I get it. I get it more than you can imagine. Whenever I used to read another infertility blog, I’d mentally compare it to our journey and my own infertility (because the “fault” is mine – I’m the infertile one) and figure if ours had gone on longer or been easier or harder. And usually ours compared unfavourably, and I’d wonder if it was just too late for anything to try and fix it, and I’d get angry at anyone and everyone because we had to deal with this and others did not.
I used to get so angry at people who had babies without trying. At people who’d run the gamut of insensitive comments. (“At least you know you can get pregnant” after a miscarriage that was the culmination of 10+ years of infertility and IVF… “Why don’t you just adopt?” to two adoptees who just wanted to have someone biologically related to them in their lives…) Even at my own sibling who easily had two children – one born during the holiday we went on to get over our loss.
I was angry and jealous and honestly not the nicest person to be around for a while, so after our loss the previous year I took a step back from socialising and focused more on work, and self care. And I blogged a lot. And got amazing support from this community of bloggers. And made some real life friends.
When we finally got pregnant last year that was the culmination of a great deal of treatment including multiple operations, IVF cycles, immune therapy and at least four different hospitals and countless doctors.
It was not an easy ride.
But we are lucky because out of all that came baby B. And the pain of infertility recedes, but it doesn’t mean I’m not conscious of it. As I posted the other day, I’m grateful every single day that I have the chance to be a mother. I don’t take it for granted.
After all that I am full of joy for this chance. And I’m grateful. And I feel empathy for anyone else still going down this path because I know what it feels like. It’s been over 10 years and up to 15/16 years depending on how you count it. (Not-not trying or actually trying.)
What I didn’t do during those days of anger was wander up to people who had kids and express my anger to them. I might have felt it privately but I knew deep down that my anger at them was irrational and misplaced. Someone else being fertile is not the cause of my own infertility.
Likewise I didn’t do the equivalent of that in the blogging world. Your own blog is for venting, and you can do what you want on it. But I didn’t seek out blogs where people had kids and make snarky comments. Because it is literally not their fault. When infertility bloggers got pregnant and had kids, it gave me hope. If it became too triggering, I unfollowed. But most of the time I carried on following them because I was happy for them that it worked out, and I wanted to share in that happiness.
Ultimately isn’t that what we want to happen in the infertility blogging world? We want those people who want children to be able to have children, either through medical intervention (as we had) or adoption. Or we want them to be able to come to terms with not having children.
It doesn’t really make sense to hope that all infertility bloggers continue to live in misery and longing and never manage to have a child or come to terms with a child free life… It would be perverse to hope for that, because we’d be hoping for that for ourselves, too.
So when someone from the infertility community comes on my blog specifically to bitch about parents, in the context of everything we went through to become parents, and how recently it happened for us, and knowing our background of being adopted and the loss that entails, I can have empathy for that person but I can also be kind of p*ssed off.
I have never felt “smug” about being a mother. I literally never thought this day would come, and I went through a lot to get here, and I’m thankful every day. Being grateful is not the same as being smug. And I don’t post stuff about parenting to upset infertile people, or for any other agenda. I talk about my life because my blog is about my life and my experiences.
I understand that to some in the trenches of infertility that talking about parenting following infertility may be triggering. I know that some infertility bloggers have stopped blogging after having children through birth or adoption. I know others who have started new blogs.
For me, my blog was named Zero to Zygote for a reason. I hoped one day where there was no child there would be a child. In my first post I talked about my dream of being able to tell my child the story of how he came to be. It was always meant to be a story of hope, and that journey included venting of infertility anger, processing of adoption loss, working through the grief of pregnancy loss, as well as everyday experiences and thoughts.
So I’m asking you, infertility bloggers, if all this triggers you, please do not take out your infertility anger on me on my blog. The space for that is your own blog, or a support group. You’ll never be able to chase down every person that has a child to comment on their blog or tell you how angry you are that they have one and you don’t. And it will just make you feel worse. Just unfollow me and save yourself the trouble of thinking negative thoughts.
And your anger is misplaced. I wouldn’t wish our experiences on anyone. It was not easy and it was not enjoyable and it almost broke me. I hope you resolve yours more quickly than we did (whether by having a child or being happy not to have one; I understand that having a baby is not the be all and end all, even if it sometimes feels like that). I hope that everything works out.
Of all the anger I had about infertility, the ones I hoped for the most and where my anger dissipated were for the others in similar positions to ours. But maybe you are still deep in the trenches right now and you can only feel your own grief and loss, and I get that. You’re entitled to feel that way. Life is unfair sometimes. Take it from someone who’s been there for many years: unfollow your triggers. And if that includes me, unfollow me.
I wish you all the best.
Mother’s Day in the UK was a while ago, but I saw this video on Facebook from the Today show and it made me cry.
Mother’s Day message – Today
Everything has changed for us with the arrival of baby B, after many years of infertility, medical intervention and loss. This time last year I had just got my positive pregnancy test for B and I was so scared it was going to go the same way as our previous year’s pregnancy, little PB who was lost to miscarriage.
For Mother’s Day here in the UK I posted this message on Facebook, with a picture of my mum with me and one of her with baby B.
“It’s my 39th Mother’s Day as a daughter and my first as a mother. Heading to see my mum, who first met me when I was a few days old and has loved me ever since. She’s now [Grandma] to B but she’ll always be [Mum] to me.
Both of us had a long and difficult journey to be a mother. Thinking of all the mothers out there today, especially the mothers without children and children without mothers. I promise not to take it for granted. ❤”
I hope for anyone who finds this day difficult that you know that we see you. And I hope that next year you’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day with happiness.
Before I embarked on this journey, I worked in an office. I’m a not-very-bigwig in the corporate world. And for years I defined myself by it, so I find myself applying “work” lingo to this new and amazing world of parenthood…
Hence: the QBR. At work, the Quarterly Business Review is a chance to look back on the last three months and assess what was good about it and what you’re going to work on next quarter.
I don’t seem to have any time for blogging nowadays. I never wanted to be one of those infertility bloggers who drops off the face of the planet when they have a baby, but there you have it. I’m still here, but right now I’m soaking up all I can of the experience.
I have to go back to work early for the UK – usually people take a year, but I’m on unpaid leave (due to starting my new job pregnant so ineligible for paid leave) and this (just over four months) is all we can afford. Hence my sparse postings lately. I’m sure when I’m back at work and have a commute again, I’ll be able to write a bit more.
Anyway, here goes!
Performance: B’s development
Following the developments a baby makes is like trying to catch a wave upon the sand, as the nuns in The Sound of Music would have it. B changes every single day. It’s amazing to watch.
It’s totally out-of-this-world amazing and totally run-of-the-mill normal at the same time. I absolutely know I’m not the first and last person to have a baby, but I can also now see why mothers get a bit obsessed.
Things B can do (not an exhaustive list, because I am not on top of things like that):
- Smile. He smiles all the time now. It’s like a magic mood lifter. How can you be anything but happy when a little fat baby is grinning a toothless grin at you?
