CD7

As a change from the emotional craziness that has surrounded me over the last few weeks, how about a little fertility update instead? After ten days of Provera, AF arrived last week - and it wasn't as horrible as I had anticipated. It arrived over the Easter weekend; coincidence? Fate? Either way, hormones + chocolate = win! Win win win. Especially the half price Easter eggs marked down after the weekend. Great for the soul, bad for the waist.

Since this month is a write-off in terms of IVF, we decided to be proactive and have a Clomid cycle while we wait. I've already had pre-IVF bloodwork taken, and have yet another pelvic ultrasound this week to make sure everything looks good. The Clomid tablets are already done and dusted {we take day 2-6} and I've had no side effects at all, which makes me think that it's been pointless yet again - but we'll see what happens. If it works, I'll ovulate. If it doesn't work {as in previous cycles}, well, it was worth a shot. I don't have marvellous expectations of miracle pregnancies or anything; in actual fact, I'll be happy just to get a 'natural' period or a relatively normal cycle length. If I haven't ovulated by day 21, my specialist has encouraged me to get the show on the road with Provera once again, so we can focus ahead on the frozen embryo cycle the following month.
I've been charting and tracking again since last year, to see what's been happening - but it's a little tricky to do that when you don't have a period, and when your tracking sites are telling you it's been 600+ days between periods! Anovulation, pregnancy & post-partum will REALLY stuff up your Fertility Friend stats, that's for sure. 
Getting this period, being back on CD1 again & tracking temps and CM and all that jazz.. well, it feels like a fresh start. Even if it IS just for this temporary month, I sort of feel like a naive, fresh-faced TTC-er - not a battle scarred IVF mama. And that's kind of nice.

Resolve

It's been a few days now, and I'm mostly feeling okay. I have moments of clarity, of rage, of numbness, but mostly I'm just resigned. And sad, still so very sad. These past few days I've been taking some time for myself, in the form of running on the treadmill, eating chocolate bunnies & playing with Georgia. We'll be right.
You've probably seen the banners flying around the interwebs, but it's National Infertility Awareness Week. I want to change this to INTERNATIONAL Infertility Awareness Week, since it affects couples worldwide, but you know, that's how it goes. ;) So hard to think of women {and men} struggling for such a long time. 
Being an infertile the first time around sucked. It sucked because you desperately wanted something you couldn't get to, you'd never had before, and you thought you may never get. You watch everyone around you get pregnant, complain about being pregnant, whinge about kids, tell you how easy life was before kids & all the things you 'should enjoy while you can'; when all the while you want to punch them in the face and cry. And maybe you do just that, if that floats your boat. {I cried, not punched, in case you were wondering.}
Then I became one of 'those' people. The kind that comes out the other side - the kind who got a take home baby. I am so thankful that we have her; she is a million times more than I could have ever hoped for. I'm sure I unintentionally left people behind, feeling stuck in their journeys while I moved on in mine. And that's why I kept blogging here, even when we were learning and growing with Georgia - because this was our journey. 
Being an infertile for the second time around... well, it sucks too. All those emotions come flooding back, except this time, you have something to be grateful for. Our daughter is the the biggest grounding mechanism I have; on the days where I'm stressed, I'm angry, I'm bitter, I can look at her and know it was worth fighting for. But the hurt remains, because this time? I know what it is I'm sad about. I've felt those pregnancy flutters and waves. I've nursed that newborn in the wee hours, the two of us all alone in the world. I've had my tiny toddler snuggle into my arms like it's the only place she wants to be. And I want that, again, for our little family.
Be kind to yourself, and to those around you - this week and all weeks. The journey is awful, but keep holding on.

When Infertility Turns You Into An Arsehole

While we were having difficulties falling pregnant with Georgia, I was pretty open about how I was coping. I blogged, I posted on a variety of forums, and I found a bunch of like-minded women who I could open up to, and share my thoughts/advice with. I honestly don't know that I could have gotten through the whole process without them.

