I woke up this morning to the email confirming I had been shortlisted for the Author/blogger category of the Butterfly Awards and I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face since!
I’ve never been great at accepting compliments of receiving praise. I’m not sure if it’s a Scottish/British thing, a woman thing, or just a me thing. But this is different. I feel so proud of myself because I’m nominated for speaking out about miscarriage – for raising awareness and for showing women (and men) that they are not going through those terrible times alone.
I started this blog as more of a diary to be honest. I never once thought people would read it, let alone comment and follow. It sounds cliched but I would never have been shortlisted if it wasn’t for all of you. The people that read my blog and take the time to comment and pick me up when I’m low, or think positive for me when I don’t have the strength to do it myself. If it wasn’t for this blog – and all of you – I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s saved me from venturing into some dark corners when in reality – it would’ve been the easy option. Everything you read in this blog is complete, unadulterated honesty and I’ll continue to do that because the more we speak about it, the less taboo it becomes.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of you who stop by my page. I’ll continue to blog and speak about my ups and downs of miscarriage and I.V.F in the hope that it saves even just one person from feeling alone. I know that’s what I needed when I started this (and what I still continue to need at times).
(Ok so this post was cheesier than a day at the stilton factory but I just couldn’t help myself.)
**If you want to read more about the awards – or even buy a ticket – check out the website here: https://finleysfootprints.com/
So I received my mug a few days ago (from the MugSwap – check previous posts) and admittedly I was spoiled. The lovely Cyan from almostpregnant (I still can’t thank you enough) gave me a beautiful box with a mug – of course – with the words ‘think positive’, some snuggly socks, a cute little pineapple necklace, a flapjack, a handwritten card and these amazing IVF notecards. I still haven’t wrote in them yet, as half of me wants to fill them in so I can keep them in a little baby making/IVF memory box, but the other half is too scared to ruin them! Point is, I was seriously spoiled.
I’d had a rough day. I found out I might not get funding for my course next year which means I’ll need to use my student loan to pay my fees which of course now means I’ll need to work more days than I do now and it’s already a struggle and that’s before I’ve even started IVF.
Opening the box made me smile. And take a minute. I’ve been through so much already, I can get through this. Sure it might be a struggle and it might be hard, but this is one of those struggles where I actually have an end date. A date where the struggling and the juggling will be over. We’re normally not the group of people who deal in certainties, but this is certain. It’ll be hard for a year, but then I’ll be qualified and working a job I love.
I have Cyan to thank for this moment of clarity. She reminded me why I started this mug swap in the first place – to show people we’re not alone in our struggles whatever they are. To show each other we’re here for support, advice or even just a listening ear. Whatever we need. And while my down day was college related and not – for once – baby related; it still gave me the same feelings of self doubt, panic and anxiety. The mug reminded me to think positive, the IVF cards reminded me I am strong and the necklace – well that reminded me to fuck it, and pour myself a pina colada!
I’m pissed off. Two days ago I got my period and I was so ridiculously excited that I double wiped just to make sure it wasn’t a false alarm. It wasn’t, so I called the IVF place and asked them to book me in for my day 21 scan. Done. Sorted. It’s in the diary.
Hubby asked if he was to come to and I honestly had no idea so I called them back the next day. This was my mistake.
“Have you started treatment yet?”
“No” I said. “I’m getting scanned in a few weeks.”
“You can’t book a scan before you commence your treatment cycle. You need to phone and ask us to book your treatment cycle”
“Ummm ok. So, can I book my treatment cycle?”
Then in her shitty holier than thou attitude, she said “Well not here you can’t, no. You’ll need to phone a different number and you’ve probably missed it now. You’ll most likely need to book in on your next period. This time please make sure you ask for a treatment cycle and not a scan”.
What’s the bloody difference? Surely you can see what I have and haven’t had done yet? Surely you know the bloody steps I need to take? Surely you can not be such an arsehole and just bloody book me in for whatever I need! Why is this so flippin’ confusing?
I have another 4 bloody weeks of waiting now – at least – and then another 3 weeks on top of that. How can I go from having an appointment to start treatment to having absolutely nothing in the space of a day?
There’s me talking about how the 3 day challenge is so much easier to stick to and how excited I was to do it, and suddenly I’m 4 days in and only have 1 quote!
My excuses – work, college, weekend, wine(s), a really good film, a christening and a birthday. I think you should let me off.
But here it is. Better late than never. Quote number 2:
“A day without laughter is a day wasted”
This was of course from the late, great Charlie Chaplin. I kind of wish I’d left this until the last day to finish on one of the greats, but I just had to put it in. I guess it sets me a challenge for tomorrow right?