- Halfhearted roll. He started rolling out of bed – his side sleeper cot, onto our bed. I bought a Sleepyhead bed nest which now contains him. He can roll halfway from his back to his side, but doesn’t seem motivated to roll fully (and we aren’t motivated to encourage him!).
- Hold his head up. We do tummy time when we remember (#badparents) and he easily holds his head up and tries to crawl a bit, but is a long way off, thankfully!
- Dribble. My boy is a world champion dribbler. Apparently this means maybe he’s started teething. He doesn’t seem particularly upset.
- Babble. In the last week or so, he’s just started to enjoy the sound of his own voice. T is convinced he can say “Hello” and it does sound like that sometimes, but I think it’s unlikely!
- Enjoy playing. For a while, I wondered if he was really enjoying playing, but now he definitely does. We do Baby Sensory once a week and he can now engage a bit in activities. He laughs when he enjoys things. And he has started batting toys at his (incredibly tacky) Baby Gym, finally, rather than just lying there and expecting them magically to entertain him!
In short, he is the most awesome beautiful baby in the world and I am fully in love.
Review: Parenthood after infertility/loss
During this whole thing, I’ve always been conscious of being infertile and of needing so much intervention to have B. On the one hand, I’ve passed into motherhood / parenthood and in many ways it feels like something I always was supposed to do. By which I mean, it feels natural. But on the other hand, I’m really conscious that pregnancy and birth did not come naturally to me. And I don’t want people to think it came easily or that I’m not grateful.
I thank my lucky stars every single day that I have B. It feels like a journey I never thought I’d get to make. It’s awesome. I also in the same breath thank my lucky stars for T, his father and my partner. And Dog, the best dog ever. It is nice to have a little family of my own. Of course I’ve always been a part of my family that I can remember, but it’s weird to have started my own. And even weirder to have someone who looks like me. People comment that all the time. I can totally enjoy that because having been adopted, I never had that.
I feel a need to explain to people that it wasn’t easy to have B, because I feel like on the one hand it’s hard to imagine him not being there, but on the other it’s weird not to reflect on the many more years I had of being childless with no idea if I’d ever not be. And I want people who are trying to conceive to know that we went there too.
Does the pain ever go away? I know some people say it doesn’t, and I respect that. For me, it’s immensely healing to have B. That’s not on him. He’s not responsible for my happiness. I just feel that the pain of infertility and loss has become more distant in my everyday thoughts. It’s not “worth it” as such but it doesn’t really intrude because I’m too busy enjoying him. It’s amazing how babies change and grow and learn stuff every single day. I’m in awe. And I’m so happy to get the chance to experience this. It feels like a dream come true.
I guess one thing this journey gave me was an intolerance of people who complain a lot about having a baby. I just can’t. I know so many who would give their right arm to be pregnant so it annoys me when people whinge on about pregnancy and motherhood. I know they have a right to, but I just don’t like to hear it. During pregnancy I almost relished the back pain and discomfort because I knew it meant he was coming. And now, I have almost infinite patience when he wakes me up during the night or cries, because he’s here and healthy and he needs me and I wanted this. Of course I get tired, but I look at his little face and think, You are so wanted and loved.
Review: Motherhood after adoption
Although I feel like I started this blog to talk about infertility, it became clear that I had many thoughts on adoption, and having been adopted as a baby. I probably have a whole post on this, but for the purposes of this QBR I can say it’s been on my mind a lot.
It’s literally amazing to me to see B’s face every day and how much he looks like me. I never realised how much I missed having kin before I met him. I have my (adoptive) family and I think we are a pretty close family. And they’ve embraced B as one of their own, because he is. But for me it’s just mind blowing to meet my actual flesh and blood. Finally.
If you’ve followed my blog a while you’ll know T is also adopted. So B has two parents who don’t have bio family in their lives. He is it. It’s kind of huge but it’s kind of normal as well. It’s a nice kind of normal. I like that he won’t grow up wondering who he looks like or feeling weird for being a different race from everyone else.
We purposely moved here to a diverse community so he won’t stick out. It’s awesome to see how there are lots of interracial couples here, and lots of mixed race children. I feel a sense of parental responsibility that I can do that – make a conscious choice for him. I was speaking with my cousin who is in an interracial relationship with mixed race children, who felt the same about making sure they fitted in. Racial mirrors are important.
Crunchy mom score: 10
I seem to have turned into a hippy. My friend the Earth Mother (who sometimes reads this blog *waves*) is my role model here!
Breastfeeding is this huge thing I never thought I’d get into, but a quarter in (almost a third now I’ve finally gotten round to finishing this) and it seems to be my superpower. I know this is no credit to me and some people just seem to find it easier. It’s nuts. I’m so glad it has gone well. I had the difficulty getting and staying pregnant, the messed up birth, so I deserve something, right?! Actually was totally happy just to have a healthy baby, but I’ll take it.
Babywearing is another one. It’s European Babywearing Week this week, and I’m going strong! I’m still wearing B in the wrap but have gone a bit full on down the rabbit hole of babywearing madness. Again something for a longer post but suffice to say I’m a convert to wrapping and I have another two in the post! I’m not really sure why I bothered with the pram as B loves babywearing and I do too, so he screams blue murder if he has to go into his lovely designer pram, but he’s happy to be wrapped like a little burrito and strapped to my front, and I feel like a warrior when I do it!
I want to do both of these things as long as possible and as long as B still enjoys it. I’m hoping I can breastfeed for at least a year, although I’ll have to express when I’m back at work. B is so not into taking expressed milk – we’ve tried once a day to see if he can get used to it, but he has a definite preference for milk from source. In a way it makes me happy he loves me best (as a good source anyway!) but I’m concerned he will feel thirsty or hungry when I’m out at work. Hopefully he will adjust.
Exit strategy: Going back to work
It’s not so much an exit strategy as enforced retirement (in QBR parlance). I so don’t want to go back to work. I know I’m going to cry my eyes out. I can finally appreciate why maternity leave is usually a year. I honestly had no idea babies were this interesting (well, I mainly like mine… the others not so much!) and how much of a wrench it would be. I’m already less than a month to go and it feels like sand slipping through an hourglass at high speed.
I’m with him all the time and I don’t want to miss anything but I’ll have to. I’ll pump for him, and I know I’ll do everything possible to make sure he has the best start, but really I wish I could be with him every day, all day. I guess it’s no easier going back when they’re one, though. I hope he’ll take after me and sleep a lot!
Clothes have been a challenge. Who knew maternity and nursing wear seem to be double purpose? It’s so odd that the clothing manufacturers have decided the two go together. My mum kindly gave me some money to buy some back to work clothes and get a haircut. I think she realised how awkward I feel carrying the extra weight and with massive nursing boobs!
