Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas trees, presents and tears

I got a text message today from a dear friend who lost her first baby this year.  She was sitting in her car, in the parking lot of the local shopping centre, crying her eyes out.  Her attempt at a normal round of Christmas present buying had proven too hard a task.  She was trapped inside her grief, inside her car, and didn't know what to do next.

It made me wonder how many of us have been in this same situation.  Whether it was at Christmas time, a birthday or anniversary, outside a friend's house as a baby shower goes on inside... How many of us have attempted to do something "normal" like buying a gift or simple grocery shopping, in order to feel "normal"?  And how many of us have broken apart at the seams in the cereal aisle, or surrounded by a crowd in the kids section of Target?  And why do we make ourselves feel so awful when this happens?

I am guilty of trying to act like a normal person since we lost our babies.  Planning parties, organising family dinners, and putting up our Christmas tree on December 1st.   I have tried to buy baby gifts for girlfriends, only to cry all over the gift wrapping.  And I am guilty of trying to pretend that grief doesn't blanket every emotion or thought in my heart and head.  And this seems to be exacerbated ten-fold when someone tries to do something lovely for me!  I can't receive a card or gift without immediately converting to the blubbering version of myself.      

But at Christmas time, we don't play these games in our house.  Christmas Day is a sacred day for so many reasons.  First and foremost it is the birthday of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.  And in the spirit of hope, family and unconditional love, Christmas Day is also the one day a year when Hubby and I be and feel whatever we need to in that moment.  We spend the day in each others company giving and receiving gifts, eating our specially prepared meals and expressing whatever feelings overcome us at any given moment.  

For instance, we usually try to attend church on Christmas morning.  This is tradition that we were both raised with, and one we hope our children will be able to share with us too.  I hold Hubby's hand throughout the whole service as we pray and hear the message of the day.  I can hold my own pretty well until it is time to sing carols.  For whatever reason, for as long as I can remember, singing Christmas carols is for me like opening the floodgates on a year's worth of held in, pent up emotion.  The moment the choir begins rejoicing in "O Holy Night" I am slapped back into my chair, face in my hands, sobbing.  Some years the sobbing is with grateful thanks for the wonderful blessings in our lives, and sometimes it with sadness over not being able to share that Christmas with a beloved family member who passed away during the year.  But this year I know, and I am VERY prepared for the fact that all my tears will be for our babies.  

The thought of this terrifies me!  The thought of crying like a banshee in a church full of people trying to celebrate their own Christmases is mortifyingly embarrassing!   You see, I'm not a "pretty crier".  When I cry, and I mean really, REALLY get into a full on tear fest, I can not be accountable for the drooling, the oozing boogers or the groans that come out of me from somewhere deep within.  Usually when I feel one of these moments coming on, like my dear friend, I search for the closest exit to the room/building/situation and I find a warm, quiet place to hide.  Problem is, church is for some people that warm, quiet place to hide.  And on Christmas Day we are all going to be there together.  I have voiced these concerns to my Husband, who promises to come prepared with extra tissues stuffed into every available pocket, and a coat of some sort to drape around my shoulders so I can hide my face from onlookers.  And if need be, he will hold my hand and guide me out the front door and into a private corner so I can collect my dignity and redo my makeup.  My hero!

Let's face it, Christmas is a hard one.  There is so much expectation put on this single day to magically be able to visit ALL of our family, no matter how far the distance between homes, to cook a meal even a Master Chef would be proud of, and to be constantly chipper in a way that I feel can only be medically or alcoholically induced.  And the person who puts the brunt of this expectation on us is ourselves!

So here is my Christmas wish for you...
I pray that take a moment with your Husband or Wife and allow yourselves to really feel what is in your heart this Christmas.  I don't believe in self-pity or dwelling in grief, but I DO believe in acknowledging it and the role it plays in our lives.  So whether it be first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or you sneak away from your Aunts and Uncles at the family gathering, it really doesn't matter when.  You'll be surprised at how cathartic it can be to have a big old cry.  It may just be what you need to get you through the rest of your Christmas Day duties!

I also wish you much love this Christmas.  The love of our family and friends is the greatest blessing during our hard times.  And I pray that you feel love in abundance.

Merry Christmas everyone! 
All my love, 
Sunny xx  

 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The post that took three months to write

I have been hiding.  But you've probably all noticed that already.  
I have been taking cover in our little home, away from my computer and keyboard.  Away from writing, away from talking, away from facing the reality of what was happening.

Our call from the clinic nurse 14 days after our FET twin transfer was not a positive one.  But we already had a fairly strong inkling it wouldn't be.  I had started to feel the first signs of nausea and cramping at around 9-10 days post transfer, but they disappeared as quickly as they'd arrived.  By Day 13 I felt nothing again.  But we set the alarm nice and early on Day 14 so we could do the home pregnancy tests together.  We did two of different brands just to be sure.  One positive (only just) and one negative.  That was enough to convince me.  Three hours later the nurse called and confirmed what we already knew.  Our little ones didn't make it.

