After the Storm

I'm still here.

It's been a long few weeks. Feels like longer than it actually has been, no doubt.

But I'm still here.

The overwhelming sadness is more of a dull ache now. The pregnancy is starting to feel like it was eons ago, like time is moving on & those happy months are fading. We're back to where we began... only I'm missing an extra piece of my heart.

I have a bit of a confession. After my hcg levels levelled out, after the pregnancy tests turned from positive to negative, I made a decision to use up my last dose of Clomid {from the pre-IVF days}. I took it from days 2-6 after the zero reading, and waited to see what would happen. I don't have a good history with Clomid; in the early days, I continued to have anovulatory cycles even while taking it. Lo and behold, it worked this time. Charts say I've ovulated. I'm 6dpo now.

Our odds of a natural conception are one in a million. If it were just me with the issues, I'd have a little more excitement - but we've got the two of us to think of. Either way, a TWW is always a wonderful thing around these parts. We don't get enough of them, enough chances to actually try for a miracle.

Whatever happens, it will be a good outcome. Getting a period and avoiding Provera is a win in my books - and if we hit the mystical natural conception lottery, well, that's a whole other story.

Either way, I'll be happy. We are moving forward. For now, this is my motto;

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears. 
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. 
Get over your hill and see what you find there, 
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.
-After the Storm, Mumford & Sons

The Great Thermomix Debacle of 2014

Remember earlier in the year, when I posted about hubby purchasing me a fantastic early birthday present? {See here.}
 My brand spanking new Thermomix TM31 in late March 2014
My, we have had some great adventures. Investing in the Thermomix definitely inspired me to get more invested into cooking; to making ingredients from scratch, and from baking things I would never have ordinarily tackled. I was pretty chuffed with my creations, and shared them with friends and family members - even had my parents convinced that, despite the hefty $1939 price tag, it would be a great investment for them. There were even talks with a group leader about joining the Thermomix team, to see if this sort of business would suit me. {After several phone calls, I realised that it wasn't my thing.}
Home-made creations - hot cross buns, pumpkin soup & freshly baked bread.
One of the main reservations that hubby & I had before purchasing the machine, was whether there was a new model in the works. This model, the TM31, had been around for a while - there were thousands of recipes and cookbooks available for it, and loads of folks raving about its reliability; those things told us it was a good product. That said, there were rumours online about a new model coming, so we asked our consultant about this .... and were reassured that no, this was it. We purchased ours in good faith that this was true. At the demonstration for my parents in late June, the same question was brought up regarding the new model rumours; and again, our fears were quickly quelled.
More baked goodies - cinnamon scrolls & a cream filled lamington sponge cake
Fast forward a mere handful of weeks, and guess what happens? A brand spanking new, touch screen, larger & quieter Thermomix model is gleefully released via the Thermomix Facebook page/website. For just $50 more, this new model has lots of new features that the TM31 doesn't have... and folks were NOT happy. Why?

Because the new model was kept a secret. Because people asked their consultants, or head office, about this 'rumour' and were constantly assured that this wasn't happening. Because the old model was not reduced, and they could have purchased the newer model for virtually the same price. Because the monetary value of the TM31 dropped almost instantly with customers selling theirs off to ensure they had the newest, shiniest appliance. Because the customer service team at Thermomix issued the same generic statements in regards to all complaints & questions left and seemed to have no compassion as to why their customers were frustrated.

I've seen so many scathing posts from folks online. Why complain, you have a fantastic machine - get over it!

Am I complaining about my machine? No. I love the things I've achieved with my TM31 and will continue to use it regularly in my kitchen. Am I impressed that I can now get this same exact machine on Gumtree or Ebay for almost half of its retail value? Not really. Am I embarrassed to have recommended the product to others, after the dismal way this whole release was handled? Absolutely.

