Waiting for a baby can seem interminable but it only takes a year - sometimes less - for things to change completely
Waiting to conceive a baby can be unbearably long, lonely and painful but things can turn around so quickly.
In just a year, we have undergone donor IVF with my wonderful sister from New Zealand; conceived, miscarried, had a negative transfer, conceived again and are now awaiting the arrival of our first baby in five days’ time.
Conception and pregnancy followed six years of grief, uncertainty and personal growth, all of which began with my diagnosis of premature ovarian failure at 35.
I grieved then for my young womanhood (going into premature menopause made me feel like an unattractive old crone), my periods (truly!), the children we would never have; our first IVF cycle that yielded zilch eggs and for the life we’d had before my diagnosis.
More recently, we grieved for the little baby we lost last year to miscarriage – it felt like our hearts had been ripped out.
But all the grieving and uncertainty helped us to become more thoughtful, empathetic and kind. It made us rethink what being a beautiful, sexy woman or man really means (it doesn’t mean you have to be fertile) and what life would be like childfree (books called Silent Sorority and Sweet Grapes were particularly helpful).
So what a journey it’s been! It has been truly remarkable for which we are very thankful.
If it can happen for us, it can happen for others too. I can’t wait to read about other people’s success stories – I know they are out there, or about to begin.
One of my workmates says her sister in law won’t have children as she’s too scared to go through the pain of labour. I don’t blame her really, especially when I hear all the horrible stories of blood, guts and poo from my friends and family who have already gone over the to other side ie: gone through labour.
But I am beginning to ask seriously – why is it that we are expected to go through all this pain, when for any other procedure in which pain is expected, pain killers are made available?
I have had a several operations over the years, including bilateral bunion surgery, laser eye surgery and two incised bartholin’s cysts (not fun and very painful). I have also had all my wisdom teeth and four molars out (thank god we live in the era of orthodontics as without it I would have had a serious mouthful of fangs). For all procedures, I have been knocked out under a general anaesthetic with lovely analgesics to ease me through the first few painful days afterwards.
So why are we still expected to suffer the purported agony of childbirth?
Does it tie back to the bible in some way? Or is it linked to some kind of misogyny?
Or is it that women themselves want to experience that pain and wear it as a badge of honour? Listening to some women comparing notes about labour is fascinating – it is like they are posturing and jostling for the position of the woman who had the worst/longest/most dangerous/most painful experience – why??
Does anyone have the answer to this? Why don’t we all just have epidurals or spinal blocks right at the start of labour, or cesareans, so we don’t have to experience apparently excruciating pain? Would this be so humiliating if it meant avoiding what is sometimes days of painful labour resulting in painful, stitched-up derrieres, blood loss and exhaustion?
Our ceramic welcome swallows are our first purchase for our baby's nursery - but we still can't quite admit it for fear of jinxing our pregnancy!
Yesterday we bought our first things for our baby’s room – they might look a little kitch but they are little ceramic swallows from an antique shop which we’re going to put on the wall – but we couldn’t bring ourselves to openly admit they are for the baby as we’re still so scared to jinx this pregnancy.
We admitted to the shop assistant, when she asked us (while eyeing my big belly), that they were for our baby, but on the way home we said that they would also look very nice on the wall of my husband’s record room (he is an ex DJ and has lots of vinyl records).
There is currently this subtext to everything we say and do – ie: that we are planning for our baby, which will hopefully arrive safely at the end of February – but that we can’t allow ourselves the luxury yet of just assuming that it’s going to happen and that all will be OK.
We were the same last weekend, when we went to a Baby Expo in Melbourne but couldn’t bring ourselves to buy anything.
Every week that we get through, we count if off as one week closer to the safe delivery of our baby.
But at the same time, I really want to treasure this pregnancy and not wish it away. I was reminded of this when reading a post on another blog, by a woman who is just about to have her baby tomorrow by c-section.
It’s not that I don’t treasure my pregnancy. I am in fact revelling in it and absolutely loving it – but I think my husband and I need to make sure we don’t wish it away on our journey to parenthood – as it’s as much a part of our baby’s development (as ours) as the birth and parenthood afterwards will be.
Has anyone else felt like this?