I think at first I told myself it was ok.  We had spent months before the transfer toughening ourselves up.  We knew the risks, we knew the failure rates, we'd been told that two embryos may not take as well as one.  But we'd made an informed choice together.  And then we suffered the loss together.  And it only really hit me when I saw my beloved Husband explaining what'd happened, through tears, to his Mum on the phone.  Our two tiny sparks were no more. 

I didn't bleed straight away.  My body didn't want to give up until it was medically induced.  And then when it did, so did my brain...  I couldn't stand the idea of going through this all again.  But our doctor encouraged a second cycle due to the high hormone levels still floating around my body, and that it would be of benefit in another cycle.  So we went ahead with more preparation drugs, however they did not take.  My body rejected the artificial hormones and we cancelled the cycle two days out from the FET.   Sitting in his office alone, weighing up the options of increasing my doses further or cancelling the cycle altogether, I fell apart.  He reached forward, grabbed my hand and told me it was alright to be upset.  He'd had such high hopes for Hubby and I, and even his heart broke for us. 

That afternoon when I got home, Hubby was waiting for.  I didn't have to say a word; didn't have to explain what'd happened during my appointment.  He had a fairly clear idea from the beaten look on my face.  It was right then we decided that we'd definitely had enough for this year.  2012 had been a bust.  We were grateful for the big steps forward we'd made; I mean, we still have eight beautiful, tiny, frozen miracles.  But, we were broken from our losses.   Not long after that we went into our cocoon, where we have been ever since.  We've had some exciting news from family and friends about their own pregnancies.  We are going to be an Aunt and Uncle again very soon to our first beautiful, little nephew, and we couldn't be more excited.  But as for our own baby plans, well they are on hold again for now. 

 

           

Monday, 15 October 2012

Our Candle


Three little flames burning bright,
For the three little ones not with us tonight.
Mummy and Daddy have always loved you.
x x x

October 15th - Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day







Join us tonight at 
for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

October 15th, 7pm.

Share a photo of your little one's candle burning bright and feel the love and support.  
Because you are not alone in your grief.

Sunny xx

Monday, 10 September 2012

100th Post-iversary - Little sparks

This is my 100th post on SunnySideUp!  I have wanted to write it for a while and celebrate it as the massive milestone it feels like, but nothing seemed worthy enough to write about...Until five days ago that is.

After two years (almost to the day) of tears, trials, medications, calendar counting and a whole lot of hoping, we finally feel like we have hit a milestone in our attempts to get pregnant and start our family.  After two years of trying everything we could, and everything that was thrown at us, we had 10 little frozen embryos and a date for our first transfer.  

Getting a date alone was a big deal for us.  This cycle got off to a very rocky start.  I had multiple scans to check uterine lining, and at the end of every one the amount of stimulant medication, Progynova, I was taking was increased.  We finally got to the desired 8mm thickness on Day 15 of the cycle and was commenced on Crinone twice a day to ensure that the progress we'd made didn't melt away.  Our transfer date was set for five days later, on Day 20.

I don't really know what we were expecting for transfer day.  I'm not sure what other people have envisioned their transfers would be like either.  But ours was nothing like the movie that played out in my dreams the night before.  We arrived at the IVF clinic at lunch time and were taken in the consult room by a lovely lady named Rhiannon.  She turned out to be our Embryologist.  She sat us down and went through the process of how it'd all work.  We signed more release forms about the risks of multiple pregnancy, infections, negative pregnancy tests, etc.  And then she slid an envelope across the table.  "These are your embryos" she explained.  "You can open it now and have a look, or you can save it til later when you're alone."  Hubby reached for envelope without a second thought and pulled out two photographs.  OUR embryos.  Two little balls of cells, so different from each other, and yet so alike and so precious.  As Hubby sat mesmorised by the photos, I was mesmorised by him.  A look of such calm, such pride, such love came over his face.  Before I could hold them back, the tears began to fall.  Here they were!  Finally our little ones are coming home with us today.  

Soon after, we were led into a softly lit room with the procedure bed.  I undressed and wrapped myself in the drape and climbed into the familiar chair.  The room was warm, and there was music in the background.  It felt nothing like the cold clinic I'd expected.  As I looked up I could see two large flat screens hanging from either wall.  There was an ultrasound machine beside me.  Hubby held my hand as Rhiannon and our doc came in through to modesty curtain to make sure I was settled.  They would be making sure our embryos made it to the warmest, squishiest part of my uterus.  Another nurse, Kate, would hold the ultrasound over my belly so we could watch as the catheter went in first, followed by the syringe holding our little ones.  

It really was quite amazing.  Each little embryo emitted its own little sparks of light as they flitted off the end of the syringe into my uterus.  And there, on the big screen overhead, we saw our embryos float side-by-side inside me.  I turned and looked over at Hubby, who had my hand firmly in his, his eyes glued to the screen and his mouth open in awe.  Kate quickly printed off an ultrasound picture of the little sparks before they faded into the dark uterine wall.  Later, in the car on the way home, we hugged our photos to our chests and said a very big prayer.  The rest now, is up them.

