Taking back what IVF took away from me

 

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It has been almost five weeks since we saw the Dr as we were out of town for a week for a wedding and a bit of a babymoon.  It was absolutely wonderful having a bit of a break with DH, but I was nervous to fly and also nervous to be so far from home in case something happened, but it was all fine.  So we are back home now and had our 35 week Dr’s appointment yesterday afternoon.  I was interested to see what he had to say, as some of my friends have commented on how I have popped out a bit in the last two weeks.  I definitley have felt him grow as he is getting heavy to carry around now.

So we chatted briefly about how I have been feeling and other than a bit of expected swelling, heartburn and poor sleep, I have to say I have had a fabulous pregnancy.  I really cannot complain at all!  No challenges, no issues, it has really been smooth sailing.  So then we did a scan…and this little one is measuring four weeks ahead!  His head is huge!  He has always measured a bit ahead, but not this far.  The Dr did not use the term fetal macrosomia, so I am not quite sure if he is huge, or just big.  I guess you only really know once they come out and are properly weighed.  So the Dr is sending me for a fasting blood test to rule out gestational diabetes.  I will get the results on Monday, and if it is not diabetes, then it just means we are having one huge baby!  So the next obvious question to the Dr was….is a natural birth still an option?  Which he replied, ‘It is all about the mechanics now.’, and I laughed out loud at that. 

So basically it is just about determining if his giant head will fit through my pelvis.  Now, while I was going through the many years of IVF, I was a detail-freak, to the point that I stressed myself out over every little detail and the many outcomes that could follow.  I often doomed a cycle to failure before I truly had reason to do so.  With my miscarriage….it was horrible.  I blamed myself, I blamed the regimen we chose, I even blamed the food I ate.  When I emerged from my post-miscarriage darkness (and it was pitch dark) I promised myself that I would let go of the things I had no control over, and if I ever was to become pregnant, I would try very hard to focus on the miracle and not see doom and devastation at every corner.  I like to believe that I have done that.  But it is also because I have had such a drama-free pregnancy…that has helped. 

I have really kept an open mind so far about the birth.  I have maintained that first prize is a natural birth, and I would only consider a caesarian if it was absolutely medically necessary….but I would not allow my mind to lock in a preference one way or the other.  My main priority is to have a healthy and safe delivery for both baby and me, so I have focused on that as my outcome and the details of ‘how’, although important and discussed, are not the primary objective.  This approach has given me a great deal of calm and peace knowing that the birthing process is a journey and although I can influence it, there are many things that I cannot control, so I am keeping a very open mind to avoid any stress caused if my birth plan is not possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am informed.  I understand the pros and cons of every medical intervention….intimately.  However, I have chosen to not rule out anything as it will depend on the situation for me to determine if medical intervention is appropriate.  For example, I am not keen on the use of pitocin for induction, so that one would be a hard-sell for me.  But…I am not ruling it out.  I also am not a fan of an episiotomy, but again…I am not ruling it out.  If I need intervention for pain management…I am also not enthused by immediate pharmaceutical intervention…..but again, not ruling it out.   I also would like to have immediate skin-to-skin, but if that doesn’t happen….that is ok.  My plan involves open communication….that will be a primary need for me.

It is very interesting, because when I speak to others about their birth plan, it is very specific medically and entirely about their physical body.  I always wonder if they have thought about their mental wellness, not only their physical wellness.  I think IVF has taught me the importance of being mentally in control.  My birth plan is much more focused on what I require mentally, rather than physically.  Ultimately, I want to have a birth where I feel at peace, but also empowered.  I want to feel confident and that I am prepared to make any decision I need to make, but also hand over some of that decision-making to my very capable medical team…with DH of course, who I know will always make the right decisions.  I want to know that if something changes and I am unable to make a decision myself, that it does not make me powerless, that I have many people who are looking out for my best interest.  I do not want to have fear or doubt in my team, as I believe this is when I would start feeling powerless.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but it has really allowed me to meditate and focus on positive energy, which has made this entire experience of pregnancy such an amazing preparation for this new arrival.  Another unknown….

IVF made me feel weak and powerless….I feel like I now have my power back, and I am so grateful for that.  I only hope my birthing experience adds again to my confidence and feeling of empowerment as a woman, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter and in my new role as mother.