Then I got pregnant. And once again, I had a lot of support from strong, strong women - some who had also received good news, some who were still waiting for their own moment. They celebrated my positive pee sticks, they followed along with my pregnancy, they cheered me on during Georgia's surprisingly early entrance to the world & gave both her and I oodles of love while she was a newborn. 
Fast forward to now, and where we are today. Infertility, round #2. 
It's nothing new for us, and yet my emotions are crazier than ever. I alluded in previous posts that I was hopeful that Georgia would have a sibling, and one close to her age - but I left a lot of information out. In truth, we've been 'naturally' trying since last year. I've been working my arse off, quite literally, with food and exercise, to get my weight down in the hopes of controlling my PCOS to get my system into gear. Nothing has worked. No miracles here.
And so, I'm angry. And bitter. And devastated. And this time around, instead of just being sad about it & moving on, I'm really, really struggling. Instead of celebrating other people's pregnancy joy, the early pee sticks, the excitement of a baby on the way, I'm gutted every time. It doesn't help that so many people I know are falling pregnant - even naturally! - the pee sticks have been quite literally assaulting me at every turn. In the past week, I have seen no less than seven internet pregnancies from friends, plus one in person for good measure. That's a lot at the best of times, but more-so when you're hormonal and you're frustrated.
I'm furious that I've worked so hard, and that my body has failed me.. again. I'm upset that I nagged and nagged to see a specialist early, knowing that it'd take a while to get things moving, and now we're waiting.. again. I'm pissed off that other people can blink & get knocked up, can have their babies close in age while time moves our age gap further and further apart. I'm irritated that while other people are anticipating a baby, I'm hoping just to get a freakin' period before we can do anything else. I'm empathising with other friends who haven't yet got their miracle, and who are handling themselves with more grace & dignity than I am, which makes me so ashamed. 
I feel like an arsehole.
So I say this to any of my friends, on and offline who have noticed a change in me - I'm sorry. I hate that I'm feeling this way, hate that I'm so jaded by this whole journey. Please know that I'm not usually like this, and forgive me for taking space & dealing with your happy news in a guarded way. I am happy for you, and I will celebrate with you. But for now, I'll be hugging my baby girl tight, being thankful for what I have, and hoping I can claw my way back from the space that I am in.

Where to Next?

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say that their friend/sister/cousin/next-door-neighbour fell pregnant naturally after they went through IVF, I'd be a millionaire. Seriously people, IT DOESN'T HELP. And it's certainly not going to happen for us. Thanks, though. ;)

Enough of that though; let me give you a brief update of where we are.

I breastfed Georgia for 12 months. Can you believe it? After all the struggles we had at the beginning, the feeding issues in the special care nursery, the 3-hourly pumping and then subsequent feed/pump/sleep cycles we had for months afterwards - we made it to the one year mark. I'm really proud of how far we made it. We had a pretty good routine of four feeds a day/night {morning, mid-morning, afternoon, bedtime} for several months, so I gradually started dropping her feeds, one at a time, over the weeks. By her first birthday party, we had weaned completely.

I'm so pleased with how it went. We have gone directly from breast milk + solids, to solids + whole cows milk. No bottles, no formula - just cows milk in straw cups. She's done so very well. My boobs had a few odd days of soreness/fullness, but thankfully no mastitis or blocked ducts. Man, have they disappeared now though. Flat boozies.

That said, there was another reason why I wanted to wean. I've had no cycle at all since Georgia was born, apart from the normal post-birth bleeding. No ovulation, no AF - nada. Nothing. Which makes TTC for a future sibling just a little bit hopeless, though not for lack of trying. I've been using OPK strips to see if anything has been happening, and it's not been good. My body, whether it's still suppressed from the nursing, is NOT playing ball. Let's face it; we all know it isn't the breastfeeding that's stalled it; it's my dodgy PCOS ovaries once again.

An appointment was made, a fertility specialist visit was conducted - and we're starting to get things moving again for the coming months. First things first, induce a period. Ah progesterone, I've missed you. {NOT.} Hopefully in the next few weeks, I'll get that sorted. Then it's bloods, scans, monitoring, another induced AF. Sometime, maybe June or July? We'll have more actual plans in place.

Until then, it's all about Georgia. My sweet, adorable Georgia. She's all sorts of incredible! More updates soon. :)

Shopping with Target Australia ~ Car Safety

One of my favourite things to do is look around for bargains when it comes to baby products; but there are certain areas where I'm as equally interested in safety as I am in price. One of those products is the trusty car seat. With the Target focus being on all things baby this April, there were plenty of fun options for me to choose from; but I decided to be practical & smart with my shopping choices & focus on travel + transport.

So; let's talk car seats. For me, there are a few things that are of utmost importance: safety, comfort, size & durability. I remember being completely overwhelmed by the choices out there back when I was pregnant with Georgia - for a newbie parent, it's hard not to let the selections get the better of you.

When she was a littl'un, we decided to forgo the stroller/capsule scenario & head straight into the convertible car seat. For us, the reasons were pretty simple: we wanted to get the most use out of it as possible. Most capsules only last until bubs are 6 months old, or they outgrow them in length. The convertible car seats can be used from birth until approximately 4 years of age; for us, that made more sense in the long run. Car seats that are rear facing {which is recommended for a minimum of 6 months in Australia} are safe and well padded, and the reclined feature certainly made it easy for bub to get comfy & settle in.

Funnily enough, we chose a Target-branded car seat way back in those early days, long before I became a Target blog-hubber. We ended up with the Mother's Choice 'Mystique' Convertible Car Seat. I still remember how tiny she looked the first time she was in it; she looks a good bit different in there now! {Nom... feet.}

For safety reasons, we plan on keeping her rear-facing for as long as possible. She's also a bit of a shorty, so her shoulders still fall behind the warning levels. That said, we'll be turning her around in the next few months, so I wanted to make sure she was in the best possible seat when that happens. And while there is nothing on the cards as yet, we'd love to start planning ahead for Baby #2; so it seemed like the perfect time to look at our options for getting a second seat; with a focus on forward facing comfort. After looking at several options at Target, including the Safe and Sound, Mother's Choice & Hipod brands, today we purchased the Hipod 'Cairo' Convertible Car Seat.