Two days later we set of to the coast for a bit of wedding anniversary beach side luxury.  A perfect way to try and take our minds of the next two excruciating weeks of waiting until we can do a pregnancy test.

In the meantime, I will be logging off SunnySideUp for just a wee while.  I have decided that in order to preserve whatever time we have waiting for these little embryos to make up their minds, I must focus all my time, attention and love on my family.  I will be back though, with whatever news the next few months may bring us.

I want to thank you all for your support, for your prayers, and for your kind words.  You have brought brightness to our dark days, and shared in our good.  You are all in our thoughts as well. And I wish you every success for where ever you are on your own paths to parenthood. 

Thank you, always,

Sunny xx  

 

    

Thursday, 16 August 2012

August 19th - Day of Hope












I want to take a moment to say a big thank you to CarlyMarie and Project Heal for creating this wonderful day.

A day where you can stand proudly and say to those around you "I'm not afraid".  Because it is hard enough to feel the pain and anguish that comes with infertility and losing a child, without having to continually hide those emotions.

August 19th, Day of Hope, is about standing tall and proud about how you really feel.  It's about sharing and supporting others around who may feel the same way.
 
It's about telling the world that these feelings, and these experiences are a very big part of your every day life.  And for the lives of so many more out there.

 So on August 19th, know that I too stand with you, my arms wrapped around you, my hand in your hand, as we tell the world we're not afraid.

All my love and strength,
Sunny xx


For more information please check out CarlyMarie's website, or join her on facebook.

 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

What a let down!

Today was pre-transplant scan day.  The day that had been marked in our calendars the moment we froze our embryos.  And then circled that date so we wouldn't forget, wouldn't double book ourselves, would plan our day and week around.  As we drove to the clinic this morning a very subtle, but very true feeling of nervousness kicked up in my stomach.  Hubby noticed straight away and grabbed my hand from my lap, trying to calm me.  There was so much riding on this appointment.  So many months of patience and heart ache that had led us to this day; the day that would decide when our embryos would come home to me, to start their new life.

We didn't wait long before we were called into his office.  With a warm hug and handshake for us both we sat and awaited our fates.  He explained how he'd recently been named one of the most successful IVF specialists in our state, and that his rate of pregnancy post frozen transfer was higher than any of his colleagues.  He was proving to us that our faith in him was not misplaced.  And he was already right, we trust him 100 percent.  The rest was up to us!

It wasn't long before my undies were off, and my legs were up in stirrups (we all know that awkward position).  As he scooted the ultrasound probe round my lady regions staring intently at the screen, his face looked puzzled.  "What day are you again?" he asked.  "Day 11" I replied quietly.  Hmmm....  And then he looked at me with that face he gives, that face I know all too well means something's not quite right, and explained that I had no signs of follicle growth, and no build up in uterine lining.  Which basically means my hormones are still not behaving and my body is not produced oestrogen to the level that would produce an ovulation.  Without those hormones, my body wouldn't recognise an embryo and provide a nice warm uterus for it to attach to.

I wiped off the ultrasound jelly, pulled my pants back on, and sat back down at his desk avoiding Hubby's gaze.  I knew he was disappointed, and if I looked at him now I would lose the ability to hold it all together.  Doc went on to outline a new plan of attack for us.  As of the beginning of next cycle I'd go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  A combination of drugs to build up my uterus and invoke an ovulation.  BUT it didn't involve Clomid (thank goodness)!  In order to get back to Day 1 without too much messing about, I'll be back of progesterone tablets to force my period to start, which should only take about seven to 10 days.   The HRT will then take about 12 to 14 days, at which point we can rescan for possible transfer dates.

The ride home from the doctors was a quiet one, save for my crying and Hubby's ragged breathing as he too tried to hide his tears.  24 more days!  It may not seem like a long time to many, but to us it is yet another lifetime to live through.  Another slow and painful wait until our fate is yet again called up for deciding.  

In 26 days we have booked our very first weekend getaway together in over two and a half years.  In 32 days it is our third Wedding Anniversary.  In 59 days we will mark the second Anniversary of the loss of our first pregnancy, and the beginning of our battle with infertility.  So 24 days may feel like a short time for some, but to us it is torture.

     

 

Monday, 6 August 2012

The long and short of it

Holy heck it feels like it's been a decade between when we froze our wee Boobals and now!  Time has slowed these last eight weeks.  Slowed to a painstakingly slow pace.  One that has sent me round the bend a number of times, while we've waited out hormone fluctuations, blood tests, orientation to new jobs, changes in schedules, changes in months...  I feel so much older now than I did just two months ago.  I feel like so much has changed, and yet so many little things will always remain the same.

In the last two months my hormones went from bad to good, to worse again.  I developed huge amounts of bloating and chest pain.  I've been to see my GP thinking I had heart problems, only to be told it was actually my progesterone levels imbalanced.  The when my period was four days late and my chest pain got worse I was asked by my specialist to go home from work and do a pregnancy test as soon as possible.  Why would I do that?  There's NO WAY I could be pregnant!!  As if I'd be pregnant!  And yet, I did as I was told.  

