Close to home…

In the past few weeks I’ve been doing what I could to a good friend to someone who was dealing with the stress and anxiety of a sick father.  One who had recently been diagnosed with a form of cancer and who was not doing so well.  I could so relate to her pain and her fear, cos not so long ago I was in her shoes.  At a similar time of the year no less. 

My heart bled for my special friend, for no one should have to deal with this sense of loss before the actual loss, no one should have to live on tenter hooks as to when the penny is going to drop, of when you’re going to have to say goodbye to someone who means so much to you.  Sadly she had to say goodbye too soon.

I was glad that she got to see her Dad before he passed as that is the one thing I most regret about my Dad’s passing, but when I heard how her voice trembled when she described how frail and ill he was, I wondered if it was best for her.

I get to remember my Dad as a reasonably healthy man.  She does not.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot since my Dad died and with my friend’s Dad’s passing it’s brought it more to the forefront of my mind… what is the best way to say goodbye?  Is it knowing that you’ve seen this person even if the body they inhabit at the time is not who they are?  Is it when that person is ripped from your life with NO notice like in a car accident or sudden heart attack?  Is it when the person dies peacefully in their sleep at an old age before their body and mind gives up on them?  Does the pain and heartache of having to say goodbye serve any purpose to us?

Before my Dad died, I would have said without a shadow of a doubt that the last option is the best case scenario, but now?  I can’t say that I believe that.

For in reality there is no “good” or “best” way to say goodbye to someone you love.  It hurts.  In ways you could never have imagined.  No matter how they died, no matter if you got to say goodbye or not.  It sucks and whilst with time the pain dulls, the sense of missing that person can hit you like a ton of bricks when you least expect it even after time has passed.

Sure comfort is found by those of us who are left behind in many ways.  “He did not suffer long”, “He was at peace when he passed”, “He knew you loved him and was with him in spirit”, “Remember his funny laugh – he loved life and would have hated to live the way he was”… the list is endless…

And in truth, those of us who are left behind, we’re the ones that their deaths effect the most.  For those who leave us, they are gone from us, their souls at rest.  We’re the ones who need to deal with the grief and once the grief dies down, we’re the ones who need to get on with living the lives we have to the best of our abilities.

If there is one thing my Dad’s passing has taught me in the last 11 months, it’s this… 

Time IS short. 

Life IS good. 

And through saying goodbye, we get to appreciate that a little more.  Death of our loved ones does serve a purpose.  It’s to make sure that we revel in the lives we have to live. 

All the time.

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The Follow on to the Confessional post

One thinks that after you’ve seen a heartbeat that you’d be on cloud 9 right?  Floating along and blissfully telling the WORLD that you are pregnant.  Not this chicken.

This chicken was on a high for about 4 days.  Cos then of course I had a nice bright red bleed YET AGAIN.  I remember sitting on the loo clutching my tummy and just pleading with God to keep this baby safe.  Pathetic I know.

Thankfully work was really hectic and kept me super busy and my mind (mostly) off the drama that was unfolding in my nether regions from day to every other day…

Our 9 week scan day dawned and I was so nervous.  No real reason other than the bloody bleeding but geesh was I nervous.  Once dildo cam was in place we saw our little Clam again – and heard the heart beating again.  Beautiful music to my soul.

I discussed meds with Stephan, I was worried that the fragmin while not *causing* the bleeding was contributing to the ease of the bleeding.  And shoving 6 utrogestan up your vajayjay daily can’t be good for your cervix either.  We decided to stop all meds.   Which my vajayjay and my tummy thanked me for!

Clam "smiling" for the camera 🙂

 

Clam looking like a sheepie 🙂

I thought that seeing that heartbeat and hearing it at the first scan was THE best thing you could ever see and hear – until we had our 9 week scan that is.  Seeing our little gummy Clam twitching and moving on that screen was quite unreal… and at that point it was THE best thing I’ve ever seen or heard!

Since stopping the meds I’m pleased to say that I’ve not had any more big red scary bleeds.  I have had some brown discharge once or twice.  I have been super lucky.  I’ve had only the odd bout of slight nausea when I’ve had too long a stretch between meals and have had only the odd bout of heart burn after my favourite chilli foods.  I still wonder to myself if this is all a dream.  If it is, it’s one I do not want to wake up from.  Speaking of dreams – gosh they can be rather, shall we say, titiliating at times?