Pre pregnancy I was around a size 10 UK and now I’m maybe a 12, bigger than I’ve ever been (well, apart from pregnancy!). During pregnancy I embraced bodycon because it meant I was actually pregnant. Post pregnancy I’m avoiding it for the reason that it makes me look pregnant! My boobs are out of control. Pre pregnancy I was 32C and post I am 36DD or by Boob or Bust (a nursing site) measurements I’m 32H! Which is crazy talk! I’ll have a few weeks to find some decent nursing / pumping clothes. I don’t want to sit pumping in a meeting room with my top off, or worse still with a dress off, in my underwear! There’s a great fb group called Can I Breastfeed In It? Which I’ve been stalking for inspiration. Sadly most nursing stuff is casual or occasion wear rather than office wear. I’m half thinking I need to make a group for prematurely working mums!
In order to try and get organised, I ordered a Sarah Wells designer nursing bag from the US. Breast pump bags literally do not exist here in the UK. Probably because mothers don’t go back to work until the babies are weaned. Most take a year off. Unfortunately it isn’t possible for us as I’m on unpaid leave so minimum amount of wages (a small statutory allowance from the government which I’m grateful for, but barely pays rent!). Anyway I was super excited to receive it until I got hit with a customs charge of £39! Wtf. You live and learn. That bag better be amazing! I’ll have to post a more in depth review later.
I’ve always felt it’s so important not to neglect your relationship when you have a baby. And yet I’ve realised in the past few weeks that I really haven’t focused on T so much as B. I’ve also probably neglected Dog a bit as T tends to take him for walks whilst I feed B. I think we are okay. T says he doesn’t mind (especially the lack of bedroom antics!) but I am conscious of it.
We are very loving and in many ways having B has solidified that. I mean, we are inextricably linked now. But we are more tired and we sometimes get quite far through the day before we kiss, which is something I always thought of as important. That said, we are around each other all day – T is on shared parental leave – so we don’t kiss each other goodbye.
Having a baby and the resultant disturbed sleep (he goes back to sleep easily but I still have to wake up and comfort him even if he’s co sleeping) and probably hormones does make me grouchy. So I need to watch out for that. I feel like my moods are way more loving-whoops-now-I’m-crazy! than they were before. T is very good natured but I’m probably stretching it a bit! I absolutely love being an Earth mother type but I need to develop some hippy vibes!
We got back to the – ahem – babymaking (well it never worked!) right on schedule. Actually a day early after the doc said it was possible after a c section (6 weeks). So we made sure everything was still in working order! But frequency is way down. T says he doesn’t mind, but I feel bad for him considering last few months of pregnancy was also a no go!
I feel really self conscious of my post baby body – for the first time in years I feel a bit ashamed of my body. Before I was a bit more vain and perfectionist – not to say I had the best body but I felt it was within tolerances and was kind of proud I wasn’t overweight. Now I feel a bit saggy and my stretch marks are still very visible so that’s affected my confidence. It just about passes in clothes but my bikini days are over! So that affects how I feel about getting naked. I am hoping over time it’ll improve. At the weekend we stayed in a posh hotel for a family do so we had a bath – for the first time I didn’t want him to see me naked. But he did and we had a nice bath! I guess it takes time. I still feel massively proud of my body for getting B here, and I know T still loves me, I just have to start feeling attractive again.
All this makes it sound like our relationship is suffering. I don’t think it is particularly- but I do think having a baby changes it. We are still great friends and we still love each other, but it’s not just the two of us (plus Dog) any more. We are parents. It’s weird to recast ourselves. I suppose it takes time to grow into our new roles. I don’t think I had to love him more. I already did. He’s the love of my life. Having a baby is something a part of us and also outside of us. A seismic event. And we are still evolving.
Next quarter’s focus
- Back to work
- Bottle feeding (expressed milk)
- New house! (Hopefully still happening… slowly!)
- Relationship stuff (not forgetting to be us)
- Austerity MkII (because of new house!)
- Teething (suspected!)
Appendices: In pictures
If we are friends on fb, you’ll have seen the pics of B. I’m obsessed by how cute he is! Meanwhile here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to lately.
As before, comment and let me know what you’ve been up to! I haven’t had much time to read other people’s blogs but if you comment then I’ll read! Hope you are all well. X
This year, our rainbow baby is here.
Here in the UK, it’s Mother’s Day at the weekend. It will be my first Mother’s Day as a mother.
I still equate Mother’s Day with my mum, the only mother I’ve ever known (since I was adopted at a few days old). Every other year I’ve just been me – a person with no biological relatives. This year, I have my first biological relative in B. I have a child! I’m a mother. It still feels surreal.
I’m sort of amazed by motherhood, in that I never really saw myself as the maternal type. I knew I wanted a kid, but I expected this first part to be the tiresome and boring part – before the baby turns into a toddler who can express himself. But here’s the thing – B can express himself just fine! And there must be some sort of hormones, or biology, that makes you love your own child.
I’ve spent years primarily being defined by my work. After over a decade of infertility I never defined myself by the typical female traits. Instead I was always about achieving stuff in a mainly male world. I was the female of colour in a white guy’s world and I ploughed my own furrow.
And now I’m “one of the mums”. And to my surprise, I don’t hate it. I relish it. I find it all the more precious because I know I have less time than the others. Most women in the UK take a year off when they have a baby. More than a year because they accrue holiday when they’re on maternity leave. I could take a year – I’m entitled to it – but because I started my job pregnant, I am unpaid by my company for all the time I’m off. And I can’t really afford more than the four months I guesstimated we could do without my salary.
Mum life is fun. And it’s even easier because T is off at the same time as me. Although we realised that a lot of stuff is geared just towards mums and babies and not dads. On the one hand I think that’s unfair, but on the other – I’m only just seeing how there’s a biological imperative and it makes sense for the mother to be the primary caregiver.
I knew it intellectually but I never really knew it. B knows I am his mother. He looks for me, and he’s comforted pretty much only by me. He likes T, but after a while he will look for me. And I’m the only one who can feed him. That’s such a big thing I hadn’t really fully understood. I see with B that instinctively he searches for me and wants to be with me.
It’s weird to think that I was once his age and that even before I was the age he is now (just two months old!) I was taken from my first mother and given to a new one. Because I see now how B knows me, knows my smell, is comforted by me. Quite aside from looking like me. He knows me from being inside me for nine months. It’s a real big thing to think that happened to me at such a young age, a fraction of the age B is now. I wonder what that must have felt like to me as a baby.
The funny thing is, I have almost a deeper relationship with my parents now because of B. They want to see him every week. We bond over our shared love of him. They don’t love him any less than their biological grandchildren – they are super proud grandparents of all of them. And I feel like we’ve had deeper, more critical conversations lately, especially about adoption. The fact they’re able to do that and to listen to my musings without getting defensive has been really a bonding experience for us.
Having my own biological child has thrown up all these thoughts and feelings. I’ve had time to think and I’ve had time to bed into the idea of having a biological relative. It’s still so new and yet he feels like he’s always been here. It’s so huge in one way and so little, quotidian in another. In one way I feel like I’m still just me and in the other, I feel like everything has changed.