As I stormed in our front door, pregnancy kit in hand,  threw my bag down and headed straight to the bathroom, Hubby knew it was best not to ask questions.  I sat, I peed, and then I cried.  Yet another humiliating negative test.  Worse still, I knew it would be negative and I didn't want to test in the first place.  So I cried.  And then I called my doctor and told him what I already knew.  Definitely NOT pregnant.

Two days later I got my period.  

And as I sat at my desk at work, bewildered by the week's events, I couldn't help but think that this is how it may always be...  Me, counting the days of the month, not by the calendar, but by the cycle day.  I will keep time in 28 to 40 day blocks, not months.  Celebrate milestones like two years of "trying", as well as wedding anniversaries and birthdays.  Will I always keep such a tight leash on my body?  Or one day will I learn to just let it all go and be what it'll be?  Will having a baby loosen my grip on scheduling my internal clock, or make it worse as we attempt again and again to provide siblings for our little ones.  At what point do I just STOP?


So we are now very literally days, yes DAYS, away from a possible frozen transfer.  I won't say what date exactly, because if I do it's likely to change for some reason or another.  And then another counting game begins: two weeks wait, then first 12 weeks, and on and on...  I feel like I'll be keeping count for the rest of my life!




 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Little jars of hope

I feel like this post has been a LONG time coming.  Not just between when I posted about our egg pickup to now, but since this whole process began two years ago.  I can't quite remember how far into things we were when I wrote about the pickup, but since then time has been flying by and we are well and truly on our way to parenthood.  

Our pickup was overly successful and very surprising to all involved, with a whopping 33 eggs collected.  All 33 were healthy enough to attempt fertilisation on Day 1.  By Day 2, 24 had fertilised!  We were amazed!  On Day 3 we were down to 19, and by Day 5 we nervously waited for a call from our scientist to give us the final numbers.  We had no idea what to expect.  No preempted number in our heads.  We told ourselves we'd be happy with four or more.  And at the rate the numbers were dropping, we weren't expecting too much higher than that.  Late on Day 5 Dr Scientist called me, "There's nine in complete blastocyst stage ready to freeze."  I was shocked.  "Nine?" I almost squealed back at him.  "Well, actually, if we leave them one more day, it'll probably be 10" he calmly replied.  We had one more little one on the verge of replication and it would take another 12hours of incubation to know for sure if it was viable or not.  That night, we went to bed and said our prayers.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers these long and restless months.
Thank you for never leaving us alone on our journey to parenthood,
For never doubting us, or our ability to create life.
Thank you for making IVF accessible to us,
For opening the many doors that led us to this one.
Watch over our little bundles in their tiny little jars,
Give them strength to stay the course,  
until we are able to bring them home to us.
Though they are so tiny and new, 
know that we have loved them long before they came to be.
And we can not wait to meet them.
Amen.

The next day, at around the same time, the phone rang.  "Congratulations Mrs Sunny, today we froze 10 of your blastocysts."  And their it was, the biggest answer to the biggest prayer Hubby and I have ever said.  We have 10 little em-babies all tucked in safe and sound, in tiny jars of two.  Ready and waiting for us.  Our little 'Boobals', as they are very affectionately called in the Sunny home.

The only thing stopping us from running over there and transferring a couple of them now is my blasted hormones.  We knew we'd have to wait one cycle for the storm in my belly to calm itself, but that may have been extended when I developed a new run of OHSS post period.  Something about the rush of new oestrogen in my system from a natural cycle has joined forces with the stimulated oestrogen.  I'm not really sure how it all works.  All I know is I felt worse after my period, than I did after the egg pickup.  BUT, I'm now on the speedy road to recovery, which means that hopefully in four weeks we can defrost some of our little Boobals.  So, watch this space!

 
  

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The start of something VERY special

I have been meaning to sit down and start writing this post for about the last two weeks.  Instead, the days got the best of me and so now I am going to write it like the giant adventure it has been.  This post covers the last fortnight of our first IVF cycle, and so as not to bore you all too much, I'll write it like a journal entry.  Please excuse any misunderstood terminology, spelling errors, etc.   Obviously, this being our first IVF cycle, we are just getting used to all the jargon that goes with it.

Day 1: I get my period.  Weight = 59.5kg.  Waist = 76.5cm.

Day 2: Visit to the clinic to pick up my drugs (Gonal F and Orgalutran).  Start Gonal F injection 150mg daily.

Day 3: Gonal F 150mg

Day 4: Gonal F 150mg

Day 5: Gonal F 150mg

Day 6: Gonal F 150mg.  Also get infection in foot, start antibiotics.

Day 7: First follicle scan with Dr - approx. 20 follies.  Gonal F 150mg. Visit to Emergency Department for foot, antibiotic dose increased.

Day 8: Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.

Day 9: Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.  

Day 10: Second follicle scan with Dr - approx. 24 follies, ranging between 1.7-2cm each.  Approx. date for egg pick up Day 13.  Weight = 59.9kg.  Waist = 78cm.