Anyway, this quote. It’s a good one isn’t it? We need to laugh. We need to smile. And we need to remember that no matter what we’re going through, there’s always a reason to be happy. My husband makes me laugh. A lot. My friends silly texts make me giggle. Sticking on a stand up comedy or an episode of Friends does it for me too. Catching my dog trying desperately to catch her tail. Watching Kian pretend he’s a stuntman at the park. In all honesty it took me a while to see it, but everywhere I look there’s reasons to laugh and smile and just be happy.
What are some things that make you laugh?
I’m officially 2 days late. I’m hoping by saying (writing) it out loud – it will somehow jinx me and bring on a heavy flow.
I’m not saying I want my period to come – I just hate the waiting. And the constant checking of the toilet paper. Man, I miss the days of just wiping and flushing. Isn’t it funny the things you take for granted. Wiping and flushing has got to be in the top 5.
“Why don’t you just take a test Nicola?” says the voice in my head, and I’m sure some of you are thinking it too. Truth be told, I have no answer for that. Fear maybe. Risk of disappointment.
Maybe it’s because I don’t have any and it’s Sunday so I’m putting off getting dressed for as long as possible.
I don’t want to jump the gun. It is only 2 days. 99% of the time, I’m a 30 day cycle, but there’s always that 1% that likes to wind me up.
Ach maybe I’ll get dressed and buy a test.
Maybe I’ll wait.
So I thought I.V.F would be simple – I mean; I guess I kind of knew it was a long, hard process but I think I chose to overlook that part just so I could revel in the excitement for a while.
But now that it’s approaching, I’m starting to worry a little.
I worry about how I’m going to manage college and studying full-time, working 12 hour shifts in a care home, look for a new house, look after Kian 3 days a week and manage to attend all my I.VF. appointments. I worry I’ll miss college work, or will have to cancel shifts. Will be able to pay the bills if I can’t go to work? I worry about injecting myself. I worry about how I’ll deal with the side effects of the treatment. I worry about the in-between stages – the waiting. Most of all I worry about how the hell I’ll cope if I do all of this and it still fails.
Someone please sprinkle some positivity on me. I need it. Damnit. I was doing so well.
I’m usually not a huge fan of Valentines Day. I think people are pressured in to doing something and if they don’t, well your partner obviously doesn’t love you enough. Its totally unfair and an unrealistic portrayal of a relationship.
But. And it’s a big but. Over the past few years we’ve realised how important it is to show each other how much we appreciate and love the other person, so we try do something for Valentines day. That doesn’t mean cards and gifts and diamonds and having dinner at an over priced restaurant.
I went to M&S and got their “Dine in for 2” Valentines special. Starter, main, side, dessert, chocolates and a bottle of wine for 20 quid! Result! I’m no food critic so I’ll just say it was bloody beautiful. We sat on a blanket on the floor, in a candlelit room and Andrea Bocelli echoed through the speakers. After dinner we kissed and made love on the floor – something we hadn’t done in so long. (Is that too much information for you? I mean, everyone knows we do it but maybe that was oversharing. I’m still pretty giddy so my apologies.)
It was perfect. And it’s something we both really needed.
I had my 2nd appointment at the I.V.F clinic today. I had no idea what to expect – I kind of figured it wouldn’t be baby making time just yet but, I don’t know what’s left to do. Turns out, it’s a lot.
I waited for like an hour in the waiting room. It was so busy. I’m not complaining about waiting (well I’m not complaining now. I was probably internally complaining a little at the time) but, I’m just so shocked at how many men and women are going through this. And that was just today! How many were there yesterday? And how many will be there tomorrow? And the next day?
It’s kind of comforting knowing I’m not doing this alone. There’s so many of us. Of course it’s tragic, and I wish this whole miscarriage/infertility thing was just a myth – but it is kind of nice knowing you’re not in the boat alone.
I read one of the notices they had up in the waiting room. Turns out this clinic (at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary) has the highest success rate in the whole of Scotland. Something like 168 live births from 309 embryo transfers (I think that’s the terms, I’m still not 100% sure of all of this). Those numbers may not be entirely accurate either, but it’s around that mark.
Back to the appointment. I had an ultrasound to make sure I was cyst free and that my uterus looked good.
“You have a lovely uterus”
“Why thank you, it’s all my own”.
It’s kind of strange getting compliments on your uterus, but hey – I’m a woman – a compliments a compliment.
