn't see why I was so keen to wait. I pulled the 65% (out of the hat) of women who labour spontaneously between week 40 and week 41 but I couldn't seem to hold my ground when debating what was best for a baby and it kept coming round to what was best for my body/birth experience/recovery by having a greater chance of natural delivery. Dr P sees the induction as a 'natural' delivery. The conversation became quite circular and so I am back to facing an induction on the 29th with excitement, fear, defeat and guilt. We shall see what the next few days hold and what's occurring at next Tuesday's appointments...

I do feel like the end is in sight for the first time and I am savouring every moment now, of sleep (when I can), uninterrupted conversations with friends, reading a book, swimming and walking round my neighbourhood having my bump rubbed and touched by all the local folk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

38 weeks (and induction booked)...

...almost, as of this Thursday anyway.

I've come out the other side of my low stage where I felt I was going to check ups and nothing was happening and I must be doing something wrong and I felt really disconnected from everything.

I still measure under at 36 weeks (always been a week behind) now but have put on lots of weight, mainly fluid in hands and feet plus as Dr pointed out's true. Nice to know the babies estimated weight was 3.2kg in new units or 7lb and a bit to me, at last weeks scan, a nice size.

Every Tuesday now I go for a non-stress test in the morning at the big hospital, leaving 2 hours to kill which is not quite enough time to go home and come back before seeing my Dr. at the clinic, all in all I'm out of the house from 9-5pm. Today he said the cervix 'has softened' which has really lifted my mood though the baby is unlikely to appear before next Tuesday when we will repeat the same tests and see what's occurring. It's nice to know something is happening. It's not that I want the baby to come early, I just want signs that it's coming.

If it hasn't made an appearance by the following Tuesday 27th, my EDD, I will be booked for an induction around the 29th. Argentina are famous for this, despite my Dr saying he'd let me go 10 days over, it turned into 7 days and now it's 1. Here, they don't wait long for a response after induction either, it's quick to CS which (as is more likely post induction) is where they get their 60% CS rate from I suppose. I've been prepared for this really and I'm aware of the pros and cons. It would be lovely if the baby decided to come of it's own accord before then.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time to tackle another tricky relationship...

...this time with my boobs. It's never been good. The sheer joy of being pregnant after such struggles allowed me to feel kindly towards them as for the first 16 weeks they were the only evidence I had that I was pregnant (between scans). Big (b-cup), veiny, full, sore...thank goodness for my boobs. But at the moment I hate them. Like 2 barrage balloons I can't even eat or drink without knocking into them or knocking them into something or someone and so I need to face up to the fact that I desperately want to breast feed but it's going to be a struggle.

On first google search I was disappointed. Specific sites for breast feeding came up with absolutely nothing when I typed 'sexual abuse survivor' into the search box. In sections re. 'problems breast feeding' they were all physical issues rather than emotional. 

The La Leche League however did respond to my enquiry, quickly and suggested a podcast by the author of this book; 

When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women Penny Simkin, PT, and Phyllis Klaus, CSE, MFT (2005) p.80

that I would buy if the country I live in wasn't so corrupt when it comes to parcels arriving/leaving.
...and P.16 of this document is useful

So far I plan to buy breast sheilds. I have purchased a pump and tried it against my skin to see how it feels and even switched pump on for a second or two to see how tolerable it is. I have bottles for back up (not purchased formula yet) and to feed expressed milk to. I have spoken to my obstetrician about concerns who responded well but after being present at my polypectomy, numerous vaginal examinations and 2 embryo transfers he was shocked the subject hadn't come up before. He assures me I can have space and privacy afterwards for first feeding attempts which will help. I started a thread on Mumsnet which got a good response and on these recommendations I have also bought clothes that are discreet for feeding too which hadn't occurred to me.

I'm still quite determined and at least now I feel a little more prepared.

Thank you for the lovely response to my last post, private and public...good idea to tag/label posts too to reach wider audience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Evolving blog...