Day 11: Visit clinic to pick up trigger injection (Ovidrel).  Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.  Ovidrel 250mcg at 6pm ON THE DOT! Weight = 60.6kg.  Waist = 81cm.

Day 12: No more drugs.  Fast from midnight for egg pick up tomorrow. Weight = 59.4kg.  Waist = 83cm.

Day 13:  Check in at hospital at 6am.  Greeted by Dr and scientist.  Am told that we will be going to "all freezing" cycle due to numbers and fluid retention.  Very highly Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  Wake up following procedure with a number written on my hand (33)!  Hubby brings me home from hospital, feeling bloated and crampy but otherwise fine.

Day 14: Spend day on couch with abdo cramps, otherwise fine.  Call from scientist at clinic - confirmed 33 eggs collected.  23 in Day 1 fertilisation.  Hubby and I are in shock!  Weight = 61.4kg.  Waist = 84cm.

Day 15: TODAY!  Feeling slightly short of breath.  Trying to drink lots of water, but appetite and thirst gone down.  Call from Dr who is concerned I will balloon any time now.  Go for walk around local shopping centre and feeling much better.  Wearing TEDS (Thrombo-embolitic Device Stockings) to reduce risk of fluid shift to legs and prevent clots.  Weight = 62kg.  Waist = 84.2cm.
 
Hubby and I are completely blown away with the numbers that we have produced so far.  Going into this cycle we had so many reservations and questions (read past entries) about whether this would all work or not.  Having tried all other methods before IVF to get pregnant and coming up short, we were nervous that IVF would produce answers that were far too scary to hear; are my eggs any good, why can't our eggs and sperm fertilise, what if it's my uterus, etc, etc.  So when I woke and found that I had made 33 shining little eggs, I was gob-smacked!  And to hear a day later from the scientist, that 23 of those 33 were fertilising, is absolutely incredible to us!  We are in a complete state of shock and awe.

There have been a few minor set backs though.  To hear that my OHSS was so bad we couldn't even consider safely transferring embies back this cycle was very upsetting.  Already I feel attached to those 23 little cells working away in the lab.  I want them back to me as soon as I can have them.  BUT, we realise that this is only a minor bump in the road.  If we were to transfer now, I'd become very sick very quickly, and that would put our strong little embies at a great risk, not to mention me!  So, we take the news in our stride, buck ourselves up and prepare for the time when we can have them back.  Our doctor has recommended a minimum of two cycles (the end of this cycle, plus the next) before he'll consider my levels safe enough.  So that gives us approximately six to eight weeks for me to get back to full health, and to mentally prepare for our transfer.  At this point we are undecided as to how many we'll transfer.  The scientist will call us again at Days 3 and 5 of fertilisation to let us know how our little ones are growing.

Right now we are in emotional limbo.  It's such a funny place to be.  Knowing that our genes are snuggled up safely in a lab a few suburbs away, doing the very best they can to join together and create the beginning of our little offspring.  I want to go over there and press my face against the glass, and watch as they each take another tiny step towards viability.  I already feel like such a proud parent.  Our little ones are fighting to exist.  God has made all this possible.  He has heard our cries, heard our pleas of longing, and answered with a resounding YES, IT IS POSSIBLE!  My heart is filled with joy and excitement about what comes next.  Soon, very, very soon, it will be time to take our embies home!!
      
  

Monday, 4 June 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 30




When I first decided to start this 30 Days of Grateful Blogging project I was stuck in a bit of a rut.  We were on a baby hiatus and felt like we were very literally getting nowhere in our attempts to have a family.  My job was stressful in ways that were affecting every other part of my life.  And Hubby was struggling with coming to terms with our inevitable step towards IVF.  I wanted to find a way to focus on something other than myself, on my troubles and dig myself out of the misery that was building around me.  I wanted to show the world I wasn't ungrateful for the blessings I was receiving and not acknowledging.  I had been far too vain and ignorant for far too long.  There were so many beautiful things in my life, and I was just passing them off like they didn't mean a thing.  But I was wrong.  Boy, I was I so very wrong.

When you choose to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative something magical happens... you start to see beauty in EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!!  I started waking with a purpose of intentionally finding something lovely to be thankful for.  The first few entries were easy to write.  Sunny days, phone calls from friends, cuddles with my Husband; all the simple things I am so grateful for.  But it became so much bigger than me, and my immediate sphere.  It became about growing as a person; someone who doesn't need constant entertaining or huge acts of universal kindness to be grateful for what's right here in front of me everyday.  

I would drive to work and just lose myself in the glorious sunrise shining across the city at 6.30am every morning.  I would sit on the couch and find myself thinking how content I am with my little home and the two amazing creatures I share it with.  I would pay more attention to the conversations I had with friends, take more time to spend with them, and really just try and be a good friend.  I found myself saying quiet "thank you's" that only God could hear, several times a day when I felt like I was having a special moment just for me.  I told my Husband I loved him, a million times a day, and why he was so darn incredible in my eyes.  I let my guard down around him; was my real self, and he was his.  We loved, like we haven't in such a long time; with no agenda, no rules.  Just us.  