 

 

Scans….and plans…..and hospital bags….Oh my!

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I am so lucky….I am having the most uneventful pregnancy ever!  That means that I have very little to write about.  So sorry for the long delays in between posts.  Also apologies because this post doesn’t have a theme, it is a mish-mash of whatever came out of my brain.

DH and I just got back from the hospital where we had our 4D scan.  I was expecting something a little more eventful.  I guess for ‘regular’ pregnant ladies, the 4D is very exciting, as they don’t have many scans.  With me, I had a scan every 2 weeks until around 16 weeks, then one every four weeks.  My Dr has a 3D scanner, so I have had lots of opportunities to see this little guy.  I am completely spoiled, but after my long journey…I deserve it!

We were able to see his face a bit better though, and spend time on the more aesthetic pleasures of growing a baby rather than just measurements.  We saw his loads of hair!  So if the old wives tales are true, that explains the unending heartburn that I am experiencing (I should have bought shares in Gaviscon, as it is a staple in my diet these days).  We also saw his long legs!  The technician even commented on his strong calf muscles.  So this also explains the quick sharp jabs to my side.  Although I must say, he is not a very active baby, he is pretty gentle most of the time and kicks to the sides.  I haven’t felt these kicks to major organs, or worse (at least I hear they are) sharp kicks to the hoo-hoo. 

However, this was not our only scan this week!  We were at the Drs office yesterday and had another scan…but that was all measurements.  His heartrate is good, measuring 144bpm, so right in the middle of the average range.  He is also around 1.4kgs at 29 weeks.  So he is a bit ahead in his growth.  I asked the Dr if this meant he might come early, and he said, “No, you are just probably going to have a big baby!”.  I laughed out loud at that.  He is really getting a sense of humour.  I guess that is what happens when you no longer have to talk about serious decisions and bad results…..and doom and gloom.  I must say, I am really enjoying this new side of my Drs appts.  I actually breathe in the waiting room, and read magazines, and am relaxed!  It’s amazing!  So this is what fertiles feel like?  I could get used to this!  The Dr also looked at the umbilical cord blood flow and all is good.  My amniotic fluid is also good, which surprised me because I feel like I am constantly dehydrated and I know I don’t drink enough water…or any fluid for that matter.

We also spoke about flying, as I have to fly next week for a teaching contract.  But I will still be 29 weeks and the Dr gave me a note, so it should be fine.  We are also considering flying to a wedding in March that is 1400kms away.  We were going to drive to the wedding, but I will be 34 weeks then, and as long as all is still fine in the pregnancy, the airline says I can fly up until 36 weeks.  We were going to drive over three days and turn it into a little ‘babymoon’, but I am so nervous about being in the middle of nowhere at 34 weeks in case something does happen.  So we are going to consider flying.

My baby shower is on 08 March!!!  Now this is what I have been waiting for my whole pregnancy, a chance to celebrate with all my friends and colleagues.  All of my family live in another country, so these milestones make me so homesick.  So I invited every woman I have ever bumped into!  I figure it would have been a big affair at home, so I need to make it a big affair here!  My close friends here are hosting and we will have around 35 people coming.  I am so excited to see everyone, I just never thought I would have a baby shower, and it is so nice to finally celebrate something!

So I am about 10 weeks away from full-term, and I have also not bought anything!  Well, that’s not totally true.  I did buy a crap load of towels on sale.  A few friends and colleagues have given me a few early gifts of clothes.  Oh, and diapers were on sale a few weeks ago and I broke down and bought two big packs.  But that’s it.  I wanted to wait until after the baby shower to see what I need.  Of course, we still need the big stuff, car seat, stroller, crib…..but we will get that after we come back from the wedding.  A friend of mine has also offered me all of her stuff, as her little one is now three years old and having a second is not really panning out for her.  She also struggles with infertility and her first was a battle, so she was never really convinced a second was an option.  However, I don’t want to take her stuff if she is not ready to let go of it, as I am sure it holds a lot of emotion for her.  So we will see how she feels in a few weeks.