I’m still active on adoption groups and lately a lot of adoptees I know have found their birth parents and families. It makes me wonder about looking for mine. I’ve thought about it a lot. But also I’ve seen how it doesn’t seem to make them happy. It seems to make them sad a lot of the time and yet they feel compelled to search.
For me, I don’t feel compelled to search. I wonder if I should feel it and there’s something wrong with me that I don’t. I wonder if I found my birth family whether I’d recognise myself in them. I’ve seen pictures of adoptees and the family resemblance and I wonder about that. Maybe B is enough for me. I feel like my birth mother would be like me – accepting of life, not really looking back. Not expecting me to go back. I don’t want to drag up difficult feelings because I don’t want to ruin the happiness I have now. And I hope she’s happy and I don’t want to ruin that either.
T is also adopted and I wonder how much his experience has shaped mine. He found his birth mother a long time ago. They’ve only met a couple of times. It’s like they just needed to do it and then go back to their lives. Since B was born, we were supposed to see her and it seemed really difficult to arrange it. Lots of tangled communication. Then she cancelled.
I wonder if she’s cancelling on purpose because it’s too much or whether the excuse she said is true. I feel slightly defensive and miffed on his behalf and on B’s behalf because I don’t understand why someone’s biological mother and grandmother doesn’t seem to want to see them. Maybe it’s too much emotionally.
Part of me feels like she’s not entitled to see B because she’s not his “real” grandmother, as she hasn’t been an involved mother to T. But that’s just me being defensive for him. I guess I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to see this beautiful man she made. I think maybe a lot of adoptees have complex and angry feelings towards birth parents and we can’t know the circumstances.
I feel compassion towards mine but it’s easy because they’re abstract and not real right now. If they were in this country and easily accessible I would feel mad if they didn’t make the effort to see me. And I kind of think feelings like that are why I have never searched. I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of hope and disappointment. I’m fine and happy with life as it is. I kind of can’t believe how it’s worked out lately, how I have these three amazing guys I live with (if you count the dog as a guy!) and why would I want to change that, to drag up difficult feelings? Maybe that makes me a wuss.
So those are the thoughts that have been at the back of my head. At the front of my head have been the happy thoughts. The “I can’t believe that title now belongs to me” thoughts. The thought of my first Mother’s Day. On Saturday we are seeing T’s parents. And on Sunday (Mother’s Day) we are going round to my parents’ house with B and having a double.
Mother’s Day still feels like it belongs to my mother, because I’ve had thirty-odd years of celebrating it as an honour for her. This year my dad is taking us all to a restaurant for lunch for my first Mother’s Day, so it’s about me too. And it’s about T’s mum, my mother in law, and her first grandchild. And it’s our time to think of our first mums who gave birth to us all those years ago. And I think of the mothers without babies too. The unacknowledged mothers. They matter too.
As a new mum, I know I’m not special – hundred and thousands of women do it every day. And yet this year I have joined that circle of life, of women who have given life, our ancestors and the women to come down the line. I imagine I’ve joined that lineup of women, a line I never thought I’d join – through not inconsiderable effort and medical intervention – and I feel significant and insignificant at the same time.
I am me. The child of two mothers, a shadow mother and an everyday mother. The partner of a wonderful, kind, funny man. The flatmate of a brilliant dog. The mother of baby B.
Life is good.
Feeling somewhat bruised today after a culmination of a number of things and I realise that this process bruises us all. And I’m sad that the outcome of that is a lot of sadness and anger. Mainly anger.
I think the main point is this: Pregnancy after loss shoots you into a whole new domain of feelings, and suddenly you have a foot in each world – one still in the world of infertility, with those still struggling angry at you for being “okay”; and one in the world of pregnancy, where you feel like an imposter and you never quite get rid of the fear of history repeating itself and of reverting to being your childless self.
I feel stuck between those worlds now. For example I’ve tried to carry on blogging and not being one of those people who stops being supportive just because I’m “okay”.
(Thing is, I’m not okay. I’ll never be a normal pregnant woman because I’ll never take it for granted, and no matter how far everything goes, I’m still worried about loss. I have a new set of worries now and of course they have calmed a bit because it’s possible to acknowledge a pregnancy after a certain stage. But they are still very real. I’m not a complacent optimistic pregnant woman and I haven’t announced it on social media or told people I don’t see, because part of me still worries that it won’t happen and something will go wrong.)
But I’ve become really aware of how continuing to comment on people’s blogs might not be helping and supportive as I intended it to be. That for some people who are struggling to get pregnant, or are newly pregnant after infertility or loss, the fact of someone else being pregnant – even after their own infertility and loss – is not encouraging, and just makes them feel bad.
I have tried to be empathetic and supportive but maybe I just need to realise that there’s a certain stage of hell that infertile/newly pregnant after loss people are suffering in and that trying to be there for them whilst I am heavily pregnant is hugely triggering. And not just in blogland but real life, too.
It’s a weird feeling to be classed as someone who’s crossed over to being the subject of people’s anger for being pregnant. Because I was always the non-pregnant one, the infertile, the non-parent. It’s an identity I don’t feel fits, and yet here I am with a bump, causing pain to people in the same situation I was in for so many years.
It’s ironic because I still feel at 34 weeks like I can’t comfortably accept congratulations on my pregnancy or feel completely comfortable answering questions. I have stock answers but I don’t want to tempt fate by expecting everything is going to be okay, even if it seems that way to everyone else and there are people thinking, “It’s okay for you”, just as I did about others in previous times.
The big news is that I’ve known for a while now that my sister is pregnant. She had a very similar situation to mine last year where they did IVF and it resulted in a first ever pregnancy followed by miscarriage. I told her about the immune therapy we had and she ended up going to see the same doctor, and getting a slightly different diagnosis.
They decided to move forward with immune treatment alongside the “natural” cycles and then they decided to transfer their remaining frosty from their first cycle. (The difference for us was that cycle 2 was a fresh cycle as I didn’t create enough eggs / we didn’t have enough embryos of any quality to freeze any – on either cycle.) And now a few months later she has tested after the two week wait and she’s pregnant.
Of course I’m thrilled for them. And I can also understand how she must be feeling because I felt something like that too. The sheer all encompassing fear of getting positive pregnancy tests but before any scans. And even after scans in our case – as we had a first scan and heartbeat last time. I know I went a bit mad during that time, and truth be told, my mind only started to calm down slightly around the 20 week mark, which is a long way away for her.
And right now her sister – the one she could always depend on as being equally infertile – is heavily pregnant. I’ve been really conscious of how awful this must be for her even though I know she’s happy for me in her own way. I know how I felt when my brother’s wife had his baby whilst we were on our post-baby-loss-moon. It’s hard to deal with.
