Taking back what IVF took away from me



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.