She showed me where I’d ovulated from this month and I could see 5 or 6 little black circles that she told me were my eggs. First scan I’ve had that’s made me smile. That’s an achievement in it’s own.
Now all that’s left is to wait. Wait for Nikki’s results. Wait to get to the top of the list. Wait to get more blood tests. Wait to get our detailed medical history. Wait for my period. Wait for our treatment to start.
This is all getting very very real.
I unfollowed someone on Instagram yesterday because of her pregnancy announcement.
In my defense, I never blocked her so you know – progress.
We used to work together and it’s not that I’m unhappy for her – I just don’t want to see the picture updates. I don’t want to see the scans, the bumps, the pram, the clothes she’s buying. I don’t want to see them. Not yet.
I felt kind of down for a few minutes – Ok 10 maybe – and then do you know what?
I was okay.
Totally fine actually (I still didn’t follow her again, but that’s neither here nor there). But I think that’s okay, I think that’s normal. I won’t sit here and lie to you that it’s easy to hear of pregnancies, or to look at people’s social media photos because it’s not easy. I don’t think it ever will be. But it also doesn’t make me feel the way it used to, and that has to be a good thing doesn’t it?
It’s okay to be a little selfish at times, and it’s ok to not always be nice to everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. Or what makes you feel even just a little bit better.
I know I’ve earned the right to be a little selfish sometimes. Fuck it. Fuck everyone else’s opinions. Do what you want to do.
Over the past few years I’ve encountered a fair amount of misconceptions, or judgments relating to my miscarriages and I thought I’d share some. My top 5:
- I hate being around children
- I hate pregnant people
- I’m too fragile to hear about your own pregnancy
- There must be something wrong with me – I probably just can’t carry boys.
- I’m not upset anymore. It was ages ago, and it wasn’t even a baby.
So these things come up a lot. A lot. It’s hard to break the stigma around miscarriage and I know not everyone means to be nasty or hurtful. A lot of people just don’t know what to say, or are too scared to ask so they make their own judgements. But if you’re curious – here’s my answers:
- No, I happen to love children. I’m studying childcare, and more often than not, I find them more fun than adults. Yes babies are hard, of course they are – but that doesn’t mean I hate being around them.
- I do not hate pregnant people. But imagine you losing your wife or husband or you recently went through a horrendous break up – seeing other people happy and in love would have an affect on you for a little while – you’d be a little upset. It’s normal. Same with me and pregnant people. After a loss it’s a little difficult. I’m not the devil. I’m human and I’m flawed. Just like you.
- I am not an idiot. I’m more than aware that people get pregnant. I’ve been dealing with it for a long time – you can tell me. I might not be 100% happy all the time, and I may even ignore your social media pages for a little while but, I’m more than capable of hearing about it and I’ll deal with it in my own way. And I can be happy for you.
- Please do not try guess what is wrong with me. Nurses don’t know. Doctors don’t know. Teams of specialists don’t know. You certainly don’t know. Yes maybe your auntie “couldn’t carry boys ” (although how they ever found that is beyond me) but I’m not your auntie. I’ve had miscarriages. I’m now struggling to fall pregnant. There is nothing wrong with me. I am like millions of other women around the world. I’m normal.
- Ok so just don’t. Don’t ever tell me it wasn’t a baby. Don’t tell me how to feel. Don’t tell me how long I can feel sad. Don’t assume anything. I lost my children and I can never change that. But your assumptions and your judgments don’t help anything. If you want to know anything – just ask me.
Anyone else deal with something similar? I know I’m not the only one!
I can’t believe it’s that time again. Feels like only yesterday I was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. It makes me sound so old but, where does the time go?
This year was our first Christmas Eve with Kian so we got to wake up and watch him open his presents on Christmas morning. We went all out with Christmas Eve boxes, letters from Santa, Elf on the Shelf, Elf doors, stockings and a mountain of presents but, I figured this could be the last Christmas with just the 3 of us! (Maybe overly wishful thinking but hey, it’s better being positive right?!)
After Christmas, we took Kian to Poland for a few days, just to get away from the chaos and the craziness and all the family stuff. It’s nice for a while, but then you just want to relax!
New Years Eve came and Nikki and I went to our local pub for a cheesy, alcohol fuelled, cheese & pickle on a stick filled karaoke night! It was great, and I promise we only drank a LITTLE too much alcohol. I have to be alcohol free during IVF, so I figured why not go out with a bang? (she says as she’s drinking a glass of wine.)
My next I.VF. appointment is February 7th – I’m not sure what this one will entail though. Nikki still has to make his “donation”, but I hope we’ll be starting around May or June time. Only time will tell. But I feel good.