My sister has reacted a lot like I did. She is angry at everyone. She’s angry at her partner for being happy, for “not doing enough” and for not being able to read her mind. She’s angry at women at work who are pregnant or who have children – or even who are happy and chatty and not in a state of upset like she is. She told me she even moved desks to get away from them because they were “too happy”. She’s angry at my parents for asking how she is and offering support. I’m sure she’s angry at me for being pregnant.
She called me the other day because she was feeling so bad about everything and I did my best to reassure her that what she was feeling was normal. She has always been a lot more highly strung than I have, and if I think how crazy I felt, I would expect her to feel a lot worse. I have already written at how I feel about pregnancy after loss (How not to react when someone congratulates you on being pregnant). It has taken me a long time even to talk as if I’m not constantly waiting for loss – even if the thoughts still creep in.
I tried to reassure her that everything she was feeling was valid. I shared my experience of feeling angry and resentful that I couldn’t enjoy this pregnancy for months, and why I still worry. And we talked for a long time, and she was upset and angry and I don’t know how much I helped. I feel like during that time of waiting, you almost can’t say the right thing. The person who is pregnant after loss is going to be afraid, and angry, and I don’t think there’s much anyone can say to allay it.
So I don’t know how to navigate this. It’s like I’ve been given a role I didn’t ask for and suddenly I’m the oppressor rather than the oppressed. I don’t belong any more in the infertility world, with my big bump triggering people. And I’m not a parent either.
I don’t want to be one of the people causing pain to others. But equally, I feel like it’s not the pain Olympics but I still kind of think… Surely we have gained the right after everything we have been through to begin to hope we might have a successful pregnancy, eventually.
When I wasn’t pregnant and I had unexplained infertility and other things, I looked for hope. And when I miscarried our baby after our first cycle of IVF, I felt desolate – but the worst feeling was hopelessness. So I always searched for it. When people who’d known similar struggles got pregnant, I was happy for them because it gave me hope that there might still be something for me. (One of the first people I ever followed now has a real life baby who is about one year old, and I’m so happy for her!) When we went through cycle 2, I kept one blogfriend in mind who had a successful second cycle. I tried to believe in hope.
But I don’t want to be that source of pain if I can help it. Particularly if I can help it – I can’t help seeing my sister, but I can help commenting on people’s blogs and inadvertently causing them pain. I really do not want to do that. I’ve had over a decade of that and I don’t want to be that person to someone.
So I’m going to take a break from commenting on infertility blogs, unless I’m really sure that they want to engage (e.g. If they comment on mine and we “know” each other). I have always had a policy of trying to engage with blogs I follow (often as a result of them following me) but in some cases I can’t be sure, and I don’t want to hurt people by commenting if I am doing more harm than good.
I’m in a risky kind of place right now because I want to talk about my own experiences and fears and I’ve moved on a few months from that place of going through IVF and immune stuff so it’s maybe not appropriate to comment on people’s blogs who are still going through that.
I have had a whole day full of people being angry today and it’s making me feel fairly wretched. I wonder if there is some effect of the moon or something. There is too much pain and anger in the world today, and I’m not dealing with it well. I’ve also been wondering lately if there is such a thing as pre-natal depression or pre-baby blues or whatever. Because I feel like I’m taking stuff to heart and feeling teary when the old me would just have brushed it off. (Old me is one kick ass b*tch. Current me is blancmange.)
More than anything this week I think I need a break.
Well, I did it! This is my final post for NaBloPoMo, the blogging challenge for November. I can’t quite imagine how, but I’ve managed to
bore you post every single day in November. Wowsers! (Now I can go back to the usual blogging-every-few-days thing and stop the 11pm panic setting in…)
Things I blogged about in November:
Whether I should tell my ex that I’m pregnant (my most popular post in November) – answer: I haven’t as of yet, and have no immediate plans, though I’m pretty sure it’ll come up
How not to react when someone congratulates you on being pregnant – about pregnancy after loss and the emotional implications (second most popular post)
Going to my friends’ (gay) wedding – a beautiful Scottish weekend and how #loveislove as far as I’m concerned
And a bunch of other stuff. Because I really did manage to do it every day (UK time, anyway!).
One of the bittersweet things I notice from the stats is that my all time most popular post (other than the homepage) is from June 1 last year. Entitled “Day 53: Not so Clearblue”, it was my first ever experience of a positive pregnancy test. I was so happy that day!
One year on and quite a lot wiser (though still fairly headstrong and stupid), I know that a positive pregnancy test is only the first step. That pregnancy – my first ever pregnancy in all my 30-something (closer to 40) years, ended in a physically and emotionally painful miscarriage. This time last year I was holding a deep sadness in my heart, rather than a baby. In February this year, my first baby’s due date, I really thought my heart was breaking.
This November, I feel a lot different. Reading those posts, I want to give 2015 Me a hug. And tell her it will be alright (so far). Today I am 33 weeks pregnant with a little fat guy who’s currently taking up residence in my uterus. B (for Baby – I couldn’t bring myself to give him a cutesy nickname like our last one had) is due mid January 2017 and with each passing day I feel like he’s more and more likely to make it.
(The little bugger keeps kicking my innards and bouncing on my bladder, anyway.)
I’m thinking of 2015 Me and Last November Me and all the Mes who’ve been and gone and are still partly here. The bruised Mes, the hurt Mes and the Me who’s still here in November 2016, who never quite believed and yet is still somehow still going. And all the Not-Mes too who are going through their own hardships – the pain of infertility, the complex feelings around adoption, and all the other things we find hard to put into words.
A year ago I already knew you, my blogfriends, and I knew how much you’d saved me. I don’t know if you do. Blogging gave me an outlet to try and put those feelings and experiences into words, and to understand I wasn’t alone.
So, thank you to BlogHer for the blogging challenge – but moreso, thank you to all my blogfriends for being awesome.
You mean the world.
My sister is PUPO! Her frosty defrosted and she had the transfer today. I feel nervous on her behalf, and also really quite strange because I feel like the further along I get in the pregnancy, the more weird it feels to think that I might be moving into a different stage of my life. Motherhood. Parenthood.
We are picking up our car on Monday. There’s a joke that everyone get a big car when they have a kid. We had been thinking about it for a while, since we moved and got a parking space (gold dust in London!) and it kind of coincided with imminent B arrival. But really it’s partly about Dog as we want to take him to the parks, and we don’t need a car but it’s nice to have one now that we live closer to the outskirts, and it took a few months after buying our new house (apartment! Tiny shoebox!) to save up enough to sort out the car. Anyway. That seems like a weird, grown up stage of life we’re moving into. And I’m not sure I am ready for that identity yet.
For a long time my identity has been Childless. And even now, more than 3/4 of the way through this pregnancy, I still feel like I identify more with Childless, Infertile, Loss, than I do with Big Pregnancy Bump, Imminent Parenthood, and so on. It is really hard to explain. It’s like… I’ve followed infertility blogs and I’ve rooted for people, shared their pain at failed procedures, and their joy at getting pregnant, and I’ve watched how some people gradually pass into parenthood and drift off, or become “mommy bloggers”, and I am sure that’s inevitable but I still don’t know what my next stage is.
