Acceptance & Perspective

I can't really explain it well, but I feel like I'm reaching a turning point in our infertility journey.

We are far from being done, we have many miles left in us yet - we're strong enough to keep trying new things and hang in there, so it's not that. It's just.. something feels different.

Maybe I'm more resigned to the journey now. Maybe the comparisons between how we finally managed to get Georgia in our arms & the goal of bringing home a new baby are finally starting to dissipate. Maybe it's that I've realised that I won't be one of those people you hear about, who get a random miracle happen their first go, or before their next cycle starts, or without any medical intervention whatsoever. Maybe it's just that changing clinics and getting ready to start again has left me with a little bit of fresh hope. Maybe it's a combination of all of those things put together.

It's about acceptance. Accepting the good, the bad, the ugly. The happy, the sad, and the jealousy. The highs, the lows, the numbness. The positive days, and the days where I don't feel like there is an end in sight. The times where I feel hopeful that we've got this, we can do this... and the times where it feels like nearly everyone around me has what we both want so desperately, and all we can do is watch on.

It's also about perspective. Losing my Nan, watching my Pop fall apart without her there, and seeing family try to hold it all together has really hit home for me this past week. Reading about friends, and friends of friends, who are going through illness & being so brave and so strong. We're all fighters. We may be fighting different battles, but we're fighting.

Infertility is our battle, and it sucks. Not being able to give your child a sibling, watching due dates of lost babies come & go with no little ones to hold, it's a special kind of sadness. But we're all healthy. We have each other, we have our girl, we have a roof over our heads, we have help here when we need it.

And I know, somehow, that our story isn't over. Our family isn't done yet. We have so much more love to give.

What's Next?

I've just about finished my active birth control pill 'rest' cycle - so it's time to start thinking ahead.

To give you a quick refresher, since our most recent stim cycle ended in a slight case of déjà vu (good scans, good follicles, insanely high progesterone resulting in all embryos being frozen with no transfer), we've been waiting around. In the meantime, I started back on the pill to calm my body down, after a post-retrieval scan showed a mild case of OHSS and bleeding into the ovaries & we began the procedure of swapping fertility clinics, and transporting our frozen embryos to their new home.

When I type it out like that, that's a lot of stuff that we've accomplished in the last few weeks - although it's been paired with my arch nemesis; waiting.

So, what's the plan going forward?

Well, it'll be our first cycle with our new clinic, so that's put a little bit of excitement back into us both. The plan is that we'll do a FET using our embryos that we've moved there - if you remember back, we have 8 day 1 embryos on ice. Obviously being day 1, that doesn't tell us very much (and we didn't have much success with thawing/growing our last batch of day 1's - part of the reason why we have since changed clinics) about how many we'll eventually have to transfer over the coming months.

Our new clinic has agreed to grow out ALL of these embryos for us during this first FET, which is what we want, and transfer the best blastocyst, should we get at least one healthy one there. Any extras could potentially be refrozen at later-stage embryos *if* the quality is still there. As for the protocol, we're going back to a HRT cycle using progynova (oestrogen) and endometrin (progesterone) - so no more stressing about making this dud body of mine ovulate, if we don't have to.

And that's as much as I know for now - the nitty gritty details will come during the cycle, so we have to wait and see.

Nan

Yesterday we lost another loved one - my remaining Nanna, Georgia's Great-Grandmother, passed away during the night. It came completely out of the blue, and was very unexpected - leaving us all pretty saddened and shocked.
She was a force to be reckoned with, and looked after my Pop, who is really going to struggle without her. I can't imagine being married to someone for 65+ years, and then trying to figure out how to live without them. I don't even know how I would get by without my husband - and our relationship is still a baby in the grand scheme of things.

I have some lovely photos of Georgia with her Great Nanna, and I'll always remember how Nan enjoyed hearing all about her. She also got to meet my nephew, which reminds me of my other Nanna passing two years ago - they held on to meet the important babies in their lives.