I’ve found that I was much more zen in the wait between the 9 and 12 week scans – something that I’m sure has EVERYTHING to do with the lack of bleeding.  But I was more comforted by seeing the growth of Clam between 7 and 9 weeks and seeing the movement of that little thing was very, very resasuring for me.

Yesterday we had our 12 week scan at 12 weeks 2 days.  Our Clam was just amazing.  This perfect human being in miniture – moving and stretching and even sucking his little thumb.  AMAZING.   All was excellent with the nuchal fold – measuring at 0.9mm and the nasal bone was distinct, so all looking great for low risk for downs.  When I see that little person on that screen I cannot believe the depth of God’s grace.  How it all comes together from some cells to this perfect working being with all it’s parts in place and functioning like a perfect orchestra.

This gift He’s given us?  It blows my mind.  I’m so thankful and grateful.  How could I not be when this is on my fridge?

Our gorgeous Clam 🙂

Skeletor aka Clam Young 😉

The Confessional Post…

This might be a long one – so apologies in advance.  One thing I can say for sure is that the last 6 months have been W.I.L.D.

I’ve been working thru a lot of crap in my head – a lot of it to do with realisations that I’ve come to about my Dad (will post separately on that), helping my Mom deal with the financial mess my Dad left her in, helping my sister deal with her issues surrounding my Dad and his passing, focusing on getting my marriage on track, dealing with the loss of a close friendship, working thru the failed GIFT, working thru the chemical that was not to be and it’s unfulfilled due date and also trying to find the strength to try treatment again…

When I got some money from my Dad’s estate, I offered it to my Mom first and foremost to help pay her way out of the issues she was facing cos of my Dad.  She refused and insisted that we put the money towards our next treatment.

But I was scared to try again.  Terrified actually.  I knew that we could not keep going on this wheel like two hamsters and I just wondered how on earth I could face another treatment and possibly another failure.  But then in my quiet time with God, I would feel the desire to mother so strongly that it would take my breath away.  It was like a physical ache deep in my heart and the pit of my tummy.  I knew that I had to try again.  Somehow.

I joined the Children’s Ministry at church and those kids, they helped to heal my heart.  They made my desire to be a Mom stronger than ever.  And thru serving God with them, I grew closer to Him.  He was truly carrying me through all the stuff I was dealing with.  A close tangible presence.

We decided to try again and do our 6th ART treatment in September.  It was go for broke time.  Our “last ditch” attempt.  Our uspoken promise to each other that if it failed we would face living child free. 

My protocol was changed to a menopur /gonal f mix with cetrotide from when follies reached 12mm.  I stimmed like a champ.  7 days flat and we were ready for trigger.  ER was AWESOME – we got 11 eggs (the best result since our second IVF) and we were over the moon.  We decided to do half ICSI and half IVF and we also used 2 eggs to fertilize with donor sperm as a diagnostic tool to see if we had any sperm issues that standard testing had not picked up.  We were feeling good.  Then we got the fert report.  Out of the 5 that we IVF’d we got 2 embies and out of the 4 we ICSI’d we had 1 embie.  3 embryo’s out of 9.  I have to admit I was deflated.  3 out of 9.  Our 2nd worst fert ever. 

But our 3 were super.  When we went to the clinic to discuss transfer on day 3 our ICSI embie was at 12 cells with NO fragmentation and our IVF embies were at 8 and 9 cells with NO fragmentation.  In comparison our embies looked just as good (if not better in the case of our 12 cell) as the donor embies.  We decided to transfer all 3 and to freeze the donor embies just in case.

While I was lying on the trasfer table, Stephan said to me that he really hoped that this one would be the one.  I held Cliff’s hand and I said to him in a clear, stong voice.  This is the one.  I remember thinking to myself – where the heck did that come from?

Fast forward 7 days later  with a sore bum from the gestone and a bruised tummy from the fragmin, I had gone that day to get my car license updated.  In a complete blonde moment I tore it up and ended up having to fish out my licence from my dustbin at work and had to sticky tape it all together.  When I got home that evening I joked with Cliff that I had to be pregnant cos who does that?  Big joke. 