I am still hopeful for my sister. I know either way that it will be so hard for her to watch me – the perma-infertile – have a kid. And part of me is still petrified that something will go wrong with the birth or the pregnancy and I won’t end up with one. For some reason I keep seeing stories about stillbirths and it just freaks me out. I don’t know how it can be prevented – I sleep on the side I’m meant to sleep on, mainly, and I don’t smoke or drink and I’m relatively healthy. It just totally freaks me out. But I know what I’m going through now is a whole world away from what my sister is going through. The Two Week Wait. The desperate hope.
I don’t even know what I’m hoping for on her behalf because everything is a milestone and I remember just hoping for tiny fragments at a time. Like the first hope is a positive pregnancy test. And the second hope is a pregnancy that lasts until the early scan. And the next hope is the 12 week scan without going completely crazy… Although I think I might have had another private scan in between. This is what I mean… Already I feel I’m passing into this other world of not remembering the pain and desperation quite as well as I lived it before, whereas my poor sister is only entering into her two weeks of hell. Followed by the milestone counting, the hurdle jumping. (I always was terrible at sports.)
I’m not sure what to do other than hope for her, and send her random messages encouraging her without putting an obligation on her to reply. I guess that’s the TWW for you. It sucks. And there’s either another layer of the parcel to unwrap at the end, or you realise you weren’t playing pass the parcel after all…
Tomorrow I have my delayed (as a result of their screw up!) appointment with the gestational diabetes nurse, to find out what is wrong with me, what my results were and whether I have to take any evasive action other than diet. (Urgh.) As you can maybe imagine, adding food confusion to pregnancy cravings/aversions has not really helped! I’m not sure what I’m meant to be doing, but I have assumed they’ll tell me and it can’t have been that urgent if they waited until 3 weeks after the test to explain the results!
I still keep having WTF?! moments where I think This cannot be happening. I’m not sure I really believe I’m pregnant, but I must be. I have a big bump. It’s definitely baby rather than fat. (I just looked fat for a long time!) And my sis being PUPO could be an amazing thing – if B’s cousin follows closely behind – or a really sad thing, depending on what the outcome is. I know that it would be so hard for her if it doesn’t work out because I can remember exactly what the pain felt like last year. And it scares me a bit, selfishly, because we are pretty close now and I want B to know her.
Not sure if I screwed up with the timing, but I got the DNA tests through the mail. I mentioned in a previous post that an adoptee group I am in donated the money to buy one of them for me. (I was so moved by this. I still am.) And when I ordered them, I also ordered one for her. So I put it in the post this week. She hasn’t mentioned it at all… but maybe she has other things on her mind. Or maybe I’ve overloaded her with too much potential information. Agh. I still have the test sitting on the table and I haven’t opened the box yet. It’s a bit like my birth certificate… I know where it is, and I know I could kick off the search for my birth mother, and yet I haven’t… I guess the idea of a potential baby makes you question your identity.
And B, well he’s just kicking away merrily. T read the end of our story to him the other night, and I’m pretty sure he recognises his dad’s voice as he kicks away when he gets talked to. It’s very odd. As soon as T tries to feel the kicks, B will stop! I’m wondering if he will recognise Dog’s voice too? He now has a pattern of kicks where he doesn’t kick that much in the morning (probably still asleep like his mama) and gradually perks up at lunchtime, afternoon and evening. It’s a surreal experience to have an actual human inside you, kicking you from the inside.
I really hope my sister can experience this too. I hope this week is only the beginning for her.
Every single step of this pregnancy is something I never thought I’d experience. And I’m grateful.
I’m 30 and a half weeks now, and that feels pretty weird. This week has been weird generally what with the election result and the frankly mindboggling news that Donald Trump is the president of the USA. There’s so much to say and yet there are no words. I’ve said some of what I felt on fb, but it’s not enough. So this won’t be a post about that, but it’s not to say I’m not thinking about it and hurting for all the people for whom America must seem like an awful place to be right now.
Tomorrow is the biggest baby milestone I can think of that’s actually visible to the outside world: my baby shower. All the other milestones are these kind of in-your-head milestones that don’t really register to other people. One of the things I did this week was have a long chat with my brother-in-law about my sister’s IVF treatment. They are currently going through cycle 2 and that’s why she’s not coming to my baby shower. (I completely understand and never expected her to. She sent me a lovely and insanely expensive cashmere blanket and toy for the baby and a scented candle for me. I literally can never have enough scented candles. Tbh I wouldn’t have been minded if she’d sent nothing. I know the battle she’s fighting.)
What I explained to my BIL is that it’s hard to understand what the woman is going through because there are so many milestones/hurdles and it feels like a neverending marathon. For my sister, the next one is whether their frosty is going to defrost okay. We never had any frosties – for us with our live cycle it was to see if I produced any eggs. And then if they fertilised… And the transfer… The two week wait… The first ultrasound… The second ultrasound… The twelve week ultrasound… 16 weeks… 20 weeks… 24 weeks and viability… I am really hoping that their frosty is the one and she’s going to be pregnant with my niece or nephew before B arrives. I know it will be so horrible for her if it doesn’t work. Trying not to think about that.
I am three quarters of the way through pregnancy. I’m in the third and final trimester. I have a mahoosive bump which even today has gained new stretch marks. (Turns out that my skin which I’ve always thought was nice and supple is actually completely unstretchable… boo…) Also, I had an annoying experience about my gestational diabetes today. I was working from home, which I tend to do on a Friday (awesome to spend the day with Dog snoozing on me… I don’t think I could love him more!) and the post came through the letterbox. I opened a letter addressed to me and it was my bloody appointment for two hours before!!! What kind of bloody stupid department sends you an appointment letter that arrives after the appointment? I tried calling them a few times but of course no answer.
I was pretty upset about this and of course called T to vent, and he suggested maybe I head to the hospital and see if they could squeeze me in. But I wasn’t dressed (work from home day!) and it also takes like half an hour to get there on public transport. So I was going to do that, and then I thought I’d call L (super midwife who also works at that hospital) and see what she thought I should do. She said not to go to the hospital as she thought it’s a morning clinic, and she’d try and get through to them and text me. She did, and it turns out the letters were sent by a temp who was supposed to call up as well to confirm. As a result, only two women turned up for clinic today!
I was so mad. I mean, it’s the NHS (National Health Service – UK healthcare) and that’s public money, and that temp not doing their job properly meant that nurses and doctors were sitting around today waiting for people who never came. What a waste of public resources. So frustrating. Also it means for another week (they’ve rescheduled to next week) I have to wait and still not know the results of my gestational diabetes test or what I should be doing. Anyway. They can’t think it’s that urgent so I’ll try not to worry about it. (I’m not really, after I read all the literature and realised it’s mainly about big babies rather than anything else.)