Rest well, Nan.

5 Ways to Make your Home Warmer this Winter: Sponsored Post

One of the first things we decided on when we were planning our home build was the flooring - we have timber floorboards downstairs, and carpet upstairs. While the floorboards look beautiful, they can get a little drafty in winter - so we've invested in wooly rugs and fuzzy socks to help keep warm!

*******

There's nothing nicer than walking into a warm, cosy home at the end of a bleak wintery day. Keeping your home toasty isn't just about heating. With a few home improvements, you can keep the cold at bay and help retain any heating you use. These five tips will help you to make your home warmer this winter.

1. Carpet

Soft underfoot and kind to the joints, carpet can be one of your home's most effective insulators. Whether it's plush carpet or short pile, carpet helps you retain the heat of your home, eliminate drafts and is a consistently pleasant temperature even, when your feet hit the floor in the deepest darkest depths of a cool winter's night. Even carpeting just your bedrooms can help keep your home warm. You’ll be surprised to hear that carpeting is well within most budgets. If you're considering carpet, make sure you make use of the great online tools available. Carpet experts such as Stainmaster Carpet have a carpet cost calculator. Click here to see just how little the extra comfort of carpet will set you back.
Snuggling up in cozy jammies for warmth!

2. Insulation

The home loses most of its heat through the roof cavity and through windows, so it's important to ensure your insulation is up to par. Investing in extra or better quality roof insulation reduces your heating bills by significantly raising the ambient temperature of your home.

3. Curtains

Quality curtains also keep any heat in your home and stop the cold from entering. Installing curtains or even quality blinds on all windows protects the house against heat loss and also stops drafts. Blackout, heavy duty or multi-layer curtains are particularly good, and should extend beyond the window-frame for optimum results.

4. Draft stoppers

If your home is prone to drafts under doors or windowsills, then it's worth picking up some old-fashioned helpers including door snakes and door guards to cover any cracks. It's amazing how much warmer your home will be without any unwelcome chilly breezes.

5. Natural light

By using available natural light during the day, you harness the warmth of the sun. This is particularly the case with windows that access the bright morning sun or warm afternoon rays. Similarly, sky lights can warm the home and allow additional light in dark areas like corridors. These days, skylights incorporate the latest technology of double glazing and thermal properties to ensure they do not contribute to heat loss. It's also worth remembering that some electrical appliances can incidentally help heat the home, as long as you use them at the right time of day they can quickly warm the house. This includes your oven, dryer and dishwasher.

Nothing like opening up the curtains and letting the natural winter warmth shine in!
Follow these tips and remember that heating your home isn't just about adding warmth: effective heating requires you to stop any loss of residual heat and utilise the warmth you already have available to you without turning on another appliance. These two methods will not only ensure your house remains warm, but will significantly lower your heating bills.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with Stainmaster Carpet - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Beep Beep!

Our embryos are on the move TODAY!

I'm biting my fingernails and have spent way too much time googling 'moving frozen embryos to new clinic' but really, there's not much I can do but wait for the call to tell me how it all went.
Has anyone else moved their embryos before? I would love to hear some success stories to give me hope!
Edit: They've arrived! Safe and sound on ice until the time comes for us to use them. We're free!

Five Unique Gifts For Kids: Sponsored Post

The way that I shop has definitely changed since becoming a Mum myself. Before that, it was all about the cutest and most frilly presents - but now, I'm all about the practical things that will go the distance. Some of my favourite gifts for Georgia over the years have been in the form of educational resources, gender-neutral toys & activity/experiences. As always though, the thought is what's important - the gifts themselves are just a bonus.

*******

Kids can be incredibly difficult to buy for. They always want the latest toys, and then six months down the track, they will usually grow tired of the gift. Luckily, there are websites out there such as Personalised Favours that have a range of unique and interesting gift ideas to help you find something they’ll love on the day they receive it and for years to come. However, there are plenty of fantastic ideas out there for gifts that are sure to prove popular with the kids. Here are 5 unique gifts for kids.