Until I went to the loo.  BRIGHT RED BLOOD – LOADS OF IT.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  I called Cliff and asked him to check if I was seeing right.  His face told me all.  He cried.  I screamed and shouted and threw things and texted my Mom and besties who tried to talk me down.  Watched TV and got ready for bed and when I went to pee before bed, I wiped and the blood – it was gone.  I called Cliff to check again.  Very confused and upset we tried to get some rest.

We pitched up at the clinic the next morning, unreasonable and insisting on a blood test.  I was not going to subject my butt to anymore pain if it was all over.  My darling FS (I love that man) told me that we both knew it was too early to test.  That there could be any number of reasons for the bleed, and that he chose to believe that it was implantation bleeding.  I think I even rolled my eyes at him to his face when he said that.  But understand I was inconsolable.  Totally sleep deprived and out of my mind with confusion and worry.  Every time I’ve seen blood when cycling its meant the end… why would this time be different?  But nagging in the back of my head the question repeated itself Why else would the bleeding have stopped?

He agreed to let me test early that Friday.  3 days early.  The week was a busy one at work – filled with stress and issues and come Thursday I had to tell Cliff that we could not test on Friday – I had 4 meetings and had to get to a DC to sticker stock and it was just not an option to be out of it cos of a BFN… so we decided to delay the test to Saturday.

On Saturday, still no more bleeding and it was time to head to the clinic to test.  I was SO nervous I felt like I was going to vomit and pass out all at once.  I had the bloods drawn, took my barcode to the sister who just hugged me tight.  We went for breakfast (which I did vomit up – sorry TMI) and on the way out of the McDonalds my phone rang.  VL’s number came up.  I felt like I was going to pass out and grabbed Cliff’s arm.  I answered and this voice said ” plse can you get your ass back to the clinic right away? I need to give you a BIG hug” my first thought was SHIT not again “cos you’re SO pregnant honey” I heard ringing in my ears and just looked at Cliff and said Oh my God it worked babe, it worked.

We walked into the clinic and the IVF nurses all just hugged us and hugged us.  SO completey surreal.  Our FS came over and gave me a squeeze and told me we had made his entire weekend.  Our beta was good and strong – especially considering that we had tested “early”.  274.  I felt like I was having an out of body experience. 

I had a repeat beta on the Monday (which was my orignal test day) and our beta came back at 716.  I booked my post BFP intralipids for the Wednesday and was told to have one last beta on the Friday.  It came back as 4938.  That might I had my first “pregnancy bleed”.  A huge gush of bright red blood.

I remember sitting on the loo saying over and over to myself – the beta is to high for it to be over, the beta is too high for it to be over.  I prayed over this baby like I’ve never prayed before.  I texted my mom and asked her to get the prayer group praying.  And I told Cliff that I had had a gush of red blood.  On Saturday it was slightly pink when I wiped and I breathed a sigh of relief.

But by Monday I had another big red bleed at work and I called my clinic. 

Are you bleeding heavily?  Define heavily?  Enough to fill a pad. Um no just enough to freak me the fuck out and cause me to nearly pass out from fright.  Are you cramping painfully?  Um no.  Then don’t worry honey, 25% of all our pregnant patients bleed – some with clots, some very lightly, some heavy but as long as you’re not cramping painfully all should be fine… hang in there and all that crap…. as you can imagine all I heard was blah blah blah all the while trying to convince myself that this was “normal” and that our miracle was going to be ok.

Rinse repeat this cycle – bleed, nothing for 2 -3 days, bleed, nothing for 2 – 3 days.

Finally it was time for our 7 week scan.

We were late.  I still can’t believe that it was THE most important moment of our lives thus far and we were late.  Stephan took us into the room and asked how I was.  I mentioned the bleeding, he frowned.  My heart klutzed right out of my chest onto the floor.  He said lets see whats going on ok?  I think I nodded. 

He inserted my trusty friend the dildo cam and was quietly looking at the screen.  Not knowing the the frick I was looking for I just watched his face.  I did not realise how I was holding my breath until he said “ok so it’s a singleton pregnancy, well done”.  He then showed us the most beautiful sight in the world.  Our embryo – inside my uterus, with a strong healthy heartbeat.

Our little Clam – 7 weeks 3 days along, measuring 12.5mm long and with a heartbeat of 163 bpm.

This post is WAY too long now, so I’ll leave you with some pics from the 7 week scan.  There is a lot more to this story so I’ll update again tomorrow with the next chapter.