In other news my mum had an op yesterday, which means she can’t come to my baby shower either, as she is recuperating. I am really okay with this as I don’t think I’m a baby-shower-zilla or anything! I mean, it’s a totally optional thing and it’s also a sort of half celebration of other stuff so it’s more of a girly get together. T’s mum and sister are coming, so that’s nice. Mum is fine, but a member of our family is dying (cancer, bloody cancer) and so she’s ended up sitting by that person’s bedside whilst dosed up on painkillers. Probably not the easiest thing to do after a big operation. (She is okay but it’s sore.)
The dying person has actually been a real… not nice… person for their entire life so I find it hard to be really sad about them dying. But my mother is the kind of person who doesn’t want someone to die alone, so she’s sitting at the hospital as we speak and my dad’s probably trying to persuade her to go home. (That must make me sound heartless. I don’t wish the person ill. I just can’t muster up a huge amount of sadness for someone who was so nasty for their entire life.) I guess it’s sad that on your deathbed that you aren’t surrounded by friends and family because you pushed them all away. I would go but last time that person was really ill, I went and they were just as nasty as ever! I really thought on your deathbed you got nice, but I guess it doesn’t happen for everyone. I’ve sent cards, but sometimes distance has to remain. I feel really sad for the person but I can’t go to them.
So in a way it seems callous to be excited about my party / baby shower when there are so many other things going on. Like my friend with cancer. She’s had her first chemo treatments and is feeling sick but still seems upbeat and we are trying to cheer her up. I guess that is how life balances out. We have to have moments of fun in dark times. And for me, this whole pregnancy has been a really strange experience and of not knowing whether it’s okay to be happy or not. Believe it or not, even at 30 weeks I still worry. (Although I did get told by the doctor that they consider “term” anything after 37… WTF? That could mean Christmas!) I still feel uneasy at being “the pregnant lady” – but I am excited to see a bunch of friends I haven’t seen for a while, because I haven’t been socialising much.
T’s away this weekend for a boys’ weekend… probably the last he’ll be going on for a while! It’s not strictly speaking a normal boys’ weekend but him and another friend taking out their friend who has some additional needs. This guy has some physical and mental health problems so they try and take him away for a weekend every now and again so he can feel a bit normal. He sometimes comes to stay with us too, but in our new flat there isn’t really any room as it’s tiny. So I have a whole weekend that’s just me and Dog, and the baby shower.
I’m actually kind of enjoying the fact that I don’t have to do that much other than snuggle with Dog! I keep looking at him and wondering what it will be like when B is here and whether I will be able to give him the same amount of attention and make him feel happy and loved. Maybe this is what people feel when they have a second child? I keep trying to explain to him but he doesn’t speak good English and just licks me!
The best thing about the baby shower tomorrow is I get to see my BFF, who doesn’t live in this country. I’m super excited to see her and also my other friends. Since we moved and I was pregnant, I haven’t been socialising as much, mainly because we were really busy with moving and unpacking (umm, still not finished) and then I wasn’t going out drinking. So it will be great to see people. I think there are about 20! We have a room in our local pub booked for Christmas dinner. I love Christmas. It’s my favourite time of the year! It will be my first Christmas dinner of the year!
T and I decided we would open the baby shower presents that had arrived before he left, so last night we opened a bunch of them. We already have loads of stuff from my mum, and some clothes we had bought, and of course Tiger. So we opened other presents people had sent. In the UK, baby showers aren’t really a thing – they’re very optional. And people don’t really do big presents like in the US (from what my American friends tell me). They tend to do clothes or toys. So we’ve tried not to buy many of either and somehow still managed to accumulate a few!
We made an amazon list just in case people wanted ideas and also to remind us of things we were going to get, and so last night we opened a bunch of those. People were really generous! We had a baby bouncer, a light and music mobile, gift card, pram toy… and one of my friends got the insanely expensive Steiff toy of Dog (or lookalike) which we had totally not expected anyone to get! Which was so nice. So now B has a Tiger, Dog, hippo, bear and rabbit to choose from! We realised we don’t really have many big ticket items to get now. (My parents paid for the pram, car seat, carrier and sling so we are sorted for that.) We need the cot (I finally decided on the Snuzpod) and a baby changer, which we are probably going to get from IKEA once we have the car. It’s crazy as we have probably forgotten something important!
It feels weird still but I’m hoping that everything goes okay for B’s arrival and that the gestational diabetes is the only complication. I find myself worrying that something bad will happen but I try and close off that option in my head and enjoy the rest of the pregnancy. The thought of four months off is nice! Although I’m sure maternity leave is probably more physically gruelling than holiday! Everyone keeps remarking how calm I am about the whole thing, and I’m like… I’m sure many people have done it before and it’s not like he’s the only child who’s ever been born. (Also I think, I have waited and hoped for this for so long… I’m not going to feel like it’s an awful thing. I’m sure childbirth is kind of a slog, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it! Same goes for the sleepless nights!)
It feels like work is on slight wind-down mode. My boss decided I was so good at the previous work party organisation that I could organise the Christmas party – so I booked that today. Bit annoying I’m not going to get the full benefit of the mixology (cocktail making) class and dancing, but at least I’ll enjoy another Christmas dinner! We are going out in the west end of London which is the slightly swankier area. I booked a bar where we can do all of it without changing venue. I can’t believe men arrange things so late! I told my boss next year I will be booking it in June!
When I went to check out the venue, it just so happened that they were doing a shopping event with 20% off in lots of shops so I got some presents for T, because he’s really fussy about the shops he buys clothes from and they were included in that promotion. I had to try and remember what shoe size he was, and was relieved when I got home that I was right! Phew! And I got him a winter coat too from his favourite shop. It was kind of comical as I got two of the guys in store to try it on and see if it was the right size! It cost a lot so 20% off was a great stroke of luck! Here’s hoping he likes them. In our tiny flat now there is literally nowhere that’s not in sight, and we don’t currently have any wardrobes or anything I can hide them in, so I managed to hide them under my side of the bed!
Other news this week – Starbucks got the red cups in! Christmas season can begin!
Well that’s just annoying. Apparently I have gestational diabetes.
The last 2 NHS scans showed a massive growth particularly on baby’s abdominal cavity measurement. They seemed to indicate that he’d grown from the 50th percentile a few weeks before to the 99th/100th percentile last week. So they insisted I go and get tested for gestational diabetes.
I also see a private doctor and I had 2 scans with him about the same distance apart. I had the private scan about a day after the second NHS scan (where baby had apparently grown hugely). He measured 5 times and couldn’t replicate the result. At the most, baby B was about 70-75th percentile and this was consistent with the previous scan (which the same doctor performed, unlike on the NHS where it’s different sonographers). He also said IVF babies are typically larger and he wasn’t worried.
The test for gestational diabetes is called the Glucose Tolerance Test. You go in early in the morning after fasting for 10 hours. You have a blood test, then drink a sugary drink, sit still for two hours and then have another blood test. Does that sound like something you would actually do in real life? Umm no.
