Thankyou all for your sweet comments and words of congratulations about my last post. To say Mr BBB and I, as well as our friends and family are excited, would be a big understatement.
I feel as if I have so much to share with you all. For the last 14 weeks have been nothing short of amazing, overwhelming and frightening, all at the same time. There is just so much to say.
Our little miracle has been one that we have yearned for for almost 3 years now. And they have not been an easy 3 years at all. Just as this exciting story is starting to play out before my eyes, and is one that I hope and pray with all my heart has a happy ending, it is a story with a beginning.
And I guess it is logical to always start a story at the beginning.
I have debated writing 'our story' long long time. Part of me wanted to share it, part of me didn't. Why? Perhaps because committing to paper would make it all the more real? But something I have learned over the last few years is that so many women are dealing with fertility issues in silence.
The dreaded 'f' word.
Why this subject is taboo I am not so sure. But by my own silence I have been contributing to that taboo. And I have been feeling alone. Perhaps by sharing my story I can step out of that silence...
So here goes. Here is the 'beginning' of what I hope becomes a happy story. But be warned, it is long!
In the midst of racing, baking, laughing and living life, Mr BBB and I have been dealing with a heartbreaking issue that has seen many a tear shed, many words of frustration spoken, and many periods of sad silence.
For three years, we have been trying to start a family.
And, we actually semi-succeeded twice, only to have our short-lived elation taken away and replaced with nothing less than heartbreak. The type that sits in the bottom of your stomach, occupies your ever waking thoughts and also makes you angry. Really angry.
I still remember with vivid clarity a night in mid 2009, when running around the lake with Mr BBB, a thought struck me. My breasts were sore, heavy and just felt 'different'. With nervousness, I mentioned to Mr BBB at the end of that run..."I think I am pregnant". With excited anticipation, we bought a test and waited (im)patiently for the result to be revealed.
The two lines appeared almost instantly. While not 'planned' as such, it was certainly welcomed. Our little family was about to become 3.
Or so we thought.
Blood tests confirmed it. Life was grand. We hadn't told anyone just yet, but we were overjoyed. But then, while at work one afternoon, I started bleeding. And then the pain started. The inside-tearing pain. And more tests confirmed the worst. We had lost the baby at 7 weeks. There was apparently no reason for it.
Just the dreaded 'm' word.
To say that I spiralled into a dark place would be an understatement. Suddenly all these new emotions flooded into me. Anger, sadness and fear. And the jealously, so much jealousy. The 'why me and not them' mentality became my daily mantra. And I hated myself for it.
Mr BBB, however, was my rock during this stage. And the fact that our loss had hit us so hard , highlighted to us just how ready we were to start a family.
So, we decided to 'try' for real. Two months went past, then 3, then 4....and suddenly we found ourselves over a year later. Nothing.
I started charting ovulation, reading all that I could. Still nothing. Meanwhile so many of our friends announced their pregnancies. But us...still nothing. During this time I found solace and peace in my training. I raced as many races as I could, loving the sense of achievement and accomplishment they gave me. I also decided to train for a half ironman - something I had actually put off previously as, you know, we would be pregnant. Surely.
Frustrated and confused, we decided to see a specialist. Mr BBB's tests came back clear. As did mine. This was almost harder to hear than finding out there was a reason for our infertility. Our bodies were working, but fate was not inclined to grant us with the precious gift that is a child.
The specialist suggested we track our cycle for a few months. Which meant, daily blood tests for me to detect hormone surges, with a view to "timing" things just right.
Only we didn’t get that far. Rather, after the very first blood test we were told "you are already pregnant".
Say what?! Say happiness! Pure happiness. No half ironman for me (this was 4 weeks before the race last year).
But blood test number 2 did not reveal good numbers. And they declined again on test number 3. Pregnant yes. About to miscarry again? also yes.
The dreaded ‘m’ word. Again.
Tears. So many tears. And I raced that damn Half Ironman and gave it my all. But our recent loss was all too fresh, and for the better part of the run I was fighting back tears. I was supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant. This was not how it was supposed to be.
Just looking at this photo still brings tears to my eyes. I was so very upset at this point of the run, for reasons only I knew….
2011 started, and more tracking cycles ensued. More daily blood tests, bi-monthly internal ultrasounds and daily progesterone supplements.
I think the blood tests were the worst. Sitting in a waiting room each morning, surrounded by other women also having fertility treatment. You would think that knowing I was not alone would help. All it did was remind me of my infertility. And make me scared.
With no 'progress', it was time to take a closer look at my tubes. It was the most painful medical procedure I have ever had, and you know what, they were perfectly fine.
Everything was apparently perfectly fine.
We decided to move to the next step. IUI. Kinda like the previous tracking cycles - only this time with daily hormone injections into my stomach, more blood tests, more ultrasounds. The drugs sent me a little crazy, or as Mr BBB would say, very crazy. I would fall asleep on the couch by 8pm, and my mood would cycle from high highs to low lows in a matter of minutes. My weight started to creep up, and my body started to change, and not in a good way. I felt as though I was losing control of my body, while also dealing with the emotional strain of infertility.
We went through the insemination procedure, and it was then a matter of waiting to see if it had worked. 10 days later - no HCG. 12 days later - no HCG. $1400 later and nothing.
It hadn't worked. And I cried. A lot.
As a big believer in karma, I just couldn't understand what was happening - or should I say - what was not happening. The guilt, the self blame. Was this because of something I had done? Was all of this my fault?
So it was back to the specialist for more advice. He recommended that we undergo at least 1 more IUI cycle. Apparently if it is going to work, it will work within the first 3 cycles. More injections, more blood tests, more ultrasounds. More days spent crying at home while maintaining a professional face at work. More days trying to remain positive - while feeling oh so helpless, jealous and angry, all at the same time.
The second IUI procedure was quite different than the first. While the first time went smoothly and was over in a matter of minutes, the second time took much longer owing apparently to a 'tight cervix'. Science aside, all I know is that it hurt like hell, and all sense of vanity was ignored as 3 nurses and 1 doctor tried to make my cervix co-operate. Glamorous? I think not.
I spent the next 10 days trying to keep my hopes up. I travelled to Sydney and Melbourne, and refrained from any alcohol and switched to decaf for my morning coffee.
I started to feel symptoms around 7 days after the IUI, however experience had told me that the progesterone supplements mimic pregnancy symptoms so I tried not to get my hopes up. For that would only drive me more crazy.
Then day + 11 arrived. D-day. Or should that perhaps be 'B' day. Blood test day. It was with mixed emotions that I dialled the number to get my results. What if the answer was negative?
And then I heard the words I had been longing to hear.
You are pregnant.
The second test a few days later confirmed the numbers had increased wonderfully. Could it be for real this time????
14 weeks and 3 healthy scans later, and I am still in disbelief that we have been given this beautiful gift.
Obviously there is a lot more to say about the last 14 weeks, but I will save these stories for another time. All I can say is that we are two very blessed and ecstatic parents to be!
(taken at 5 weeks pregnant)
If you have made it to the end of this post - congratulations ;) While it has been somewhat unnerving for me to write about our story, the fact is, Mr BBB and I have taken a longer road than most to get to this point in our lives, and it is something that we shouldn't be ashamed to admit. It has actually been a little therapeutic to open up about this part of my life that has remained hidden for so long. Particularly given it has been a part of my life that has truly changed me, both physically and mentally, over the last 3 years.