This seat looks wonderfully comfortable; it's well padded, and can similarly be used from birth as a rear facing seat, or later on a forward facing seat. The reason we chose the Hipod came down to a few features that I liked;
  • It has the opportunity to be used as both a rear or forward facing seat - so we can use it for Georgia now, and for a future sibling further down the line
  • It has more seatbelt slots; meaning it will last longer than our current car seat as Georgia gets taller. 
  • It has wing-like cushioning, which will shield children well in either mode; piece of mind for bumpy trips.
  • It's not too big; it's quite a narrow seat, and should fit nicely in my small hatchback car.
  • It is able to be reclined slightly in forward facing mode; this will assist Georgia when she adjusts to being turned around, as well as providing slightly more comfort by not sitting completely upright.
  • It's made of wipeable material; NOT velour or suede. Babies are messy and sweaty creatures. Having a car seat that can be easily cleaned, and wouldn't cause bub to be sweaty, was VERY important.
We popped Georgia into the car seat this afternoon to see how she'd cope with sitting in it in forward facing mode; she didn't quite know WHAT was going on, but didn't seem to mind. As you can see, her shoulders are still below that line marker; so from a height perspective, she's still good to be rear facing. Thankfully she's happy facing backwards, with the help of a few important items; a back-of-the-seat mirror, some toys & a good book!
This is a pretty fancy lounge chair, mama!
Seeing her sitting in the car seat gave us a good idea of how much room she has in it to grow; I think the Hipod is going to serve us well over the coming years. We opted to have the car seat professionally fitted into our vehicle last time for peace of mind, and I think we'll do it again with this seat. I recommend always getting a professional to check your car seat once it's been installed, as it's so important for your little ones to be safe in the car.
 Checking out the safety features of her new car seat.
What features do you find most important in a car seat?
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between Target Australia & Breathe Gently. I have been provided vouchers to purchase goods & have been compensated for my time spent on the project. If you're interested in finding out more, or would like to partner with Breathe Gently in the future, please email me.

Rainbow Party Snapshots!

Georgia's birthday was awesome; we're waiting now for our thank you cards to arrive so that I can send those out - she was very loved and VERY spoiled. Here are some of the details from the day. :)

The theme was rainbow - so I had fun creating bits and pieces to match. Georgia's Aunty Hayley & her friend created the perfect rainbow cake, which came out exactly like I'd hoped. All I did was add the bunting & a #1 candle, and we were all set! Foods included rainbow jelly, rainbow marshmallows dipped in white chocolate, chocolate & red velvet cupcakes & rainbow fruit skewers. Georgia enjoyed her taste tests too!
 


It looked just as pretty when it was cut open. Happy birthday, pretty girl. :)
Since Georgia shares a birthday with my Mum, it was only fitting that the OTHER birthday girl got a cake too!
It was such a wonderful day. It turned out just like we'd hoped - and I still can't believe my baby is ONE.

Twelve Months

Georgia turned the big O-N-E on Sunday - and what a day it was. Her party was rainbow themed, and turned out really well. In all of the craziness, I didn't get time to post her monthly blog update; so here goes! :)

Smiles for her daddy, because her whole face lights up when he's in the room.
This month Georgia has:
  • Slowed down on her growth. She's still 9kg, and has dropped back to 50th % - but is growing taller! 74.5cm long.
  • Cut tooth #8 - top four and bottom four are all out now.
  • CRAWLED! She is still preferring to commando, but we're getting a tiny bit of interest in being on our knees, and she's as quick as can be. I'm starting to see what people talk about when they lament on mobile babies; we've lost her up the hallway several times over the last few weeks!
  • Can pull up to her knees now. She still hasn't mastered the art of pulling to stand all the way up, and she's not even remotely keen on standing or cruising furniture, but she's getting places in her own time.
  • Figured out how to get into a sit on her own. She has sat unassisted since she was 6 months old, but we always needed to pop her there in that position. Now she's up, down, in the cot, on the floor, everywhere.
  • Talked up a storm. She will happily 'read' to herself, by turning pages of her books & blathering away.
  • Had her first birthday party. Lots of tears at first - she woke up from a nap, came downstairs and BOOM - all of the peoples! But she had a great time, especially playing with her new little friends.
  • Decided that the cats, and Spencer, are the funniest things ever. She'll chase the cats around the room, and cackles when Spencer licks her toes or her hands. Funny little thing.
  • Weaned. Completely! I am thrilled to have breastfed Georgia until she turned 12 months. We started the process a few weeks ago, and I'll blog about this soon; but by her birthday, she was done. And she's done REALLY well. My boobs, on the other hand... well, we'll catch up eventually.
  • Slept through very well. I'm so proud of how far she's come with her sleeping. Still on 2 day naps, too.
  • Been an absolute delight! I can't believe my baby is no longer a baby - time flies when you're having fun. :)
You can see all of Georgia's week by week pictures by clicking here.





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