We also spoke to the Dr about what kind of delivery we can expect.  I am getting so many questions from people and so much pressure to make a decision….it is a little ridiculous.  So the Dr said exactly what I have been saying (phew!), that it is too soon and lots can change from now until delivery, but as of now all options are open to me and he will support whatever I want or need, as long as there are no medical complications.  Huge sigh of relief!  I feel so much pressure from people to make a decision, when I don’t really feel the decision to have a c-section is in my hands.  I don’t come from a country that supports elective c-sections, so it is a little strange for me.  I am just so happy that my Dr is open and supports whatever I want.  I have talked to so many women who didn’t have a choice, a c-section was all they were offered.  I am sorry, but I would change doctors….I can’t believe women believe they don’t have a choice!  So very sad.

I am still loving the book ‘Bringing up Bébé’, I re-read sections all the time.  I made the mistake of watching the first 30 minutes of ‘The Business of Being Born’, and hated it!  It was a little too anti-medical establishment for me.  I don’t believe in ‘being a hero’ and having a natural birth without pain medication just to prove you can do it.  Like it is a trophy or you are a stronger woman because you did.  That documentary made me feel that anyone who didn’t want to have a home birth in a tub was a sell-out.  I think there are choices you can make, and some you can’t.  Every birth is different, and to turn birthing into a competition for women against women is ludicrous.  However, I have a feeling that ‘being a hero’ is an American perspective, as the country I am in is completely opposite…..to the other extreme.  I just want to find my happy place.

Ok….last comment, or actually it is a question.  What did you pack in your hospital bag?  I need to start thinking about that.

Well hello there little guy!

25 weeks
Happy new year to everyone and I hope you had a good holiday season! Well here we are at 25 weeks, and I am still in disbelief that this is happening to me. We had a scan this morning and we got a nice shot of the little guys face (top left corner of pic above), his arm and hand (bottom centre of pic). He totally looks like he already has a little mohawk, which is the main reason I am so excited to have a boy! I love little boys with mohawks! Too cute. His estimated weight is 875g, which is a bit heavier then the average 660g for 25 weeks. So it looks like I am having a bruiser! At least he is growing nicely and there are no concerns at all, everything is going smoothly with no bumps. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

I am feeling really good. I read so many other blogs and I really am having a very nice and easy pregnancy so far. I have heartburn, my feet and hands are a bit swollen, my tummy aches if I move too quickly, I am tired and sometimes sleeping is bit of a challenge…but seriously….it is all minor compared to some symptoms I read other ladies having. I am so thankful that I can relax and start to enjoy being pregnant. It is such a blessing after such a long road and so much heartache. That is what I always wished, that when I did get pregnant (finally after six years!) that it would be an event-free pregnancy. So far, so good.

So we are all booked at the hospital. That was an event. I have never filled out so many forms in my life (other than taxes!). We have registered for a private room with an additional bed for DH. I told him he doesn’t have to stay over, but at least it gives him the option if he wants to, or I need him there! It is really nice knowing that we have that option, as I have no idea what to expect. The whole delivery component of this is a bit scary and overwhelming. I read a lot about having a ‘birth plan’, but I am not sure I want to be too set in my mind or create expectations for myself that might not be possible when this baby finally does decide to come. There is so much unpredictability around giving birth, and although DH and I will be included in as many decisions as possible, some may be out of our hands. I don’t want to feel powerless at all, I think I more want to feel empowered that I fully trust my Dr. Maybe I am being naive, but I know that creating too much expectation always leads to disappointment. I will have the conversation with my Dr and DH and we will go over scenarios and what I feel comfortable with, but at the end of the day a lot of the decisions may not be mine if there are challenges. I don’t know….what did you guys do? For those of you who had a birth plan and it changed…did you feel powerless and defeated? That is what I am trying to avoid.

I do want to thank Ozifrog (Jo) for recommending to take this time during preganancy to read up on parenting. I am reading ‘Bringing up Bébé’ by Pamela Druckerman, and am interested if any of you have read this…opinions? Suggestions for good parenting books you read? I am going to withold my thoughts/opinions on this book until I am actually a parent, as I am sure what you ‘want’ to do and what you ‘actually’ end up doing are probably different. For those of you who are parents….give me the real deal. What did you think you would do that totally got thrown out the window once baby arrived?

All the best for 2014 to all of you, wherever you are on your journey.