Why am I bothered about this?
Well, I haven’t had any symptoms and I don’t feel unwell in myself. I feel pretty okay really. It may seem like a major U turn but I am really anti medicalising the birth more than necessary. And this seems like they were looking for some sort of reason just to give a diagnosis because I had the extra scans (which were for anxiety, not further diagnosis!).
The only reason they’re giving me this diagnosis is because they think my baby is measuring big. Everything I’ve read is that the measurements tend not to be very reliable, and that you need to have at least 3 scans performed by the same sonographer in order to be able to make a judgement, and there’s a huge margin for error.
I am annoyed because both NHS scans were done by different people and they weren’t really paying attention, and I could see with my own eyes they weren’t taking the same amount of care to measure accurately as the private doc was. And he did both the private scans (in fact he’s done three) and said the growth was completely consistent and he didn’t think I had GD.
What are the implications?
The main thing about GD that I’m worried about is that I will have to be induced early and possibly be pressured to have a caesarian etc. I know I previously wanted one, and this is probably the biggest U turn in the history of U turns, but now I’ve got my head around it, I really want to try and let things go naturally if possible – obviously pending any emergencies with the baby. (Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth has a lot to answer for!)
I really would rather not have an induction or medical intervention for the only reason that they believe the baby is big. (In so many cases they’ve turned out to be wrong, and anyway, human bodies are designed to give birth to babies, even if they’re big.) I also think that early induction increases the chance of other complications / interventions and having to give birth on the ward (which I really don’t want to do) rather than the birth centre. (My absolute worst case scenario would be induction, forceps and episiotomy, which is what I wanted to avoid when I wanted a caesarian…)
I get that everyone has different views on this and they’re entitled to them. I’m not saying anyone else should choose my way or that the way I want to give birth is right for everyone. I think women should be able to choose their manner of birth if at all possible and shouldn’t be pressured to have something they don’t want, unless the baby’s in immediate danger. Right now I feel like they’re just hitting me with a diagnosis without giving me any information and basing it on inconsistent information (eg Is he 100th percentile or 70th? That makes a difference.)
I have to wait for a call back from the hospital and for them to make me start monitoring my blood sugar and recommend changes to my diet, etc. This is pretty annoying as if there’s one thing guaranteed to make me cranky, it’s going on a diet. Anyway there’s the possibility I won’t need medication but can fix it with diet. I guess I’ll have to figure it out.
I’m mainly trying not to worry unduly until I find out what is going on. They wouldn’t even tell me my reading and apparently someone will be in touch in a few days to make an appointment to see the diabetes nurse, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see what they say.
It’s my baby shower this weekend! Squeal! I’m so excited, firstly because I’m going to see my BFF (who is organising it and who lives far away) and secondly because we are having Christmas dinner in our local pub (because I’m classy like that!). Local pub means I can bring Dog, who is the important guest of honour. (Aside: Everyone keeps saying, “How is Dog going to cope?” as if they think we’re suddenly going to stop caring about him or something. Not happening. He’s my first baby.) And I loooove Christmas. It’ll be my first Christmas dinner this year!
Actually not sure how I’ll cope being the centre of attention. I usually love it, but everything’s a bit weird with how I’ve been feeling about the pregnancy and bump, but I figure I just have to go with the flow and enjoy it. I’ll be 30 weeks. We decided not to do it in December as everyone gets booked up with actual Christmas stuff instead of pretend Christmas stuff! Unfortunately as things go, my mum and sister aren’t going to be able to make it. My mum is having an operation so will be in recovery this weekend. And my sister is starting her IVF cycle 2. I told her she didn’t have to come and I wouldn’t expect that. She seems okay and I’ve been encouraging her every step of the way. Fingers crossed!
T is away this weekend on his last (for a while) boys’ holiday – not the excitement that it probably sounds, but he has a friend who has some special needs and who he takes away sometimes so a couple of them are taking him to a hotel for the weekend. It just gives his friend some time where he can feel like he has a “normal” life. (The friend has some mobility and mental health issues so wouldn’t get away otherwise.) So I will have a girls’ / Dog weekend.
I ordered our pram! Of course this has invited a load of opinions from people about how their choice of pram was the better choice and blah blah blah, but honestly I am not that interested. Like why do people feel that their choice of baby stuff needs to be taken up by everyone else? It seems a bit weird that they’re so into that. I can’t wait for them to start having an opinion on breastfeeding, daycare and crying… *sarcasm*. My parents kindly gave us the money for the pram and car seat and a little bit more which meant I was also able to order a carrier (for T) and a sling (for me) which I’m a bit excited about too!
T is busy building B’s little wardrobe – he’s doing a bespoke construction out of metal and I’ve stayed out of it as he gets some funny ideas! We have a nice collection of little clothes now and I’m sure we will have a few more before the weekend’s out! Here is the raccoon outfit we got for B in Brussels… I can’t even.
How much is an ex entitled to know about your life after you’ve split up?
Should you share significant information about yourself with the person you once cared most about in the world?
Would you tell your ex that you are expecting another man’s baby?
These are the questions that have been running through my mind ever since the arrival of baby B seemed more likely than a dream.
I have no frame of reference for this decision.
I spent a very long time with my ex – almost all my adult life – and everyone assumed we would have children. But we didn’t. It was probably one of the things that drove us apart. During our relationship, I was diagnosed with multiple problems that affected fertility. Endometriosis being the most severe. Our inability to deal with the implications of that was extremely damaging to our relationship and we split up a few years later.
When I met my partner T, we both knew we wanted to have children. As adoptees, it’s a huge thing to think that you might have a biological relative. I still can’t believe that in theory there are maybe 10, 11 more weeks before I am a mother. It seems absolutely mind-boggling. I still worry that it may not happen, that we will have another loss. That’s how pregnancy after loss differs from “normal” pregnancy. You never forget the fear.
I wonder if I owe it to my former partner to tell him. My reasons for thinking this are twofold: Firstly, I still care about him. Not in the way that I want to be with him – in fact, it seems foreign to me that we ever were together. But I suspect in some way that the information would hurt him, and I wonder if hearing it from me would be more or less hurtful. Secondly, I know that he will find out anyway. We share many of the same friends. We are blocked on social media (and anyway I have asked for a social media blackout) but it’s almost impossible for someone not to say something carelessly.
Is a relationship something that imprints upon some part of you? I believe we all carry those imprints from previous relationships, romantic or not. And I wonder how much they contribute to our ability to move on and develop new, healthier relationships. I know I took so many of the lessons from my relationship with my ex that allowed me to forge a stronger, healthier relationship with T. And I took the scars, too.
It has been a long time since we separated. A lifetime almost, even though it’s taken years for us to resolve the technicalities. I have been with T for longer than my ex and I were married, but a fraction of the time we were together. I know that now we’re no longer married, I owe him nothing in law.
But do I owe him anything morally?