So here we are, 30 (or so) days later... We are about to embark on one of the most exciting times in our lives.  Hubby has just started back at uni, and I am about to start a new chapter at work doing something I've waited a long time to get into.  AND we just started our first IVF cycle.  And the best part is that we're both comfortable and 100% ready for it all!  It will be a lot to take on all at once, and for the tiniest time we were worried it was all too much at once.  But the time we have taken away from everything baby-making has brought us together, stronger and sturdier than before.  I am grateful now for that time we took.  For very, very soon, all our waiting will be over!

So though this project was only ever meant to be 30 days long, it is something that I will keep close to my heart and mind for the rest of my life.  Wake up every day searching for something beautiful.  Even if you are having a bad day, look for the little things that can turn it around.  It can be a person, a kind word, a funny picture, a song that sings your thoughts, a cuddle, or your cat!




Thursday, 31 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 29

This week I got a phone call from a very dear friend of mine.  A girl who I have known since I was 11, have grown up with, and who I love as my own sister.  We talk all the time, but it's usually through Facebook or text message.  So when she rang my phone, I knew it was an important call.  She was ringing to tell me that her Mum, Deb, had just been diagnosed with a tumour in her lung, after four years in remission from breast cancer.  She told me that Deb was going in for further tests, but her xray had shown a rather large dark spot and it didn't look good.  Everyone was in shock.

The following day she rang me again, to let me know that Deb was being admitted into the private sector of the hospital I work in.  Deb was to have a biopsy and further PET scanning, and that she would ring me when she was back in her room.  I made my way over to them after work.  I hadn't visited my friend in about a year or so, but it made no difference to us, we loved each other all the same.  We sat and chatted about Deb's options, what the doctors thought the prognosis might be, and what she wanted to do with her treatment.  We talk about their family, and about how they wanted to celebrate whatever time they all had left together.  I was so glad that I was there.

The next day Deb went in for the tests. I sat with my friend in the hospital room, waiting for her Mum to be delivered back to her.  Doctors came and spoke with them, and explained the spread of the tumours was systemic.  There were dark spots in nearly all of her major organs and large bones.  It was devastating!  This beautiful woman, who a long time ago I called my Second-Mum, and is so full of life, was now fighting to save it.  The doctor couldn't give her a time frame, nor a treatment plan, until all the biopsy results were back the following week.  The only comfort they were granted is that there are medications that can slow the growth and hopefully give them more time together.  I held my friend, cried with her and her family.  This simply was not fair.

That night, as I sat crying on my bed, describing to Hubby the day just gone, I asked him to tell me what I should do.  I felt useless.  There was no way I could help them.  No way I could make any of it easier.  My heart was breaking, so I couldn't imagine how they must feel.  I told him how they had started talking about ways to share the rest of Deb's life; the adventures they wanted to have before it was too late.  And he asked me what I could do to help with that, and so I remembered a conversation I'd have with Deb's sister about wanting nice family photos to hold onto.  This was something I could give them.

I sent an email to my beloved Zan, from Zanabelle Photography.  I explained that I wanted to gift them portraits shot by her.  I wouldn't trust anyone else with such an important, very personal task.  Zan wrote me back, saying it would be her honour to help me help them.  And that she would do it all in the name of love.  I was moved to tears.  

Today, and always, I am grateful for my friends.  My friends mean the absolute world to me.  They are generous, kind and selfless.  I am truly touched that one will help me give to another.  Zan is helping me give Deb a gift that her family can treasure for a life time.  A picture they can look upon and remember the beautiful life she lived.  And a picture Deb too can look upon and know she was never alone.  

I am grateful for the years I spent in Deb's care.  Messing about with my friend, taking over living rooms with our sleeping bags, eating her out of house and home, and for loving me as her own.  This life she is living will be cut far too short.   But it has also been a wonderful life, full of family and friends.  I am grateful I get to share that.

           

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Days 27 and 28

This week we've been lucky enough to have Hubby's parents staying with us.  The live in a rural area of North Queensland, so we don't get to go up there often and visit them.  That fact doesn't matter much, because with their work schedules and traveling for conferences, they are in Brisbane about once every month or so.  It's a bit of a running joke between Hubby and I actually, that we see them more now they've moved further away, then when they lived a short drive down the road.  Our spare room is pretty much always in use by one or more members of the family.  And strangely enough, they are always here just when we need them most.

This has been a really long, hard and emotional week.  IVF stuff aside, we learned of a dear friends newest battle, Hubby's job is going nowhere and I am currently in the middle of negotiating my own work possibilities.  I think I have spoken before about how Hubby's family are pastors for the Salvation Army.  So when things get rough, and they are conveniently staying at our house, they are always a great source of inspiration and insight.  We rely on them quite a lot and they have never failed us.  

We are grateful for you, MooMa and Dad.  We are thankful for your love and support.  We are grateful for all that you offer us, never expecting anything in return.  

 

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 26

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned.  It has been 10 days since my last blog.  I am massively behind with my gratefulness.  So the next five days worth may be a little out of order, but they were written on my phone as they happened.  So here goes...