How the garden feels at night underfoot in wax crayon and black poster paint.
I'd like to blog more about pregnancy and parenthood after sexual abuse but there is no clear blog sharing network such as exists in the infertility world that I can find so I'm starting from scratch. If I have found your blog online and you are returning the visit/comment then 'welcome', I love comments and new (and regular) followers.

About me...

I'm crossing the mid-30s line in a couple of weeks and I wouldn't go back to my 20s if you paid me. I love where I am now, emotionally, despite the struggles I've had in the past few years.

I suppose it looks as though my efforts to start a family began at the the removal of contraception back in June 2009 but in reality it was long before that. I restarted therapy in my late 20s when it seemed strange to others who thought I didn't NEED to but I knew I had to stop binge-drinking and getting involved with emotionally abusive men who knew the steps to my dance and knew the tune only to well.

Having witnessed the power of nurture when it goes wrong I was also terrified to reproduce until I felt I had expelled my demons. 

There was the added complication of making babies the non fertility treatment way as I struggle with sex...still.

I didn't recall the abuse or the perpetrator for years and when I did it was a huge revelation, the timing was terrible as I was studying and training hard but I was at my happiest and strongest and so I believe the truth showed itself only when I was ready to deal with it...even if that involved some awkward public moments.

Uncovering the abuse and remembering it and acknowledging it was the most amazing experience in my life. The pain and the lows were almost worth the relief and the highs that came with the truth. I still have mini breakthroughs/new memories now but they pass so quickly I can carry on a conversation or continue working through them.

I have virtually no visual memories of the abuse and 99.9% emerged in dreams and I had to write them down and read them later to see them.

Dealing with infertility and recovering repressed memories of sexual abuse draw lots of parallels for me. Peoples innocent questions sting sometimes and one feels compelled to knock out stock answers to save awkward moments. These questions include; 'When will you... try for number 2 (or try a baby)?', 'Do you remember your first time?' and 'What are you doing for Father's Day?'

No one in my family wants to talk about the abuse. My sister wants to keep up a relationship with my Dad and has no memory of him abusing her. My Mum is remarried and turns grey and trembles when I raise the subject so I've let it go. My Dad's new wife is unable to acknowledge it. Cousins, Aunties and Uncles prefer to keep up the facade also and so if I want to see them all I have to sit at the same table as my Father and play along.

I haven't decided yet where my Dad will fit into being a Grandparent. I have told him and my step-M I will not be accepting their offer of cash to but baby things. I saw my Dad once this year back in the UK but felt sick when he greeted me and knocked my 20 week bump. It was the first time N didn't come with me to a family gathering but I appreciate it's hard for him to keep up a pretence for my sake.

I spoke to my Dr for the first time about the abuse and feelings towards the birth in the next few weeks. He was shocked after all the examinations so far that I hadn't mentioned it to him but it was good to talk and make it clear I am very worried I won't be able to breast feed because it will feel too awful so I don't have any well-meaning-latino-touchy-feely-midwives grabbing my boobs...or (and the mere thought makes me dizzy) rubbing my nipple against the babies mouth to help it latch on.

So anyway, as I approach another life changing moment, I am reflecting and feeling extra nostalgic. I feel more positive that negative experiences in my earlier life will have a more positive effect on things now as I am all the stronger for them. I am less black and white too and while I'm glad I waited to start a family at the risk of it being smaller than I'd like now, I feel I've done the right thing and I accept nothing will ever be perfect and there is no end to the healing that has begun.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Today I had a scan, at 37 (almost) weeks and it helped things feel more real. At first everything looked the same as 20 and 24 weeks. The view at 12-13 weeks is so magical but I've found the scans here from 20 weeks are just measurements of organs and I've had to ask the Dr if I want to see a glimpse of the face which is only possible in sections. But today we got told the estimated weight, 3.202kg and it really helped to know that, it felt like I'd done something right, it felt very real, that it had grown so much and was already a healthy weight should it arrive early.

