A GRATEFUL POST

Since posting the story about my miscarriage, I’ve had a read through some other experiences which have floated across my WordPress app and I feel the overwhelming urge to do a grateful post. What happened to me is nothing compared to what many people face every day. Infertility plagues approximately 15% of Australian couples of reproductive age. I am so lucky not to ever have tried to conceive for more than six months straight. I found it hard enough to deal with symptom-spotting and peeing on sticks waiting for a line to come then imagining lines when they’re not there, etc for a measly six months. I found it mentally draining and I really had nothing on the many people who go through this for months and even years. Kudos to those who are still chasing their dreams of conceiving after extended periods of disappointment. You must possess such a strength to keep fighting and I am in awe of you.

There are also major life-threatening issues like congenital heart disease which gives a set of loving parents their dream, only to yank it back in such a cruel way you wonder how they could possibly get through it. I’m not sure if I could have said goodbye to one of my babies shortly after they were born. I struggle even imagining it.

So anyway, don’t let me get sidetracked. I am so super grateful for my three healthy kids. Having children is a blessing, not a right. I am so blessed to have been chosen as their mother. Through sleepless nights, sore nipples, the unrelenting screams through “witching hour”, and countless spew-adorned early morning school runs, I am always grateful.

I am grateful for my angel baby who grew wings last year when I was thirteen weeks pregnant, because without her, we would not have our little ten week old princess now. Our third child was always going to be our last, so if last year’s pregnancy had gone full-term we wouldn’t have Miss O. I couldn’t imagine a world without her now. She has given me perspective and understanding while making me truly appreciate everyone around me.

I am also hugely grateful for my husband. Above all, he is my perfect partner. When we’ve thought our love could not grow any more, it has. We’ve been married for almost eleven years and they have been the best years of my life by far. I like to think we have so much love for our children as they were born from the love we have for each other. He takes such good care of us and works hard to feed our three children, myself and also help out his parents. I’m grateful for his patience and understanding when I decided last year that I couldn’t face my workplace any longer and started to pursue a university degree. I wake up every morning and smile because I get to do what makes me happy (even when there’s a poosplosion and subsequent nappy leak) with those that mean the most to me, all day, every day.

I am blessed. I truly am.

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A heartbreaking experience changed my life – My missed miscarriage.

I wanted to share something which is a little negative, but it’s something I need to get out there. It’s not often spoken about, but why not? Miscarriage is more common than many people realise. Once you’ve suffered through one, stories from friends and loved ones come out and you wonder why they chose to suffer in silence. There is nothing shameful or awkward about it. It happens and doesn’t discriminate. I need to share that one pivotal moment which changed everything for me. That one moment which put everything into perspective and showed me that we should never take anything for granted, we should be so grateful for what we have, and life is too short to waste it doing something you don’t enjoy. That was a massive long sentence of cliches, but they are cliches which I now live by. The changes took a while, and there were some hurdles along the way, but right now I can tell you it’s been worth it. I have my rainbow baby to thank for a refreshed outlook.

Stepping out of the car at the hospital that Wednesday morning, we joked about what the scan would reveal. I explained to hubby that we were going for our Nuchal Translucency (“NT”) scan at twelve weeks plus six days gestation as the further along you are, the better your chances are of finding out the gender. We had two boys but I had always wanted a little girl to dress up in bows and tutus. If it was another boy, that would make me the queen of the family hands down so that would have been OK too… Having already had two successful pregnancies, I never even considered that this could be the moment that changes everything.

11th September, 2013

The memory is so vivid that I can still feel the pressure of a full bladder as we sit in the waiting room eagerly waiting to find out if we’re playing on team blue or team pink. My knees nervously twitch, the plastic chair squeaks against the wall behind me and the parenting magazine jerks on my lap, but it doesn’t matter; I’m not reading anyway.