Having shared our good news about starting IVF with our families last week, we have received many wishes of success and love from many of them.  Many of them have known our story from the start, while some of them have only just found out.  My parents are among those who have only known the dot points of our journey.  This isn't because we don't love or trust them, it's mostly because we didn't really think they would understand.  

The relationship I have had with my parents since I married Hubby has been tenuous at best.  They thought I was too young to marry, too naive to be tied down, and too quick to "give up" my personal goals.  They didn't quite understand that one of my goals was to marry my best friend, and start my own family.  Instead, work and career was the dream they saw for me.  So when we married and sailed off on our own adventure, the relationship I had with my Mum grew strained and distant.  I never stopped loving her, and missed her companionship, but our chats became negative and our time together unpleasant.  So I made the decision to take a parental time-out.  Spending time trying to make them realise how happy I was, was too hard a job.  I was wearing thin and it was effecting everything about me, including my new marriage.

Letting go for a time was the best thing I did for us.  When my parent's needed us they knew they could call, and vise-versa.  But we kept a distance until we were all ready to have an adult, relaxed and accepting relationship.  They came to terms with Hubby as one of the family, and not the man who stole their daughter away.  I came to accept that my parent's will never change, and I a choice to either listen to their opinions or ignore them without it upsetting me.  This came in very useful when we had our miscarriage, and my parent's soothingly explained that it was for the best, as we weren't ready to be parents yet.

So over a phone call this week, as I told Mum that we were heading into IVF as we couldn't become parents on our own, she surprised me.  She was upset that she hadn't heard of our struggle sooner; upset FOR us, and not about me not telling her.  She offered us money, which we didn't accept, and more importantly she offered us prayers for success and told me how we'd both make wonderful parents.  You have no idea how touching it was to hear those words.

I am grateful for acceptance.  I am grateful for maturing relationships.  I am grateful for offers of kindness. 

 

Monday, 21 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 24 and 25


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

According to my home OPK I'm ovulating!!  Two months in a row, and this time I'm a bit earlier than expected.  So what does that mean?  Well, it means that in two weeks times I'll get my period AND I'll start the drugs for round one of IVF!  

At first I was super nervous that I was ovulating (?) early because it meant the house move and treatment would all start at once.  But, now we're not moving anymore and I'm super excited that we may get to have a little bit of a head start with it all.  PLUS, remember how I said that my doc was going away around the time we'd have to transfer embies?  Well, that shouldn't even be an issue now!  YAY!!

So if my pee sticks are correct and I ovulate in the next day or two, we'll be looking at starting drugs around June 4th and transferring about week later.  Let the biggest, most wonderfully, terrifyingly exciting countdown of our lives begin!

EEEEEEEKKKKKK!!

What's not to be grateful about that?!?!?!



30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 22 and 23

Ok, so house hunting is a nightmare!  We have been to eight open houses, applied to live in about six of those, and have been given no reply to any of them.  Each open house we went to there were Mums and Dads holding screaming newborns and fidgeting toddlers.  We really had no chance at all.  But I was determined not to let it get me down.  We were going to find the place for us!!

Now I do have to clarify one thing: we didn't HAVE to move.  I've said it a million times before, we love our home.  The reason why we decided it was time to is because we are squishing an office, music room and guest bed into our one spare room.  When the time comes to bring a baby home from the hospital there won't be too much free space to put a beautiful crib.  So, being the pain merchant that I am, I convinced poor ol' Hubby that the best plan was to move now; before I get big and pregnant, before there is three of us, while we have some cash sitting around. 

So we searched and searched, we upped our usual charm and spoke to agents and current tenants, traveled all over Brisbane, and we still have come up with nothing.  As we sat defeated on our lounge on Thursday night, and looked around at the home we have made and come to love more than anywhere else on the world, we made a decision.  We don't HAVE to move, and deep down we didn't really WANT to move either, so we're not going to move. At least, not right now.  

Instead we are going to have the biggest clean up and clean out this place has seen in the three years we've been here.  All our wonderful sorting and donating we'd already done prior to packing boxes would continue until we have streamlined our belongings down to the essentials.  So far we've donated over two car-fulls of clothing, homewares, and furniture to the local Salvation Army.  We have also thrown away the same amount of rubbish.  Don't ask me why we held onto any of this stuff for as long as we did, because I simply don't know!  All I do know is that it is truly invigorating to throw things away.

The last two days we have totally redesigned our second bedroom.  No longer is the guest bed pushed into the corner, surrounded by Hubby's music equipment and wall to wall book shelves.  Instead, it is neatly made (new linen and all), sitting proudly in the middle of the room, with floor space to spare.  The book shelves have been tidied, the carpet shampooed and drapes washed.  Now it feels like a real guest bedroom.  Hubby's music gear still lives there too, but it no longer takes up the majority of space.  One day, there might even be enough room for a crib!

I love our home, and I am falling in love with it all over again as we start to shape it into a family environment.  I am grateful that we don't have to move.  I am grateful to be able to help others by donating our things.  I am grateful to be able to start fresh.