I've definitely had a touch of the blues recently and started thinking weird thoughts about what may have appeared on the scan and I've felt guilty as it seems wrong to be anything but 101% happy being pregnant after all these years. Now I feel better I can see that I am very happy about the pregnancy but naturally anxious about life outside it as there's a lot going on. I will just share one aspect...

My husbands job has been axed so we don't know where (we have to leave the country) or how we'll be living after March. We can't afford to move back to our old place we rent out in London on one wage so it's going to be a struggle. We may head North in England or keep living overseas but my husbands job is unusual and badly paid so options are limited. For the future FET which doesn't hold much hope statistically being the weakest of the batch, we can now add £2000 to the existing costs of treatment, in flights back to South America. I'm sure we'll find some funds somewhere but it's very unsettling to not know where we are going with a little, tiny one in this stage.

But, we still feel like the luckiest people alive at the moment and if IF isn't the best training to living with uncertainty I don't know what is.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to...PART 2

So how am I feeling?

Tired, very tearful, uncomfortable, frightened, excited, impatient, guilty, relieved...

I've become almost nocturnal. Some might say at 36.5 weeks I'm preparing for motherhood with such a sleep cycle but I say it's the 24/7 heartburn that started at week 20 that's got me here as it's worse at night and I feel I've no right to complain as I spent my 20s in a binge-purge cycle that's knackered my oesophagus.

I'm anaemic, par for the course, very oedematous but no other signs of pre eclampsia  thank goodness. I don't want to list all symptoms so I'm complaining only to my poor husband but otherwise continuing to hold on to how fortunate I am to be facing these symptoms at this stage.

Emotionally, I'm a mess. I told my friend I felt like I had the worst PMT ever at the moment and I felt bad for not 'glowing'. She said 'ooh cramps yuck!' but no, not cramps they don't bother me...'I just feel tearful, am tearful and am screaming at N because he's woken me and it's taken hours to get comfortable asleep and all he's done is talk to me.

I feel I've come full circle. I had a rocky 1st trimester with bleeding and high dose progesterone and serious nausea so spent a lot of it in bed and became a recluse. Here I am again as appointments become weekly with my Dr (same Dr from IF diagnosis, through transfer to delivery) and I'm starting to worry again about what's going to happen next and I'm having to remind myself why I feel so dreadful at the moment. This probably sounds odd, how I could forget why I feel the way I do, as I'm so pregnant now, I waddle with an enormous squirming bump with a big brown line down the middle (which I love) but it doesn't always = baby, in my mind. The pregnancy is as real as it could be but a baby?

The other day I laid out a little outfit and tried to imagine 'it' wearing the clothes. 'It' is a he and the most precious thing ever...don't get me wrong but sometimes I wake in the night to Braxton Hicks and feel my period could be coming and it takes a while to click where I am let alone what the hell is that burning in my back, chest and throat...then, I feel tiny thuds or a bout of hiccups and think god I'm so lucky, so grateful yet equally I'm lost and disconnected and I feel frustrated at what's going on in there? I might whisper 'show yourself...come on' and then feel guilty as there is more cooking to do and I feel selfish.

It's just the idea that this final stage will all just get gradually more uncomfortable and end painfully and then the real work begins and I'm scared I can't cope with it. I'm not complaining or wishing myself back to this time last year, I just want to do my best and worry I'm old and useless. With my tests, HSG and USS tracking and starting injectables plus surgery I haven't had a 'normal' month for a long while, to just keep my knickers on and not attend any appointments if that makes sense and I think that's where I'm snapping at N.

N says 'your doing so well' and I pull an ugly face and say 'liar'....

N says 'it'll all be so worth it' and I nod sulkily because of course he's right...

It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to...PART 1

I feel this blog has been really out of sync with the rest of the online world since the beginning (April 2009) but I'm not done trying to revive it yet.