There's something to be said for demonstration-only products. Word of mouth is so, so important. Yes, consultants can pull of a whopping great demonstration and try to sway people into purchasing - but I can tell you right now that the majority of sales come via consumers speaking with their friends, reading reviews online, and watching models in action - especially before committing to an almost 2k sale. I feel that Thermomix has used their existing TM31 customers {myself included} to pimp out their run-out model at FULL PRICE, and then slapped them in the face by introducing the new model with no warning, no remorse, and no care in the world that they've let people down.
Not just baked goods... we do eat healthy meals too, I promise. :)
What happens now? Well, Thermomix appear to have finally realised just how badly this product launch has gone - social media has gone viral with the entire mess. They've since released a free bowl/blade/lid set for customers who purchased from July 1st - so thankfully my parents fall into that category - but nothing else but a 'sorry' for other customers this year. 
I'll continue cooking with my TM31 and utilising it in our kitchen on an everyday basis, but I certainly won't be hosting any further demonstrations or encouraging others to purchase. A little integrity goes a long way, and I feel like the entire operation was focused solely on $$$ for the company, with next to no regard for their existing customers who have spent the last few months/years raving about what a fantastic product the Thermomix is. 
Have you been involved in, or witnessed, the Thermomix debacle? Would love to know your thoughts.

More Waiting..

Another week is flying by, and there isn't much to report on the baby-making front. I have tumbleweeds blowing around my lady-parts right now, if all the temping and ovulation testing tells me anything. I'm still vaguely hopeful that something will happen in the next few weeks.. but either way, it's now been over a month of wasted TTC time, with no end in sight.
A lot of people tell me this is good, that I can mourn the baby that we lost while we 'wait'. I think what they don't understand is that we won't ever stop missing that pregnancy, that person; it certainly doesn't have a time frame on it. And anyone who tells me that waiting is a good thing... well, they've obviously never had a problem with conceiving before. It's one of the very worst things that anyone could say to me right now.
My FS rang me yesterday to touch base. She'd originally told me I likely miscarried due to my PCOS, so I had sent her a copy of the genetic testing to show her otherwise. She is going to send J & I forms to have genetic testing done ourselves, to make sure we aren't carriers for any problems; though she admitted it was very likely to have just been a one-off problem at the moment of conception with our son. I'd still like it done all the same, just for some peace of mind. She also still recommends using our last frozen embryo before we try anything else, because I was younger then than I was now. Sigh. Just another thing to stress about. Older eggs as WELL as dodgy ones.
In other news... Miss Georgia is starting to walk a lot more! What started out as a few steps here and there if we propped her up on her feet and got her started, has turned into her getting up off the ground on her own and walking across the room. It's completely gorgeous to watch and I am so, so proud of her. She still reverts to crawling when she's in a rush, but it's a huge developmental leap for her. All of the GP's said nothing to worry about until 18 months... looks like she's literally just a few weeks in front of that time frame. All in her own time, my stubborn wee girl. 
Seriously though, I am constantly amazed at this beautiful and clever little girl. The personality that I can already see shining through, her gentle nature with the cats and the dog, the way she figures things out in her own way. Add a perfectly sweet face to all of that and man, we got lucky in the kid department. Her hair is growing so long all of a sudden, though she still won't tolerate clips - it's a ponytail or nothing. Her eyes are still blue, and her skin quite fair. I love watching her grow up.
Enjoying some spring time weather outdoors.


Pulling out grass and letting it fall back to the ground - loads of fun!

Reports & Frustration

We received the report back from the lab today - telling us what we already knew: a male fetus with Trisomy 21. So weird seeing it on paper, from the Children's Hospital pathology labs. Unfortunately, the report didn't say much more than that: a full trisomy. It doesn't specify if it was a one-off chromosomal mix up, or a translocation where the parents' genetics are involved. I've sent it off to my IVF specialist, to see what she recommends.