Another couple leave the radiologist’s room, all smiles while they finalise payment and wait for their DVD. My name is called and I eagerly bounce my way in after the perfectly pressed radiologist. She’s wearing beige slacks and a white shirt with her hair in a neat ponytail. I ponder how she looks like she’s just stepped off the page of a Review catalog. She greets me with a warmth I remember from my son’s morphology scan. I introduce hubby then loosen my maternity jeans and fold them down at the waist. I lie back in the recliner and lift my shirt, all smiles, knees bouncing with anticipation. The excitement is radiating from the both of us. The radiologist applies the warm gel and puts the wand to my stomach. On the big flat screen fixed to the opposite wall, we immediately see a perfect little baby, complete with arms and legs, fingers and toes. I look over at hubby and squeeze his hand, saying with a tear in my eye, “Awww we made another one!” The joy at seeing that beautiful little baby is short lived. The screen goes black. The radiologist quietly says “I’m sorry” with a look of sympathy. For a moment I think she’s apologising for turning the screen off, but then I see the look of sadness on her face. I realise my perfect baby was perfectly still and a sob escapes my mouth. My stomach drops and I feel like I could vomit. There’s a ringing in my ears and I feel like I’m looking down on myself. I squeeze hubby’s hand and the room suddenly feels suffocating.

I’m finally able to empty my bladder while my obstetrician is called. I wonder why there is no blood, and how this is even possible. I squeeze my nipple and feel nothing. No tenderness or tingling. Pulling up my jeans in between sobs, I realise why they were a little loose on me this morning. How long has my baby been sleeping in my stomach with no heartbeat? How could I have been going on about my usual life without knowing that my baby had died? When exactly did the tiny little heart stop beating?I’m twelve weeks and six days today, but baby measures about ten weeks and five days. The radiologist explains to me that I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my obstetrician, which I am to keep, and he will speak to me then. She puts a gentle hand on my shoulder and guides me out of the room into the one next door while the next expectant couple are ushered through and the door is quickly closed. I can only assume this was to protect us both: me from her large protruding belly, and them from my tear-stained cheeks and red raw eyes. They give me a brochure and suggest I read through it, paying particular attention to the section titled “Missed Miscarriage” and “Talking To Your Child About Miscarriage”. My heart sinks at the prospect of explaining it all to our four and six year old boys.

As we’re walking back to the car, hubby pulls me into him and I let it all out. I wail, stomp my feet, snot drips from my nose. Thirteen weeks I carried my baby, and I loved it so much already. The pain is going to take some time to heal, but we’ll get there.

I can tell you now this DOES have a happy ending. This was just over a year ago, and I now have the most beautiful ten week old baby girl. She keeps me awake at night and prefers to sleep in my arms during the day … and I love every second of it. Just moments after signing the hospital paperwork promising not to sign any important documents or make any major decisions within 24 hours of the D&C, I broke the rule. I asked my husband to phone work and tell them I won’t be returning. It was the best decision I had ever made. I’d remained in my position too long, in a workplace where I was bullied on a daily basis, and had decided enough was enough. Two weeks later I was at the beginning of a university degree which I wish I’d had the opportunity to do when I first finished high school. I won’t tell you how long ago that was!

So here I am, mother of three, life complete, full time student and loving it. And I want to share it with anyone who may be interested. Thank you for reading. x

There’s nothing virtual about virtual friends.

Forging internet friendships is similar to internet dating. There’s the honeymoon phase, where everyone is mindful of each other’s beliefs, respectful of differing opinions, and generally live by the notion that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. There is often a “first meet” where everyone attending obsesses and “Face-stalks” the others’ Facebook profiles hoping not to look too lost when they enter the meeting place. Then after the initial “meet”, what if you don’t want to see them again for whatever reason? It can often be more difficult than breaking up with someone. Trust me. I’ve been there before and have a quirky Facebook friend complete with three meal pics per day and video workout demonstrations to prove it.

For the most part, I’ve been lucky in the virtual friendship department. When I use the phrase “virtual friends”, the only thing “virtual” about them is the fact that the friendships were built in cyber space. Not sitting face to face often means you can be more open and honest. Maybe it takes away the fear of judgment. After all, if you can’t see the person, who cares if they’re judging you or not? Maybe it’s because you always have the option of removing yourself from their life with a click of the mouse. Or the fact that you’ve come together with something in common, like the birth or loss of a child. Either way, these friendships can often be more fulfilling and meaningful than real life friendships. Once the initial “first meet” nerves are out of the way, the door is opened to many wonderful life-long connections. As a group, there will be ups and downs, losses and gains, but at the end of the day, each and every person has a support network behind them whenever they need. That is priceless, and I am forever grateful.