The biggest issue was that post January, failed cycle and delays in treatment with surgery I became especially bitter and jaded and I found other bloggers were a few steps behind and still full of hope. They were following BFP post IVF posts with glee, like 'ooh that could be me!' but by then I was reading and seething and saying 'why couldn't that be me?' I felt so, so alone.

Then after a few months I got a BFP and the few followers I had dwindled. Let me say, please, I completely understand  why... but I found myself in a lonely place none the less. I tried to link up with IVF post pregnancy blogs via ICLW but many were about measurements, blood results and Mothercare purchases and less about the emotional side of things which is what I'm looking for in connecting with other blogs.

I haven't felt like there are many places I can go with my pregnancy to unpack my emotional baggage. But today, looking at my stats for the first time in months I see that not many folk are reading anyway so I should blog away, even if no one is listening.

I will continue to read others blogs who are in the treatment stage just as I always have and I hope they can see my url pop up in the stats and they know I read because I care and I just don't comment any more as I feel they would prefer not have any reminders of pregnant people in their blog space. I have a few pregnant post IVF/mc blogs to follow to so I'm going to make more effort to connect with those too. I have just read a few and feel inspired again...inspired to be honest...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I couldn't bring myself to see your bump until now...

...said the wife of a friend of my husband, a few days ago. V has a 6 year old daughter conceived via ICSI when she was 39. ICSI gave her 4 embryos, all 4 transferred resulting in a beautiful daughter. All thanks to the same clinic as ours too. But V has no idea that we had ICSI or that we struggled at all for this pregnancy.

People often ask why we aren't more open about IF, like we're being a bit silly somehow but for me it's about two people. I would gladly share our experience with twice as many people as I currently have but I respect that we are dealing with male factor IF and my husband has not told another living soul just as he respects I need to talk to others outside the relationship. So would V not make to my select list? Nope, because she told me about her husbands sperm count and morphology within 5 minutes of meeting exaggeration and she will tell anyone who'll listen.

So when we last met she patted my bump and congratulated me and quickly shared how hard it was for her, she had finished cycle #6 and agreed with Drs to stop TTC#2. Cycle 3 did bring a pregnancy but it resulted in MC at 12wk. I am very aware of all this and her feelings about my pregnancy came as no surprise so I at least shared that we'd waited years for this pregnancy. V was shocked and assumed 'at my age' it was a surprise pregnancy. I reminded V I'm 36 in a few weeks and I've been married 4 years. It's the first time I've seen her speechless. She probed for details but I said nothing more than it had a been a rocky few years. It cheered her up and she rubbed my bump with a genuine smile.

In connection with my last post re secondary IF and TTC#2 after IF, V has had a rough time. Her 6 year old thought she was injecting Gonal F for cancer and 'mummy was dying' so she had to be told that it was to grow eggs to make a baby brother or sister. Then when the most recent cycle failed V and Dad had to break the news it didn't work but also that it never would and some families are only blessed with one child. Painful, so painful but as V pointed out not on the same scale as TTC#1.

I was saved by the bell, the doorbell, from our conversation as V got nosey for details just for gossips sake as  my friend arrived, 14 weeks pregnant after 1 ectopic and IVF #3. So we all sat round the table and talked about everything but our husbands sperm counts.

How can secondary infertility be worse than childlessness?

It just can't.

It would be impossible for anyone to know either so that's the first thing that bothers me about this. People, parents, say it hurts more TTC#2 without success as they know how wonderful it can be to be a parent and so they know what they are missing a second time around. Of course it's painful but in response to a rant of mine on this subject last year a wise woman who had one child via ICSI wrote (from memory) 'of course it hurts when you can't have another child, people never stop asking, your child never stops asking....when?....but at the end of the day you look at your life before when you were going through treatment and your study was a study not a house is full of baby paraphernalia and baby noise and I'm accepted in a part of society I felt excluded from'.
So surely, while having one child not by choice is painful it is the difference between being a parent or not being a parent and that is huge! I wonder if people with secondary infertility would like to swap places with these childless people that it's 'easier' for?