   



Thursday, 17 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 21

Today, after two months of our 'baby hiatus', we finally went back to see our doctor.  After the longest stint between appointments we've ever had, he was surprised to see us.  First thing he asked as we walked in the door was if we'd been away so long because we'd had good news, we both laughed.  Nope, not THAT good news anyway.

So the idea of this appointment was mostly so that Hubby and I could sit down with him together, since it's such a rare occasion that happens, and discuss what comes next for us.  Obviously, despite the fact that we make good eggs (while on meds) and great sperm, we just can't put two and two together.  So IVF is the next option.  The thing I love most about our doc is he never assumes what we want, he always asks first what we've been thinking.  So when we said we were ready for IVF, he simply smiled and nodded.  

We sat in his office for about half an hour, while we calculated when my period was due next, then when I'd start meds, and then scanning and egg pickup.  He explained that he'd make sure we got this all done before he went on his annual leave in July.  Adding that if the cycle did run long, we'd have a joint consult with his colleague who would take us on, so we didn't have to wait til he got back.   He then made us an appointment at the nurses clinic to discuss medication cycles, and to help us with payment options.  

We had a chance to finally air some of our biggest concerns, such as egg collection numbers (how many was too many, or too little), whether we'd do IVF or ICSI (IVF for us), and what he recommended about transfer numbers.  Overall, it was a really great appointment.  I know going into it, we were both uncertain about a lot of things.  I guess in our minds all we could think about was that it was such a big step up from IUI, and how our finances might impede how quickly we could try IVF, and keep trying if we needed to.  But now we feel much more settled.  I think as this last few weeks count down we will become far less uncertain, and far more excited about what a huge step in the right direction this is.  

So today I am grateful for our doctor.  I am grateful for God's direction, because it led us to his office and into his care.  I am grateful that my Husband kept his mind and heart open to accepting what needed to come next.  I am grateful for the time we've had away from this all-consuming part of our lives to just be together.  And I am grateful for HOPE!  Without which, we would not have made it this far.  And now the journey really begins...

 

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 20

*Written on time, Posted in retrospect*

Sitting home alone on the couch sick today, I am grateful for entertaining TV.  I know, I'm pulling a swifty and being a bit lazy about my gratefulness today, but I don't feel well so I think that gives me a free pass.

We download most our TV from the USA because Australia takes so darn long to pick up good series, and the consistency of the programming is rubbish.  So here's what's on my hard-drive (most of this is now re-runs):


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 19

*Written in retrospect*

Today I am under the weather, again.  Since having the flu last month I seem to get sick at the drop of a hat, which sucks since I'm a nurse and around sick people ALL DAY LONG! 

Breaking all the rules, I went off to work anyway, hoping I'd be able to hide my sniffles with a lie about having allergies.  Not long into my shift my head was throbbing, my nose was running, my neck was aching and the whole ward was spinning around me.  I attempted some dinner, thinking maybe a little sustenance might make the difference, only to add nausea on top of it all.  Luckily, one of the beautiful women I work with took one look at my face and told me to head home.  She explained how she'd had the same bug for almost as long as I had, and coming back to work when she wasn't well felt like torture.  She sent me home, and reassured she'd look after my bunch.

This week is also International Nurses and Midwives Week.  Today, and always, I am grateful for the caring women and men who I work with.  We don't just care for our patients, we care for each other as well.  Without good, hardworking nurses to support us, our jobs would be a million times harder than it already is.


  

Monday, 14 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 18

*Written in retrospect*

Today I am grateful for all the Mothers in our lives.


Mother's grow us, birth us, and swaddle us.
Mother's adopt us, foster us, and yearn for us.  
Mother's hold us, guide us, and teach us.
Mother's support us, protect us, and defend us.
Mother's share us, dream for us, and pray for us.


Just because we grow older doesn't mean they stop being our Mummy or Mama, Aunty or Grandma.
And if we're truly blessed, we marry into another maternal relationship that is just as special.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mothers in our lives.  
You are so very special, each and every one of you.

Sunny xx 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Days 16 and 17

The last couple of days I have really needed a distraction.  I finally feel like I am at my stress tipping point, and could lose the plot at any minute.  House-hunting has sucked mostly because of the fact that agents use REALLY old pictures in profiles and open homes prove that they are big fat liars.  We have been, well mostly me alone, to three open homes and all have been rather disappointing.  Mind you, I am rather picky as I love our current house and don't want to downgrade to another other than loveliness.  

So after all the stress of having to travel around Brisbane finding these places, the whole application process, and then the waiting, it's nice to come home and have something to do to take my mind off it all.  We are up to day 'M' for our photo a day fun.  Every day I am finding it harder and harder to think of something super creative and original to photograph.  Here's what I've come up with so far (that aren't super personal)...

A is for Anna Sui (my favourite)
 B is for The Boo
 C is for clouds
 D is for design
 E is for eggs (high protein, weight loss super food)
 G is for garden
 J is for jewel
 K is for knitting