As for us, well, we haven't really got much to report. I haven't had a cycle, or even ovulated yet, so we can't even move forward with our last frozen embryo transfer cycle until that happens. The waiting around is really frustrating. Every time another day goes by, I realise how late it is in the year - and that our chances of falling pregnant in 2014 again are slim to none. Instead of having a baby in 2015, I fear we'll still be trying. :(
And this is how I feel about that:
My poor, teething baby girl. 

A Reason

The OB called with our genetic testing results this morning. Our baby had Down's Syndrome.

We were expecting that there would be some kind of trisomy issue, because of the way I lost the baby {my body co-operated; it was the foetus that passed} - so we processed that news okay. From the early days, we always said we were prepared to deal with a special needs child, that they were a special gift. A part of me is sad that we didn't get the chance to be those parents. But then the other part of me is logically thinking about the varied spectrum of medical conditions that could have come along with Trisomy 21; and assuming that's why the miscarriage happened. I'd like to think our baby went peacefully, without a care in the world & is with my Nanna now.

But we also found out the gender of our little one.. and it was a boy.

I was pretty composed hearing about the chromosomal issue, because we were all ready for this. But I wasn't prepared for being so sad about finding out the gender. The grief is still the same, regardless of whether we lost a girl or a boy - but I wasn't expecting to hear it was a HE. My heart is broken for all the things that he won't get to do, that he won't grow up with a sister who loves him, and parents who are smitten with him.

We've talked about naming him. We'll see where our hearts lead us with that decision; now, we're back to grieving & moving forward. We had a son, and we won't ever get to know him - but man, he was a seriously loved little baby.

Seventeen Months

And just like that, as if the last few months were just a blur, we're back to being our little family of three. I am so, so thankful for my seventeen month old cheeky monkey; without her, I don't know how we'd have gotten through.

My girl is getting so much taller now.. poor Teddy!
This month Georgia has:
  • Remained a perfect size 1, and continues to hate wearing socks or shoes. Seriously, is there a trick to this?
  • Stayed a similar weight, getting closer to 11kg and 77cm tall. She looks even taller than that, I think she's had another growth spurt in the last week or so.
  • Begun the process of dropping down to one day nap - noooooooooo! Mama is missing that afternoon sleep. :(
  • Started cutting her missing four eye teeth. One's cut, one's bulging, and the top two are lurking for now.
  • Stood on her own every now and again, and surprised us by getting from all fours into a stand by herself!
  • Walked well holding on to everybody's hands - and now does squats up and down. 
  • Begun to knee-walk to get to places. It looks so uncomfortable but we are all getting excited watching the new things she's trying out. 
  • TAKEN HER FIRST STEPS! Most exciting thing ever. She'll do a little bit of walking each day.
This is little miss independent - decided she'd take herself up to her bedroom for photos!
  • Chattered up a storm, though we still can't understand half of what she's babbling about. Too cute!
  • She's also mastered going up the staircase (gives me a heart attack but she's pretty confident.)
  • Says UH OH! Cutest thing ever.
  • Remained rear facing, but is getting harder and harder to stay still in her car seat. Nearly time for turning, I think.
  • Been such a beautiful and happy girl for us, and has made us smile every single day.
You can see all of Georgia's monthly pictures by clicking here.

This Week

It's been an okay week, around here. Some highs, some lows.