1. Books

It’s a popular opinion that printed books are dying out, replaced by e-readers and audio books. However, there’s nothing quite like the printed word; books can still provide hours of entertainment and knowledge for kids. New books are printed every day & there is a huge range out there catering for any interest your child may have. Finding a book on fashion design or bug collecting or even a customised book that uses your child’s own name in the story will please almost any child of reading age.

2. Board games and puzzles

An even more nostalgic choice for parents is to purchase various board games and puzzles for their children. Kids will love old favourites like snakes and ladders, monopoly and cluedo, and parents will enjoy playing with them, too. Board games can also have various cognitive and mental benefits on a child’s development. They also promote interaction and teamwork amongst children.
Some goodies from Georgia's 2nd birthday - her favourites were the puzzles and felt/wooden toys!

3. Sports gear

Fresh air and activity is important for children, so why not give them a variety of sports gear in order to get them outside and playing. Various balls, racquets, ropes and other toys can be given to multiple children to encourage them to play together. Once they get older, sports lessons can be given as gifts, encouraging kids to form teams and play or compete in various leagues.

4. Art supplies

Why not encourage your child’s natural creativity by giving them various papers, pens, pencils and other art supplies as a gift. Let them draw and create to their heart’s content. This can provide hours of enjoyment for the child and allow them to develop and explore their creative side.

5. A bank account

Children growing up in the 21st century will face a lot more expenses in their early years than most others in previous decades. Why not set up a bank account for them in which you can deposit money to pay for sports or music lessons, university or a car. This is a great gift for a child as it can slowly grow and provide for their future.

Purchasing gifts for children can be difficult and stressful; however, it doesn’t need to be. Buying gifts that can provide some educational benefit to the child can prove popular. Books and board games are nostalgic favourites that will still provide hours of entertainment. Sports gear is a fantastic idea if you want to get children outdoors and active. Art supplies are also great, particularly in developing your child’s creative side. A bank account for them is a great ongoing gift for the future.

What unique gifts do you give your kids? Let us know in the comments below.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with Personalised Favours - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Ready to Roll

We just got word that our embryos are due to be moved from our old clinic to our new clinic this Thursday. To say I'm relieved is an understatement - I just want them out of there. 

Of course, I'm really nervous about them moving, or something going wrong. We don't even know that these day 1 embryos are any good anyway - but I still want to give them a chance, you know? That said, if the worst happens and they're damaged, well, we'll just have to stim again. I'm at the point where more setbacks don't even make me blink anymore. How sad is that?
I'm frustrated to still be sitting here twiddling my thumbs, but I'm doing my best to go with the flow. My next 'due date' is literally around the corner... I'm trying not to focus on that, but it's hard not to be sad that we're still no closer to holding that mystical second baby in our arms. 
For now, I'm sending all my energy towards a safe clinic change for these embryos. Imagine if one of them ends up taking - we'll be able to tell them a story about how they travelled through Sydney when they were literally one day old!

4 years

Ah, June. My favourite month of the year! It's cold, it's wintery - and it's our wedding anniversary.

Four years ago today, we were married on a windy and rainy overcast Saturday. In some ways it feels like yesterday, in others, it could be a million years ago.

We've been together for 13 years now, so the marriage part is only small in the grand scheme of things. We've travelled together, we've loved and laughed together, we've gone through the best times & we've struggled through the worst times.

In the past twelve months, I have relied on him so much. Going through infertility, and then losing our two pregnancies, and then having disappointment after disappointment - it's not for the faint of heart. I'm so grateful to have him there holding my hand and picking me up when I'm down. I am so lucky.

Happy anniversary, hubby. We love you!

There now, steady love, so few come and don't go 
Will you, won't you, be the one I'll always know? 
When I'm losing my control, the city spins around 
You're the only one who knows, you slow it down.