First up - YES! Georgia has started taking steps. She isn't walking, but she's making good attempts at balancing and lurching off across the room. I'm so, so proud of her. I hope she continues being brave, my big girl!
We had a follow up appointment with the OB on Monday. He did a scan, and my uterus is empty, and he's happy with my levels coming down on pregnancy tests. Still a tiny squinter there, so hopefully not too much longer before they're back at 0. He said that it takes an average of 3-4 weeks for them to level out. 
So far, we don't have a lot of answers. My blood tests {taken the morning we found out, in preparation for the NT scan} all came back fine, immunities, iron, etc. All of the testing levels were low, indicating a possible problem with the pregnancy, even if it hadn't ended already. My AMH was low, as was my free bHCG and my papp-A. With Georgia, they were 0.54 & 0.18 respectively; low enough to give us a high risk rating. This baby was 0.25 & 0.09. With those results, the OB is fairly sure that it indicates a chromosomal problem with the embryo - though we have to wait for the full genetic testing to come back in a few more weeks to confirm.
I don't know what I'm supposed to hope for. Part of me wants a reason for our loss; a genetic problem that was out of our control, but then I feel so guilty to our little one. If the results come back totally normal, I'll have to be content with just not knowing what went wrong - was it me? Did I do something that inadvertently caused the baby's heartbeat to stop? And if it DOES come back as a genetic issue, does that mean our last frozen embryo is already doomed? Too many questions for my liking.
Either way, we are now in post-miscarriage limbo: waiting for a period. I'm glad the physical healing is done.
Pros:
  • Hot bath! Hot, hot soak in the tub. Heavenly.
  • Back to normal life, whatever that is.
  • The all clear for exercising.. I've run three times this week, 15km. Not bad for a first week back.
Cons:
  • I miss my baby. So, so much.

We have first steps!

Proud mama moment - she is off! :) 
video

Love and Support

We've been overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our friends and family members over the last few weeks. From the day we found out that we had lost the baby, the messages of support just kept flying in.

It's so hard to say much other than 'thank you' - but I've tried hard to make sure people know how grateful I am, we both are. Little tokens were left on our doorstep, cards were posted to us so that we can read in private - it was beautiful, and showed us how loved we are - even in our darkest moments.

It's not only the physical things that mean so much though - it's the words, the text messages, the support I've received from other amazing women online. I wouldn't be healing without you... so thank you, so so much.

Down, Down

Somehow, another week has passed. Time seems to be speeding up again - which is both a good thing, and a sad thing. We're further away from being pregnant; but we're closer to getting going again in the future.

Already the little milestones are hurting - we would have been 13 weeks soon, we would have gone for our NT scan and received those perfect first pictures of our baby looking like a proper little baby & we would have announced the pregnancy to the world. I can't even imagine how sad it's going to be towards bigger events, like how we should have been nearly 7 months pregnant at Christmas, or even towards the due date.

The last few days have been a bit rubbish. I finally stopped bleeding and spotting, and was relieved to have physically gotten over the last effects of the d&c... and then I got a stomach flu. Just a 24 hour bug, but all the strain of the vomiting/nausea on my body started the bleeding back up again. Not a lot, and thankfully short lived.

I also used a few cheap pregnancy tests to see how my lines were looking, since we haven't had bloods taken to check the hcg levels dropping yet. Last week's one was SUPER positive, darker than the control. That was depressing - knowing you are most definitely not pregnant, but the sticks glaring at you. The picture below shows this week; the top was Tuesday, the bottom was yesterday {Friday}. It's a squinter now. I guess my hormones are finally levelling out. It's bittersweet, isn't it? Praying so hard for your pregnancy test sticks to get darker and things to progress - and now be wanting so badly for them to be negative, so we can start again.

Emotionally, I'm feeling okay for the most part. I don't think the sadness or the disappointment will ever go away - but the random bouts of anger about the loss really surprised me. Looking at other people who are pregnant, or who have kids easily... getting upset reading about stories of neglected kids or unwanted pregnancies - why them, and not us? I even got irrationally angry reading about other miscarriage stories, of people falling pregnant soon after their losses - why? Because we can't do that. There's no 'just try again!' with us. There's no 'have a go next month!' We have to plan this whole thing, we have to PAY for this whole thing, we have to wait, constantly wait. It's just such bullshit. I would give anything to be fertile enough to get pregnant again quickly.

But yeah... we're getting there. I'll have good days, and bad days - and hopefully people will understand that.

Our OB follow up appointment is on Monday, so I'm steeling myself to be brave... walking back into his rooms full of pregnant women, getting back into his office where I found out I lost the baby, being opposite from the hospital where the d&c procedure took place. I'll have to put my big girl pants on, that's for sure.





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