Top Five Jet Skiing Spots in QLD: Sponsored Post

We're planning a Queensland holiday in the next few months, just a few days to get away and refresh ourselves from the daily grind. While water sports may not be on our agenda, we're definitely looking forward to exploring the many beaches and waterways on offer - and best of all, it's only an hour's flight from Sydney.

******

Can’t seem to find the best spot to go jet skiing? Queensland is home to so many fantastic places to jet ski and finding the best one out of them all can be pretty hard. If you are new to the jet ski world then you probably want to check out a company like JSW Powersports (click here to see their range) and find the right one for you. Once you have yourself a brand new jet ski, check out some of the places below for the best jet skiing in the state.

1. Gold Coast Seaway

The Gold Coast is home to some of the best waterways in Australia. The Seaway and waters surrounding South Stradbroke Island are by far the best places for jet skiing. The Spit is the perfect place to enter the water, giving you the most options on where you can go. One of the most popular rides from The Spit is to head out of the Seaway and into the ocean waters, going north along South Stradbroke, giving you plenty of action with the waves along the beach. Once you round the island you can make your way back exploring the many islands and inlets along the northern shores of the Gold Coast.

2. Gold Coast Waterways

As said earlier, the Gold Coast has some amazing waterways and the Seaway isn’t the only one. There is a maze of canals and rivers running through the heart of the city, and almost all of them connect up together at some point. You can travel inland up the Nerang River or see the Surfers Paradise skyline up close from the water. Even a full day of exploring wouldn’t allow you to ride down every canal.

3. Caloundra

Further north, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, are waters and beaches that glow golden. From Caloundra you can ride north, surfing along the waves, up the straight stretch of beach to Mooloolaba, home to Underwater World. From there it is a short trip to the inlets and waterways around Kawana Island. If you’re with friends the way back is a great chance for a little race, conditions allowing.

4. Whitsundays

One of the most picturesque parts of Australia is also one of the best places to go jet skiing. Starting from the beautiful Airlie Beach you can head straight out to the local islands. Not only is there plenty of excitement for your ride with ocean waves to jump, you can also explore the reef in a way like no other. From the back of a jet ski you have a much more personal view of what’s going on down below you in the crystal clear waters.

5. Bribie Island

If you are looking for excitement but also a close look at nature then there is nowhere better than Bribie Island. You can race past the mangroves or relax and listen to the hundreds of different bird species that call Bribie Island home. While you are cruising around you might also notice some of the dolphins and dugongs swimming by or playing in the calm waters.

Jet skiing is a fantastic sport that everyone can enjoy almost anywhere. These are just some of the very best places to enjoy it.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with JSW Watersports - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.

Moving Clinics

A new cycle - with not a lot of things going on - pill taking, getting back to the gym & hoping the next few weeks go by quickly.

This time last year, I was getting ready to transfer our first frozen embryo & we had so much hope. Sure, we'd been trying to get pregnant for a while before that on our own - but that was to be our first shot back on the IVF bandwagon, our first go at using one of the embryos from the batch that got us Georgia. And then, actually GETTING pregnant from that cycle - seeing our blobby baby, hearing his heartbeat, watching him grow... well, we know how that ended, but oy.

It's been a long time that we've been back here again, and it's been a long time since I was pregnant.

If we're lucky, we'll cycle again in July. But for that to happen, our embryos need to be moved across to the new clinic first. The new clinic is on board and ready to go, but our old clinic is proving to be a little more difficult. First, they've taken a week to put me in touch with the correct person to speak to - who as it turns out was lovely & very helpful - but they charge a $450 fee for preparing embryos for transport, and need original documents to be received, sent & witnessed before that can happen. That's all good and perfectly reasonable.. I'm just frustrated that it's taking so long to get this sorted, when our egg pick-up was two weeks ago now.

My guts are definitely telling me that we're doing the right thing by moving clinics. I wish we'd done it sooner, but that's all hindsight. In the meantime, all I'm hoping for is a smooth transition.





All content (C) Breathe Gently 2006-2015
Blog Design by Splendid Sparrow